“How can I explain this? There’s really no explanation for the way I feel. It’s beyond me. Maybe it happened on my last tour of duty, where I’d been wounded in the leg, spent months in the VA hospital with nothing but therapy, and reading love letters to pass the time, or to keep me sane.
The letters weren’t from my wife, but an admirer. I hadn’t heard from my wife in months. I think her last note informed me that she’d moved on, taking our dog with her, and filed for a divorce. I guess she couldn’t handle a damaged man without a job, with little or no income, and coming home.
Now it’s time for me to accept that I’m a broken man. I’ve lost my identity because I was a soldier, a leader of men, and all I have now are these few love letters from a strange woman to give me comfort.
Can this woman be as broken as I am? What will it take to make me whole—two broken pieces coming together?”
What will happen when Tony falls in love because of a few letters and texts only to discover that the person behind the letters isn’t who he imagined?
The “Wounded Inked” 3 book series contain hurt/ comfort, straight to gay, and fake boyfriend with HFN, and HEA in the final book.
I’d just received a letter I had been anxiously waiting for. Just when I’d given up and I knew I had to get some sleep, because of the mission in front of me, and because my men needed me more tomorrow than ever before, I got this ray of hope through the letter I held doggedly in my hand. I wanted to take the time to sit and read it, savor every word, every phrase, and every time Sergeant appeared on the paper.
My men called me Sergeant, but it meant something different to them. I was their leader, I was their mentor, I was the one who would teach them and bring them home.
We were marines and we left no one on the battlefield, no one behind, and especially not our hearts, because our hearts were with the ones we loved. My heart had been shattered early on when I received what they called a Dear John letter. With every letter coming through the mail, from a special unknown woman, my heart began to come together.
I needed a clear head more now than I’d ever needed one before, because this would be my last mission.
My squad had to travel into this town, relieve another squad of marines, and I wouldn’t be able to receive mail or my care package, therefore, receiving this letter now meant so much to me. After I read it, I placed it next to my heart, because it would be the final one for a month or more.
The first words of that letter caught my eyes and I turned, looking to the side as if I was a squirrel hiding a precious acorn that would last until winter when I’d need something to sustain me. That something was this letter I held tightly, keeping the wind and the sand, or the helicopters bringing in supplies from dislodging it from my fist.
Lights strung everywhere provided what I needed to see the words scrawled carefully on
the paper. Repeating the words with a smile, I murmured to myself as I read, “I’ll give you a kiss. It’s my secret to you, because if you were here beside me, my lips would whisper in your ear, I love you.”
Holy fuck! Did she just write that? My cock twitched and I moaned, looking around to see if anyone had heard me. With all the noise, how could they? I rationalized. Fuck me, but my cock hadn’t responded to anything in months. Let alone words on a paper.
There was no way I could feel something for somebody I’ve never met. I didn’t understand what could be going on with me. Maybe I’ve been out here too long, and I’ll feel different once I get home.
About the Author
I write steamy gay romance books, and I love to read hot M/M romance. Maybe steamy is too mild a term for my books. Maybe I should say that my gay romance books are hot, hot, hot. I enjoy writing about strong, flawed men who don’t mind saying they’re sorry when they hurt the ones they love.
I read and write across genres and what gives me pleasure, and there is nothing more pleasurable or satisfying to me than to write a happy ever after hot M/M romance with a kink or two.
My favorite books to read are anything M/M and vampires, werewolves, mystery, and steamy romance. I have been busy with reading and writing to bring you the best M/M romance books. Enjoy!
Drones lie at the heart of this mystery facing Mike, Ross, Raith and Phil, four men who live in North-East England.
A spate of art-related burglaries and a series of horrific kidnaps have occurred. The freedom of the quad, and that of Nick, their special friend, is threatened by involvement in both cases. They are suspected of one and Mike is a victim of the other. The officer in charge is the quad’s old enemy, the homophobic Chief Inspector Fortune. Should the quad set aside their distrust and tell him what they know?
Meanwhile, Nick has issues of his own to consider. Compromises are needed, but how many?
This is the sixth tale in the County Durham Quad series. Background is included to aid new readers.
From Chapter 1
(The whole chapter, read by the author with aerial footage of the setting, is available on YouTube. Link below)
A new sound had been added to the rustic ones that normally formed the backdrop to life in the Durham hills. Instead of the bleating of sheep, there was a whirring—and it came from the sky. The quad’s new video channel was up and running, and Raith, plus drone, was filming everything and everyone. He was, as he liked to put it, “Doing the rounds.”
“Doin’ my head in,” was how it seemed to Mike and, right then, there was a danger of that actually happening. Mike was responsible for nearly all the quad’s maintenance work. He was sitting astride a rooftop, replacing the flashing on one of Tunhead’s chimneys. Tunhead was the little hamlet where the quad lived. It was the seat of BOTWAC, the Beck On The Wear Arts Centre, and the video channel was designed, in part, to promote the artisans’ wares.
“Watch what you’re doin’ with that bloody thing!” Mike yelled from his perch.
“It’s alright, Mike. I’m in full control,” Raith yelled back.
“Not from where I am, you’re not! I thought you weren’t supposed to fly it over buildin’s!”
Raith made the drone whizz round in a circle and shouted, “Well Tunhead doesn’t really count as buildings, does it? I mean, twelve tiny houses, my studio and a disused church. It’s hardly buildings.”
“It felt like buildin’s when Ross and I were refurbishin’ it all, and it felt like buildin’s three years ago when I knocked the walls through to next door just to give you leg room.”
