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:
He hated Tuesdays. Hated them beyond mere loathing, but he didn’t have a word for what came after loathing. Despised seemed far too civilized.
Liam stood in the bedroom with his back to the mirrored closet doors so he wouldn’t have to look at himself and ignored the brush of heavy terrycloth against his skin. That robe represented everything he hated about his life. His stomach churned with resentment that made it tempting to lock himself in the bathroom. Too bad that wouldn’t do any good.
He heard the dreaded knock at the front door on the far side of the apartment and the knot in his stomach pulled tight. There had been a time when that sound had made him want to hurl chunks. He supposed the lack of terror was an improvement of sorts.
“You ready, Babe?” Cord called from the living room.
“Yeah,” he called back, “why the hell not,” he muttered to himself.
He padded out of the room struggling to feel something besides annoyance as Cord opened the front door to welcome the man he’d be sharing a bed with for the next eight hours. He was compact and bulky with short-cropped bottle-blonde hair, and a tan he obviously hadn’t gotten from the Vancouver sun.
Liam flopped into a chair near the kitchen and pretended to be engrossed in one of Cord’s trade magazines. He saw no reason to acknowledge the rented cock of the day until absolutely necessary. Instead, he flipped pages while Cord talked about positions and emotion in a lecture he didn’t need to hear. He’d been doing this twice a week every week for years. He knew the routine. It didn't matter that a hundred shoots a year wasn't the industry standard. It was Cord's standard.
He ignored Bulky Blonde as the actor stripped out of his clothes to give Cord a look at what he had to work with that afternoon. There was nothing new on that body. They all looked the same: tan, toned, and tattooed. He didn’t need to see it. He’d get a very good look over the course of the day.
He stifled a sigh he knew would sound petulant and turned another page without seeing anything on it. Cord hated it when he pouted. He could be angry and resentful as long as he did what he was told. Pouting would just get him a pep talk full of lies. Those weren’t new either.
He saw Bulky Blonde step to him out of the corner of his eye and pasted on his best smile before looking up to meet his gaze. Being difficult and aloof with the rented cocks only dragged out the torment. When they were tense, they did things wrong and the more they got wrong the more time he had to spend with them. He stood up and tossed the magazine in the chair before shaking Bulky Blonde’s hand.
“I’ve seen a few of your videos,” Bulky Blonde told him. “I like your work.”
He couldn’t say the same and he wasn’t in the mood to lie.
Charlie took a deep breath. The aroma of sun-scorched earth, spices, and small farm animals filled the air. Goats bleated their greetings to anyone who passed, and chickens pecked at the ground. It never ceased to amaze her. She was less than an hour from Islamabad—a bustling metropolis—and yet she felt she had stepped into a different world. The small Pakistani village was home to no more than a hundred people on the edge of the Peshawar plain where the desert encroached on one side and the mountains loomed on the other, and Charlie had the feeling that the village had stolen the land it was sitting on. Everything had a temporary feel to it, as though mountains or desert would soon reclaim it and cast the villagers out in search of another place to settle.
She climbed out of the Jeep in front of her destination and pulled the scarf closer to her face. She hated wearing it because of the way her sweat seeped into the fabric in the heat of the fast-fading sun. But as much as she hated it, she knew it was a small price to pay to be able to accomplish her work.
The house was made of thick clay walls. It had a straw roof, and a rickety fence enclosed a dusty, rocky yard with a chicken coop in the corner. It was typical of the village, and she knew that inside there would be no plumbing, no electricity, and the only heating in the surprisingly chilly Pakistani winter would come from a fire in the hearth. She knocked on the door and waited. She could hear voices inside, a child sniffling, and the soft shuffle of slippered feet across the floor. The hinges creaked as the door swung open and a bearded man appeared.
Finally, I gave up all pretense of resting . . . When my eye fell on Serenghi’s book, I knew I’d found the distraction I needed.
In my bedroom, I piled pillows behind me and opened the volume to a random page: All you have to invest in life—and all you have to lose—is yourself. This is neither too little, nor too much, in service of a great cause.”
For a long while, I considered Serenghi—her unparalleled passion, her inexhaustible courage, her unknown end. Then I let the book fall open to a new spot. On the left-hand page, a haunting portrait. On the right, a parable bordered in blood. I felt I’d never seen either before. With a premonition of dread, I began to read.
A stranger once entered a small village, seeking nothing more than afternoon shade and a drink of cool water. She had not traveled far when she came upon a deep and ancient well in the heart of town. After quenching her thirst, she settled herself against the trunk of a venerable olive tree. Closing her eyes, she began to meditate. Soon she attained a state of such clarity she might have achieved nirvana.
