Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Simultaneously arousing and literate – #HolidayRomance #LaterInLife #MFRWHooks

Gray Christmas book cover

For today’s MFRW Book Hooks blog hop, I’m featuring one of my favorite books. Gray Christmas is a holiday tale that makes it clear that you’re never too old for love.

And, as an added bonus, it features an author heroine, and a great cat!


Widowed author Emma Granger has reconciled herself to spending Christmas Eve in snowy Boston, with a bottle of wine and her cat. A crash from the apartment above overturns her plans for a quiet evening at home. When she investigates, she meets Nick North, an energetic iconoclast with a gray ponytail, a silver earring and bright blue eyes that kindle feelings she’d thought were gone forever.

The Hook

I came back to find Nick ensconced in my favorite reading chair to the right of the fireplace, with Vronsky draped across his lap.

Oh! I see you’ve met the real owner of this place.”

Nick scratched behind Vronsky’s ears, much to the owner’s approval, then smoothed a big palm down over the cat’s lush, steel-hued fur, along his spine to the tail. “What a handsome fellow! What’s his name?”

Usually he’s Vronsky. Except when he acts silly, Then I call him Mousesorgsky.”

My guest laughed. The gray cat’s whiskers twitched in indignation. “Very appropriate, I suspect. Both names.” He sipped at the glass of wine I’d handed him. “Oh, that’s delicious. Thank you!”

My pleasure.” The wine was lovely—I’d splurged a bit, for the holidays—but Nick’s reaction made me appreciate it even more. He closed his eyes and licked his lips as though savoring every last hint of flavor. I watched his bare throat as he swallowed another, larger gulp. I ached to lick along that stubborn chin and down the side of his neck.

A bit of gray frizz peeked out from the neckline of his tee. I wondered if he was hairy all over, then blushed when I realized he was looking at me. Did he know what I was thinking? God, I hoped not! How embarrassing it would be if he realized a horny old grandmother was lusting after his body!

I nibbled at my cheese, glancing out the window so I wouldn’t have to meet his eyes. “It’s snowing harder.”

Good thing we’re warm and cozy together in here.” Something in his tone made alarm bells ring. When I turned my attention to him, though, he was studying his cracker.

So—um—what about you? Are you married?” Might as well take the bull by the horns.

Was.” He wiped his elegant fingers on his napkin. “She left me for a younger man. About ten years ago.”

Ouch! That must have hurt.”

Yeah, especially since I was in the hospital recovering from heart surgery at the time.” His manner was nonchalant, as though we were still discussing the weather. My chest grew tight in sympathy. “She was a selfish bitch.”

I think you’re being too kind.”

I’m lucky she’s gone. I’m better off without her.” A faint smile lit his face. “Though I have to say she was great in bed.”

For that, I had no reply. I fumbled with a piece of flatbread, trying to hide my confusion, but I could feel my cheeks were flaming red.

What about your husband? Was he a good lover?” I couldn’t look at him. I knew there’d be a saucy grin on those enticing lips, and a brash twinkle in those eyes.

How could I explain about Tom and me? All the great years we had together, so many erotic adventures, and then the pale, bland final decade, when he’d lost interest in fucking. Not that it had been his fault. Between menopause and arthritis, sex simply stopped being fun for me. He hated knowing that penetration caused me pain, so he pulled away, and God help me, I was almost relieved. But now I missed the days when we both loved my body, almost as much as I missed Tom himself.

I could hardly share all that with a stranger, though.

The silence lengthened. Nick watched me. I stared into my wine glass.

I see we share the same tastes in reading.”

The sudden shift in topic startled me enough that I looked up. “What?”

He’d extracted a paperback from the shelf just behind him. He held it up for me to see. Of course I recognized the cover, a tastefully shadowed nude in a blindfold. “One of my favorite authors.”

You like erotic romance?”

In general, no. But I think I’ve read everything Emmanuelle de la Grange has written.”

I returned my wine glass the tray and stared at my guest. Who was this guy and why was he torturing me? “You’re joking, right?”

Not at all. I really love her style, not to mention her filthy imagination. She’s simultaneously arousing and literate. Not many authors can manage that.”

He set the book down on the table beside him. I picked it up and flipped through it. The Passion of Priscilla. One of my earlier works, but still one of my best sellers.

Okay, so what’s your favorite de la Grange title, then?” Mentally I reviewed the rather short list of my acquaintances who knew how I supported myself. Could one of them have put my upstairs neighbor up to this? Or even planted him in the apartment above, as a Christmas jest?

