When you belong to a man like Boss Cold, you take what he gives you. Jimmy Poe has known that since he first offered himself to the feared mob boss in payment of a debt, yet over the past year he has gotten to see a very different side of Cold. A side that made Jimmy fall in love.
But their love will be put to the test when Cold is arrested. Can the bond between them endure even as the dark shadows of Cold’s past come to light and Jimmy’s life is put at risk as well?
Publisher’s Note: Hard Earned Cash is a sequel to Cold Hard Cash. It includes spankings and rough, intense sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.
Jimmy Poe was absolutely trembling in the back of the limousine, staring anxiously out the window up at Westchester Prison. His foot was tapping, fingers twitching, and his teeth were working at his lower lip with a carnivorous ferocity.
“Jimmy,” Boss Cold said softly, a cool hand pressing against his leg and squeezing. “Calm down.”
Eyes fluttering, Jimmy nodded frantically, but he still continued to fidget.
“Breathe for me,” Cold said more firmly, his thumb slowly stroking Jimmy’s inner thigh. He squeezed his leg again. “Now.”
Taking a few deep breaths, Jimmy’s pulse began to descend. Cold’s voice was beautiful and strong, and there was a very distinct purr that it took on when he gave orders. It worked its way directly into Jimmy’s brain, and he was powerless to resist.
Boss Cold, also known as Roderick Legrand, the mob ruler of Strassen Springs, was not a man who tolerated any amount of disobedience in any aspect of his life. From his criminal empire to the bedroom, his word was law.
It was the foundation of their relationship, and it gave Jimmy purpose and confidence, and it was a love like no other.
“I know you’re excited,” Cold said soothingly, “but you’ll put yourself in a fit if you don’t calm yourself.”
“There’s a part of me that still thinks this is all a dream,” Jimmy gushed, looking back out the window to the prison where his father had been trapped for so many years.
Today was the day David Poe was finally being freed.
He had been wrongly convicted for the murder of Jimmy’s mother nineteen years ago, and Cold had recently discovered that the killer was a traitorous member of his own gang. Justice was brutally served as the result of meticulous planning that not only granted David’s freedom, but also destroyed Cold’s enemies and left him completely untouchable.
“It’s very real,” Cold promised, patting his knee.
“Thank you,” Jimmy beamed happily. “Thank you for everything.” He leaned forward, trying to steal a kiss.
Cold caught his jaw before he could, smirking faintly as he looked over Jimmy’s lips. He hummed, pretending to consider whether or not he was going to allow it.
“Please, sir?” Jimmy pleaded playfully.
Cold growled softly at the ‘sir’, pressing a heated kiss against Jimmy’s mouth. “You wicked thing,” he snarled. “Teasing me right before I’m going to meet your father.”
“You’ll have to punish me later,” Jimmy chuckled.
“Careful,” Cold warned him, his thumb gently stroking over his chin, “or it’ll be a punishment you may not enjoy.”
Heat prickled beneath Jimmy’s collar as he asked, “Mmm, your belt?”
“Keep pushing me and you’ll find out,” Cold warned.
Jimmy knew he could only tease Cold so much before he got truly aggravated with him.
Although that did come with its own unique set of pleasures, he wanted his boyfriend in a good mood to meet his father.
“I’ll behave,” Jimmy said, smiling when Cold kissed him again. He sat back in his seat, eyes focused out the window once more for any sign of his father.
“Perhaps you should have come alone,” Cold mused.
“Why? Never met anyone’s parents before?”
“No,” was the flat reply.
“Are you nervous?” Jimmy teased, delighted by the idea.
“You really want the belt tonight, don’t you?” Cold scowled. “I do not get nervous.”
Jimmy grinned and resisted the urge to giggle. He wasn’t about to argue, gasping excitedly when he saw the gates of the prison finally open and his father step outside. “He’s here! He’s really here!”
Jerry was already opening the door of the limo, Jimmy tumbling out and breaking into a dead run to greet his father.
“Hey, slugger!” David exclaimed, dropping his bag to embrace his son. He squeezed him tight and pressed tearful kisses into his hair.
Jimmy’s own eyes were stinging with tears as he hugged his father as hard as he could. He was absolutely thrilled to be holding his father as a free man.
“My boy,” David said, his voice cracking from so much emotion. “Thank you. Thank you for never giving up on me. I love you so much, kiddo.”
“I love you, too!” Jimmy exclaimed with a big grin. “Oh, my God. You’re here. You’re really free, and, and, and my God. No more inch of glass, no more phone calls, you’re really here!”
“Damn right,” David chuckled warmly, kissing his son’s forehead and giving him one last big hug. He nodded towards the limo, teasing, “I think your boyfriend is waiting for us.”
About the Author
K.L. Hiers is an embalmer, restorative artist, and queer writer. Licensed in both funeral directing and funeral service, she’s been working in the death industry for nearly a decade. Her first love was always telling stories, and she has been writing for over twenty years, penning her very first book at just eight years old. Publishers generally do not accept manuscripts in Hello Kitty notebooks, however, but she never gave up.
Following the success of her first novel, Cold Hard Cash, she now enjoys writing professionally, focusing on spinning tales of sultry passion, exotic worlds, and emotional journeys. She loves attending horror movie conventions and indulging in cosplay of her favorite characters. She lives in Zebulon, NC, with her husband and their six children, three of whom have paws and one who sometimes thinks he does.
Come on board the Queen of Egypt and discover this new murder mystery full of witty dialogs, funny situations, and blooming love! Already short-listed for the French Gay Book Award 2020!
