Seductive Studs ~ The Pact

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If it’s Monday it musts be time for Seductive Studs. What better way to start out the week than a sampling of snippets from some great m/m stories?

This Wednesday is release day for my new novel, Matthias: Order of the Black Knights. Although Matthias is a contemporary thriller, I thought in honor of Halloween I’d share from the magical set-up that gets Matthias into deep trouble, forever cursed to be reborn as a killer.  This is from the prologue, where Matthias meets the wizard who seals his fate:

The man pushed back his hood to reveal an ancient face plowed with deep wrinkles. His gaze cut into Matthias, sizing him up, then moved along to inspect the small crowd of peddlers and beggars who gathered before him.

“The time has come for a new king to rid your land of these invaders, to push them to the sea and beyond. Who among you would join in such a fight if given the strength and power to do so?”

This drew a laugh from some of the downtrodden men, many of whom were old, half-starved, lame, useless. Matthias felt ashamed to stand among them and know he was no better off.

“Who is this king?” Ahmed the spice merchant barked from behind his bowls of earth-toned powders. “You?”

“I cannot fight myself. I am a wizard, and I need true warriors to wield swords in my name. In return for your oath of loyalty, I can make any man a knight, any boy a warrior.” With these last words, he stared straight at Matthias, his gaze boring holes into his soul. “Sick of begging for scraps and cowering before the undeserving? I can make you invincible.” He lashed out with a staff and knocked the basket from Matthias’s arms. Matthias gaped down at the spilled charms, which looked so shoddy and worthless in the dirt. “I have real magic at my disposal.”

Matthias looked up again and was surprised to hear his own voice rise above the laughter, catcalls, and curses. “And when you become king, what then?”

“You will be richly rewarded. All will fear you. Killing your enemies will be a joy.” He lifted a pointy chin in the direction the knights had gone. “Never again will you give way, for all will give way before you.”

Despite the heat of the sun and bodies pressed around him, Matthias shivered. When the horsemen had ridden over his mother, he’d wanted to kill them so badly he could taste their blood in his mouth. When his father beat him, he longed to rise up, take the whip from his hand, and flay the drunkard’s skin until he screamed for mercy.

No. He hadn’t thought those things. Not until this moment. Not until the wizard said the words Killing your enemies will be a joy. Joy. What a strange, foreign word.

The man was promising him joy. Matthias could take his mother out of the hovel, along with his brothers and sisters. They could live in a palace. Matthias grinned at the image but kept his chin down.

Someone brighter than Matthias asked, “And what’s the price for all this power?”

“Only your loyalty and your service,” the wizard said.

“For how long?”

“Until you choose to stop being a warrior. When you choose to forgive your enemy instead of killing him.” The wizard said this with a shrug, as if he couldn’t imagine anyone choosing to do such a silly thing. He pulled a parchment from the folds of his robes and unrolled it. The expensive paper was blank. “Now, who will be the first to claim their destiny?”

Matthias kicked aside the sad little pile of his mother’s charms and stepped forward. “If your promises don’t come true, the pact is broken,” he said, feeling quite smart to negotiate.

A thin smile twisted the wizard’s lips. “I assure you that I, Moriel, never make false promises.”

He held out a long quill pen, and Matthias reached for it, still sure this was nothing more than a conjuring act like his mother, his grandmother, and his great-grandmother had all performed. But when he took the pen, a thrill coursed up his spine.

As if the market and the crowd had retreated behind a veil of shadows, Matthias saw only the scroll, now covered in elegant script, black x marks and names crisscrossing the bottom.

“Magic as great as this requires sacrifice,” Moriel said quietly, just for Matthias it seemed. “Cut yourself and dip the pen in your blood. This will seal the pact forever.”

“Forever?” Startled, Matthias looked up into Moriel’s dark, abysmal eyes.

“Well, until you decide you’re no longer interested in wealth and power.”

“Until I forgive my enemy.”

“Yes.”

Simple enough. Matthias expected he would feel very forgiving once he and his family were comfortable and safe.

He took a knife from his belt and made a small cut on his forearm. When enough blood seeped out, he dipped in the pen and carefully wrote his name as his mother had taught him.

