Connection Series (Equals Universe): Book Two – Trust
Evan Harris thinks his relationship with Jeremy Lewis is going well. But when Jeremy bolts, Evan is left nursing a broken heart. Jeremy loves Evan, but his inability to trust holds him back from facing his past head on and building the future he desperately wants. Evan’s patience is at the breaking point, and he struggles to decide if Jeremy deserves another chance.
Scarred by his own parents’ treatment of him, Jeremy doesn’t trust Evan’s mother’s motives when she reappears in Evan’s life after his father lands in jail. The ensuing disagreement about his concerns puts further pressure on their developing relationship.
Unless Jeremy can learn to trust and Evan can let go of past hurts, they’ll miss out on the relationship they’ve both been searching for.
Jeremy wrestled his shoe on and stood. He swayed on his feet for a second as his skin went chalky again. Evan reached for him, but Jeremy shook him off. His anger seemed to dissipate as his shoulders dropped and his voice softened slightly. “Look, it’s time you find out what the rest of the world is like. Go meet guys, go be young and stupid.” He ran his thumb across Evan’s cheek, his smile sad and wistful. “Just not too stupid.”
Evan stared at him. “And what will you be doing?”
Jeremy’s voice came out gruff. “Feeling lucky I was your first for a few things.”
“Don’t do this, Jeremy.” Evan hated the way he sounded, like he was pleading with him. He wanted to drop to his knees and beg Jeremy to stay, but he was afraid that would only make things worse. That it would make Evan seem weak in Jeremy’s eyes. “Please.”
“I can’t be the guy you’re looking for,” Jeremy murmured. “You have no idea how much I wish I could, but it’s not possible.”
“Why?” He winced, hating the way his voice cracked. “I don’t understand.”
“I’m too … damaged and I have too much of my own shit to deal with. I can barely manage to give you a handjob much less anything else. I’m not able to be what you need. I’d be a shitty boyfriend.”
Evan straightened and brushed away the tears. “What if—if you didn’t have to commit to me and we … we slept together. It wouldn’t have to mean anything. Give me rules about where I can touch you. You can keep your pants on. I don’t care.” Right then, he wanted anything, whatever Jeremy would give him.
Anything but losing him.
“I’m in no shape for sex and you deserve a hell of lot more than a cripple for a lover.” Jeremy’s voice was surprisingly gentle. “And let’s be honest, it’s more than sex, isn’t it? You want the rest too. Wouldn’t it hurt you to wonder why you weren’t good enough for me to commit to?”
Evan flinched. “I wouldn’t,” he protested, but he knew he was lying.
“You would. And I know I’m hurting you now, but it’ll hurt a lot less than some half-assed non-relationship.” Jeremy brushed Evan’s hair off his forehead. “I care about you, Evan, way more than I should. What happened last night was a mistake and we can’t repeat it.”
“Wasn’t it good?”
“It was perfect.” Jeremy sighed, the corner of his mouth twisting up in a sad smile. “But that makes it worse, right? I can’t give you what you need and it’s going to end badly if we continue. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, Evan.”
“You already have,” Evan whispered.
“Oh, kid.” Jeremy wrapped his arms around Evan and he collapsed gratefully, his cheek against Jeremy’s shoulder. “I know. And I’m sorry.”
Connection Series (Equals Universe): Book One – Connection
After a lifetime of being told he’s worthless, shy, sheltered Evan Harris is forced out of the closet and kicked out of his home. Friends in Atlanta give him a place to stay while he gets on his feet, but despite his eagerness to explore the city, it isn’t exactly what he expected.
Physically and emotionally scarred from a devastating car accident, Jeremy Lewis struggles to reconcile the brash, outgoing man he used to be with the social recluse he’s become.
Loneliness draws them to each other, but a strong mutual attraction isn’t enough to overcome their pasts. In order to be together, Evan must discover his own worth and Jeremy must trust someone to see past his scars.
“So how do you know the grooms?” The man he was pretty sure he recognized from the sporting goods store dropped onto the stool to his left, and Evan jerked, spilling some of his drink on the bar.