When Auntie Agathe invites Raphaël Poireaut, a young Parisian bartender, on a Nile cruise, he isn’t really thrilled. To stare at old stones together with a bunch of old codgers—why, thanks for the gift. Unsurprisingly the trip starts off badly enough. Not only does Raphaël have an unnerving confrontation with a handsome but standoffish and haughty Italian guy, but he has barely stepped on board the cruise ship when he stumbles upon a tourist… who has been stabbed to death.
The young Venetian Stefano di Angeli agrees to spend his vacation in Egypt with his best friend Grazia. He hasn’t had holidays for six years. But his first encounter with a young, angel-faced, curly-haired Frenchie brings back painful memories. Besides, what could be worse to start a Nile cruise than to discover a murder has been committed on board? Cazzo—fate seems to bear him a grudge!
While the Egyptian police led by Colonel Al-Qaïb are investigating the murder, Raphaël and Stefano find themselves swept away by the events… and by the blooming feelings that inexorably draw them closer. Will they manage to sort out the truth from the lies and find the murderer? Will they be able to resist this mutual attraction that seems to overwhelm them against their wills?
A new, funny and light adventure by the author of “The Stuffed Coffin”, the French version of which has won the French Gay Murder Mystery Award 2019.
The young guy hears my quiet steps, or he senses my gaze. He turns around.
Oh, hel-lo, man! My heart does a backwards flip. In my job I meet handsome guys aplenty. But this one is a class of his own. His face could be that of a male model, I kid you not. As if one of those unreal guys had stepped out of the glossy pages of Vogue Homme or GQ. Manly features, sensual mouth. Square chin, Roman nose, neatly trimmed designer stubble. His forehead is bare, his dense hair styled backwards and falling behind his left ear in a natural, lazy wave as if doing it spontaneously.
Alas, my immediate interest isn’t shared. On the contrary, he reacts as if suddenly facing a monster. He should be thankful the rail in his back prevents him from moving too far back and falling into the Nile.
Quite a boost for my self-esteem.
The handsome cretin pulls himself together at the last moment and scans me from head to toe. His cold gaze hovers over my naked chest, and he frowns, his eyebrows bushy but perfectly drawn. I notice that his whole body-language exudes barely concealed distance and aversion.
Despite his hostility, I murmur, “Hi”. Somewhat coolly perhaps, but still. I was raised like that. All right, I add “Asshole!” in my head, because, hello?
The young man answers with a nod. A black lock falls over his eyes, he puts it back in place. He seems to hesitate, then turns his back on me again.
Okay, asshole. Go ahead, continue your moody brooding, I don’t care. I don’t need no mens, even if they’re handsome as fuck.
HALF AN HOUR LATER, THE sun has started its race across the pristine sky for good; the heat has risen as well. The hipster slash asshole is still sulking in his corner when I sit on a shady deckchair. Our meeting was unpleasant, but he and the guy in pink belie my initial prognosis, and that’s a good start. We’re at least three on this boat to contemplate our sixties from below.
With the back of my hand, I wipe off the sweat trickling down my chest and soaking my chest hair. I realize I’m thirsty. There’s a bottle of water in the fridge in my cabin. Let’s go get it. You always need to stay hydrated, as Auntie would say. Granted, she means drinks, as in alcoholic beverages, but that doesn’t make it wrong.
The man in the pink tracksuit has apparently seen enough, too. When I get to the top of the stairs, he’s on the last step.
He’s waiting downstairs, holding the door for me.
“Thank you,” I say.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” he remarks in an affable tone.
I look up in surprise. His beautifully low voice doesn’t match his puny physique and the mousey face. He makes an affected hand movement. “The landscape, I mean. The light.”
Automatically, I think, Oh. Family. “Very beautiful indeed,” I reply. “And ‘splendid things gleam in the dust’…”
Recognizing the Flaubert-quote, he laughs good-heartedly.
The swinging door closes behind us. Another door slams softly somewhere down the corridor. In the first cabin, I hear a woman say heatedly, “… I think he got it. He won’t bother you anymore, tweety.”
Tweety! Smirk. I really wouldn’t want to be pet-named tweety.
We pass other cabins; the vague noises of conversations, no more than murmurs, drifting out. I can hear showers running as well. The ship is waking up. A nice smell wafts through the corridor, a woody, leathery perfume for men that strikes me as familiar. The pink, mousey guy in front of me must have sprinkled himself with it.
A few doors before mine, the young man stops. “See you later,” he says.
“See you later,” I reply. When I pass behind him, I get a whiff a his pronounced citrus perfume, very fresh, very pungent. Oh. He’s not the source of the leathery perfume smell…
He turns the key and opens the door. “Mon chéri—are you awake?” he asks. The door closes behind him.
I was right. Mon chéri, not ma chérie. He is family. I’m not the only gay guy on this ship.
I walk to my door while rummaging in my shorts pockets. Let’s see… mobile… pencil… notepad… h-m. Where have I put my keys? Did I take them? Damn—don’t tell me I locked myself out…!
A YELL. “AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!”
I JUMP, turn around, gaze down the empty corridor. What was it? Who was it? Where was it? What am I supposed to do?
Born in the early 70s, I grew up in a little village in Austria. At the age of 18, I moved to Vienna to get my master’s degree in Political Sciences, French, and Spanish. Today, I’m living in Paris, France, with my boyfriend and work as a graphic designer.
In my spare time, I write, read, cook fancy recipes, take photos, and as often as I can, I travel (Italy, Portugal, Morocco, Egypt, the UK, and many more places). My literary tastes are eclectic, ranging from fantasy, murder mysteries, gay romances to dystopian novels, but I won’t say no to poetry or a history book either. I’m more a hoodie/jeans/sneakers kind of guy than a suit-and-tie chap.
