Leavin’ on a Jet Plane

Over a year ago, my mom said, “I’d like to hike somewhere with you before I’m too old.”

I semi-jokingly replied, “You find the budget, I’ll find the time!” Cause let’s be realistic, broke writer here.

Tonight we get on a plane on fly to Dublin.

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The trip has changed a little in that time. The original plan was for the two of us to hike across the country from Dublin to the West coast. A stress fracture in my mom’s foot derailed that plan fairly quickly, and we decided it would be nicer if we didn’t leave my dad at home.

But we’re still going from Dublin to the West coast (albeit in a car, and along the coast). There will be shorter day hikes and lots of time to explore the countryside.

And after three weeks, they’ll drop me off at Helena Stone’s house and I’ll stay with her and her husband for another two and a half weeks.  There will be writing of course, and day trips into Dublin to see places I’ve heard her talk about but barely imagined I’d visit.

I have a date with a very cool Irish guy I’ve been talking to for a few months. Long story, but suffice it to say when you post on an Irish message board you’ll find the Irish are a VERY friendly bunch.

The whole thing will be a working vacation—because I definitely can’t just take five and a half weeks off from writing—but I am so excited it’s ridiculous. I’ll definitely be on social media less, but I WILL take a ton of pictures.

It’s still a little surreal. I’m not sure it’s really sunk in that I’ll be staying in Ireland for almost six weeks. But my packed suitcase says otherwise and in a little over twelve hours, I’ll be leaving Toronto airport and heading straight for Dublin.

The real question is, am I ever going to want to come home?

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Calm – General Release

“Calm” is available for general release today!

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Here’s a little teaser from the book.

Jesse licked his lips, appearing to consider his words before speaking. “I know you agreed to meet me here tonight—I mean, you messaged me back, which I took as a sign that you were willing to spend some time with me.”

It was Carter’s turn to frown. “I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t.”

“Are you sure?” Jesse asked gently. “Because I can’t help feeling I’m making you incredibly uncomfortable.”

Carter’s chest ached at Jesse’s earnest words. God, he was so fucked up.

“It’s not you.” He paused, then laughed with relief when Jesse grinned and broke the awkwardness between them at last. “I’m sorry. It’s a bit early to be spouting relationship clichés, especially when we hardly know each other.”

“Hey, I’m just glad you don’t look like you’re about to bolt,” Jesse told him, head cocked as sat back in his seat.

“I’m not,” Carter assured, “and you’re right. I wouldn’t have messaged you back if I didn’t want to see you again. I’m just out of practice with dating.”

“What makes you think this is a date?” Jesse’s eyes twinkled and he picked up his menu.

“Honestly, nothing. I’m a bit hopeless in social situations lately.”

Jesse dropped one corner of the menu to reach across the table and lay a hand on Carter’s.

“Relax. I asked you to dinner because I enjoyed spending time with you last week. I thought there was something between us worth exploring. But whatever happens depends on you, too. Tonight isn’t about business and I don’t want you to feel as though you’re being forced to be here.”

“I don’t.” Carter struggled to smile through his lingering guilt. “I meant what I said before—I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to be.”

Jesse’s megawatt smile lit his face once more. “Then let me buy you dinner.”

Things between them were easier from there. Carter and Jesse fell naturally into conversation, ranging through various topics rather than focusing on any one thing. They shared oysters on the half shell and tuna tartare to start, then moved on to NY strip steaks for the main course, with another bottle of wine.

Carter relaxed as they ate and talked, even while his attraction to Jesse increased. The idea of acting on the impulse appealed, but it worried Carter too. He was out of his depth when it came to fooling around with men. He’d been dating, but hadn’t gone beyond a few kisses with any of the men he’d seen. Jesse, so confident and assertive, was on a whole other plane from any of them, even when Carter included Riley in the mix.

Then again, he didn’t really know Riley anymore, did he? When it came down to it, Riley had more in common with Jesse now than he did with Carter. Maybe that has always been the case, Carter thought, and his stomach dropped with the realization.