***

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Matthias: Order of the Black Knights ~ Release date November 2, 2016

From Louisiana swamp rat to revivalist huckster to skilled con artist, Matthias Krall clawed his way out of poverty using his natural gifts of grift and manipulation to become the leader of an exclusive retreat center. Exploiting the guise of spiritual guru, Matthias seduces the rich and powerful into turning over their lives and fortunes to his control. But wealth and a small cadre of loyal followers can’t protect Matthias from the betrayal he knows is imminent. Everyone wants what Matthias has, except for one man who wants to destroy it. Dylan Connelly is a reporter who’s determined to prove the charismatic recluse is not only a fraud but a murderer.

Irresistibly drawn to Dylan despite the warnings in his gut, Matthias lures Dylan to his island retreat, determined to destroy his enemy once and for all.

Preorder at Dreamspinner Press!

Preorder on Amazon!

Order of the Black Knights

Every century has seen its knights, but they are not always seen. Some of them do what must be done—getting their hands dirty when no one else is willing. Assassins and antiheroes who work from the shadows, they are called the Black Knights. From the time of the society’s creation in the 1100s, these men are cursed to repeat their lives of bloodshed. But for each knight, there is one who can bring out the man that waits inside and break the cycle. The question is whether or not the knight will kill his true love before he figures it out.

***

Don’t forget to continue the hop at Seductive Studs!

 

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Seductive Studs ~ Unfortunate Encounter

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Hello and welcome to Seductive Studs, the hop that celebrates m/m romance in all its many wonderful forms.  This week I’m sharing a snippet from my latest release, Gryffon Hall, a fantasy inspired by Beauty and the Beast.

***

Morning arrived on the plodding feet of ill-tempered giants. Glimmerveen Castle ground into a tumultuous, clanging upheaval as the harsh light of day crept over the castle’s outer walls and poured into Wryler’s window with relentless persistence.

He sat in bed with his hands wrapped around a mug of tea, recounting the evils of alcohol and swearing off the foul brew for the rest of his days. Amster snored loudly, stretched out on the settee beneath the window. Wryler had to summon a kitchen maid to bring him his breakfast—hot, spiced tea, dry bread, and a few sad-looking pieces of fruit. He nibbled on the bread and listened to fifty-odd guests loading their carriages, shouting at the servants, and generally making a very pointless racket. He wondered if Lord Rouchet was among those leaving and, with a creeping dread, recalled their unfortunate encounter.

Wryler’s body stirred, and he grimly ordered it to calm down. Thank goodness he hadn’t succumbed to Rouchet’s impetuous advances. It was a small miracle the brute hadn’t taken advantage of Wryler’s obvious drunkenness. He dimly recalled Rouchet threatening to hoist Wryler over his shoulder and carry him off to ravish him, at which point Wryler had said something devastating enough to send the barbarian running off into the night.

To his extreme irritation this muddled memory did nothing to soothe his body. His troublesome cock just kept growing harder and harder no matter how much Wryler conjured terrifying images of being abducted by the lord, manhandled, forced to do… Well, his imagination wasn’t that lurid… Oh dear, yes it was.

He nearly dumped the tea in his lap when someone thumped loudly on his door, and for a second he thought it might be Rouchet come to make good on his threats.

Then the door burst open and his father marched in, followed closely by his first minister, Fenwale Cook. They were both smiling, which made Wryler want to leap from the bed and throw himself out the window. No good ever came from his father smiling.

***

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Fated to be born the useless fourth son of the Lord of Glimmerveen, Wryler dreams of getting married and escaping the rustic confines of his father’s castle. A wealthy merchant’s son seems to hold the key to Wryler’s safe if somewhat dreary future. However, the arrival of a mysterious stranger on the eve of Wryler’s betrothal sends his plans into disarray and Wryler finds himself traded off in marriage to one of the most notorious rogues in the land.

Is Lord Aeric Rouchet the scoundrel he appears to be, or is he something much worse? Separated from his family and thrust into a strange and dangerous new life at the foreboding Gryffon Hall, Wryler must unravel the secret of his husband’s shadowed life and defeat the curse which threatens not only his growing affection for the barbarian in his bed, but the lives of everyone the Lord of Gryffon Hall is sworn to protect.

