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Out Now—ANTHEM OF THE SEA By Thom Collins (@thomwolf @realthomcollins)

Anthem of the SeaBlurb:

An ocean of possibility. For love, revenge and murder.

Daniel Blake, a handsome young singer, boards the Atlantic Anthem in Portugal for the final voyage of her maiden season. The state-of-the-art ship is the jewel in the Royal Atlantic cruise fleet. For Daniel, a one-time boy band member and TV talent show winner, it’s an honor to perform aboard such a vessel. Daniel loves the freedom and adventure of the sea. He began his solo career as a cruise ship entertainer and returning to the ocean as a headline act brings him full circle. He isn’t looking for love.

Neither is comedian Elijah Mann. Working at sea has given Elijah’s career the boost it desperately needed. Often considered too good-looking and sexy to be funny, work has been hard to come by since his TV show was canceled. With a potential new career opening up, he must remain focused. But when Elijah meets Daniel the attraction is mutual and instant. As the ship sets sail for England they have three days to get to know each other. Elijah can’t let that opportunity pass.

The voyage home is far from smooth. Also on board is a figure from Daniel’s past. A man who’s been holding a grudge for years, waiting for his moment. As a storm builds in the North Atlantic, Daniel and Elijah discover that the trip of a lifetime could be their last.

LINKS:

Pride Publishing: https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/anthem-of-the-sea

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2rvgeTr

Amazon USA: http://amzn.to/2rh1Bnt

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/anthem-of-the-sea

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/anthem-of-the-sea-thom-collins/1126384702?ean=9781786515681

EXCERPT:

The taxi collected Daniel Blake from the hotel on time. He liked that. Punctuality, efficiency and professionalism—three things he valued in all areas of his career. Be on time and be prepared—that had been his motto since he was fourteen years old. Fifteen years later, he continued to live by it.

He helped the driver load his gear into the trunk. There wasn’t much of it. When on the road, he traveled light with just a medium-sized case, a holdall and a suit carrier. He’d arrived in Lisbon the previous morning, disembarking from a cruise ship, where he’d performed for two nights. His shirts would need washing and his suit pressing before his next show. There was plenty of time.

He gave the driver directions to his designated cruise terminal and climbed onto the back seat. Thankfully, the air conditioning was running. Though it was late October, the outside temperature remained in the mid-eighties and it wasn’t even eleven o’clock. Last night he had heard some of the hotel staff complain about the weather turning cold, but for a boy like him, born and raised in the northeast of England, these climates were well above average. Back home, this would be a hot day in June or July.

It was a short drive to the port. Early in the day, but the streets were busy. Three massive cruise ships were anchored in the harbor, discharging thousands of eager tourists into the city. British, American, German, Japanese, they scurried through the streets, clutching backpacks and maps, keen to explore as much as they could of the historic Portuguese city in the few hours they had here.

Daniel smiled at their faces as they zipped by.

Lisbon, his last stop before home.

The car arrived at the port and within ten minutes Daniel stood beside the gangway with his luggage, waiting for the necessary security calls to be made that would allow him to board the ship. The enormous vessel towered above him, casting a huge shadow across the dock. The Atlantic was one of the biggest and most spectacular cruise ships in the world.

There were a lot of criticisms for super ships such as this. He’d heard them described as floating shopping malls, grotesque monstrosities and budget hotels at sea, but for Daniel there was something quite majestic about the craft and its design, to say nothing of the engineering that went into the construction of such a huge vessel.

“Those things are so top heavy,” a jobbing magician once had told him in a bar. “I hear they roll right over in high seas.”

Daniel had laughed at the man’s ignorance. “And when did you last hear of that happening?”

The man had floundered. “I’m just saying that something so uneven can’t be safe, can it? You won’t ever catch me on one of them things. Mug’s game, isn’t it?”

