Guest

Guest: Jackie Keswick

 

💙 Today I’m delighted to welcome the lovely Jackie Keswick to my blog 💙

Her own may be found here – ’tis a fabulous read 

💙💙💙💙💙

 Without further ado…the wonderful 

Book Title: Healing Glass

Author: Jackie Keswick

Cover Artist: Pavelle Art

Release Date: May 13, 2019

Genre/s: Fantasy, M/M, Fantasy romance

Trope/s: friends to lovers, two against evil

Themes: fighting oppression, personal responsibility, love is stronger than tyranny, never piss off a man who has something to protect 😉

Heat Rating: 3 flames

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Blurb

A dying city.

An ancient, forgotten accord.

And two gifted men caught in a web of greed and dark magic.

Despite belonging to different guilds, glass master Minel and warrior captain Falcon are friends. Their duties keep them apart, but when Minel falls ill and chooses death rather than the only known cure, nothing can keep Falcon from his side.

As their friendship grows into more, old wrongs and one man’s machinations threaten the floating city and leave both Minel and Falcon fighting for their lives. Can they learn to combine their gifts to save the city and its magic, or will everything they know and love perish before their eyes?

Healing Glass is an LGBT fantasy adventure with its head in the clouds. If you like medieval backdrops, impressive world-building, three-dimensional characters and a touch of magic, then you’ll love Jackie Keswick’s socially-conscious adventure.

Buy Healing Glass to visit the floating city today!

 

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Excerpt

Half a mile above the surface, a deep, rumbling groan rattled through Favin’s bones and turned his guts to water. The elevator jerked and shuddered—long enough for Favin to wonder whether he’d left his errand too late—before it resumed its stately progress up towards the floating city.

The groans and jerks came more often these days, on almost every journey. Despite the trickle of ice-cold fear, Favin welcomed the noise and stuttering ascent. He’d raised the alarm weeks earlier, but no one had believed the word of a servant. No one but Councillor Teak, who now clung to the transparent wall on the far side of the elevator, face grey and eyes wide.

The City Council would believe Teak.

“Is… this… why you wanted me to accompany you?” Teak spoke louder than necessary in the tight confines of the chamber bearing them aloft.

“Yes, Councillor. I reported it several times, but—” Favin stopped, loath to criticise the council. “I felt you had to know what’s happening.”

Teak, resplendent in a well-cut black coat and lace cuffs under his scarlet robe of office, didn’t belong in an elevator filled with rows of stacked crates, bins of cloth, and rolls of parchment, even when Favin hadn’t packed the space as full as he usually did. The councillor didn’t need the experience of a full cargo run, of squeezing into a gap just large enough to get in and out of. Never mind that he wouldn’t have fit. The servants joked that were the councillor hollow, one of them could fit inside his frame with space to spare.

Teak enjoyed his food as much as he enjoyed his status and privileges, but he hadn’t lost all sense of his responsibilities. When Favin had asked for his help, he’d only grumbled a little before agreeing to investigate the matter. Now here he stood, pressed against the transparent wall, gaze riveted to the crate in front of him, not daring to look down.

Favin watched the sea and the sky over Teak’s shoulder, wishing—as always— that he could see the city as they made their way towards it. The freight elevators didn’t allow for such a view, and Favin’s work rarely left him the leisure to sit on the beach.

Four levels of squat glass tiers and elegant spires connected by sweeping stairs and graceful bridges, suspended high above the waves by a raft of near-invisible columns… the floating city had stood waiting at the edge of the ocean when the Craft Guild arrived in need of shelter. Nobody knew its builders. Nobody quite understood how it worked. The city kept its occupants warm and dry, the glass walls closing or receding depending on the weather. Fountains supplied water in every square, and in all the buildings. The middle tier of the city—a wide, level space between the double-story, flat-roofed dwellings of the lower level and the skyward-reaching spires of the top tier—had been given over to growing food. All other goods the inhabitants needed came via the trade guilds and the Merchant Guild. The craft masters could have anything that fit into one of the eight large elevators, whether it came by land or sea, while men like Favin ensured the goods arrived where they were needed.

The groan came again, more of a pained shriek now, like the death cry of a material used too long and too well, as an abrupt slip downward hurled both Teak and Favin to their knees.

Then the sounds stopped.

The downward movement stopped.

And the elevator resumed its unhurried climb.

Sweat pearled on Teak’s brow and upper lip by the time the transparent cabin reached its goal. “Can we… not use this elevator?” He stepped off the floating disk before he turned to ask.

“It will delay deliveries, Councillor.”

“How many journeys do you make in a day?”

“Some days as many as fifty.”

“And the noise and the… jerking… have been getting more frequent?”

