Book Blitz & Excerpt: To Light a Fire + Giveaway

To Light A Fire Banner

To Light a Fire, by Kristian Parker

Book 1 in the Speak Its Name series

Word Count: 19,038
Book Length: NOVELLA
Pages: 82
Genres:

EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI
HISTORICAL

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Book Description

 

Frank never thought he would find love…until he met his friend’s servant.

It’s 1922 and Frank Harris has finished his exams at Cambridge. He had planned on going home to his parents’ Midlands shop until his friend Charlie Fitzwilliam issues a surprise invitation to stay at his family’s stately home.

Frank has nursed a secret attraction to Charlie since their first meeting and can’t resist a chance to spend time with him, but once there, it’s Tanner, a manservant, with whom he instantly falls in lust.

Charlie tries to force a local girl on Frank, and although Frank knows he should keep up appearances, it’s Tanner who sets a fire in him.

To Frank’s astonishment, Tanner is attracted to him too, and their mutual passion kindles, then burns strong. Only, their feelings must remain a secret—discovery would mean the ruin of them both.

But how long can love that blazes this bright be hidden?

Excerpt

Cambridge, 1922

“Come on, Harris. Don’t be a chump. You can read your precious architecture books at my place. I don’t know why you’re bothering, anyway—we’ve done the blasted exams.”

So spoke Charlie Fitzwilliam the third…or maybe the fourth, standing there in all his glory. As usual, the rest of his gang flanked him and glared at me. It didn’t do to say no to Charlie. I had been in awe of him for four years at Cambridge.

The polar opposite to me, he could make a boy feel awkward just by entering a room. Blond, muscular and his parents owned most of one of the bigger counties just outside London. I, on the other hand, had dark hair, could have been described as a little on the skinny side and certainly didn’t come from the right side of the tracks.

“Go on, Harris,” said one of his henchmen. They followed him everywhere, doing his dirty work and hoping against hope some of that Fitzwilliam magic would rub off on them. “Charlie will be bored if you don’t.”

“Why don’t you go and entertain him then?” I said gruffly.

It had been made clear when we started at university that I would be the lackey of the group and it didn’t do to let me forget it. Charlie’s lot were Harrow boys for whom Cambridge had been a natural next step. My place had been paid for by my parents saving hard and me getting the best marks possible at school.

My parents had several shops in Leicester, the middle of England, where I’d grown up and nothing ever happened. When I’d come to Cambridge, I’d been an awkward eighteen-year-old who had no idea how to use the right cutlery or which wine went with fish. Charlie had taken me under his wing, the others had been jealous and so my runt-of-the-litter position had become firmly cemented.

Charlie had more money than he would ever know what to do with. University was just a diversion, a chance to drink heavily, romance often and generally live a crazy life. The dire state of the economy didn’t come anywhere near him, happening only to other people.

An invitation to go to his house in the country could not be refused, and I found myself tempted by some time alone with him. Besides, I couldn’t apply in earnest to architectural partnerships until I knew my marks for my degree. We had sat our final exam last week and could only wait until August, when we would graduate.

I had planned to go home and help in the shops, but I would only be taking hours from our workers who needed them more than me.

“Just think of it. You can dig around my father’s books to your heart’s content.” Charlie clapped his arm around me, causing me to blush. He knew he had his fish on the line, and a grin creased the sides of my face.

“Fine. A week, no more.”

Charlie held up his hands. “A week is all I want from you. Mummy has demanded my presence in bloody Portugal after that. I’ll be dragged around endless vineyards in search of the perfect grapes for the perfect port. Oh, well done, old man. I hate being stuck in that house on my own. It’s just so boring.”

Having made the decision, I told my parents, and they were fine with it. They wanted me to get as much out of life as possible. Me having the chance to hobnob with a load of posh people would be a talking point for my mother for the rest of the year. God help her customers. They would soon be sick of hearing it.

