Friday, June 9, 2017

Saturday's Series Spotlight: Phoebe Pope by Nya Jade

Titles: The Year of Four & The Blood of Kings
Author: Nya Jade
Series: Phoebe Pope #1 & 2
Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult
Release Dates: The Year of Four - October 28, 2012
The Blood of Kings - April 14, 2017

The Year of Four #1
The students of Green Lane Academy roam their halls unaware that below their manicured campus exists a prestigious school of an entirely different kind . . .

Sixteen-year-old Phoebe Pope has enrolled at the Campus Below: a spy academy for shape-shifters hidden deep beneath the grounds of a boarding school whose humans unknowingly protect it. There, thanks to a carefully planned schedule, she leads a double life: spy trainee Below and normal teenager Above.

As if two course loads, concealing a secret power she alone wields, and coping with her father’s recent death weren’t enough, Phoebe finds herself developing major feelings for actor and teen heartthrob Colten Chase, who attends the Campus Above and appears to be majoring in winning Phoebe’s heart. But when officials learn that Phoebe may be at the center of a startling prophecy, she becomes the target of shape-shifting assassins who will stop at nothing to suppress the truth.

Now Phoebe’s lessons about Shaper’s enemies and spycraft take on great importance as a menace stalks the campus, with Phoebe as its target. Meanwhile, what began as an unlikely relationship with Colten, quickly morphs into heartache when she suspects that something sinister lurks beneath this movie star’s glitter and fame. Suddenly, Phoebe’s caught in a mesh of lies, betrayals, and danger where she doesn’t know who to trust, and needs to rely on herself—and her secret power—to get to the truth and to stay alive.

The Blood of Kings #2
According to the press, Phoebe Pope and teen movie star Colten Chase are no longer an item—which is just how the happy new couple like it. And yet there’s trouble in paradise . . .

Phoebe is haunted by dreams that show her things she can’t possibly know about—including a pact between Colten and a wanted assassin. In the daylight, she struggles to keep a newly emerging power hidden, even as her hands itch to wield it.

Meanwhile, in the wake of their escape from a Vigo crèche, Phoebe and her fellow Hyphas study under lock and key at the Campus Below. As the foursome wait to see who among them will fulfill the prophecy, someone dear to Phoebe is kidnapped by a powerful Vigo determined to use her to spy on the Shaper royalty. When the Hyphas are called to the Royal Court, Phoebe refuses to heed warnings of imminent danger for she will do whatever it takes to rescue her loved one.

But once at court, nothing is as it first appears. A sinister force controls some royals, while others whisper behind closed doors about forbidden alliances. And as Phoebe draws on her courage to complete the task set by her enemy, she makes a startling discovery—one that upends her father’s memory.

With dangerous conspiracies surfacing, Phoebe must uncover what the Royal Shapers really want from her, and decide whether there’s room for Colten in her unraveling life

The Year of Four #1
Phoebe was too far away to sense whether the boy had one heart or two. Through the maze of trees with clattering leaves, she could see him moving with purposeful speed. He was headed toward her destination—a brownstone chapel perched at the top of a small hill. Not knowing the boy’s nature made Phoebe hesitate. Then came the sound of tower bells. Eight o’clock. There was no time to think of an alternate route. She was officially late for the Conversion.

A loud, echoing crack quickened Phoebe’s pace as lightning slashed the indigo sky above her. She had barely reached the base of the hill when rain began pounding down. Clutching the camera that hung from the strap around her neck, she sprinted the final stretch, arriving breathless.

Phoebe wiped the rain from her face, and then entered the chapel. Inside, light from moon-facing windows cast a misty glow across the sanctuary, the air redolent with the smoke of a blazing fireplace. She glanced around the heart of the nondenominational Green Lane Academy. It seemed so ordinary, so quiet, even peaceful. Rows of pews with velvet cushions ran the width of the room. She moved between them, taking care to remain in the shadows. An irregular shape in a dark corner caught her eye and Phoebe could just barely make out the outline of the boy. He knelt with his head between his hands, his body huddled against a pew. Praying.

