If at the end of the treasure hunt there will be still unmatched excerpts the giveaway will go to the one who matched more books.
The books are:
A Hunted Man by Jaime Reese
A Kingdom Lost by Barbara Ann Wright
A Place for Cliff by Talon ps
A Special Kind of Folk by Barry Brennessel
About Face by VK Powell
Ancient House of Cards by Bryan T. Clark
Another Healing by M. Raiya
Antidote by Jack L. Pyke
Because of Jade by Lou Sylvre
Beloved Pilgrim by Christopher Hawthorne Moss
Better Than Friends by Lane Hayes
Bird of Paradise by G.J. Paterson
Bite of the Recluse by Azalea Moone & Anais Morgan
Bonds of Denial by Lynda Aicher
Brokenhearted by Cate Ashwood
Camellia by Caitlin Ricci & Cari Z.
Carnal Sacraments by Perry Brass
Caught! By JL Merrow
Chasing the Dragon by Kate Sherwood
Chip off the Ice Block Murder by Jessie Chandler
Clean Slate by Andrea Bramhall
Corruption by Eden Winters
Desire at Dawn by Fiona Zedde
Dirty Beautiful Words by Brooklyn Brayl
Dissonance by Shira Anthony
Dudek by Taylor James
Educating Simon by Robin Reardon
Fight by Kelly Wyre
Filthy Acquisitions by Edmond Manning
Firestorm by Rory Ni Coileain
Forever Hold His Peace by Rebecca Cohen
Forgive Us by Lynn Kelling
Fractured by Mickie B. Ashling
Freak Camp: Posts From a Previously Normal Girl by Jessica V. Barnett
FutureDyke by Lea Daley
Games Boys Play by Zoe X. Rider
Gathering Storm by Alexa Land
Gin & Jazz 1- 4 (4 novellas: Hollywood Bound, Razzle Dazzle, Tarnished Glitter and Starring Role) by Morticia Knight
Girls Don't Hit by Geonn Cannon
Great Pleasures by Edward Southgate
Greg Honey by Russ Gregory
Happy Independence Day by Michael Rupured
Hard Pressed by Sharon Maria Bidwell
Hell & High Water (THIRDS, Book #1) by Charlie Cochet
Highfell Grimoires by Langley Hyde
His Fair Lady by Kimberly Gardner
Hoaley Inexplicable by Declan Sands
How Still My Love by Diane Marina
Hungry for Love by Rick R. Reed
If I Die Before I Wake by Liz McMullen
If We Shadows by D.E. Atwood
Ink & Flowers by J.K. Pendragon
It's Like This by Anne O'Gleadra
Lab Rat's Love by Ana J. Phoenix
Lesbian Crushes at School: A Diary on Growing Up Gay in the Eighties by Natasha Holme
Let the Lover Be by Sheree L. Greer
Like Jazz by Heather Blackmore
Love and Salvage: Loving Emmett by Mathew Ortiz
Love Is A Stranger by John Wiltshire
Love You Forever by Amelia Bishop
Lovers and Liars by Paul Alan Fahey
Mark of Cain by Kate Sherwood
Masquerade by Joy Lynn Fielding
Measure of Peace by Caethes Faron
Mirage by Tia Fielding
More Than Everything by Cardeno C.
Motel. Pool. By Kim Fielding
Murder and the Hurdy Gurdy Girl by Kate McLachlan
Murder on the Mountain by Jamie Fessenden
My Brother's Lover by Lynn Kelling
Nightingale by Andrea Bramhall
No Angel by Clare London
Omorphi by C. Kennedy
On Archimedes Street by Jefferson Parrish
Paradise at Main and Elm by Barry Brennessel
Paris Connection by J.P. Bowie
Passage by Evey Brett
Pick Up the Pieces by Tinnean
Piper by Leona Carver
Rapture, Sins of the Sinners by Fran Heckrotte & A.C. Henley
Rarely Pure and Never Simple by Angel Martinez
Rasputin's Kiss by L.M. Somerton
Rest Home Runaways by Clifford Henderson
Resurrection Man by K.Z. Snow
Return of an Impetuous Pilot by Kate McLachlan
Rocky Mountain Freedom by Vivian Arend
Running Through A Dark Place by Michael J. Bowler
Saving Liam by DP Denman
Serpentine Walls by CJane Elliott
Shades of Sepia by Anne Barwell
Shameful Desires 3: Unbound by P.J. Proud
Shirewode by J Tullos Hennig
Silent by Sara Alva
Slide by Garrett Leigh
Something Like Spring by Jay Bell
Splinters by Thorny Sterling
Stitch by Eli Easton, Sue Brown, Jamie Fessenden & Kim Fielding
Summerville by H.L. Sudler
The 42nd Street Jerking-off Club by Mykola Dementiuk
The Calm Before by Neena Jaydon
The Dead Past by Kate Aaron
The Empath by Jody Klaire
The Engineered Throne by Megan Derr
The Family We Make by Kaje Harper
The Genealogy of Understanding by Daniel M. Jaffe
The House on Hancock Hill by Indra Vaughn
The Last Conception by Gabriel Constans
The Line by J.D. Horn
The Mating of Michael by Eli Easton
The Memory of Blood & Lotuses by E.E. Ottoman
The Opera House by Hans M. Hirschi
The River Within by Baxter Clare Trautman
The Seventh Pleiade by Andrew J. Peters
The Thief Taker by William Holden
This Is Not a Love Story by Suki Fleet
Tournament of Shadows by S.A. Meade
True Stories Too: People and Places From My Past by Felice Picano
Turnbull House by Jess Faraday
Zenith by Arshad Ahsanuddin
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Today excerpts are:
Ashley glanced between the two men as she regained her feet. “Hmm. Travis, come here.”
