Welcome to our third week of celebrating the amazingly talented
Today we're taking a look at How To Howl At The Moon, The Lion and The Crow, and A Prairie Dog's Love Song, plus a personal story Eli has chosen to share with us, and of course a chance to win!
First up, How To Howl At The Moon
Sheriff Lance Beaufort is not going to let trouble into his town, no sir. Tucked away in the California mountains, Mad Creek has secrets to keep, like the fact that half the town consists of ‘quickened’—dogs who have gained the ability to become human. Descended on both sides from Border Collies, Lance is as alert a guardian as they come.
Tim Weston is looking for a safe haven. After learning that his boss patented all of Tim’s work on vegetable hybrids in his own name, Tim quit his old job. A client offers him use of her cabin in Mad Creek, and Tim sees a chance for a new start. But the shy gardener has a way of fumbling and sounding like a liar around strangers, particularly gorgeous alpha men like Sheriff Beaufort.
Lance’s hackles are definitely raised by the lanky young stranger. He’s concerned about marijuana growers moving into Mad Creek, and he’s not satisfied with the boy’s story. Lance decides a bit of undercover work is called for. When Tim hits a beautiful black collie with his car and adopts the dog, its love at first sight for both Tim and Lance’s inner dog. Pretending to be a pet is about to get Sheriff Beaufort in very hot water.
Tim was chuckling to himself as the sheriff walked up. The man couldn’t quite meet his eyes.
“Fruit basket.” Sheriff Beaufort shoved the basket toward Tim.
“I can see that. Really, that’s…” Tim looked over the cellophane-covered basket. There were apples, oranges, a grapefruit, some bananas, and various bags of nuts and dried fruit. Oh thank you, God. This would supplement Tim’s food budget nicely for a week or two. Maybe he’d been wrong about Sheriff McHotty. “Thank you,” Tim said. “This is, like, the nicest thing anyone’s done for me in a long time.”
Blue eyes stared at him in surprise. “If that’s true, that’s unfortunate.”
“Yeah, well….” Tim shuffled his feet. He forgot he was holding the shovel and banged his ankle into the unyielding side of it. “Ow! Fuck. Fuck!”
It hurt like a son-of-a-bitch. Tim hopped on one foot, waiting for the sharp pain to ease. The sheriff reached out a hand to steady Tim’s elbow and forestall the doom of the tottering fruit basket. Tim breathed through the pain. As it slowly faded, he realized the sheriff was only a foot or so away from him and still firmly holding his arm.
Beaufort was a muscular but compact man, and Tim was awkwardly tall. He found himself looking down into those blue eyes. The sheriff looked right back. The man was staring again, that champion stare. Boy howdy. Only this time, it didn’t feel like his stare was saying go the fuck away. This stare was looking down deep into Tim’s soul as if trying to puzzle him out, and it was maybe even a little sympathetic. Tim felt a tingle of excitement crawl down his spine like an inch worm. It blossomed in his groin. One of Beaufort’s eyebrows lifted in surprise.
Weird. Beaufort’s blue eyes really were the same deep sky blue color as Chance’s eyes. Or vice versa. The thought of Chance brought a wave of sorrow with it, killing the moment. Next came alarm.
Did the sheriff really drive out here to deliver a fruit basket? Or had he heard about the accident last night? Was he going to give Tim a ticket? Or worse?
“I didn’t hit him on purpose!” Tim blurted out, pulling back and tripping over the shovel. Again. “Ow! Fuck!” Then he realized what he’d just said. To a cop. “It was a dog! Not a person or anything. The ‘him’ I hit. I mean, I didn’t commit vehicular homicide yesterday. Or ever! Or even vehicular nudge. Except to the dog. Who wasn’t even badly hurt. You can ask Dr. McGurver. Are you here about the dog?”
Tim pinched his mouth shut, cutting off the flow of verbal diarrhea. Beaufort was probably thinking what an idiot Tim was. God, Marshall was right. He did have the social aptitude of a gnat. And for some reason, every stupid bone in Tim’s body stood to attention around Sheriff Beaufort.
“I am not. Here about the dog,” the sheriff said slowly and distinctly.
Sheriff Beaufort took a deep, calming breath, probably calling on reserves of patience to deal with the nutso. He looked over the field and sighed. “You’re clearing a field.”
The sheriff nodded and pursed his lips, as if he expected as much. “What are you planning to grow here?”
Tim snorted. “Well, I’m not growing drugs.”
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Next up, The Lion and The Crow
In medieval England, duty is everything, personal honor is more valued than life itself, and homosexuality is not tolerated by the church or society.
Sir Christian Brandon was raised in a household where he was hated for his unusual beauty and for his parentage. Being smaller than his six brutish half-brothers, he learned to survive by using his wits and his gift for strategy, earning him the nickname the Crow.
Sir William Corbett, a large and fierce warrior known as the Lion, has pushed his unnatural desires down all his life. He’s determined to live up to his own ideal of a gallant knight. When he takes up a quest to rescue his sister from her abusive lord of a husband, he’s forced to enlist the help of Sir Christian. It’s a partnership that will test every strand of his moral fiber, and, eventually, his understanding of the meaning of duty, honor, and love.
Please note: The first edition of this book was published as a free story in the M/M Romance group on Goodreads. This 2nd edition includes revised and extended content.
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And thirdly today, A Prairie Dog's Love Song
Ben Rivers always was a showman. He won awards in 4-H and rodeo competitions from the time he could walk, and he’s happiest in the spotlight. So when he got the chance to be a star—in porn—he took it. He still loves Montana and everything about being a cowboy, but when news of his alternate identity leaks out, he figures he’s lost the town’s goodwill forever. Clyde’s Corner would never accept an openly gay cowboy, even a hometown boy born and bred.