So far, I’ve published two short-story collections as well as four poetry collections. My first murder mystery novel “The Stuffed Coffin” featuring Damien Drechsler and the dashing Greek student Nikos has been released on January 6, 2019 and is also available in German and French. The French version has won the prestigious French Gay Murder Mystery Award 2019 (Prix du roman policier – Prix du roman gay 2019). You can also find me on Rainbow Book Reviews, where I write book reviews under the pseudonym of ParisDude (for French reviews, have a look at my review site livresgay.fr).
After Adil and Esihle meet on a space station orbiting alien refugee Esihle’s home planet of Yalaphor, their relationship of lust and intensity gradually blossoms into love.
Now on Yalaphor, the two care for Sehthe, a young girl who has been orphaned by the same war that cast Esihle out of his home.
To keep their new family safe, Esihle and Adil must come face to face with the worst of Yalaphor, eachother, and themselves.
This heartfelt follow-up to Storm Caywood’s debut novel, Alien Hands, continues a story of redemption and love.
Adil joined him in the kitchen. “I saw the bread in the cupboard. Did you make it? Where’d you get flour?”
Esihle ladled the stew into bowls as he answered.
“I made it from thana grass. Nyaniso taught me how.” He remembered his father’s lessons more every day now. He would never be able to tell him this. Living here, and trying to be a good man, made the loss of his father and his own betrayal of his father’s goals a never-healing wound.
“And saving our energy credits for something more pleasurable than mere sustenance.”
They sat down with their bowls and plate of bread. Adil raised his bowl to his lips and drank in some broth before he spoke.
“It also helps the hospital. Blackouts there are a disaster.”
“Was today hard, my dear?”
Adil shrugged. “No more than usual.” He scooped a piece of vegetable onto the piece of bread and chewed it thoughtfully.
As the meal went on, their silence grew companionable. After they ate, Adil did not return to his chair, instead joining Esihle in his sunken nest and stretched out with his head on his belly. Esihle stroked his hair and felt himself begin to rumble. He had almost dozed off when Adil’s voice roused him.
“So, have you thought about it more?”
Esihle hesitated. “I want to. I really do.” He paused, and let his mind wander to child-sized garden tools, a smaller basking rock beside his own. “But, is it really a good time? Are we, would we be, good?”
Adil shook his head. “There’s never a perfect time. As for being good potential parents? Yes, we are, but even if we weren’t ideal, state care is terrible for children. You know that we can offer so much more.”
“I never imagined myself as a parent.”
This wasn’t true.
“I’ve always wanted it. I put aside the desire for a long time, on the station especially.”
Esihle remembered the man he had met. He wasn’t one who put aside desires, though perhaps the deeper ones. He wouldn’t have imagined Adil with children, but that was harsh, in retrospect. He was there, after all, to take care of people. But it seemed like his position on Orbital Base 7 as a relief doctor was as much about the responsibilities he was evading as the ones he was taking on.
Adil kept talking. “But I always wanted it. A chance to do better.”
Do better, do worse. Esihle never thought of his own parents in that way. As if Nyaniso and Zola had been working on a task, and it was his to evaluate. But then, he was always aware, almost always, of the powers that had constrained them. In many ways the Regime had been his parent.
“Esihle? Are you listening?”
He shook his head. “I’m sorry, Dear, my mind wandered. You want us to do better.”
Adil wriggled up by his face, leaned in and kissed him. “I know we’ll do better.” The kiss grew deeper. “I want us to do it. I think it will create a lot of joy. And love.”
The warmth from Adil’s body soothed him, merging with the warmth from the heated floor of their nest. Earth-style furniture was seen as a symbol of the Old Regime, and more and more homes now had nests in place of sofas. Adil, of course, was delighted by the authenticity. Esihle was sure there was nothing more or less authentic about furniture styles. It was all ultimately arbitrary. He suspected Adil was enamored with this reminder of his people’s reptilian roots. Though he couldn’t judge him for that, not with the satisfaction he took in stroking Adil’s soft hair and soaking in his mammalian warmth.
Adil grew warmer to the touch as they kissed more, pressing their bodies to each other. Esihle could feel his chest rise and fall in the rhythm of his breath. He straddled Adil and began kissing down his body, stopping to lick and bite at his nipples. He’d been so fascinated by these on Adil, his first Human lover. By the feel of them to his fingers and lips and tongue, by the whimpering noises he could draw out of Adil just with a twist, a little bite. He nipped his right nipple a little harder and Adil cried out. He soothed it with his tongue, put a comforting hand there, and continued working down his body…
About the Author
Storm Caywood is a lesbian author living in Western New York with her family and pets. Her writing career started with distributing her girl-detective stories to friends in the third grade. Alien Eyes is her second published work. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading, puttering in the yard, or swooning over Star Trek.
I just want you to know how amazing you are. You won’t believe me, because I’m just your brother’s best friend. But everything I feel is undeniable.
A few anonymous love tokens change everything, though. I finally have an outlet for all the things I can’t say, and with each gift and note, you smile. For me. Not your brother’s friend, but something new. Something more. Something that will change everything if we can both find the courage to believe.
All I have to do is confess who I really am:
Your Secret Admirer
“Is my brother a deal-breaker?” he asked.
I sucked in my bottom lip, feeling torn. I wanted him like crazy. I’d had plenty of time to feel attraction for guys, to get a bit curious and wonder… and my body was fully down to fuck, regardless of the fact I’d never been with a guy. But fucking Benji was a big deal. Jeremy expected me to protect his virtue, not throw him on the bed and ravish him.
