What Are AmberPax™ Collections?

Simply put, AmberPax™ Collections are groups of five stories centered around a specific theme. Each story within an AmberPax™ is released individually, on the same day as the others, and can be purchased separately, but these five stories can also be purchased as a single unit (the full AmberPax™) at a discount, currently 25%. Generally, an AmberPax™ is similar to an "anthology" of stories, but instead of the titles being released in only a single volume (file), they are also available individually. These AmberPax™ Collections are sold exclusively through our website and only in electronic format.

THIS BLOG is for news about the Pax Collections - follow it to keep up with releases, find early news of the upcoming collections, and share Pax fun and chat with the authors!

All Amber Paxes can be bought at Amber Quill HERE.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

If you liked the music collection...

Music has been an inspiration for Amber Allure authors for quite some time. If you liked Melodies from the Heart, you might want to try the pax collection where the titles themselves inspired the stories.

Heart Songs VI is a group of five m/m erotic romances, using song titles as the creative center. Stories include:

The collection is currently 25%, which means you can get all five stories for just $18.75. What a deal!

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Music to my ears - and more by Deirdre O'Dare

Next to the written word, music is one of my very favorite things in the whole wide world! I do not make music myself—except for singing in an altogether forgettable or even regrettable way, but I am a constant and avid listener. Folk, rock, country, classic, ethnic, new age---if you came to my home you might hear almost anything coming out of my several music machines! And no, I am not into MP3 and downloads and stuff—way too old fashioned for that. I still play CDs, even a few cassettes and old fashioned LPs. Some of the LPs have a warm and vital sound that I do not feel digital can duplicate. It’s a bit like a recorded versus a live performance perhaps; still, I’m gradually digitizing all the old stuff. But that’s another story.

I grew up with music since my mother had played the piano since childhood and my dad had studied voice and played several instruments, mostly horns and wind. They grew up in the Big Band Era so I heard that as a child plus opera, classical and musical comedy- Broadway type tunes. Then I started to develop my own tastes. When most of my contemporaries were “rockin’ around the clock” and shaking it with The King, I discovered country-western and listened a lot to that. I always loved guitar music of all kinds and that included everything from flamenco and classic to Les Paul and Chet Atkins, Leo Kotke, The Ventures and then the flamboyant rock guitarists of the sixties and seventies: Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jorma of the Airplane and so on. In fact I often write to such sounds, but always instrumental as lyrics tend to distract me. I save them for household chores etc.

So when I get a chance to write a story with music in the background, it is a rare treat. I jump at the chance. I did one mostly hetero Heart Songs (Amber PAX) tale for Amber Heat, Take It Easy, and then one for Amber Allure, You Were Always on My Mind.

It’s funny sometimes how a character will make an appearance in a story as a secondary or even a very minor character but somehow captures your imagination and that of some readers. In time, he or she has to have a tale of their own.

That has happened in several of my works. Brandi from Doggone Love eventually got Eres Tu-Times Two. Roy from Armed and Amorous had his turn in Saved By Sam. Then there is Jest, the drummer in Tom Holden’s band Taken By Storm who was barely a walk-on in Take It Easy but he would not leave me alone! I knew very soon that he would have to have his own story in time. When we settled on a new music themed PAX, Melodies of the Heart, it was his turn.

A Different Drummer is Jest’s tale, but it is also the story of Greene, a brand new character who just drove into the scene and settled himself down to listen to Taken By Storm, especially that crazy, wild-haired drummer! Jest’s outré appearance makes Greene very uncomfortable but he is also fiercely attracted, in spite of himself and his best intentions. This tug-of-war made for more of a character-driven story than I often write but I really enjoyed playing these two very different men against each other and watching how in the fine tradition of love conquers all, they confront and eventually overcome their issues. I hope my readers will too!

You can also bet there will be more music tales in the future. I am thinking that a couple of the other members of Taken By Storm need to have their stories told. I am also playing with an idea of a band, country and western of course, where all the members are descendents of my horse shifter clan introduced in Nellie’s Rogue Stallion and Collette’s Savage Stallion.  I’m not sure where that is going to go but give me some time and I will see what emerges.

