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.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Purrfect Tales giveaway winner

Wow, what a great turnout this week! Probably because those cat shifters are so damn sexy, right?

Being Saturday, it's time to announce our giveaway winner. And the winner is...


Expect to hear from us very soon!

Don't forget to check back on us in June for the release of our next pax, Haunting Words, five stories all about ghosts. See you then!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Rock Star Shifters by K-lee Klein

Tabby's Pride is about shifter-rock stars—lion shifters to be more exact—and it came about from two separate story ideas. First of all there was an audition scene I'd already partially written, but had no clue what to do with, and of course, this PAX was just the incentive I needed to figure it out. I hadn't planned on incorporating the two until the sudden image of how awesome rock star shifters could be. 

I'm a rock star groupie from way back and I have the scars to prove it. All right, maybe I didn't indulge quite that hard, but I certainly subscribed and devoured Tiger Beat back in the day—and I swear it was about the music, not jus the pretty. When I was in high school I engulfed myself in all the hunky pics of pretty boy teen idols and popstars, and my walls were adorned with the ripped-out pages that held my dreams and obsessions. 

As for seeing rock stars live, there's nothing better than being immersed in a writhing crowd of sweaty, excited fans while your favorite singer screams those familiar lyrics and puts on a breathtaking performance. My first concert was Streetheart—being Canadian, I'm not even sure if anyone's ever heard of them. As I got older, my rock star addiction grew with me—Bon Jovi, John Cougar, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Def Leppard, Seether. And did I mention I attended thirteen Thirty Seconds to Mars gigs around the US and Canada back in 2010 when I was, well—far removed from my teenage years? Lol.

The shifter obsession came about in my late teens as well, mostly with American Werewolf in London and the original Teen Wolf film. So technically, a book that is the perfect combination of both was a must-write for me, and I'm not done. My beta reader, my editor and a first reviewer all started their comments about Tabby's Pride with, "I want more!" and I have to admit I agree. There is far more to Levi and Xan's story, plus I've also had a request for Kevin's and Don's, too.  

When readers like what I write and I like it too, who am I to deny anyone, right? Plus, I confess to having trouble letting go of my characters at the best of times so making Tabby's Pride the first in a new series called Lion's Pride seems like the perfect fit. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy my little pride of rock stars. Rock on, cats. 


Tabby's Pride by K-lee Klein 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!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Stranger Rice by A.J. Llewellyn & D.J. Manly

A couple of years ago, a reader sent me an article from a local newspaper here in Los Angeles about a very successful, highly intelligent student from Tokyo who'd come here on a student visa for his final year of college. This is a very common practice with Asian families, but this young man was not given much money before he left home (not so very common) and struggled to finance both his studies, rent, and little luxuries like food.

He wound up homeless and on skid row. For a while, he was able to dupe his family into believing he was doing well. Then the calls stopped. They hired a detective to find him, hardly able to believe the end result. Their beloved son had slipped into mental illness and would not return home for fear of shaming his family. I never found out what happened to him, and frankly I was afraid to learn the truth. But his story stuck in my mind and I borrowed the germ of the idea for my new cat shifter book Stranger Rice, co-written with D.J. Manly.

In our story, the hero, Basho, has moved to Hong Kong to work for a rich, mysterious man named Kanji little suspecting he's a tiger shifter. Basho feels he is failing at his job and is lonely and over-worked in the incredible, fast-paced, but daunting world of Hong Kong business.

Basho's mom is a force to be reckoned with. She suddenly announces she's going to visit. How can Basho possibly convince her he is all the things he's lied about in his calls and emails - including being a straight man involved with a successful businesswoman?

To top things off, his unrequited crush on Kanji suddenly looks like it's mutual. Will he be preparing batches of his family's traditional stranger rice when his mom arrives? Or will he be um…meowing for his supper?

When A.J. told me about this story, I was intrigued. I read the first part and thought what in the heck am I supposed to do with this? It's really good but where do I take it? It didn't take me long to figure it out. This story was so rich in character and detail. I just dove right in like one would to a good bowl of rice. 

What is it about rice anyway? Well, it's so versatile and filling. You can eat it with just about anything, or on its own, or you can throw things into it, and dress it up. There are different kinds, some really fragrant or grainy. And that's what it was with this story. It had such richness, and it in the end, it was filling just like that bowl of rice.

And of course, let's not forget the domineering Mom, who hasn't been exposed to that, either to your own or someone else's mother? 

