Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"The Story of Jax and Dylan" by Jamie Dean

EXCERPT
The Story of Jax and Dylan
by Jamie Dean

The Story of Jax and Dylan by Jamie Dean

Author Jamie Dean stops by today to share an excerpt from The Story of Jax and Dylan.

Description
Dylan and Jax were typical best friends, until Dylan fell for Jax and kissed him the night before senior prom. Dylan had to move away before they could talk about it, so he has spent ten years thinking Jax hated him for that kiss.
Reconnecting on Facebook allows them to meet again, and they quickly become as close as ever, spending most of their free time together. Dylan falls for Jax a second time, even though Jax has a girlfriend and appears to be straight.
Important secrets about Jax may lie hidden in the books he's written, but Jax has asked Dylan not to read them, and Dylan refuses to break his promise. When the truth finally surfaces, their lives will never be the same.


Excerpt
DYLAN WASN’T sure about this whole Facebook thing. He used the Internet for work and to play the occasional mind-numbing game before bed, but he wasn’t much of a computer guy. He didn’t like people knowing his business. On the other hand, now that Tom lived several states away, his younger brother had assured him that this was an easier way to keep in touch than plain old e-mails and phone calls and texting.
Dylan wasn’t convinced, but he figured it was worth a shot. Besides, Tom had also said it was a great way to reconnect with old friends, and there were a couple of people Dylan wouldn’t mind looking up. He wasn’t a reunion guy, but there were one or two individuals he’d like to know what happened to.
He got his profile set up and did a search for Tom. Tom had walked him through that much, but Dylan didn’t put up a picture yet. He thought he’d lurk for a little bit before he went putting the aged version of himself out there for others to see. He wanted to see how others had fared first. For the time being, his page only said “Dylan Holt” with the default silhouette picture.
Once he found Tom and sent the friendship request, he took a little while to browse. Then he clicked into the search bar one more time, to look up the name he most wanted to find. There was only one result, which wasn’t that surprising. There was also no picture, which was disappointing since Dylan really wanted to see if those eyes were the same blue-gray as he remembered and whether that thick dark-brown hair was still a perpetual mess. Dylan sat and stared at the name for a long time before he clicked it.
Jaxon Luther had been Dylan’s best friend for all four years of high school. They’d spent countless nights in each other’s rooms, in Dylan’s old convertible Dart GTS, or hanging out at the pool hall with Donny and the rest of their crowd. It had all been amazing until the night before senior prom, when Dylan got wasted and did something stupid. Mom had packed up him and Tom the day after graduation, two weeks later, and he and Jax hadn’t spoken since.
Dylan had never had another friend quite like Jax. He scrolled through what little there was to see on Jax’s page. There were a few pictures of places he’d been and some inspirational images, but there was virtually no personal information. Still no pictures of Jax, with his full lips and strong chin, either. He hadn’t listed a job or a relationship or anything like that. Guy hadn’t even put down his birthday—though Dylan remembered it anyway. To this day on November 16, he still got a little bit sad.
His finger hovered over the mouse, leaving the cursor over the friend request button for a long time. He had decided not to click it, unsure of the welcome he was likely to get. Right before he slid the mouse away, his phone rang with a ringtone he’d never heard before. It startled him so badly his finger pressed the button and the damage was done.
“Dammit!” he swore at the screen before he picked up the phone. “Thomas, I thought the whole point of the Facebook thing was so I didn’t have to talk to you,” he snapped.
“What, and miss out on knowing my ringtone scared the crap out of you?”
“Yeah, and I ended up sending a friend request when I didn’t want to, so thanks for that.”
Tom must have heard something in Dylan’s voice, because all teasing was gone from his when he asked, “Friend request to who?”
Dylan sighed. “To Jax.”
“Oh. Shit, I’m really sorry, man. But hey, maybe it won’t be so bad. He could accept, you know. It’s not outside the realm of possibility. High school was a long time ago.”
“Yeah. I guess. Not like it matters anyway, right? Long time ago, like you said. Sent one to Donny too.”
“Cool. Oh, hey, fair warning? Garrett is on Facebook, so… you know he’ll see your name when I accept your request unless you block him.”
Dylan contemplated the idea for about fifteen seconds before saying, “Nah, I kinda miss the little dude. He was weird, but he meant well.”
“Yeah, he’s a good guy. Um… so are you gonna add Melissa on there?”
“Uh, that’d be a no. I don’t think friending my ex-wife on Facebook is a thing I’m gonna do.”
“Okay, just asking. Some people do that, you know. I’m kinda, you know, friends with her already.”
Dylan sighed again. “Of course you are. Still no, though. Did you need anything, or were you only calling to—” Dylan cut himself off as a little red one appeared at the top of the page. “What’s the little globe mean?”