I always begin with a character that just pops up and grabs my attention. He or she then, by their personality, life style and such, calls out a perfect foil and before long they are both telling me their story, sometimes arguing about it and sometimes agreeing. Layer by layer and scene by scene, it takes shape until at some point we reach happily ever after or at least happy for now and it is time to write “the end.” So now you know a few of my secrets—how I write and maybe a hint as to why. All those voices in my head would really drown out the music if I did not let them come out and talk to me, taking down their tales so we can share them with you!


A Different Drummer by Deirdre O'Dare is now available at Amber Allure.

If you'd like the chance to win the entire pax collection, just leave a comment on today's post. On Saturday, a winner will be picked at random from all the comments made this week on the blog. Comment on all, and that's multiple chances to win!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Cherish by A.J. Llewellyn

They say these days that everything old is new again and that is very true of the humble Mixed Tape, which had its heyday in the 1980's and began to dwindle in the 90's with the phasing out of cassette tapes.

I've hung onto mine the way uncle hoarded his 8 Tracks. I've never actually heard him play them, but he still keeps them mounted on his wall above his fish tanks.

The two of us bonded early over vinyl. We've clung to our records, which have seen a huge resurgence in the last few years. What I was able to snap up for actual pennies at yard sales and swap meets now goes for up to a hundred bucks on eBay.

So it should be no surprise that the Mixed Tape has made a comeback.

I have a Mixed Tape that has traveled the world with me.
I have rarely played it, a) because the song Cherish is like poison spikes that cannot be removed from your brain once you play it and b) I am deathly afraid of breaking it, just like all my other cassettes have started to snap and tear.


Yep. I do actually cherish this gift from a man I once loved. And never dated. It was one of those loves that is special probably because it never got a chance. The imagination is one of the great gifts of life. You always get to think, "What if…?"

Dean, the man who made this tape for me was a very special person. I will never forget him. Looking back, it was an incredible gift, even if I don't actually love half the songs on the tape, his took his time, with no agenda, to share his favorite tunes with me.

I cherish the love he put into this. The time he took to record each song and the lenghts he went to in finding a red cassette tape cover because he knew it was one of my favorite colors.

"It's the color of love," he said. And so it is.

I will always hold onto this tape and play it in my head, because yes, Cherish is on automatic rewind in my mind.

When I decided to take part in the PAX Music anthology, I knew I wanted to write about Mixed Tapes. Funny how they are still called that but they are made on CD's these days.

You watch, the cassette will make a comeback next.

With Cherish the title and the inspiration, I came up with a story based on a former part of my life when I was a theatrical agent. The stories in this book are true but the names are changed to protect the truly crazy.

Here is the synopsis for Cherish:

When Hollywood theatrical agent Daren Marlowe celebrates his thirtieth birthday with friends, he’s more than surprised when his best friend gives him a CD that is a revamp of the old 80s’ mixed tape. He’s even more surprised when he realizes it’s a re-gifted mixed tape. The first song on the CD is the syrupy Kool and the Gang classic, “Cherish.” When Daren takes it home, he has no plans to look at the CD again, let alone play it, but his new lover, Rafael, puts it on the sound system.

Daren gets to Cherish the love over and over and over again because the darned thing is stuck. Forced to close off the sound system entirely, he frets over being held hostage by the song and he’s not wrong. In a bizarre set of circumstances, Richard is assaulted and almost dies. Will he survive? Can Daren actually forge a viable relationship with the sexy and hypnotic Rafael—for as long as they both shall live—in a town where the men don’t always cherish their men?

You can find out more including a juicy excerpt here: http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/Cherish.html

Cherish the love - today!

Aloha oe,




If you'd like the chance to win the entire pax collection, just leave a comment on today's post. On Saturday, a winner will be picked at random from all the comments made this week on the blog. Comment on all, and that's multiple chances to win!

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

D.J. Manly on love in The Beat

Many people I know have been victim to unrequited love. Common question… “How do I make him love me?” Wish I had the answer. I think love is so magical because it involves a potent combination of variables, some kind of spicy recipe with several ingredients, some of which have never been identified.

The Beat is written from the perspective of guy who is sure the way he feels is not returned, and will never be. He can only make assumptions based on the information he has in front of him. Sometimes those clues are misleading.

Love is pain when it’s not working and the most rewarding sense of pleasure when it does.

Why did I pick a drummer as the love interest of Johnny in this story? Well, I think the drummer beating on his/her drum says something to us. Perhaps drumming represents the rhythm of love, the intensity of passion, or the beating of our hearts when the one we love enters a room. Indeed, our main character, Johnny confesses in The Beat that: I didn’t say what I wanted to, how the very thought of him inspired every note I played, or every word I sang. I turned around on that stage and saw him behind those drums and I was on fire.

