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Multi-Author Showcase: Down & Dirty (Anthology)

Get in, get down…and get filthy with these sexy, hardworking, blue-collar heroes who don’t mind when things get a little dirty at work or at play.

This collection of 22 brand new stories from USA Today and International Best-Selling authors is full of scorching hot romance tales that will be sure to leave you breathless for more. These men work hard and play even harder.

From cops to mechanics, miners to brewmasters, they aren’t afraid to go all in. At the end of the day, when they find the woman who completes them, they learn love and life can be as messy as their day jobs…and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Featuring stories from: Lori King, Maia Dylan, Sarah Marsh, Elena Kincaid, Cecile Tellier, London Saint James, Bella Settarra, Rose Nickol, RL Merrill, Ashley Malkin, Lucy Felthouse, Scarlett J Rose, Sydney Lea, CR Moss, Samantha A. Cole, Danielle James, Ava Campbell, Eva Moore, Kimberlie L. Faye, Sabrina Sol, Nikki Prince, and Mia Hopkins

 

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~~ STORIES INCLUDED IN DOWN & DIRTY~~

 

Pieced Together by Lori King

Two fractured souls must lean on each other to heal physically and emotionally….

Karly Stephens got her heart shredded, when the man she thought was supposed to be her forever, cheated on her. To avoid dealing with her tattered life, she threw herself into work.

Injured and battle-weary Marine, Garret Lole, agonizes when his team deploys overseas without him. When Karly is assigned to be Garret’s nurse, unexpected sparks fly.

Despite her scarred soul, Karly is drawn to Garret in every possible way. Like puzzle pieces scattered on the floor, they must figure out how to trust in themselves and each other. Picking up the pieces might mean a whole new world for both of them.

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Destiny Happened by London Saint James

Desi

Of course, I noticed Mr. Shirtless. With a bod like his, who wouldn’t? But his hot-factor didn’t matter. What did? My asshat ex and the need to make him jealous. So, I strolled up to the panty-melting stranger as though I knew him and laid one on him, hoping said asshat would see I’d moved on just fine without him. Only, he never saw me kissing another man.

Kash

I spotted her—honey-blonde hair gleaming in the sun as she came my way. I’d flirt. Smile. Maybe get her number. I sure the hell didn’t expect her to toss her arms around my neck, mashing her body against mine, and kiss the ever-loving shit out of me. Then, she stopped. Stepped back. Blushed. Whispered “Sorry” and blended into the crowd.

I never got her name that day. Or her number. However, fate had other plans and Destiny happened… again.

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Good With His Hands by Lucy Felthouse

Layla is enjoying a beautiful moorland walk in the English countryside when suddenly, clouds start to roll in. The weather was forecast to be fine all day, so Layla is woefully unprepared when the heavens open and her visibility is reduced to next to nothing. Trying hard not to panic, she carefully makes her way towards a remote hut she spotted before the fog descended. When she arrives, though, she discovers park ranger Stuart already there, and luckily for her, he’s much more prepared than she is, and they soon find a way to pass the time until the storm blows over.

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Where Fire Meets Flame by Elena Kincaid

As a private detective, Riley Scott has witnessed her fair share of the ugly side of relationships. She guards her heart like a fortress, but a pair of sizzling blue eyes threatens to take down all of her barriers. He came to her rescue through a blazing fire. Now, she could only hope he would not incinerate her heart.

Tristan Cain hasn’t been able to let go of his red-headed angel, or his promise to get justice. Fate throws them together again when he once thought it would be impossible, and when a daring rescue turns out to be the least of their worries, Tristan vows to keep her safe. He’s not letting Riley out of his sight again.

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Mud and Honey by R.L. Merrill

A deputy sheriff and a tree trimmer meet during storm cleanup on a treacherous road and literally fall for each other in the line of duty. Calvin wants to explore their connection and Flor is game. Then things get sticky when his hard-earned sobriety is threatened and her pride is bruised. Their chemistry can’t be ignored, but can they get past their personal obstacles? It’ll take some getting dirty to get to the sweet in this story of broken hearts and fresh starts.

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Blurred Lines by Nikki Prince

Phaedra Sims had taken the job at the prison to block out the memories in her head as she helps to heal others. Memories of a love that died too soon. Sergeant Rocco De Angelis is a man who has proven his dedication to his job over himself. Phaedra can’t deny the chemistry between them. Rocco plans to make sure she doesn’t. Healing the heart and soothing the soul will definitely be blurring the lines.

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Sweet Addiction by Sarah Marsh

The opportunity to build her own future and start over is exactly what Sasha needs. Moving to the small town of Digby to open up a pastry shop is more than enough to make her happy, or so she thought. What she wasn’t counting on was the sexy rancher that seems to have quite an interest in her, for far more than her baking skills.

Sasha has exactly what Declan needs to take care of his sweet tooth, and any other hungers that may arise…if she has the courage to show it. He’s figured out that Sasha is gun shy when it comes to men, but with some patience, he hopes to sneak past her walls and show her that he’s in it for more than just dessert. When his past comes calling, will Sasha open up and trust him, or will she shut her heart down for good?

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Lockdown by Mia Hopkins

A brokenhearted recluse and a sexy locksmith spend the final weeks of summer in a stranger’s mansion, burning up the sheets and pretending not to fall in love.

Alice

For the past year, my life has been a raging trash fire. Right now, a house sitting job sounds perfect—one long summer, alone in someone else’s mansion with nothing but my stupid broken heart. Everything is going fine…until I find the key. Until I find him.