“It’s your loss,” Daniel had told him cheerily. He felt safer at sea, even in the roughest weather, than he ever had on a plane. Motorways too. It might not be the quickest, but without a doubt it was the most luxurious and extravagant way to travel. He loved being at sea.

Waiting for the security guy to return with his passport, Daniel realized he’d drawn some attention.

A slow stream of passengers was returning to the ship. They couldn’t have seen much of Lisbon, coming back already. Among them was an English family. While the parents lit cigarettes before joining the embarkation queue, the daughter, who looked around fourteen, stared directly at him.

“Hi.” He smiled. “Good day out?”

The girl was plump and pretty with wavy brown hair that fell around her shoulders. She wore a sweet, flowery sundress and red Converse shoes. She blushed as she realized she’d been caught gawking.

“Are you…? Oh, my God, you are, aren’t you? You’re Daniel Blake.”

He raised his hands in mock surrender. “Guilty as charged. Don’t shoot me.”

The girl nervously stepped forward, looking at him with wide, hazel eyes. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m waiting to join the ship. I’m performing on board.”

Her jaw fell. “The Anthem? You’re coming on the Anthem?

He nodded. He didn’t mind being recognized like this. Daniel was famous enough in the UK, but not so much that it ever became an inconvenience. His fame came from a TV talent show. The public had made him and he appreciated all the support he got.

“Oh my God.” The girl’s face became highly animated. “Mam! Dad! Come here. Oh my God, you won’t believe it. Daniel Blake. It’s actually him.”

Her bemused parents stubbed out their cigarettes and came over. They were an attractive-looking couple of around forty. The girl looked a lot like her father.

“I hope she’s not bothering you,” the dad said, looking cautiously between Daniel and his daughter.

“Not a bit,” Daniel assured him. “It’s a pleasure.”

“Daniel is going to be singing on the ship. Can you believe it? How cool is that?” She grinned a mile wide.

“Starting tomorrow,” he said. “Make certain you get yourselves a great seat down front. I can use all the support I can get.”

“I will, I will. I voted for you every week on The One. You were my favorite from the start.”

“So it’s you I need to thank for winning. What’s your name, sweetie?”

“Julieann.”

“Well, thank you, Julieann. Your votes changed my life.”

The girl blushed violently.

The security officer came back to escort Daniel onto the ship. Before boarding, he posed for photographs with Julieann and her family.

“The girls at school will have a fit when they see these on Instagram,” Julieann said proudly as they took a selfie together.

“See you at the shows,” Daniel said as he walked on board. “And don’t forget—front row. Be there. I’ll look out for you.”

“We’ll definitely be there.”

Once on board, he passed his luggage through the security scanner and was equipped with his sea pass ID, the plastic card that would enable him to move around the ship, access his accommodation and run a tab in the bars and shops. He was greeted on the far side of security by a young woman in a blue shirt and khaki shorts. Her soft blonde hair was tied back from her round, attractive face. She was vaguely familiar from his engagement earlier in the season. He checked her name badge to refresh his memory. Belle Hodges, entertainment crew, from South Australia.

“Hi,” Belle said cheerily. “It’s wonderful to have you back on board.”

She extended her hand and he shook it. “It’s great to be back. Honestly, I’ve been looking forward to this since I left in May. How has your maiden season gone?”

“Over too quickly and totally ace. I can’t believe it’s been that long since you were here. Yikes, the time has flown. Let me give you a hand with your stuff.”

“That’s okay. I can manage. Just point me in the right direction and I’ll find my way.”

Ignoring his protests, Belle took up the suit carrier.

“You’re in real luck,” she said. “You’ve been allocated a large stateroom on one of the passenger decks. Balcony and all.”

“You’re joking? Wow. Am I sharing with the house band or a football team?”

Belle giggled, wrinkling her nose. “Silly. You’ve got the whole place to yourself.”

“Seriously? What gives? I never get accommodation like that.”

