New Release/Freebie – A Tidal Series Short: Southampton Sea Breeze

If you’ve read the Tidal and Speakeasy series, you already know Carter Hamilton and Riley Porter-Wright. Their books, Wake and Calm, were published in the summer of 2017, and we put together a short story to mark that anniversary.
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Southampton Sea Breeze is FREE to download from Pride Publishing:
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This short story can be read on its own, but it certainly has ties to the Tidal books, Behind the Stick, and the other Speakeasy books, so if you haven’t already, we suggest you enjoy them all!
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“With a Twist” is Live!

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Love, Served With a Twist

The first book in The Speakeasy series is now live! K Evan Coles and I are so excited to share With a Twist with you!

As we worked on Wake and Calm we fell in love with many of the supporting characters. In The Speakeasy series you’ll see Will, Jesse, Kyle, and Malcolm, plus Riley and Carter, and a whole new cast of guys to fall in love with.

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Title: With a Twist

Pre-Order: Now

General Release: September 25

Blurb:

Nursing a broken heart when his ex-boyfriend, Riley, leaves him for the love of his life, Carter, Will Martin throws himself into teaching at NYU and writing. An invite from Riley to a speakeasy called Under helps Will begin to heal, and he finds himself enjoying both the drinks and the company.

Soon after, he’s shaken by news of his father’s cancer diagnosis and Will reluctantly returns to Long Island to see the man who disowned him after he was outed.

Sparks fly when Will meets his father’s mentee, Republican Senator David Mori, who is both mixed race and openly gay. Will is looking for a no-strings-attached fling and David is leery of getting involved with his mentor’s son, so they keep their affair a secret.

As his father’s health worsens, Will elects to remain in Garden City and his relationship with David grows beyond casual sex. Now, both men must decide how to bridge the divide between them.

Excerpt:

David did his best not to stare at William Jr. as they shook hands, but he nearly flinched away from the odd tingling sensation he felt where their skins met.

He’d seen photos of William Jr.—no, Will—around the Martin’s home, but they depicted a sweet-faced boy growing from toddlerhood into his late teens. Fully adult Will was, as David’s sister would say, stupidly attractive. He’d inherited both parents’ good looks, including Bill’s athletic physique and Agnes’ regal bone structure.

Tall and rangy, Will appeared lean beneath his gray Henley and dark jeans. He had a square jaw and the artfully styled brown hair his mother had spoken of so fondly. His large blue-grey eyes were almost dazed. He was checking David out—ogling him, really—and to say this surprised David was an almost comic understatement.

Where the hell is this coming from?

Bill and Agnes had talked at length about their children during his last visit, detailing educations and careers, and expressing affection for Olivia’s children and pride in Will’s accomplishments. They hadn’t mentioned their son being gay or bi, though, nor had anyone in the Senator’s social circles.

David dropped Will’s hand. “All right if I come in?” He gestured at the briefcase slung over his shoulder and tried another smile. “I need to unpack the docs and organize them a bit—shouldn’t take me more than a minute,” he added, keeping his tone even in the face of Will’s wide-eyed stare. “I have a card from the Senator’s staff and a few others signed by his colleagues, too.”

The tips of Will’s ears turned pink and he immediately backed away from the door, gesturing for David to follow. “Of course, yes, come in. I expected a delivery man or one of the neighbors and not…well, not someone like you.”

David quirked a brow and stepped into the foyer. “Someone like me?”

“Someone from my father’s office.” Will shrugged and shut the door. His features were pinched when he turned back to David. “I suppose it’s too much to expect him to wait a few days after major surgery before he starts back at it again, but how can he when you people enable him?”

Well, shit. David wanted to escort himself right back out of the door. Of course, Bill’s family would be feeling protective of him right now—he was fortunate to be alive. In the meantime, his son had definitely regained his composure and decided to focus his irritation on David.

“He’s barely been home twenty-four hours—how did you even know he’d come home?”

