Book Blast and Review – AUDIO Life Lessons by Kaje Harper

AUDIOBOOK TOUR

Book Title: Life Lessons

Author: Kaje Harper

Publisher: Self-published rerelease

Narrator: JF Harding

Review

I’ve been a huge fan of Kaje Harper since I read her Tracefinder series. She has a great knack for creating characters with depth and slowly revealing their inner dimensions.

Tony is out and proud and a confident younger man, who is in a position of authority as a teacher. Mac is so not out, but very proud of the man and police detective he is. He’s carrying for his child and sacrificing everything for her. When Tony is a near witness to a murder, Mac is the detective who is given the case. It was inevitable that the two be drawn together. But it’s not insta-love. It’s insta interest, that evolves into a realistic journey between two men with very different needs and comfort zones. I enjoyed how each was given unique personalities and were confident enough to know his limits.

The mystery was fun and satisfying–we were given the right amount of hints to figure it out if we were looking. I’m not a reader of simple romance, but the story about the killer, the constant threats, the emotional turmoils, were all super engaging for a plotty reader like me.

The audio reader was SO GOOD! I am sorry to hear I have to wait for the next audiobook.
He had distinct voices and a steady delivery that was very expressive when needed. Love him and would seek him out for other audiobooks.

All in all, a great listen/read and I would highly recommend this MM mystery to any fan of the genre.

Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Audible, KU and Paperback

Audible US  |  Audible UK 

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

Mac’s three goals: keep Tony safe, catch the killer, don’t come out.

 

Blurb 

Tony Hart’s a dedicated teacher, though he’s not much older than his high-school students. Between his profession, a few good friends, and plenty of books, he’s content with his quiet life. Then the murdered body of another teacher falls into the elevator at his feet, and Tony’s life becomes all too exciting.

Jared MacLean is a homicide detective, widowed father to a young daughter, and deeply in the closet. But from the moment he meets Tony’s blue eyes in that high school hallway, Mac can’t help wanting this man in his life. Mac’s not out ― can’t afford to be out ― but Tony makes him want the impossible.

Mac isn’t the only one with their eyes on Tony, though. As the murderer tries to cover their tracks, Mac has to work fast or lose Tony, permanently.

(This is a rerelease of the 2011 original with light editing.)

 

Excerpt

Tony said after a pause. “You’re not the only person trapped in the closet. All those guys in the military, stuck with don’task, don’t tell; other guys with macho jobs or religious families. Lots of guys are doing it.”

“But you don’t want to,” Mac acknowledged.

“It wouldn’t be my first choice, no. I’ve put a lot of effort and pain into being out so I wouldn’t have to hide. But I do want you, and I know that comes on your terms.”

“They’re not my terms,” Mac protested.

“Whatever. It comes with being secret and hiding whatever we have together. The question is whether that’s better than not having anything together.”

Mac wanted to shout that of course it was, but he bit his tongue.

Tony looked at him hard. “The other question you have to ask yourself is whether you want to take the risk. No matter how careful we are, you may get caught. A wrong look, a note in your pocket, someone tracking down your cell in an emergency; there are lots of ways this could come out in the open. It’s not a problem for me. But is that a risk that you want to take?”

Mac opened his mouth to say yes, and hesitated. How have I come this far this fast? He’d been willing to cut away anything in his life that risked his daughter Anna or the job. And sex had never been that important. But this wasn’t about sex; it was about Tony. And Tony had somehow become too important to cut away. It might hurt less to give up breathing.

“There’s never been anyone I could go to, to just be myself. I’ve never had a lover, or even a fuck-buddy. I thought I could live without that, but now… I don’t want to. Even with Mai, I wasn’t… I couldn’t relax completely. With you, I’m just me.”

“Yeah.” Tony smiled at him. “That’s part of being gay, you know. It’s not just who you want in bed. It’s who your emotional relationships are with the other twenty-three hours of the day, whose arms you want around you when life hands you shit.”

 

About the Author  

I get asked about my name a lot. It’s not something exotic, though. “Kaje” is pronounced just like “cage” – it’s an old nickname, and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I’ve been writing far longer than I care to admit (*whispers – forty-five years*), although mostly for my own entertainment. I write M/M romance, often with added mystery, fantasy, historical, SciFi, paranormal… I also have Young Adult short stories (some released under the pen name Kira Harp.)  

