Book Blitz & Excerpt: Chasing Hope + Giveaway

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Book Title:  Chasing Hope

Author: Gwen Martin

Publisher:  Self-Published

Cover Artist: Cate Ashwood Designs 

Release Date: February 19, 2021 

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: Small Town Romance, Hurt/Comfort, Out for You, Second Chance at Love, Bisexual Romance 

Themes:  Finding Love after Loss 

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 68 000 words/ 177 pages

It is a standalone story.

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Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link  |  Amazon US  |   Amazon UK 

 

Chasing Hope

Loss chased him away, hope brought him love 

 

Blurb 

Sean is only twenty-seven, but he’s already lost everything that gave him life. On the verge of losing hope for a future, he moves to a town where no one knows about him, the death of his child, or his failed marriage; but when his nightmares and his guilt follow him without the pitying glares, he realizes he can’t move forward on his own.

Jonah has worked tirelessly to keep his father’s memory alive and be a fixture in the small town he grew up in. Now, nearing forty, his dreams have been long forgotten to keep everyone else’s alive, and he doesn’t know how to reclaim his life as his own without losing his last connection to his father.

But when the two men’s lives collide, they’re forced to confront their grief and accept that there can be life and hope after loss—if you’re willing to chase it.


Chasing Hope is a 68k small-town, second chance at love, M/M Romance. There are subject matters in this book that may act as triggers for some. Readers are invited to check out the complete trigger warning on the copyright page, which can be viewed by clicking on the “Look Inside” preview or by downloading the sample. These triggers contain spoilers for the book.

 Chasing Hope

Excerpt

“Well, don’t ever do what I did and sleep with your best friend’s brother.” Jonah rubbed the back of his neck, color tinting his cheeks. “I said that wrong. There’s no ill will or anything. It didn’t last long.”

When Sean spoke, his voice came out hoarse and shaky. “I’m sorry.” 

Jonah waved his hand. “Eh, it’s not a big deal. It was a long time ago, and we’re still super close. Candice worries I’ll never date again but dating at 37 is far harder than when you’re in your twenties.”

Sean laughed. “Oh really? Because I’m 27 and I can say that having been married and divorced by the time I was 26 isn’t exactly great dinner date conversation.”  

Jonah shifted in his seat, resting his arm along the back of the couch. His hand grazed over Sean’s shoulder, his eyes watching the pattern they traced. “Well, that’s a shame on their part. They’re definitely missing out.” 

Sean’s entire body was vibrating, and the muscles in his legs quaking. He didn’t know what he was doing, he didn’t know if he could confess the truth of his sexuality again. Sean had already tried twice, and both times had failed miserably.

Sean had once gone bungee jumping with Parker over the Colossus Bridge in Italy. He didn’t know what he was doing, but the massive expanse of green was so vivid it looked like a photograph. The man who had geared him up spoke broken English and said with a thick Italian accent, “You fly. Be free. Nowhere else but here.”

Sean wanted to take that leap again. Wanted to be free. Wanted to fly.

He leaned over and kissed Jonah.

It wasn’t the best kiss. If anything, judging by Sean’s history of kissing, it was embarrassingly awful. He was a little off center from Jonah’s mouth, and Sean’s lips slid over to the corner. At the same time, he lingered a second too long, and Jonah gasped in surprise, causing Sean’s tongue to slide under Jonah’s bottom lip.

He pulled back, his face burning. Jonah’s hand lifted to his lips, eyes round with shock. Sean couldn’t control his breathing, his hands balling into fists. He licked his lips again, eager to taste Jonah on his tongue. Jonah’s eyes trailed down to Sean’s mouth and stayed there for a protracted beat.

“Um,” Jonah said, his lips pursing out a bit. “That—”

“I’m not straight,” Sean said, blurting the words a bit louder than intended. The rest tumbled out, glued together, sticky and rushed. “I tried to tell you before, but I messed up and I couldn’t—I couldn’t—I mean, I didn’t want to—”

Jonah pressed a finger to Sean’s lips, silencing him. His eyes appeared bluer in the dimming late afternoon, his hair framing his sharp jawline. Sean’s breath came out in ragged huffs as Jonah traced his fingertips along Sean’s chin, over his jaw, and around his temple. He combed those same fingers through Sean’s hair, and Sean couldn’t help but let his eyes flutter shut, lean into the touch.