David didn’t bother correcting Will’s mistaking him for a member of Bill’s staff. “Agnes messaged me yesterday evening,” he replied gently and licked his lips at the surprise streaking across Will’s face. “I asked her to keep me updated on your father’s surgery, and we’ve been swapping messages since your parents drove to Philly.”

“You text message with my mother?”

“Just about Bill,” David assured. “Your parents have no idea I planned to come by today. Bill didn’t ask for these files. I used them and the cards as an excuse to stop by to see how he’s doing in person.” He watched the tension in Will’s face ease. “So, how is he? Doing, I mean.”

“He’s fine.”

Buy Now:

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Add On:

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Blog Tour:

And be sure to follow the blog tour from September 25-October 8. There will be exclusive excerpts, interviews, blog posts, and a giveaway! You’ll have a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card.

 

Available for Pre-Order – “With a Twist”

Love, served with a twist.

 

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K Evan Coles and I are so excited to announce that the first book in our new series is now available for pre-order. With a Twist has been in the works for a while now and we can’t wait to share it with you.

As we worked on Wake and Calm we realized that we had some awfully interesting supporting characters who demanded that their stories be told. Before we’d ever finished Riley and Carter’s stories, The Speakeasy series was born.

Since we’d tortured Will so much in the Tidal series, we thought it was only fair that he found love too. The idea for his story, With a Twist, came together quickly. Since we wanted to touch base with Riley and Carter from time to time, we created a place for all of the characters to hang out and we named it Under. It is a speakeasy owned by Jesse and Kyle, whose stories will also be told in the upcoming books Extra Dirty and Behind the Stick. And not to worry,  we haven’t forgotten Malcolm. He’ll find love too in Straight Up. 

We love all of these characters deeply and are so excited to share them with you.

Title: With a Twist

Pre-Order: Now

General Release: September 25

Blurb:

Nursing a broken heart when his ex-boyfriend, Riley, leaves him for the love of his life, Carter, Will Martin throws himself into teaching at NYU and writing. An invite from Riley to a speakeasy called Under helps Will begin to heal, and he finds himself enjoying both the drinks and the company.

Soon after, he’s shaken by news of his father’s cancer diagnosis and Will reluctantly returns to Long Island to see the man who disowned him after he was outed.

Sparks fly when Will meets his father’s mentee, Republican Senator David Mori, who is both mixed race and openly gay. Will is looking for a no-strings-attached fling and David is leery of getting involved with his mentor’s son, so they keep their affair a secret.

As his father’s health worsens, Will elects to remain in Garden City and his relationship with David grows beyond casual sex. Now, both men must decide how to bridge the divide between them.

Excerpt:

David did his best not to stare at William Jr. as they shook hands, but he nearly flinched away from the odd tingling sensation he felt where their skins met.

He’d seen photos of William Jr.—no, Will—around the Martin’s home, but they depicted a sweet-faced boy growing from toddlerhood into his late teens. Fully adult Will was, as David’s sister would say, stupidly attractive. He’d inherited both parents’ good looks, including Bill’s athletic physique and Agnes’ regal bone structure.

Tall and rangy, Will appeared lean beneath his gray Henley and dark jeans. He had a square jaw and the artfully styled brown hair his mother had spoken of so fondly. His large blue-grey eyes were almost dazed. He was checking David out—ogling him, really—and to say this surprised David was an almost comic understatement.

Where the hell is this coming from?

Bill and Agnes had talked at length about their children during his last visit, detailing educations and careers, and expressing affection for Olivia’s children and pride in Will’s accomplishments. They hadn’t mentioned their son being gay or bi, though, nor had anyone in the Senator’s social circles.

David dropped Will’s hand. “All right if I come in?” He gestured at the briefcase slung over his shoulder and tried another smile. “I need to unpack the docs and organize them a bit—shouldn’t take me more than a minute,” he added, keeping his tone even in the face of Will’s wide-eyed stare. “I have a card from the Senator’s staff and a few others signed by his colleagues, too.”

The tips of Will’s ears turned pink and he immediately backed away from the door, gesturing for David to follow. “Of course, yes, come in. I expected a delivery man or one of the neighbors and not…well, not someone like you.”