“Oh, um, I met Russ and Stephen last fall when they were in Stephen’s hometown. I worked at the funeral home there when they buried his father.”
The guy frowned. “So you’re just visiting Atlanta then?”
Evan shook his head. “No. I moved to Atlanta in February. When we met last fall, Russ was nice enough to kind of”—he struggled to find the right words as he mopped up the spill—“take me under his wing, I guess. Once I moved here, Russ and Stephen helped me get settled and find the guts to go off on my own.”
He chuckled and nudged Evan’s elbow with his. “I dunno, seems like you must have had some guts in the first place.”
“Maybe.” Evan blushed. “I’d like to think so.”
“How do you like Atlanta?”
“It’s lonely,” Evan said, surprising himself with his candor. The drink he was working on must’ve loosened his tongue. “I mean, it’s fine, I guess. I just haven’t met anyone yet.” In his head, Atlanta had been a gay man’s paradise where there would be available guys everywhere he looked, but it hadn’t worked out that way. At least, not for him.
“Amen, kid.” The guy raised his glass and clinked it against Evan’s. “What’s your name, anyway?”
“Evan Harris.” He glanced at the guy out of the corner of his eye.
“Nice to meet you. Jeremy Lewis.” He narrowed his eyes at Evan. “Wait a minute, you came into Johnson’s sporting goods a while ago, didn’t you? You needed running shoes, I think.”
“I … yeah,” Evan replied, shocked but flattered that the guy—Jeremy—had remembered him. “I did. Russ suggested I go there, actually. Um, thanks for your help, by the way. The new shoes are much better. The fit specialist did a great job.”
Jeremy grinned. “Glad to hear my employees know what they’re doing.”
Evan wasn’t sure what else to say about running shoes that wouldn’t make him sound like an idiot, but he didn’t want Jeremy to stop talking to him, so he changed the subject. “How do you know them?”
“Stephen and Russ? I just met Russ a few months ago, but Stephen’s my ex.”
“Really?” Evan gaped at him for a moment before all the pieces fell into place. Stephen had mentioned his ex’s car accident. That explained the limp and the scar. “Oh.”
“Mmmhmm. Stephen’s always had a thing for younger guys. We met when I was twenty, and he was … oh, must have been about thirty-two, thirty-three, maybe? Hell if I can remember. It’s been fifteen years.”
Which meant Jeremy was in his mid-thirties now. Up close, Evan could see the lines around his eyes when he smiled. Evan liked them.
“You’re not jealous of Russ?” he blurted out, then bit his lip, hoping Jeremy wasn’t offended.
“It’s complicated,” Jeremy said with a sigh as his lips twisted in a bitter smile. “I know Russ is a hell of a lot better for Stephen than I ever was, and I’m glad they’re happy together. It’s … it’s not that I want to be with Stephen, and, hell, I’m not a relationship kinda guy, but something about seeing them together makes me envious, you know?”
“Yeah, I know.” Evan sighed.
Jeremy nudged him with his elbow again. “Come on, kid, I’m sure you can’t have any trouble picking up guys.”
Evan sputtered, nearly choking on his drink and wondering how the guy knew he was gay. Am I obvious? he wondered. “Umm, I haven’t exactly ever done it before …” he muttered into his glass, embarrassed to confess his lack of dating experience but unable to hold his tongue.
“Don’t tell me you’re a virgin?” Jeremy’s gaze was disbelieving, and the tips of Evan’s ears went red-hot.
“Okay, I won’t then.” Evan tilted his drink back and shook an ice cube into his mouth, crunching down on it. He refused to look at the guy next to him for fear he’d turn tomato red.
Jeremy whistled quietly. “Kid, if you go into a gay club it’ll be like waving a steak at starving tigers. They’ll be all over you.”
“I think you’ve had too much to drink,” Evan protested. “I’m nothing special.”
“Oh, Jesus, you have to be kidding me.” Jeremy stood with a groan. “Okay, unless you’ve got somewhere you need to be, I want you to come have a seat with me at a booth over there. My leg is fucking killing me, and we need to have a long talk about why you don’t realize you’re the kind of pretty little twink who makes gay men cream their jockstraps.”
