~Cover Reveal~ Come, Play – An MM Erotica Charity Anthology

COVER REVEAL

Book Title: Come Play – An MM Erotica Charity Anthology

Authors: Quin Perin, A.G. Carothers, E.M. Denning, Emma Jaye, K.C. Wells,

Lynn Van Dorn, Luna David, Sara Dobie Bauer, T.M. Chris, T.S. McKinney

Cover Artist: Morningstar Ashley

Release Date: June 11, 2019

Genre/s: M/M Erotica, M/M BDSM

Trope/s: Including hurt/comfort, first time, forbidden and others

Themes: Anthology includes BDSM and erotica. It has a wide variety of tastes/themes

Heat Rating: A mix of 4 and 5 flames. This anthology features a collection of erotic MM short stories.

Blurb

Watch and Learn if the Coach’s Little Kitten can be Tamed.

Follow the Doctor’s Orders and read all about Brotherly Love.

Understand Abstract Love and then take a peek at A Kink Chronicles Short.

It’s all about Pretty Boys, The Kiss, and Particular Tastes bundled up in this must-have erotic anthology.

Come, play with us.

Abstract Love by Sara Dobie Bauer

A Kink Chronicles Short by Luna David

Brotherly Love by Lynn Van Dorn

Coach’s Little Kitten by Quin Perin

Doctor’s Orders by Emma Jaye

Particular Tastes by T.S. McKinney

Pretty Boy by E.M. Denning

Tamed by T.M. Chris

The Kiss by A.G. Carothers

Watch and Learn by K.C. Wells

** All proceeds from this anthology will be donated to

💜💙💚💙 𝘍𝘰𝘳 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘛𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘰𝘳 𝘗𝘳𝘰𝘫𝘦𝘤𝘵 💙💚💙💜

https://www.thetrevorproject.org **

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER NOW

Universal Buy Link

Facebook Link for each Author

Quin Perin

A.G. Carothers

E.M. Denning

Emma Jaye

K.C. Wells

Lynn Van Dorn

Luna David

Sara Dobie Bauer

T.M. Chris

T.S. McKinney

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~Review Tour~Audiobook of Nothing Special by A.E. Via. Narrated by Aiden Snow *****5 SMOKIN’ HOT STARS! (review below)

 

 
Narrated By: Aiden Snow
 
Length: 9hrs 47mins
 
Blurb
 

Detective Cashel “Cash” Godfrey is big, tattooed, and angry so people typically keep their distance. He’s fresh out of the police academy, however, no one is looking to partner with the six-foot-four beast with a huge chip on his shoulder and an inability to trust. When Cash scans the orientation room he wasn’t expecting to find sexy hazel eyes locked onto him. Eyes of the handsome Detective Leonidis “Leo” Day.

Leo is charming, witty, hilariously sarcastic and the only one that can make Cash smile. He’s proud, out, and one bad-ass detective.

Together, Cash and Leo become the most revered and successful narcotics detectives Atlanta’s ever seen. Able to communicate and understand each other, without even having to voice it, they quickly climb up the promotional ranks.

When Cash saves Leo’s life in a raid that turns deadly, Leo begins to see something in the big man that no one else does…something special. But Leo fears he’ll never break through the impenetrable wall that protects Cash’s heart.

Contains mature themes.


 

 
Author Bio
 

A.E. Via has been a best-selling author in the beautiful gay romance genre for five years now, but she’s no stranger to MM. She’s been an avid reader of gay lit for over fifteen years before she picked up her laptop to place her own kiss on this genre. She’s also the founder and owner of Via Star Wings Books, having published a couple great new up and coming MM authors.



A.E. has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Virginia Wesleyan College that she used to start her own paralegal firm after she graduated in 2008. She spent five years preparing and filing bankruptcy petitions for struggling blue collar workers who couldn’t afford to file with a lawyer. It was a rewarding and satisfying career… but another path called to her. Writing.



A.E.’s writing embodies everything from hopelessly romantic to adventure, to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.