David quirked a brow and stepped into the foyer. “Someone like me?”

“Someone from my father’s office.” Will shrugged and shut the door. His features were pinched when he turned back to David. “I suppose it’s too much to expect him to wait a few days after major surgery before he starts back at it again, but how can he when you people enable him?”

Well, shit. David wanted to escort himself right back out of the door. Of course, Bill’s family would be feeling protective of him right now—he was fortunate to be alive. In the meantime, his son had definitely regained his composure and decided to focus his irritation on David.

“He’s barely been home twenty-four hours—how did you even know he’d come home?”

David didn’t bother correcting Will’s mistaking him for a member of Bill’s staff. “Agnes messaged me yesterday evening,” he replied gently and licked his lips at the surprise streaking across Will’s face. “I asked her to keep me updated on your father’s surgery, and we’ve been swapping messages since your parents drove to Philly.”

“You text message with my mother?”

“Just about Bill,” David assured. “Your parents have no idea I planned to come by today. Bill didn’t ask for these files. I used them and the cards as an excuse to stop by to see how he’s doing in person.” He watched the tension in Will’s face ease. “So, how is he? Doing, I mean.”

“He’s fine.”

Pre-Order:

Click below to pre-order and you’ll get With a Twist the moment it goes live on September 25!

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Calm – Early Download

It’s early download day for Calm! If you haven’t pre-ordered it yet, go straight to Pride Publishing’s website!

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Calm is book two in the Tidal Series.

Here is a new teaser from it:

The restaurant door flew open. Startled, he straightened and turned to see a scowling Will Martin.

“What the hell, Riley?” his date snarled. “I thought you were going to be right back. You missed my best man speech, cutting the cake and their first dance. I had planned to ask you to dance, but you’ve been out here talking to Carter. Or ignoring me, I’m not sure which.”

“Shit. I feel terrible, Will, I didn’t mean to take so long…”

“This is getting ridiculous. I’ve done my best to be understanding about your relationship with him. You’re good friends and I respect that. Hell, I respect that you still have some lingering romantic feelings for him. But this has got to stop.”

“Will…” Riley said weakly, hating that he’d hurt someone who had been so good to him, but unable to deny that he didn’t really know where things stood with Carter. “I never meant…”

“I know you didn’t, but it doesn’t change the fact that I feel like I have to compete with your best friend for your affection. Not to mention your attention.”

“I told Carter that I know I need to focus more on my relationship with you. That I need to make it more of a priority.”

“It shouldn’t be so damn hard to want to spend time with me.” Will smiled sadly. “You left me, at one of my closest friend’s weddings, to talk to him. I need you to make a decision about your priorities. Because right now, I feel like I rate pretty low.”

“I am honestly, sincerely sorry. I made a mistake and I want to fix it.” Riley stepped closer. “Please, let me make it up to you.”

But Will shook his head and stepped back. “I need some space. Spend a couple of days figuring your shit out with Carter. Then we’ll talk.” He reached for the door to the restaurant and Riley went to stop him, then hesitated. Although he wanted to chase after Will and apologize again, Will had a point. Riley wasn’t sure about his feelings for Carter and maybe he needed to make that decision before he did anything else.

Long after Will had disappeared, Riley stood and stared at the door of the restaurant, deep in thought.

Click on the logo below to purchase Calm

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Bully & Exit Release

Bully & Exit has been two years in the making and is the first full-length novel I’ve released. I am so, so excited to share it with you. I hope you love Nathan and Caleb as much as I do. ❤

Join me on Prism Book Alliance today as I discuss the plan for the series and a chance to win copies of Bully & Exit.

11304399_1595907117324216_1509607792_nSummary:

Theater student Caleb Stockwell is ready to leave college behind. Too bad his past isn’t ready to let him go.

With less than a month to go until graduation, Caleb runs into Nathan Rhodes at a house party.  Nathan is a star hockey player for Western Michigan University and finally ready to step out of the closet.  He’s also the guy who broke Caleb’s heart in high school.

