Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Copper by Bonnie Dee

Jaded lord, stalwart cop, instant attraction.

Lord Avery Wickersham wakes from a night’s debauchery at a bordello to police officers pounding on the bedroom door. During the vice raid, Constable Connor Tate is ready to arrest the lord and his two male sex partners when Avery’s glib tongue earns a reprieve for his friends if not for himself.

From this grim beginning, men as opposite as summer and winter slowly work their way to an unexpected spring. Avery is ripe for a change in his aimless life, while Connor struggles between duty and desire. Overwhelming passion takes them by storm, but can a rush of lust evolve into love when their lives are so different?

While Avery attempts altruism by volunteering at a charity mission, Connor uncovers government corruption and an evil man who brings torture and death to his victims. The duo join forces to try to stop the killer, but when one of the lovers faces peril, their time may run out.

Amazing! The Copper is only the second Bonnie Dee solo book that I have read so I don't have much experience to draw from as to whether the gritty details of torture that Bertrand and others face are the norm for her writing.  Some might find them a bit too detailed for a romance but for me, they were perfectly fitting for the story and the way the characters, especially Connor, deal with it and the fallout from it is realistic.  As a history buff, I find the details and realism of the era pretty spot on, which only further heightens both my enjoyment of the story and my respect for the author.  I love how Connor and Avery seem to influence change in each other but I think what they really do is make the other dig down deeper to expose what was already there.  If what you are looking for is lighthearted romantic fun, this probably is not the book for you.  Yes, there are moments of fun and romance between Connor and Avery and definitely moments of tenderness towards Bertrand but overall this is a gritty tale of corruption and torture with moments of pure unadulterated darkness.  So if these are not your thing, proceed with caution but I found the story heartwarming along side the dark showing what the human spirit is a capable of when tested, so I highly recommend The Copper. it does not disappoint.

Avery drew on his drawers and had one foot in his trousers when raised voices and clattering footsteps on the stairs alerted him to disaster.

“Come out now, you blighters! You’re all under arrest.” A booming voice preceded pounding at a door down the corridor. More shouts followed as the police swept through the rooms where Madame’s select clientele lay sleeping off the night’s dissolution.

Avery froze like a fox flushed by hounds from its den. His haven had been breached. His heart pounded as he envisioned the ramifications of an arrest. Even more than fear, anger surged through him at this invasion of privacy. What he and his companions chose to do here should be no one’s business but their own, and he defied any man who said otherwise.

Defying was easier dreamed of than carried out when the bedroom door crashed open and a man in a uniform rushed in. The pair on the bed jumped up in alarm, the possible Norwegian cursing in his native tongue and the singer bursting into tears and begging, both of them pulling up bedcovers to shield their nudity.

The front of his trousers still open, Avery planted his feet and stared into the constable’s eyes, which were a vivid blue below the brim of his blue helmet. “What’s the trouble, Officer?”

The strong jaw beneath a day’s worth of stubble clenched so hard, Avery thought it might cut through the man’s flesh. “You’re under arrest. Hold out your hands.”

“What’s the charge, sir?” Avery asked blandly.

“You know very well.” The man began to quote the law by rote as he produced a pair of handcuffs. “Any male person who, in public or private, commits, procures or attempts to procure any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”

“Do you see any one of us engaged in any sort of promiscuous act? We were merely sharing a bedchamber…” Avery glanced at his nude companions. “And all of us happen prefer to sleep without a nightshirt. Or drawers.”

The policeman beckoned the Viking to him. “You first.”

Avery wondered if the bearded giant planned on giving the policeman trouble. But he shuffled forward docilely and offered his wrists, still rumbling curses. The blue-eyed bobby snapped on a pair of cuffs.

Poor Bertrand cried so loudly, the noise was deafening. Another officer entered the room and approached the sobbing singer. “You shut yer gob, you flamin’ pouf.”

Bertrand shrieked and flailed his hands, raking the man’s cheek with his painted nails. “I won’t go back there. I won’t!”

