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Thursday, October 6, 2022

PROMO: Watchdogs

 

 

BOX SET


Gay Shifters Fiction

Date Published: September 16, 2022

Publisher: Changeling Press


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Cyclops (Watchdogs 1): Ray Miller was a misfit until he found his calling in the Army. But an explosion in Afghanistan took his left eye and ended his career. Set adrift, he turns to alcohol, until Sarge, an old army buddy, shows up and offers Ray a job – as an assassin. Ray’s new career takes off until he falls for Jared, a cop, and finds his life is on the line. How long can he hide his secrets before the hitman becomes the target?


Remus (Watchdogs 2): Jared is having nightmares that seem all too real, and someone is stalking him. Ray suspects Sarge wants revenge, but he soon discovers a more dangerous foe is after them. How can he protect himself and Jared when their enemy is a wolf?


Odd Man Out (Watchdogs 3): Ray dreams of his wolf every night, and lives in fear of the beast. Remus is the only man who can help Ray control his inner wolf. But if they connect will Jared become the odd man out?


Excerpt: (R-rated)


Watchdogs (Box Set)

Gale Stanley

All rights reserved.

Copyright ©2022 Gale Stanley


Excerpt from Cyclops


Mission accomplished. A simple in and out job, take aim at the target and pull the trigger. Now it was time to vanish, lie low and keep my head down. I usually played by the rules, but tonight I didn’t want to be alone. Danger is an aphrodisiac and I was one anxious horndog. I didn’t sniff trouble in the wind, so I went to Jared’s apartment, where I could keep my head down and suck his cock at the same time.

My digital car clock said three am when I pulled into a dark spot behind Jared’s building. He’d be asleep, so I let myself in with the key he’d given me. I shed my clothes in the living room and left them on the floor. I wanted to slip into bed beside Jared and surprise him. Quiet as a church mouse, I opened the bedroom door. A floorboard creaked as I stepped over the threshold. The light came on, blinding me for a few seconds.

Jared sat up and looked daggers at me. “Do you know what time it is, Ray?”

I grinned sheepishly. “Time to get busy?”

“What were you doing until 3 am?”

“Missing you.”

“Right.” Jared threw a pillow at me. “Go home, Ray.”

I picked up the pillow and walked over to the bed. “Don’t be such a sourpuss.” I tucked the pillow behind his back. Yawning, I scrubbed a hand through my regulation cut, two inches of hair on the top of my head, and tapered down the sides and back. I like to leave a little for Jared to pull on. The thought made my dick even harder.

Jared lay down and put an arm over his face. “I have to get up for work in a few hours. Lock the door on your way out.”

I sat on the bed and slid my hand under the sheet. Jared’s limp dick didn’t budge when I made contact. Damn, he really was pissed. “Okay, go to sleep. I’ll just lie next to you.”

“I don’t want you here, Ray.”

My temper rose, but I tamped it down. I have a short fuse but I try to lengthen it around Jared. A few slow deep breaths calmed me down. I pulled Jared’s arm back and stared at his face. His eyes were closed and it was hard to tell if he meant what he said. “Look at me, babe.”

Reluctantly, he opened his eyes. God, he was gorgeous. Honey brown hair framed high cheekbones and emerald green eyes.

“Come on, babe, you know you don’t mean it.”

Jared and I had been together for eight months, and I’d gotten used to having a steady fuck, or as steady as it could be in my line of work. I didn’t see Jared as much as he would have liked, and the longer we were together, the harder it was to explain my absences. But, nothing worthwhile came easy and I was determined to keep him. I liked knowing Jared was there when I needed him. And right then, I needed him bad.

“Yeah, I mean it. Get out.”

“Maybe I can change your mind.” I pulled the sheet off his body and played with the sexy smattering of light brown hair between his pecs. The trail continued down his belly leading to a neatly trimmed bush and still flaccid cock.

He was the light to my dark, in appearance and character. We would have made a striking pair before my injury. I ruffled Jared’s hair. His cut wasn’t much longer than mine, a cop cut. A vision of Jared in his dress blues flashed through my mind. I’d jacked off to that image countless times. Who didn’t love a man in uniform? Suddenly an idea popped into my head.

