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
You're Always in the Last Place You Look by T.N. Gates
Zenith by Arshad Ahsanuddin
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Today excerpts are:
It was only early evening and even though it was darkening, it still wasn't that dark, just the usual night moods and scenes from the darkening city, plus there was no electricity on this block. I held her hand.
"Follow me, I'll protect you."
She clutched my hand tighter than you normally would, I suppose for assurance that it was still there like a little kid holding onto you because he trusts you and that you're his line to safety. And I liked being held like that!
She went first and I told her, "It doesn't flush; I think they turned the water off."
She sat and peed. "Then how do you take a shit, must be bad?"
I shrugged and also peed, standing up. "Do it in the parks, they got johns in the park restrooms. Do it wherever but not here, that's for sure. I stayed in a place with that no-good thief Terry; he took a shit and man it stunk to high heaven. I got out of there, and fast, too."
We were back on the bed. "You're close to Terry, is he queer, too?"
"Who knows, but he never tried anything with me, he may think we're close but I try and stay away from him. Like that wallet that the cop lady had, he's the one that stole it but the cops are after me. Asshole, petty thief, he sucks."
"What cop lady?"
"Cop O'Malley's girlfriend, he stole it, the purse, I didn't."
"You should go and tell them, don't take that shit."
"I should, shouldn't I? But you know I never cooperate with cops, they're no good."
As if it had something to add to our conversation, thunder crashed, lighting up the rooms in a brilliant flash of brightness. We bolted and looked at each other then heard the pattering of the rain on the roof, growing louder and steadier. Heard the thunder again and the flash of light, the rain falling still more firmly.
"Nice that we're in this room," she shuddered and whispered, coming into my arms. "I would hate to be outdoors now."
"I know," I nodded, "but at this time I wouldn't be there anyway. The cop dicks work nights and I stay away from them. What would you be doing?"
"What cop dicks? They're after you?"
"That wimp Terry, he swiped the purse from O'Malley's female cop friend. We were at Martin's Bar, on Eighth Avenue. She came in with Detective O'Malley and hung her purse on a chair. O'Malley went to the john, I was having a drink with Terry and that asshole took the cops purse when she wasn't looking, as if it was a natural thing to do. Terry walked by and swiped her purse. And now O'Malley thinks I did it, he saw me at the bar when they came in."
“Damn, that sucks, big time."
"The only one that's gonna do big time is yours truly, me."
We were quiet holding each other, listening to the sounds of the pattering falling rain.
"What would you be doing," I asked her, "if you weren't with me?"
"Hah!" she snorted. "I'd be on my knees sucking the cocks of the landlord's sons. They're not really his sons, those weird Albanians or Hungarians, who the hell knows what they are anymore, they call themselves sons, have no idea how come they do that." Again she snorted, but chuckled, "Bet you they're waiting for my mouth, well, those Albanians can keep waiting and keep fighting each other, I'm with Stoney!" And she snuggled closer in my hold around her.
“Right you are, pretty miss," and once again thunder crashed and lit up the sky, giving me a chance to see the strange feminine man I was in bed with, or should I say, finally, a very real woman!
Things looked the same; things looked different. He wasn’t observing the street, his mother’s house, or the forested area beyond the “Dead End” barrier in the same frame of mind as he had on those few visits home, during the major holidays and the sojourn each summer in-between the end of the school and his being shuffled off to some educational camp of enlightenment. Back then his head was filled with thoughts of “Why?”
Now he couldn’t stop thinking “When?”
When can I flee?
The houses looked the same, except for Mr. Girdstone’s. The landscaping looked the same, except some things were taller, and more exotic plants seemed to be sprinkled among the usual plantings. His mother had a new Lincoln. She always owned Lincolns. This was the fancy model with the moonroof that took up most of top. He assumed she’d grown bored with the SUV.
The doorbell sounded the same. The pretentious first few notes of the Westminster chimes.
