Monthly Archives: January 2016

A Game of Assassins

I absolutely love author James Quinn and his spy the Gorilla. In 2015 I did some work on this book for James and because I enjoyed it so much I quit my office job to work with more people like him. Despite the fact that James’ knowledge of guns has left me always wondering exactly what he did for our government, he really is an absolute gent and I’m so pleased to share his promotion with you. Please download this story, it’s the best spy thriller I’ve ever read.

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A GAME FOR ASSASSINS

New Promo Price!!! £/$ 0.99

29th January to 4th February 2016

Available from Amazon

The assassination of a Caribbean dictator….The “hit” on a traitor in Beirut……The brutal murder of a young CIA officer behind the Iron Curtain…..

It is 1964, the height of the Cold War, and British Intelligence is riding high with its top double agent network: Constellation.

But in the secret war fought across Europe the enemy is never far away and soon the agents of Constellation are targeted by an unknown team of assassins. In desperation British Intelligence sends in their best agent to protect the network and hunt down the killers.

Jack “Gorilla” Grant isn’t your typical Cold War secret agent. Short, tough, uncompromising, rough edged. He doesn’t fit in with the elitist spies and debonair intelligence agents. He prefers working at the rough end of British covert operations.

But “Gorilla” is one of the best “Redactors” in the business. He’s an expert at close quarter combat: quick to the draw and deadly accurate when it comes to the elimination of traitors and extremists on behalf of the British Secret Service (SIS). He is soon drawn into a game of cross and double cross where nothing is as it seems and even the most perfect spy can die in a wilderness of mirrors.

“A Game for Assassins” is an action packed edge of your seat thrill ride played out across the global stage of the Cold War.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

James Quinn spent 15 years in the secret world of covert operations, undercover investigations and international security before turning his hand to writing.

He is trained in hand to hand combat and in the use of a variety of weaponry including small edged weapons. He is also a crack pistol shot for CQB (Close Quarter Battle) and many of his experiences he has incorporated into his works of fiction.

The second book in the Gorilla Grant series – SENTINEL FIVE – will be available from Creativia Publishing in 2016.

He lives in the United Kingdom.

For more information check out the James Quinn Website: http://jamesquinn.webs.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/James-Quinn/1558765681046413

Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00VRR0DYI?ref_=pe_1805931_64002121 https://www.amazon.com/James-Quinn/e/B00VRR0DYI/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Excerpt from SENTNEL FIVE

Coming 2016

Reierson smiled the smile of a man that was satisfied with life. He stretched, heard his muscles click and then made his way to the drinks cabinet and poured himself a large Remy martin, no ice. He flicked on the record player and turned the volume up. Something rock and roll that Gorilla didn’t know. Someone was singing about being a wild thing.

Reierson sat back in the high chair facing the fire and the rug that he just made love on. His feet were tapping along to the music as he sipped at his drink. Gorilla was pleased. The man was relaxed, off guard, and the volume of the music would help to hide what was about to happen next. He did one final mental check: catch to the inside of the cabinet loose, gloves on, gun primed. Check. Then he gently pushed open the door, took three long steps forward so that he could reach the chair, brought the gun up to the side of Reierson’s head and pulled the trigger just as the drum beat intensified. The boom of the revolver was lost in the maelstrom of music. It had been that simple, that easy and that brutal, and no more than five seconds had elapsed since he had left the confines of the wall cabinet. Taking a life could take no time at all and Reierson hadn’t even been aware of what had happened. One moment here, the next gone. Permanently.

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Timeshaft

My good friend and fellow Awethor Stewart Bint has his amazing thriller out a few days before mine. He’s another Booktrope author (because this is seriously were all the good authors go) and I can’t recommend his work enough. It is a great privilege to be able to present his incredible new cover for his latest book.

9781513706887_cover FRONT

By the twenty-seventh century, mankind has finally mastered time travel—and is driving recklessly towards wiping itself out. The guerilla environmentalist group WorldSave, with its chief operative Ashday’s Child, uses the Timeshaft to correct mistakes of the past in an effort to extend the life of the planet.

But the enigmatic Ashday’s Child has his own destiny to accomplish, and will do whatever it takes within a complicated web of paradoxes to do so. While his destiny—and very existence—is challenged from the beginning to the end of time, he must collect the key players through the ages to create the very Timeshaft itself.

