*BLOG TOUR w/EXCERPT* ~ ANTHEM OF SURVIVAL, THE ANTHEM TRILOGY BOOK 3, By Thom Collins

#m/m novel


Out Now—THE ANTHEM TRILOGY BOOK 3: ANTHEM OF SURVIVAL By Thom Collins

The Anthem Trilogy:
1. Anthem of the Sea
2. Anthem of the Dark
3. Anthem of Survival

Anthem of Survival

Will they ever escape the past?
Revenge casts a long shadow.

Following two prior attempts on their lives, Daniel and Elijah are together and stronger than ever. Their relationship has weathered the toughest elements and survived. Physically and emotionally scarred, the bond between them can’t be broken. One year on from the devastating events in Anthem of the Dark they have reassessed their priorities and want to spend time out of the spotlight.

Elijah has quit his stand-up career to focus on his new passion: training to be a chef. But for Daniel, there are too many questions he desperately needs answers to. Like who orchestrated the violence in Blackpool a year ago? Whose hatred of him runs so deep they’re ruthlessly prepared to hurt innocent by-standers? He teams up with journalist Keeley Rank to uncover the facts.

Though the truth is well hidden, it is closer than anyone thinks. Someone wants revenge. Someone intent on destroying Daniel anyway she can. When Daniel and Elijah attend a fundraising gala for a victim support charity they are unaware they are about to face their most perilous situation yet. Vengeance is a deadly game and not everyone will survive.
Available in ebook and Paperback

BUY LINKS:

Pride Publishing: http://ow.ly/2EIj30myQPQ
Amazon USA: http://ow.ly/J2nk30mTNMC
Amazon UK: http://ow.ly/iXQc30mTNIb

Excerpt:

Daniel Blake, sitting on a shaded terrace in a pair of sun-bleached shorts, strummed a melody on his guitar. The afternoon sun blazed in a cloudless sky and, despite the protective canopy above him, the heat was intense. Beads of sweat ran down his neck, tracking over bronzed skin to the dark mass of chest hair. It glistened on his top lip as he gently chewed the bottom. With his eyes closed, he progressed through the strings. A moment later, he smiled, finally satisfied, and put down the guitar. He reached for the weathered notebook that had been his constant companion all summer and wrote in an eager, untidy hand.

Daniel had been working on the song for two days, both music and lyrics, and, at last, it was done. He had nothing left to add.

He lifted his gaze to the sky and inhaled full into his lungs. Across the terrace, the blue water of the Ionian Sea reflected the white light of the sun, its expanse an ever-changing collage of sapphire and diamond colors. Down the coast, the outline of Corfu Island was a hazy mirage in the heat. This perfect view had been his for six amazing weeks. The idyll would soon be over, but not yet.

Daniel lay back on the lounger and lengthened his arms above his head, stretching the stiffness in his neck. He’d been so absorbed in the song, ensuring every chord and every word were right, he’d ignored his own comfort and now his body ached. A few weeks earlier, he’d made the mistake of writing beside the pool, in the direct glare of the sun, and paid the price. Two painful days in bed with sunburn. Since then, he’d stuck to the shade while working on his music. He lost himself so much in the process it was easy to burn.

Daniel studied his body as he lay there. He’d never looked so good or been this tan before. There’d been no time to sunbathe in the past, he’d always thought it a waste of time. He had had too much to do, too much to achieve, to spend his days lying around a pool. But he’d realized this summer that a tan didn’t just suit him, it helped him feel better.

It wasn’t just the sun. Daily sessions in the pool and long walks on the beach kept him in shape. Coming off Lady Lynda, he’d had every intention of letting his fitness routine go a little, if only for the summer, but it hadn’t worked out that way. He was in better condition now than when he arrived, in mind as well as body.
His legs were strong, muscular and tan. He hardly recognized his own body. He inched down the top of his shorts to admire the contrast in color between the creamy skin below his waist and the coppery tones above. The villa was private and he could have bathed naked if he’d wanted to, except he wasn’t that kind of guy. Besides, tan lines were sexy. He’d always thought so. Who needed to risk a burnt butt and balls?

The one thing that marred the bronze color of his torso was the scars between his hip bones and ribcage, sustained the night Oliver Gill had stabbed him, and from the lifesaving surgery he’d gone through afterward. Before coming to Corfu, the pale scars had been almost unnoticeable on his white skin. His dark body hair just about concealed them. But as his tan deepened, the scars stayed white, becoming more pronounced, forcing him to look at them, to acknowledge them.

Daniel traced his fingers along the lines and indentations. Had he made peace with the disfigurement? No. But as the summer came to an end, he’d learned to accept them.

Daniel sighed and basked in the heat. Life was not so bad, considering what the last two years had thrown at him. Better than that, things were good. Not perfect, too many questions remained unanswered for that, but his optimism grew every day.

The glass doors of the terrace opened behind him and Elijah Mann stepped out, offering him a cold bottle of water.
“It’s hotter than hell out here,” Elijah remarked, shielding his eyes against the sun to gaze across the sea.
Daniel swung his legs over the side of the sunbed and sat up. He drank the chilled, sparkling water and looked with admiration at Elijah’s chunky thighs. While the sun had turned Daniel’s white-boy skin an appealing shade of bronze, Elijah, with his Greek heritage, had gone nut-brown. The beige shorts and blue open-neck shirt he wore today complemented his tan. God, he’s gorgeous. Daniel never had to remind himself what a lucky guy he was.

