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
Today excerpts are:
“I have come to help.” I whispered in his ear before breaking the embrace. As much I knew he needed human touch, the foul odors from his body made my stomach sour.
“That is very noble of you, Thomas, but no one can help me.”
“Please you must listen to me.”
“You are serious about this?” The sadness in his voice eased.
“Yes, I am. There are plans being made as we speak.” I lowered my voice even more.
“How is that possible?”
“Shh.” I held a finger to lips. “It is much too dangerous to speak the details in here. I would be afraid of being overheard.” I looked back at the door, but through the dim light I could not tell if the goaler stood on the other side of the door listening to our conversation. “You shall have to put your trust in me.”
“It is hard for me to comprehend all of this. I have spent so much time in here thinking of my own death and reconciling myself to never seeing my son and wife again, and then here you come with this news.” He began to weep. I held him despite his odor. I rocked him as Mother had done for me when words could not console.
“Can you…” he struggled to speak between the tears. “Find my wife and tell her the good news.”
“Alistair we cannot tell anyone at this point. The more people know of our plan the more risk there is in someone finding out.”
“I shall try to find her once you are safely out of this place.”
“Please, do not take this as ingratitude, but why are you risking the freedom you worked so hard to obtain to help me?”
“You risked everything for me during those last few months, trying to warn Christopher as you did even though your disguise had been uncovered. I caused you and your family a lot of grief—”
“But you saved our son. I was only repaying your kindness.”
“Yes, but my freedom cost you yours. I cannot stand by and let them take another life.”
“He is with you is he not?”
“Christopher? No, I never saw him again.”
“I am sorry.”
“No need for that. You did everything you could have to help him.” I squeezed his shoulder to reassure him. “I am starting to believe that events in people’s lives happen for a reason whether we know those reasons or not. I have met the most amazing man, who accepts me for whom I am. Something Christopher could never bring himself to do.”
“Is he the man who is helping us?”
“Then I look forward to meeting him.”
“There you are!” a man called out. He walked over to Michelle and Kiana with a grin. Tall and thin, he moved gracefully toward them. His eyes, warm and sweet as brownies, flashed at Kiana then settled on Michelle. He grabbed her up in a one-armed hug about the waist, pulling her protectively into his lean, athletic body. He held Michelle with confidence, and his complexion, the dark, commanding brown of Colombian Roast, made his bright, wide smile all the more disarming.
Kiana bit at the inside of her jaw. The man, who Kiana assumed had to be the fiancé, kissed Michelle’s forehead. Michelle smiled up at him.
“The second I walked in,” he said, “I was instantly bombarded with all sorts of questions and congratulations. It was insane! All I wanted when I got off that call was to see your face. Turns out, you ditched all the schmoozing for the bar. Who’s your friend?” He nudged his chin toward Kiana.
“Michael, this is—” Michelle began.
“Nobody,” Kiana said. She quickly dug into the pocket of her slacks and took out a small billfold. She thought, in a split second, how nice it would be to punch them both in the face. “I’m nobody,” she said before Michelle could speak. She couldn’t bear to hear her voice any longer. She peeled a five-dollar bill from her fold of cash and laid it on the bar. She tapped it, shook her head at the couple, and turned away to leave.
“It’s an open bar, you know,” Michael said.
Kiana stopped and looked over her shoulder. Michael smiled, his arm wrapped around Michelle’s waist, the gesture casual but complete in its ownership and propriety. Michelle leaned into her man, her eyes betraying nothing, her face stoic. Kiana bit at the inside of her cheek and shook her head, a helpless gesture that seemed the only fitting response, and made her way to the elevator.
She pressed the button and the doors slid open instantly. She stepped inside and slumped against the back of the wall of the elevator. Michelle and Michael had already left the bar and disappeared into the congratulatory smiles and open arms of their guests.
Another drink. Kiana needed another drink. Many more drinks, actually. She thought briefly of the open bar she’d left, and the ease and immediacy with which the bartender supplied her with whiskey. A quick pour. No other expectations and no judgment. She shouldn’t have left, but she had no idea what to say to Michelle and most certainly didn’t know how to face “her Michael.” The sight of them together made her sick. Her face burned, and her stomach tightened into a hard ball of muscle. It hurt.
Sunday and Monday came and went. I thought I would get in trouble for not going to church, but Momma dismissed it, telling me that I needed to spend time with my young man. I got into work as usual on Monday and, of course, Archie and Ray razzed me about everything but my bringing Alex. I didn’t mention Ray’s altercation with Uncle Ted. As I puttered around the shop, I realized I hadn’t seen Uncle Eli.
I wandered into the main office and found Emily at the computer inputting and confirming the orders that had come in over the weekend. She looked up and her hair tumbled down over her face. I sat down on the edge of the desk.
“’Bout time you got off the love train and joined us single mortals,” Emily said, peeping up at me from behind her glasses.
“Not gonna let you get to me,” I sing-songed. “I just came in to ask where Uncle Eli is? He hasn’t come in yet.”
Sticking her tongue out at me, she stopped short. “Shoot, you’re right. I’ve been so busy I didn’t notice he wasn’t here yet.” She flipped through a pile of invoices and found what she was looking for. “I have an invoice here from Cor Interiors. It seems in order, although I see the floorin’ went for lower than quoted. Not by much but I—” She stopped when the back door slammed and Uncle Eli stomped in, a scowl on his face.
“Mornin’ Uncle Eli,” I ventured. He looked like an angry bear. Sounded like one too as he grunted at me.
Emily was braver than me and she pressed on, “How was meetin’ Oscar? He’s so much fun to be with on the phone.”
