Torn between finding answers and escaping chains, can
Michael trust his werewolf lover or is the devious vampire prince the only one truly on his
“And if I am a monster? Will you want me then?”
Ten days after the battle at Blackriver, Michael struggles
with new forbidden desires, with his rampant Flame, and a deepening relationship with the
taciturn werewolf, Commander Gabriel Flanagan.
Feeling responsible for their loss, Michael longs to rescue
the students stolen by the manipulative vampire prince, Alexei Vasiliev. But the High Council
refuses to free Michael from his chains. They fear the whisperer — the half-breed who
decimated an entire company of soldiers and came back from the dead. Yet, Michael still
yearns for a future among the Guardians. For a place beside his Finnish, silver-eyed giant.
For a home within the crazy supernatural world he’s now bound to.
But does Michael still have a future? He’s a descendent of
the Warlock — from a bloodline that produces only monsters. If discovered, not even his
protective lover can save him from certain execution. He may not want to.
Dark Fate is the second book in the Flame Born
series. This MM urban fantasy/paranormal romance is action packed, featuring steaming hot
scenes, a hunk of an alpha love interest, a chocolate scented snarky vampire prince, a clever
best friend who can kill a man with her little finger, and one too many shady characters to
count. See inside for trigger warnings on both books.
I grip the sink edge, knuckles white, and glare at the
contents of the glass vial lying beside the tap. The viscous liquid, the color of a fine bottled
wine, looks so innocuous. Innocent. A random sample of blood.
There’s nothing innocent about this vial’s contents.
Every time I see it, my mouth salivates with the need for a
taste. Whenever I take the vial from my pocket to caress the cool glass in my hand, a
clamoring monster of desire rips through me like a fire.
Not this time.
I swipe up the tube, twist out the cork, and prepare to pour
the blood away. Metal clanks against ceramic, echoing through the small bathroom, as the
chain between my wrist manacles knocks the sink. A heady smell of cocoa and figs hits my
nostrils. My hand falters. God, that scent.
An urgency to inhale the smell deep into my lungs, to press
the glass into my lips and lick the rim, almost takes control.
Alexei. That devious vampire. He knew exactly what he was
doing when he left me with this. His blood constantly tugs at me like an unfinished song.
Like a broken tooth my tongue won’t leave alone.
I could wash temptation away. Watch clear water turn
burgundy as the vile substance slides into the drain.
I’ve faced this trial for ten days, and the result never
I’ve tried to show the vial to Flanagan. Tried to hand it over
so he can smash the glass and destroy the contents. Somehow, it always returns to my
hiding places. A dirty secret.
About the Author
I’m a simple northern English
lass with an addiction to writing, as well as all things romance. Also addicted to cats, cat
videos, and anything with, you know, cats in it. And there’s chocolate, and tea, coffee too,
and rainy Sundays. Okay, I have many addictions. But my first love has always been story in
all its forms, from movies to books to anecdotes told over a beer at the local pub. If we’re
sharing a story, I’m all ears. And if it’s fantasy with sexy heroes and vampires and lots of
angsty luuurve, I’m probably drooling. Come in, pour yourself a tea, and kick your shoes off.
Let me tell you a story.
I’m not a fan of Christmas. I’m happy to stay up in my
mountain cabin and let the silly season pass me by. But when a friend asks for a favor, I
can’t say no. Now I’m stuck in my cabin during a snowstorm, trapped with the most
beautiful man I’ve ever met—who can’t wait to get away. He just might break my heart
when he goes.
I’m racing to get home for the birth of my goddaughter
when mechanical troubles force my plane’s emergency landing. There are no beds at the inn
due to a horrendous storm, but a friend says she knows a guy who won’t mind putting me
up until the bad weather passes. Now I’m trapped with that man, and I must decide if I stay,
hiding from the rest of the world, or go and face my past to earn a shot at my happily ever
This is a 72k word, hurt/comfort, lumberjack/nurse,
grumpy/sunshine, forced proximity MM romance novel with a moderate amount of
All of a sudden, the mechanical whirr of a window
descending sounded through the cabin, and within moments, a blast of cold air hit my
I glanced in the side mirror, and damned if the dog didn’t
have her head stuck out the window. She must’ve climbed over my bag and, apparently,
knew how to lower the window.
“I’m rolling up the window.”
More whirring, and an indignant yip.
I didn’t speak dog, but I knew pissed when I heard
“I don’t care.” Maddox gripped the steering wheel so
tightly his knuckles were white.
“Okay. One French fry. But that’s all you’re getting. Zephyra
said no more treats.”
I hesitated. None of my business, but I couldn’t help myself.
