Posted by Sara Testarossa
Sara’s note: Look at that gorgeous cover by Jess-Small.com! It fits right in with the rest of the covers for the Forbes Mates series. Though Hope can be read as a standalone story, it’s part of the Forbes Mates shifter universe, and takes place chronologically after the fourth book, Forgiveness.
Also, though this is a re-release/second edition of a story previously published in a charity anthology, it’s undergone significant edits. This edition of Hope has some changes and additions that seriously improve upon the original story (and I’m not just saying that because I suggested additions and helped with edits, heh).
Can’t wait for this to come out to get a taste of destined mates shifter goodness by Grace? Check out the rest of the series! Ditto for if after this comes out and you read it, you want more of the universe!
And now, on to more info and an excerpt:
Hope, by Grace R. Duncan
Cover Art by Jess Small
Genre: M/M Paranormal
Length: 12,000 words
Release date: September 6, 2019
Miguel Garcia and Luis Rodriguez have been best friends all their lives. For the last year, they’ve been hiding the fact that they’re also destined mates. When Luis’s family finds out, they kick him out. Miguel’s family would keep them…except their alpha has been known to be downright violent against gay wolves.
With the help of Miguel’s mother, they set out to find a pack that will accept them. They run into more that a few obstacles before they end up in Denver, at the national wolf headquarters, meeting the alpha prime. They’re stunned to find, not only offers to join more than one pack, but that their struggle can shine light on a bigger problem–and make things better for LGBT wolves across the country.
When they pulled into the Phoenix station, Miguel found himself annoyed that there didn’t seem to be anything nearby. He’d spent so much time in a city—a real, big city, with a McDonald’s and an In-N-Out on every corner—that to step outside and see nothing besides the bus station but an airport and desert was disheartening.
He shoved the thought off and found the text from his mamá with the Tonto alpha’s phone number. In a few moments, he had directions to a McDonald’s a little distance away by city bus and where to pick it up. They stored their bags in a locker and headed out.
But barely two hours later, he and Luis were once more waiting for a bus, this time with an even less friendly suggestion to move on. He couldn’t say the alpha was hostile necessarily, but the curled lip he got when he saw Miguel and Luis holding hands had said enough. The meeting had been very short, very tense, and ended with the alpha telling them there was a 2:45 a.m. bus from Phoenix going east and they “had better be on it.”
Miguel was already tired of that reaction. While the pack in Palm Springs hadn’t been nearly as mean, he knew quite well it was because they were same-sex mates. Three packs, so far—their original and two others—hadn’t wanted them.
“Maybe we shouldn’t tell them, Miguel.”
Miguel sighed and kissed the top of Luis’s head. “I was just thinking something like that. If we didn’t, if we maybe… made something up about why we left, perhaps we could at least stay for a while.”
Luis nodded. “We’ve only been gone, what… two days?”
Miguel had to think. “Just over twenty-four hours, actually.”
“Damn. It feels a lot longer.” Luis shook his head.
“It doesn’t help that we haven’t really slept. With any luck, Gila will want us. Or at least, let us stay for a bit. Maybe we can get jobs to earn some money.”
“That would be good. How much do we have left?”
Miguel pulled out the cash they still had and carefully counted it, while trying not to be obvious that was what he was doing. The bus station was fairly empty, but he didn’t want to start anything, especially because the best way he had to defend himself and Luis involved claws and fangs. “After the tickets to Deming, just over a hundred dollars. The tickets from Deming to Silver City are another thirty for the two of us. We could see about selling Mamá’s ring in Silver City, if we need to.”
“Let’s… let’s not do that until we are out of money.”
Hugging Luis close, Miguel nodded. “Yeah, I don’t want to either, if we can help it.”
They fell silent, occasionally glancing at the television in the corner, while keeping an eye on the Border Patrol officer sitting in another corner. They both had US driver’s licenses, but that didn’t mean much if he wanted to cause problems for them. He reminded himself to speak English. Then, trying not to worry, Miguel did his best to simply enjoy holding Luis. Luis’s breathing evened out, and Miguel did what he could to resettle his mate in the horribly uncomfortable metal nightmares they called bench seats.
He wasn’t sure if he was more relieved or more nervous when they could start lining up for the bus. He so wanted Gila to be where they could stay, if for no other reason than they could stop moving from place to place for a while. He buried both emotions so he didn’t alert Luis to anything, and they got in line.
Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination. She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.
A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States. She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.
As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics. She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.
Posted by Sara Testarossa
Please welcome Jamie Lynn Miller to the blog today! She’s talking about her new m/m sci-fi release, An Endless Sea of Stars and her relationship with science fiction. There’s an excerpt from the novella, too, and all the info you need on where to get your own copy and follow Jamie online. Check it out!