“That’s building, Mike, not buildings.”
Sometimes, there was no answer to Raith’s logic. Mike swore softly, sighed and decided to wait until tea-time, when all the men would be home together. They’d discuss Raith and his drone then. First things first. He continued repairing the chimney.
In Tees, Tyne and Wear Constabulary’s new Tyneside police station, another drone-related conversation had caused heated words that day. The woman making a complaint was angry.
“Look,” she said to the officer on the front counter, “this is the third time it’s happened in a fortnight. I ignored the first invasion of my privacy. The second time the blesséd thing was hovering overhead, I telephoned. I was told that someone would contact me. Nobody’s done so, and this morning it happened again. I want something doing. I feel I can’t go into my own garden and I’m bothered that whoever’s doing this is spying on me and my children. It’s horrible and it shouldn’t be allowed.”
The woman had good reason to feel harassed. She lived in what had once been the lodge of a large country estate. That is, she occupied the house that lay at one end of a long, tree-lined drive. The drive led, through parkland with trees and an ornamental lake, to a substantial eighteenth century property. On three occasions recently, the peace of the surroundings had been broken by the whirring of a drone. More importantly, she felt intimidated by the drone’s presence. As she said, she felt she was being spied on. Surely that was a crime?
It was, the official told her. At least two different offences connected with drone misuse might be invoked on the woman’s behalf, but, in a case like hers, invoking them was problematic. Even if an incident should happen again and a patrol car could reach her while the drone was still visible and airborne, there was little that officers could do. Firstly, they would need to locate and identify the flyer. If they felt that a harassment offence had been committed, they could instruct the flyer to land the drone. However, there was no power of seizure and, indeed, no power to even view the footage unless there was suspected terrorist activity—unlikely in this case. The woman had to be content with an apology and a promise that an officer would definitely come and visit her. In fact, a detective called a few days later, but not specifically because of her case. By then, the big country house had been burgled, and thousands of pounds of silver, porcelain and artwork had been stolen.
About the Author
Jude Tresswell lives in south-east England but was born and raised in the north, and that’s where her heart is. She is ace, and has been married to the same man for many years. She feels that she understands compromise. She supports Liverpool FC, listens to a lot of blues music and loves to write dialogue.
Kim was the first boy Tommy ever kissed. The only person he’s been in love with.
But Kim broke Tommy’s heart when he left without a word. Can Tommy give him a second chance?
It’s been over two years since Tommy’s heart was broken. Two years since Kim vanished from his life without a word.
Kim was the first boy he’d ever kissed. The only person he’s been in love with. He’d thought they were starting something when he showed his feelings on prom night, and they shared their perfect messy kiss, but he’d been wrong. He never saw Kim again. Until tonight when joy riders crash into the warehouse complex where he works.
Kim’s life is a mess. For two years he’s been involved with a criminal gang, trying to protect his mum from harm. He knows he has nothing to offer. But seeing Tommy again gives him the strength to try. If only Tommy wasn’t leaving the day after tomorrow to go travelling around the world. If only tonight wasn’t all they had.
It’s almost Christmas Day—surely, he’s got somewhere else to be, other people to be with? People far more important to him than me. I think again of the girl with the green braids. The sharp-eyed way she watched him as he gave a false name to the police. Wherever his life is at, ramming a four-by-four into a warehouse complex and then being arrested has got to build up some serious tension. Maybe he needs to let off a bit of steam too. Maybe that’s what this is.
I take my time cycling down the rough track to the park. I’ve popped a tyre before on the glass that’s scattered around here, and my fingers are too frozen to be fiddling around with fixing on a spare.
As soon as we make it into the skatepark’s tiny car park, Kim hops off the bike. I find myself still wanting to feel his arms around me. The ache of it. Like the past has a weight, a texture, and it’s all him.
God, what am I doing? This is such a bad idea. Spending time with him is just going to hurt, I know it is, and here I am just about offering myself up to it like a masochist.
He scrambles to the top of the little grassy hill surrounding the park. “God, I’ve missed this place.”
The wistfulness in his voice surprises me. I follow him up with my bike. He turns to me, pulls off my massive gloves, hands them to me in my helmet, then holds his arms out, races down to the centre of the second biggest ramp, and starts spinning. Spinning and spinning, his head flung back, hair flying. He looks seventeen again. Young. Wild. Free.
For a moment whatever shadows are haunting him are chased far away. And my heart aches and aches.
I remember the first time I saw him, swinging on the metal railing by the coffee shack near the smaller ramps with a couple of girls from school. He was laughing, head thrown back like it is now, pink hair falling away from his narrow face, sharp white teeth flashing, the whole of him vibrating with some wild aliveness I’d never seen in anyone else. Still haven’t. Too involved in watching him, I forgot what I was doing and nearly killed myself, lost control of my bike in the middle of a turn and crashed face first into the ramp. Later, I told myself I’d been so transfixed because I didn’t know whether he was a boy or a girl. But, of course, it wasn’t true. It took a long time for me to realise that though.
That was the summer I finished my GCSEs. I was fifteen. Kim was new. He’d moved from another school across town. I never asked him why.
Back then the skatepark was full from sunrise till late into the night, and Kim hung around almost as often as I did. He made friends quickly, and though I watched him all the time and caught him watching me, I remained clueless. Maybe if I’d have worked out sooner that I was bi, things would’ve been different. I don’t know.
Leaving Kim spinning, I clip my helmet in place, toss my gloves next to my backpack on the frozen ground, and take off down the biggest ramp, doing a few sharp turns at the top to warm up.
