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Book Info

Pride Publishing
08 February 2021
Book Type
Heat Level


Valentine’s Night, when the line between the real and unreal becomes blurred…

New boyfriends Brandon and Ryder are invited to an upscale Valentine’s party in Santa Monica. Brandon had heard how ‘fabulous’ the parties are, so he’s surprised by the creepy décor, and some even creepier ghouls who seem to have taken the place of the hosts. They can’t be real, can they?

An erotic cabaret that ends with one of the dancers seemingly either killed or seriously injured upsets Brandon. Ryder attempts to calm him down, but they’re both horrified when they discover a dead body upstairs with a knife embedded in its chest.

What the heck kind of a party is this?

And will Ryder and Brandon live to find out?

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Reviewed By: Josh Dale


Dark Valentine is a quirky story of two guys who have recently got together and are invited to a Valentine party that is darkly themed more like Halloween.

The characters are nicely developed and relatable, and the story certainly lives up to its title. The party is certainly like no other party that I have been too. The Décor and fancy dressed waiters are certainly enough to give you the chills. And not everything is as it seems. There is murder and kidnapping at the party. And hosts who seem to not care that a murder has happened in their house. There is certainly tempers that are bubbling between our two main characters and their hosts. But not everything is as it seems……or is it.

The story had a kind of murder mystery feel about it. The tension was nicely built up as the evening progresses.

All in all an enjoyable read if a bit quirky.


December 2020



Sitting at my desk in the offices of Barker Financial, I glanced at the calendar and noticed that it was a little more than two months until Valentine’s Day. I wasn’t sure why I cared. So far, I had no date for the festivities, only a maybe invitation to an upscale party in Santa Monica. My friend Pat said she got one every year and if she received one this year, she’d take me along as her plus one. Not a date, but at least I wouldn’t be twiddling my thumbs on the most romantic night of the year.

It had been quite a while since I’d had a date for Valentine’s. It’s not that I’m gross or anything. My mother tells me I’m too picky when it comes to men. Bless her heart. Ever since I came out to my parents, she’s been worried that because I don’t date frequently, I’ll become a lonely old bachelor. Even my protest that I’m only twenty-nine doesn’t seem to instill her with hope that I might someday meet someone who’ll make an honest man of me.

My cell chimed and Pat’s number lit up the screen. “Hi, Pat, how’s it going?”

“Good, hon, just thought I’d let you know that I’m going on a seminar the company’s paying for, so I won’t be around Valentine’s Day. The convention starts February twelfth until the fifteenth. I know it’s a long way off yet, but just thought I’d give you a heads-up. Bummer, huh?”

“Yeah,” I said, immediately thinking that I would be twiddling my thumbs that night after all.

“But here’s the thing,” Pat continued. “I was over at Jack and Bob’s last night and I asked them to invite you to the party, so if you don’t mind going on your own…or if you’d like to bring a friend…they do include a plus one.”

“That’s nice of you, Pat, but I don’t really know Jack and Bob.”

“You met them once when we were out to dinner. They stopped by our table. You can’t really miss them. They, uh…well, they take up a lot of space.”

I chuckled. “Oh yes, I think I remember them.”

“Anyway, I gave them your name and address and they said they’d put you on the list, so watch out for the invitation. If you go, I know you’ll have fun.”

“Thanks, Pat. We should have a drink later in the week if you’re free.” Pat works for a high-powered real estate company and seems to work a seventeen-hour day most weeks.

“I’ll call you. Okay, hon, I have to go. See you soon.”

“Bye, Pat.” I turned off my phone and sat back in my chair. Okay, Valentine’s might not be a total bust after all. I might even meet someone there. Always the hopeful romantic, that’s me. Someone I could be interested in for more than a couple of dates. Stranger things have happened…and Mom would be pleased.


* * * *


January 2021


The invitation Pat had mentioned, and that I’d been sort of hoping would show up in the mail, finally arrived. I hadn’t exactly been waiting for it with bated breath, because I had a feeling Jack and Bob Herman might see my name on the list, think, who the heck is this? and scratch it off right away. However, there it was, and as I opened the envelope, I felt a definite tingle of excitement that the evening might be a lot of fun. The invitation was on fancy pink stationary and printed to look like handwriting.


Mr. Brandon Malloy is cordially invited to Jack and Bob Herman’s humble abode for the party of the year to celebrate Valentine’s Day! Date February 13th, because who wants to party on a Sunday? You may bring a plus-one—and one only. We know some of you say you have more friends than you can count, but sorry, you’ll just have to break a few hearts…or perhaps have rocks thrown at your head. We don’t know the kind of company you keep, now do we?


I wrinkled my nose at the attempted humor.


9 p.m. is the allotted hour for you to arrive—not a minute sooner. When we say 9 p.m., we mean 9 p.m. Oh, and wear something mysterious, if not downright ghoulish. The theme for the party is My Bloody Cupid. Don’t let the side down by wearing jeans and T-shirts, whether or not they are covered in make-believe blood. Be adventurous, be creative, but don’t be early. The doors don’t open until 9 p.m. on the dot—and close again at 9.10 p.m. You snooze, you lose, suckers!

By humble abode of course we mean our palatial home located at

999 Via Venable, Santa Monica, California.

R.S.V.P. Regrets only.

Jack and Bob

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J.P. Bowie was born and raised in Aberdeen, Scotland. He wrote his first (unpublished) novel – a science fiction tale of brawny men and brawnier women that made him a little suspect in the eyes of his family for a while.

Leaving home at age eighteen for the bright lights of London, he found himself in the midst of a “diverse and creative crowd” that eventually led him to the performing arts. For the next twelve years he sang, danced and acted his way around the theatres of London and the provinces, appearing in shows with many famous British singers, actors and comedians.

After immigrating to the US and living for many years in Las Vegas where he worked for that incomparable duo, Siegfried and Roy, J.P. found himself entranced by the fair city of San Diego where he currently lives with his partner, Phil.

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