Belle looked around cautiously and lowered her voice. “We had a family thrown off the ship in Gran Canaria so you’ve got their room. They caused a fight in the martini bar and punched an officer who tried to intervene. Captain Rassimov put them off at the next port. No second chances.”

“Good to know we’re in such firm hands.”

“Captain Rassimov is the best,” Belle gushed.

Daniel didn’t doubt it. He’d met the dashing captain on his last trip. Tall, dark, handsome and extremely charismatic, he sent hearts beating fast among the passengers and crew. If he wasn’t so straight, Daniel would fancy him too. Rassimov was the perfect man to master such a grand vessel.

Launched in May, with a rumored cost of over one-point-five billion, the Atlantic Anthem was coming to the end of its inaugural European season. It was the newest and biggest vessel in the Royal Atlantic fleet. Daniel had spent two nights on board when he’d performed a headline set on the maiden voyage. He’d worked for cruise companies all over the world, but he couldn’t fail to be impressed by the Anthem. It was billed as the ship with everything. From his own experience that was certainly true.

As he walked through the decks with Belle, his sense of excitement increased. The interior was truly splendid. Not a penny had been spared, from the lush carpets to the paintings and sculptures that graced every deck. Before coming on board, he’d read all the specs—about the spa and fitness center, two swimming pools and a solarium, the Royal Theater with nine-hundred-sixty seats, the bars—eight of them across the ship—the main dining room plus three specialty restaurants and a twenty-four-hour café. Several public entertainment areas were situated on Decks Four and Five around a jaw-dropping central staircase. Knowing all of that in advance, he still had been blown away when he’d came upon the ship for the first time. And he felt it now, all over again.

Only the most jaded, spoiled and hard-to-please traveler could fail to be inspired by the Anthem.

They rode one of the glass elevators to the tenth floor where Belle led him down a long corridor to his stateroom in the forward section of the ship.

“Last time, I had an interior cabin in the crew quarters.” He laughed.

“Yep, that’s where they like to cram us in. But now you’ve got this.”

Daniel swiped his sea pass card to enter the room. A major step up from crew class, the room was bright and contemporary, to the standard of any good hotel. He had an enormous double bed all to himself and a sitting area with a long, cream leather sofa. There was a dressing table, minibar, TV, private bathroom and balcony.

“I hope I don’t get lost in here,” he joked, dumping his luggage by the wardrobe.

“As long as you’re on stage for your shows tomorrow night, no one will mind what you get up to in here,” Belle said.

“You can put your mind at ease on that count,” he said. “I’ve been performing since I was fourteen and I’ve never missed a show in my life.”

Belle left him to settle in. Daniel unpacked his clothes first and filled a plastic bag with stuff that needed washing immediately—shirts, socks and underwear. Another great thing about working on a luxury cruise liner—everything was to hand. If he left the bag out today, all the items would be washed, ironed and returned by tomorrow.

He went into the bathroom next, laying out his razor, toothbrush and skincare products. He brought everything with him when he traveled. Though he wasn’t particularly vain, it was important to look good in public.

He didn’t have to worry. At twenty-nine years old—five months shy of thirty—he was in prime condition. He’d never looked better. For years he used to hate the way he looked. Everything about him had been out of proportion, especially his face. Eyes, teeth, nose, chin, they were always too big. But throughout his twenties, the rest of his body had caught up. He’d filled out and gained muscle and his face, which had seemed so awkward in his teens, had developed an extraordinary handsomeness. He had a strong jaw with a cowboy cleft, while his mouth was wide and masculine. With sky-blue eyes and thick brown hair, he had become a good-looking man. Very good-looking.

His confidence hadn’t grown to match his looks. A part of him would always be that skinny, peculiar kid. But only he could see it.

Finally unpacked, he relaxed and walked onto the balcony. He had a great view of the city and the people below, streaming like ants around the port terminals. Daniel took a moment to enjoy it all. He loved just about every part of the cruise experience.

