Spotlight & Excerpt: Concussion and Contentment + Giveaway

BANNER - Concussion and Contentment

Concussion and Contentment - Liz Faraim
Liz Faraim has a new ff contemporary book out, Vivian Chastain series book 3: Concussion and Contentment. And there’s a giveaway!

Vivian, an adrenaline junkie and U.S. Army veteran, goes about her life as a bartender, avid runner, and polyamorous lesbian. Life in Sacramento, California is going well until she is blindsided by unforeseen financial issues which lead her to consider a new career.

In an attempt to recharge and take a break, she visits her best friend, Jared, only to be sidetracked by a motorcycle trip with her other best friend, Bear. The adventure does not turn out to be the carefree break Vivian had hoped for. A mess, she returns to Sacramento where her partner, Ang, tries to push her down, rather than help her pick up the pieces. Meanwhile, Vivian takes big steps with her other partner, Audre, which fills a void in Vivian’s life left behind by her dysfunctional and abusive childhood.

While out on a day trip to her favorite hiking trails, Vivian has an epiphany about what line of work she wants to pursue, and chases after it head first while also beginning to mend fences with her brother, Joey.

As things start to stabilize, one of Vivian’s partners commits an act of grave violence, resulting in life-changing consequences for all concerned.

Surrounded by friends, Vivian turns over a new leaf and finally finds the contentment she has sought for a lifetime.

Warnings: This book contains violence, attempted murder, homophobic slurs, alcohol/drug use, references to suicide, abuse of a child by a parent, abuse of a child by an adult, attempted suicide, racism

Publisher | Amazon | Universal Buy Link


Giveaway

Liz is giving away an Amazon gift card with this tour:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link


Excerpt

This excerpt is from Chapter One of Concussion and Contentment:

Sweat dripped and bass pulsed as hundreds of women writhed and bumped to the music. Tick, the club DJ, was killing it. The vibe was so good that I was high on it. There was a line at my station ten people deep, customers jostling for position while dancing and shuffling forward each time I finished a drink order. One of my regulars stepped up and waved a twenty-dollar bill at me. She was in her forties, sporting a bowler hat and forearm tats.

“Viv, show me them titties and tats!” she shouted over the thumping and chatter.

I had already stripped down to my sports bra, with my beater hanging from the back pocket of my Dickies. It was hot for April, and the press of sweating, dancing bodies had made the nightclub a sauna.

“Aw, Tig, you know I can’t do that,” I said with a smirk and turned my back to the crowd. Behind the bar was a wall-to-wall mirror. I gyrated my hips to Bubba Sparxxx’s “Ms. New Booty,” which had become a club favorite. I made eye contact with Tig in the mirror as she jumped to the beat, still waving the twenty-dollar bill at me. Shoving down the shyness that crept up, I slapped on the façade of the confident butch barkeep I wore to work. I pulled my sports bra up, just a bit.

She hollered to her friends, “She’s doing it, she’s doing it!”

Amidst the chaos, they leaned to the side to see my reflection in the mirror, their mouths agape, eyes laser focused on me. I kept the tease up for a minute, dancing to the song, pulling my bra up a bit and lowering it again. Each time I lowered it, there was a chorus of “Awwwww’s” behind me. I finally relented and pulled my sports bra completely off. Their hoots and hollers made me grin, and I continued dancing for myself in the mirror.

Just as the song was ending, a bright light flashed in the mirror, reflecting straight into my eyes. I traced the light back along the mirror and saw it was coming from near the front door. Buck, our bouncer, stood on the rungs of her barstool by the door, flashing her Maglite at me. When we made eye contact, she tapped the top of her head three times, which was the sign that the cops were coming. I shimmied back into my sweaty sports bra, which was no easy feat, and turned back to my customers.

Tig pulled me into a hug across the bar. She tucked the bill into my waistband, her rough fingers lingering far too long on my skin. “Thanks, Viv. Looking good. Those tits and tats, you are so fucking hot. If I weren’t married, things’d be different.”

I patted her cheek and ended the hug, doing my best to keep my cool and stay in my role.

“Good to see you, Tig. The usual?”

She nodded and I poured her an Irish Car Bomb. She slapped some more cash on the bar, dropped the shot glass of whiskey and Bailey’s into her pint of Guinness, and chugged the whole frothing mess while her crew cheered her on. She slammed the pint glass down, wiped her mouth on her bare arm, belched, and disappeared into the fray.

