Saturday, 14 September 2019

Noah’s Bane by Wulf Francu Godgluck

Lormount City #1
193 pages

Buy links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Available to read in KU


Finding his very own Daddy is harder than finding Prince Charming.

Noah Lavoie isn't anyone special, an average guy working as a veterinarian with a few kinks and fetishes. For too many years he explored the BDSM lifestyle, but consistently felt something remained missing. In a world of black and white, Noah struggles to understand where to find the gray.

A mysterious contract.
No strings attached.
Never to know the Dominant’s identity.
Noah clings onto his only hope, a man he can call Daddy.

Cold, ruthless, charismatic. Bane Rozek believes himself impenetrable. He built his empire, fabricated from lies, blackmail, and extortion. Dark secrets he holds in his palm could cripple the most powerful of people and organizations. It's all a lie, a simple illusion to hide his truth.

He did it all, built his fortress and claimed his power and sovereignty, for her. But Bane knows Death’s chaste kiss intimately. What Bane wants is a connection.

This time on his terms…
An innocent boy offering the purest submission.
A contract holding them both at a distance.
A boy that tugs fiercely at Bane’s dark heart.
If only Bane could believe himself worthy to be the Daddy Noah proclaims to love.


Well what do you know? One moment you're new to the Daddy/boy dynamic, the next you've read two books about it in quick succession. 😍 Not that I'm complaining.

Hot (very), kinky (very), violent (very) and yet at times so tender it bordered on sweet, Noah's Bane was everything I hoped for and so much more than I expected.

Nothing in this story is quite as it seems. Noah isn’t quite as needy and submissive as he appears at first, although he thrives on submitting to his Daddy. While it is impossible to either ignore or deny Bane’s ruthless, aggressive, and often cold demeanor, he’s more than just the product of his violent past and present. As for their story…just when you think you know what’s happening and that things might settle…twist.

Noah, we get to know very well from the start. Bane, on the other hand comes in bits and pieces. As Noah unravels his Daddy, more of the whole person emerges. As a result, a good chunk of Bane’s back story isn’t revealed until…well, the back of the story. It worked just beautifully for me because it meant that I could see Bane in all his glory, shortly before he got the ending he and Noah so richly deserved.

Beautifully written in flowing language, Noah’s Bane is filled with deep feelings, heartfelt emotions, and glorious descriptions.

Yes, this is kink. Yes, this is erotica. And it is both those things at its best and delivered in a most engrossing and vivid portrayal.

Friday, 6 September 2019


Hot free LGBTQ romance from top authors! 

Explore new stories, discover new favorites, try new authors.

40+ Top LGBTQ Romance Authors in new Prolific Works Giveaway

If you love gay romance, you’ve come to the right place! 

What kind of stories? All the good stuff! Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Sizzling, Sweet, Comedy, Kink, Shifter, MPREG, Suspense, Action/Adventure and more—it’s all in the “LGBT Romance—From Some of the Registered GRL Retreat 2019 Authors” Prolific Works giveaway FREE during September and October. Over 50 scrumptious short stories, novellas, books, and previews/excerpts, from some of the bestselling authors in the genre.

Authors who are part of the Prolific Works giveaway include: Arshad Ahsanuddin, Amy Aislin, May Archer, Kasia Bacon, Beth Bolden, Morgan Brice, Sam Burns, J. Scott Coatsworth, K. Evan Coles, Luna David, Hank Edwards, Jen FitzGerald, Michelle Frost, Kaje Harper, Lorelei M. Hart, Susi Hawke, Andi James, Jacki James, D.J. Jamison, Elle Keaton, K-lee Klein, Trina Lane, Josh Lanyon, Lucy Lennox, Sharita Lira, Patricia Logan, Maz Maddox, B.L. Maxwell, Erin McLellan, Lynn Michaels, K.M. Neuhold, Jackie North, Jodi Payne, Pandora Pine, Liv Rancourt, Drea Roman, E.J. Russell, Taylor Ryan, Piper Scott, Kayleigh Sky, Spencer Spears, Felice Stevens, Victoria Sue, Allison Temple, Brigham Vaughn, Silvia Violet, Lila Wilde, Alice Winters, Ashe Winters, S.C. Wynne, S.J. York.