Every ship, every voyage, was a new adventure.

The Atlantic Anthem promised a greater adventure than any other.

He couldn’t wait to get started.

Thom Collins Bio

Thom Collins is the author of the novel Closer by Morning, with 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.

The novellas Gods of Vengeance and Silent Voices were published by Pride in early 2017, followed by the novel Anthem of the Sea, the first book in the Anthem Trilogy. He has recently finished writing the second book in a series and is working on the third.

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. Since taking his first cruise in 2013 he realized that sailing is the way to go.

Links:

Blog: http://www.thomcollinsauthor.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter:   @thomwolf     and  @realthomcollins

Email: thomcollinsauthor@aol.com

Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services.

 

Out Now—Silent Voices by Thom Collins (@thomwolf @realthomcollins) #gay #romance #thriller

Silent VoicesBlurb:

A desire for justice as strong as their passion for each other.

Concerned about the welfare of his young cousin, Josh Jackson, a restaurant owner, traces the boy to Winterstone Grange, a gated manor deep in the country. Miles from anywhere, the protected walls of this stately house conceal dark secrets. Josh’s search brings him into contact with Ed Brolin, a handsome journalist who has spent weeks investigating the secrets of the Grange and its owner. Ray Armstrong is a wealthy business man with influential connections in Parliament and the police. Ed knows exactly what goes on at the Grange but without evidence, he hasn’t got a story.

Drawn together by instant attraction and a powerful hunger for justice, Josh and Ed are determined to expose the sordid secrets of the grange despite the risks it poses. Josh has never met a man like Ed before—so strong, determined and masculine. Falling in love is easy. But they’ll have to put their emotions aside if they’re going to give a voice to all the silent victims of Winterstone Grange.

BUY LINKS:

Pride Publishing: https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/silent-voices

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2oWUfrx

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2nx15UR

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/silent-voices-15

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/silent-voices-thom-collins/1126168330

*****

Excerpt:

Josh Jackson didn’t worry when his cousin failed to come home. It was Saturday night and Kevin was eighteen. Josh wasn’t about to impose a curfew on the kid. Neither was he going to babysit. Kevin was old enough to take care of himself.

Josh checked Kevin’s room when he came home from work at one o’clock. The spare bed hadn’t been made since Kevin had gotten out of it that morning and yesterday’s clothes were all over the floor—discarded jeans with his boxers still inside them, a scruffy T-shirt and a pair of dirty socks. The smell of the socks hit him from the doorway. Despite the reek of cheap deodorant and aftershave filling the room, the socks were pungent. Teenagers. Josh wasn’t about to tidy up after him so he left things as they were, including the damp towel draped over the foot of the bed. The kid was only staying a few nights. If he wanted to live in a mess like that, so be it, so long as he left the place as he’d found it when he moved on.

Josh shut the door and went to bed. He wished his cousin luck. If the boy wanted to get laid, he’d rather he did it somewhere else. It was bad enough that Josh’s lodger, Bobby, regarded the place as a Grindr pit stop, without his cousin treating it like a knocking shop, too.

Josh read for a while and half-listened for the sound of Kevin coming home, but eventually fell asleep.

He wasn’t overly concerned in the morning to find Kevin’s room just as he’d left it, though by now it smelled considerably worse. The fancy fragrances had worn off and all that remained was the fetid odor of teenage sweat and damp towel. So, he stayed out all night. Good on him. Josh had been a teenager once, a horny one at that, so he could totally relate. Kevin wouldn’t get the chance to fuck around much when he was at home. His mother had very rigid views on that. It wouldn’t have mattered whether Kevin had turned out straight or gay. His mother had raised a good boy and intended to keep him that way.

Kevin will be going back to her in a couple of days. He might as well have fun while the leash is off.