Jen, the barback, bounced up to me with her usual level of cheer, and began unloading glasses fresh from the washer. “Tig still trying to get into your pants?” Her voice dripped with disgust as she fingered the American Spirit cigarette tucked behind her ear.

“Always.” I uncapped some beer bottles and rang up my next customer. “You know, I’ve been doing this job a few years now, and know that there’s a certain level of shit we have to put up with if we want those tips. And I need those tips. But it’s getting less amusing when people forget we are human and not a piece of meat.”


Author Bio

Liz has a full plate between balancing a day job, parenting, writing, and finding some semblance of a social life. In past lives she has been a soldier, a bartender, a shoe salesperson, an assistant museum curator, and even a driving instructor. She focuses her writing on strong, queer, female leads who don’t back down.

Liz transplanted to California from New York over thirty years ago, and now lives in the East Bay. She enjoys exploring nature with her wife and son.

Pronouns: She/Her

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Spotlight & Excerpt: House of Agnes + Giveaway

house of agnes banner
House of Agnes
by Fiona Zedde
Genre: LGBTQ Lesbian Romance

 

A lesbian romance filled with intrigue and sizzling sexual tension as enemies discover that the other side of hatred…is desire.

Agnes Noble is private, mysterious, and untouchable. She rules House of Agnes, the most exclusive escort agency on the East Coast, with a diamond fist. Crossing her is a mistake no one makes twice.

Investigative reporter Lola Osbourne is not afraid. She’s gunning for the House and its so-called queen. She’ll make sure no other innocent gets dragged into Agnes’s alluring web, to be used and discarded the way Lola’s sister was.

But her plan to get close to the elusive madam shatters the moment her eyes meet the Queen’s. One look and everything’s different. More complicated. Dangerous.

Now, Lola’s not just fighting to topple a queen from her throne, she’s also scrambling to escape their explosive collision with her suddenly vulnerable heart intact.