Nick stretched out his legs and sat back in his chair, his arms crossed behind his head. Vronsky hopped off, arched his back, then curled up on the window seat.

It’s really difficult to say. Maybe Satin Submission? Or Doing It the Hard Way?” He leaned toward me, resting his hands on his thighs. His weathered face was earnest and open. “Which one do you like best?”

A storm of emotion raged inside me—pride, anger, curiosity, and of course desire, so familiar and so rare. Rising from my seat, I walked to the window, where I stood for what seemed like a long time, petting Vronsky and watching the snow swirl in the street lights.

I can’t choose,” I said finally. “Any more than I’d choose one of my children over the other. Since I am Emanuelle de la Grange.”

Utter silence greeted my announcement. Even the cat stopped purring. I swear I could hear the hiss of the snow hurtling toward the pavement outside.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

The Sea's Edge by Garth Pettersen -- #Review #HistoricalFiction #MedievalEngland @garpet011

The Sea's Edge tour banner


In 1030 C.E., Cnute, king of England, Denmark, and Norway, sends Harald, his middle son, to the Kingdom of Dublin to meet with his Norse-Irish allies. Harald’s mission is to coordinate an invasion of the northern Welsh kingdom of Gwynedd, to replace King Rhydderch who is growing too powerful on England’s borders. Harald is reluctant to be involved in affairs of state, but agrees to go, even though his beloved wife, Selia, is unwell. Harald tells Selia he will not have to take part in the fighting.

While she waits for Harald to return, Selia and her friend Gudrun befriend a young and attractive gleeman (poet-minstrel). When the gleeman is accused of a crime, Selia seeks witnesses in his defense.

Harald becomes involved in a conflict with Dublin’s neighbor, and to appease the king of Dublin, he commits to leading their combined forces in the attack on Wales. The plan is to replace King Rhydderch with Iago, the weaker King of Anglesey. The more Harald learns of these monarchs, the more his allegiance leans toward the man he has been sent to kill.

Will Harald unseat a strong and just ruler to carry out his father/king’s commands, or will he tread a more righteous road, which will destroy the life he and Selia have built in England?


King Iago sat upon an intricately carved throne, cushioned with a sheep fleece. I judged him to be of my height and gave him ten or fifteen more years above my own. He wore a jeweled gold circlet over dark brown hair grown long. His wispy beard had begun to show gray hairs among the brown. He wore a mail shirt over his tunic, which I thought to be odd. Either he distrusted his housecarls or he hoped to appear more warlike. It struck me that his clothing was of good quality—a tunic of red linen, belted with leather. He wore a cloak of beaver fur held by a brooch pin the size of my foot. There was no need to wear a cloak indoors, let alone one of imported fur and only one reason to fasten it with an enormous pin: King Iago wished to make a showing. I recognized him at once—a petty king with ambition for greatness.

At his right hand stood a regal woman whom I assumed was Iago’s wyf and queen. She wore a red dress of a shade similar to her husband’s garb, with an under tunic of light blue revealed in long sleeves and in the longer hem. A long head-covering of the same color swept over one shoulder. An embroidered headband held it in place. Her attractive face revealed a strong resolve and not a hint of kindness. I hoped my first impression would prove incorrect.

Iago stood to greet me, extending his weaponless hand. I gave him my own and we affirmed the peace between us. His hand was bonier than I expected. “Well met,” I said. Since he had spoken to me in Saxon English, I continued. “My friend and shield brother, Gwyn son of Emlyn.”

Iago again offered his hand.

Mawredd,” Gwyn said in greeting.

Iago replied in Welsh. The words escaped my understanding, but Iago’s stance and attitude was neither relaxed nor welcoming, as if my arriving with another Welshman was reason enough for him to be on his guard.

Without removing his gaze from us, he swept his arm to indicate his consort. “My queen, Madwen.”

Mistress,” I said, echoed by Gwyn.

Well come to our hall, Harald Atheling.” Queen Madwen’s green-eyed gaze displayed no shyness. I recognized the true power behind the crown.