The balding copper, who’d lost his helmet somewhere along the way, pulled back a fist and drove it into Bertrand’s face. Blood spurted from Bertrand’s nose, and he howled.

“Here now. That’s enough. Leave him alone.” Avery started toward the pair to stop the smaller man from being beaten to a pulp. But he couldn’t intercept before the constable punched Bertrand again, in the stomach this time, effectively stopping his screaming as Bertrand gasped for air.

Avery put himself between the officer and his victim, intercepting a blow, which clipped the side of his head. He hadn’t felt a punch like that since his boxing days at university. The knuckles against his ear made his head ring. He blinked away white stars and formed a fist of his own, but before he could punch the bald cop, the other officer grabbed both his arms and pulled him away. The man’s grip was like a pair of iron manacles. His body against Avery’s back was granite.

“Go on, Turnbull. I have these men under control. See if any of the others need help.” The constable’s voice rumbled near Avery’s ear. He was nearly Avery’s height, and not many men were—excluding the giant Swede, who stood a head taller than either of them.

When his angry partner appeared ready to keep punching, the one snapping cuffs on Avery’s wrists repeated, “I don’t need your help here. Go!”

The other constable glared but left to join the mayhem beyond the room. Avery glimpsed men in uniform and others in various states of undress passing by the partially open door. Chaos had entered Renaud’s, and not of the fun sort they’d all experienced last night.

After his partner left, the officer moved toward Bertrand, who’d crumpled into a naked heap on the floor. He removed his helmet and rubbed a hand through closely shorn but very thick black hair, then squatted beside Bertrand without touching him. “Calm yourself. I won’t handcuff you, but you must promise to behave while I escort you to the wagon.”

Bertrand gazed up at him over the hand covering his injured nose. “I can’t do it. I can’t go back there. Please don’t…” The rest of his words were muffled by blood and mucus.

“For God’s sake, let the man put on some clothes.” Avery felt fairly exposed himself, wearing only his unfastened trousers. He began to button him with his cuffed hands. “Allow the lad some dignity.”

He half expected the policeman to make a retort about nancies getting what they deserved. But the officer covered Bertrand’s parts with a sheet from the bed, offered him a handkerchief for his nose, then rose and searched for the singer’s and the Swede’s clothing.

“They’ll be in the wardrobe. The staff here is meticulous about clothing.” Avery considered that poor Madame Renaud would likely be arrested as well. She’d be charged with pandering. And the servants? Likely they’d scattered like pigeons the moment the bulls charged inside the building.

As Bertrand sniffled and drew on the frock he’d worn for his performance last night, the Norwegian awkwardly pulled on his trousers with his cuffed hands.

Avery drew a breath and considered his dire situation. He could probably buy his way out of a jail sentence, but he couldn’t afford the scandal. Not that his name would ever be pure. Most of high society guessed his inclinations but continued to invite him to galas because Avery added sparkle and life to any gathering. Wealth and a title went a long way toward making people overlook things they didn’t want to acknowledge.

But with this arrest, Avery’s secret life would be on full display. No more hiding in the shadows. An end of invitations and shunning all around, except for among his own kind. Likely those who hadn’t missed being caught up in the raid would go to ground for a while until the scandal blew over. They’d scatter to villas in Tuscany, islands in Greece, perhaps steam across to New York for a visit. London would be void of all life, color, and companionship for a time.

Avery shook off his gloom. Here he was selfishly thinking about a dearth in his social life when some of the men arrested today, the ones without resources, could be facing long prison sentences. And poor Bertrand’s beautiful face!

Avery went to help him fasten the buttons on his gown. “Is your nose all right? Does it hurt too badly?”

“Damn my nose! I can’t go to jail again. I can’t. You don’t know how it was for me last time.” Bertrand’s eyes darted right and left. He was terrified nearly out of his mind, and that simply wouldn’t do.

Avery turned to the constable, who was helping the Viking fasten his trousers over the man’s considerable cock. The officer’s face flushed deeply as he completed his task.

“Officer… May I know your name?” Avery asked.

The man glanced up. “Tate.”