Phoebe paused several feet away and waited. After a moment she felt energy seeping from the boy’s skin, raising the hairs on hers. Cold and electric, it meant one thing: the boy had only one heart. She couldn’t risk him seeing what she had come there to do. That meant waiting. Just then, something stirred behind her.

Phoebe Pope
Tell us about your family.
My mom's human and my father was a Shaper - a race of shape-shifter. That's what makes me a Hypha (half human, half shape-shifter). I'm an only child and I live with my maternal grandfather when I'm not at boarding school.

What was the scariest moment of your life?
The night I was tortured. . . I really don't want to talk about it right now. I hope that's okay. . . .

What is your favorite meal?
A hot bowl of soup – lentil or tomato - with a big salad and a scone on the side.

Do you play any sports?
I'm allergic to sports - well, at least the ones that involve moving balls.

What do you do to unwind and relax?
I take early morning photographs. I enjoy watching the rest of the world wake up.

Who should play you in a film?
I'm tall so I'm not sure. But if my story got turned into a major film, I'd love a newbie to play me. It would be awesome to have my movie be someone's big break!

Do you have a favorite quote?
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." - Oscar Wilde

Author Bio:
Nya Jade has enjoyed a fun career as a singer-songwriter. Her music videos have aired on the Vh1, BET and MTV networks and she’s opened for some of the biggest names in music. Nya’s music has also received recognition in major publications, including USA Today and the LA Times. She took a break from writing and performing music to write The Year of Four, her first YA novel. When she isn’t writing, Nya can be found hanging out with family and friends, reading or bargain hunting for her next pair of funky shoes. Nya lives with her family in California.



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Friday's Film Adaptions: The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

A dying millionaire hires private eye Philip Marlowe to handle the blackmailer of one of his two troublesome daughters, and Marlowe finds himself involved with more than extortion. Kidnapping, pornography, seduction, and murder are just a few of the complications he gets caught up in.

"Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid....He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man.

This is the Code of the Private Eye as defined by Raymond Chandler in his 1944 essay 'The Simple Act of Murder.' Such a man was Philip Marlowe, private eye, an educated, heroic, streetwise, rugged individualist and the hero of Chandler's first novel, The Big Sleep. This work established Chandler as the master of the 'hard-boiled' detective novel, and his articulate and literary style of writing won him a large audience, which ranged from the man in the street to the most sophisticated intellectual.

Marlowe subsequently appeared in a series of extremely popular novels, among them The Lady in the Lake, The Long Goodbye, and Farewell, My Lovely." ~ Elizabeth Diefendorf, editor, The New York Public Library's Books of the Century, p. 112.

Selected as one of Time Magazine's All-Time 100 Novels, with the following review: "'I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn't care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be.' This sentence, from the first paragraph of The Big Sleep, marks the last time you can be fully confident that you know what's going on.

The first novel by Raymond Chandler at the age of 51.

It was about eleven o'clock in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills. I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn't care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars.

The main hallway of the Sternwood place was two stories high. Over the entrance doors, which would have let in a troop of Indian elephants, there was a broad stained-glass panel showing a knight in dark armor rescuing a lady who was tied to a tree and didn't have any clothes on but some very long and convenient hair. The knight had pushed the vizor of his helmet back to be sociable, and he was fiddling with the knots on the ropes that tied the lady to the tree and not getting anywhere. I stood there and thought that if I lived in the house, I would sooner or later have to climb up there and help him. He didn't seem to be really trying.

There were French doors at the back of the hall, beyond them a wide sweep of emerald grass to a white garage, in front of which a slim dark young chauffeur in shiny black leggings was dusting a maroon Packard convertible. Beyond the garage were some decorative trees trimmed as carefully as poodle dogs. Beyond them a large greenhouse with a domed roof. Then more trees and beyond everything the solid, uneven, comfortable line of the foothills.