“Do our actions as time travellers change what would otherwise have happened, or is everything already laid down in a predetermined plan?” he asks. Stewart Bint’s Timeshaft is an expertly synchronized saga of time travel, the irresistible force of destiny, and the responsibility of mankind as rulers of the world.

STEWART BINT BIO

Stewart Bint is Stewart Bint author pica novelist, magazine columnist and PR writer. He lives with his wife, Sue, in Leicestershire, in the UK, and has two grown-up children, Christopher and Charlotte.

He is a former radio presenter, newsreader and phone-in show host, but always wanted to become a fiction writer — a dream that came true when his first novel was published in 2012 at the age of 56. Now the author of five novels, a collection of short stories and a compilation of his early magazine columns, he was signed by Booktrope in 2015, who published a revised edition of his paranormal novel, In Shadows Waiting, in August.

They are publishing a revised and re-edited edition of Timeshaft shortly.

As a member of a local barefoot hiking group, when not writing he can often be found hiking in bare feet on woodland trails and urban streets.

Stewart Bint Online:

Website and blog: http://stewartbintauthor.weebly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StewartBintAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorsjb

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Stewart-Bint/e/B00D18IARS

Amazon USA: http://www.amazon.com/Stewart-Bint/e/B00D18IARS


DEEP

Deep-Banner

Synopsis

Fleeing from a troubled past that left him feeling tarnished and used, Sean finds work as a medic aboard the deep sea mining ship Ariel, on a distant planet.

Under the leader ship of the infuriating, yet charismatic, Captain Joel Riley, Sean settles into his simple, but dangerous, new life. It’s a life he soon comes to love; albeit one in which he conceals his sexuality and avoids intimacy.

But Sean’s new world is turned on its head when an old face threatens to expose him for the man he used to be.

With Joel’s help, will Sean learn to come to terms with his past and become a man he can be proud of?

Deep AL Bates

Buy Links

Don’t miss the limited time 30% discount across Amazon sites!

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/deep-by-al-bates/

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Deep-L-Bates-ebook/dp/B01AOB6VW0/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Deep-L-Bates-ebook/dp/B01AOB6VW0/

Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/Deep-L-Bates-ebook/dp/B01AOB6VW0/

Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/Deep-L-Bates-ebook/dp/B01AOB6VW0/

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-deep-1969763-177.html

Book Trailer

Excerpt

Joel Riley was a difficult captain to work under, and for his first season in the Deep, Sean was pretty sure he despised the man. But another season in he’d grown accustomed to the captain’s volatile temper and inability to compromise. Joel had been a miner all his life, born on Titan to a family of miners. He had the sea in his veins and Ariel was his heart. There was a confidence to Joel that drew the crew to him and an arrogance that kept him slightly out of reach. Rugged, strong, and built for hard labor, he was the exact opposite of Sean—and yet of all the crew, Sean felt closest to Joel. Sean understood the captain’s approach, his passions, and he trusted the older man with his life.

“Captain, is everything all right?” Sean said from the entrance.

Joel jumped, knocking his knees on the control board. “Jesus, boy! What you doing creeping around in the middle of the night?”

“I wasn’t creeping,” Sean said.

“Skulking around, spying on people, and you reckon that’s not creeping,” Joel grumbled.

Deep Cover

Sean thought better of continuing into an argument. If Joel’s mood was testy they were going to go around in circles annoying each other.

“I was about to turn in,” Sean said, deciding it was best to be passive.

“You looking for permission?” Joel’s tone was still curt, but it wasn’t really directed at Sean. Something else was bothering him.

“No, I just thought I’d come in and say good night.”

Joel sighed, apparently appeased by the lack of confrontation. He gave Sean a weak, tired smile. “Better get some rest, Doc. Couple of hours and Harvey will need you to stitch something, no doubt.”

Wasn’t that the truth. Harvey, their engineer, was pretty good when it came to mineral mining and keeping the ship moving, but he could injure himself getting into his dive suit.

“What about you, Sir?”

“I’m not planning on cutting anything,” Joel said, his smile strengthening.

“I meant are you turning in?”

Joel hesitated. Usually the captain was impossible to read, but every so often Sean got hints of the man behind the muscle. There was a softness to him, hidden behind the square jaw and piercing eyes. Sean had always been drawn to his vulnerable side. It crept in from time to time, reminding Sean that the captain, despite liking to pretend he was a demigod, was just a man. A good man.

