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:
I raced down three flights of stairs and walked as quickly as I could to the restaurant, careful not to break an ankle. Why had I let Laurel talk me into wearing these shoes? Out of breath and starting to sweat, I entered the restaurant and was immediately greeted by the smiling host.
“I’m meeting some people at seven. I’m late, obviously,” I stammered, hoping he could make sense of my gibberish. “The reservation is under Stevens,” I guessed, hoping that Laurel would have made the reservations under her own name.
Yes, they’ve been waiting,” he informed me. “Follow me, please.”
His calmness did nothing to ease the tension that was tying my stomach in knots. I located Laurel at a table around the corner. She was staring in my direction, blankly. If I knew her at all, which I did, she’d been staring at this entrance from the second she sat down. Upon seeing me, she smiled, relief written across her face, and she waved as two heads turned in my direction. Will waved also, but he was just a blur in my peripheral vision.
My gaze was riveted on my date for the evening, who was watching me with a slight smile. Had Laurel described her to me, the details would have fallen short of the reality. Dark hair cascaded over her shoulders. Her face was slender, accentuated with high cheekbones made even more prominent by a touch of color, and even before I reached the table, I was struck by deep, dark eyes which were a chocolaty brown. My breath caught in my throat, and I instantly forgave Laurel for arranging this meeting as I rushed forward to be introduced. Laurel had not been kidding when she said she’d found me a lesbian. Boy, had she ever.
“Do you know how late you are?” Laurel squawked. “I thought you weren’t coming.”
“Yes, I do. I’m sorry.” I turned to my date and repeated, “I’m so sorry.”
Toni smiled then, a great, gleaming smile that warmed me.
Wow. The heat began in my cheeks and dripped down into my belly. The woman was gorgeous.
“It’s all right. You have all evening to convince me that you have a valid excuse,” she teased as she extended her hand toward me.
Ooooh, not timid. A definite turn on.
“I’m Toni Vincent.” Her voice was as deep and honey-rich as I imagined it would be when I saw her face. It was a throaty rasp that did nothing to lower my body temperature.
I opened my mouth to respond, then closed it again to give myself time to ensure I hadn’t said any of my thoughts out loud.
“Beth Anders.” I shook her hand as Will stood and held my chair for me.
“Glad you could make it," Will kidded as he settled back into his seat. “You can thank me later for keeping her calm,” he murmured.
“Where’s your cell phone?" Laurel asked, oblivious to everything except that I was late.
“This is calm?” I said to Will, then turned back to Laurel.
“I’m sorry, Laurel. I rushed out of the house without it. My fuel tank was on empty. I...let’s just say that everything that could have gone wrong did, okay?” I settled into my chair, vowing to not let the stress of getting to the restaurant late and my friend’s potentially sour mood ruin my own evening.
Laurel was not going to let me off easy. “Because you left work too late.”
I sighed. “Yes, because I left work too late. Forgive me.” I turned to Toni and repeated the apology, but in a more heartfelt manner.
Toni was sipping her drink, not a foofy, girly drink, but a real drink. She held the small tumbler and watched me while she swirled the cubes around. She examined me with a slight grin upturning the left side of her mouth. It reminded me of the way Laurel looked when she was trying to read my mind, but this was sexy. Very sexy.
He walked from the Lexington Avenue train toward to the S train platform. The achingly mournful sound of a trumpet echoed off the dirty tile walls. He hadn’t really noticed them before. The intricate mosaic artwork had probably taken weeks to complete. Decades before, it had probably been stunning, but now it was covered in a film of grayish-black soot and some of the tiles were missing.
How fitting. He looked around for the source of the music, noting the powerful smell of urine. Away from the turnstiles, a mound of blankets and a refuse-filled shopping cart occupied the far corner of the station. He guessed there was a human being under there, although he was hardly going to look. Beyond the automatic ticketing machines, he could just make out the form of a man holding a trumpet. The same man he’d seen playing at lunch. Maybe he lived in the subway. Cam had heard stories of actors and musicians unable to get work in New York living on the street.
“Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone....”
Cam walked across the empty space between the train platforms, his feet making soft tapping sounds against the concrete. He paused for a moment to watch the trumpet player standing with his back to the wall. He stared into whatever space musicians liked to stare into—that ethereal place they went when they were so focused on the music that the world around them disappeared. A dusty blond curl fell from the shaggy mop of hair onto the trumpeter’s face as he finished another phrase. “... and she’s always gone too long any time she goes away.”
Cam drew a long breath. It was perfect. The angst of it all. The music. The echo of his steps. The blast of cool air as he neared the train tunnels. Fucking perfect.
