Book Blitz & Excerpt: Keep Me Close + Giveaway

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Keep Me Close
by Elizabeth Cole
(The Brothers Salem, #1)
Publication date: October 24th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Dominic Salem is many things: professional ghost hunter, curse breaker, and demon slayer to name a few. If there’s one thing he’s learned, it’s never pick up hitchhikers. Something about this one made him stop, though. Maybe he hasn’t learned his lesson yet.

Lavinia “Vinny” Wake doesn’t exactly trust her smoking hot ride. Her music is her sanctuary, the only thing she really believes in. But now, Vinny’s dreams have her all messed up, and the last one seemed too…real.

Dom can tell Vinny’s nightmares aren’t just dreams—they’re way worse. Something or someone is drawing her into a trap, and Dom has to stop it. Turns out Vinny’s life isn’t the only thing at stake. Her soul is on the line, too. No pressure.

The debut novel in The Brothers Salem, a new contemporary paranormal romance series where a trio of demon hunters–armed with spells and snark–are on a mission to slay some demons, break some curses, and get their girls. Unless the girls get them first.

The Brothers Salem Series:
  

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Now available on Kindle Unlimited!

EXCERPT Book 1:

As soon as Dom left the building and sighted his motorcycle, he got sidetracked by something he didn’t usually see along with it—a gorgeous woman.

“Wow,” Dom breathed. He’d seen her before, but not like this, leaning casually against the machine as if she belonged to it.

The worn, cropped black leather jacket fit her frame perfectly. Underneath the jacket he could see the mess of silver necklaces she wore around her neck, easily a couple dozen. She was resting against the side of the seat so that her legs were straight out, crossed at the ankles. The skinny jeans she wore outlined every contour of sleekly muscled legs.

Her black leather boots didn’t come up much above those ankles, and the leather was dusty with long wear, the toes all scuffed up. She had her phone out in one hand and a tube of lipstick in the other. Using the phone as a mirror, she swiped an intense red across her lips.

Dom hated lipstick. But it was still sexy as hell to watch her put it on.

She took her time, pursing her mouth in the mimic of a kiss, though she smiled only at the phone, not even glancing around. Her disdain for her surroundings was louder than any insult she might have screamed. It was defiant. It was unnecessarily provoking. And it looked great.

He was not the only man watching. Two other bikers had strolled up while he was inside. Dom wasn’t sure why they weren’t getting too close. Then he saw his cat pacing in a tight figure eight pattern between the new guys and the bike.

One guy took a step forward, and earned a hiss from the cat, who arched her back in the classic Halloween pose.

They laughed, but didn’t try to move forward. Piewicket could be far more intimidating than her tiny size suggested.

“Pussycat’s got claws,” one said.

“Which pussycat you looking at?” the other said, and laughed again.

Dom did not like that sound. He’d had enough of this place.

He moved faster. Not running, but not wasting time.

“What’s the rush, pal?” the first biker asked, seeing him pass.

Dom didn’t answer.

His passenger must have been more alert to the situation than she seemed, because she somehow put her phone and lipstick away and swung one long leg over the seat by the time he reached the bike.

He pushed the new helmet toward her. “Put this on. And hold onto me, because when I drive out of here, I’ll be doing it fast. Got it?”

She looked dubious, but did it, covering her blonde hair with the shiny helmet. Then her hands slipped around his chest, holding tight.

Dom grinned in spite of the danger he could feel all around him, thinking, After this, I should really find out her name.

Author Bio:

Elizabeth Cole is a romance author with a penchant for history, which is why she lives in an old house in an old city. She can be found hanging around libraries and archives, or curled in a corner reading, cat on lap. She believes in love at first sight. Then again, she also believes that mac ‘n’ cheese is a healthy breakfast, so don’t trust her judgment on everything.

Elizabeth writes the Secrets of the Zodiac series of romantic spy thrillers set in the Regency period. The eighth novel, BREATHLESS IN THE DARK, is now available.

Elizabeth recently completed her Swordcross Knights series of medieval romances set in the beguiling word of Britannia during the period known as “The Anarchy”. Start today with HONOR & ROSES.

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

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Spotlight & Excerpt: CodeName: Orcus – by Thomas J Eyre

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CodeName: Orcus
Books 1-3 of The Gripping Paddy Regan Thrillers
by Thomas J Eyre
Genre: Crime Fiction, Thriller

 

Books 1 -3 of the gripping Paddy Regan thrillers in the CodeName: Orcus series in one boxset.

Book#1 Desert OverWatch.

A 1990 deployment to Iraq, in the build-up to the first Gulf War turns deadly.

Sergeant James Regan wants nothing more than to be at home with his family. After nearly two decades of putting his life on the line fighting for Queen and country, he has decided it’s time to quit the Royal Marines, he just has to make it home.

Corporal Roger Morgan hates life in the corps and uses alcohol to take the edge off. A downed coalition aircraft brings the two men together while behind enemy lines on a mission to track and destroy Iraqi SCUD missile launchers.

Old rivalry surfaces amid the danger, tension and stress of life behind enemy lines. Was it passion, jealousy or fear that turned a Royal Marine into a calculating, cold-blooded murderer?

*

Book #2 The British FrontLine

The Russian Mafia picked the wrong girl to abduct. Now Paddy is hunting on British soil, and they are his prey.

The dark forces of the Russian Mafia have launched an assault on the underworld of British society, and the very people tasked with the protection of British Isles, are colluding with the Mafia’s hostile intent.