Evan blushed, but he followed Jeremy toward the cozy booths anyway, embarrassed, terrified, and completely intrigued by the gorgeous guy who had called him pretty.
The Midwest Series: Book One – Bully & Exit (Nathan and Caleb)
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.
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.
Top 10 Amazon Best Seller:
Equals Series: Book Four – Husbands
Russ is ready to make a lifelong commitment to his partner. That means marriage to him, but Stephen grew up believing that was out of the question. With marriage equality still not recognized in Georgia, Stephen is only concerned about the legal protection available to them.
Someone from Stephen’s past reappears and drives a wedge between them as Russ and Stephen struggle to agree on their future. Russ tries to understand Stephen’s complex feelings about marriage, but the differences in their background stresses the relationship further. Can the relationship they’ve built overcome the issues they face?
Russ had been fourteen when Vermont became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. State after state joined the ranks, and in the last few years it seemed to be gaining momentum. It was only a matter of time before marriage equality swept the nation. He’d grown up with the idea that someday he’d have the right to marry the man he loved. If he wanted it–and right now, he wanted it more than anything else in the world–there would be nothing to stop him.
Except, his partner–the one he’d been so sure wanted the same thing–apparently didn’t.
“How’d you know I was up here?” he asked hoarsely.
Stephen’s gaze lifted, his smile sad. “Because I know you.”
Russ’ tongue felt thick all of a sudden, unwieldy in his mouth. “I thought I knew you.”
The look of hurt in Stephen’s gaze was shattering, but no more so than the earlier rejection. “Can we talk?”
“I’m not sure what there is to say.” Russ walked out of the pool, limbs heavy after the grueling swim and time spent floating in the water. It was almost like the feeling of being back on land after spending a day on a boat. Except that made him think of sailing with Stephen, which was too painful to consider right now. “I asked you to marry me, and it’s not something you want. There really isn’t a compromise.”
-10% of the proceeds from Husbands will go toward Atlanta’s Lost-n-Found Youth center-
Equals Series: Book Three – Family: A Holiday Novella
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.
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?
Equals Series: Book Two – Partners
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.
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.
Novella – $4.99
Equals Series: Book One – Equals
Too busy to date while he worked to put himself through school, Russell Bishop’s dedication finally pays off; he has a great job with Vantage Marketing. Stephen Parker, CFO of the marketing firm, has resigned himself to a life without a partner. For six months, they wanted each other but it isn’t until Russ slips on spilled coffee, and Stephen rushes to his rescue that they discover their attraction is mutual. However, the twenty year age gap between them proves difficult when they begin dating. Fiercely independent, Russ isn’t sure he’s ready for long-term commitment. Scarred from a previous relationship, Stephen is afraid history is repeating itself. Is there any way for them to meet in the middle and become equals?
As if he’d heard Stephen’s thoughts, Russ straightened and turned his head before hopping in a half circle to face him, smiling widely. “Hey. Didn’t hear you come in.”
Stephen realized he still hovered in the doorway and he stepped forward and let it shut behind him. “Hi. How was your day?”
Russ leaned back against the counter, all of his weight on his uninjured foot. “Once I got over being pissed at you, not bad.”
Stephen gave him a wry smile. “I am sorry; I didn’t mean to come off heavy-handed.” He set the bags in his hands on the counter and walked closer to Russ. “I was worried about you.”
Russ laid a hand on Stephen’s chest, fingers curling around his tie. “I’m a big boy; I can take care of myself.”
Stephen nodded, stepping closer so his feet were between Russ’ but careful not to bump the injured ankle. “I am sure you can,” Stephen said calmly. “But I feel at least somewhat responsible for your accident.”
“I don’t blame you for it.”
“I know you don’t.” For a few heartbeats, they looked at each other until Russ tugged at the tie. Stephen didn’t lean in, but it didn’t take a genius to decipher his intention. He looked up at Stephen and spoke quietly. “It feels strange to be wearing your clothes and sleeping in your bed when we haven’t so much as kissed.”
