Welcome Birthday Guest BA Tortuga!

Hey y’all!

I’m BA Tortuga, and I’m here to wish Amber Kell a happy birthday. I love that I get to do this with her, and I hope you’ll stick around to read a little birthday extra in the Wrecked universe, which I co-write with Jodi Payne. I’ll have all the information after what I know you’re here for! The birthday story!


Parker fucking hated birthdays.

They meant that he wasn’t a kid anymore. They meant that the bulls were better and meaner and smarter, and the other cowboys called him things like “Pop”.

Him.

Like he was the same age as Sky or something. Shee-it.

He wasn’t fucking old. He was a spring chicken. He was a stud.

He was thirty. Fuck.

Sky and Beck were at their house in Vermont, recovering from Christmas. Momma was in Mexico doing some damn missionary work. Parker was sleeping in his fifth wheel on the road in ‘Jesus Christ there ain’t nothing here but coyotes and the biggest fucking ravens on earth’ New Mexico.

January was a shit month to have a birthday.

Cold. Dreary. Nobody wanted to be festive no more. Riding didn’t start ‘til damn near February.

He sighed dramatically, and flopped down on his little bed, snorting as the trailer rocked.

“Fuck birthdays. Fuck them hard, with a chainsaw.”

A knock came to the door of the trailer, scaring the living fuck out of him. He sat up with a frown, shaking his head. “Seriously? I’m having a pity party, and I didn’t invite no scary serial killers.”

Still, Parker answered the door, because he was curious as all get out. “’lo?”

A gorgeous son of a bitch stood there in the snow at the bottom of the steps, smiling at him, black eyes like holes burned in a blanket. He held up a little bitty cake, a six-pack of beer, and a wee container of ice cream. The paper on top said, “Happy birthday, buddy. Sky and family”.

There was a rainbow bracelet on his wrist.

Well, he’d be goddamned.

“I got a delivery for you – white bull rider named Parker?”

“That’s me.”

Mr. Pretty blushed dark and the pointed chin ducked. “I know. I’m a fan.”

Huh. Interesting. “Want to come have a beer? I apparently got cake.”

“I do. Ed Begay. I’m Ed Begay. You signed my hat in Vegas.”

He opened the door wider and took the beer. “Well, I’m glad to meet you. Come on in.”

He so owed Sky a thank you.

Happy birthday to him.


I hope y’all love Parker’s happy birthday. I had a ball writing it for you. Wrecked is Sky and Beck’s story, which is here https://amzn.to/3pVkCKX, and they had a second book out today, Special Delivery which is here https://amzn.to/35WbygP!

Bounces

Special Delivery

And baby makes three?

It’s fall in Vermont. The holidays are coming, the leaves are turning brilliant colors, and Skyler and Beckett are expecting a baby! They’re picking out furniture and paint colors for the nursery. They’re looking at ultrasounds and choosing names.

But nothing is ever simple for these two, and something they’re not expecting throws a wrench–or a great big crowbar–into Beck’s carefully planned paternity leave and Sky’s nursery decorations. But is it a disaster, a blessing, or both?

As with all deliveries, they’re at the mercy of fate and mother nature. They’ll be adding to their family for Christmas—but they’ll be doing it in the most chaotic way possible.


Thanks so much for letting me be here, and a super happy birthday to Amber. I hope if you liked Parker, you’ll check me out at my website, www.batortuga.com or at my Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/batortugascowboys

Welcome Birthday Guest Julia Talbot!

Hey y’all! I’m Julia Talbot, and I’m tickled to be here to wish Amber Kell a happy birthday! I look forward to the birthday bash every year!
This year, I’m doing a surprise birthday party for a character from one of my most popular series!


“Happy birthday!”

Preston jumped when the whole staff of the Dead and Breakfast Inn jumped out at him from the pantry, which was pretty impressive, because the owner, Tanner, was a bear shifter, and a big guy. Add in two vamps, a kitty shifter, a gorgon, and an imp wearing an apron, and it was a pretty motley crew.

A very loud squawk sounded from above him, and he looked up to see a magpie sitting on top of the fridge. “Ah, Ed. Did you give me away? I just wanted a midnight snack.”