These stories are written by some of the Featured and Registered authors attending the Gay Romantic Lit. (GRL) Retreat, the must-attend event for people who create and celebrate LGBTQ romance. 

The giveaway runs from September 1 to October 31. And it’s all FREE!

“Prolific Works has a big romance audience, so this is a great giveaway for readers who won’t be at the GRL Retreat to find new favorites and new authors,” says MM romance author Morgan Brice, who coordinated the Prolific Works giveaway. “We also wanted people who are coming to GRL to have the chance to enjoy stories by favorite authors and maybe discover new authors prior to the retreat, so they could have fun meeting the authors and talking about the books at the event.”


While all of the authors with stories in the giveaway will be attending the GRL Retreat 2019 as Featured or Registered Authors, there are additional authors who were unable to participate. For a full list of GRL 2019 authors, please check The author list above was compiled on 8/27. Unforeseen events may cause changes. See the Prolific Works giveaway for the final list of giveaway authors. 


Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Him Improvement by Tanya Chris - Blog Tour

Book Title: Him Improvement

Author: Tanya Chris

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza

Release Date: September 3, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: enemies to lovers, opposites attract, millionaire, age gap

Themes: gentrification, compromise

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 60 000 words/ 161 pages


The course of true love runs through every neighborhood….

Only one thing stands between Gregory MacPherson II and his dream revitalization project for the gritty neighborhood of Ball’s End: a rinky-dink, run-down used bookstore called Hailey’s Comic. But when master negotiator Mac shows up to make a deal with the owner, he comes face-to-face with quirky, colorful Hailey—unexpectedly good-humored about Mac’s attempted eviction and, also unexpectedly, a hot guy.

Hailey won’t give up his lease, no matter how much money Mac offers. When it comes to consummating their mutual attraction, though, he’s a lot more flexible. Soon Mac has as hard a time prying himself out of Hailey’s bed as he does prying Hailey out of the building. But Hailey doubts Mac’s plans serve Ball’s End’s best interests, and he insists Mac give him a chance to prove his case. If they’re going to build a happy ever after, one of them will have to be remade….



Chapter One

GREGORY MacPherson II didn’t have the time or the patience to make a personal trip to a bookstore, but here he was. Alone.

No patrons roamed the narrow aisles formed by overstuffed bookshelves. No clerk waited at the vintagecash register sitting on top of a linoleum-covered counter barely capable of holding its weight. No one rushed to greet him from behind the tawdry multicolored curtain hanging at the back of the store.

From where he stood only a few feet inside the doorway, leery of allowing anything in the dusty hodgepodge to brush against his suit, he could see straight down the center aisle all the way to the back of the store. It was a thirty- foot-by-sixty-foot shoebox, longer than it was wide, oneof four retail spaces on the ground floor of the six-story brick building and the only one still open. Which was why Gregory MacPherson II, commonly referred to as Mac, had personally dragged himself down here.

How the place could stay in business without any workers, never mind customers, was a mystery he didn’t intend to solve. He was there to shut the place down, not rescue it, though in the few short minutes he’d been exposed to Hailey’s Comic, he could already list a half-dozen ways to improve its profitability.

That sign out front, for instance. It was a purple whirlwind of planets, well done if you were going for an acid-trip vibe, but the name implied there’d be comics, and the sign implied there’d be comets. Or drugs. And from what he could see, there were neither. If an establishment wanted to bring in customers, it needed to make clear theservices it provided and establish confidence that it wouldprovide them well.

Then there was the matter of actually waiting on the customers you did bring in. A bell had tinkled as he’d entered, but apparently only for its own enjoyment.

“Hello?” He raised his voice to a level that couldn’t be ignored and had a brief moment to wonder if he really was completely alone before a head and a hand appeared around the edge of the curtain.

“Mercy, you scared me,” the head said. It belonged to a young man and had a mop of brown hair piled on top of it, a few shades lighter than Mac’s own reddish brown.“Sorry, I didn’t hear the bell. Give me a minute. I’m sort of in flagrante delicto.” The head disappeared.

“In flagrante delicto doesn’t mean naked, you know,” Mac told the air where the head had been. “It means you were caught doing something you shouldn’t have been.Something sexual.”