Nathan’s determined to make amends for what he did four years ago, but Caleb isn’t willing to risk getting his heart stomped on again.  With only a few weeks left before they go their separate ways, it’ll take all of Nathan’s creativity and help from some interfering friends to convince Caleb to give him a second chance.

Excerpt:

Nathan’s voice was soft when he spoke, gentle as it’d always been. “Caleb Stockwell. I’ve been looking for you.”

Caleb cleared his throat and ignored him, tipping the bottle up for another long drink. He licked the spiciness from his lips as he debated making another run for it. There was a shrub blocking his way in one direction and a hockey player in the other. Even if he hadn’t been drinking, the odds weren’t in his favor. “Nathan Rhodes,” he managed.

“Damn, I can’t believe it’s you!” Nathan leaned in, and Caleb pulled back, uncomfortable with him being so close.

Caleb laughed bitterly. “It’s me. Now that you’ve satisfied your curiosity, you can run along.” He motioned with his hand, encouraging Nathan to leave.

“It’s really good to see you,” Nathan said, ignoring him. He took a seat on the pile of discarded construction materials, his knees brushing Caleb’s as he lowered himself down. Caleb pulled away as if scorched.

“Yeah? Too bad I can’t say the same,” he muttered, his head swimming as the alcohol began to hit him. He eyed Nathan’s long, long legs and the way he was pinned in by them, remembering the way they’d felt tangled with his as they came, panting shallowly against each other’s skin. It brought it all back: the scent of Nathan’s cologne, the taste of his skin, the way Caleb’s heart raced in his chest when Nathan held him close. It brought back the memories, the ones he’d worked so hard to run from. The good and the bad. The sharp, intense happiness of falling for Nathan. The aching, crushing hurt that paralyzed Caleb for months after Nathan was no longer in his life. Everything he’d buried four years ago and vowed never to touch again.

He caught the first glimpse of doubt on Nathan’s face. “Are you okay, Caleb?”

“Oh, I’m motherfucking peachy,” he snarked and took another long drink. “I’ve made it through four fucking years trying to ignore the fact we’re on the same campus, and with barely a month left in my senior year, I thought maybe I’d managed to pull it off. But, no, Lowell had to drag me to this goddamn party, and, of course, you showed up too. Just my luck.”

He raised the bottle again, but Nathan wrapped a hand around the neck and tugged. He was stronger than Caleb, so Caleb let go, afraid he’d end up getting pulled onto Nathan’s lap if he didn’t. Nathan took a drink and passed the bottle back, licking the taste of rum off his lips before he spoke. “You’re so angry at me.”

“Ya think?” Caleb snarled. “Didn’t it ever occur to you I would be? What the hell makes you think you can waltz in here and pretend like all the shit that went down between us didn’t happen?” He tried to stand, but Nathan’s dark denim-clad knees were on either side of his, pinning him in place. The bottle was pried from his suddenly limp fingers and set aside.

“I don’t think that,” Nathan protested. “I was just glad to see you, and I… I wanted a chance to apologize. I didn’t … I wanted …”

Caleb’s lips parted in surprise as cool fingers framed his face, and for the first time in four long years, Nathan’s lips were pressed to his again. Involuntarily, Caleb’s eyes closed, feeling a rush of heat wash over him, taking him right back to the first time. Before Nathan broke his heart.

Buy Links:

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Amazon US

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Amazon CA

Smashwords

Flash Fic Monday – Shift

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Shift

“Goddamn it, Myles Teeter, you don’t get to shift every time you get mad at me. It’s not fair!” Tree roots dug into my back as I wrestled the alligator, my hands sliding on the smooth, leathery skin, wet from the river.

My knee slid in the mud and I nearly lost my grip on the squirming creature under me. “I’m sick as hell of this and it’s cheap way to win a fight. I can’t shift.” I settled my knee square on the squirming tail beneath me and muttered, “Besides, I look like a crazy person screaming at a ‘gator. One day someone I town’s gonna notice and nineteen is a little too young to be labeled a crazy ol’ coot. Bad enough I’m gay and dating an alligator shifter.”