On the east side of the hall a free staircase, tile-paved, rose to a gallery with a wrought-iron railing and another piece of stained-glass romance. Large hard chairs with rounded red plush seats were backed into the vacant spaces of the wall round about. They didn't look as if anybody had ever sat in them. In the middle of the west wall there was a big empty fireplace with a brass screen in four hinged panels, and over the fireplace a marble mantel with cupids at the corners. Above the mantel there was a large oil portrait, and above the portrait two bullet-torn or moth-eaten cavalry pennants crossed in a glass frame. The portrait was a stiffly posed job of an officer in full regimentals of about the time of the Mexican war. The officer had a neat black imperial, black mustachios, hot hard coal-black eyes, and the general look of a man it would pay to get along with. I thought this might be General Sternwood's grandfather. It could hardly be the General himself, even though I had heard he was pretty far gone in years to have a couple of daughters still in the dangerous twenties.

I was still staring at the hot black eyes when a door opened far back under the stairs. It wasn't the butler coming back. It was a girl.

She was twenty or so, small and delicately put together, but she looked durable. She wore pale blue slacks and they looked well on her. She walked as if she were floating. Her hair was a fine tawny wave cut much shorter than the current fashion of pageboy tresses curled in at the bottom. Her eyes were slate-gray, and had almost no expression when they looked at me. She came over near me and smiled with her mouth and she had little sharp predatory teeth, as white as fresh orange pith and as shiny as porcelain. They glistened between her thin too taut lips. Her face lacked color and didn't look too healthy.

"Tall, aren't you?" she said.

"I didn't mean to be."

Her eyes rounded. She was puzzled. She was thinking. I could see, even on that short acquaintance, that thinking was always going to be a bother to her.

"Handsome too," she said. "And I bet you know it."

I grunted.

"What's your name?"

"Reilly," I said. "Doghouse Reilly."

"That's a funny name." She bit her lip and turned her head a little and looked at me along her eyes. Then she lowered her lashes until they almost cuddled her cheeks and slowly raised them again, like a theater curtain. I was to get to know that trick. That was supposed to make me roll over on my back with all four paws in the air.

"Are you a prizefighter?" she asked, when I didn't.

"Not exactly. I'm a sleuth."

"A--a--" She tossed her head angrily, and the rich color of it glistened in the rather dim light of the big hall. "You're making fun of me."



"Get on with you," I said. "You heard me."

"You didn't say anything. You're just a big tease." She put a thumb up and bit it. It was a curiously shaped thumb, thin and narrow like an extra finger, with no curve in the first joint. She bit it and sucked it slowly, turning it around in her mouth like a baby with a comforter.

"You're awfully tall," she said. Then she giggled with secret merriment. Then she turned her body slowly and lithely, without lifting her feet. Her hands dropped limp at her sides. She tilted herself towards me on her toes. She fell straight back into my arms. I had to catch her or let her crack her head on the tessellated floor. I caught her under her arms and she went rubber-legged on me instantly. I had to hold her close to hold her up. When her bead was against my chest she screwed it around and giggled at me.

"You're cute," she giggled. "I'm cute too."

I didn't say anything. So the butler chose that convenient moment to come back through the French doors and see me holding her.

It didn't seem to bother him. He was a tall, thin, silver man, sixty or close to it or a little past it. He had blue eyes as remote as eyes could be. His skin was smooth and bright and he moved like a man with very sound muscles. He walked slowly across the floor towards us and the girl jerked away from me. She flashed across the room to the foot of the stairs and went up them like a deer. She was gone before I could draw a long breath and let it out.

The butler said tonelessly: "The General will see you now, Mr. Marlowe."

I pushed my lower jaw up off my chest and nodded at him. "Who was that?"

"Miss Carmen Sternwood, sir."

"You ought to wean her. She looks old enough."

He looked at me with grave politeness and repeated what he had said.

