Cover Reveal | Bring Him Back, Jack

I have a cover! Bring Him Back, Jack will be published on the 10th of July and it was written to celebrate (National (which nation?!)) Different Colored Eyes Day. Now, next month’s theme won’t be characters with different coloured eyes. I’ve probably read some, but all I can think of this moment is the Crossbreed series by Dannika Dark, and that’s M/F so it doesn’t really match. 

I think we’ll do vampires instead. Jack is a vampire you see, so it would be a pretty easy solution. Or… Ivan is a shadow walker who can melt into things, so we could have a theme of unusual talents I guess. Ah, there is still time to figure it out LOL 

Bring Him Back, Jack is a 32k paranormal M/M story about a vampire trapped in slavery and a shadow walker who has to steal a diamond to pay off a debt. Should be easy enough, but it all goes to shit pretty fast 😀 

Ready to see the cover? *drum roll* 

bringhimbackjack

Once every century, there is a shadow walker born. Ivan Charna is that shadow walker, and he and his sister, Raina, are on the run from wizards who want to sacrifice their blood in some crazy rite. They never stay long in one place, and they do their best not to stand out. When Raina loses a bet, Ivan is forced to work off her debt, and they have to stay put. As long as no wizard figures out what they are, Ivan doesn’t mind all that much since he gets to work with his favorite vampire. 

Malik lives in a cell in a basement. He’s never allowed to go anywhere without chains around his wrists and ankles, and there is a stake hovering over his heart at all times. Master can trigger the stake with a push of a button. He doesn’t even have to be in the same room to do it. Malik dreams of a different life, a life with Ivan, but he’s a vampire, and vampires have to do what their masters tell them.  

Ivan only has to steal one last diamond, then the debt is paid, and he and Raina can leave town. It should be easy, but when Remington Redwood, the man Raina owes money, insists on having Malik shadow his every step, it complicates things. Malik might dream about making Ivan his, but getting him away from Master alive has to be enough. Ivan knows it’s a stupid risk to take, but if he’s stealing a diamond, what’s to say he can’t steal a giant vampire too? 

What Are They Eating | Just to Breathe

What-are-They-Eating

It’s time for another What Are They Eating post! I’ll be completely honest and say that when this came up on my to-do my mind started going through The Hunger Gap and what they ate there, seems like I’m stuck still in last month LOL. It’s not The Hunger Gap today, but Just to Breathe. 

If you’ve been following this blog you know I do this with every story I write. I think it’s fun, and what a person decides to eat says, maybe not a lot, but something about that person.  

So let’s see what we can figure out about our heroes by having a look at what they consume.  

The story starts with a kidnapping, so instead of them eating anything, it’s a missed meal: 

A sob escaped him before he could clamp his lips shut. For several minutes, he sat on the dirty plastic garden chair and tried to calm his heart. The side of his face was throbbing, but the worst was the blow he’d taken to the back of his head. 

He’d been on his way to Taverna, his and Matt’s favorite Italian restaurant, when they’d jumped him from behind. He wasn’t sure, but he believed they’d hit him with the butt of a gun. 

Matt. They were to celebrate Nico’s birthday. It wasn’t until tomorrow, but Matt was working tomorrow, and Nico couldn’t bear the thought of missing out on a birthday dinner with Matt. 

They’d been best friends since kindergarten, and there might have been a time when Nico would have blown off a dinner date with Matt for a chance of hooking up with some hot guy, but that time was long gone. There was no one he’d rather spend time with than Matt, no one. 

So we know they like Italian food, but after Nico is released from his kidnappers, going to restaurants isn’t a priority. Instead, they live through the night, and the next meal is breakfast:  

“We have little in the way of food.” 

Nico jumped as Matt filled out the door frame. 

“No?” Damn. 

Matt shook his head. “I’ll head down to the store later. It’ll be oatmeal for now.” 

Nico scrunched his nose. He was not an oatmeal fan, but it beat being hungry. 

“Don’t pout, you can have syrup on it.” 

“I wasn’t pouting, I was scrunching, and syrup?” 

Matt shrugged. “You used to love syrup.” 

“Before I had a figure to think of.” 

Matt snorted. “You’re gorgeous no matter what, so eat the damn syrup.” He turned and stomped away. Nico stared. Matt didn’t normally give him compliments, and now there had been several… and a careful wrestling match. 

Perhaps Matt got scared and was trying to tell him he was glad he was okay—he already had though, hadn’t he? 

“The oatmeal is getting cold, Nico!” 

“No need to shout.” He rounded the corner into the super tiny kitchen. “We’re in a tiny cabin, remember?” 

Matt leaves Nico for a few hours in the cabin so he cooks, and what does he cook? Lasagna of course. 

 He winked and went for the door. “Oh, it smells divine. Did you cook?” 

“Obviously.” 

“Some stuff.” He held out the bag for Nico to take. 

“Thanks.” 

Matt put two plates on the kitchen island and tested the temperature of the lasagna. “I think it’s still warm enough.” 

Nico nodded, and they sat. 

“Do you know anything?” He took a big bite of lasagna, not having realized how hungry he was until Matt got back. 

“Nah. I found a man who’s recently moved to Halsworthy whose last name is Allegretto. He’s twenty-two, though.” 

“So?” 

“You’re thirty-four.” 

“So?” 

Matt rolled his eyes. “If they mistook you for him, they weren’t doing a good job. You might be young looking, but you’re not twenty-two, darling.” 

“You’re saying I look old?” 

After that things get a bit hairy and they have to go to a hotel. And what do you get in a hotel? Breakfast!!! And not oatmeal this time LOL  

“Breakfast.” 

The shower was lovely. He could’ve stayed there all day, but once Matt had him all soaped up, he rinsed him off and sent him to get dressed before making quick work of cleaning himself. 

A woman arrived with a cart laden with everything you would see at a hotel breakfast and left them with a smile and a wish of a pleasant day. 

“I need to call the others and see what’s going on.” Matt bit into a sandwich and swallowed it down with a sip of coffee. 
 

And seriously, there has to be some coffee. The world would stop without coffee, and that goes for the stories I write too.   

Together, they crossed the street and entered The Java Bar. Nico headed up to the counter while Matt looked around. “One vanilla almond latte and one espresso, please.” He smiled at the young woman taking his order. 

With the hot beverages in his hands, he turned to search for Matt and found him sitting by a table across from a young black-haired man. Hurrying over, he placed the espresso in front of Matt and smiled at the man. “Hi, I’m Nico Allegretti.” 

 I could add more things, but they don’t eat all that many ‘real’ meals in this story, so I’ll leave it at that 😀  

Blurb:

justtobreathe

Nico Allegretti has been best friends with Matt Barnes since kindergarten. There is no one more important to Nico than Matt, and while he’s known for years Matt is the one for him, he’ll never tell him. He won’t risk ruining their friendship.

On his way to meet Matt at the restaurant, a case of mistaken identity ends with Nico in the trunk of a car. When he’s released, his kidnappers give him twenty-four hours to give them what they want. The problem is, Nico has no idea what that could be.

Not knowing what else to do, he turns to Matt, who is a cop. Together they go into hiding while looking for clues. Being kidnapped doesn’t change Nico’s resolve to not let Matt know how he feels, but hiding in a small cabin together makes it hard to ignore. Matt’s small touches and compliments must mean nothing. Had Matt felt the same, he’d let him know by now … right?

Buy links:

Contemporary Gay Romance: 15,392 words

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/JustToBreathe

Guest Post | Silent Woods by Ofelia Gränd

Guest Post

Hello everyone! I’m here stealing a spot on the blog again 😀 Today is re-release day of Silent Woods. It was one of the first stories I ever published and it might be the most Swedish story I’ve ever written… or not. Sometimes it’s hard to know how much ‘Swedishness’ there is.  

Swedes spend a lot of time outdoors. We’re hiking and camping and stuff – not everyone of course, but it’s one of those things you just do. And they do in Silent Woods too. It’s about an established couple with children who are on a camping trip. 

Then we have The Neck, or Näcken as we call him around here, who is a water nymph. He appears in lake and rivers, playing the violin. The music he plays puts people, mostly women and children, into a trance and make them go into the water and drown themselves.  According to some myths, he can also turn into a horse who then take children upon his back and jumps into the water.  

