Five of the top voices in queer romance teamed up last year to give you Follow Me Into Darkness: Five Tales of Carnivale Romance. Their stories were bold, they were decadent, they were achingly sinful. They begged you to remove your masks just once and many of you listened. Their stories looked into the heart of modern day New Orleans and its steamy past, followed an errant queen in disguise, walked through the lush streets of Rio, and then continued straight on into the lofty pages of a Shakespearean soliloquy.
Mardi Gras is coming fast and Follow Me Into Darkness is back to seduce you. It’s on sale for only 99 cents from 2/26 - 3/5 plus the authors are giving you gifts and treats along the way!
For one week only, romance writers Santino Hassell, J.R. Gray, J.C. Lillis, Roan Parrish, and Kris Ripper dare you to take off your masks again...but are you ready for what might happen if you do?
Book: Follow Me Into Darkness: Five Tales of Carnivale Romance
Authors: Santino Hassell, J.C. Lillis, J.R. Gray, Kris Ripper, and Roan Parrish
Publisher: Open Ink Press
Date of Publication: 2/4/16
Price: $3.99 (originally) | Sale Price: 99 cents
Follow Me Into Darkness:Book Blurb:
Carnivale is a time for decadence, for revelry, and for mischief. A time when we shed the figurative masks we wear in everyday life in favor of new ones… ones that allow us to be a little bolder, a little more adventurous, and perhaps a little truer to ourselves. Follow Me Into Darkness is a compilation of original tales of queer romance by five of the premier authors of contemporary romance.
Hurricane by Santino Hassell
Interesting things never happened to Zay. He was the wallflower everyone forgot about as soon as the booze began to flow, and Mardi Gras had never been an exception. But after a chance encounter with a devil-may-care grifter, this year's celebration brings adventure and whirlwind romance.
If We Be Friends by J.C. Lillis
Seventeen-year-old Ven should be flying high—he's playing the title role in a new TV drama about Hamlet's teen years, and tonight they're having a Mardi Gras cast party in a possibly-haunted castle. But Ven's lost all his mirth since his boyfriend suggested they "take a break," so he plans to skip the bash and brood in his trailer all night. Then the exasperating guy who plays Horatio challenges him to a Shakespearean soliloquy-off, and Ven knows his actorly honor is at stake. He says yes to the duel, trudges off to the the party to meet his fate--and finds that more awaits him onstage than a battle of wits and words.
Masked by J.R. Gray
Blistering heat and half-naked masked men as far as the eye can see, but Heath runs into the one face it’s taken him fifteen years to forget. Javier is plagued with a life of regret, but when a second chance confronts him, can he let go of his hang-ups and seize the moment?
The Queen’s Reflection by Kris Ripper
Isah plays the role everyone expects: malleable and cautious, a true queen. But what others see as a queen’s appropriate modesty is really just a disguise for what Isah has never told anyone, the thing no one can ever know.
This body, dressed in the queen’s gowns, is a lie.
Once a year, at carnival, Isah dons someone else’s clothes and becomes them for a night. A young cook in stained whites, or a stableboy in worn breeches. As long as no one gets too close the pretense holds.
Until two strangers look past all the characters and Isah finally exposes the person behind the mask.
Touched by Roan Parrish
Sometimes when he touches people Philippe Rondeau sees their future. It’s erratic and inconvenient, but mostly he’s learned to deal with it. Sure he hasn’t found true love yet, but he has friends and lovers, and is kept busy running his family’s jazz club in Prohibition-era New Orleans. But now it’s Mardi Gras and all bets are off. In the space of one night, Philippe falls under the spell of jazz musician Claude and learns a terrible secret about his powers. If Philippe is certain of anything it’s that the future can be tricky, but the chance at love makes it all seem worthwhile.
*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for our reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***
乂❤‿❤乂Hurricane by Santino Hassell乂❤‿❤乂
Zay and Kee were adorable. I loved tagging along through the French Quarter on their Mardi Gras adventure!!
This was a well-written, fast paced story packed with fun, laughter, adventure, romance and even a bar brawl! Zay and Kee had an amazing chemistry and I'd love to see more of them! *hint hint, nudge nudge, Santino!* Very recommendable read!!