“You’re right, babe. I shouldn’t take you for granted.” I stood, but instead of leaving, I walked over to the closet and took out his uniform. “Put your blues on and punish me. Handcuff me to the bed, spank me, plug me --”

The ghost of a grin played on Jared’s lips. “You crazy fucker.”

“Exactly. I’m crazy to fuck you.”

No lie there. I never got enough of Jared. Still, if it had been up to me, we’d never have hooked up. I wasn’t stupid. I knew it was a bad idea to fuck a cop.

 


 About the Author

Gale Stanley grew up in Philadelphia PA. She was the kid who always had her nose in a book, her head in the clouds, and her hands on a pad and pencil.

Some things never change.


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Blog Tour: The Unforgettable Summer

 



The Unforgettable Series, Book 1

(Standalone)

 

New Adult Romance

Date Published: August 25, 2022 (2nd Edition)

Publisher: Frey Dreams


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It's the summer before her senior year of high school and Bree Summers wants nothing more than to spend it with her friends and get to know her new crush a little better. Unfortunately, things don't always go as planned. Bree's parents send her to her grandmother's house on a lake in Maine for the whole summer. Although she's not happy, Bree loves spending time with her grandmother and tries to make the best of it.

One morning, when she gets ready to take her kayak out, she stumbles upon one of her neighbors, meeting gorgeous, active and playful Christian Emory. The two soon find they want to spend as much time together as possible, cherishing every moment before their unforgettable summer comes to an end.

What will happen at the end of the summer when Christian leaves for College and Bree has to return home for one more year of high school to find her world has turned completely upside down? Will unforeseen circumstances keep them apart or will they be able to find their way back to each other?

 


EXCERPT

Chapter 2

The next morning, I wake up just as the sky begins lightening and softly groan. It must be way too early to get up! I stretch my arms above my head about to go back to sleep when I roll over and blink a few times. Realizing where I am, I startle myself awake and push myself out of bed wanting to get out on the lake.

Making my way over to my dresser, I pull out my new pale pink and chocolate brown bikini and quickly strip out of my pajamas and throw it on. I love the colors with my pale skin and chestnut brown hair. Since I was such a late bloomer, it’s also the first summer I actually have enough in my bathing suit to fill out a bikini and I want to show it off, even it’s just for me. I don’t think I’m “the shit" or anything, but I’m comfortable with myself. I guess you could say I have my good days and bad days. I throw an old pair of jean shorts over the top of my suit, slip my feet into my black and white flip flops and rush out to the kitchen.

Reaching for a notepad and pen, I quickly scrawl out a note to Gram. I don’t want her to worry.

 

“Good morning, Grandma,

I left to go kayaking. I’ll be back soon. I love you!

Love, Bree.”

 

I place a rubber band around my wrist to throw my hair up later and slip out the back door, making my way down to the lake where my green kayak sits waiting. As I pick my life jacket up out of the center of the kayak I hear light splashing, signaling either an animal in the water or someone might be paddling close by.

Quietly, I step towards the shore and freeze with my mouth hanging open. Through the trees I see the most beautiful boy I’ve ever seen and he’s no scrawny fifteen-year-old! He seems to already have a nice golden tan. His light brown hair has sun-kissed blonde highlights hanging messily, but perfect just above his eyebrows. Sunlight begins peeking up on the other side of the lake and seems to be reflecting off him, making him appear to be shimmering. He’s so close to the shore I can actually see his muscles rippling from his miniscule movements, with his arms bare and then hiding underneath a light blue t-shirt.

I concentrate on closing my mouth and squinting to see if I can tell what color his eyes might be when he stops and places his paddle on top of his blue kayak and starts looking around the lake. That’s when it happens. I guess I’ve been unconsciously inching closer to the lake, and I step too close to a wet, slimy rock. Awkwardly, I slip and lean forward with my arms swinging, trying to catch my balance. Letting out a helpless squeal, I lean too far and fall unceremoniously into the lake with a splash.

As I lift my head, sputtering, a loud chuckle erupts from what I can only assume is the beautiful boy in the boat. I look up, completely mortified and glare, red as a cherry tomato, with my face feeling like it’s on fire! He smiles, taking my breath away as he gestures to my life jacket. "You know, even if you can't swim, the water is only about a foot and a half deep there," he advises playfully.

