A lonely Daddy. An innocent boy. A twenty-year age gap. Whatever happens next is in Daddy’s hands.
Finding his way in life all on his own hadn’t been easy for eighteen-year-old Elliot Hedrick, but he’d managed to hold it all together so far.
Even though it was just by the skin of his teeth.
Between his warehouse job and pursuing a career as a professional ballet dancer, he’d been working sixteen-hour days and was still barely making ends meet.
He was fraying at the seams. And he was so damn lonely.
There was nobody for him to lean on, nobody to come to his rescue when things fell apart—it was all up to him to achieve his dreams.
Then suddenly Grant Weston charged into Elliot’s life, his knight in shining armor—literally and figuratively—and despite their twenty-year age gap, Grant couldn’t seem to leave the boy alone. Even though Grant knew he should.
There were too many obstacles between them—and not just their ages. Grant had secrets of his own, ghosts from his past that made him hold back from taking what he really wanted from Elliot.
And what Grant wanted was to make Elliot his boy.
To have a true partner.
But Grant was afraid to trust himself—afraid that history would repeat itself and leave him with a broken heart yet again.
Is age really just a number, or will the years between them end their relationship before it can even start?
Finding His Boy is the first book in a duet taking place in the Safe Harbor universe but can be read as a stand-alone and has an HFN ending. This book is a 90+K word slow burn, steamy romance that features a Daddy/boy relationship between two consenting adult men. No age play. Dual POV. There are explicit descriptions of sexual acts, so this book is intened for a mature audience (18+).
Trigger Warning: On-page physical assault (not between MCs), mention of sexual assault.
Grant knew he should pull back, he should close the door—that would be the smart thing to do. He should be respectful of Elliot’s privacy.
Because if he crossed this line, there would be no going back—all of his noble rationalizing about not taking advantage of Elliot’s vulnerability would be out the window.
But fuck, the boy was incredibly gorgeous—the planes of his slim muscular body highlighted in a soft blue glow from the moon, his face a study in shadow and light. He looked so young, so vulnerable, and so ripe for the taking. Exposed, ready for Grant to sink his teeth into the pale expanse of flesh on display, to mark Elliot as his.
If Grant stepped further into the room now—and he wanted to, oh he’d never wanted anything so badly in his life, he could taste the wanting like metal on his tongue—where would that choice bring them?
Because the boy had no clue what Grant wanted to do to him.
He couldn’t know how Grant wanted to use him. To flay him wide open with word and action and touch, and pick apart the soft tender insides of him, to leave him wanting and vulnerable and his. To deliver the safety and comfort and pleasure that his boy craved and that only he—Grant—could give.
Grant’s own possession.
Those words—his boy—they acted like a bucket of cold water—a wave of uncertainty and apprehension to temporarily subdue his lust. Was this just history repeating itself? Would Elliot realize a year down the line that Grant couldn’t give him what he wanted, and Grant would be left high and dry once again?
Could Grant risk his heart like that again? The thought of sharing that experience with someone, only for his heart to be trampled, handled carelessly, and discarded…
He should leave now, back out and pretend he’d never been here. Just leave and act like nothing had changed the next day. Leave this beautiful boy whole and innocent and let someone else break him in gently, softly, like he deserved. Someone he could grow with, change with, learn with.
Fuck, he was a coward.
But then Elliot opened his eyes. And he parted his lips. And he kept on pumping his hand up and down as he locked his eyes with Grant’s, his heated gaze burning with open desire.
Desire for Grant.
And Grant knew he couldn’t walk away.
About the Author
Just a dreamer fueled by coffee who’s been writing about love that comes in all forms since she got her first word processor. Passionate bibliophile and lover of science, caretaker of humans and friend to dogs.
Ashley Mostrich gets one heck of a birthday surprise when
the guy he brought home for the night turns out to be the twin brother of the prince he
didn’t know he was supposed to marry. Unbeknownst to Ashley, his grandpa made a deal
with a jinn and promised him off to the royal family before he was even born.
Zamir is the heir to the mystical kingdom of Palmyra and
promises he will love Ashley in time, while his younger brother, Zaire, is trying to get into
Ashley ‘s bed again. Ashley wants to be a faithful fiancé to Zamir, but he cannot deny the
powerful chemistry he feels with Zaire. Additional jealousy flares when Ashley discovers that
Zamir’s heart already belongs to another, but the pressure for the wedding is on because
the future of the Palmyran people hinges on a royal union magically producing an
Once Ashley realizes that Zaire’s feelings for him might be
more than physical, he finds himself falling in love with the wrong brother and risking the
fate of the entire kingdom. It’ll take a miracle—or one very powerful wish—for everyone to
have a happy ending.
