Spotlight & Excerpt: Blonde Boy, Red Lipstick + Giveaway

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Blonde Boy, Red Lipstick

by Geoff Bunn

Genre: LGBTQ Romance

 

Boy meets… another boy. The first boy is straight. The second is a stunning blond(e) wearing red lipstick.

Touching on issues such as homophobia, gender, human relationships and insecurity, ‘blonde BOY, red LIPSTICK’ tells the story of a brief affair between two young people living in big cities more than 100 miles apart. But can their meetings, filled with love, music and laughter – not to mention dancing and shoplifting – overcome the inevitable barriers of naivety, doubt… and distance.

‘blonde BOY, red LIPSTICK’ is an old-fashioned love story. But it’s also a love story with a difference.

A marriage finally breaks up because of a photograph. A photograph taken years earlier…

– “A real page turner… it made me cry and laugh, often at the same time”. Susan, Reader

– There is something singularly urgent about the appeal of a breakup story… like taking a photograph of a wave before it rushes back to sea.” Leslie Jamison. The GUARDIAN

– “The portrayal of gender, straight, gay and transgender issues in this book is hugely important”.Clare Conville, one of the UK’s foremost literary agents.

– The character of Alley is wonderful… I adore her. More please!”LGBTQ Review.

“Wonderful!” The TIMES

blondeboyredlipstick - excerpt

We first met in 1981, on a cool day in mid-August.
I had just turned 18. I was good looking, with dark eyes and thick dark hair. At the time I was seeing a girl, but we were going nowhere. I knew that was largely down to me. I had a public face, a persona, which girls found very attractive. Outgoing, talkative, with an almost arrogant charm. That was how I appeared. I dated any girl, every girl, as and when I chose. But in private, once we were alone together, I was much less sure of myself. Quieter. More reserved. Shy really. And that, I knew – but couldn’t easily change – was less attractive. We were teenagers, and life was supposed to be fun.
Back then, I was still living in Birmingham, my home city. But on that day, a day I would never forget, I was in London, on a dreary work-related visit to the south east, travelling on a local train slowly making its way back into the city centre. Then at some anonymous suburban station, voices caught my attention and I looked up from my book to see a group of punks or something on the platform. They were just talking, laughing. Fooling around a little. Doing nothing in particular.
I watched them for a few seconds, focusing mainly on a slender girl with strikingly blonde hair and a short pink mohair jumper. She did a little dance and seemed to be making all the others laugh. For some reason I found it impossible to even look at her without smiling.
Then I went back to my reading: ‘There are moments in life that are given to us. Moments where we can make a choice. There is much more to the world than we realise, and those moments should be treated with special care when they do arrive. They are often crossroads or junctions. A clear choice between action and inaction. Sometimes mundane. Sometimes – and often, and we do not see it – one of them will be very precious. A chance to change a whole life. To act or not to act. If only we make the right decision, we might be able to change a whole story.’
Suddenly, just as the train was about to leave, someone jumped on board, opening the door right next to me and then dropping into the seat directly opposite. That felt a little odd. It was one of those open carriages with lots of woodwork and as many doors as there were windows. Strong smells of dust and warm moquette. But the train was almost empty too, so there was no need for them to sit so close. And as we moved off, I half looked up.
It was that same girl.
Other than the pink jumper, she was mostly wearing black. She had also scattered a half dozen glossy magazines on the seat next to her.
Then, once again, I returned to my book.
What happened next? A misunderstanding. That was all.
The train slowed down for the next station and I felt a strange sensation. I didn’t look up, because I could tell what it was.
And I was embarrassed by it. I even felt myself blushing. It was the girl opposite. She appeared to be periodically rubbing her shoe against mine, against my boot.
The train stopped. And then she did it again. Very lightly, but – to me at least it was quite definite – she pressed her shoe against mine. I tried to ignore it. Sure, it wasn’t much, but it wasn’t the kind of thing most strangers did on a train.
Then it happened once more.
Still I didn’t look up. At least, not fully. But I did glance over the top of my book, past the words I was no longer able to read or think about, and notice that she was wearing a longish, black, tight fitting skirt and leather high heels.
I guess because it was daytime and August, albeit a cool day, those clothes surprised me. And maybe that was why I looked at her legs for longer than I ought to have done, as she later assured me I had. In any case, from her, I went back to staring at the pages of my book, turning them slowly to make it look as if I was reading. Not sure what to think. I hoped that staying quiet would make her stop.
The train moved off. And then it happened again.
I didn’t know what to do now. Should I say something? I’d never had anyone sit opposite me and do that before, and it felt strange.
Why would she keep doing that?
As we approached the more urban parts of London, I glanced out of the window, first to my side and then across her to the other window, as people do, by way of an excuse so I could look at her without being too obvious. Not obvious? Well, that’s what we tell ourselves.
Oh. Fuck.
I don’t know why, but I hadn’t expected her to be so attractive. There was not only the startling bleached blonde hair, which I’d always loved, but above night-club-red lipstick, she had high, fine cheekbones which gave her an almost sculpted appearance, and narrow almond-shaped eyes, outlined heavily with eyeliner, the lashes darkened to black with mascara.
There was a coldness in that face too, yet at the same time, a vibrancy, a liveliness that bordered on the insolent. I could see all that immediately.
But there was also something else there that I couldn’t place. Not then. Nor could I study her for too long, because those almond eyes flashed a sudden glance at me and a bright smile passed across her face. I couldn’t tell what colour those narrowed eyes were, but I could see that they sparkled, that they shone.
I turned back to my book. The train stopped again. And we were stuck at another nondescript station for quite a long while.
I knew the girl was now watching me now. I could feel her gaze on me.
Then she lit a cigarette, took a few drags on it and seemed to blow the smoke straight at me. “Ooo, sorry, is that bothering you?”, she said immediately. The accent was a little strange, but where from exactly? I couldn’t place it at first. It was also, somehow, not an ordinary girl’s voice.
“Nah”, I said, making myself smile at her. “It’s fine. Really. I smoke myself sometimes.”
“Mmm”, she said quietly. “I thought it might be bothering you. Sorry.”
I didn’t reply. And she picked up one of her magazines and, very quietly, began humming to herself as she flicked through it. Maybe even singing a little. Then she tossed the magazine back down onto her seat.
“People can be rude like that, though, can’t they? With smoke.” She spoke quickly. The voice was nervous and I found myself watching her mouth, and those very red lips. “Sorry”, she said again. With a shy but wide smile. “I am. I’m sorry.”
That was it! There, in that final apology.
That was when I realised.
Those few extra words. They had given it away. The something about her. The something about her face. About her body language. About her movement. Everything. We made proper eye contact for the first time and I froze as we did so.
The girl opposite me wasn’t a girl. She was a boy!


