First of all, Pepper has been flattened by the flu, hence the reason why she didn't post yesterday. Please think happy, healing thoughts that she gets better soon!
Secondly, we had two new releases this weekend! The latest installment to The Master Chronicles, Chaos & Communion, is now available.
Stopping a murder that happened forty years earlier may be the only way to heal a tortured mind...
Six months after Jesse Madding is brutally tortured by Marcus Brooker, he is still experiencing flashbacks, panic attacks, and jumping at his own shadow. His lovers, Gideon Keel and Emma Coolidge, would do anything to help him, but Jesse cannot tolerate the thought of being alone, and refuses to be hospitalized for treatment. Desperate for a change, Gideon and Emma suggest a radical solution.
Jesse wants to fix his life. More than anything, he wants to be normal again. He doesn't want to live in fear. He doesn't want to be ashamed of his scarred and mutilated body. He doesn't want to shy away from Gideon's touch. Certain that the holding pattern will kill him, he agrees to Gideon and Emma's proposed solution: travel to an alternative dimension and save Marcus Brooker from witnessing Mary's grisly murder...in order to save Brooker's soul.
...Hoping that the door would be locked—though not knowing why a church would be locked at all—he marched up the steps. But the knob turned easily in his hand, and he slipped out of the noon sun and into the church’s cool recesses, the door shutting softly behind him. At first, he thought he was alone, but as his eyes began to adjust, he saw the figure of a woman standing near the altar.
Though her back was to him and he’d only had the picture in his possession for a few days, Jesse would have recognized Mary Straughn anywhere. She haunted his nightmares, the specter of everything that had gone wrong and everything that could have been. The sole reason he had the life he had. But the picture hadn’t prepared him for how dark and smooth her skin really was, or the fact that she was nearly as tall as him, or how penetrating her eyes were when she glanced back to notice him, frozen in the entry.
“Hello. Can I help you with something?”
“No…I…I was just…” He hadn’t been prepared to meet her now, and his brain refused to supply any sort of adequate response. He didn’t know if he wanted to hate her or love her. Somehow, the thought of hating her seemed blasphemous. “I didn’t mean to…bother you.”
Something in her face softened, but it didn’t lessen the force of her gaze. “I’ll only be bothered if I scare you off.” She stepped down into the aisle, her hand outstretched. “I’m Mary.”
Jesse took her hand politely, and was immediately struck by the warmth of her smooth skin, the firmness of her grip. He knew he needed to pull himself together and begin behaving like a civilized person, but all he could think was I’m shaking hands with a dead woman.
But she wasn’t dead. And she wouldn’t be. At least, not that night.
“I’m Jesse.” Suddenly, the details of the cover story he planned to tell came back to him. “I’m new to town, and I’m looking for a new church. A few friends suggested I come here.”
A smile curved her wide mouth. He wouldn’t have thought it possible, but it made her even more arresting. It reflected sincerity and intelligence, an even better welcome than her greeting.
“It’s good to know the word is spreading,” she said. “I’m probably biased, but I don’t think you’ll find a better place to call home than right here.”
Jesse looked around the building for the first time. It was smaller than he expected. He imagined the pews full of people, tried to imagine Gideon shouldering his way in and terrorizing them just because he could.
“It looks like a fine place to call home. When is the next meeting?”
“Tonight. Who’re your friends? Maybe I know them.”
“Michelle.” It was the only name that occurred to him, though he wasn’t even sure Mary would know her. “Michelle. She owns a bookstore.”
But Mary nodded, like Michelle referred people to her church every day of the week. “Meetings usually start at seven, but if you’d rather not have to come after sunset, Pastor Brooker always opens the doors early. He’s here, if you’d like to meet him.” Before Jesse could stop her, Mary turned and called for him, her voice filling the small space.
Before the other man even stepped into the room, Jesse knew he couldn’t deal with this. He wished Emma were there. He wanted Gideon. Brooker’s not the same. He’s not the same man. And he believed that. He believed the man who acted as pastor in this church wouldn’t harm him. But the past six months hadn’t been dictated by logic, by what he believed. The past six months had been dictated by the physical memory of violation. A memory that seeped into flesh and went to his bones.
Marcus stepped out of the rectory, smiling pleasantly. But it was the same face. And Marcus had smiled at him often. Why shouldn’t he? He had thoroughly enjoyed every second of the torture. Everything went cold.
The greeting died on Brooker’s lips as concern darkened his tawny eyes. His gaze flickered to Mary, who turned back to see the perspiration beading on Jesse’s forehead, the way all the color had suddenly leeched from his skin.
“Are you all right?” she asked. She stepped forward and took his arm without waiting for an answer, her grip surprisingly strong as she guided him into a pew. “Put your head between your knees. You look like you’re going to be sick.”
He was going to be sick. Please, no, not here. Not here. Please. But his silent prayer evaporated as the first wave of images crashed over him..