“Why does everyone keep calling me ‘savior’?”
“You don’t know? About the prophecy?” Zaire questioned
Zaire made a sour face, mumbling a few soft curses before
clearing his throat. “My brother is truly an idiot. Come with me,” he said, taking Ashley’s
arm and guiding him back toward where the little girl was.
People were bringing her little trinkets and baubles,
receiving a slice of the cake from her in exchange. She had a crown of flowers in her hair,
well dressed, and seemed to be of some importance despite her youth.
Ashley watched for a few moments. “Who is that?”
“That is Lady Alana,” Zaire replied, waiting for the name to
settle in Ashley’s brain.
“Lady Alana. Wait, she’s the birthday girl?”
“Yes,” Zaire said, something sad in his voice. “Our people
are dying, Ashley. Slowly but surely, jinn are fading away. Every generation has gotten
smaller and smaller, and there hasn’t been a new jinn child born in over thirty
“Thirty years… Alana was the last one?”
“Yes. Even with all our proper breeding and perfect little
arranged marriages, every mating ritual since her birth has failed. But there’s a prophecy,
you see, that a royal wedding will bless the entire kingdom with an entire new generation of
“Wait a damn second, that little girl is freakin’
“Yes,” Zaire huffed impatiently. “We don’t age as humans
do. Now, do you understand why you are so important?”
“Everyone actually believes that me getting knocked up by
your brother or me knocking him up is the future of your entire race?”
“Mmm, pretty much. It’ll probably be you getting knocked
up, to be honest. But you know, no pressure!”
“Fuck,” Ashley mumbled, rubbing a hand over his face and
chugging his drink.
“My brother knows what’s at stake,” Zaire said gently, a
tone meant to be comforting. “He will make amends for his behavior, I know it.”
“Do you believe the prophecy?”
Zaire’s brows furrowed, and he glanced down at his mug as
he thought over the question. He took a small sip before he said, “I believe that other
people believe it’s true. I’ve never been much for fate or destiny. I much prefer the idea that
I’m in control of my own life.”
“You realize this makes what you did even more screwed
“If the prophecy is real, you risked the future of your race
just to piss off your brother.”
“First of all,” Zaire drawled, wagging his finger, “I never
planned for ‘what we did’ to go that far. I truly had no intentions of having sex with you. I
was expecting to find a blushing virgin, not an insatiable bedroom hellcat—”
“A bedroom what now?”
“And second of all,” Zaire went on with a smirk, “it was
quite impossible to think about the good of my people once I had tasted your gorgeous
“Zaire!” Ashley protested, whipping around to see if
anyone was listening. He stared back at Zaire, and he suddenly realized that although he
could hear his voice, his lips were not moving.
“When you were screaming my name, all I thought about
was wanting to hear that sweet sound as many times as I possibly could.”
Ashley gulped, blood creeping up into his cheeks as he
stammered, “That’s… that’s, uhm, that was very s-selfish of you.”
“I know,” Zaire said out loud with a smug little smile. “I’m a
very selfish person. At times, quite envious as well.”
“Seeing my brother get all the things I want for myself has
become a bit tiresome,” Zaire replied, his lips not moving again, and yet his voice was fully in
Ashley’s ear as he stepped into his space. “Not very fair at all.”
“How, how are you doing that?” Ashley hissed, instinctively
“The talking without talking.”
“Magic,” replied Zaire’s voice in his ear.
“You’ve gotta stop saying those kinds of things,” Ashley
barked, cringing when he noticed his raised voice earned them several curious
“Hmm, I didn’t actually say a thing,” Zaire pointed out
“Fine! Stop not saying those things!”
About the Author
K.L. “Kat” 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 children, some of whom have paws and a few that only pretend
to because they think it’s cute.
Will the past come back to destroy everything they are building? Two strangers meeting by chance, searching for somebody to love, and finding each other.
Rhys had it all…for the most part. He didn’t mind leaving people or dreams in the past because he was determined to carve out a new future with his fiancé, Nick. But like a house of cards, it all came crashing down around him. Nick found someone else to love, and Rhys suddenly found himself with nothing. Will Rhys open his heart again or keep it sealed shut?
Declan experienced a lot as an Army doctor, but once he was able, he got out, tired of war and suffering. When he meets Rhys, Declan sees a brokenness in the other man’s eyes and wants to do anything he can to drive away Rhys’s ghosts. Even if it means risking his own heart.