Elijah dropped onto the other sunbed, knees spread wide, and looked straight at him with soulful brown eyes. His thick blue-black hair fell in an untidy wave across his brow and a three-day beard darkened his jaw. With his natural Greek coloring, Daniel wondered if Elijah had ever looked more handsome. Even more important, he looked happier and healthier than he had in a long time. Less than a year ago he’d been in hospital, fighting for his life. Daniel wouldn’t ever forget how close he’d come to losing him. Those long, terrible hours beside his bed, praying he would recover. Hoping for the best, afraid of the worst.

“How’s it going?” Elijah asked, nodding at his guitar.
“I’m finished,” he answered, smiling.
Elijah’s eyebrows raised. “Really?”
“Absolutely.”
“Don’t keep me in suspense. Let me hear it.”
“What’s for lunch?” Daniel asked, feigning indifference.
Elijah leapt forward, grabbing Daniel’s bare waist, tickling the sensitive flesh around his middle. Daniel yelped and fell backward, giggling. Elijah followed through, lying on top of him, fingers still working his waist. Daniel laughed, squirming against his hard body.
“No lunch today,” Elijah said, his face on top of Daniel’s. “Not until you play me your song.”

Thom Collins Bio

 

Thom Collins is the author of Closer by Morning, Gods of Vengeance and Silent Voices with Pride Publishing. The Anthem Trilogy is out now from Pride Publishing. His love of page turning thrillers began at an early age when his mother caught him reading the latest Jackie Collins book and promptly confiscated it, sparking a life-long love of raunchy novels.

He is currently working on a new novel.

Thom has lived in the North East of England his whole life. He grew up in Northumberland and now lives in County Durham with his husband and two cats. He loves all kinds of genre fiction, especially bonk-busters, thrillers, romance and horror. He is also a cookery book addict with far too many titles cluttering his shelves. When not writing he can be found in the kitchen trying out new recipes. He’s a keen traveler but with a fear of flying that gets worse with age, but since taking his first cruise in 2013 he realized that sailing is the way to go.

Links:

Blog: http://www.thomcollins.co.uk
Twitter: @thomwolf and @realthomcollins
Instagram: thomcollinsauthor
Pinterest: Thom Collins
Email: thomcollinsauthor@aol.com

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A Handful of Blossoms, by Lara Biyuts

14759447[1]An Unorthodox Marriage – Historical Literary Fiction 

Contains paranormal elements

A Handful of Blossoms is a beautifully written, original and engaging work. The novel is not a standard romance book, although it contains significant reflection on the nature of love. It is also one of the most character driven and literary books that I have read in a long time.

It is written in the form of a diary, kept by Constance, a young European princess who in 1764, a year after the Seven Year’s War, has just joined in a dynastic marriage with a European Prince, Constantine, who is much older than her. He is a man who she finds worldly, intellectual and somewhat alluring, but a man who soon makes it clear that he has no interest in requiring her to fulfil her wifely duties as he prefers the favours of men.

Constance soon finds that she is banished from the main dwelling, a gothic like castle, to a small adjacent mansion, in which she is kept company by her maid and a cook. Her life revolves around trying to come to terms with her strange marriage, immersing herself in nature and the rich local folklore and attending the occasional audience with Constantine where the development of their unorthodox relationship drives the plot forward. Constantine maintains an all male household where he is free to indulge his sexuality, although there are no explicit homosexual love making scenes, much being left to the reader’s imagination. The novel does contain reference to one non consensual scene of a sexual nature, but this does not in itself directly involve Constance or Constantine in the act.

There are many references to tales of European folklore, recounted by various characters, and these are recorded by Constance in her diary alongside accounts of daily events and her emotional reaction to them. She also records her relationship with members of Constantine’s household, notably his steward. In addition, there is a mysterious man from Constantine’s past, who has a major part to play in the development of the plot which contains a number of paranormal and gothic inspired scenes, which are recounted in vivid detail.  The ending is pendent.

I found myself having much sympathy with the heroine, who finds herself in the position of being both attracted to and repelled by her husband. She is attracted to his persona and intellect, yet is disgusted by some of the actions that others attribute to him and is oftentimes upset by his attitude to her on account of her being a woman. She is a strong character despite her youth. Constantine is a fascinating character, not least due to his esoteric and intellectual interests, and I felt some degree of sympathy with him in that he felt compelled to enter into the dynastic marriage, despite his sexual preferences. However, I was not always convinced that he had his wife’s best interests at heart.

The language used in the novel is lush and intricate and reminded me of a rich tapestry which the viewer needs to take time to savour to appreciate fully. The descriptions of the natural environment are truly beautiful. I found the novel whimsical, literary and full of allegorical tales and narrations, at times it is almost didactic in style as the heroine learns the lessons life presents her with. Here is a quote which is indicative of the tone and content of the novel:

Misty morning outside the window. The shades of rosy and blue are wet with dew. The air is filled with silent stillness. Senses awake……….. I muse about the indifference of beautiful things and their perfection.”

I was completely drawn into the world described in the tale and recommend it to readers who like to explore the nature of love in all its forms, intellectual and esoteric pursuits and society’s expectations. The novel will also appeal to those who enjoy reading about paranormal events and European pagan folklore. The author’s latest novel, Silver Thread Spinner, also contains a paranormal character who appears in this novel.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

A copy of the novel was provided by the author for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Self-published at Smashwords.com
Lara Biyuts – Author Bio

_av_edited2-2Translator and writer, living in Russia, I write in English. A self-published author of 8 books of fiction, 2 books of essays and 2 books of poetry.

“Every kingdom has three pillars: Poet, Sword and Law.” (Lara Biyuts)