The fact that people had to ring the doorbell twice was the same. She enjoyed making people
Her face looked the same. She’d barely aged. Really, his mother could be featured in the pages of some high-end fashion magazine. She could be photographed on the arm of some royal family member. She looked that good. She looked that imposing.
“Hey Mom. How about a big hug?”
Nobody did stoic better than his mother.
“Did you run into trouble?” she asked.
“Not that I know of.”
“Well, I had no idea when to expect you, Adrian. You could have called. You could have kept me informed of your schedule.”
He lifted his small suitcase. “This isn’t getting any lighter.”
His mother stepped back to let him in. “I swapped the guest room and the reading room. First on the right. Have you had dinner?”
“I smell roast beast.”
“Shoes off. Please.”
The finer things in life. His mother surrounded herself with the higher-end goods. He wondered, when she entertained (Did she entertain anymore? Who would she entertain?) if guests noticed first the antiques, or the contemporary pieces? How soon was it before they spotted the unused, but apparently necessary, baby grand piano? Would anyone besides him notice the absence of photographs? Didn’t most people have a wedding picture? Some baby pictures? A child’s graduation photo?
He could smell the paint. The room swap had been fairly recent. The guest room was lavender. The reading room was now gold. He wouldn’t venture down the hall to see if his mother had painted her room. Setting foot in his parents’ room, even when he was little, felt so wrong. So awkward. So off limits.
“Are you still against blue cheese dressing?” his mother called up to him.
He could hear her clanking around in the kitchen. He looked at his phone. It was 3:38. Later than he thought, but still too early for dinner.
“No, it’s good.” He’d grown to like blue cheese dressing with chicken wings. He wouldn’t tell his mother that fact, but he was impressed she remembered that at one time he hated the taste and the texture.
“I’m not trying to brag,” Jace said. “I spent years and years thinking I’d never find a guy like Ben. When I was your age, I was convinced it was impossible.”
“I know the feeling.”
“Thing is,” Jace continued, “it’s rare to find that person on your first try, or even the second or third. You have to get out there and keep trying.”
“So you’re saying I should sleep around a lot?”
Jace looked panicked before he understood the humor and laughed. “Just don’t give up, okay? Retreat and lick your wounds when you need to, and then get back out there again.”
“That sounds… daunting.”
Jace shrugged. “If you had a time machine, would you go back and avoid getting together with Caesar? It would spare you the heartache you feel now, but think of everything else you would have missed out on. Would you take it all back?”
“No,” Jason said.
“I wouldn’t take back any of mine either. Love is worth the pain.” Jace started sweeping the crumbs into a pile again, brow furrowed in thought. “Listen, I don’t think my sister called me here just to give you a pep talk.”
“No. The thing is, I have a lot more time than I used to. Ben and I have a really small house, but we could move some things around to make an extra bedroom, maybe put a divider in the living room. Uh, so if you need a place to stay…”
“Thanks,” Jason said, surprised by the lump in his throat. “But I think I’m still in the ‘licking my wounds’ phase. Besides, I want to start building my own life.”
Jace nodded as if he understood. “It can be rough when you first start out on your own.”
“I have a plan,” Jason said, trying to sound confident.
He recalled one of his meetings with Sam.
"What do you miss the most?" Sam had asked.
"Not family or friends?" Sam asked with a frown.
"Sunrises," Cam firmly restated.
His father and sister hadn't visited him in prison. He had accepted it.
Seeing the bright, beautiful sun on those few occasions, although blinding and painful at times, was a welcomed reprieve. Missing the view of the rising sun was unbearable.
The sunrise was a symbol of a new start. When they were taken away, so was his hope for a new beginning.
Cam placed his palm on the glass and felt the warmth of the outside. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath then rested his forehead to the window's edge before finally opening his eyes again.
Still in the early morning hours, he could see the beginnings of a sunrise casting a hint of light across the clouds. He stared out into the sky, waiting for the sun to make its appearance. He didn't care if the buildings were blocking most of his view; the sun would rise above them and color the sky in various shades of pink, yellow, and blue.
His first sunrise in almost a decade.
This was as close to free as he had been in so many years.
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