“I used to love watching you,” he yells. “You ride like the water flowing in a river.”
It’s ridiculous how buoyed up his words make me feel, and I flush. I’m too old to be showing off at the skatepark, trying to impress some boy I know is watching every jump I make, and still I do it, taking my bike through a few 360 tailwhips. Making it look casual, easy, though it’s not, but that’s the trick. Isn’t that always the trick?
Limbs vibrating with adrenaline, I skid to a stop in front of him. “Get on.”
Kim’s eyes widen. “You’re going to kill us if you jump with me on your bike.” But still he gets on.
I laugh. “Still up for anything, eh?”
“With you, yeah.” His arms fasten around me, and he plasters himself close. “I’ve missed you, you know?”
Has he? I stiffen a little. I can’t let myself believe him, not just like that, because, no, I don’t know. But I don’t say that. I don’t say anything. My feelings are too jumbled to work out how to respond. Instead I focus on the things I do know and take us swooping down the big ramp and up the other side. I’m not about to do any tricks with Kim on my bike. He’s right, it’d probably kill us, plus I only have the one helmet. But it’s just nice riding around with him like this, even though I’m not sure how I feel right now.
“I’m sorry,” he whispers after a while, his arms squeezing me a little tighter like he’s afraid I’m suddenly going to stop and shove him off. “I’m really fucking sorry. I wouldn’t blame you if you hated me.”
“I don’t hate you,” I say quietly. Of course I don’t. How could I ever hate him? I kind of suspect in forty years’ time, if I’m still around, I’ll still get this sharp pain in my chest when I think about him.
About the Author
Suki Fleet is an award-winning author, a prolific reader (though less prolific than they’d like), and a lover of angst, romance and unexpected love stories.
They write lyrical stories about memorable characters and believe everyone should have a chance at a happy ending.
Their first novel This is Not a Love Story won Best Gay Debut in the 2014 Rainbow Awards, and was a finalist in the 2015 Lambda Awards. Their novel Foxes won Best Gay Young Adult in the 2016 Rainbow Awards.
Vampires are attempting to integrate into human society.
When Alec MacCarthy first meets a ‘haemophile’ in the flesh, it’s not the obvious dangers that frighten him.
Alec MacCarthy, Lord of Aviemore and largely-forgotten descendent of a once-proud family line, keeps the wolf from the door of the crumbling family mansion by restoring classic cars.
He leaves the real world alone and wishes nothing more than for it to return the favor. But in a reality where haemophiles—still colloquially known as vampires, despite the publicity campaigns—have come out of hiding and are attempting to integrate into human society, the real world is rapidly becoming a disrupted and conflicted mess that threatens to trouble even Alec in his remote Scottish hideaway.
When he unwittingly attends a Blood Party to please a friend, he has his first meeting with one of these mysterious and dangerous beings. Terje is like nothing he has ever encountered before…literally. His reactions are as troublesome as they are undeniable.
Alec’s snap decision to help the haemophile rather than sample his sense-heightening and addictive blood sets them both on a path that will lead them into a tangled web of intrigue with consequences that will change their lives—and the world—forever.
Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of violence, murder, kidnapping, blood stealing, drug use, addiction and blood drinking.
“You have questions.” He sat and uncorked the bottle. The electric lantern made his pale skin glow. It shone off his high cheekbones and the lines of his neck. His mouth was soft, his lips slightly curved, even at rest. I remembered it open, redder than blood, the teeth shockingly white and sharp. I remembered his hands, strong enough to crack the wood of the basement door, strong enough to break Brody’s bones. But now he sat easily in my kitchen chair, regarding me steadily with calm, entrancing eyes. He was terrifying, but he was beautiful, like a freezing winter morning in the very heart of the mountains. I bridled at the thought and dropped my gaze to the tabletop.
“How old are you?” I heard myself ask.
“Not old enough to have known Jacob More,” he said, with something like amusement in his voice.
“That’s not an answer.”
He still didn’t smile but something like humor flickered in the dark depths of his eyes. “I don’t know exactly. Over eighty, less than a hundred.”
“How do you not know how old you are?”
He lifted a shoulder in a half-shrug. “You stop counting after a while.” I narrowed my eyes and his mouth twitched. “And, well…at the time, it wasn’t considered important where I’m from.” His brow creased slightly, his eyes far away. “I remember the Second World War but not the first. Do I get to ask a question now?”
I chewed on the inside of my cheek, regarding him closely and trying not to think about the fluttering in my belly. “What question?”
“Is this really your home?”
He tilted his chin slightly. “I knew you must live here when we arrived. I could smell it. But the place looks like it belongs to someone else.”
Something prickled over the skin of my back. “Again, why do you care?”
“Just curious, like you.”
“I’m not curious about you,” I said in tight voice. “That’s not what this is.”
He inclined his head. “Very well. You don’t have to answer. Next question?”
I picked at a splinter on the table, not looking at him. “Daylight…”
“What about it?”
“Does it kill you?”
“The cellar?” He sipped his wine. His mouth was stained slightly pink. I hurriedly lifted my gaze. “We have to sleep, just like you do.”
“During the day?”
“We’re sensitive to sunlight,” he said slowly, factually. “We don’t produce melanin in the same way, so we burn easily. And it’s hard to see.”
“So you just…sleep?”
He frowned at his glass. “Not the way you sleep. The Blood requires us to…offline. Recharge.”
“Could you stay awake if you wanted? During the day?”
“Yes, though it’s hard. But the Blood wakes us if there’s a threat. Is it my turn now?”