Used to fighting to keep his country safe, Royal Marines Sergeant Patrick (Paddy) Regan, realises there is a war being fought in Great Britain. This brutal conflict is being waged between the Russian Mafia and Britain’s organised crime. The rot caused by the Russian Mob’s toxic regimen of bribery, intimidation, and violence has reached the very top of Mi5, the British secret service.

What Paddy wants most is to find and rescue his young half-sister, Susie. He knows the Russian Mob abducted her and he’s getting zero help from the authorities. He deserts from the Royal Marines, determined to track her down and kill those responsible for taking her. Calling on skills honed in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan, he infiltrates their organisation and begins its destruction from within.

*

Book #3 The Namibian Offensive

A wounded sniper. A mission for revenge. But does he have the skill to take down his most dangerous enemy?

Leicester, UK. Royal Marine deserter Paddy Regan swears vengeance against the Russian Mafia. Enraged by his parents’ savage murders, Regan organizes a rule-breaking rampage to shut down the cruel organization, even if he has to resort to torture. So when the gangsters attempt to rob and kill innocents at an amusement arcade, he seizes the chance to execute every last one…

But with news of his estranged fiancée’s kidnapping by Namibian rebels, Regan and his team must shift their sights on her rescue by infiltrating a terrorist base. As the onslaught of bloody violence in sex trafficking, blackmail and murder escalates, Regan’s forced to deploy his heavy weaponry to end the enemy’s brutal exploits.

Will Regan and his team perish in a hail of bullets before he can claim another Russian scalp?

If you like Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, David Baldacci’s Amos Decker, and Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne, you won’t be able to put down Thomas J Eyre’s compulsively addictive CodeName Orcus series. .

 