Drums have been around a long time. So has love. Ancient drums have been discovered all over the world, first appearing in an excavation site from the Neolithic Era. The oldest recorded drum is from 6000 BC.  Egyptian tombs have yielded small drums used for ceremonies. Caves in Peru contain wall markings depicting drums in various aspects of societal life. We know that Native people of North America used a series of wood and gourd drums for their celebrations and music, and are still used in ceremonies.

But drums have not always been used just for music. In Africa , where music is simply an interpretation of everyday life in sound, drums were used as speech. A pattern of beats played in a certain way could communicate many different kinds of information. In parts of Africa , drums were even given entities and gender. They were an expression of the soul, of belief, spiritual awakening.

The mystery of the exact ingredients coming together in a brilliant swirl at the right moment, awakening love in two individuals, remains unsolved. It’s no small accomplishment. It’s as complex as the tap tap tap of the drums, rudimentary, seemingly simple repetition and yet it weaves the most enchanting of melodies. It’s like the tap tap tap of the heart, isn’t it? The Beat.


The Beat by D.J. Manly is now available at Amber Allure.

If you'd like the chance to win the entire pax collection, just leave a comment on today's post. On Saturday, a winner will be picked at random from all the comments made this week on the blog. Comment on all, and that's multiple chances to win!

Monday, 22 April 2013

The story that almost wasn't by Vivien Dean

Aria of the Eclipse was the story that almost wasn't.

See, I've wanted to write a story with a hero trapped in a cage for quite a while. I had the opportunity to play with that a little when I was collaborating, but in my solo work, it just never found its way to the light. When it came time to start brainstorming for the music pax, my thoughts went straight to "songbird" and something clicked. This was my cage story! I was so excited!

So I started writing.

I made it 700 words and stopped. My hero's voice, the one living outside the cage, just wasn't coming for me. To say I was frustrated is an understatement.

I started again, thinking maybe it was because of my mindset that it wasn't working.

It stalled again at just about the same point.

Now, I'm not the kind of writer who pokes and pokes at a story until it gets right. In all honesty, I have enough plot bunnies reproducing and running around inside my head to make chasing down a single idea kind of a wasted effort. But the thing is, I really liked the idea of this story, and the thought of giving up on it kind of made me sick to my stomach. I didn't want to quit on it. I wanted it to work, damn it.

When my third restart failed just as miserably, you'd think I would just give up. I almost did. I was mostly convinced the story was never going to see the light of day, but at this point, I was so annoyed I couldn't get it to work that I was bound and determined to make it happen. (For future reference, the surest way to get me to do something is to tell me I can't do it, lol.)

I decided to take a risk. A big one. I'd been trying to write the story in 3rd person from the outside hero's perspective, so in my last ditch effort to try and get it off the ground, I switched to 1st person POV in the caged hero's perspective. My original rationale had been I couldn't start with such limitations. He's in a cage! He communicates through music! How on earth was I ever going to get the story off the ground with such blinders on?

Well, wouldn't you know it, but changing it over worked like a charm. That first chapter came out of me like water. And when I encountered my next big challenge--how was I going to learn anything about the plot or the world if I was stuck in Dek's POV--I decided to hell with it and opted to write the story in alternating 1st POVs.

It's one of the single most romantic stories I've ever written. I couldn't be happier with it, especially since I know I'm going to come back to this world and some of the secondary characters in future works. It also proves to me that taking a risk is almost always worth it.

What kind of risks have you taken lately?


Aria of the Eclipse by Vivien Dean is now available at Amber Allure.

If you'd like the chance to win the entire pax collection, just leave a comment on today's post. On Saturday, a winner will be picked at random from all the comments made this week on the blog. Comment on all, and that's multiple chances to win!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

LATEST PAX RELEASE - Melodies from the Heart

Visit the links to take advantage of our

Special Price

Melodies from the Heart

An AmberPax™ Collection of
Erotic Romance 
by Various Authors 
Genre: Gay (M/M) Music-World Romance 
Cover Copyright ©2012 by Trace Edward Zaber
Included in this collection of erotic romance...
(For more information on each title, or to purchase separately, click on the book covers below!)