Now that she’s gotten over her 10 books published hump, she’s kind of known now for her hardcore, play rough and love hard, bad boy, alphas. However, she does like to push herself to step out of her comfort zone, exploring different tropes, but she won’t push herself into a whole other genre. She’s head over heels for gay romance and she has tons of more hot stories to tell.



Be sure to visit Adrienne on her social media pages and subscribe to her newsletter to never miss another release date! Go to A.E. Via’s official website http://authoraevia.com for more detailed information on how to contact her, follow her, or a sneak peak at upcoming work, free reads, VSWB submissions, and where she’ll appear next.

 

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My Review:  5 SMOKIN’ HOT STARS!

I’ve never been one for audiobooks.  I get it in my head what a character should sound like and when I hear the audiobook it’s usually never what I envisioned.  But I decided to take a chance with this one and, damn, am I glad I did.  Aiden Snow is pure, purring perfection.  I swear he nearly melted the seats in my Camaro more than once.  I know he definitely had me fanning myself on many occasions.  This book was great to read.  Dare I say it’s even better to listen to with the voice of Aiden Snow flowing over you like warm silk?  Yes, I do believe it is.

~Release Blitz~ Prophesy Book 2 – The Bringer of Wrath by A.E. Via

 

 
Length: 87,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Jay Aheer @ Simply Defined Art
 
The King And Alpha Series
 
Prophesy 1 – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link (Currently only 99c/99p)
 
Blurb
 

Shifter and Vampire True Mates story.



Alek’s older brother, Justice—the Alpha Zenith—was the first shifter to mate with a vampire in many generations, and it was believed the rare, fated pairing would stop at him. But, it hadn’t. Aleksei ‘Alek’ Volkov was second beta, next in succession to the most powerful shifter in the world. He was proud of his title and he took his duties seriously. It was all he had. Until his true mate literally showed up on his doorstep.



While his brother—the overachiever—excelled at having a vampire as a mate, Alek wasn’t that optimistic he would. He wasn’t averse to love, and he’d often thought of how different his life could’ve turned out if he’d ever experienced the emotion. His life was a mess and he’d worn a mask of stability for a majority of that time, only showing his siblings and pack what they needed to see—a strong Volkov alpha. Not the damaged man he was, with a tortured soul and a rogue wolf.



Alek dropped his heavy head in his hands. Now, for some reason, I’ve been granted a true vampire mate. And not just any vampire. The intimidating Belleron Liatos. Lord High to the King and the leader of his army.



Belleron ‘Bell’ Liatos had come to the states for one reason—his best friend and Vampire King, Chadwick Bentley. He certainly didn’t come to be pounced on by a wolf that could act independently of its master. Not only was his destined cherished a complicated and confused man; but he was also unaware of the powerful presence that lurked in the shadows of his soul. Bell didn’t know he’d be the key to unlocking an exceptional triad that would play a critical role in fulfilling the prophesy.



This story DOES NOT contain or even mention MPREG.

No multiple pairings. No cliffhangers. Ends with a very HFN.



Warning: This book is M/M paranormal: If you DO NOT like alpha men shifting into large wolves, or vampires feeding from their destined beloveds, than this may not be the novel for you.

A.E. Via has been a best-selling author in the beautiful gay romance genre for five years now, but she’s no stranger to MM. She’s been an avid reader of gay lit for over fifteen years before she picked up her laptop to place her own kiss on this genre. She’s also the founder and owner of Via Star Wings Books, having published a couple great new up and coming MM authors.



A.E. has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Virginia Wesleyan College that she used to start her own paralegal firm after she graduated in 2008. She spent five years preparing and filing bankruptcy petitions for struggling blue collar workers who couldn’t afford to file with a lawyer. It was a rewarding and satisfying career… but another path called to her. Writing.



A.E.’s writing embodies everything from hopelessly romantic to adventure, to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.