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codenameorcus - excerpt

Chapter 1

The reddish-brown walls rose up to about eight feet, surrounding an area the size of a football field. From their hide, the two men could see the majority of the enclosure. A steady breeze lowered the heat a little, stirring up small dust-devils. In the distance, the hot sun reflected from the metal panels of the few vehicles parked in the compound, giving rise to a shimmering haze.
To those inside the compound, the hide was all but invisible at nine
hundred yards distant, perched atop an outcrop of rocks that stretched for three hundred yards and rose to a height of forty feet. Their desert digital camouflage tunics blended perfectly with the scrubby brush adorning the top of the rocks.
Regan wiped away a bead of sweat from his brow, then dropped his hand back to the butt of his sniper rifle. He swung the barrel slowly until the telescopic sight of his L115 rested at the centre of a group of men inside the compound. Despite the distance, the faces of the suspected Taliban fighters were clearly visible through the rifle’s high-powered scope.
This had been their routine for the past three days; Regan scanning the compound while Lucas rested, then the changeover.
Regan had just begun to move on to another cluster of men when one of them turned, giving him a full-face view. Regan froze, the man’s face
centered in his sights. Without taking his eye from the scope, he reached over and tapped on Corporal Lucas’s helmet.
Lucas pushed the helmet up off his face and rubbed his eyes. ‘What’s up?’
‘I’ve got one. I think it’s Abdul Kabir… he’s standing a yard to the right of the white Mercedes truck and on the left of the bunch of other rag-heads.
Looks like he’s armed, too. I can just see what looks like a gun barrel sticking out from under his clothes.’
‘Hang on.’ Lucas rolled over and put his eye to his spotting scope. He
scanned the distant clusters of men, adjusting the scope’s focus as he found the group Regan had pinpointed. With a little more adjustment, the face of Abdul Kabir appeared in sharp detail. ‘It’s him, okay—Abdul Kabir,
wearing a black dish-dash, a turban and yeah… I’m seeing the gun too.’
Abdul Kabir appeared to be listening to one of his fighters. The man, visibly agitated, made animated gestures suggestive of machine gun fire and explosions going off around him.
Lucas scanned through the picture book of known Taliban leaders active in Afghanistan until he found Abdul Kabir and his identification sign. It
seemed that the ops group were using a similar ID system as applied in Iraq, where Saddam had been the Ace of Spades. Lucas keyed up the radio and
called headquarters. ‘Alpha-Zero-One, this is Alpha-One-Five, how copy?’
‘Alpha-One-Five, reading you loud and proud. What’s on, Dave?’ replied the sergeant manning the base radio.
‘Chalky, this place we’ve been monitoring for the past few days—looks as if it’s definitely a Taliban camp of some sort. Right now we have eyes on the Jack-of-Clubs. We believe he’s armed.’
‘Okay Dave, copy that. Eyes on the Jack-of-Clubs. Give me a grid reference.’
Lucas read out the six figures and waited for Chalky White to relay each one back to him.
‘Okay. Wait one.’
A few minutes later, Chalky came back on the air. ‘Dave, we have a Predator a few minutes out. It’s already used its stores, but the CO wants the yanks to agree the sighting of weapons before deciding what to do next, so stand by.’
‘Okay Chalky, standing by.’ Lucas looked at Regan and rolled his eyes ‘What’s up, Dave?’
‘All this politically correct fucking bullshit, Paddy. I remember when we used to have the authority to select targets and take them out at our own
discretion.’
‘No… don’t tell me, let me guess. Would this have something to do with a Predator?’
‘Ta-da! And the prize goes to Sergeant Patrick Regan of her Majesty’s Royal Marines.’
Regan chuckled. ‘They’re scared shitless in case of a fuck-up. They don’t like collateral damage these days, so they make sure all the i’s are dotted, mate.’
Two minutes came and went, along with another twenty, before White came back on. ‘Dave, that’s confirmed. There are concealed weapons on nearly every male in the compound.’
‘There’s a shocker,’ Lucas muttered.
‘We have a couple of Dutch F-16s inbound to strike the camp, ETA nine minutes. Dave—can you confirm you’re not danger-close for a two- thousand-pounder?’
‘Roger that, Chalky. We’re well outside the area, but if you get their
attack to come in on a southwest to northeast run, the blast debris will get ejected away from us. I’m just setting up the laser painter now, over.’
‘Copy that Dave, attack run southwest to northeast. Don’t worry about painting the target though.’
Lucas put down his Laser Target Designator, frowning. ‘We’re good to stay and mark the spot.’
‘Not the issue, Dave. The only weapon they have left is unguided.’ ‘Shit!’
‘What’s up Dave?’
‘Fucking dumb bomb is what.’
It was Regan’s turn to roll his eyes and he was quietly proud of his
corporal for keeping his cool instead of rapping out at Chalky, who was just passing on the good news. Lucas settled for kicking a few rocks down the
hill from the back of their hide. Regan nodded in acknowledgement at their frustration. Now was not the time for reduced accuracy. The laser-painter
would guide a missile right to the Mercedes truck, taking out every man in a ten-yard radius. The unguided or dumb-bombs relied on ballistic trajectories and didn’t always hit where they were supposed to. They needed the damn thing to land on target. Not near it.
The radio crackled in Lucas’ ears. From the other end, Chalky piped up again. ‘Dave?’
‘Copy that. Incoming unguided munitions so keep our heads down,’ Lucas confirmed.
‘I’ll call when they’re sixty seconds out. Get this, though—they’ll be running on fumes by the time they hit the target. They’ll have to bug-out as soon as they’ve done the delivery, over.’
Lucas signed out and released a long sigh. ‘Does this remind you of anything?’
‘What?’
‘This whole business of being dumped somewhere and expected to cope while only getting half the infor—’
‘We’re not going to talk about Northern Ireland.’
‘Official Secrets Act? Who’s going to hear anything out here?’
Regan snorted. ‘Fuck the Official Secrets Act. I’m more worried about my blood pressure.’
Lucas laughed as Regan went back to his scope, continuing to watch the camp—Abdul Kabir in particular—while waiting for the inbound air strike. Regan was glad to have Lucas’s company on this job, not just because of their history, but because they were usually on the same page in terms of how to get things done. That said, situations like this just meant that they
were both hanging around, both writhing with impatience, both waiting for other people to make things happen.
The minutes ticked slowly by until Chalky White came back on.
‘Ghost-Rider four is sixty seconds out.’
‘Roger, Chalky. No change, friendlies—he’s clear hot,’ Lucas said, confirming that they hadn’t moved position and that it was clear for the aircraft to attack.
Kabir hadn’t moved over the last twenty-five minutes, or so. He was still by the truck, taking reports from different men.
Regan ducked down reflexively as he heard the soft, droning approach of the F16s. As a sniper he ought to keep his body relaxed, but he couldn’t help tensing up while watching the faces of the guys in the compound, hoping they wouldn’t spot the overhead hazard before it shat on them.
Sweat threaded through the grade-two stubble over Regan’s temple, trickling maddeningly down his cheek.
The bomb screamed in from the clear blue sky and slammed into a building at the far north-eastern edge of the compound. The noise of the explosion merged with that from the exhausts of the two F16s as they
streaked overhead. Despite their distance from the target, Regan and Lucas still jerked a little downhill at the shockwave as the building was pulverised, along with a large section of the compound wall. Regan waited for the reverberations to stop before trying to line his sight up again. The
cluster of men around Kabir looked stunned, but unharmed. And the F16s couldn’t return for another run.
‘Shit,’ Regan muttered, seeing Kabir wrenching open the door of the truck. ‘He’s getting his arse out of there—tell the CO I’m taking the shot.’
Lucas jabbed the transmit button. ‘Chalky, the attack missed and the target’s on the move. Paddy’s taking the shot.’
‘The CO heard that, Dave, and he’s giving you the thumbs up.’ ‘Okay Paddy, the CO says shoot.’
‘Got it!’ Regan snapped, then had a moment’s regret for biting Lucas’s
head off, but seriously—they needed a thumbs-up for this? He homed in on Kabir, who was now standing on the top step of the white Mercedes truck, shouting orders to the men still clustered around him. Regan gently
squeezed the trigger, taking up the backlash in the firing mechanism. The
gun fired, sending its 300-grain .338 Lapua-Mag bullet hurtling towards the target, striking Kabir just above his left eye some two seconds later. The back of Kabir’s head split open like an overstuffed suitcase, spewing much of its contents over the fighters standing just below. At the sight of their leader’s head exploding, the Taliban fighters, still dusting themselves off from the explosion, dived for cover under trucks and up against some of the large rocks dotted about in the compound.
‘That’s confirmed,’ Lucas said into the radio. ‘Scratch one more Taliban shit-stirrer.’
A bullet ricocheted off the rocks twenty yards in front and ten yards to the right of their position. A smattering of small arms and heavier machinegun fire followed the impact of the first bullet as the Taliban
adopted a spray-and-pray policy, hoping they’d get lucky and hit something.
Lucas snatched up the radio with one hand and the rest of their shit with the other.
They eased themselves back from the edge of the rocky outcrop, slid into the gulley a few yards behind the firing position, and hefted their Bergens before legging it back towards the extraction point, where they were to be
