Monday, August 31, 2015

Apple Bites Anthology!

From the Wednesday Briefers, we bring you....

Back to school takes on new meaning in this collection of eight mini-stories which run the gamut from sweet to spicy! No children in these tales, they’re for adults only! And each one features an apple in some way.
In this mixed bag of apple bites, you’ll find seasoned authors as well as newcomers. Teachers and students. Both M/M and M/F. There’s something for everyone’s taste.
Going back to school has never been so naughty!
JC Wallace – An Officer and a Gentleman (and an Apple)
Holden isn’t sure how much longer he can survive without the man he loves, whose return from a six-month deployment has been delayed. On the first day of classes, Professor Holden finds a shiny, red apple on his desk, mocking him. A cruel joke? Or something much more shocking…

Carol Pedroso – Have a Break, Have a...
Kevin is acting principal of another troubled school filled with idiotic teachers. His new husband had been sent half way round the world. Kevin is lonely, hungry, horny, and pissed off at life.
A surprise visitor at lunch time offers Kevin the break he so desperately needs…
Julie Lynn Hayes – Rivals  
John and Bryce are heads of competing fraternities at upscale Westover College, as well as fierce rivals. On rush night, John finds Bryce has crashed his soiree, seeking recruits. Verbal swords are thrust. When Bryce pushes John’s buttons, the challenge is on—and winner takes all.

Nephy Hart – Apple for the Teacher
Going back to school is difficult for Rage. He has no reason to think this year won’t be filled with more marginalization and abuse. When his boyfriend gives him an apple for the teacher, Rage has no idea what difference an art project will make, or who will get the apple.
Perry’s Cherry – Avery Dawes
An unfortunate earthquake shakes Perry from a freshman room to sharing with a grumpy senior. Too bad Nick is so sexy… and sullen. Labor Day finds them both on campus. Nick suggests a trip to a private club. Perry is about to get a college education of another kind…


Elyzabeth M. VaLey – Good Teacher, pet
Ready to start the new school year, Anais’ boyfriend and Dom, Ian, plants the seeds of doubt in her mind. He tells her she’s forgetting something that only the best teachers receive. Ian gives Anais a lesson and shows her how to earn herself a juicy treat.

Cynthia Dawn Griffin – Gatekeeper
Kate loves her job as Head Secretary. The students adore her, calling her Gatekeeper. Kate’s job may be in jeopardy because of her passionate affair with one of the staff, who acts as though it never happened.
Will she be able to focus on her job and win her man back?
Renee Rose – Hot for Teacher
Lucy's nerves have her wound up for her first Biochemistry 101 lecture. Fiancé Dr. Todd gives his T.A. a wicked distraction. While he tortures Lucy with edging and public arousal, she must somehow get through her class without losing all control.

Facebook Ready Post (just copy & paste if you are willing):
It's back to school with eight authors who are dying to show you just how naughty they can be! Read to find out if the characters in these stories can survive their back to school surprises.
#RomanceAnthology #BacktoSchool #MM #MF
Apple Bites: A Romance Anthology

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wednesday Briefs: The Stormlords part 3

“Would you like to come with me?” The man asked. His voice was deep, reverberant in Rowen's chest. Around them, the storm raged, thatch blowing off of soaking roofs and water pouring from eaves and out of overfull water jars. 

            Rowen opened his mouth, but of course he could not speak. He shut it, blinking slowly. Was this death? 

            “Will you come?” The man moved farther away, hovering, and looked up. “If you don't, the storm will probably kill you.” 

            Rowen could not speak. But he reached out, and the man smiled. 

            “Come then.” He knelt down, grabbing Rowen and hoisting him like a child. Pain from the sunburns screamed across his body, but he could not cry out. If this was death, it was not what he had expected. 

            He didn't have the strength to hold on, but the man gripped him as they hovered higher into the air, then flew, up above the village and into the storm. Rowen did not look down, staring at the man's neck, secure in his muscular arms. The sky around them was gray-black with clouds, but here he felt none of the violence of the storm that was being wreaked below. Spots flecked through his vision, but he no longer felt like giving up. 