It was at this time that a group of villagers spied her. They drew closer, yet cautiously, for the stranger was unlike anyone they had known. Her clothing was immodest, her face unveiled. Her hair was unbound and shone, even in the shade. They hailed her, but she did not reply. Indeed, she did not even open her eyes. She only sat—in a state of perfect relaxation, of apparent indifference—under the shelter of the spreading tree. Their tree.
Although they could not have said why, the stranger’s silence angered the crowd. They grew bolder. One spoke sharply. Another nudged her sandal. A third unwound her sash, waving it like a flag on the breeze. Still, she sat motionless and unresponsive, seeming not even to sense their presence. The villagers began to murmur darkly among themselves.
It was a child without sin, a boy of three, who cast the first stone. It arced through the air and grazed the stranger’s temple, etching a jagged scarlet challenge. For an instant, the world held its breath. But even then the woman did not acknowledge the villagers. Maddened, they rushed her as one, howling, ripping, stoning. In a matter of seconds, the stranger was nothing more than a dampness in the dust and a disquieting memory. The boy stood apart, watching, stunned to stillness himself. In that moment, he recognized the monster within all men. And from that day forward, though he became a leader of his people, he knew himself as a despoiler of peace and beauty. He neither married nor fathered children, but lived instead a life of asceticism and restraint.
On his deathbed, he asked to be buried in an unmarked grave under the old olive tree. And there he rests, united for perpetuity with the stranger.
I turned back to the illustration—a woman’s face composed of deceptively simple brushstrokes. A self-portrait? I compared that image to Serenghi’s holo, to the inexplicable tranquility in her eyes. But the painting was too idealized for me to be certain. Next I shifted my attention to the blood-red border outlining the parable—an intricate, interlacing design, dissolving at intervals, blurring and running beyond the confines of the pattern. That, I thought, was as much an emblem of Serenghi’s life as the portrait itself. Equal measures of instinct and accident, order and disintegration, chaos and beauty. I closed the book gently. . . Then, aching for all us long-lost women, I set the book aside.
Trace grabs him, pulling him in, hard, kissing his breath away. It breaks through some of those barriers. Then, Micah is on him and taking over. He pushes Trace over to the couch, then down. He straddles Trace’s lap, sinking down, grinding against him. Raking his fingers through Trace’s hair, Micah moans into the kiss, releasing so much built-up tension that Trace feels the relief too.
There’s so much beauty in the way Micah is able to completely surrender to Trace. The love in the submission makes it mean more than it has with anyone Trace has ever been paired with. To be trusted as much as Micah trusts him, with his body, heart, and mind, helps Trace feel how lucky he is rather than how burdened. With his past loves, Trace was always the one doing the surrendering, and it never quite gave him what he needed, deep down. Maybe there wasn’t as much mutual trust then as he liked to think there was, but it’s not the case with Micah. With him, there’s a luxurious abundance of it, enough to get swept away in.
They kiss and touch, but it doesn’t go anywhere, because it doesn’t need to. It’s enough to be close and shake off the loneliness. Micah pours some of his frustration into his passion and Trace invites every moment of it. Another difference between Gray and Micah, past and present, is with Micah, there’s no end goal. Their feelings, their passion has always been and will always be driven by present moments. Too much of why Trace and Micah each suffer is because of the past. Everything that worries them has to do with the future, so they ignore where they came from and where they’re going and just exist, together. They’re messy and imperfect, but it’s worked so far. Trace knows all of the chaos swirling around them has nothing to do with the current moment. It’s all speculation and old pain.
“You feel so good,” Micah sighs between kisses.
“You taste like oranges,” Trace tells him.
Micah laughs and says, “I haven’t been anywhere near oranges. Guess I’m naturally fruity.”
“Hey, you said it. Not me,” Trace smiles. Micah smiles back and kisses him harder.
Holding Micah, kissing him, trying to soothe away his frown lines with light brushes of his lips or rough caresses of his hands, Trace tries to keep him there, where they have everything that matters.
For a little while, Trace has him. Palming Micah’s ass, encouraging every sexy little undulation as Micah rocks against Trace’s groin, Trace watches him, wondering. He wants to grab hold of Micah the way Gray used to grab hold of Patrick. Sometimes, it would work. Gray could keep him from slipping into the dark for a few, precious minutes. Trace sees Micah slipping. Experience tells him sex isn’t the answer. The only thing that will help is patience and love. It might not be enough. He still might slip away for good, but Trace knows he has to try.
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