“Those are your notifications, like when someone accepts your friend request or likes something you posted.”
Dylan clicked the button, and his heart started pounding.
Jaxon Luther has accepted your friend request.
“He, uh… he accepted. Jax. Jax did. The, uh, the friend thing.”
“Oh, yeah? Well, all right, man. See? That’s great. Oh, hey, uh, I got another call. Can I call you back?”
“Sure thing, Tom. Later. Love you.” Dylan was barely paying attention at that point, though.
He clicked Jax’s page again, but there was nothing more showing than there had been before. That was weird, right? Or maybe he was new to this like Dylan was. From the pictures he had posted, it looked like maybe that was the case. They’d all been put up within the last few weeks.
He debated sending a message. Tom had explained to him that there was a chat feature, but Dylan thought a regular message would be fine. He clicked the button and typed a brief missive.
Hey, man! Wasn’t sure you would accept. Glad you did. Long time no talk, huh? How are things?
To Dylan’s surprise, when he hit send, a message box popped up in the bottom corner, indicating that he had started a chat conversation. He briefly scanned the chat sidebar, and it showed that Jax was actually online. His heartbeat spiked again at the thought that they might actually have a live chat, after all these years of radio silence. Adrenaline shot through him when he heard the noise indicating he’d gotten a reply.
>Hello, Dylan. It has been a long time. Things are good. How are you?
Dylan sat there for a long moment, considering. Jax hadn’t mentioned the stuff from back then, and Dylan wasn’t sure if he should. Maybe it was time to try apologizing again. Jax hadn’t accepted his apologies at the time, but maybe he’d had time to forgive. If he was talking to him now, surely that was the case.
I’m pretty good, Jax. Can’t complain. Listen, about what happened back then… I’m sorry. I should’ve known better. It wasn’t my finest moment.
Dylan bit his thumbnail as he waited for a response. Tom hadn’t mentioned how nerve-wracking “instant” communication was, especially when you could see the other person type and then stop and type again.
>Nor mine, Dylan. It’s fine. I’m sorry too. I overreacted. I realize now that you were confused. Weren’t we all? :)
Man, I’m glad to hear you say that. It’s bothered me all these years. Especially since we moved right after and never got to work it all out, you know? You were the best friend I ever had.
>I’ve felt the same! But let’s talk about better things. Tell me what you’ve been doing with your life all these years. I am going to presume you did not become the rock god you always dreamed of being or I’d have heard about you :)
Dylan laughed out loud at that. He’d almost forgotten about that particular dream.
Nah, turns out it helps to be able to sing and/or play an instrument. Who knew? Ha-ha.
I do classic car restoration, actually. I’m sorta famous in those circles, though. Remember my old Dodge Dart? I still have it. Other than that, I was married for a while, but that didn’t work out. No kids or anything. How about you? I assume no great American novel or I’d have heard about YOU. :)
>LOL I have heard those talents help in the music business, yes. Glad you’re doing something you love, though. Sorry to hear that marriage didn’t suit you. And actually, I am a writer, I simply use a pseudonym. :P
You write books? What books? I wanna read ’em!
>Ha-ha… no. I write under a pseudonym for a reason. :P
Seriously? Are they books I’d have heard of, at least?
>Possibly. My first one was rather… controversial. Most of my work is… strictly for adults, so they don’t exactly make the bestseller list.
Jax writes porn! HA-HA-HA. Man, that is too awesome!!
>I am so glad you approve. ;) Listen, I have to go, my editor is calling. I hope we’ll talk again?
Definitely!
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
"A fantastic slow build romance. Dialogue and relationships were believable and interesting, emotionally compelling.[...] Loved the sweet friendships between all the men. Just a really fun, lovely story with a heartwarming ending (complete with fabulous sex scenes). Definitely give it a go!" ~ Melissa C. Swanson
"Jamie Dean wrote about Jax and Dylan with engaging intimacy so they were not just characters, but real people. No matter what sexual orientation you are, this book is five star. I especially liked the way the guys talked a lot, swam every chance they got, and ate more steak than any female woman ever would have. And their intimacy was sweet, sensitive, and - well - hot." ~ Sally Haverlock
"It took most of the book for our main characters to find each other. However, the way it finally happened is one of my favorite scenes that I have read this year. The Story of Jax and Dylan by Jamie Dean is a beautiful love story you won’t want to miss. I just implore you to be patient. The payoff is more than worth it." ~ PrismBookAlliance
"I recommend reading this book, learning to love the characters and when you finish the book you'll know what I'm talking about! New favorite adult author!" ~ Mrs. Product Pundit
"Jamie Dean has you rooting for Jax and Dylan even if they're hesitant to root for themselves. I was enthralled as their friendship from high school reignited and, slowly, secrets from those days and times since began to slowly come to light. The build is slow, and the climax of the story hits like lightning. Then the fun part begins ..." ~ MoniJune

