Saturday, December 13, 2014

Louisiana Heat by CL Moore

Title:  Louisiana Heat
Author:  CL Moore
Release Date:  December 13, 2014
A story of Love, Betrayal, Lust

Aubrey Dupre is a Southern Belle, living on her family’s Sugar Plantation in the deep South.
Aubrey has a gift, unfortunately her gift is sometimes unreliable. She doesn't realise that the sexy farm hand is dangerous until it is too late.
The love of her life, Beau, lets her down over and over again, unable to protect her when she needs protecting the most.
There is more to Jonesy than he lets anybody know, he has a past that haunts him and that has left him damaged.

That past may come back to more than haunt him, it might just kill him.


Author Bio:
C L grew up in a rural town in Northern NSW. She experienced psychic phenomena and Precognitive dreams from the age of 5 years old.

Looking for others like herself was frustrating until a doorway was opened by a friend and she has never looked back. In 2008 her precognitions were documented by a Detective with the NSW Police force.

Her gifts and abilities include Author, Universal Trance Channel, Angelic healer and Channel,Psychic Medium, Reiki Master, teacher of metaphysical subjects and Candle Maker.

She has channelled, written and taught workshops and development courses that include Psychic and Spiritual Development, Working with the Archangels, Unlocking the Tarot, Exploring Crystals, Fairies and Nature Spirits, Candle Magic, Past Lives and Making a Mojo bag.

C L has created Spiritual Tranquility Oracle Cards set, Spiritual Tranquility Daily Affirmations cards,Spiritual Tranquility Angel Whispers cards and her new Spiritual Tranquility Grail Legends Oracle. She has also recorded Spiritual Tranquility Guided Meditations cd and is the Author of more than 10 books with several more coming this year.

Website  /  Blog  /  Amazon  /  Goodreads

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Saturday's Series Spotlight: Minnesota Christmas Part 1 by Heidi Cullinan

Let It Snow #1
The weather outside is frightful, but this Minnesota northwoods cabin is getting pretty hot.

Stylist Frankie Blackburn never meant to get lost in Logan, Minnesota, but his malfunctioning GPS felt otherwise, and a record-breaking snowfall ensures he won’t be heading back to Minneapolis anytime soon. Being rescued by three sexy lumberjacks is fine as a fantasy, but in reality the biggest of the bears is awfully cranky and seems ready to gobble Frankie right up.

Marcus Gardner wasn’t always a lumberjack—once a high-powered Minneapolis lawyer, he’s come home to Logan to lick his wounds, not play with a sassy city twink who might as well have stepped directly out of his past. But as the northwinds blow and guards come down, Frankie and Marcus find they have a lot more in common than they don’t. Could the man who won’t live in the country and the man who won’t go back to the city truly find a home together? Because the longer it snows, the deeper they fall in love, and all they want for Christmas is each other.

Warning: Contains power outages, excessive snowfall, and incredibly sexy bears.

I'll admit I never really gave much thought to the "bear" character before.  I like a little scruff but full-on bear never really appealed to me but this was recommended to me by a couple of ladies who's opinion I highly respect.  I'm glad I listened and read because I loved these boys!  It showed me that I had a preconceived idea of the definition of "bear" and I was wrong.  You can't help but love poor lost Frankie and Arthur and Paul are definitely friendly and accepting.  Marcus on the other hand is very gruff and standoffish, which only makes his connection to Frankie that much sweeter.

Born and raised in Wisconsin only minutes from the Minnesota border only added to my love of the story and the setting.  I had a healthy respect for the weather scenario the boys found them in and for me that just gave me a more "personal" connection that drew me in even deeper.


Sleigh Ride #2
The way to a man’s heart is on a sleigh.

Arthur Anderson doesn’t want anything to do with love and romance, and he certainly doesn’t want to play Santa in his mother’s library fundraising scheme. He knows full well what she really wants is to hook him up with the town’s lanky, prissy librarian. 

It’s clear Gabriel Higgins doesn’t want him, either—as a Santa, as a boyfriend, as anyone at all. But when Arthur’s efforts to wiggle out of the fundraiser lead to getting to know the man behind the storytime idol, he can’t help but be charmed. The least he can do is be neighborly and help Gabriel find a few local friends. 

As their fiery arguments strike hotter sparks, two men who insist they don’t date wind up doing an awful lot of dating. And it looks like the sleigh they both tried not to board could send them jingling all the way to happily ever after. 

Warning: Contains a feisty librarian, a boorish bear, small town politics, deer sausage, and a boy who wants a doll.

When I finished Let It Snow, I immediately started Sleigh Ride.  Often what happens for me when reading a series that centers on a different pairing with each book, I have a hard time connecting with the new couple because I just am no ready to let go of the first.  No surprise, that happened here as well.  So it took me a few chapters to really get into the book but once I did, I really couldn't stop.  Arthur really came around once he met Gabriel.  Perhaps "came around" isn't really the best description, but I think "grown" isn't really accurate so I'll stick with "came around".  He wasn't looking for a relationship but his mom was determined to find him some happiness that she was sure he was lacking.  I loved her not-so-subtle matchmaking for both Arthur and the librarian, Gabriel.  I guess a case of "mother knows best" is proven right again.  There is some moderate D/s relationship between Arthur and Gabe but it's not at the center of the story.

I've never read this author before but I certainly will be checking out her other works and I can't wait to read Paul's story down the road.


Let it Snow #1
Somehow, despite a brand-new GPS and strict oral directions from his father, Frankie Blackburn had managed to get himself lost. Because there was no way, despite what the GPS insisted, the left turn down yet another winding, tree-lined road would get him back to Minneapolis. The fact that he’d gotten himself lost in the middle of nowhere as a blizzard swelled around him was simply icing on the cake.

Squinting, Frankie fussed with the view screen, but in deference to the now-steady veil of snow coming down he looked away from the road as little as possible. The snow had been his first clue something was wrong. He’d checked the radar before leaving his parents’ house in Duluth. While they were due to get six to twelve inches by morning, half an hour’s drive south should have taken Frankie out of the trouble rather than deeper in. As the ground around him already sported well over three inches and was gaining additional snow cover fast, clearly he’d done something wrong.

Way to go, Frankie. He tightened his grip on the steering wheel and tried to ignore the fear clawing at his stomach. It was moments like this he could see the attraction of smoking, because if nothing else, it would force him to take deep breaths. Josh, one of his roommates, used to smoke. He’d always said the buzz was fantastic, that it made his mind expand and calmed him right down no matter how stressed out he got. Frankie could totally go with some mind expansion and calm right now.

Of course, he didn’t dare take his hands off the wheel, so how he would manage a cigarette without crashing the car or burning himself, he didn’t know.