I let out an unsteady breath. “He should be. But fuck, Benji, I really like you.”
“You can never lie to me again.”
“And you’ll let me handle my brother,” he said.
I parted my lips to object, but he was full of fire — not anger this time, but something else, something more enticing — and I couldn’t find the words. He must have seen the answer in my eyes. He tilted forward, and I met him for a long overdue kiss.
He was sweet, both tentative and eager as his lips parted under mine. Despite leading our conversation, he let me take over as soon as our mouths connected. I savored the soft feel of his lips, the hitch in his breathing as my tongue met his, the small sound of surrender as the kiss deepened.
“Whoa,” he said, voice filled with wonder, when I pulled back for a breath. His green eyes were bright, his cheeks rosy with a blush. He was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.
“Yeah?” I murmured, feeling a bit of my old ego restored at his reaction. “Just wait.”
I took his mouth again, and this time he met me with more confidence, pushing his tongue against mine, clutching at my shoulders.
The kiss grew wet and desperate.
I grabbed his head, holding him in place to better devour him, and he pushed his hands under my shirt, feeling up my stomach to my chest. When his fingers grazed my nipples, I shivered. When he raked his nails over my abs, I moaned and thrust my hips against his. I felt his hardness behind his zipper.
It sent a thrill through me. He wanted me, and I didn’t have to question it. He was hard, just like me. Male, just like me. It was strangely erotic, knowing he was aching in exactly the same way I was.
I pushed him onto the bed, loving the feel of him pinned under me. When we needed air, I moved my lips to the creamy skin of his neck. God, I loved his skin, so fucking pale and soft.
His fingers were tangled in my hair, holding me against him, as he thrust his hips up. I could feel his cock jabbing my stomach, and I didn’t care one fucking bit. I thought maybe I’d be weirded out, like maybe I’d need to adjust to having a guy under me instead of a girl, but it didn’t matter.
Benji felt right; he felt fucking great.
About the Author
DJ Jamison is the author of more than twenty m/m romances. She writes a variety of queer characters, from gay to bisexual to asexual. DJ grew up in the Midwest in a working-class family, and those influences can be found in her writing through characters coping with real-life problems: money troubles, workplace drama, family conflicts and, of course, falling in love. DJ spent more than a decade in the newspaper industry before chasing her first dream to write fiction. She spent a lifetime reading before that and continues to avidly devour her fellow authors’ books each night. She lives in Kansas with her husband, two sons, one snake, and a sadistic cat named Birdie.
Jesse has a type-the heartbroken. He doesn’t hide this fact, he’s even tattooed a damaged heart on his chest. His partners love the people who left them, which means there’s no fear of them getting attached to him. He showers them with the affection they have been deprived of and in return, he gets no string attached hook-ups.
Except for Ben.
No matter what Jesse does, when he gets drunk, its always Ben’s porch he ends up on. Which is fine, because Ben is still deeply in love with his ex-wife, even though she’s already remarried.
It might have all stayed fine, if Ben hadn’t met Cooper, the twelve-year-old stepson of Ben’s ex. He knows things he shouldn’t. He has a weird quirk of disappearing for hours. He even predicts future events with uncanny luck. And Cooper has a plan for Jesse. He wants himself and Ben’s daughter to live with Jesse and Ben. Which is a problem, because Jesse doesn’t do relationships.
To Cooper that just means Jesse needs to learn things the hard way.
Isaiah has heard voices in his head his entire life, so it’s ironic when his brother declares that he has been chosen as a prophet for a god. Isaiah assists his brother in his search for the messiah and quickly discovers the god chose his brother in an effort to get closer to Isaiah.
The messiah isn’t shy at all in declaring that Isaiah is fated to be with him. But the voice in Isaiah’s head is skeptical and easily finds errors in the god’s claims.
Cooper is a god, one of many on Earth, but he is approved to pose as a messiah. He warps the path he’s supposed to follow in an effort to get closer to a man that is supposed to be his lover for only one night. Doing so has consequences, because Isaiah is not the man he expected. For one, he cuts himself in an effort to deal with the darkness of his past. And second, there’s the pesky sprite that loiters on Isaiah’s shoulder, whispering advice that Cooper would rather it didn’t.
Title: Muse of a God
Length: 256 pages
Release Date: February 1, 2020
Genre/s: Supernatural M/M romance
Trope/s: Reluctantly falling in love / clinging to an old lover
Lawrence, who prefers to go by Laurie, is one of those gifted performers that everyone envies because he always gets the lead role.
Carter is a god with a shaded past. He created a planet… and then helped parasite type symbiotes destroy it. His current time on Earth is to prove he is rehabilitated.
But he is good at manipulation. He wants to stay close to the two scientists who will discover a means to save Earth once Carter brings the symbiotes to it. One of them is Laurie’s roommate in college. Which means Laurie is Carter’s best means to befriending the scientists.
A not so chance encounter and some mocking, gets Laurie to join the lacrosse team Carter is on. Seducing him is easy enough, but Laurie quickly proves refreshingly unpredictable and his quick tongue makes Carter reconsider his choices to stay loyal to his previous love who controls the symbiotes.
But can Carter’s growing affection toward Laurie be enough to convince him to save Earth rather than destroy it?
Title: Enemy of a God
Length: 151 pages
Release Date: May 17, 2020
Genre/s: Supernatural M/M romance
Trope/s: Falling for a friend’s boyfriend, Forbidden love
The world is ending and the gods are abandoning Earth. A strange woman arrives at the same time the parasite symbiotes do. She has no memory of who she is and the question remains, is she an ally to save earth or the enemy of the gods here to destroy them?