“Officer Tate, please hear me out. If you’d let the three of us slip through the cracks, as it were, I’d show you deep gratitude commensurate with such a generous act.”

“Are you offering me a bribe, sir?” Cool eyes drilled into him like diamond points. “The reputation of the force is shadowed by corruption, but I assure you, I do not accept bribes.”

“Not a bribe. Think of it as a reward for kindness. As you can see, Bertrand here will not last a night nor even an hour in jail. Please, at least let the boy go with a warning. He could hide under the bed until everyone is gone, with none of your colleagues the wiser. I’ll accompany you without complaint.”

Those eyes continued to skewer him, but Avery pressed on. “After my solicitor secures my release, I shall pay you an equal amount for helping this poor youth.”

“A bribe,” the policeman repeated.

“A gratuity,” Avery insisted and realized how often he used his hands to gesture for emphasis. He felt quite at a loss with them cuffed.

The noise in the hallway continued, but the quiet in the room grew thick and heavy as the copper seemed to be mulling over the offer.

Avery held his breath, the Swede ceased his muttering, and even Bertrand stopped whimpering.

The square-jawed officer pressed his lips tight and stared at each of them in turn, his gaze resting longest on Bertrand’s tear-streaked face and swelling nose. He pointed at the singer. “Hide until you hear everyone clear the house. The other pair must come with me. I can’t come away without arrests.”

“God bless you, sir. You’ve saved me!” Bertrand started to throw his arms impulsively around the uniform, but the copper pushed him off. The singer took the hint and quickly scrambled under the bed.

The Swede or Norwegian bobbed his shaggy head in approval. “Ja. Utmerket.”

Avery exchanged a steady look with the officer and nodded, sealing his deal with the devil.

But as he passed the man to precede him from the room, the copper grasped his arm. “You may keep your money. I told you, I don’t accept bribes.”

Author Bio:
I began telling stories as a child. Whenever there was a sleepover, I was the designated ghost tale teller. I still have a story printed on yellow legal paper in second grade about a ghost, a witch and a talking cat.

Writing childish stories for my own pleasure led to majoring in English at college. Like most English majors, I dreamed of writing a novel, but at that time in my life didn't have the necessary focus and follow through. Then life happened. A husband and children occupied the next twenty years and it was only in 2000 that I began writing again.

I enjoy dabbling in many genres. Each gives me a different way to express myself. I've developed a habit of writing every day that's almost an addiction. I don't think I could stop now if I tried.



Wrecked by Elle Casey

Title: Wrecked
Author: Elle Casey
Series: Wrecked #1
Genre: Adventure, Romance, Young Adult
Release Date: January 1, 2012
NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR, ELLE CASEY, brings readers the High Seas and High Adventure novel WRECKED.

If you liked The Breakfast Club and The Swiss Family Robinson, you’ll love WRECKED!

An ill-fated Caribbean cruise and four teenagers: a nerd, a jock, a mouse, and a beauty queen…an island, a treehouse, some nefarious interlopers…life and death…fear and loathing…love and laughter.

Follow Jonathan, Kevin, Candi and Sarah as they find their typical high school lives and their worlds totally WRECKED.

Content Warning: Contains some foul language and non-explicit sex scenes between older teens. May not be appropriate for younger, middle-grade teens.

“I can’t believe you roped us into this stupid cruise,” Sarah said in a tone of voice that clearly carried her frustration with parents who never appreciated her very important social calendar.  She stood in the middle of her parents’ bedroom with her hands on her hips, chin stuck out for emphasis.

“Sarah, we don’t want to hear another word about this.  You’re going, and that’s final.  Now go pack your bag.”  Sarah’s father turned his back on her to walk into his large bedroom closet.  She lost sight of him as he turned the corner.  The closet, trimmed entirely in dark cedar, was larger than many of her friends’ bedrooms.

Sarah’s mom stepped over and took Sarah’s hands in hers.  “I’m sorry, sweetie, but your father is right.  We’re all going, and you can’t stay behind.  It’s important for your dad’s business that we all be there.  But don’t look so glum – it’s going to be fun!”

