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Monday, April 24, 2017

~~Cover Reveal!!~~ Unsteady by Melissa Collins


Happy Cover Reveal Day! We are so excited to share this amazingly HOT cover with you!
Unsteady by Melissa Collins Release date: 4/28/2017 A stand alone, M/M romance
Cover design: Sommer Stein at Perfect Pair Creative Covers
Photography: Wander Aguiar at WANDER AGUIAR :: PHOTOGRAPHY
Models: Jacob Cooley and Ryan Dick
BLURB:
Micah Hudson and Jude MacMillian were both lonely teenagers. One the new kid and one the target of relentless bullying, they quickly became friends. But when friendship grew into more, the relationship was too much for either to handle. As their tenuous bond was tested, everything tumbled down, leaving them lonely once again.
A decade later, Micah is on the brink of losing his will to live. Beyond exhausted from lying to everyone, including himself, Micah thinks of the one person who knows his deepest secret. Desperate and alone, Micah makes the only decision he feels he has: he must leave. But his need for closure depends on one thing.
Can Jude make room in his Unsteady life for Micah once again?
Pre-order Unsteady today for a special price of $2.99! Grab it here --> Amazon
As an extra special treat On Solid Ground is FREE! Grab it here --> Amazon
And! You can catch up with Dax and Beck in On Higher Ground for only 99 cents! Grab it here --> Amazon
Join me on Facebook where you will find a $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway! Melissa Collins Author Page
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melissa Collins has always been a book worm. Studying Literature in college ensured that her nose was always stuck in a book. She followed her passion for reading to the most logical career choice: English teacher. Her hope was to share her passion for reading and the escapism of books to her students. Having spent more than a decade in front of a classroom, she can easily say that it’s been a dream. Her passion for writing didn’t start until more recently. When she was home on maternity leave in early 2012, she read her first romance novel and her head filled with the passion, angst and laughter of the characters who she read about it. It wasn’t long before characters of her own took shape in her mind. Their lives took over Melissa’s brain and The Love Series was born.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Blog Tour & Giveaway ~ Huntsmen by Michelle Osgood



Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Michelle Osgood, author of Huntsmen.  Hi Michelle, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Hi!  Thank you for having me.  I’m a queer romance writer from Vancouver, BC.  My first novel, The Better to Kiss You With, was a F/F paranormal romance published by Interlude Press in 2016.  Huntsmen, the next book in the series, is a F/NB romance with a bit more of an urban fantasy feel, and follows Kiara, the Alpha-designate of her werewolf pack as she’s forced into hiding with her genderqueer ex-lover, Ryn. 

I am currently working on my third book in this series, which will focus on Nathan Roberts and Cole Lyons.  Nathan and Cole met in The Better to Kiss You With, when Nathan and Deanna were facing down her cyber stalker and rogue werewolf, Crywolf.  In Huntsmen, Nathan and Cole’s attraction deepens, and when this third book begins they have been dating for several months.

Nathan is Deanna’s best friend, and in Huntsmen it’s his apartment where the pack and Ryn find themselves holed up as they try to figure out who the Huntsmen are, and what they want.  Nathan is a pansexual, poly librarian, and one of my favorite characters to write.  Along with Deanna, he is human, and is struggling to adapt to a world that suddenly includes werewolves.  He can come off as flippant and careless, but his clever quips hide a shrewd mind.  Nathan likes to be surrounded by people, and when he begins to isolate himself in this third book, it’s more than a little worrying…

Cole Lyons is Kiara’s older brother, and a werewolf as well.  Cole works as a paramedic, and is known for his level head and ability to adapt to any situation.  He is often the voice of reason in the group, and someone others will go to for comfort or advice.  Cole cares deeply for the people in his life, and when Nathan’s obsession with the supernatural becomes dangerous Cole is the first to voice his concern. 


Unsure what believe, Nathan doesn’t take Cole’s intervention well and wonders if Cole might be hiding the truth.  After all, if Cole can keep the fact that he is a werewolf secret, what else isn’t he sharing?  And if werewolves are real… what else might be?


