Book Title: Hazardous Things (Star Shadow, #3)
Author: Beth Bolden
Publisher: Beth Bolden Books
Cover Artist: Cate Ashwood Designs
Release Date: May 29, 2020
Genre/s: MM Rock Star Romance, Friends to Lovers,
Bisexual Awakening, Forced Proximity
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 80 000 words
It is NOT a standalone story. Reviewers/readers need to have read either Terrible Things or both Terrible Things and Impossible Things.
Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited
Felix Humphries can’t even remember the first time he crushed on Star Shadow’s drummer, Max McCloud.
It’s been an embarrassingly long time, but he’s still never acted on his feelings. One, because Max is his older brother’s best friend. Two, because Max is also his friend. Three, Max is technically his boss. And four, worst of all, Max is straight.
But when Max unexpectedly needs a caretaker for a few weeks, Felix can’t leave his friend in the lurch. He’s all ready to suffer through being so close but not close enough, when the unexpected happens.
Max isn’t straight after all, and what Max wants is Felix—but only in his bed, not in his heart.
Hazardous Things is the third book in the Star Shadow series and should not be read as a standalone.
When Felix came back into Max’s room, the nurse in tow, Max was still awake. He was staring out the window, a harmless drugged smile on his face.
“He’s gonna sleep for a while,” the nurse said, “at least when you get him back home.”
“I’m assuming he’s better off sleeping than being coherent and in pain,” Felix said quietly.
“Oh yeah,” the nurse said. “There’s prescriptions for the pain. And it’ll be significant. Make sure he takes them. If he doesn’t, it’s going to be real uncomfortable for both of you.”
“That won’t be a problem. I’m staying with him,” Felix said. After all, once he committed to something, he committed to it.
“I see you’re awake again,” the nurse said, going over to Max’s side. “How you feel about taking off?”
“Home,” Max repeated firmly.
“That’s right,” the nurse said, and after donning a pair of gloves, began to work on getting the IV out of Max’s arm.
Felix wasn’t exactly squeamish—he’d better not be, anyway, considering that the nurse had already gone over Max’s care instructions and he would definitely be the one changing the surgical dressing and making sure it stayed clean—but it was hard to watch when it was Max. When it was someone he cared about as much as he did Max.
Especially when Felix saw Max flinch.
“Hey,” Felix said, reaching for Max’s other hand and tangling those long, calloused fingers with his own. There’d been a point when he’d have cut off his other hand just to hold hands with the man in front of him, but he couldn’t think about that now. Now, he needed to distract Max from the IV being removed.
“Heeeeey,” Max said, and that was definitely not what Felix had expected. Was that . . .a leer?
“Hi yourself,” Felix said, squeezing Max’s hand.
Max raised their joined hands and brushed them against Felix’s forehead. “Pretty,” he said. “So pretty.”
Felix ordered himself not to blush, but it was useless. He glanced up, and the nurse was looking at them. “Your brother, huh?” she asked, amusement in her voice.
He squirmed. “My brother’s best friend,” he finally confessed. He’d been worried that they wouldn’t let him stay in the waiting room during the surgery or wouldn’t let him in to see Max in recovery if he wasn’t a family member, so he’d fudged the truth a little.
“Ah, that kind of brother,” the nurse said, her voice knowing.
Even though Felix wanted to explain it couldn’t ever be like that, because Max wouldn’t ever be interested in him that way, he didn’t, because it was already humiliating enough that his crush was visible from space.
When this ordeal was over, the only person on earth who didn’t know was going to be Max himself—and Felix would do just about anything to keep it that way.
“I’m just about done here,” she continued. “Just keep him distracted for a moment longer.”
Max’s hazel eyes were speckled with green in this light, unfocused and utterly focused on Felix all at the same time.
“Hey, it’s gonna be alright,” Felix said, his voice so much more tender than he’d intended. If he looked up, he might see quiet amusement on the nurse’s face, but he didn’t look, because he was finding it tough to look away from Max.
“Alright?” Max repeated, but he didn’t sound certain. At least not certain enough for Felix’s peace of mind. Even if this was hard—even if it felt impossible—to be there for Max over the next few weeks, he knew deep down in his bones that it was the right thing to do. Max was alone and understandably, justifiably scared—and even if there was never anything more than friendship between them, Felix wanted to be the one who reassured him.
“It’s going to be more than alright,” Felix promised. Promised himself that he would do whatever it took to make this vow come true.
About the Author
A lifelong Oregonian, Beth Bolden has just recently moved to North Carolina with her supportive husband and their sweet kitten, Earl Grey. Beth still believes in Keeping Portland Weird, and intends to be just as weird in Raleigh.
Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published seventeen novels and six novellas.
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Book Title: A Bit of Me
Author: Kent Lowe
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: Hocking Design Solutions Ltd
Release Date: March 27, 2020
Genre/s: Contemporary, LGBT Fiction, Coming of age, Bisexual, Humour, Own voices
Trope/s: Enemies to friends to lovers
Themes: Coming out, bisexual awakening, friendship, young love, gay for you.
Heat Rating: 3 flames
Length: 88 000 words/316 pages
It is a standalone story.