“Uh, if you don’t mind me asking, who is Zephyra?” I probably didn’t need to know, but this
was the first conversation in about fifteen minutes, and even if I was interrupting
dog/human communication, I wanted in on the discussion.
“Dr. Zephyra Dixon is Sophia’s veterinarian. Her clinic is
across from the A&W, and she might have spotted me giving Sophia a
Two quick successive yaps.
Ah, now the truth was coming out.
Sofia placed her front paws on the center console by my
elbow and nuzzled my ear again.
“Holy crap, dog, you’re all wet.” And cold.
“Hence the reason I don’t want her rolling down the
window. Doesn’t have the sense God gave her.”
I glanced over my shoulder to find a grinning pup. Oh, she
was mighty pleased with herself.
“At least she’s strapped in.” I’d noticed that. Some kind of
harness system. She could go back and forth between the two back windows and come up
to the front console, but was clearly secured.
“There’s a reason for that.”
I waited, but no further elucidation came. “Care to
A grunt. “Not long after I got her, we were driving home
from town. When I arrived at my place, the back seat was empty.” He shot a quick glare at
the dog who didn’t appear the least bit cowed. “She won’t tell me if she slipped or jumped,
but she’d gone out the window when I’d slowed down to make a left. Took me two hours of
walking the back roads. Finally, someone stopped and told me where they’d seen her. Little
shit.” That last bit was muttered, but clearly audible.
I turned to face Sofia. “That must have been
A snort. “Little dear was lapping up the luxury in someone’s
backyard, sunning herself after a dip in the kiddie pool. Damn lucky no one shot
“Shot her?” I pressed a hand to my chest.
“Plenty of my neighbors have guns. Wouldn’t be legal, but
that wouldn’t stop some of them. She lucked out.”
I tweaked her nose. “Did you hurt yourself?”
A snicker. “She was just fine. Shaved a couple of years off
my life, but she was no worse for wear.”
Ah, so he did have a heart.
For his dog, at least.
About the Author
Gabbi lives in beautiful British
Columbia where her fur baby chin-poo keeps her safe from the nasty neighborhood
squirrels. Working for the government by day, she spends her early mornings writing
contemporary, gay, sweet, and dark erotic BDSM romances. While she firmly believes in
happy endings, she also believes in making her characters suffer before finding their true
love. She also writes m/f romances as Gabbi Black.
An alliance forged through
marriage. The cost? One Man’s dream.
An alliance forged through marriage. The cost? One Man’s dream.
Tristan dreams of the day he’ll succeed his father as the
next Warlord of Markaytia. Elves—creatures famous for their darker passions and
tantalizing culture—approach the Markaytian king with an offer he can’t refuse: an alliance
with the Elves for the one Tristan Kanes.
Tristan is forced to give up his dream.
He’s not thrilled, but Tristan is a man of duty above all else.
What choice does he have? He cannot refuse the king or Markaytia. He begrudgingly comes
to terms with the arranged marriage. Is he a tad sour about it? Yes, but he’ll get over it.
Maybe it won’t be so bad. Elves have cool weapons,
maybe he’ll get one?
Corrik bans him from cool weapons.
Corrik’s seen Tristan’s gruesome death on the point of a
sword in a prophetic vision. He bans Tristan from picking up a sword ever again. Tristan
wants to accept the marriage with grace to make his people proud, but he resents Corrik for
his remorseless attitude over his life’s work.
Facing the Ice Prince and himself.
Tristan’s conflict follows him on the journey to the
mysterious Elven land of Mortouge. He hates Corrik for taking him from the life he loved,
boy does he, but his new Elven husband is an enigma and he’s captivated. He sets Tristan’s
blood on fire and freezes it at the same time. Corrik unravels Tristan’s true nature and
despite his best efforts, Tristan falls for his ice prince.
But Corrik won’t bend.
Corrik wants to be obeyed. He’s demanding and
possessive. He’s overbearingly protective.
Can these two find a suitable compromise? Or will Tristan’s
resentment and Corrik’s arrogance ruin forever their chance at love?
Tristan by Mock (S. Legend) is a gay romance fantasy featuring enemies-to-lovers vibes, an age
gap, arranged marriage, first times, and a happy ending (um, eventually). This is the first
action-adventure romance in the Tristan Trilogy. Mock may have written it down, but truly
it’s told by your lovable host, Tristan Kanes. He’s funny, sarcastic and while it may not seem
it at times, he’s the real person in charge of this story.
