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  • Heather @ Padme's Library
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  • Lena @ Rainbow Book Reviews
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Sins of Summer Anthology

Sins of Summer Anthology
Release Date: 01 August 2011
Description:

Book one of The Seven Deadly Sins Series

The seven deadly sins: lust, wrath, greed, gluttony, envy, pride and sloth.

The Sins of Summer weaves a general thread of deception loosely tying these tales together. Envy, lust and wrath are explored in these scorching m/m tales involving action, burning hot sex and sinful adventures that will have you cranking up the Air Conditioning.


'Mayze' by D.J.Manly
D.J. Manly tackles the sin of lust in his paranormal tale

Jas's joy of being reunited with his sister is short lived when one night she is murdered by a madman, a madman his foster brother claims is a vampire. Sent out on a mission to find a monster, Jas meets Mayze, and he's like no one he's ever met before. Is he the monster who killed his sister, or could he just be the answer to his prayers?


'Burnt Island' by A.J.Llewellyn
A.J. Llewellyn tackles the sin of jealousy in Burnt Island

Manhattan-based private investigator, Leo Gannet, accepts an assignment to tail his father's boyfriend, theater director Thane Covey on a clandestine trip to a tiny Greek island. With only three hundred inhabitants and four miles to cover, Leo worries about pulling off his mission. He soon discovers he's got bigger problems: Thane Covey is the sexiest man he's ever seen. And he's not alone. Leo soon becomes insanely jealous, then very worried. To top it off, Thane also seems to have somebody else's attention...a hitman's.


'Summer Escape' by Serena Yates
In Summer Escape, Serena Yates tackles the sin of wrath.

New York banker Carlton Jaymes Pearce receives an ultimatum from his doctor: accept a lifestyle change and early retirement to reduce his astronomical stress levels or be prepared to have a heart attack - soon. Being only thirty-eight, Carlton isn't ready to die and decides to finally learn how to sail. Neither he nor his private sailing instructor, Troy Nicholls, are ready for the almost instant attraction that leads to a hot and heavy summer fling. But all is not well because someone from Carlton's past appears on the scene to exact revenge for a perceived injustice. Carlton and Troy are kidnapped and left on a deserted island. Will the mysterious man's wrath cost them their lives?


Pages: 197 EBook, 274 Paperback
Words: 68,000
Heat Index:Heat Index
Cover Artist: Posh Gosh
Book Type: EBook, Paperback

EXCERPT:

By reading any further, you are stating that you are 18 years of age, or over.
If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.
Copyright © D.J.Manly, A.J.Llewellyn, Serena Yates 2011
All Rights Reserved, Total-E-Ntwined Limited, T/A Total-E-Bound.

Excerpt From: Sins of Summer

Mayze by D.J.Manly

From the final pirouette to the grand jeté, Magda’s attention never wavered from the scene in front of her eyes. It had been like watching a child surrounded by treats in a candy store. It was all so good that in the end you never really end up choosing.

Jas placed an arm around his older sister as they exited the theatre and walked out onto Sixty-Third Street. Columbus Avenue was bustling tonight, the weather glorious—warm with a subtle, soft breeze that prevented the heat from being oppressive.

The home of the New York City Ballet, the David H. Koch Theater, was one of three theatres located on the over-sixteen-acre Lincoln Center Campus in the city’s west end. Magda had always loved ballet but had never before had the chance to actually see one.

* * * *

In the early nineties, when the war over independence had erupted in Bosnia, Jas was only twelve years old. Magda had been sixteen. Given that Bosnia’s male children seemed to be more of a target than females, his parents feared for Jas’ safety. At the age of thirteen, his parents sent him to New York City to live with his father’s cousin, Adel, and her family.

It had been a tough decision for the family. The decision had not been made in haste, and his parents had changed their minds several times about sending him to New York. Jas remembered how angry he’d been at being sent away. He hadn’t wanted to leave his family. The night before he’d actually left, his sister had sat up all night, quietly talking to him. She’d convinced him that it was the right thing to do and that soon they’d all be together again.

A few years later, eight thousand boys had been murdered by Serbs, helping to turn the tide of the war…and convincing his parents they had made the right choice in sending him to America.

Adel had always felt badly that she couldn’t take in the entire family, but Jas’ father had truly felt he had a duty to stay and help defend his homeland and wouldn’t have left anyway.