“Yes. I’m told the other elevators show the same signs of trouble. And in the upper city, the glass is said to be weeping.”

“Weeping?”

“That’s what I’ve heard, Councillor. I’ve not seen it.”

“No, of course not.” Servants of Favin’s class had no access to the upper levels. “Thank you, Favin, for bringing this to my attention.”

Favin bowed to the councillor before he set about unloading the cargo into the hands of the waiting servants. The council would decide whether to shut down the elevator or keep it running. He’d done as much as he could do, given his station. He’d said his piece and had had a councillor listen.

He continued with his work, until words drifting through a half-open door stopped him on his way to deliver rolls of parchment and ink to the council chamber.

“Weeping is the only way to describe it, Wark. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“And you think it’s going to be a problem?” The clipped tones were the regent’s and Favin froze where he stood, listening.

“Of course, it’s a problem,” Teak argued. “Go and see for yourself if you don’t believe me. There’s liquid glass welling up out of the column and trickling down its length. What do you think will happen if the glass wears away doing that? Or if the whole column turns to liquid? Will it continue to support the upper level in that state, or will it run into the sea and disappear?”

“Calm yourself, Teak. I’m sure there’s no need for panic.”

“You would know, of course.” Teak said snidely. “But I say you should listen. There’s more than one of those weeping spots in the upper city. The freight elevators jerk and groan, and servants are buying out their contracts, happier to make a life elsewhere than work here.”

Then it is serious, Favin thought, glued to his spot. More serious than I knew.Positions with one of the three gifted guilds were hotly sought. Only the king’s court paid better wages, and with the high prices in the royal city and port of Allengi, those wages didn’t go nearly as far.

“We must deal with this, Wark. Before it is too late.”

“Repairs to the city’s fabric are the task of the glass master. I will make sure he attends to the problem.”

“Minel is an outstanding craft master.” Teak bristled as if he had heard something in Wark’s comment that Favin had not. Something he disagreed with. “Most sought after, despite his youth. His list of commissions is near endless and he earns—”

“There are no other glass masters in the guild. Minel is our only choice if we want to fix the problem you’ve brought to my attention.” Regent Wark sounded oddly gleeful.

“No. You can’t— What if—?”

“You can’t have it both ways, Teak. You can’t bring me a problem and then object when I solve it. Minel’s work and his designs pay a large part of the city’s debts. I’m not so stupid I’d interfere with that. But if the fabric of the city fails, all the money and favours we’re owed will be no use to us. It’s fortunate that Minel cares about nothing but making glass. He doesn’t have the stomach for confrontation. I think… I think this will work out very well. Minel will accept that we direct his work and we can add another treasure to our collection. I have waited long enough.”

 

About the Author

Jackie Keswick was born behind the Iron Curtain with itchy feet, a bent for rocks and a recurring dream of stepping off a bus in the middle of nowhere to go home. She’s worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig, spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with her dream team: a husband, a cat, a tandem, a hammer and a laptop.

Jackie loves unexpected reunions and second chances, and men who don’t follow the rules when those rules are stupid. She blogs about English history and food, has a thing for green eyes, and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for everything, including her characters and the cat.

And she still hasn’t found the place where the bus stops.

For questions and comments, not restricted to green eyes, bus stops or recipes for traditional English food, you can find Jackie Keswick in all the usual places.

 

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Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win one of FIVE ebooks from Jackie Keswick’s backlist.

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Guest

Guest: Eric Huffbind

I’m delighted to welcome the wonderful Eric Huffbind with his latest novel ‘Distant Cousins’ 

Yours for 99p a snip…or free to read on KU 😊

 

99c BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Distant Cousins

Author: Eric Huffbind

Cover Artist: Eric Huffbind

Publisher: Self-Published

Genre/s: Contemporary Gay Male Romance

Release Date: September 28, 2018

Heat Rating: 4 flames

This book is intended for mature audiences

Length: 64,000 words/ 245 pages

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Buy Links – 99c/99p limited offer

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Blurb

Konner was looking forward to learning more about his family heritage. What he found was his entire life was a lie!

Konner O’Flattery, a passionate amateur genealogist, has finally gotten back the results of the DNA test he took. He’s been waiting months to uncover what mysteries his DNA has locked inside. But his results aren’t anything he expected, and he unearths a secret buried since birth. His heart becomes shattered leaving no room for forgiveness. Now, Konner feels compelled to go on a journey to find the truth of who and what he truly is.

Through the miracles of modern technology, Konner meets his distant cousin, Aaron Kirschenbaum. Turns out, he knows exactly who Aaron is, yet they’ve never met. Aaron makes the girls and boys alike swoon from his stunning good looks and velvety voice. Unfortunately, he’s picked up a bad habit of abusing his status for his own personal gain.