 

 

The legend of Näcken goes all the way to the Old Norse tales, so we’re talking year 800-1200 and thereabout. The name means to wash or to bathe and I suspect it was how he drowned his victims – that they fell into the water while washing and not being able to swim. But who knows, maybe a man was playing the violin and lured them into the water. 

There are tales about how you can trade with Näcken, how bringing him a dead black cat would have him teach you how to play the violin. Other bribes mentioned are liquor, snuff, and blood. I wonder if people were superstitious about black cats in the 800s or if that’s something that’s been added to the myth with time. 

Anyway, Näcken is a known entity here, children know about him and just the other week, Littlest and I went to have lunch with him. A half an hour’s walk from our house, there is a sculpture of Näcken in the river so we packed a bag and trudged along. We didn’t hear him play though. 

Excerpt:

The ground was a dank, but not too bad. Maja rustled around in the old leaves, but apart from that it was completely still. It should’ve been relaxing but the eerie feeling I’d had during breakfast had followed me along the trail. I hadn’t heard one single thing on the way here, there were still no birds singing and we hadn’t seen any animals. Surely there should’ve been a beetle, or ants, or something? But so far nothing; not even a fly.

The forest was cold, bereft. It wasn’t chilly but it wasn’t at all like the day before. And I kept looking around me—almost expecting to see someone. Which was ridiculous, there was not a living soul out here.

After a few minutes, Anders came walking up the hill.

Where’s Axel?” I looked behind Anders as he bent down to tickle Maja.

Isn’t he with you?”

No. Should he be?”

Anders didn’t answer. He turned around and searched the area behind him. I got to my feet, panic spreading in my chest. I gazed along the trail, down between the trees, looking for the little form of my son, but he was nowhere to be seen.

Wasn’t he with you? He was with you when Maja and I went ahead.” My lungs were contracting, denying me the air I desperately needed.

Yes, but he wanted to run up the slope ahead of me. I thought he’d have caught up to you by now.”

Axel!” The terror was clear in my voice. “Axel!”

Maja, sensing my distress, blinked more rapidly. Her eyes darted between me and Anders as her lower lip started to quake.

Relax, Daniel. You’re scaring Maja.” Anders picked her up and made a shushing sound. “He has to be close by. I saw him run up the hill a minute ago. Really, I was just a few feet behind. He wanted to surprise you by making it up ahead of me.”

Guilt stabbed at me. Yesterday had been hard on him; it had been a long way’s hike. God, I shouldn’t have yelled at him. He’d been exhausted, and I got angry because he made a fuss—what five-year-old wouldn’t in that situation? If I had controlled myself yesterday, maybe he wouldn’t have felt the need to prove himself today. He probably thought he needed to please me. It was all my fault.

It wasn’t a big hill. We would catch up with him. I knew my son; he wanted to make it to the top. He’d probably seen a trail and followed it, but he wouldn’t keep going if it didn’t lead upwards. At least that was what I told myself. A frightened five-year-old didn’t have a chance at rational thinking. If he was scared, he could be wandering in any direction.

Axel!” Shouldn’t he be able to hear me? Didn’t sounds travel well through forests? “Axel!”

Calm down, honey. He’s been gone five minutes, tops.”

Didn’t you come right up? Didn’t you follow the same trail we did?” I was frantic, I knew I was, but a child lost in the city could ask for directions, or have someone ring their parents. What happened to a child lost in the woods?

Yes, we did. But he wanted to run ahead…and I let him.” For the first time, I became aware of the guilt in Anders’ voice.

It’s not your fault, love. I would have done the same thing.” I wouldn’t have, but I didn’t want to point any fingers. Anders wasn’t the reason Axel had wanted to run ahead in the first place.

No. We both know you wouldn’t let him out of your sight. You hardly let them out in the garden.”

I tried to swallow around the lump in my throat. I did let them out in the garden, but I kept a close watch, even though it was completely fenced in.

We just have to find him.” I kept my voice as calm as I could. “I’ll wait here, and you go back the way you came. See if there’s any path you didn’t notice. Maybe he turned off, or went back down again, or…maybe he hid from you, or…” I shook my head.

Anders nodded, and headed down the hill at a brisk pace. I couldn’t sit still. Maja was observing everything with big, thoughtful eyes—probably trying to grasp what was happening. Or maybe she already had, because she was unusually quiet.

The minutes passed at a snail’s pace. Neither son nor husband came stumbling up the hill. My heart was pounding in my ears, and I couldn’t get enough air into my lungs. With shaking hands, I reached for Maja. I tried not to crush her, but it was difficult. I wanted to press her little body as close to mine as I possibly could. At that point, no one would have been able to prise her out of my arms.

Blurb:

silentwoods

Do you believe in myths and ancient creatures? 
 
Daniel has never understood the need to leave the city, so when his husband suggests a camping trip for their holiday, he agrees with reluctance. Even before they step out of the car, trepidation crawls over Daniel. Something is wrong. There is something about the forest that turns his stomach into knots. 
 
He wants nothing more than to return to the safety of their home, and when their five-year-old son goes missing his fears turn into full-blown panic. What awaits them in the depths of the forest is far more sinister than anything Daniel ever could have imagined. With a missing child, it’s a race against time. Will they be able to find their son before it’s too late? 

Buy links:

Paranormal M/M Romance: 18,772 words

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/Silent-Woods

About Ofelia:

Ofelia Gränd is Swedish, which often shines through in her stories. She likes to write about everyday people ending up in not-so-everyday situations, and hopefully also getting out of them. She writes romance, contemporary, paranormal, Sci-Fi and whatever else catches her fancy.

Her books are written for readers who want to take a break from their everyday life for an hour or two.

When Ofelia manages to tear herself from the screen and sneak away from her husband and children, she likes to take walks in the woods…if she’s lucky she finds her way back home again.

Find Ofelia on social media: 

Blog :: Newsletter :: Instagram :: Facebook Page :: Facebook Profile :: Goodreads :: Bookbub :: Pinterest 

Guest Post | Always You

Guest Post

Since the theme of the month is Friends to Lovers, I begged Nell Iris to come on a visit and talk a little about it. She agreed, and here she is! Thank you for dropping by, Nell ❤

Friends-to-lovers or lovers-to friends?

Everyone loves a good friends-to-lovers story, amirite? I know I do, and considering how many romance stories, books, movies, and shows there are out there based on this trope, I’m not the only one.

But what is it about friends to lovers that makes it such a good romance trope? What is it about it that makes it so attractive? Is it the fact that the characters already know each other and don’t have to go through that first awful getting-to-know-you phase that’s so awkward and unpleasant? Is it that they already know each other’s flaws and still love and accept each other? Or is it that the trust between them is already there; they’ve known each other for a while and learned to trust each, so there’s no need to worry about that?

If I imagine myself a character in a romance novel, I admit I’d find all the above comforting. I’m not the most social person, and don’t like meeting new people in general, and then meeting someone in a romantic context puts so much pressure on the other person and the connection between the two (or more) people involved. Knowing someone’s flaws is also appealing…or maybe it’s knowing that someone already knows all my flaws that’s comforting? They can’t break up with me when they find out that I snore and leave empty milk cartons on the counter and only do laundry when I’m about to run out of underwear, because they already know that, and it’s too late to complain. But of all the reasons, the last one appeals to me the most. I’m not someone who trusts easily, so if that trust was already established, it would be much easier for me to give them my heart.

When I was a teenager, I was in love with my best friend. He, however, didn’t like me back that way, and when we started different high schools, we drifted apart, and the love I had for him, that I was convinced would live forever, fizzled out. Instead, I met the cutest boy a couple years later. He had the most beautiful brown eyes I’d ever seen and a teasing, wicked smile. I fell instantly in love with him the first time we met. Today, I’m married to that boy, and he’s my best friend, but we went the other way around, from lovers to friends.

So maybe that’s the interesting thing of all for me, and why I’ve written several friends-to-lovers stories? That it’s the opposite of my own relationship and there’s so much to explore?

So tell me, do you like friends-to-lovers stories? What about the trope appeals to you, something completely different from what I listed above, or do you agree with me? I’d love to hear what you think.