Ivan

I’m the only locksmith in the city who can crack this lock. It’s a complicated job, made even more complicated by the gorgeous, mysterious woman who hired me. She lives here alone, haunting this house like a ghost. What is her story? And why can’t I get her out of my mind?

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Keep You Safe by C.R. Moss

I’m Professor Arianna Perez, and I’ve been asked if I’ll ever trust, let alone love, another man again. After dumping an abusive boyfriend, I doubted I would. At least, that’s how I felt until fate had sexy wrangler, Kian Bishop, reappearing in my life in a way I never expected.

Against my better judgement, I fell hard for the cowboy, believing everything he said, including how he wanted to treat me like a queen and keep me safe. Little did I know, though, that the circumstances that’d brought us together could also tear us apart…and possibly claim my life.

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Hereos of the Heart 3: Rescuing Trent by Rose Nickol

Trent Simmons had spent his life helping others. While recovering from the injury that got him discharged from the service, he met the woman he thought he was going to spend his life with, but it was not meant to be. He spent the next several years infiltrating a human trafficking slavery ring recusing countless women. Pricilla Wilder had decided she was happy living alone. She had watched her mother raise two children on her own and do a wonderful job. She didn’t need a man in her life. Then an insane madman targeted her and her sister trying to extract revenge on their father. Trent was assigned to be one of Pricilla’s bodyguards. The woman was smart, and sexy. Trent can’t ignore the feelings she awakens within him—feelings he thought had died years ago. Can he convince her to give him a chance or will fate once again destroy his world?

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Scout’s Honor by Maia Dylan

As the manager of an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, the safety of the men under his control was the most important thing to Cooper. That was until Dr. Honor Jennings stepped from a helicopter and proceeded to show him that playing it safe wasn’t always the best way forward.

When Honor arrived onboard the rig, she was fully prepared to uncover the safety breaches an anonymous source had advised her were taking place. She was completely unprepared for her reaction to the rig manager. The cold-blooded murder she witnessed came as a downright shock!

Can Cooper keep Honor safe with a murderer on the loose and a storm keeping them isolated from the mainland, or will the risk prove too much and cost them everything?

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Fighting the Inferno by Ashley Malkin

Blayne Simmons is a firefighter, a job he loves as much as he hates the flames he battles. He exists in a world on fire, but is frozen inside by the scars of a fire he failed to conquer. He works hard, plays even harder. Satisfying his needs, nothing more, until Felicity Kendall enters his tightly-controlled world.

Felicity is alone. She has to be, because everyone, everything, she loves burns to ashes. When a ruggedly handsome firefighter attempts to pick her up in a bar, she’s stung by the bitter irony. He’s clueless to the depths of her hatred of firemen. They saved her as a child, and delivered her into a world of pain. She should have burned. She wished she had.

When fire thrusts Felicity into Blayne’s arms, he discovers she is the victim of a deadly game. A game he will win, because Felicity is now his.

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Stoke the Flames by Samantha A. Cole

After losing a bet, Cade Fallon ends up in the fire department’s annual, fundraising calendar—at least it was for a good cause. At first, it was funny having strange women run up to him and ask for pictures or autographs, but it doesn’t take long for it to become annoying.

Jenna Anderson is shocked to learn her student’s uncle is “Mr. October” from the calendar her friend bought her, but she’s more concerned about young Christopher’s falling grades. The last thing she expected was Cade’s interest in her—especially when he’s got women falling all over him. Refusing to be another notch on his belt, she fights her growing attraction to him.

When Cade realizes Jenna is the woman his heart has been searching for, he knows he’ll have to work to convince her. Stoking the flames between them shouldn’t be too hard—after all, he is a fireman.

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Heat Sink by Cecile Tellier

Christian Harrington went to work every day as a steamfitter at the local nuclear energy plant with some expectation of danger. When Christian meets fiery bartender Roxy McVee he quickly realizes he may have met his match. Unfortunately, Christian is not the only person with their sights set on Roxy.

Roxy McVee had wanted a fresh start. Slinging drinks and telling jokes at the local bar in La Salle, Illionois seemed like a great way to go. Her decision is rewarded when serious but sexy as hell Christian Harrington walked into the bar with his friends after work. Roxy’s immediate reaction to him leads her to become comfortable around him. The reason for Roxy’s move proves that the saying that the things one resist, persist is true. Roxy and Christian must navigate a potentially deadly landmine in the form of one very dangerous visitor from her past.

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Dirty Demo by Eva Moore

When Winston Hartwell’s construction crew ends up on a reality TV show, there’s no way he’s going to sing for his supper, no matter how nicely the curvy camera lady asks. He’s terrified of the limelight, and he doesn’t trust these Hollywood types as far as he can throw them.

Trina McCallister is one last reality show away from her dream job of filming movies. She’ll do whatever it takes to get the footage she needs and get the hell out. But she isn’t prepared for the sexy giant with a voice of gold to demolish her carefully constructed defenses.

When lies and fear shake their newly laid foundation, only an act of bravery and trust will save them from ruin.

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Crashing Hard by Kimberlie L. Faye

He’s a lifesaver

EMT Ryan Murphy is smart, sexy, and arrogant when it comes to his job and his personal life. Saving lives and looking hot while doing it isn’t always easy. No one is immune to his charms except for one uptight nurse, and he’d love nothing more than to get under more than just her skin.