“Not yet.” A shadow seemed to be hanging over him.

“Would you mind some company?” Sean offered, sensing the captain had something he needed to get off his chest.

“Suit yourself.” It was as close to an invitation as Joel ever gave anyone.

About the author

A.L. BATES has a keen interest in Sci-fi and adventure novels and enjoys writing stories with strong characters in imaginative backgrounds. Although an avid writer, Deep is the first published novella by A.L. Bates.

A.L. Bates can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoralbates


The Crown of Stones

Another cover reveal today and it’s a great one.

The Crown of Stones: Magic-Borne Cover Reveal

He’s paid for his addiction. He’s been scarred by his spells. He’s borne magic’s weight, its pleasure, and its guilt. But will he surrender to it when the realm needs him most?

Magic-Borne, the final installment of my epic fantasy trilogy, The Crown of Stones, is almost here! The Crown of Stones follows the trials of Ian Troy; a man struggling with an inborn addiction to magic in a world where magic is reviled, not revered.

The cover of Magic-Borne was designed by artist Alan Dingman.

Synopsis:

In one fell swoop, the resistance was shattered. Lives were taken. Hope was lost. Peace slipped like grains of sand through his fingers. So did the Crown of Stones. Now, forced into hiding, Ian Troy grapples for a way to save the realm—and free its people—from the sadistic clutches of Jem Reth; Mirra’kelan’s new self-appointed emperor. Plagued with the knowledge of a tragic future, he strives to influence events and save those he cares for. But his magic has betrayed him, and Fate has other plans.

Scarred by the crown, hindered by the transformation spell contained within, each cast brings Ian one step closer to becoming more beast than man. Each move brings the death and destruction foretold in his vision inexplicably nearer. With Langor on the brink of war, and King Malaq’s plan for peace hanging in the balance, Ian returns to the ancient past; seeking an end to the eldring spell and a means to thwart Jem’s growing domination. What he finds there sets off a chain of revelations that leads Ian places he never thought to go.

Entrusted with the future of his race, Ian becomes the linchpin for lasting change. But how much weight can one man carry? And how much is he willing to sacrifice in the name of peace?

 

 

Haven’t read book 1yet? There’s still time to dive into the adventure before book 3 is released!

To celebrate the cover reveal, Magic-Price and Magic-Scars are both on Kindle Countdown from 1/28 to 2/4. Download Magic-Price (book 1) for only .99 & Magic-Scars (book 2) for $1.99!

Book 1                                                                                                             

Magic-Price Kindle

Magic-Price PB

Book 2  

Magic-Scars Kindle

Magic-Scars PB

Visit my Website for excerpts, teasers, reviews, and more!

PicBio:

  1. L. Schneider is a self-published author of adult epic and urban fantasy. The first two books in her Crown of Stones trilogy, Magic-Price and Magic-Scars, are available on Amazon. The third installment will be released in February 2016. She is currently working on Nite Fire, an urban fantasy featuring a shape-shifting dragon hybrid named Dahlia Nite. C. L. Schneider lives in the scenic Hudson Valley of upstate New York with her husband and two sons. She spends her days torturing characters, overdosing on coffee, and daydreaming about the zombie apocalypse.

 

Catch up with C. L. Schneider on social media

Website http://www.clschneiderauthor.com/

Twitter https://twitter.com/cl_schneider

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CLS.Author

Goodreads  https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomCLSchneider

Amazon Author Page   http://bit.ly/CLAmazonPg

Google +http://www.google.com/+CLSchneider

 

 

 

 


Breathe by Layden Robinson

Check out this 12 short story collection from Layden Robinson.

Source: Breathe by Layden Robinson


DEEP

Deep-Banner1

Synopsis

Fleeing from a troubled past that left him feeling tarnished and used, Sean finds work as a medic aboard the deep sea mining ship Ariel, on a distant planet.

Under the leader ship of the infuriating, yet charismatic, Captain Joel Riley, Sean settles into his simple, but dangerous, new life. It’s a life he soon comes to love; albeit one in which he conceals his sexuality and avoids intimacy.

But Sean’s new world is turned on its head when an old face threatens to expose him for the man he used to be.

With Joel’s help, will Sean learn to come to terms with his past and become a man he can be proud of?