At that, the fight seemed to go out of Myles and I finally got him pinned, one hand holding his snapping jaws shut, the other gripping his softer underbelly. He was small as a gator. Smaller than me, but that’s because he was still young. As he got older, he’d grow upwards of twelve, thirteen feet.

That scared me. I knew he’d never hurt me intentionally, but I was still wary of catching one of the slashing claws or dangerous teeth. And this shifting when we got in an argument shit had to stop. I looked down, staring into the goldy-green eye blinking up at me. Myles had gorgeous eyes when he was in human form but the vertical slit for a pupil he had in ‘gator form always unnerved me. Made me remember that although there was a human consciousness in there somewhere, sometimes there was a real, live reptile around the man I loved.

As I watched, the skin of the alligator beneath me rippled, shifting into a human male before I could blink. Myles shifted fast—faster than most shifters he’d proudly boasted once—and I could never really see his body transition from one to the other. My hand still gripped his chest, but the other was now wrapped around his throat. I was relieved to feel soft, human skin and his pulse beneath my palms, but I let go of Myles so he could turn over and face me.

He settled on his back between my knees and I lowered my body until I straddled his hips. I crossed my arms over my chest and glared down at him. “I’m tired of this, Myles. If you’re mad at me, fine, we can argue it out or wrestle or whatever the fuck you wanna do, but it’s gotta be as a human. You don’t get to turn into a ‘gator. That’s cheatin’.”

Myles grimaced. “Sorry, Dalton.”

“I love you, goddamn it, and I think I’ve been pretty understandin’ about this shifting and all, but this is where I draw the line. You fight me as a human or I’m outta here, you understand?”

He nodded, expression uncharacteristically serious. “I understand. I don’t wanna lose you, Dalton.”

I sighed and uncrossed my arms, leaning down to kiss him, muttering against his lips, “If you don’t behave I’m gonna turn you into a pair of shoes and a belt.”


Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics for this week!

I look forward to seeing you next Monday!

Monday Flash Fic – The Marrakesh Machine

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The Marrakesh Machine

Eldon’s blunt nails dug into his palms as the Marrakesh Machine rose, lanterns glowing with hues of deep purple, orange, and gold. Fly, fly, fly, he silently urged the machine as he watched from the ground. It rose jerkily—making his stomach wobble with nerves—before the convection currents stabilized. Fifteen years of designing ,modifying, and begging for money to build his invention had gone into this moment. Along with three years of toadying to Lord Withrow Nelson III’s every whim.

Involuntarily, Eldon gave a brief glance at the man who’d funded this project and caught him staring. Lord Nelson was infuriatingly handsome, with brown curls and the most arrestingly angular features Eldon had ever seen. Eldon felt a curious quiver in his stomach that had nothing to do with the flight of his beloved invention and resolutely turned away.

The Marrakesh Machine continued to rise, soaring into the clouds as the sun began to appear over the trees, the pilot barely visible as a dark speck inside the glass carriage. Eldon’s heart soared with it. He’d wanted to be the man to fly his invention but Lord Nelson wouldn’t hear of it. The man’s supercilious attitude vexed him, but he had deep pockets.

“You’ve done it, McCreary. Brilliant work.”

“I owe you, Lord Nelson,” he said gruffly.

The man had spent every idle moment needling Eldon, questioning his design choices. Eldon McCreary was the professor and inventor; he was the expert, not the wealthy young lord. But said lord was the only one who believed in Eldon’s invention, the only one willing to risk money on a wild flight of fancy. In three years they’d often come to verbal blows, and nearly physical ones, but his patron had improved Eldon’s original design. He had a sinking suspicion the machine would never have worked without Lord Nelson’s suggestions.

Lord Nelson stepped closer, dark eyes strangely intent. Eldon knew Lord Nelson was a gentleman of a certain persuasion—according to the whispers in London—but Eldon was not. Or at least he’d never considered the idea until recently. Much as he hated the man, he stirred something in Eldon he didn’t find entirely comfortable. Relationships between men weren’t expressly forbidden, but they were hardly encouraged.