Jayson is the first to find her and he forms an immediate friendship with her. They are both outcasts with a dark past. He makes a deal with a god, Cooper, in an attempt to learn more about his alien friend. He doesn’t expect to fall in love with Cooper and worse, learn that his alien friend must die in order to save Earth.
Title: Symbiote of a God
Length: 101 pages
Release Date: June 15, 2020
Genre/s: Supernatural M/M romance
Trope/s: Friends to lovers / refusing to come out as gay
Stephen, Nick, and Lawrence have been best friends since college. Stephen and Nick are scientists, tasked with finding a cure to the symbiotes which have invaded Earth and use humans as hosts. Removing the symbiote kills the human, and a human doesn’t live long once infected.
Months after the initial invasion, Lawrence becomes infected and seeks the help of his friends. The rush to find a cure is now paramount, but something is strange about Lawrence’s infection. He is still in control of his body, and he can now understand the symbiotes. Nick and Stephen realize he may hold the cure to finally ridding the world of the symbiotes.
Earth is the second planet Carter has created, and now the same symbiotes that destroyed his first planet, are here, destroying Earth. Afraid he will only aide in Earth’s destruction, since it’s his soulmate and lover behind the invasion, he goes into hiding.
Jayson knows Carter is the only god who can save Earth and he is done waiting for him to come back. He resurrects the god and saves the planet, but its something not just any human can do. Jayson realizes there’s more to his relationship with Carter than he thought. He’d assumed he was Cooper’s soulmate, he loves Cooper, but when he keeps running into Carter he realizes the truth. A god has a different soulmate on every planet, and on Earth, he is Carter’s soulmate.
But Carter doesn’t want him. His soulmate from his first planet was destructive and Carter fears what Jayson will become if he bonds with him. Jayson has to convince the god that he is different, and that your past does not determine your future.
Excerpt from INFLUENCE of a GOD (Book 1)
“You shouldn’t want him to love you,” Jesse muttered to himself. He dropped the cigarette that he didn’t remember smoking and smashed the burning embers out with his heel. He went in the back door of the house. He could already hear the woman—the Nicole—speaking to Ben.
“I can’t believe you let some whore into this house with our daughter,” Nicole said. Jesse reached the end of the hall and stood in the doorway to the living room.
Nicole was wearing a large winter coat, so Jesse was unable to properly assess if she was fat. He had really hoped she was a fat, ugly thing. Her hair was cut into a cute bob. Her face was, well plain, but then again, she’d been woken at one in the morning, so who bothered with make-up at that hour?
Ben was standing behind the kitchen island, using it as a shield to protect himself from her. He’d never looked so small before. He was a pathetic puppy who had disappointed, yet again, the woman he loved.
“Who are you?” Nicole asked. She put her hands on her hips and aimed her dagger-filled gaze at him.
“This is Jesse,” Ben said, speaking meekly. “He came over to—”
Jesse didn’t want to listen to whatever lie Ben had in mind. “I’m the whore,” Jesse said. “The whore who scared your little girl.” He turned his head so the head of the snake on his neck was visible to her.
Nicole’s eyes bulged. A look of disgust passed on her face. She looked back at Ben.
“You’re gay.” The words didn’t come from Nicole. They came from another member of the party that Jesse hadn’t even noticed. A boy, early puberty age, maybe twelve, sat on the couch to Jesse’s left. He was a slender thing, a stick of a kid who was swallowed up in his big winter coat. He was pale and so still, Jesse wondered if he had actually been the one to speak. The kid sat there, an amused look on his face. “Ben is gay,” the boy repeated, speaking the words while Jesse looked at him, confirming that he was indeed the speaker.
“And you are?” Jesse asked.
“Cooper,” the kid said. He nodded at Jesse. “And you’re a sinner.”
“This whole family is full of flattery,” Jesse said. He crossed his arms and looked at Ben. “You have two kids?”
“She’s my stepmom,” Cooper said. His tone was even. There was a hint of amusement, but otherwise it stayed emotionless.
“I can’t believe you let our little girl see you having sex with a man,” Nicole said.
“She didn’t see us doing shit,” Jesse said. He stepped to block the entire hall as she moved to pass him.
“The tattoos,” Ben said. He took a small step forward. “The snake and… she saw the Jungle Book the other night and…”
“Tattoos? Plural? What else is there?” Nicole asked. She looked Jesse over from head to toe.
“There’s a lot more,” Jesse said. “Want me to show you?”
A wave of revulsion crossed her face and she waved him away. “No, I do not. Let me pass. I want to see Maggie.”
He stepped to the side and let her dart down the hall. Ben quickly followed after her. He paused as he reached Jesse. “I told you to leave.”
“I’m not leaving you to deal with this by yourself,” Jesse said.
“You aren’t helping,” Ben said. The door to Maggie’s room opened and Ben slipped past Jesse to assist in calming their daughter. Jesse looked to the other occupant left in the room. The kid—Cooper—was staring at him.
“Are you a God-fearing man?” Cooper asked. He pushed the hood of his coat down and short blond hair jutted out. The hair was so light it almost looked white. The whole white hair/pale skin thing might not have looked bad on him, except for the dark brown eyes. It made him look—odd. As if all the pigment in his body were focused at that one point of his body.
“No,” Jesse said. “Are you?”
“No,” Cooper said. “Why aren’t you?”
“You first,” Jesse said. He walked into the kitchen to look for some aspirin.
“My answer won’t be one you’d like,” Cooper said. “Did you reject God because he doesn’t approve of your way of living?”
Jesse pulled out a bottle of over-the-counter pain relievers and popped the cap. He shook out four pills. “Which way of living is that?”