The magpie bobbed, then flew out of the room.

Tanner beamed at him. “We knew it was your birthday, but you’ve been hiding all day.”

“I, uh, don’t usually celebrate.” Preston rubbed the back of his neck, smiling ruefully. “That’s a bug cake.”

Carter, the manager, clapped his hands. “It got out of control on me, but this way the rest of the guests can have some for breakfast. I made your favorite. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting.”

His eyebrows flew up. “How did you know that was my favorite?” He’d never talked cake that he knew of.

“Ed told me.”

He glanced at the doorway, where Ed reappeared moments later wearing sweats and a t-shirt his long black hair hanging down. God, he was pretty.

Ed flushed. “I hope you don’t mind. I thought you needed cake.”

“As long as you share it with me.” It had taken ages, but he thought Ed understood that Preston wasn’t just flirting to be nice. He was doing it with intent.

“I’ll cut you guys a double slice,” Tanner said. “Ed has the night off.”

“Tanner!” Ed fluttered.

“You want to come back to my cabin and share it, Ed?”

Now Ed really blushed. “After you open gifts? Yes.”

Oh, hello! That was his gift, but he could be gracious to the surprise party. “Good. Okay.” He rolled up his sleeves. “Bring it on.”


Preston is a magical doctor who’s taken up residence at the Dead and Breakfast Inn, a paranormal B&B. Book 3 of the series, Home for the Howlidays, is on preorder now! https://amzn.to/35S8L8z

I hope you’ll check them out, and I also hope you’ll check out my Facebook group where I’m just about to update a chapter a month free story I have running!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/juliatalbot

Thanks so much for letting me hang out, and happy birthday, Amber!

XXOO

Julia

Every Party Needs a Game and a Prize

Welcome to my actual birthday. Today I turn 50! That’s right the big 5 0!
To celebrate this occasion let’s play a game.

This little beauty is something I picked up a while ago at a seattle bookstore then left in my drawer. I pulled it out just for you…I know… you feel special.

From this box we pick four cards. Two copper and two gold. The rules are you combine the two gold cards to make one character and the other two copper cards lead the story. I’m leaving the other character up to you so there will be more variety. I just want a short blurb of your story using these 4 card. A few lines will do, more if you’d like. I will run 4 contests. Each contest will have one winner who will receive either $50.00 cash through paypal or a $50.00 Amazon card, winners choice.

For the four final picks I will write a one shot 1000-2000 words during December on random dates. Perhaps Sundays…

Contest #1 Good Luck

Welcome Birthday Guest Stormy Glenn!