Pride

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Right Here, Right Now Anthology – The Soldier Next Door – Early Download

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If you pre-ordered a copy of the “Right Here, Right Now” anthology, you should already have it! If you didn’t, you can run to Pride’s Website and download your copy now. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until October 3 to read my short story, “The Soldier Next Door” along with short stories from Lily Harlem, Samantha Cayto, Alexa Milne, Jon Keys, and Thom Collins.

Summary:

Sometimes, love is right next door.

All twenty-seven-year-old Travis Schultz is supposed to do is keep an eye on the kid next door for a few weeks while his parents are out of town. Eighteen-year-old Owen Wheeler has other plans. Newly graduated, with plans to enlist in the Army, Owen wants to get laid before he ships out and he’s had a crush on Travis for years.

The age difference and the responsibility he’s been entrusted with make Travis hesitant, but the attraction is too much to deny. When the casual one-night stand turns into something more, Travis has no idea how to tell Owen how he feels. He misses his opportunity before Owen leaves and is left at home with a broken heart when Owen cuts off all contact.

When they meet again years later, Owen is in the midst of recovery from being injured in the line of duty and Travis will have to decide if he can forgive Owen and try again.

Reader Advisory: This book contains brief mentions of PTSD and war-related injuries.

Excerpt:

Owen was still sleeping when Travis awoke. He was sprawled on the bed next to Travis, on his stomach. Travis’ fingertips itched with the need to touch him. He wanted to trace them down the long lines of Owen’s back.

It was morning now. Not so late he was worried he’d missed work, but late enough he knew he’d have to get up soon. For a moment, he contemplated calling in to work and staying in bed with Owen all day. But that had never been part of the deal.

The sex had been amazing. Phenomenal. But it was a one-off. Four—five—off, maybe? One night. He knew Owen didn’t want more. Of course this had to end, but that didn’t mean it had to end this second. Maybe he could convince Owen to take another shower with him, for a final soapy hand job or a quick, wet rim job. Travis had enjoyed himself too much to stop now.

“I’m heading to work,” he said forty-five minutes later. He’d sucked Owen off in the shower. Afterward, Owen had staggered back to bed and collapsed. He’d snored while Travis had gotten ready for work.

Owen squinted up at him. “Shit, I should leave.”

Travis shrugged. “If you want to go back to sleep, that’s fine. Just lock up behind you.”

“Cool, thanks.”

Travis leaned in to kiss him goodbye, then hesitated. Is that crossing a line?

Owen let out a small, annoyed-sounding grumble, looped an arm around Travis’ neck and pulled him down until their lips met.

What Travis had meant as a perfunctory goodbye became a lingering kiss. They were both panting by the time Travis tore himself away. “Damn.”

He stared down at Owen and shook his head. Funny, he’d warned Owen about the way feelings could get complicated and here he was the one having a hard time ending the night.

Right Here, Right Now Anthology – The Soldier Next Door – Pre-Order

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Pre-Order from Pride’s Website

I am excited to share that I am taking part in the “Right Here, Right Now” anthology that Pride Publishing is releasing. I contributed a short story called “The Soldier Next Door”.

Release Schedule:

Pre-Order – August 22, 2017

Release – October 3, 2017

Summary:

Sometimes, love is right next door.

All twenty-seven-year-old Travis Schultz is supposed to do is keep an eye on the kid next door for a few weeks while his parents are out of town. Eighteen-year-old Owen Wheeler has other plans. Newly graduated, with plans to enlist in the Army, Owen wants to get laid before he ships out and he’s had a crush on Travis for years.

The age difference and the responsibility he’s been entrusted with make Travis hesitant, but the attraction is too much to deny. When the casual one-night stand turns into something more, Travis has no idea how to tell Owen how he feels. He misses his opportunity before Owen leaves and is left at home with a broken heart when Owen cuts off all contact.

