'Secret's Hold' by L.M. Somerton
Hiding in plain sight is a risky business—in more ways than one.
Jamie is hiding from the past and sacrificing a lot to do so. After witnessing a murder, he’s on the run from powerful enemies. Taking a job at a rough leather bar, Spikes, is a way to survive off-grid.
Bubba is the bouncer at Spikes who takes a personal interest in protecting Jamie’s very cute behind, but when Jamie runs from the club in panic straight into the path of a van, there’s nothing Bubba can do.
Amnesia puts Jamie at risk, but his returning memories are even more dangerous. Desperate to protect his friends, he puts his life on the line for Bubba—the only person he can rely on to save his neck.
Reader advisory: This book contains a scene of attempted rape. There are also scenes involving abduction, violence, and the forcible administration of drugs.
'Under His Protection' by Cheryl Dragon
A cop protecting his witness… It’s all business until desire becomes stronger than rules or self-control.
Detective Matt Blackburn and addiction counselor Josh Braidshaw first crossed paths at the LGBTQ+ youth shelter where they both volunteered. There was mutual attraction and plenty of flirtation, but Josh’s relationship kept anything from happening beyond that.
The duo is again thrown together when Josh is attacked while witnessing a young boy from the shelter being kidnapped. Matt puts Josh under his personal protection and things heat up, now that both men are free. Josh wants his normal life back and Matt isn’t keen to lose his career by crossing a professional line, but their close quarters and the heat that simmers between them might cause them both to change their priorities.
Reader advisory: This book includes references to drug addiction, kidnapping and violence.
'Ticket to Freedom' by Elizabeth Hollows
When Calvin wishes for a knight in shining armor to save him from the criminals he works for, the last thing he expects is Felix.
Calvin Hughes works in a bar run by a criminal empire. He hates his life and desperately wants to escape, but he is afraid of reprisal if he does.
No one who stands up to the criminals walks away alive. It’s too risky. Who would do it?
Someone like Felix.
Felix crashes into Calvin’s life and immediately throws him into danger. Felix has done the unthinkable and stolen important information from the criminals. They want him dead and, after being in the wrong place at the wrong time, they want Calvin dead too.
It sounds like a disaster—but it might be everything Calvin’s ever wanted.
General Release Date: 15th September 2020
Excerpt from 'Secret's Hold' by L.M. Somerton
As always, I walked the half-mile from my small apartment to Spikes, the club where I’d worked six days a week for the last five months. It didn’t get any easier, but fear and revulsion had dulled to self-pitying resignation. In my mind it was a game. Every day I climbed the ladder of success as I survived another shift, only to descend the greasy pole to get deposited back at Spikes’ staff entrance the next night. Five months of hiding. Five months of pretending to be someone, something, I was not. I paused opposite the entrance to the club and resisted the urge to check the shadows. I needed to work, and the one positive of being employed at Spikes was that I could earn good money and still stay off official radars.
Down the dingy side alley that ran the length of the building, Robbie stood guard at the back door. Most of the staff called him Bubba, but to me he was Robbie. I crossed the road then glanced up at him. He was stern and forbidding, but there was always a twinkle in his dark eyes for me.
“Behave yourself tonight, Jamie. I don’t want to be extricating your pretty little arse from another fight.”
I switched on my trademark cheeky grin as I slipped past him. “Is it my fault that the punters get excited around me?”
He tried to give me a clip around the ear but missed—deliberately, I thought. I experienced a little pang of regret. He was just my type—big, hairy and fierce. In another life I would have flirted with him, but I couldn’t afford too much attention, and a relationship of any kind was out of the question.
I trudged across the club, pushed through the staffroom door then changed into my working uniform of black leather trousers and a skin-tight latex top. The outfit no longer made me want to hide behind the nearest pillar, but I hated the pawing and groping that it attracted.
As the other guys changed around me, banging their locker doors and chattering about football, I felt so alone. If I’d had broader shoulders, I would have squared them. As it was, I just pushed my slight frame upright, fixed a grin on my face and walked into the cavernous bar, remembering just in time to add a mischievous wiggle to my hips.
“Jamie, you’re fucking late. This isn’t a bloody tea room.”
I gave Ellis, my boss, the finger and sat on the edge of a table, swinging my legs and trying to look as bored as possible.
“For that, you get section six as well as your own. We’re one short tonight. Enjoy.”
Power had gone to Ellis’ ginger head. Promoted one day and he’d already turned into an arsehole. I stuck my tongue out at him as soon as his back was turned, but inside I was groaning. Tonight was not going to be fun.
Excerpt from 'Under His Protection' by Cheryl Dragon
“Cartel activity in Austin is up. Not just with street-level drugs, but known members have been seen. We are in contact with the DEA, but we’re not sure what’s going on yet. Violent crimes have been ticking up in the past week. Obviously, Narcotics has the lead, but we’re just as involved. Work your cases, but also check on your local connections. Outreach helps,” Lt. Ridgeway explained.
The Violent Crimes department briefings were normally duller, but Detective Matt Blackburn had only been in the unit a few months. Not that long ago, he’d been a patrol cop in uniform.