evacuated by helicopter. As they ran, Lucas punched the transmit key.
‘Chalky, situation critical—we have incoming. We need air support and evac, over.’
‘Roger your last, Dave. Ground suppression and evac helos inbound your location. ETA seventeen minutes, over.’
‘Confirmed, evac helo seventeen minutes—roger and out.’
Regan kept up with Lucas as they zigzagged their way across the rock-
strewn plain, their boots kicking up small dust clouds with each step as they headed towards the extraction point. They stuck to ground that was too rough to drive over, forcing their pursuers to give chase on foot.
Five minutes passed, then ten. The pair kept running, knowing the
chasing Taliban would be on them if they slackened their punishing pace. A bullet pinged off the rocks thirty feet to their left, spurring them on.
As they approached the extraction point, they could hear the steady beat of the incoming helicopter’s rotor blades. The speed with which the Apache gunship appeared overhead made both men duck. They reached the cover of scrubby bushes and stunted trees as the Apache opened covering fire on the pursuing Taliban fighters. Rounds from its 30-mil chain-gun caught two of them, tearing their bodies apart with the force of impact. Their comrades dived for cover, but continued to fire after the retreating sniper team, though some of them redirected their fire towards the Apache.
Regan and Lucas kept going even as wilted branches and bushes tugged at their equipment and scratched exposed areas of skin. Regan’s chest was beginning to get a little tight but he had to puff his way through it and keep his legs moving. The sound of the Apache’s gunfire gave them some
comfort, but bullets still buzzed about them as the Taliban fired blind into the scrub. They reached the clearing designated as their extraction point and saw a Lynx helicopter already on the ground, its rotor-blades revolving
slowly as the engines idled. Seeing them emerge, the pilot opened the throttles. The Lynx began to shimmy on its undercarriage as if eager to be airborne.
When they were just a hundred yards from the Lynx, a loud explosion
came from above and behind them. Regan accelerated, remaining focussed on reaching the Lynx. Fifty yards left…
50-calibre bullets from a Dushka heavy machine gun ripped through the air around them. Regan saw Lucas pitch forward and face-plant the ground, gripping the back of his leg under his right buttock. Regan skidded around and dropped down next to his fallen comrade. He got a hand under Lucas’s arm and felt his groan without even hearing it.
‘C’mon, it’s not far, can you—’ Regan’s pulse leapt as Lucas’s eyes rolled up into his head and he sagged back onto the ground. ‘Shit!’
Regan shed his Bergen and hoisted Lucas up onto his shoulders. He scooped up his equipment and staggered the rest of the way to the helicopter.
Helped by the helicopter’s crewman, Regan lowered Lucas onto the floor of the Lynx. ‘Grab him, he’s out!’
The crewman dragged Lucas further into the cabin, giving Regan the chance to roll through the doorway just as the helicopter lifted off. As it turned away, thin shafts of light suddenly appeared as if by magic,
crisscrossing inside the rear end of the fuselage and tail section, as machinegun fire ripped through the metal. Staying low the pilot used the total engine power to accelerate away from the Taliban, rather than using seventy five percent of it to climb. By doing this he deprived the Taliban
gunners of a clear shot and forced them to expose themselves to the Apache as they had to raise themselves up to depress their gun muzzles. It wasn’t long before the Lynx began to climb, levelling off at a thousand feet.
‘Is everyone okay back there?’ the pilot asked over the intercom.
‘We have one man down,’ the crewman said, ‘but he’s still with us. Apart from that we’re okay, skipper. I can’t see any signs of a problem from the hits we took. There’re a few holes here and there, nothing critical.’
‘Roger. I’ll radio base, let them know to expect wounded.’
The crewman slid the cargo door shut and turned to help Regan with Lucas as he attempted to remove the wounded marine’s Bergen. The
crewman held Lucas up by the front of his ballistic vest as Regan finally got the rucksack off him, and between them they rolled Lucas into the recovery position, injured side up.
Regan took out his combat knife and sliced open Lucas’s trouser leg. He dry heaved; a saucer-sized piece of flesh had been ripped from Lucas’ upper thigh. Blood pumped from the gaping wound and Regan could see the ends of broken bones sticking up through the hole.
He snatched a field dressing kit from his own Bergen, placed some thick gauze pads into the hole, and pressed them down and around the open fracture to stem the flow of blood. Lucas remained unconscious, his body trembling. Regan grabbed his fingers. They were chilled.
‘Shock already?’ the crewman yelled.
Regan squeezed Lucas’s shoulder. ‘It was a bad hit.’ With the air-
crewman’s help, he tied the pads tightly in place then used the drag-bag containing his rifle as a splint to keep Lucas’s leg straight. As he felt for
breathing and pulse again, he felt his ears pop, signalling the helicopter’s descent into Camp Bastion.
With only a slight jolt, the pilot landed. Through the window, Regan could see two ambulances. He glanced back at the crewman. ‘Who’s the other one for?’
The crewman shrugged. ‘Fucked if I know.’
Two army medics carrying a stretcher rushed up to the door of the Lynx as the crewman opened it. They slid the stretcher into the helicopter and
climbed in to take charge of Lucas.
Regan picked up his kit and dropped down onto the tarmac of Camp Bastion just as the Apache gunship limped in towards the landing pad, yawing from side to side and trailing black smoke. It landed hard a short
distance from the Lynx, one of its wheels buckling under from the impact. The Apache’s distinctive sensor pod was missing, along with some of the bulletproof glass on the helicopter’s port side. Bullet and shrapnel holes peppered the fuselage and smoke billowed from the cowling of its starboard engine.
Regan looked on in awe—it was a miracle the damn thing hadn’t just dropped from the sky. It was obvious now why they needed a second
ambulance; the pilot looked as wrecked as the Apache. He cut the remaining engine and then collapsed at the helicopter’s controls.
‘Mind your back, Sarge,’ one of the medics said, as they hoisted Lucas out of the Lynx. Regan stepped out of the way, unable to take his eyes off the stricken Apache gunship. A crash tender raced up to the damaged helicopter, disgorging fire-fighters as it came to a halt. A fire-fighter ran out a hose and sprayed foam into the burning engine while another two tried to get the doors open and failed. Without the Apache’s covering fire, he and Lucas would’ve both been cut down, for sure. Regan watched in a daze as they began hacking away with axes at what was left of the cockpit to get at the injured pilot and weapons operator.
The crewman stepped out alongside Regan. ‘I wouldn’t have believed it could fly either, if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.’
‘It’s in a state alright, poor fuckers.’ Regan turned away from the gut- wrenching sight and they made their way towards the ambulance that the medics were loading Lucas into. ‘Can you tell your jockey we said thanks for getting us out?’
‘Yeah, okay Paddy.’
Lucas started to come round just as Regan reached the ambulance. His normally tanned complexion had turned grey, his hazel eyes glazed.
‘How’re you doing buddy?’ Regan asked.
Lucas gave a weak thumbs-up, but his arm dropped back onto the stretcher as he lost consciousness again.
Regan was about to climb up into the ambulance when a Humvee pulled up and a soldier leaned out of the driver’s window.
‘Sergeant Regan, you’re to come with me.’
Regan looked back at his friend on the stretcher, and then at the medics. ‘Take care of him, won’t you?’
‘Yeah don’t worry about him, he’ll be fine.’
Regan put his hand on Lucas’ shoulder. ‘See you later, buddy,’ he said and walked over to the waiting Humvee. He opened a rear door of the vehicle and hoisted his Bergen up onto the seat. ‘Where’re we going?’
‘Farlow’s office. I don’t know what you’ve been up to, but the Colonel wants to see you.’
Regan grunted in reply. The adrenaline in his system was beginning to taper off. An intense wave of tiredness washed over him. He closed his eyes and tipped his head back against the seat, images of the past half-hour floating around in his mind.
Fuck me, what a day.
He hoped Dave would be okay—that wound looked pretty gnarly. At least he’d been able to stem some of the blood loss, and give his friend a fighting chance.
He couldn’t help wondering what the old man wanted. It had to be
something serious to collar him straight off a shout. Regan scratched his itchy stubble. Perhaps something to do with his request to transfer back to Lympstone, as sniper instructor? Nah, that’d gone through his divisional officer. This was something big, or bad.
Or maybe or both big and bad.
The Humvee engine growled as it rolled slowly over the camp’s recently- laid tarmac roads. After a few minutes, the driver pulled-up outside a grey, two-storey cinder-block building.
‘Here you go, Sergeant,’ the driver said. ‘Go through the door over there, and see the lumpy-jumper in reception.’
‘Thanks for the lift.’ Regan climbed out of the vehicle, dragging his kit with him. He turned away from the Humvee, shouldered his Bergen, and walked towards the door the driver had indicated. Just inside the door, the lumpy-jumper—this one a young corporal—sat at the reception desk.
She looked up with a smile and shot a discreet glance at the rank on his shoulder. ‘Yes Sergeant, can I help you?’
‘Patrick Regan. I’ve been told to report here.’
‘Ah yes…’ Her smile seemed to falter a little. ‘Take a seat and I’ll tell the colonel you’re here.’