 HUNTSMEN ~ SUMMARY AND AUTHOR

Summary
Months after saving Jamie and Deanna from crywolf, Kiara and her brother Cole have moved into the city. While clubbing one night, Kiara is stunned to see her ex, Taryn, onstage. But before she can react, Jamie notices a distinctive tattoo in the crowd: an axe rumored to be the mark of the Huntsmen, a group of werewolf-tracking humans. The girls need to leave immediately—and since Taryn is also a werewolf, they need to take her with them.

The Huntsmen are more than a myth, and they’re scouring the city for lone wolves just like Taryn. Until the General North American Assembly of Werewolves lends a plan of action, Kiara’s small pack is on lockdown in a friend’s apartment, where she and Taryn must face the differences that drove them apart. Furthermore, the longer the group waits, the more it seems the Huntsmen haven’t been acting entirely on their own.













HUNTSMEN ~ EXCERPTS


She couldn’t imagine a future without a pack… could she?
* * *

The hallway was eerily quiet. At this time of day Kiara’d expected at least a few people headed off to work. They rode the elevator in silence down to the garage level. She was taking Nathan’s car, something she knew he wouldn’t thank her for, but the car keys had been on the same keychain as the house keys, and it had seemed too perfect to resist. Besides, once they got far enough away she’d dump it and find something else.
For the first time since that night at Kings of Hearts, there was no tension between her and Ryn. The silence as the elevator moved could have been awkward, but their shared purpose burned away any discomfort. Kiara felt herself falling back in sync with Ryn. A part of her worried at the ease of it. Would it be as easy to pull back if—when—she had to? But she’d cross that bridge when she came to it. For now, she had one goal, and that was to get Ryn as far from the Huntsmen and GNAAW as she could.
The elevator doors opened, and they stepped out into the empty lobby. The parkade was through another door, where the pop of lime-green glowed bright in the concrete lobby, and Kiara pushed through it. She jogged down the few stairs before she stepped out into the parkade. “Nathan has a Mazda3 hatchback,” Kiara said. “I don’t know where he parks it, but—”
“Kiara.” Ryn’s voice was sharp. Kiara froze, all her senses suddenly on alert. They weren’t alone.

* * *

“You can’t come back here.”
Confronted by an upheld palm, Kiara halted at the stairs that led backstage.
“This area is for performers only.” The Latina woman’s face was set in bored lines; her yellow shirt identified her as one of the club’s staff. Clearly it was not the first time she’d turned someone away that night.
“Look, I’m meeting—”
“Hun, I don’t care if you’re meeting Evan Rachel Wood herself. Performer’s only.” The woman enunciated the last part without managing to pull her attention from the room behind Kiara.
The prickling behind Kiara’s eyes mounted and was echoed in the flesh of her gums.
“Maria, hey.” Ryn pushed back the black curtain. “Come on, let her through.”
“Tar—” Reluctance was heavy in the woman’s voice. “You know I’m not supposed to.”
“I won’t tell if you won’t, ‘kay? This is my girlfriend. We won’t cause any trouble. Promise.” Ryn held out her hand past Maria.
Kiara placed her hand in Ryn’s and plastered a smile across her face. “I’ll be good.” She added a flutter of her eyelashes and coaxed a blush to her cheeks. Ryn’s skin was hot under her palm. Touching Ryn had always felt like touching the sun.
“You’d better be,” Maria warned as she stepped aside and let Kiara through.
“Thank you.” Ryn winked at Maria, and Kiara heard the woman’s heartbeat accelerate in response. With a valiant effort, Kiara swallowed her huff of annoyance.
The back of the stage was dimly lit. Ryn kept Kiara’s hand in hers as she led the way, deftly avoiding the few other performers who loitered about, waiting for their turns on stage.
“We have to go,” Kiara repeated. She spoke more loudly now that they were away from everyone else.
“I heard you the first time.”
“Then what are we doing?” Kiara’s fingers curled perfectly around Ryn’s. She wanted to yank her hand free. She wanted to kiss the spot where they fit so well together.
“I have to get my bag.”
Ten years. Surely ten years was long enough for feelings to fade, for the memory of what they had been to dull. She shouldn’t feel the bright hurt, the greedy hunger, as though it had been yesterday.
In the back of her head a siren screamed, a warning that she didn’t have time for this. Kiara’s grip on Ryn’s hand tightened involuntarily.
“Leave it.”
“I’m not leaving it. There’s five thousand dollars’ worth of equipment in there.”
“Ryn, you heard me. The Huntsmen are here.”
“Maybe.” They reached a set of lockers, and Ryn wriggled her fingers free of Kiara’s. “Aren’t you the one who told me they’re a myth? Do you really think they’d show up in Vancouver? At a drag king show?” But even as she spoke she opened the locker door and pulled free a large duffle bag.
“Werewolves are supposed to be myths, too.”
“And yet,” Ryn conceded. She slung the bag over her shoulder. “My bike is out front.”