He was a good-looking lad. Josh knew he’d be popular in town. A little baby-faced for his age, but with the family features of blue eyes and blond hair, his fresh twinkie image would attract plenty of attention. He looked a lot like Josh had at that age. Josh had been a slim-looking twink until well into his twenties. It was only in the last few years he’d filled out with muscle and looked more like a man. The beard helped. How grateful he’d been when the ability to grow more than a few wisps of pale chin-fluff finally occurred. He kept it neat with a regular trim, but now that he had grown a beard, he couldn’t ever see himself being without one.

Josh called Kevin’s mobile while waiting for his morning coffee to brew. It rang a few times before going to voicemail. “Hi, it’s me,” he said. “Not checking up on you, I just want to know you’re okay. Give me a ring back, or a text when you get this message. Just to say you’re alive… Otherwise I’ll have to call your mother,” he added jokingly and hung up.

He had bigger concerns than a randy teenager. His restaurant, The Cellar Steps, was short on staff today and fully booked for both lunch and dinner. He’d asked all his remaining staff to come in early to help with the prep and service, which meant getting in even earlier himself. As the owner, it wasn’t necessary, since he employed a manager for the day-to-day running, but Josh believed in setting an example from the top down. That meant rolling up his sleeves when things got tight. He thought about putting a little cash Kevin’s way to help out, if he arrived home in decent time and wasn’t too hung over.

He heard the heavy thud of the newspapers landing in the hall. Perfect timing. A little news and some freshly brewed coffee. A relaxing start to an otherwise hectic day.

Josh sat at the kitchen table with multiple Sunday supplements spread all around him when Bobby stumbled out of his bedroom in just his boxers and a T-shirt, yawning and scratching his belly and balls at the same time. His semi-hard dick waggled in the front of his shorts. Bobby lurched into the bathroom and returned a few minutes later, looking fractionally more awake, minus morning wood.

“Coffee?” Bobby asked. “Okay if I help myself?”

“You know where it is,” Josh said, drawing back from the stench of alcohol that came off him in stale waves. “Jesus, your blood must be one hundred proof.”

“I think I’m still drunk,” Bobby observed. “The hangover hasn’t kicked in yet.”

“I don’t envy you when it does.”

“One cup of this and I’m crawling back beneath the duvet.”

Josh looked at him uncertainly. An idea had just occurred to him. He hoped he was wrong. “I don’t suppose my cousin is under that duvet with you?”

Bobby chuckled, his dark eyes crinkling. “Wouldn’t that be something? He is kinda hot. But little blond cupcakes are not my thing. In Kevin’s case, I could make an exception. Maybe.”

“But did you?”

“Too close to home, bro. The kid’s a cutie but he ain’t worth the earache. I’d never hear the last of it.”

It was some relief. Josh didn’t have a problem with his young cousin fucking around—but with Bobby, no way. His lodger was a good friend but a total slut. Kevin would need a lot more experience under his belt before he was ready for that old hound. “I don’t suppose you do know where he is? He hasn’t been home.”

“He’s between somebody’s sheets, all right. I walked into town with him last night, had a drink and showed him where to go.”

“You left him on his own?”

“No, he left me. I guess I cramped his style. He headed off toward Gala Square with a group of studenty types. He didn’t know how fast to ditch me once he got to talking to people his own age.”

Josh loosened up again. He’d been right about Kevin. He knew what he was doing. A young man in a new city making friends fast. There was nothing to worry about.

*****

Thom Collins Bio

Thom Collins is the author of the novel Closer by Morning, with 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.

His novella Silent Voices will be published by Pride in May, followed by the novel Anthem of the Sea, the first book in the Anthem Trilogy. He has recently finished writing the second book in a series and is making plans for the third.

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. Since taking his first cruise in 2013 he realized that sailing is the way to go.

Links:

Blog: http://www.thomcollinsauthor.blogspot.co.uk

Twitter:   @thomwolf     and  @realthomcollins

Email: thomcollinsauthor@aol.com

Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services.

 
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