The Sea's Edge book cover

Review by Lisabet Sarai

To write a compelling historical novel, an author must be archeologist, detective, surgeon and sculptor. Our knowledge of the past is always fragmentary. The novelist must dig deeply into original sources, excavating the shards of events and trying to sort them so that they make sense. The resulting structure will always be incomplete, and often conflicting or incoherent, raising as many questions as it answers. The author as sleuth needs to track down clues to fill in the gaps and resolve the inconsistencies. When research has yielded all that it can, it’s time to stitch the pieces together into a time-line, making guesses and assumptions to fill in the gaps. Finally, the artist takes over, shaping the raw event sequence into a narrative with heroes, villains, conflict and resolution.

Even before the author sits down to actually write the book, there’s an insane amount of effort involved. That work becomes progressively more difficult the more distant the historical period, because the records will be more incomplete. If only for this reason, I’m seriously impressed by Garth Pettersen’s Atheling Chronicles series, set in the eleventh century in Danish-ruled England.

The Sea’s Edge is the fourth volume in this series, which follows the adventures of Harald (the atheling), second son of the canny and powerful King Cnute. Harald is a historical figure, but relatively little is known about him. Garth Pettersen has turned him into a true hero, not just a brave and skilled warrior, but also a thoughtful, decent, level-headed man with a strong sense of morality. Unlike his siblings, Harald is not interested in the throne. His heart’s desire is to live on and farm his steading in Mercia, with his beloved wyf Selia at his side.

When you’re a king’s son, however, you cannot always choose your own path. Both duty and self-preservation require that Harald do his father’s bidding. In The Sea’s Edge, this means participating in Cnute’s conquest of Gwynned in Wales, first as an emissary, then as leader of the war party tasked with defeating formidable Welsh king Rhydderch.

This installment of the series contains a lot of blood and battles. I found the war, including the political machinations behind it, less interesting than the vivid pictures Mr. Pettersen paints of daily life in eleventh century England. English society in 1030 was far less primitive than one might suppose. Tradition, law and community exercised a strong influence on how people behaved. Agriculture, artisanry and commerce played major roles in people’s lives. Each ruler had his own private band of warriors, but the popular trope of fierce, blood-crazed Viking hordes laying waste to population centers doesn’t seem to have been a typical occurrence.

People in every time period look back to earlier events and see themselves as modern and up-to-date. Many historical novels fail to convey this reality; the characters are antiques. In The Sea’s Edge, the main characters, especially Selia, have a contemporary feel about their emotions and reactions that I found convincing. I didn’t notice any anachronisms (also a problem in writing historical fiction); it’s just that Harald and Selia are living in their own here and now. The reader can sometimes forget that this was more than a thousand years ago.

One of the most fascinating scenes in the book (though rather loosely linked to the main plot) depicts a hundred-moot, a community court for dispensing local justice. Though the Norse kings held the ultimate power, the populace of England were in no sense slaves.

Also, the novel seems to contradict the picture I’ve always had, regarding the influence of the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages. In Harald’s world, at least, religion has little importance. He does periodically thank Alweada (the almighty or all-father), but it’s not clear whether this is addressed to Christ or Odin. Perhaps both. In this novel, England is in transition between the old religion and the new. It seemed that individuals might often subscribe simultaneously to both sets of beliefs.

Overall, I very much enjoyed The Sea’s Edge. The glossary at the beginning and the historical notes at the end were much appreciated. Sometimes I felt that Harald was a bit too good to be true. He’s so admirable and likable, though – especially in his devotion to Selia – that you can’t help being on his side.

About the Author

Garth Pettersen photo

Garth Pettersen is a Canadian writer living in the Fraser Valley near Vancouver, BC. When he's not writing, he is riding horses or working on his acreage. Garth's short stories have appeared in a number of anthologies and in journals such as Blank Spaces, The Spadina Literary Review, and The Opening Line Literary 'Zine. His story, River's Rising, was awarded an Honourable Mention for the Short Story America 2017 Prize, and his fantasy novella River Born, was one of two runners-up for the Windsor Editions (UK) Short Fiction Prize. Garth Pettersen's historical fiction series, The Atheling Chronicles is published by Tirgearr Publishing and books one, two, and three are available at most online outlets (The Swan's Road, The Dane Law, and The Cold Hearth). The fourth book, The Sea’s Edge, will be released in November, 2023.

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Garth Pettersen will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Monday, December 4, 2023

A vampire swordsmith meets a mortal diamond in the rough - #Vampire #PNR #AgeGap #Historical @KateHillRomance

Shauna's Silver Swordsmith cover


Daniel – Reared by the master swordsmith who taught me his craft, I've dedicated my life to forging steel. I never thought about the occult, until a foreign man with unimaginable power stops at my home and forge. He takes me to Japan where I study under an ancient swordsmith. Nothing and no one, especially a woman, can tear me away from my craft, or so I think. While visiting New York City in 1927, I meet Shauna, and everything changes.