About the Author
Jamie Dean lives in the southwestern US with a long-time domestic partner, three dogs, two cats, and a variety of outdoor lizards. Writing is a way of life, inspiration is everywhere, and sometimes Jamie can't sleep for all the ideas fighting for attention. Jamie Dean is an activist, a feminist, a pansexual, and just generally a pain in the ass.
Dean has published three well-reviewed erotic gay romances, The Story of Jax and Dylan, The Art of Survival, and Not Just Passing Through.

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"My Image of You" by Melanie Moreland

EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
My Image of You
by Melanie Moreland

My Image of You by Melanie Moreland

This release day blitz and giveaway for My Image of You by Melanie Moreland is brought to you by Promo Stars Services. Please be sure to visit of the other participating blogs as well.


For more books by this author, please check out my blog post on Into the Storm, my blog post on Beneath the Scars, and my blog post on It Started with a Kiss.

Description
A globe-trotting bad boy chases the one that got away in this addictive novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Contract.
My name is Adam Kincaid, and I’m the best at what I do. After losing my parents, I decided to follow in their footsteps, and now I’m the most daring freelance photographer in the world.
Maybe some think I’m a loner, but I don’t care. All that matters is the shot: braving danger and devastation in search of a single image with the power to tell someone’s story. But as good as I am, accidents happen - and thank god for that, because it’s what leads me to her ...
Alexandra Robbins. My nurse. My savior.
With her fiery red hair and crystal-clear blue eyes, the camera loves her ... and I have to have her. We soon find that we’re perfect together. We just fit, physically and emotionally. And yet something isn’t right. Something from her past is haunting her, and no matter what I do to help her break free, I lose her.
Today is the day I try to win her back. Not only do I need an explanation, I need her in my bed once again. I don’t just want a damn picture - I want her. Because what we have is a love that never fades away ...


Excerpt
“There are so many things I want to do with you,” I assured her, and licked my lips as I stared at her, my voice husky. “To you.”
“Tell me,” she insisted, her fingers curled into fists at her sides.
I stepped behind her, wrapping my arm around her waist and pulling her to my chest. I smoothed my fingers up her arm, trailing them along her skin. Small goose bumps broke out, pebbling the surface as I dropped my head down into her neck, kissing and swirling my tongue. “I’m going to explore you—everywhere. I’ll touch and discover every part of you. I want to know what makes you gasp, what drives you to distraction. I’ll find out what I can do to make you groan and beg me to take you. I’ll know your body better than you do.” I drew her skin between my teeth, biting and sucking. “I want to kiss you . . . taste you everywhere.” I slipped my hands under her shirt, teasing the softness of her stomach and side, stroking upward until my hand cupped her breast lightly. “I bet you taste different all over. Sweet some places”—I dropped my hand down, running it along the edge of her waistband—“musky and tangy others.”


Praise for the Book
"An emotional, captivating romance with twists and angst, heart and humor." ~ USA Today bestselling author Daisy Prescott
"My Image of You is a sweet, soulful romance. Beauty, heart and breathtaking passion all come together to deliver a brilliant read." ~ Lauren Rowe, USA Today bestselling author of The Club Series
"Epic tale of soulmates fighting for their HEA. You will cheer for Adam and Alex, you will pray for their happy ending and you will allow their love story to consume you. A gripping and emotional story of two lovers whose broken halves make each other whole." ~ E. S. Carter, author of the Love by Numbers series
"Melanie Moreland delivers an enchanting story that is also complex, surprising and deeply heartfelt. Five stars." ~ Claudia Burgoa, author of Until I Fall
"I devoured this book in one satisfying sitting. Five stars!" ~ Suzanne Carroll, author of Over the Edge


About the Author
Melanie Moreland
New York Times/USA Today bestselling author Melanie Moreland, lives a happy and content life in a quiet area of Ontario with her beloved husband of twenty-seven-plus years and their rescue cat, Amber. Nothing means more to her than her friends and family, and she cherishes every moment spent with them.
While seriously addicted to coffee, and highly challenged with all things computer-related and technical, she relishes baking, cooking, and trying new recipes for people to sample. She loves to throw dinner parties, and also enjoys travelling, here and abroad, but finds coming home is always the best part of any trip.
Melanie delights in a good romance story with some bumps along the way, but is a true believer in happily ever after. When her head isn’t buried in a book, it is bent over a keyboard, furiously typing away as her characters dictate their creative storylines to her, often with a large glass of wine keeping her company.