Sarah knew her mother was trying to sell her on the idea by using her especially chipper, upbeat voice.  The annoying one.  She rolled her eyes and pulled her hands away.  “Oh, please.  Like being stuck out in the middle of the ocean with you guys and those loser Buckley kids could ever possibly be fun.  Not in a million years, Mom.  I’m not in the damn chess club, you know.”  The thought of being on a cruise with the two Buckley nerds was too much.  Sarah had a boyfriend and a convertible, neither of which was going on this cruise.  What was so difficult for her parents to understand?

Sarah’s mom sighed and walked over to the dresser without responding, putting her fingers up to her temples to massage them.  Confrontation wasn’t her strong suit, and Sarah used this to her advantage as often as possible.

Sarah’s father, on the other hand, wasn’t one bit shy about going head-to-head.  He stepped out of the closet carrying an armload of things for his suitcase.  Without even sparing her a glance he said, “Don’t talk to your mother that way, Sarah.  Just go pack.”

“But ... ”

“Not another word, or you’re going to be very sorry.”  He caught her eye, giving her one of his famous warning looks.

Sarah knew what that meant.  Either he was going to take away the keys to her car and turn her into a social castaway or forbid her from seeing her boyfriend Barry.


She turned and stormed from the room in a huff.  She tried to stomp her feet for emphasis, but they didn’t make a sound on the heavily padded, ultra thick carpeting.  It was very unsatisfying.

On her way down the hall she stopped off at her twin brother’s room and leaned in the doorway.  Her eyes scanned the sports posters on the wall, the thirty or so perfectly arranged trophies on the shelves, and the small modern metal and glass desk with a computer sitting on it.  He was always so neat with his stuff.  “Kev, can you believe this crap?  It’s total B.S., right?”

Sarah’s brother Kevin was packing a duffle bag he used for rugby.  She watched him move back and forth, grabbing things from different places.  He always looked so at ease with himself.  His muscled arms and back showed how hard he worked out so he could excel at his favorite sport.  He was like most rugby players – he laughed at football players because they had to wear pads and helmets.  Rugby players had to worry every game about broken bones and ears being bitten off, or so he said.

He continued to open drawers, pulling out wads of clothes and shoving them into his bag as he responded.  “Whatever.  I’m gonna go to the all-you-can-eat buffets and put them out of business.  Then I’m gonna drink beer until I puke.  Then we come home.  No big deal.”  He didn’t bother looking up.

Sarah snorted in disgust, a look on her face as if she’d smelled something bad.  “Is that all you ever worry about?  Food and beer?”

“What else is there to worry about?” he asked, dead serious.

“What about Gretchen?  She’s not going to be there.”

“But there will be other girls, and Gretchen isn’t the only fish in the sea.”  He sniggered at his own poor cruise joke.

“I’ll bet she wouldn’t be so thrilled to hear you say that.”

He looked up at his sister to fix her with his threatening look. “She’s not going to hear anyone say that, or else.”

He sounded just like their dad.  Sarah was sick of being threatened, but she knew that Kevin meant either he would share one of her secrets or he’d tackle her and mess up her hair – totally not worth it.
Gretchen probably had no clue that her brother was just using her like he did all the girls before her.  The only thing he really cared about was rugby – and food and beer, of course.  When he went to rugby parties, there was always beer there, provided courtesy of the older alumni of the team who still came to watch matches and party afterwards.

Sarah continued, “Whatever.  I’m not going on this cruise and pretending like I’m having fun.  We’re gonna be stuck with those Buckley idiots the entire time, I just know it.”

She paused in her ranting to carefully admire her latest manicure.  Her nails were a rosy pink with white tips – flawless.  Her skin was already very carefully bronzed to match her summer outfits.  Her hair was expertly highlighted.  All of it was going to be wasted on this stupid business cruise.

Kevin paused in his packing to spare her a glance.  “Don’t worry about it.  We’ll ditch ‘em as soon as Mom and Dad aren’t around, and I’ll make sure they keep it to themselves and don’t rat us out.”