Shauna – Working the streets with only my abusive pimp Jack to look out for me is no way to live, but I don't have much choice. When a rich weirdo takes me to a ritzy hotel and offers me a way out, I'm not sure what to do. Then he shows up at Jack's juice joint with tall, gorgeous Daniel whose mixed messages make my head spin. Can a vampire swordsmith fall in love with a former pro skirt, or is all his heat only in the forge?

Shauna's Silver Swordsmith teaser


The attendant holds the door for us. I’m so lost in my thoughts that I’ve forgotten to move.

You okay, Daddy?” Shauna asks softly.

Guiding her off the elevator with a firm hand on her lower back, I grit my teeth. Her frequent use of modern slang annoys me.

The elevator door closes and we’re alone in the hall.


Yes?” She flashes another flirtatious smile.

Don’t ever call me Daddy.”

She chuckles. “You go it, Danny Boy.”

You’ll have to learn to respect your elders.”

Come on, you’re not that old. The silver in your hair is kind of sexy.”

You’re incorrigible. Lucas has his work cut out for him.”

He’s not nearly as uptight as you are.”

I’m not uptight.”

A drink or two might help you relax.”

I’ve had about enough of her. I turn too quickly for her human senses to process and trap her against the wall, a hand braced on either side of her head.

She gasps, her pretty eyes widen, and her thundering pulse echoes in my ears.

Be quiet,” I order in a soft but stern voice.

Her scent teases my nose. I can’t tell if the heat between us emanates from her body or mine, perhaps both. I meant to intimidate her a little, but all I've done is put myself in closer proximity to a woman I’m struggling to resist. I want to touch her. Kiss her. Devour her.

She shakes her head, an expression of resignation and disgust in her eyes. “You’re all alike. Jack. You. Men in general.”

I draw a deep breath and close my eyes. Not only have I overreacted, but I've been unintentionally cruel. She's been mistreated all her life. No wonder she thinks I'm about to turn into a wild man like most others she's known. It’s just that she’s the most frustrating woman I’ve ever met. Despite our personality clash, I don’t want to discourage her from accepting the new life Lucas has offered her.

Opening my eyes, I meet her wary gaze. “I promise you I’m nothing like Jack, nor is Lucas.”

I guess I'll wait and see.”

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About the Author

Kate Hill author photo

Kate Hill is a vegetarian New Englander who loves writing romantic fantasies. When she's not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out, watching horror movies, and researching vampires and Viking history. She runs the Compelling Beasts Blog that is dedicated to antagonists, antiheroes, and paranormal creatures. Kate also writes as Saloni Quinby.

Visit her online at Join her newsletter at

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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Calling all romance authors! #RomanceCovers #SuperSale @AmberDaulton1

Satin Rose Designs sale banner

If you’re a regular visitor to my blog, then you’ll be familiar with the name Amber Daulton. A regular visitor at Beyond Romeance, she writes steamy, suspenseful erotic romance stories that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

However, you might not know that Amber has an alter-ego. She’s also the owner and primary artist at Satin Rose Designs, a cover art company specializing in romance. After all, who knows more what makes a great romance cover than someone who writes in the genre?

I personally think her covers stand out in terms of both originality and quality of execution. Meanwhile, during the month of December, she’s running a huge sale.

I’ll let her tell you about it...

Satin Rose banner 2

It’s time for my End-of-Year Annual Sale at Satin Rose Designs. In December, all month long, each premade book cover is only $20—that’s 60% off the regular price!

To get this amazing bargain, select the cover(s) you want and either fill out the submission form found on each product page or just message me to get the ball rolling. I’ll need your Paypal address to send the invoice, and I’ll begin the work once the invoice is paid. You’ll get three FREE review rounds to ask for any changes to the text. Typically, premades are sold AS IS, but if you need a small tweak like changing eye color or moving a small vector from point A to point B, I should be able to work with that. Just ask me.

You can learn more and check out my cover galleries here:

I specialize in Contemporary Romance, but I also have Chick Lit/Rom Com, Historical, Holiday, Paranormal/Fantasy, and SciFi covers in stock. Just to give you some idea, I've included a few samples below.