“Humour, romance, society, gender, those are the sort of things I write about. I like true stories.”An established author, Geoff Bunn was born in Birmingham, England. He left school at the age of 16, without any qualifications, and began working in a factory. After four years of that… he left the factory and went back to college. And today, as both a writer and artist, he divides his time between homes and studios in rural France, the UK and southern Sweden.Geoff is always happy to hear from readers and can be contacted in person via his website or on social media.

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Spotlight & Excerpt: Allmother + Giveaway

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Allmother Rising
by Elexis Bell
Genre: Dark Fantasy with Straight and LGBTQ Romance

 

A broken-hearted priestess and a deposed prince team up with a ranger and a rebel with one too many secrets. In the name of The Allmother, they go to war to save their lands.

A coup in a neighboring kingdom brings threats of invasion and fire to Priestess Rising Veliana’s home in the forest. Under the guidance of her goddess, The Allmother, she forms an alliance with the deposed prince, Tyrvahn, and his ex, Garle, the leader of a rebellion that’s been brewing for years.

But Garle has many secrets, one of which could unravel Veliana and Tyrvahn’s budding romance and the future of these uneasy alliances. Veliana’s best friend, Kivala, tries to soften Garle with the ways of their fallen homeland, but what she learns chills her to her core.

At war with a vicious man twisted by the god of greed, they can’t afford to fight amongst themselves. Can they overcome their differences to save their home and their goddess from the new king? Or will the forests burn over blood-soaked earth?

Fans of magic and grit, high stakes and godly secrets will love this dark high fantasy novel with straight and LGBT romance.