“Now, now. It’s never wrong to masturbate. There.” The head reappeared, this time attached to a body that gave Mac a startlingly clear vision of how it would look masturbating. The man was stringy, taller than Mac’s six- foot frame, but lean and underdeveloped—the body of aperson who spent a lot of time reading. Or jerking off.

“What can I help you with?” He was in his mid-twenties, so perhaps ten years younger than Mac, dressed in jeans laddered with intentional rips, each the same two inches wide, running down his thighs like claw marks. His face was clean-shaven, fresh with his youth, and Mac wondered how his skin would react to having Mac’s tightly trimmed beard rubbed all over it.

“You’re free to browse around, even if I’m not out here.”

Mac added lax security to the mental list he was pointlessly compiling. “I need to speak to the owner.”

Hailey Green, owner of Hailey’s Comic, was the only thing standing in the way of his plans to revitalize this misbegotten section of Ballhaven, which plan started with this very brick building and would ultimately lead to Ball’s End—as everyone called it; he’d have to do something about the branding—becoming the newest hot spot for millennials to eat, drink, shop, and live. Urban revitalization was Mac’s business, and Hailey Green was Mac’s problem.

“Still me,” the man said, tilting his head to the side asif to take in Mac’s appearance more carefully.

Mac hadn’t changed clothes before driving down to Ball’s End, though he could’ve guessed the place would bedirty. He’d been reading a report on the effort to clear 502 Main Street of its tenants and had made an abrupt decisionto come down and take care of ridding the building of its final holdout himself.


Him Improvement is a most charming story from start to finish. Right from the moment Mac (or Greg, as Hailey calls him) and Hailey fall into insta-lust—only moments before Mac falls into insta-love—this is a story about two men who couldn’t be more different finding a way to be together that works for both of them.

The one thing that is perfectly clear from that first encounter is that sexually, Hailey and Mac couldn’t be more compatible. It’s just in every other aspect of their lives and personalities that they are opposites. And I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of Mac’s quest to initially try and pretend to be and subsequently turn himself into the man he thinks Hailey needs and deserves.

Of course, what Mac wants and what Mac can actually pull off turn out to be two very different things. After all, as a developer he has his company and investors to take into account. And while Hailey’s ideas and ideals may well be admirable, they aren’t always practical, and almost never profitable. I have to admit that I love the solution the story eventually came up with even if I have my doubts as to how realistic it was. I totally buy that Mac was ‘converted’ by that stage of the story. I had a bit more trouble getting my head around his best friend and lawyer also making the switch.

I would have loved it if I had also been able to read from Hailey’s perspective because I constantly found myself wondering why he was interested in someone like Mac – apart from a strong physical attraction. I get the opposites attract lure, but I’m not sure why anyone would be so benevolent towards anybody who is out to rob them of their livelihood and doesn’t understand their motivation when it comes to helping others at all. As much as I don’t like conflict in my romances, I think it would have helped if Hailey had got angry at least once, because Mac certainly gave him reasons to be upset. Seen just through Mac’s eyes and described only in Mac’s words, Hailey was just too good to be true. Although, given how hard Mac falls, maybe we should forgive him those rose-tinted glasses.

Maybe the problem is that I didn’t really warm to Mac until maybe the last 15% of the story. I couldn’t escape the feeling that rather than changing as a result of seeing Hailey’s way of life and appreciating his values, Mac changed out of selfish reasons, because there was very little he wouldn’t do if it meant he could stay with Hailey and deepen their relationship. Because, no matter how I feel about developers (and I’m not a huge fan in general), you can’t deny that Mac goes from being prepared to screw over the little man to being willing to drop his friends, family, and other investors in it without experiencing significant guilt. But, at the same time it’s impossible to deny that by the end of the book, Mac is willing and trying…trying to understand Hailey and what motivates him, and trying to do better.

Having said all that, if you read this book as a modern, not-Christmassy, play on A Christmas Carol, as the book itself does once or twice, Him Improvement was a gentle, sexy, and mostly angst-free read with a fairy-tale feel, which is pretty much how I prefer my romances.

Him Improvement is definitely not a book for those who thrive on angst. If, on the other hand, you enjoy stories in which love literally overcomes all, you’re going to adore this book.

Which leaves me with just one question: Will Declan get his own book and man?