“It seems our partnership has nearly ended,” Lord Nelson said, reaching out to grip Eldon’s waistcoat with his brown leather clad hands and Eldon’s back stiffened.

“Indeed.” Eldon’s stomach felt as though there were convection currents at work in there as well.

“Unless you’d perhaps consider one of a different sort.”

Eldon’s eyebrows rose. “After we debut The Marrakesh Machine?” Today was merely the first successful test flight, they wouldn’t be debuting it to the world for another few weeks. “I have a number of designs in the works. There’s one that will revolutionize the world—”

His words were cut off by Lord Nelson’s mouth against his own, the kiss skillful and demanding. He wished he could say he hadn’t seen it coming, or that he disliked it, but that wasn’t the case. What that meant for the man’s patronage….

“Lord Nelson!” He protested as he pulled back.

The man’s mouth turned up at the corners. “I think under the circumstances you can call me Withrow, or at the very least, Nelson.”

“Nelson,” he managed.

“Now, McCreary.” He’d never heard the lord’s tone sound so soft. “I’ll come by your rooms later to discuss the terms of our new partnership. I think it’ll be every bit as successful as our current one.”

Glancing up at The Marrakesh Machine as it began to make a gentle descent, Eldon felt as though he was still flying, but whether it was from the success of his invention or the touch of the man beside him he wasn’t entirely sure.

A successful partnership indeed.

 


I definitely went over the word count this week and could have written more, but I tried to keep it concise as possible.

Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other author’s flash fics for this week! There are some really incredible ones

I look forward to seeing you next Monday!

Flash Fiction Monday – Anniversary

Week Six

Note: This week’s story is a little different.  I wrote it using characters from a short story I have published.  If you’ve read Not So Suddenly, awesome, you’ll get a glimpse of Austin and Spencer’s future.  If you haven’t, no worries, it works as a stand alone story.

 Anniversary

“I’m sorry it’s not Antigua,” Spence said with a frown.

Austin shrugged.  “A sunset walk on the beach isn’t exactly a bad way to celebrate our anniversary, no matter where we are.”

“But I wanted to take you back to where I first told you I loved you.”

Austin smiled.  After four years, Spence was still the most romantic guy he’d ever met.  “That would have been nice,” he admitted.  “But we can’t afford it right now and we’ll just have to go back in a couple of years when we can.”  Truthfully, it was probably going to take more than a couple of years; their budget had taken a serious hit lately between the move and Austin’s trouble finding a job.

Spence echoed his thoughts.  “I just hate that this move was so expensive.  You uprooted everything to move cross-country for me and …”

“Pacific University has a great physical therapy program, they accepted you, and gave you a small scholarship.  We’ve gone over this a million times,” Austin pointed out.  “Besides, Oregon is way better than Jersey. I sure as hell don’t miss living there.”

“I’m just afraid you’re going to regret the move.  Resent me from taking you away from your family,” Spence muttered, letting their hands swing between them.

Austin stopped, tugging Spence toward him before letting go of his hand.  He cupped Spence’s face in his hands and looked his boyfriend in the eye.  “We’ll fly home to visit our parents when we can, and they’ll fly here.”  He stroked Spence’s cheek with his thumbs. “Yeah, I’m not gonna lie, the past few months have been hard.  But I’d rather be with you than anyone else in the world.  Wherever that is, I want to be by your side.  You are the most important thing to me.”

Spence softened, pushing closer.  “You’re the most important thing to me too.  That’s why I worry.”

Four years ago, Spence had promised that as long as they were together life would be perfect.  It hadn’t been, not even close.  They struggled like any other couple, but every night when they went to bed together Austin took a moment to remember what was so good about it.  The solid base of their friendship had helped them build a great relationship and no matter how much he wanted to strangle Spence sometimes—and no doubt Spence felt the same way about him—it was worth it.

Sure, Austin had been feeling a little low lately about the lack of job prospects and that had taken a toll on things, but they’d worked through it.  They’d continue to work through it.  “I’m just glad you suggested this camping trip,” he said.  “I think we needed this.”