“All of it,” Cooper said. “The premarital sex, excess use of drugs, alcohol, lying with a man, adultery, marking your body with—”
“Whoa kid, that’s a lot of judgment. You just met me.”
“It’s not judgment if I’m simply listing the facts. You have done and will continue to do those things. I am asking if you have forsaken God to free yourself from those rules so you can live a lifestyle that brings you immediate gratification.”
“You don’t know that those are facts.”
“You deny them?” Cooper’s eyes went to the floor. “You lie. To everyone, even yourself.” His eyes shot back up and looked into Jesse’s. Those dark brown, practically black, eyes seemed to look directly into Jesse’s soul.
“Why are you here, tonight? In this house?” Jesse asked.
“I think I’m here to meet you,” Cooper said. “But to answer it in the way you meant, I’m not allowed to be home alone. Nicole had to bring me.”
“And why’s that? Why can’t you be home alone?”
“I have a tendency to not stay where people leave me,” Cooper said.
Jesse couldn’t help but grin. This kid was amusing. Egotistical and fighting a hell of a god complex, but still amusing.
Nicole came into the room, holding Maggie to her chest. The girl was bundled in a coat, her face buried against her mother. Ben came after, holding a backpack with a Hello Kitty symbol on it. A little blue bunny’s ears were visible under Maggie’s blond locks.
“We’re leaving,” Nicole said. “Cooper, take the bag.”
“The roads have gotten icier,” Cooper said. “It’s not safe. We should wait.”
Nicole aimed her daggers at Cooper. “I’m the adult, Cooper, and I say we are leaving. Take the bag and get in the car.”
Cooper rose and took the bag from Ben. “For the record, Jesse,” Cooper said. “I don’t view the things you do as sins. And you should forgive yourself, for Angie.”
A chill ran up Jesse’s spine. How the hell did the kid know about Angie?
“Sorry. He does that,” Nicole said. She freed an arm and pushed Cooper toward the door.
“He should start a psychic show. He’d be good,” Jesse said.
About the Author
Nina Schluntz is a native to rural Nebraska. In her youth, she often wrote short stories to entertain her friends. Those ideas evolved into the novels she creates today.
Her husband continues to ensure her stories maintain a touch of realism as she delves into the science fiction and fantasy realm. And their three cats are always willing to stay up late to provide inspiration.
You can find Nina on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.
Her blog, mizner13.wordpress.com, has updates on any current or upcoming novels, plus her thoughts on her most recent reads and movie viewings.
And when you are given the world on a silver platter, it’s downright wicked.
If granted just one wish, what would you choose? Money? Fame? Power? Love?
The world could be your oyster, if you were willing to take the chance.
But choose wisely and prepare for the consequences. Everything has its price. Can you afford it?
Be careful what you wish for. And remember, smiling faces tell lies…
Noah & Josh
The entire world witnessed their fight for love.
Obstacles were beaten and won.
They were living their best lives.
Is that all? Is that the end?
Seriously, did you really think it would be that easy? Oh, hell no.
Their story is just beginning.
Josh and Noah are navigating the twists and turns of their newly public relationship…to varying degrees of success.
When they are lured into the trappings of Hollywood’s influence, they end up on the rollercoaster ride of their lives.
Strap on your seatbelt and get ready for a bumpy ride.
You will need to hold on tight.
Temptation, by any measure, is a fickle beast.
And when you are given the world on a silver platter, it’s downright wicked.
Truth, lies, fame, fortune.
All bonds will be tested.
Will the binds that ground them finally break?
True Faith is a full-length, slow-burn love story. It contains a cast of fully-developed characters that encounter romance, heartache, laughter, and life lessons. It contains adult language, mature themes, and is best enjoyed by those over the age of 18.
About the Author
T.L. always hated math, so it was a good thing she had a way with words. Since she was a shy and quirky kid; words were her best friends. She would imagine entire worlds in her head and talk to herself endlessly. Her mother wondered if she was speaking with ghosts for a while.
Her older sister was a voracious reader of trashy romance novels and would pass them down to her after she had finished them. T.L. was the only 10-year-old kid sitting in class reading “The Stud” by Jackie Collins during reading time. Oddly enough, she never got called out on it.
As she grew older, her tastes evolved, but one thing held fast; her undying attachment to love stories. One day out of the blue, she decided to write the love stories she always wanted to read instead of searching for her story. Since then, writing has been a dream fulfilled for her and she could not be happier.
She enjoys writing about love, regardless of gender and is a proud supporter of the LGBTQ community.
T.L. calls the Pacific Northwest her home and enjoys the quiet rural life of her little oceanside home with her playful/crazy husband and their giant dog Noah.
Michael Bourgeon is a talented artist, young and gorgeous, a stinking rich heir from a well-connected family. He’s the infamous libertine behind the most extravagant parties in Manhattan, and his exploits often lead to juicy tabloid stories. Enjoying his wealth and freedom to the fullest, Michael has the world at his feet. Until someone tries to kill him. Repeatedly. After a security breach among his own staff, he has run out of options where to hide while the FBI hunts the killer. A high-profile private security expert Vincent Nowak is supposed to provide the miracle solution. And while Michael struggles with nightmares and anxiety due to the looming threat, Vincent becomes not only the ultimately reliable protector, but a wonderful distraction, too… A small cabin in the woods, a cocky brat with a soft heart, his gruff, controlling bodyguard, and weeks of tension in a confined space.
A standalone novella based on the original short story Yes, Daddy. HEA, no cliffhangers.
“The rules, Michael.”