* * *

Kiara spilled out into the night with Ryn’s hand tucked securely in hers. The snow had stopped, finally, but the night had been cold enough to steal Kiara’s breath away. She tugged her coat tighter now that they were outside the smoky, sweaty club and wished she hadn’t worn a skirt.
“We’re never going to get a cab,” Kiara moaned. “And the busses don’t start again for another,” she checked her phone, “Two hours.”
“Aww, poor pack princess,” Ryn teased. “Did it ever occur to you that there’s another solution? One that doesn’t require us to stand in the cold for two more hours.”
Kiara furrowed her brow. “Do you know someone who can come pick us up?”
Ryn laughed delightedly. “Love, we don’t need a ride. The night is ours—we’re made for this.”
“Ryn,” Kiara said reluctantly. “We’re not supposed to shift when someone might see us.”
“Who’s gonna see?” Ryn threw out her arms. “It’s three in the morning, and it’s colder than my Aunt Nari’s side-eye. No one’s gonna see us.”
“We’re in the middle of downtown.”
“Come on,” Ryn gave Kiara a gentle shove. “Live a little. Haven’t you ever wondered what it would be like? To run through the city and know you own it? That no one can take that away from you?”
Kiara glanced at the street behind them. Now that they’d moved farther from the club, it was deserted in all directions. She’d lost track of how many shots she and Ryn had done in the club, but it was enough that alcohol buzzed through her system and awoke something wild and reckless.
“I’ve done it before,” Ryn coaxed. “It was fine. No one saw me. And I got home in one piece, well before the sun rose and people started venturing out. It’ll take us like, half an hour, max.”
“Our clothes though, my purse?” Kiara was wavering, and Ryn could tell.
“We’ll stuff them there.” Ryn pointed to a stack of milk cartons at the edge of a nearby alley. “And tomorrow we can come back for them.”
“Well…” Kiara had a midterm tomorrow afternoon and she’d been planning to get up early to study since she’d missed the last few classes. Not too early though, she thought giggling, remembering that it was already tomorrow. “All right. As long as no one sees us.”
Ryn grinned and grabbed Kiara so she could kiss her. Ryn tasted like alcohol, and warmth, and the menthol cigarettes Kiara had been smoking. Kiara’s resolve crumbled, replaced with a mounting excitement. She had wondered what it would be like, but neither she nor her cousins had ever gotten up the nerve to disobey their parents and shift in a city.
Ryn let out an excited, drunken whoop and started to shed her clothing.

* * *


About the Author
Michelle Osgood writes queer, feminist romance from her tiny apartment in Vancouver, BC. She loves stories in all media, especially those created by Shonda Rhimes, and dreams of one day owning a wine cellar to rival Olivia Pope’s. She is active in Vancouver’s poly and LGBTQ communities, never turns down a debate about pop culture, and is trying to learn how to cook. Her first novel, The Better to Kiss You With, was published by Interlude Press in 2016.

* * *

Huntsmen is available from Interlude Press on April 13, 2017. Connect with author Michelle Osgood at michelleosgood.com; on Twitter @osgoodmichelle; and on Facebook at facebook.com/osgoodmichelle.






Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Upcoming Release & Giveaway ~ The Mates Collection by Cardeno C

Make sure to check out this shifter series Mates Collection by the lovely Cardeno C.
The final installment "To Touch You" releases May 4th and We Three Queens are quite excited about it!