Spence smiled.  “Me too.  Think you’d be willing to stick by me for another four years?”

Austin leaned in to kiss Spence, murmuring his answer against his boyfriend’s lips.  “Multiply that by ten and it’ll be closer.”


Big thanks to Theo, who provided the pic prompt again this week.

And, Helena and I are trying something a little bit different starting this week.  We created a Facebook group and are opening up the Monday Flash Fics to everyone.

Rules for Taking Part:

1. Join the Monday Flash Fics group on Facebook.
2. On Monday, Helena or Brigham will post the pic prompt for the following week.
3. Write your story and keep it under 500 words.
4. Post it on your blog on Monday.
5. Post a link in the comments of the pic prompt in the Flash Fic group.

It’s meant to be a creative exercise for authors and something fun for readers to enjoy, so don’t sweat it.

Authors:
Join us when the mood strikes and you have the time. If you can’t manage to keep it under 500 words, well, we’re not going to hunt you down. It’s a good challenge to limit the word count, but don’t stress if your final word count is more like 507.

Readers:
Share links and comment on the blogs.

Everyone:
Feel free to submit inspiration pics in the group by attaching it as a file or sending a PM to either Helena or Brigham.

The links to all of authors’ blogs can be found in the group and later today we’ll be posting next week’s prompt.  Please, come join us!

New Release – “Family: A Holiday Novella”

 

 

 Summary:

After too many holidays alone, Russ Bishop and Stephen Parker decide to invite Russ’ family to spend Christmas with them. Russ wants to repair the fractured relationships with his father and sister, and Stephen wants to feel like he’s part of a family. But when Russ’ sister, Addie, brings an unexpected guest, it makes an already challenging situation more complicated. The Christmas Stephen gets may not be as perfect as the one he imagined but perhaps happiness can be found in the flaws.

Excerpt:

Peter clapped him on the back. “I’ve known you for a lot of years, Stephen. I saw you with Jeremy and after his accident. I saw you when you believed you’d never fall in love again. This relationship with Russ—it’s made you a new man. You may not see it, but it’s changed you.”

“I know it has,” Stephen acknowledged. Peter left, and Stephen sought Russ again. He was in line at the bar now, and he held up his empty glass, mouthing “be there in a moment”. Eager to go to him, Stephen set down his own empty glass on a deserted table as he crossed the distance between them. Russ, distracted by something the person in front of him said, didn’t notice Stephen’s approach.

Stephen leaned in, whispering in Russ’ ear as he rested his hands lightly on Russ’ hips. “Dance with me?”

Russ turned to look at him, surprised. “Are you sure?”

“Sure I want to put my arms around the man I love? Yes.” The earlier doubt he’d felt was gone. Peter had some valid points, and what Stephen wouldn’t give to feel Russ in his arms right now. Over the years, he’d conditioned himself to expect less than others, simply because he was gay. Straight couples didn’t think twice about dancing with each other during the holiday party. Why should he?

Stephen and Russ Final

 

I can’t begin to tell you how frustrating this story was to write. What should have been a relatively easy, fun holiday novella wound up becoming a writing challenge.  I struggled with this story from September to November, trying to get it right.  When I finally felt like I had it ready, I sent it to my betas.  The majority of them told me it  had potential but needed work.  I got nearly idential comments from several people telling me it didn’t flow well and felt repetitive.  Clearly I needed to re-work it.

So I tore it apart, completely decimating the timeline and re-working it. I cut a few scenes, tweaked the remaining ones, and by the time it was done it was much tighter.  I felt better about it and the feedback on it was good.  And I learned a lot from the experience.

I don’t think I’ve ever had such a stressful, rushed, and disorganized release though.  I was aiming to have this out by the first week in December but the extra time was needed and I’d rather put out a good story late than half-ass it and get it out on time.  If only it wasn’t so stressful.  I’m ready to pull the blankets over my head and sleep until the new year.

That being said, I really do love the story and am glad I was able to tell it.  Russ and Stephen are very dear to my heart and I had fun exploring what the holidays would be like for them.