She’s a lifesaver

Experienced emergency room nurse Helena Carter can handle any situation with calm determination but hearing Ryan’s husky voice is enough to make her look like it’s her first day on the job. He’s cocky, sarcastic and she’s not into him. She fell in love once before and was taken for all she had. She’s not about to make the same mistake again.

After one scorching night of passion leads to a few misunderstandings, will the erratic pulse of their relationship take a turn for the worse and crash hard?

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Diamond in the Rough by Danielle James

A diamond in the rough…

The family diamond business is all Ethan Withers has, and for the last seven years, it’s been everything to him. Inherited at only 18, his father’s passion has become his life’s work.

A hidden gem…

Christina McAlister was smart, funny, sexy, and everything he never knew he wanted. She hides her sparkle behind her drive to finish her law degree. Having been hurt before, she doesn’t have time or the desire for love.

Just the right amount of friction, a chance encounter, and a lot of heat sparks will change them both. Will they be able see past their individual goals in order to claim a once in a lifetime prize?

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One Night More by Sabrina Sol

With only hours until her big 3-0, Vanessa still has three things left on her “Before I Turn Thirty” bucket list: have a one night stand, get a tattoo, and get engaged. When her boyfriend dumps her during dinner, she knows a ring isn’t happening. But no-strings sex with the handsome stranger she later meets at a bar? Check.

Mateo never expected to hook up with the sexy brunette. He also didn’t expect for her to bolt before he could get her last name. Luckily, he’s about to get a second chance.

But Vanessa only wants to forget that night once she realizes Mateo is the owner of the landscaping company vying for a lucrative contract at the hotel where she and her father work. With Vanessa’s dad deciding if Mateo’s business will get the multi-million dollar deal, they must keep things strictly professional—or else risk consequences that could affect their families.

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Beer Goggles by Ava Campbell

Connor Callahan did his best work when it came to beer and babes. As long as live was full of laughs, he was good. It wasn’t until some hot shot journalist started asking questions that his past that he’d tried so hard to forget came back to haunt him.

Allison Drake, top notch reporter was bumped down to do a fun and leisure piece about a bar and new up and coming brew master. She was going to do everything in her power to hurry things along and go back to the big city where she belonged.

However, a car accident, and a few beers later, things change between them. Things aren’t always as black and white as they were before. Can the two of them face the truth about themselves, and be open to the future, or will they both live life with their beer goggles on?

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John’s Jillaroo by Scarlett J Rose

Amy is a city girl, but things haven’t gone her way. looking for a ‘tree change’ she takes on a job as a Jillaroo on a remote Australian cattle station.

It’s not the glamorous change she thought it would be…

There’s dirt, there’s flies, there’s heat, and then, there’s John, the Jackaroo.

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Accidentally Again by Sydney Lea

She wanted to stay. He knew she needed to go.

Police officer Gabe Hannigan had always done the right thing and followed the rules. With the exception of one night with the girl he had always craved, Billie Shannon.

When Billie returns four years later to care for her sick father, she comes home with a secret she knew she couldn’t keep forever, leaving the pair with no choice but to come to terms with the consequences of their night together and the actions Gabe took to try and protect Billie’s future.

Can this lawman make things right with the woman he should never have let go? Will they overcome their past in order to fall in love accidentally again?

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Sex Mechanic by Bella Settarra

Known locally as the ‘Sex Mechanic’ with a ‘love’em and leave ’em’ approach to women, Ben Steadman is astonished to suddenly develop feelings for a new girl in town. She has a flat tire that he is happy to help with. Unfortunately she also has a couple of kids in tow, making her strictly off-limits–especially when he hears their daddy’s in the military.

Iona Walker is filling in at her uncle’s firm, although admin doesn’t exactly excite her. She is smitten with the handsome mechanic who helps her out, although she senses mixed signals.

After his boss’ heart attack, Ben realizes that his job isn’t as safe as he’d hoped as he struggles to keep the company afloat. Iona is delighted to offer her help with the business, especially as it means them working together.

However, a concoction of misunderstandings and interference seems destined to keep the two apart…

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Horror Anthology Showcase: Hardened Hearts: Unnerving Magazine

17 stories of difficult love, broken hearts, lost hope, and discarded truths. Love brings pain, vulnerability, and demands of revenge. Hardened Hearts spills the sum of darkness and light concerning the measures of love; including works from Meg Elison, author of The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (Winner of the Philip K. Dick Award), Tom Deady, author of Haven (Winner of the Bram Stoker award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel), Gwendolyn Kiste, author of And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe and Pretty Marys All in a Row, and many more.
 
Hardened Hearts dips from speculative, horror, science fiction, fantasy, into literary and then out of the classifiable and into the waters of unpinned genres, but pure entertainment nonetheless. 
 
 

Foreword by James Newman

“It Breaks My Heart to Watch You Rot” by Somer Canon

“What is Love?” by Calvin Demmer

“Heirloom” by Theresa Braun

“The Recluse” by John Boden

“40 Ways to Leave Your Monster Lover” by Gwendolyn Kiste

“Dog Tired” by Eddie Generous

“The Pink Balloon” by Tom Deady

“It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To” by J.L.Knight

“Burning Samantha” by Scott Hallam

“Consumed” by Madhvi Ramani

“Class of 2000” by Robert Dean

“Learning to Love” by Jennifer Williams

“Brothers” by Leo X.Robertson

“Porcelain Skin” by Laura Blackwell

“The Heart of the Orchard” by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi

“Meeting the Parents” by Sarah L. Johnson

“Matchmaker” by Meg Elison

 
 
 
 
 
 

Excerpt from “Heirloom” by Theresa Braun

 

Rachel took her seat. As she glimpsed the antique mirror, the glass appeared to tremble. It wasn’t the first time her mind had played tricks on her under duress, so she dismissed it.