Konner’s story pulls on the strings of Aaron’s heart. So, he offers to help Konner, in any way he possibly can. Aaron finds Konner to be incredibly attractive, so the two men are swept up into an intense romance filled with sensuous heat and passion.

 

Excerpt

Konner heard a knock on the front door of his apartment, letting him know Aaron arrived. He opened the door to find Aaron dressed in a stunning men’s suit. “Come in. Goddamn! You’re so handsome! And I thought you were gorgeous in blue jeans. But shit! I’ve never seen any man look so beautiful. You’re breathtaking!” The color of his suit fell somewhere between a medium blue and dark gray. His blazer had pockets and lapels trimmed in what appeared to be black velvet piping. The dress shirt was a deep lilac with French cuffs, cufflinks in black onyx surrounded by gold and rhinestones, and a tie that could be best described as a black and white checked, herringbone pattern.

Coming through the door, Aaron leaned forward to give Konner a soft kiss. “Hello,” he greeted, wanting nothing more than the taste and feel of those supple lips. He was sporting a dark stubble beard, which prickled Konner’s lips. A sensation and look Konner never tired of.

Konner felt dizzy, from what most would consider being a gay man’s slice of paradise. “Fuck, between your black hair, blue eyes and the sexy face stubble, I’m ready to tear your clothes off and drag you straight to my bed!”

Aaron glowed. To him, Konner was the entire package. Good looks, great personality, amazing in bed, and a joy to be around. He said, using his most amorous voice, “Oh, really! So, does that mean I’m going to get lucky tonight?”

“I’d say the forecast looks promising.” Konner shook his head in amazement, “You’re gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous!” He grimaced, “Though, I’m afraid my one-bedroom apartment doesn’t compare to a home in Bel Air.”

“This apartment has you in it. So, for me, this address is more palatial than all of Bel Air.”

“What did I ever do to deserve you. David Kirkman in the flesh. Tell me I’m not dreaming.”

“No, no, no. Remember, I’m Aaron Kirschenbaum. Your long, lost cousin who couldn’t be happier to have been found.”

Konner’s heart was ready to burst. Not in a million years did he ever imagine a man of such status or wealth would ever want to go out with him. “Where are we going for dinner? Am I even dressed well enough?”

“The place is called 71Above. Have you heard of it?”

“Sure, I’ve heard of it. It’s so expensive! I appreciate being asked out and the way you’re treating me, but I don’t want to take advantage of your generosity. Then again, if you really want to go there, I’m sorry, but I won’t be able to afford it,” said Konner.

“First of all, it’s my treat, and you’re worth it. You asked for a perfect gentleman, and so that’s what I’m trying to be. Also, I wanted to use this opportunity to make up for being a complete ass toward you. I hope you’ll forgive me. Please, let me do this for you.” Aaron gushed a river of sincerity.

Konner melted under his unwavering charm. “Okay, let’s go then. Lead the way.”

***

Konner and Aaron arrived on the seventy-first floor of a tall high-rise building in downtown Los Angeles. The restaurant’s name, 71Above, was derived from the fact it was on the seventy-first floor. Views from the surrounding windows offered a three-hundred-sixty-degree, panoramic view of the city’s skyline. The restaurant’s manager and host greeted them. “Good evening, Mr. Kirkman. We’ve been expecting you. I noticed you had a 7:45 reservation. It’s always a pleasure to see you again. And who is this handsome gentleman you have accompanying you?”

“This is Konner O’Flattery, he’s my date.” He introduced Konner to their host. “Ralph is the manager of 71Above.”

“Pleasure to meet you,” Konner greeted. “This is my first time dining here and I have to tell you, the views from up here are unbelievable. Magnificent!”

“Thank you, I can’t argue with that, the views are something else. Especially when you come up here at night time, and all the city lights appear. Let me see you to your table, gentlemen.” He escorted the two men to a table right next to a window. Ralph placed menus in front of each of them. “Enjoy your dinner.”

“I guess everybody recognizes you wherever you go?” Konner asked.

Aaron rolled his eyes. “A great deal of the time, but not always. Remember I explained, it feels like I can’t get off the stage.”

“Are you okay with that? Obviously, being recognized on a constant basis is an issue you can’t get away from.”

Just then a young woman, who appeared to still be a teenager, came up to their table. Her eyes illuminated with a distinct sparkle and gleam. “Excuse me, Mr. Kirkman, could I get your autograph, please.”

Aaron smiled at her, “What’s your name, sweetheart?”

“My name is Michelle, but most people just call me Mish.”

Aaron took the pen and autograph book from her and signed his name. “Here you go, Mish.”