Want a chance to win a copy of all 3 released books? Give Cardeno a shout here at We Three Queens Facebook page, congratulating her on her new release and make sure to stop over at --> Cardeno C Facebook Page and give her page a like! Thats ALL you have to do!!



Until Forever Comes

A sensitive wolf shifter and a vicious vampire challenge history, greed, and the very fabric of their beings in order to stay together until forever comes.
Plagued by pain and weakness all his life, Ethan Abbatt is a wolf shifter who can’t shift. Hoping to find an honorable death by joining his pack mates in a vampire attack, Ethan instead
learns two things: draining his blood releases his pain and his wolf, and he has a true mate - a vampire named Miguel.
Over four centuries old, strong, powerful, and vicious, Miguel Rodriguez walks through life as a shadow, without happiness or affection. When a young shifter tells Miguel they’re true mates, destined to be together, Miguel sends him away. But Ethan is persistent and being together comes so naturally that Miguel can’t resist for long. The challenge is keeping themselves alive so they can stay by each other’s side until forever comes.
Word Count: 60,702


Wake Me Up Inside
A powerful Alpha wolf shifter and a strong-willed human overcome traditions ingrained over generations and uncover long-buried secrets to fulfill their destiny as true mates.
Regarded as the strongest wolf shifter in generations, Alpha Zev Hassick is surprised and confused by his attraction to his best friend. His very human, very male best friend. A male shifter has to mate with a female shifter to keep his humanity, so shifters can't be gay. Yet, everything inside Zev tells him Jonah is his true mate.
Maintaining a relationship with the man he has loved since childhood isn’t easy for Jonah Marvel, but he won’t let distance or Zev’s odd family get in their way. When unexplained ailments begin to plague Jonah, he needs to save his own life and sanity in order to have a future with Zev.
Zev and Jonah know they're destined for each other, but they must overcome traditions ingrained over generations and long-buried secrets to fulfill their destiny.
Word Count: 74,755


In Your Eyes
Two very different men with a tumultuous history must overcome challenges from all sides and see past their society’s rules to realize they are destined for one another.
Raised to become Alpha of the Yafenack pack, Samuel Goodwin dedicates his life to studying shifter laws, strengthening his body, and learning from his father. But despite his best efforts, Samuel can’t relate to people, including those he's supposed to lead.
When Samuel meets Korban Keller, the son of a neighboring pack's Alpha, he reacts with emotion instead of intellect for the first time in his life. Resenting the other shifter for throwing him off-balance, Samuel first tries to intimidate Korban and then desperately avoids him. What he can't do is forget Korban's warm eyes, easy smile, and happy personality.
When a battle between their fathers ends tragically, Samuel struggles to lead his pack while Korban works to break through Samuel’s emotional barriers. Two very different men with a tumultuous history must overcome challenges from all sides and see past their society’s rules to realize they are destined for one another.
Word Count: 60,875

COMING MAY 4, 2017
To Touch You
“His name is Salvatore Rossi. He’s a vampire. And he’s my true mate.”
By not relying on anyone except himself, Salvatore Rossi escaped a dead-end existence and reached the height of corporate success. But just when he has everything he always wanted, fate throws Salvatore a challenge he can’t solve alone and a young wolf shifter comes to his rescue.
Since childhood, Yoram Smith’s family was certain he would grow to become Alpha and save their beloved pack from its slow demise. When the time comes for a new leader, Yoram is forced to juggle his duty to care for a splintering pack with his duty to care for an absent mate, and his own strength suffers.
Being turned into a vampire didn’t alter Salvatore’s life philosophy: if you don’t rely on anyone, nobody can let you down. But when the boy who saved his life becomes a man who needs his help, the icy vampire must find his humanity.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Blog Tour, Excerpt, Reviews & #GIVEAWAY ~ At Attention by Annabeth Albert




Title:  AT ATTENTION
Series: Out of Uniform, book 2 (but stands alone well--different couple for each book)
Author: Annabeth Albert
Publisher:  Carina Press
Release Date: April 10, 2017
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 73,000
Genre: Romance, Military romance, contemporary, age difference, may/december, SEALS


Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Lieutenant Apollo Floros can ace tactical training missions, but being a single dad to his twin daughters is more than he can handle. He needs live-in help, and he's lucky a friend's younger brother needs a place to stay. He's surprised to see Dylan all grown up with a college degree…and a college athlete's body. Apollo's widowed heart may still be broken, but Dylan has his blood heating up.