My whole body begins to boil with embarrassment as I continue to glare at him while he inches closer. He easily jumps out of his kayak holding out his hand to help me up, still grinning. "It's okay. I won't push you back in," he teases. I reluctantly reach for his offered hand. He pulls me up a little too hard and I bump into his chest. His muscles tense as I plant my free hand on his chest in attempt to brace myself from impact. "Sorry about that," he mumbles, smirking at me, not appearing sorry at all.

I feel tingles shoot from our connected fingers all the way down to my toes as I finally meet his gaze. "Blue,” I mumble, staring into his eyes. Inhaling quickly, I begin to panic, seeing the strange look he gives me. “I mean thanks,” I quickly amend. Jerking my hand away, I take a step back, and almost lose my balance again, but he grabs my elbow, steadying me. "Thanks. I was just about to head out in my kayak."

"Don't you need a kayak for that?" he questions, smiling wryly. I narrow my eyes at him again and gesture to my kayak back on the bank behind the trees as I gather my now somewhat wet hair up into a ponytail. He guides his kayak towards the shore and jumps out of the water, grabbing mine before I'm even done with my hair.

"I can do that," I call out.

"I'm sure you can," he concedes, his smirk still on his gorgeous face. I just stare at him as he slides my kayak effortlessly into the water over the rocks.

"We have a ramp right there, so you don't have to pull it over the rocks," I inform him, pointing towards the ramp.

"Yeah, but you're already in the water over here," he observes, glancing at the ramp and back over to me allowing his eyes to quickly sweep down my body giving me goose bumps. "How about some company? I can show you around the lake," he suggests, smiling even broader.

I can’t stop my laugh from escaping. "I know my way around pretty well, thanks."

"Well, then, can you show me around a little more? I've only been here for a short time, and I would love to know some of the secret spots around here," he proposes, raising his eyebrows in question.

I roll my eyes and grin. "Ok. I just like to take it slow in the mornings though if that’s okay with you. I usually go along the shore and kind of check everything out. I was going to watch the sunrise, but I guess I'm too late for that now," I acknowledge, crinkling my nose as I look out at the already rising sun across the lake.

"Is that why you jumped right into the lake without your kayak?" he taunts, smirking. I roll my eyes again, not bothering to respond. "I'm Christian, by the way," he introduces himself, reaching his hand towards me with a full-watt smile. My breath catches in my throat. I dig my toes into the muddy bottom and take a deep breath to keep myself from falling over as I slowly reach for his hand. "And you are?" he prompts.

"Sorry,” I mumble, shaking my head at my awkwardness. “I'm Bree. I guess I wasn't expecting to see anyone this morning. I'm still waking up," I claim, hoping he'll buy my lame excuse.

"Bree, I like that,” he mumbles thoughtfully. “Is that short for anything?"

"Briann," I confirm with a nod.

Suddenly, I realize I’m staring into his electrifying ice blue eyes again with his large hand still holding mine. I quickly drop my gaze and tug my hand away, turning to step into my kayak as a blush consumes me once again from head to toe. I see him watching me get in out of the corner of my eye before climbing back into his own kayak. “So, where to Bree?” he prods, still grinning.

I take a deep breath to calm my trembling hands, then another, hoping my voice won’t come out shaky. “Where were you coming from?” He points behind us and I suggest, “Then, let’s keep going this way.”

I dip my paddle into the water and a chill goes through me, my whole body shuddering. “Are you okay?” he questions.

“Just cold,” I retort, not wanting to give him too much.

He nods and smiles mischievously, his eyes sparkling. “Let me know if you need anything to warm up.” Afraid to respond, not quite sure if his comment was all that innocent, I just nod my head, listening as his chuckle rumbles over the water. The sound has tingles practically consuming my whole body.

After a few minutes, he breaks the silence. “So, how do you know the lake so well? I haven’t seen you around here at all this past month.”

I almost breathe a sigh of relief, grateful with the change of topic. “My grandma lives here,” I inform him, pointing back to her house. “I’ve spent every summer with her since I was nine.”

“I think I’ve seen your grandma. So, you’re here for the whole summer?” he probes, arching his eyebrow in question. I nod my head in confirmation. “Well, it looks like my summer just got a whole lot better,” he happily admits, giving me another heart-melting smile.