Goodreads * Buy Link

house of agnes teaser 1

houseofagnes - excerpt
“You know, all work and no play makes Queen Agnes a very dull girl.”
Agnes saved the spreadsheet on her computer and looked up, masking her irritation at being interrupted. A glimmer of light fell over the bare shoulders of the woman walking into her office unannounced, the emerald minidress a complement to her slim but curvaceous figure. The woman’s high heels teased the marble floor, and her smile said she wanted a lot more than a talk.
“It’s a good thing I’m not a girl then.” She sat back in her leather executive chair, giving Rox the attention she obviously wanted. “The evening went well?” Although if it hadn’t, one of Agnes’s security people would’ve let her know long before now.
“Just as expected.” Rox gave her trademark smile, the one that regularly had men and women offering up thousands of dollars to spend a few hours with her.
She pulled a small stack of bills from her cleavage, all hundreds and all miraculously dry, and laid it on Agnes’s desk. “It went very well, actually. And I kept the tip.” Her cheek dimpled and her red mouth glistened in the soft golden glow from the Tiffany desk lamp. “Care to help me celebrate?”
Before Agnes could accept or refuse the offer, Rox shrugged off her dress. It slithered from her body and pooled around her feet in a puddle of green satin.
Agnes drew in a breath. The lamplight played over Rox’s curves, showing off her high breasts with nipples stiff from the arctic air-conditioning. Her belly was tight with muscle and her hips rounded and smooth. The V at the joining of her thighs was completely bare of hair.
Bald vaginas had never been Agnes’s thing.
She sat back in her chair and rolled her favorite pen between her fingers, leisurely appreciating all the ways Rox had taken care of her body.
The woman was beautiful. Truly. From the loose waves of hair around her fashion model face to her long legs and every worthwhile stop in between. But Agnes didn’t fuck any of the women who worked for her. Never had, never would.
They all knew that and, Agnes was well aware, still tried to make a game of seducing her. She’d seen plenty of naked women before though, had touched enough of them, had made them come. There was nothing special she could have by drinking from that particular well.
“I’ve already had my dinner for the night,” she said with slightly pursed lips, finally smiling when Rox huffed out a sigh of frustration and picked up her dress.
They’d done this dance too many times before for Agnes’s refusal to come as a surprise.
“Look at you,” Rox went on. “With your gorgeous face, all that flawless skin, those tits and legs any girl here would kill for, you’re perfect. But you might as well be a statue for all the use you make of what some of us go under the knife to get. It’s a waste.”
Even for Rox, this was a little far. She usually only took it as far as a little flirtation, flashing bare breasts or sending suggestive texts. However, her attempt at cruelty was nothing compared to what Agnes had suffered on a daily basis at the hands of the man who’d raised her.
“Are you quite finished?” Agnes didn’t hide her amusement at the pathetic stab.
It made her glad, these flashes of meaningless challenge she saw in Rox and some of the others. Before, with her father, they’d been too terrified to do more than breathe around him. Now, they felt safe.
Rox made that frustrated sound again. “Fine, but you can’t sit here untouched in your glass tower forever. One day, you’ll have to let someone in, let them touch you, and feel what it’s like to be a real woman instead of a queen of air and broken dreams.” Rox draped the three-thousand-dollar dress around her neck like a scarf and turned on her stilettos, her nude body again shimmering faintly in the light. “Good night, Queen Agnes.”
“Good night, Rox.”
Agnes went back to what she’d been working on before the interruption, paying scant attention to the petulant stab of high heels into marble as Rox walked away. She barely glanced at the stack of hundreds, content enough to know it was there.
“Oh, God, I’m so sorry!” Her assistant, Clare, rushed in, slight color in her cheeks despite the level tone of her voice. “I tried to stop her from interrupting you, but that woman who keeps trying to see you called again.” She swept up the cash Rox left and sat down on the nearby leather sofa to count it.
“Next time our persistent mystery woman calls, just put her through to Whit.” Whit was Agnes’s personal security. “As for Rox,” she said with a faint quirk of her mouth. “I can handle a woman trying to seduce me.”
Clare acknowledged the order about the mystery woman with a nod. “Was that a seduction? It looked like an ambush to me.”
“To certain wildcats and other prey animals, it’s the same thing.”
Clare snorted and tapped the neat stack of hundreds she’d just counted. “It’s all here. Five thousand.” She made a note on the iPad she always carried and put the money in the floor safe hidden underneath a waist-high bronze statue of Oshun. “By the way, Rox requested the next week off.”
Agnes mentally consulted the schedule. “Of course. She’s earned it. Give her two weeks if she needs more.”
“You know she won’t.” Sitting once again on the sofa, Clare started doing something on her iPad that involved lots of fast but silent typing. “She’d want to get back to work as soon as whatever is keeping her away gets sorted.”
The “whatever” was probably a woman, maybe even someone Rox met on one of her recent assignments. Incredible. Sometimes Agnes was surprised at the stamina Rox had for someone her age. Agnes liked sex as much as most, but she couldn’t understand doing it for work then running off and doing it for fun too. Which was probably why she wasn’t having any sex at all.
“I just sent her the approval of the next week off and your offer for the one after that.” Clare interrupted Agnes’s useless musings on her sex life. She darkened the iPad’s screen and put the device face down on her lap.
“Perfect.” Agnes tapped the mouse to wake up her own screen. A reminder to herself that she still had work to do even if a part of her wanted to step out and breathe different air. “Thank you. You can head home now. I know it’s late.”
“I don’t mind staying.” Clare gave her quick smile, hands tucked in her lap. A trick she used to seem vulnerable and compliant when she was anything but. It also was a trick she didn’t need to use with Agnes. But habits were hard to break, especially ones painfully learned.
“I know, but you need to go home so I can have a clear conscience.” Agnes made a shooing motion toward the door. It was already half past five on a Friday afternoon. Although Clare’s cat wouldn’t be calling the cops to find out where her human went, Clare still needed some time away from The House. Even if she didn’t want to admit it.
“I’ll go, but only if you do too.”
Agnes raised an eyebrow, giving her assistant a single glance.
“Fine. I’ll stay out of your affairs.” Clare stood up, smoothing down her skirt. “You should leave, though. I’m sure there’s someone out there who wants your company.”
Agnes smiled at that not-so-subtle way of trying to find out what was going on in her life. They’d worked together for over five years now, the entire time this current version of The House had been in existence. Despite that, Clare—and most of The House’s employees—knew nearly nothing about Agnes’s personal life, and she preferred it that way.
She’d made The House of Agnes from the ashes of what it had been and created an image for herself—deliberately remote yet fair, untouchable, and just a little bit dangerous—so their competitors didn’t get any foolish ideas. That cultivated persona wasn’t easily worn, but she kept it up in all areas of the business. She didn’t become or stay Queen Agnes by allowing everyone to know intimate details about her, such as whether or not she had a family and, if so, where they lived. Not that many people even knew where she lived.
Her business details, though, were more public. It was common enough knowledge that the top three floors of this twenty-story building housed her offices plus a pair of penthouse apartments for her exclusive company use. H Holdings, the name The House of Agnes did business under, quietly owned the whole building and rented the rest of it out to other businesses.
“Thank you, Clare. I’ll only be here another hour or so anyway.”
“All right. I’ll keep my cell phone close if you need me.” Then, with another apologetic smile, her assistant was gone.
Agnes waited until she heard Clare’s footsteps disappear down the hallway toward the elevator before she stood. Her bones hurt. She stretched her long body and sighed at the sensation of moving muscles held too long in one place. The outer glass walls of her office, tinted and bulletproof, reflected her figure against a background of the night’s darkness. High heels, matching gray skirt suit, white blouse with the high collar held closed by a diamond brooch. Cool. Professional.
Clare was right, though. It had been a long day, and this suit she wore, both the face and the outfit, were pulling tight now over her skin. She ached to get rid of them.
So, she did.
She slipped out of her suit, the matte heels, her boring blouse. Unpinned the stern updo. Her reflection this time was very different from the one everyone saw. Her nearly six-foot body, nude except for the plain black bra and G-string, straightened hair loose around her face and brushing the AC-hardened tips of her breasts. As Rox had so charmingly stated, not bad for thirty-six.
The freedom of being nearly naked and away from the scrutiny of others made her close her eyes for precious seconds. Then she shook herself. It wasn’t as if she had all night.
In the closet, she chose pink. A knee-length pencil dress with three- quarter sleeves and a high neck. It looked good, softened her usually remote-looking features, and hinted at an innocence she no longer had. She stepped back into the matte heels. An attempted smile in the mirror looked more like a snarl, but that was all right too.
After setting an alarm on her phone, she took her private elevator down to the garage. There, she climbed into one of her anonymous-looking cars and drove toward her private club, where she usually ended up at least once a month. It was a routine Whit repeatedly warned her to break.
But she didn’t want to.
 