Now that she’s gotten over her 10 books published hump, she’s kind of known now for her hardcore, play rough and love hard, bad boy, alphas. However, she does like to push herself to step out of her comfort zone, exploring different tropes, but she won’t push herself into a whole other genre. She’s head over heels for gay romance and she has tons of more hot stories to tell.



Be sure to visit Adrienne on her social media pages and subscribe to her newsletter to never miss another release date! Go to A.E. Via’s official website http://authoraevia.com for more detailed information on how to contact her, follow her, or a sneak peak at upcoming work, free reads, VSWB submissions, and where she’ll appear next.

 

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Last Loose End

 

Last Loose End by K.R. Allen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a bit over the top and drawn out but if you can hang with it, you’ll be glad you did. It centers around Detective Cole Pearson who’s on a stakeout and sees something happening in a nearby building. Going on his gut instinct, he goes in, rescues Sean Trammel and is pulled into a dangerous (and sometimes confusing) case with the only rule being ‘stay alive’
It’s an intense m/m thriller that is worth it in the end.

View all my reviews

~Retro Review Tour~ Made in Manhattan by Ana Newfolk

RETRO REVIEW TOUR

Book Title: Made In Manhattan

Author: Ana Newfolk

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Rhys Athanasiadis-Lawrence, Ethereal Elain

Release Date: January 15, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: Second chance

Heat Rating: 5 flames

Length: 62 000 words

Add on Goodreads

Tagline: Lisbon and Manhattan are only a heartbeat apart

 

Blurb

Will they get a second chance to rekindle their love?

Isaac was kicked out by his family at a young age.

It took him years of hard work to become his own man. Now he’s helping the LGBTQ youth of Lisbon so they don’t have to go through the same.

Max has a long and troubled past.

An ER nurse in New York City who volunteers at the local Liberty center, he knows first hand what it’s like to lose your family and having to make it on your own.

A chance encounter between the two a year ago has them hoping for a happy ever after, if not for the distance between them, but when Isaac takes a temporary work placement in Manhattan, the two men have an opportunity to find what their love is made of.

Will they make it, or will life’s tests tear them apart for good?

Made In Manhattan is the fourth instalment in the Made In series by Ana Newfolk. It is a standalone gay romance novel with a HEA ending and no cliffhanger. Fair warning, there will be naked man-parts touching, a touch of angst, and the claws of an overprotective cat.

Made in Manhattan is 62k words and features the same main characters from Made In New York – A Christmas Short Story.

You don’t have to read it, but you may want to find out how Max and Isaac first met.

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

Excerpt

Max

Lisbon, June

“I missed you so much.”

Isaac pushed me away, his eyes tight and piercing.

“What do you mean, you missed me so much? If you’d missed me so much then why didn’t you—”

“Isaac.” I put my hands on either side of his face so he would have no choice but to hear me out. “Can we talk, please?”

Fate really was a bitch.

I didn’t dare break eye contact for fear this was all a dream.

The club was packed so when someone elbowed me as they were trying to get past the motion jolted me into action, and with one step forward I wrapped Isaac in my arms, my face burrowing in the space between his neck and shoulder, his mass of dark curls soft against my skin.

He froze for a moment but then his arms came around me. As his body relaxed into the embrace, I swear a sob came from his chest.

He smelled of fresh pine; manly, woody, and so familiar it was making me dizzy.

I wanted to stay with Isaac like this for as long as I possibly could, which turned out to be not long at all because I had to ruin the moment with those five words.

He let out a long breath as if he was reminding himself we were in a club surrounded by people, and sat down at the table. I wanted to sit next to him, but it would be easier to keep eye contact if we were facing each other.

It had taken two days last Christmas for Isaac to do what many had tried and failed. He’d unpeeled the many layers of protection I’d built around my heart before hopping on a plane to return to his home in Portugal.

Six months later and three thousand miles away from my home in New York, I found myself right back where I’d been on the night I’d saved him from a fire, feeling like I’d been punched in the gut.