Stephen’s voice was husky. “Was that a hint?”
“No.” Russ wet his lips. “But this is a demand: I want you to kiss me.”
“I can do that.”
Paperback (combined with Book 2) $13.99
Sunburns and Sunsets
Best friends, Eric Carver and Kris Strider have always shared everything. Except for Eric’s growing attraction to Kris. On a camping trip to celebrate the end of the school year a sunburn leads to fooling around and neither are sure what it means. Kris is certain he likes girls but his sudden attraction to Eric can’t be denied. He’s completely fine with his best friend being gay, but now that he knows Eric wants him, he isn’t sure what to do about it. Eric thought all he wanted was to fool around with his friend, but when it starts to feel like something more, he isn’t sure what to do. Are his feelings for Kris worth risking twelve years of friendship?
“Oh my God, it hurts,” Kris whined, poking the red skin on his forearm.
“It’s your own damn fault,” Eric said with a laugh, taking a sip of his beer. “I warned you.”
“I know, I know,” Kris said with a sigh. “But it hurts.”
“Did you at least pack the aloe I suggested?”
Kris scratched his head. “Uh, yeah. I think so.”
“C’mon then, grab it, strip down, and I’ll put some on your shoulders.”
Kris raised an eyebrow at his friend. “Any excuse to get me naked, huh, Carver?”
Eric flipped him off, and Kris laughed. He loved giving Eric shit about being gay. Well, he gave Eric shit about everything, being gay was no different than the fact he was obsessed with peanut butter and banana sandwiches and was afraid of clowns. It was simply a part of who he was, and thus, up for ridicule.
Kris downed the rest of his beer and stood up, wobbling a little. Shit, too much beer, too much sun, and too little food hit him hard. He stripped out of his T-shirt and unzipped the tent flap, tossing the shirt inside before following. He nearly fell wiggling out of his cargo shorts, and threw himself on the pile of sleeping bags with a laugh.
“You sound like you’re having too much fun in there, Kris,” Eric said, crawling into the tent and zipping it shut.
“Fuck you, man,” Kris huffed, face buried in the pillow.
“Only if you ask nicely,” Eric teased.
The French Toast Emergencies
Arthur Cain has removed himself from a social life littered with mistakes and unhappiness. When a freak April snowstorm hits, he just wants to stock up on the basics so he can get back to writing his thesis. Samuel Richards is a musician with a wicked sense of humor and he knows how to use it. The last thing he expected was to have it save him when he heads out for supplies and everything falls apart. The storm sends both to the grocery store, but neither had a “date” on their shopping list.
It’s one disaster after another for Samuel, but the history student comes to his rescue. If only Arthur was as good dealing with live men as he was with dead Vikings.
He glanced at the rapidly emptying shelves and sighed heavily. With some effort, he finally squeezed through the traffic snarl and reached for the last loaf of bread right as another hand closed in on it. His gaze flew to the man beside him. He looked to be in his mid-twenties, like Arthur, but taller and lankier. His brown hair was curly and long-ish, sticking up every which way. He had brown eyes and scruffy facial hair. His grin nearly made Arthur let go of the bread.
“Uhm, I think this was mine,” the cute guy said, tugging on the loaf.
“No, pretty sure it was mine,” Arthur protested, tightening his grip. He always rewarded a particularly productive day’s work with grilled cheese and tomato soup.
“You could get raisin bread,” the other guy suggested.
“Eww, you can’t make grilled cheese with raisin bread.”
“Sure you can. Just think, melty cheddar with raisin bread. Mmm.”
On second thought, maybe that didn’t sound so bad. However … “Still gross with tomato soup,” Arthur pointed out, gesturing to the half dozen cans in his cart with the hand that wasn’t clutching the bread.
The other guy made a face but didn’t let go. “Fair enough.”
Arthur tugged at the loaf gently. “So you’re going to give me the bread?”
The other guy laughed, leaning against the shelves as if he was getting comfortable. “Nope.”
“Uhm—” Arthur mentally calculated how long the storm would last and the number of slices he’d need before then “—we could split the loaf.”