Clubber's Paradise cover

The Lady and the Snowbird cover

One Night in Spooksville cover

More covers will be premiered in January, so I’d love to clean out my current inventory.

Feel free to sign up to my exclusive newsletter for notifications about new covers, sales, discounts, and more. New subscribers get a FREE social media graphic with the order of their first Premade Cover. Join here:

Any questions? Message me via my site’s Contact page, and I’ll be in touch shortly.

* * *

By the way, I just bought a cover from her, which I will be using for a new release after the new year. I certainly know a bargain when I see one!


Friday, December 1, 2023

Mexico's vampires are all too human – #Mystery #Thriller #Mexico

Legacy of Evil tour banner


A banished detective. A body drained of blood. Mexico’s vampires are all too human.

After graduating from Harvard, Artemas Salcido is determined to transform Mexico’s justice system and joins the federal police. He begins solving crimes committed by the rich and powerful and is banished to the village of Bustamante.

On a college field trip to Bustamante’s nearby caverns, the daughter of a US senator is brutally murdered. The FBI, the international media, and a Mexican hit squad tasked with making the problem go away descend on the village. When Mexico’s attorney general tells Artemas his career depends on his cooperation, Artemas realizes his life is at stake.

As other grisly murders occur, Artemas’s investigation uncovers an ancient blood cult connected to a powerful financial cabal that stretches from mediaeval Europe to Mexico's most influential politicians and businessmen. When he disputes his violent colleagues’ bogus solution to the crime, Artemas is marked for death.

Can Artemas’s determination to bring fairness to Mexico’s justice system prevail against the overwhelming power of his government—or will it prove fatal …?

Legacy of Evil book cover


Once the handcuffs brushed his shirtsleeve, Artemas slid forward with the lighting speed he’d practiced hundreds of times in the dojo. A front snap kick connected with Raymundo’s pistol, sending it spinning toward the ceiling. Right foot midair, Artemas repeated the kick, driving his foot into the PGR man’s crotch with a satisfying thwack. As Raymundo gasped and bent over clutching himself, a third snap kick to his face lifted him off his feet and dumped him onto his back.

Artemas caught sight of the other man closing in from behind. He uncoiled his body and delivered a powerful reverse side kick to the man’s solar plexus, doubling him over. He followed up with a snap kick to the face. Like his colleague, the man landed on his back, choking and groaning with pain.

About the Author

Award-winning author James Peyton’s intriguing settings and memorable characters in his thrillers come from his years of international work and travel. The first two editions of his four-part thriller Artemas Salcido series are now available on Amazon; Legacy of Evil and Terror Crossing, to be followed by La Buchona and Not For Sale. Peyton’s stand-alone adventure thriller, The Royal Fifth, was released in 2022. James has had five acclaimed books published on Mexican cooking, history, and culture. Peyton's writing reflects a depth of understanding and a unique perspective that sets his work apart.

The book is on sale for only $0.99.


James Peyton is giving away a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Light after darkness – #MMRomance #Christmas #Wedding #MFRWHooks

At the Margins of Madness banner

Happy Wednesday, and welcome to the MFRW Book Hooks blog hop!

Thanksgiving has passed and Christmas is on its way. Although I have a number of holiday-themed books in my catalog, the book I’m featuring today isn’t exactly one of them. At the Margins of Madness is a dark, gritty MM paranormal erotic romance with a truly evil villain. As it happens, though, it ends with a wedding, on Christmas Eve. So I thought I’d share the introduction to that chapter with you today. For one thing, it starts with a gorgeous snow storm!

Be sure to visit the other authors joining today’s hop. You’re sure to find more great romance.


Both power and love can lead to madness

Nineteen year old Kyle sees visions of disasters, visions that tear his world apart. Everyone assumes that he is schizophrenic, but Rob, the cop who picks him up off the street, knows better.

Rob's own experience has taught him that psychic powers are real, and potentially devastating. Since his telepathic sister's brutal murder, Rob wants nothing to do with "gifted" individuals like Kyle. Yet he can't deny his attraction to the beautiful, tortured young man – an attraction that appears to be mutual.

When a brilliant, sadistic practitioner of the black arts lures Kyle into his clutches, Rob faces the possibility that once again he may lose the person he loves most to the forces of darkness.