We went out at the French doors and along a smooth red-flagged path that skirted the far side of the lawn from the garage. The boyish-looking chauffeur had a big black and chromium sedan out now and was dusting that. The path took us along to the side of the greenhouse and the butler opened a door for me and stood aside. It opened into a sort of vestibule that was about as warm as a slow oven. He came in after me, shut the outer door, opened an inner door and we went through that. Then it was really hot. The air was thick, wet, steamy and larded with the cloying smell of tropical orchids in bloom. The glass walls and roof were heavily misted and big drops of moisture splashed down on the plants. The light had an unreal greenish color, like light filtered through an aquarium tank. The plants filled the place, a forest of them, with nasty meaty leaves and stalks like the newly washed fingers of dead men. They smelled as overpowering as boiling alcohol under a blanket.

The butler did his best to get me through without being smacked in the face by the sodden leaves, and after a while we came to a clearing in the middle of the jungle, under the domed roof. Here, in a space of hexagonal flags, an old red Turkish rug was laid down and on the rug was a wheel chair, and in the wheel chair an old and obviously dying man watched us come with black eyes from which all fire had died long ago, but which still had the coal-black directness of the eyes in the portrait that hung above the mantel in the hall. The rest of his face was a leaden mask, with the bloodless lips and the sharp nose and the sunken temples and the outward-turning earlobes of approaching dissolution. His long narrow body was wrapped--in that heat--in a traveling rug and a faded red bathrobe. His thin clawlike hands were folded loosely on the rug, purple-nailed. A few locks of dry white hair clung to his scalp, like wild flowers fighting for life on a bare rock.

The butler stood in front of him and said: "This is Mr. Marlowe, General."

The old man didn't move or speak, or even nod. He just looked at me lifelessly. The butler pushed a damp wicker chair against the backs of my legs and I sat down. He took my hat with a deft scoop.

Then the old man dragged his voice up from the bottom of a well and said: "Brandy, Norris. How do you like your brandy, sir?"

"Any way at all," I said.

The butler went away among the abominable plants. The General spoke again, slowly, using his strength as carefully as an out-of-work show-girl uses her last good pair of stockings.

"I used to like mine with champagne. The champagne as cold as Valley Forge and about a third of a glass of brandy beneath it. You may take your coat off, sir. It's too hot in here for a man with blood in his veins."

I stood up and peeled off my coat and got a handkerchief out and mopped my face and neck and the backs of my wrists. St. Louis in August had nothing on that place. I sat down again and I felt automatically for a cigarette and then stopped. The old man caught the gesture and smiled faintly.

"You may smoke, sir. I like the smell of tobacco."

I lit the cigarette and blew a lungful at him and he sniffed at it like a terrier at a rathole. The faint smile pulled at the shadowed corners of his mouth.

"A nice state of affairs when a man has to indulge his vices by proxy," he said dryly. "You are looking at a very dull survival of a rather gaudy life, a cripple paralyzed in both legs and with only half of his lower belly. There's very little that I can eat and my sleep is so close to waking that it is hardly worth the name. I seem to exist largely on heat, like a newborn spider, and the orchids are an excuse for the heat. Do you like orchids?"

"Not particularly," I said.

The General half-closed his eyes. "They are nasty things. Their flesh is too much like the flesh of men. And their perfume has the rotten sweetness of a prostitute."

I stared at him with my mouth open. The soft wet heat was like a pall around us. The old man nodded, as if his neck was afraid of the weight of his head. Then the butler came pushing back through the jungle with a teawagon, mixed me a brandy and soda, swathed the copper ice bucket with a damp napkin, and went away softly among the orchids. A door opened and shut behind the jungle.

I sipped the drink. The old man licked his lips watching me, over and over again, drawing one lip slowly across the other with a funeral absorption, like an undertaker dry-washing his hands.

"Tell me about yourself, Mr. Marlowe. I suppose I have a right to ask?"

"Sure, but there's very little to tell. I'm thirty-three years old, went to college once and can still speak English if there's any demand for it. There isn't much in my trade. I worked for Mr. Wilde, the District Attorney, as an investigator once. His chief investigator, a man named Bernie Ohls, called me and told me you wanted to see me. I'm unmarried because I don't like policemen's wives."