Hi. I’m Tristan Kanes. At least I was once upon a time. Tomorrow, who knows who I’m going
to be? But I digress. I’m getting ahead of myself as usual. I’ll back up a bit. I thought it would
be a good idea to attempt to run away from my destiny, but destiny tends to follow a
I’ve reached the upper ridges of Markaytia’s North Wood and I’ve been gone for several
hours. Lucca will come after me soon. I creep to the edge of the plateau and look out to her,
to Markaytia. Tomorrow, I’m to marry an Elven Prince. I know it sounds luxurious, every
boy’s dream and all, but it isn’t that simple.
I must give up my entire life for this man.
It’s not long before I hear footsteps I recognize behind me. I’m certain of whom it is. I don’t
even turn to look, until the tree branch pokes into my back.
He wants to fight me today, does he? I jump up with lightning speed, conditioned from the
day I could stand on two feet and because I always take reconnaissance of my surroundings,
I know there is a stick for me to use against him, two feet away. I snatch it up and take a
defensive stance against my assassin. I strike, slice, slash, pierce, and segment his pathetic
battle strategy—well, pathetic against mine. My cousin is a formidable swordsman—I
outsmart him at every turn with my dexterous footwork and accom‐ plished foresight.
We’ve fought in many battles since the time we were fifteen and trained together from
almost the moment we sprang from the womb—it’s in our blood. Peace is a warrior’s
mission, yet in succeeding, he renders himself useless. It makes him no less driven to battle.
Peace is a fleeting season, even for Markaytia, and I sense that this season of peace has had
its turn and war is on the horizon. Either way, everywhere is dangerous now and the people
need protection. War will continue to happen whether I want it to or not and when it does, I
want to be the one leading the troops.
Now to convince my husband-to-be of that.
About the Author
Some of you know her as
Mock, others as S. Legend, or Miss S. She welcomes all names but will often go by Mock, a
name given to her by her readers.
Mock is an ambitious
creative, weaving the most precious aspects of her soul into stories. She is an architect,
building fascinating worlds, designed from inquiry, rooted in worldly wonderings. It’s an
intuitive process where she is the scribe, the translator, the conduit.
It helped that storytelling was
the language spoken at home. One simply didn’t say, “We have an ant infestation. ” In
Mock’s family it was, “I was on my way to the living room, when a peculiar ant crossed my
path. I looked to my right, a suspicious line of them marched toward the pantry. In that
moment I knew; my kitchen was under siege.” The natural flow of conversation always took
When Mock wrote her first
novel, she didn’t plan it chapter by chapter, there was no outline, no “plotting” to speak of.
But she didn’t “pants” it either, she didn’t make it up as she went along. She knew how the
story felt, where it curved in places and hollowed in others; she knew the destination it
rushed toward. Instead of orchestrating, she let the world inspire her, and held space for
the words to come, trusting the characters knew what they were doing. All she had to do
was tell a story, as she always had done; like breathing.
This is her peace, her healing
and solace: Gifts better shared.
Mock’s works are the comfort
you seek when you need to come home. Her unique writing style will take you, wayfaring
reader, to unexpected destinations.
She always says, “I’m not in
the business of making up stories, I couldn’t if I tried. I’m lucky enough to get picked to
share someone else’s story when I ask a question to the universe. Someone answers; I write
Curtis Michael is a worldly
creative and proud member of the LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities. Having traveled and
taught drama overseas for upwards of the past decade, he has somewhat recently taken up
voice acting and narration. You’ll hear some of the flavourings of his experience in the
Tristan audiobook, as the characters are wildly inspired from not only the world of Tristan,
but also Curtis’ different cultural encounters. With two dogs, two cats and a Corrik of his
own, Curtis currently resides in Southeast Asia. He can be found on the many beaches or
secluded in his vocal booth poring over juicy stories at every chance he gets.
Demons are expected to
hate the Imperian, but what if he’s your mate?
Praetor Sashati Soriandras is adjusting to his wonderful
new life as part of the Council of Sorcery and Shifters. His new leader’s choice to leave the
demonic realm gained Sashati’s immediate approval. There is nothing there but dark
memories and a horrible legend about the butcher who ripped magic from the demons a
After being banished to a tiny realm, Imperian
Paszratorabiel—or Paszra, as he prefers to be called—is waiting for his wings to grow back.
The minute he recovers, Paszra hunts for a place to bring his family so they can find mates.
When Paszra finds a planet full of interesting beings, the presence of demons is the only
thing he hates about his potential new home.
When Sashati and Paszra meet, neither man is happy to
learn they are mates. The demons blame Paszra for everything, while the Imperian despises
Sashati’s people. However, they share a tradition of not denying Fate. But to honor the way
their souls are connected, Paszra and Sashati must overcome much more than their initial
dislike of each other.