But the most intriguing character is Kanji, sexy, sleek, a real animal in the bedroom, roar!

Enjoy. D.J. ☺


Stranger Rice by A.J. Llewellyn & 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!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The Story Behind the Story by Carolina Valdez

Please understand that while The Siberian is a love story, every romance has to have a setting, and I happened to choose the backdrop of wildlife conservation. As I researched tigers around the world, I fell in love with the Siberians, and it was then I discovered they were endangered. I don’t usually write stories with a “message”. I’m not sure what set me along this path for this particular story except for my love of wild animals, particularly pandas and the big cats.

My early days as a zoo enthusiast no doubt had something to do with my choice.

When I was ten, my mother would pack a sack lunch for me on Saturdays and I would bicycle alone to the zoo. There was no entry fee. I’d park my bike outside the gates—locking anything, even your front door, wasn’t necessary in those days—and retrieve my lunch to eat in a grotto with a small waterfall and lush tropical plantings. I would wander the grounds until my feet were too sore to take another step and then head for my bicycle and home.

The summer I was twelve, a girlfriend and I took a class there to learn about apes and gorillas. We learned Ape is a subgroup of the primates, and Gorilla is a variety among the Greater Apes. Apes have no tails. Monkeys, a separate primate subgroup, do.

Until now, I’ve never had a need to use that information, but the next time I visit a wildlife park, I’ll think of it in a new light. Although I was unaware of it when young, today I realize the two major thrusts of any zoo are education and conservation.

My two previous animal shifter stories are not conservation oriented, even though Inhabiting The Night features a white tiger, and a snow leopard prowls the pages of Twilight. As research for this current story deepened my understanding of Panthera Tigris, I fell in love with the Siberian Amur above all others.

Setting a story in the vast part of Russia in Asia known as Siberia was a frustrating challenge. I did find a couple of articles in The Siberian Times online for tips on life there. Although education, even through the college years, is free in Russia, locating towns in Siberia near its taiga forest of spruce, pines and larches was impossible. Therefore, the town of Amurskova and its university exist only in my imagination.

The websites I used as a guide for what I call the “Conservation of Wildlife Organization” in my novella have not been updated for almost ten years, so I’m not sure the specific program operated in 1996 by the United States and Russia, after which I modeled mine, still exists. However, conservation methods are similar anywhere in the world.

Sadly, the very real and active World Wildlife Fund organization estimates we have lost 93% of the wild tigers in the world due to poaching and loss of habitat.

Siberians are believed to have declined from the high of 400 in my story.

I hope you enjoy The Siberian, and that  you fall in love with these tigers just as I did. 



The Siberian by Carolina Valdez 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!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Royal Line by Sean Michael

When I decided to participate in the Cat Shifters PAX, Purrrrfect Tales. I decided it would be fun if one of the characters had no idea he was a shifter at all. Then I decided the second character’s job would be to find unwitting shifters and inform them of their, uh, shifterhood. On top of that, what if the unknowing shifter was actually shifter royalty?

It turned out to be great fun to write and I hope you enjoy it.

Tiger-shifter Grio has one job, locating dormant tiger-shifters and introducing them to the world of Saffron Tigers. When he finds Professor Phoenix Lamoure, he soon discovers that Headquarters got a couple of key points wrong—Phoenix isn’t actually a professor, but he is Saffron Tiger royalty, a member of the lost royal line.

Phoenix didn’t have things easy growing up. His mother spent most of her life in a mental institution, and he spent his formative years in foster care. When a stranger approaches and tries to unearth his family history, Phoenix becomes wary. And when the stranger actually kidnaps him, all bets are off!

Can Phoenix ever believe what Grio has to tell him? Or will he be forever convinced that he’s as crazy as his mother?

There’s an excerpt over on the purchase page, but here’s a different one:


“Did she tell you that you were special?” Grio asked.

“She was my mom.” Phoenix kept walking.

Grio matched Phoenix’s pace easily. “Did she tell you that you had royal blood?”

Phoenix stopped, stared at him. “Go away. Go away and leave me alone.”

“I can’t. This is too important.” He willed the man to listen to him, to take the chance.

“I’m not interested in drama. I just… I’ve got a good position here.”

“This isn’t drama. It’s about destiny. It’s about the survival of a species.” Most of the tiger’s he’d informed in the past were intrigued at this point, or at least interested enough to want to hear him out.