About the Author

Tanya Chris writes feminist-friendly romance in a variety of sub-genres and pairings--most especially M/M. Born on the West Coast and raised on the East Coast, she's fact-based but thirsty for justice, and her books often include an examination of a current social issue, even when they're set in the past. As a lifelong genre-hopping reader herself, she admires character-driven work with a message, regardless of the form it takes. 

Tanya is an avid rock climber, a long-distance runner, and a participant in her local community theater where she has tackled most roles, including playwright, actor, director, producer, and stage manager. Her travels, both for climbing trips and for cultural exploration, have brought her to places as fascinating as Egypt and as beautiful as the Dolomites, though there's no place like home. 

Tanya is best known to readers for having written Aftercare and to writers for the quote "Writer culture is researching what degree is needed to be a paleontologist so your shapeshifting vampire dinosaur erotica will be authentic." Her website features dozens of free stories, including the aforementioned (and highly authentic) shapeshifting vampire dinosaur erotica. 


Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of two ebooks from Tanya's backlist


Sunday, 1 September 2019

Kel’s Keeper by K.C. Wells

Release Date: September 1st 2019
 240 Pages

Available wide for September, then on Kindle Unlimited from October 1st.


When Kel Taylor’s life changes irrevocably, he finds himself alone in the world. He might have rebelled a little against his parents, but that didn’t mean he was ready to lose them. Unable to cope with his grief and feelings of guilt, he turns to booze, but before he hits rock bottom, someone dives into the murky waters to save him.

Luc Bryant watched Kel grow from the little kid whose football broke a pane in his greenhouse, into the sexy young man who sent heat racing through him. That was when Luc stopped watching and distanced himself, because he didn’t want to be that kind of a man. And that’s how things continued, until he saw to what depths the boy had sunk. Luc will be damned if he’ll let Kel kill himself. What Kel needs is a friend, and Luc’s shoulders are plenty big enough to bear his burdens.

Kel doesn’t need a friend. He needs a pair of strong arms to hold him, a broad chest to curl up against, someone to listen to him, someone who cares for him… and a whole lot more.
What he needs is a Daddy.
He just doesn't know it yet.

A stand alone book that contains an age gap relationship between a sexy daddy and a virgin.


Kel…and his Keeper…sighs. Oh my.

But, before I go on with my, probably somewhat gushing, review, I have to state that as far as I can remember this is the first book I read featuring a Daddy-Boy dynamic. I have on the other hand read and loved quite a few age-gap stories. So while I may not be able to ‘judge’ how well this book works as ‘daddy-kink’, I can honestly say that it is a masterful example of what a May to December (with added, extra-special flavor) romance can be.

You see, Kel’s Keeper is, first and foremost, a wonderful slow-burn and extremely sexy love story about a young man, Kel, overcoming grief and learning to accept, love, and embrace who he really is with the aid of an amazing, totally gush-worthy, older man.

Kel has been raised in a very strict religious household and has no doubt that his parents won’t be able to accept that he’s gay. As a result, Kel has hidden a large part of himself from the world at large, from his parents, and, in so far as he could, from himself ever since the day he saw their neighbor, Luc, through fresh, adolescent eyes and couldn’t deny the attraction.

Luc has kept his distance from Kel ever since he grew from the child living next door into a very attractive young man. Luc is no fool. He knows the community he lives in isn’t tolerant and that Kel’s parents are pretty much at the forefront of that intolerance. Staying firmly in the background was far safer than running the risk of anyone discovering the attraction Luc can’t deny.

Everything changes when Kel’s parents die and Kel falls apart. As much as Luc still doesn’t want to put Kel in an awkward situation, he just isn’t the kinda man who can stand back and watch somebody he cares about go to pieces.

And thus begins the beautiful, touching, heartwarming, and, eventually, incredibly sexy tale of Kel’s awakening. This story describes Kel’s journey from firmly closeted to happy and more than willing to fully embrace everything he is. And, like every journey, Kel and Luc reach their ultimate destination after a series of sub-stations along the way.

