Charity Holiday Anthology: Boughs of Evergreen

Boughs of Evergreen
Beaten Track Publishing
Release Date: Nov 21 2014
Multiple Authors

Boughs of Evergreen is a two-volume collection of short stories celebrating the holiday season in all its diversity. Penned by authors from the UK, the USA, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe, these are tales of the young and the not-so-young from many different walks of life.

Themes of family, friendship and romance take readers on a journey through some of the major holidays, both past and present, including Thanksgiving, Advent, St. Lucia Day, Hanukkah, Eid, Saturnalia, Winter Solstice, Yule, Christmas and New Year. In each we find at the very least hope, and often love, peace and happiness.

Each story will also be published individually as ebooks on 1st December, 2014.

Proceeds from sales of this anthology will be donated to The Trevor Project. The Trevor Project is the leading national organization [USA] providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.
For more information, visit:

“A Friend for Christmas” - J P Walker
“A Midnight Clear” - Debbie McGowan
“From All of Us to All of You” - Ofelia Gränd
“Homme for the Holidays” - Jonathan Penn
“Kiss Me At Kwanzaa” - L.L. Bucknor
“Lion’s Hero” - Alexis Woods
“One Nightstand” - Rick Bettencourt
“Shiny Things” - Amy Spector
“The Bard and his Boyfriend” - Kathleen Hayes
“The Christmas Present” - Larry Benjamin
“The Invasion of Tork” - Claire Davis and Al Stewart
“X-Mas Cake: A Modern Fairytale” - Raine O’Tierney
“A Christmas Tale” - Hans M Hirschi
“A Family Christmas” - Terry Kerr
“A Good Word” - L.M. Steel
“A Little Christmas Magic” - K.C. Faelan
“Always Have, Always Will” - Amelia Mann
“An Angel in Eyeliner” - Hunter Frost
“Boyfriend Goes Home” - Laura Susan Johnson
“Christmas Commitment” - Shayla Mist
“Coming in from the Cold” - Ava Penn
“Holidays with Drum and Bell!” - Matthias Williamson
“Te Amo, You Mushrooms” - S.H. Allan

Buy links:

Beaten Track Publishing | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Like to donate?

Author Interview & Giveaway: Dragon & Flame by Zoe Perdita

About the Author:

Zoe Perdita writes gay shifter romance because the only thing better than one hot shifter dude is two hot shifter dudes making out.

She lives in the Pacific Northwest with a fluffy orange cat and a lively roommate. When she's not writing, Zoe likes to travel, read and play video games.






Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?

I have a vague plan for how the story will start and maybe a little about the end, but the rest is just me writing and figuring it out as I go. 

Do your characters ever want to take over the story?

Haha! All the time! However, I relish in throwing problems at them. Oh, you think things are going well? Take this *throws dead body at character* That clears it right up.

What drew you to the M/M genre in particular?

Well, I’ve been a fan of yaoi and slash fan fiction for years, so it seemed like a really natural progression. I didn’t even know original M/M existed until several years ago! How could I not? It’s like magical happy crack. 

Do you write in other genres besides M/M?

I have a few YA books and a sci-fi book that isn’t M/M so far. I’m going to publish them sometime in 2015 under the pen name Zoe Eren.

What is your favourite food?

Saag Paneer and pizza. Oh, and anything chocolate.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Morning person as long as I have the proper amount of coffee, say 12 cups. 

Where do you dream of travelling to and why?

Everywhere! I love traveling. I’m currently working my way through Europe and Asia (well, not right this second, but I try to take at least one trip a year). I just want to see as much of the world as I can. Plus, I love history and archeology. My next trip is Italy (Rome, Florence and Venice), and I can’t wait!

Do distant places feature in your books?

Yes, especially in the Lost Wolves series. Settings in those books range from Eastern Europe (Slovakia and Czech Republic) to Israel. More will be added in subsequent books, as well. The next book features some time in Hungry and Romania. 

Do you listen to music while writing?

No. Too distracting. I’d want to sing along instead of write.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?

Yep! Dragon & Flame is about Jin Yue, a powerful dragon shifter, and Rory, the man who tames him. Jin is Haven City’s biggest crime boss, and Rory get roped in to one of Jin’s plots, but everything doesn’t go as planned. Love wasn’t part of the deal. And why are there hunters after them? All in a day’s work, for Jin!

What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?

So much. I know to write the whole book before I try to revise it. Sometimes, you have to let things go. Write something new. Learn to figure out what sucks and what doesn’t. On the publishing front, I’ve learned to work with several beta readers for the best possible book in the end. Also, marketing it helpful. So is a pretty cover and a good blurb.

Is there anything you would do differently?

Start publishing sooner! I wish I knew about self-publishing back in 2010! It would’ve saved me a lot of money on a graduate degree I’m not likely to use. 

Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?

I’m influenced by everything. Books, TV, anime, manga and video games all give me storytelling tips. Writing wise, I take tips from books. I take a lot of sex scene inspiration from slash fan fiction (because I love it!). 

Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?

Write as much as you can and keep writing. The more you write, the better you’ll become. 

What are three words that describe you?

Nerdy. Excited. Funny.

What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?

The Secret Country Trilogy. It’s YA fantasy and so good. 

List of previous books if any

Haven City Series: 

Shadow Scars: Rogue Wolf (Haven City Series # 1)
Alpha’s Shadow: Rogue Wolf (Haven City Series # 2)
Thief: Black Wolves (Haven City Series # 3)
Alpha’s War: Black Wolves (Haven City Series # 4)
Tiger’s Den: Black Wolves (Haven City Series # 5)

Lost Wolves Series: 

Omega in the Shadows (Lost Wolves Book One)
Omega in the Light (Lost Wolves Book Two)

Westside Wolf Pack: 

Crash (Westside Wolf Pack 1)
Burn (Westside Wolf Pack 2)
Break (Westside Wolf Pack 3)

Russian Wolf Pack: 

Alpha Bait (Russian Wolf Pack 1)
Wild (Russian Wolf Pack 2)
Mate (Silver Mountain Wolf Pack)

BDSM Novellas:

Hurt Me
Sin for Me

Any websites/places readers can find you on the web






About the Book:

Dragon and Flame 
Haven City Series 
Book 6
Zoe Perdita
Genre: Gay romance, shifter romance
Publisher: Eccentric Erotica
Date of Publication: Sept. 29, 2014
Number of pages: 260 in print
Word Count: 62,000
Cover Artist: Zoe Perdita

Book Description: 

Rory Sullivan thinks he has it all, until his boyfriend breaks his heart and the new landlord raises the rent on his bar. A chance meeting with Jin Yue, a rich dragon, gives Rory hope. Jin promises Rory he can save the bar and get even with his ex – for a price.

All Rory has to do is pretend to be in a relationship with Jin. Rory’s bad boy nature, and the desire for some no-strings-attached sex make the idea way too intriguing. Even if Rory’s brain thinks it’s a bad idea, his cock heartily disagrees.

Problem is, Jin Yue might be all kinds of hot, but he’s also Haven City’s one and only crime boss – sexy, powerful and deadly. Now Rory is tied to Jin until the dragon’s mission is complete, regardless of assassination attempts, hunters or the cops.

Jin Yue won the gang war, but the battle for Haven City isn’t over.

Enter Rory Sullivan – the tatted up fire mage who can help Jin lay claim to his rightful territory. However, things don’t turn out the way Jin plans. Rory pushes all the right buttons and riles up Jin’s dragon instincts. The fire mage is the farthest thing from Jin’s type, but the heat between them sets Jin’s blood on fire.

They’re playing a dangerous game that puts both of their hearts and lives on the line. While the passion between Jin and Rory sizzles, can a relationship built on deceit grow into something more?

Warning: contains violence and graphic gay sex scenes.

Available at Amazon | BN | ARe | Google Play


Tour giveaway 

5 Dragon & Flame ebooks

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: Sacrificed: Heart Beyond the Spires by Bey Deckard

Sacrificed: Heart Beyond the Spires
(Baal's Heart 2)
by Bey Deckard
M/M Fantasy/Pirates/BDSM/Threesome
4.5 Stars

Reunited once more, the crew of Baal’s Heart must make the long and treacherous journey south to the towering spires of the Devil’s Isles. The path through the mountain range is fraught with peril; mayhem and tragedy plague the pirate ship, but what the men find beyond the spires is the most shocking of all.

In this sequel to the acclaimed Caged: Love and Treachery on the High Seas, the pirates are dragged into a dangerous new world by Captain Baltsaros’s all-consuming obsession. In the midst of terror and chaos, Jon learns that the captain and first mate have been keeping secrets from him. But will the truth tear them apart?


Love, lust, obsession and adventure on the high seas.

You will get a lot more out of this book if you've read Caged first, as this one takes place almost directly after the ending of that one. Even though I'd read Caged a while ago, I was still a bit lost at the beginning, trying to remember what happened and who the characters were :) I could have done with a little primer at the beginning to recap what had gone before.

Our three heroes are reunited once again, this time attempting to cross to the other side of some strange rock-formations called the Devil's Isles. Everyone who has passed through there, or at least those who have actually returned, have all gone mad. Tom and Jon are worried about Captian Baltsoros on the journey, whose mental stablility has never been good to begin with.

Things do indeed take a turn for the worse once they are in the midst of the Isles, with crewmate turning against crewmate, strange visions and haunting sepectres on the water. But somehow they get through and discover a tropical jungle and a strange, golden city called Erem’ia Balor. A city rich with gold, but also a city full of blood scarifice.

Unknown to Tom and Jon, this was the very place Baltsaros has sought out.

I'm finding it a little difficult to review this book without spoilers, and I really don't want to spoil it for anyone who is going to read it.