I hesitated and reached for the other glass. “I thought you said you were supposed to answer my questions.”
“Polite conversation normally goes both ways.”
I fought a scowl. “We’re not exactly meeting at a dinner party here.”
“No,” he said softly, looking into the fire. “But that’s not my fault, is it?”
About the Author
S.J. Coles is a Romance writer originally from Shropshire, UK. She has been writing stories for as long as she has been able to read them. Her biggest passion is exploring narratives through character relationships.
She finds writing LGBT/paranormal romance provides many unique and fulfilling opportunities to explore many (often neglected or under-represented) aspects of human experience, expectation, emotion and sexuality.
Among her biggest influences are LGBT Romance authors K J Charles and Josh Lanyon and Vampire Chronicles author Anne Rice.
Two strangers, a twisted ankle, an ancient stone ship, and a New Year’s Eve they’ll never forget
Petter sneaks out of the New Year’s party he didn’t want to go to and treks to an old burial site he’s dying to see. Alone. Without telling anyone on a freezing December night. Without cell service…a huge problem when he twists his ankle.
Someone passes by Isak’s house on the path leasing to the stone ship. When the person never returns, Isak worries and sets off to investigate. What he finds is Petter, a pack of sparklers, and an instant connection.
Under a starry sky, they learn they have a lot in common. Will the attraction burn hot and fizzle out like the fireworks going off over their heads when they return to the real world? Or will it deepen, grow, and turn into something real? Something everlasting like the stone ship?
“Did you come here to ring in the new year?” He nods toward the bottle still positioned between my legs.
“Yeah. I’ve always wanted to visit this place and since I was dragged to the village, it seemed like a good idea at the time. I even brought sparklers.” I pull them out of my pocket, holding them up for him to see.
“Bubbly and sparklers by the stone ship. Sounds like the perfect New Year’s celebration to me.”
I stare at him. He sounds serious enough, not like he’s mocking me. And he doesn’t know me, so he won’t know what buttons to push to get me to agree to do shit I don’t want to, like my friend Jonas, who’s the sole reason for me being here. “You can’t be alone on New Year’s Eve, Petter. Only losers and people with no friends stay home alone on holidays. Besides, you don’t want Maja to think you’re not her friend, do you?” Bastard played me and used his girlfriend to get me to agree, knowing how much I like her. More than him, most days.
But this guy, this stranger, seems honest. “You really mean that?”
“I do.” He grabs the bottle and takes a swig, his face scrunching up in a grimace.
“Yeah, I know,” I snicker. “It’s vile. Serves me right for grabbing someone’s bubbly from the fridge before heading up here.”
“I’m not a wine expert, but that was…”
“…too sweet,” we say simultaneously.
He nods. “Exactly.”
“Listen. What do you say we ring in the new year a bit early? New Year’s is just an arbitrary mark of the passage of time invented by humans anyway, so who says we can’t do it now? Light some sparklers, tell each other our resolutions. Try not to barf as we drink more of this.” He holds up the bottle. “Then I can help you down. Call a doctor if you need one. Or take you back to your friends if you prefer. I assume you’re at the Andersson house for the party?”
I raise an eyebrow. “How did you know?”
“It’s a teeny tiny village. Everyone knows what’s going on in their neighbors’ houses.”
“Really? That can’t be good?”
“It has its downsides, that’s for sure. But I’m mostly fine with it.”
“Okaaaay.” Because surely, he doesn’t mean the neighbors know everything? Not what other people have in their nightstands and stuff? Ew.
“So what do you say?” He nudges his knee against my leg.
“Sure. I approve of the plan.”
Isak removes his gloves and holds out his hand. “Let me light the sparklers. Did you bring a lighter?”
“Yeah, hang on.” I dig into my pocket without taking off my mittens—my fingers are pretty cold—until I find it. “Here you go.”
“Awesome. Are you the kind of person who makes resolutions?”
“Usually not.” I accept the lit sparkler he holds out to me. I’ve loved these things since I was a little kid, even more than fireworks, and up here, in the howling wind with a sky full of stars above my head, in the company of a kind stranger and huge ancient stones, they’re more beautiful than ever.
“But this year is different?”
“Yeah. I’m doing some…significant changes in my life this coming year, so I thought ‘why not?’ It can’t hurt, right? Even if I agree with you about the arbitrariness of this so-called holiday.”
“Sure. It’s not a thing we celebrate because of some natural phenomenon, like the solstice. It’s just to mark that the Earth has done another lap around the sun. I mean, that’s great and all, but why do we need to celebrate it?”
Isak’s face lights up in a wide grin. “Yes! This is what I always say when people complain because I refuse to embrace the spirit of the holiday.”
I return his smile. “Exactly!”
“I’ll drink to that.”
About the Author
Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies room), loves music (and singing along at the top of her voice but she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (Make it so). She loves words, bullet journals, poetry, wine, coffee-flavored kisses, and fika (a Swedish cultural thing involving coffee and pastry!)
Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.
Nell is a bisexual Swedish woman married to the love of her life, a proud mama of a grown daughter, and is approaching 50 faster than she’d like. She lives in the south of Sweden where she spends her days thinking up stories about people falling in love. After dreaming about being a writer for most of her life, she finally was in a place where she could pursue her dream and released her first book in 2017.
Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angsty, short over long, and quirky characters over alpha males.
George thinks he’s a real man…until he is seduced by an American serviceman on duty in New Zealand during WW2.
Neddy, the son of Lebanese migrants, marries a peasant girl in an attempt to overcome his attraction to men.