            “I'm going to take you somewhere safe.” The man's voice rumbled. “Don't worry. I will explain everything to you.” 

            He talked as though Rowen cared. His village had sacrificed him to die. He was not dead now, he was flying above the village he had grown up in...The world spun around him, and for a moment he thought he was falling, or flying faster. Then he passed out.

            He woke to a feeling of cold, a slimy surface chill that masked deeper thrums of pain. As soon as he opened his eyes, a flask was thrust in his face. 

            “Don't move. Just drink.” The cool water was poured into his mouth, spilling over his chin. He couldn't quite grasp the concept of drinking for a moment, the water splashing on his dry mouth and chin, but soon he guzzled it greedily, suddenly so thirsty that he felt as though the water was merely going down his throat without being touched by his tongue or being absorbed, as though he were drinking water in a dream. When the flask was taken away he felt no relief, only more thirst, and he followed it with his eyes, obeying the order not to move. 

            The man who had saved him knelt beside next to his head, the flask in one tanned hand. The place Rowen lay was dark, cold stone beneath and above him. 

            “I know you're thirsty, but you can't drink too much too fast. Small sips.” His voice echoed slightly, and Rowen wished he knew where they were. A year without being able to speak had taught him patience, however, and he merely accepted the flask when it was given again, swallowing the precious water. 

            “Do you feel better?” The man asked, and Rowen inwardly cringed. This man didn't know he couldn't talk. He nodded, unsure of how to communicate the problem. He wanted to thank him, for taking him away from the village and saving his life, but there was no way to do it. 

            “I'm Kristoff. What's your name?” The man spoke as though to a wounded animal, and Rowen realized that's essentially what he was. He lay naked on a stone floor, covered in caked mud, which he presumed was for the burns. The man looked concerned, even more so when Rowen wouldn't answer. 

            “Can you understand me?” He asked, brows furrowing. Rowen nodded once, holding his gaze, hoping Kristoff would understand. 

            “Will you tell me your name?” Kristoff pressed. 

            Rowen dropped his gaze. He moved his arm, the skin shrieking with pain as it left the cold floor, and pointed to his throat, giving a small shake of his head. 

            “More water will help.” Kristoff didn't understand, and Rowen drank a bit more, before shaking his head again and motioning once more to his throat. He drew a small X in the air above it, his hand shaking just from that small gesture. 

            Kristoff's eyes widened. “You can't speak at all?” 

            Rowen nodded once, and then felt something, an emotion he couldn't identify. Everyone in the village had known it, discovering it days after it happened, after his parents had lain, rotting, in his house until the heat spell broke, Rowen too weak to report it their deaths and no one concerned enough to check. No one had spoken to him since except to command, or tease, or sacrifice, not until now. And now Kristoff, the man who had saved his life, who had flown in a storm, would know that speaking to him was pointless, and it would begin again. Pain blossomed  in his chest. Whatever the reason was for saving him didn't matter. He was useless if he couldn't communicate. He looked away, not wanting to see the disappointment on Kristoff's face. 

            “Can you write?” Rowen shook his head. Only Alain and Erik had been able to write. Rowen had been destined to dig wells, as his parents had. 

            “Please, look at me.” He obeyed, finding a strange kindness in the other man's features. “That doesn't matter for now. I mean, I guess it does matter, your name is important, but...” He sighed, looking up as though for help. “I'm guessing you have questions that you can't ask, so I'm going to explain things to you as best I can. Bear with me. I've never had an apprentice before.” He said the last almost to himself, and Rowen realized that Kristoff was nervous. “Can you, uh, answer a few yes or no questions for me first?”

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wednesday Briefs: The Stormlords part 2

“He will suffer the way his parents did.” The woman said, and people around her agreed. His neighbors, the ones he had watched bring their water to the gathering, scowled at him and turned away. 

            Rowen didn't try to fight. There was no point. There were too many, and running during a heat spell would only bring on his death faster. 

            “Tie him up!” 