“I’m going for a coffee, excuse me.” Phoenix’s back was stiff, his whole body shouting mistrust and worry.

Fuck it. They were approaching his SUV. Grio put his hand in his pocket, unlocking the doors with the fob. Then, as they passed the car, he opened the door and bundled Phoenix right in, locking the door with his fob immediately.

The SUV was soundproofed, so he didn’t hear a thing as he walked around to the driver’s side. Windows were tinted, too, so passersby weren’t going to realize he’d essentially just kidnapped Phoenix. Heh. Not essentially—he had kidnapped the man.

After unlocking just the driver’s door, he slipped into the SUV. Phoenix jumped at him, attacking him immediately, screaming. He had height and weight on the man, though, and he grabbed Phoenix’s hands, holding them tightly.

“I’m sorry, but I need your attention.” He stayed calm, talked softly.

“Let me go!”

“I can’t do that.” He looked into the beautiful golden eyes, calling to the tiger inside Phoenix. The beast inside the man would recognize his beast as kin, as an ally. If it wasn’t buried too deep.

The golden eyes flared, a fire starting deep inside. Grio growled softly, deep in his throat.

“Let me out.”

“I can’t.” He let go of Phoenix’s hands, reached over and put the man’s seat belt on, all the while holding the golden gaze. “I’m not going to hurt you, but you need to hear what I have to say.”

Look at that heat, that flame. Fascinating. Phoenix’s eyes were amazing.

And glaring at him.

Phoenix crossed his arms, still glowering. “Just say it.”

“There isn’t really enough room in here to do this.” He started up the engine. There was a safe house just outside of town—they had them spread out over the whole country—somewhere with room to run, somewhere with meat, soundproofed walls.

Checking his mirrors and over his shoulder and focusing on the road, Grio merged in with the traffic.

As soon as his attention was elsewhere, Phoenix unfastened his belt, trying the door.

“It’s locked. Please put your belt back on in case I have to stop suddenly.”

“Let me out!” The roar was impressive, wild.

It sent a shiver down his spine. He wanted to fucking bow down to the man. Once Phoenix shifted, he would have to—this man was his prince, there was no doubt of that now. Grio could feel it in his gut.

“Sit,” he snapped. “Sit and shut up.” He was not going to lose it here in the car and kill them both. He was trained better than that.

He followed the road out of town, speed increasing as the traffic became much thinner. Phoenix was panting, breathing hard, and readying himself to attack.

“Not while I’m driving,” he warned the man.

“I want out. I won’t call the police.”

“When we get there.” He was not leaving the prince of the Saffron Tigers on the side of the road.

He couldn’t wait to let his bosses know about this. It was the biggest find in two generations.

“We’re almost there.” He turned off the highway, turning again shortly after that onto a dirt road that took them into the woods.

“You’re like a fucking axe murderer, right?”

“I swear I’m not. I don’t want to hurt you. At all.”

Though he could see why Phoenix might be concerned. He’d kidnapped the man and now he was taking Phoenix to an isolated house off the beaten track in the middle of the woods. Yeah, he’d be nervous, too. This was why he’d tried to get Phoenix alone on the man’s own turf.

Still, the whole thing with the royal bloodline had thrown him off, totally.

Sean Michael
smut fixes everything


Royal Line by Sean Michael 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, 19 May 2014

What—and why, Catastrophe? by Deirdre O'Dare

Most of our regular readers know that Deirdre O’Dare writes dog stories.  And most probably know that I am a very dedicated animal lover. Still, cats are not my normal venue. So why this story? First off, I have to blame Christiane France a little bit. She honchos our PAX schedule and sign up list and about a year ago was worried when we came up short a tale for a cat shifter PAX that sounded very promising. She almost dared me to jump in even when I said I was allergic to cats and not that knowledgeable about them. Well, of course Ms O’Dare can hardly resist a dare! So I volunteered.

Years ago when I was in college, a roommate and I each got a kitten. Here is a snapshot of Pinto (mine) and Goldie (hers). 

At the time I started having some semi-asthma symptoms and had no idea why. When I graduated and went off to my first job, I had to leave my cat behind. A few months later I married into a ready-made family, getting my kids “second hand and housebroke” as I am fond of saying, and a cat came with the package. I had actually met Jennifer, my future daughter, first when I moved in next door and she came to visit her new neighbors, wearing her cat like a fur stole across her shoulders. That was mama cat Sassy. I was soon back to the asthma. 