From Chapter 1
Wiping the sweat from his top lip, he tried to breathe in something other than stranger’s body heat. It was thick. Solid. Like the air had been stuck in the carriage for years. And he knew as the doors beeped shut behind him, the five-fifty-two to London was going to be one bastard of a journey.
‘Close one, Georgie boy.’
‘I know.’ Wheezing, George slipped into the seat next to Alfie and sucked in mouthfuls of the staleness. ‘Got held up at work.’
Truth was, it had nothing to do with his job. Being late wasn’t something George Taylor was good at. He was the fucking champion. Tell him where and when to meet and he’d be there. Twenty minutes after everybody else.
Dripping with sweat, he dragged the back of his wrist over his brow then yanked the neck of his T-shirt in an attempt to cool his clammy skin.
Sitting on the chav wagon for an hour was hell for him. The thought of being sat amongst thirty-odd strangers, most of whom had no idea of personal space, gave him full on anxiety. Actually doing it, made him want to vomit. But it was worth it. Nothing could bring him down. Not even a soap dodger with an allergy to antiperspirant. He was on his way to see Ellie. And that was all that mattered.
‘Babes, please tell me you’re not wearing that tonight.’ Aimee momentarily glanced away from her phone and winced at his muddy top. ‘Ells will actually kill you if you turn up in that.’
‘Course not. I’ve got my going out gear in here.’ George unzipped his torn rucksack to prove he’d packed a fresh set of clothes that morning. He hadn’t needed the reminder that Ellie would disapprove of his work gear. ‘I didn’t have time to change.’
‘Or wash by the smell of you.’ Aimee turned her nose away. ‘You look like you’re covered in-’
‘Shit!’ Alfie jabbed his elbow into George’s side. He was gawping at a blonde who had just boarded the train in a tight figure-hugging blue dress. ‘Look at the bounce on those things.’
Never one to encourage Alfie’s ogling of anyone with breasts, George made a point of rolling his eyes. He couldn’t help but notice the impressive chest on the blonde himself though.
‘She is hot.’ Alfie whistled, manspreading into George’s space.
Aimee peered up from her phone to give the woman the once-over. Possibly the twice-over by her look of disdain. She was one of the nicest, sweetest girls on the planet but other attractive females brought out the monster in her. ‘What? No way. She’s so basic.’
‘I don’t care if she’s basic, I’d motorboat the fuck out of those things,’ Alfie beamed, following it up with a wink George’s way.
‘The way you objectify women is gross.’ Aimee huffed, pulling at her neckline to show off her own bronzed and perky assets. ‘Besides, you can tell she’s a total bitch, just look at her eyebrows.’
George and Alfie shrugged in unison as Aimee continued to glare at the woman. Like she was sizing her up for a coffin. George had no idea what the woman’s eyebrows had to do with her being a bitch, but by the grimace plastered on her face, Aimee seemed adamant about it. She always insisted that she had a way of knowing those sorts of things, but George had yet to see any proof.
About the Author
“My English teacher in Year 11 once said that I’d either be a rent boy or a writer. I wasn’t successful at the first so thought I’d try the latter.”
Kent Lowe grew up in East London, spending most of his youth in Dagenham, before moving to Essex.
Being a daydreamer and somewhat of a loner, he found art and literature to be the perfect medium for his endless imagination. After finishing college, Kent went on to study a Fine Art degree where he moved from canvas to installation which reared his love for both visual and literary storytelling.
Kent has always had an affinity with animals, and growing up with a menagerie of creatures, he now has fish, an orange cat and four adorable dogs that make his chaotic world just that little more harmonic.
As an artist and writer, all of Kent’s works delve into humour, love and friendship.
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Chasing Fate by J.P. James
I’ve always wanted to be a writer covering LGBTQ+ affairs. As a member of the queer community, our issues don’t get enough press and I see it as my job to shine a light on the many amazing things we’ve achieved. To help me out, my dad sets me up with an internship at his best friend’s company, which is a place that puts out a weekly newsmagazine. It’s perfect because I can use this opportunity to write about gay-centric issues to my heart’s content. But the problem is that the boss doesn’t necessarily see it that way. Dane, my dad’s friend, is handsome, forbidding, and dare I say it? A little scary. He’s used to giving orders, taking risks, and making money hand over fist. Despite being gay himself, he doesn’t want me to use his paper as a platform for our community because he says quote-unquote: “It won’t sell.” Since when has everything become about money? Have we, as a society, lost our moral compass? Even more important, how can I change his mind? On the one hand, sparks fly whenever Dane and I clash. But on the other, can I really be with a man who won’t stand up for the cause closest to my heart?