Deep AL Bates

Pre-order Links

Don’t miss out the 30% pre-order sale on Amazon, the ARe 25% off sale till January 23rd, WIP’s Unzipping 2016 Sale – 35% off all list titles till January 24th, or the huge Australia Day Sale–January 25 to January 27—50% off all titles on WIP’s website and 35% off on ARe!

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/deep-by-al-bates/

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Deep-L-Bates-ebook/dp/B01AOB6VW0/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Deep-L-Bates-ebook/dp/B01AOB6VW0/

Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/Deep-L-Bates-ebook/dp/B01AOB6VW0/

Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/Deep-L-Bates-ebook/dp/B01AOB6VW0/

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-deep-1969763-177.html

Book Trailer

Excerpt

THE HARDEST THING about working on Ariel was the absence of day and night. That deep in the ocean the hours passed in meaningless numbers as the ship floated in the endless depths of Titan, a rich oceanic moon orbiting Jupiter. Sean’s body clock had never adjusted. Three seasons underwater and he still found himself falling asleep during his shift in the infirmary or staring up at his bedroom ceiling, wide awake.

His head dropped sharply, the suddenness of it waking him up. He looked about, checking that no one had been in and caught him napping. Any of the five other crew members onboard were capable of tormenting him when his guard was down. During his first season the pranks were unbearable, but Sean had been a different man back then. He didn’t understand how to fit in and be part the crew. He took their games to heart for a long time.

Deep Cover

It was better now. He was better. They still played their pranks, and sometimes he still got annoyed, but he appreciated them. The crew were family, and he cared for them all deeply. He never thought a man from his walk of life, with all his wealth and all his privilege, would happily settle on a rusty old mining ship with a group of feral deep-sea laborers. He expected the rest of the crew thought the same.

Sean stretched and yawned. His body had changed dramatically since he’d taken his first dive, too. You had to be strong and maintain good physical health working this deep. His body was toned and lithe and bigger than it had been when he first showed up on Titan looking for a job.

“You’re a bit young and scrawny to be a doctor, aren’t you?” the captain had said to him that day in the docking station, seeing a man barely scraping twenty-three and not fit for more than standing around and looking pretty.

Sean had given him some pompous reply that still made him cringe when he thought back to it. Sometimes he suspected the captain only took him on to try to break him. Captain Riley could be a sadistic bastard when he wanted to be.

About the author

A.L. BATES has a keen interest in Sci-fi and adventure novels and enjoys writing stories with strong characters in imaginative backgrounds. Although an avid writer, Deep is the first published novella by A.L. Bates.

A.L. Bates can be found on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoralbates


Br0th3rly Extract

Br0th3rly blog tour

Title: Br0th3rly

Author: Alina Popescu

Series: Famous on the Internet, Book One

Genre: Gay Romance, Contemporary, M/M Romance

Length: Novella

Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Start your journey through the new techie/geeky gay romance series by Alina Popescu—Famous on the Internet—with the first book, Br0th3rly.

Synopsis

Fighting his relentless love for Trevor, the guy he was raised to consider his brother, has been Tristan’s mission in life.

To distance himself from Trevor, even after discovering they weren’t really related, he left for college at sixteen. Moving into the city, building a new life, and running an anonymous blog about

what he considers sick, twisted feelings might make Tristan famous on the Internet, but it isn’t enough to get over his obsession. Every time he goes home, a quick glance at Trevor brings it all flooding back.

Br0th3rly 3D Cover

When commitment-phobe Trevor announces he’s got a serious boyfriend during one of Tristan’s rare visits home, the adoring kid brother will be forced to run once again. This time, however, Trevor doesn’t stand back and watch him leave.

Instead, he follows him, making it nigh on impossible for Tristan to keep his love a secret for much longer.

Excerpt

A knock on my door told me I’d unsuccessfully tried to sleep till dinner time.

“Yeah,” I groaned, praying he would not come in.

Of course it was Trev; that was the rule in our house. Dad would get drinks ready, Mom would cook the meal, and Trev would fetch me. I’d been hiding before dinner since I was fourteen. Back then I used to blame it on homework; now I was using my exhaustion.

It was an excuse, but I wasn’t lying. I really was shattered. About a week before having to spend time with my family, sleep would start to elude me. Restless nights, or dark dreams that began erotic and ended with disgust painted on my parents’ faces. Worse, that same look of disgust was painted on my brother’s face, twisting it cruelly.

Trev pushed the door open and leaned against the door frame. “Dinner, baby bro.”