I enjoyed Kee and Zay's Mardi Gras adventure very much! It was descriptive enough that I felt as if I was seeing it all along with them, fast-paced and well-written. I absolutely loved Kee and Zay, their chemistry was amazing and wouldn't mind reading more about them perhaps some time in the future.
乂❤‿❤乂 If We Be Friends by J.C. Lillis 乂❤‿❤乂
This story was very cute, sweet and heartwrenching. While Ven and Farley were only 17, they did seem older, perhaps because of the environment they grew up, both as child actors, but in different genres. My heart broke for poor Ven, especially when he finally gave in to his grief for his broken relationship, but I really liked that he had good friends and Farley to help him through it all. I wouldn't mind reading more about them in the future, either.
乂❤‿❤乂Masked by J.R. Gray乂❤‿❤乂
This is a second chances love story. Javier and Heath were best-friends from childhood, then lovers, until their feelings tear them apart and send Heath running. Now back in Brazil 15 years later during the Carnival season, Heath stumbles upon Javier in an alley. The spark between them is still alive and well, but can they make things work this time?
This was an enjoyable read, but the pacing seemed a bit choppy at times. The back and forth between the MC's practically gave me whiplash. They continually pushed one another away then would reel them back in, over and over.
Javier and Heath had a good chemistry and the sex was hot. For as long as the story was, I wish the ending had been more solid. The author had enough time to make it more solid. All in all, an enjoyable read!
乂❤‿❤乂 The Queen's Reflection by Kris Ripper 乂❤‿❤乂
This story was well-written, steamy, descriptive and very different from anything I've ever read. I felt so bad for Isah and at the same time, happy that she found first an outlet and then a resolution for what she'd always desired. It was a great, fast read.
乂❤‿❤乂Touched by Roan Parrish乂❤‿❤乂
I absolutely LOVED this story. I only read three in this Anthology, my co-blogger and I split them, but for me, this was the absolute cream of the crop. Being from Nola, I've been to too many Mardi Gras parades to count. I've not only attended them, but when I was younger I marched in them, but what I'm talking about is modern day Mardi Gras, Roan paints a vivid picture of what Mardi Gras was like in the 1920's era. She transported me there, with her detailed descriptions of the sights, sounds and smells of the city.
The story is so well-written and I loved the paranormal aspect of the story, it was interesting and intriguing. I loved the characters and although the story is left open ended and I was sad to know what was to be, I'm not sorry I read it!! Very enjoyable and highly recommended!!
About the Authors:
When not staying up all night writing, J.R. Gray can be found at the gym where it's half assumed he is a permanent resident to fulfill his self-inflicted masochism. A dominant and a pilot, Gray finds it hard to be in the passenger seat of any car. He frequently interrupts real life, including normal sleep patterns and conversations, to jot down notes or plot bunnies. Commas are the bane of his existence even though it's been fully acknowledged they are necessary, they continue to baffle and bewilder. If Gray wasn't writing…well, that's not possible. The buildup of untold stories would haunt Gray into an early grave, insanity or both. The idea of haunting has always appealed to him. J.R. Gray is genderqueer and prefers he/him pronouns.
tumblr: theoriginalgray.tumblr.com (NSFW)
Santino Hassell is a writer of queer romance heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.
J.C. Lillis writes contemporary YA novels about fandom, friendship, love, and art. Her Mardi Gras story was inspired by crazy days and nights in her college theater, where part of her heart still beats under the floorboards. She lives in Baltimore with her patient family and a cat who intends to eat her someday.
Roan Parrish is currently wandering between Philadelphia and New Orleans. When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.
Kris Ripper lives in the great state of California and hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. Kris shares a converted garage with a toddler, can do two pull-ups in a row, and can write backwards. (No, really.) Kris is genderqueer and prefers the z-based pronouns because they’re freaking sweet. Ze has been writing fiction since ze learned how to write, and boring zir stuffed animals with stories long before that.
Find Kris at:
Giveaway starts 12 am on 2/26/17 and ends at 12 am on 3/6/17. Giveaway prizes: 1 of 3 (three) $5 Amazon Gift Cards and 1 of 2 (two) e-copies of a backlist book by one of the Follow Me Into Darkness authors. 5 chances to win!
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