Thomas J Eyre was born in Oxford and moved to Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire when his family relocated in 1969. He left school at the age of 15 and worked as a cook, waiter, plate collector and washer-up in his parents transport cafe before joining the Royal Navy in 1973. As an Aircraft Handler/Crash-Rescue Fireman he served on Great Britain’s last true fixed wing aircraft carrier, HMS Ark Royal before she was scrapped in 1978. Yes he hears the cries of derision from serving and former members of the Fleet Air Arm who served in big ships since the “Big A” was scrapped, but even the Royal Navy called them through-deck cruisers and they didn’t have catapults to launch them, nor aircraft landing at 250 knots.
 
Since leaving the Royal Navy he has worked as a long distance class 1HGV driver, drayman, fettler and mechanical engineer. He worked on contract in Libya and in 1995 became a Bachelor of Science after graduating with a 2:1 honours degree from Bournemouth University. A motorcycle accident in 2000 left him with serious injuries, finished his engineering career and almost his life. He now lives in Poole in Dorset and after many years writing stories for his own amusement has been prompted by friends and family to publish some of them.
 
 
 
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Book Blitz & Excerpt: The Billionaire and the Escort + Giveaway

The Billionaire and the Escort

The Billionaire and the Escort, by Evelyn Mahony

General Release Date: 3rd Aug 2021

Word Count: 81,084
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 283

Genres:

BILLIONAIRE
CELEBRITIES
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
FAKE RELATIONSHIPS
GAY
GLBTQI

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Book Description

 

In the world of high-end escorts, getting personal is never part of the arrangement.