When they meet again years later, Owen is in the midst of recovery from being injured in the line of duty and Travis will have to decide if he can forgive Owen and try again.

Reader Advisory: This book contains brief mentions of PTSD and war-related injuries.

Excerpt:

“So, what’s up, Owen? What do you want to talk to me about?”

“You’re gay, right?” Owen rocked back and forth from heel to toe.

Travis blinked at him. “Uhh, yeah. I’ve been out since college.” A thought occurred to him. “Ohhh, is that what you wanted to talk to me about? If you’re not sure or have questions about how to come out, I will try to help. I know it can be a little overwhelming but—”

Owen snorted. “I am gay but I’ve been out since I was fifteen and I’m a member of the school’s gay-straight alliance. I’m good there.” He crossed the room and took a seat near Travis.

“Oh, okay.” Jesus, it amazed him how brave kids were these days. A lot had changed in nine years. But if it isn’t fear of coming out, what the hell does Owen need to talk to me about?

Owen nodded. “That’s not why I’m here.”

“Okay?”

Owen slid close enough that Travis could feel the heat from his thigh. “So. Look. I’m just going to lay this all out there. I’m gay and I’ve had a couple of boyfriends but we mostly just fooled around. I want to take that next step, ya know? I don’t want to go to war and die a virgin. You’re really hot and I’ve had fun hanging out with you the past week. It seemed like you were kinda checking me out so…what do you think? Will you help me out, man?”

Travis gaped at him for a moment as the words tumbled through his brain. “Wait. You want me to do what?”

Owen didn’t answer. Instead, he wrapped a hand around the back of Travis’ neck and pulled him in for a kiss. It took Travis a moment to register what was happening. Owen teased the seam of his lips with his tongue.

For one brief, stupid moment, Travis responded, then reality hit him like a bucket of Arctic water and he pushed Owen away. “Wait, wait, wait. This is a bad idea.”


In addition to my story, there are short stories from five other Pride Authors!

‘Undercover’ by Lily Harlem

When two alpha males collide, sparks will fly.

Samuel’s job is to scrutinize the store’s customers and make sure everyone stays on the right side of the law. One sexy guy in particular has him not only hot under the collar, but filling his dreams and starring in his wildest fantasies. Yet, he can’t pluck up the courage to spark a conversation and find out if those lingering looks mean what he thinks they do.

Until, that is, a misdemeanor occurs giving him the chance to haul hot bloke into his office. The only trouble is, Samuel soon realizes he’s bitten off more than he can chew. This man isn’t going to take a reprimand lying down, no matter how much attraction is fizzing between them.

There’s only one thing for it and that’s to allow the heat between them to reach combustion point—even if it means switching, pushing boundaries and bending the rules. Undercover or not, burning desire and scorching lust can’t be ignored.
‘Never the Groom’ by Samantha Cayto

A cold night turns unexpectedly hot.

Ian Cabot has led a shy, sheltered life ever since a plane accident killed his mother and left him emotionally and physically scarred. His father’s marriage of convenience forces him into the magnetic orbit of his soon-to-be cousin by marriage. The man who meets him at the airport is just the kind of commanding man he hopes will rid him of his virginity. Too bad anything between them is out of bounds.

James Reynolds has no time or patience for his cousin’s social-climbing marriage, and even less for taking a detour to deal with the pampered son of her fiancé. As a hard-working and dedicated family man, he agrees to pick Ian up and get him to the wedding. The pretty college boy who hides half his face is not what he is expecting and proves to be disturbingly tempting.

Whatever discipline Ian and James have to keep their relationship strictly familial is tested by an unseasonable blizzard and the sexual heat they can’t ignore.

‘The Matchmakert’ by Alexa Milne

Sometimes you need a little push.

Josh is a carer and Simon is his employer. Each has a secret they keep from each other, but not from the other person in their lives.

Tom may only be a teenager, but he can see the attraction between his father and Josh. Can he bring them together and create a happy ever after for all three of them?
‘Throwaway’ by Jon Keys

Garrett escaped the death threat from his family, but the Texas Panhandle is where he may be at the end of any hope.