***

Check out the great review on Diverse Reader.

Amazon 

ARe

Loose Id

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Don’t forget to continue the hop at Seductive Studs for more steamy m/m goodness.

Seductive Studs ~ Wed This Very Night

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A new week, a new round of Seductive Studs.  I’m sharing from my new release, Gryffon Hall, a fantasy inspired by Beauty and the Beast and spiced up with an m/m romance.  In this scene, Wryler has arrived at Gryffon Hall with his aunt Otillia. They’ve found out over breakfast that Rouchet insists on proceeding with the ceremony right away.  Wryler speaks first.

***

“Lord Rouchet—”

“Please. We’re to be wed this very night. Call me Aeric.”

Mouth suddenly quite dry, Wryler looked up at Rouchet. Wed this very night. He licked his lips and formed the word with difficulty.

“Aeric.” He’d forgotten what he was going to ask.

“That sounds much nicer.” Rouchet had a hand on the back of his chair and with the other reached out for one of Wryler’s. Wryler nearly jumped in surprise but held still, blushing only a little. Rouchet’s hand was rough and hot and could snap all of Wryler’s fingers with a squeeze, yet his grip was gentle. “You have a request? Whatever you wish, I will do my utmost to satisfy.”

“I… It’s nothing, really. I wondered if I might see the library.”

“Wryler!” Otillia exclaimed. “You have no time for sightseeing. Now that Lord Rouchet insists on having the ceremony tonight, we must away at once to your chamber to finish your—”

“I would be delighted to escort you there myself, Wryler,” Rouchet said, speaking over Otillia as if she hadn’t uttered a peep. Wryler’s aunt flushed a deep red, and Farina’s eyes looked like they might pop out of her head. “Please excuse us, Lady Otillia. It will only be a brief excursion, and I will return your nephew to you in ample time. Unless you wish to join us?”

“As if I had a moment to spare!” Otillia looked like she might leap to her feet, but sighed and reached for another jam tart. “If you’re not at my door in an hour’s time, Wryler, I’ll send that useless manservant of yours to fetch you. If I can find him.” She shook her head and muttered, “So much to do in one day.”

Rouchet stepped back and gestured for Wryler to walk ahead of him. Wryler bowed to his aunt, who released him with a testy wave. He walked stiffly down the long stretch of the room, aware of Rouchet on his heels. He’d wanted to escape to the library, to be alone with his favorite people—dead scholars in books—and gather his thoughts. He’d certainly had no intention of prolonging his contact with Rouchet. It was damn awkward, is what it was.

Get through the wedding night. Submit to whatever has to happen, and then hopefully Rouchet will go on his way, ignoring his spouse like so many husbands do.

**

Ah, little chance of that Wryler.

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Fated to be born the useless fourth son of the Lord of Glimmerveen, Wryler dreams of getting married and escaping the rustic confines of his father’s castle. A wealthy merchant’s son seems to hold the key to Wryler’s safe if somewhat dreary future. However, the arrival of a mysterious stranger on the eve of Wryler’s betrothal sends his plans into disarray and Wryler finds himself traded off in marriage to one of the most notorious rogues in the land.

Is Lord Aeric Rouchet the scoundrel he appears to be, or is he something much worse? Separated from his family and thrust into a strange and dangerous new life at the foreboding Gryffon Hall, Wryler must unravel the secret of his husband’s shadowed life and defeat the curse which threatens not only his growing affection for the barbarian in his bed, but the lives of everyone the Lord of Gryffon Hall is sworn to protect.

Buy on Amazon 

ARe

Loose Id

***

Don’t forget to continue the hop at Seductive Studs for more sweet and sexy m/m goodness.

 

Seductive Studs ~ Altogether Too Pleased

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Welcome to Seductive Studs, the blog hop that celebrates m/m romance in all its many wonderful forms.  I’m sharing from my upcoming release, Gryffon Hall, continuing from where I left off last week.  Lennox, the man Wryler thought he was going to marry, dropped by to exact a little revenge for being jilted, and maybe to make another play for Wryler’s affections.