When Josh Roberts became a male escort, there was no room for emotions. They went against the job description. He had a full appointment book and enough clients to pay the bills. There was definitely no time to get attached to an older, extremely successful, incredibly gorgeous man who paid for his services.

But Josh can’t turn down the money that has started rolling in, along with the gifts and the opportunity to live in the lap of luxury as the man flies him around the world to play pretend as his boyfriend. How on earth is he supposed to say no? Especially once he starts falling for his client.

James Barnwell is the successful CEO of Winter Luxury Resorts who stumbled upon Josh Roberts in a dark, high-end bar in midtown Manhattan. The young man was cocky, young, beautiful and offered James exactly what he was looking for—the chance to be with a man who knew the ropes and offered no opportunity to get attached. James had a lucrative business to run and meetings all over the world to attend. Having someone by his side would just weigh him down—or so he thinks, until he finds himself caring deeply for the man he pays for companionship, and it completely changes his world.

Two men are trying to play make believe—until they realize their sham might be closer to reality than they thought.

Excerpt

The bar wasn’t too busy for a Friday night. Soulful jazz filled the air of the midtown Manhattan hot spot that attracted wealthy businessmen and young, single, gold-digging women. Not many people came here unless they were looking to settle a big business deal or celebrate one—or, of course, if they were looking for one of those drunk, happy, successful men to take them home.

Which was why Josh Roberts was here tonight. He didn’t necessarily belong there. He wasn’t on Wall Street, wasn’t a millionaire, wasn’t a CEO or even someone who worked for a CEO. No, he was a college graduate with an art degree…and a booming business as an escort.

He hadn’t always been an escort. It was a fairly new profession he’d taken up by accident. It was a strange story to tell someone he didn’t know, and honestly, the industry was so hush hush that not many asked. But he didn’t mind getting paid for taking people out and sleeping with them. It had been odd at first, but it paid the bills—and beyond—and he was good at it now. He had a pretty full calendar, already booked a month out with regulars who took very good care of him financially. At twenty-four years old, he was well on his way to paying off his school loans and saving for the art gallery he hoped to open one day. And he was able to help pay his mother’s mortgage on the Brooklyn townhouse he’d grown up in. That alone made it worth it.

His mother didn’t know what he did—of course she didn’t. She couldn’t. He wouldn’t allow her to refuse his money. He didn’t live at home anymore, but she was his only family. He couldn’t risk losing or disappointing her. She was beyond supportive and would give him the benefit of any doubt…unless she knew he was being paid for sex. She wouldn’t be able to understand that. And honestly…sometimes he wasn’t sure he did. But it was satisfying his bank account, keeping food on the table, a roof over his head and more—so he kept it up. His art couldn’t pay him the way this could.

As he leaned against the end of the long mahogany bar, he surveyed the men in attendance, sipping his Old Fashioned. He wasn’t too much of a drinker and he needed to keep his wits about him when he was working—especially in a place like this. Class meant everything.

There weren’t many options this particular evening. Josh had a way of seeking out the ones who might be susceptible to his services. He worked with a lot of referrals, but tonight he’d been open and available, so he’d decided to head out and offer his services to someone in need of a good time. So far, that hadn’t been playing out too well for him. Most of the men were older, wearing rings or a little too drunk for Josh’s liking.

His gaze settled on a handsome guy in the middle of the bar who was sitting with a pretty blonde woman to his right. When Josh had first watched them, the man had been engaged as the woman had approached. He’d offered her a smile and invited her to join him.

That had been about an hour ago, however, and now the man looked somewhat tortured. He’d downed three Scotches in that time frame and was asking the bartender for another. A man in a suit stood a few feet behind him, but Josh suspected he was security of some sort, as that man had an earpiece and hadn’t had a drink all night. It made Josh curious as he watched, wondering who the guy was and why he’d need security in a bar like this. And if the man standing behind him was security, how come he wasn’t saving him from the ditz currently droning on and on about some nail polish line?

Josh finished his drink and was about to pay his tab and try his luck elsewhere when the blonde excused herself. He couldn’t hear if she would be gone for a minute or for the night, but he watched the guy’s shoulders sag slightly in what looked like relief as soon as she was a few feet away. Josh had a moment to make up his mind. Give it a shot or head out…?

The man was beautiful, about six feet tall with thick, dark hair that matched his beard. Even in the dim light, Josh could tell his temples were graying. It was a good look on the guy…fitting. Josh could see laugh lines around his eyes, no ring, a royal blue suit with a white shirt underneath and no tie. He was well dressed but not stuffy.

Josh glanced down at his own chocolate-brown three-piece suit. Being so young, he had to overcompensate to fit in. But for the man across the bar, the unbuttoned collar of his white shirt and the playful mid-range blue of his suit gave off the opposite feel, and it worked well for him. Is he into men? Josh couldn’t tell from where he stood. But he was visibly bored of his female companion, so Josh took a chance and headed his way.

“That looked brutal,” he remarked as he stood a barstool’s distance away from the man. The guy peered up at Josh with a raised eyebrow, taking Josh by surprise.

“Was I fakin’ it poorly?” The attractive man—even more attractive up close than he had been from across the bar—winced with a half-smile. Josh glanced up at the woman over his head, watching her gait slow as she returned from the direction of the restroom and saw Josh standing in her place.