Aria of the Eclipse
Aria of the Eclipse
by Vivien Dean
Extended Novella
The Beat
The Beat
by D.J. Manly
Extended Amber Kiss
by A.J. Llewellyn
A Different Drummer
A Different Drummer
by Deirdre O'Dare
Extended Amber Kiss
A Little Bit Country
A Little Bit Country
by Christiane France
Extended Amber Kiss

In conjunction with our newest release, we will be having a giveaway! Starting tomorrow, leave a comment on any post made during the week (4/22-4/26), and you'll be eligible to win the entire pax collection. A winner will be picked at random on Saturday from all comments received.

Friday, 19 April 2013

A Little Bit of Country by Christiane France

When misfortune ended Max Mayler’s career as a singer, he bought The Showtime Bar, an establishment with a long history of giving aspiring artists an opportunity to showcase their talents. It’s where Max got his chance, and he wants to continue the tradition.

Jay Ferman has the exceptional voice and the sexy good looks to make it big, and although he’s been performing every Saturday night for weeks, no one pays him any attention. It could be canned music for all they seem to know or care.

Max quickly realizes the problem is Jay’s failure to truly connect with his audience. But, as Max tells one of his servers, he operates a bar and not a school for wannabees. He likes Jay, but his performance deficit is none of Max’s business.

But will Max make it his business and give Jay some much-needed advice, especially after the men connect in a very personal way? 

Genres: Gay/Contemporary/The Arts
Heat Level: 2
Length: Extended Amber Kiss (16k words) 

Read a short excerpt...

...The song ended and, as the last notes of the music faded away, the singer hesitated for a moment before he moved away from the piano. If anyone in the crowded bar noticed the skillful rearrangement of the popular ballad or the husky quality of his beautiful voice, they gave no sign.

My throat tightened with emotion while I watched him smooth a hand over his dark hair, pick up his jacket and step down from the stage. I knew he was hurt by the lack of audience response. It showed in his expressive blue eyes and the droop of his shoulders and also in each and every movement of his slim body. It was threatening to become a fucking Saturday night ritual. Jay Ferman sang; no one paid a scrap of attention. It could have been canned music for all they knew or cared.

I wanted to go over there and hug him hard. I wanted to tell him not to give up; that success rarely happened overnight. That sometimes it took years. He had to be patient. Work on his craft, give it time, and when he least it expected it, one of the talent scouts who dropped in from time to time would realize his potential and offer him that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

He reached over the bar and shook my hand as he passed by on his way out. “’Night, Max. Thanks.”

“’Night, Jay. My pleasure. See you again next week?”

“For sure.”

His smile couldn’t have been brighter and he couldn’t have looked any happier if he’d stepped off the stage to thunderous applause, but I knew it was all show. Despite the bravado, the disappointment was there in his eyes for anyone who cared to look. And the reason he kept coming week after week was simple—he wanted to succeed. The reason I kept encouraging him was even simpler—I’d been there. Like Jay, I’d walked that lonely road for a long time. I knew all about the big dreams and the high hopes, the constant fear that I didn’t quite measure up, and then the indescribable thrill of knowing I’d finally made it. Maybe Jay would eventually get there and maybe not, but it was his dream and he wouldn’t thank me for interfering.

“Have a good week, Jay.”

“Yeah, you, too, Max.”

What Jay Ferman needed was— I warned myself to stop right there. What Jay needed was none of my business.

Unlike Jay, I’d been lucky enough to have the kind of help I’d needed to get where I wanted to go. And if I really cared about the guy I’d tell him the truth—that the scouts who trolled the bars and clubs looking for new acts wanted more than a good voice. They wanted the complete package—mind-blowing talent, good looks, the right clothes, a professional presentation, and the confidence to capture attention. The kind of star quality that would draw an audience in and make it forget about everything but the moment, the music and the man in the spotlight. What the scouts didn’t do was waste time on someone who kept his head down and blended into the background like elevator music.

The truth was, I did care for the guy, more than I wanted to admit even to myself. As he headed for the exit, I wondered if anyone had ever told him where he was going wrong. If they had, he hadn’t listened. The man had talent to spare and the kind of good looks a male model would envy. But he had no charisma, no stage presence, and unless he learned how to project and make contact with his audience, he was wasting his time.

Needing an outlet for my frustrations, I picked up a damp cloth and began cleaning the bar, rubbing at marks that had been there for years and I didn’t stand a chance of removing. Poor guy just didn’t have a clue... 