Heat slams into me with his compliment, my whole body flushing from head to toe. “What about you? Where are you from?” I question, trying to move the attention away from me.

He pauses like he's contemplating his answer before he responds. “All over really; most recently Maryland and now here before I leave for college. We move around a lot for my dad’s job. Every couple years he seems to get a promotion that comes with a move.”

“That must be hard.”

He shrugs. “You get used to it and now I’m off to college, so I guess after this summer it won’t matter much anyway.”

“Where are you going to college?”

“University of Southern Maine. I like it up here.” We paddle quietly for a few minutes. Then he glances at me, asking, “What about you?” I must look confused because he grins and prompts, “Future plans?”

I nod my head in understanding and inform him, “I have one more year left of high school and then I’d like to come back this way as well. University of Southern Maine is actually where I’d like to go, if I get in. I want to be close to my grandma and they have a ton of programs to choose from,” I explain. To myself, I can’t help but think it’s also far away from my parents. It’s not like they’re ever around anyway.

“They’d be crazy not to accept you,” he claims, quietly. I blush again in response and quickly look the other way. “So, are there any secret coves or something like that around here?”

 


  About the Author

Nikki A Lamers has always had a passion for reading and writing, especially romance. She grew up in Wisconsin with her sister, mom, and dad. She always loved reading romance books and watching romance movies with her dad, something they both enjoyed. After college she lived in Florida for a few years working at the “Happiest Place on Earth,” where she met her husband. She now lives on Long Island in New York with her husband and two kids. When she’s not working on her books, she also works with scripts, on and off set. She spends her free time reading or hanging out with friends and family. She would love to spend more time traveling, visiting new places and meeting new people as well as continue creating stories, each of her characters becoming part of her family.


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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

PROMO: Scarred Dreams

 

 

Historic Romance

Date Published: 12-12-2022

Publisher: The Wild Rose Press


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In 1944, a German artillery shell destroyed Milt Greenlee’s future in professional baseball. His hideously scarred face and useless arm require him to relearn and recondition. But no amount of rehab will restore his looks or his self-confidence. There’s no chance a “cripple” like him could catch the eye of the stunning Nurse McEwen.

Army Nurse, Annie McEwen dreams her voice will take her far away from her hateful, overbearing father. She hopes Milt, a patient who fought in Sicily, might be the one who can help her find closure with the death of her cousin.

As their attraction grows, how can their relationship survive Annie's fears and Milt's secret?

 

About the Author

Barbara Whitaker was born in the wrong decade. She loves everything about the 1940’s and WWII, so she decided to write about it. Her historical romances embody that fascinating era in history. Visit Barbara's website www.barbarawhitaker.com


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Blog Tour: Laugh Cry Rewind

 



 Nonfiction/Memoir

To Be Published: September 28, 2022

Publisher: J Press Books


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Growing up in 1970s and 80s suburban Houston, Judy Haveson is funny, sarcastic, and fiercely loyal, especially to her family, friends, and big sister, Celia. When she suffers a series of unimaginable traumatic events, her seemingly idyllic childhood comes to a halt, changing her life forever.

In Laugh Cry Rewind, Judy takes readers on her journey of self-discovery, sharing funny, touching, and heartbreaking stories from her childhood all the way to the birth of her son. Her experiences serve as a reminder that while life is not always fair, ultimately, the choice to surrender or keep on living is ours. Her message to others who have experienced loss or tragedy is this: stop waiting for the other shoe to drop. Let life go on, and good things will be waiting for you on the other side of the pain. 


Editorial Reviews 

 "Judy Haveson shares her life story with a sublime balance of heartbreak and humor. Laugh Cry Rewind is intimate and mesmerizing thanks to Haveson’s conversational style and wit; her struggles and triumphs are palpable, and even her ordinary stories dazzle." 

Self-Publishing Review, ★★★★½ 

 "A wonderfully written memoir that will truly have its readers laughing and crying. Haveson does an exemplary job of taking her readers through the worst and best times of her life, from her beautiful sister's untimely death to her dating horror stories leading up to meeting her amazing husband. The passion and perseverance Haveson has is commendable." 