After being thrown out by his parents, Garrett’s planned escape ended when the last of his money landed him in a tiny West Texas town with no more resources than a backpack with his entire worldly goods and the change in his pocket. He huddles behind a dumpster to avoid the broiling noonday heat. As the sun moves below its apex, one of the workers from the convenience store tosses a few bags of food past its prime into the dumpster and Garrett is soon surrounded by the scent. His hunger overcomes his caution and Garrett takes advantage of a distraction to slip into the trash and snag the food. Garrett finds himself threatened by a group of locals when he discovers the bags hold more than stale burritos.

Trevor, the manager of the regional farmers’ co-op, rescues him before he goes to jail. A day later, after a hot shower, fresh clothes and a full stomach, Garrett is excited to have a possible solution to his problem.

When pieces disappear from an unusual collection of jewelry, Garrett and Trevor team up to find the actual thief.
‘The Coach’ by Thom Collins

A routine assignment unlocks the secrets of his past.

News man Josh Holleran knows very little about sport and prefers to cover the crime desk. When his editor sends him to interview representatives from the local rugby team, Josh has little enthusiasm.

The Woodbridge Warriors are celebrating, having qualified for a national competition and it’s a significant story for the rural area, but Josh knows nothing about the game. His interest increases massively when he meets Cole Jansen, the hunky team coach. Cole is a big, beefy guy in his mid-thirties, exactly Josh’s type.

There’s something very familiar about him. Josh can’t shake the feeling that they’ve met before. Soon he realizes exactly who the coach is and how he knows him. A shameful secret from Josh’s past is about to be revealed and he’ll have to overcome his regret to stand a chance of happiness in the future.


Click on the button below to pre-order the “Right Here, Right Now” anthology!Pridelogo

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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Calm – Pre-Order

Yesterday K Evan Coles and I teased you with the cover of Calm, today, we’re offering it for pre-order!

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If you’ve been dying to read the conclusion to Wake, this is the perfect opportunity to do it!

By pre-ordering through Pride’s website, you’ll get the book the moment it’s available for early release on August 15, a full month before it’s available for general release on September 12 everywhere else!

Here’s a teaser for you:

“I’m really sorry, Ri,” Carter blurted. Riley pressed his lips tightly together. “I’m sorrier than you can imagine for the way I disappeared after you came out. I didn’t know what else to do…how else to keep everything together. But I should have been a better friend to you.”

The tips of Riley’s ears turned red as he stared at Carter. A server approached then and Riley changed gears instantly, smiling as he ordered a large macchiato.

Carter ordered the same, aware of Riley’s gaze, and cursed himself for becoming so flustered.

“I’ve never been here before,” he began when they were alone again, striving to keep his voice light. “Come here often?”

Riley nodded. “Often enough to know what’s good without really needing to think about it. I have friends in the neighborhood and this is one place everyone agrees on when we’re craving different kinds of food.”

Carter dropped his gaze to the tabletop while Riley spoke. He imagined the man from the photographs to be one of the friends Riley had mentioned. Riley looked relaxed tonight, impossibly handsome and put together in his beautiful blue suit. Whatever difficulties he’d experienced since coming out, he was clearly flourishing now. And wasn’t Carter a god-awful mess in comparison?

“Carter?” Riley’s gaze had thawed slightly when Carter looked up. “I was asking how you’ve been.”

“I’m…still trying to figure stuff out.” Carter gave him a weak smile. “I wasn’t lying earlier when I said that I was coping. I still have my job, though, see the kids and sometimes get together with friends. I do okay.”

Riley gave him a knowing glance. “But nothing’s the same. Everything in your life—”

“Is different,” Carter finished. “Pretty much everything outside of my job is radically different. And figuring it all out is fucking tiring.”

“I understand,” Riley replied.