It's been eight years since the teenage Dylan followed Apollo around like a lovesick puppy, and it's time he showed Lieutenant Hard-to-Please that he's all man now—an adult who's fully capable of choosing responsibility over lust. He can handle Apollo's muscular sex appeal, but Apollo the caring father? Dylan can't afford to fall for that guy. He's determined to hold out for someone who's able to love him back, not someone who only sees him as a kid brother.

Apollo is shocked by the intensity of his attraction to Dylan. Maybe some no-strings summer fun will bring this former SEAL back to life. But the combination of scorching desire and warm affection is more than he'd expected, and the emotion between them scares him senseless. No fling lasts forever, and Apollo will need to decide what's more important—his past or his future—if he wants to keep Dylan in his life.

Book Two of the Out of Uniform series


This book is approximately 73,000 words

Excerpt

Thank you so much for  having me today! My newest release AT ATTENTION features a widowed navy SEAL dad and his best friend’s little brother. I brought an excerpt today of one of my favorite scenes. I love this short scene because it shows how different Apollo is around Dylan, and it’s also the first scene where he’s really noticing how all grown up Dylan really is now.


****


“Why don’t you have ink if you like it so much?” Apollo sounded like a cranky bear but couldn’t be bothered to try to moderate his tone. He did with everyone else. All day. Every day. And it was just hard. Somehow he just couldn’t seem to put up the same front with Dylan.
Dylan laughed like he either hadn’t noticed or didn’t care about Apollo’s biting tone. He waited until after he’d lowered himself into the water to answer. “Honestly? I’m scared of needles. Also, not all schools and programs look kindly on ink. I want to wait until I’ve got something permanent jobwise. Then I might take the leap. I’ve got an idea for a War Elf-themed one right here.” Dylan pointed at his forearm.
“The needles aren’t such a big deal. And it’s a hell of an adrenaline rush. You’d like that. If you get up the courage, wait until you come back down to visit Dustin. I’ll take you to my guy. He does quality work.”
“Thanks. I appreciate it.” The smile Dylan gave him made Apollo feel even more like a heel for how he’d been acting much of the day. Dylan tugged his shirt down as it ballooned up in the water.
“What’s up with the shirt? It’s not that sunny out.”
“I…uh.” Dylan looked away, a dusky flush creeping up his neck. “You didn’t seem to like me shirtless earlier. Thought I’d cover up until I had a chance to manscape a bit.”
“I didn’t like it?” Apollo blinked. That wasn’t how he remembered it—only that he hadn’t been able to stop staring at Dylan’s sculpted body. Dylan didn’t have a twink’s body like the smooth young things Ben kept bringing around. His was a man’s body, with a surprisingly furry chest and chiseled muscles. And Apollo had been powerless to do anything other than stare, unwelcome heat traveling to some very underused locales in his body.
Oh.” Dylan gave him another knowing grin and shucked the shirt. “In that case…I hate wearing shirts in the water.”
“Suit yourself.” Apollo tried to sound indifferent.
“You trim though.” Dylan was just not letting this subject drop, damn him.
“Habit.” Apollo shrugged. He just did head, chest, pubes all on the same setting on the trimmer, beard too when he wasn’t on duty and required to be clean shaven. “And I’m kind of a gorilla without it. But you…you’re fine.”

“Just for the record, I don’t mind a little…monkey action.” Dylan gave a sassy smile and swam away to the far end before Apollo could do the only sensible thing and dunk his insolent ass. The air was mild, but Apollo wasn’t deceived—it was going to be a long, hot summer.

Reviews


I knew when we were getting a story about Apollo that it wasn't going to be an easy one. One can't expect losing their significant other is easy, especially when children are involved.

