Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Tyler Robbins, the owner of Gay Travel Inc., decides to send four of his best—and single—travel agents to different continents to report on romantic travel venues. He sends Preston Bennetts to Kenya on a safari. Preston is excited by the idea until he discovers that homosexuality is illegal in Kenya. How is he supposed to complete his assignment? Fortunately he meets Austin and Ryan Holder. Austin has always wanted to visit Africa and Ryan has accompanied him because the old man is getting frail. But they’re both great company and Ryan agrees to help Preston.
Their constant search for romantic photo opportunities has Preston and Ryan thinking lustful thoughts about each other. That absolutely can’t happen in Kenya though. Any sign of gay activity could have them sent to jail.
Will taking pictures of the Big Five game animals satisfy Tyler and prevent Preston and Ryan from touching each other?
Buy link: http://www.bookstrand.com/book/gay-lovers-on-safari
Preston wasn’t planning to listen to the guide’s spiel. He was more interested in trying to work out how to spend some time with Ryan, if he could even locate him. But then the guide said, “At Carnivore, as well as beef, lamb, pork, and chicken, they also serve crocodile, ostrich, zebra, and venison, as well as soups, salads, and vegetables in authentic sauces.”
Preston stopped listening to the guide’s patter. Crocodile? Ostrich? Zebra? Lamb and venison he could get back home, although they were damn expensive. But ostrich? Not so much. Maybe he would go there and perhaps he could encourage Ryan and his father to join him. He had an expense account after all and surely in a candle-lit restaurant it would be possible to get some kind of romantic photograph.
Back at the hotel he asked for a brochure about Carnivore and checked the dress code. There wasn’t one. That suited him just fine. Then he asked the clerk at the desk to ring Mr. Holder’s room for him.
“If you go to your room, sir, I’ll put through the call if Mr. Holder accepts it.”
“Thank you.” That sounded like Ryan was back from his day touring around anyway, or the clerk would have said, “When he returns,” not “if he accepts it.”
“Hey there, Preston, what’s the problem?” Austin asked.
For a moment, Preston was taken aback. He’d been expecting Ryan to answer, but of course Austin was Mr. Holder as well.
“Hi, Austin. The guide today was telling us about a restaurant called Carnivore. I hoped you and Ryan would be my guests there tonight.”
“Is it a dress-up kind of place? I didn’t bring a tux with me.”
Preston laughed. “Neither did I. According to the brochure I collected, there’s no dress code. I was just planning to put on a clean pair of Calvin Kleins.”
“Ah you bought some of those extra thin tropical weight jeans, too, did you? Ryan and I each bought a pair as well as some madras cotton shirts. Haven’t needed to wear them yet, though. The weather isn’t too hot and the nights are cool enough a man can get some sleep.”
Austin must have covered the telephone receiver as there was a muffled conversation going on. Ryan must have asked what was happening. Preston hadn’t had to buy any new clothes. Well, what with getting his immunizations he hadn’t had time anyway. But because of his career he had a wide-ranging choice of clothing with everything from lightweight breathable cotton to quilted snowsuits. Not that he liked going anywhere cold. The weather here suited him perfectly. He had his sunhat if he was walking around. However, he suspected the temperature out in the Serengeti at Masai Mara would be hotter.
Just then Austin was back. “Thank you for your kind offer. Ryan and I would enjoy that. I’ll book the taxi. What time do you want to meet us out front?”
“How about in an hour?”
“Sounds good. See you then.”
Preston took his time showering and shaving, and walked down the stairs. True to his promise, Austin sat in the foyer, his cane between his knees, with Ryan standing beside him. Austin waved to the clerk at the reception desk, who nodded. Preston guessed the clerk was going to summon a taxi. Sure enough, only a few minutes later one pulled up at the door.
Carnivore was an experience indeed. The restaurant was roofed, but there were no walls where the guests sat, so they looked out over the grass at other diners, and the sky gradually darkened as night fell. It was quite romantic, but nothing that could be expressed in a picture. Nevertheless, Preston determined to add a sentence to his daily blog to send to Tyler about that. He also snapped a few pictures for Twitter and Facebook, updating his status and saying where he was.