The musician noticed him standing there. The man’s eyes were a beautiful hazel, almost green. Why hadn’t he noticed before?
What do you care? The man’s an unemployed musician.
The guy looked at him and his eyes widened almost imperceptibly, as they had the last time Cam had seen him. Did he recognize Cam? God knew there were enough articles written about him. Esquire, Elle, Cigars Magazine, blah, blah, blah. Glamour’s “Most Eligible Bachelor” from 2008. As if!
The trumpet player finished the song, then stopped for a moment and rested the trumpet against his hip. His lips were swollen and pink from playing. For a split second, Cam imagined tasting them. Then he noticed the torn jeans and white T-shirt with a faded Señor Frog’s logo and the words “I got wasted in Cancun” written below it.
Oh, for God’s sake, Cameron! He’s a loser with a capital L!
Well, that made two of them, didn’t it? Even if the guy could play pretty damn well—very well, judging by the little Cam had heard—they were both in a stinking, empty subway station on a Friday night at midnight. Poor sod.
“Another request?” A smile danced on the man’s kissable lips.
Cam shrugged. “Whatever you want to play,” he said, not caring how pathetic he sounded.
The trumpeter put his instrument to his lips and began. “Blue moon, you saw me standing alone, without a dream in my heart....”
“You’d better get cleaned up. Time for you to act the mourning brother.”
Sebastian darted through the hall, lucky to avoid the servants, and was back in his room as quickly as possible. Someone—mostly likely Miriam, he thought—had left a jug of hot water, and he scrubbed away the gray paint from his skin. It had made him itch as it dried, worse than any stage paint he’d ever worn.
His gaze fell on his razor. He’d had to shave when he was Bronwyn, and even before then, when he’d played the female roles at the theater. In theory he had no reason to keep his face hair-free anymore and wondered if he should try to grow a beard. It might take a while, given how infrequently he had to shave. He rubbed at his chin and thought he would remain barefaced for now.
He dressed in a dark doublet and breeches and headed downstairs to find Anthony, and he didn’t have to look far. Standing in the middle of the entrance hall, Anthony was dispatching servants, some with a letter, others with a verbal message to be announced in the surrounding villages. He hung back, not wanting to disturb Anthony until he had finished. Once alone, Sebastian cleared his throat to announce his presence.
“Sebastian, I didn’t see you there. I was sending out the news of Bronwyn.”
“Is there anything I can do to help?”
Anthony shook his head. “Most things are in hand. The service will be the day after tomorrow, and I have Wallace finding mourning items which he will hand out in the surrounding villages now the messengers have been sent.”
“There must be something…?”
“You can keep me company while I sit with her.”
“It would be an honor.”
They walked in silence back to the room with the coffin. Sebastian noticed most of the servants had the same appearance of miserable grief.
“I’m not sure you realized how popular Bronwyn was with the servants,” said Anthony when they were alone. The curtains were drawn back to let in some daylight, but the candles remained lit.
“I’d overheard the odd comment, but to me it sounded like they were happy because you were happy.”
“It was more than that, and they are also very fond of Sebastian.”
"Sure," Danny replied instantly, not thinking much of Lucy's words as she got as comfortable as she could on the pillow under her legs. The sharp sting of something hitting her butt startled her, and she jumped, quickly looking over her shoulder at Lucy in time to see her pulling back the crop. "Did you just smack me on the ass with that thing?" Danny snapped at her.
"You answered incorrectly," Lucy replied unapologetically.
Danny stared at her for a long moment before nodding, her gaze narrowed at Lucy. "Yes."
Lucy's porcelain face softened. "Good. Now you may begin. First, you'd better drink your mistake so that we can use the bowl again."
Danny grimaced down at the lumpy green mixture, but picked it up—"Right hand only"—and drank from the bowl. The tea was bitter and sharp, and Danny was half tempted to put the bowl right back down, but she knew if she did that this interview would be over and she wouldn't get another chance. So she sipped, and sipped again, until finally she got to the bottom of the bowl. She couldn't help the disgusted face she made as the last clumpy bits slid down her throat, and Lucy touched the soft leather tongue of the crop to the apple of Danny's cheek. It wasn't a strike, was barely even a brush, but Danny felt herself flush.
"Do try to maintain an aura of tranquility," Lucy reprimanded lightly. "Now, pretend you are starting from the beginning. Add your first ingredient."
The first ingredient, which was clearly not the water by the look Lucy gave her when she started reaching for it. So it had to be the tea. Danny picked up the bamboo scoop, dipped it into the powdered tea, and tilted the tea into the bowl.
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