The Hook

Snow had been falling since the morning, feathery flakes that padded the blue-green boughs of the firs and settled like a white quilt on the tumbled stone wall behind the cottage. Now, in the gathering dusk, the precipitation had finally tapered off. The pillowy drifts glowed with some inner light.

Kyle had cleared the driveway and the path twice already. The dry snow was so fluffy that huge shovels full weighed almost nothing. He tossed the powdery stuff over his shoulder, building the piles on either side of the steps. They were already taller than he was. Stray crystals wafted through the still air, sparkling in the lamplight.

It was cold enough to freeze the hair in his nostrils. His fingers were numb inside his gloves. He didn’t care. Nothing could spoil this marvelous Christmas Eve. He just hoped that their guests wouldn’t have any difficulties because of the weather.

After the frigid outdoors, the inside of Elspeth’s house felt tropical. Kyle shrugged off his parka and placed his boots outside on the porch. A cheerful fire crackled on the hearth. “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” played softly on the radio. From the kitchen came the rich smells of roasting turkey and fresh-baked apple pie. Saliva gathered in his mouth.

Elspeth looked up from chopping vegetables as he entered. “The snow seems to have stopped for now,” he said, grabbing a crisp chunk of raw carrot. “And I heard the plow go up Quail Hollow while I was shoveling.”

Let’s hope they don’t block the drive.” She dumped the vegetables into the top section of a double-boiler. “There, that’s done. I don’t need to start those until after the ceremony.”

The drive looked okay.” Kyle sat at the table and took old woman’s hand. “Elspeth. I want to thank you again for doing all this.”

Nonsense. I’m a justice of the peace. Performing marriages is one of my responsibilities.”

But cooking dinner and hosting the party aren’t. Seriously, you’re doing Rob and me a huge favor.”

I wanted to do something for you. To make up for my blindness.” Elspeth frowned and shook her head “I should have known what Stefan was up to. I should have seen how years of bitterness and envy had twisted his spirit. If only I had realized…maybe I could have saved him. Maybe I could even have saved poor Mary.”

Don’t blame yourself. I know you’re wise, but you’re only human. And Stefan—well, he was obviously a brilliant guy. Not easy to second-guess.”

Have they found any remains? It would be good to bury him with his parents—to reconcile them after all these years.”

Not a trace. Rob says the authorities are pretty mystified. The fire was intense, but there should be some evidence. Bone fragments or teeth. There seems to be nothing left.”

Hmm.” Elspeth’s brow knotted. “He couldn’t have escaped?”

Anything is possible, I suppose. But it doesn’t seem likely. We heard him on the upper floors when we left. His body was already burning. And he was totally mad, screaming, babbling, gleefully setting things on fire.”

Kyle stared at his hands, the guilt welling up once again. “It was my fault. I made him crazy, showing him the horrors in my mind. I killed him, as surely as if I’d set the fire myself. One more victim of my curse.”

You had no choice. There was no other way to save yourself—or Rob.” Elspeth lifted his chin, raising his eyes to hers. “You’re a good man, Kyle. You had no way of knowing that the visions would drive him to suicide.”

Yes, I did. I knew only too well the effects of my ‘gift’.”

You’re being melodramatic. Stefan’s mind was already warped. Anyway, you’ve got to let go of this old notion that you’re cursed. You’ve already learnt how to keep the dark visions from taking control. In time, you’ll learn to use your talent to benefit others, if that is what you want.”

I’d like that,” Kyle said. Gradually, the weight lifted from his heart. “I’d like that very much.”

Rob’s footsteps rang on the uncarpeted stairway. “What would you like, boy?” He bent down to place a juicy kiss on Kyle’s mouth.

Kyle laughed and winked at Elspeth. “I can’t tell you in front of her.”

Don’t think that I’m a prude just because I’m an old lady.”

Rob gave her a grin, then tousled Kyle’s hair. “Never mind. I know you well enough to guess what you’d like.”

Kyle gave his lover a long look of appreciation. Rob wore a tailored charcoal gray suit that made him look more like a banker than a cop. His mustard-yellow silk shirt and matching pocket hanky rescued the costume from being too sombre. His tie was the real surprise, a whimsical Christmas novelty item with gray and gold reindeer prancing across snowy fields. Kyle would never have expected Rob to don something so…cute. “Wow! You look sharp! I never thought I’d see you like this.”

I believe in getting dressed up, for very important occasions.” Rob gave him a look that turned him to jelly. “I can’t imagine anything more important than today.”

At the Margins of Madness book cover

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