“My boss should be very pleased with me today. I’ve uploaded dozens of pictures of birds and animals from the national park.”
“He really expects you to do that all day long?” Ryan asked.
“Not all day long, but this vacation is for work, not just for fun. I only wish I could think of ways of making it seem romantic. It’s absolutely a bucket-list kind of trip, but romantic is a lot harder to explain.”
“What do you mean romantic?” asked Austin.
“The places the four of us have been sent to are to be marketed as the ultimate romantic destinations for gay men.”
“Ah, I see,” the old man replied thoughtfully.
Preston had a moment’s worry that maybe he shouldn’t have used the “g” word out aloud, but there was a lot of noise around them, and this was a tourist destination after all. It wasn’t like on the sidewalk where he was imposing on the lives of the local inhabitants. Here in this restaurant, apart from the staff, everyone was a tourist.
Soon the first selection of meats arrived. Leg of lamb, chicken gizzards, pork sausages, and chicken livers. Even the hot vegetables tasted different from normal in their special sauces, and all the conversation centered on the meal.
The meats were roasted over charcoal fires, and the waiters carried skewers around the restaurant, slipping chunks of meat onto guests’ plates if they wanted to taste each different dish.
Later zebra, crocodile, hartebeest, and ostrich were served, and the three of them tasted everything.
“What’s a hartebeest?” Austin asked the server.
“They’re grassland antelopes. They weigh up to two hundred kilograms and stand a meter high at the shoulder,” he replied.
Preston translated the sizes into American. “So twice as heavy as a man although not as tall.”
“And with two long horns,” added the server, smiling broadly.
“Remind me not to get too close to one,” muttered Ryan.
Preston laughed. “Unless he’s on your dinner plate.”
“There is that, indeed.”
They were laughing and about to begin eating this new meat when another server appeared with some more vegetables and described the sauces to them. While she was talking, Austin was looking at something behind him, but Preston thought it might be rude to turn around to see what had attracted the old man’s interest.
Fortunately once the server left, Austin leaned forward. “There’s a young couple behind you feeding each other food off their plates. If you swapped sides of the table with me, so behind you looks out over the lawn, and copied them, that would make a romantic picture.”
Preston just stared at Austin. “You’re right. It would.”
“That’s fine by me.” Ryan picked up his plate and glass and moved it to the empty space to the right of his father. Austin pushed his plate across the table and they all moved around. It was a small table, with one of them on each of the four sides, but for the purposes of the picture, Ryan and Preston sat together where Austin had been, with their backs to the garden. They rearranged the food platters so everything looked neat, placing a tiny tea candle between their plates, and then linked arms and held a forkful of meat at each other’s lips. Austin took several photographs which they all looked at and pronounced good before Ryan moved back to his side so they could each be sitting in one space again.
Buy link: http://www.bookstrand.com/book/gay-lovers-on-safari
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Gay Lovers in Paris (MM)
Blurb: Sean Zagorc’s boss, Tyler Robbins the owner of Gay Travel Inc., sends him to Paris to write about gay romance in the City of Lovers. Tyler expects him to send multiple tweets every day about romantic scenery, romantic venues, romantic meals, romantic everything. How can Sean do that without a partner?
Elementary school teacher Antoine Dupre nursed both his elderly parents until they passed. Now he has a week’s vacation in Paris before selling the family home and finding a job. He’s on a very strict budget, and plans to spend most of his time in the Louvre looking at the exhibits.
Fate brings them together and Antoine is attracted to the American in the business suit. He agrees to help Sean take a few pictures, maybe spend a day together visiting somewhere suitable for Sean’s work like the Eiffel Tower. That should be romantic enough for Tyler, shouldn't it?