Having had allergies all my life, I finally went to a specialist and had all those stick-and-itch tests done. Sure enough, cats were high on my list. When we moved a couple of years later, Jennifer’s kitty could not go and she didn’t get cats again until she had her own home as I just could not live with one. Sad, because they are neat animals, too. Now unless they are on the bed I sleep in or right in my face I can be around them a bit but not on a prolonged basis.

Back to the story, though, the first thing that came to my mind was a character who loved the whole feline tribe but had major allergies. So happened he worked in a zoo… And there came Carl, stepping out of that shadowy place where new story people hide until it’s time for them to start sharing. I had not planned that he’d be a shifter but I knew there was one who’d spring into his life and work magic. Sure enough, here came Zyl: a cheetah who could also be a man. 

Mmmm, loved him right away and it seemed that Carl did too. Still it was a shock to him and to me also when Zyl told him the allergies were probably the result of the cat inside Carl who wanted desperately to be freed! Yowzers. Where did that come from??

From there on, as my tales usually do, it kept taking new twists and turns and throwing curve balls my way which I caught and fielded as best I could. It was so much fun, though! I have to admit my whole shifter community was inspired somewhat by a marvelous series of urban fantasy tales I was reading as the story began. Some of you may have read Ilona Andrews wonderful “Magic” stories. My shifter folk are a bit different but maybe kin to the ones she (actually a husband and wife team) writes about. I expect I will be doing some more stories where they will appear. There may even be more adventures for Carl and Zyl. We’ll see.

In the process of building this one, I did some research on the cheetah species. They are beautiful, amazing and sadly very endangered now. Other than a sanctuary or two in Africa, very few exist except those in captivity. I certainly do hope and pray they can be brought back and reintroduced in some of their historic habitats. I’m going to try to devote about 10% of my sales of Catastrophe to help this cause. There are other endangered felines as well and I wish the same for them. The daughter of a friend is very taken with white tigers, another rare and now scarce group. I also like the ocelots, so far not endangered but for how long? 

Years ago during the same time when my daughter’s cats were triggering my allergies, there was a small zoo of the type that has now mostly been abolished, often for good reasons, near where we lived. The old man who ran it had an ocelot and a coyote that shared an enclosure.  We were all fascinated by this odd paring but they were fast friends. The ocelot had been declawed and I think used in some movies so it could not exist in the wild but it was so gorgeous! 

About that time, Jennifer’s old mama cat had kittens and after they were weaned, the cat went to another home but Jen got to keep one kitten. He was a gray tabby but his stripes were kind of dots and dashes instead of solid so she named him Ozzie, short for Ocelot. You might say this story is for a little girl who grew up to be a strong woman with kids of her own long after she had decided I was a good candidate for her second mom and came to meet me wearing her cat those many years ago. And for Chris; you knew you could get me to do it, didn’t you? Maybe the moral is never Dare a Deirdre!!

Coming in a bit: a story which is currently in process that involves a very special heart and another about an aerial firefighter and an investigative reporter both focused on some of the terrible wildfires that have been happening the last few years in the American southwest. After that, who knows?  So watch later this year for A Game of Hearts and Red Tails in the Sunset (working titles but likely to remain). Game at least will be a PAX story in the Silver Foxes PAX due out probably early in the fall.


Catastrophe by Deidre 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!

Sunday, 18 May 2014


Genres: Gay (M/M) Erotic Romance

The titles listed below comprise the Purrfect Tales AmberPax™ Collection. Buy all five together and receive a 35% discount! To purchase any of the titles individually, click on the covers below to go to the books' separate pages. 

by Deirdre O'Dare
Royal Line
Royal Line
by Sean Michael
Extended Amber Kiss
The Siberian
The Siberian
by Carolina Valdez
Stranger Rice
Stranger Rice
by A.J. Llewellyn & D.J. Manly
Tabby's Pride
Tabby's Pride
by K-lee Klein
Extended Novella

In conjunction with our newest release, we will be having a giveaway! Any comment made from today throughout the week (5/18-5/23) will be eligible to win the entire pax collection. A winner will be picked at random on Saturday from all comments received.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Tabby's Pride by K-lee Klein

Levi Tabberton has dreamed of being a rock star ever since his brother's best friend, Alexander Morrison, showed him his guitar when he was young. But becoming a member of his boyhood crush's band, Lion's Pride, is even more important.