Giveaway
Enter the blitz-wide giveaway for your chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card or an ebook copy of My Image of You by Melanie Moreland.

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Monday, September 18, 2017

"Lies She Told" by Cate Holahan

EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
Lies She Told
by Cate Holahan

Lies She Told by Cate Holahan

Lies She Told by Cate Holahan is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


Description
Sometimes the truth is darker than fiction.
Liza Cole, a once-successful novelist whose career has seen better days, has thirty days to write the thriller that could put her back on the bestseller list. Meanwhile, she’s struggling to start a family, but her husband is distracted by the disappearance of his best friend, Nick. As stresses weigh her down in her professional and her personal lives, Liza escapes into writing the chilling exploits of her latest heroine, Beth.
Beth, a new mother, suspects her husband is cheating on her while she’s home caring for their newborn. Angry and betrayed, she sets out to catch him in the act and make him pay for shattering the illusion of their perfect life. But before she realizes it, she’s tossing the body of her husband’s mistress into the East River.

Then, the lines between fiction and reality begin to blur. Nick’s body is dragged from the East River, and Liza’s husband is arrested for his murder. Before her deadline is up, Liza will have to face up to the truths about the people around her, including herself. If she doesn’t, the end of her heroine’s story could be the end of her own.

Excerpt
LIZA
He’s tracking my time. Every ten seconds, Trevor’s dark eyes dart to the digital clock on his computer screen, a driver checking his rearview. My pitch has not impressed. He has more important things to attend to, authors who bring in more money. My work is not worth these valuable minutes.
He doesn’t say any of this, of course. Our decade-long relationship has made his thoughts apparent. I read them in the lines crinkling his brow as he sits across from me in his office chair, scratching his goatee while the air conditioner’s hiss recalls the reputational damage wrought by my latest book, Accused Woman. Not my best work, to say the least. Critics dubbed the protagonist “Sandra Dee on diazepam.” She lacked agency, they said. Too many things happened to her. Really, she was too like me to be likeable. My former psychiatrist, Dr. Sally Sertradine, suggested similar failings.
“An affair?” Finally, he speaks . . . barely. A true Brit, Trevor drops the ending r. His accent mocks me, as though my idea has so offended him that even his critique doesn’t require clear articulation.
He removes the wire- framed glasses previously perched on the wide bridge of his nose, sets them on his mouse pad, and walks to his window. Before him lies a landscape of penthouse terraces. In Manhattan, success is determined by view. Trevor’s placement, high above even the city’s wealthy, is a reminder of his importance relative to my own, of the weight his opinion should carry as opposed to mine.
“There’s hardly a new way to do an affair.”
“Well, I think of it as a classic revenge story.” My voice cracks as I make my case. Dr. Sally also said I regress into adolescence at the first whiff of confrontation. The hormones are making things worse. “I think romantic suspense readers want—”
“Right. What they want.” He faces me and nods. Trevor talks with his head the way Italians speak with hand gestures. The angle of his chin conveys his amusement or displeasure. “You must give your audience what they’re craving. Readers are done with love triangles and tortured consciences. Consider what Hollywood is buying: stories about pushing sexual taboos and psychological manipulation. People want to play mind games in the bedroom, eh?”
A forty- two-year old guy is telling me, a thirty- five- year- old woman smack in the middle of my target audience demographic, what my peers want in the sack. Sad fact is, I should probably take notes. For the past year, David and I have only bothered with intercourse when my basal temp kicks up. Trevor is recently divorced and inarguably attractive: a Bronze Age Rodin of a man.
Women must be, as he’d say, “queuing” up.
He snaps to an unknown rhythm. Suddenly, his eyes brighten like he’s figured out the step. “How about something with psychiatrists?
Does he love her or is he messing with her mind?”
I could name four books involving twisted therapists that graced the bestseller lists in the past two years. But doing so would just support Trevor’s suggestion. He isn’t claiming that his idea is original, only that it’s “on trend.” Trends sell, whether writers like them or not.
Trevor mistakes my silence as serious consideration. “Think Hannibal Lecter without the horror. The sociopathic doctor meets a young Clarice, and she falls—”
“I don’t know, Trev. Transference? Is that—”
