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:
The light outside was brighter than he expected. He fumbled inside his coat pocket for his sunglasses and put them on. Although sunlight, for the most part, didn’t bother him, his eyes were sensitive to light. The glasses also served to hide his eyes when they became completely brown. Humans didn’t react well to someone with no white in their eyes, and he didn’t want to interact with them and attempt to explain, as the change was a sure sign his vampire nature was much closer to the surface than usual.
By the time he got to the crime scene, people were already milling around, trying to see what was going on. Police had taped off the area and were standing guard. Simon walked past slowly. He didn’t need to be close in order to find out what he needed, as his senses were much more refined than those of a human.
In this case, it was more of a curse than an advantage. The reek of blood hit him first, as he’d known it would. He felt his breathing speed up and his fangs start to descend. Just the smell of it was enough, a temptation of something he couldn’t allow himself to taste. Not again.
Simon dug his nails into the palm of one hand, using the pain to center himself. He could do this.
He didn’t need to taste, didn’t need the high that came with it. Not anymore.
He would not lose control like that again.
Edging closer, he focused on his other senses, dismissing the low conversation of the plainclothes officers bending over one of the bodies as something he already knew. Small puncture wounds in the neck of the human victim, his companion’s face a taut canvas of pain, her eyes open and staring.
Simon jerked back. Bile rose in his throat. It couldn’t be. Oh Lord, no. He forced himself to take another look to confirm what he already knew.
It couldn’t be her. Cynthia was a friend. He’d known her for over fifty years. She was one of the oldest of their kind here in Flint and at least a couple of hundred years older than Forge. She wouldn’t feed on a human, let alone attack one. She hadn’t touched human blood in centuries.
His stomach churned. He ran until he reached the privacy of a deserted alley and dropped to his knees, shaking, trying to scrub the image from his mind.
She was dead. She’d killed a human.
A sob ripped from his throat. He struggled to his feet.
He spun, barely keeping the vampire in control and out of sight. “Get out,” he hissed, not wanting to see anyone, not now, not like this.
“I’m sorry.” Ben took a step forward. How much had he seen? “You knew one of them, didn’t you?”
“Ben? What are you doing here? You should leave.”
“You’re upset. I saw you run.” Ben edged closer still. He put his hand on Simon’s shoulder. “I want to help.”
Simon leaned into him, his world narrowing for that moment to the two of them. He groaned, his need for Ben threatening to overwhelm him. Raising his head, he kissed Ben’s forehead, warm skin against the heat of his lips.
“I knew her,” Simon whispered. He refused to look at Ben, to take the chance the man he wanted so badly might see what lurked not far beneath. Dark glasses only hid so much. “Please, Ben. I need to be alone.” Simon turned away.
“I can stay if you want me to,” Ben said softly.
“No.” Simon pulled himself together with some difficulty, forcing the vampire to retreat although he could feel it just below the surface. “Thank you, but no. I’ll be in touch.”
He buttoned his coat, his fingers shaking, and began to walk. Quickly. Away from Ben, not looking back.
There was no reply. But then he hadn’t thought there would be.
A day that had started bleak seemed to be growing worse. As loud as the music was, it faded, as if something had insinuated itself between what was going on around him and his ears. His perception muffled. He didn’t know what Gary Caldwell had intended when he dragged him into the dance, but it couldn’t have been this...connection.
He didn’t understand and disliked his reaction to Caldwell. Even now, he was thinking, wondering, trying to see himself through Gary’s eyes. Why would he do that? Why did he care what the actor thought of him? Yet even when he’d been getting ready for the evening, washing and shaving at Caldwell’s place, trying not to touch anything, as if the items in the bathroom could contaminate him with... What? With “gay?” Even staring into the mirror before he slipped his new clothes on, he’d felt as if he were looking at the ghost of someone else. Someone he used to be, or could be... if only he’d done things differently, or things had been different from the beginning, hadn’t marred his life. He feared Gary saw something other in him, and the shirt was part of that, as if it belonged to another man he couldn’t possibly be.
During the time Phillip spent in the bathroom before stepping out wearing the fabulous shirt, he’d lost the familiar sense of himself. He hadn’t known who he was, the shirt—a garment he would never have chosen— adding to the illusion. He’d felt like a man without an identity until he saw Gary’s appreciative gaze. Something else in that look—the feeling that the actor was sneering at him—never quite went away, but he’d recognised appreciation, even desire. Phillip couldn’t remember feeling desired. He’d always taken pleasure with detachment, because no matter how much he shuddered and gasped, the aftermath always left him equally feeling cold.
He didn’t feel cold now. He burned inside, and he wasn’t sure why. He was sure perspiration spotted his brow. His skin would be hot to the touch. This was a fever. He was sick. Nauseous. Needing to flee. Gary’s gaze held him fast. His hands... Gary’s hands were doing worse things. Thumbs and index fingers pinned his hips in a pincer embrace. They’d stopped dancing, if they’d even begun, but not everyone on the dance floor was moving or moving in time with the beat. The men around them gyrated to music of a different kind. Silent. Secret. Of their own making.