What Frankie really needed was to stop the car, make some phone calls and ask for directions. The trouble was he couldn’t find anywhere decent to pull over. Awhile back there had been a roadside bar, but it all but screamed, Hey, gay boy, get over here and let us rough you up a bit, so Frankie decided to opt for safer ground. Except this was northern Minnesota, the backwoods of the backwoods, and a safe haven for a guy like Frankie was even more ephemeral than Santa Claus. Nobody had ever looked at Frankie and thought anything but that he was gay. A few times in high school he’d wondered if he were gay by suggestion, but then he’d had his first taste of c**k and knew t*ts and pu**y were never going to be his thing, so he simply appreciated the heads-up.

Since it hadn’t been a very pleasant heads-up, and since he’d done his coming of age in one of Minnesota’s southern small towns, he knew better than to try his luck in this place. Whatever this town was, it was officially Not For Frankie. Proceed with caution.

The problem was civilization of any kind up here was hard to come by. It had been fifteen minutes since the roadside bar, and all Frankie had passed since then had been four unplowed driveways. At this point all he wanted to do was turn around or call his mom and freak out, but, again, he didn’t want anything to distract him from the road because it was starting to get bad. Turning around assumed he knew how to go back the same way he’d come—he could just as easily end up in a different part of the backwoods.

There wasn’t anything for it. He had to stop somewhere. When he finally approached what looked like the fringes of a town, he made his way down Main Street until he saw the faint, faded glow of a sign that read Logan Café.

Frankie didn’t bother to scope it for redneck warning signals. He pulled straight into the parking lot in the back and killed the engine.

Huddled over the GPS view screen a few seconds later, he started to swear. He didn’t understand where the map said it was taking him to, just that his final destination landed him east of International Falls. No wonder it seemed like he was driving into the back end of nowhere. The back end of nowhere was a booming metropolis compared to his current location. He was in the only town for fifteen miles in all directions, hell and gone from any kind of interstate or even a decent highway. Frankie didn’t need radar to tell him he’d driven into the heart of one mother of a blizzard instead of toward the comforting lanes of I-35.

Calling his parents was a given now, but first he thought he should use the bathroom, splash some water on his face and get some honest-to-God human directions from one of the patrons inside.

The Logan Café was narrow, wide and old, clearly not just modeled from the days of diners but a direct descendant. The restaurant itself wasn’t that big, but it had plenty of seating, from the booths around the edges to the tables in the middle and the long counter in front of the beverage station and the window into the kitchen. The decor was mostly industrial white, though faded to a sad cream with age, especially on the linoleum floor. Some color could be found in the green vinyl cushions of the chairs, stools and booth seats, but this too was worn, patched with duct tape in more than one instance. The menu was listed in block plastic lettering on black signboards above the kitchen window, but both the board and the letters were aged as well, the letters yellowed and the black sign ghosted with the faint impressions of menus past.

The way everyone turned to look at Frankie as he jangled the bell above the door made him feel like he was in a spaghetti western. Every single face in the room was white, which when he’d grown up in Saint Peter hadn’t been unusual, but after the cornucopia of ethnicity that was metro Minneapolis, the lack of contrasting skin tone was the first thing Frankie noticed. The age range ran the gamut from old men and women to a few teenagers, but every one of them eyed Frankie as if he had just escaped from the zoo.

Cautioning himself not to court drama, Frankie ignored the stares and focused on shaking the snow from his body and his shoes as best he could before heading to the restroom. It was as grim and aged as everything else, the urinal and sink drains both sporting rusted stains in the porcelain, something that had creeped Frankie out ever since he’d been a kid. After hurrying through washing his hands, he returned to the main restaurant area and made himself smile at the matronly woman behind the counter. Patty, her name tag declared. Sitting in front of her, Frankie attempted to look less freaked out than he actually was.

“How can I help you?” she asked, her tone seeming to imply he sure needed a lot of it.

“Hi.” Frankie did his best to keep his smile in place and free from strain. “I’m a bit lost. I’m trying to get to I-35.”

Patty’s eyebrows reached up into her tightly permed hair, which was teased into a careful nest of flat, box-dyed auburn in front of her diner cap. “Honey, you’re hell and gone from Duluth.”

Don’t panic. Frankie pressed his hands against the countertop to keep them from shaking. “I know. My GPS malfunctioned, or I entered my destination wrong, and now I’m way, way off course. Do you have a map or something I could look at?” Remembering his manners, he added, “And if you have a mug of hot tea and a quick chicken or turkey sandwich, mustard, no mayo, that’d be great.”

Frankie felt her size him up, her gaze raking him, taking in his carefully styled hair, his fussy, modish clothing, his bright red Columbia ski coat that would never see a lift chair but sure looked fashionable—he watched her make a judgment about him, and he had to say, it likely wasn’t far off. He waited for her disdain and hoped she’d still give him a map along with it.

Disdain didn’t come, though she did shake her head and put an empty cup in front of him. “Map’s in the back. I’ll get it for you while you wait for your order. Better make it to go, though. This storm isn’t going to mess around. Cherie’s knee is acting up something fierce, and she says we’re in for days and days of snow, by her reckoning.”

“Thank you,” Frankie replied, and tried not to panic.

The waitress put a Lipton tea bag in his cup and poured hot water from a pot over the top of it as she spoke. “You from the Cities then?”

“Yes, though my parents live in Duluth. They just moved there from Saint Peter.”

The woman’s face brightened. “Say. That’s just south of the Cities, right? Has a college? I think Lacey Peterson went there a few years back.”

“Gustavus Adolphus. My dad was a professor there, though he just took a position at the University of Minnesota at Duluth.”

“Pretty place, Duluth.” The woman wiped the counter in front of Frankie. “I was all set to get some of my Christmas shopping done there this weekend, but Cherie called in sick with the knee, and here I am.”

“Miller Hill was really busy.” Frankie remembered his trek to the mall escorting his mother the day before all too well. “You might be glad you waited.”

The woman smiled at Frankie. “Maybe so.” She nodded back to the kitchen. “I’ll see to your map and put your order in.”

Well, that hadn’t gone so badly. Frankie sipped his tea, focusing on the fact that he wasn’t driving in the wrong direction anymore and would soon have a map. He also pretended this wasn’t the worst cup of tea he’d ever had in his life, tasting like stale coffee and soap.

There weren’t many other customers in the café, but they all seemed to keep an eye on Frankie. The elderly couple at a nearby table didn’t bother him half as much as the trio of bulky, bearded men in deerstalkers in the booth near the bathrooms. They looked like they might have literally just come off a lumberjack gig, wearing industrial overalls, heavy plaid shirts and clunky steel-toed boots. The three bears, Frankie thought, trying to make light of the situation. It worked better than it had a right to, mostly because, yeah, were these guys gay, they’d be bears all right. They were even three variations on the theme: one was sandy-haired and slight, curling hair sticking out from beneath his cap, his beard subtler, suitable to a baby bear. The one who sat next to him had carrot-red hair and a guffaw of a laugh that went with his stocky body. Across from them, though, was definitely Papa Bear, a man who was big, dark and cranky.