I groaned and pressed the heels of my hands into my eye sockets. I hated the sound of his voice when he called me that. Such warmth, such pure brotherly love. He was never this sweet and warm with anyone else, not even with Mom. Just me. Man, did that make me feel like the freaking asshole of the century.

“C’mon, lazy boy, Mom’s been cooking all day to make your favorites. Let’s not keep her waiting.”

He stood there, in the doorway, waiting for me to come. I knew what would happen next and I braced myself. Deep breaths, deep breaths. Think of grandpa and grandma having sex. It was useless. The moment I passed by, he ruffled my hair and pulled me into a half hug. There we go, boner time! I could not have my brother touch me and not get a stiffy. And he always was so carelessly tactile with me.

I grumbled some excuse or another and hid in the bathroom.

Book Trailer

Buy Links

Don’t miss the ARe 25% off sale till January 23rd, WIP’s Unzipping 2016 Sale – 35% off all list titles till January 24th, or the huge Australia Day Sale–January 25 to January 27—50% off all titles on WIP’s website and 35% off on Are!

WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/br0th3rly-by-alina-popescu/

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B019VK3VFA/

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B019VK3VFA/

Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/dp/B019VK3VFA/

Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B019VK3VFA/

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-br0th3rly-1959019-149.html

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/br0th3rly-alina-popescu/1123179425

Br0th3rly Cover

Giveaway

1x$10 WIP Gift Card

2×1 Backlist Title from WIP – anthologies and individual releases included

About the author

Writer, traveler, and coffee addict, Alina Popescu has been in love with books all her life. She started writing when she was ten and she has always been drawn to sci-fi, fantasy, and the supernatural realm. Born and raised in Romania, she finds her inspiration in books of all genres, in movies, and the occasional manga comic book. She is a proud geek who needs her fast Internet and gadgets more than she needs air.

Social Links

Site & Blog: http://alina-popescu.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/authoralinapopescu

Twitter: http://twitter.com/alina_popescu

Instagram: http://instagram.com/alinapopescuwriter

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/alina-popescu

Google+:  https://www.google.com/+AlinaPopescu

Amazon:  http://amazon.com/author/alinapopescu


The Running Game Trailer

I’m extremely excited to present to you the new trailer for my soon to be re-released book The Running Game.

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WATCH THE TRAILER NOW


Blackspoon

Take a look at an extract from this new thriller…

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Daniel Eagleton

1.

Somewhere over Germany, his mind turned against him. The pure, undiluted terror had kicked in hours ago, but he’d been expecting that, even as it came on like a bout of gastric flu, giving him the shakes and making him rush to the toilet to void his bowels. As he left the cubicle he passed one of the Danes, also looking decidedly pasty. Hung-over, probably. Not uncommon after the stopover in Cyprus. Now this Dane would have to deal with the stench Charlie had left behind. Would he complain to his mates about it? Perhaps Charlie’s shit reeked of fear. He sat back down and while the other Movers laughed and joked and planned two weeks’ leave with their girlfriends and families, Charlie did his best to appear calm. If anyone did notice his sweating, the way he was gripping the armrest, he wouldn’t be able to blame it on the booze.

He hadn’t touched a drop, not even on the beach yesterday.

He had to get a hold of himself.

Think of something.

Bit of airsickness, mate, that’s all.

An airsick RAF man?

They’d still be laughing when they landed in England.

No, no. Fine, really. Bit nervous, that’s all. Got five kilos of uncut heroin taped to my chest.

Probably best not to mention that.

The five kilos of smack concealed beneath his uniform.

Better to think about the money instead. The five grand already in his account, the other five waiting for him once he made it through customs. And he’d get through customs. They’d been over it a hundred times, him and Baker the Military Policeman. They’d even Skyped Geddis, the other copper, the one who’d be waiting for Charlie when he touched down and who’d personally make sure he wasn’t picked out of the assembly and searched.

Every detail covered.

Geddis had said as much himself.

‘For this to go well,’ he’d shrugged, his face filling the computer screen, voice

blaring through the headphones, ‘it’s in everyone’s interests, right? You get caught, that’s bad for all of us. But that’s not gonna happen. I mean, think about it. You’re gonna get your own, personal, police escort, son.’