“Well, she’s coming back, if that helps you feel any better about your acting skills.” His new companion cursed under his breath and took a long swig from the rocks’ glass.

“Maybe she’ll think we’re talkin’ business and find someone else to talk to?” He looked up at Josh, questioning, and he raked his gaze subtly over Josh’s suit. He wasn’t sizing Josh up. He was actually looking him over. Josh felt a little proud as he pretended not to notice. “Need a drink?”

“Sure.” Josh took the invitation coolly to avoid seeming eager and settled into the seat the woman had occupied before him. Her expression was clearly one of annoyance, but he watched her turn to find another rich man to fawn over. Phew. “Old Fashioned. Rocks. Thanks.”

The man nodded and quickly grabbed the bartender’s attention. Drink ordered, he turned back to Josh, seemingly still curious. “Nice suit.”

“Thank you.” Josh couldn’t stop the flush that heated his cheeks. Compliments always did him in, especially when the man was looking at him with those haunting steel eyes in a way that Josh hardly ever noticed his own clients looking at him.

“I appreciate you saving me,” he began, settling his gaze on Josh’s face. Josh held his look with the smallest of smiles. “Not many men would do that. They’d probably just enjoy watching me be miserable.” He huffed a laugh, and raised one side of his lips in a true half smile. “It’s not that she was a terrible gal or anything. She just…isn’t my type.” The way he said it gave Josh everything he needed to know to push on with his own agenda.

“I couldn’t bear to watch you sit through another monologue about wearing blue nail polish in the fall.” Josh mimicked her slightly, and he was pleased when the attractive man chuckled. He sipped his beverage, thoughtful. “Don’t like small blondes?” Josh then asked, licking his lips and savoring the taste of his new drink. He said it a little teasingly but was surprised when the guy just looked toward him and eyed him up and down slowly.

“I think I prefer them…bigger.” He didn’t sound so sure as he responded, and Josh had to wonder what that meant. Josh was, of course, blond, but he couldn’t be referring to him… Could he?

“You think?” Josh pressed, tilting his head as he regarded the man.

“Well, they’re usually her size, but I’m thinking of trying something new these days…”

Oh. Well, that was an interesting development. Josh hadn’t expected this to go so well.

The guy toyed with his rocks’ glass, spinning it in his fingers before turning completely to look at Josh, his body now sideways. Josh leaned against the bar, facing the man the same way. “Josh Roberts.” He extended his hand with a slight smile, roaming his eyes around the man’s gorgeous face.

The guy took Josh’s hand in a firm shake with zero hesitation. “James Barnwell… A pleasure to meet you, Josh.” He gave Josh a half smile of his own, and Josh couldn’t get past how beautiful the man was—one of his more handsome endeavors, for sure.

“So you’re looking to try something new?” Josh decided not to beat around the bush now. He’d go right in for the kill. James nodded with a lick to his sinful bottom lip. Josh wouldn’t mind kissing it. He definitely wouldn’t mind.

“I’ve uh… I don’t have any experience, but it’s been on my mind for a while.” James seemed slightly nervous now, but Josh wanted to reassure him there was no need. He gave Josh a look that was almost adorably unsure. Josh couldn’t help his own confident grin.

“Well, as it happens, I’m very well versed in such activities.” He nibbled on his bottom lip, tilting his chin down and looking up at Barnwell through his lashes. He wanted this sale, wanted to show this man a good time—especially now, knowing he’d never been with another man before. It became a challenge that spoke to Josh’s competitive soul.

James’ eyes widened a fraction and he seemed to consider the statement. Then he laughed, throwing Josh off a little. “You must think I’m some fuckin’… I’ve gotta be at least ten years older than you, and I’ve never experimented like that. I mean I have…with my—you know—but I’ve never actually been with a man. You’ve gotta be getting a kick out of this.”

Josh didn’t know which part he should be getting a kick out of—the fact he’d never been with a man, the age difference or the fact that James was insinuating that he’d played with himself. Josh was eating it all up, if he were to be honest. He’d never taken a man’s virginity, but he was up for the adventure and knew he was a safe bet as the man’s first. He knew just how to do it right and gentle, make it worth James’ time. “Well, if you think I’m judging you, you’re wrong. I’m in the wrong business to judge anyone.” Josh kept his voice low so he didn’t make a spectacle of their conversation. “It doesn’t matter how old you are or what you’ve done or not done. If you want an experience, you wanna try a taste, I can give you one. I’m happy to do it.”

Josh wasn’t one to play games. He was straightforward and as honest as they came. He pulled one of his sleek matte cards from his pocket and slipped it across the bar to James, who picked it up and looked it over, a look of surprise and a flush covering his high cheekbones as he seemed to read the word printed under Josh’s name on the card—Escort.

James cleared his throat, biting his bottom lip as he set the card back down. Josh noticed that he kept it close and he took that as a good sign. “And here I thought you were just picking me up.” James laughed a little and Josh liked the sound.

“In a way I was. You’re a handsome man. I couldn’t tell from afar whether you’d be interested in men or not, but I took my chance anyway.” Josh offered him a gentle grin.

“Do I look like I need to pay someone for sex?” James cocked his head to the side and regarded Josh through squinted, guarded eyes. He might have even been slightly offended. Josh held his ground, undeterred.