Garth, an intellectual, working-class Catholic boy, escapes to Mexico but eventually returns to reveal a painful secret.
Set in New Zealand, Lebanon and Mexico between 1942 and 1986, SUCKING FEIJOAS follows the lives of gay men and how, with ingenuity, courage and love, they managed their lives – despite the odds. Now in its third edition, this deeply engaging story about sexuality, class, race and the culture wars that surrounded them, is as relevant as ever. SUCKING FEIJOAS is riveting storytelling, gay history, empowering.
George was ecstatic that the party was going to be held in what he now referred to as his apartment. ‘Flat’ was definitely out as a term of reference to his abode now that he had such wonderful and sophisticated friends as Garth Griffin and Neddy Berdawni. He looked around his living room, a haven of peace and loveliness, which would soon be the scene of the wild party he’d planned in honour of the passing of the Homosexual Law Reform Bill.
‘All’erta! All’erta!Abb’etta zingara! he sang in a falsetto accompaniment to the opera blasting from his stereo. ‘All’erta.’ He lifted the needle from the record and put it back a few grooves so that he could again hear the soprano rejoicing in his favourite refrain from Il Trovatore. ‘All’erta! All’ertd! Abb’etta zingara!’
Food was displayed on the Formica table in his kitchen. It looked glorious, the madeira cake and the stuffed mushrooms. But best of all was that fabulous Arabic concoction with the name he had the same difficulty in pronouncing as the frantic refrains from the opera.
‘All’erta!’ he sang as he sniffed Neddy’s hummus. ‘Amazing,’ he said, ‘it feels so good to be able to sing opera without thinking it might get me arrested. Us poor, poor queens, for so many centuries denied our pleasures!’
On the wall in front of him was a picture of Mount Taranaki, which he stared at as he reached into a cupboard for the bottle of sherry. The huge, handsome flanks of that monstrous mountain. So many decades of admiring it. So many tortures endured in its presence, each like the ice axes that climbers stuck in the flanks of that wily old mountain.
‘And there you still are.’ He saluted the mountain. ‘And me too,’ he said as he downed a mouthful of the deliciously sickly sherry. ‘Still alert, still surviving.’
He bent over the table and stuck his finger in the delicious dip he’d come to adore since Neddy had first made it for him. ‘Hmmmm, hmmiss, homos, oh something or other,’ he said in a pickled hiss. He licked his finger with the creamy substance smeared over it and closed his eyes in satisfaction.
“The Smile of the Dispossessed” is a love story and a political thriller set in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia and Indonesia. The novel tells the story of Fadhi and Adam who flee Baghad in the final days of the Saddam Hussien regime when they are ‘outed’ as being gay and accused of being enemies of the state. Despite having been lovers for many years, under the pressures of being refugees, they separate and go their own ways, both men hoping to find freedom in a country that will accept them for who they are. “The Smile of the Dispossessed” demonstrates the enduring requirement to maintain faith in humanity and the power of love.
The music had changed again from disco to house and that beat was what Adam wanted, the newness of it, the complete modernity, the throb of what was the latest from Ibiza and Paris.
“You will not defeat me,” he said. He took the last swig from his bottle and went by himself to the dance floor. In his tight white tee shirt and blue jeans and white sneakers with his hair cut short and three days of beard, he knew he was the centre of attraction as he moved his body to the steady beat.
“I’m the handsome Arab,” he thought. “I’m the male they all want.” In the soap opera the music would now be reaching a crescendo as the main character found himself powerful and showed the world that when you are strong you get what you want and not what you de-serve. For a while in Baghdad there had been a fabulous Brazilian soap played on national television but the dancing and the partying had been too much for the authorities and it was eventually banned. Adam felt as if he had reached Sao Paulo now and that he was in it at last, that thing he wanted so much, that space he deserved. It was the vacuum left by the Brazilians, it was the magazine where the Paris models looked glamorous and led a life of luxury and fun. And at that moment on the dance floor he knew what his life was: he was a handsome and slightly crazy Palestinian and people desired him for that. Dancing there he saw his persona and was satisfied. The soaps were life and life was the soaps. He was in the midst of this felicitous conundrum when the blond squeezed amongst the dancers and started moving rhythmically next to him.
The blond had powder blue eyes, the colour of tropical oceans. His smile was as easy as his movements on the dance floor. They didn’t speak. There was no need to as they danced through two sets of the music. It was just like the soaps had ordered. A new sequel had begun and the audience was being led into it willingly and with abandon. The first thing the blond said to Adam sounded as if it had been scripted in a studio, the writers working in participation for the exact line of introduction: “I thought about you all day and all night.”
A vibrant, entertaining, often darkly Gothic story is filled with passion, love, pathos, farce and humour. Pansies’ Revenge lays bare the political, social and cultural fabric of New Zealand society at a pivotal time in the nation’s history. Set in 1918 the novel explores what it was like to resist political oppression and at the same time, face a global pandemic.
It is late 1918 and in Wellington, New Zealand, four years of world war and the ravages of the Spanish flu are taking their toll on the inhabitants.
All are not for King and Country. The members of the Te Aro book club: queer, feminist, bohemian, disgruntled, are accused of sedition for reading Crime and Punishment and drawing from it the roots of the problems facing the world. The more intently they read, the more the crazed characters of the book appear to manifest themselves in Wellington.