TJ’s Birthday Dilemma
~ A Hot Mess Short Story ~

I’d graduated from high school a couple of weeks ago, I was turning eighteen in a couple of days, and today I was my birthday party. Legally, I’d be an adult, able to make my own decisions and choose which direction my life went.
I knew my fathers would be planning a big birthday party for me, and that was great. I always loved it when the entire family got together. It was the conversation I needed to have with my fathers after that party that was weighing on me.
I’d been talking to my dad for awhile now about joining the service. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to follow in his footsteps and became a SWAT officer, but I wanted to do something that mattered. I figured the service would be a good start.
I just had to break it to my other father. Lany was going to flip his lid.
Lany Delvecchio had rescued me from hell, freeing me from a child slavery ring, and then he had invited me into his home and his heart. Between Lany and Sal, they had given me all the love a child should have and the time I needed to become the person I was today, a person I liked being, a person I hoped they were proud of.
I didn’t like the idea of upsetting them, but I felt strongly about this. I’d discussed it with Sal, my grandfather, Burke, Clarke, and even Vinnie. All men I looked up to. Each one had told me the same thing. I needed to do what felt right to me, and joining the service felt right.
It also felt scary.
Our massive estate was my safe place. Being with my family was my safety place. Hell, even the dog felt safe to me. The thought of leaving this all behind was gutting me, and I wasn’t sure what to do about that, but I also felt an overwhelming need to go.
“Hey, son.”
I glanced toward the doorway. “Hey, Dad.”
“Your grandparents are going to be here soon. Are you planning on coming downstairs to join us?”
I smiled. “Yeah.”
Sal frowned. “You okay, TJ?”
“Yeah.” I smiled, but I felt as if Sal saw right through me, especially when he stepped into the room and shut the door. He walked over and sat down on the bed next to me.
“You know you can come to me with anything, right?”
“Oh yeah, I know.”
“Then tell me what has you so upset?”
My shoulders slumped. “I want to sign up for the service, but I don’t know how to break it to Papà. I’m also not sure I’m quite ready to leave home.”
“Only you can make that decision, TJ. If you need to take the summer and figure that out, then do that. On the other hand, if you feel you have to go now, then that’s alright too. You’ll know when you’re ready. “
TJ glanced up. “How do you know?”
“You just do. You’ll still be a little scared, a little unsure. You’re leaving your safety zone and going somewhere new. New place, new people, new activities. I don’t care who you are, that’s always a little scary.”
My eyebrows lifted in surprise. “You’ve been scared before?” Sal Delvecchio was the most powerful man I knew. I was pretty sure there wasn’t anything in the world he couldn’t do.
“I get scared a lot, TJ. I’m scared that something will happen to one of you kids, Lany, Moe, one of our friends. I’m scared that one of these times I won’t be able to pull Lany’s butt out of the fire. I’m scared that someone I am trying to arrest will be faster or stronger than me and I won’t be able to come home to you all. I’m scared of what is going to happen the first time one of you gets your heart broken. I’m scared of a lot of things.”
My eyes widened with each word my Dad spoke. “How do you even get out of bed in the morning?”
I’d be hiding under the covers.
Sal chuckled. “I’m more scared of losing what I have by not appreciating it and living my life to the fullest.”
I wanted to say I didn’t understand what he meant, but I did. My fathers had been through more in the ten years they’d been together than anyone I’d ever met. It was pretty insane, but they always came out stronger, no matter what life threw their way.
“How do you think Papà will react if I tell him I want to join the service?”
“I think he’ll be sad, but he’ll do his best to hide it from you. He wants you to live your life to the fullest, too, even if that means you’re twenty thousand miles away from us.” Sal patted my knee. “Just remember to write home or your dad will hunt down your commander and demand to know what’s happening to his boy.”
“He would, too.” I laughed. I didn’t know who my commander would be, but he didn’t stand a chance against Lany Delvecchio.
“Come on, we need to head downstairs for your birthday party.”
Yeah.” I was actually a little excited about that. Not because of the presents, but because everyone was going to be there. I loved my family.