“When I dated Lee, we didn’t tell anyone because I was worried about Candice finding out about her brother and best friend hooking up,” Jonah said, his voice quiet but even. 

Sean tried to listen, tried to pay attention, but it was hard with Jonah’s dull nails scraping along his scalp. He shivered, biting the inside of his cheek hard. 

Jonah drew closer, his other hand resting on Sean’s hip. “In the end we realized it wasn’t meant to be. We decided we were better off as friends, and a few months later he started dating the man who is now his husband. They’re better together than we ever would’ve been.”

Jonah’s breath ghosted over Sean’s mouth as he whispered, “There’s been no one since.”

Sean breathed hard through his nose when Jonah’s hand cupped around the back of his neck. “No one?”

“Well, there is someone,” Jonah murmured, low and rumbly.

“Ye-yeah?” Sean whispered. His eyes remained closed, too scared to open them and see how Jonah’s eyes looked. He imagined they were full of heat and as captivating as a clear summer sky. Breathing became difficult, and his heartbeat ramped up to a gallop.

“Yeah,” Jonah said, his voice breathy. “I really want to kiss you. Is that okay?” Jonah whispered. 

The huskiness of his voice swirled around Sean like a sharp wind, overwhelming and shocking. He gripped Jonah’s t-shirt and pulled him closer. 

“Yes,” Sean said. He wanted to sound confident and sure, but instead his voice came out raw and desperate. The next word slipped between his lips on its own accord. “Please.”

 

About the Author 

Gwen Martin grew up in Florida where the sun was always shining, the humidity was high, and Disney was just a hop skip away. She currently lives in Knoxville, Tennessee to experience seasons and be closer to the mountains. When she’s not trying to write one of her million story ideas, she’s usually hanging out with her husband and four cats. 

Gwen first started writing at a young age, coming up with stories in class instead of paying attention to the math lesson. Since then she has been exploring her love of writing in various fan communities where she has learned how to cultivate character development and romantic interactions. 

She has a strong love affair with cold brew coffee, black cats, and nerding out in various fandoms. When she’s not writing, she’s reading everything she can get her hands on, listening to a lot of lo-fi and making playlists, chilling with her four gatos and obsessing about Pusheen. Because it’s always about Pusheen.

 

Social Media Links

Blog/Website  |   Facebook Group  |  Instagram  |   Newsletter Sign-up

 

 

Giveaway 

Enter the Giveaway for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: #SlidingIntoMyDMs + Giveaway

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Book Title: #SlidingIntoMyDMs

Author: Nell Iris

Publisher: JMS Books 

Cover Artist: Written Ink Designs

Release Date: February 17, 2021

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope: Friends-to-lovers

Themes: Bisexual character, 40+ characters, old friends reconnecting

Heat Rating: 3 flames  

Length:  21 998 words

It is a standalone story.

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Buy Links

Publisher – JMS Books  

Universal Link 

 

sliding into my DM

It all started with a DM on Instagram

 

Blurb

“Hi. I heard you’ve been sick.”

Eddy Pennington is recovering from a severe bout of pneumonia when an old acquaintance, Moss, sends him a message on social media. They haven’t spoken in years, but Eddy is pleasantly surprised. He always liked Moss even if they were never close friends.

Moss Fanning has no ulterior motive with his message: all he wants is wish Eddy a speedy recovery. He got over the crush he used to have on Eddy a long time ago.

They reconnect easily and have even more in common now. And when they meet in person, the attraction is instant. Will an innocent, well-meaning message on social media lead to something more? Something deeper? Something…everlasting?

Excerpt 

I bump my shoulder against his. “You are fucking perfect, Moss Fanning.”

His hand brushes against mine, sending a shower of sparks up my arm. “Nah.”

“Don’t fight me on this. You don’t want to upset a poor, sick man.” 

Moss chuckles. “No indeed.”

We continue a while in silence before he speaks again. “If you think I’m perfect, I guess that increases the chances of you considering this a date.” It’s a calm statement, casually put out in the universe, and I like that he shows no hesitation. 

So I hook my pinkie with his. “I guess it does.”

“Good.”

Huh. I guess I’m on a date. My belly does a happy flip. 