I absolutely adored Kel’s growth in this book. He slowly blossoms on the pages as he, with Luc’s, at times reluctant, guidance, discovers who he really is and what he likes, wants, and needs. You see, Luc in this book is Kel’s ‘daddy’ (or, as the titles says ‘Keeper’) long before the dynamic is mentioned, never mind introduced into their relationship. For the largest part of the book Luc focusses on Kel’s needs only, burying his own, determined to not influence Kel’s decision making in any way, shape, or form, determined to support him no matter what he decides to do the next…even if that decision ends up breaking Luc’s heart.

Kel’s voyage of discovery, his journey toward who he really is, is beautifully portrayed. The process is unrushed, organic, deeply touching and, on frequent occasions, deliciously sexy. After all, Kel is a young man and once he discovers the pleasure of intimacy and the ectasy of sex, there’s no stopping him. Just as well then, that Luc, while almost twice Kel’s age, has no problem keeping up.

It is safe to say that Luc cares for, you could say ‘keeps’ Kel, from the very start. While the ‘daddy’ aspect is touched upon at various times during the story, it isn’t until the very end that Kel has grown enough to fully understand what it means and has gotten to know himself well enough to embrace it as something he needs in his life…with Luc. Their path toward that point is a thing of beauty that took my breath away more than once.

Once again I highly recommend a gorgeous, emotional, and highly erotic story very well told by K.C. Wells.

Friday, 30 August 2019

The Arrangement – A Homestead Legacy Story by Alex Jane

Homestead Legacy #1
54k words / 194 pages

Buy links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Payhip


1895. New York.

Gabriel Webster’s pack is in trouble. His father’s failing health and his mother’s untimely death mean that the vultures are circling. It won’t be long before his family’s assets are stripped and his pack disbanded. When an offer of help arrives in the form of a marriage of convenience, he has little choice but to accept.

The arrangement would be the perfect solution, if not for one thing. Gabriel is to marry Nathaniel Hayward, the Alpha who was badly injured in the accident that killed his brother ten years before—and the man Gabriel has been in love with for as long as he can remember.

Trapped in a business arrangement masquerading as a marriage—in a strange, empty house with a damaged husband who barely tolerates him — isn’t what Gabriel expected from life.

But sometimes the last thing we want is the beginning of something more.
And an ending can be the start of something beautiful.


It’s been a while since I read a book from start to finish in a matter of hours, but I couldn’t have done anything else once I read the first paragraph of The Arrangement. Set in an alternative version of 1895 this is a beautiful and gentle love story filled with all the feels without ever getting over-dramatic or angsty.

The story is told from Gabriel’s perspective and it’s hard not to feel for him when he accepts a marriage proposal not because he expects to live the rest of his life in a loving relationship but to help his father and his fellow pack members. When it subsequently becomes clear that his reluctance doesn’t stem from disliking the man he’s to marry but, quite the opposite, from having loved him for years and fearing he’ll spend the rest of his life dealing with that love being unrequited, my heart broke for him.

Except, that’s not exactly what’s happening. In fact, it was wonderful that almost from the start it was quite obvious to the reader (but not to the characters themselves) that these two men clearly belong together. I don’t mean this in a ‘it’s a romance therefore we’ll get a happy ending’ sorta way. Gabriel’s thoughts, even before he admits as much out loud to himself, make it clear he’s never gotten over his childhood crush for Nathaniel whereas Nathaniel’s words and behavior, right from the start, make it perfectly obvious to the reader that for him too this is more than a marriage of convenience, even if he treats it as such.

This story is the slowest of slow burns. In fact, for a long time it is more about Gabriel settling into his new life and finding his feet with the other pack and house mates, than his, seemingly non-existent, relationship with Nathaniel. But that’s only on the surface because through their daily life and interactions they do grow closer, almost despite Nathaniel doing what he can to stop that from happening, be it in tiny, almost imperceptible but totally natural stages.

It was endearing and funny how while Nathaniel was the Alpha, Gabriel was on several occasions the more capable, decisive of the two. And when, at last, the real reason for Nathaniel’s standoffishness becomes clear, my heart broke for him too.

Having said that, and with my heart broken twice, I have to stress that this is not an angsty read at all. It’s emotional, touching, and occasionally sad, but never dark or painful—which is, of course, exactly how I love my stories.