Buy link: http://www.bookstrand.com/book/gay-lovers-in-paris
Sean had intended to go to bed after he’d unpacked his luggage. But common sense told him that to get over any jetlag he needed to adjust to Paris time as fast as possible. It was evening, but it wasn’t bedtime yet. So a walk might help him see some of the nightlights of Paris as well as tire him out. Although it’d felt like he’d done plenty of walking around three airports already today. But walking outside would be much more enjoyable and he’d spent more than eight hours sitting on the plane as well today so he ought to get some exercise.
He Googled the map of the eighth arrondissement on his cell phone and marked a walk that was a round trip of about three miles. That was plenty for this evening.
Sean wound his way through narrow, cobblestoned streets filled with old stone houses. Buildings here were limited to 121 feet in height, about five or maybe six stories, and the old-world flavor had been retained, giving it great atmosphere. Sean snapped off half a dozen pictures, trying to show the bright starry sky as well as the ancient stone buildings with their window boxes full of flowers. Other areas of the city permitted tall buildings, but Sean found he liked the feel of this area. It was unique and definitely fitted a romantic theme. That would please Tyler.
Sean reached the Champs-Élysées and began walking down it, enjoying the crowds out walking, the warm summer night, and the busy, yet happy atmosphere. When he reached the Obelisk of Luxor, he stopped to read about all the machinery and effort needed to move the huge piece of stone. He stepped back to take a picture and then moved sideways an inch at a time, wanting the lights still on the obelisk for his picture, but also some of the starry sky behind it for romantic effect.
He groaned when he saw his photo, after all his efforts, had come out blurry and deleted it. A diffident voice behind him asked, “You don’t have the selfie stick. Would you like me to take the picture with you in it?”
Sean whirled around. He’d been told the French preferred foreigners to use their language, yet here was someone speaking English with a strong French accent.
“Thanks for offering. I suppose I’d better buy a selfie stick tomorrow. But what I really need is a clear picture of the obelisk, with stars in the background.”
He also didn’t want to hand his cell phone to a stranger, no matter how polite. It had everything he needed for his work on it, as well as far too much personal data to risk someone hacking into it. So he shook his head and dropped his phone into the inside pocket of his suit jacket.
“Let me try,” the persistent man said, worrying Sean even more. As unobtrusively as possible he buttoned his jacket. Not only would someone need to reach inside his coat now, but even if he was moving it couldn’t flap open.
However, the man pulled out his own cell phone and waved Sean over to stand in front of the monument. It was so enormous it would be almost impossible to get a complete picture of it from any closer than this.
The man’s hair shone blond in the bright lights as he patiently moved this way and that and then held up a hand. Sean turned slightly to smile at him, still a little wary that someone would jump him and try to rob him, but no one was close to him. The man hurried across and showed him the picture.
“It’s perfect, thanks. Can you message it to me, please?”
He gave his cell phone number and a moment later it dinged and there was the picture. “That’s perfect. Amazing.” Sean smiled his thanks to the stranger.
The man was grinning happily. Despite his brain telling him to remain wary, Sean held out his hand. “Sean.”
“Can I buy you a coffee? I saw a café just along here a little way.”
“Thank you, I’d like that.”
Buy link: http://www.bookstrand.com/book/gay-lovers-in-paris
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
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When Sophie helps rescue a battered woman, she gets more than one surprise from the woman’s other self-appointed protector.
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On a cold winter’s night in 1778, two patriot soldiers recall their first sensual encounter and ponder their future together with the women they love.
YOUR ONE AND ONLY by Nicole Austin
My day from hell took a delightful turn when I woke up naked next to the most gorgeous man. But he’d bitten me and claimed I was his mate. Oh my!
TAKE A CHANCE by Alexa Silver
Hunter and Lani never expect to find love from a near tragedy.
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Luna, 2114… A reluctant Shayna must travel to remote Farside Colony to meet her chosen mate.
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Blake sees Xavier agonizing over unclaimed gift tags for poor children on the holiday tree. Will Blake tell Xavier about his past and his problem?
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In the Readem and Reap casino on the edge of the Megaverse, Nightwind Ardian Cree may lose his life-mate with the draw of a card. Will luck be on his side or will he lose everything he holds dear?
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