I think Annabeth did a FANtastic job portraying all of those conflicts and emotions. I also loved how Dylan never lost his patience. Not in Apollo or the girls or the situation. He was a very strong and vibrant character. It was a great balance to Apollo's dark and stoic ways. Apollo.... oh, Apollo. So structured and "by the book", it seems. Very dark and mysterious, and likes to suffer in silence. But ohhhh, he gives such great dirty talk!! Its a beautiful thing. And even more beautiful when he breaks out of that shell and starts living again. Tears man, tears!!! from about 75%-85%!!

The girls were completely adorable and I melted every time they called him "baba".

This was a fantastic follow up in the series with a great HEA and I can't wait for Ben and Maddox


Annabeth Albert you have done it again!!! At Attention is book 2 in the Out of Uniform series but can be read as a standalone, however i highly suggest you read Off Base book 1. Not so much for feeling like you are missing something, but because this series is just that good.
Apollo is man who lost his husband and is raising their twin girls with the help of his mother. She is going on a vacation of a lifetime and now Apollo needs help. His best friend all but pushes his little brother Dylan into the role of Apollo’s live in manny. Of course this is the same Dylan that had a major crush on him when he was a teen.
There is no denying that there is instant attraction for Apollo, but he just can’t do anything but fantasize about the man for because he doesn't feel like it would be right. And not just because it's his best friend's kid brother. He still feels that he is married to the man he loved for so many years, even though he is gone.
Dylan falls into the manny role effortlessly. The girls love him, and he is able to follow the strict military style binder that Apollo has set to run his family. Well other than some of the kitchen duties..lol.
I knew that this book would bring out the feels for me. I just honestly didn't think that my black heart would break like it did and get stitched together so wonderfully. It took a lot of work and patience for these two to get their HEA, but when they did it was so incredibly sweet.

I give this book 4 SEAL stars.

Purchase

Carina Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Meet the Author



Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.


Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Sign Up for Annabeth's Newsletter!

Website | Facebook | Facebook Group | Twitter | Goodreads 

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 10, 2017

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway ~ At Attention by Anabeth Albert





Title:  AT ATTENTION
Series: Out of Uniform, book 2 (but stands alone well--different couple for each book)
Author: Annabeth Albert
Publisher:  Carina Press
Release Date: April 10, 2017
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 73,000
Genre: Romance, Military romance, contemporary, age difference, may/december, SEALS


Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Lieutenant Apollo Floros can ace tactical training missions, but being a single dad to his twin daughters is more than he can handle. He needs live-in help, and he's lucky a friend's younger brother needs a place to stay. He's surprised to see Dylan all grown up with a college degree…and a college athlete's body. Apollo's widowed heart may still be broken, but Dylan has his blood heating up.

It's been eight years since the teenage Dylan followed Apollo around like a lovesick puppy, and it's time he showed Lieutenant Hard-to-Please that he's all man now—an adult who's fully capable of choosing responsibility over lust. He can handle Apollo's muscular sex appeal, but Apollo the caring father? Dylan can't afford to fall for that guy. He's determined to hold out for someone who's able to love him back, not someone who only sees him as a kid brother.

Apollo is shocked by the intensity of his attraction to Dylan. Maybe some no-strings summer fun will bring this former SEAL back to life. But the combination of scorching desire and warm affection is more than he'd expected, and the emotion between them scares him senseless. No fling lasts forever, and Apollo will need to decide what's more important—his past or his future—if he wants to keep Dylan in his life.

Book Two of the Out of Uniform series


This book is approximately 73,000 words

Excerpt

**This is from the first chapter**

Hamburger. Onions. Pickles. Ketchup. Buns. Buns.

Well, hello, there. Possibly the most perfect specimen Apollo had ever seen was bent over in the bakery aisle at Sprouts, looking at a rack of organic cookies. High. Tight. Round. Attached to muscular legs poking out of board shorts, the kind of legs that suggested a serious investment in a sport or fitness. He wasn’t going to do more than look, but even when he’d been with Neal, he hadn’t been blind, and it was nice to know perfection like this guy existed in the world.