"And a little bit of a cynic," the old man smiled. "You didn't like working for Wilde?"

"I was fired. For insubordination. I test very high on insubordination, General."

"I always did myself, sir. I'm glad to hear it. What do you know about my family?"

"I'm told you are a widower and have two young daughters, both pretty and both wild. One of them has been married three times, the last time to an ex-bootlegger who went in the trade by the name of Rusty Regan. That's all I heard, General."

"Did any of it strike you as peculiar?"

"The Rusty Regan part, maybe. But I always got along with bootleggers myself."

He smiled his faint economical smile. "It seems I do too. I'm very fond of Rusty. A big curly-headed Irishman from Clonmel, with sad eyes and a smile as wide as Wilshire Boulevard. The first time I saw him I thought he might be what you are probably thinking he was, an adventurer who happened to get himself wrapped up in some velvet."

"You must have liked him," I said. "You learned to talk the language."

He put his thin bloodless hands under the edge of the rug. I put my cigarette stub out and finished my drink.

"He was the breath of life to me--while he lasted. He spent hours with me, sweating like a pig, drinking brandy by the quart and telling me stories of the Irish revolution. He had been an officer in the I.R.A. He wasn't even legally in the United States. It was a ridiculous marriage of course, and it probably didn't last a month, as a marriage. I'm telling you the family secrets, Mr. Marlowe."

"They're still secrets," I said. "What happened to him?"

The old man looked at me woodenly. "He went away, a month ago. Abruptly, without a word to anyone. Without saying good-bye to me. That hurt a little, but he had been raised in a rough school. I'll hear from him one of these days. Meantime I am being blackmailed again."

Private eye Philip Marlowe investigates a society girl's involvement in the murder of a pornographer.

Release Date: August 23, 1946
Release Time: 116 minutes

Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe
Lauren Bacall as Vivian Sternwood Rutledge
John Ridgely as Eddie Mars
Martha Vickers as Carmen Sternwood
Dorothy Malone as Acme Bookstore proprietress
Peggy Knudsen as Mona Mars
Regis Toomey as Chief Inspector Bernie Ohls
Charles Waldron as General Sternwood
Charles D. Brown as Norris
Bob Steele as Lash Canino
Elisha Cook, Jr. as Harry Jones
Louis Jean Heydt as Joe Brody
Sonia Darrin as Agnes Lowzier
Tommy Rafferty as Carol Lundgren (uncredited)

General Sternwood: How do you like your brandy, sir?
Marlowe: In a glass.
Vivian: I don't like your manners.
Marlowe: And I'm not crazy about yours. I didn't ask to see you. I don't mind if you don't like my manners, I don't like them myself. They are pretty bad. I grieve over them on long winter evenings. I don't mind your ritzing me drinking your lunch out of a bottle. But don't waste your time trying to cross-examine me.
Female Taxi Driver: If you can use me again sometime, call this number.
Marlowe: Day and night?
Female Taxi Driver: Uh, night's better. I work during the day.
Carmen Sternwood: Is he as cute as you are?
Marlowe: Nobody is.
Marlowe: My, my, my! Such a lot of guns around town and so few brains! You know, you're the second guy I've met today that seems to think a gat in the hand means the world by the tail.



Author Bio:
Raymond Thornton Chandler was an American novelist and screenwriter.

In 1932, at age forty-four, Raymond Chandler decided to become a detective fiction writer after losing his job as an oil company executive during the Depression. His first short story, "Blackmailers Don't Shoot", was published in 1933 in Black Mask, a popular pulp magazine. His first novel, The Big Sleep, was published in 1939. In addition to his short stories, Chandler published just seven full novels during his lifetime (though an eighth in progress at his death was completed by Robert B. Parker). All but Playback have been realized into motion pictures, some several times. In the year before he died, he was elected president of the Mystery Writers of America. He died on March 26, 1959, in La Jolla, California.