And if you, like me, is a fan of friends-to-lovers, why not check out short story Always You, my childhood-BFFs-to-lovers story?

Always you

Blurb:

Best Friends. Roommates. And now, maybe…more?

Thom Novak feels like a walking cliché: the gay guy desperately in love with his straight best friend, Lee. But he’s willing to keep his feelings hidden, to do whatever it takes, as long as they stay friends forever.

Lee Conway loves sharing an apartment with Thom, his best friend since birth, and would be happy doing it for the rest of his life…no matter his current girlfriend’s opinion on the matter. But he’s never been known for being in contact with his emotions.

When something happens to upset the status quo, Lee pulls away. Has Lee learned how Thom feels about him? Will it mean the end of their friendship? Or is there another reason Lee needs time to think? A more…hopeful reason?

Buy links:

JMS Books :: Amazon

About Nell

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bonafide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies room), loves music (and singing along at the top of her voice but she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, bullet journals, poetry, wine, coffee-flavored kisses, and fika (a Swedish cultural thing involving coffee and pastry!)

Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.

Nell is a bisexual Swedish woman married to the love of her life, a proud mama of a grown daughter, and is approaching 50 faster than she’d like. She lives in the south of Sweden where she spends her days thinking up stories about people falling in love. After dreaming about being a writer for most of her life, she finally was in a place where she could pursue her dream and released her first book in 2017.

Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, short over long, and quirky characters over alpha males.

Find Nell on social media:

Newsletter :: Webpage/blog :: Twitter :: Instagram :: Facebook Page :: Facebook Profile :: Goodreads :: Bookbub :: Pinterest :: Ko-Fi

Release Day | Just to Breathe

Extraterrestrial Abductions Day

It’s release day! Just to Breathe is one of those stories that popped into my head while I was focused on something else and then it stuck with me. It’s one of those quick and easy, slightly absurd stories.  

Nico and Matt have been best friends since kindergarten and for years Nico has been in love with Matt. He doesn’t plan to tell him, ever. He can’t imagine life without Matt, and he’d rather have him as a friend than risk ruining everything. 

But then he’s kidnapped. He’s on his way to meet up with Matt, and three men grab him and throw him in the trunk of a car. They rough him up some and then they tell him he has 24 hours to hand over what they want. The problem is Nico has no idea what they want. 

Matt is not only the love of Nico’s life, but he’s also a cop, so naturally, he calls Matt the moment he’s set free. Then the hunt is on. 

Excerpt:

Nico pursed his lips. “I exited my apartment at around ten past six, I was to meet Matt at Taverna.”

Oh, you were going on a date?” Amber grinned at him.

No, it was—” He glanced at Matt, who was smiling at him. “—for my birthday. Anyway, I walked down Church Lane and crossed over the parking lot when someone grabbed me from behind. There was a blow to the back of my head, and before I knew what was happening, a man pushed me into a trunk of a car. A black car.” He scrunched his face and glanced at Matt again. He didn’t know shit about cars, if he remembered what color someone’s car was, he was pleased with himself. Brands and models and stuff never registered.

And then?” The anger was clear in Matt’s voice.

We drove for a while. It was dark, and my head hurt, so I didn’t keep track of turns and stuff. I should have, right?” He looked at everyone in the crowded room. “Maybe it’s in the kidnapping 101 handbook?” He’d meant it as a joke, but it came out in a whisper.

Amber was glaring, David had once again crossed his arms over his chest, Robert was frowning, Joyce looked ready to cry, and Matt’s eyes were burning in a way that sent a shiver down Nico’s spine.

There is no handbook, and I found you so it doesn’t matter. What happened next?”

It wouldn’t surprise Nico if there was a handbook for what to do if kidnapped. “They dragged me into the warehouse.”

Matt interrupted by stating the address of the warehouse. Nico assumed for the sake of the recording since everyone already knew where Matt had gone to get him. He nodded for Nico to continue.

I don’t know. It was empty, had that chilly warehouse air, and the strip light over the door was flickering. There were no other lights on.”

David made a frustrated sound. “What did they do and say?”

Oh… Nico nodded. “The man with the gorgeous cheekbones and serial killer eyes pushed me onto a dirty plastic chair. A white one, the kind you see in cheap cafes. You know the ones? Ugly?”

Matt nodded. “I know the kind.”

David shook his head. “What kind of chair is irrelevant. Continue with the statement.”

When Matt growled, Nico enjoyed it, when David did, not so much.

Amber shook her head. “The man with the gorgeous cheekbones, have you seen him before?”

Eh… I don’t think so, but I’m terrible with people.” He believed he’d remembered the cheekbones, though. At least, if they’d talked.

Ethnicity? Tattoos? Anything standing out, a missing finger?”

A missing finger?” Nico gaped at Amber. “Are there many kidnappers with missing fingers?”

No, but you’d remembered if he had, right?” She grinned, which had David scoffing.

I don’t know. I wasn’t looking at his hands.” Nico tried to picture the man and shuddered. “I think he was white.”

You think?” David made an unimpressed face.

It was dark, his hair was short, his cheekbones high, his lips full, his eyes had a touch of serial killer to them, his skin fair.” Nico rubbed his forehead. “If I’d have to guess, I’d say he was Russian.”

Oh, now you even have a nationality?”

He scowled at David. “No, I said if I had to guess.”

Guys.” Amber shot David a glare. “Then what happened, Nico?”

Nico focused on her. “They slapped me around some, kept asking about where it was.”

Where what was?”

I have no idea. I told them I didn’t know. Over and over, I told them. Then they said they knew my uncle had moved it here, and that I have twenty-four hours to think it over.”

A suffocating silence spread throughout the room.

They’ll be back?” Joyce looked around, meeting everyone’s eyes before focusing on Nico. “They’ll come for you again?”

Nico shrank. “I don’t know… I guess… Maybe. But I don’t have an uncle living here.”

He and his mother had moved here when he’d been two. She’d packed a bag and left Nico’s dad and her entire family behind. He didn’t know what had happened. She’d refused to talk about it when he was little, and now he could see the pain it caused if he ever asked about her life before Halsworthy, so he didn’t. He was pretty sure he didn’t have an uncle living here, though.

Do you have an uncle?” Matt had put his cop face on.

I do. I don’t remember him, but Mom has a brother. His last name is Bianchi, unless he’s changed it these last few years.” His mother’s maiden name had been Bianchi, and she’d once told him her entire family still was called that, in case he ever wanted to look them up. He’d been tempted, but he didn’t want to hurt her feelings, so he hadn’t.

David threw his hands in the air. “What has his name got to do with anything?”

He called me Mr. Allegretto.”

Allegretto? With an o?” Matt’s eyes widened before looking at the others in the room. Nico shrugged. It wasn’t unusual that people screwed up his last name.

Yeah, with an o.”

He’s moved here?”

Nico looked at the Barnes family, clearly missing something. “I don’t have an uncle called Allegretto.”

Matt chuckled. “No, Salvio Allegretto is a criminal mastermind.”

Nico kept his mouth shut. What the heck did a criminal mastermind do?

You need to hide.” Joyce put a hand on his shoulder as she got to her feet. “We have work to do.” She reached over the table, read the time out loud, and stopped the recording before straightening and putting her hands on her hips. “Mathew, take Nico to the cabin.”

Blurb:

justtobreatheNico Allegretti has been best friends with Matt Barnes since kindergarten. There is no one more important to Nico than Matt, and while he’s known for years Matt is the one for him, he’ll never tell him. He won’t risk ruining their friendship.

On his way to meet Matt at the restaurant, a case of mistaken identity ends with Nico in the trunk of a car. When he’s released, his kidnappers give him twenty-four hours to give them what they want. The problem is, Nico has no idea what that could be.

Not knowing what else to do, he turns to Matt, who is a cop. Together they go into hiding while looking for clues. Being kidnapped doesn’t change Nico’s resolve to not let Matt know how he feels, but hiding in a small cabin together makes it hard to ignore. Matt’s small touches and compliments must mean nothing. Had Matt felt the same, he’d let him know by now … right?