Growing up, Levi emulated Alexander, and now, years later, that feeling remains when he auditions for the band. Xan is laidback, caring, gorgeous, and takes Levi under his wing—or rather, his paw. But Levi's guilt and insecurity hold him back from letting Xan see the real him.

Levi needs to prove himself worthy of the band and deserving of Xan's attention, but the lengths to which he's gone have left him reeling with anxiety and exhaustion. Levi's not sure how much longer he can pull off his charade to reach his goals and to keep Xan's affections.

Has he made the right choice by putting on an act, or will his dreams fade in a catastrophe of lies and uncertainty?

Genres: Gay/Fantasy/Shapeshifter/The Arts/Series
Heat Level: 3
Length: Extended Novella (34k words) 

Read a short excerpt...

...Levi inhaled a big breath through his nose and leaned back against the cool concrete wall. The advertisement hadn’t been anything special, but it was very specific: Lead guitarist with panthera-leo mutator tendencies wanted. Levi knew the shifter classification, but he also knew he had no intention of making the band send him home before they heard what he could do. At least he hoped not.

“Okay, Levi. You’re on. Break a leg, dude.”

Levi was unceremoniously shoved through the intimidating black door. It banged shut behind him with a resounding echo that could have woken the dead, figuratively of course. The point was, it was fucking loud. He took a few steps, then another big inhale before he turned to face the table in the middle of the room.

“Hey. Levi, right?”

He couldn’t believe he was there, couldn’t believe he was standing in front of goddamn Lion’s Pride. The three hotter-than-hell members sat in a row behind the table, the top cluttered with papers, pens and water bottles—all of them staring directly at Levi.

Don Jorgensen was first, his spiky, platinum hair painted in a multitude of funky splashes of color that Levi knew glowed in the dark when he was behind his drum kit. He was over six feet and built, with a plethora of piercings dotting his face, many matching the strange silver-hue of his eyes.

At the other end of the table, Kevin Brown leaned back in his chair. He was Australian with the sexiest accent ever, a head of wild blond hair, and he was a damn good bass player, too. Levi had memorized the list of songs he’d co-written for Lion’s Pride, as well as all the instruments he could play and the A-list celebrities he escorted around town—both female and male. Kevin wasn’t the most popular band member, but he was the one most widely known for his sexual appetite. Had Levi not already been totally gone on another, he would have had strong images of Kevin on his knees, even stronger than the ones trying to push through right now.

The middle seat was taken up by the heart and soul of the band, Alexander—Xan—Morrison. Levi snuck a peek from under the brim of his hat, letting the image of the lead singer settle in his brain. Xan’s hair was longer than his bass player’s, almost identical in its golden color with streaks of dark here and there. It fell in sexy roped braids around his face and over his shoulders.

Just being in the same room as him made everything that much more real for Levi.

Xan was a god among gods, at least in all of Levi’s fantasies. He wasn’t as tall as his buddies, but he was broader across the shoulders. His body wasn’t overly muscled, but he filled out his pale blue T-shirt in ways that jolted Levi’s dick inside his pants.

He nearly bent double when waves of anxiety and fear twisted and turned his gut inside out in a tangent of nauseating movement. He watched, waited, as Xan tilted his head, tapping a pen against his full lips, the determined yet tired look in his eyes a silent, shouting question in Levi’s head. “Don’t I know you?”

Levi forced his gaze away before adjusting his hat and setting his guitar case on the floor beside him. He shuffled his feet in hopes of soothing the electric nerves zapping him from head to toe, and even more so, to adjust the sudden tightness in his pants. He’d swear his dick had gone from zero to eighty in the time it took to walk across the room. It pulsed and pressed against the uncomfortable zipper of the denim as aching desire took up residence with all his other current maladies. Talk about the perfect day to not go commando... 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Stranger Rice by A.J. Llewellyn & D.J. Manly

For many, the sins of the father visit themselves upon the children. But in Basho Loy's experience, it's the sins of his mother for which he has to pay. Not that he knows all her sins, since his mom is one sinister, mysterious figure. All his life she has been an overbearing figure he can't emulate, and each and every day, he feels he's failed her. Except now he's landed a top job in Tokyo, working for the sexy, compelling Kanji Chang, and Basho believes his fortunes have changed. But Kanji also has mysteries and often gives off a sinister air. And when the two men tumble into bed, Basho is surprised when Kanji actually bites him.

Though the bite leaves no telltale physical signs, Basho's whole body goes through changes. He can see and hear better. Sleep is a distant memory, and he has super-fast speed. He also views the world in a different way. But everything hurts, and noises are too loud, while his eyes begin acting weird.