After decades of writing just for fun, my husband convinced me I really should submit something, somewhere. My first professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out in May 2011. I now have a good-sized backlist in ebooks and print, both free and professionally published, including Amazon bestseller The Rebuilding Year and Rainbow Award Best Mystery-Thriller Tracefinder: Contact. A complete list with links can be found on my website “Books” page at https://kajeharper.com/books/

 

 

Social Media Links

Audible Profile  |  Blog/Website  |  Newsletter Sign-up

FacebookFacebook Group: Kaje’s Conversation Corner  

Goodreads Author page  | BookBub

 

 

About the Narrator

JF Harding Facebook Page  |  Facebook Group

 

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Review: The Schoolmaster’s Spry by Ruby Moone

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: The Schoolmaster’s Spy

Author: Ruby Moone 

Publisher: Self-Published 

Cover Artist: Meredith Russell 

Release Date: October 28, 2021 

Genre: Regency MM 

Tropes: School Crushes / King’s spy with trust issues & geeky school master 

Themes: Trust, love, finding a family, self-acceptance 

Heat Rating:  4 flames

Length: 93 000 words

It is book three in the Winsford Green Series and does not end on a cliffhanger.

Book 1 – Dances Long Forgotten

Book 2 – People Like Us 

Goodreads Series 

Review:

Dexter is a spy, who used to be deep in the trenches (so to speak) in France. Now the French war is over and he’s sent on other odd jobs, like looking for French spies on British soil. He meets up with his old instructor, back when he was a rambunctious youth, and there is INSTANT attraction. It’s cute how the playboy is immediately smitten with his old instructor, who is also equally taken by him.

I was drawn to this book, because like my recent release, it has the past student/teacher relationship that I adore. The story was sweet with not too much unnecessary drama (But it’s a book, so of course there is drama!), but in general, the two men get along and want to be honest and protect each other, and I appreciated that. The plot was a backdrop to watch these two get past the initial lie that was the foundation of their coming together and their eventual admission about with how they feel about each other. A delightful historical romance.

The book did have two properties that kept throwing me out of the story, though. My guess is most readers won’t even be bothered by these. First, though it’s historical, it was flush with modern sentimentality and expectations. Second, if I go by the statistics in this book, I’d guess about 80% of England at this time was gay. It appeared to be a bloodline trait as well.

Definitely a recommendation for those who enjoy gay historical romance. You get your HEA, sweet love, action, intrigue and above it all, Heroes.

Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link   |  Amazon US  |   Amazon UK 

Mark Dexter was the one boy that schoolmaster, Felix Brook, never forgot. Ten years later, he’s back… 

Blurb

With Bonaparte defeated, King’s spy, Captain Mark Dexter is furious at being sent to investigate the latest headmaster of his old school, rather than a smuggling ring on the south coast. Things look up considerably when he realises that the schoolmaster he admired above all others, Felix Brook, is still there. The man who listened to him, the man who cared about him, the man who is still out of bounds. With only half an eye on the job, Dexter puts Felix in a compromising position. The mission goes catastrophically wrong, leaving Felix to bear the brunt of the repercussions. With his commanding officer after his blood, and Felix running from him, Dexter is desperate to put things right.

Felix Brook, schoolmaster, is devoted to Hestingley’s school and its pupils. His life is quiet and unremarkable, but When Mark Dexter turns up at an Old Boys’ dinner, he turns Felix’s life inside out. In the decade since he last saw him, the wild, unpredictable schoolboy has become a devastatingly handsome man. Felix can scarcely believe it when Dexter makes his attraction clear, it’s like a dream come true. Until it all goes wrong.

Reluctantly thrown together at the Winsford Green annual Summer Fete, Felix and Dexter attempt to piece together what happened, rebuild trust, and deal with the searing passion that still burns between them. When the truth is finally revealed, Felix must not only prove his innocence, but hold tightly to love as Dexter’s world crumbles beneath him.

Excerpt

Felix yelled aloud at the shock of running into someone in the dark corridor. A firm hand clamped over his mouth and Felix clutched the strong arm that held him. When the hand eased a little, he was wondering frantically what to say by way of explanation for his presence, when a wave of sandalwood mingled with leather hit him. There was only one person in the world who smelled like that. Only one person with that underlying scent of manliness. He swallowed and stared at the floor, gathering his composure. Why would Dexter be here? Why? The conclusion he drew both terrified and exhilarated him.