***

“Did you come to my rooms purely to agitate me?” Wryler demanded, stopping in front of where Lennox lounged looking altogether too pleased with himself. Lenn’s expression changed in a flash, and he leaped to his feet.

“No! My sweet cabbage, I came not to say good-bye, but to entreat you not to forget me.” He seized Wryler by the shoulders and drew him closer. “Hope is not dead. This Lord Rouchet of yours leads a dangerous life. There’s a high likelihood you’ll be widowed. Think of it, Wryler. The gateway to the Black Forest could be yours!”

“So you want to keep me in your back pocket, do you? In case no other young lord becomes available before my groom is eaten by trolls?”

“You wound me to the depths of my innards. I care for you deeply.” Lennox lifted Wryler to his tiptoes and pressed his open lips to Wryler’s tightly clamped ones.

Oh, Wryler, yesterday you were dying to marry this man. Are you so easily offended and fickle? He relaxed and let Lennox’s tongue plunge into his mouth. Wryler waited for some spark, some slight hint of the latent desires stirred by Aeric Rouchet, but it didn’t happen. If he was honest, it never had. If Lennox noticed Wryler’s limp reaction, he didn’t show it.

***

Gryffon Hall ~ Release date August 30, 2016

Useless fourth son of the Lord of Glimmerveen, Wryler dreams of getting married and escaping the rustic confines of his father’s castle. A wealthy merchant’s son seems to hold the key to Wryler’s safe if somewhat dreary future. However, the arrival of a mysterious stranger on the eve of Wryler’s betrothal sends his plans into disarray and Wryler finds himself traded off in marriage to one of the most notorious rogues in the land.

Is Lord Aeric Rouchet the scoundrel he appears to be, or is he something much worse? Separated from his family and thrust into a strange and dangerous new life at the foreboding Gryffon Hall, Wryler must unravel the secret of his husband’s shadowed life and defeat the curse which threatens not only his growing affection for the barbarian in his bed, but the lives of everyone the Lord of Gryffon Hall is sworn to protect.

***

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Don’t forget to continue the hop for more steamy m/m goodness at Seductive Studs.  Romance. Hot guys. Yum.

Seductive Studs ~ In The Interest of Science

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How bad can Monday be when it starts out with some Seductive Studs? Welcome to the blog hop that celebrates m/m romance in all its many glorious facets.  This week I’m sharing from a scene in Gryffon Hall where Lennox Arsburry–the man Wryler expected to marry until ambition and financial arrangements intervened– visits Wryler in order to bemoan their fate, and perhaps get a little revenge for being thrown over. Not that it was Wryler’s fault!

***

Looking at Lennox set Wryler’s teeth on edge. The man represented all Wryler had dreamed of and now would never have: peace and quiet, civilized company, scholarship, and an unobtrusive relationship without all the alarming passion that barbarians like Rouchet stirred up.

“I don’t think Rouchet is exactly a fiend,” Wryler said, hearing the hesitation in his own voice.

“That’s because you’ve lived a sheltered life here in your tower.” Lennox sat up straighter, eyes gleaming as he warmed to his subject. “I’ve been speaking with some of the traders who travel as far as Gryffon Hall now and again. You should hear their tales! Strange creatures inhabit the borderlands, and Rouchet is among the strangest. The man is a brute. A monster. After a few months in his bed, you’ll be no use to any ordinary man.”

“What on earth are you dithering on about?” Wryler stood and paced. “Rouchet is an ordinary man. Just rather overgrown and lacking in etiquette, is all.” Wryler did have an idea of what Lennox was referencing, and the crude suggestion brought a flush to his cheeks and vivid images to his tired mind.

“Why, he’ll split you in two! I wonder how he’ll manage it without killing you? I’d be interested in observing his methods, if only in the interest of science.”

“Stop teasing me, Lenn. Don’t I have enough woe in my life without your…lurid imaginings?” Wryler’s body reacted, locking up tight, the threatened orifice clenching in defense. If Lennox had been painful, how horrible would the sexual act be with a man of Rouchet’s girth?