After a few more steps spent in silence, he slips his entire hand into mine. His rough palm sends a wave of happiness up my arm, coiling itself around my soul. Our shoulders brush and intensify the emotion. 

I had no idea a simple walk could be so intense. 

“Did you have a hard time finding work here?” I try to keep my tone casual, not wanting to betray what holding his hand does to me, not wanting to draw attention to the easy way a slow walk slipped into a date. I like the ease; I hate complicated and games and playing hard to get. I hated it in my twenties, and I hate it even more now. 

“No. I come highly recommended. I’m a damned good carpenter.”

“All the more reason to take you to Anne and Rosa.”

He laughs. “You just want me for my skills, is that it?”

“Nu-uh.”

“Then what?” 

I stop on the path and make a show out of checking him out, slowly letting my gaze travel from his face, down his chest and rounded belly, lingering on his thighs—I have a thing for thick thighs—and then reversing course until I meet his gaze. 

Moss shakes his head with a fond smile and tugs my hand to get me moving again. “You’re not well enough for any of that.” 

“Nope. But I’m getting better.”

“I’m glad. We can revisit that discussion when you’re capable of walking faster than a quarter of a mile an hour.”

“Hey!”

He laughs at my indignation, and Balderik joins in the fun by letting out a playful ruff. 

I squeeze his hand. “In all seriousness, I like you for your no-nonsense attitude. It’s very attractive.”

“Thank you.” His husky voice reverberates up my arm. “I appreciate you saying that. Not everyone likes blunt honesty, but I knew you could take it before, so I took a chance you still can.” 

“Oh, I can.”

“Good.”

All too soon we reach the end of the trail, and we’re back where we started by Moss’ SUV. Another car has parked in the clearing while we were walking, but there’s no trace of the owners. The daylight is fading fast and so is my energy, and no matter how much I’d like to be able to continue our walk forever, I have to admit defeat. 

Moss opens the car door for me and helps me inside. “I’m sorry,” he says. 

“What for?”

“You weren’t ready for such a long walk.”

I take his hand again, a shudder racing up my arm when his palm rasps against mine. “I was. I admit I’m tired and I’ll probably fall asleep in the shower later, but this walk helped heal my soul and that’s important, too.” 

“Yeah, sure. But—”

“Don’t feel bad. Please. Just drive me home and promise we’ll come back here soon. Promise my weakness didn’t scare you off.”

He brushes his thumb over the back of my hand. “I promise.”

sliding into my DMs

 

About the Author 

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies room), loves music (and singing along at the top of her voice but she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, bullet journals, poetry, wine, coffee-flavored kisses, and fika (a Swedish cultural thing involving coffee and pastry!)

Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.

Nell is a bisexual Swedish woman married to the love of her life, a proud mama of a grown daughter, and is approaching 50 faster than she’d like. She lives in the south of Sweden where she spends her days thinking up stories about people falling in love. After dreaming about being a writer for most of her life, she finally was in a place where she could pursue her dream and released her first book in 2017.

Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, short over long, and quirky characters over alpha males. 

 

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook Author Page  |  Facebook Profile

Twitter: @nellirisauthor  |  Instagram: @nell_iris  |  Goodreads

Pinterest  |  BookBub

 

 

Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of five ebook copies from Nell’s backlist.

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Sliding into My DMs

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Spotlight & Excerpt: The Good Ship Lollipop

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Book Title: The Good Ship Lollipop

Author: Patrick Benjamin

Publisher:  KDP Publishing

Cover Artist: Rebecca Covers

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance, Comedy

Trope/s: Love triangles, Frenemies

Themes:  Moving on, learning to love again

Heat Rating:  3 flames    

Length:  140 000 words/430 pages

It is a standalone book.

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Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

 

The Goos Ship Lollipop

Kyle must choose between the love of his past and the man he could love in the future

 

Blurb 

For fifteen years, Kyle and Dustin seemed like the perfect couple. That was until Kyle came home to discover Dustin in bed with a yoga instructor half his age and twice his flexibility. Two years and countless therapy hours later, Kyle has almost put the incident behind him. Being nearly forty and single makes a man bitter, but he’s making do.

Yet, when Kyle’s best friend asks him to be her Man of Honor, on her ten-day Caribbean wedding cruise, Kyle finds himself in a most uncomfortable situation. He ends up trapped on a seafaring vessel for ten days with the man who practically destroyed him.