She tapped the pencil on her lips. “By now, you know how this works.” Earlier in her career, she would have started with something simple like whether or not he easily found her office, or maybe how long he had lived in Ft. Lauderdale. That only wasted the appointment. The goal was to expedite wellness. “What brings you in?”

He crossed his arms. “Got to be here, else I won’t see my kids.”

Rachel sat stiffly upright, hands folded. “Okay, so tell me more about that. Why is it mandated?”

His face relaxed and his eyes softened. Her directness disarmed him. “Maybe I have mommy issues.”

Rachel’s eyes widened. “It appears more serious from the documents I have here.” She tapped the pad and folder in her lap.

“It’s complicated.” He twisted the old-looking silver ring on his pinky, his eyes narrowing.

The fact that he possessed the air of a mafia boss planning his next hit amused her. The way he kept playing with the ring made her think that either he had a form of OCD or it was an extension of his presented manliness.

The mirror jangled on the office wall, putting it off kilter.

“Did you see that?” She leapt up to prevent her family heirloom from crashing to the floor.

Her client might have continued speaking, but Rachel didn’t hear it. The room was like a wind tunnel. She slowly put one foot in front of the other until she faced the mirror. Her reflection stood in a charcoal gray pantsuit, her straight chestnut-colored bob curled up at her sharp jaw. An unseen hand pulled her through the mirror. Her vision blurred—everything was funhouse trickery, colors and shapes morphing, until the world crisped and focused once again.  

She stumbled onto the dirt, now in sandals, kicking up grit between her toes, and looked down to see her usually pale skin was bronze. Thick, wavy brown hair cascaded over her shoulders.

She blinked. Her bosom was more ample and her hands lacked the pink polish she always stared at while on the phone back in her office. Supple suede covered her body. Silver armbands coiled around each bicep.

Sweat pearled all over her.

The day was sunny. A market bustled to her right, and an open plain lay silent to her left. Thatched roof buildings dotted the horizon. A wicker basket dangled on her arm. A horse-drawn wagon heaped with fruits and vegetables hurtled past her, the gravel stirred by the hooves and wheels disappearing in the distance.

Only a few steps away, a burly man emerged through a dust cloud. He wore a dark and tattered robe. His skin was tan, or grimy, and so were the rest of his features, his eyes shadowed by his protruding brow.

Weathered hands with dirt-encrusted nails swiftly gripped her by the arms and forced her over his shoulder. She dropped the basket and screamed. He scurried to the covered wagon rolling closer and threw her inside. Her legs brushed something hard suspended at his waist.

Then everything was like scraps of memory…

 

Excerpt from “Burning Samantha” by Scott Hallam

 

She spends twenty minutes stuffing a bra for a chest that will never grow. Not unless she can convince her parents to invest her college savings into hormone therapy or two mounds of silicone.

She peers out her window at the suburban neighborhood lined with maple trees and street lamps illuminating the May evening.

He’ll be here any minute, her best friend Andrew.

He agreed to be her date for the spring dance.

As Samantha. Not as what the kids at school call her—Sam. Not as the name her parents gave her the day that she was born with a body that never quite felt right.

Samantha. Not Sam. Not ever again.

She gazes into the mirror, adjusting her neon blue wig. Her hands tremble as she stares back at her carefully-shaven face and lips painted aqua. She tries not to think of the stares she’ll receive. She tries to think of slow dancing with Andrew, her head buried in his chest, taking in the smell of his cologne.

~

He’s a little late. Not by much. The dance doesn’t start until 7:30. Andrew will be here. That’s what matters. Yesterday, he held her hand in the backseat of the school bus.

~

She pulls at the hem of her little black dress—practices walking back and forth across her room in heels. Straight and tall. She likes how the heels make her calves look.

Samantha hears the growl of an engine. Peering out her bedroom window, she sees Andrew in his father’s Camaro. Her flesh shivers and little bumps rise on her arms. She checks her makeup one last time before leaving her bedroom.

She lingers at the top of the stairs as she waits for Andrew to ring the doorbell. Her mother glances up at Samantha, a daughter that her mother never knew she had. She smiles thinly then pretends to tidy up the foyer.

Samantha spies wetness in her mother’s eyes. Her dad didn’t even bother sticking around. He said that he didn’t want to see his faggot son dress up like a slut. He said that he’d be drinking at the bar with this golf buddies and that Sam had better be in bed by the time he got home.

The doorbell rings, and Samantha’s stomach clenches. She grips the railing. Her mother opens the door and Andrew walks in wearing a charcoal sports jacket over an electric blue shirt. Tall and lean, a runner’s body. His chocolate brown hair cut short. Samantha’s hand on the railing becomes wet with perspiration.

He raises his eyes to meet hers, waving a bouquet of flowers in her direction, a spring mix, and flashes that half smile of his. The smile that made Samantha’s knees shake the first time she saw him at musical try-outs.