Thursday, 18 April 2013

A Different Drummer by Deirdre O'Dare

Jest has been on his own since his mid-teens and still blesses the chance that allowed him to realize his dream of playing percussion in a band, one that has become his substitute family. Although he misses the close sharing, he doesn’t expect to find a partner, and certainly not one as clearly out of his element as the man, looking totally lost and friendless, who one night wanders into the club where Jest’s band plays.

Greene has struggled to build himself a life far from the undisciplined communal community in which he grew to his mid-teens. He’s lonely, though, and not sure how to remedy that, so he keeps working as a game programmer in Silicon Valley until he makes a faux pas at a party. Traveling aimlessly, he meets Jest and the other members of Taken By Storm, and is intrigued but terrified of slipping back into a disorderly world like the one of his childhood.

Opposites do attract, but can a rebel percussionist and a totally uptight game programmer find common ground for a partnership? 

Genres: Gay/Contemporary/The Arts
Heat Level: 2
Length: Extended Amber Kiss (17k words) 

Read a short excerpt...

...Greene had to admit he was tempted. Maybe it was just a rebound from Mickey’s putdown, a vague need to prove he really was attractive, appealing. He felt the surreptitious brush of Jest’s gaze, sliding to him and pulling away, only to return.

Yeah, he’s interested. Although Jest kept his back to Greene, he’d bet the other man sported a stiff one. His own cock was showing some interest as well.

Oh shit, what harm can it do? Just a quickie, a one-time thing. I could do that and walk away right after. Maybe it would do me some good.

Jest finally turned around not a second after Greene mentally gave in to the insistent tug of desire and excitement. “Well,” he said, “made up your mind about me?”

It was uncanny, as if the other man had read his thoughts. “Huh? What are you talking about?”

Jest grinned. “I know you were looking. I was, too. Shit, it’s not illegal to look. Or to do anything else we want to for that matter. Nobody’s likely to come out here at this hour. I’m the only one in the band who’s an early riser. I think Ben and Marsh took off after the rehash last night anyway. Marsh has him a gal friend and not sure about Ben. Bella and Annie have their own place back out toward the main road. So what do you fancy?”

Greene fished for an answer, still torn between desire and caution. Jest seemed so sure and confident. That gave him pause. The drummer was different from Mickey, although still just as daunting.

At least for a while Jest must have had a normal family, the kind of background Greene had always envied. How could he have stood to leave it? Hadn’t he indicated he’d had no choice? Greene could not envy that wrenching break, having either to lie to everyone about what you were or leave everything you’d relied on. Somehow Jest had survived, just as Greene had, in completely different circumstances. Didn’t that make some kind of common ground?

While he’d been tangled in thinking, his body had not been hampered by the inner conflict. His feet, almost of their own accord, began to cross the cool tiles to where Jest stood, in a pose almost taunting. His cock thrust out, bold and ready. He’d fisted both hands on his hips, shoulders back and a grin on his face. Yeah, he did have a good body, looked as if he either worked out or did something a lot more physical than just drumming. Tight abs, muscular legs, all the things Greene appreciated in another man.

“Man, I fancy you and that’s no bullshit. Anything and any way you want me.”

Jest arched one eyebrow. “For real? How do those high tech guys do it up there in Silicon Valley? You a sub or something?”

Greene shrugged. “Not really. I don’t usually make the first move, though. I take what I can get.”

Jest’s expression changed. The taunt faded, along with the come-get-me dare in his eyes. He gave a slight nod. “Okay. I don’t usually have to go prowling. When you’re a musician, there’s always groupies—both sexes and every variety. You can’t help stumbling all over them. I can take my pick…well, after Marsh for the girls and Ben for the guys, since Tom and Stormy are exclusive. Not many girls, just not my thing…”

“I’ve been told I give a good BJ, if that’s something you’d like.”

Jest met Greene’s gaze for a moment, his face suddenly serious. “I’m not just a taker. How about you getting off, too?”

Greene felt himself grin. “Sixty-nine works for me so long as it’s nothing too acrobatic. I’ve got some condoms in my wallet in my pants.”