“I was literally ten steps away from the cabin, Vincent.” I wanted to defend myself more, but my voice sounded shaky and weak. I snapped my mouth shut.
His hand on my neck tightened, and he pushed me through the door. I stumbled but regained my balance. Vincent shut the door behind us and turned to me.
“Did you do it to rile me up, Mikey?” His expression stayed suspiciously neutral.
“No,” I answered honestly. “I was just bored. You were in your room doing whatever, and I didn’t want to disturb you.”
“My work here is for nothing if you don’t follow the rules.”
I knew it wasn’t his intention, but the command in his voice did things to me. I licked my lips. Don’t think about the fear. You’re safe. Look at him. His shoulders are rising with angry breaths, his eyes flashing with fury. He’s gorgeous…
“Fucking hell, Mikey. I mean it!”
“I’m sorry.” I was getting hard. He was magnificent when he was pissed at me.
“Stop looking at me like that. This is serious.”
“I know.” But I couldn’t help it. My nipples were tingling, and I had to swallow. “Will you punish me?”
“No, you fucking incubus. I’m not rewarding you for endangering yourself on a whim, dammit. You will follow the rules, Michael. How is it possible that if I tell you to keep your hands off your dick, you obey me, but if I ask you to be reasonable so I can keep you alive, you don’t care?”
He was frustrated with me. Shit. It seemed like I wasn’t getting any tonight. My nerves quivered again, my anxiety looming close. Double shit.
“My people report to me every day about everything and anything that happens in the area,” Vincent said. “It takes quite a lot of effort, but it means I can let you out to breathe sometimes. If you do this again, I’ll fucking lock you in the panic room for the rest of the week, I swear.”
“I’m really sorry, Vincent. I won’t do it again.”
He shook his head and took a deep breath, bracing his hands on his hips.
“You are the client from hell, you know that?” His words were hard, but his voice sounded gentle.
Yeah, I wouldn’t want to babysit myself either. “I can double your pay.”
He chuckled at that. “No money can compensate for what you’re doing to me, Mikey.”
I drew in a breath. I was lousy at expressing emotion. Seriously, complete shit at that part. I mean, in sex, I could tell anything and everything, but actual feelings? This man worked tirelessly to keep my stupid head intact, and I only made it more difficult for him from the start because I was a sex-crazed, twisted nervous wreck. I had no words to explain to him how grateful and how sorry I was.
So I stripped naked in the middle of the room and knelt on the floor while Vincent stared, mouth parted, eyes burning. I bent my head in complete submission, arms hanging limply by my sides, and spoke quietly.
“I’m so sorry, Daddy. I promise I won’t break the rules again. Please, forgive me.”
I closed my eyes and waited.
About the Author
Queer fiction author Roe Horvat was born in the post-communist wasteland of former Czechoslovakia. Equipped with a dark sense of sarcasm, Roe traveled Europe and finally settled in Sweden. He came out as transgender in 2017 and has been fabulous since. He loves Jane Austen, Douglas Adams, bad action movies, stand-up comedy, and pale ale. When not hiding in the studio doing graphics, he can be found trolling cafés in Gothenburg, writing, and people-watching.
It is a standalone story in the Scandinavian Comfort series.
Scandinavian Comfort is a series of standalone novels set in Scandinavia, sharing the common theme of Hygge. Hygge is a Danish word that is impossible to translate into a single English word. It’s a concept of finding happiness in the small things, of towing the middle line instead of always aiming for the top and finding joy in your home and sharing time with your family. In Scandinavia you will find that especially Friday evenings are often seen as Hygge time, where families eat favourite foods, light candles and watch a movie, preferably whilst wearing slippers and pyjamas. Another Scandinavian word that is very fitting to this series is the Swedish word Lagom, meaning ‘not too little, not too much’. Just right. This sums up the Scandinavian people in a nutshell.
Live your life well. Not too little, not too much.
Are you brave enough to stay? Or strong enough to walk away?
Mattias Strømme’s life is a recipe for disaster. He is a single dad of a 2-year-old, has an ex-wife who scares him, and a job in finance where he scares everyone else. And now he has been dragged in as a last-minute filler contestant on Baking Battles, the hit reality baking show. Mattias can’t bake. He can barely dress himself in the morning, and he definitely hasn’t got the skills to charm the viewing public, or the wannabe celebs who make up the rest of the show’s contestants. He’s not a nice person. He’s just… nothing. Mattias left his wife when life became unbearable for him and he fell apart. Now, when he is suddenly drowning in a mess of rumours, male supermodels, and unicorn glitter? Will Mattias be brave enough to stay? Or strong enough to walk away?
“Mattias, I’m in fucking deep shit, mate.” Danijel grits out between his teeth as the glass door to his own office slams shut behind them. He’s a small man, slim with some muscle definition showing under his fitted shirt, which is usually immaculate, but today there are patches of sweat forming under his arms, and his closely shaved black hair is getting frequent swipes from Danijel’s hands, a clear sign that something is bothering him.
“What now? I thought everything was going smoothly? Baking Battles is still well under budget, so financially there is nothing to worry about, unless there is a lawsuit brewing that you are about to hit me with.”
Mattias crosses his arms over his chest. He may have spent years taking shit from Sara, but he’s never been a pushover at work. He knows his shit. So does Danijel.
“Please tell me that you can bake.” Danijel almost whispers. “You brought that chocolate tray thing in a few months back when we had the Hygge-Fridays thing going on? Please tell me it didn’t come out of a packet?”
“It didn’t come out of a packet. Who do you think I am? I’m the master of the chocolate tray bake.” Mattias says cockily. Danijel is clearly in some deep shit. Sweat now pouring down his temples.