His father had died in the conflict just before it was all over, and his sister—who wrote to him constantly, longing to come to America—had stayed behind to look after their mother, whose health declined rapidly after their father was killed.

Finally, two years ago, his sister had arrived in America. After their mother had passed away, they’d talked about it while Jas was home for the service. Magda was so excited. She’d been learning English for a few years in preparation and they always spoke English on the phone and exchanged emails in that language.

But when they saw each other at the airport five years later, Magda spoke to him in Bosnian, “Jasminko, zdravo, ja sam sretan sada.”

“English, English, sister. You are in America now…and I am happy too.” They’d held on to each other for a long time—all of the memories and loss filling them both for a few minutes—before they broke apart.

Jas had known things would be different now. Finally, Magda could leave the past behind her, too—as he’d already done.

It had taken a while for his sister to be able to address him as Jas. He didn’t use Jasminko anymore. It was too long a name and people had problems pronouncing it. Not to mention, they always wanted to know what kind of a name that was. He’d have to explain where he was from, and that brought up a past that he didn’t like talking about.

“You are so American,” his sister had laughed at him as he’d driven her home from the airport that day.

She was right, of course. He’d been in the US now for almost eighteen years. Many things had changed in his life since he’d left Bosnia. His mother’s cousin had been an Adem. Her father had been the oldest in the family, and he’d always wanted Jas’ father to come with him to America. His father, however, had been very proud of his homeland, always believing he could make it better. Jas couldn’t help thinking how different everything would have been if his parents had taken Magda and came to America before he was born. Maybe his parents would be alive today.

His uncle had worked as a scientist in the American government. His wife had died in childbirth and Adel, his daughter, had married an Irishman called Patrick O’Kelly. They had two children, Harlan and Anne. Harlan, the elder of the two, had become a Catholic priest.

Jas was completely out of touch with his roots, and given the history, he’d never really had the heart to reconnect. Aside from his older sister, his only family was the O’Kellys, and they had been good to him. They treated him like one of their own, and the youngest, Anne, thought of him as a brother. Anne had once told Jas that he was like her only brother because Harlan was so difficult to get close to. Jas’ relationship with Anne hadn’t made him miss Magda any less, but it had helped to ease the pain of their separation. Today, Anne was a cop—as a kid, she’d always been a bit of a daredevil. They’d spent a lot of time together doing nonsense.

Patrick and his twin brother, John, were partners in an industrial construction supply business. Patrick had always been a little disappointed that Harlan, the only boy, didn’t share his interest in the business and he hadn’t been that thrilled to see him enter the priesthood. Pat was Catholic in name only, didn’t trust priests and was pretty vocal about it. It didn’t help the rocky relationship he had with his son.

Jas, on the other hand, was fascinated with building. He had been as a boy, and by the time he was sixteen, he’d been working summers for the O’Kelly brothers. They’d taught him everything, and he’d paid his way through trade school and university that way. After Jas graduated, he went to work full-time in the business. He’d been promised a partnership and a chance to buy them out when they retired, which was definitely in his plans.

He loved his life. He’d bought a small house on the east side, twenty minutes from the office, and had saved enough money to set his sister up in her own place when she was ready and help her find a good job. He didn’t want her doing menial labour like some immigrant women ended up doing—cleaning rich people’s houses or offices for shit wages.

 

Burnt Island by A.J.Llewellyn

It began with the dog walking around in circles and ended with me on a plane to Athens, Greece, tracking my father’s boyfriend. Yeah, you heard it right. Just when my dog, Jezebel, needed me most, I couldn’t come up with the funds to treat her sudden onset of vestibular disease. A call to my dad for a loan got me an unwanted job, but it also meant the money I desperately needed to take care of my best friend in the whole wide world.

My vet is an awesome guy. He’s not the type to chisel his human clients for expensive tests, but when my Australian shepherd, Jez, started tilting her head, scratching her ear, walking in circles and falling down, Dr Lang warned me it might be very serious. He couldn’t tell if her vestibular problem was because of an ear infection or a brain tumour. This meant a slew of tests. In my work as a private eye, I have good months and bad months. Lately they’ve all been bloody awful. In this tough economy, people have been taking matters into their own hands, following cheating spouses themselves…or just turning a blind eye to their shenanigans.