Outside of a few suspicious glances, the three bears didn’t pay Frankie any particular kind of mind. Even so, he didn’t see any profit in hanging around and giving them a reason to get bored and decide to poke at the skinny guy from the city.

Patty reappeared with his map and his sandwich, and what little appetite Frankie might have been able to muster died when Patty illustrated via Rand McNally just how far Logan, Minnesota was from where Frankie was supposed to be. He felt stupid for not figuring it out sooner, but he’d thought that was the whole point of following a GPS, trusting the directions it gave. His dad had explained it to him, and Frankie had tried to program it correctly.

“They’re talking about closing roads just north of here.” Patty frowned, but the expression seemed more about concern than dismissal. “You’d best be careful.”

“If I can just get back to Duluth, I’ll stay at my parents’ place until it blows over. They ought to get the interstate open pretty quickly, I’d think.”

Patty nodded. “They’re supposed to get the least of it too, down in Duluth, and everything south of there should be fine. Of course, now there’s some storm pushing across western Iowa. If that swings north and the two meet up, things could get nasty fast.”

Frankie’s stomach hurt thinking about that. “I should call my boss and tell him I won’t be in tomorrow, and my mom to tell her to expect me.”

“Call your mom quick and save the boss for Duluth.” Patty nodded at the window. “It’s really coming down now.”

It certainly was. Frankie left a ten on the counter and gathered his sandwich, but Patty pushed the map toward him.

“Take it. And here.” She scrawled a number on the top of the legend. “That’s the café’s phone number. You get lost or stuck, you give a holler. I’ll be here all night. Heading for Highway 53 is your best bet—though if you get nervous, swing over to Eveleth. They have a Super 8.”

Riding out a days-long blizzard in a small-town hotel seemed worse than facing the drive back to Duluth, but Frankie nodded. “Thank you. I really appreciate it.”

“I just hope you have a blanket in that tiny little car of yours.” Patty frowned at the parking lot where Frankie’s green Festiva quietly drowned in flakes.

“I do, and a gallon of water, warm clothes, a scraper and even a shovel,” Frankie assured her. “I may come from southern Minnesota, but it’s still Minnesota.”

Patty nodded in approval and waved him on. “You get going then. Call me when you get wherever you land just so as I don’t dream about your dead body in a ditch somewhere.”

Her concern for him was touching, and this time Frankie’s smile was all genuine. “I will,” he promised and took up the map. “Thanks.”

“Get on then,” Patty said, her shooing motions getting urgent.

Sparing just a quick glance at the three bears to catch Papa Bear glaring at him, Frankie headed out into the storm. It took him five minutes to unbury the car, and while the engine heated, he picked at his sandwich as he studied the GPS. The food was a lot better than the tea, though eating was mostly just something to do while he girded his loins for his adventure. According to the map, he had to go back the way he came, take the first right at a major intersection ten miles south, and use the county road to go back over to the highway. That would take him straight back to Duluth and the warm comfort of his parents’ spare bedroom. Yes, his boss would be upset at his missing work, but better to have Robbie upset than to die in a ditch.

Giving up on his sandwich, he dug his phone out of his pocket and dialed his parents.

“Are you home already?” his mother asked. “How fast did you drive?”

“Actually, I’m not even close to home. I took a wrong turn, and I’m in Logan.”

“What? Why? Where’s Logan?”

“About an hour north of Duluth. I screwed up the GPS, and before I realized how badly I was lost, here I was.”

“Oh, honey.”

The weariness in her voice made Frankie’s gut twist. “Sorry, Mom.”

The phone muffled as Melinda put her hand over the receiver. “It’s Frankie. He’s lost an hour north of Duluth.” A pause, then, “What? What?” She unmuffled the phone, and when she spoke to Frankie next, her tone made her panic clear. “Sweetheart, your dad says there’s a terrible storm up there. Terrible.”

“Yeah, I kind of figured that one out.” Frankie glanced out the window at the snow, which seemed to be coming faster and faster. “Mom, I better go if I’m going to have any chance of making it back to your place tonight.”

“Sweetheart, no. Find a hotel and ride this out. I want you safe.”

“I don’t want to be stuck up here in Podunk, Minnesota. Oh my God, you should have seen these three crazy lumberjacks in the café where I stopped for directions. Anyway, there isn’t a hotel close to here as far as I can tell, unless I go west.”

“Franklin Nelson Blackburn, you get lost trying to find the bathroom in the middle of the night. I won’t have you driving in the snow.”

“Look, Mom, I gotta get going. I’ll call you once I get on the highway, okay?”

“Oh my God. Let me put your father on.”

“No. I’m hanging up. Please call the guys for me and let them know I’ll be staying with you.”

“Frankie,” she demanded, but he didn’t hear the rest because he’d hung up. For good measure, he turned the phone all the way off.

No way was he getting stranded here. No. Way.

The roads around Logan, Frankie discovered as he pulled out of the café parking lot, had worsened considerably while he’d been inside. Tall, narrow trees surrounded him on either side, a few evergreens but most of them northern hardwoods without leaves, making it seem like Frankie drove through a tree graveyard drowning in a blizzard. He could still see the pavement, but just barely, and several times he found he’d wandered into the left-hand lane because the snow had drifted the right side of the road shut.

Just get to the highway, he coaxed himself, and put on the Gregorian Christmas album his mother had given him. Get to the highway, get to your parents and never use GPS again.

As the monks sang serenely about Ave Maria, Frankie white-knuckled the steering wheel and tried not to get hypnotized by the falling snow. It felt very surreal, the music drifting around him as snow and darkness threatened to engulf him should he lose control of his car. The woods were pretty, even if they were in the middle of nowhere and full of backwater yokels and prejudiced “Christians” who voted against marriage equality and thought Twin City residents were yuppie snobs, so out of touch they hadn’t heard of hipsters.

The monks shifted to “Silent Night”, and Frankie thought of the three bears, especially surly Papa Bear. They were exactly the kind of guys that had given Frankie so much hell growing up. Funny, he’d been in Minneapolis for almost ten years, but ten minutes in that café had taken him right back to being fourteen and queasy while he got ready for gym. Saint Peter was slightly refined because of its proximity to the Cities and to Mankato, and also because of the college, but it had its share of rednecks too. Sometimes they seemed angrier and nastier because they had to live alongside what they considered uppity people, like Frankie and his family.