Buy link:

Contemporary gay romance: 15,392 words

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/JustToBreathe

The List | Gay Romance Friends to Lovers Stories

Kiss A Ginger - Gay Romance Books with red-haired characters

New month, new theme! This time we’re having us a friends to lovers month! On June 5th, Just to Breathe will be published and it’s a friends to lover story. 

I didn’t think I’d read all that many friends to lovers books – though considering it’s a common trope, I should’ve known. Since I didn’t want to overwhelm you with a zillion books, though sometimes those lists are fun too, I decided to pick twenty.  Since I had stories to choose from, I made a selection. You’ll find several books that have been with Dreamspinner press but none (unless I’ve missed some) that currently are because, you know, as an author, I think we deserve to be paid for our work, so… Here we go! Oh, and they’re not in any order. 

Moonlight Becomes You

Moonlight Becomes You (Lucky Moon 1) by Piper Vaughn and M.J. O’Shea – There was a time when I read a lot of rockstar books, many many years ago. The lucky Moon series is one of those I remember liking. Book two was my favourite, but that’s not friends to lovers LOL 

Moonlight Becomes YouCan’t forget the boy he left behind. Can’t seem to win the respect of the man he’s crazy about. Shane Ventura might be rich and famous… but his love life is a disaster waiting to happen.

Eleven years ago, Shane Ventura made the biggest mistake of his life.

He caved in to pressure from his record label to kick his best friend, Jesse Seider, out of their band, Luck. To this day, Shane has never wanted anyone more. All the sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll can’t fill the void Jesse left behind. Not even the prospect of teaming up with Britain’s hottest band, Moonlight, for a massive world tour can get him out of his funk.

Then he meets singer Kayden Berlin and falls into Instant lust.

Kayden may act like he’s not interested but Shane knows he feels the spark between them. Yet the harder Shane pushes, the more Kayden pulls away, until on explosive night leaves Shane with a broken heart.

That seems to be his lot in — lucky at everything but love.

Shane still has one lesson left to learn: when it comes to love, you can’t always leave things to chance. 

Hard Tail

Hard Tail (Southampton Stories 2) by J.L. Merrow. Who doesn’t like a hurt-comfort story? This book deals with domestic abuse, so if that’s a trigger, stay away. I liked that they work in a mountain bike shop. I think it’s the only mountain bike shop story I’ve read LOL. I haven’t read the first story in this series, so I’m gonna go ahead and say it’s not necessary to enjoy this. 

34705820._SY475_Finding love can be a bumpy ride
With his job and his marriage dead in a ditch, Tim Knight doesn’t take much persuading to leave London for the greener fields of Southampton and look after his injured brother’s mountain bike shop. But Tim’s a fish out of water in this brave new world of outdoor sports and technical jargon—not to mention struggling with the realisation he can no longer deny his sexuality, at least to himself.
The reason? Matt Berridge, his brother’s bike mechanic. Fit, tanned and an adorable klutz, Matt takes a tumble the day they meet and falls straight into Tim’s heart. There’s only one problem: Matt’s boyfriend, who Tim’s convinced is abusing him, despite the stories Matt comes up with to explain away the bruises.
A black belt in karate, Tim’s no pushover when it comes to physical confrontation. But he’ll need to step his courage up a gear if he’s ever going to come out, be himself—and save the man he’s coming to love.

Billy’s Bones

Billy’s Bones by Jamie Fessenden. This is a gruesome story – attempted suicide and childhood trauma, so don’t go into it thinking it’s a light fluffy read. It’s worth it though if you’re okay with those kinds of stories. 

55524349._SY475_Kevin Derocher was thirty-two when he walked into Tom’s office, newly married, a baby on the way, and the collar of his red flannel shirt pulled up to hide the bruises around his throat from when he hanged himself in his garage. After his initial consult, therapist Tom Langois believes he’ll never see Kevin again—but Kevin turns up three years later to make repairs on Tom’s new house.

Kevin and Tom become fast friends, and Tom begins to suspect Kevin may be interested in more than friendship. However, Kevin remains haunted by something from his childhood—something so terrible he blocked it from his mind. These suppressed memories make it impossible for Kevin to get close to anyone without panicking and lashing out, sometimes violently. But as his past begins to surface, it becomes apparent that Kevin may hold the key to a twenty-five-year-old mystery: what happened to Billy?

A Private Gentleman

A Private Gentleman by Heidi Cullinan. Orchids! I love a nerd, I don’t care what you subscribe to, be it orchids or superheroes, I’ll stand by you. Albert Engström (1869-1940), Swedish artist and author, said: Det är varje människas förbannade plikt att bli ett original. Which roughly translates into: It’s every person’s bloody duty to become an original (in the eccentric meaning), and I agree. We need more rare birds out there!  

A Private GentlemanTo seal their bond, they must break the ties that bind.

Painfully introverted and rendered nearly mute by a heavy stammer, Lord George Albert Westin rarely ventures any farther than the club or his beloved gardens. When he hears rumors of an exotic new orchid sighted at a local hobbyist’s house, though, he girds himself with opiates and determination to attend a house party, hoping to sneak a peek. He finds the orchid, yes…but he finds something else even more rare and exquisite: Michael Vallant. Professional sodomite.

Michael climbed out of an adolescent hell as a courtesan’s bastard to become successful and independent-minded, seeing men on his own terms, protected by a powerful friend. He is master of his own world—until Wes. Not only because, for once, the sex is for pleasure and not for profit. They are joined by tendrils of a shameful, unspoken history. The closer his shy, poppy-addicted lover lures him to the light of love, the harder his past works to drag him back into the dark. There’s only one way out of this tangle. Help Wes face the fears that cripple him—right after Michael finds the courage to reveal the devastating truth that binds them.

Winter

Winter (The Haunted Heart 1) by Josh Lanyon . Speaking of rare birds, there are some unusual things in this one. There used to be a pretty cover for this book. I was quite disappointed to see that it’s been changed. Ah well, it’s the content that matters, and here we have us some creepy ghosts. 

57996746._SY475_“Let us be grateful to the mirror for revealing to us our appearance only.”
Samuel Butler

Since Alan died, Flynn isn’t eating, isn’t sleeping, and isn’t spending a lot of time looking in mirrors. But maybe he should pay a little more attention — because something in that 18th Century mirror is looking at him…

Still grieving over the sudden death of his lover, antiques dealer Flynn Ambrose moves to the old, ramshackle house on Pitch Pine Lane to catalog and sell the large inventory of arcane and oddball items that once filled his late uncle’s mysterious museum.

But not all the items are that easy to catalog.

Or get rid of…

Nor Iron Bars a Cage

Nor Iron Bars a Cage by Kaje Harper. More ghosts and magic, and while I’d slap some trigger warnings on this one (self-harm, past abuse) it’s not a very dark read. Lyon who only wants to hide in his house has to do a job for the king, and who’s to come get him if not Torbin, his childhood friend. 

18003646First I was a sorcerer. Then I was a hermit. For so long—for years that seemed to go on forever—I couldn’t bear to be touched. I put up not just walls but whole stone bunkers to keep everyone out, emotionally, and physically as well. I was protected from people, from ghosts, from specters real and imagined. Sure, I was alone. But I felt safe. Only, after a while, I wasn’t sure any longer whether a totally “safe” empty life was really worth living.
Then Tobin came along. Out of the blue, out of my past, with a summons from the king that he wouldn’t let me ignore. I tried to cling to my isolation, but he wouldn’t give up on me. Tobin never believed in walls.

Suicide Watch

Suicide Watch by Kelley York. This book… I don’t often read YA, and I don’t often read books dealing with suicide, but it’s been years since I read this, many years, and it’s still with me. It’s not heavy on the romance, so don’t expect that, but you should read it.  

Suicide Watch18-year-old Vincent Hazelwood has spent his entire life being shuffled from one foster home to the next. His grades sucked. Making friends? Out of the question thanks to his nervous breakdowns and unpredictable moods. Still, Vince thought when Maggie Atkins took him in, he might’ve finally found a place to get his life—and his issues—in order.

But then Maggie keels over from a heart attack. Vince is homeless, alone, and the inheritance money isn’t going to last long. A year ago, Vince watched a girl leap to her death off a bridge, and now he’s starting to think she had the right idea.