I knew we were closer than most families due to the different traumas we’d been through, but we all knew we were stronger together. Which was another reason why it was so hard for me to leave them all behind.
I could hear the noise level rise as I walked down the stairs. The kids were going crazy.
I could also hear Lany trying desperately to corral them. If they’d gotten into the cake or the food I’d seen Mrs. Martinez cooking earlier, there was no way they were going to calm down, not in this century.
My smile grew into a huge grin when I walked into the living room. Lany was sitting on the couch, his head in his hands. Jamie, Emily, and Mikey were tossing a balloon back and forth, with Moe, our dog, jumping up into the air trying to get the balloon. The twins sat on the floor out of the way, egging the dog on.
Sal walked over to the couch, sat down, then lifted Lany into his lap. I had no idea what Sal whispered into his ear, but within a few seconds, all the tension left Lany’s shoulders and he was laughing. Even after ten years of marriage and six kids, Dad seemed to have that affect on Papà.
I turned when the doorbell rang. I knew better than to answer it myself. That was Brant’s job. I did walk a little closer when I heard my grandparents’ voices. Lancaster and Cynthia Harris had adopted all of us into their family with welcome arms, thrilled to have grandchildren when they hadn’t thought it would ever happen because Lany was gay.
“TJ,” Cynthia called out as she walked toward me. “Happy birthday, son.”
“Thank you, Grandma.” I leaned in and pressed a kiss to her cheek and then turned to look at my grandfather. “Sir.”
“Is eighteen too old for a hug?” Lancaster asked.
“No, sir.” I’d always take a hug from him.
“Where’s your father, TJ?”
I snickered and gestured behind me. “Having a meltdown in the living room.”
Cynthia’s brow flickered. “Is everything okay?”
That was a loaded question.
“Yes, ma’am. The other kids are on overload.”
“Ah.” She nodded knowingly. “Well, I’ll just go see if I can scrape him off the floor.”
I smiled when my grandfather’s arm came around my shoulders as Grandma walked away.
“Eighteen, huh?”
I nodded.
“Got any plans?”
“I’ve been giving a few things some thought.”
I wasn’t sure I was quite ready to share them.
“Well, you’ve got plenty of time, but if I can help in any way, you just let me know.”
“I will, Grandpa.”
“Now, let me tell you about this new trip your grandmother wants us to go on,” he said as we started walking toward the living room. “We start out by flying to England.”
“England?”
Lancaster nodded. “It’s like thirteen countries in thirteen days or something crazy like that. I have no idea how we’re supposed to see anything if we spend all our time on a train, but your grandmother is so excited, she could bust.”
I wasn’t sure how I felt about this. The last time they had gone on vacation, their yacht had sank and they’d spend several days on a deserted island until they were rescued. I didn’t even want to think about what could happen if they were on a train traveling through thirteen different countries. The fall of Eastern Europe can immediately to mind.
“I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time,” I said, even if I didn’t believe it. “Just make sure you have good insurance.”
Lancaster chuckled. “So, have you decided what your birthday wish is?”
“No.”
Yes.
Maybe.
I wanted to not be so scared about leaving home.
I wanted Papà to not freak when I told him what I wanted to do.
I wanted to join the service.
I wanted to stay home.
I wanted someone to tell me what to do.
I was pretty sure I wasn’t getting any of those wishes.
“No to worry, son.” Lancaster patted me on the back. “You’ll figure it out. You’ve got time.”
“That’s what Dad said.”
Maybe they were right.
“We’d better get in there.”
I nodded and then stepped into the living room. The kids had quieted down for the most part. They were all sitting in a circle on the floor, batting a balloon back and forth. Lany sat on the couch with Sal, both men talking with Cynthia. Moe had given up and gone to sleep in his cushioned bed over by the window.
“Happy birthday to you…” someone started to sing.
I turned to find Mrs. Martinez standing there with a big blue birthday cake with my name on it. I smiled when everyone jumped in and started singing happy birthday to me.
“Blow out the candles and make a wish!”
I don’t know who shouted that, but it didn’t matter. My attention was on the eighteen candles lighting up my cake. I closed my eyes and wished on the first thought that came to my mind. When I opened them, I leaned in and blew until every candle went out.