She tugged him forward, and Cassidy found himself standing inches away from Travis as Ashley looked them over intently.
Travis sighed. “You want to get unpacked before you start making mischief, sweetheart?”
Ashley shook her head. “Mischief first, last and always. You know that.”
Being this close to Travis made Cassidy nervous, and he shifted his feet to ease away slightly. “If you’re ready, I can show you where you’ll be staying.”
She didn’t seem to hear, she was too busy examining him and Travis. “I definitely need you two in shots together. God, you’ve got that angel/devil thing going on. Darkness and light, sinner and saint—”
“And we both know who the sinner is,” Travis drawled.
Her smile bloomed again, gaze darting between their faces. “I don’t know. Maybe Cassidy is one of the fallen-angel types. Looks like heaven and knows exactly how to get you to paradise.”
Travis laughed, the sound breaking over them like a waterfall. Encompassing them, ready to sweep them away. He’d shifted position, and now stood close enough his body heat brushed Cassidy.
Between Ashley’s provocative words and Travis being…Travis, Cassidy was walking a thin line of control. He took a couple of deliberate steps away and adjusted his hat. “I really need to get back to work.”
Travis’s cocky expression screamed an accusation. “We don’t want to keep you from anything important.”
Cassidy bit back the urge to call him an asshole.
A shadow crossed Ashley’s face as she stepped closer to Travis’s side, her intuitive gaze not missing anything. “Do you guys know each other?”
That evening, the rain let up for the first time in days. The banquet spread out to the quadrangle grounds. The citrus trees were strung with oil lamps, and the pebbled grounds were staked with torches. There was lamb cooked on spits, chestnuts from the oven, honey cakes, and urns and urns of wine. Families spread out on carpets and cushions while mandolin and flute players filled the quad with lively melodies. Later into the night, some girls pinned wildflowers in their hair and took to the lawn to dance a circle entwined by wrists. The boys, not to be outdone, wove a rounded line, swinging each other with linked arms and slapping palms, a martial routine. Everyone was laughing. Some of the boys spun out colliding into the girls, and they made a game of snatching the flowers from their heads. Somehow, out of the rumpus, they ended up dancing one circle together. Dardy and Evandros joined in. Boys from the House Atlas’ encampment got up to join in too.
But Aerander remained seated on a carpet hugging his knees, with Artemon, the only other boy who could be counted on to sit out the festivities.
Thessala and his sisters had turned in for the night. Pylartes had stopped in briefly and returned to his chambers, with no invitation for Aerander to join in whatever business was going on to manage the campaign abroad. Calyiches gave Aerander a stray glance from his spot with a huddle of boys on the edge of the dancing circle. Maybe it was an invitation to come over. But what was he supposed to say to him? Thessala told him to mind Calyiches, but Aerander couldn’t mind him if he didn’t understand what it was he was minding. A broken promise? A sham to pretend he was really special to Calyiches after Calyiches had made it clear that he wasn’t? Watching Calyiches throwing his arms around his friends, tossing back his head in laughter, Aerander wondered: when did everything change between them? He felt like he had been impaled and left to die slowly while the party carried on around him.
Just before they went out, James handed Ambient a keytainer with a small, blue, plastic tag in the shape of the United States. He took a matching one out of his own pocket. Each one had two keys on it. “Trailer key,” James said, holding the smaller one. “Opens the door and all the outside compartments. The other is for the truck. But I’d better teach you how to drive while towing first.”