Except this time it was worse because I already knew what those eyes looked like when he smiled, what those lips looked like when they were all plump from kissing, and what his mere presence could do to my heart.

I should have known this would happen. There hadn’t been a day since I’d booked my flight to Portugal that I hadn’t thought of him. If I was honest, there hadn’t been a single day since I last saw him that he hadn’t teased my thoughts.

The first time I’d looked into his eyes, after I’d saved him from the fire, he’d been barely conscious, sitting against me on the pavement outside the LGBT Youth Center. All I’d seen was his wild curly hair, but when I’d pushed it away from his face and seen him open his eyes, he’d literally taken my breath away.

The second time I’d had the chance to look into his eyes from a close distance I’d seen it all, and it had been just before he’d pulled me into a kiss on top of the Empire State Building.

 

 

About the Author

Ana Newfolk was born in Portugal where she grew up surrounded by sunshine and countryside. She has always had a deep love of reading, and ever since she can remember her favorite presents and treats have always been books. She would often be found in her not-so-secret spot reading her favorite adventure books (when she was younger) and romance novels (when she discovered boys). At 20 years old she moved to the UK where she has lived since.

In 2015 Ana stumbled across her first MM romance novel by chance, and she was hooked. She loves reading about men falling in love, hard, fast and ever so sweetly. This new found love for LGBTQ+ romance has opened a new world for Ana, and in 2017 she decided to finally listen to the voices in her head and write them down.

In addition to the time she spends reading and writing Ana has a full-time job that involves meeting lots of people with interesting stories to tell. She also loves baking as much as she loves watching people eat what she creates, much to the delight of family, friends and work colleagues alike.

You can follow Ana on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or through her blog for up to date news of her book releases.

 

 

Social Media Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

 

 

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win A paperback of Made In Portugal, plus some swag.

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RETRO REVIEW TOUR SCHEDULE

 

 

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Made in Manhattan (Made In #4)Made in Manhattan by Ana Newfolk

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my first Ana Newfolk read and it definitely won’t be my last. Second chance is one of my favorite tropes and this one clicked on many levels with me. Isaac was sweet and honest and even though Max was not as open as I would have liked (he definitely had me grinding my teeth a few times and growling), he eventually won me over. This one had strong feels for me and I’m looking forward to what’s next.

View all my reviews

~Release Blitz~ Torn by Rick R. Reed

 

 
Length: 63,424 words
 
Cover Design: Reese Dante
 
 
Blurb
 

Ever been torn between two lovers? That’s Ricky Comparetto’s problem.



It’s 1995, and Ricky is making his very first trip across the pond with his best friend. Ricky, hungry for love and looking for it in all the wrong places, finds it in the beach city of Brighton. His new love has the curious name of Walt Whitman and is also an American, which only serves to make him sexier and more intriguing. By the time Walt and Ricky part, promises are made for a reunion in Boston.



But the course of true love never runs smooth. In Chicago Ricky almost immediately falls in love again. Tom Green is a sexy blue-collar beast with the kindest heart Ricky has ever run across.



What’s he to do? With a visit to the East Coast on the horizon and a new love blossoming in Ricky’s home of Chicago, Ricky truly is torn.



Excerpt



In which our hero, Ricky Comparetto, finds himself lost on his very first time in London in the wee hours of the morning. It serves him right, after his shameless behavior at an after-hours sex club.

Much later, I found myself wandering the streets of London near New Scotland Yard, searching through its labyrinthine corridors for Trevor’s building. In the quiet darkness of London’s wee small hours, it seemed the world had paused to take a breath. Again, a feeling of things being surreal overcame me; I wondered if I’d ever find my way back to Boutros again, or if I’d be doomed to wander endlessly through this curving warren of streets.

It was maybe three o’clock in the morning, and Westminster felt almost like a movie set, perhaps something dystopian, where the main character wakes to find the world empty. The light of Big Ben shone in the distance, but I had no idea how to get back to Trevor’s.