“I know you do.” Carter clasped his hands together in his lap. “Dan’s been pushing me to talk to you…told me if anyone would understand how I’m feeling, it would be you.”

Pre-Order Calm Here

Calm – Cover Reveal

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K. Evan Coles and I are so excited to share with you the gorgeous cover made for Calm by Totally Entwined/Pride’s Emmy Ellis.

The Tidal series is a Contemporary M/M Romance, and Calm tells the second half of Riley and Carter’s story. We will be sharing the first teaser from it tomorrow and you will be able to pre-order it then!

When Riley Porter-Wright comes out as bisexual and confesses his feelings for Carter Hamilton, it severs their friendship. Carter’s rejection forces Riley to move on and he’s shocked to learn Carter’s marriage has fallen apart. 

Overwhelmed by his failure as a husband and father, Carter misses Riley, but feels guilty for disappearing after Riley’s coming out. After Riley extends an olive branch, the former friends agree to repair their relationship. Slowly, Carter pieces together a new life, admits his attraction to men and confesses his feelings for Riley. 

Leery of Carter’s initial rejection, Riley turns his focus to a new man, Will Martin. 

Disappointed, Carter fosters new friendships with men like Jesse Murtagh and Kyle McKee, while also navigating new waters with his ex-wife, Kate, as their children learn their parents are dating other people.

As they rebuild their friendship, both Carter and Riley draw strength from each other, hoping the choices they’ve made are for the best.

If you haven’t read the first book, Wake, run to Pride Publishing’s site or Amazon and buy it!

Calm will be available:

For pre-order – August 1

Early download (on Pride’s site) – August 15 

General release – September 12

 

 

“A Brighter Palette” is Live!

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Summary:

Annie Slocum is a bisexual woman struggling to make a living as a freelance writer. Stuck in a rut, she feels bored with her career, her relationships—her life. A chance meeting with Siobhán at a gallery adds a bright spark to her dull life.

Siobhán Murray is a lesbian Irish painter living in Boston. She loves her career, loves her life, but she’s missing the one piece that will make her life complete—a partner. She falls hard for Annie and is delighted to realize Annie inspires her work. But a string of failed relationships has left her wary of bisexual women and wondering if she can trust that Annie won’t leave her.

When Siobhán’s past comes back to haunt them, they’ll have to decide if the new relationship is something that will burn bright and end quickly or if it’s meant to last.

Excerpt:

“God, that accent of yours.”

To her surprise, Siobhán flushed. “Impenetrable, isn’t it?”

“No, sexy,” Annie said. She leaned in to kiss Siobhán’s shoulder. “Very, very sexy.”

“You must have enjoyed yourself in Ireland then,” Siobhán murmured.

“I did.” Annie smiled, remembering the redheaded woman she’d shared a bed with for most of the semester.

Siobhán’s grin was salacious. “That sounds like a story I’d like to hear.”

“Really?” Annie asked with a laugh. “You want to hear about Brigid, the pretty redhead I dated? Or about the time her roommate almost caught us? I had my head between her legs when the poor girl walked in the room.”

“How naughty. I love that. You’re so cool and collected on the outside, Annie, but once we started talking, I could see the passionate side eager to get out.”

“I used to have a very passionate side,” Annie admitted. “Actually, what I told you about the redhead wasn’t the whole story. There’s a lot more to it.”

“I’m intrigued.” Siobhán propped her chin up on her hand.

“Well, Nora—her roommate—was definitely shocked. But she was less horrified than Brigid and I expected.” Annie felt her cheeks heat a little. “One night a week or so later, the three of us had a few drinks, and well, Nora confessed she was curious.”

Siobhán raised an eyebrow. “Curious about women?”

“Yes.”

“Go on then.”

Annie laughed. “Well, one thing led to another, and it wasn’t long before I was in bed with two women. And Brigid and I showed Nora just how good it could be.”

“Mmm, you little minx. And what did she think in the morning?”

“Oh, we’d thoroughly converted her to our ways,” Annie said with a laugh. “I don’t think she had another date with a guy for the rest of the semester.”