I took on Chris as an intern as a favor to my oldest friend. After Nick begged, cajoled, and pleaded, I agreed on a three-month summer internship for his son. With an emphasis on temporary. Chris and I weren’t even supposed to cross paths because as the boss, I don’t really interact with newbie reporters. Yet the moment he walked into my office, I knew that Chris was going to be trouble. The young man is lively, forceful, and hell-bent on writing stories that highlight the achievements of the gay community. Of course I support him, at least on some level. After all, I’m a member of the LGBTQ+ community myself, and proud of the discrimination we’ve overcome, not to mention the acceptance we’ve achieved. As a result, I have nothing against his ideas per se, except that they won’t sell very many papers. Does that make sense? As a player in capitalist society, we have to market our wares in order to survive. But why can’t Chris understand my point of view? Sure, everyone knows that the publishing industry is in jeopardy and facing a sea change in terms of how we do business. But how can I make the young man see this? How can I help him understand that the world is more complicated than it appears, and that sometimes, we work for many masters and wear many hats simultaneously? Most importantly, how can I convince Chris that I’m worthy of his love when his commitment to LGBTQ causes may outweigh his affection for me?
***This is a full-length MM novel with no cliffhangers and a happily ever after.***
After we check into our hotel and drop our bags off, Dane and I stroll hand-in-hand down the main streets. We take in the sights, window shop, people watch, and soak in the perfect summer weather. It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon but not too humid today. Everything looks straight out of a postcard. We see kids in khaki shorts and Sperry deck shoes riding beach cruisers, eating ice cream, and laughing so loud they leave our ears ringing. We pass a coffee shop and I practically drag Dane inside, even though I had two espressos before we left this morning.
As we’re sipping our drinks, I take the opportunity to mention some LGBTQ issues that could potentially be included in Globix publications. There’s one about how fundraising for LGBTQ issues is particularly challenging given the current political climate, and another one pertaining to an upcoming Supreme Court case.
“What do you think?” I ask casually, my heart beating with anticipation. Hopefully Dane likes the ideas and assigns me to report these stories.
He’s noncommittal, merely squeezing my hand and looking off into the distance.
“It’s a beautiful view,” he says in a low voice. “I love this part of the Northeast.”
I shoot him an even look.
“No seriously, Dane. You know these issues are important to our community. What do you think of the fundraising article? Or the Supreme Court case? Front page stuff, right?”
This time, he turns to look at me and sighs deeply.
“Chris, what did I tell you about the Supreme Court?”
“Nothing,” I answer stoutly. “Why?”
Dane muses a bit for a moment.
“You’re right. I never did mention how I feel about those stories, and how they play out for our business. Well, I’m not going to hold back because I think you need to hear it, sweetheart: stories like that, as compelling as they are, don’t speak to our readers. Our readership likes mainstream stuff, even if it pains me to say it.”
I wrinkle my nose.
“What are you talking about? This is mainstream. We are mainstream. That’s what we’re trying to do!”
Dane sighs again.
“No, Chris, we’re not mainstream yet. A small, yet significant proportion of the population identifies as queer in some way, but we’re not there quite yet. And because we’re not there, it means that most of the people buying our papers are straight. They want to hear about issues that pertain to them, or they want to hear about fun human interest tidbits. They don’t want to hear about cut and dried Supreme Court decisions, and they definitely don’t want to hear about fundraising. It’s not going to sell papers.”
I stop and stare at him.
“But we have to feature these articles because we want to become mainstream. Only by including these stories will we make a dent in the overall American consciousness. Don’t you want to do that? Isn’t that a worthy goal?”
Dane sighs again and his shoulders slump a bit.
“Of course I do, but there’s this thing called revenue, and also Globix’s board. I answer to them, and if we don’t deliver good figures, you know what happens? I’m out of there, and so are you, frankly.”
I’m stunned. How can this be? I can’t believe that Dane would nix an idea because LGBTQ issues aren’t what our readers want to read about. Sadly, it makes a sick sort of sense and I turn to him with a horrified expression.
“When’s the last time we featured an LGBTQ-centric article?” I ask in a quavery voice.
The publisher merely looks down.
“It’s probably been two months,” he says in a low voice. “And that’s if you don’t count how Charlize Theron is raising her oldest child as a transgender girl.”
My heart pounds painfully in my chest. Oh my god, I had no idea. Or I did, but I had no idea it was this bad. I seize his hand.
“Well, we can feature more,” I say in a rush. “There’s plenty of space in a couple of the newsmagazines, and I’m sure I can get two or three articles ready in no time –”
Dane cuts me off.
“No Chris,” he says in a low voice. “That’s not going to help. The long and the short of it is that sometimes, we have to wait for the world to be ready for us, and right now? It’s ready, but not that ready. We can’t force a slew of LGBTQ pieces down readers’ throats because they’ll never buy our stuff then. A small trickle of gay-friendly stories is okay, but we can’t make them drink from a fire hose.”
I stand frozen in place. This is so difficult to swallow, but I make myself nod.
“Yes of course you’re right,” I say, still trying to catch my breath. “Revenue matters. Keeping readers engaged matters.”
And the thing is, I actually believe these things, but the revelation is still devastating. What’s more important? Money or the cause close to my heart? I swallow and take Dane’s hand again, and we begin to walk once more.
It’s moments like these when I feel like I’m in over my head. Dane knows so much about the practical realities of business, whereas I know so little. But am I willing to let go of what I love in order to succumb to the gods of money? Or will the realities of capitalism pull me apart from this man whom I adore?