Today I am so pleased to welcome Ashton K. Rose to Joyfully Jay. Ashton has come to talk to us about their latest release, The Southern Magicks. They have also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving them a big welcome!

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Exclusive Excerpt

I was always fascinated by how quickly the light fled at dusk. As though one could close their eyes for a minute to steady themselves, and the process of sunset to darkness would be complete. It was dark by the time Eli reached me; the moon hadn’t yet crested the edge of the valley I lay in.

I saw the light from the strong electric lantern he held before I heard him on the rough track up the hill behind me.

He sighed as he sat down in the river sand in front of me. His eyes were almost brown in the dim light and went straight to my mud-caked shoes.

“I guess we’ve both had a long day.” Eli curled his knees around himself so he could rest his chin on them.

“Cory took me to the diner for afternoon tea to reprimand me, then got all pissy and left me there without a car,” I said.

Eli ran his fingers through his hair, closed his eyes and muttered something that sounded like “heaven help me.” His head snapped up, and he forced me to meet his eyes. “What did you do?”

“Tried to hack into his emails.” I pulled at a lose string on the end of my black blazer sleeve.

“Why?”

“I wanted to know what information he has on me,” I said. “It’s obvious he has been tasked to spy on me.”

Eli nodded.

“Cory needs to trust me to believe I’m innocent and I ruined that.”

“Let Cory believe you fall for his crap. Play the naïve fool blinded by his attraction, and it’ll play on his heartstrings a little. He’s a honey pot. The goal is to make you spill your guts to him. I say we give as good as we get.”

“I don’t know how to play sexy,” I said. “And he’s already using my attraction to him to his advantage.”

“Sexy to a guy like that is a submissive bloke who finds him attractive. I’ve seen the way he looks at your arse, he’s queer and attracted to you. Just act desperate for him.”

“He knows I’m loyal to you.”

“I’ll make hints I don’t mind sharing. It’s not cheating if you have permission.”

I gave him a confused look; he didn’t mean what I thought he meant. Did he? “Don’t mind sharing what?”

“Your arse. As long as I get a slice of Cory’s.”

“Is there something I should know?”

“If you ever get the overwhelming urge to spread your legs for him or anyone else, invite me along,” Eli said. “If he tries anything and you’re comfortable with it, play along.”

“Elijah, this is serious.”

“I know.” He looked me in the eyes, a firm expression on his face.

“I’ll think about it,” I said.

“How about we spend the night here and have a break from other people?” Eli said.

“That could be nice, if we didn’t have to go back home first,” I said.

“Don’t worry, I brought supplies.” Eli jumped up, a wide smile on his face as he went to collect the camping supplies he’d hidden behind a tree at the start of the path. They included a double sleeping bag; a cooler filled with food, water and a six pack of cold beers and a small tent.

I peeled my shoes and socks off then threw them onto the sand.

“I need a swim.” He stripped the rest of his clothes off and waded into the water. After a minute under the water, he slid into a back float with a loud sigh. It wasn’t worth reminding him we had a pool back at the house; he was as transfixed by this place as I was.

“I don’t know how you can stare at this water and not want to hop in,” Eli said.

“Coming.” I stripped down to my boxers and swum out to him. The chill of the cold water clawed its way under my skin to numb my limbs.

“Boxers? Who do you think is going to see you?” Eli said.

“You never know,” I said.

“As it’s only you and me here, do you think you could forego the coverage just this once?”

“I just don’t like the idea of swimming naked in a public place.”

“It’s weird. The only person within ten kilometres of you is me and I’ve seen you naked plenty of times.”

“You never know who could come along.”

“Then they’ll get a show. You’re naïve if you think they aren’t expecting it. I’m pretty sure you’re the only person to have ever worn swimmers here.” Eli smiled, sure of himself, and stepped back far enough to lose his footing and slip under the water. His next words had been about to leave his open mouth. I laughed as he resurfaced, coughing and spluttering. As he recovered, his eyes landed on me. The look of sure determination returned to his face. Before I could take a step towards the bank, he tackled me and pushed me under the water.


Blurb

southern magicks coverHow do you prove your innocence when you don’t even remember whether you did it or not?

After a demon attack reveals Dexter’s secret – that his Gran taught him magic – the twenty-three-year-old librarian is forced to work for the local magical law enforcement agency in order to prove his loyalty, and hopefully save his grandmother from execution.

However, when someone tries to frame him for crimes he doesn’t remember committing, Dexter realizes he’ll have to start an investigation of his own. Joined by his beloved husband Eli, their best friend June, and his journalist cousin Kat, he desperately tries to prove his innocence…which is kind of difficult when gaps in his memory make him doubt everything he thinks he knows about himself.

The race against time begins. Can Dexter and his team uncover the criminals weaving the web of guilt around him before it’s too late, or is he going to lose everything and everyone he cares about?

Warnings: Assault, violent imagery, panic attack on page, police brutality


Bio

Ashton K. Rose bio photoAshton K. Rose (They/Them) is a Queer author who writes Australian paranormal, urban fantasy and mystery fiction filled with LGBTQIA+ characters

Ashton currently lives in sunny Queensland able to enjoy the best of the Australian bush and beach. Ashton spent their first fourteen years being raised on a remote farm shaped around the remains of an old mining town. Surrounded by the skeletons of past lives and their matching ghost stories, Ashton developed a love for fantasy, horror, and dark fairy tales from a young age.

Carrying a love of ghost stories into adulthood Ashton started writing novels about magic, vampires and ghosts. Ashton decided to set The Southern Magicks in a world heavily inspired by the backdrop of the Australia bush/beach and the speculative fiction Ashton has consumed over a lifetime.


Giveaway

Ashton is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour:

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