About the Author
Jessamyn Kingley lives in
Nevada where she begs the men in her head to tell her their amazing stories which she
dutifully writes it all down in what has become a small mountain of notebooks. She falls in
love with each couple and swears whatever book she wrote last is her absolute
Jessamyn is married and
working toward remembering to start the dishwasher without being distracted by the scent
of the magical detergent. For personal enjoyment, she aids in cat rescue while slashing and
gashing her way through mobs in various MMORPGs. Caffeine is her very best friend and is
only cast aside briefly for the sin better known as BBQ potato chips.
Mongrel, a creature more wolf than man, leads a lonely life
on the fringes of pack society—until the night a handsome vampire shows up with a
Bowie—a vampire cursed to a life of endless
nights—maintains close ties with his human family. When young girls in their village go
missing, he must act quickly. But to find them, he’ll need to convince the local werewolf
pack to loan him their best tracker—a wolf known as the Mongrel.
Though he hates the slur, Andras is used to being called Mongrel. When Bowie refuses to refer to him by anything but his given name, Andras can’t
help a flicker of unexpected trust toward the stranger. He volunteers to help Bowie, risking
Can two tender-hearted men overcome their traumatic
pasts and work together to rescue the girls before it’s too late? Or will the world’s most
prolific killer snuff the flames of their passion along with the lives of her captives?
This steamy love story spans the country of Hungary
as Andras and Bowie journey through cities and wilderness on their quest to right a killer’s
wicked wrongs. Mongrel features a sweetly possessive werewolf, a cinnamon roll of a
vampire, and the worst serial killer in history. A surprisingly fluffy MM Paranormal/Historical
Romance considering the subject matter.
HEA guaranteed with loads of laughs along the way
and no cliffhanger ending!
The Kingdom of Hungary,
I watch the ground pass by beneath my paws
rather than risk meeting the eyes of the other wolves. They probably aren’t looking anyway,
having better things to do than greet the
mongrel, even on a full moon. I’ve spent so long
pretending not to care it’s almost worked. Who needs them? Not me.
I give a full-body shake to settle my fur how I like it
and amble toward the heart of the village, a cool night breeze keeping me company. The
chattering of insects pings from the forest beyond a row of humble cottages as I continue
Anticipating tonight’s run has me eager. I imagine
the frantic heartbeat of my prey as I target my dinner. Pent-up energy dances in my muscles,
tickling every nerve and rumbling in my chest.
I love the hunt. Nothing else in my life brings the
satisfaction I take from stalking, chasing, and tearing into my prize. It’s one of the few
activities where the others tolerate my presence. Though they’ll never admit I’m the better
predator, they’re always willing to devour the feast I provide.
Only Ava treats me as equal. She’s too old and frail
to hunt for herself these days, but I’ll be sure to bring her a choice portion. Nothing beats a
fresh meal, and she deserves the pleasure more than anyone.
It wasn’t always like this. I had friends once when
childhood still sang with innocence and the world had yet to slam its doors on me. But
remembering better times only brings sorrow, so I move forward to whatever tonight might
Voices sound from fifty paces ahead. Odd because
most of the pack would normally have shifted by dusk. Among them, a voice I don’t
recognize floats to my ears.
“I must speak with your alpha,” says a smooth
tenor, calm, though his timbre vibrates with urgency. “The matter is vital.”
Risking an upward glance, I scan the gathering.
Jolan and Ozor, the pack’s enforcers, stand in their human forms facing the speaker, both
tense and braced for a fight. But the stranger’s posture isn’t threatening. He’s neat, wearing
charcoal stockings under a crisp blue tunic. Knee-high black boots gleam with a recent
polish. Spine straight, shoulders back, weight settled in the heels, not the toes. Nut-brown
hair hangs tied at his nape, most of it hidden beneath a fashionable black hat. If his features
weren’t puckered with annoyance, he might be handsome.
I creep closer on silent paws, ears flicked
“We’re busy,” barks Ozor. “Or hadn’t you noticed
the moon? Come back another night.”
The stranger’s lips part, but before he can reply,
Farkas storms through his front door.
Clad only in a pair of worn tan breeches, the pack
alpha thunders down the porch stairs and into the commons. Even barefoot, Farkas is
intimidating, towering head and shoulders over the others. His black eyes land on the
stranger in a threatening glower, but the man isn’t shaken.
“You’re the alpha, I presume?” The stranger
extends a hand, his movement graceful, as if he’s been invited to a friendly tea instead of
invading hostile werewolf territory on a full moon.