“Nothing yet.” I breathed deeply and let it out through my nose. “Listen, Declan, I’m fine. Yeah, I’m hurt and heartbroken because I expected more from someone who claimed to love me, but I’m not completely down and out. Eventually, I’ll bounce back better than ever. Period. I know Baker is worried about me, but he doesn’t need to be. As soon as I can, I’ll get out of his hair, and everyone will be happy. You won’t have to worry that I’m using him for my own gain or anything else. Who knows, maybe Montana is where I belong. I have family and friends there, people who care about me, and I wouldn’t be a nuisance. Maybe I could even go back to school and figure out what I want to do with my life. So, you don’t have to pretend to be interested in talking to me any longer. I’ll tell Baker you were nice and tried, but I told you to get lost.”
“You haven’t said that yet.” He grinned.
I turned my head and met his gaze. “Please leave. I need a few minutes to myself.” I should have felt bad for demanding such a thing since he was only trying to be nice, but I didn’t. I’d had enough and needed him gone to lick my wounds. Everything was still too fresh, too raw, too painful, and he kept bringing it up, making it impossible to break away from it at all.
“Sure.” Getting up, he didn’t take his eyes off of me. “For the record, I think it would be a mistake to go back to Montana.” After saying that, he left the room, the door closing with a soft snick.
A mistake? This was the man who admitted he didn’t like me moving in with Baker, not that I had much of a choice. It hadn’t been my plan, but I was glad I had. Getting out of that apartment and not being around certain people has helped to pull me out of the black hole I’d found myself free-falling in; however, I still felt like I was continually clawing my way out, inch by slow inch. At this point, I couldn’t even see a pinprick of light, but I knew it existed, somewhere, hovering above me.
Setting the controller on the table in front of me next to my forgotten drink, I wiped away another tear that had decided to fall. “Why did he have to come in here?” I pulled my legs up again and curled in on myself.
Today, I’d been able to forget, for a time, and pretend I wasn’t hanging on by a thread. Today, I’d been nervous and anxious about meeting new people, but Nick and everything he did to me was pushed to the back of my mind. Today, in some strange way, I’d felt lighter. And then Declan busted through the door like the Kool-Aid Man and broke the glass walls I’d erected to protect myself. He couldn’t let me have just one day? He couldn’t allow me to forget my pain and embarrassment for one stupid, measly day? Was it too much to ask?
My shoulders shook as I silently cried, my tears staining my jeans. When would the wound stop bleeding?
About the Author
Maria Vickers is a bestselling and award-winning author who currently resides in St. Louis, MO with her pug, Spencer Tracy. She has always had a passion for writing and after she became disabled in 2010, she decided to use writing as her escape. Life is about what you make of it, you have to live it to the fullest no matter the circumstances.
From a young age, she has always loved books and even dreamed of being an author when she was younger. Growing up in the Navy, she used to weave tales for her siblings and her friends about anything and everything. And when she wasn’t creating her own stories, she had a book in her hand. They transported her to another world. She hopes that her readers will have the same experience when reading her stories, and that, in some way, they can relate to her characters.
Getting sick changed her life forever, but it also opened doors for her that she thought would always be out of reach.
Can I turn my best friend into more in front of thousands of followers?
Lucas Bentley has been in my life almost as long as I can remember.
The boy next door. My sister’s short fling. My best friend.
And while we have been inseparable like brothers for years now, I have been loving him at a distance in my heart this whole time. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s a tatted, skateboarding bad boy from my dreams.
Now that we’re adults, I want to be out of the friend zone, but after putting myself there for damn near 20 years, I’m not sure he will ever see me another way.
So, like the lovesick fool I am, I’m going to show him how I feel with an audience of thousands and hope I don’t crash and burn back into the friend zone.
If you love it when best friends become more, big romantic gestures, a new kind of bromance, and lots of sarcasm, scroll up to start the first book in the Friend Zone series!
The heartfelt words slip out of my mouth on their own. I only meant to think them. Saying them out loud isn’t at all what I want. It is foolish at best. I can only hope that I didn’t speak loud enough for Will to understand my words.
Of course, I’m not that lucky. I know that because he is frozen in place with a deer in headlights look in his eyes. As the moments pass his expression changes a thousand times. He goes from shock to fear to confusion to sadness to desire, and then starts the cycle all over again. It’s difficult for me to watch. It’s my fault he’s so freaked out.
“What did you say?” he eventually chokes out through lips that don’t appear to move.
“I think you heard me,” I boldly reply. I stand up tall to face him down with the truth for once.
“What does it mean?” he asks, intently gazing into my eyes as if searching my brain for answers.
“You know that, too,” I say with a crooked smile, not even trying to hide from his searching gaze.
The tension in the room gets thicker by the moment. We don’t speak. There’s just a staring contest and a battle against giving in to desire. The room is growing hot. One of us is bound to break. It’s inevitable.
Will takes the first halting step in my direction, and the battle is lost. We collide like freight trains on the same track. Our chests bang together taking our breath away. Neither of us seems to care about whether we can breathe or not. There’s no reason to. We’ve got each other.