Sarah stood up straight and took a step into the bedroom.  “Ooh, are you going to threaten them?  That should be entertaining.”

“No, I’m not going to threaten the twerp or his sister.  I’m just going to explain to them that they’ll have much more fun doing things with other kids more their speed.”  He stopped, pointing a finger at his sister.  “And don’t take another step into my room, or I’m gonna tackle your scrawny butt and mess up your hair.”

She gingerly stepped back, knowing her brother wasn’t kidding.  Then she continued, “Awesome.  That’s one issue out of the way, at least.”  Sarah was picturing Jonathan and Candace Buckley, who she saw from time to time at school in the hallways or at lunch.  What is it with those people who can’t even look in the mirror and see what they’re wearing, anyway?  she thought to herself.

“Consider it done.”  Kevin finished packing his duffle bag, zipped it up with one quick, practiced motion, and threw it over his shoulder.

“Sounds like a plan,” said Sarah, holding her hand up for a high five as he came towards the door.

Their hands met with a loud crack.  “I’m outta here.  Tell Mom I’ll be back before four.”

“Tell her yourself.  I have to pack for this disaster.”  She pushed off the doorframe, stepped around him, and went into her room across the hall.

“You’re a serious pain in the ass, you know that?” he yelled after her, shutting his door behind him.

She didn’t bother to answer, other than to slam the door in his face as he walked by.  She could hear him muttering behind the door, walking down the hallway towards the stairs.

She reached under her bed, pulled out her Louis Vuitton suitcase and carry-on make up case and put them on the bed.  She turned towards her huge closet, throwing open the doors.  So, what does a girl wear on a cruise from hell?  As her eyes landed on the short, black skirt her aunt had bought for her on their last shopping spree, an evil glint came into her eye.  Well, this little number for starters...

Her parents were going to be sorry they forced her to go on this stupid trip.  She laughed out loud thinking about her revenge.

Author Bio:
Elle Casey is a prolific, NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling American writer who lives in Southern France with her husband, three kids, and several furry friends. She writes in several genres and publishes an average of one full-length novel per month.



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A Beltane Gift by Holly Barbo

Title: A Beltane Gift
Author: Holly Barbo
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Cultural Heritage, Short Story
Release Date: April 2, 2016
Cover Design: JC Clarke of The Graphics Shed
Summer in Scotland, and Mari is working on an archeological dig of a Viking burial ship during Beltane, a time of the year when the veil shrouding the spirit world thins. What could possibly go wrong?

1291 A.D.
The day was high summer with an onshore breeze ruffling the waters of Loch Sunart. Leda watched as several strong men hauled a small boat out of the water. Muscles strained as the ship resisted the pull of the ropes as if it didn’t want to leave its buoyant home. She knew it was time, and turned her head to scan the progress on the moor. A boat-sized hole had been dug to rest the vessel in. Teams of men from the village maneuvered the dragon boat onto skids and fought the graceful craft up to where the low moors began. With every available hand on the ropes, the ship was lowered into the ground until only the short, carved dragon on the prow looked over the grassland to the shore.

Once the small ship was nestled into the ground, more of their friends came, placing Leda’s husband’s body on a prepared berth. Items meaningful to his life were set around him in easy reach, should he need them in the afterlife. This burial was a supreme honor but still the tears trickled down her lined face and dropped onto the funerary objects. As the gathered crowd paid their last respects, several foxes were heard yipping in the low hills. As one, everyone turned in the direction of the sound. There, on a cairn farther up the slope, was a family of the rust-colored creatures raising their voices to the wind. Leda smiled and made a small bow to the animals. Laughter was heard around the boat as comments were made about the tribute. In this lighter atmosphere, everyone pitched in and began to fill the craft with dirt and stones.

Author Bio:
Holly's world is shaped by her love of family, the beauty of the natural world and an irrepressible creative drive. She has always been curious and sees life through questions. These four characteristics color her writing voice. Holly's stories are mostly in non-urban settings and usually have some focus on nature, building discordant themes inside a seemingly peaceful refrain.

My motto: Weaving Alternative Worlds with Threads From Today.


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