While Greene retrieved a pair of rubbers, Jest threw a couple more towels down on a bench in the middle of the room. “Top or bottom. You choose...” 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Cherish by A.J. Llewellyn

When Hollywood theatrical agent Daren Marlowe celebrates his thirtieth birthday with friends, he’s more than surprised when his best friend gives him a CD that is a revamp of the old 80s’ mixed tape. He’s even more surprised when he realizes it’s a re-gifted mixed tape. The first song on the CD is the syrupy Kool and the Gang classic, “Cherish.” When Daren takes it home, he has no plans to look at the CD again, let alone play it, but his new lover, Rafael, puts it on the sound system.

Daren gets to Cherish the love over and over and over again because the darned thing is stuck. Forced to close off the sound system entirely, he frets over being held hostage by the song and he’s not wrong. In a bizarre set of circumstances, Richard is assaulted and almost dies. Will he survive? Can Daren actually forge a viable relationship with the sexy and hypnotic Rafael—for as long as they both shall live—in a town where the men don’t always cherish their men?

Genres: Gay/Contemporary/Romantic Comedy/The Arts
Heat Level: 3
Length: Novella (29k words)  

Read a short excerpt...

...Richard’s new obsession these days was the hook-up site, Jack’d. To hear him tell it, Grindr was passé. I checked out his new rent boy choices. Both men were cute, but stupid-looking. One in particular had really mastered the condom stuffed with walnut appearance. He was posing so hard he appeared to be possibly constipated.

“Which one do you like?” I asked.

He shrugged. “Same horse, different jockey.”

Okay, then.

Rafael returned but was giddy with excitement that his offer had been accepted for the unfashionably located warehouse.

We all congratulated him. “Daren Marlow, you bring me good luck.” He kissed me and ordered a fresh round of drinks for everyone.

Richard handed me his birthday gift. It looked like a CD. He knew my musical tastes so I was excited until I opened it and saw that he’d written Mixed Tape across the CD.

Mixed Tape? I hadn’t seen one of those since 1984. Actually, I’d seen one just a few weeks ago to be more precise.

But it couldn’t be…

“Everything old is new again,” Richard said. “These are the hottest gifts you can give somebody.”

I had heard that and had lamented with Nathan that a mixed tape was now presented on a CD since an actual cassette tape was not only strongly out of fashion but most people had nothing on which to play them.

Turning the cover over in my hand, I was prepared to be charmed by my best friend’s choices. And then I saw the first song listed on the back of the jewel case—“Cherish.”

Oh, no.

It wasn’t that I didn’t like Kool and the Gang. Well, I almost didn’t not like them, but “Cherish” was one of those songs that stuck itself in one’s brain just by reading the name, let alone actually playing it.

But this was worse than that. This was a re-gifted mixed tape.

Twice over.

Nathan had been given the CD by his ex-girlfriend, a stalky wacko who sent him oddball gifts when they were happily à deux, and even stranger ones after he dumped her. As a matter of fact, she’d made him the very CD I was holding and had sent it to him.

I already knew without looking that the second title was one of my favorite Earth, Wind and Fire songs—“Fantasy.”

Tears pricked my eyes.

I’d counseled Nathan late one night over drinks at the Revolver about how to handle Nina, his ex-girlfriend. We had decided she’d put some effort into compiling this mixed tape CD and therefore he could hang onto it if he liked the songs, or he could simply toss it.

We’d joked about how the character Chandler on the TV series, Friends, had been given a mixed tape by his crazy ex, Janice. He’d palmed it off onto his fiancée, Monica, when he forgot their anniversary. She’d been thrilled at first as they danced to the tape, until Janice’s whiny voice popped up in the middle of the tracks.

Nathan had stopped texting and was staring at me.

He was mortified.

And I knew exactly what had happened now.

He’d given the CD to Richard, probably as a gift when he signed him as a client.

Richard had no idea I knew about the mixed tape and thought it was an appropriate present for me, his best friend.

And he’d given my boss, a woman he didn’t even really like a Kelly bag.

“I think I want a cigarette,” I said... 

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Beat by D.J. Manly

The beat of love doesn’t always move every drummer in the same way...

The members of Frenzied Water, an up-and-coming rock band, can’t believe their luck when Frank Harold, former drummer for Heirloom, the most famous group on the planet, enters the studio and offers to be their new percussionist. And Johnny, Frenzied Water’s front man, never expects that his feelings for Frank will grow to the point where he needs to know the reason Frank left Heirloom for a less popular group.