“Blackburn,” Ridgeway said.
“Lieutenant,” Matt replied.
“You’re the most recent off patrol, so your connections are the freshest. A lot of this is happening on your old beat, so don’t be afraid to go back to your old haunts and show off the suit.” Ridgeway winked.
“Yes, ma’am.” Matt nodded.
Some of the men bristled at working for a woman, but even Texas had to get with the times sooner or later…
Cartel trouble wasn’t something that the area had issues with. Drugs, sure, but what city didn’t have that problem?
“It’s kind of far north for cartel activity,” Matt said to his partner as the meeting broke up.
Julie shrugged. “You can’t predict it. Maybe too much activity at the border… Maybe someone stole a shipment and ran north or someone escaped and made it this far. Cartels don’t like to lose people, product or money. It might just be a few cartel guys and some hired staff looking to recover something.”
“There’s a shelter I used to keep an eye on. Mind if we roll by?” Matt asked.
“Sounds good to me. What kind of shelter?” she inquired.
“LGBTQ+ youth—some outreach programs but mainly a shelter. Teens can get themselves in trouble quicker than anyone.” Matt refilled his travel mug with coffee then they headed to their vehicle.
“You got that right. Drive, since you know the area.” She tossed him the keys. “Luckily the cartel probably won’t mess with them. They’ll be after their problem and gone. Drawing more attention only makes their lives harder.”
“Sure, but some of those kids have been in gangs or sold drugs. Most have sold other things, but it’s a complicated lot. I worked security for them sometimes when they had events,” Matt shared.
“Any cute guys work at this shelter?” Julie teased.
“No. It’s about the kids—and I’m not into kids,” Matt said firmly.
“You need a life,” Julie said.
Excerpt from 'Ticket to Freedom' by Elizabeth Hollows
Calvin Hughes opened the alleyway door with gritted teeth and a shudder. It closed behind him and he took in a grateful breath of clean air. Well, cleaner air. It was free from cigarette smoke and alcohol fumes, but there was a large, overflowing bin next to him. Calvin curled his lip and stood as far away from it as possible. He didn’t lean up against the damp wall, choosing instead to stare out at the street. Neon lights bathed the busy sidewalk in red, blue and green.
The neighborhood was more than sleazy. It was downright criminal.
Calvin worked in a dive bar that was a front for all manner of illegal dealings, but he didn’t get involved. He kept his head down and poured drinks. People who paid too much attention or spoke out of turn ended up with bruises and broken bones. Sometimes they disappeared entirely. It wasn’t the life or career he wanted, but he had been down on his luck and desperate for a job. The bar had hired him when no one else would. Three years ago, Calvin hadn’t known what dangers lurked in the shadows. Now he did, but he was stuck. He wanted to quit but was fearful of what would happen to him if he did.
He was lucky the patrons liked to fondle the waitresses rather than the quiet man behind the bar. He didn’t even advertise that he was gay. Calvin didn’t want to catch the eye of a criminal who would take his sexuality as an open invitation. Luckily, there weren’t many handsome men to interest him. The few attractive ones were arrogant, cruel or unquestionably straight.
Calvin had given up hoping for a knight in shining armor years ago. He was trapped, and no one would rescue him.
Sighing, Calvin looked up at the sky. It was overcast and there was too much light pollution to see the stars. He missed the country. He’d grown up in a small town in the middle of nowhere. He could remember his childhood—his father coming home from work and sweeping his mother into a kiss. She’d laugh and whack him gently, telling him off for dirtying her clothes with grease from the cars and tractors he fixed. Despite her complaints, love was always shining from her eyes. His father would then wash up before hoisting Calvin into his arms to take him into the backyard to play. On his tenth birthday, the three of them had camped in the yard and looked up at the constellations. That was a year before his father had died. What he wouldn’t give for a one-way ticket back to that simple, happy time—or even a one-way ticket to anywhere but here, somewhere with a small house, a loving dog, maybe even a loving husband who would sweep him into an affectionate embrace. He could dream.
A lover of unusual things, Cheryl Dragon enjoys writing unique stories with sinfully hot erotic romance. She loves cats, coffee and book signings where she can meet her fans. Cheryl lives in the Chicagoland area.
For more about Cheryl at her website.
Elizabeth Hollows is an Australian writer of LGBT love stories specializing in homosexual or lesbian romance.
Her preferred genres are fantasy, science fiction and contemporary/modern.
She has been writing since she was twelve, but has spent the last few years writing romance stories and discovering a passion for LGBT romance.
When Elizabeth is not writing she embroiders, reads and plots her next novel. She is a fan of the winter months and always has a book in her handbag and a cup of tea nearby.
You can find Elizabeth at her website here
Lucinda lives in a small village in the English countryside, surrounded by rolling hills, cows and sheep. She started writing to fill time between jobs and is now firmly and unashamedly addicted.
She loves the English weather, especially the rain, and adores a thunderstorm. She loves good food, warm company and a crackling fire. She's fascinated by the psychology of relationships, especially between men, and her stories contain some subtle (and some not so subtle) leanings towards BDSM.