Intrigues deepen: Cecil and Sybil Meatyard, who work the crowds to a frenzy of patriotism in the streets of Wellington for the New Zealand Women’s Anti-German League, disappear. Their diatribes about war shirkers, spies and Pansies have upset a lot of people. The sinister Crawford Denton, detective and sensualist, follows the case. A 1918 MeToo Movement begins as the influenza pandemic takes hold.
This vibrant, entertaining, often darkly Gothic story is filled with passion, love, pathos, farce and humour. Pansies’ Revenge lays bare the political, social and cultural fabric of New Zealand society at a pivotal time in the nation’s history.
Alexander Powderham, fortyish, handsome, bohemian, limped his way up Cuba Street. His left leg, having been crippled from infantile paralysis, was supported by a steel brace. He was dependent also on canes, of which he had an impressive collection, and on this occasion, he was using one intricately carved by Aroha Raharuhi, his longtime lover.
The air was unseasonably warm for mid-September Wellington, which heightened the smell rising from the mounds of horse ordure left from the morning’s military parade. Outside the Duchess Tea Rooms, Alexander paused and rested on his good leg while he adjusted his recently tailored jacket, smoothing down the Irish linen with his hands, delighting in its texture and colour of golden flax. Then he adjusted his silk tie, cream coloured with charcoal flecks, loosening the knot a little at the undone top button to ensure that rakish look, which was one of casual elegance. The white, Egyptian cotton shirt had also been crafted especially for him by the clothiers Munster & Munster who, through four years of war, had survived patriotic vandalism by hanging a large sign across their shop windows, WE ARE NOT HUNS: WE SUPPORT KING AND COUNTRY. Alexander’s chocolate brown, wide-brimmed hat with a duck’s feather poking from the green woven band was also avant-garde, of a high-quality felt and based on a design he had seen in a fashion weekly from London.
About the Author
Jeffrey Buchanan was born in Wellington, New Zealand, to a Lebanese – New Zealand family. For thirty years, including a decade with the United Nations, he worked in multiple countries in education, the promotion of human rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women. He was based for several years in the Middle East. For his Doctorate, he researched the structural, cultural and ideological components of Islamic education. Now he follows the warm weather with his husband Stuart, reads and writes fiction, and daydreams.
Professional footballer Jay Ruttman and rock superstar Sebastian Saunders are back. Used to the press, used to the public interest, and used to being just the two of them, they’ve forged a life juggling their high-profile careers with their low-key relationship. And it’s working. Mostly. There are only two things left hanging that could elevate their contentment to perfection—marriage and a child. Six years since bridgegate, and Jay’s spectacular proposal on the Millennium Bridge, the bill has now passed for legal same-sex marriage. It looks like they might be able to finally tie the knot, and the pitter patter of tiny feet isn’t as far flung an idea as it might have first seemed. Until Jay has his first call up to play for the national team and must, once again, decide what’s more important—family or football.
The short-lived peace broke when Seb announced through a wistful exhalation, “I want to have your babies.”
Jay slammed back against the wall, his head hitting hard, solid plaster. He’d feel that in the morning. “You what?”
“Let’s have babies, Champ. Let’s have little Jays running after their little footballs and little me’s rocking out on the guitar. Well, I’ll start him on the ukulele because, little hands. But by three I’ll expect to upgrade.”
“I know what you’re going to say. No womb. But, penguins, baby, look at the fucking penguins! We could do that. We could so do that.”
“Steal an egg?” Jay ran a hand over his brow.
Davies wriggled onto his side, the pillow sliding to the floor and an elongated grunt grazed his throat. Jay ignored him to await what Seb was going to declare next.
“We get given one.” Seb’s grin could be felt two hundred miles away and down the telecom system, only mildly preventing the need for Jay to kick the bloke in the next bed to him. “And we know our very own bitch whore!”
“Ann. Let’s steal her eggs and borrow her oven to cook them in.”
“She’s agreed. I already rang her.”
“So much for talking to me first before doing anything rash.”
“I didn’t impregnate her,” Seb declared in a mockingly accusatory tone. “That would be considered brash. Anyway, think on it. We’ll talk tomorrow. My programmes just started.”
“Enjoy the gay dogs.”
“Oh no, not that. I went back to porn. Although, I could probably search that on this site. Puppy play.”
“Night, Daddy. I love you.” Seb cut off the phone before Jay could retaliate with anything.
He wouldn’t have known what to say anyway. That was some head fuck. Babies. Seb wanted babies. With him. And plural. Yes, he’d mentioned it before, but he’d thought the bloke was flapping his lips like he always did. This was serious.
And if he’d already spoken to Ann…
He then noticed there was an unseen text that had come through during that conversation. He clicked on it.
Yes, you can have my eggs and borrow my oven. Love you. A
“Fuckin’ ‘ell!” Jay threw his phone on the bedside table and it landed with a loud thud.
Davies flung his eyes open. “Oi, Rutters,” he growled and tossed one of the pillows across the room. It slapped Jay in the face, waking him up from his momentary paralysis. “Some of us are tryin’ a sleep ‘ere, yeah? Keep the fucking noise down.”
Jay didn’t retaliate. He was too gobsmacked. Seb’s out of left field tackle had kicked him right in the gut and that was an illegal move. Little Sebs? Could he handle little Sebs? He couldn’t handle the big one most of the time.
Still, the thought tugged a smile from his lips as he slunk under the covers, closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep to the sound of snoring.
About the Author
Brought up in a relatively small town in Hertfordshire, C F White managed to do what most other residents try to do and fail—leave.