Also, apropos of nothing, how could I possibly fail to fall for an Alpha with a liking for licorice. 😊      

To sum it all up, The Arrangement is a delightful, touching, and very well written story featuring two outstanding main characters as well as a cast of entertaining and fully fleshed secondaries. I highly recommend this book.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Vendetta in Death (In Death #49) by J.D. Robb

352 pages
Publisher: Piatkus


“He needed killing.
She’d researched, studied, planned the who, when, how and why for more than a year and had chosen Nigel B. McEnroy to be the first.”

When a family man is tortured, killed and left in front of his family home for all the world to see, Eve Dallas knows she is on the hunt for a particularly dangerous killer.

But death uncovers secrets and the killer leaves a note revealing the victim to be far from the family man he appears. As Eve scrambles to find out what she can to link victim and killer, another body is found. Another man with a dark and murky past.

The race is on before the killer strikes again but Eve must wrestle with her demons and her conscience as she decides whether she really wants to protect men who probably deserve everything they get...


For the first time ever, I’m reviewing an In Death title by J.D Robb before it is actually available in the shops. I’m totally addicted to this series and usually bring the latest edition home as soon as it arrives in the library branch where I work, so being fast with my review isn’t new—beating the publication date is. 😊

So, how did I get my hands on an early copy you ask? Well, picture this:

Nora Roberts was recently on holidays in Ireland (check out her blog for wonderful descriptions and photos) and took an afternoon out of her travel schedule to meet with about 170 readers/fans in the gorgeous The Lodge at Ashford Castle. I booked a ticket to the event as soon as I found out about it, turned it into a long overdue weekend trip to Ireland’s west coast, and enjoyed every single minute of it.

The ‘meet the author / book signing event’ started with a conversation between local writer Kate Kerrigan and Nora. From the start it was clear that Kate was at least as big a fan-girl as the audience which meant she touched on many subjects during what was more a friendly chat than an interview I would have mentioned too and all in a relaxed, intimate feeling atmosphere.

When I booked my ticket, I saw there would also be an opportunity to get books signed and I have to admit that I was silently raging that the event would take place about three weeks too early for the release of Vendetta in Death. So, imagine my delight when I discovered that the book seller on the day also had copies of that title available. Getting my hands on that book and getting Nora’s signature was the crown on an already perfect day.

As for the book, Vendetta in Death is exactly what I've come to expect when I open a JD Robb book. It is always a delight to return to this cast of characters who, after 49 titles, feel more like family than made up creatures, and join the while they deal with gruesome crimes.

But, for me, these crimes (horrific as they were) came with an extra layer in this book. It is very hard, in a time of ‘me too’ and men getting away with sexual assault because judges don’t want to ‘destroy their lives’, not to sympathize with a woman who decides to take matters into her own hands and extract her own, nightmarish, form of ‘justice’ where the courts and society at large have failed. (And no, I’m not advocating people taking the law into their own hands, just saying that there are times when fantasizing about it can be very satisfying).

Eve Dallas being who she is has no qualms about hunting down and arresting our vigilante, but while doing so also takes the time to make sure that those women for whom justice has been elusive find a path that might lead them there. It was the perfect balance in this book and made the story that much more realistic as well as touching for me.

For what is probably the 49th time I’m going to state that I can’t imagine ever getting tired of these books, the characters and their developing story lines, or the exquisite banter between Eve and the various other regulars, especially Roarke. It is safe to say that I’m already looking forward to book #50, even if I do have to wait until the new year for ....

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

The Third Wish by Jewel Quinlan - Audio Book Release


Owen only has one wish left. And this time, he wants to ensure it doesn’t come with nightmare side effects like his first two did. Unfortunately, Cleo, the scornful genie granting his desires, isn’t willing help. With the wish deadline fast approaching, Owen must find a way to gain Cleo’s assistance, or he’ll be stuck forever in a tangle of his own making.

Audiobook Details

Listening Time: 1 hour  18 minutes
Narrated by: Jack Calihan
Listen to a sample:

Where to buy the audiobook

Audible  |  iTunes  |  Amazon

Want the ebook instead?

Or add it to your shelf on Goodreads


“…Maybe if you’d executed my first two wishes better I wouldn’t be so strung out.” Wrong thing to say. If I could have punched myself, I would have.