And then things get even odder when Basho's mother descends for a visit and spills the family secret. Is she nuts, or is the family's closely guarded recipe for Stranger Rice not the only thing they hold dear? As Basho dreams of whiskers, he realizes his hot new lover sometimes has four legs, a tail, and a ferocious roar... 

Genres: Gay/Fantasy/Shapeshifter/
Heat Level: 3
Length: Novella (21k words) 

Read a short excerpt...

...The elevator doors pinged open and his fear peaked as Kanji stepped out, looking as immaculate and unattainable as ever. His dark hair gleamed as he strode toward Basho. He was alone, so maybe things weren’t as bad as Basho thought.

“Hi.” Basho waved, feeling like a simpleton.

A small smile curved its way onto Kanji’s mouth. “You look well enough,” he said. “So I assume you have some very good reason for missing dinner last night.”

Basho’s mouth fell open. For some odd reason the first thing that popped into his head was Mary Poppins telling her tiny charge, “Close your mouth, Michael. We are not a codfish.”

“Last night?” he echoed feebly as Kanji walked right past him into the apartment, his head swiveling in every direction.

Basho closed the door, realizing he’d left his sauce bubbling on the stove. He hurried to the kitchen, but Kanji lingered in the living room. Basho stood, holding the sizzling pan, wondering what his boss was doing.

Kanji finally entered, his see-all gaze taking everything in.

“Your home is not what I expected.”

Basho’s hand shook from sheer nerves. “What were you expecting?” He placed the pan back on the stove so he didn’t slosh boiling hot liquid all over himself. He tipped the marinating lamb into the pan.

“Well, I thought you’d live a far more…Spartan lifestyle. I didn’t think your space would be quite so…cluttered.”

Cluttered? Up until this morning it wasn’t. Basho’s heart sank.

“So, why did you skip dinner last night?”

Basho glanced down at his pan. “I didn’t skip it. I wasn’t invited.”

“That’s ridiculous.” I sent out emails to everybody last Monday.”

“Well, I didn’t get one.” Basho quickly spooned sauce over the lamb chop. It was coming along nicely. Oh, God. Why was he still cooking? He was about to get the um, chop.

Kanji began rifling through his cell phone. He flicked a glance at Basho. “What are you making?”

“Stranger rice.”

“I love stranger rice,” Kanji said, just like he had in the dream. A chill ran down Basho’s neck. Kanji leaned over the breakfast bar, staring down at the stove. “How do you make it?”

Basho smiled, also like he had in the dream, except Kanji didn’t have a wineglass in his hand.

What’s he doing in my kitchen? Basho fretted just like he had in the dream. If he mentions human meat I’m jumping out the window.

“Do you have any wine?” Kanji suddenly asked.

“No.” Basho shook his head. “Sorry.” He flicked a glance at the oven clock. Twelve noon. He felt like a character in the movie Shane. He was about to enter a battle of wills. Without the guns... 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The Siberian by Carolina Valdez

Sergei Tavrovsky is considered a recluse by those who cross his path on campus at Amurskova University, located just outside the Russian Taiga Forest. It’s a perception that fits the university’s AV and computer tech guy just fine. It means he’s successfully crafted his life to protect the secrets of who he is and what he becomes when the moon is full.

When Grigorij Sokoloff, the friendly and sexy biology professor, storms Sergei’s quiet citadel to engage him fully in life, Sergei is forced to decide if loving this man is worth the risk that Grigorij might die. 

Genres: Gay/Fantasy/Shapeshifter/Action/Adventure/Interracial/Multicultural
Heat Level: 2
Length: Novella (27k words) 

Read a short excerpt...

...Sokoloff rubbed his hands together, as if to warm them, and then he walked around the room and studied the framed photographs on the walls. “Spectacular. They aren’t signed, but I can tell they’re by the same man. Are they yours?”

Sergei watched him and knew his compliment was genuine. He nodded and dropped his gaze.

“You’re very gifted.” Almost as an afterthought, he added, “Hot tea sounds wonderful. I’ll take the biscuit, too, please.”

“Water’s hot. Come.” Sergei stepped into the kitchenette and Sokoloff followed. He pulled another tea glass from a cupboard, set it in a fancy metal holder, and poured some of the concentrated tea in it. He turned the glass, so his guest could take it by its handle, and then gestured toward the samovar’s spigot.