Vince stumbles across a website forum geared toward people considering suicide. There, he meets others with the same debate regarding the pros and cons of death: Casper, battling cancer, would rather off herself than slowly waste away. And there’s quiet, withdrawn Adam, who suspects if he died, his mom wouldn’t even notice.

As they gravitate toward each other, Vince searches for a reason to live while coping without Maggie’s guidance, coming to terms with Casper’s imminent death, and falling in love with a boy who doesn’t plan on sticking around.

Scrap Metal

Scrap Metal by Harper Fox . Ah, a Scottish farm, what’s not to like about that? Nichol is knee-deep in lambing when Cam, a man on the run from the city, shows up at the farm. Nichol gives him a place to stay and they become friends. I loved the environment in this one. 

36115795._SY475_Nichol Seacliff is facing his darkest hour. He’s sole remaining heir to a failing sheep farm on the Isle of Arran, and about as lonely as any young man could be. His only companions are his grumpy grandfather Harry, and three sheepdogs who won’t answer to his whistle.
He’s thinking about throwing the whole business in when, one bitter, stormy night, a stranger breaks into his barn. Nichol, at the end of his rope, is inclined to deal with new trouble with a shotgun, but soon realises this intruder means no harm. He’s a lost lad by the name of Cameron, on the run from a dodgy and dangerous Glasgow past.
As the island winter melts into glorious summer, Cameron finds a place not only on the farm but in Nichol’s heart. Even Harry can’t hold out against his charm. But Cam can’t escape his shadows, and the dreadful secret he’s concealing has the power of a hungry tide, ready to wash all his newfound happiness with Nichol away.

Play It Again, Charlie

Play It Again, Charlie by R. Cooper. I love this book, and now when I read the blurb and saw the word daddy, I froze. I don’t do daddy books unless it’s by mistake LOL and I checked the original blurb – no daddies. I can’t remember if the word is in the book, maybe it is, what I do know is, in it, there are lots of old black and white movies and a balcony scene. 

55454611._SY475_After an accident left him in chronic pain and his boyfriend abandoned him, Charlie Howard settled down to teach at a community college and hide from the world in his apartment. He takes care of his family, friends, neighbors—everyone but himself. He’s fine with his books and his cat, and sees his future as one without a partner by his side. That is, until a classic-film-loving twink named Will moves into the apartment across from him and throws flirtatious quotes from classic movies at him from his balcony.

To Charlie’s surprise, lively, sexy Will does his best to get invited into Charlie’s apartment and then doesn’t seem to want to leave. Beneath the flirtatious exterior, Will has been looking for home since he was kicked out as a teen, and views the soft romances of old black-and-white movies as something he will never be able to have. Someone like Charlie, older, educated, kind and loving, in pain and achingly lonely, obviously wouldn’t want to keep Will around, much less let Will fuss over him, so he goes for what he thinks he can get, and makes it clear he’d like Charlie to be his new daddy.

Charlie discovers it’s a role that suits him perfectly because Will needs care, and Charlie loves to give it. But Will has never stayed in one place for long. He’s never stayed long with one person, either. Charlie wants Will more with each moment they spend together, but to have him, he’ll have to risk the security of his quiet life. To be happy, Charlie will have to put his shattered heart in Will’s hands and invite him to stay.

Superhero

Superhero by Eli Easton – At first, I hadn’t planned on including this. It’s not my usual kind of read, but it has its moments.  And I do have a soft spot for anyone who wants to become a comic book artist, I can’t help it LOL 

53291764._SY475_It’s not easy for a young gay artist like Jordan Carson to grow up in Jefferson, Wisconsin, where all anyone seems to care about in middle school and high school are the sports teams. But Jordan was lucky. He met Owen Nelson in the second grade, and they’ve been BFFs ever since. Owen is a big, beautiful blond and their school’s champion wrestler. No one messes with Owen, or with anyone close to him, and he bucks popular opinion by keeping Jordan as his wingman even after Jordan comes out at school.

Their friendship survives, but Jordan’s worst enemy may be himself: he can’t seem to help the fact that he is head-over-heels in love with a hopeless case—his straight friend, Owen. Owen won’t let anything take Jordan’s friendship away, but he never counted on Jordan running off to find a life of his own. Owen will have to face the nature of their relationship if he’s to win Jordan back.

 

The God Eaters

The God Eaters by Jesse Hajicek. I talked about this last month. It’s one of my favourite stories in all categories, but I have a hard time putting it in a fitting genre. They’re in a prison where they do weird experiments, and there is magic. It’s a fantasy adventure, so you have to have the time to get into it. 

The God EatersImprisoned for ‘inflammatory writings’ by the totalitarian Theocracy, shy intellectual Ashleigh Trine figures his story’s over. But when he meets Kieran Trevarde, a hard-hearted gunslinger with a dark magic lurking in his blood, Ash finds that necessity makes strange heroes… and love can change the world.

The Disassembled Life of Duncan Cole by S. Hart 

Ah, Duncan and all his inventions and his conversations with his coffee machine. It’s steampunk people, lots of smoke and stuff. Awesome! 

Duncan-ColeIn which we meet Duncan: professional nobody who presents himself to the public as a scowling, smoking pile of contempt. Against his will, he meets Sam: a less than professional coal miner who inspires the worst in men. Together they take on one malicious train and a most insidious re-animator, and along the way Duncan remembers a few things that he’d previously forgotten.

Glitter

Glitter by Ayla Starr. While The Disassembled Life of Duncan Cole is a 700 pages long book, this little gem is 2,869 words. If you’re a good short story writer, you don’t need more to touch a soul. 

13519676I kept tripping over my feet, tripping over my words, and eventually gave up talking all together. You continued to smile anyway.

Butterfly Hunter

Butterfly Hunter (Butterfly Hunter 1) by Julie Bozza. This is beautiful. An Englishman in the Australian bush searching for butterflies. It’s about the fragility of life, the short moment we get to be on this earth. It touched me. 

Butterfly hunterIt started as a simple assignment for Aussie bush guide Dave Taylor – escort a lone Englishman in quest of an unknown species of butterfly. However Nicholas Goring is no ordinary tourist, his search is far from straightforward, and it’s starting to look as if the butterflies don’t want to be found. As Dave teaches Nicholas everything he needs to survive in the Outback he discovers that he too has quite a bit to learn – and that very often the best way to locate something really important is just not to want to find it…

A Frost of Cares

A Frost of Cares by Amy Rae Durreson. We’re leaving the warmth of Aussieland for a cold, wintery England. This is a ghost story. Every time I mention Durreson’s books, I’m thinking I should read more by her. I’ve loved every story I’ve read, and she creates a mean ghost story. 

A Frost of CaresA Winter Ghost Story

Looking for a fresh start, historian Luke Alcott takes on a job cataloguing the archives in an old army training centre. Eelmoor Hall is an old house on a lonely heath and the only other living soul on site is Sergeant Jay McBride, the surly caretaker. But Luke can’t escape the feeling he’s being watched, and as the halls echo with invisible footsteps and his sleep is haunted by nightmares, he realises that he and Jay aren’t alone in this house.
The Mistletoe Bride has been trapped here a very long time. She’s cold, angry, and desperate. And she has no intention of letting Luke leave until he’s found her—or joined her in death. As the snow begins to fall, Luke and Jay must risk all to save each other from this vengeful ghost. 

Waiting for Clark

Waiting for Clark by Annabeth Albert. Now we’re back to the nerds. Best friends and cosplay, what can possibly go wrong? This is so cute.  

Waiting for ClarkWhen Bryce Weyland agrees to go to a comic convention dressed as a superhero, the last person he expects to see is his one-time best friend (and hopeless crush), Clark Kenmore. But Clark is impossible not to notice—he’s wearing spandex tights, a rainbow cape, and the same disarming smile that haunts Bryce’s dreams.

Five years ago, they shared an ill-advised kiss that torpedoed their friendship. But now Clark has returned to Portland, and he wants nothing more than to return to the easy friendship that defined their college years. But the glowering Bryce makes it clear Clark’s mission is going to require a super-human effort—and more than a little luck.

Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace!

Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace! by Claire Davis and Al Stewart. Again, one of my all-time favourites. I don’t read YA/NA if I can get away with it UNLESS it’s either Suki Fleet or Davis & Stewart. This is a beautiful story about Charlie who is on the Autism spectrum and has a love for science. And then we have Anthony Pace, Charlies best friend ever since he stole a toy from Charlie at the playground when they were little kids. This story made me laugh and cry ugly tears. Love it! 

Shut your face, Anthony PaceFirst love – coming of age – family – acceptance

When Charlie was eight years old, his mum bought him a microscope for his birthday. Since then, he’s known how he wants to spend his life. There have been trials, and challenges, but now – finally – the day is here for him to start college with his lifelong friend Anthony Pace.

Anthony is a red-haired force of nature. He writes poetry about their enemies and eagerly participates in all Charlie’s science experiments without understanding a word. Every morning, he waits at the end of their street so they can get the bus together.

But things are changing.

Families are important, and complex. Charlie’s mum hasn’t been well, and his relationship with Anthony begins to shine like a different star in the sky.

Can everything come together in this explosion of physics and chemicals that Charlie calls life? Will Anthony Pace ever share his poems with the world, and can the Chihuahua, Princess Arabella, ever learn to stop licking?

Tommy’s Blind Date

Tommy’s Blind Date by Anne Brooke. I’ve talked about this book before on the blog. It’s a short story about Tommy who goes on a blind date with his best friend who is an actor. I love how this one starts. 

TommysBlindDateThirty-two year old Tommy Godolphin has been on a series of blind dates, as he doesn’t want to be single any more. However, none of them really hits the spot and the latest one has proved a complete, if amusing, disaster.

When he recounts what happened to his best friend, Jacob, he expects Jacob to laugh with him as usual, but this time he doesn’t. Instead, Jacob challenges Tommy to go out on a blind date with him, to see what, if anything, he might be doing wrong. If Tommy accepts, how will their friendship survive?

Love on a Wing and a Prayer

Love on a Wing and a Prayer by T.A. Webb. Here we’re past the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, but navy pilots Davey and Chuck still hide their orientation. It’s easier, but when they’ve met, hiding becomes harder. This is a short freebie, but definitely worth reading. 

Living on a Wing and a PrayerDear Author,

Even with the repeal of DADT, it is not commonly known that I am gay. Living on an aircraft carrier, surrounded by so many men in such close quarters, I worry that if my sexuality is known, most of them will subscribe to the narrow thinking that I am attracted to all of them. But there is one who has caught my eye and driven my senses into overload. The problem is that he is a fellow pilot. I don’t want to cause any issues in our working environment, and I don’t even know if he is gay, but I am drawn to him and cannot stop thinking about him. What I wouldn’t give for a stolen night together, but I long for even more than that because I am attracted to his personality, sense of humor, and strength of character as much as I am attracted to his physicality.

And then one day, his co-pilot gets sick, and I am told to fly with him. Will this time together possibly lead to something? I can’t help but hope that it does.

This is Not a Love Story

This is Not a Love Story (Love Story Universe) by Suki Fleet. Ah, here we have one of those YA/NA stories I don’t read… You know, since there aren’t any YA/NA on this list LOL. Here we have two boys living on the streets. One abandoned by his mother, the other to escape abuse. They have to fight to survive, so… prepare to cry.  

This is Not a Love StoryWhen fifteen-year-old Romeo’s mother leaves one day and doesn’t return, he finds himself homeless and trying to survive on the streets. Mute and terrified, his silence makes him vulnerable, and one night he is beaten by a gang of other kids, only to be rescued by a boy who pledges to take care of him.

Julian is barely two years older than Romeo. A runaway from an abusive home, he has had to make some difficult choices and sells himself on the street to survive. Taking care of Romeo changes him, gives him a purpose in life, gives him hope, and he tries to be strong and keep his troubles with drugs behind him. But living as they do is slowly destroying him, and he begins to doubt he can be strong enough.

This is the story of their struggle to find a way off the streets and stay together at all costs. But when events threaten to tear them apart, it is Romeo who must find the strength within himself to help Julian (and not let their love story turn into a Shakespearean tragedy).

Just to Breathe

Just to Breathe – the reason we’re having this theme. This is a light-hearted story. Nico is being kidnapped but has no idea why, so he turns to the one person he can’t live without, his best friend Matt. Matt is a cop, his entire family are cops, and they all try to come to the bottom of why Nico was taken off the street and what it is he’s supposed to give his kidnappers within twenty-four hours. 

justtobreatheNico Allegretti has been best friends with Matt Barnes since kindergarten. There is no one more important to Nico than Matt, and while he’s known for years Matt is the one for him, he’ll never tell him. He won’t risk ruining their friendship.

On his way to meet Matt at the restaurant, a case of mistaken identity ends with Nico in the trunk of a car. When he’s released, his kidnappers give him twenty-four hours to give them what they want. The problem is, Nico has no idea what that could be.

Not knowing what else to do, he turns to Matt, who is a cop. Together they go into hiding while looking for clues. Being kidnapped doesn’t change Nico’s resolve to not let Matt know how he feels, but hiding in a small cabin together makes it hard to ignore. Matt’s small touches and compliments must mean nothing. Had Matt felt the same, he’d let him know by now … right?

Buy links:

Moonlight Becomes You: Amazon

Hard Tail: books2read.com/HardTail

Billy’s Bones: Amazon

A Private Gentleman: books2read.com/APrivateGentleman

Winter: books2read.com/TheHauntedWinter

Nor Iron Bars a Cage: Amazon (free)

Suicide Watch: books2read.com/Suicide-Watch

Scrap Metal: books2read.com/ScrapMetal

Play It Again, Charlie: Amazon

Superhero: Amazon

The God Eaters: Read here

The Disassembled Life of Duncan Cole: books2read.com/DuncanCole

Glitter: books2read.com/Glitter (free)

Butterfly Hunter: books2read.com/ButterflyHunter

A Frost of Cares: Amazon

Waiting for Clark: books2read.com/WaitingForClark

Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace!: books2read.com/AnthonyPace

Tommy’s Blind Date: books2read.com/TommysBlindDate

Love on a Wing and a Prayer: download here

This is Not A Love Story: books2read.com/ThisisNotaLoveStory

Just To Breathe: books2read.com/JustToBreathe

 

Memorial Day Sale

Sale

There is a Memorial Day Sale over at JMS Books! 40% off on all ebooks and it runs through Monday, pre-orders are included. I’ll post covers and blurbs, and if you click the link to hop on over to the JMS Books site, you can read an excerpt from each book there.

justtobreathe

Nico Allegretti has been best friends with Matt Barnes since kindergarten. There is no one more important to Nico than Matt, and while he’s known for years Matt is the one for him, he’ll never tell him. He won’t risk ruining their friendship.

On his way to meet Matt at the restaurant, a case of mistaken identity ends with Nico in the trunk of a car. When he’s released, his kidnappers give him twenty-four hours to give them what they want. The problem is, Nico has no idea what that could be.

Not knowing what else to do, he turns to Matt, who is a cop. Together they go into hiding while looking for clues. Being kidnapped doesn’t change Nico’s resolve to not let Matt know how he feels, but hiding in a small cabin together makes it hard to ignore. Matt’s small touches and compliments must mean nothing. Had Matt felt the same, he’d let him know by now … right?

Just to Breathe @ JMS Books

thehungergap

After years of the government taking everything he grows, homesteader George Vega has had enough. Food is scarce and people are starving. To provide for himself, he’ll need to break the law. Together with his next-door neighbor June, he sets up a system to hide food from the controller during his weekly collecting visits.

Axel Rowe won’t survive much longer. Every scrap of food he can get his hands on, he gives to his six-year-old daughter, but it isn’t nearly enough. Luck is on his side when he secures a job as a controller. He realizes taking the job will make people dislike him, but he has to eat.

George understands the danger he’s in when his old, lazy controller is replaced with a new, more observant one. Axel suspects there is something George is withholding, but when George takes care of him after nearly collapsing from hunger, Axel is more curious about how he’s able to keep food for himself than he’s interested in reporting him. George knows the risk, but after having looked into Axel’s desperate eyes, he’s compelled to take care of him. But can an outlaw homesteader have a relationship with the man who’s supposed to make sure he follows the law?