Our lips meet in a heated exchange. This is no ordinary kiss, nor is it soft and gentle. Instead it’s demanding, overwhelming, intense, and almost as physically draining as an MMA fight. Our mouths open wide to let the other gain entrance. Tongues battle for supremacy; twisting and turning inside the wetness of our cheeks. Will bites my bottom lip, and I taste the drop of blood that rises from the tiny wound. I gasp with intense joy as he sucks at the droplet, and he growls.
Will is leaning into me. His weight grows heavy against me. I can’t stand in place or hold myself steady. Suddenly, he’s pushing me backwards, and I slam into the wall. I hit it hard, but I like the power he’s using against me. It’s a turn-on. I’m filled with excitement and need. This is a whole new Will. I’ve never seen him like this. I revel in his strength and power.
He holds my arms in a tight grip. They are plastered to the wall. I can’t move, and I really don’t want to. I will let him do whatever he wishes to me. I need him to control me. At the moment, he’s ravaging my lips. I don’t fight back. I take everything he’s giving and savor it. I pray he never comes to his senses. I want more which scares me in a delightful way.
About the Author
A Mommy, vampire fanatic, Harry Potter nerd, and hopeless romantic are just a few of the things to describe the enigmatic personality of one, Lucy Ravens. A long time author with two bestselling pen names, she has now expanded into the MM universe after she read some of her first MM rom coms and fell in love with how they can be romantic, sweet, and sexy all at once in a way contemporary romance for MF couples has somehow lost. She hopes to bring all her quirks over to this pen name to entertain readers and make them swoon!
My first relationship ended with a dramatic event, and police involvement. Needless to say, I wasn’t keen starting a new one. But a knock on the door one random night changed everything. After exchanging some witty banter through my closed oak door, safety first, I threw it open to find an exquisite bearded man, hair tied back, muscles on display… all-in-all, my fantasy come to life.
I wove elaborate dreams around the two of us within minutes, yet my illusion shattered when I learned he was straight. But the protective and intense man became a fixture in my life, and no matter how many times I tell myself he’s not available, I stubbornly hold out hope.
I can’t figure out what shocked me more. The realization I’m not only attracted to a man, but to my dazzling, openly gay, younger next-door neighbor who makes every protective instinct in me flare. Or at the ripe old age of thirty-four, I’m stupidly fighting against my one chance at happiness.
Despite my grumpy and staid personality, the brilliant and funny man introduced me to his world, his family, and worked his way into my heart. The more I’m immersed in everything Neko, my desire for him only grows.
Yep, completely screwed.
Gamer’s Choice features an age gap, bisexual awakening romance between a professional let’s player and his new neighbor. It’s a standalone gay/bisexual romance with an instant connection and a ten-year age difference.
~Descriptions of domestic violence and stalking, includes abuse from an ex-partner, descriptions of an attempted assault with a weapon. Please avoid if the subject matter is triggering.~
I don’t know why I did this to myself.
The situation was not tenable. I hunched my shoulders close to my ears, spine frozen in place and arched away from the back of my ergonomic chair, and if I tensed any more, I’m sure I would sprain something.
My gaze darted around the darkened room and I listened out for any signs of the upcoming attack, and I realized I hadn’t spoken in several minutes. I found a locker for a momentary reprieve and slipped inside.
But as I opened my mouth, hoping whatever words I spewed forth came across as witty and brilliant, the ghost girl who’d stalked me for two hours popped up in front of my hiding space with no warning, baring her teeth with a growl.
To add to my humiliation, she surged toward me with a screech. An embarrassing scream punched up from my chest and past my throat as I wretched the headphones from my ears and covered my eyes with my hands.
I listened to my heart thumping hard in my chest, worrying me for a long minute, until the rhythm decreased and my fear dissipated.
It’s not real. So not real.
By the time I opened my eyes, I caught sight of the screen as the fake blood dripped down from the top of the monitor and the words ‘Game Over’ flashed at me.
My eyes tracked up toward the camera and I said, “Well, that’s all I have time for today. Yes, I am going to pass the last few minutes off as though they never happened. I hope you enjoyed that as much as Echo will, and I’ll catch you next time. Later.”
I held up two fingers, flashing the peace sign, my signature, I stopped the recording before reaching for the stainless steel bottle I kept handy. With the last remnants of the ice-cold water swirling around, enough to sustain me and sooth my sore throat until I dragged myself downstairs for a refill and cooked myself dinner, I tilted the bottle back and swallowed.
My best friend, who was the greatest editor I’ve ever known, was waiting for my text. She’d handle everything for the upload.