“And did she find her way into another threesome with you and Brigid?”

“A few times,” Annie admitted. “In fact, after my going-away party, I staggered back to their room and had one hell of a going-away after-party.” She grinned at Siobhán. “And then I felt like I was going to die on the flight home to Boston.”

“Worth it though?”

“Totally.” Annie sighed. “But after I got back to the U.S., I threw myself into school and work, and everything else fell by the wayside. I felt like I had to grow up and be serious. Focus on my career, find the right partner, make the smart choices. Until tonight, it had been a very long time since my passionate side had come out.”

“Why were you keeping her locked away?”

Annie rolled onto her back and stared at the ceiling. “Fear, I suppose. After my last relationship went south, I just couldn’t work up the courage to try again.” She sighed. “So, my love life was boring, my job was boring, and I felt boring. Boring leads to more boring. I was just waiting for something to come along and wake me up.”

Siobhán sat up and straddled Annie, her dark hair falling like a curtain around them. “Well, here I am.”

She leaned down and kissed Annie, her mouth tasting of wine and chocolate now.

Here you are, Annie thought, and she wasn’t sure if it was nerves or excitement that coursed through her when she realized she had no idea if this was one night or the promise of something more.

Series and Number: Colors #1

Publisher: Two Peninsulas Press (Indie/Self-Published)

Word Count /or Page Number: 56,025

Formats/Price: eBook – $3.99/ Print – Coming Soon

Buy Links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon CA

Barnes & Noble

First for Romance: Coming Soon

iTunes

Kobo

Payhip

Smashwords

Find On:

Goodreads

Queeromance

 

Upcoming Release – A Brighter Palette

Coming June 30, 2017 – A Brighter Palette

A little over two years ago, I wrote this flash fic.  I’ve been wanting to tell Annie and Siobhán’s story ever since.

I’ve been working hard on it this spring and I’m excited to announce that I will be releasing the first book in their series, “A Brighter Palette” on June 30.  The series will be the “Color” series. “A Brighter Palette” will include their first meeting in Boston at an art gallery and the beginning of their relationship. The second book, “The Greenest Isle” will follow their move to Ireland and their life there.

I don’t currently have any ideas for a third book, but that’s always a possibility! Sometimes the characters just demand more.

Without further ado, here’s the cover, blurb, and a teaser from the first book.

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Summary:

Annie Slocum is a bisexual woman struggling to make a living as a freelance writer. Stuck in a rut, she feels bored with her career, her relationships—her life. A chance meeting with Siobhán at a gallery adds a bright spark to her dull life.

Siobhán Murray is a lesbian Irish painter living in Boston. She loves her career, loves her life, but she’s missing the one piece that will make her life complete—a partner. She falls hard for Annie and is delighted to realize Annie inspires her work. But a string of failed relationships has left her wary of bisexual women and wondering if she can trust that Annie won’t leave her.

When Siobhán’s past comes back to haunt them, they’ll have to decide if the new relationship is something that will burn bright and end quickly or if it’s meant to last.

Excerpt:

Annie pressed her palms to her cheeks. “I got a little carried away.”

Siobhán straightened but didn’t slide away. “I enjoyed watching you get carried away. We’ll have to do that again when we aren’t in such a public place.”

Annie glanced around. Thankfully, they were toward the back of the nearly empty lounge and the backs of the booths had dividers. Unless a waitress had walked by, it was unlikely anyone had seen them.

“This is so unlike me,” Annie admitted.

Siobhán tilted her chin and gave Annie an appraising look. “Perhaps it’s just what you need.”

Annie’s embarrassment began to fade, and she offered Siobhán a small smile. “I certainly could use a bit more excitement in my life,” she admitted. “Although, that doesn’t necessarily include a public exhibition.”

“Public exhibition is optional,” Siobhán said, “but passion shouldn’t be.”


“A Brighter Palette” is available for Pre-Order on Amazon now!