Joshua Braintree always had the notion that he and his best friend’s kid brother, Ben, would end up together. Ben’s always been a diehard cowboy, just like him: they need the land and its freedom as much as they need air. So when Joshua learns Ben moved away from their small Montana town to be a porn star in Vegas, he can hardly believe it. He’s determined to finally declare himself and bring Ben home.
Despite his longtime crush on Joshua, Ben won’t be as easy to tame as Joshua’s “lost cause” horses. It will take a lot of heart and holiday spirit for Joshua to convince Ben that even old prairie dogs can learn new tricks in the name of love.
“Reckon you know about the videos and everything,” Ben said, breaking the silence.
“Seen ’em,” Joshua agreed calmly.
Ben looked downright horrified. “You watched ’em?”
“All of ’em.” Joshua took a drink of the soda.
Ben turned his back to Joshua and put his face in his hands. “You really watched all of ’em?” he asked in a small voice, as if he just couldn’t believe it. “Why?”
“Had to see the lay of things,” Joshua drawled matter-of-factly.
“I’m—I’m not ashamed of ’em,” Ben said defensively.
“I have a lot of fans. A lot. I’m one of the most popular models on the site,” he insisted hotly.
“Well, I reckon.”
Joshua was sure that was true. From what Joshua had seen, Ben might not have the biggest cock in B2B’s stable, or even the most impressive body. But it was impossible not to fall in love with his innocent can-do enthusiasm, his charming mix of bold and shy, and the sweet, honest look in his big blue eyes. It was his spirit that put him in another class from those other boys altogether—a prize stallion among draft animals. And doing the videos hadn’t robbed him of one ounce of that sweetness, thank God. There was nothing deadened or jaded about Ben Rivers.
Ben finally turned around, his cheeks red. “What do you want, Joshua? Why’d you come?”
“Ben, this ain’t the place for you. Nothin’… nothin’ grows here.”
Ben looked conflicted. “I know. I don’t much like Vegas. But I reckon I’ll work steady for a couple of years and stash all my money away. Then I can go to college, maybe someplace green, like Vermont. Thought maybe I’d be a vet or somethin’.”
Joshua stared at him. Oh, for Christ’s sake. He spoke carefully.
“You wanna live someplace you hate for two years, to save up money, then go to school for six years or more, all so’s you can eventually live someplace green and work with animals?”
Ben grew redder. He folded his arms. “That’s not… that’s not what I….” Then, firm, “I can’t go back to Clyde’s Corner.”
“Hell, Ben! No one’s gonna crucify you cause you done some porn. Try to get in your pants, maybe,” Joshua admitted reluctantly.
“But Henry Atkins—”
“Is a bona fide jackass. He’s just pissed ’cause no one’d pay him to take off his Levi’s.” Put ’em on, more like, Joshua finished in his head.
Ben frowned worriedly. He shook his head. There was something else, something deeper. Joshua could see it in his face. “Is it… bein’ gay?” Joshua asked.
“I ain’t gay!” Ben shot Joshua a look that could melt horseshoes. “It’s gay for pay. That means we just do it for the money.”
Joshua huffed. “Ben, I know what men look like havin’ sex. And if you ain’t taken to it like a duck takes to water, I’m Dolly Parton.”
Ben wouldn’t meet his eye. The silence dragged out. And dragged out.
“I guess I might be bicurious,” Ben said quietly.
“I said I could be sorta bicurious,” Ben said loudly. “That’s someone who’s fundamentally straight but is curious about sex with men.”
Joshua grunted his opinion of that. “You’ve been checking out my ass since you were eleven years old, Ben. That ain’t curious, that’s convicted.”
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I have to be honest: I believe in magic when it comes to love. Or maybe a better word is fate.
I rarely write true ‘insta-love’, but I do believe love-at-first-sight can happen, so I don’t mind it in books. My own personal story is a little less insta-love and a lot of fate hitting me over the head with a hammer.
When I met my husband I was 29. We both worked for the same company. At the time he was newly divorced and had a two year old. At that time I was very focused on my career, and I didn’t want to get involved with someone who had the baggage of a kid and a very involved ex wife who lived close by.
However, something bigger than myself had greater long-term vision. I turned him down the first time he asked me to lunch. But then I kept seeing him everywhere. I’d go to the ATM – he’d be in front of me in line. I’d go to the video store—he’d be there. I’d be driving and realize I was behind his Jeep. That week I kept seeing him so much it became comical. We’d run into each other again, and just laugh. I’ve never had that happen with another person before or since.
I decided I was being given a push in no uncertain terms by the Universe or God or whatever you like to call it. We started to date. From the start, I felt this sense of momentous weight, like we’d known each other forever even though we’d just started dating. It took a long time for ‘real life’, and our real history, to catch up to that enormous sense of ‘thereness’.
It turns out, that shove was in the right direction. That was 25 years ago and we have given each other a lot in our life together. So if I write about True Love, it’s because I believe in it, I really do. And to me, no couple in one of my romance novels deserve anything less.
More about Eli Easton:
Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a game designer, an organic farmer, an avid hiker, and a profound sleeper, Eli is happily embarking on yet another incarnation as a m/m romance author.
As an addicted reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows and six chickens. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest fiction writing.
Thanks for stopping by today. Join us again next week for our Grand Finale celebrations, with lots of info about the Sex In Seattle series, a Q&A with Eli, and one more chance to win one of her books.
Until then, happy reading!