I'm not usually a fan of threesomes, but for Tom, Jon and Baltsoros, it works for them. It is also realistic, with jealousy flaring at certain parts, with each wondering if they are welcome with the other couple. The sex scenes are raw and primal, with a veneer of sensuality that leaves your breathless.

Some parts are violent, including the sex, but these are real pirates, not some romantic Hollywood ideal. They live and breathe violence every day, it is not so surprising that it makes its way into the bedroom as well. I'm not sure I could say that I like Baltsoros; in some parts he is not a very nice character, but he is a compelling one and you can see why Tom and Jon could fall for him.

The story and the love scenes were well balanced, you didn't feel one was overtaking the other. The writing flows well and despite this being the author's second book, it feels as if he's been writing much longer than that.

An intriguing tale, well-told, with mystery and adventure in abundance.

Book Spotlight: Omega in the Shadows by Zoe Perdita

Omega in the Shadows (Lost Wolves Book One) 
Zoe Perdita
Gay Romance / Shifter Romance / Paranormal Romance


Rowan Gregor is a CIA agent who vows never to get close to another wolf after his pack is brutally murdered by hunters. Enter Elijah Kane, an efficient and shadowy omega assassin on the run from the CIA. When Rowan is tasked with hunting down Kane, he ends up at the mercy of a wolf with nothing left to lose – a wolf who is sure Rowan is his mate – even when Rowan is sure he’s not gay.

Elijah Kane is hell bent on proving he’s stronger and smarter than every alpha he meets – including the alpha CIA agent sent to kill him. But Rowan lights a fire of lust that Elijah can’t ignore. They share a rare connection – a mate connection – and he’s not going to give up on Rowan until the man sees it too.

Trapped in a snowy wilderness and besieged by hunters, desire sizzles between Elijah and Rowan. Can they overcome their differences, and their pasts, and forge a bond to save their future?

Contains graphic gay sex scenes.



Elijah sauntered up to the bar and leaned against it. His gray tailored suit fit his slender frame, showing off his narrow waist. He’d unbuttoned the dress shirt to reveal the promise of his chiseled chest, shaved smooth. “Can I buy you a drink,” he asked.

Rowan tensed and his head shot to the side, a scowl on his lips. “Kane,” he grumbled.

“What’re you doing here?” His hands gripped the glass of beer. No doubt he was thinking of a way to capture or kill Elijah right there. Or he was worried about his own skin and getting out of the club alive.

Elijah wasn’t going to make him feel at ease. What would be the fun in that? “Night out. I could ask you the same thing.” Then he nodded at the bartender and ordered a vodka and tonic for himself and another beer for Rowan. “Sure you don’t want something stronger?”

“No,” Rowan growled and turned on his barstool, facing Elijah completely. “This whole place could be surrounded.”

“But it’s not,” Elijah said with a smirk. “Do you think I’m some kind of amateur? I’ve got to say, I pegged you for the type right away. But this kind of club doesn’t seem your style.”

Rowan’s face remained impassive. No smile or frown, just those dark fathomless eyes. Elijah could get lost in them. Not a good idea with an enemy and an alpha. But damn was it tempting.

The techno music throbbed throughout the whole building, and it reeked of sweat and booze. Elijah smelled Rowan’s heady musk and heard the steady beat of the man’s heart. Strange, that usually didn’t happen with other guys. Not even Maxim’s body spoke to Elijah like that.

“Looks like you don’t know much about me,” Rowan finally said and took a long sip of his beer. “I’m not gay.”

Elijah smiled. Yeah. Fucking. Right. If Rowan said he wasn’t gay, he was too deep in the closet to realize it. “Then fill me in, handsome.”

Slowly, Rowan’s eyes slid over Elijah’s body, head to toe. He leaned forward, a steady hand running the length of Elijah’s firm chest, around his back and up. Elijah held his breath and fought the shudder raking through his bones. Those powerful hands with the calloused fingers could touch him like that any day. Of course, Rowan Gregor probably wanted to wring his neck with them, not tease him into fits of pleasure.

The details always got in the way.

“No weapons,” Rowan grumbled and moved his hand back to his mug. “You think you can take on an alpha barehanded?”

“Only if you promise to take me on barehanded too,” Elijah said and sipped his drink. The vodka burned the back of his throat, pooling in his empty stomach. He should’ve eaten before he came in here, but the lure of this strange alpha yanked him along like a baited fishing line. And he was the fish.

Of all the shifters in the world, it had to be a damn alpha wolf, didn’t it?


About the Author:

Zoe Perdita writes gay shifter romance because the only thing better than one hot shifter dude is two hot shifter dudes making out. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with a fluffy orange cat and a lively roommate. When she's not writing, Zoe likes to travel, read and play video games.