Cleo stiffened, eyes wide. And then they narrowed, and I could almost see the millions of ways she was killing me in her mind right now. I braced myself for a barrage of scorn mixed with profanity. If there was one thing I’d learned about Cleo in the past couple of months, it was that she had an extensive vocabulary of swear words. Not only was her range impressive, it was also interestingly exotic. I was well acquainted with it because it’d been directed at me on the frequent occasions I managed to get her to come out of the pill box. I’d thought I’d heard it all at this point in my life, but she proved me wrong. And somehow, whenever she directed her skill at me, I couldn’t help but feel that every term she used was eminently fitting.

“I’m so sorry you’re dissatisfied with your first two wishes, Master,” she drawled in an uncharacteristically chilly tone that made me shiver. “I shall return to my vessel and spend my time reflecting on how to do better with your third wish.” She turned and moved away from the door.

Fuck. The lack of profanity made me panic. I leapt up the stairs in one bound and grabbed her arm in desperation. If she evaporated back into the box, I’d have a hell of a time getting her to come out again. “Cleo, I’m sorry. Don’t go. I’m an asshole, okay? A dick. I’m—I’m every foul word you’ve called me since we met.”

The skin of her arm was soft beneath my fingers, but the biceps was firm. Did she work out? Would a genie even need to, being able to shapeshift and all? There was a small strange golden tattoo on her arm. I watched, fascinated, as it shifted from a crescent moon, to some intricate round design that reminded me of snowflakes, and then into a symbol of some kind. This close, her scent was warm in my nostrils. It was a mix of jasmine, incense, and something spicy that I had yet to identify. The intoxicating medley had visited me in my dreams more than once.

“Take … your hand … off me.”

The words were spoken slowly and in a deadly acid that had me snatching my hand back as though I’d touched a hot exhaust pipe. She glared up at me and twitched her arm as if to dislodge any germs I’d left on her creamy skin.

“Sorry. So sorry,” I said, my words coming out light and breathy as though I might set off a bomb. I took a half step back from her, lifting my hands in front of me in that universal I’m-not-armed gesture. “Please don’t go,” I pleaded. “I really need your help. Please.”

There were less than three days left for me to make my third wish, and I was desperate not to fuck it up.  I’d made the first two rather quickly, and they hadn’t turned out exactly as I’d hoped. Well, no, I can’t say that. I’d gotten exactly what I’d wished for. I was now ridiculously wealthy and famous. The problem was that both of those things had come with a lot of problems, like fleeing from people who were trying to kill me for reasons I had yet to determine. And I really didn’t want to spend the rest of my life using my new, magically-granted resources running, hiding, and generally having to look over my shoulder for the rest of my days. Of course, I could always wish to undo the first two wishes. But who in their right mind would do that? I ran a hand through my hair, and pleaded with her with my eyes.

Cleo made a scoffing noise and raked a critical gaze from my black biker boots, over my favorite well-worn jeans and grey t-shirt, and finally to my face, which no doubt looked more haggard than ever from worry and an overgrown five o’clock shadow. “And why should I help you? Out of the goodness of my heart?”

I scrambled to think of something to say, but my mind was blank. I was a mere human. And before she’d come into my life, I was only doing a passable job at being that. There was nothing I could give her that she couldn’t give herself, not even freedom.

“I can’t think of anything,” I said, feeling deflated. “But maybe you can.” It was a shot in the dark, but worth it. There was a faint glimmer in her caramel-colored eyes that signaled I was on the right track. Inspired, I pushed forward, desperate. “Is there something?”

She relaxed her stance, making hope soar within me. Then she dropped her gaze to the floor as if—No. Could it be?—as if she was reluctant to say it. I closed the gap between us again, feeling bolder, but I didn’t touch her. “Tell me,” I urged in a low voice, fascinated. “I want to know. No, I have to know. What I could possibly give you that you would want?”

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About the Author

Jewel Quinlan is a bestselling paranormal and contemporary romance author. Since her debut in late 2013, she has published seventeen stories and has many more to come. Restless by nature, she is an avid traveler and has visited sixteen countries so far. Lover of ice cream, dark beer, and red wine, she tries to stay fit when she’s not typing madly on her computer drafting another romance novel. In her spare time, she likes to do yoga, hike, learn German, and play with her spoiled Chihuahua, Penny.

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