 

Fiona Zedde is a Jamaican-born novelist and short-story writer who currently lives and writes and Tampa, Florida.

She is the author of six novellas – “Pure Pleasure,” “Going Wild” and “Sexual Attraction” appear in the collections, Satisfy Me, Satisfy Me Again, and Satisfy Me One More Time, respectively.

Her novels include Bliss, A Taste of Sin, Every Dark Desire, Hungry for It, Kisses after Midnight, and Dangerous Pleasures. To find out more about her, log onto her website at www.fionazedde.com.

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Book Blitz: Crystal’s House of Queers, by Brooke Skipstone

crystal's house of queers

crystal's house of queers

Crystal’s House of Queers
by Brooke Skipstone
Genre: Lesbian Fiction, LGBTQ fiction, Lesbian romance
Publisher: Skipstone Publishing
Cover Artist: Cherie Chapman Drawings: Maharani Candra Dielyn_lineart
Release Date: May 24, 2021
page count: 330
Content Warnings: Sexual assault, homophobic slurs, Covid, threatened gun violence, parental abuse, drug/alcohol abuse

Amazon


Three senior girls in rural Alaska escape their abusive pasts

by raising their dyke flag for themselves and their community.

Crystal Rose woke up at three in the morning today, drenched in sweat and breathless after another sex dream with Haley Carson. Later at school in the tiny town of Clear, Alaska, Crystal saves Haley from an assault by her abusive boyfriend.

The two girls renew a love started years ago that had to stay hidden until now. But with Crystal’s grandparents in the hospital with Covid and the possibility of her drug addict parents returning from a 14-year absence, Crystal needs Haley as much as she needs Crystal.

They connect with Payton Reed, a gun-toting artist who helps them feel proud to be gay and willing to stand up to anyone. Together they struggle to make Crystal’s house safe for those who are hated for their love.

99¢ promo Crystals House
Normal Kindle price: 2.99. Promo price: 99¢

Excerpt:

Crystal’s room is small with drawings and photos stuck randomly all over the walls—closeups of  leaves, flowers, and berries; intricate natural designs created by Labrador tea, spider webs, and lichen; every local animal, including a grizzly sow and two cubs digging through trashcans from this past June; sunrises and sunsets plus northern lights; and, of course, line drawings of her house and family, along with pages of self-portraits. Crystal’s entire world greets her every morning and evening. Nothing is ever removed or covered, just added to, now up one corner of the ceiling. A large white board on one wall displays a self-portrait drawing of Crystal sitting.