“Trans?” He wrinkles his nose, offended by my attempt to slip esoteric knowledge into our conversation. Trevor often laments this about me. He complains that I bog down my books with details: how a gun shoots, how police detect trace amounts of blood, DNA lingo fit for a biologist. For Accused Woman, I attended a week- long writer’s workshop at the police academy in Queens so I could get down every detail of the way a gun discharges and how detectives investigate. I even bought my own handgun: a Ruger SR22, touted by experts as the most affordable semiautomatic for women. My aim is horrible.
“Transference happens when a person projects unresolved feelings about their past onto people in their present, like a patient transferring romantic emotions onto their psychi—”
Trevor’s full lips press flat against his teeth.
“It’s not important. Forget it.” My voice sounds small. Somehow, I’ve neared forty without gaining the surety that’s supposed to come with middle age. I cough and try to add heft to my tone. The act clenches my stomach, intensifying the persistent queasiness that I’ve suffered for weeks. “What if, by the time the book comes out, interest in psychiatrists has waned?”
Trevor gives a What-you-gonna-do? shrug. “Well, think about it. And send me an outline before you go too deep into anything.”
The request spurs me from my seat quicker than a cattle prod.
Not once in my career has Trevor demanded anything more than a rough idea and a finished draft. Now he needs a chapter-by-chapter breakdown? The suddenness of my movement topples the chair onto Trevor’s floor. I recoil at the spectacle of its four legs sticking in the air like a poisoned cockroach. I promised myself I’d stay calm.
I right the seat and stand behind it, head lowered. My temples throb their early warning alarm for a migraine. “That’s really not how I work. I let the characters dictate the action.” My tone is apologetic. Sorry, Trev. I’m not good enough to write an outline. That’s what he thinks I’m saying.
“Maybe it’s worth a try. New methods can lead to new results.”
“If I could just write through a draft—”
“Liza, come on. You’re a fast writer. An outline’s no big deal for you.”
“A draft barely takes longer. I’ll spend twelve hours a day writing. Fourteen—”
“You’ve got the MWO conference coming up.”
“I’m only staying through my panel.” Nerves add unnecessary vibrato to my voice. “Hey, if you like the story, then we’re both happy. If not, I’ll start over.” I force a laugh. “I’ll even throw in a psychiatrist.”
He runs his hand through his grown-out buzz cut. The longer hairstyle is new, post-divorce. It makes him look younger.
“Please, Trev.” I’m actually begging. “I think this idea could have legs. Let me run with it. Give me one month. Thirty days.”
Trevor reclaims his glasses and places them on his face. The spectacles magnify the teardrop shape of his eyes as he checks in with his computer clock. “All right.” His head shakes in disagreement with his words. “You have until September fifteenth. One month. I can’t give you any more than that.”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
"Lies She Told had me questioning my own sanity, biting my cuticles well into the night, and jumping at the sound of my cat snacking in the kitchen. The best kind of suspense writer, Holahan will keep readers slightly off balance all the way through the book. Author and character so completely overlap, it makes the reader wonder if art is imitating life or life is imitating art. An excellent and compelling psychological read!" ~ Susan Crawford, bestselling author of The Pocket Wife and The Other Widow
"This was a thriller I couldn't put down. Cate Holahan expertly constructs two parallel stories connected in unexpected ways with a twist that left me thinking about the characters long after I turned the final page." ~ Rena Olsen, author of The Girl Before
"A page-turner of the top order, cleverly conceived, brilliantly executed and impossible to put down. Cate Holahan has proven herself a master of psychological suspense ...This mind-bending tale of jealousy, love, and revenge should be at the top of everyone’s summer reading list." ~ Allison Leotta, author of The Last Good Girl
"Wow. Just wow. As soon as you think you've figured it out, Cate Holahan hits you with a twist you did. Not. See. Coming ... A taut story." ~ Alexia Gordon, award-winning author of Murder in G Major and Death in D Minor
"[A] masterpiece ... Lies She Told is guaranteed to make Cate Holahan a household name." ~ Joe Clifford, author of the Jay Porter thriller series
"A chilling story ... Cate Holahan keeps you guessing - and turning the pages - right to the end." ~ Patrick Lee, NYT bestselling author of the Sam Dryden and Travis Chase trilogies

About the Author
Cate Holahan
Cate Holahan is the USA Today Bestselling author of The Widower’s Wife, Lies She Told, and Dark Turns, all published by Crooked Lane Books. In a former life, she was an award-winning journalist that wrote for The Record, The Boston Globe, and Business Week.
She lives in NJ with her husband, two daughters, and food-obsessed dog, and spends a disturbing amount of time highly-caffeinated, mining her own anxieties for material.



Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of two print copies of Lies She Told by Cate Holahan (US only).

Links