“You look like you wanna sleep with a man—but you haven’t yet and don’t know how. I’m sure you have women dying to sit on your cock. But that’s not what I’m here for.”

“And if I wanna sit on your cock, is that what you’re here for?” Hearing the word fall from James’ lips made Josh want to squirm a little. He definitely wanted that. It was always a bonus when he was physically attracted to his clients and that they had chemistry. It was often not the case.

“You can sit on anything you want, Mr. Barnwell. That is, in fact, what I’m here for.”

James grew silent at that, dropping his gaze to his glass. Apprehension bloomed in Josh’s chest, but he sipped his drink and watched the man mentally battle over whatever waged inside his mind. He took the moment to let his eyes roam the broad shoulders, the peek of chest hair, the gray on his temples. This man had to look exquisite naked, judging by the way that suit jacket pulled in all the right places.

James lifted his gaze back to Josh’s, and Josh could feel the heat and question that lingered in those blue-grays. “I’m not familiar with…your business. What’s it you want? How much do you get paid? Do you do weekends in exchange for money, gifts?”

Josh couldn’t help but chuckle…amused. “I mean, I don’t have an ad saying ‘sugar daddy wanted’ on my back, but if you’re offering…” Confusion then amusement dawned on James’ features. “Money is how I’m usually paid. I can be booked for any length of time. I can be a date to an event, a party or a companion on a trip. It’s really whatever the client wants. Whatever they want.” He stressed the word because he catered to any and all whims. He had a few hard limits but had experienced a lot. And at this point, he’d say yes to anything with James out of pure curiosity.

“Whatever they want? Give me an example, please.” He spoke quietly as he asked, as if unsure if he should. Josh was an open book. He never gave names, but he’d absolutely give examples.

“Sure. Most women want to be dominated in some way, but most men want to dominate me. I’ve gone to Hawaii on a business trip with a woman who only needed me to pretend I was her fiancé. I’ve been collared and expected to crawl on my knees like a dog. I had a woman who would pay me for one weekend a month of as much sex as she could handle. I have another woman who just wants me to sit in my briefs and rub her feet. I’ve had a few men who prefer roleplay, and I’m decent at it.” He shrugged lightly. “The ‘usual’ is I show up to the client’s place and we have sex, I fulfill whatever their fantasy or need is and I’m out of the door afterward. But like I said, it’s the dealer’s choice. Whatever the client feels like, needs or wants from me, I give. I haven’t had a single complaint.” Josh felt more than confident in his track record and his services. Sure, when he’d started, he’d had some catching up to do, had to learn his ways around certain kinks and scenes, but now he had zero issues. He felt at ease behind closed doors.

James was intrigued, if nothing else. It was written all over his suddenly expressive face. “So…kinks? Toys? Trips? Everything is on the table?”

Josh nodded. “I draw the line at violence, degrading play and extreme, potentially harmful things. Marks are fine, spanking is fine, but you can’t hit me—and I won’t hit you. You can call me names, but you can’t shove my face in a carpet or make me lick your shoes. Luckily, no one I’ve been with has tried to punch me or worse.” Josh smiled ruefully. James looked a little disturbed by that.

“Well, at least you’re taking care of yourself,” he replied with a concern that surprised Josh.

“I get tested monthly. I’m careful. It’s my job to deliver a safe and fun experience.” He wanted to make sure James knew all the details and his intentions. This business relationship had to be based on trust.

“What do you cost? Is it by the service or…?”

Josh pulled out his phone, opening the app he used to take payment. He set it down on the bar for James to see. He had no secrets. “I don’t do it by the service. I do by the hour. You can have whatever you want in the time frame you pay me for—and there’s fifty percent off your first experience, no matter the length. If a person comes back, which I can usually guarantee they will, it’s full price after that.”

James whistled low at what he saw on the screen. “You certainly are looking for that sugar daddy, aren’t ya, pal?”

Josh blushed at the term but laughed too. “I think it’s a fair trade. Good money for great sex.” He shrugged. James eyed him.

“You think you’re that good, huh?”

Josh simply smiled, nodding once. “Yes, sir. I’m that good.”

James glanced back at the security guard a few feet away then to the bartender. Josh, for a brief moment, wondered if he was about to be physically removed from James Barnwell’s presence. Then James was laying down crisp cash from his wallet on the bar and standing.

Josh followed his every move, his hopes deflating. He’d really enjoyed their banter. It had been a long time since he’d been shot down—and by someone like Mr. Barnwell…

“I’ve got a car out front. We’ll go back to my place. That’s how it works, right? My call? My place?” Josh stood before James could finish his questions.

“Absolutely, sir. Your call. Everything is your call.”

“Good. We’ll go back to my place, I’ll pour us a drink then I want you to take over. Understood?”

Josh was surprised by the expectation, but it was nothing he couldn’t handle. In fact, he looked forward to blowing this man’s mind…and hopefully more. “Yes, sir.”

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About the Author

Evelyn Mahony

Evelyn has been writing since middle school, constantly getting lost in creating a whole other world (usually loosely based on a fandom of some kind) and falling in love with those characters. An avid reader, she never leaves home without a well-worn book and a notepad for thoughts. She writes almost entirely on her phone, because it’s small and easy to pull out at a moment’s notice, when the idea for a scene hits. As the wife of a busy husband and as the mother of a young daughter, two big dogs, and a horse, there’s not always designated writing time. Writing is her passion and whenever she finds a window of free time, that’s what she’s doing!

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