It’s ready for you. Don’t laugh too hard.
Got it. I’ll laugh the right amount, thank you very much.
I shook my head and stood.
Like me, Echo started her career because of an interest in something she loved. She cut her own movie trailers, which she somehow included proper voice overs, and they were so much better than what a normal Hollywood production churned out.
When I started gaming online, she offered to edit my videos, which involved me rambling through whatever game I was playing, hoping whoever watched paid more attention to the game than my acne covered face and squeaky voice. My excuse for the awkwardness… I was sixteen.
Since then, I’ve developed into a lanky, long-limbed, acne-free, deep-voiced man who enjoys speaking to others through the internet and connecting them to a community they are proud of. I thank the deities above I moved past puberty without causing harm to myself or others.
But Echo followed my channel and realized before I did that I’d gained subscribers at a steady rate. She promoted herself to my full-time editor when we were nineteen. Although she has her own successful channel, a fashion and beauty one, I keep her busy with my upload schedule.
My stomach growled, and I shot a glance at the clock. Two hours past my normal recording time. I stretched my arms over my head, hearing the usual popping sounds in my joints from whenever I sat too long at my desk.
Done for the day, I tucked in my chair and reached over to shut off the three monitors, but as I turned to exit, I noticed my opened office door.
Although my house was on the corner of a cul-de-sac with a gigantic yard surrounding it, I attempted to keep my profession from bothering my neighbors. So I closed the door whenever I recorded because I’m not quiet. And when I remodeled the house a few years before, I added soundproofing to the entire top floor.
I’d chosen to buy the house because the bedrooms were on the second floor. The rooms were spacious enough my setup was away from the windows, and the bonus had been the rest of the place. Curved doorways, wooden floors throughout, the modern kitchen that included a farmhouse sink along with the dual oven gas range, and the sunroom that faced the backyard.
The three-bedroom house was enormous for only me. But my family lived close by and on the weekends, and sometimes during the week when mom and dad hounded them about homework and the possibility of their interest in either boys or girls, my parents weren’t picky, my twin sisters stayed over with me.
It wasn’t as if I had a social life they could interrupt. I’d tried years before, and it turned out to be a disaster, so I’d given up. Instead, I concentrated on my career. And when I wasn’t working, I divided my time between Echo or my family.
Tired of my depressing thoughts of being alone with no man in my bed, I headed out of the room and downstairs, wondering what I might make for dinner. After, I would indulge in a true crime YouTube marathon.
The moment I hit the last step, a knock from the front door stopped me in my tracks. At close to nine on a school night ruled out my sisters dropping in for a visit, and Echo was busy editing. Curious, I padded over to the front door.
Thinking myself stealthy in my woolen-clad feet, I stopped about a half a foot in front of solid oak and placed my hands on the smooth wood before inching forward. Through the peephole, my eye focused on a solid figure facing away from me. He was tall, so my tired brain played out a fantasy where a gorgeous man realized he could no longer live without me and was waiting outside to declare his feelings.
But what’s the likelihood of that?
Still freaked out from being immersed in a horror game and catching the damp chill of the night air from the thunderstorm earlier, I opened my mouth and forced words through my tight throat.
“You are unfamiliar to me, so before I open this door I have to ask, are you a serial killer?”
Yeah, my conversation skills rock.
The man turned toward the door, but his height prevented me from seeing any defining features. The deeper voice on the other side answered, “Um, that’s a new one. I’m not, but I don’t know if you’re going to take my word for it.”
“Shit! You make a good point. Well, let me ask you this? Are you here to use my phone because your car broke down and your mobile ‘died’?”
My dumb ass used air quotes as if he could see me. To be honest, I’m surprised I’m still alive.
The stranger huffed out a snicker. The sound did not send flutters of pleasure through me.
“Are you always this suspicious?”
My head nodded up and down before I slapped my forehead and replied, “I think that’s what an untrustworthy, immoral man would say, using reverse psychology to make me feel guilty for being unhelpful, which would make me lower my inhibitions and let you inside.”
The man had the nerve to laugh, a deep, throaty, sexy sound. He asked, “You read that in a book, right?”
“Well, I didn’t read it, per se, I heard it in an audiobook from a retired FBI agent about how following your instincts could save your life and the only reason I listened to it because both of my sisters refused. I admit, it scared the poop out of me, but if I can keep them safe, I would do it again.”
“That’s fair, I suppose. But no, I’m not here to harm you and I’m not a criminal. I heard a scream and thought it was a woman in distress, so I thought I would check.”
My hesitation forgotten in that moment, I jerked open the door and glared at the chest in front of me.
Sometimes I hated being short.
I gulped as my eyes traveled upward until I met amused gray eyes, one eyebrow arched in question.