Barnes and Noble | Allromance

Guest Post & Giveaway: Cutting Out by Meredith Shayne

Guest Post
by Meredith Shayne
Aussie & NZ Accents

You’d think, because Australia and New Zealand are so close together, that their speech would be quite similar. It is, in some ways. But in other ways it’s really not. Take the slang, for instance; in Cutting Out, Lachie and Shane have a couple of discussions, joking around about the different slang terms used by New Zealanders (Lachie) and Australians (Shane). Some slang is almost the same: to describe someone going into the middle of nowhere, Australians say “he’s gone to woop woop”, whereas Kiwis say “he’s gone to the wop wops”. Some slang is quite different: an American cooler is an “esky” to an Australian, and a “chilly bin” to a Kiwi.

When I moved from Australia to New Zealand almost ten years ago, a lot of people joked that I would lose my accent, but that’s not what happens, not when you move somewhere as an adult; at least, it didn’t happen to me. What happened was that my slang started to change. It’s not on purpose, necessarily, mostly it’s just that you tend to pick up words from the people around you, in a very organic way. So while I still call an esky an esky, and I enjoy using the word “thongs” and watching people think I’m talking about underwear (I’m really not!), I do call the corner shop a dairy. I’ve admitted defeat there. I’ve also stopped using some phrases that I used to use all the time. The phrase “you’ve got Buckley’s” (which means “you’ve got no chance”) is no longer part of my vocabulary when I’m in New Zealand, to avoid the blank stares of confusion I get when I use it. The opposite is true as well; once, one of my friends asked me to pass her a Vivid. I didn’t, because I had no idea what a Vivid was. Now they just ask me to pass them a marker pen!

As I mentioned before, like Shane in Cutting Out, my accent is still 100% True Blue Aussie. It marks me as an interesting topic of conversation as soon as I open my mouth (“Oh, so you’re Australian? How long have you been here?”), and if I ring up a phone company to discuss calling plans, I automatically get offered a package which includes calls to Australia. Sometimes my Kiwi friends like to test out how good a foreign person’s ear is; if we’re around someone from the US or UK, I’ll often find myself having to repeat a typical sentence after a Kiwi has said it because the Kiwi has asked our visitor, “So, can you tell the difference between our accents?” Asking me to repeat iconic Australian movie lines also apparently never gets old.

Below are two videos which demonstrate perfectly the differences between the Australian and New Zealand accents, so see if you can hear them; maybe the next time someone asks you, “So, can you tell the difference between our accents?” you’ll have no trouble at all identifying them.
Video Link:

Video Link:


Bottom Drawer Publications is proud to present Cutting Out by Meredith Shayne, a contemporary M/M romance based in New Zealand.

Book Details: Novel
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Release Date: October 11, 2014


A twenty-year veteran of the shearing shed, Aussie Shane Cooper loves his job, and the home he’s made for himself in New Zealand. If he’s a little lonely, he’s got good mates to keep his spirits up. When a hot, cocky young shearer named Lachlan Moore catches his eye at a competition, he’s content to look but not touch, knowing the young man is out of his league.

Lachie wouldn’t mind a piece of Shane, but the gorgeous gun shearer from Australia is soon forgotten when the Christchurch earthquake hits, and tragedy strikes Lachie’s family. Lachie deals with it the best he can, cutting himself off from all he knows. A year later and he’s back in the shearing shed, out of practice and lacking confidence. That Shane’s there to watch him flounder doesn’t help his nerves.

As Lachlan struggles to re-acclimatise, Shane can’t resist giving him a hand to get back on his feet. As they move from friends to something more, Shane finds himself wanting to know everything he can about Lachie. But Lachie’s got secrets he desperately wants to keep, and when things come to a head, those secrets might just mean the end of them before they’ve truly begun.

Buy Links

The e-book is available for sale for $5.99 via the BDP Digital Shop

and other online booksellers.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU

Apple iBooks | All Romance


About the Author:

A scientist in a past life, these days Meredith Shayne mainly uses her scientific training to poke holes in television pseudoscience. Originally from Australia, she moved to New Zealand to start a new life a few years ago and hasn't regretted it for one minute, even if she frequently wishes that the New Zealand weather was a little better; if she's forced, she'll admit that the refreshing lack of animals that can kill you in New Zealand makes up for a little rain.

Meredith travels a lot, so much so that she has developed a shameful love of airplane food and knows her passport number by heart. When she is at home, she enjoys baking, horrible music from the 1980s, reality television, and gloating any time Australia thrashes the living daylights out of New Zealand on the sporting field.

Find Meredith at her online:,12925937


Release & Blog Tour Giveaway

Paperback copy of Cutting Out

$10 BDP voucher

3 x Cutting Out e-books

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Spotlight: Fire and Mistletoe by Draven St. James

Fire and Mistletoe
by Draven St. James
Firehouse Six Book 2
M/M Contemporary/Holidays

When Greyson Hayes envisions the perfect first Christmas with Mica Cruz he sees twisted sheets, a bottle of wine and a roaring fire. What he doesn't see is a holiday spent with the uproarious Cruz family. Grey hasn't taken part in a family Christmas since the death of his parents. Despite his misgivings, he can't seem to form the word no when it comes to Mica.