Farkas ignores the proffered hand. “Your kind isn’t
Wondering what that means, I inch forward so I can scent him for myself.
The stranger returns his arm to his side, fingers
curled but not fisted. “And you have my apologies, but this couldn’t be avoided.” His
eyebrows arch as he inclines his head. “We must speak.”
I sniff the air. His scent is masked by soaps.
Lavender was used for his clothes, rose for his skin and hair, but beneath the added
fragrance lies the spiced scent of blood—his own, yes, but also…someone else’s? That’s
“Then speak,” growls Farkas. “What do you want
from me, vampire?”
I’ve never seen one before. He looks so…human. Fragile. Not what I’d expect of a
blood-drinking night terror at all.
About the Author
Lee Colgin has loved
vampires since she read Dracula on a hot, sunny beach at 13 years old. She lives in North
Carolina with lots of dogs and her husband. No, he’s not a vampire, but she loves him
anyway. Lee likes to workout so she can eat the maximum amount of cookies with her pizza.
Ask her how much she can bench press.
There is nothing more
dangerous than a man alone with his thoughts.
People have been disappearing all across the State with no
apparent connection to one another. Police are baffled and struggling to determine if the
disappearances are connected or are simply isolated incidents. There are no bodies or
evidence- only abandoned vehicles and missing persons reports.
Meanwhile, Alex Sanders is battling his own demons…
Almost a year after surviving a horrific weekend held
captive by his former best friend, Marc, Alex is now a freshman at the University of
Tennessee. Desperately trying to start over, he is consumed with depression, anxiety, and
guilt for the murder that he helped cover up. Always fearful of being discovered, Alex can’t
help but wonder, is Marc still secretly watching him?
Could Marc’s obsession with him have something to do
with the current flood of disappearances across the State?
All things seem to lead back to that fateful weekend… the
one that started with murder … and ended in betrayal. Warning: This book
contains scenes which may be considered triggering events for some involving extreme
violence, murder, kidnapping, and torture.
Alex had never felt such excruciating pain! It was as if his
shoulder was leaning against a furnace during a winter blizzard. His shoulder was on fire,
and he began to see stars in front of his eyes. He wished for the pain to stop! Please, God, if you are watching, please make
this pain stop! I’ll do anything you ask! I’m sorry I was not a better man!
Perhaps this was karma finally catching up to him for the
role he played in Shawn’s death. While Alex was not the one that ultimately ended Shawn’s
life, he also did nothing to report the murder or try to find Marc and bring him to justice.
Yes, Karma was finally here to collect.
The figure standing in front of Alex slowly began to turn the
blade as blood and flesh began to tear aware from his body.
Alex cried out again in pain as his tears mixed with the
blood that now slid down his arm and onto the straws of hay that peppered the ground of
He deserved this. He watched a man die and remained
silent. Alex was finally getting what he
Alex’s cry of pain was cut short as his face was splashed
with a warm liquid. He opened his eyes startled, just in time to watch his torturer fall to the
ground with a thump. Puzzled, Alex looked up.
Standing in front of him, holding a blood-stained bat, was
his demon savior… the man who had caused so much pain in his life… the man whom he
once cared for deeply… Marc.
“Marc?” Alex whispered, half in shock, half in disbelief.
This had to be one of his hallucinations brought on by the
pain he was enduring. There was no way that Marc was standing right in front of him. No
Marc dropped the bloody bat and pulled the butterfly
blade from his back pocket. He knelt down and gently touched Alex’s tear-stained face.
Alex felt a slight tingling sensation when Marc’s fingertips
touched his face. It was as if a thousand little electric currents were running from Marc’s
fingers to his cheek.
Alex stared up into Marc’s soft brown eyes. There was so
much emotion in those eyes; fear, anger, and a hint of something else… longing??
Staring into those eyes, Alex thought about the countless
nights the two of them stayed up late chatting together. The days when it had just been the
two of them, living in a simpler world. A world before all the pain, murder, and betrayal.
Yes, Alex had broken Marc’s heart when he refused to help
him deal with Shawn’s dead body- a murder Marc had committed in order to protect Alex.
But being here now, staring into Alex’s soulful eyes, it seemed as though all that had been
forgotten by Marc. Marc was staring at Alex with such loving eyes.
“I’m here now. Everything will be okay, I promise,” Marc
blurted as the anger seemed to melt from his eyes and was replaced with so much love.
“Wh… what are you doing here?” Alex asked, still in shock
that Marc was actually standing in front of him.
“I’m so sorry it took me so long to get here,” Marc
apologized, as he touched the side of Alex’s bloody face.