“I knew that would do it?” The tall man who I would love to climb said.
“Shit, did I say that aloud?”
Another chuckle and I forced my eyes up again.
About the Author
Valerie resides in Denver, Colorado with her husband. While she had been interested in writing a romance novel for years, it wasn’t until she wrote her first book that she really became hooked, and now she can’t stop. She has notebooks full of ideas, and she plans to write most of them in the years to come.
When she’s not writing or learning about the craft of writing, she can be found surfing the internet way too much, watching Investigation Discovery and thinking that her neighbors are up to no good, and finding new ways to get her husband to laugh.
Connor is out. Liam is the secretly gay football player. Together they must navigate a hush-hush relationship while working together to solve the murder of Liam’s sister.
17-year-old Connor doesn’t believe his best friend’s death was an accident. Falling down the stairs was random, and Connor can’t help but wonder if someone might’ve pushed her… Determined to find out the truth, Connor starts his own investigation. Along the way, he discovers Evelyn’s affair with a married man and thought she was pregnant before she died. Connor thinks he’s found her killer, but an airtight alibi forces him to look in a new direction. Perhaps closer to home. Complicating the situation more is Connor’s own secret – an unexpected hook up with Evelyn’s twin brother, Liam, at a party the previous spring. Afterward, Liam goes on a homophobic rant and punches Connor, leaving him confused. His confusion deepens when, after Evelyn’s death, Liam apologizes and they start to hook up secretly. Liam is trapped between his attraction to Connor and his abusive father. Connor struggles with his growing attraction for Liam. Their secret rendezvous are fun, but if Connor is going to have more with Liam, he’ll have to be honest about his feelings and his suspicions on who killed Evelyn. Will either survive the truth coming out?
I left the hair salon the following evening.
A faint chill permeated the air, and the waxiness of the full moon glinted against the ground, providing extra lighting while I walked to my Mercedes.
Normally, I wouldn’t have picked a 7:00 P.M. appointment, but it was all the hair salon had had on such short notice.
“The fuck you doing at a hair salon?” someone called.
I whipped my body around. Liam stood about ten feet from me.
“I’ve gotta go.” I pulled out my car keys, then grabbed the car door handle.
“Please don’t leave,” he pleaded.
I looked over my shoulder, meeting his eyes. “Why would I do you any favors?”
“Because I wanted to apologize.”
Wow. Lucky me, getting two surprises in less than a week. First Evelyn’s death, now this. The only difference was that there was a chance this surprise would be wanted.
About the Author
Chris Bedell’s previous publishing credits include Thought Catalog, Entropy Magazine, Chicago Literati, and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, among others. His debut YA Fantasy novel IN THE NAME OF MAGIC was published by NineStar Press in 2018. His 2019 books include his NA Thriller BURNING BRIDGES (BLKDOG Publishing) and his YA Paranormal Romance novel DEATHLY DESIRES (Deep Hearts YA). In addition to his YA Thriller BETWEEN LOVE AND MURDER, Chris had several other books released in 2020, including his YA Contemporary I’LL SEE YOU AGAIN (Deep Hearts YA). Furthermore, Chris graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2016.
Austin Steele is my idol. He’s also the guy I can’t get enough of.
Austin Steele is my idol. He’s also the guy I can’t get enough of.
Everyone thinks they know who I am—one of pop’s biggest divos. They don’t know me at all. Austin Steele makes me want to see the real me, only there’s some problems:
We’re both omegas, he’s nineteen years my senior, he’s nursing old wounds, and he wants to keep what’s happening between us a secret.
I thought a one-night stand was all I wanted. Now it’s becoming so much more. But how can we look to the future when we can’t let go of our pasts?
Unapologetically Me is the third book in Offbeat Shifters, an m/m paranormal romance series with a continuing storyline. This book includes a misunderstood and unapologetic Arctic fox shifter, a caring capuchin monkey shifter, and a HFN ending. While it’s set in an alternate universe where omegas give birth, there are no pregnancy or birth scenes in this book.
“I can’t remember the last time I just hung out with someone before this week.” I laid my head on his shoulder. “That’s not true. It was right before my first album went viral.”
“That’s a long time.” Austin didn’t sound even remotely surprised.
“I guess you know how that feels, huh?”
“The cupcakes will be cool enough to decorate.” I cleared my throat and stood.
We’d been having fun, and I didn’t want to drag the day down with drama about how lonely I was. Had been. Could I consign my loneliness to past tense now that I was spending time with Austin?
“I’ll help you make some icing if you want.”
“That might help,” Austin said around a chuckle.
I showed him the recipe I liked to use, loaded up a piping bag for him, and hand over hand showed him how to use it.