“Fine. You let me have the loaf, I’ll pay for it, and we can split it after we go through the register.”
Arthur hesitated. “I really need this bread. How do I know you won’t disappear with my half?” He shook his head. “No deal.”
“But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”
Arthur broke into a grin. “Are you quoting Princess Bride to me?”
“Maybe.” The answering grin was cheeky.
Short Story –
eBook – $2.99
Wine Tasting Series
(A complete collection of the three short stories from the Wine Tasting Series. )
Spit or Swallow – Sean Powell, a wine distributor in his early forties, is having a terrible day. To top things off, his longtime friend, the sommelier at his favorite restaurant, has been replaced by a hot young sommelier with big ideas. Lucas Spencer is determined to liven up the staid and stodgy wine list, but manages to alienate the distributor during their first meeting. Can the two blend their professional frustration and personal attraction without risking their careers?
Aftertaste – Despite sizzling chemistry when they first met, Sean Powell can’t quite believe that the gorgeous young sommelier at Bistro Argent wants him. Anxious about risking his job, Lucas Spencer must decide if the handsome, red-headed wine distributor is worth the risk. Balancing a professional relationship with a more personal one is tricky, but it just might be worth the effort.
Finish – After four months together, Sean and Lucas have never been happier, but a wine tasting trip to Traverse City, Michigan threatens that stability. Sean’s insecurities rise to the surface as Lucas’ fears of losing Sean lead to jealousy. Can they repair their relationship before it turns sour?
Short Story Bundle – 35,290 words / 100 pages
eBook – $4.99
Wine Tasting Series: Book Three – Finish
After four months together, Sean and Lucas have never been happier, but a wine tasting trip to Traverse City, Michigan threatens that stability. Sean’s insecurities rise to the surface as Lucas’ fears of losing Sean lead to jealousy. Can they repair their relationship before it turns sour?
Lucas didn’t wake until they were well into Michigan. He stirred with a quiet sigh and shifted, his knee nudging Sean’s hand where it rested on the gearshift. “Sorry,” he muttered, his voice a low, sleepy rumble. “Didn’t mean to fall asleep on you.”
“It’s fine, I like driving.”
“I was like this as a kid; get me in a car with a little bit of sunshine, and I’m out.” He stretched for a moment, then his hand came to rest on Sean’s thigh. Through the denim, it was scorching hot and the heat seemed to travel everywhere before settling in Sean’s groin. That was the way it always was with Lucas though. No matter how many times the man fucked him, he could never get enough. They’d switched it up a little, once Sean felt comfortable with the idea. That had been enjoyable too, but when it came right down to it, Lucas topping was what they both preferred.
“Where are we?” Lucas asked, his hand leaving Sean’s thigh as he reached for a water bottle.
“North of South Haven. We have a little less than three hours to go.”
“It’s gorgeous,” Lucas murmured, cracking the bottle open and taking a long drink. Blue Star Highway ran along Lake Michigan’s coast, and although it was impossible to see the lake at the moment, the green, leafy trees and occasional rolling fields were picturesque. “I’m glad we did this” —he squeezed Sean’s knee— “work has been so busy, and I’ve been looking forward to spending some time alone with my handsome boyfriend.”
A thrill still ran through Sean every time he was referred to as Lucas’ boyfriend, but he couldn’t resist teasing him. “Too bad you brought me instead.”
Sean didn’t have to turn his head to know Lucas was scowling. “Sean,” Lucas said, the note of warning clear in his voice.
Chuckling, Sean reached over and grabbed Lucas’ hand, threading their fingers together. “I’m kidding; you know that.”
“You better be,” Lucas grumbled. Hands down, Lucas was Sean’s biggest champion. For every moment of doubt he had, Lucas was there to gently coax him out of it.
Short Story – 12,122 words / 43 pages
eBook – $2.99
Geeks, Nerds, and Cuddles
Plagued by social anxiety, Paul Conway is content with the online relationship he’s built with fellow nerd, Isaac Morrison. Isaac is determined to move their relationship off the screen and into real life but Paul’s fears stand in the way. The very thing that causes him anxiety in the first place might help him overcome it in the long run if he’s brave enough to face his fears.