Face to face with Dustin for the first time since the breakup, unresolved feelings float to the surface, and Kyle and Dustin both begin to wonder if their story is as over as it seems.

While navigating unchartered waters with Dustin, Kyle also meets Jax, a sexy Australian who likes to cruise in more ways than one. Kyle is more than happy to let Jax distract him for ten days. Still, when Jax suggests that he might want more than just a few days of fun, Kyle must choose between the love of his past or the man he could love in the future.

the good ship lollipop BLOG TOUR

 

Excerpt 

No, absolutely not!” I nearly choked on a spinach leaf.

“You have to come,” Sapphire insisted. “I want you to be my Man of Honor.”

“A) That’s not a thing. B) The answer is still no.”

“I can’t get married without you.”

“Sure, you can. There’s no law against it. People do it all the time.”

When Sapphire offered to take me to lunch, I should have suspected something treacherous was afoot. Sapphire and I were like sisters. Sisters of different races and one of them with a penis, but sisters, nonetheless. Our relationship was something enormous and incomprehensible to most people. On paper, we had nothing in common. We had completely different backgrounds and cultural experiences that cultivated entirely different perspectives of the world around us. Despite those differences, we had found each other.

As close as we were, the girl had never offered to buy lunch. She seldom volunteered to pay for anything. That should have been warning number one. When she suggested my favorite Italian restaurant, Armando’s, that should have been warning number two. When she volunteered to foot the bill to attend her destination wedding cruise, I should have known to prepare myself for the Armageddon of bad news.

“You spent fifteen years with the man. What are ten more days?” She spoke with her hands. A piece of chicken flung off her fork and onto the table beside us. The senior couple, who were trying to enjoy their eighteen-dollar salads, glared at us like we each had two heads.

“I’m so sorry,” I mouthed to them.

“I can’t believe you would miss your best friend’s wedding over a tiny, little, uncomfortable inconvenience like this.”

“A cockroach infestation is a tiny inconvenience. Gonorrhea is uncomfortable. What you’re asking me to do is far worse.”

“Don’t be dramatic,” Sapphire said, waving her hand. “Dustin is not that bad.”

“Isn’t he?” He was too tall, too fit, too classically pretty, and all too aware of the fact. He was narcissistic and untrustworthy, but he was also charming and exceptionally good at putting on an innocent act. He could flash his white teeth and his dimples and get people to believe anything he wanted. Still, if you looked into his eyes, you could tell he was soulless.

“Why would you want everyone to join you on your honeymoon, anyway?” I shifted focus. “I hate to tell you this, but if you can’t stand to be alone with Justin for ten days, you probably shouldn’t marry him.”

“Very funny,” she said dryly. “I want everyone there because I want my wedding to be an experience. An amazing memory we can all look back on together.” 

 “I am not spending ten days, on a tiny boat, in the middle of the Caribbean, with him.”

“It’s a cruise ship,” she corrected. “Besides, you won’t be with Dustin. You’ll be with me.”

“Lies!” I wasn’t buying any of it. “I know exactly what will happen. You and Justin will be too busy enjoying your Caribbean honeymoon to spend any time with me. Then I’ll be trapped, in the middle of the ocean, with no one to talk to except Beelzebub’s concubine.”

“He’s not going to be the only other person there, you know. Several other people will be in our group. You can make one of them your wingman. My father loves you. You can hang-out with him.”

“Honey, don’t take this the wrong way. If I’m on an exotic vacation, and the only man who wants to spend time with me is your sixty-five-year-old arthritic father, I might drown myself in a bathtub.”

“Don’t be silly,” Sapphire dismissed. “You’ll be surrounded by water. There’d be no need to draw a bath.”

I did not look amused.

“I can’t believe you’re still so angry. It’s been over a year.” It had been eighteen months since the breakup, and yes, I was still harboring, hurting, and hating. 

I hadn’t seen or spoken to Dustin since the incident. As instructed, he had been gone when I returned to the apartment. With Sapphire’s help and some very strategic planning, I had avoided him throughout the entire decoupling process.