The hand over his mouth lifted and Felix had to make himself not lick his lips.

“Brook?” It was him. Mark Dexter was standing in front of him, one arm holding him tight. Felix had regretted not taking up the earlier, blatant invitation with every fibre of his being. Castigated himself as an abject looby for not responding with at least a smidgeon of sophistication and behaving like the insular, lonely schoolmaster he was.

“You followed me.” He hadn’t a clue what else to say.

“Is that what you think?”

Felix had to look up at that. “Well, why else are you here?”

Moonlight shone through the window beside them, casting a ghostly glow over Dexter’s head, making his hair look darker and his eyes gleam.

“Why else indeed,” Dexter whispered and stepped closer. Felix’s instinct was to run, but he held his ground. This was probably the last chance he would get to spend time with him. Who was he fooling? Spend time? He didn’t want to spend time, he wanted to… Well, he didn’t know what in God’s name he wanted but it involved Captain Mark Dexter in his rooms. In his bed, leaning over him, kissing him, feeling the weight of him. Christ, he wanted him naked.

“Do you want me to leave?” Dexter was so close he could feel the warmth from his body.

This was it. All he had to do was say ‘yes’ and he was sure that Dexter would leave. He had done so last time.

“Mr. Brook?”

“My name is Felix,” he said, surprised at how deep and rough his voice was.

A smile spread across Dexter’s sculpted features. “Felix,” he whispered as though tasting the word on his tongue.

“You can’t be calling me Mr. Brook. That man was your teacher.”

“And this man, Felix?”

Felix shivered as Dexter moved closer. He touched his nose to Felix’s ear and the breath left Felix’s chest. His eyes fluttered closed, his mouth opened on a soundless word, and he leaned into the contact.

Dexter’s hand slid around Felix’s waist, and he pulled him a tiny bit nearer. He pushed his nose against Felix’s cheek and nuzzled. Felix felt the soft warmth of his breath, the scent of his skin, and the latent strength in the body that stood so, so close.

“Might this man, Felix, be my lover for tonight?”

About the Author

Ruby Moone lives in the wilds of Lancashire with her husband and writes historical and contemporary romance. At school, her teachers said that she lived with her head in the clouds and if she didn’t stop daydreaming she would never get anywhere. She never did stop daydreaming, and after years of happily living in the clouds, decided to write the stories down.

Social Media links

Facebook Page  |  Facebook Group – Ruby’s Room  

Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Tumblr

Webpage and Newsletter sign up

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Inspiration from Poetic Sources

I first found this poem referenced in another novel. It grabbed me immediately. To be unafraid of the unknown, of the dark, to be confident in the light from the stars. It felt like a connection to God, to know you would never walk alone.

This, I knew, was Byron Domitius, my vampire. The light from the stars rains down on him, infuses him with magic and power, and he is forever sure and confident in that light.

So, I decided to take the light away.

Find out more, in Blooded. Pre-order now! Launches September 25!

New Release – Blooded by Nat Kennedy #giveaway

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BLOG TOUR

Book Title:Blooded

Author: Nat Kennedy

Cover Artist: Silvana Sanchez – Selfpub Designs

Release Date: September 25, 2021

Genre: Fantasy/Vampires

Tropes: Hurt/comfort, antagonists to allies/lovers, past student/teacher, vampire blood feeding, vampire blood bond

Themes: Redemption, Personal Acceptance

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 113 500 words/290 pages

It is a standalone book and does not end on a cliffhanger.

Goodreads

Buy Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK

How far will two sorcerers go to save humanity? Will they give up their lives? Will they give up their hearts?

Blurb

A broken mage. A penitent vampire. Can they put aside the horrors of the past to save each other?

Plagued with erratic. volatile magic, Nicodemus Green focuses his entire life to stop an evil sorcerer who brainwashes or kills anyone in his path to domination. Ten years into this crusade, Nick stumbles upon his former Academy instructor in the Austrian…

View original post 616 more words

Cover Reveal – Blooded by Nat Kennedy #giveaway

Gay Book Promotions

COVER REVEAL

Book Title:Blooded

Author: Nat Kennedy

Cover Artist: Silvana Sanchez – Selfpub Designs

Release Date: September 25, 2021

Genre: Fantasy

Tropes: Hurt/comfort, antagonists to allies/lovers, past student/teacher, vampire blood feeding, vampire blood bond

Themes: Redemption, Personal Acceptance

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 113 500 words/290 pages

It is a standalone book and does not end on a cliffhanger.