Eli jerked to a halt and glared at the two of us. “Fun? Fun?” he growled. “Let me tell you, missy. That bossy-assed, self-centered, overly-opinionated little man needs a good smack down. Came in here acting like he owned the joint. Tellin’ me how much he was going to pay. Tellin’ me we were overpriced and wanted the floor for half of the agreed upon price. Ended up arguin’ with him for an hour. Agreed somewhere in the middle by the time we were done.” All the time he was saying this, Eli paced back and forth in the tiny office. I’d had never seen him so worked up. Oscar Hernandez had definitely gotten under his skin.
“You alright, Uncle Eli? Ya seem a bit… discombobulated.” I asked. He stopped and scrubbed his hands over his face.
“I’m fine, Emmett.” He sighed heavily. “He got me all riled up is all.” He turned and stomped out of the office.
Emily and I were puzzling the whole thing out when the front door of the store opened and a young Latin man marched in. He was about five feet ten and lean, like a reed. He wore slacks and a white button-up shirt. His tie was what drew the eye though. A wild black tie covered in a rainbow of polka dots. He was a cutie too. His heart-shaped face was topped off by jet black hair, shorn on the sides with a spiked top. His mouth, now in a tight line, was full and his dark eyes were fiery.
“Where is he?” It was a command, not a question.
Nonplussed, Emily gave him a winning smile. “Good morning. I’m Emily Gaither, and this is my brother, Emmett. How can we help you?”
The young guy’s face softened slightly as he approached the desk. “Nice to meet you, Emily. We’ve spoken on the phone. I’m Oscar Hernandez.”
Emily’s face lit up like a Christmas tree. “Oscar! So nice to finally meet you face to face. Who are you looking for?”
His expression hardened again. “Elijah Gaither.”
“Uncle Eli? He’s in the back. I’ll call him up.” Emily grabbed her phone and called Eli to come up to the front over the loud speakers. I took the moment to say hello myself.
“Emmett Gaither, pleased to meet you.” He smiled a dazzlingly white smile at me and shook my hand.
“A pleasure to meet you, Emmett,” he said brightly. “Hey, are you the Emmett who found those lights, the stained glass ones?”
“That would be me.” I nodded. “Did you like them?” I knew it was prideful, but I wanted to know.
“Madre Dios!” he exclaimed. “They were stunning. I snapped them both up when I was here on Friday. You have a good eye for antiques, my friend. I would like to talk….” He trailed off and his face grew stormy again. Uncle Eli had walked into the room.
“Emi, what do you need? ‘I’m real busy out…,” his eyes widened when he saw Oscar and he mumbled a less than civil, “Aw shit.”
Oscar advanced on him like a Bengal tiger. “Who do you think you are, treating me as if I don’t know my own mind?” Oscar’s Spanish accent grew stronger as he railed at Eli.
“I didn’t say—”
Oscar interrupted him, fast. “I may be younger than you, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know my own mind, or my own heart. You dismissed me without even giving me a chance!” Oscar was gesturing wildly and my uncle was getting redder and redder as he did so.
Eli snuck a furtive glance at us. “Oscar, it’s not that I—” He never finished his sentence. Oscar invaded Eli’s space in two short steps. He jerked back but Oscar reached up, grabbed Eli’s head and crashed their lips together in a blistering kiss. Eli’s eyes flew open for a moment, only to close as he sank into Oscar’s demanding kiss. Emily and I gaped at them.
The kiss last for a few moments, during which Oscar ran his hands over Eli’s chest, around his shoulders and clung to him. Eli’s hands wandered down and cupped Oscar’s butt, pulling them closer. I blinked in stunned surprise when I realized the deep guttural moan I heard came from my uncle!
I let my head fall back again recalling that saying; the weight of the world, only in my case the weight of my world. “My dad doesn’t. I’m not sure—I don’t want to tell him until I’m positive myself.”
“I could kiss you.”
“Yeah, sure.” I chuckled.
“I’m serious. I know you look at me.”
I lifted my head again, and stared at him appalled. Whether over his flippant offer or the fact he knew I ogled him, I wasn’t sure. Probably both.
“Listen,” he leaned forward, resting his arms on his knees, “I’m completely comfortably in my sexuality, and I don’t have any problem kissing a guy.”
My jaw unhinged.
“I let Gary kiss me,” he added challengingly.
I snapped my mouth closed before it locked permanently open. Tye and I had known each other since grade school, and I was finding this all a bit hard to take. Not to mention he was staring at me all intense and shit, which was a little creepy.
I shifted nervously in my seat. “Are you bi?” My question set him back.
“No.” His brow wrinkled thoughtfully. “I don’t think so. I don’t know,” he shrugged, “maybe.”
“Oh you definitely sound secure in your sexuality.” I chuckled, relaxing once He smirked. “I like girls. I just don’t mind kissing a guy. But the rest? Even thinking about it...”
I laughed when he shifted, closing his legs. “I’ve been to busy trying to figure out whether I am or not to even think about se—the rest,” I admitted, sounding dejected—feeling dejected.
Tye slapped his hand over his eyes and groaned. “You mean to tell me you had Mr. Hotness in your trailer the whole night—you’ve got to be kidding me.” He let his hand fall. “Did anything happen?”
“No.” I realized how pathetic that sounded.
He rolled his eyes. “God, you’re hopeless.” He stood, draining his soda before tossing the can in the wastebasket under the sink.
“I know,” I whined behind my hands.
“Well, I’m around if you need me.” He actually winked at me.
“I’m not letting you kiss me—or kissing you. That would just be way too...weird.”
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