Mica knows that Grey's not a grinch. Hell, the man shares so much Christmas cheer during the holidays that he leaves no time to experience any for himself. Not this year. Mica plans to make a few changes, starting with a few wicked and whimsical gifts. He enlists the help of his co-workers at Firehouse Six. They band together and strive to provide Grey with the same joy he gives to everyone else--with five a.m. tree hunts, strategically placed mistletoe and Mica playing Santa's not-so-little helper. But while Mica is busy being nice, Grey has plenty of time to be naughty…



For Mica, there was nothing better than starting the day watching Grey saunter shirtless around the kitchen, preparing him breakfast. Grey’s only clothes were a pair of sweats that hung so low on his hips Mica couldn’t help but be amazed they didn’t slide off. Hell, that was what he anticipated happening.

Such an event would truly be the beginning of a merry Christmas. Mica sat on a stool next to the island at the center of the room to continue his ogling.

“Stop objectifying me,” Grey said before looking over his shoulder and smiling.

“You like it,” Mica teased. The muscles of Grey’s back flexed each time he reached for a spice or stirred the eggs. His hair was wet from his shower and glistened with shades of gold and cinnamon in the overhead lighting.

“I may like it, but you need to eat, and then I have to work. If you’re lucky, when your double shift is over, I’ll entertain those dirty thoughts I know you’re having.”

“Oh, now that’s promising. How about we compromise for the moment? Drop your pants and bring on the food.” Mica leered comically at him. Grey’s face became an adorable shade of pink. He loved that even now Grey had his shy moments. There were so many things Grey did that made his life more complete, both at home and at work, because he was lucky enough to work and play with his lover. He’d met Grey when he’d made the best decision of his life and transferred over to Firehouse Six.

It also didn’t hurt that the man was a fantastic cook. He pivoted to stir the scrambled eggs, and Mica moved to stand behind him. With a deep inhale he breathed in the intoxicating, spicy scent that always clung to Grey, and nuzzled his face against Grey’s neck. He wrapped his arms around him, tracing his fingers along Grey’s abdomen before pulling Grey fully back against him.

“Are you sure you can’t fit me in before breakfast?” Mica whispered and nipped his ear playfully.

The vibrations from Grey’s moan resulted in an answering hardening of Mica’s cock.

“You are the worst tease,” Grey admonished.

“And you’re so damn practical.”

Grey shifted around in Mica’s arms and grinned. “That is one of the many things that you love about me.” He ran his fingers through the damp strands of Mica’s hair. “As it is, because of our shower time, I’m already going to be late.”

Mica trapped Grey against the counter and gave in to the temptation of Grey’s soft lips. Grey’s hands tightened in his hair and drew him away.

“Before you, I was always on time.”

“I exist to create fun chaos in your life.” Mica wiggled his eyebrows.

“I see evidence of the chaos,” Grey murmured with a pointed look. “Not just in my life either.”

“No, we settled this.” Mica framed Grey’s face with his hands. “You always work over the holidays. This year you’re mine.”

Grey sighed and looked to be gearing up for another long dialogue about how the guys depended on him to cover their shifts and how the holidays would be ruined if he didn’t.

Mica pressed his fingertip to Grey’s lips. “I want you with me for the holidays. My family will love you, and you’ll have fun.”

“Mica, I haven’t really enjoyed doing—”

“Babe, we discussed this, and I know it isn’t your first choice of Christmas options, but we will still be back to do all the volunteer activities. I promise.” Mica brushed his thumb over Grey’s lips before leaning in for a soft kiss. “Besides, if you’re good and do this for me, then maybe I’ll do something fun for you.”

“Is that right?”


Visit the author at:

Release Day Book Spotlight: Just Like Pulling Teeth by LJ Harris

Title: Just Like Pulling Teeth
Author: LJ Harris
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
Bollocks JLPT banner

Short Story Blurb:

A trip to the dentist has never been so… interesting…
JUST LIKE PULLING TEETH is also a part of the BOLLOCKS! Anthology

Buy links

 Bollocks JLPT sml


“BOLLOCKS,” I groaned, failing at my attempt to chew on the wedge of pickle-covered cheese. It was only Tuesday, and yet, as I sat at the end of the bar at the Thistle and Lion, whining and moaning with every bite of my ploughman’s lunch, this particular week had already begun to drag. I’d had the mother of all headaches for two days, and throbbing gums for three, the pain so bloody awful I’d been driven to take some long overdue time off work. My bite had been out of alignment for weeks, thanks to the swelling in the back of my mouth, and everything above my shoulders hurt.

Even my sodding hair.

The ibuprofen I was taking was no longer helping, and I hadn’t slept well in days. Luckily my sister, Rachel, was able to secure an appointment with a new dentist near where she worked. Dr. Anderson had been looking after my teeth ever since I was a young lad, but retired earlier in the year. As much as I felt awkward around new people, I figured I’d give this new bloke a shot, considering my dear sister had been gushing about how wonderful he was non-stop for the past few weeks. It wasn’t as though I had much choice, anyway. The other dentists I’d contacted, including every one of them at the Holistic Solutions Clinic, were booked solid for months ahead.