 Haley stands in the doorway, open-mouthed, trying to absorb it all. “Damn, Crystal, you are something. I love this.”

Crystal smiles. “I’m glad. So do I.” She opens her closet to show Haley her clothing options, including a never-worn pair of stretch jeans Crystal bought at Value Village in Fairbanks—a size too big for her, but a size too small for Haley.

“I’m not sure my butt can fit into these,” says Haley, holding the pair waist high. “You’ll have fun watching me put these on.” 

“Oooh, do I get to watch?”

“Certainly.” Haley raises a brow and half smiles as she pulls off her sweatshirt.

Crystal’s breath catches in her chest as her mouth gapes open.

“Oops! I forgot to pick out a shirt. Can I use your robe until I find something suitable?”

Crystal’s face reddens. “Sure.” She removes her robe and tosses it to Haley, who then tosses it on the bed. “Now we can stare at each other.”

Crystal licks her lips. “You are so evil.”

“I’m just getting started.” She tilts her head and cocks a brow. “Do you like evil?” 

“So far.” Though she’s afraid her heart will burst, it’s beating so fast.

“Great.” Haley moves toward Crystal until their chests touch. “I love your drawing on the white board. Would you do another of me? Maybe one of us kissing?” Haley touches her lips to Crystal’s.

“Yes.” She struggles trying to pull her phone out of her pocket while Haley rubs her tongue tip over Crystal’s bottom lip. Gasping for air, Crystal asks, “Do you want me to take a pic or not?” Haley smiles and steps back a little. Crystal props her phone against the mirror on her dresser and sets the timer. “We have five seconds.”

Haley moves her hand to Crystal’s neck as they kiss. The camera takes the picture, but they don’t separate.

 After a few more seconds, Haley pulls back just enough to speak. “You are the best kisser. Even in fifth grade I liked kissing you. Think of all that time I wasted.”

“We have plenty of time now.” She grabs her phone and shows Haley the photo. “I like that. I can draw it now, if you want.”

“Yes, please.”

“Hold it for me.” Crystal takes her drawing pad and pen from her desk and sits in her chair. 

Haley holds the phone against her cleavage, her boobs hanging over her arms. “Is that good?”

Crystal stares and shakes her head. “Evil. Pure evil!”

“Just focus on the photo, Crystal.” Haley slowly sways her torso, making her boobs jiggle close to Crystal’s face. “Can’t you focus?” Her voice drips with seduction.

Crystal clears her throat and closes her eyes. “I think I can. I think I can.” She takes a deep breath, opens her eyes, and places her pen on the paper. Haley sways faster. Crystal starts a line then runs it off the page. “Can you please stop moving?” she pleads, unable to turn away from Haley’s breasts. “Just for a few minutes?” She rips off the page and readies another.

Her voice coy, sweet, and sultry—“As you wish. I’ll stand perfectly still.” She holds the camera away from her body, partially covering her breasts.

Crystal starts a line under her chin, sweeps down to make hair, then her face and lips before moving to Haley’s lips, hair, and then ending with her hand. She stares at the drawing for a few seconds then turns it around. “What do you think?”

 “Oh, my god! I love it. We look good together.” She gives Crystal a kiss. “Thank you. Thank you.”


Author Bio:

skipstoneBrooke Skipstone is a multi-award winning author who lives in Alaska where she watches the mountains change colors with the seasons from her balcony. Where she feels the constant rush toward winter as the sunlight wanes for six months of the year, seven minutes each day, bringing crushing cold that lingers even as the sun climbs again. Where the burst of life during summer is urgent under twenty-four-hour daylight, lush and decadent. Where fish swim hundreds of miles up rivers past bear claws and nets and wheels and lines of rubber-clad combat fishers, arriving humped and ragged, dying as they spawn. Where danger from the land and its animals exhilarates the senses, forcing her to appreciate the difference between life and death. Where the edge between is sometimes too alluring.

Crystal’s House of Queers is her third novel

Visit her website at www.brookeskipstone.com for information about her first two novels, Some Laneys Died and Someone To Kiss My Scars.

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