I hope you enjoy the story.  And more than anything I hope you’re able to spend the holidays with the people you care about.  Because, like Stephen, I’ve learned that people you meet can often become as important–if not more–important than the family you were born into.

If there’s one thing I wish for this holiday season, it’s that everyone has at least one person in their life they can call family.  A person who feels like home.

 

All Romance

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New Release – “Partners”

 

Partners

 

 Summary:

After a rocky first few months, Stephen Parker and Russ Bishop’s relationship is at a crossroads when the death of Stephen’s father forces them to visit Stephen’s hometown in southern Georgia.

Estranged from his family, Stephen must find a way to come to terms with his past and say goodbye to the father whose expectations he could never live up to. The small, conservative town provides its own challenges as Russ realizes providing emotional support is one part of being a true partner for Stephen.

Excerpt:

After the dishes were done and the kitchen was clean, the three of them sat on the front porch, Russ beside him on the creaking swing as Miss Esther knitted and told Russ stories about Stephen growing up. “Before you leave I’ll show you the photos I have,” she promised Russ and he enthusiastically agreed. Stephen’s gaze flew to the elderly woman.

“You have them?”

“Sure do,” she said easily, the clack of the needles never pausing. “Your daddy tried to throw them out when your momma passed but I wouldn’t let him. I’ve been hangin’ onto ‘em for you.”

“Oh,” Stephen replied, feeling strangely shaky. He’d thought every memory of his childhood had been tossed out.

“They’re in a box in the blue bedroom,” she said. “You can get them down from the shelf in the closet for me tomorrow.”

“I’d love to see them,” Russ said, his tone eager as he leaned forward. Stephen was less sure of how he felt. On one hand, he was relieved to know it hadn’t all been destroyed. On the other, he wasn’t sure how much of his past he could face this weekend. Then Russ’ knee nudged his, their thighs pressing together. As the katydids droned in the background, Stephen felt himself relax, remembering he didn’t have to face it alone.

Russ and Stephen FinalThe moment I began writing the second book in this series, I knew it was going to be a rough one.  For so many years Stephen pushed back the memories of his past.  He didn’t have to deal with them and it isn’t until he’s forced to go back to the town he grew up in that they all come back.  Avoidance is a tricky way of dealing with your issues.  It works for a while, but once the status quo changes … they seem to come back twice as hard.

It’s really no exception for Stephen and in many ways, he’s ill-prepared to deal with it.  Stephen spent his whole life with his eyes on his future, ignoring his past, and he hasn’t allowed many people to get close to him.  Now that he’s forced to deal with his feelings about his father and his hometown, he struggles to let himself lean on Russ, to let himself grieve and be angry.

Russ has been equally isolated and has little experience being the emotional support for someone else.

“Russ hoped it was enough for Stephen. He had no experience with a relationship like this, no frame of reference for what Stephen was dealing with. Bourbon and blowjobs he could do, but emotional support was much trickier. He was trying though.”

He wants to be Stephen’s rock and yet he isn’t sure how to be.

This story is about learning to rely on  and trust each other.  It’s about their growth as men and as a couple.  And about working through the past and building a future together.

 

Here are the links to purchase the story.

All Romance

Amazon

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iTunes

Kobo

Smashwords

 And please, join me on the blog tour.  It begins today on Prism with an interview!

Tour Stops:

9/19/2014 Prism Book Alliance  http://www.prismbookalliance.com

9/20/2014 GGR Review http://www.ggr-review.com/

9/21/2014 MM Good Book Reviews http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com/

9/23/2014 Smoocher’s Voice http://www.smoochersvoice.com/

9/25/2014 Diverse Reader http://diversereader.blogspot.com/

9/27/2014 Love Bytes Reviews http://lovebytesreviews.com

9/28/2014 The Novel Approach http://thenovelapproachreviews.com/

9/30/2014 Padme’s Library http://padmeslibrary.blogspot.com/

10/1/2014 JP Barnaby http://www.jpbarnaby.com/

10/3/2014 Rainbow Gold Reviews http://rainbowgoldreviews.wordpress.com/