With a heavy heart, I packed away my books, to send them home to my parents. I would never stand in this bedroom again. I had been lucky to get a set of rooms to myself—most of the other undergraduates shared. I would miss this tiny bit of independence. It might be cliché, but I had arrived a boy and was leaving a man. Charlie and his cronies were still like boys and probably always would be.

I had never gone in for the carousing life. Charlie had a reputation for smuggling girls from the local town into our halls. More than once he had persuaded me to let him use my room for a bit of privacy. As usual he had a henchman, or two, standing guard, and I would find a corner and retreat into my books. It amazed me why Charlie and his gang bothered with me at all. I must have been so boring to them, but Charlie had somehow bonded with me. On his own, when he wasn’t being an insufferable show-off, he could be quite good fun. We were both studying architectural history together. Charlie didn’t know his Christopher Wren from his Antoni Gaudi, and we’d spent many a late night sorting out his essays. In reality, I would write them for him, but I used to live for those nights. Charlie generally sat on the window ledge smoking and chatting while I scribbled away. The public image of Charlie could be hard to get past, but when he did let a person in, a decent chap lay beneath..

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About the Author

Kristian Parker

I have written for as long as I could write. In fact, before, when I would dictate to my auntie. I love to read, and I love to create worlds and characters.

I live in the English countryside. When I’m not writing, I like to get out there and think through the next scenario I’m going to throw my characters into.

Inspiration can be found anywhere, on a train, in a restaurant or in an office. I am always in search of the next character to find love in one of my stories. In a world of apps and online dating, it is important to remember love can be found when you least expect it.

Follow Kristian on Facebook.

Giveaway

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Kristian Parker’s To Light a Fire Giveaway

ENTER HERE AND GET A FREE EBOOK FROM THE AUTHOR! Notice: This competition ends on 8th June 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

Spotlight & Excerpt: Black in Time + Giveaway

Black in Time
On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Black in Time
(Synesthesia Shift #2)
By Brynn Chapman
YA Historical Urban Fantasy
Paperback & ebook, 143 Pages
April 6, 2021 by Burns and Lea Books

 

Patient Twenty-Nine, or Jane, is within reach of her heart’s desire: a home outside of Soothing Hills Asylum, where she has been raised.

Her sister Jules wants to take her in, and a man, Mason, is deeply in love with her and wants to care for her. But before Jane can leave, she must be examined by the Board of Lunacy. Jane is still hearing voices and songs from the cornfield outside the asylum, voices and songs that tell her what she must do, and that no one else can hear. So the Board may not allow her to leave.

But the asylum is becoming more and more dangerous. Its lead alienist, Dr. Frost, has disappeared, there have been frightening sightings of a woman in white, running through the corn at night, and perhaps worst of all: lobotomized women from the asylum are turning up pregnant.

Jane is desperate to get away and go to her new home. Mason and Jules only want to rescue Jane from the asylum.

But there is a complication: for Jane, the voice in the corn calls. And she must obey.

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Other Books in the Series

The Requiem Red
(Synesthesia Shift #1)
By Brynn Chapman
YA Historical Urban Fantasy
Hardcover, Paperback & ebook, 300 Pages
February 4, 2019 by Burns and Lea Books

Life for Patient 29 is full of medicated day dreams of a life outside the walls of Soothing Hills Asylum. But fantasies are not all that consume her. A monster roams the halls of the sanitarium she reluctantly calls home and three girls have been found dead. The dead girls share one common thread . . . each was 29’s cell mate. As the investigation gets under way, she retreats into her mind, listening to the voices that call to her. She is endowed with the cursed gift of perception. Through it, she hears messages carried upon the notes of music, discerns words hidden among the strokes of paintings, and minds pleadings for help from the corn field outside.