--Kristi Elizabeth, Manhattan Book Review



Excerpt

            It’s fun to learn which celebrities and famous people share my birthday, for no other reason than to confirm my birthday is indeed a momentous day. Notables include Mae West, the original blonde bombshell who once said, “Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere.” Also, the Raging Bull “You talkin’ to me?” actor Robert De Niro. And my all-time favorite, Fast Times at Ridgemont High stoner Jeff Spicoli, played by Sean Penn, whose famous line, “I’m so wasted!” defined most of my generation. Why did he have to grow up? 

            Celebrities aside, the most important person I will always share a birthday with is my big sister, Celia, born on Saturday, August 17, 1957. I came along seven years later, on Monday, August 17, 1964. It’s certainly not an anomaly for siblings to be born on the same day. But according to my mother, she delivered two weeks early for both births, making it even more statistically unlikely.

            The seven-year age gap sometimes affected our relationship, mainly because I always wanted to play with her. Celia couldn’t be bothered with my childish antics, especially after discovering boys. As I grew up, she served as my role model, confidante, moral compass, protector, and best friend.

            But back to our shared birthdays. I’ll be honest, I thought it sucked that our birthdays were the same day because I didn’t like sharing anything.

Our parents made a big deal out of our birthdays. We’d have two cakes (which my mother almost always baked and then decorated to perfection), great gifts, and sometimes week-long celebrations. My favorite cakes included Flipper, the dolphin from the television series, and Raggedy Ann. The Flipper cake had teal-colored icing made from pure sugar, which soaked through the vanilla cake and turned it blue, along with our tongues, and the intricate decorations on Raggedy Ann made her look like she might come alive and jump off the table.

Being seven years younger meant I had my celebration in the afternoon with Pin the Tail on the Donkey, musical chairs, peanut butter and jelly or cheese sandwiches, fruit punch, and cake. Later that night, Celia had the cool-girl slumber party with hot dogs and hamburgers, brownies and soda, and dance music. Of course, being the genuinely annoying little sister, I crashed her parties; shockingly, she and her friends always kicked me out.

            On my eighth birthday, Celia and her friends celebrated her fifteenth birthday with an impromptu dance party while listening to Donny Osmond and David Cassidy on her new cassette tape deck. I slipped into the room and started dancing with them.

            “Hey, get out of here, Judy, or I’ll tell Mama,” she screamed. I ignored her and kept dancing. Soon, all her friends were also screaming at me, and my mom dragged me away.

“It’s not fair,” I cried. “Why can’t I stay? It’s my birthday, too.”

My mom looked at me with sympathetic eyes and said, “Because you’re the little sister.”

As I got older, I found a new appreciation for sharing our birthday. I looked forward to it every year, mainly because I looked up to Celia and wanted to be like her. While August 17 represented the one day of the year that bonded the two of us forever, our connection went far beyond that date.

            We no longer celebrate our birthdays in person and haven’t for many years. But I will always share a birthday with Celia in my heart. I remember our last celebration together. I had wanted August 17 to be all about her and nothing about me for just that moment. But she wouldn’t have anything to do with that idea at all. She said, “We will always share a birthday, and don’t you forget that!” When she spoke, I usually listened. She also told me to continue our birthday traditions even after she was gone. 

            Today, my heart is a bit heavier every August 17. I may not have the big fancy cakes, fun parties, or even week-long celebrations, but I remember the good times and our unique connection.


About the Author

Judy Haveson is a proud Texan who will never lose her southern charm or accent and uses both when the situation absolutely calls for it. Her one-time dream of becoming a journalist was shattered when a professor suggested she pick a new major due to her penchant for obsessive conversation. He claimed she’d be an editor’s nightmare because she wrote as she spoke and never stopped talking. This led her to a career in public relations. Judy’s fixation with reading books and stories about other people’s lives inspired her to write her debut memoir. She currently lives in The Hamptons with her husband, Adam, son, Jack, and beloved Yorkie, Toby.


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Monday, October 3, 2022

PROMO: The Shape of Heat I: Awakening

 

 

Erotic Romance

Date Published: 10-10-2022

Publisher: Naughty Netherworld Press


Candi knew hot things happened behind closed doors at the Pearl Beach Resort. After all, the place was owned by bisexual billionaire playboy Boris van Donk, who had a reputation for taking on all comers.

Candi's family of origin was strictly religious, and she has never given or received more than a chaste kiss in her 21 years. Between bad-boy Boris and her geeky, fun-loving, porn-writing housemates, an awakening of her desires is inevitable.