Frankie had taken piano and violin lessons, and until he’d been able to beg his mother to let him drop out, dance. It didn’t matter that Frankie had enjoyed those activities and that they’d been soothing and peaceful to him—Frankie never played baseball or dreamed of buying a killer car or went hunting with cousins, and that made him somehow a threat in the eyes of Saint Peter’s differently cultured. It didn’t matter that Frankie had a whole circle of friends, some of them even other boys, in his family’s social set. When it was Frankie versus the redneck boys, Frankie always lost.

Those three lumberjacks, no question, were more of the same. He bet none of them had sported Vote No car decals during the marriage amendment fight in 2012 or urged their representatives to help pass marriage equality. He’d put money too on them being the guys who had threatened to hold the heads of guys like Frankie over stunk-up toilets. They probably wrote FAG in black marker on the lockers of Frankie’s Logan, Minnesota spiritual brothers. They had every mark of small-town bully written on them, and Frankie was oh so glad to be leaving them behind.

Still, there wasn’t any denying that even in the snow the landscape was beautiful up here. When Frankie had been little, he’d dreamed of running away to a cabin up north, where everything would be quiet and quaint like Mayberry and everyone would like him for a change. Of course, then he’d grown up and realized the farther north he went the less it would be like Mayberry and the more it would turn into Deliverance. Still, that fantasy had never quite died, and especially with the lilting voices of the monks drifting around him, the scene made Frankie nostalgic, wishing a life like that truly could happen to a guy like him.

He stopped daydreaming and made himself focus on the road. Just a few more miles to the turnoff, he reminded himself, not sure if it was actually a few more miles or not. Soon, he amended. Soon you’ll be on the highway and scot-free.

That was when he saw the moose.

The animal came out of the brush just as the music swelled to a dramatic, hopeful climax. Frankie couldn’t make it out at first, but as soon as he did, the only thought he had time for was that he was screwed. The moose was bigger than a cow, dark and hairy and so full of antlers it was hard not to be hypnotized by them. Frankie shouted and braked, but he might as well have pushed on the accelerator. Turning its head to look at Frankie’s car, the moose didn’t so much as blink, let alone move.

Shouting again, Frankie swerved around the moose, caught the edge of a snowdrift and spun out.

Snow on snow, the monks sang as the Festiva sailed into the ditch and down into a shallow ravine, where the engine sputtered and died but the music played on, eerily upbeat as the snow came down faster and faster, the monks oblivious to Frankie’s doom.

Sleigh Ride #2
Chapter One
Everyone in Arthur Anderson’s life was fixated on happily-ever-after, and it was seriously pissing him off.

He was happy for his friend Marcus, now all but married to Frankie, the cute little hairdresser who had been stranded with them in a blizzard last year. Arthur had known since high school that Marcus’s grumpy exterior hid a soft and gooey center—the burly lumberjack-turned-lawyer longed for nothing more than someone to love. Frankie wanted to cut hair on Main Street while Marcus sat in on Chamber of Commerce meetings and ran a law office on the other side of Frankie’s shop. This was all fine, but their domestic bliss was giving everyone dangerous ideas. Now everyone thought Arthur should get lovey-dovey too.

The worst offender was Arthur’s mother, who after fifteen years of letting Arthur’s love life be his own business, now routinely asked him when he would be making an honest man of Paul, Arthur’s other best friend. Paul wasn’t Arthur’s boyfriend, never had been. Paul and Arthur lived and slept together, but they weren’t dating, and they saw other guys. Sometimes they saw them at the same time. Every so often Paul decided he had a boyfriend and slept on the couch instead of next to Arthur in the loft, but that never lasted for more than a week. The arrangement suited Arthur fine, and he figured it would continue until he was too old to get it up anymore.

Except now Marcus and Frankie were together, and somehow that meant everything changed. Marcus had only lived with Paul and Arthur a little while before moving out to be with Frankie, but within two months of Marcus’s departure, Paul started dropping hints he and Arthur should be officially a couple too. As the year wore on, those hints became outright statements, and after seven months of watching Marcus and Frankie play house, Paul threw down an ultimatum. Arthur would stop seeing other people and go on the record as officially dating Paul, or Paul would leave.

Arthur dealt with this by ignoring the nonsense completely. Which meant by the first week in August, Paul started packing his bags.

Arthur got annoyed. “You want a boyfriend? Fine. We can stop f**king. You can go out with guys and still live here. We’ll build you a bedroom. I’ll install a lube dispenser above the headboard.”

“No, I can’t stay here. If I bring them to the cabin, you’ll scare them away or try to have a three-way.”

Arthur failed to see how this was a problem, but whatever. “So we won’t have three-ways. Problem solved.”

Paul wouldn’t budge. “I can’t date anyone else while I live with you. I have to move.”

This argument went on and on, until Paul found a duplex for rent on the south end of town and didn’t just talk about moving out or packing up boxes, he actually did it.

Arthur refused to help him, which meant he paced the edge of his property like a pouting child while Frankie and Marcus loaded up Paul’s things and took him away. Before they left, Marcus glowered at Arthur. “You’re being an idiot, and you’re hurting him.”

Folding his arms across his chest, Arthur stared across the grassy hayfield behind the tree line. “Yeah, well, it’s mutual.” He paused, frowning as he weighed whether or not his words made sense. “I mean, he’s an idiot too.”

“He still wants to be friends with you, but you’re making this all or nothing. Except it isn’t all or nothing. He’d marry you if you asked—”

Arthur made outraged noises through his nose.

“—except he knows he can’t even get an exclusive commitment out of you, let alone a house and kids. So he’s doing the smart thing and backing out before you hate each other.”

“I wouldn’t ever hate Paul.” He glared at Marcus. “And that’s a load of crap about him wanting a house and kids. I don’t buy for one second he asked for kids.”

Marcus looked Arthur dead in the eye. “No. But once upon a time, you did.”

Arthur turned away with a hiss. “Jesus. I was ten. I still pretended I could marry a girl.”

“Yes—because it was the only way you could get babies. You bragged all the time about how you were going to take your son hunting, teach him hockey. How you’d beat down anybody who treated your girl wrong.”

“Yeah, well, people change. I got Thomas and Brianna and baby Sue.”

“You’re deliberately missing the point. I’m telling you I don’t think, I know you want what he’s asking for, and more.”

“I don’t, and stop f**king talking about it.”

Marcus threw up his hands. “Frankie and I are going to go help move your best friend and try to cheer him up, because some asshole keeps breaking his heart and f**king up his head. You do whatever you need to do.”

Arthur winced but said nothing, didn’t move until he heard Marcus’s SUV and Paul’s car pull out of the drive. He went back to the house, which was lonely and still with Paul and all his things removed.

It really sucked. And as the days wore on into weeks, it didn’t suck any less.