Goodreads

How far will two sorcerers go to save humanity? Will they give up their lives? Will they give up their hearts?

Blurb

A broken mage. A penitent vampire. Can they put aside the horrors of the past to save each other?

Plagued with erratic. volatile magic, Nicodemus Green focuses his entire life to stop an evil sorcerer who brainwashes or kills anyone in his path to domination. Ten years into this crusade, Nick stumbles upon his former Academy instructor in the Austrian Alps. The strict and pious Byron Domitius…

View original post 376 more words

Blooded – Cover Reveal!!!

Blooded launches September 25, 2021!

A broken mage. A penitent vampire. Can they put aside the horrors of the past to save each other?

Plagued with erratic. volatile magic, Nicodemus Green focuses his entire life to stop an evil sorcerer who brainwashes or kills anyone in his path to domination. Ten years into this crusade, Nick stumbles upon his former Academy instructor in the Austrian Alps. The strict and pious Byron Domitius has cloistered himself in an isolated manor. Alone and starving, he hates the twisted, damned creature he has become.

A prophecy calls for Nick and Byron to bond by blood to finally bring an end to the sorcerer’s hidden agenda. The two are forced to see beyond their shared past, and Nick finds himself desiring more from his old instructor than just his magic. But are these emotions real, or do they come from the heat of their bond?

Add it on Goodreads – Blooded

It’s coming

It’s been a while, oh readers. I’ve been working hard on fiction and didn’t feel like I had much to say. But now, I’ve a bunch to say! A whole book worth!

I’ve completed Blooded! I’m in final editing and formatting. It’s close! This will be my first print and audio version of a book, so plenty of learning curbe.

Angsty vampire, broken mage. Old instructor, now adult student. Past animosity forced into an alliance. Can they see beyond their past to save the world?

Review: Best Laid Plaids


Best Laid Plaids (Kilty Pleasures) by Ella Stainton

Rating: 5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | Carina Press | Kobo

Length: Novel (283 pages)

As a Scotch/Irish descendent, I was drawn to the delightfully fun title of this book. This book hits the ground running in a superbly masterful unveiling of character balancing fun, heat, and the struggles of hiding one’s true feelings. Once I picked it up, I found it difficult to set aside.

Dr. Ainsley Graham is a wealthy Scot, full of energy, who jumps from bedmate to bedmate in an era where it’s illegal to love other men. Oh, and he hears ghosts. Joachim Cockburn is the older man, a student of psychology, coming to prove Ainsley is a bit off his rocker due to his belief in ghosts.

The steam hits early, but the characters go back and forth, trying to hide their growing feelings for each other. Ainsley is a playboy, and Joachim doesn’t want to push him away by revealing his attachment. Together they cross the Scottish countryside looking for ghosts, grasping at intimate moments while convincing themselves it will all end in a week.

The culture and world building really bring Scotland and the characters alive on the page. Ainsley’s grief and guilt about his dead brother keeps him from reaching out and getting close to other people. Joachim’s desire to get his phd and make something of himself works against his realization that Ainsley isn’t mad. There really are ghosts.

The ghosts flit in and out of the story and play a major role for the characters’ growth and the plot, but I’d have loved a bit more play with them. Hopefully in the next story, well see more ghosts.

Note: this is a Dom/sub style story, but it’s not whips and chains BDSM. The dynamics unfold naturally and fit the characters in believable ways. It hits on some hurt comfort, facing falling in love, loyalty, all in a post WWI historical atmosphere.

Guest Post: Aldrea Alien author of To Target the Heart (Spellster Series Book 2)

Book Title: To Target the Heart (Spellster Series Book 2)

Author: Aldrea Alien

Cover Artist: Leonardo Borazio

World Building

Building the Kingdom of Tirglas

One of the things I love about high fantasy, both in writing and reading, is the world building. From landscapes, to weather, to history and politics… everything is free game. But it’s also a lot of work, even though my newest release, To Target the Heart, is part of the spellster series and set in the Known World (which consists of a single giant continent and a few outlying islands).

The story itself involves a pair of princes from two realms that might as well be oil and water. Prince Hamish of the Mathan Clan is from the rustic Kingdom of Tirglas, whereas Darshan vris Mhanek comes from the gluttonous Udynea Empire.