Romance Among the Stars
Many thanks to Sara for having me here today to talk about my new novella, An Endless Sea of Stars. I’ve been a sci-fi fan since 1977, the year that a little film called Star Wars hit the movie screens. I was only six years old back then. While my friends wanted to go see Bambi I was begging my dad to take me to Star Wars. My mother thought I was nuts and refused to go, saying my dad was just wasting his money because I wouldn’t understand the movie. Seven days later and seven consecutive trips to the movies with my dad and she had to admit she’d made a mistake. 🙂
To this day Star Wars remains a big part of my life. My home is filled with about a thousand pieces of memorabilia and photos of myself with many of the actors. I also love shows like the original Battlestar Galactica, Stargate SG-1, Firefly, Buck Rogers, Babylon 5, Fringe, Doctor Who and Alien Nation. I also read sci-fi novels voraciously.
So why it’s taken me to this day to write my first m/m sci-fi novella I have no idea! LOL! But inspiration finally hit and An Endless Sea of Stars was born.
This is Book One of the Genesis Project series, which follows the lives of a test pilot and an engineer as Earth strives to build a starship that will take them beyond the Milky Way and into deep space. My friend Gina calls the book a “futuristic romance” and I love that description. While it has sci-fi elements to it, the story takes place entirely on Earth with its focus on the love story between Toby and Cade.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
The year is 2121. While Earth has conquered exploration of the Milky Way, we have yet to develop an interstellar engine to take us beyond our own galaxy. Thus the Intergalactic Exploration Alliance and the Gemini Project were formed.
Lieutenant Tobias Dekker is fresh out of the IEA academy and determined to be assigned to the Gemini engineering team. Putting career above all else. He knows from experience that relationships have no place in the Alliance. Commander Caden Flynn is equally determined to see the Gemini prototype take flight to uncharted space. The engine is his late father’s design and he wants nothing more than to be the test pilot that breaks the next light speed barrier.
Two men dreaming of a sea of stars find that it’s instead an ocean here on Earth that brings them together. Can Cade convince Toby to open up his heart and take a chance on love and explore the universe with him, side by side?
Toby rolled his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest. “Anyone ever tell you you’re a smartass?”
At that Cade finally let loose with his suppressed laughter. “I had you going there, though, didn’t I?” he smirked.
Toby waved his hand in dismissal. “Yeah, yeah. I’ll have you know that’s never happened to me before. I would’ve gotten us outta there. I just needed another minute…or two,” he finished with an embarrassed grin.
“You know, I really should report this to Hank,” Cade quipped as he finished removing his wetsuit. “But!” he held up his hand before Toby could say anything. “We can forget about the entire thing if…” he trailed off for a second and rummaged in his duffle bag, pulling out a bottle of Kentucky bourbon and showing it to Toby. “…you have a drink with me.” He shrugged one of his shoulders. “Since I couldn’t get you to a bar with me I thought I’d bring the bar to you.”
Toby paused. Alone, in the dark, sharing a few drinks. This wasn’t a good idea. He should politely decline and say they needed to start heading back. But his mouth was apparently not listening to his brain, because before he could stop himself…
A very pleased smile crossed Cade’s face and he reached over and squeezed Toby’s bare shoulder before turning back to the duffel bag and producing two plastic cups. A few minutes later they had donned their t-shirts and shorts and were relaxing on the bow, sitting close enough that their shoulders were almost touching. The clouds had dissipated, revealing millions of stars twinkling in the clear sky and a full moon reflecting on the water.
Cade took a swallow of bourbon and turned his head toward Toby. “I can’t get over what an amazing feeling it was, being down in those caves tonight.”
Toby took a drink as well. “Been through those caves ‘bout a hundred times. But like I said earlier, there’s something different every time. It never gets boring.”
Cade looked up toward the sky. “It’s like being out in the stars. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it.”
Toby couldn’t help his wistful, and envious, sigh. “Closest I’m probably ever gonna get to the stars is in one of the flight simulators.”
“From what I hear you’ve made some fabulous improvements to those simulators,” Cade said. “I wish I’d had you building and programming them when I was in flight school.”
Toby turned to look at him. “How did you know I was on the simulator team?”
Cade shrugged, took another drink. “After we met I took the liberty of looking into your Academy history.” He grinned. “I was curious as to who was going to be teaching me.” Cade shifted so that he was turned more fully toward Toby. “And I was damn impressed at what I read. You need to stop selling yourself short when it comes to your dream of working on the Gemini project. You’re in the top two percent of your class, Toby. Alliance Command is not going to overlook that when they hand out assignments next month.”