Our second release is the March installment of our Calendar Boys series, Kiss Me.
Can a gay porn star find love reflected in Irish eyes?
As a freelance photographer, Mal Donnelly is a complete professional, and doesn’t bat a lash at any assignment. Even the special St. Patrick’s Day photo-shoot on the set of a gay pornographic film. But just the sight of the film’s star, Alejandro Marroquin, is enough to turn him into a tongue-tied fool. When Alejandro asks him to dinner, Mal knows it truly is his lucky day.
Alejandro doesn’t date. With his career, it is difficult to have any sort of real relationship. But Mal, the soft-spoken, talented photographer, had captivated Alejandro from the moment they met six months prior to the St. Patrick’s Day shoot. Still covered in green paint from the photo-shoot, he gathers up his courage and asks Mal to dinner. Alejandro can only hope that their mutual desire will overcome the obstacle of his career. After all, it isn’t easy being with the hottest porn star in town...
...“So I like nice things.” He set down his glass and edged a little closer. “Why does that mean I can’t like the way you smile? Or notice how strong your hands are?” Before Mal could protest, Alejandro reached out and captured the one not holding the wine. He spread the fingers out, then caressed the back of them, lingering for a moment on the firm knuckles. “You sell yourself short. I would never have asked you out if I didn’t want to spend time with you.”
Mal watched Alejandro’s fingers as they continued to move across the back of his hand. “I can’t help but believe you when you touch me like that.”
“I guess that means I shouldn’t stop, or you’ll walk out on our date.”
“I don’t think I’ll walk out, but maybe it’s best not to risk it.”
With a smile, Alejandro laced their fingers together, dropping their hands to rest between them. “It’ll be awfully hard to drive like this,” he teased.
“I have an automatic. I can drive with one hand. But…if you’re worried about my ability to drive like this, I don’t mind staying in.”
Bonita was expecting them, but after all his nervous calls to her that day, he didn’t think she would be surprised if he didn’t show up. And he rather liked the idea of having a quiet night in. It told him a lot about Mal; it said he wasn’t interested in parading Alejandro like a trophy.
“I think I’d like that,” Mal said softly. “A lot. Not that I’m not looking forward to eating at Bonita’s. I am. But…” He brought their linked hands up to his face and brushed his lips across Alejandro’s knuckles. “I’d like to keep you to myself, too.”
His cock jerked at the slight contact. “You know, if you brought that poetry, I’m pretty much a goner here.”
“Damn. I left the poetry and the portfolio at home.” He kept his mouth close to Alejandro’s hand, letting his lips brush against the skin as he spoke. “Do you do anything like that? Anything creative?”
His answer came automatically, though his gaze was riveted by the sight of Mal’s lips on his skin. “I draw a little bit, but nothing serious.”
“What do you draw?” Mal’s breath was impossibly warm. “People? Still life? Landscapes?”
“People. Parts of them, at least. Hands. Ears. Mouths.” He had to swallow. His throat had never felt so dry before. “I’m not good at putting them all together.”
Mal’s mouth traveled farther down Alejandro’s hand. “When I first started taking photos, I stuck with pictures of my dog, Sparky. I think he was the most photographed dog of all time.” He slid over on the couch, closing the inches between them. “Can I see your sketches…later?”
On a set, it would have been the perfect segue into sex, and Alejandro would have dropped to his knees, pulled out the guy’s package, and gone to town.
This wasn’t a set. But that didn’t mean every inch of him wasn’t aching to climb between Mal’s legs and devour everywhere his mouth could reach.
He settled for lifting his free hand and skimming a fingertip across Mal’s lower lip. “I’m really not very good,” he repeated.
Mal caught his finger between his lips, and his tongue darted out to lick the tip before he released him. He set his glass of wine on the coffee table, then ran his free hand up Alejandro’s arm. “Trust me. Nothing you draw can be worse than Sparky: A Study in Black and White, Part Two. But if you’d rather not, I’ll understand.”
He would, too. That was part of what Alejandro liked about Mal. That, and the sinuous glide of his palm over Alejandro’s biceps. Even though his shirt was lightweight, beads of sweat were already beginning to drip down the back of his collar, made worse by the obvious bulge in Mal’s crotch. He felt like he was going to jump out of his own skin, and all Mal had done was touch him. What would it be like if they were in bed? Skin to skin. Cock to cock. His legs wrapped around Mal’s hips as Mal slowly pumped in and out of his ass.
He shuddered at the imagery. The darkening of Mal’s eyes said that the tremor had not gone unnoticed.
“We should probably order some dinner, if we’re going to stay in,” Alejandro said in a vain attempt to regain control.
Mal nodded, though he didn’t release Alejandro’s hand right away, and Alejandro didn’t really want him to. “Are you in the mood for anything in particular?”
For more information on both titles, visit Amber Allure.