One night, after a few drinks with Johnny, Frank finally confesses the reason he left Heirloom—a love affair-gone-wrong with his former vocalist. With the truth out, Johnny believes he has a chance with the sexy drummer if only he can convince Frank to leave the past behind and give their blossoming love a try.

Then a miracle happens, one that Johnny suspects may be more calculated than it appears. His band is invited to be the opening act on Heirloom’s American tour. It’s a dream for a rock group struggling for recognition, but a personal nightmare for Johnny, who wishes Frank as far away from his former lead singer as possible.

But Johnny is not the only one dreading this tour, and when a snowstorm in Denver traps Johnny, Frank, and two members of Heirloom together in a cabin, there will be no escape...

Genres: Gay/Contemporary/The Arts/Ménage (M/M/M)/Group Sex
Heat Level: 3
Length: Extended Amber Kiss (13k words) 

Read a short excerpt...

...When I look back at that night I spent with Frank, Dave, and Tim, I know no gay man on earth had ever gotten luckier than me. Three hot men, with great bodies, great cocks, and enough experience to make it hurt so good. We all completely lost our inhibitions that night.

It was like a dream, hot and arousing. So dirty and taboo it bordered on the criminal. It wasn’t just the pot or the snowstorm outside, though that was certainly a part. It was also the intensity of emotion so thick in the air that none of us could ignore it.

I wanted Frank, Tim wanted Dave, and yet Tim and I somehow needed to find out what it was like to be with the exes of the men we loved.

I lay there on the sofa, pants gone, my underwear drying with the rest of my clothes, and Dave had pushed the sweater up to my neck, holding me hostage. His fingers spent great effort flicking and pinching my nipples as his tongue slid up and down my shaft. I lifted my hips and licked my lips, the sensation of his tongue making me half nuts. I didn’t resist when I felt someone at my head, pulling the sweater off and pulling my wrists together over my head.

I was squirming all over the place as a tongue began to lave my nipples, and someone pulled my head back over the sofa arm. I glanced up to see Frank’s face. I looked up into his eyes as he massaged my jaw and the head of his cock trailed over my lips. I moaned and opened my mouth as my cock was also being swallowed. Frank lowered his cock into my mouth and hit my throat, as the attention paid to my nipples intensified. Teeth nibbled each one, and I was on fire, aroused to the point of no return.

“I want to fuck him,” someone said. Not sure who and I didn’t care... 

Monday, 15 April 2013

Aria of the Eclipse by Vivien Dean

Nothing has ever excited Tylen Merodine more than being invited by the Regent himself to celebrate the first solar eclipse in his planet’s recorded history. It’s the party of the millennium, and if he has to restrain his normal exuberant instincts to fit in, that’s what he’ll do to be a part of it. His good intentions vanish, however, the moment he’s presented to the Regent. Because there, in a gilded cage, playing music unlike anything Tylen’s ever heard, is the most beautiful alien he could imagine.

For more than twenty years, Dek has lived in captivity, performing at the whim of those who see him as an animal. The Regent is just the latest in a long line of owners, and while he’s kind, he’s still blind to Dek’s sentient nature. Only music gives Dek a voice, until Tylen breaks the rules and sneaks in to see and speak to him alone.

The time they have together is stolen and precious, the minutes ticking away until the eclipse is past and they have to go back to the way their lives were before. But when the Regent shows an unexpected interest in Tylen’s future, they begin to wonder if their worlds need to remain so separate... 

Genres: Gay/Science Fiction/Futuristic/Interracial/Multicultural/The Arts
Heat Level: 3
Length: Extended Novella (35k words) 

Read a short excerpt...

...My attempt to try to defuse my embarrassment was met with a frown and a shake of his head. “I wouldn’t do that. You cannot help your circumstances. You are what you are.”

I snorted. “You need to tell that to Dourack. All he’s done is lecture me since we left home. He especially wasn’t thrilled with our presentation.”

“Because you broke protocol?”

“Even you noticed?” I sighed. “Damn.”

Dek edged off the bench he sat on and crept forward until he knelt as close as he could to me with the bars still between us. “It’s only bad if it harms your time here. If you had behaved as every other notable Johaf presented today, I would not now have the pleasure to call you friend.” He held out my scrambler. “I hope I do have that pleasure.”

“Of course you do,” I rushed to say. But when I took my scrambler back, I couldn’t look away from his hands. The filaments laid flat against the inside of his fingers, tucked away so tight I wondered if it was deliberate.