Alex noticed the look of pain in Marc’s eyes as he wiped the
blood from Alex’s face.
“Marc… I can’t believe you’re… how…” Alex was at a loss
for words. He could not believe that Marc was standing right in front of him. Coming to his
rescue once again. After all that he had done. But how did Marc know?
The lights in the barn suddenly went black.
About the Author
Matthew Dante is a Canadian
indie author who loves to write about magic, fantasy, and romance. He is an avid reader,
world traveller, lover of all things Marvel and DC, and a romantic at heart.
Most of his stories center
around gay main characters who are usually the love interests and the heroes of these
stories. He writes these novels, so that other LGBTQ people will be able to read about
characters and stories that they can relate to and be proud of.
Christian Kringle: College
professor, reluctant Santa, and…fake dating my neighbor?
I’m a grinch and proud of it–but this year, there’s no
avoiding the Christmas cheer.
First, I get roped into playing Santa. Shudder. Then, while
trying to dodge a setup with my boss’s brother, I somehow promise to attend a holiday party
with my boyfriend–who doesn’t exist.
Next thing I know, my (soon-to-be former) best friend has
set up a profile on a hookup app to find me a date. With the username of….wait for
Go ahead and laugh. He sure did, the traitor.
Before I can delete the profile, I match with an easygoing
guy with amazing photos. His teasing about Santa kink makes me laugh, and blush, and feel
things I haven’t since my divorce. For the first time in years, I look forward to dating.
Until we meet, and he turns out to be my neighbor. My
very young, very off-limits neighbor who I’ve clashed with for years. Only now I know just
how sexy, charming, and sweetly devoted to his daughter he is.
I should walk away, but I still need that fake boyfriend. The
only problem? Jaxson’s so convincing I can’t tell where the pretense ends and real feelings
Falling for him is easy. Loving his daughter? Effortless.
Trusting that I can keep them is the hard part.
It’ll take the magic of love, family, and yes–even
Christmas–to teach this old grinch new tricks. Sexted By Santa is a standalone holiday
romance set in the Thrust Into Love universe.
In the following scene, Christian logs onto a hookup app after his friend made
him an embarrassing profile with the username SantaWantsYourChimney:
I finally opened the app that Barry had installed on my phone.
Time to change this ridiculous profile—or maybe delete it altogether.
There were a handful of notifications. Huh. I had some match requests, more than I would
have expected given the lack of any real photos on my account. But my notifications also
included men who had accepted my request—a neat trick since I hadn’t made
Barry, you scoundrel…
I should delete the whole lot of them. Why would a normal guy go for this Santa schtick?
With great skepticism, I took a peek at one of the messages.
I want to ride Santa’s pole!
Charming. I checked the guy’s stats. He was older, at fifty, but clearly not mature, as my
profile—well, the one Barry had written for me, at any rate—had requested. He wasn’t bad
looking, slim but handsome. His user name, Best_You’ll_Ever_Have, didn’t encourage me. It
was too close to my ex-husband’s brand of ego. Fynn was beautiful, and he knew it. He’d
used it to his advantage on more than occasion. But when that didn’t work…Oh, he became
furious. His ego was huge but fragile. Even for a single date to a work party, I wanted a guy
who’d be a little more even-keeled. The last thing I needed was some ridiculous drama
playing out in front of my colleagues.
I bypassed him to review another match. This one in his sixties.
If you’re tired of naughty boys, maybe Santa needs a Daddy.
I picked through a few more, not overly impressed with the offerings—until I reached
I almost passed him by—until I realized this wasn’t another Daddy wannabe. This was an
actual dad. Was that good? Not for anything serious—I wouldn’t know the first thing about
dealing with a kid—but luckily I only needed a date to a party. No commitment required.
I checked his profile for red flags.
It read: I’m a dad first. Just looking to relieve some stress and have fun. Open to casual
dating, but I don’t have the time or energy for anything serious.
Well, that sounded perfect. Plus, he’d accepted a match request Barry sent on my
behalf—rather than seeking me out—so perhaps he wasn’t a weirdo turned on by a
pixelated Santa. Why he’d accepted the request was a still a mystery though. Maybe he
didn’t see it actually going anywhere. Why would he, when the guy requesting a match was
a fictional person?
CasualDad’s pics were enticing.
He had a broad, firm chest with script over his pecs that read Love leaves no room for
regret. A nice sentiment, though I didn’t know if I agreed. My love for Fynn had
created plenty of regret. But I didn’t have to agree with the man’s tattoo to take him on a
date. Preferably, a date that ended very pleasurably for us both.