My online relationship with Isaac had made me feel like a normal guy, but meeting in person threatened that. I had social anxiety to the point where I’d been known to have panic attacks in public. It was humiliating but something I was used to. Granted, I was nowhere near as bad as I’d been in high school; I’d gotten a pretty good handle on my anxiety over the years, but it was still bad enough. Bad enough that I rarely went anywhere but work and the few places I felt comfortable. Bad enough that if I didn’t get myself under control I would flip out when I walked into the café where we agreed to meet. Bad enough that I was petrified I couldn’t go through with meeting Isaac at all.
Isaac asking to meet in person made me terrified I would lose the one person I cared about as more than a friend. I put him off for months, making excuses about why it wasn’t the right time, or why we should wait just a little bit longer, but this week, Isaac finally sent me a message begging to meet, and I’d been replaying it in my head ever since. His message was more or less an ultimatum. I couldn’t blame him; he wanted a full, real-life relationship, and while so did I, the fear that I’d disappoint him so much he’d never want to speak to me again was strong. I knew if I didn’t go through with meeting him, I risked losing Isaac completely. Isaac was a chance for me to move past my fears and live the kind of life I’d always dreamed of, but the more I yearned for it, the more my anxiety grew. I had promised him I’d be there but nearly every fiber of my being was desperate to turn around and head right back home. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to meet him, I just didn’t know if I could.
Short Story – 10,982 words/38 pages
eBook – $2.99
Dr. Feelgood Anthology – Pain Management
Whether they’re paramedics, nurses, therapists, doctors, or even actors who play them on TV, the men in the medical profession must contend with job stress and long hours that can make finding love a challenge. These dedicated professionals aid patients from the severely injured to those just needing some help with a bath, and along the way find creative ways to release some tension, reconnect with past partners, and even forge something that might last a lifetime.
Injuries, huge workloads, dedication to duty, self-doubt, and fear of coming out of the closet are only some of the obstacles standing in the way of the men committed to easing pain and those in need of treatment. But with hard work, some humor, some steamy on- and off-the-job trysts, plenty of patience, and open hearts, doctors and patients alike can find the healing they need, whether it comes from a lifelong commitment or a quickie in the staff room.
The men in this anthology are looking for relief, and they’re in luck—the doctor is in.
Summary for Pain Management:
Despite Andrew Carmichael’s surly attitude, massage therapist Joel Brooks is undeniably attracted to his patient, a man suffering from chronic pain. Following his heart might mean risking his career, and Joel must decide if acting on his feelings will heal or harm his patient.
Complete Dr. Feelgood Anthology – 344 pages
Paperback – $12.90
Wine Tasting Series: Book Two – Aftertaste
Despite sizzling chemistry when they first met, Sean Powell can’t quite believe that the gorgeous young sommelier at Bistro Argent wants him. Anxious about risking his job, Lucas Spencer must decide if the handsome, red-headed wine distributor is worth the risk. Balancing a professional relationship with a more personal one is tricky, but it just might be worth the effort.
“Look, I’m sorry about the way I acted last week. Hearing you talk about wine today … I know I was completely off base. You have a good nose for this and it’s clear you’re an accomplished sommelier. I had a shitty day and I took it out on you. You didn’t deserve it.”
Lucas nodded and licked his lips. “Thank you. I’m sorry I was so out of line with the way I acted as well.”
Sean raised an eyebrow at him. “If you’re referring to things getting … physical between us, I can’t say I’m sorry. Although, I don’t want you to feel awkward with Richard about it.”
Lucas splashed a bit more of one of the wines in his glass, swirling it around the bowl as he stared down at it. “Obviously, on one level I enjoyed it, but acting like that isn’t me.”
“And you think it’s me?” Sean laughed softly.
Lucas smiled into his wine glass. “I don’t know if it’s the arguing or what, but I’ve never been like that with anyone.”