It was like swimming by a perfect coral reef on a dive or the blue of a cloudless sky right before a jump—

Wink. Fuck. The guy straightened before Apollo could look away and caught Apollo staring, and instead of blushing or serving him with the angry glare he deserved, he gave Apollo a saucy wink. It was the sort of wink that a decade ago would have had Apollo crossing the shiny linoleum and getting the guy’s number, but those days were long gone.

Instead he grabbed the closest twelve pack of hamburger buns and one of hot dog buns and headed to the next aisle. Those were the only kind of buns he had any business letting himself be distracted by. He was a father for crying out loud, not some single guy out treating the natural grocery store like his own personal pickup joint. Reflexively, he rubbed his ring with the side of his pinky, making it spin on his ring finger. Yeah. No more looking.

“Apollo! How are you?” Bridget from down the street almost ran her cart into his as he navigated the aisles. Her red-haired toddler waved at him from the basket.

Hell. He knew he should have brought at least one of the girls shopping. Then Bridget could have focused on the kids, and not his least favorite question in the universe.

“Hanging in there.” Apollo gave her a practiced a smile. “Good” would be a lie and no one wanted to hear “same as yesterday,” which was closer to the truth. But what the Bridgets of the world all wanted to hear was that Apollo was moving on—like time was the magic cure for the hole in his heart. “Having some people over for a barbecue later. Apologies if anyone parks in front of your place.”

“Oh, no worries.” Bridget patted his arm. “Having friends is so important.”

“Yeah, it is,” Apollo agreed because Bridget was a nice person, but inwardly his teeth gnashed together. He was so tired of well-meaning people telling him what was good for him when not a damn one of their suggestions would bring Neal back. “I better get on with my list.”

“You do that. And be sure and let us know if you need anything.”

Apollo nodded. Two years. It had been two years of neighbors and friends stopping him like this, making kind offers, but none of them able to do the one thing he wanted more than anything.

Fuck. Snap out of it, Lieutenant. No one wants your mopey ass around on this sunny May weekend. And it was an absolutely gorgeous day, perfect for playing with the girls outside and kicking back a few beers with his friends. He wasn’t on duty and had three consecutive days off for the first time in a long time. No sense dwelling on sad shit. Time to get stuff done.

Find something else to focus on.

Like that perfect ass?

No. Absolutely not that. Like…pickles. Lots and lots of pickles.

He saw Mr. Perfect Butt again in the juice aisle, and it was damn hard to keep his resolution to stick to shopping. The guy was model cute—curly hair falling just so over his forehead, sparkling eyes, chiseled jaw, and a tight T-shirt advertising a British soccer team showing off a defined chest and tight stomach. The guy smiled at him again and looked like he might want to speak, so Apollo grabbed the juice boxes for the girls and got out of there like he’d just launched a flash bang in the guy’s direction.

At the checkout, Mr. Perfect Butt was ahead of him in the only line that seemed to be moving. Apollo very carefully did not look at his butt again and busied himself grabbing some gum and trying to give off “don’t talk to me” vibes.

But those vibes seemed to be an utter failure as the guy turned, offering another movie-star-worthy grin. “You want to go first?” His voice was husky, like every word was a secret.

“I’m good,” Apollo said.

The man nodded, shy smile teasing the edges of his mouth, making his blue eyes dance. “You know—”

“ID please.” The cashier interrupted whatever flirtation the guy had planned as his six pack of beer went across the scanner.

“Oh, yeah.” A faint red flush spread up the guy’s neck. Oh hell. He wasn’t just younger than Apollo. He was a kid. A kid who still got carded, and rightfully so with that baby face. What the hell had Apollo been thinking, admiring his body?

Apollo focused on unloading his own groceries, making neat rows for the cashier, and making sure the buns wouldn’t get squished.

Buns. Nope. Not going there. The kid hung around after paying for his groceries, mouth moving as if he were debating speaking, but Apollo kept his attention squarely on the cashier.

No more looking. Remember who—what—you are now. When he finally looked up, perfect butt guy was gone, and if Apollo felt a twinge of regret for being a bit on the rude side, he squashed it quickly. Wasn’t like he’d ever see the guy again anyway.

****


What will Apollo do when he discovers that Perfect Butt guy is his best friend's little brother? Find out in AT ATTENTION!

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Meet the Author



Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.


Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

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