I didn’t even give a toss if I had to get my teeth pulled, if it meant the pain would go away.

Unable to finish my meal, I downed the rest of my pint to help sate my hunger and perhaps give me a little Dutch courage before I left a tenner on the end of the bar and headed for the men’s to carefully floss and brush.

It was torture, yes, but no sense in grossing out the new dentist with my recently acquired mustard pickle and beer breath.

I made my way across the cobbled alleyway that was a stone’s throw away from the city centre, the London sun shining and the air brisk with mid-October winds, until I found myself standing in the lobby of the two-storey building. Quickly checking the directory located next to a small cafe, I made my way up the single flight of stairs, passing by everything from chiropractors to physiotherapists, acupuncturists to hypnotherapists.

I was certain the name on suite door number ten, Acacia Dental Spa, was a contradiction in terms.

About the author

L. J. HARRIS is a mother of teenage twin boys who she loves with all her heart. Her family is her life, her soul, and the very reason she gets out of bed every day. Coming a close second to her family is her writing.

She only just discovered a passion for writing in the past five or so years. She’d always written little poems in birthday cards for family members, but that was as far as her writing aspirations went…until she decided to write poems and give them to family members as homemade gifts.
It was then a spark was lit, and ever since, she hasn’t been unable to switch off the urge to write.

After a close family member fell ill, she began questioning what she wanted and searching for answers. Unable to sleep one night, she sat up and typed out her feelings on the laptop. Her husband read what she’d written and encouraged her to write more. It was then she knew she wanted to share her thoughts with others. She began with writing what she knew—her life story, but couldn’t get into it. Instead, she decided to write about something not based on fact, but fiction, and wrote a dream sequence which she showed to her family. They encouraged her to expand on it, and she hasn’t stopped since.

L.J. Harris discovered that as much as enduring pain, loss, betrayal, or any other negative thing in our lives can be devastating, if she hadn’t experienced them for herself, she not only wouldn’t have found some lifelong friends, she doubts she would have been able to write the feelings of anguish and loss that some of her characters have had to endure.

L.J. has been previously published and has shared several online stories and looks forward to continuing to share her work.

L. J. Harris can be found at:


Book Review: Perfect World by Shari Sakurai

Perfect World
by Shari Sakurai
M/M Sci-fi/Futuristic/Dystopia
Heat Level: Low
3.5 Stars
Review copy supplied by author


It is the year 2115 and the world is very different. With climate changes, natural disasters and war shaping the landscape, England has become a nation made up of several super cities and wasteland in between.

Eric Rawlins is a genetically engineered superhero created by the London Security Agency (L.S.A) to defend and protect the city against both national and international threats. With his superior abilities, celebrity status and beautiful girlfriend, Eric appears to have the perfect life. However, it is an illusion created by the L.S.A in order to control him.

Eric's nemesis is the charismatic Adam Larimore. The only son of billionaire business tycoon Victor Larimore, Adam is gifted with a genius level IQ as well as the same longevity as Eric.

When the actions of the L.S.A throw the two of them together Eric finds himself questioning everything that he has ever known as well as discovering the true course of events that led to Adam turning to a life of crime. As they become closer Eric realises that the L.S.A may be the real threat to London. But can he trust Adam or is he part of Adam’s plan for revenge against those who have wronged him?


Some heroes are made not born; in a future London the London Security Agency is supposedly the protecor of the city. They have genetically engineered their own superhero - Eric Rawlins is stronger, faster, heals quicker and is more intelligent than a normal human, but yet he is the human face of the L.S.A. and he is trotted out like a trained pet at every press conference to ease any rumblings of discontent from the populace.

Everything Eric does is in the public spotlight, and the L.S.A. make sure that everything the public knows is only what they want it to know. It doesn't matter that Eric finds himself more attracted to men than women; no, the L.S.A even pick out his girlfriend and insist they get engaged, even though she is in a solid relationship with someone else.

Adam Larimore is the other side of the coin; he is set up as Eric's nemesis, but both of them are engineered the same; Adam too has the longevity, strength and high intelligence that Eric has and the two are well-matched. Adam has taken over North London and the L.S.A. want it back. When Adam is captured and held prisoner at the L.S.A. security facility, Eric come to realise that perhaps the L.S.A. hasn't been telling the truth, not just to the populace but to him as well.

I am in two minds with this book; some parts I liked really well, and others left me feeling a bit deflated. It's very imaginative and intriguing and the plot jogs along a at a good solid pace. It isn't quite a page turner, but it certainly isn't a boring read.

I think it's the romance that falls a bit flat. I personally didn't get the spark between Adam and Eric at all. Now, I admit I am a reader who likes a good engaging plot along with romance, but here I felt like the romance had taken quite a back seat. It didn't help that there were no love scenes in the book. There were a couple of kiss scenes and then fade to black. Nothing wrong with that usually, but here it felt that the love scenes had been there and had then been removed for some reason. They felt missing. There was an explicit torture scene which wasn't skimmed over. I would rather have had less of the torture and more of the sex.