Samantha descends one step at a time, her gaze transfixes on Andrew. When she reaches the bottom, he presents the bouquet to her. She presses her face into the daffodils, peonies, and baby’s breath and inhales the fragrance…

 
 
 
 

James Newman

James Newman is the author of the novels Midnight Rain, The Wicked, Animosity, and Ugly as Sin, the collection People are Strange, and the critically-acclaimed novella Odd Man Out. Up next are the novels Dog Day o’ Summer and Scapegoat (co-written with Mark Allan Gunnells and Adam Howe, respectively). @newmanjam

 

Somer Canon

Somer Canon is a minivan revving suburban mother who avoids her neighbors for fear of being found out as a weirdo. When she’s not peering out of her windows, she’s consuming books, movies, and video games that sate her need for blood, gore, and things that disturb her mother. @SomerM

 

Calvin Demmer

Calvin Demmer is a dark fiction author. His work has appeared in Broadswords and Blasters, Empyreome Magazine, Mad Scientist Journal, Ravenwood Quarterly, Switchblade, and others. When not writing, he is intrigued by that which goes bump in the night and the sciences of our universe. You can find him online at www.calvindemmer.com@CalvinDemmer

 

Theresa Braun

Theresa Braun was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and has carried some of that hardiness with her to South Florida where she currently resides. Traveling, ghost hunting, and all things dark are her passions. Her stories appear in The Horror Zine, Schlock! Webzine, and Sirens Call, among others; upcoming stories will be published in Bards and Sages and Strange Behaviors. Twitter  / website

 

John Boden

John Boden lives in the wilds of central Pa, with his wife and sons. A baker by day, he writes unique fiction in whatever time is left. His work has received kind words of praise from some.

 

Gwendolyn Kiste

Gwendolyn Kiste is the author of And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe, her debut fiction collection from JournalStone, as well as the dark fantasy novella, Pretty Marys All in a Row, from Broken Eye Books. Her short fiction has appeared in Nightmare Magazine, Shimmer, Black Static, Daily Science Fiction, Interzone, LampLight, and Three-Lobed Burning Eye, among others. You can find her online at gwendolynkiste.com.

 

Eddie Generous

Eddie Generous is the creator, editor, designer, and publisher of Unnerving and Unnerving Magazine. In early 2018, Hellbound Books is publishing a collection of his novelettes titled Dead is Dead, but Not Always, and also in 2018 he is teaming up with Mark Allan Gunnells and Renee Miller to release Splish, Slash, Takin’ a Bloodbath, a collection of short stories. @GenerousEd

 

Tom Deady

Tom Deady’s novel, Haven, won the 2016 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. His short stories have appeared in several anthologies and he released his second novel, Eternal Darkness and a novella, Weekend Getaway, in 2017. Tom also has a Young Adult series he is seeking agent representation for. He resides in Massachusetts where he is working on his next novel. @DeadyTom

 

J.L. Knight

J.L. Knight lives in Kentucky and works at an antiquarian bookstore that is probably haunted.

 

Scott Hallam

Scott Paul Hallam is a short story author living in Pittsburgh, PA. His work has been published in Cease, Cows and Night to Dawn magazine. He earned his Master’s in English Literature from Duquesne University and first fell in love with the written word when his dad would read him stories by Edgar Allan Poe as a kid. You can follow him on Twitter at @ScottHallam1313.

 

Madhvi Ramani

Madhvi Ramani grew up in London. She writes short fiction, articles, essays, children’s books, and drama. Her work has been published by the BBC, Asia Literary Review, Stand Magazine and others. She currently lives a thoroughly bohemian lifestyle in Berlin. Find out more www.madhviramani.com or follow her on Twitter @madhviramani.

  

Robert Dean

Robert Dean is a writer, journalist, and cynic. His most recent novel, The Red Seven was called “rich in vivid imagery, quirky characterizations, and no holds barred violence and mayhem. I never knew what the word romp really meant until now, but in case you’re wondering, this is it” by Shotgun Logic.

His essays have been featured in Jackson Free Press, Victoria Advocate, and The Austin American Statesman. He’s also been on NPR.

Robert is finishing a New Orleans-based crime thriller called A Hard Roll. He lives in Austin and likes ice cream and koalas.

Stalk him on Twitter: @Robert_Dean.

 

Jennifer Williams

Jennifer Williams is an author, editor, cat lady and coffee enthusiast. Her fiction has previously appeared in Women of the Bite: Lesbian Vampire Erotica edited by Cecilia Tan, Vicious Verses and Reanimated Rhymes, a collection of zombie poetry edited by A.P. Fuchs, and most recently in A Tribute Anthology to Deadworld and Comic Publisher Gary Reed edited by Lori Perkins. You can find her on Twitter at @JenWilliams13.

 

Leo X. Robertson

Leo X. Robertson is a Scottish process engineer and writer, currently living in Oslo, Norway. He has work most recently published by Helios Quarterly, Unnerving Magazine, Expanded Horizons and Open Pen, among others. His novella, The Grimhaven Disaster, was released by Unnerving earlier this year. Find him on Twitter @Leoxwrite or check out his website: leoxrobertson.wordpress.com.  