HOT MESS 10

coming November 19th

Lany
Many people believe that once you are married and have kids, the romance is gone. It’s not. You just have to work at it a little harder. It’s just too bad that our attempt at a romantic weekend alone ends with me in the hospital. If I survive getting shot, we’re going to have to try a little harder. I refuse to give up the romance with my hot Italian SWAT commander.

Salvador
My plans for a weekend of romance with the love of my life go up in an explosion of epic proportions when we’re attacked in our very own home and Lany’s life is put in danger. Snowstorms, intruders, and a hit man on the loose. It’s just another day in the Delvecchio household.

https://www.bookstrand.com/book/hot-mess-10-mm

STORY EXCERPT
Lany
“Why am I being relegated to the panic room?”
It had been three weeks since I’d gotten a restraining order against Harry Vanderport and I hadn’t seen hide nor hair of him. I hadn’t done anything wrong either. I hadn’t tripped, gotten taken hostage, crashed a car, or even been crushed by an elephant. There was no reason for Sal to make me stay in the panic room.
It just wasn’t fair.
“Please, for me, caro?”
My shoulders slumped. There was no way I could deny the man I married when he looked at me with those big copper colored puppy eyes of his.
Damn it.
“How long do I have to stay in here?”
“Not long, I promise. I’ll come for you just as soon as I can.”
I swallowed tightly. “How much danger am I in?”
It was a real concern.
I was not reassured by the grimace that crossed Sal’s face.
“It’s just a safety precaution, Lany.”
“For what?” That’s what confused me. Sal hadn’t said a word about what was going on. He’d just come into the house and ordered me to the panic room. “Where are the kids? Are they safe?”
“The kids are with your parents.”
I already knew that. My parents had taken them out to do a little Christmas shopping. I just wanted to know if I was going to see them anytime in this century.
“They are perfectly safe.”
So, it was just me in danger then.
Great.
“I just need you to stay in here until I come for you, Lany. Just me. No one else. Understand?”
My brow flickered. “What kind of danger am I in, Sal?” I asked again. I needed to know.
Sal’s arm wove around my waist and I was pulled flush with his chest. “I’m going to take care of you, Lany. You know that.”
I did, but that didn’t make me feel any better.
“I’ll be back, caro.”
I huffed and looked around after the solid steel door closed behind Sal and I heard the beep that let me know it was locked. I suppose as panic rooms went, this one was pretty nice. It actually had two entrances, one from our bedroom and one from the twins’ nursery.
Both doors were locked.
There was a small kitchenette, bathroom, a couch and TV, two bunk beds, and a full size bed for me and Sal. For a panic room, that was pretty good. My old panic room had a cot.
I flopped down on the couch and pulled out my cell phone. I sent out a quick text to Lyn. “How much trouble am I in?”
Lyn would know.
Whenever Sal needed help, he called in Lyn Philips, who used to be a member of his team, but now worked on the FBI’s Cyber Crimes Division. He was a mastermind behind a computer screen.
I suspected Lyn would be moving back to the SWAT team sooner or later, especially now that he’d gotten things smoothed out with Sgt. Victor Clarke, the second in command of the SWAT team under Sal.
I jumped up when the door to the panic room opened. Sal walked in, a deep grimace on his face. “What’s wrong?”
“I need your cell phone and your shoes?”
My eyebrows lifted quickly. “My shoes?”
“Hurry, Lany.”
I handed over my cell phone then slid my shoes off and gave them to Sal. “Why do you need my shoes?”
“I’ll let you know in a minute.”
Ten minutes later, I was still waiting for an explanation.
I was back on the couch.
This time I was aimlessly flipping through TV channels.
Yippee.
When the door opened for a second time, Sal walked in with my cuddle blanket. “I need your clothes.”
“My clothes?”
“Shirt, pants, underwear, everything.”
I wasn’t wearing any underwear.
Sal held out my blanket. “You can wrap up in this.”
“You can’t just bring me something to change into?”
“Not yet.”
I slowly stood and started peeling off my clothes. “This is really starting to scare me, Sal. What reason could you have to take my clothes?”
Had Harry done something?
“It’s just a precaution, Lany.”
“A precaution for what?”
Sal tossed the blanket on the couch then grabbed me by the arms. “Baby, I promise I’ll explain all of this just as soon as I can, but time is of the essence.”
I huffed. “Fine, but you’d better have a damn good excuse for all of this.”
Sal shot me a quick smile as he took my clothes. “I do, Lany. I promise. All of this will make perfect sense soon.”
I grabbed my cuddle blanket and wrapped it around me before flopping down on the couch yet again. “It had better.”
I had ways of making Sal pay if it didn’t.
Evil ways.
My balloon kung fu was legendary.
I got through two really insane afternoon talk shows before the door opened again. How people could watch those things, I would never know. I seriously didn’t understand why I had been so fascinated. Didn’t make sense.
I glanced toward the door when Sal didn’t appear. Very few people knew the code to open the panic room door. It wouldn’t open unless the code was typed in.
I swallowed tightly as I tossed the remote onto the couch then stood. “Sal?”
Nothing.
Not a single sound.
I took a hesitant step toward the door. Sal had told me to stay in the panic room until he came for me. He wouldn’t have said that if it wasn’t important.
Where was he?
“Sal?” I called out again.
When I didn’t hear anything, I walked across the floor to the door. I had to peek around the edge to see out into our bedroom. Fear unlike anything I’d ever known—and I’d known a lot—swept through me when I spotted a foot.
“Sal?” I whispered as I took another step and pushed the door out of the way to get a better look. The sight that I found was so shocking to me, I didn’t know whether to scream or run back into the panic room.
Sal lay spread out on the rug we had on the floor in front of the fireplace, buck ass naked.
He wasn’t moving.
“Sal?”