“You’ve gotta be gentle,” I said as I left him to it.
I carefully cut a hole out of the centre of each of my cupcakes, into which I pushed a fresh strawberry. Then I popped the top back on and began to ice them. I’d coloured my icing a soft shade of pink, much paler than the bright red of the strawberries. Using a controlled motion, I spiralled the icing onto the top of each cupcake.
“Bollocks!” Austin said.
I looked around to see that his hands were covered in icing, and the nozzle had shot off the piping bag onto one of his cupcakes. Icing dripped everywhere.
I couldn’t help but laugh. “You squeezed too hard, didn’t you?”
“It wasn’t coming out,” he grumbled.
He put the piping bag into a bowl, washed his hands, and grabbed a spoon. I watched for a moment as he dolloped icing onto the top of each cupcake. They looked anything but pretty. Still chuckling to myself, I finished mine off by sprinkling the tiny pieces of chopped strawberry over the icing.
“It’s obvious who’s won,” Austin said.
“No, it’s not. Don’t we have to do a taste test or something?”
“I guess so.”
“Get a couple of plates out.”
He complied. I cut one of his cupcakes in half and put a piece on each plate, then did the same with one of my own.
“We could use our fingers?”
“I’m pretty sure that’s not how they do it on cooking shows.”
Austin smiled and grabbed a couple of forks. “We should taste the same one.” He handed me a fork. “Mine first.”
“So we’re saving the best until last? We’ll need to eat yours to get rid of the taste of mine.”
“They can’t be that bad.”
He raised his eyebrows. We both took a bite.
“Oh.” The cupcake was like a dry rock in my mouth.
“See what I mean?” Austin said around his own mouthful.
I grabbed some water to wash it down. “They’re not bad for a beginner. A little dry.”
“You might want to try adding a bit of milk when you’re mixing the ingredients. It helps to make the mixture light and fluffy.”
“What would help the taste?”
“Some vanilla-bean paste. It’s much better than vanilla extract,” I added, glancing at the small brown bottle of extract that Austin had bought but obviously not used in his own cakes.
Austin nodded thoughtfully before trying my cake. He closed his eyes and murmured his approval. “Now this is like an orgasm in my mouth.”
I snorted a laugh. “A what?”
“An orgasm in my mouth.” He devoured the rest of his half of the cupcake and then put his plate down. “You win.” He wrapped his arms around my waist.
“What do I win?”
“A kiss.” His lips and tongue tasted of strawberries and icing.
Check out the first two books in the Offbeat Shifters Series
Colette’s personal love story began at university, where she met her future husband. An evening of flirting, in the shadow of Lancaster castle, eventually led to a fairytale wedding. She’s enjoying her own ‘happy ever after’ in the north of England with her husband, two beautiful children and her writing.
The books in the Pizza Chronicles series follow the main character, RV, through his high school years, as he tries to answer his many questions about life, God, prayer, sexuality, being the son of immigrants, and staying loyal to his heritage while carving out his own life and relationships.
The stories should be read in order.
Book #1: Why Can’t Life Be Like Pizza?
Book #2: Why Can’t Freshman Summer Be Like Pizza?
Book #3: Why Can’t Relationships Be Like Pizza?
Overall Heat Rating for the series: 1 flame
Book Title: Why Can’t Relationships Be Like Pizza?
Author: Andy V. Roamer
Publisher: Nine Star Press
Length: 58 000 words/ 272 pages
Release Date: March 15, 2021
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Trope: Forming relationships
Themes: Maintaining relationships through difficulties/helping friend through tragedy
This is a continuation of Book #2 of The Pizza Chronicles
In Why Can’t Relationships Be Like Pizza?, Book #3, RV begins sophomore year in high school, though his relationships create more questions than answers.
RV is trying to maintain his newfound friendship with Bobby, but it’s becoming harder and harder. Bobby seems a different, more distant, person. RV’s friend Carole is distracted with the ups and downs in her relationships with the French boyfriends she met during her summer in Paris. RV’s new friend Mark is focused on his family’s troubles. School is a mixed bag. But Mr. Aniso, RV’s former teacher and mentor, is there to lean on, especially when near tragedy strikes and RV needs Mr. Aniso’s counsel to stay strong and provide help where it’s needed most.
Excerpt from Why Can’t Relationships Be Like Pizza?
“Hey, RV! Long time no see.”
“Can I sit down?”
This was the school lunchroom, not Joe’s Pizza, but it was still nice to be sitting there with Bobby. It feels like ages since we’ve had any time together. Another one of the Big Guy’s tricks? Last year Bobby was my Biology partner. I got to know him and really like him. And I think he liked me. This year I hardly ever see him. Even at lunch. I know he’s busy on the varsity football team, but that excuse is getting pretty old. So, are we not supposed to like each other anymore? Is that what you’re telling me, Big Guy?