Studying at a West London university, she realised there was a whole city out there waiting to be discovered, so, much like Dick Whittington before her, she never made it back home and still endlessly search for the streets paved with gold, slowly coming to the realisation they’re mostly paved with chewing gum. And the odd bit of graffiti. And those little circles of yellow spray paint where the council point out the pot holes to someone who is supposedly meant to fix them instead of staring at them vacantly whilst holding a polystyrene cup of watered-down coffee.
Eventually she moved West to East along that vast District Line and settled for pie and mash, cockles and winkles and a bit of Knees Up Mother Brown to live in the East End of London; securing a job and creating a life, a home and a family.
After her second son was born with a rare disability, C F White’s life changed and it brought pen back to and paper after having written stories as a child but never had the confidence to show them to the world. Now, having embarked on this writing journey, C F White can’t stop.
Happy Holidays from everyone at T.A.G. Your one-stop shopping source for all your killing needs. It isn’t all stabbings, poisonings, and shootings here at The Assassins’ Guild. We decided to pause that and take a little time to celebrate being alive, and for some, being in love. This is your friendly communications agent, Mr. No, here to tell you about the holiday fun Mr. H and his boys got up to this one Christmas. Once upon a time, there was a Bob. This Bob got tasked with three missions. Not just any old ordinary missions, but missions of love… Between guarding Connor, being stalked by Enrique, and being his usual sneaky self, Bob must put into motion three big surprises for his chosen family. But it’s not all snowman contests and catching Mr. Ti in potentially embarrassing situations while they vacation in a chateau outside of Paris. Oh no, something is afoot. Mr. H won’t let the new problem code-named The Poacher interfere with family time. So, take a little time out of your busy schedule and join us for a T.A.G. Family Christmas the likes of you’ll never forget. Attention: This story contains adorableness taken to a whole new level. There are adult situations, language, kinky snowmen, and all the churros you can eat.
Sixteen Days till Christmas
Lights twinkled, making the bare trees that lined the Champs Elysée seem full once more in the early evening darkness. This far north, the sun was long set by five. My breath puffed in the chilly air in front of me as I looked down the wide avenue with the Arc de Triumph behind me. The sound of the cars zooming around the large roundabout was dim to my ears as I stood in awe of the sight before me.
Ice glistened on the branches as the smell of—a sharp elbow jabbed my bicep. “Are you going to stand here all evening gaping? I’m freezing my nuts off here, and you promised me lots of mulled wine and fresh churros.”
I side-eyed Yoshi with a huff. “I was imprinting this moment to my memory. Plus, look how pretty it is. Besides, I told you to wear a thicker jacket.”
“Well, if we move, I won’t be so cold, and I didn’t want to look like a marshmallow man.”
“At least I’m warm and fashionable.” I’d worn a poofy teal coat that went to mid-thigh, toasty flannel lined jeans with fleece-lined boots. I topped off my outfit with matching earmuffs that had cat ears on them and a pair of our special cold weather gloves that kept my hands perfectly warm while not losing any dexterity nor the ability to operate any of our touchscreen electronics.
Yoshi pogoed on his toes, and I looked back over to Bob, who shrugged. “Well, at least let me get some photos first.”
“Fuck. It’s cold.” Yoshi blew into his hands.
“Well, I offered you earmuffs, but you scoffed at me. Dmitry told you to at least take a scarf and you scoffed at him. I think you just like suffering and complaining about it.” I took the opportunity to pull my scarf over my nose to try to warm it. The wind by the Arc was a bit too much for my comfort.
Yoshi laughed heartily. “Of course I like suffering.”
“That’s not what you said this morning. You were begging for Dmitry to stop torturing and fuck you,” I quipped.
“Damn thin walls in that place.” Yoshi blushed a little then shrugged it off. “I’m not the only one who’s loud. How tight is your Daddy’s hole? I don’t think I quite heard.”
I grinned wide and licked my lips. “Mmmmm, so tight. He hugs my cock—”
Yoshi shoulder checked me, nearly making me stumble into someone walking in the opposite direction. “And he’s so hot and the way he flexes—” I dodged Yoshi and caught up to Bob, who had taking point. He arched an eyebrow at me as I used him as a shield.
“You’re just jealous.” I stuck my tongue out at him.
“I do not want to know what Oz’s ass even looks like, much less feels.”
I fell back in step with Yoshi. “Eww, no, of course not, but I meant that you never get to fuck Dmitry.”
Yoshi shrugged. “Eh, it’s not something I need. Sometimes it’d be nice but I’m good.”
We were finally topside again. So many people were out shopping or having dinner. There were many tourists as well, but it was the Champs Elysée, so that was expected. The next day they were going shopping in the fashion district. I wasn’t a clothes whore by any means, but if you’re going to come to Paris, you must at least do some clothes shopping.
“Do you want to stop for a coffee?”
“No, let’s go to Tiffany’s like you want first.”
A nervous excitement bubbled in my gut as we got closer to the store. “Are you sure you don’t want something too?”
“Yeah, I’m sure. We do a lot of things together, but I think we can skip this one.”
“Don’t you want to marry Dmitry?”
“Sure, someday, but it’s not something I really think about. He’s not going anywhere. He promised and he has my key.”
I nodded as I walked through the door that Bob held open to the multilevel shop. “Maybe you can get him like a diamond-encrusted cock ring?”
“Nah, do you know what a pain that would be to clean?”
About the Author
A.G. Carothers is actually a dragon very cleverly disguised as a human. They are a non-binary author of LGBTQIA Romance and Urban Fantasy, who enjoys writing original and entertaining stories. They are very excited to share the worlds they’ve created with you.