“Thank the gods for alcohol,” Lennox droned on, clearly enjoying Wryler’s distress. “On your wedding night, try to relax and imagine you’re with me. Maybe you’ll survive it, though I doubt it will ever be pleasurable. Ah, poor Wryler. What a waste.”

***

Gryffon Hall ~ Release date August 30, 2016

Useless fourth son of the Lord of Glimmerveen, Wryler dreams of getting married and escaping the rustic confines of his father’s castle. A wealthy merchant’s son seems to hold the key to Wryler’s safe if somewhat dreary future. However, the arrival of a mysterious stranger on the eve of Wryler’s betrothal sends his plans into disarray and Wryler finds himself traded off in marriage to one of the most notorious rogues in the land.

Is Lord Aeric Rouchet the scoundrel he appears to be, or is he something much worse? Separated from his family and thrust into a strange and dangerous new life at the foreboding Gryffon Hall, Wryler must unravel the secret of his husband’s shadowed life and defeat the curse which threatens not only his growing affection for the barbarian in his bed, but the lives of everyone the Lord of Gryffon Hall is sworn to protect.

***

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Don’t forget to continue the hop for more steamy m/m goodness at Seductive Studs.  Romance. Hot guys. Yum.

 

Seductive Studs ~ A More Obedient Husband

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Time to start the week off right with Seductive Studs, the blog hop that celebrates m/m romance. This week, I wanted to share some tender love scene, but I have this tendency to keep my guys at odds, no matter how much they love each other.  So here’s Wryler and Aeric from Gryffon Hall making up after their first fight.  Aeric speaks first ~

“Now it’s time for your first lesson in docility. Take your clothes off.”

“Now? By myself?”

“Yes, now and by yourself. I’m going to sit on the bed and watch.” Aeric walked to the high mattress, plopped down and crossed his arms.

Wryler plucked at the buttons on his shirt.  Although Aeric frequently told him he was beautiful, Wryler didn’t believe it and still felt shy about his slender body. Wryler preferred to have Aeric peel his clothes off in a tight embrace, preferably beneath the covers.

“You want to embarrass me as punishment?” he asked.

“You should not be ashamed of your lovely body. I want you to get over your shyness.”

“That will never happen,” Wryler said as he undid his cuffs. He kept his eyes down as he unhooked his high collar and pulled off his vest. He expected to shrivel in dismay but when he glanced up and saw the hungry look in Aeric’s eyes, his body flushed with heat. Just his luck he would be to the liking of a monster.

“But I hope you never get over your tendency to blush,” Aeric said, voice husky. Wryler tottered a bit removing his boots and some of his earlier pique returned. Why was he submitting to Aeric when he should be down in the library learning how to defeat him? He hurried his motions, pulling off his shirt and stepping out of his trousers with impatience.

“There. Happy?”

“Very. Uncross your arms and stop scowling. Ah, Wryler, I will never get tired of looking at you.”

“But I will get tired of standing here naked.”

“Hmmm. While you stand there, think about how you can be a more obedient husband.”

Wryler snorted and thought about the opposite, about how he might be the one in control someday.

***

Gryffon Hall ~ coming in Summer 2016!

Useless fourth son of the Lord of Glimmerveen, Wryler dreams of getting married and escaping the rustic confines of his father’s castle. A wealthy merchant’s son seems to hold the key to Wryler’s safe if somewhat dreary future. However, the arrival of a mysterious stranger on the eve of Wryler’s betrothal sends his plans into disarray and Wryler finds himself traded off in marriage to one of the most notorious rogues in the land.

Is Lord Aeric Rouchet the barbarian he appears to be, or is he something much worse? Separated from his family and thrust into a strange and dangerous new life at the foreboding Gryffon Hall, Wryler must unravel the secret of his husband’s shadowed life and defeat the curse which threatens not only his growing affection for the barbarian in his bed, but the lives of everyone the Lord of Gryffon Hall is sworn to protect.

***

For more sexy romance, don’t forget to continue the hop at Seductive Studs, where love wins, every week.