Tears of happiness spilled down her face showing off her dimpled cheeks from the wide grin she wore. She said, “Thank you, thank you, Mr. Kirkman!”

“You’re welcome, sweetheart,” Aaron said returning the smile. Then she sped away back to her table with a pronounced bounce in her step.

“Sorry about that,” Aaron said to Konner. “I’m afraid that’s part of the package with me. I don’t have the heart to say no to autograph requests. Like I always say, I’d be nowhere without my fans.”

“Oh, please,” said Konner. “Look how happy you made her. Why should you apologize for making that sweet, polite girl feel special?”

“I can’t lie to you, I had boyfriends in the past who couldn’t take the constant interruptions. It’s one thing I always worry about when I date someone new. Will they be able to handle the attention?”

Konner reached over to hold Aaron’s hand. “I’m not deluding myself. I know that’s all part of the package, and I accept those terms. It’s fine with me; I don’t mind sharing you. Just put those concerns out of your mind.” A lightbulb switched on in Konner’s head as he realized, “In the brief time I’ve known you,” he shrugged his shoulders. “You’ve made me feel so comfortable. I mean to me, you’re just Aaron. There’s a Yiddish word I learned a long time ago, for people like you.”

Aaron was puzzled. “A word for people like me? I’m not following. Because I’m a singer?”

“No, that’s not it. It’s a word that means you’re a good, decent, upstanding person. I think it began with an M.”

“Oh—you must be thinking of the word mensch. Is that it?” asked Aaron.

“That’s it! A mensch. You’re a mensch.”

Aaron leaned forward wanting to steal a kiss. Konner asked, “Out here in public? You’re okay with that?”

“Would I be asking for a kiss if it concerned me? If some bigoted asshole wants to have a cow over two men kissing in public, they can go fuck themselves!”

Konner’s eyes shone, and he leaned forward to accept his kiss. “Thank you for bringing me here. I can’t imagine anything more romantic than right now.”

Aaron responded, “You’re welcome.” Their waiter came to see if the two men wanted something to drink before ordering. “A glass of White Zinfandel.” Looking across the table, Konner gave a telling nod. “Make that two glasses.” The rest of the evening went off without a hitch. Their dinners were delicious, the service wonderful, and Konner couldn’t tear his eyes away from the spectacular views. Not only the views out the window, but also seated across from him.

While the two gentlemen split a piece of chocolate-chip cheesecake for dessert, Konner made a suggestion, “Why don’t we go back to your place.”

“My place?” Aaron questioned. “Why go back to my place?”

“For one thing, your house is a lot closer than my apartment. And I’d like to spend the night with you. As long as you’re okay with that? I don’t want this evening to end, and I can’t think of anything more special than spending the night with you.”

“Nothing would make me happier. So, ummm, I guess this means you’re okay if we have sex?”

“Yes, it’s fine with me. I was just giving you a hard time. Wait. Let me rephrase that. I do prefer holding sex off on the first date. There’s a difference between a date and a hookup. I’m sure you understand what I mean by that. Besides, who am I kidding. We’ve already blown my no-sex-on-the-first-date rule.”

Aaron, a bit bashful, said, “True, but I feel like I’m to blame.”

“You’re darn right! You are to blame. You’re not getting off the hook for what you did. But—you had the integrity to be honest about what you’d done. That takes a lot of guts! I guarantee you, most men wouldn’t own up to it. Isn’t that what being a mensch is all about?” Aaron answered yes with a positive nod of his head. “At least I won’t freak out by you shoving your dick in my face!”

“I am sorry,” Aaron offered. Konner grinned and leaned forward to ask for a kiss. Aaron complied with the request, and he took this gesture to mean Konner forgave him.

 

About the Author

Eric Huffbind is a man of many talents. In addition to writing fiction, he’s a Registered Nurse, been a Travel Agent, an Uber Driver, a Hopeless Romantic, and the Eternal Social Butterfly. Among his passionate interests are history, genealogy, romance, and travel. Like so many other individuals, he has a long bucket list. On the list, to no surprise, was writing a book.

Although, his stories focus on the romantic relationship of two gay men, regardless of your sexual orientation, his novels are meant to rekindle the true spirit of romance and love in your heart. If Mr. Huffbind’s stories move you through an array of emotions, and it touches your romantic spirit, please share his books with a friend.

Mr. Huffbind was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and has remained in southwest Ohio for his entire life. He shares his life with his husband, an autistic son, and their beautiful Pomeranian, who goes by the name, Linus. The author welcomes your feedback and encourages your book reviews on Amazon.com or wherever the book was purchased. Mr. Huffbind may be reached at: eric@erichuffbind.com.

 

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