The Hunger Gap @ JMS Books

blownaway

Espen Urso would rather stay inside and enjoy a nice, sweet cake than be out in the worst storm of the year. But there’s a group of alpha shifters trespassing, and he needs to defend his territory and keep the people in his village safe. A group of wolf shifters he can scare off, but when he realizes they’ve hurt a defenseless little bird, he loses his patience.

Arvid Rai is having a bad day. He’s an omega on the run, with a group of alphas on his tail. If there hadn’t been a storm, he could have easily flown away before the stupid wolves got their hands on him, or the angry bear noticed he was in his territory. But there is a storm, and the idiot who grabbed him broke his wing, so now he can’t fly anywhere. Still, he deems it best to stay with the growly bear rather than having the other alphas fight over him.

Espen has never believed in the myth of omegas, and it isn’t until he takes Arvid in he realizes how much trouble he’ll be in when shifters from near and far learn he has one in his home. Will he be able to keep Arvid safe from other shifters? Is it even possible to defend his territory with an omega in it?

Blown Away @ JMS Books

therewillbealiens - small

Carlo Russo is having the worst day. Not only has he lost his job, caught his boyfriend cheating, and had one too many shots with his best friend Grace, now he’s seeing aliens too. Big, black, tail-equipped aliens. After a futile struggle, he and Grace find themselves on a spaceship leaving Earth.

Zenon Scoreceds Qhainqons doesn’t know what it is about the earthling male. Their mission is to bring back ten females in hopes of them being able to provide their planet with children, but he wants the male. What he’s going to do with the male, he doesn’t know, but he’s claiming him as his payment for going on the mission.

Carlo doesn’t approve of kidnapping, but the aliens aren’t too bad, and once the language chip is installed, he finds it entertaining to talk to them. Zen in particular. They’re standoffish and never show any emotion, but Carlo has no problem cuddling up next to Zen at night.

All Zenon wants is to spend time with Carlo, but it’s his job to get them all home in one piece. Will he be able to keep Carlo safe from all the dangers lurking along the trip? He has to because Carlo is his, and he’s not letting him go.

There Will Be Aliesn @ JMS Books

bestillmyheart

Four years ago, Dimitri Petrov had his leg blown off by a landmine while in military service. Suffering from PTSD, he doesn’t do crowds, and he doesn’t do people. If he had his way, he’d never leave his house at all. Dimitri’s sister, Irina, runs a dating agency, and despite that it would be better for business if they had a pretty woman working the front desk, Irina insists Dimitri’s the man for the job.

In a whirlwind of pink shirts, flapping hands, and outrageous flirting enters Elian Hubert. Elian needs a date. Invited to speak on love through time in fiction at a Valentine dinner, there is no way he’s showing up alone. When Dimitri tells him The Single Pursuit is unable to help on such short notice, Elian suggests Dimitri be his date.

Dimitri doesn’t do dates, and he doesn’t do dinners, but Elian’s made him happier in the last few minutes than anyone’s been able to do in years. He might not do Valentine’s, and he might not do gatherings, but maybe he can do Elian … a favor and accompany him to his presentation? If things go too badly, he can always hide behind a curtain and pretend he’s somewhere else.

Be Still, My Heart @ JMS Books

Hop-Hop-Carrot-Top-(web)

Flynn Thomas is back in Hartley. His plan is to be out of there before anyone notices he’s back. He left twenty years ago and promised himself he’d never have to face his childhood bullies or set foot in his bigoted hometown ever again. But it’s been six months since his mother passed away, and someone has to clear out the house.

Caspian Cook is out on a walk with his three dogs when he sees Flynn Thomas, at least he thinks it’s Flynn Thomas. He never forgot the red-haired boy his brother used to harass, and he never forgot how he used to wonder if there were freckles underneath his clothes as well as on his face.

Flynn mistakes Caspian for his childhood tormenter and flees. Caspian can guess why he’s in such a hurry to get away, but he hasn’t seen Flynn in twenty years, and if he allows him to run off, he fears he’ll never see him again. Will spending time with Flynn be enough for him to forget who Caspian’s brother is?

Flynn needs help. He underestimated how much work it would be to move his mother’s things. Caspian offers to give him a hand, but can he trust someone who looks like his worst nightmare?

Hop Hop, Carrot Top @ JMS Books

#LifeInASquare | Lovely May

Life in a square

It’s time to wrap up the month, and scrolling through the pictures on my phone, I realised I have a zillion photos of animals and not much else. I can’t tell you how many blurry images of baby chicks there are. At least twenty of my oldest daughter sitting with one of the Plymouth Rock chickens on her shoulder like a parrot LOL. 

chick

We started the month by having the routine for our morning walk disputed. It wasn’t a big surprise. Every year, one of the local farmers lets a bunch of calves out on May 1st, so it was with excitement (Littlest’s) we headed out on the morning of May 1st to see if would we meet any. And there they were nine calves. 

MayDay

As you can see in the picture there isn’t much in the ways of green, but as the month progressed, it’s exploded. People with pollen allergy are thrilled LOL.  

River

So ready for some of those animals pictures? 

The first batch of chickens are getting big and have moved out into the chicken coop. This handsome fella is called Gunnar, and in the background, you see one of his ladies 😀 

Gunnar

GunnarAgain

Younglings are cute and fun and all, but this lady has a special place in my heart. When I took this picture, I was planting in the greenhouse and Hedwig was not pleased with me for shutting the door in her face. She’s my only Faverolle hen, and I’ve been searching for eggs and/or chicks to get more. She’s lovely, but if she gets her way, she’ll be standing on my feet, and that makes garden work much more complicated. 

Hedwig

And then we have the darned dog…erm, my pride and joy, I mean LOL

Swimming

Ove

I’m afraid there wasn’t anything more spectacular to share about the month. Soon summer will take over, and I… erm… put more eggs in the incubator, so hopefully, there will be more chickens in future. 

Cover Reveal | Just to Breathe

Cover Reveal

On June 5, Just to Breathe will be published, and I have a cover!!! I wrote this story to celebrate Best Friend Day which is on June 8th. 

It all started with a song. I was walking to work early one morning; it was dark and cold and I had one of those random Spotify lists based on songs you like on – Daily Mix or what they’re called – and this song came on:

 

It had the wheels spinning, and I had to endure an entire day at work before I could pay attention to the voices in my head. It’s always small things, coincidences, that form a story in my head. A line from a song, or how I happened to switch on the TV that night and find myself right in the middle of a documentary about Al Capone… 

Ready to see the cover? I love this cover! 

justtobreathe

Blurb:

Nico Allegretti has been best friends with Matt Barnes since kindergarten. There is no one more important to Nico than Matt, and while he’s known for years Matt is the one for him, he’ll never tell him. He won’t risk ruining their friendship.

On his way to meet Matt at the restaurant, a case of mistaken identity ends with Nico in the trunk of a car. When he’s released, his kidnappers give him twenty-four hours to give them what they want. The problem is, Nico has no idea what that could be.

Not knowing what else to do, he turns to Matt, who is a cop. Together they go into hiding while looking for clues. Being kidnapped doesn’t change Nico’s resolve to not let Matt know how he feels, but hiding in a small cabin together makes it hard to ignore. Matt’s small touches and compliments must mean nothing. Had Matt felt the same, he’d let him know by now … right?

Buy links:

Contemporary Gay Romance: 15,392 words

Pre-order @ JMS Books (20% off)

What Are They Eating | The Hunger Gap

What-are-They-Eating

It’s time for the ‘What Are They Eating’ post of The Hunger Gap. And considering it’s a story about the hunger gap – when nothing fresh grows – you might expect them to not eat anything at all, but they do.  

Did you know that the name George means farmer? It was why I named him George 😀  

Geroge has a homestead, and he’s not following the laws, so there are things tucked away in his pantry, even though they are in the hunger gap.  

There is a system in The Hunger Gap based on points. You get different points depending on how many days you work a week. Every Friday, the people in the district Axel and George are in go to the market where they can collect a food package. There are three different sizes on the packages, and how big a package you get depends on how much you’ve been working. There is also one tiny food package extra for those with children. 