But it was Baker who really sold it, during one of their many bonding sessions at the gym. Unable to drink during their tour, all anyone did when they weren’t working was hit the gym. Baker was older than Charlie, and Charlie respected his casual approach to life in a war zone. Charlie also liked that Baker happily reinforced the reputation enjoyed by RAF Movers, who didn’t just plan and execute the transportation of personnel and equipment by air, but were also known for their partying, their love of the ladies, and even, on occasion, their willingness to smuggle a little contraband.

‘We control every aspect of that flight,’ Baker had said. ‘We walk you on, walk you off. Meanwhile, they’re looking at your luggage, not you.’

He was right, of course. Charlie had been in and out of Brize countless times over the last seven years and he’d never once been searched. After a stint in Gibraltar, his mate Westy had to be gently reprimanded for failing to declare his knife and several rounds of live ammunition. And what about Andy ‘Two-pints’ Thompson? Everyone knew Two-pints had an M16 stashed in his room back on base.

Got it off a Marine, he said.

Never said how he got it past security, though.

The point being, Charlie had no weaponry about his person, and that, primarily, was what they’d be looking for. That’s what he’d been telling himself. Only now that voice inside his head, the one that had been so sure this was going to work, had changed tempo. It was, in fact, no longer a voice. It was a huge, expansive noise, like the crashing of a jet airliner. This jet airliner. They were about to plummet to the ground, their bodies immolated and strewn across the first piece of dust-free pasture any of them had seen in months.

‘Cup of coffee?’ said the flight attendant, looming over Charlie with a fresh pot.

‘Something I ate,’ Charlie said, ungluing his lips.

The flight attendant, a thin, fresh-faced man, adopted a playful, concerned expression. ‘You alright? You’ve gone a bit pale, there.’

Charlie coughed, sat up straight, the tape beneath his uniform squeaking.

‘I’m fine. Some water would be great, though.’

‘No problem,’ the flight attendant said. He winked at Charlie. ‘And don’t worry. You made it. You’ll be home in an hour.’

As they touched down the other servicemen and women cheered and applauded, a sound

like static being blasted through a wall of broken speakers. Charlie was now sweating profusely, miming laughter, his head back, teeth bared. How wrong can you get? To think you can do something, only to discover you’re not up for the challenge.

Don’t just sit there, said the voice in his head, calling to him from somewhere far away, somewhere amid the whirlwind.

Get on your feet and make it happen.

He stood, pulled his pack from the overhead compartment. A series of simple, inculpable gestures. They taxied across the airfield, then waited for the cabin doors to open, his colleagues talking excitedly, busy with their own thoughts and feelings about what lay ahead. Charlie ignored the urge to vomit, told himself again how Geddis would be waiting. Geddis who was tall and ginger and therefore impossible to miss, and who had as much to lose as Charlie should anything go wrong.

He disembarked to congratulations from the captain and crew and descended onto the tarmac. It was dark, but he could still see the cloud cover that everyone had missed so much while under the glaring, Afghan sky. They were back at Brize, their home town. But it wasn’t home any more. Charlie realised that now. He was an interloper, an enemy, and still a long way from any Safe Zone.

Double doors parted and he walked into the terminal, bright under the lights and unkept as always. They formed an orderly queue, passports at the ready. Outside came the familiar roar of a C-17 taking off, and at the desk, friendly but efficient, were the customs officials. Charlie became aware of his mates, a few metres behind him. He should acknowledge them. They knew him as a talker, a joker. Why the silence, they’d wonder. And why was he was having trouble standing like a normal person?

How did he normally stand?

What if he fell down?

He reached the desk, the official looking over his documents and waving him through. On the other side of a large partition security personnel awaited, ready to stop-search some of the men as they made their way to Baggage Claim. Charlie fell in behind four or five identical uniforms, feeling momentarily camouflaged but knowing this was an illusion. He snuck a glance over the shoulder of the guy in front. Up ahead, an MP had pulled someone aside and was asking him to unpack his rucksack and sports bag. The MP was not Geddis. Where was Geddis? Charlie could see Baggage Claim through another set of automatic doors, so close he might be able to make it unnoticed. He’d simply put his head down and saunter over there.

A second later Charlie saw him: tall, ginger, walking the length of the queue.

He stopped at Charlie’s shoulder.

‘If I can ask you to come with me, sir. Won’t take a moment.’

Charlie looked at the floor.

Some mistake, surely.

Then Geddis ushered the man directly in front of Charlie to one side, saying, ‘Just a formality. The rest of you on your way, now.’