Chandler had an immense stylistic influence on American popular literature, and is considered by many to be a founder, along with Dashiell Hammett, James M. Cain and other Black Mask writers, of the hard-boiled school of detective fiction. Chandler's Philip Marlowe, along with Hammett's Sam Spade, are considered by some to be synonymous with "private detective," both having been played on screen by Humphrey Bogart, whom many considered to be the quintessential Marlowe.

Some of Chandler's novels are considered to be important literary works, and three are often considered to be masterpieces: Farewell, My Lovely (1940), The Little Sister (1949), and The Long Goodbye (1953). The Long Goodbye is praised within an anthology of American crime stories as "arguably the first book since Hammett's The Glass Key, published more than twenty years earlier, to qualify as a serious and significant mainstream novel that just happened to possess elements of mystery".



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Spring Break by Elle Keaton

Title: Spring Break
Author: Elle Keaton
Series: Accidental Roots #3
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: June 6, 2017
Sometimes a guy needs a break. Carroll Weir got one--but it wasn't what he expected.

All he dreams of is escaping dreary, damp Skagit, WA, for a warmer climate. Instead, Federal Investigator Carroll Weir is assigned to a cross-agency case involving geoduck smugglers and a very dead Fish and Wildlife Detective.

Sterling Bailey, the regular bartender at the Loft, likes to think of his customers and employees as family since he doesn’t have one of his own. Exhausted and tense, Carroll Weir wanders in one night and one thing leads to another. All in a night’s work, right?

Who murdered Fish and Wildlife Detective Peter Krystad? Does the killer have Weir in his sights? Things begin to heat up between them but Sterling and Weir will have to move past their personal history in order to change the course of their future.

The spark burning between them is hot enough to scald unless they’re careful somebody’s going to get burned.

Though part of the Accidental Roots Series this book can be read as a standalone.

Carroll Weir can't wait to leave soggy Skagit behind now that everything that brought him there is wrapped up but as we all know life doesn't always work how we want, Skagit is not done with Agent Weir.  Sterling Bailey sees so much as the bartender of The Loft but nothing surprises him because of his past and the love he has for his little sister is what brought him home to Skagit.  When their paths cross in a late night hook-up, we all know it's going to become more and boy does it ever!

The mystery and drama that fills the pages of Spring Break may have nothing to do with what was in books one and two, so it is readable by itself and not necessary to have read them first.  Personally, I am glad that I read Storm Season and No Pressure first, the main characters from those two stories pop up as secondary characters and it just made it flow better having known their story.  But I will admit that had I not, I wouldn't have been lost.

Weir and Bailey's journey is a wonderful tale of lust, fighting, friendship, mystery, but mostly it is filled with heart that had me hooked from beginning to end.  With Spring Break, Elle Keaton has cemented her place on my author's to watch list and I can't wait to see what she brings next to the Accidental Roots series.


Author Bio:
Author, photographer, rare Pacific Northwest Native, Elle grew up in Seattle, WA., with the Cascade Mountain range to the east and Olympics to the west. Less than two hours northwest lie the majestic San Juan Islands. To the northeast is the Methow Valley and the scrub deserts of Eastern Washington. Geography ripe with material.

A graduate of Western Washington University, Elle has a BS in biology which taught her to be tenacious. The closest she has come to biology since then is having two kids. Like an experiment or something. She’s lived in four states (none of which were gaseous), London England, and Hong Kong; always knows what time it is, and has no problem finding parking even in the most difficult places. Cannot balance a checking account.

Elle's series Accidental Roots, mostly set in the Skagit Valley of Western Washington, will make its debut spring of 2017. Storm Season is tender, sometimes irreverent, full of nosy neighbors and help when the hero didn’t think he needed it. Writing has always been a passion but not something she was able to take seriously until recently. Now her head is full of ideas and not enough time in each day.


Spring Break #3

Storm Season #1

No Pressure #2
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Stuff by Josephine Myles

Title: Stuff
Author: Josephine Myles
Series: Bristol Collection #2
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: June 8, 2017
Cover Design: Harper By Design
When Mr. Glad Rags meets Mr. Riches, the result is flaming fun.