Sokoloff tried to turn the spigot lever instead of lifting it up. On impulse, Sergei placed his hand on the other man’s and demonstrated. Again, the sense of connection sparked through him as his skin made contact with Sokoloff’s skin. He jerked his hand back, and for a moment, neither of them moved or spoke.

The professor moved first, letting the hot water dilute the tea to his taste and, still, neither of them said a word.

Sergei slid a biscuit onto a small plate and they returned to the table. Sokoloff sat in a chair behind the leather pouch he’d laid out there, so Sergei set the plate in front of him.

Avoiding further physical contact, Sergei didn’t sit next to his guest. He put one foot on a chair at the end of the table and held his tea on his knee. Even then he was close enough to look down on Sokoloff’s head of thick, dark hair, which was as neatly trimmed as his beard and mustache. As he studied the finely shaped fingers holding the biscuit and glass, the sense that he knew something more about him cropped up again. What that something was stubbornly refused to be remembered.

As he watched the sensual shape of enticing lips close on the rim to sip the steaming liquid, emotions stirred at his center and his pants grew too tight as his dick began to harden. He looked away.

Sokoloff shut his eyes and put his head back. “Hmm. Perfect. I like it strong and hot. Is it Russian Caravan?”

Sergei nodded, wondering why the response pleased him as much as it did. It was such a silly thing. What could it possibly matter that they liked the same type of tea?

They sat in comfortable silence until they’d almost finished their tea, then Sergei nodded toward the leather satchel on the table. “Tell me about your project.”

The professor sprang to life with an enthusiasm Sergei could almost feel.

“What do you know about Siberian tigers?”

Sergei choked on his tea... 

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Royal Line by Sean Michael

Tiger-shifter Grio has one job, locating dormant tiger-shifters and introducing them to the world of Saffron Tigers. When he finds Professor Phoenix Lamoure, he soon discovers that Headquarters got a couple of key points wrong—Phoenix isn’t actually a professor, but he is Saffron Tiger royalty, a member of the lost royal line.

Phoenix didn’t have things easy growing up. His mother spent most of her life in a mental institution, and he spent his formative years in foster care. When a stranger approaches and tries to unearth his family history, Phoenix becomes wary. And when the stranger actually kidnaps him, all bets are off!

Can Phoenix ever believe what Grio has to tell him? Or will he be forever convinced that he’s as crazy as his mother? 

Genres: Gay/Fantasy/Shapeshifter
Heat Level: 3
Length: Extended Amber Kiss (13k words) 

Read a short excerpt...

...Phoenix stood. “You’re creeping me out, man. I’ll see you around.”

“I’m sorry, that wasn’t my intention.” He stood as well, trying not to loom. “Perhaps we can go to your office?”

“No way. I’m not going anywhere alone with you.”

Well, he’d screwed the pooch on this one. Headquarters was going to kill him.

“Just calm down, Phoenix. I have no intension of hurting you.” And the only thing that could make the situation worse would be scaring Phoenix into spontaneously shifting for the first time right here.

“What do you want? I mean, this feels totally wrong.”

He’d obviously taken the wrong approach. Of course it seemed Phoenix was smarter than your average tiger. Grio sighed. “Look. I know something about your background and you aren’t going to believe me and I’d rather get laughed at in private.”

“I’m not interested. My mom… It was awful. I don’t want to know.”

“What happened with your mother?” The file on Phoenix was woefully thin.

“She died in an asylum. She committed suicide.” Phoenix frowned, face confused. “Why on earth am I telling you this?”

“I have that kind of face?”

Suicide. Had Phoenix’s mother known what she was? What Phoenix was?

“I’m very sorry about your mother.”

“It was a long time ago. I hadn’t been able to see her in years.”

“Do you know why she was in the asylum?” He could tell he was pushing at a sore spot, but he really needed an in.

“Because she was delusional.”

“Like she believed she was really a tiger or something?” He had to take the opening.

Phoenix looked at him, wide-eyed. “I have to go.”


“What if I told you she wasn’t crazy? What if I had more information? Please, don’t just run. Have dinner with me. Something.” He really didn’t want to have to kidnap the adorable bespectacled man, but that option was looking more and more like his only one.

“She was crazy. Like screaming and tearing her skin.” Phoenix began walking, luckily in the direction of Grio’s SUV.

“Did she tell you that you were special?” Grio asked.

“She was my mom.” Phoenix kept walking.