So what are they eating? 

Since George is a homesteader, he has to give food to the market every week. And how much he has to give is also based on points. Different crops, kinds of meat, eggs etc have different values in the food system. Since they’re in the hunger gap, there aren’t much of anything growing.   

They walked out of the barn and toward the car where the guard was waiting. What was the point of having him if he stayed by the car when Axel inspected the property? 

“It’ll be eggs.” 

“What?” Axel blinked, having lost himself in his head again. For a second, he thought Mr. Vega would smile, but then he scowled instead. 

“My payment this week. It’ll be eggs.” 

“Oh, no vegetables?” He looked around the garden bed closest to the car. What he wouldn’t give for something fresh. He hadn’t had anything green in months. 

“We’re in the hunger gap, Mr.…” 

“Rowe, Axel Rowe.” Damn, should he have introduced himself when he arrived? Probably. 

“There won’t be any vegetables for weeks. The government hasn’t decided yet how many seeds we’re allowed this year.” 

I don’t know how it is where you are, but here people made flour out of bark from pine when there was a famine. I don’t know how to do that, but I’m a great believer in foraging. I pick mushrooms and berries and stuff in the forests around me, and do you have bishop weed where you’re at? That bishop weed will be the death of me. It takes over everything. But… if you can’t beat it, eat it. Hubby isn’t a fan, but I think it’s quite okay. 

George’s massive dog came running toward him, barking like mad, but wagging her tail. Soon after, Mira rounded the corner of the house, a basket in her hand. 

“Dad! Look!” She raised it into the air, and Axel was afraid she’d spill whatever was inside. He rested the bike against the garage in a hurry and jogged toward her. Inside the basket were eggs. Several eggs. 

“Wow. How many are there?” 

“Eleven. I collected them.” The joy shining in her eyes had a lump blocking his throat. 

“Great.” He nodded and pictured the people whose food he’d been taking today. If he took it, they starved. If he didn’t take it, the people in the city starved. 

Everybody starved. 

“Hi.” George rounded the house, a bunch of what looked like the weed he’d been asking about the first time he’d been here, in his hand. 

“What’s that?” Axel nodded at the green leaves. 

“Bishop weed.” 

Axel nodded. “For the chickens?” 

George grinned and shook his head. “For us.” 

“It’s edible?” 

The amusement sparkled in those dark eyes, and Axel’s pulse quickened. “It’s not poisonous.” It was the same thing he’d said last time. “You’ll hardly find anything not edible in this garden. Chicken weed is edible too, though I mostly give it to the chickens.

So they eat eggs and whatever they can find in the garden before anything real (as if weed isn’t real) is growing. But since George had chickens tucked away on the farmstead, there are more roosters than needed. 

“Here’s this week’s toll, and a little extra. Ten eggs and three bunches of spinach.” 

Three? Axel stared at the green leaves. “You can already harvest? You got the seeds last week.” 

“I’ve overwintered them, but if I don’t pick them now, they’ll bloom.” She gestured at a garden bed similar to the garden beds in George’s garden. It was overflown by lush green leaves, but he saw that she’d cut two rows off near the soil. 

“You keep vegetables over the winter?” 

“How else do you expect us to pay our toll every week?” The harshness was back, and Axel understood. They had to make sure they always had something to hand over or the government would take away their quota. And since they were homesteaders, they had to provide actual food. People living in the cities only had to work their hours to get the food package they qualified for. Mr. Vega and Mrs. Stone had to do both. 

“To be honest, I’ve never given it much thought.” 

“You city people never do.” 

The rooster—one of the roosters Axel now suspected she had—crowed again. 

“Leave now, Mr. Rowe, before your guard insists on you checking my birds.” 

Axel went cold. If the guard stepped in, he’d have to check the birds. 

“When last did your daughter have roasted chicken?” 

Axel stumbled on the even ground. She’d never had roasted chicken, he could hardly remember roasted chicken. 

“I’ll see you next week, Mrs. Stone.” 

“June. I feel we have gotten to know each other a lot better, Mr. Rowe.” She winked and Axel nodded. What had he gotten himself into? 

“Axel.” His whisper was so low, he doubted she heard him. 

“Your daughter will get some chicken, Axel. George invited us all over earlier today. He’ll fix the chicken; I’ll bring a roasted root vegetable salad. She won’t go to bed hungry.” She shrugged. “It’s a cockerel, but let’s call it a chicken.” 

Axel remembered the bird George had scared in the barn and nodded. 

And if you in a climate similar to the one I’m living in, and George and Axel. You need to preserve things. The too cold, too dark months are many, so drying and canning are important skills to have.  

“I’m sorry.” It wasn’t more than a whisper, but Axel wanted to die of shame. How could he be this weak? He’d get to eat tomorrow, if only he could get through the day. Mira would get to eat. 

“When did you last eat?” 

Axel didn’t reply as Mr. Vega steered him into the kitchen and pushed him down on a chair. 

“I can’t be here, the guard—” 

“Is a lazy fucker. He won’t be here for another couple of minutes.” Mr. Vega rummaged around in one cupboard, then he held out something small. “Eat.” 

Axel didn’t know what it was, but he put it in his mouth. It was leathery but sweet. “Apple?” 

“Yes. Dried apple slices.” A glass of water appeared in front of him. 

 ¤¤¤ 

George picked the hot jars out of the pot. He and Mira had picked rhubarb stalks in the forest garden and were canning them. He always gave some to Harriet to use in the bakery, but the rest he and June split. It was nice to have in the winter. 

“Hello.” Axel opened the front door, looking exhausted. 

“Hi. How did it go?” There hadn’t been many people at the market when they’d been there to pick up their packages, but George feared there had been tears and anger. 

He picked the last jar out of the pot. 

“Not good.” Axel sighed and pulled out a chair, but before he could sit, George wrapped an arm around his waist and pulled him close. 

And starving or not, you have to have some treats 😀 

“Harriet, Axel. Axel, Harriet.” He pointed between them. Harriet knew who Axel was, but he didn’t think Axel had met Harriet before. 

“Sorry to…” Axel grimaced at Harriet and made a small gesture at Mira. 

Harriet huffed. “We all gotta do what we all gotta do, and I’m not holding a parent’s occupation against any child.” 

Axel’s eyes got so wide George wanted to laugh. Meeting Harriet could be a bit of a shock. 

“I eh… I didn’t mean… I mean, I appreciate it.” He sent George a pleading look, then his shoulders slumped. “What is it I have to not see?” 

Harriet laughed. “I’m not in your district, honey.” She grabbed a jam tart each for Axel and Mira and handed it to them. “The jam’s from George.” 

George sighed. He’d given it to her because she’d given him enough sugar to make jam in the first place. 

Axel held the jam tart as if it was made of gold. “Do people buy jam tarts?” 

Harriet grimaced. “Not ordinary people, no. I use them as bribes, but every so often someone from the upper class saunters in here.” She winked. “The upper class has an awful lot of business going on with the lower class running the black market. It’s interesting to watch. They think they’re stealthy, but since I’m here every day, I see them coming and going.” She shrugged. 

I could keep this up for a long time since the whole story pretty much is about ways to keep from starving to death – food is an important factor LOL 

The Hunger Gap

thehungergap

After years of the government taking everything he grows, homesteader George Vega has had enough. Food is scarce and people are starving. To provide for himself, he’ll need to break the law. Together with his next-door neighbor June, he sets up a system to hide food from the controller during his weekly collecting visits.

Axel Rowe won’t survive much longer. Every scrap of food he can get his hands on, he gives to his six-year-old daughter, but it isn’t nearly enough. Luck is on his side when he secures a job as a controller. He realizes taking the job will make people dislike him, but he has to eat.

George understands the danger he’s in when his old, lazy controller is replaced with a new, more observant one. Axel suspects there is something George is withholding, but when George takes care of him after nearly collapsing from hunger, Axel is more curious about how he’s able to keep food for himself than he’s interested in reporting him. George knows the risk, but after having looked into Axel’s desperate eyes, he’s compelled to take care of him. But can an outlaw homesteader have a relationship with the man who’s supposed to make sure he follows the law?

Buy links:

Dystopian M/M Romance: 23,976 words

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/TheHungerGap