            Rowen heard Alain protesting, and then he was silenced. Those tying him worked quickly and quietly, stripping his clothes off and binding his ankles with cord, his wrists behind his back. For a sacrifice, it was all very civilized. Everyone knew not to waste energy in this heat. 

            “Leave him in the sun,” the man spoke. “One less to take your water, and one more death to bring the storms faster.” 

            Hot tears formed in Rowen's eyes, but he was too old to let himself cry. He hadn't wanted their water anyway. 

            They dragged him into the sun, and the ground underneath him burned. He shut his eyes tightly, and the sun baked him. Nobody watched.       
            Rowen knew that death would come quickly. 

            The sweating had already begun, and his head swam in the heat. He didn't dare open his eyes, to see the merciless sun beating down on him. His skin was pale, and if he lasted long enough he would be covered in blisters. 

            He tried to think of his parents. He had been close with them, as an only child. His father had introduced him to village girls, and had not shown disappointment when Rowen had confessed to feeling nothing for any of them. 

            He thought of Lucas. Lucas, blacksmith's apprentice, a boy his age with blond hair and an eager smile, full lips and bright blue eyes. Rowen had never told him how Lucas had made him feel, quickening his blood and stirring him in his dreams. 

            Lucas had died in the same heat spell that had killed his parents. Since then Rowen had felt nothing. Too much loss, all at once. He groaned on the heated ground, but it was useless. 

            He had survived the heat spell. It should have killed him, like it killed his parents, but he had lived, eating pit seeds that silenced him forever and leaving him mute to defend himself to the villagers when they claimed he stole his parents water. 

            A wave of nausea surged through him. Heat sickness was setting in. He rolled over to vomit, nothing coming up but whitish bile. Rolling made him dizzy, and that made the sickness worse. 

            Soon, nothing came up at all. Heat surged through him, but he could no longer sweat. The ground spun.
            This was fitting. He couldn’t survive again. 

            He opened his eyes, and was greeted with darkness. 

            Night had not come. He rolled, impossibly slow, to look up. The sun had been covered, a thick, dark cloud blanketing the village. 

            Rowen almost smiled.  He had been sacrificed, and the storm had come.

            Rain began to pelt the ground, the drops hitting as hard as thrown stones. Rowen opened his mouth, instinctively hoping to ease some of his dehydration, before thunder boomed, a fork of lightning splitting the sky and unleashing torrents. 

            More died during the heat spells preceding the storms, but the storms themselves were deadly too if caught outside. Wind lashed rain into his face, hard enough that if he were not already prone he would have been knocked over. He could no longer look up; opening his eyes only invited the rain, the cold drops making his dry eyes burn. 

            Rowen lay on his side like sodden rags, listening to the power of the storm. He had not expected to die this way. Water began to pool around him, the flood coming fast despite the dry ground underneath absorbing it. Eventually it would absorb it all, filling the underground wells, but for now the water would run into Rowen's nose and mouth, drowning him because he was too weak to move. He tried to drink; it tasted like dust. 

            Gusts of wind blew over him, whistling in his ears and hair, and he began to shiver with cold despite being overheated just a short time ago. The thunder deafened him, the flashes of lightning only visible as a red sheen behind his eyelids. If one struck him, at least it would be over quickly. 

            Suddenly, everything calmed. The darkness was accompanied by silence, the pelting rain gone, and for a moment Rowen knew he was dead. 

            “You.” A voice called, one that he did not recognize. He opened his eyes, watching the water flow by him. 

            “You. Look at me.” The voice called him again. Without the rain hammering him down, Rowen managed to roll over. If he was dead, why was the weakness, the pain, not gone? 

            A man stood over him. No, hovered over him, his feet not touching the ground. He was clad in dark green, a rare color here in this desert village. His short dark brown hair was plastered to his head, dripping onto his nose and chin, and he wore a necklace with a grayish stone around his neck. Rowen focused on the deep blue eyes, like a clear summer sky, so different from the hazy blue that had accompanied the heat spell. They promised something.