I was too exhausted to panic, however, even though I felt like a rat in a maze, a charming, historic maze, but a maze nonetheless. Looking back, I recall that I felt serene, strange as that is to remember.

I had just decided to see if I could find a park bench or curb to lie down on—to await morning’s light and new clarity to get back to my friends—when I discovered that there was such a thing as a bobby, the Brits’ word for a patrolman on foot. This bobby, who was dressed all in black with a tall hat adorned with a shield, and I appeared to be the only ones about, other than the black cabs that passed by stealthily, similar to the one that had deposited me in a place I’d believed was close to Trevor’s.

I approached the bobby and told him, a little abashed, that I was lost. I supplied him with the name of the street I sought and, for good measure, what Trevor’s building looked like.

He nodded, all business. “You need to cross the Thames”—he pointed that way—“and then make your way back in the opposite direction from where you were going. You’re not far.”

I thanked him, but his directions simply didn’t feel right. I didn’t want to argue with him, and I certainly didn’t want to believe he was fucking with me, so I didn’t question him. I may have been lost, but I wasn’t that lost. I let him continue on his rounds. I stood still, not wanting him to see me continue on what he’d most likely perceive as my misguided path. Why’d you bother asking him if you weren’t going to listen? I wondered but had no good answer for myself.

I plopped down on a bench to ponder what I should do. I supposed that, with morning’s light, Boutros would be worried (or worse, would believe I’d shacked up with yet another man) and come looking.

I questioned my decision to part from Boutros and Trevor earlier in the evening, when the gay club we were drinking at closed its doors way too early for me. I mean, really, eleven o’clock? And this was “swingin’” London? Trevor suggested I go to an “after-hours” club called the Brick. He told me it was a no-holds-barred kind of place. Or was it “no-holes-barred”? Whatever. The idea of the “Felliniesque” club, as Trevor described it, appealed to me.

So I went, met a few nice boys, and ended the evening by being showered with come in a cloakroom, courtesy of one half of a couple I’d met who were visiting London from Liverpool.

I thought it would be easy to get home because Trevor’s building was within walking distance of New Scotland Yard, which is where I told my cabbie to drop me.

I hadn’t counted on streets that curved, and ended and began with no rhyme or reason. I hadn’t counted on the buildings and streets all looking so alike.

I should have.

After a while, I got up from the bench and started wandering again. And then I stopped… and sighed with relief. Just ahead was one of those iconic red phone booths you might imagine when you think of London—or Doctor Who.

“Oh thank God,” I whispered, making my way to the booth. I groped in my pocket, hoping the receipt upon which Trevor had written his phone number earlier was still there. What if it isn’t? I thought, the panic already causing my pulse rate to quicken despite my fatigue, the copious amounts of alcohol I’d imbibed, and the two orgasms I’d had at the Brick.

But my hand curled around the little slip of paper, and I brought it out and squinted at the scrawled number in the wan light. I lifted the phone off the hook, deposited a mystifying array of coins that I hoped would be enough, and dialed.

Trevor answered, voice heavy with sleep.

I told him my problem and described where I was, along with the cross streets nearby.

He didn’t seem fazed, for which I was grateful. “Hang on, sweetie. I’ll be right there.” He disconnected before I could say anything else.

I left the phone booth and sat down on a curb. I regarded the crescent moon above for only the shortest of times. Trevor appeared before me, like an angel, within a matter of fewer than five minutes.

I didn’t have much to say, other than to express my gratitude… and embarrassment.

His building turned out to be around the next corner.

Real Men. True Love.



Rick R. Reed draws inspiration from the lives of gay men to craft stories that quicken the heartbeat, engage emotions, and keep the pages turning. Although he dabbles in horror, dark suspense, and comedy, his attention always returns to the power of love. He’s the award-winning and bestselling author of more than fifty works of published fiction and is forever at work on yet another book. Lambda Literary has called him: “A writer that doesn’t disappoint…” You can find him at www.rickrreed.com or www.rickrreedreality.blogspot.com. Rick lives in Palm Springs, CA with his beloved husband and their fierce Chihuahua/Shiba Inu mix.



Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks

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Website: www.rickrreed.com

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Email: rickrreedbooks@gmail.com

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~Blog Tour~ Top Shelf (A Seacroft Novel) by Allison Temple

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Top Shelf

A Seacroft Novel

Allison Temple

M/M Romance

Release Date: 05.20.19

Top Shelf Cover

Blurb

Martin is a ghost. Well, not really, but he might as well be. Job gone, home gone, self-respect gone, and no one even seems to notice. The only person who really sees him is Seb, the artist who lives above the used bookstore.

Seb haunts the edges of Seacroft in search of beauty. He knows how to excavate the hidden value in abandoned things—whether it’s in the pages of forgotten books or in Martin’s stuttering attempts to rebuild his life—and transform them into works of art.

Two lost souls, Seb and Martin discover the strength they need to face eccentric townies and their dysfunctional families together. But as friendship sparks toward something more, neither man wants to risk what they’ve only just found. It takes two to fall in love, but it will take the whole community to bring their beauty to life.

Top Shelf is an 81k slow burn friends-to-lovers MM romance. It features an anxious professor, a drama queen artist, a bookstore that might be haunted, and a full-blown heart-eyes HEA.

Amazon: http://bit.ly/Top-Shelf_

International: http://mybook.to/TopShelf

Top Shelf Teaser 2

Top Shelf Teaser 1

Excerpt

The distinct sound of footsteps had him freezing in place again. Martin’s breath went shallow, and he clutched at the phone. Was it inappropriate to call the police on his first day of work? There was someone in the store, and Martin was very sure he had not seen anyone come in since Cassidy had left.

He moved in between the shelves as his mind raced. What if someone had snuck in? Broken in?

Why would someone sneak in to steal used books?

Martin grabbed a cookbook off a shelf labeled ‘Everything is Better With Salt’ and hefted it, testing the weight. If someone was back there, and that someone was up to no good, Martin could use the book as a weapon.

There was a soft sound of someone humming, and it made the hairs on Martin’s neck prickle. He tripped at the edge of the next shelf.

“Cass, is that you?”

Martin froze with the cookbook half-raised to his shoulder. Every part of him went on alert at the sound of a man’s voice, much closer than he’d expected.

Another book dropped to the ground.

He peeked around a shelf. The first thing his brain registered was white, and it was almost enough to convince him that he was seeing a ghost. His fingers tightened around the cookbook.

A long pale arm reached up and lifted a book off the very top shelf.

It was a man.

He wore faded jeans and a gray T-shirt. His hair was bleached blond. If he was a thief, he was a terrible one, because he flipped through the book, then let it drop to the floor next to what must have been the other ones Martin had already heard fall.

He was a man though, whoever he was. Tall and solid. Not a ghost. Martin lowered the cookbook. Assaulting a customer on his first day would be a bad career move.

“Excuse me,” he said, but it was drowned out as the next book thumped to the floor. Martin hopped back a step, but gathered himself and tried again. “Excuse me. I’m closing up.”

“Sure thing,” the man said as he stretched up on his toes again, reaching for another book. His shirt lifted from the waist of his jeans, and the skin underneath was so pale it enhanced his ghostly appearance.

When Martin didn’t leave, the man glanced over his shoulder, and his face made Martin’s heart stop. He wasn’t a ghost or a thief, but whoever he was, he was handsome. Blue eyes flicked up and down once, like he was trying to decide the kind of threat Martin might pose.

As Martin inhaled to assert himself again, the man turned back to the shelf.

“You—” Martin swallowed hard, willing himself to stand firm. “You’ll have to go.”

Those blue eyes darted toward Martin again, like a wrist flicking at a fly. The man grinned, a slow sly grin that made Martin’s insides twist.

“You’re new, aren’t you?” the man said.