Welcome Birthday Guest Kim Fielding!

Prince Teo’s Birthday

by Kim Fielding

Cal Walters and Teofilo Vabriga-Kastav are characters from the novel Drawing the Prince.In all the fairytales and cheesy movies, nobody ever warned about the drawbacks of falling for a prince. Sure, the glamor and money were nice, and if the prince in question was also gorgeous, smart, cultured, and kind, all the better. But then you had to deal with bodyguards, paparazzi, autograph-seekers, and boring ceremonies. And finding a birthday present for your royal boyfriend turned out to be a royal pain in the ass.

What was a boy from rural Nebraska supposed to get for the man who had everything?

“Can I take the blindfold off yet?” Teo asked, his accent as sexy as ever.

“No.”

“If I’m going to be held in bondage, at least you could molest me a bit.”
Cal at whacked at Teo’s wandering hand. “Not while I’m driving. Anyway, we’re almost there.”

True to his word, five minutes later Cal brought the SUV to a halt. “Stay,” he commanded, as if Teo were a puppy instead of a member of Porvunian nobility. Then Cal hopped out, immediately cursing the chill.

The Sandhills in late November could be bone-shatteringly cold. Too bad Teo’s birthday wasn’t during a more temperate season. Ah well. They’d be warm soon enough.

Cal hurried around to the passenger side, opened the door, and helped Teo out. “Have you transported me to the bloody Arctic?” Teo demanded.

“Oh, c’mon. It was like this in town too.”

“Where we were had a lovely meal with your grandmother in her centrally-heated home.”

“Wimp.” Cal laced his fingers with Teo’s and stuck their joined hands into a coat pocket. Then he led them away from the road, onto a flat spot where the scraggly grass had already gone winter brown. At least there was no snow.

Taking a deep breath, Cal reached over and untied Teo’s blindfold, careful to leave the knitted cap in place. Gram had made him that hat for his birthday, using the colors of the Porvunian flag. After unwrapping it, Teo had clutched it to his chest as if it were a priceless treasure.

Now, finally able to see, Teo took in the view: low, rolling hills stretching endlessly without a single human or house in sight. On the horizon, the last oranges of sunset were coloring the sky. To Cal, this was home. And he saw by the glint in Teo’s eyes that Teo saw the beauty here as well.

“What’s this?” Teo said when they’d both begun to shiver. He pointed at the small wooden structure a few yards away. Warm yellow light shone through its windows, and the balloons tied to the front porch made Cal smile. He hadn’t asked for those—they were a fun surprise.

“That, Your Highness, is a tiny house. A couple of people I went to high school with have started manufacturing them. They let me borrow this one.”

In fact, he’d paid them good money to deliver it to this particular spot on the back of a semi and set it up. It wasn’t connected to utilities—it would be here only temporarily—but a generator was enough to run the lights and heat, and the itsy tiny bathroom had a compost toilet. Cal had also gotten permission from the rancher to be here, and he’d had a bed and a few other items delivered.

“Borrow for what?” Teo’s mouth had curled into a soft smile.

“Camping out, sort of.

Not-so-roughing it. Just for one night.”
“You took me to this spot before. It’s where you made that painting. The one that made me first… appreciate you.”

“Yes.” The one that still hung in the rooms they now shared in Teo’s castle. Cal gave him a nervous look. “Do you like your surprise? It’s not… emerald-encrusted underwear, or whatever your family gives you.”

Teo looked deeply into Cal’s eyes. “It’s something only you could give me, and I love it.” He pulled Cal into a fierce embrace.

“Happy birthday, Teo.” Cal planted a kiss on Teo’s cold lips. “Now let’s get inside and heat up.”

***

Don’t miss Kim Fielding’s newest book, Caroled! It’s a story in the Bureau series but can be read as a standalone.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Caroled-Bureau-Story-Book-ebook/dp/B08LLCBHVR/
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1049942
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/caroled-kim-fielding/1137961597
and all other e-booksellers

***

GIVEAWAY!

Comment here for a chance to win Volumes 1 and 2 of the Bureau series (5 complete novellas!) in your choice of formats: mobi, epub, pdf, or audio (narrated by Joel Leslie).