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:
Ash was Texan by birth, but his southern roots only laced his speech when he was too tired to repress them… too tired to block out all the horrible shit that kept an invisible barrier between us.
He was just seventeen when his friend Ellie found him drawing on the streets of Philadelphia. He was homeless and drew comic book characters on the sidewalk for money. The way she told it, he was one of the best street artists in the city, but he said he just did it to survive. Ellie was in college at the time, and she spent the next three years trying to get him to go to a shelter. Eventually, she got her way, and when she moved back to Chicago a few months later, she asked him to come with her. It took him a year of procrastination and pulling his shit together, but after finishing his tattoo apprenticeship in Philly, he did just that.
Living together was a huge adjustment for both of us. Some days I thought we’d cracked it, but others….
I draped the comforter over us and tucked it around his shoulders. He settled against me with his arm stretched out across my torso. I ran my hand absently along his bicep and enjoyed the rare moment. Though he could be tactile when his mood was right, he rarely cuddled up to me so freely. Most times, he preferred our positions reversed—him on his back with his arms around me.
Curious, I pressed a kiss to the top of his sweat-dampened head. “You okay?”
“Yeah, I just missed you.”
I smiled into the darkness. “I missed you too.”
A light hum was his only answer, so I held him a bit tighter and made the most of having him curled against me. After a while, I felt him shift. I opened my eyes and quirked an eyebrow, too mellow to speak. He just stared at me, but his blazing eyes told me what I knew he found so hard to articulate.
I put my hand to his head and nudged it back down with a sad smile.
Tossing everything back in her bag, Josie pushed open the restroom door, and who should she find standing in the hall but the very guy she’d just been mooning over.
“Hey,” he greeted her with a wide smile. No question about it, he had to have had braces in high school. No one’s teeth were naturally that perfect.
Josie pushed the odd thought aside, packing it away with the thrill of finding him waiting for her, a thrill she refused to countenance.
“Hey.” She tried to stroll casually by him, but he reached out a hand and stopped her. In that hand he held something that looked unsettlingly familiar.
“You dropped your phone.” When she didn’t immediately reach for it, he held it out farther into her personal space. “This is your phone, right?”
She nodded and took her phone. Their fingers brushed, and Josie felt a tingle all the way down to her coral-tipped toenails.
Holy crap, but she was doomed.
“Thanks, yeah, that’s my phone.” She kept her tone casual as she tried to edge past him, but he fell into step beside her.
“You’re welcome. I know I’d be screwed without mine. In fact I lost mine last year, and I still haven’t got back all the numbers I had in there.”
Probably numbers for about a thousand girls, Josie thought before she could stop herself. Not that she cared.
“Well, thanks for picking it up for me.” She tucked the phone in her bag and quickened her pace.
And what a surprise. He picked up his pace to keep up with her.
Josie pushed open the door and stepped outside. The brilliant morning sun filtered down through trees still mostly bare but just beginning to show the first hints of green. It made her smile, this whisper of spring, even if the air was still chilly.
“My name’s Mark.” Dark-Haired Cutie was hot on her heels.
“That’s nice.” She felt like she was racewalking.
“Brrrrrrrt! Wrong answer.”
Josie stopped and stared. “What?”
“Wrong answer. When I say my name’s Mark, you’re supposed to say, ‘Hi Mark. My name’s Herkimer. It’s nice to meet you.’”
“Herkimer?” She laughed. She couldn’t help it.
“It’s just an example.” He grinned. “So what is your name if it’s not Herkimer?”
Oh, what the hell?
“I’m Josie.” She resumed walking. So did he.
“Where’s your next class?”
“I’m done for the day,” Josie said, not elaborating. She waved a mental good-bye to her library-and-bookstore plans. Oh well, she would just go home, but she didn’t want him following her there.
“Yeah? Great. How about that cup of coffee? I’m buying. You look like a double espresso kind of girl. Am I right?”
“Maybe because I have a boyfriend.”
Mark shook his head. “No, you don’t.”
“How do you know? I could have a boyfriend.”
“Sure you could, but you don’t. If you did, that would have been the first thing you said.”
“Okay, you win. I don’t have a boyfriend. But I do have a job for which I’m going to be late if I keep standing here arguing with you.”
It was a small lie, but so what? She didn’t know this Mark from Adam.
“It’s not an argument. It’s a negotiation.”
“Yeah, we’re negotiating when you’re going to let me buy you a double espresso. Heck, I’ll even throw in one of those giant chocolate chip cookies. You like chocolate chip cookies, don’t you?”
“Pfft, who doesn’t?”
“Great. Then it’s a date. Give me a call when you’re done work and I’ll meet you at the Book and Bean.” With that he turned and started to walk away like everything was settled.
She would let him go. It was the wiser choice by far. But instead she called after him. “I don’t have your number.”
“Yes, you do. It’s in your phone.” He turned and, walking backward, sent her another of those heart-stopping smiles. “So I’ll talk to you later. Have fun at work.”
Josie watched him walk away.
Mmm, nice butt.
Bobby’s Gym was a living, breathing time machine that had decades earlier burrowed into a dingy side street in downtown Indianapolis like a hungry wood tick. In a world of fancy workout clubs, complete with juice bars and power yoga classes in mirror-walled studios, Bobby’s was the squat, ugly cousin with buck teeth and stained knees. The scent ambiance at Bobby’s consisted of a potent mix of old urine, mold, and dirty armpit sweat. The visual atmosphere was Rocky-esque, complete with the saggy, beat-up old boxing stage and stained and cracked concrete flooring that carried enough old sweat and blood in its pores to keep a crime scene unit busy for the better part of a year.