With nothing else to do at the end of a workday, Arthur got in the habit of hanging out in his work shed and sorting junk, tackling his fix-it pile and the projects his mom had been after him to finish. He repaired a toaster and refinished the old dresser she’d used when she was a little girl. He repaired the dining room chairs too, even the one broken into six pieces, and on the first Sunday of September he dropped everything off at his parents’ house.

“Oh, Arthur, thank you.” Corrina Anderson kissed her son on the cheek and waved him inside with the first load of furniture. “Dinner’s almost ready.”

Big Tom glanced up with a nod over his glasses from his post by the window, where he sat reading the paper and sipping out of a mug with his grandchildren’s pictures on it. “Good to see you, son.”

Arthur set the chairs down. Laughter echoed in from the living room, where Arthur’s niece and nephew played. Thomas ran toy trucks up and down the carpet while his younger sister ran, giggling, in clumsy circles.

Becky sat in the rocker with the baby on her knee. “Hey,” she said wearily when Arthur entered the room.

Arthur leaned against the doorway. “How’s everything with you?”

“Same. No job, deadbeat ex not paying child support, out of unemployment and living with my parents.”

Arthur frowned. “The restaurant in Eveleth didn’t pan out?”

“They kept sticking me with evenings. I never got to see Thomas except to put him on the bus in the morning, and I never got to put him or Brianna to bed.”

Six-year-old Thomas looked up at Arthur with a bright smile. “Hi, Uncle Arthur.”

Arthur grinned and crouched beside him on the carpet. “Hey, sport. You gonna help me fix Grandma’s water heater?”

Thomas beamed at him and hurried to his feet. “I’ll get my toolbox.”

While Thomas pounded up the stairs and rooted through his closet, Arthur spun Brianna around until Becky yelled at him, at which point he went to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee and waited for Thomas.

His mom glanced at him from the stove as she stirred gravy. “Did I hear you say you were going to fix the water heater?”

Arthur nodded over the rim of his cup. “I think you need a new anode. Picked one up yesterday when I was in town.”

“Thank you, honey. You’re so helpful.” Her stirring took on a deliberation and focus, warning Arthur something unpleasant was coming. “I saw Paul at the market yesterday. You never told me he moved out. Did you two have a fight?”

Arthur pursed his lips and picked up his mug. “When Thomas comes down, tell him I’m in the basement.”

Corrina followed him down the stairs, still carrying her whisk. “You did have a fight. Oh, honey.”

Arthur stalked to the water heater and pulled the screwdriver from his back pocket so he could unfasten the access panel. “Mom, leave it alone.”

“Can you talk to him? You never communicate with him enough, you know. You’re always so distant.”

“Mom.” Arthur let out a heavy breath and clenched his fists at his sides. “I don’t want to talk about Paul.” God, if she started in about how he should have kids, he’d stick his head in a snowbank.

She didn’t talk about kids, but she sighed heavily, and he could all but hear her gears turning as she tried to figure out how to talk about Paul without talking about Paul. “I should check on my gravy, I suppose. Though that reminds me—can you look at my burner before you go? It’s fritzing again.”

She didn’t bring up Paul the rest of the day, Arthur and Thomas replaced the anode no problem, and they enjoyed a pleasant meal. He heard all about his mother’s prospects for a new job for Becky at a dentist’s office in Eveleth and Thomas’s upcoming school pageant. While Becky and Corrina did the dishes, Arthur fixed the burner, with more help from Thomas.

It felt good to be at the house, and Arthur started dropping by more frequently. It was nice to have a meal made for him, but there was also plenty that needed doing, and with his bum leg and arthritis, Big Tom couldn’t manage much. Becky needed someone not-Corrina to talk to, and Thomas needed a good male role model.

Never mind that Arthur hanging out with Frankie and Marcus had become politically tricky because of Paul.

One night after he and Thomas snaked the sewer line, Arthur got dinner and dessert, the pudding-and-ice-cream one his mom knew was his favorite. He’d thought it was his reward for an afternoon of hard work, but no. The pie was a lure, and as Arthur carried his empty dish to the kitchen, she sprang her trap.

“You know,” she said in a tone of voice that should have tipped him off right away, “I think the night nurse at the care center is single.”

Arthur froze with his dish halfway into the sink. “Mom, I’m not dating Kyle. I’m not dating anybody, because I don’t date.”

“What’s wrong with Kyle? He’s a sweet boy.”

“Boy, Mom. He’s what, nineteen?”

“I suppose that is a bit young for a forty-year-old.”

Arthur glowered. “I’m only thirty-nine.”

Corrina waved this away. “You’re forty in April.” She tapped the side of her cheek, clearly indexing the gay men she knew in a fifty-mile radius.

Arthur decided to cut this serpent off at the head. “Mom, don’t fix me up. I’m fine.”

“You’re certainly not fine. I saw Paul with two different men this week. He’s not coming back—and you’re not getting any younger.”


“What about that nice man who runs the bed-and-breakfast in Cloquet Valley? He’s gay, isn’t he?”

It went on and on like this the whole month of September, until when Arthur saw his mother coming up his drive, he braced himself for another onslaught of potential dates. There had been one horrible moment when he’d caught Corrina trying to log in to Grindr—heaven help Arthur if she’d actually found his profile. Though after the adolescence he’d put her through, he doubted anything could surprise her.

His mother playing yente was problematic, not only because Arthur didn’t want to date, but because he if he did date, he’d never go in for nice boys, which was always how Corrina introduced her prospective sons-in-law. There wasn’t any way to explain Arthur wanted a man, big and rough and raw. Some cuddling was nice, but only after some serious pounding and a lot of raunchy talk. Nice boys weren’t ever going to private message RedBear69 with a dirty pic. And until they did, Arthur had no time for them.

Corrina was undaunted by Arthur’s refusals. She started stopping by the cabin a lot, usually with Tupperware containers full of freezer meals, always with news of another prospective mate. The Monday before Halloween she was at Arthur’s place when he arrived home from work. She was putting a roast together on the counter, and she beamed at him as he came in. “Arthur, sweetheart, you’re home early.”

Arthur sank into his easy chair with a grunt. Today was a day he wanted to see his mother. “They’ve closed the mill until after the first of the year. We just found out.”

“What?” Corrina put down the carrot she was peeling. “The mill is shutting down?”

“Temporarily.” Though rumor was if it started up again, they’d be reducing the work crews by half.

“But what will you do for a job? What will everyone do for a job?” Corrina clucked her tongue in disapproval. “To do such a thing so close to Christmas. It’s a crime.”

“We’re collecting unemployment, so I guess it’s something. Figure I’ll get some good hunting in if nothing else.” Hunting which, he realized, he’d do without Paul for the first time in forever.