 
**Only .99 cents until June 1st!!**

allmother rising

allmotherrising- excerpt
A maelstrom stirs within me as the doors click softly shut. Suddenly far more anxious, I ache for something to do. My eyes wander to the tray of ointments, but I know my parents will tend to each other’s wounds when I leave.
The sun of renewal hides, seeking shelter behind clouds and letting us fend for our own warmth. It sends only faint light in through the windows, so I light a few candles and gather furs from a chest. I drape them around my parents’ shoulders, careful not to nudge their maimed, bloody ears as I pull the plaits of their hair from beneath the thick pelts.
They settle into carved wooden chairs near the window and motion for me to join them. Nervous glances pass between them, and the storm inside me intensifies. A million terrifying scenarios play out in my mind.
Are King Kelgon and Queen Halde really dead? Did Paikon really murder his own sister, his brother-in-seal, his nephew… All for the throne?
I can’t imagine a land with so little of the Allmother’s influence as to allow Aia, the god of greed and power, to poison someone so deeply.
Do they not know her? How will the new King lead without her hand to guide him?
My mouth goes dry, and I swallow hard.
Does the new King want some of the Allmother’s land?
My questions go unanswered as my parents struggle for words. I glance out the window at Kin territory, eyes lingering over every branch of the magnificent Sailon Forest. Homes dot the trees at varying heights, connected by rope bridges. Moss hangs from them, and vines wrap around rope railings.
The High Seal has governed this forest, guiding the Kin according to the Allmother’s will for so many generations.
If Paikon or his son, Tumai, want part of this land…
I shudder at the thought and turn my attention back to my parents. “Are the rumors true?” I ask, unwilling to wait any longer.
My mother nods, crisp blue eyes finally meeting mine. “Paikon has… taken the throne. The Furen family rules with no intention of peace.”
The churning in my stomach intensifies and my palms begin to sweat. I rub them gently on my robes but it does little to help.
“He demands a third of the Sailon Forest,” my mother says.
I gasp and my jaw falls slack. “He can’t! They control so much land, already!”
“Aye,” my father says. “But they have abused their land. Trees are scarce, and they tear great swaths of minerals from the earth for the sake of ‘progress.’ The Allmother’s presence faded quickly as we moved into Jun.”
“I wept for the loss of her, for the loss of so many feats of nature,” he continues. “Crops and animals are butchered in great numbers. The surplus is gluttonous, yet so many go without.”
He touches my cheek and the silver undertones of his skin glitter in the faint sunlight. “Darling Daughter,” my father whispers apologetically.
My mother’s hand finds mine upon the table, and she squeezes it tight.
“Paikon demands more than land.”
A choked sob escapes my mother’s lips, and I tense, preparing myself.
How bad is it?
“He wants a third of the forest, now. But he knows it is unusual for a Priestess Rising to go unsealed for so long…” my mother says, trailing off.
My stomach drops, filling me with dread. She struggles for words, mouth opening and closing silently.
Please… No…
A burst of loneliness spreads through me at the mention of my seal status, colored by images of Materva, the Light Watcher I could have been sealed to years ago. Shadows flood my mind, tinged by his betrayal.
The smiles he seemed to save for that other girl, another Light Watcher. Laughter shared only with her. The sound of his voice telling me that he wanted her, wanted a life in the sun at the top of the trees with the freedom of the skies… without the burden of Rising.
Finally, Mother continues, “His son has recently… come unsealed. He wishes the two of you to be sealed so that, on his own death, Tumai will rule all of Jun and Kin territory. Kin will be no more.”
“What?” Outrage burns hot within me, coursing through my veins, but it is not strictly my own. The Allmother’s fury surges alongside mine, boiling my blood. “What makes him think we’d agree to that?”
“If we don’t,” my mother says, voice so small I barely hear her, “he promises to burn the entire forest to the ground.”

Elexis Bell writes gritty and emotional novels. Born and raised in the midwestern United States, she dreams of a cabin in the woods rather than a house surrounded by cornfields.

She loves writing well-developed characters facing real problems in vibrant, magical worlds. Armed with a degree in psychology and a rollercoaster past, she sprinkles gut-wrenching emotions over high fantasy romance, science fiction, and the occasional thriller.

 

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Spotlight & Excerpt: In the Eye of the Storm, by H.M. Wolfe

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In the Eye of the Storm
Full Circle, #1
by H.M. Wolfe
LGBTQ romance, MM Suspense

Happily married with the affection and respect of those he holds dear, Fabian Bloom finally finds inner peace. However, fresh nightmares about his horrific past start to plague the man’s sleep, shadowing his newfound happiness and worrying the one he loves. A trip to his cabin in Montana offers the opportunity for the couple to relax and enjoy the solitude of the place.

After reuniting with his two sons, marrying the man he had loved for eleven years and watching his young protegees blooming into strong young men, Lance Hansen has everything he ever wished for. When his husband’s past is revealed in all its darkness and horror, the man is completely unprepared, and their world begins to crumble.

Will the two men be able to face the ghosts that threaten to destroy everything they love and fight so hard for? Or will they end up sucked into a whirlwind that will rip them apart forever?


Excerpt:

Alexander Kane studied the man sitting across the desk, surprised by his serene, somewhat detached demeanor. When Fabian Bloom agreed to meet with him, he expected him to crawl at his feet and beg him to spare Ardan MacNamara and take him in his place. But it didn’t happen that way. Here he sat, silent and dignified, a stern expression on his face… as if he—rather than Kane—were the one in control. A brief, troubling thought struck Alexander as he considered Fabian was, indeed, the stronger of the two of them… and him remaining with Alexander had been by choice to destroy the child trafficking ring from within. What if Fabian had been behind Ardan’s escape? He dismissed the thought, recalling how broken Fabian had been when the two of them first met. However, his former plaything’s willingness to meet with him left Alexander with a sense of unease. Would he come here without at least one ace up his sleeve? Alexander didn’t like being in the dark in such matters—didn’t fucking like it at all. Even back when he was under hypnosis and on drugs, Fabian had given him headaches. Always so hard to read. Perhaps Fabian was waiting for him to lose his temper and hit him like before. If so, he was in for a disappointment. During Alexander’s seven-year absence, he had learned to control his temper. Checking his watch, Kane decided to throw out some morsels and see if he could get some reactions from Fabian. “So, Bloom, this is the deal; I’ll show you the photos proving Ardan MacNamara killed me seven years ago—then I’ll destroy them, as promised. Before I do, you will give me your word that you’ll do all I ask of you.” Alexander’s voice remained calm, much to Fabian’s surprise. Fabian nodded. “I’ll give you my word, but how can I be sure you don’t have extra copies of the photos that you’ll use against Ardan in the future?” Fabian leaned forward, eyes narrow and piercing.

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About the Author:

H.M. Wolfe lives with the coolest Mom in the Universe and a fat, gay, submissive tomcat. She loves writing stories about boys and men who love, cherish, respect and protect other boys and men.

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