He should probably mention that Emilia had drooled in the batter and that the traybake he had brought in was his third attempt, and that the mess he had left behind in the kitchen, sparked off one of the worst screaming arguments he and Sara had ever had. He left a week later. It hadn’t been good. That damn cake brought nothing good with it.
“Mattias, we start filming tomorrow at ten, and we are three contestants down. I am officially pulling you in.”
“What?” Mattias shrieks. “It’s a celebrity special. Who the fuck am I supposed to be?”
“You do that finance segment every year on ‘Good Morning Norway’? You know the ’How to do your tax return?’ thing you did? And… and… You did that thing last week, you know when you talked about how to budget for Christmas without getting into debt? You definitely qualify as a celeb. We will just call you a Morning TV financial expert. Close enough. And anyway, everyone loves a bigwig trying his hand at being normal or some shit? Putting your money where your mouth is, or whatever? Getting down with the underdog? Showing your human side? I haven’t got a clue how we will spin it. That’s PR’s role. They will make it work, if you do this. And, Mattias, you are perfect. You are grumpy and impatient and have a fucking temper on you. It will make fantastic TV. The other good thing is that you won’t have a clue who all the other contestants are, so you won’t give a rat’s arse about pegging them down a notch or two, will you? It will be awesome.”
Danijel is chewing on his thumb. Rocking on his heels.
“No. Fucking. Way.” Mattias groans. “Hell no.”
“Why the hell not? You are single, and the girls will be hanging off you. Celeb status guaranteed. Pussy on tap. What’s not to love?”
“Everything Danijel! Every fucking thing! For a start, I can’t bake.”
“That Chocolate tray bake was edible?” Danijel is smiling now.
“I look like shit.”
“You are a handsome devil. Let someone dress you and get a haircut. Shave. Sorted.”
“I’ve got a reputation to protect. I’ll be the fucking laughingstock of the station!”
“People will love you. Profits through the roof. Spin-off series. I have a clear vision in my head.”
Yeah. Danijel is on drugs. Clearly. Standing there with his arms spread out and a dreamy look in his eyes.
“No, Danijel. Not happening. Baking Battles is this station’s number one show, our main cash cow, and we have been seeding this Celebrity special for months. We can’t just throw random contestants in and expect to pull it off. The public will see right through it. It’s desperate, and it’s unprofessional.” Mattias turns around letting his hand rest on the door handle. He is leaving. He is not getting drawn into this.
“Alima said yes.” Danijel says. His shit-eating grin wider than his face.
“Alima?” Mattias’s hand grips the door handle tighter. “Your sister can’t even peel a potato. She feeds her kids microwave meals and thinks it’s gourmet cooking. She’s going on Baking Battles as a contestant? You are kidding, right?”
Danijel’s pushing it here. Alima is his oldest friend. Well, the only friend that has stuck by him throughout his whole divorce mess. She lives life like she is some kind of hardcore Superwoman, and Mattias bloody adores her. She’s also married with a million kids and works full time, and has never baked a cake in her life. He knows that, for a fact.
“Dead serious, Mattias. She owes me one, and anyway someone has to get voted off in the first episode. She doesn’t give a shit, and we are marketing her as the Norwegian ice-hockey team’s physician, which isn’t a lie.”
“She treated their reserve goalie for a sprained ankle. Once.” Mattias whines into his hands. “Danijel, what the hell are you doing? This is crazy?”
“I have no choice Mattias. Amelia Hammerdahl had to pull out with the cocaine scandal that broke on Friday. Trond Pedersen is up for a fucking embezzling charge, and that rapper we were pinning our hopes on? Pregnant. Couldn’t stop puking through the test filming yesterday. We can’t use her, it is just awful. “Danijel actually looks a bit green himself. “So, we are down to Pablo from ‘Say Yay to the Gay’, Ida Sagnefjord from ‘Frognerfruer’, Paulina Sætermark, the news anchor from ‘Dagsrevyen’…”
“And not Mattias Strømme, a boring CFO,” Mattias says firmly. “Forget it, Danijel. It’s stupid, immoral and downright illegal. We are deceiving the public, lying and betraying the trust of the brand. Get yourself on the phone to casting downstairs. I am sure we have some D-list celeb just dying to make a spectacle of themselves on TV over Christmas.”
He walks out the door letting it slam hard behind him. Fucking hell, Danijel.
Mattias’s life is peaceful and quiet, his job rewarding and fulfilling. His daughter is the love of his life.
He doesn’t need this.
It’s eight weeks until Christmas. Four weeks until “Baking Battles, The Celebrity Christmas Special” will premiere in time for the December festive period. Eight mouth-watering spectacular episodes full of Christmas cheer, home-made flavours and quirky heart-warming mistakes by clueless celebrities, showing their human side. Christmas cakes. Fucking gingerbread houses. And fruitcakes… not just of the baked variety.
He’s not going anywhere near it. Nope. Not happening.
About the Author
Sophia Soames should be old enough to know better but has barely grown up. She has been known to fangirl over TV-shows, has fallen in and out of love with more popstars than she dares to remember, and has a ridiculously high-flying (un-)glamourous real-life job.
Her long-suffering husband just laughs at her antics. Their children are feral. The Au Pair just sighs.
She lives in a creaky old house in rural London, although her heart is still in Scandinavia.
Discovering that the stories in her head make sense when written down has been part of the most hilarious midlife crisis ever and she hopes it may long continue.
About the Cover Artist
Christina Stern is a Russian based artist. Quick sketches and portraits drawn in pencil are what she likes to do the most. Her work can be found on @christinastern on Instagram