His mother busied herself with her roast for a moment. Then she said, far too casually, “There’s something else I wanted to talk to you about.”

Arthur shut his eyes and tipped his head back. “Mom, I’m not dating anyone, so save your breath.”

She went on as if he hadn’t spoken. “It works out you’re laid off, I suppose, because I worried you wouldn’t have time otherwise. There’s a project I’ve been setting up with the library.”

Library? Arthur sat up, frowning. His mom was on the library board, he knew, but how in the world he could help the library was something he had to hear. “What is it?”

“The board wants to have a fundraiser for Christmas. We’re almost out of our grant, you see, and though Gabriel is looking for a new one come spring, we thought we’d give him a leg up. We’ll do a little to stir up some funds, help patch up any gaps and buy us a few more months if the worst happens.” She beamed. “We’re going to have sleigh rides.”

Arthur laughed. “What—are you going to pull Grandpa Anderson’s old beast out of storage?”

“I thought so, yes.” She leaned against the counter. “I wanted to make it a big deal. Get Frankie’s friends up from the city, maybe people from Duluth. It could bring money to the downtown as well as the library. Everybody would win. Except…the sleigh needs a little work. Do you think you could take a peek at it?”

God, Arthur hadn’t thought about that sleigh in years. “I’m not sure how much I can do, but I’ll give it my best shot.”

“Excellent. Next time you’re over, we’ll pull it out and give it a look.” She pushed off the counter and nodded at the oven, where she’d tucked the roasting pan. “Give this until six, sweetheart, and you’ll have yourself a nice dinner. I’ll ask around too, see if anyone has jobs for you. It won’t be good for you to sit idle, not with the mill shut down and Paul moving on.”

The comment about Paul made Arthur worry this was a setup, that somehow agreeing to repair the sleigh was giving her a matchmaking opening, but no matter how he turned it around in his head, he couldn’t see how even Corrina Anderson could spin carpentry into happily-ever-after. So he settled into researching sleigh restoration with Thomas, holding baby Sue while Brianna got her bath, and in general picking up his ex-brother-in-law’s slack.

See? He got to be a dad, sort of, sometimes, and if he ever logged onto Grindr again himself, he could get his kink on. He told himself it was the best of both worlds.

Except every time he went home to his empty cabin, he had a hard time believing he had it all.

There were many things about small-town libraries Gabriel Higgins had acclimated to—micro-budgets, monthly battles over content, a library board full of retirees living out high school vendettas and grudges. But Corrina Anderson? He was fairly sure nothing in the known universe could have prepared him for the president of the library board.

When he’d accepted the position as director for Logan, Minnesota’s tiny, failing library, he’d done so knowing at some point it would come out he was gay, and his orientation would likely cause some friction. While that friction had technically come to pass as he predicted—some of his patrons definitely gave him side eyes, making it clear they fretted for the state of his soul—he also found PFLAG flyers displayed in the brochure area before he arrived, and of course there was Corrina. When she asked after his girlfriend and he explained he was gay, she became excited—and began suggesting potential partners. She never missed a chance to point out so-and-so was gay and unattached, and she always happened to have the phone numbers of the men in question. The fact that Gabriel had yet to do anything more than shred the phone numbers didn’t slow down the stream.

He couldn’t simply throw them away—she pulled the papers from the wastebasket, smoothed them out and left them on his desk.

For eighteen months he endured her efforts, willing to pretend he’d act on her suggestions for potential suitors in order to keep the peace. But in October she began hinting he consider her son, and Gabriel felt the time had come to be not only firm but unequivocal.

He stood in front of her, for once glad for his six-foot-three inches, because God knew he needed every advantage he could get over his personal termagant. “Corrina, I’m sure your son is a wonderful man, but I’m not interested.”

She crossed her arms, unbowed as ever. “You’re never interested, young man, not even in friends. I know for a fact Frankie Blackburn has invited you to movies and dinner dates and meals at his house with Marcus, and you always turn him down. I can’t so much as get you over for Sunday dinner. I know you aren’t refusing because you think you’re better than we are.”

That barb caught. “No, I don’t.” He sighed. “I’m not very social. It’s nothing personal to you or anyone else.”

“No one can be this antisocial.” She smiled and patted his arm. “Come for dinner. My house. You have to eat.”

Gabriel knew there was no way a dinner at her house would feature anything less than Arthur Anderson. “Perhaps another time.”

He was surprised how easily she gave in to his refusal, and he stood on guard all the rest of the week, waiting for another strike. It did eventually come, but it was so out of left field he wasn’t sure what to do with it. “You want to have…a sleigh-ride fundraiser?”

Corrina beamed. “Yes, I do. Everyone’s so excited about it. Oh, it’ll be a grand time. Old-fashioned sleigh rides up and down Main Street. It was my dad’s sleigh. He bought it from an estate sale when he came home from World War II, repaired it, and every Christmas he’d get it out, give us rides like the good old days. It’ll need some refreshing before we use it, but I thought some old-fashioned feeling might be just what we need around here, with the mill closed and winter coming so early. We could make it more than rides. Maybe we could have a party afterward.”

“That sounds…fine.” Gabriel kept trying to find the catch. With Corrina, there would be one. “Are you asking me to plan the party?”

“Heavens no. I’ll take care of everything. But I wanted you to know we were making plans. Hopefully we’ll make enough money to cover your salary if we can’t get the grant renewed.”

This was a recurrent conversation with the whole library board, and now the strange fundraiser made sense. “Corrina, as I’ve told you, I’m not concerned with the grant. If it runs out, I’m certain you’ll still find a way to pay me.”

She frowned, gesturing to his desk. “I’ve seen the job offers you get. I don’t want someone taking you away from us because we’re too cheap.”

“It’s kind of you to think of me, but I assure you money won’t be why anyone takes me from Logan.”

Corrina regarded him warily. “But why on earth would you stay, if you’re not attached to anyone here?”

Oh, that was why she was so fixated on partnering him up. Gabriel relaxed. “Remember, I’m from a small town too. I don’t really want to live in a city anymore, and small libraries are where my passion is. I like Logan, and I like your library. I don’t need a boyfriend to be happy here. I don’t need a boyfriend, period. I’m married to my job.”

He’d said the lie so many times now he almost believed it.

“But you’d be happier here with a boyfriend. Or at least a friend.”

Gabriel threw up his emotional walls before Corrina could barrel any more down. “The fundraiser sounds lovely. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some books to shelve.”

She didn’t bother him any further about it that day, and blessedly her matchmaking cooled down as well. She continued to update him on the fundraiser—he got an earful at the next board meeting, and she came to the library every other day with additional ideas. She showed him the Santa-suit pattern her friend was sewing, which briefly had him nervous, but thankfully the suit wasn’t nearly big enough for Gabriel’s long, lanky legs.