I’d gotten on this app to find a date to a work party, but these pictures reminded me that my
body had its own needs, which had been ignored for some time now. Maybe I could get
more than arm candy for a boring night with my colleagues out of this.
My mouth watered as I studied the various pics showing his chest and stomach, not overly
muscled but solid. There was no direct face shot, but there was one shot of him in profile.
He had nearly shoulder-length hair, which was blowing across his face. Water—maybe a
lake—filled the background of the image. I could just make out the edge of his smile—and it
was mischievous, maybe a little amused by someone off camera.
Jaxson Hicks flashed through my mind for a split second. His smile as he took pot shots at
my Santa performance had that same edge of mischief. But I shut that thought down. I’d set
my filters to hide anyone under thirty-five—and a quick look at CasualDad’s profile
confirmed he met that threshold. Jaxson was much younger. He’d dropped out of college
about seven years ago. If my math was correct, he would be somewhere around twenty-six
Even if he were old enough, Jaxson and I had never been anything but oil and water since
we’d first met as student and adviser. He hadn’t liked what I’d had to say, and the feeling had
Better to focus on this guy in front of me. This delicious-looking guy.
I decided to send him a quick message.
Hey, there. I like your pics and your profile. You seem like someone I’d like to
know better, maybe over drinks? Apologies for the ridiculous username and profile. I’ll
His response came just as I was putting aside my reading for the night and turning off the
CasualDad: The name gave me a good laugh. If you change it,
does that mean you won’t be cleaning my chimney? And is that a euphemism for what I
think it is?
I groaned, mentally cursing Barry again.
SantaWantsYourChimney: My jerk of a friend thought it was
funny. Obviously I need a new friend. If this doesn’t work out, you can have the spot. As long
as you can resist matchmaking and setting up ridiculous profiles for me on dating
CasualDad: That’s a high bar. I don’t know if I can meet it. I kind
of want to see where a Santa kink could go 😉
hate Santa, and Christmas, and all this seasonal nonsense.
CasualDad: That only makes this name funnier. Now you have to
I dropped my head back on the pillow. It seemed as if I were destined to play Santa in all
aspects of my life. But even I had to admit it had served as a pretty good ice-breaker with
CasualDad. His easy teasing made me smile.
Maybe I can keep the name if it means you chat with me
again, I typed.
He was quick to reply: Maybe I’ll chat with you again if you send me some
sexy Santa pics.
Oh, hell no. Volunteering as Santa was bad enough. But posing for X-rated Santa selfies
wasn’t happening. I sent him a reply, then turned off my phone before I could be tempted
into embarrassing myself.
Listen, I’m just not that kind of Santa. I don’t rush down anyone’s chimney.
But I do hope we can chat again…
When I woke the next morning, the first thing I did was check the Thrust app for his reply.
Hahaha, okay, Santa. We’ll play it your way. Message me again when you’re
ready. I’m not going anywhere.
About the Author
DJ Jamison writes romances
about everyday life and extraordinary love featuring 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.
Can a secret crush who
rejected Johnny be someone he can trust? And why would the richest teenager in town be
Johnny Cunningham had a secret crush on the high school
quarterback, Zach Carpenter. Because of fear and anxiety, he didn’t do anything about it. A
chance meeting after high school brings their paths together again, and sparks fly.
Zach Carpenter was born into the richest family in town,
but since 10th grade he has been attracted to Johnny Cunningham and wasn’t sure if Johnny liked
him too. When they meet again after high school, Zach cannot deny his strong attraction to
Johnny and pursues him, even though Johnny is a Townie and dirt poor and Zach’s parents
have already determined Zach’s path in life.
When Johnny discovers that Zach suffers from bipolar
disorder, and that Zach’s parents have other plans for Zach that don’t include Johnny, can
they overcome these obstacles and make their love last forever?
The drive to their mom’s Waffle House shouldn’t have
taken long but stop and go traffic going to the restaurant added several minutes to their
drive. As they rounded Memorial Park, some campaign
signs lined the road. “I can’t believe they have election signs up already.
It’s still a year off.” Johnny eyed one small sign. Pete Buttigieg. “That’s the gay guy, right?” Colton
asked. “Yeah. I heard people still don’t know how to
pronounce it.” “He’s not going to win. Look how many Trump
2020 signs there are here.” “He won this county last time.” Johnny sighed. “He
won the whole state, I think.” “Could you imagine if a queer man won? Holy
hell?” Colton laughed. “Here we are.” Colton pulled up, and parked. Johnny and Colton walked quickly into the
restaurant and were greeted by Gladys. Their mom soon appeared from the
back. “Hey you two, happy birthday!” Sharon beamed.