No matter how many times I tell a love-sick spouse that you get what you pay for, a few have ignored me, with catastrophic results. As much as any guy wants to know if his wife is diddling another guy, nobody really wants to see it for themselves. And then there is the matter of getting caught. There isn’t a person alive who looks attractive acting like a stalker…

But enough about that. I was frightened enough about Jez having a disease I couldn’t spell, let alone treat. New York was bracing itself for some sweltering, triple-digit summer heat, and my A/C was on the fritz. I’d have to get that repaired as well if I was going to keep Jezebel comfy.

When I called him for a loan, my father, Leo Gannet Sr, was unusually willing to pay for the initial battery of tests. He gave Dr Lang’s office manager his credit card details right over the phone. I should have been suspicious, but I wasn’t until he said, “Leo, we need to meet and discuss terms.”

Terms? What terms?

As I grabbed a taxi to meet him for coffee on Manhattan’s lower east side, I watched the day’s heat shimmer in waves from the scorching bitumen. I bounced along on the uncomfortable, macramé-covered back seat, the strong smell of curry and rice permeating the cab. I held on for dear life, worried the back door of the decrepit vehicle would fling open, tossing me to the kerb. As we slammed to a halt outside Bluestockings Café, I wondered if my father’s terms meant a repayment plan I’d have to make—with interest.

Dad waited for me inside Bluestockings, an activist café and bookstore he would never have frequented when he was straight. A contract-law attorney, he’d always been the epitome of Brooks Brothers couture. Now he was gay, he dressed like a frickin’ rich, hippie weirdo with tie-dyed T-shirts and hemp pants and gave free legal advice to old ladies selling organic produce. I noticed prayer beads lurking against his hairy chest and gem stone bracelets clinking on his wrists. I detected a strong whiff of patchouli incense when he threw his arms around me. Though I wanted my father to be happy, I wished he could have done it whilst maintaining a closer relationship with soap. He still looked distinguished…sort of. He needed a shave and a trim. He looked bleary-eyed and exhausted.

Holy cow. Had he been crying?

Dad hugged me like it had been weeks since we’d seen each other. Upon reflection, it had, so I let him hug me. He oohed and aahed over me.

“Leo, great haircut, son. Have you been working out?”

We both had the same chocolate brown hair that did whatever the hell it wanted, only his had started turning grey, probably from the stress of living a double life. Now he was out, he’d quit the weekly facials and manicures.

“I gotta be me,” he kept saying. I just didn’t know who the hell that was anymore.

He cupped my face in his hands and looked at me with eyes the same blue as my own.

“You look good,” he said.

“Thanks, Dad.” I had to lie. It was required. “So do you.”

That pleased him. His expression was serene when he finally released me. I sat down at a small table wedged between a huge basket bearing a fresh harvest of dwarf cameo apples on one side and another basket filled with free yarn and needles for the shop’s dyke knitting circle on the other. I hadn’t even ordered myself a cup of coffee when he hit me with the news.

“You’re leaving for Greece tonight.”

“What are you talking about? I can’t go to Greece, Dad. Jez needs me.”

“She won’t be alone. You forget, I love that dog, too,” he told me. “She’s fourteen, son. Things start to go wrong then.”

Thanks a lot for reminding me, Dad…

“My boyfriend’s cheating on me.” He fiddled with a ball of bright blue yarn, winding the thread around his fingers. “I hacked his computer and I found his Kayak.com account. That fool’s been online, hooking up a romantic vacation with another guy whilst I’m doing my best to win his heart.”

He looked so forlorn I felt really bad for him.

“You have no idea,” Dad said. “My God…the dinners, the concerts…” his voice trailed away. He dumped the yarn back into the communal basket. “I brought all the information you’ll need.”

He had his iPad with him. The shocks didn’t stop coming. My father, who still wore a watch and had the world’s oldest cell phone on record, suddenly had an iPad and a net detective account. His boyfriend, who he said was a hot theatre director named Thane Covey, was my age—thirty-two. That was embarrassing. Visions of cradles and masked bandits danced in my head as my fifty-eight year old father showed me the Kayak account in question.

“He claims all kinds of work things—social things. He’s always got a thing he’s gotta do.” My father threw his hands into the air. “I got this…thing,” he mimicked.