Could the key to the murders lie within 29’s broken mind? Mason, an orderly, does not see 29 as a lunatic and as his belief in her grows so does her self-confidence. The possibility of one day leaving the asylum seems less and less like a fantasy. But the monster has other plans for her. Leaving will not be so easy, at least not while she is alive.

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Excerpt:

“What is happening?”

The earth shudders—as if the heavens’ lightning and thunder have struck the soil and mated beneath ground, breathing growling life into the dirt. The whole of the cornfield quivers as if in fear.

Mason’s hand tightens, crushing my fingers, and his eyes pin me with warning.

“Do not let go, Jane.”

His eyes tighten and return forward, his face becoming grave as he desperately searches for a way ahead—the path before us grows steadily less visible as the mist of swirling fog seeps up to infiltrate the corn.

The corn shudders again, and we’re struck by a rush of air, as if the earth inhales like a dragon of old—and the mist is its bleary, vaporous exhale.
The only tangible remaining proof of the others’ existence is Jules’s hand, still holding fast to Mason’s in our human chain. Our quarry—Dr. Frost… my insane father—is nowhere. As if the bloody monster vanished into the ether.

There is another rumble and roar beneath our boots as the world jerks and lurches. My arms flail and pinwheel; I stumble, my knee striking the cold, wet ground. My plummeting hauls Mason backward, breaking his handfast with Jules.

“Jules!” Gooseflesh sprouts as panic hits my voice and spine.

My chest heaves, and I fight to maintain control. I care not. It matters not if we catch that lunatic. My solitary wish is for safety. For normalcy for my sister and me.

“I wish to be free of this wretched, preternatural patch of dying pig fodder,” I spit, my eyes meeting Mason’s.

He drops beside me, arms encircling me tentatively to set me back to rights.

“Steady, lass,” he says, dusting off my skirt. “We shall be out soon enough.

They canna have gotten far.”

As if in retort, the ground thrashes, and we stutter-step left and right, battling to remain upright.

“What is happening?”

“I dinna ken. Stay close to me.” Mason’s mask of calm is eroding, fear beginning to show in the thin, rigid line of his mouth. “Jonathon! Where are you, man?”

I clutch Mason’s shirt but summon my courage. I cock my head, listening. I frown. “I… no longer hear the music.”

The corn music, which has been my constant companion since childhood, is now conspicuously absent.

“We must return, mo chroi. Frost be lost to us. There be no telling where the aibhistear has gone. I’ll not have yer blood on m’hands. Especially not on his account.”

About the Author

Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, Brynn Chapman is the daughter of two teachers. Her writing reflects her passions: science, history and love—not necessarily in that order. In real life, the geek gene runs strong in her family, as does the Asperger’s syndrome. Her writing reflects her experience as a pediatric therapist and her interactions with society’s downtrodden. In fiction, she’s a strong believer in underdogs and happily-ever-afters. She also writes non-fiction and lectures on the subjects of autism and sensory integration and is a medical contributor to online journal The Age of Autism.

 

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Tour Giveaway

– One winner will receive a $20 Amazon gift card and an audiobook of HERE WALK THE DEAD

– Ten winners will receive a print copy of REQUIEM RED

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Ends May 5, 2021


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Book Blitz & Excerpt: Murder at the Met + Giveaway

murder at the met

Murder at the Met
by E.W. Cooper
(Penelope Harris Mysteries #2)
Publication date: April 8th 2021
Genres: Adult, Historical, Mystery

November 1928, New York City. No one can keep a secret like high society – especially when that secret is murder.

There are two things Penelope Harris would rather do than get involved with another murder—sing opera and flirt with Thom Lund. When two tickets ensure Penelope and Thom get some precious time together at the Metropolitan opera, neither believes another murder will interrupt their romantic evening.

Fate has a different plan. Before the night is over a failed manufacturing tycoon is found dead at the bottom of a staircase, his poisoned and dying daughter nearby. Is it an accident? Suicide? Or murder? When a fellow soprano pleads for help, Penelope just can’t help her inquisitive nature.