Tobias “Mas” Maslin doesn’t need much. A place of his own, weekends spent clubbing, and a rich boyfriend for love and security. Pity his latest sugar daddy turns out to be married with kids. Mas wants to be special, not someone’s dirty little secret.

When he loses his job and his flat on the same day, Mas’s world starts unravelling… until he stumbles across a down-at-heel vintage clothes shop. Now he just needs to convince the delightfully shy owner he’s in need of a new salesman.

Perry Cavendish-Fiennes set up Cabbages and Kinks solely to annoy his controlling father. He’d much rather spend every spare moment on his true passion, art. That is until Mas comes flaming into his life, talking nineteen to the dozen and turning his world upside down.

Against his better judgment Perry offers Mas a job and a place to live, but it turns out he should have listened to his instincts. The shop is already financially on the brink, and Mas’s flirting makes him feel things he’s never felt for a man. Yet Mas seems convinced they can make a go of it—in the shop, and together. That is, until Mas’s past starts to catch up with him…

Warning: Contains an eccentric bumbling Englishman, a gobby drama queen, fantastic retro clothing, scary fairies, exes springing out of the woodwork, and a well-aimed glass of bubbly. Written in brilliantly British English.

The curtain swished back behind the young man with the angelic face, and Perry let his body sag with relief. What the blazes had been going on there? The chap clearly wanted something more than the trousers, but figuring out what was beyond Perry’s limited people skills. Perhaps he’d been sent by Perry’s father to check up on him.

But no, that was just paranoia talking, wasn’t it? His father wouldn’t stoop to underhand dealings like that. In fact, his father would probably come himself so he could deliver a lecture. If he even cared enough to check up on what Perry was doing with his life.

“There a mirror in here anywhere?” a voice called from the other room, rousing Perry from visions of his father lecturing him about wasting his potential and shirking his responsibilities. The customer. Right. Concentrate on him, who most definitively wasn’t anything more than a casual browser, because there was no way his father would employ someone in such cheap clothing.

“A mirror?”

The man poked his head around the curtain, surprising Perry into taking a step backwards. “A big shiny reflective thing. Most clothes shops have them to let people see how things fit. I mean, I can tell they’re comfy and they look good from this angle, but it’s next to impossible to get a good view of my arse. Believe me, I’ve tried.”

Perry couldn’t stop himself taking a quick peek at the rear in question. He was no expert on men’s posteriors. He was no expert on women’s either, but he had an inkling that the rear in question would probably fit most people’s definition of attractive. The burgundy wool pulled tight over rounded buttocks. Too tight, actually. There were pull lines running across and spoiling the overall look. “They don’t fit quite right. At the back. You’d need more fabric there.”

“Are you saying my bum looks big in this?” The young man batted his long eyelashes at Perry and thrust his rear end even farther out. He’d split a seam if he wasn’t careful.

“It does look a little too large. But not in a bad way,” Perry rushed to add.

“Don’t worry, I’m not offended. I’m just flattered you noticed.”

Perry hesitated before replying. Were they flirting? He’d never flirted with a man before—not knowingly, anyway—but it felt a little like the awkward conversations he’d had with women he was trying to pick up in the past. Back in the days before he’d decided to ditch that whole confusing part of the proceedings and go straight to a professional instead. “I noticed,” he ended up mumbling. “Maybe we could find you something else that fits better.”

“Nah, you’re all right. I shouldn’t really be buying anything right now anyway. Just lost my job, didn’t I?”

“Dreadfully sorry to hear that.”

Now the man was grinning at him with quite the widest, toothiest smile Perry had ever seen. “You’re a posh one, aren’t you? What are you doing hanging out in a dump like this?”