 

Excerpt

On the Beach


Two women and a man, all hospitality workers in their early twenties, sat in a remote spot on the soft pink sands of Pearl Beach Resort. Pearl Beach was a tropical hideaway in the Caribbean Sea, offering both relaxing days and exciting nightlife for adults. Fire Isle’s nearby sister island, Moonlight Island, was home to Sunny Coast Hospitality College. Some of the school’s graduates became managers of luxury hotels. Others loved Pearl Beach so much that they stayed on as employees. The three companions were in the latter category.

During the first meeting for new students, the odd trio, though appearing to have little in common, became fast friends. They complemented each other, and their zeal for their coursework led them to graduate in three years instead of the usual four. Upon graduation, the three friends enthusiastically accepted the offer of employment at Pearl Beach Resort with a three-bedroom cabin to share.

The college and the resort were both presided over by Boris van Donk, a Dutch billionaire whose reputed sexual excesses earned him the nickname “The Dirty Dutchman.” It was rumored that he enjoyed introducing neophytes of both sexes to his fabled collection of erotic toys and practices. Despite his libido being the stuff of legend, van Donk conducted himself with dignity. He never forced his desires on disinterested parties.

Despite their enjoyment of one another’s company, the trio realized there were many things they didn't know about each other. They wished to strengthen their bond and dedicated an hour every week to unofficial group therapy. During this time, anyone could share his or her secrets. The friends were currently involved in one of these casual counseling sessions.


About the Author

Lil is the Very Naughty side of Team Netherworld/Naughty Netherworld Press. Cheeky and mysterious, Lil enjoys writing sweet and spicy stories that are heavy on the tongue in cheek.

 

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PROMO: Shadows That Speak

 


Horror

Date Published: December 12, 2021

 

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Daniel Manley did not experience a single moment of human kindness when cast out as a child onto the merciless cobblestone streets of 19th century London.

One unsympathetic evening, while he lay cold and alone in a dark alley, he pleaded for death over living his abhorrent life a single moment longer. Upon taking his last gasp of frigid air, a mysterious voice emanates from the alley's darkest corner, stopping his despair. Daniel scans the darkness for the voices' origination.

His fear turned to optimism as he takes solace in the words spoken by his newfound savior, 'Father.' Guided by Fathers, 'sound advice,' Daniel does his bidding, reigning terror on all who cause society's ruination.

Is Father a figment of his imagination, or is he possessed by a dark beast that feeds on his unanswered prayers? 

 

About the Author

Brigitte, "Gitte," Tamar was born in a small rural Oregon town. Growing up, she was enthralled by scary tales featuring poetic tones and consistently gravitated towards writing darkened narratives. In the different storylines, Brigitte explores the harsh realities of social issues faced by today's generations. This includes the dark outcomes brought on by peer pressure, addiction, homelessness, mental illness, childhood trauma, and abuse. She feels it is essential to share narratives that refrain from sugarcoating the topics society tends to shy away from.

 

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Blog Tour: FNG: A Black Spear Novel

 



Military/Sci-Fi

Date Published: September 6, 2022

Publisher: Acorn Publishing


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FNG: noun. informal. Military term, “F****** New Guy”: a person just out of training or newly transferred into the unit, who either hasn't proved their worth or doesn't know how to operate properly due to lack of experience. 

“Welcome to Black Spear.” With these four words Cole West is immediately thrust into the shadowy world of the military’s most deadly black-ops program. No warning. No training. No choice but to buckle up as Black Spear conscripts him to fight against a paramilitary group of renegade veterans known only as “Terminal.”

Terminal is no ragtag militia but a veritable private army of disgruntled soldiers with one mission: Stop at nothing to topple the government they think failed them. Armed with a highly volatile bioweapon capable of absorbing the properties of other contagions, they plan to wash the country clean through an ocean of blood.

It’s up to Cole West and Black Spear to prevent Terminal’s terrorist attacks and stop the insurrection before it can happen. To survive in Black Spear, West will have to prove himself. But even on day one, there are no second chances…



Excerpt

His shoulder-length dark brown hair was slicked back and his full beard, though long, was clean and well-maintained. Abraham Jackson, known simply as Abe to his friends and Jax to his troops, was a born leader. Jax honestly believed that in a thousand possible lifetimes, he still would’ve found his way into the military. Service was often referred to as a calling; it was one he’d eagerly answered when he’d come of age. From the second he’d enlisted, he’d felt that he’d truly found his niche in life. While other men oftentimes grew discouraged with military life and frequent deployments, he’d thrived on it.