Grio matched Phoenix’s pace easily. “Did she tell you that you had royal blood?”

Phoenix stopped, stared at him. “Go away. Go away and leave me alone.”

“I can’t. This is too important...” 

Monday, 12 May 2014

Catastrophe by Deirdre O'Dare

Although veterinary technician Carlton is violently allergic to cats, he loves them with an undying passion, enough to tolerate miserable symptoms to keep working with the felines in the San Maribal Zoo. The cheetahs especially fascinate him. Then he meets a mysterious stranger who is evasive about why he’s in the zoo after hours, and nude! This man tells Carl there’s a cat inside him wanting to get out. That sounds really crazy, and the suggested way to make the shift happen sounds even crazier—but exciting.

Zyl is a member of the ancient shifter tribe, or Were-Kind. His people are working to enforce humane treatment of animals and save endangered species. Hearing of a planned raid by an extreme animal rights group to free the denizens of zoos, they realize this will be a catastrophe. Joining forces with regular humans to avert the problem will mean “coming out” as the powerful beings they are. Again, a potential disaster. Attracted against his better judgment, Zyl teams up with the cat lover he met under awkward circumstances only to discover a valuable ally and a soul mate...

Genres: Gay/Fantasy/Shapeshifter/Action/Adventure
Heat Level: 2
Length: Novella (18k words) 

Read a short excerpt...

..Zyl reached again and took Carl’s hands in his. “Close your eyes a minute and just feel. Let your intuition and your inner senses respond.” He felt subtle tension quiver along the other man’s nerves, tighten his muscles and dance goose bumps over his skin.

Although Zyl usually shunned the use of the mind control power all Were-kind had to some degree, he sent the thinnest trickle of warmth and care through the junction of their clasped hands. Within a few heartbeats, he felt the slow relaxing that slipped over Carl’s body. The hands he held softened, fingers losing their stiffness. Then the least trace of a returning current of responsive energies began to flow back to him.

The connection begun, they both stood and moved to the side, coming closer as the table’s barrier no longer separated them. Carl still had his eyes shut. He moved almost as if in a trance. An instant’s icy panic touched Zyl. Had he exerted more control than he intended, perhaps too much, so he had taken over the other man’s mind?

No, even when he shut off the delicate exchange, Carl’s reaction did not vary.

“You can open your eyes now if you want to.”

Carl’s lids snapped up and his dusty blue gaze fixed on Zyl’s face. He smiled, an expression so bright and unexpected that Zly’s heartbeat stuttered.

“I want this…well, something. I’m not real experienced, but I’ve known for years I was gay. If you are, too—and it seems like that’s the case—I’d love to do whatever you want. I’m maybe not a real sub, but lean that way. I want my partners to take charge. And if it makes me become a shifter, maybe that’s what needs to happen.”

The tingling current flowing between their clasped hands seemed to grow stronger, hotter, more insistent. Zly let it lead him. He took a step and then a half step more until they were standing just a few hairbreadths apart. He released Carl’s hands and lifted his own to settle on the other man’s shoulders. Carl reached as well and put his hands at Zyl’s waist. They both angled their heads so noses did not bump and there was no hesitation as they kissed, the first powerful expression of a union yet to come.

Carl tasted like coffee, yet also a subtle flavor that seemed unique to him. Zyl knew his beast senses, even when he was in human form, were much stronger and more sensitive than those of most humans. Scents and tastes were especially keen, powerful and significant. He’d now know Carl anywhere, any time and under any circumstances. Just a hint of his scent would be enough.

Their arms tightened around each other as the kiss went on. Tongues dueled and fenced, breaths gasped as their mouths moved, turning and shaping different connections.

Yes, Carl’s feline. What kind? Zyl was too bemused for now to sort that out, but any doubts he’d had vanished in a trice. He knew soul-deep they were almost kin and yet different enough to intrigue, attract, strike mutual sparks from each other. A crazy joy and excitement sang through him at this discovery. Maybe he’d been sent to his current base at this zoo for a purpose even beyond the Were-kind work he already knew.

He felt Carl’s stiffening cock nudging at him, even as his own had gone rigid while the kiss went on. Need and hunger began to take over, blurring his other senses, thoughts and inhibitions. This coming union was essential, pre-ordained and filled needs he had barely realized existed. He growled low in his throat.

Carl responded. “Yes. Yes! I want you, need you. Whatever—I’ll suck you or you can fuck me or anything. We just have to do something, anything. Now!...”