As Penelope pulls back the cover on a diabolical crime, Lund rushes to complete the investigation of a suicide on the Gold Coast of Long Island. What they find will uncover the sordid underbelly of high society and put Penelope on the wrong side of her own gun.

Goodreads / Amazon

murder at the met

EXCERPT:

“There are three sisters?” Penelope prompted.

“Clover, Ivy, and Tulip Warwick. Sisters, all of them.” Mary replied, happy to be the source of all the best gossip. “Ivy is the worst kind of child. Ill-behaved. Well, you saw, didn’t you? Her mother knows it too—keeps sending her away to finishing school. She must have just gotten back. Tulip would be the best of the three if she could just buck herself up. At least Ivy got to go away. Tulip had to stay behind and look after her mother. I see her from time-to-time volunteering at the library. She’s nice.”

“Only nice? Not the best recommendation, Mary darling.”

“You’d know how high a recommendation if you met Clover.” Mary lowered her voice. “Clover Warwick positively has the very worst temper I’ve ever seen. Last year she attacked one of her housemaids with a shoe. The poor girl lost an eye to Clover’s dancing shoe. I was certain she was going to be arrested this time—”

“This time?”

“—but she wriggled out of it again. Everyone said her father bought the maid off. Roger Warwick must have done something, because the girl had an uncle in the police. I was so certain she would be charged!”

“Mary, that simply cannot be true! You can’t just assault a maid and get away with it!”

“Connie Whitman volunteers at the hospital and saw the maid after it happened. She said Clover could have killed her. Good lord!” Mary put a hand to her mouth. “I hope she didn’t die. I hadn’t thought of that. I hope the poor girl didn’t succumb. Absolutely horrible. But that’s who Clover is, isn’t it?”

“Are you telling me that Clover Warwick, who everyone knows almost beat her maid to death with a shoe, is singing at a society gala with a premier soprano from the Metropolitan Opera? How is that possible?”

“Violet Warwick has spent thousands on Patsy’s production to get Clover the best solo. Patsy says it’s a drawing, you know—so everyone gets a fair chance. But we all know it’s not. It always comes down to money, one way or another,” Mary nodded sagely. “I do wonder what happened to the maid.” A furrow appeared on her brow. “I see how unfair it all was now. No one would have hired her afterward, you see. It would have upset Clover. No one upsets Clover. She retaliates—I suppose it’s a good thing her father is only in manufacturing. If it had been lumber or coal . . .”

“What on earth do you mean by that?” Penelope’s head was spinning with all the social rules she didn’t know. Running a casino in Shanghai had been easier than learning the hierarchy of New York society. The rules guiding the criminal class had been as straightforward as they come. “Why would it make a difference where he makes his money? Isn’t it all the same money?”

Mary was aghast. “It’s well and good to have money when no one else does, but you can’t swan about without a care in the world when everyone knows you made your packet manufacturing cheap wire hangers. I’ll never use them, and I don’t know anyone who would. Charles says it’s just a piece of wire tied up in a knot. Can you imagine? I tell you this, Penelope: Clover can work as hard as she wants to get an invitation from an Astor, but she never will. High society won’t have anything to do with something as low as a wire hanger—even if it is clever. I bet you Clover would leave town and change her name if she could, just to get away from it.”

Author Bio:

Author of the Penelope Harris Mysteries, E.W. Cooper was ecstatic to learn her debut in the series, The Jade Tiger, was the 2020 Booklife Prize Finalist in Mystery/Thriller. A lifelong fan of classic mysteries and Grand Opera, Ms. Cooper is hard at work on the second book in the Penelope Harris Mystery series, Murder at the Met (April 2021). She lives quietly with her partner, children, three dogs, and one cat in a very noisy house in South Texas.

To learn more about Penelope Harris Mysteries (and the author) go to www.ewcooper.com and snoop around.

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