Just before Halloween she began to tell him about the sleigh, which apparently her son was restoring, and her dinner invitations now included encouragements to come see how grand the progress was. She showed him pictures on her phone—it was still mostly a mess from the look of things, but Gabriel could imagine it swishing through the snow.

Corrina smiled when he told her that. “I can’t wait to see it all finished.”

“Who’s driving?” Gabriel asked, starting to become enchanted by the scheme despite himself.

“Arthur’s going to take lessons from Mr. Peterson as soon as he gets it finished. Gary has draft horses who know how to drive. We need to teach Arthur, and we’re set.” She patted Gabriel’s arm. “I was going to ask you to learn, but it wouldn’t really look right, would it, to have the elf driving Santa?”

Gabriel’s heart thudded a terrible beat. “Elf?”

“Didn’t I say? You’ll be playing Santa’s helper. Your costume is almost done—it’s so adorable. The children will love it. They love you, and they’ll be so charmed by the idea that you’re friends with Santa.”

Gabriel realized how well he’d been played, how this had been a matchmaking setup after all. “I assume Arthur is playing Saint Nick?”

“Of course. His hair will be a trick to hide, with all that red, but we’ll make it work somehow. Frankie will help.”

Gabriel didn’t know where to start objecting, only that he had to extract himself from this now. “Mrs. Anderson, I’m flattered but—”

“It truly is going to be the most charming event we’ve had in Logan in years. My grandson is already so excited I can barely get him to bed at night. You’ll be perfect as you always are. Everyone loves you, you know this, and such a feather in our caps this will be. A big event like something they’d do in the Cities. Don’t you worry about a thing, either. Arthur’s a good boy—he’ll take care of everything. All you need to do is show up on the day of the fundraiser and be your charming self. I want the children’s home in Pine Valley to come, perhaps have a special gift delivery by Santa.”

Dear God, this was the train wreck to end all train wrecks. She’d waited this long to set her trap too, laying so much bait there was no way Gabriel could tell her no, he didn’t want to pass out presents with her son because he found Arthur Anderson to be a boorish, untutored oaf. And yet he could not do this. “Mrs. Anderson, I honestly can’t—”

She glanced at her watch. “Oh, dear me. Nine thirty already? Becky just took a new job, and Big Tom, bless his heart, isn’t much help with morning routine. I’ll stop by with them for afternoon story time, and I’ll chat with you then.”

Gabriel watched her go, torn between chasing after her and pleading for mercy, and shutting himself in his office to stick his head between his legs. This was worse than matchmaking. This was putting on a happy holiday face for the entire town, getting roped into a gala where he would stand along the wall as usual and watch other families and couples play and be happy while he remained alone. He had to find a way out of this.

Perhaps you won’t have to, he consoled himself. Perhaps Arthur will do the objecting for you. Which, honestly, was the most likely outcome. Because the only thing more incredulous than Gabriel dating Arthur Anderson was that foul-mouthed man-whore playing Santa Claus. 

Author Bio:
Heidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren't enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn't writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her family. Heidi also volunteers frequently for her state's LGBT rights group, One Iowa, and is proud to be from the first midwestern state to legalize same-sex marriage.

I'm happy to friend you here, and will try to answer all questions eventually, but due to a high volume of authors spamming this account with "events," I can't be on Goodreads as much as I'd like these days, and replies to PMs will possibly take months. You can always email me or talk to me via the forum on my website.

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Sleigh Ride
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No Such Thing as Perfect by Sarah Daltry

Title: No Such Thing as Perfect
Author: Sarah Daltry 
Publication date: December 11, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

College was supposed to be perfect. She was supposed to be perfect.

For Lily Drummond, life is about following the rules. To be specific, her mother’s rules. College fit into the plan – maintain perfect grades, date the perfect guy, and live the perfect life. On her own, though, Lily realizes that she doesn’t actually have a plan. Without being told what to think and do, she keeps making mistakes.

Away from home, the perfect facade is beginning to shatter. When Lily herself starts to break, it’s the support of an unlikely friend that teaches her how much of a lie perfect really is – and how to be whole on her own terms.

No Such Thing as Perfect was inspired by Sarah's Flowering series, but it stands completely alone as its own title. The same characters appear and some situations are similar, but this was written with a different goal in mind. There is NO on-camera sex in this novel and it is not a "romance" novel by most standards, but a story of growing up and being okay with who you are.

Click here for more info at Sarah's website 

     I make it through the week otherwise unscathed. All my work is done, I seem to be maybe becoming friends with Kristen, and Derek’s on his way up to campus. I’ve been pacing for the better part of an hour.
     “You need to relax,” Kristen says. “What could go wrong?”
     For people who don’t need things in their places, it’s easy to relax. If something goes awry, it can always be fixed later. For people like me, though, everything can always go wrong. When I can’t control it, I panic. It’s the only thing I know how to do.
     “What if something’s happened?” I ask for the third time. He was supposed to be here an hour ago.
     “Nothing happened. He hit traffic, I bet.”
     “But why didn’t he call?”
     “Because he’s an idiot. Now sit down and stop pacing. You’re making me nervous.”
     There’s a scuff on the toe of my shoes, so I do sit down. I scrub at it, but it won’t come out; my attempts end up making it worse, so now the entire toe is dirty. “I look like hell,” I tell Kristen.
     “You look fine – just like you have for the last few hours when you’ve asked. How long have you been dating again?”
     “Ten months.”
     “Ten months, and you think he’s going to show up having not seen you in a week and realize he must have been crazy?” she asks.
     “It’s just… he’s the only boyfriend I’ve ever had.”
     How do I tell her about Rebecca Ellison, about Heather Yost, about Jill Pevarski, about Gina Frey, about all the girls Derek’s dated? How do I explain that nothing ever seemed to happen, that one day he was with them and then one day he wasn’t? How do I make her see that I’ve only wanted him and he fits into the puzzle and that I don’t have a backup plan?
     “Never mind. Can I borrow your shoes? The black ones you wore yesterday?”
     Kristen shakes her head and jumps down off her bed. “Lily, none of it matters. If Derek doesn’t want you, you’re good enough without him.”
     Good enough is not good enough, I think. No one wants good enough. I don’t say anything, though, but I take the shoes and change them. There’s no sign of the scuff. Nothing is out of place, nothing out of order.

Author Bio:
Sarah Daltry is a varied author, known best for the contemporary New Adult series, 'Flowering', a six-title series that explores the complexities of relationships, including how we survive the damage from our pasts with the support of those who love us. Although the books are no longer in print, they are being rewritten and redeveloped for future publication. Please visit Sarah's website for more details.
As a former English teacher and YA library coordinator, Sarah has always loved Young Adult literature and 'Dust', an epic fantasy novel where romance blends with the blood and grit of war, is her second official foray into YA, following the gamer geek romantic comedy, 'Backward Compatible'. Most of Sarah's work is about teens and college students, as it's what she knows well.