There was also an abundant over use of epithets: the hero, the villian, the younger man etc.

I'm not sure I would even call this a romance as there wasn't a happy ending, there wasn't even a happy for now ending. It ends on a real downer of a cliff-hanger and that was so disappointing.  After all that the characters had been through, I felt angry that there wasn't a happy ever after for them. Maybe it's the beginning of a series?

It's a good read, but certainly not a light read.

Book Spotlight: Beyond the Rift by Alana Ankh

Beyond the Rift
by Alana Ankh
Elemental Lovers Book 1
M/M Fantasy Romance
Dreamspinner Press


Across the centuries, the Nikari, a race of vicious elemental mages, have built an empire, bringing an entire continent to its knees. The course of history seems set... until one innocent Andari mage changes everything and claims a greater prize—the heart of the Nikari emperor.

Behnivyr ‘Ivy’ Erethe knows his duty is to wed another Andari Pure-Blood. Craving one moment of freedom before his loveless bonding, he escapes his father’s suffocating protection and goes to a masquerade ball, only to unexpectedly meet a mysterious Nikari named Kris. Kris makes Ivy ache with a need he barely dares to acknowledge. One kiss, one dance—and Ivy’s life changes forever. Unbeknownst to Ivy, Kris is actually Kristelien Fezenda, the Nikari emperor. Forced to make a difficult choice, Ivy picks love over duty and becomes Kris’s concubine.

Poorly prepared for the whirlwind of emotion Ivy summons inside him, Kris now faces the hardest battle of his life. In a ruthless world where all weakness is exploited, where allies become enemies in the blink of an eye, where love can mean death, he will have to defeat more than his own personal demons to breach the rift between him and Ivy.




A thousand years later

“THIS IS a terrible idea, Your Lordship. Please. We should go back.”

Ignoring his manservant’s protests, Ivy sneaked through the garden, hiding behind a statue and scanning his environs for any sign of guards. He spotted several silhouettes patrolling the edges of the garden and grimaced. Oh well. He had been ready for that.

“Come along, Akolo,” he whispered to his manservant, “or I’ll leave you behind.”

With a frustrated huff, Akolo fell silent and followed Ivy out of his hiding place. Ivy took a deep breath and murmured a cloaking spell, wrapping his magic tightly around him and Akolo. As quietly as possible, they slipped past the guards and headed toward the back gate of the property.

As a rule, the service entrance was always open, but not tonight. Tonight, a heavy lock blocked the access to the road beyond. Fortunately, Ivy had known about it, and in fact, had counted on his father’s habit of shutting down the manse every solstice. Sweeping his fingers over the lock, he murmured another spell, willing the lock to open for him.

Mercifully, it worked. The gate swung open far more violently than Ivy had expected, but by some sort of miracle, he managed to catch it before it hit the fence and drew entirely unwanted attention.

“Your Lordship,” Akolo tried again.

Ivy shushed him and stepped outside. As his manservant followed, Ivy shut the gate behind them. His father believed him to have retreated to his quarters, so, if all went well, the older Andari would never know about Ivy’s little rebellion.

It took a while, but at last Ivy and Akolo managed to make their way outside his father’s territory and enter downtown Seanda. Ivy’s efforts were rewarded since the solstice carnival was already well underway.

As the capital city of the province of Reptatte, Seanda usually bustled with activity. However, at late hours, the Andari tended to retreat to their homes or to indoor establishments. Tonight, this had changed. The quiet Seanda evening had exploded in a display of color, diversity, and joy. The streets were lined with stalls and tents offering all sorts of products, from meals to toys or jewelry. Wreaths of flowers and symbols of the Creator adorned each home in sight, the decorations in tune with the lively carnival.

The smell of candied malynsa permeated the air, beckoning partygoers to approach and usually finding an adequate target in the throng of children already demanding the treat. The scent of burning torches and smoked meats added to the bouquet of aromas, while laughter, merriment, and song bubbled all around.

Ivy made his way through the crowd, taking in the sights with a mix of anxiety and happiness. Behind him, his manservant kept muttering imprecations and pleas. “Your father will figure out that you escaped, and then he’ll punish both of us.”

Ivy settled his mask more carefully on his face. He knew that, in all likelihood, Akolo was right, but he couldn’t turn back, not now. “I’m sorry, Akolo, but this is my last chance. I need to feel alive just once. Will you truly begrudge me that?”

Akolo sighed heavily but said nothing more. Perhaps he realized that Ivy hadn’t escaped tonight just for the purpose of upsetting his overbearing father. Sure, that could have been a very good reason, but Ivy prided himself on not choosing such childish, petty ways of revenge.