Laura Blackwell

Laura Blackwell’s speculative fiction appears in the World Fantasy Award-winning She Walks in Shadows anthology, Hardened Hearts, and Strange California, among others. She is Shimmer’s copy editor. You can follow her on Twitter at @pronouncedlahra

 

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi

Erin Al-Mehairi is the author of Breathe. Breathe., a collection of dark fiction featuring short stories and poetry, also published by Unnerving. She is a marketing and public relations professional, journalist, and editor of over 20 years and lives in rural Ohio. You can hear her #marketingmorsels segment on The Mando Method podcast on Project Entertainment Network, and besides on all the other social media outlets, you can find her on her blog at www.hookofabook.wordpress.com@ErinAlMehairi

 

Sarah L. Johnson

Sarah L. Johnson lives in Calgary where she’s mastered the art of the writerly side hustle, working in a bookstore, teaching creative writing, and freelance editing. Her short story collection Suicide Stitch (EMP Publishing) was published in 2015 and her debut novel Infractus will be released in April 2018 by Coffin Hop Press. @leadlinedalias

 

Meg Elison

Meg Elison is a science fiction author and feminist essayist. Her debut novel, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, won the 2014 Philip K. Dick Award. She has been published in McSweeney’s, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Catapult, and many other places. Elison is a high school dropout and a graduate of UC Berkeley. @megelison

 

 

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Author Showcase – Tracy A. Ball (Dragonfly Dreams: Darklight and Daydreams Anthology)

 Your favorite best-selling and award winning authors have teamed up to create this collection to benefit Puerto Rico. All proceeds are being donated to the Hispanic Federation.

 

 
From rogue vampires to runaway witches, monsters in the woods to evil fae, this collection of 10 urban fantasy & paranormal romance short stories & novella’s has it all!
 

 

Contributing Authors:

Dragonfly Dreams – Tracy A. Ball

Shattered, Leaf fled to the last place she wanted to be— Ebony Narpole’s world… Ebony Narpole’s arms. 

 

Sex Demon – Cat Cotton 

It all started with three simple words: ‘It’s my wife…’. Music to my ears. He had an incubus on his hands and I just so happened to be the top incubus fighter in the business.

 

Chronicles of Steele: The Vampire – Pauline Creeden 

Reaper vs. Mrs. Dracula. Has Raven finally met her match?

 

Jericho -J.A. Culican 

Feared and mysterious, a dragon legend. How did Jericho become the dragon shifter he is today? Check out this exclusive novella showing Jericho’s origin. Jericho is a companion novella to the USA Today Bestselling series Keeper of Dragons by J.A. Culican 

 

A Brush with Death -N.J. Ember Marisol 

Pedilla is ensnared in a dangerous world when she crosses paths with a mysterous woman called The Reaper. Warning: Contains violence and mature themes.

 

Rogue Recruit – Amir Lane 

When a powerful witch under observation for government recruitment runs away, the only hope they have of finding him is the siren who named him. 

 

Shifting Snow – Melissa J. Lytton 

When a woman who looks just like her shows up in the middle of a major snow storm, Constance confirms what she always knew: something about her life is wrong. 

 

The Pine Barrens -Sara R. Perez 

August is just your normal small town butcher. At least he seemed normal until the bodies started showing up around the pine barrens. There may be a reason he lives so far from town.

 

Fangs and Fairy Dust – Joynell Schultz 

After more than eighty years, Ryker finds himself back in Dubuque, hunting down a rogue vampire once again… only this time, the vampire didn’t break his heart. 

 

Hailey’s Shadow – Lori Titus 

Can Hailey see the future or is she a murderer?

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Everything changed with one jump.
 
Shattered, Leaf fled to the last place she wanted to be– Ebony Narploe’s world…Ebony Narpole’s arms.
Leaf Harper was Ebony’s enemy; he made sure of it. Ebony could forget everybody and everything, but he could not forget why.
 
 

 

While yachting off the Florida Keys, Leaf came toward Ebony waving a bottle of sunblock.

 “What do you want me to do with that?”

“Eat it. What do you think I want you to do? My back.” She presented him with said back.

While she couldn’t see him, he admired her blue one-piece suit. “You don’t have enough back to do. But, I’ll fix it.” He flicked his finger and her suit became a low cut, Mint-green, two-piece. “Hand me the lotion.”

Leaf gave him the bottle. 

He poured a liberal amount into his palm. When he looked up, she was wearing a fire-engine-red, string bikini. “Is that enough back for you?” She scooted onto the bench, directly between his outstretched legs and smiled over her shoulder.

Ebony caught his breath and said, “Careful, Harper. If you push me another round, you’ll be in a thong.”

She moved her hair out of his way. “So will you.”

He looked down to see that she turned his trunks into a pair of mint-green Speedos. 

Ebony paid her back by taking his time applying the sunblock. He turned the application into a massage. It was a good excuse to touch her. He wanted to touch her. Narpoles did whatever they wanted.

Leaf knew what he was doing. She punished him by allowing it. Yeah. That will teach him.

Ebony was done rubbing in sunblock long before he was done touching her. Having no other excuse, he decided, he didn’t need any. He pulled Leaf back against him and was instantly invigorated by her warmth, her scent.

Leaf stiffened. He had a six-pack and v-lines.

“Cassenia is a half million miles that way,” he pointed. “We’re all by ourselves in the middle of the ocean. There isn’t even a seagull around to see. Who is going to know, Leaf?” One hand encircled her waist, while the other fingered the bouncy strands of her hair.

Leaf relaxed. She thought about the chest she was lounging against. It felt like it was chiseled from granite. “Nobody. Because this isn’t real.”

“Exactly.”

She rubbed the muscles in his arm and practically purred. Just because it isn’t real, doesn’t mean it isn’t fun.