Sarah's passion in life is writing - weaving tales of magic and beauty. The modern and vast social networking world is an alternative universe that she makes infrequent trips to, but when she does, readers will find her attentive, friendly and happy to discuss the magic of stories and reading. Please stop by and say hello anywhere Sarah is online!

Sarah has moved back and forth between independent and traditional publishing. Her first novel, 'Bitter Fruits', is with Escape, an imprint of Harlequin Australia, and she signed with Little Bird Publishing in the spring of 2014.

Sarah has also written 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,' a reimagining of one of her favorite poems in a contemporary setting.

She is an obsessive Anglophile who spends more time watching BBC TV than any human being should, as well as a hardcore gamer and sarcastic nerd.

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Twisted by Desire by Desiree A Cox

Title: Twisted By Desire
Author: Desiree A. Cox
Series: Lust, Desire and Love Trilogy #1
Genre: Erotic Romance
Release Date: December 13, 2014

She believed her first husband, Sky, was her Prince Charming. They got married expecting to live their happily ever after, but the happiness dwindled right along with their checking account. Their divorce legally ended the marriage, but not the love and uncontrollable desire between them.

Then she meets Jeff. He’s hotter than an August day in Florida, and can offer her everything she’s always thought she wanted.

Jeff is committed to his life as a bachelor, but his high-powered nature has finally brought him to a crossroads. He’s face-to-face with a quandary; his decisions will affect his professional and personal life forever.

Nikki’s tenacious efforts to live a dream life, while still keeping her heart shielded, are coupled with wrestling an ongoing dilemma – her heart still belongs to Sky.

But Nikki isn't the only one who’s twisted by desire.

As I stood, Jeff placed his hand on my lower back, which was the equivalent to pushing the floodgate button while touching me with an electric wand. I inhaled slow and deep. The tingles radiated through me. I could feel the wetness breaching the tiny silk barrier. After staring into his inviting eyes and listening to his deep, husky voice throughout dinner, I longed for him to kiss me.

We walked out to the car, where the perfect gentleman opened my door for me. Before I was able to lower myself into my seat, he stroked my face with his hands, our eyes fixed on each other. I tilted my head slightly into his hand as he caressed me with the gentlest touch. Is he reading my mind? I was waiting for him to lean in and kiss me. I leaned forward and held my gaze on him, wanting his mouth to consume mine, waiting to taste him. Instead, he pulled back.  I sighed and sat down, and once I was situated in my seat, he shut the door. Fuck, fuck, FUCK!

Author Bio:
Desiree was born and raised in Iowa – corn country. She married her high school sweetheart and moved to the Philadelphia area after high school and has been happily married for over twenty-five years. She’s the mother of two sons and a daughter. She’s a Project Manager by day, Writer of Erotica by night.

She’s been predisposed to erotica since she was twelve. She was obsessed with sneaking into her parents smut stash in their closet.

Over the past two plus years she’s been working to get her thoughts in print. She finally is writing what she wants to write.

Desiree also enjoys traveling and spending time at the beach.

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Chemistry of Attraction by Thianna D

Retired Marine Brandon Delt, moves to Corbin’s Bend after his recently divorced wife marries his cousin. Tired of living a non-discipline lifestyle, he fully welcomes the openness of the Corbin’s Bend spanking community. One day he hopes to meet the woman he could make his TiH. He doesn’t expect to meet her on day one.

Carodine Minor’s just in Corbin’s Bend for the summer. Just graduated with her master’s degree in chemistry, Dina isn’t sure of her next step in life. Not once has she ever considered being spanked. Logical woman that she is, when she finds herself intrigued by the idea of a hand across her derriere, she asks for a demonstration from Brandon. One demo turns into a wild night of passion neither wants to let go of.

Take one hot summer. Add in an intellectual chemist and a dominant retired Marine. Once the chemistry ignites, combustion is soon to follow.

     “Oh,” Rose said as she stood up from the bed where she had been sitting. “One thing you need to be aware of, Dina, is that this community is a little different than you’re used to.”
     “Meaning what?” Dina asked, only partially paying attention as she removed the few books she had brought with her, steamy romances she could not put down, and placed them on the one bookshelf in the room. She was glad her grandparents were always happy to have their grandchildren come visit. They had one of the larger homes in the community and her bedroom had a nice view of the trees and the mountains. When some of her cousins came toward the end of summer, there was a second guestroom they could use.
     “Well, community is very important here. As is discipline.”
     At the word, Dina’s head snapped around and she frowned. “Discipline? Don’t tell me. You have cops with nothing better to do than to stop anyone going one mile over the speed limit.”
     Rose’s lips twitched. “Well, we have those too. But that wasn’t what I was referring to. Corbin’s Bend is built on a specific premise. And you may see that premise carried out. I just did not want you jumping to someone’s aid where it was not needed.”
     “Such as what?” Dina asked, pushing her books together to get them all to fit.
     “You may see someone spank someone else.”
     Spluttering out a laugh, Dina stepped back from the shelf and turned around. “Spank?”
     “Well, yes. It’s actually quite common here.”
     “Sure, Gram,” she said in amusement, sure her grandmother was setting her up for some big joke.      “I’ll see men spanking women out in the street.”
     “Or women spanking women or even men spanking men.”
     Rose did not sound like she was kidding, but what else could it be? “Okay,” Dina said slowly, pulling the rest of her clothes out of her suitcase and shutting it. “So, if I see someone smack someone else’s behind, I should what? Just walk on by?”
     “All right. Sounds like a plan.”

Guest Post:
Every society is different. Different social mores exist and if you aren’t prepared, they can be a bit of a shock. For instance, in some societies it is perfectly okay to see two people walking down the street holding hands. In others, it is considered rude. In Las Vegas, a woman walking down the street in nothing but a g-sring and tassles on her tits is considered part of the show. If someone did the same thing in the town I lived in, more than likely someone would call the cops for ‘lewd behavior’. 

Now take Corbin’s Bend, Colorado. It’s a beautiful community in the mountains of Colorado. They are friendly and polite and, oh, yes, they have one little socially acceptable behavior you might not expect. Dina certainly wasn’t prepared until her grandmother filled her in…

Author Bio:
Thianna D. likes to say she’s eclectic, fun, and lives to write what she enjoys reading. She writes romance with a wonderful hint of spice.

She’s also the creator of and acquisition editor for the Corbin’s Bend spanking romance series. Who else wants to be safe, secure, and spanked in Colorado?

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