I left yellow Post-it Notes on everything he could take and was extremely vindictive about it. He could have the Blu-ray player, but not the discs or the TV. He could take the kitchen table, but not the chairs. I even kept the Keurig, though I permitted him to take his pods. What kind of monster drank decaf anyway? I also instructed Sapphire to guard the jazz record collection with her life. I detested jazz music, and we both knew it. I planned to pawn or destroy the albums later.

The first few weeks after the breakup, Dustin tried tirelessly to communicate with me. He sent me text messages that I didn’t answer and left voice mails that I refused to listen to. Dustin tried everything short of smoke signals. He even sent me an old-fashioned letter, which I didn’t open and burned immediately. I had nothing to say to him and had no desire to hear what he had to say to me. I had never been an incredibly trusting person, and his betrayal had reinforced all those walls that I had been trying, for years, to dismantle.

Being the forgiving person she was, Sapphire tried to convince me to give Dustin a second chance. Still, I refused, steadfast in my determination that he’d had his chance. Since then, she had been careful not to mention him. Even though I knew full well that she saw him regularly. He was her fiancé’s twin brother. She had to remain cordial. I did not and had no intention of ever being so.

“You simply have to come. We’re going to so many beautiful islands: Turks and Caicos, Bonaire, St. Thomas, and Aruba. You’ve always wanted to go to Aruba.”

That was true, but still, “If you put us on a ship together, I promise you, I will throw him overboard.”

She smiled wide, her teeth gleaming white against the contrast of her chocolate skin. “That’s fine! Just promise you’ll make it look like an accident.”

“Duh,” was the most mature response I could muster. “I don’t want to end up someone’s bitch in a Caribbean prison.” 

“Don’t you, though?”

Dirty, prison sex would have been the most action I’d seen in a while. Thirty-nine may have been young by hetero standards, but in the queer world, I was practically a spinster. Being classified as an elder gay meant that my dating pool had been reduced to a few categories. First, those men who were so weird or creepy that nobody wanted them, or second, those who were so bitter and jaded by relationships past that dating them was like trying to build a house out of straw. I was a card-carrying member of category two.

Of course, there was always a third group. Younger men. They were excellent in theory, with their zero percent body fat and their permanent erections. However, too often, their perfect bodies and sexual appetites only camouflaged the fact that they lacked any real substance. If brains were dynamite, most of them couldn’t blow their nose. There were always exceptions. Old souls that knew how to converse about more than just Rhi-Rhi’s new album or T-Swizzle’s latest boyfriend. Those younger men wanted more than sugar daddies. Though, I still couldn’t imagine having enough in common with someone who hadn’t even been alive during the original run of Friends.

It wasn’t that I couldn’t get a date. Even close to forty, I was still cute. Not as attractive as I was at twenty, but I wasn’t a hunchback or anything. My deep green eyes matched my red hair, which I kept cropped short to avoid the bozo-clown-realness it would become if left to grow-out. I was tall and still decently shaped, a little thicker in some places than I’d prefer, but that came with age. At least, that’s what I told myself. I had a good understanding of where that put me in the queer hierarchy. Guys would still bang me; they just wouldn’t brag about it anymore. 

Admittedly, the realization that I was no longer prime real estate took some getting used to. Before Dustin, I had been a penthouse in Manhattan, but after fifteen years in couple-town, I was shocked to discover I was now a brownstone in Queens. Next stop? Condemned building in Jersey!

That being said, I was optimistic about my life, even if it meant spending it alone.

“The ship is huge,” Sapphire was still talking. “You won’t even really have to see each other. There are also excursions at every port: zip-lining, snorkeling, hikes, surfing. Come on. You can orbit around each other for ten days without committing a violent felony.”

“Great, so I can spend the entire time by myself?”

“There’s going to be thousands of people on this ship. It’s a floating city. If you’re so worried about being by yourself, you could always try making friends.”

“You’ve known me for twenty years. Am I the type of person who makes friends?”

I was about to find out.

 

About the Author  

This is Patrick Benjamin’s second novel. He was excited to try his hand at something lighter and more humorous than his debut novel (The Road Between). Patrick can most often be found spending quiet evenings at home with his husband, Jarrett and his puppy, Dax. When he’s not writing, Patrick can often be seen performing on stage as his glamorous drag persona Tequila Mockingbird. He also volunteers on the Board of Directors of a non-profit organization that has proudly served the LGBTQ2S+ community for 45 years.

 

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