 

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Tracy’s family is blended from three distinct cultures. Over the years, she has opened her home to foster children, drug addicts, AIDS victims and anyone who needed an assist. She has an equal number of liberal and conservative friends. She knows people who have committed murder and she knows people who know the Pope.

Which is why she writes sweet stories about tough love.

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Author Showcase – K. Bromberg (The Everyday Heroes Series)

From the New York Times bestselling author, K. Bromberg, comes a new series about three brothers, the job that calls them, and the women who challenge them.

Everyday Heroes Matrix

 

 
~~ BOOK ONE ~~
CUFFED_K_BROMBERG_ibooks

 

“I hate you. I never want to see you again.”

Grant Malone is not the reason I moved back to Sunnyville—at least that’s what I tell myself. Yet, those parting words I said to him back in third grade, ring in my ears every time a townsperson brings up one of the Malone boys. I thought time had healed my wounds. I was wrong. Nothing could have prepared me for how I felt when I finally saw him again.

Twenty years does a lot to turn a boy into a man. One who hits all my buttons—sexy, funny, attractive, and a police officer. But Grant is off limits because he knows too much about my past.

But I’m drawn to him. That damn uniform of his doesn’t hurt either. It’ll be my downfall. I know it.

What’s one night of sex going to hurt . . . right?

***

I’ve always loved Emmy Reeves.

That’s why I’m shocked to see her all these years later. The shy girl I once knew is all grown up.

Adventurous and full of life, she owns my heart now, just as much as she did back then. Convincing her of that is a whole different story.

I’ll give her the one night she asks for—like that’s a hardship—but when it comes to letting her walk away after, she has another thing coming. There’s no way in hell I’m letting her go this time without a fight.

 

 

 

~~ BOOK TWO ~~
 
_Combust Cover

 

Songwriter Dylan McCoy has been burned.

By her boyfriend she found in her bed . . . with someone else.

By the contract she signed that obligates her to work with him until the songs for his new album are complete.

By her agent when she asked Dylan to keep their breakup on the down-low.

When she finds herself in Sunnyville, she refuses to let her new roommate burn her too. Still . . . a rebound has never looked so good.

That’s her first thought when she sees firefighter Grady Malone.

Sexy. Charismatic. Unapologetic. He’s a man who carries his own scars—the ones on his back, the survivor’s guilt on his soul, and the fear in his heart.

When an unexpected visitor puts their roommate status to the test, will their undeniable attraction burn out, or will they both take a chance and play with fire?

US – Amazon Link

UK – Amazon Link

 

 

~~ BOOK THREE ~~

Expected Release: May 28, 2018

How about a hot in-flight LifeFlight Medic? Greyson’s book is coming in spring 2018!

**Sorry, no purchase links at this time.** 

 

 

~~ BONUS READ! ~~

Control is something Desi Whitman abhors. Why live life in black and white perfection when you can messily color outside the lines?

But when she comes face to face with SWAT officer Reznor Mayne, he’s about to show her just how good control can feel.

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

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New York Times Bestselling author K. Bromberg writes contemporary novels that contain a mixture of sweet, emotional, a whole lot of sexy, and a little bit of real. She likes to write strong heroines, and damaged heroes who we love to hate and hate to love.

A mom of three, she plots her novels in between school runs and soccer practices, more often than not with her laptop in tow.

Since publishing her first book in 2013, Kristy has sold over one million copies of her books across sixteen different countries and has landed on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestsellers lists over twenty-five times. Her Driven trilogy (Driven, Fueled, and Crashed) is currently being adapted for film by Passionflix with the first movie slated to release in the summer of 2018.

She recently released a two book, sports romance series, The Player and The Catch. Cuffed is the first book in her new Everyday Heroes trilogy. This three-book series will be about three brothers who are emergency responders, the jobs that call to them, and the women who challenge them. The remaining standalones in the series are Combust (January 29th) and Cockpit (Spring 2018).

She loves to hear from her readers so make sure you check her out on social media or sign up for her newsletter to stay up to date on all her latest releases and sales: (here).

 

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Author Showcase / Interview – David M. Kelly

Howdy, David M. Kelly!

 

  1. For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?

(David) Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m a very natural “story-teller” (to put it politely!) and so it was always there inside me. The push to actually start writing came when I was faced with an extremely long train commute. I wanted something to fill the time and thought I’d give my long-held dream a go. To my surprise I ended up writing a novel. It wasn’t a very good one and it’s never been published, but nevertheless I was hooked and have been writing ever since.

 

 

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, please share how you handle it.

(David) My slumps tend to be more emotional than creative, so when they arrive I try to do things to break me out of that mind-set, such as go for walks, get a change of scenery etc. I don’t think I’ve ever really faced writer’s block as such. Usually my head is so full of ideas it’s difficult to get them down. Also if a piece of writing starts to not flow, I don’t worry about it too much and will carry on, knowing I can always revise it later. Or sometimes I’ll switch to a different project for a while.

 

 

  1. Contrary to what some people envision about a romance writer’s life, it’s not all glitz and glam. Well not for the majority of us. With that bubble sadly busted, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?

(David) I really have no idea what a romance writer’s life is like  🙂 For me, when I’m not writing I like to catch up with science news, hike and swim and drive around in my own personal starship–a vintage Corvette ZR-1.