Jax had cut his teeth in Iraq, he’d done his time in Afghanistan, and despite how skilled a warrior he was he’d been passed over for promotion until the end of his contract. Four fucking years of back-to-back combat tours, spilling blood in a sandbox nobody gave a shit about, and all without ever strapping on a second chevron. Since he’d never picked up rank beyond Lance Corporal, he was denied reenlistment.

He was a “Terminal Lance”; one of thousands of Marines every year who simply hadn’t managed to get promoted before their time was up. “It is what it is,” is what he’d been told by countless superiors who appeared sorry to see him go, yet not concerned enough to raise a finger about his dismissal from the Corps. His entire chain of command watched as he’d been forced out. “Thank you for your service, now you’re on your own.”

Jax understood the importance of putting a group before the individual, but he also had enough perspective to know that deeming him unworthy was a mistake. That thought had put a brand on his soul that even now hadn’t healed. Pain can drive a man to great things.

When he’d been forced out, Jax had felt lost for a time. He was a warrior through and through. Yet he’d been considered worthless by the very organization that had become his family. After a time Jax grew sick of his own self-loathing and used it to fuel a new goal.

Upon a suggestion from one of his friends, a fellow Terminal Lance he’d served with named Rob Batson, Jax had formed a support group for veterans like himself. He’d called it Terminal; it was a cheeky joke that drew in a particular demographic. Originally, Terminal had been geared towards deterring suicide and unemployment through outreach. Build the community in order to build the network of support. However, what started as a tight-knit few quickly grew into a sizable organization. Spurred on by Jax and Batson’s influence, Terminal had blossomed into their very own military outfit.

By associating with military humor pages and other similar social media groups, Terminal was able to expand its recruitment efforts to an even larger pool. The convenience of digital networking had played a pivotal role in finding the veterans they needed.

Disillusioned. Disappointed. Frustrated. Most importantly: trained. In the military there was a position for every job you could think of. There were trigger pullers, wrench turners, armorers, logisticians, communications technicians, medical personnel, and even meteorological specialists.  Each year thousands of military personnel were processed out of every MOS (military occupational specialty). Some were discharged voluntarily; others less so. Terminal didn’t discriminate against the circumstances.

In the beginning Jax personally handled recruitment. Each and every man had been approached one at a time. Now, he had an entire team going off of a nearly foolproof script. One of their members with a Master’s in psychology had even helped Jax perfect it. He had his men sitting behind computers pushing out private messages over Facebook, trolling the lobbies of VA centers, rubbing elbows and buying drinks at the local VFW, and even doing house calls. They’d gotten recruitment down to a science. It always started casually. Looking for work? That disability payment late again? Wife left and took the kids? Not everyone responded eagerly, but that didn’t matter. Eventually those who were interested got the final message: “You should meet Jax.”

All it took from there was one all-expenses paid bus ticket to meet the man himself, and Terminal’s numbers grew - one by one.

 


 About the Author

Born and raised in California, Benjamin J. Spada has had a lifelong passion for storytelling. Benjamin, a self-described “Professor of Batmanology,” is a dedicated taco aficionado,  and proud Fil-Am and lumpia enthusiast who has served in the United States Marine Corps for the past decade. He has taught martial arts , operated as a section leader in the Wounded Warrior Battalion for our nation’s wounded, ill, and injured, and served overseas to help train our foreign military allies in defense against chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. He has trained Marines, sailors, federal agents, and other friendly forces in individual survival measures. Despite these grim assignments, he has carried on with equal amounts of sarcasm and stoicism. When out of uniform, Benjamin is an avid sci-fi and horror movie fan, tattoo collector, comic enthusiast, and two-time holder of the Platinum Trophy in Elder Scrolls: Skyrim. FNG: a Black Spear Novel is Benjamin’s debut novel. Benjamin lives with his wife Jacqueline and their three daughters, Elizabeth, Isabella, and Alexandra, in Oceanside, California.


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