 

Summer Escape by Serena Yates

“You’re not seriously telling me that I’m in danger of having a heart attack. I’m only thirty-eight years old!” Carlton Jaymes Pearce stared at the physician, willing him to retract his words. All he’d come to the clinic for was his employer’s required annual physical. He hadn’t expected dire predictions about his future. “If this is some sort of joke…”

“No joke.” The white-haired doctor shook his head. “I wouldn’t joke about something like this. It would be highly unethical. And contrary to common belief, age is no protection or guarantee that you’re safe.”

“But…but how?” He took good care of himself. He didn’t smoke, ate mostly sensibly, and went to the gym three or four times a week.

“Your cholesterol is extremely high, as is your blood pressure. Your family history is another risk factor against you.” The doctor looked up from the file, narrowing his eyes. “However, I suspect that the largest contributor is your stress level.”

“Stress.” There’d certainly been enough of that in the last two years. With the way the banking sector was heading, it wasn’t likely to get any less stressful in the future, either. His personal life was a mess, too. The breakup with Michael had been awful, but he wouldn’t accept infidelity no matter how neglected the younger man had claimed he’d felt.

“Exactly.” The doctor tilted his head and raised his eyebrows.

“Well, since that isn’t going to get any rosier, I suggest you give me a prescription to handle the cholesterol and the blood pressure, and I’m sure I’ll be fine.” He could deal with taking some pills.

“I’m afraid that isn’t possible.” The doctor held up a hand to stop him from interrupting. “I agree that medication would reduce some of the physical risk factors, but it wouldn’t reduce your stress levels. I cannot in good conscience put you on medication and leave it at that. What you need is rest and a complete change of lifestyle.”

“Rest? I can’t take a vacation at this point in the fiscal year.” His boss would kill him a long time before any potential heart attack would.

“You don’t understand, Mr Pearce.” The doctor leant forward in his chair. “This isn’t a question of a vacation. I’m going to recommend a leave of absence of at least six months before a re-evaluation to see if you’ve made enough progress to consider a return to part-time work.”

“You…you what?” He could feel his blood pressure rise. He was ready to have that heart attack right now. The man was clearly out to end his career. “Are you trying to get me fired?”

“No, I’m not. I’m trying to save your life. As far as I can see, it’s either your current job or your life. It’s extremely unlikely that you’ll be able to keep both.” The doctor shrugged and sat back. “I’d go for my life if I were you, but it’s your choice.”

“It’s that serious?” Carlton took a deep breath and sat back when the doctor nodded. Maybe it was time to reconsider. His job as chief financial officer at the large bank he currently worked for had lost its appeal about two years ago. His boss would never approve a leave of absence—there were too many equally qualified people flooding the market right now. He had more than enough money to last him several lifetimes if he continued to invest carefully. So what was stopping him?

“Isn’t there anything you’ve always wanted to do, but never had the time to follow up on? Something you dreamed of when you were a child?” The doctor smiled. “Provided it’s not stressful in its own right, of course. I had a patient in here the other day whose response was sky diving. That was not a choice I was able to support.”

“Sailing.” He didn’t even have to think about it.

“Sailing?” The doctor nodded. “That could work.”

“Really?” He grinned. “I’ve always loved the ocean. We used to spend our summer vacations in Florida, at my grandparents’ beach house. I spent all my time either in the water, swimming, or near the water, reading. But I was never allowed on a boat. It was considered too dangerous.”

“Well, now you can do what you want. If done right, there is no inherent danger or stress in sailing. Learning to sail might be exactly what you’re looking for.” The doctor made a note in his file. “I’ll still want you to return here for another evaluation in six months’ time, just to make sure you’re on the right track.”

“Could you do me a favour, please?” He didn’t want the news to get to his boss via the human resources department. “Could you hold the report back for a day or so? I’d like the chance to talk to my boss and settle this without interference from the rules and regulations people. I’d rather resign than be asked to leave for medical reasons.”

“That will be no problem, Mr Pearce. Anything that makes your life easier is fine with me.” The doctor smiled and closed the file. “But remember, I’m still going to have to send the report. After all, your employer did pay for it.”

“That’s fine.” Carlton felt more relaxed and about ten years younger already. He’d always been good at making decisions quickly. Decisive could have been his middle name. This way, at least he was in control of what was going to happen.

 

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