Martin’s ears burned. He knew a dismissal when he heard one.

“If—If there’s something you’d like to buy, I can help you cash out. Otherwise, we’ll be open again on Monday at—” What time did they open? It had been nine o’clock on Saturday. Was it the same time on weekdays?

The blond man frowned, and Martin’s heart lurched under the stranger’s scrutiny. He couldn’t remember the last time someone had really looked at him. For all his rising panic at the feeling of being alone in the store earlier, he very much wanted to return to that solitude right now. It was so much better than being the center of this man’s attention.

“How long have you worked here?” The strange man’s voice was soft and low, rippling through the space between them.

Martin shivered and had to focus to keep his feet planted. “We’re closing and—”

“Where’s Cass?” The man glanced over Martin’s shoulder, giving him a moment to breathe.

“Cassidy? She went home.”

“What’s your name?” Those eyes were on Martin again in an instant, making him light-headed.

“Martin.” Too late, he wondered if he shouldn’t have introduced himself, particularly when the other man made no effort to return the favor.

“Well then, Martin.” The man took a step forward. “It appears no one bothered to inform you—”

“I’ll call the owner.” Martin was losing ground and needed to fix this quickly. Calling Mrs. Green to resolve a grumpy customer was absolutely a bad idea, but he was on the verge of being run out of his own bookstore, so there weren’t many options left.

To illustrate that point, the blond man’s eyes widened and his lips formed into an ‘O’.

“No no. Please.” He held his hands wide, as his mouth pulled into another grin. Everything about it made Martin want to shrink into himself until he was nothing but a speck of dust on a bookshelf.

“I’m sorry,” he said, giving it one last go. “But we close at six and—”

The man didn’t appear to hear him. He toed through the pile of books at his feet.

Martin winced as pages bent under his shoes. “Please don’t—”

Thin fingers pinched the crumpled pages together and lifted them in the air, the book’s heavy covers flopping to the sides. There was the soft sound of paper tearing.

The man tucked the book under one arm. “Don’t worry, sweetheart. I’ll pay for it.” He put a hand in one of his pockets, then actually swaggered toward Martin, whose vision wavered as the man’s fingers brushed against his own. Martin gasped at the hard weight of something metal in his palm. The silence of the bookshop was broken by the sound of coins tumbling out of Martin’s frozen hand and onto the floor.

“That should cover it.” The man whispered it low. The feeling of his breath on Martin’s skin made him turn into a Martin-shaped statue, frozen in place as the other man slid past him.

“Nice to meet you,” the man said. “I’m sure we’ll see each other again.”

It felt like hours, but it probably was only a matter of seconds before he trembled and broke out of his daze. The floorboards creaked as the man walked away. Martin knelt and collected the coins he’d dropped. They were all nickels and dimes, and they totaled up to just under two dollars.

A door closed and the shop fell quiet.

Martin wound his way back the way he’d come. Nerves boiled inside him, and he hesitated around every blind corner between shelves, half expecting the blond stranger to leap out at him like some deranged Jack in the Box. He stumbled into the open space at the front.

He was alone.

Martin went to the door. It surprised him that the hinges hadn’t made their booming wail as the man left.

His hand stopped as he reached for the deadbolt. It was still in position. The door was locked.

Where had the man come from? And where had he gone?

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Allison Temple has been a writer since the second grade, when she wrote a short story about a girl and her horse. Her grandmother typed it out for her and said she’s never seen so many quotation marks from a seven-year-old before. Allison took that as a challenge and has gone on to try to break her previous record in all her subsequent works.

Allison lives in Toronto with her very patient husband and the world’s neediest cat. She splits her free time between writing, community theater stage management, and traveling anywhere that has good wine. Tragically, this leaves no time to clean her house.

Newsletter (get two free shorts right now): https://allisontemplebooks.com/newsletter

Facebook Reader group: https://facebook.com/groups/allisonsalist

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07B7P5591

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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17490635.Allison_Temple

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