For a moment, as the flow of traffic started up again, Charlie just stood there, his feet rooted to the floor, until finally, on pins and needles, he shuffled through the doors into the adjacent hall.

He’d made it, and as he waited for his luggage to arrive he began to mingle, parading up and down the conveyor belt, clapping his co-workers on the shoulder, reminding them there was some serious drinking to be done. He felt light-headed, unsubstantial, but in a good way. Finally, their bags began to trundle past and as they did so another MP appeared, this one with a small, excited dog at his feet.

Charlie’s airways constricted, white pixels swarming at the edge of his vision.

The MP led the dog along the conveyor, the tiny canine sniffing each bag or pack as it passed, moving swiftly towards Charlie, who thought seriously about sprinting for the exit. Instead he put several men between himself and the mutt, which was looking for bombs or weapons but which probably wouldn’t discriminate should he catch the whiff of an illegal substance.

Charlie walked to the other end of the conveyor.

The stink of it.

Narcotics and dread, spreading like sonar.

His luggage curled into view and he lurched forward, overextending, making a spectacle of himself as he reached for the handles. Then he turned, an awkward, stumbling pirouette, away from the dog which yapped, leapt, and was yanked back on course by its handler.

Don’t run, Charlie told himself, his bags hanging off him as he hustled into Arrivals.

There was nobody waiting for him, but still the wives, kids and girlfriends searched his face to see if it was that of their loved one. A moment later, he was outside, into the freezing night air, where he disappeared among the hangars and buildings, taking the short cut back to his quarters.

His room seemed frozen in time, a different time, yet he’d only been away three months. It felt more like years. Back then, he’d packed up his stuff, ready to move into Claire’s flat so

he could spend more time with her before he shipped out. They were going to marry, get an RAF house, an Andrex puppy, until, one night, Charlie had sat in the local pub with his mates, having the same, work-related discussion they always had. But for once he hadn’t found it reassuring. It was tired, old as the stone fireplace he found himself staring into. He went to the bar, where the landlord poured his usual without saying a word. That’s when he knew for sure that nothing was going to change.

Ever.

Not unless he did something about it.

So he broke up with Claire.

It took a while, but in the end she was surprisingly stoical about it, as though she either didn’t believe him or understood completely where he was coming from. He couldn’t be sure. You had to hand it to her, though: she knew how to keep him guessing. He wanted to call her now; not to get back together, just to hear a friendly voice. He also wanted to rip the packets of heroin from his chest, to be free of them, even by a few feet.

So why the paralysis?

Geddis was due at any moment, and tomorrow Charlie would receive the rest of his money. Things couldn’t have gone more smoothly.

He surveyed his room. Four years he’d been in here. When he’d first moved in it had been a step up. No more sharing with another lad, an en-suite bathroom (complete with black mould and an intermittently hot shower). Was that why he’d asked Claire to marry him? To get a house? He wondered what she’d say if she found out he’d carried drugs. (And not just any kind: the really bad kind.) No doubt she wouldn’t approve. Not an easy thing to admit to, anyway: doing something morally questionable for money. Of course, he knew guys who killed for money, and who talked openly about how much they enjoyed it.

Yet carrying smack would be seen as worse.

He’d be a disgrace.

But what did they know?

What did anyone know?

He took home seventeen thousand a year. It wasn’t enough, not any more. He knew he should have retrained, worked his way up the ranks, but somehow he’d lacked the necessary ambition. Easier to work, drink beer in the local with his mates.

Only now, suddenly, seven years had passed.

He sat down on the bed. Geddis would be here any minute. Perhaps Charlie should just ask him straight out: the drugs, how much were they worth?

More than ten grand?

Because, alone for the first time in months, it seemed so obvious.

He was being ripped off.

Without thinking, he began to throw random items of clothing into a bag. In the drawer next to the bed, his mobile and charger. He crossed the room and stepped into the hallway beyond. No one around, only the throb of dance music as the lads prepared for an almighty piss-up in their local. He moved quickly down the corridor, passing the communal bathroom, the sound of showers running. Outside, the cold was less of a shock this time, as though he’d acclimatised already. He heard voices, a couple of airmen approaching. He turned, walking the length of the building towards the car park where his second-hand Golf was waiting. Overhead, the steady drone of air traffic. He reached the Golf, had to remind himself he wasn’t going AWOL in any official sense. He had two weeks’ leave, starting tonight. He keyed the ignition, steered his way out of the car park, following the road to the front gates. Another security checkpoint, the MP there already leaning from his booth. Charlie flashed his ID and was through, pulling out onto the Carterton Road.