“Well, I can assure you, I don’t usually get blowjobs from all of the sommeliers at the restaurants I distribute to.”
“That’s good to know.” Lucas raised an eyebrow at Sean. “Although, you said not all of them but does that mean …” his voice trailed off.
“I should have said none of them. Trust me, Lucas, it’s been a long time since I’ve been … involved with anyone, and never someone from work.”
“You have no idea how glad I am to hear that.” Lucas’ cheeks flushed faintly pink, and he rubbed at the back of his neck as he muttered under his breath. “Christ, I think I’m drunk. I wouldn’t be this frank otherwise.”
“I kind of like it,” Sean said, feeling bold and then realizing it was the wine talking. “Ugh, you know, maybe I’m drunk, too.”
They laughed, and Sean felt a warm sensation in his belly that had nothing at all to do with the wine.
Short Story – 12,078 words/43 pages
eBook – $2.99
Wine Tasting Series: Book One – Spit or Swallow
Sean Powell, a wine distributor in his early forties, is having a terrible day. To top things off, his longtime friend, the sommelier at his favorite restaurant, has been replaced by a hot young sommelier with big ideas. Lucas Spencer is determined to liven up the staid and stodgy wine list, but manages to alienate the distributor during their first meeting. Can the two blend their professional frustration and personal attraction without risking their careers?
The redhead smiled at him and held out a hand. “I don’t recognize you. You must be new.”
“I am,” Lucas admitted, reaching out to shake the other man’s hand. “I haven’t even officially started. I’m just here trying to get a feel for things.”
The man’s gaze flicked over him in interest. “I’m Sean Powell, with Metro Wine Distributors. Do you know if Roger is around?”
“Uhh,” Lucas said, “he retired.”
Sean blinked at him in shock. “He what?”
“Retired. A couple weeks ago. Richard has been working with a friend in the meantime, but I just got hired as his replacement.”
The other man let out a disbelieving sounding snort. “You? You have to be kidding me.”
“Excuse me?” Lucas said, bristling at the man’s reaction.
“You don’t look like you’d know the difference between a pinot gris and a pinot noir,” Sean scoffed. “Come on. You’re a new bartender, maybe. But I have a hard time believing they’d hire you to take Roger’s place.”
Lucas folded his arms across his chest and stared at him. His voice was cold. “Well they did. My name is Lucas Spencer and I’ve been hired as sommelier for Bistro Argent.”
“Fucking great,” he heard Sean mutter under his breath as he dug through the leather satchel he had over his shoulder. “They hired a pretty boy who won’t know shit about wine. That’s the last thing I need to deal with today.”
Short Story – 11,030 words/37 pages
eBook – $2.99
Not So Suddenly
When Spencer Abrams surprises Austin Mead with tickets to Antigua, he’s hoping a romantic trip will finally give him the courage to confess his feelings for his best friend. Austin thinks he’s just there to help Spencer get over a breakup with his ex. If Spencer finally tells Austin how he’s feeling, will Austin be willing to take the leap from friendship to love?
When Austin didn’t come out, Spencer went for a long, lonely walk on the beach, and now he was in the plunge pool just outside the cottage, wondering where the plan to seduce his best friend had gone so awry. He leaned his head back against the edge of the pool and closed his eyes. So, maybe it was a little weird that he’d dragged Austin all the way to Antigua to tell him he had feelings for him, and maybe he should have thought through giving him so much wine with dinner, but this was not how he’d seen this night going.
He didn’t really know when he’d fallen for Austin, exactly. He’d been dating Amber for a while, he knew that. She was the hottest girl he’d ever been with and then suddenly he just wasn’t that into her anymore. She seemed to be getting on his nerves more and more, and one night he finally realized that he’d rather be spending time with Austin. He’d rather be kissing Austin than Amber.
Then he started dreaming about his friend. Vivid, explicit dreams that left him aching. Knowing Austin was gay didn’t exactly discourage his interest either. But every time he tried to tell Austin how he felt, he froze. He hadn’t really gotten around to dumping Amber either, and by the time she dumped him for the prick from the shoe store, he really didn’t give a fuck about it at all. But Austin was extra sweet when he thought Spencer was depressed, and he kind of liked the additional attention. He really had originally planned to take Amber to the Caribbean; he’d bought the tickets months and months before, but the idea of taking Austin instead was way more appealing.