Toby shook his head. “Don’t you think they’d want someone older, more experienced, working on something as monumentally important as Earth’s first hyperdrive engine?”
“Just because you haven’t been in space doesn’t mean you’re not qualified to work on a starship engine. It’s about technical expertise, not flight time.”
Toby now turned to face Cade, a tinge of excitement in his voice. “Tell me about that. What’s it like up there? I’ve gotta admit that as much as I want to experience it for myself, it makes me kinda nervous, too.”
“It’s a lot like scuba diving, actually,” Cade began, then tipped his head up toward the sky, his voice gone quiet. “Surrounded by an endless sea of stars instead of water. It’s beautiful. And so serene. But there’s so much more out there to explore than in just our galaxy.”
Toby couldn’t help but smile at the passion and wonder in Cade’s voice. “You said we’re close to breaking barrier three?”
Cade nodded and finished off his drink, poured himself another and topped off Toby’s. “The engine tests we’ve been running are really promising. Captain Hoffman’s team is burning the midnight oil.”
“From what you told me last month it sounds like you are, too.”
Cade blew out a breath. “You know how badly you want in the Gemini program? That’s how badly I want to pilot that next barrier flight. It’s going to come down to myself, Logan Ramsey, Kenji Tran or Padma Singh. And they’re all damn good test pilots.”
“Well let me give you some sage advice that a friend of mine gave me,” Toby said with a grin. “Don’t sell yourself short.”
Cade gave him a look. “Now who’s the smartass?”
Toby just laughed and knocked his cup against Cade’s. He settled back to look up at the stars, and Cade did the same. They let the quiet of the open ocean surround them for several minutes, nothing but the sound of gentle waves against the hull.
“Does this place have a name?” Cade asked quietly.
“Not that I know of,” Toby answered.
“Then I think we should call it Dekker’s Cove.” He once again turned his head to look at Toby. “Thanks again for taking me out here. This is your spot and you didn’t have to share it with me.”
Toby turned his head to look back at Cade, his voice sincere. “I wanted to. I knew you’d appreciate how special it was.”
Cade pinned him with a gaze full of hope and desire. “There are a lot of things I’m finding are special down here.”
Toby’s breath caught in his throat. It would be so damn easy to give in to Cade’s flirtations. To say the hell with it and just reach over and touch him. Because Toby knew that’s all it would take. One touch. But then what? A summer fling, like they were teenagers away at camp? Toby just wasn’t wired like that, for one-time hook ups. Especially with someone like Cade. He knew he’d want more and he knew it’d never work. He just needed to keep reminding himself that it was Cade’s friendship that was most important, what he really wanted, was the only thing that would work between them. But it was getting harder and harder to do with each passing day he spent with Cade. His heart was warring with his head. And he honestly didn’t know which was going to win.
The moment stretched on between them, Toby knowing Cade was waiting for something from Toby, but he didn’t trust himself to speak.
Cade glanced away, then back. “Toby, I…”
And Toby’s stomach somersaulted, certain of what Cade was going to say next. He wasn’t ready for this…
“…I have to leave tomorrow.”
Toby blinked and released a breath he didn’t realize he’d been holding. “Wh-what?” he stuttered, completely caught off guard by Cade’s words, so far from what he had been expecting.
Cade sighed. “I’m needed back at Alliance HQ. I found out this morning but was putting off telling you.”
“That – that’s okay. I understand,” Toby replied, trying to hide his disappointment.
“I even brought a holo vid of a rugby match I was hoping to show you tomorrow,” Cade grinned and Toby chuckled. “Next month, okay?”
Toby nodded. “Next month.”
Next month. One last chance for Toby to sort out his feelings for Cade. And be able to live with that decision with no regrets. He had a sneaking suspicion that was going to be easier said than done.
LuLu (Paperback and epub): http://tinyurl.com/qe5oeal
Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/ow92qj2
Also available at the iBookstore
Jamie Lynn Miller
Jamie Lynn Miller has been writing fiction since childhood and decided to take the plunge and go pro in 2008, finding to her amazement that people truly enjoyed her love stories. She’s a romantic at heart, and her tales reflect the desire we all have to find “the one,” persevering through trials and heartache for that happy ending.
Jamie has a degree in fine arts and has spent the last twenty years working as a graphic designer, though she’d much rather be writing. She was born in Chicago and still lives there today with her husband and their two furry, four-footed children, er… cats.
If she’s not brainstorming story ideas, you can find Jamie at a sci-fi convention, in front of a furnace doing glass blowing, or on a mat twisted into a yoga pose.