I tried to push the Big Guy out of mind and concentrate on Bobby. He asked me how I was doing.
“Fine,” I said. “How are you doing?”
Bobby and I sat there in silence for a bit. “How’s football?” I asked, just to keep the conversation going.
Bobby started telling me about the game last week. He was excited because he caught a long pass for a touchdown.
“That’s great!” I said.
“Yeah. My first varsity touchdown for Latin!”
I raised the can of Coke I was drinking. “Go Bobby! Here’s to more touchdowns!”
“Thanks.” Bobby raised the soda he was drinking, and we clinked cans.
“I’m really happy for you,” I said. “Latin’s hero.”
“Thanks,” Bobby said again, though I could see he was a little embarrassed by my compliments.
Was he blushing? Remembering what had happened in the woods, I had a sudden urge to touch his face. I wondered if Bobby would ever let me do that again.
There was another small moment of silence as Bobby looked away from me and focused on his sandwich. “So, what’s new with you?” he asked, still chewing on his food.
“Nothing much,” I answered. “I’m studying hard, waiting for my PSAT scores, trying to stay out of trouble.” I told him about the Halloween party. “I wish you’d been there. We had a great time.”
“Yeah, I heard.” Bobby looked away again. “I—I was tired. Practice takes a lot of out of me, so I need to rest.”
“Yeah, I guess it does.”
“Sorry I wasn’t there though. It sounds like it was good.”
“Yeah, it was.” I told him about what Mr. Felucci said. That the teachers would help us out with anything we were doing on climate change.
Bobby nodded. “That’s great.”
Why did I get the feeling Bobby was just nodding to agree with me? That his mind was on other things and he didn’t care one way or the other what I was saying?
We were silent again. Bobby finished his sandwich, cleaned up his area, and stood up suddenly. “Gotta go, RV. I’m late. Nice to catch up with you.”
“Yeah. Good to catch up.”
“See you soon.” He turned back around as he was leaving. “At another game maybe?”
And he was gone.
I felt more and more depressed as he walked away. I’ve never spent any time with Bobby that felt so awkward. Not knowing what to say to each other? When did that happen to Bobby and me? What did it mean?
Something definitely has changed in our friendship. And it makes me very sad. And I don’t know what to do about it. I suppose Mr. Aniso would tell me I need to talk to Bobby. Do I have the guts to do that? What would I say? And what would Bobby say back? Just thinking about that gets me so scared.
In Why Can’t Life Be Like Pizza? RV begins freshman year at demanding Boston Latin School, doing his best to keep up and fit in while wrestling with his immigrant heritage and his sexuality.
Wrestling with his sexuality, along with a lot of other things, RV thinks all is okay when he starts going out with Carole. But things get more complicated when RV develops a crush on Bobby, a football player in his class, who admits he may have gay feelings, too. Bobby is African American and facing his own pressures. Luckily, RV develops a friendship with Mr. Aniso, his Latin teacher, who is gay and always there to talk to when the pressure becomes overwhelming.
Book Title: Why Can’t Freshman Summer Be Like Pizza?
Author: Andy V. Roamer
Publisher: Nine Star Press
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Length: 50 200 words/196 pages
Release Date: June 1, 2020
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Trope: Summer Vacation
Themes: Obstacles to exploring sexuality and enjoying summer
This story is a continuation of Book #1 with the same characters
Tagline In Why Can’t Freshman Summer Be Like Pizza? RV and Bobby have survived freshman year and are looking forward to spending a wonderful summer together. But life has other plans.
RV and Bobby’s summer is not what they wish for. They hardly have time to spend with each other.Bobby is busy at football camp and working at a job his father has pressured him into taking. RV is busy with a summer job, too, and also has to help his parents pass their U.S. citizenship test. His friend Carole jumps at the chance to spend her summer in Paris. As always, Mr. Aniso, RV’s Latin teacher is there to talk to when RV gets too lonely. He’s also there when RV inadvertently spills one of Bobby’s secrets, and Bobby is so angry at him RV is afraid he’s ready to cut off the friendship.
About the Author
Andy V. Roamer grew up in the Boston area and moved to New York City after college. He worked in book publishing for many years, starting out in the children’s and YA books division and then wearing many other hats. This is his first novel about RV, the teenage son of immigrants from Lithuania in Eastern Europe, as RV tries to negotiate his demanding high school, his budding sexuality, and new relationships. He has written an adult novel,Confessions of a Gay Curmudgeon, under the pen name Andy V. Ambrose. To relax, Andy loves to ride his bike, read, watch foreign and independent movies, and travel.