I must’ve stared too long because he reached farther, turning his wrist so his palm was up, the fingertips grazing the edges of the bar. Slowly, he splayed his hand, and the strands unfurled in finespun splendor.

“On my planet,” he started, his voice soft and hypnotic, “we do not have the advanced technologies you do. Our homes have no walls. We look to the sky as our creator, the water our mistress. These…” He bent his thumb inward, allowing the longest tendril to emit a single, soft note. “The music is secondary, a consequence for their main purpose.”

“Which is?” My query was a whisper, reverence paid due to the honor of learning something I knew few people understood.

“They help us travel on the wind. We can coast across the water’s surface without fear, then.”

I finally looked up. Dek wasn’t looking at his hand, but at me, his nose only inches away, his gaze fathomless. I’d been wrong about the blackness. The same gray marking his skin flecked his eyes, affording them a light that took away the melancholy I don’t think he realized he wore. Part of me understood the Regent’s pride in showing Dek off. He truly was the most magnificent creature I’d ever seen, more than his peerless music could ever be.

“They’re your wings.”

I hadn’t even realized I’d said it out loud until he smiled. “I suppose that’s one way to look at them.”

“But you can control them.”

“Yes.” To prove it, they folded back against his skin, without his flexing a single muscle.

My scrambler seemed so unsophisticated compared to his physiology. As I slipped it back in my pocket, though, Dek touched the back of my hand.

“Can you use that whenever you wish?” he asked.

I don’t know which shocked me more—the fact that he’d reached through the bars or how hot his fingertips were compared to my skin. I felt the slight tickle for long seconds after he withdrew and had to fight the compulsion to rub it deeper into my hand. “As long as I don’t get caught.”

“Perhaps…if there isn’t another event for you to attend…you might come back later tonight? It gets…lonely.”

The words cost him. Pride, or fear, or embarrassment. Maybe all of the above. Even if I did have a party to get to, I couldn’t allow that to count for nothing.

“No might about it. I’ll be here.” I grinned. “I could even sneak down to the cellars and borrow some of the Regent’s wine. We could have our own event.”

“That won’t be necessary. Your company is more than I could ever ask for.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’d been kidding. He seemed so grateful for what was essentially a huge honor to me. What person in their right mind wouldn’t embrace a chance like this? To get to know someone like Dek? To give him a few hours of reprieve from a life he’d resigned himself to? I wasn’t passing this up, even if it meant this would remain my secret for the rest of my life.

I met his eyes. The gray was brighter than before. It was probably just a trick of the light, but I decided to believe it was because of me, because of this budding friendship bonding between us.

“I promise you,” I said. “It’ll be a night we’ll never forget...”

Friday, 12 April 2013

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

March bestsellers

Next week, we start highlighting the stories in the upcoming music-themed pax. In the meantime, check out the March bestsellers from Amber Allure

1. An Unexpected Magick - M. L. Rhodes (Gay/Shapeshifter)
2. Working It Out - Sean Michael (Gay/Contemporary)
3. Test Drive - L. A. Witt (Gay/Contemporary)
4. Lock And Key - Sasha Devlin (Gay/Contemporary)
5. Charitable Giving - Heidi Champa (Gay/Contemporary)
6. Who Moved My Holepunch? - Anne Brooke (Gay/Contemporary)
7. Getting Real - Christiane France (Gay/Contemporary)
8. Sins Of Temptation - India Harper (Gay/Contemporary)
9. The Delaneys, My Parents And Me - Anne Brooke (Gay/Contemporary)
10. The Escort: In The Public Eye - Parker Linn (Gay/Contemporary)

Congratulations to everyone!

Friday, 5 April 2013

New pax reviews

New reviews for recent pax releases!

Thommie at MM Good Book Reviews says Who Moved My Holepunch? by Anne Brooke is fascinating, with "exquisite chemistry...achieved between her characters."

Jenre at Brief Encounters Reviews says about The Mayfield Speakeasy by L.A. Witt, "...there was much to like about this story," and gave it a B-.

At Top 2 Bottom Reviews, Pammyla gave Vivien Dean's Iron Eyes 4 kisses and said, "If you're looking for sexy steampunk, this is for you."

Val Kovalin admires the sense of craft and proportion of KC Kendricks' Doors of Time and gives it 3.5 stars at Reviews by Jessewave.