Unfortunately, there would be no problem identifying the donor of the recently added puddle of blood beneath the brand new lat machine. The bright red substance was still dripping from two tidy holes in the dead guy’s forehead. The victim hung from the pull bar, his knees resting on the hold-down pads and his head drooping toward his chest.
“Double tapped.” The attractive, brown-haired cop informed the group standing several feet away from the ghoulishly decorated machine. “Textbook shots.”
“So you’re saying it’s a professional job, CC?” Adam asked hopefully.
Bobby glanced over and gave him a tight smile, obviously understanding why Adam had asked.
“It appears that way. But anybody who knows how to shoot could have made it look like a mob hit.” The careful way CC avoided looking at Bobby spoke volumes. Bobby was in a precarious place, and CC was trying really hard not to let their friendship interfere with him doing his job.
Sirens sounded outside the building and Maddy hurried toward the door. “I’ll let them in.”
Adam thought she was a little too enthusiastic about playing doorman for the crime scene unit and CC’s backup. Her ashen complexion was probably a good hint as to why. Maddy was too proud to hork up her breakfast in front of everybody. She’d probably walk into the alley to take care of business.
A moment later, two technicians dressed in khaki slacks and black polo shirts with a Crime Scene Investigations patch on the pocket came through the door and greeted CC. The taller of the two men frowned at the assembled group. “Please tell me you haven’t tromped all over our crime scene?”
CC lifted a light brown eyebrow. “The body was discovered by the owner. He called me immediately and I examined the scene and pronounced the victim deceased. Nobody else has been within twenty feet of the body.”
The tech nodded and they headed across the gym, CC leading the way.
Adam glanced over at Mink, who’d been uncharacteristically quiet since they’d walked into the gym an hour previously and found the body, with Bobby standing over it. The diminutive realtor stood a few feet away, chewing his fingernails as he kept his gaze averted from Bobby. Adam took Mink’s arm and walked him away, toward the door. “Are you all right, buddy?”
Mink’s pretty gray-blue eyes widened theatrically. “You mean ’cause I may have just gone into partnership with a murderer and I have about twenty thousand of my retirement money tied up in a venture that’s just been ripped off the tracks by the arrival of a copiously bleeding corpse?”
Adam grimaced. “Yeah. All that. But you know Bobby didn’t kill this guy right?”
Mink sighed, throwing the aforementioned possible murderer a quick look. “My heart knows it. My head isn’t so sure. And my bowels are pretty sure the world is upending and I don’t have an ‘oh shit’ bag to hold me over until it rights itself again.”
Nick wiped the sweat off his brow for what felt like the hundredth time. It was after midnight, and they’d been working under the hot stage lights for several hours. They had to get everything just right before they could leave, otherwise their boss Pearson would have a fit and use that as yet another excuse not to give them their past due wages. He was down to his last Chesterfield. They weren’t his favourite brand of cigarette, but at five cents for ten sticks, he couldn’t complain. When they got to Hollywood and were making the big bucks, he would only smoke Luckys from then on.
He checked his pocket. Thirty cents left. They were going to be in real trouble if Pearson didn’t come through the next day. He had to wash his and Jack’s shirts, and he’d have to feed the kid tomorrow. He’d only had coffee and a cheese sandwich all day. Nick still felt guilty about getting the hamburger. That had been another fifteen cents they could have saved, but Jack had insisted.
“You have to do all of the heavy stuff at the theatre. You need to eat something good.”
I could always dip into the Hollywood money. There’s close to fifty dollars in there.
Nick winced. It was so tempting when his belly was grumbling and their clothes smelled like an old hobo in Central Park, but they had to stay strong. Once they got to Hollywood they would be okay. Things would be different.
“Hey, Nicky, whaddya think?” Oscar yelled from the front of the stage. “I think it looks great and that we should get the fuck outta here.”
Nick went around the curtains that were pulled open to the side of the stage and hopped off the front into the orchestra pit. He surveyed the backdrop and the other sliding set pieces that had been arranged for Act One. Jack came down the aisle and stopped next to him.
“I think it’s okay. Whaddya say Nick?”
Nick looked down at Jack’s innocent smiling face. Nick was about a half a foot taller than the blond-haired, blue-eyed kid, and sometimes he felt so protective of him that he thought it would crush his heart. No one should ever be abused the way Jack had been. He was such a sweet guy, and he didn’t even have any family. No one to care for him. No one except Nick.
At times it felt like a burden—like Nick had taken on a responsibility that wasn’t his. But they had always looked out for each other, and it was great not to have to be alone in the city, to have someone he could rely on.
And there was the other thing. At first, Nick had thought it was just sympathy that made him feel so soft about Jack. Like the same way he might feel if a little puppy was lost and left in the cold. He’d want to take it in and feed it and hold it close. But lately he’d been wrestling with the idea that it might be something more than that.
I ain’t no queer. I’m engaged and everything.
He and Penelope had only ever kissed and done a little petting. It hadn’t particularly excited him, so he thought maybe he was just one of those guys who wasn’t that much into sex. Or maybe when he was a little older he’d like it more.
So maybe it’s just that I’m older now and Penelope’s not here, but Jack is. Maybe that’s all it is.
He wasn’t so sure that was it either. Because when he thought about Penelope he had a sinking feeling in his stomach that seemed more like feeling trapped that he had to marry her. But when he thought about Jack, his dick got hard.
I ain’t no queer. That’s all I have to remind myself of.
But it was getting more and more difficult every single day.
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