“Take that booth over there.” Their mother pointed to the corner and Colton and Johnny
took the seats quickly with Johnny taking the seat that faced the entrance. Gladys came up to them with a coffee pot in her
hands. Johnny turned the cup over on the saucer and let Gladys pour. “I can’t believe you
two are nineteen. High school graduation was just days ago, not a month or so.” She
chuckled as she poured a cup for Colton. Sharon smiled, and placed her hand on Johnny’s
shoulder. “Glad you could make it Conn — I’m sorry, Johnny. God that’s going to take time
getting use to calling you what your grandpa called you. Your brother said you were like the
dead this morning.” “Yeah, why sweetie? It took me how many years to
tell you two apart, now you got be called Johnny now?” Gladys laughed. “What did the boys want?” Dwayne, Gladys’s
husband yelled. “The usual, right” Sharon asked. “Yes, ma’am,” Johnny said. “Yeah,” Colton. “Me too.” Johnny kicked Colton underneath the
table. Sharon put her hands on her hips and glared at
Colton. Johnny nudged his shoe against Colton. “I’m sorry.” Colton’s face flushed. “Yes,
ma’am.” “That’s better.” Sharon relaxed her arms. Gladys
chortled as she went back to the counter to take care of a customer who wanted to pay his
bill. “I bought a small cake for you two from Publix to
have before you leave. I have to work until nine tonight. So, we’ll just have to a birthday
dinner another time. Raincheck?” “That’s fine, Mom.” Johnny smiled. “Chocolate
cake? Yellow cake?” “It’s yellow cake with fudge icing.” She held her
finger out. “I’ll be right back.” The door opened with a small bell ring, and Zach
Carpenter walked in with an older man. Johnny instinctively slunk down in his
seat. Colton’s eyebrows knitted together, “What?”
Colton twisted his body to where Zach stood Zach was scanning to see where they should
sit. “You can sit anywhere you want honey!” Gladys
shouted, as she took the customer’s twenty and made change from his bill. “Hey, Zach!” Colton shouted. Johnny’s neck heated. “Hey, Colton, Connor, what’s up?” Zach Carpenter
walked toward them; his companion followed him too. Zach stood at least six feet three
inches, and when Colton stood up to greet Zach, it was noticeable that Colton was a couple
of inches shorter. Zach had three days or so of light brown stubble
that contrasted with his unruly ash brown hair. The grey shirt he wore seemed painted on
his sculpted chest. The shirt further tapered into a V-shape, showcasing his small waist. The
pink shorts he wore showed off Zach’s thigh muscles. Johnny didn’t know what brand of
moccasins Zach was wearing but he was sure he didn’t buy it from Wal-Mart. The man next to Zach was shorter; thinning salt
and pepper gray; the man’s eyeglasses balanced at the end of the gentleman’s
nose. Before Zach or Colton could say anything, Sharon
appeared, holding the cake in one hand, and another tried to keep the candles on the cake
from blowing out. “It’s your birthday?” Zach asked, staring at Johnny,
who nodded quietly slightly embarrassed when their mom started singing. “Our birthday,” Colton corrected. Luckily for them, Gladys took over when their
mother faltered in staying in tune, and Gladys’s golden voice, trained from years of choir
practice at the local A.M.E. church, got other patrons to clap at the end, right before the
twins blew out the candles. Zach and the older man next to clapped hard. Dwayne came out with grilled cheese and fries and
gave the plates to Gladys who in turn placed them in front of the boys. Sharon hugged her boys and went back to the back
office while Gladys and Dwayne went back behind the counter. “This is my uncle, Roderick,” Zach said. “He’s
visiting from Boston and saw this restaurant from across the bridge from his hotel on
Gulfside. “We don’t have them in Massachusetts.” Roderick
eyed Johnny and Colton’s plate as he scanned the cooking area. “I remember as a kid going
to them in Pennsylvania. We would stop after summer camp in upstate New York just to try
the grits. I haven’t had grits in so long.” “Well, uncle, I can tell you’re hungry so let’s take a
seat.” Zach waved goodbye at Colton, Johnny, and Sharon as Gladys passed with two fresh
plates for the cake. Johnny relaxed when Zach and Roderick sat in a
booth several feet away and not in the empty booth right next to them.
About the Author
Immigrant, military-brat, gay
veteran, and former theme park employee, among other things, W.S. Long upon leaving the
military became a lawyer. During the day, he practices law but at night he reads and writes
male-male romance under this pen name. Once in a while W.S. Long travels or dreams
about traveling to wonderful places with his wonderful husband, a mild-mannered college