And now, his very hot, and apparently very drunk, friend was passed out on the King-size bed and Spencer was alone in the seaside pool feeling like an idiot.
Short Story – 8,784 words/34 pages
eBook – $2.99
Baby, It’s Cold Inside
A trip to visit his boyfriend Nate’s parents during the holidays leaves Emerson a nervous wreck. Bad weather and an unfortunate mix-up leads to an awkward first introduction, and as things deteriorate from there, Emerson begins to doubt if their relationship will survive the stressful weekend. Can Emerson get their relationship back on track and impress the Collins family in time to have a Merry Christmas?
Both boys stomped their feet and dusted the snow off as they got themselves situated. Nate dug in his pocket for his keys but Emerson stopped him, wanting one last kiss before he braved meeting the future in-laws. Because no matter how short of a time he had been with Nate, he knew that was what he wanted. He wanted to spend the rest of his life with Nate, buy some little house in a neighborhood like this and have a life together with a couple of kids and maybe a dog. Just because he was young and gay didn’t mean he didn’t want the kind of life his parents had together.
They weren’t going to rush things by running off and getting married too soon; they were trying to be practical about it. But Emerson knew what his goal was, and in order to achieve that he had to impress the people he would someday be related to by marriage, and he was scared shitless he’d screw it up. He let go of the handle of his suitcase and set the large shopping bag full of presents down on the cement. “Kiss for luck?”
Nate looked up at him, his eyes crinkling as he smiled. “Sure, Em.”
He lowered his own bags down and took Emerson’s face in his hands, his gloves—still lightly dusted with snow from touching the trunk lid—were cold on Emerson’s cheeks, but his lips were warm and soft. “They’re gonna love you, I know it,” Nate said when he drew back.
“I hope so,” Emerson said with a sigh. He couldn’t imagine what it would be like if they didn’t. He kissed Nate again, this time with a little tongue and he felt more than heard Nate chuckle. They were pressed flat against each other—Nate’s hands still cradling his face, and Emerson’s hands on Nate’s hips—when the door opened. The sudden rush of warmth and light into the cold, snowy night made them jerk apart and Emerson’s cheeks flooded with heat. Shit, not the way I wanted to meet the parents, he thought, feeling a rush of disappointment. It wasn’t supposed to go like this at all.
Short Story – 10.548 words/37 pages
Love in the Produce Aisle
Roped into cooking for a blind date, kitchen disaster Tyler Norwood is totally lost in the produce aisles of the local market until chef Michael Garcia rescues him. Flirty banter over avocados leads to more than a passing attraction and Tyler must decide if he’ll keep his blind date or pursue the man heating up his kitchen.
The tension between them thickened and Tyler felt desire curl low in his belly as he stared back. He couldn’t stop thinking about Michael’s lips and the way the full curve of them would feel against his own. He was honestly one of the most attractive guys Tyler had met in a long time, and even in the small amount of time he’d known him, Tyler thought Michael was probably one of the nicest guys he’d ever met. Few people would offer to help someone they were attracted to salvage a date with someone else. He had no doubts that Michael was indeed attracted to him, and the feeling was certainly mutual. Why couldn’t it have been Michael that Tyler had a blind date with?
“Damn it,” Michael finally muttered, clearly thinking along the same lines Tyler had been. “I really shouldn’t be fantasizing about a man when he’s about to go on a date with someone else.”
“Yeah, well …” Tyler said, feeling equally guilty about his own fantasies. But why should he ignore the guy he was incredibly attracted to, for some guy he’d never met and might not even hit it off with? “You know what? Fuck it.”
He leaned forward, pressing his lips to Michael’s. The other man was still for a moment before he responded, lips and tongue seeking Tyler’s. They both groaned and Tyler was surprised to find himself pinned against the counter.
Short Story – 7,025 words/28 pages
eBook – $2.99