Don’t floor it.

That was the trick now.

Nice and steady.

He was on the A40 when his mobile rang.

‘Charlie?’ said Geddis. ‘I’m here. You gonna let me in, or what?’

‘Yeah. About that. What I mean is, I need to talk to you about that.’

‘What are you, driving? Tell me you haven’t gone walkabout.’

‘Well, actually,’ Charlie said, having to clear his throat, ‘what I’m thinking is, we meet up tomorrow. And we’ll talk then. Because the way I see it, there’s a few things we need to, you know, discuss. Anyway, it’s late. I’ll call you in the morning, alright?’

‘Charlie, I want you to listen to me very carefully. I want you to think about what you’re doing. About the implications of your actions, alright? Because you don’t wanna do this, understand? Believe me. You do not wanna do this.’

‘Alright,’ Charlie said. ‘I’ll talk to you first thing, then, alright? All the best.’

He disconnected the call.

Outside his window the landscape was dark and foreign.

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Broth3rly

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Br0th3rly is the first novella a new techie/geeky gay romance series by Alina Popescu—Famous on the Internet—featuring bloggers, YouTubers, and other Internet celebrities.

Synopsis

Fighting his relentless love for Trevor, the guy he was raised to consider his brother, has been Tristan’s mission in life.

To distance himself from Trevor, even after discovering they weren’t really related, he left for college at sixteen. Moving into the city, building a new life, and running an anonymous blog about what he considers sick, twisted feelings might make Tristan famous on the Internet, but it isn’t enough to get over his obsession. Every time he goes home, a quick glance at Trevor brings it all flooding back.

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When commitment-phobe Trevor announces he’s got a serious boyfriend during one of Tristan’s rare visits home, the adoring kid brother will be forced to run once again. This time, however, Trevor doesn’t stand back and watch him leave.

Instead, he follows him, making it nigh on impossible for Tristan to keep his love a secret for much longer.

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Excerpt

All of a sudden, I was yanked to the side, and before I realized what was going on, my hands were locked around his waist and my face buried in the crook of his neck while he hugged me fiercely.

Oh, shit! I held my breath for as long as I could, but then my lungs won the fight. His scent hit me, causing me to whimper and shudder, and making my cock painfully hard.

“I know you always wanted to get out of here and you’re trying so hard to stay away. Showing you still love us won’t trap you in this town, little brother.”

Trevor had it all so wrong. He thought it was the town and life here that I was running away from. It wasn’t though; I was running from my twisted, perverted self. The more I stuck around him, the more I justified my urges. We weren’t related, not really. There was no blood connection. I was not a monster for loving him. It was all bullshit though. Not only had we been raised as siblings, Trevor had never shown any such interest in me. So the farther away I was, the less inclined I became to break down and tell him what I wanted. What I’d always wanted. What would be the point of that? I knew he’d reject me. I’d be selfish and force him to completely lose his little brother.

Br0th3rly 3D Cover

Despite the steady coaching, my body refused to comply, and I clung to him, breathing hard and almost bursting into tears. He pushed me back and searched my face. The deep frown that twisted his took nothing away from his beauty.

“Tristan, what’s wrong with you? You’re a mess, bro.”

The raw concern in his voice stabbed me like a burning knife, twisting my gut and making my heart bleed. “Sorry, Trev. Forget it, please. I’ve been under a truckload of pressure at work.”

He nodded and pulled me back into the hug, and shame exploded inside of me, promptly followed by a lust so savage I thought my starved cock would burst through my underwear and jeans.

A loud honk finally broke the spell, making me jump so hard I hit my head on the car roof. Trevor laughed and shook his head, probably thinking I was as clumsy and goofy as ever. What he didn’t know was that those traits were part of me only when I was around him. My sick obsession with him took too much energy and brain power, not to mention blood flow. There wasn’t much left to take in my surroundings and coordinate my movements.

About the author

Writer, traveler, and coffee addict, Alina Popescu has been in love with books all her life. She started writing when she was ten and she has always been drawn to sci-fi, fantasy, and the supernatural realm. Born and raised in Romania, she finds her inspiration in books of all genres, in movies, and the occasional manga comic book. She is a proud geek who needs her fast Internet and gadgets more than she needs air.

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