A.G. currently lives in Tennessee with their platonic life partner, who is not a dragon. They yearn to live back in Europe and will some day. In their spare time they are addicted to losing themselves in the lovely worlds created by other authors A.G. is committed to writing the stories they see in their head without restrictions. Love is blind and doesn’t see gender, race, or sexuality.
The Sheriff of Byrmonville, Richard Clayson, has a dark secret.
That night he found Beau walking down the familiar bleak streets, he knew exactly what he was doing. Watching him in the interrogation room, his eyes coveting the way that cigarette easily slid between his lips, the way the tattoos wrap easily around his flesh. Those eyes haunting and familiar, awakening something in him long since beaten dead.
He knew exactly what Beau’s nighttime occupation was.
It was his job. To investigate the things unknown, the things hiding in the darkness. He loved a good puzzle piece, a good riddle he could unravel.
Richard wasn’t a cop for nothing.
This is dangerous. Reckless. He could lose everything, hunting Beau like this.
So why can’t he stop?
It’s all about a boy.
A boy who changed his life. He’s not just any kind of boy. Not someone of social status or unforgettable features. Not a boy that throws tantrums or is the sort to excel at everything.
Richard bets he isn’t particularly athletic, nor is he quick when it comes to arithmetic. However, he isn’t ordinary. In retrospect, there’s absolutely nothing ordinary about him. For one thing, his attitude is foul, so much so that half the guys in the office cringe when he opens his mouth.
He’s rough around the edges with a boorish attitude which does nothing to inspire the idea that the youth of today will amount to much in the world. However, there is something incredibly striking about his pitch black, thick curly hair, his long straight nose, thin lips, dimpled grin and a beauty mark hovering the corner of his upper lip.
Richard mentally runs through the Blackwell’s sordid history in town. His brother’s been arrested more times than he can count and it seems Beau was headed in that same direction.
Beau smokes too much, drinks too much, swears too much—hell, he does everything he shouldn’t do in abundance.
Richard even spots a couple tattoos peeking out from underneath his shirt, and is immediately repulsed. How old is he anyway?
Beau takes out a packet of smokes, slides one between his thin lips, tilting his chin up exposing that beauty mark in a way that makes Richard feel things—things long since beaten dead.
Book Title: Cage The Night
Author: J.K. Jones
Length: 600 pages
Release Date: November 20, 2020
Genre/s: Dark M/M Romance, Murder Mystery, LGBTQ horror and tragedy
When instead of running he is being chased? Richard doesn’t understand when or how things turned. He just knows the tightness in his chest intensifies, the demon is growing restless.
All he wants to do is go back in time and stop this whole thing from happening. Starting with the first day when he saw Beau in the interrogation room, Richard wants to stop himself from becoming mesmerized by those haunting emerald eyes and that otherworldly face.
He would stop the world from turning, the heavens opening up and beaming sunlight down on them. He would stop his heart, his lungs, and all the creatures in the world just so that he would never ever have to meet Beau.
By the time he makes it to the Blackwell residence the blood is pounding in his ears.
He can barely see straight. The rage is boiling over and there isn’t anything stopping the demon from tearing its way through.
The house comes into view, dilapidated on the hillside, crumbling piece of shit that Richard loathes more than anything. He presses harder on the gas, dirt and debris flies everywhere as he drives recklessly up the pathway. Sirens blare loudly, as he slams his foot on the brake, nearly crashing into the front porch. Richard flies out of the vehicle, leaving the door hanging wide open and stumbles up the porch with his gun heavy in hand.
There is nothing, white noise, air bustling in his ears and the tunnel vision of paralyzing vehemence. It’s dark, raw and savage, the demon’s lips curl, breathing fire and brimstone as he clatters his way up the stairway of the Blackwell property.
The M1191 is secure in his grasp, fingers tightening around the trigger because there will be nothing, but brutality, sickening violence of blood and guts and gore.
Wooden stairs creak and groan under his foreign weight, the screen door is hanging off its hinges and he knows, that there is something very very very wrong here.
About the Author
Heaven and hell, demons and angels. J.K Jones has always had an affinity for other worldly things. From her debut novel it’s easy to see she loves all things crawling in the shadows. As it so happens, J.K Jones is the author of a gritty, fun, action-packed, soul-rending novel. Her characters are so dark and twisted they defy the dimensions of this world. She is an avid reader, poet and LGBTQ activist. She is a York University graduate with a BA in Sociology, also has a TESOL certificate for teaching English as a Second Language.
An elf costume, a pair of lacy knickers, and a Christmas charity auction might make Sam’s Christmas wish come true.
When sweet barista, Sam, agrees to be a ‘slave’ in a Christmas charity auction, he’s thrilled to be bought by the man he’s had a crush on for the last three months. Theodore is everything Sam is looking for in a man: older, authoritative, and caring. Unfortunately, Sam isn’t the most forward person when it comes to telling men he likes them. Wearing a sexy costume allows him to be a much flirtier version of himself, but can a naughty elf tempt Theodore into bed? As their relationship intensifies, Sam finds something in Theodore he didn’t realise he needed: a man he wants to call his Daddy. But Theodore isn’t out of the closet, and whilst Sam is happy existing in a bubble in the run up to Christmas, he knows that can’t last forever. Can Sam risk giving his heart to a Daddy who might not ever be able to hold his hand in public, let alone commit to him? What Works For Us is a Christmas-ish romance with an age-gap relationship, lacy underwear, role-play, Daddy kink, a smidge of hurt/comfort, and a guaranteed happy ending.
About the Author
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.