Phillip opened his mouth, then closed it again. He swallowed. They were staring at each other. Although the light around them revolved so they were alternately in darkness and then brilliantly lit, the flash of brightness when he could see Gary’s eyes was enough to leave the imprint of that stare behind. Gary wasn’t just looking at him. His gaze was asking, searching. What could Gary see? The moment he had the thought, Phillip decided he didn’t want to know.
Movement, swaying, a semblance of dance, a mockery almost as Gary shifted into him. The long firm line of another man’s body tight against his, and Phillip didn’t know how he felt about that. He loved it; he loathed it. He hated himself for both emotions, no matter how contrasting they were.
Seb folded his hands in his lap and turned toward me. His huge black eyes stared directly into mine…and it was fucking unnerving. I couldn’t say why, but for just a second I felt like he was trying to call me out—like he didn’t buy what I was saying.
But that was a stupid thought. He probably didn’t understand a word that came out of my mouth. Including the curse words, which meant I could cuss to my heart’s content around him and not be afraid of Ms. Loretta’s wrath.
“Hey, you want a cigarette?” I held the carton out to him, and it finally drew his gaze away from my face.
He didn’t make a move, though, so I pulled one out and gently placed it in his dirty fingers. They curled around the cigarette carefully, like they were holding a foreign object for the first time.
“All right, now I just gotta light it up…”
I flicked the lighter on near his hand, and he jerked back, dropping the cigarette on the ground.
Shit, not only was I trying to corrupt the kid with cigarettes, but I was scaring him with fire.
“Sorry. Here, let me light it up.” I picked it back up and lit it myself, then grabbed his hand again and arranged his fingers in the right holding pattern.
His skin was oddly smooth…or maybe that was from the thin coating of dirt still on it.
He lifted the cigarette to his face, sniffed once, then deposited it cherry-first into the ground, smashing out the embers.
“What the hell? Why the fuck did you do that? If you didn’t want it I woulda smoked it. This one box is all I got!”
Interestingly, Seb didn’t flinch at my outburst. So fire freaked him out, but not yelling.
“Hey, kid…you deaf?”
He stood and offered me his hand.
I glanced up, confused, until the back door squeaked open, followed by Ms. Loretta’s holler. “Lights out!”
Shit. I quickly buried both cigarettes in the ground, then let Seb pull me up.
He was a lot stronger than he looked. Our chests almost collided, and standing close like that I could see he was actually an inch or so taller than me. Maybe I shouldn’t have been calling him ‘kid’.
“Fine. I’ll go in tonight…but if this shit gets any worse…I’m outta here.”
Almond eyes narrowed on me before we turned toward the house and headed inside.
“Tell me your thoughts on your film, Peter.”
Professor R lounged on the amphitheater steps next to Pete, his long legs crossed at the ankles. Struck by how handsome Professor R was at close range, Pete started talking about his film, feeling like he was making no sense. Professor R nodded, staring at him intently as he removed the lid from his cup and blew on the hot tea inside, and Pete couldn’t help but notice his full, sensual lips set off by the well-trimmed mustache.
“Mm-hmm, I see. That’s quite interesting.” Professor R seemed to be undressing him with his eyes. It was unnerving, actually. And Pete’s nerves weren't helped when he saw Aidan walking by with a cute guy latched onto his side.
“Well, hello there,” Aidan said, giving Professor R a pointed stare that Pete couldn’t quite decipher.
“Aidan, good afternoon,” Professor R responded, returning his gaze with one equally undecipherable.
“Hey,” Pete said, feeling awkward.
Aidan broke off his staring contest with Professor R to give Pete a brief but blinding smile. “Hi, Pete. Good to see you.” He sauntered off with his boy toy while Professor R and Pete looked after him.
“You know him?” Professor R asked, still watching Aidan, then turning back to Pete.
“Yeah. I guess everybody does.”
“Oh, I’m sure they do,” said Professor R, raising one well-manicured eyebrow.
Pete shifted on the steps. He didn’t feel like talking about Aidan.
“But where were we?” Professor R continued, lasering in on Pete again with those big brown eyes. “Your film. You know, I’m finding what you’re saying about this quite fascinating. How about we go get a cup of coffee or a drink and continue our conversation?”
Pete squirmed at what seemed to be a blatant come-on. His film idea wasn’t all that spectacular. Professor R confirmed his suspicions when he let his hand fall casually onto Pete’s knee.
“Um. I... that’d be good, but not today, sorry. I’m gonna be late getting back to the apartment as it is. I mean, thanks and all....”
“Ah, of course,” Professor R said, unruffled, squeezing Pete’s knee before releasing it. “Some other time, then?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah, some other time.” What the hell am I even agreeing to? Pete was fairly certain it wasn’t to another meeting about his film.
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