The latter was fleshed out a fair bit whilst I wrote In Pain and Blood (which was set elsewhere, but clashed with Udynea), but Tirglas had little fleshed out beyond it being a largely rural place full of forests and home to big people that kind of spoke with a brogue. That was all right when the kingdom was a faraway land the MC had only academic knowledge of, not so much when the story is set there.

So, off I went to craft me a new kingdom.

It became obvious to me quite early on that there’d be a fair few differences between the two lands. Tirglas is a kingdom that abhors slavery and confines its spellsters, whereas Udynea is widely known for slavery and its nobility is full of spellsters. Added to how Tirglas leans heavily on its Scottish and Celtic influences whilst Udynea influences come from several cultures (sprinkles of India, Ancient Rome, a dash of Victorian England being the top three)… a few clashes and misunderstandings were bound to happen.

I already knew Tirglas’ history was full of clan skirmishes, border disputes, plagues and even an almost complete extermination of the royal line during a coup (I had fleshed out that information whilst writing In Pain and Blood). I tend to build as I write when it comes to new worlds, but I couldn’t quite get to the underbelly of Tirglas as swiftly as I had done with Udynea or Demarn. I especially couldn’t find the reason why Hamish’s mother was so virulently against him being with a guy (beyond her obvious longing to control everyone and everything) except for a vague mention of ancient scriptures.

Following that thread had me reaching a point where facts finally started to knit together, leading me to a history of deep-seated homophobia throughout the kingdom as a whole that it has yet to fully shake off. Just like the real world, the outlook isn’t universal.

When I reached the knowledge that a certain law legalising their deaths was abolished only half a century back… it coloured a lot of the world building; be it how Hamish sees himself, the individual reactions of his family, their deity’s views on such unions, or even how people see an innocent kiss between the two MCs. Alongside this serious core, I mixed in details that sounded more-or-less innocuous without that knowledge and ran with it.

And that is how I wound up with a rural, magic-confining kingdom that’s still struggling to adapt under the rule of a controlling, homophobic queen.


Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

 

How can he win with the odds stacked against him?

 

Blurb 

Prince Hamish has no interest in fulfilling his duty of marrying. Not to a woman, at least. That doesn’t stop his mother, Queen Fiona, from presenting him with every eligible noblewoman that enters their castle. He’s certain it’ll be no different with the representative of the Udynea Empire.

So when they do arrive, Hamish is relieved the imperial prince, Darshan, is not the woman everyone expected. Until the man kisses him and Hamish is confronted by the very emotions he has been forced to conceal or be punished for. Emotions he is eager to explore.

But the kiss proves to be a little too public and leads his mother to take drastic measures to ensure Hamish adheres to her family vision. The contest of arms will force Hamish to make a choice: give up his happiness for convention’s sake or send the kingdom spiralling into civil war for the right to love his own way.

 

About the Author 

Aldrea Alien is an award-winning, bisexual author of fantasy romance with varying heat levels. Born and raised in New Zealand, she lives on a small farm with her family, including a menagerie of animals, who are all convinced they’re just as human as the next person. Especially the cats. Since discovering a love of writing at the age of twelve, she hasn’t found an ounce of peace from the characters plaguing her mind with all of them clamouring for her to tell their story first.

 

Social Media Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook  |  Facebook Group  |  Twitter

Newsletter Sign-Up  |  Instagram  |  BookBub

 

Giveaway

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an ebook copy of In Pain and Blood or

one of two ebook copies of An Unexpected Gift

 

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Isolation

As with many of you, the quarantine and lockdown many of us have found ourselves in is putting our emotional teeter out of wack. I’m still working my day job from home, so I’m stuck in one room now, while at the office I wandered around and could talk to people about roadblocks I came upon. I’m still emailing and talking to people, but I find I’m sitting far more. And so I’m sitting in the same place I normally write and I find it hard to want to sit there more hours in my day to write creatively.

I want to use this time. I have no social engagements, nothing to pull myself from writing other than my day job, but I’m far less productive. It’s sad really.

Perhaps it’s a mindset I need to flip a switch on, and I hope to do that now. On the weekends put more effort into my novels, which I so love writing.

I need to plant a tree in my heart, so a bird might come and perch and sing me a song. Or so the Chinese say.