“Not for a long time,” Ambient said. “Thanks.” He followed James down the steps into the salty air, putting his new keys in his jeans pocket. A good, permanent feeling came with them. My home is your home. How differently everything had turned out than he’d thought it would when he left home yesterday morning.
James nodded toward a boardwalk that led through sand dunes to the beach. They walked quietly, listening to the rhythm of the waves grow louder. The sky, luminous with dusk, was a beautiful violet color, the land already shadowed. Their steps sounded hollow on the old, gray boards. Around them, dunes rose in gentle curves, shaped by the wind. Each one was flecked with long, green grass, as artistically placed as though by a paint brush. The ever-present sea breeze made the blades sway and dip as though in a dance choreographed by nature. Ambient drew a deep breath of the heavy sea air and felt tension slip away. A kind of hesitant happiness took its place, and when he glanced at James, he saw that James was smiling, too. Their fingers entwined of their own accord.
“I’ve given you a lot to get used to,” James said.
“I know.” Ambient squeezed James’s fingers gently, and he squeezed back with a smile.
They came to a flight of stairs that lead to the height of the dunes, and for the first time, they saw the ocean. It was a kind of translucent gray, broken by long lines of gentle waves under the luminous sky, the first stars very faint above it. There was a glow over a point of land to their left where the moon would be rising soon. The tide was out, showing an expanse of dark wet sand creased only by the footprint of ripples, with silvery pools of shallow water. There was not another human in sight. Ambient let out his breath, and the beauty soaked into him.
“Better?” James asked after a few moments.
“Much,” Ambient said. Then he looked at James with a grin, letting the contemplative mood slide away. “I want to go wading.”
Susan took a quick swallow of cool tea and smiled at the next miner in line, a slender man in the same worn gray clothing all the miners wore. He reached for her, and Susan glanced up. The smile drained from her face and the room began to spin even before the miner turned her to the dance floor. Her legs felt foreign to her and she stumbled twice, kept from falling only by the arm wrapped around her waist. The music started, and the room began spinning in earnest.
She stared straight ahead at the collar of the miner’s shirt. It was old, but clean, and was buttoned to the top of the neck. Over it, the miner wore a loose vest and a jacket. Susan had been handled by miners all week, but she had never been more conscious of the warm hand at her back. The grip was firm, but not rough.
“What are you doing here?” she asked, her lips as stiff as her legs.
“Looking for you.”
“Why?” It was a foolish question. She had committed a monumental crime, after all. There was a ten thousand dollar reward for her capture. Lots of people must be looking for her.
The word was gentle, and she had to blink the sting out of her eyes before looking up into brown eyes nearly as familiar to her as her own.
“You’re still with Pinkerton, then?” Susan asked
“Shh.” The arm drew her closer and lips grazed her ear. “Don’t mention Pinkerton. They kill Pinkerton men around here.”
Susan shivered, but whether it was from the threat of violence or from Jo Erin’s breathy whisper in her ear, she didn’t know.
“Do you plan to arrest me?”
They danced slowly, but Jo Erin’s breathing was loud, as if she were exerting herself.
Susan closed her eyes and danced without looking, relying on Jo Erin’s arms to keep her steady.
Why Jo Erin, of all people? Didn’t Pinkerton have enough men to send after her? It would be so much easier to be arrested by a stranger. Of course, Jo Erin had the advantage of knowing the woman she was searching for. No doubt that was why Pinkerton selected her for the job.
But Pinkerton may have forgotten that Susan would recognize Jo Erin too, and he didn’t know that Jo Erin would find her in the middle of a seething Union town where Susan’s knowledge was as dangerous as Jo Erin’s. Mr. Pinkerton might have made a serious mistake.
Susan’s pulse calmed as she realized she had nothing to fear from Jo Erin, at least not in Needles Eye. She opened her eyes and smiled. She placed her hand on the back of Jo Erin’s neck and drew her ear down to Susan’s lips. “You wouldn’t dare arrest me here,” she whispered. “Your secret is as dangerous as mine.”
Susan removed her hand, but Jo Erin kept her head down, nearly resting it on Susan’s shoulder. Finally, Jo Erin stood straight. Her expression acknowledged Susan’s words, and Susan relaxed. Jo Erin would not, could not, arrest Susan. Not in Needles Eye, anyway, where a Pinkerton man was no better than a scab. For a Pinkerton woman, it could only be worse.
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