It didn’t feel like an insult, coming from someone with an expression of what felt like genuine interest. And while he knew he should probably take offence, Perry had to face it, the shop was a dump. In the end, he just stuck his hand out. “Peregrine Cavendish-Fiennes at your service. And I own this dump. Well, the business side of it. Not the premises, unfortunately, and at this rate, I’m never likely to. I live upstairs.” Now he was babbling, while the man with the pretty smile and the well-formed rear was holding his hand and stroking his thumb across the back of his hand. Definitely not a platonic handshake, and it sent a strange kind of shiver all the way up Perry’s arm and down his spine, ending up somewhere in his groin.

“Nice to meetcha, Peregrine.” The name came out tentatively, as if he was testing it on the way. “Is that like the falcon?”

“It’s a family name. My paternal great-grandfather’s. But please call me Perry. Everyone does.”

“Perry. I like it. I’m Mas. And that’s short for Tobias Maslin, so I guess that’s kind of a family name too. Not that I ever knew my dad’s surname. Some Greek waiter called Cassius, according to Mum.”

“You’re Greek?” Perhaps that explained the colouring. Mas’s bone structure was too dainty to look classically Greek, but he had a golden bloom to his skin, and the thickest dark eyelashes Perry had ever seen.

“Possibly half-Greek. Or Mum might be lying. Or he might have been lying and was really from Chigwell. There’s no real way of knowing, is there? Not without a time-machine, and I ain’t got one of those stashed away at home anywhere.” Mas seemed perfectly cheerful about his status as a bastard of indeterminate ethnicity, but then again, not everyone had been brought up in a family that could trace their ancestry back to beyond the Norman invasion. Not everyone had a family coat of arms either. Perry wished he could swap places with the hoi polloi. Life must be much simpler without the weight of all that history dragging you down.

“So, Perry, mind if I ask you a favour?” Mas began, and to his horror Perry watched him start to unbutton the trousers. “What?” Mas glanced down at his hands, then back up at Perry. Amusement glinted in his eyes. “Oh, not that kind of a favour. No need to panic. Not that I’d turn you down if you offered or anything, but I wouldn’t ask. Well, that’s bullshit. If we were in a club, I might. You’ve got a lush set of lips on you. Bet they’d feel amazing.”

Perry clapped his hand over his mouth.

Junk #1
He loves a good book, but he could love a good man more…

When an avalanche of books cuts off access to his living room, university librarian Jasper Richardson has to face up to the truth. His ever-growing heaps of books, magazines and newspaper can’t be classified as a collection any longer. Jasper is a hoarder, and he needs professional help.

Professional clutter clearer and counsellor Lewis Miller thinks he’s seen it all, but even he has to admit he’s shocked. Not so much from the state of Jasper’s house but from the attraction he still feels for the sexy bookworm he went to school with.

However, Lewis's ethical code forbids relationships with clients, and besides, he's determined to get over his habit of falling for unsuitable men he hopes to "fix". But as Jasper continues to make steady progress the magnetic attraction between them is so strong even Lewis has problems convincing himself it’s merely a temporary emotional attachment arising from the therapeutic process.

Jasper is determined to prove to Lewis that this is the real deal. But first he'll have to explore the root of his hoarding problem—and reveal the dark secret hidden behind his walls of books.

Warning: Contains a level-headed counsellor with a secret addiction, a bespectacled geek with a sweet tooth, a killer “to-be-read” pile, embarrassing parents, a van called Alice, and deliciously British slang.

Author Bio:
English through and through, Josephine Myles is addicted to tea and busy cultivating a reputation for eccentricity. She writes gay erotica and romance, but finds the erotica keeps cuddling up to the romance, and the romance keeps corrupting the erotica. Jo blames her rebellious muse but he never listens to her anyway, no matter how much she threatens him with a big stick. She’s beginning to suspect he enjoys it.

Jo’s novel Stuff won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Bisexual Romance, and her novella Merry Gentlemen won the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Romantic Comedy. She loves to be busy, and is currently having fun trying to work out how she is going to fit in her love of writing, dressmaking and attending cabaret shows in fabulous clothing around the demands of a preteen with special needs and an incessantly curious toddler.


Stuff #2

Junk #1

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