 

 

  1. I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?

(David) Family and friends have been incredibly supportive of my writing, although I think my Mum is still waiting for me to get a “proper job” again  🙂  As I write mostly science fiction, I’m also not sure quite what she thinks of some of the more bizarre aspects of my writing!

 

 

  1. Will you share with us your all time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.

(David) I started reading very early and very heavily – it was almost an addiction. As a result I’ve read so much that it’s hard to pin down individuals. That said, I loved the works of Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov and read as much of theirs as I could get my hands on and although their styles are very different, I still appreciate them to this day. I’ve also read a lot of Rudyard Kipling and was hooked on Conan Doyle’s Holmes stories very early on. For present day authors, I’d recommend Christina McMullen who writes classy SF with a touch of humor, some of it slanted more towards a YA audience. Other new authors that are turning out good stories are Jay Norry, who has written a large collection of zombie books, and also fantasy authors Richard H, Stephens and C.L Schneider. Beyond that I like to read histories, especially about scientific figures and also the work of science popularizers such as Brian Greene.

 

 

  1. If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love see casted in the parts?

(David) I could perhaps see a mid-career Bruce Willis as Joe Ballen in , with Lauren Bacall as Dollie because of that voice and the brash confidence. There would have to be some major digital re-creation going on there though  🙂 

 

Meet former space engineer, Joe Ballen. These days, he’s scraping a living flying cabs in flooded-out Baltimore, trying to avoid the clutches of his boss and the well-meaning advice of an old friend. When one of his passengers suffers a grisly death, Joe is dragged into a dangerous web of ruthless academic rivalry centered on a prototype spaceship.

As the bodies pile up, Joe becomes suspect number one, and his enemies will stop at nothing to hide the truth. With the help of an enigmatic scientist, a senile survivalist, and the glamorous Ms Buntin, can Joe untangle the conspiracy and prove his innocence before it’s too late?

Mathematics Of Eternity: the first in an explosive SF thriller series by a fantastic new Canadian author. 

The future’s about to get a lot more action-packed!

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  1. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.

(David) Right now, I’m working on edits for Perimeter, book 2 of the Mathematics Of Eternity series. This one is largely set in space and has more of a darker, mystery feel than book 1, but it’s still a fast-paced thriller with great characters and plenty of acerbic humor. I’m also writing the first draft of book 3 and working on a number of side projects as time allows.

 

 

  1. Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?

(David) The best place to find my books is via my Amazon Author Page Link. You can read my short stories in any order. My upcoming book, Perimeter, which is the second in the Mathematics Of Eternity series, could be read as a standalone, but obviously I hope you’ll read book one first  🙂 

 

 

  1. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?

    (David) You can contact me via my Website and sign up to my newsletter to stay in touch 

I’m also on social media. Here are all the links!

Facebook

Twitter 

Goodreads

 

 

  1. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.

(David) People often think of science fiction as being something only accessible to “geeks.” I try to make my writing so it can be read by anyone and have had several people who’ve said things along the lines of “I don’t usually enjoy science fiction, but I really enjoyed this book.” This is very encouraging to me and I hope to carry on making my books good reads for a wider audience.

 

 

~~ Closing remarks ~~

If you love the science fiction genre, then stick around because I’m going to show you a few more books from the creative mind of David M. Kelly!

 

Looking for SF that’s intelligent, action-packed, and humorous? This collection of ten short stories features a cast of characters all in need of some serious therapy. 

Hector discovers life after death ain’t easy when your shorts itch and your ass belongs to a whip-wielding giant. 

And Murphy’s fighting to keep the peace as his team of geeky scientists and a gung-ho lieutenant investigate a mysterious alien ship—all while dealing with his own case of Murphy’s Law.

First Contact is always complicated, especially when you have to call in cranky old relic, Casteneda, to bail you out.

Fresh off the battlefield, Matt Holbrook is also grappling with a perplexing new species, but all he wants is to make it home. 

And Earl Duarte is in for some interesting pet therapy in How Much Is That Doggy? Discover Dead Reckoning And Other Stories. SF with attitude!

Stories include:

Dead Reckoning
How Much Is That Doggy?
Dust To Dust
Murphy’s Law
Reboot
Version Control
A Slight Imperfection
First Contact
He Who Controls
One For The Money.

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How far would you go to protect your career? Your friends? Your family? Your way of life?
The Atolls–a group of elite off-world colonists—dominate from their position orbiting the Earth, restricting access to scroffers—their name for the people still living on the planet. Shuttle pilot Guy Addison is one of the few allowed to make regular trips to the Atolls and feels little sympathy for his Earth-bound contemporaries.

But after the Atolls announce a draconian clampdown on immigration, Addison faces the very real possibility that flights will be stopped and he will never be allowed into space again. And when terrorists take over his shuttle, he must confront not only secrets from his past but also the deadly consequences of a new future. Can he successfully outwit both the terrorists, and the Atolls, to bring his ship home?

Atoll: An edge-of-the-seat suspense-filled thriller with action on every page!

 

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Commissioner Bellarbi’s administration of the Information Systems Investigation Authority isn’t going well. Communications networks are crumbling and a series of high-profile industrial and food production failures have threatened safety and cost jobs. He believes the global technology infrastructure is under attack from cyber-terrorists. With public protests rising and his job under threat, he needs answers fast. Leaving him only one choice: to seek help from her

Mayrum Casteneda, the legendary founder of the Authority, is a relic from a bygone age who definitely doesn’t suffer fools. She might just be the only person who can help, but are the answers buried too deep?

 

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