No, tonight he had another goal. In cities like Seanda—ruled by Full-Blooded Andari—the summer solstice was celebrated by encouraging openness toward the rest of the settlements of Anderra. It was the one time when Full Bloods came together with their Half-Blood cousins and, sometimes, even their less pleasant Nikari leaders. The masquerade balls brought all sorts of people together, blurring the well-defined lines of their social structure for a single night. Seanda opened its gates to all, and within the enjoyment and laughter of the carnival, they found togetherness and the hope for understanding.

Ivy was accustomed to Half Bloods, as most of the servants in his household—Akolo included—came from such families. However, the rich, powerful Half Bloods who now formed part of the landed gentry were an entirely differently matter. Their magic was not as potent as his own, but that didn’t make them any less intriguing. And then, there were the Nikari. How was Ivy supposed to fear and loathe someone he didn’t even know?

Of course, everyone knew the general history of the Nikari. Ironically, the ancestors of the Nikari, the Ndara, had been distant cousins of the Andari, which was why, to this day, some customs of the two species bore slight resemblances. However, after the Ndara had been taken over by the foreign Aranken force, countless things had changed.

Now the Nikari occupied the entire Western Realm and were regularly a reason for Ivy’s father’s rants. Ivy didn’t want to borrow the opinions of others. Like he’d told Akolo, this was his last chance to figure things out for himself. And maybe, just maybe, he’d actually experience what it was like to live before the gilded cage of his parents’ desires snapped shut around him.

Ivy shook off his glum musings, refusing to let his impending betrothal ruin tonight. He caught sight of a stall that sold reada wine and quickly made his way there, ignoring Akolo’s protests. Traditionally a Nikari drink, it had spread all throughout Anderra after the Great Wars and had become quite popular, especially in the northern regions.

“First time?” the merchant asked with a grin.

Ivy nodded, not bothering to deny the obvious. Even with the mask, he couldn’t hide his Andari Full Blood nature. His fine, fair complexion and heart-shaped face contrasted with the dusky skin and sharper, more angular features of the Nikari. At most, people might mistake him for a particularly exotic-looking Half Blood, but even that was doubtful. Nikari blood guaranteed that Half Bloods were never as slender as Andari tended to be, and their skin tone was very distinctive, far darker than Ivy’s.

The merchant gave him a long look, probably realizing the truth. Still, he didn’t turn Ivy away. He poured Ivy a generous portion of the brew and said, “Careful now. Just take a sip. It might be too strong for you.”

Ivy arched a brow. He knew all too well the Nikari didn’t drink their wine by sips, and he could identify the challenge in the merchant’s voice. Drinking reada wine was only allowed after a Nikari—and naturally, an Andari—reached his age of majority. Coincidentally, Ivy had just come of age a fortnight back. He refused to step back from the challenge as if he were some child.

Taking a deep breath, Ivy gripped the offered glass and analyzed the bubbling crimson liquid. Without allowing himself to hesitate, he drank down the entire contents.

For a few seconds, nothing happened—or maybe it just seemed that way to Ivy. Then the world came crashing down, the scents, lights, and music becoming sharper, hotter, brighter. Ivy’s eyes watered as the heavily spiced brew scorched his taste buds. He swayed and distantly berated himself for his recklessness. It was a good thing Akolo manifested behind him and supported him because otherwise, he might have collapsed right then and there. Ivy didn’t think he could have survived the embarrassment.

Ivy leaned against Akolo and managed to gather his wits. Sweet Reysen, the brew must have been more potent than Ivy had thought. He suddenly had the impression that Akolo smelled very good and seemed far taller and more muscular than Ivy knew him to be.

“Are you well?” a male voice asked behind him.

Ivy froze as the smooth baritone cleared the lingering fogginess from his mind. No wonder Akolo’s hold on him had felt different. It hadn’t been the manservant who’d kept him from falling.

As quickly as possible, he straightened himself and pulled away from the stranger. Turning on his heel, he instinctively checked his mask. Once he ascertained it remained in place, he faced the other man, only to blink in shock at the sight that met his eyes.

It didn’t take a genius to figure out the stranger was Nikari. His piercing black gaze was sharpened by gold-rimmed irises that appeared to glow in the light of the torches. He was easily a head taller than Ivy, but twice as bulky, with the difference being all muscle. His traditional Nikari garb did nothing to hide his warrior’s build, the tight tunic and breeches instead emphasizing his barely leashed virile strength. Twin braids of dark hair framed his cheeks, marking him as a seasoned warrior. A black mask hid part of his dusky-skinned face, adding an edge of mystery and danger—as if that had been necessary.

Ivy’s mouth went dry, and for a few moments, he couldn’t remember how to speak. He tried to fall back on his deeply ingrained manners, or maybe to remember his lessons on Nikari mores, but it was all a blur in his mind.

The stranger frowned, and Ivy realized he hadn’t replied to his question. Snapping out of his trance, he stammered, “F-Fine.” Frustrated with himself, he straightened his back and added, “My apologies. I should have known better than to take him up on the offer.”

The stranger threw a dark glare toward the merchant. “Sometimes, people like that enjoy teasing Full Bloods. I doubt he expected you would actually do it.”

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