Saturday, July 22, 2017

Saturday's Series Spotlight: Memories with the Breakfast Club Kindle Worlds


A Way with Words by Lane Hayes
Summary:
Tony De Luca is a simple guy. He works for his uncle’s Brooklyn-based construction firm. And he knows from experience that keeping his head down and doing his job is the best way to deal with the meddlesome family members he sees daily. They think he’s quiet and maybe a little awkward but the truth is more complicated. Tony has a secret he isn’t ready or willing to share. He’s an expert at avoiding familial scrutiny. At least he was until the sexy guitar player showed up.

Remy Nelson is a small-town, free-spirited guy looking for a new life in the big city. He stays busy playing his instrument on a busy Manhattan street corner during the day and bartending at night. Remy is more interested in finding steady employment than a mate, but he can’t deny his attraction to the dreamy construction worker with soulful eyes, a kind heart, and a unique way with words. Falling for Remy wasn’t what Tony expected, but keeping him will require courage. And an end to keeping secrets.

Hot Date by Felice Stevens
Summary:
Once again, Julian Cornell is at the zenith of his career; not only have his designs helped the young men and women in the burn unit, he’s about to ink an exclusive deal with the hottest model for his new high-fashion menswear collection. Everything is perfect except his husband doesn’t understand how important it all is to him, and the model might want more than just to walk the runway in Julian’s clothing.

Nick Fletcher has never been the jealous type; he’s always been confident his place is right by his husband’s side. But now that Julian is about to re-launch his fashion line, Nick fears Julian might be sucked back into a world of beautiful people and wonder what he’s missed being married to a less-than perfect man like Nick.

Leave it up to two meddling friends who think they know best to arrange a hot date guaranteed to put the spice back in Julian and Nick’s marriage, enabling them to remember that what lies beyond the surface is a lifetime of love.

Memories Follow by SC Wynne
Summary:
Scottie Kinland works as the Kennel Manager for the Paws For Care veterinary clinic. Spending his days with animals is the only way he can feel safe. He has first-hand knowledge of how cold and calculating humans can be. How could he ever forget? He wears the scars on his face and his heart.

Lance Franklin likes to play the field. Still reeling from a lying cheating fiancée, he’s plowing through men like aspirin; only the pain of betrayal still stings. When he takes his mom’s dog in to the Paws For Care clinic, he’s immediately drawn to the quiet loner Scottie. But Scottie wants nothing to do with Lance.

Lance persists and he manages to forge a fragile relationship with Scottie. But just as both men begin to believe perhaps fate has something beautiful in store for them; the past collides with their future in a shocking way.

Anticipation by Talia Carmichael
Summary:
When life brings you someone who’s supposed to be yours you’ll need to decide if you’ll give into the anticipation…

Dixon Avery’s only focus is his center and he doesn’t have time for anything else. Especially with the upcoming event to raise funds he has to keep on track without distractions. Except he can’t get the sexy bookstore owner he’s just met out of his mind. Since the man dismissed him then it won’t be a problem to forget about him since he won’t see him again. Maybe…possibly. Yet when the man shows up to his center Dixon knows there’s no way he could have ever forgotten about him. Now he has to decide what to do about the man who has captured his attention.

Reginald Williams doesn’t like anything that upsets his orderly world. Especially when it’s the man he’s been seeing pass his bookstore for years on the way to the center he owns. The man who he’s thought about all too often, admiring him from afar not just for his work at the center but also as a man who he’s attracted too. Now he has an opportunity to meet him when he comes into his bookstore looking for Reginald to volunteer. He never reacts well when being caught off guard. He’s mad at himself for the lost opportunity. Now he’s going to have to step out of his comfort zone and take a chance on not only doing a good thing to help out at the center but maybe have a chance with a man who makes him want to step out of his orderly world.

Two men not looking for things to change but life has a way of doing things that will fulfill what they never knew was their anticipation….

Remember Love by Silvia Violet
Summary:
The last person Antonio expected to see sitting at the bar in Sparks was Scott, the only man he'd ever truly cared about, the only man who ever broke his heart. As memories of the painful end of their relationship come flooding back, all Antonio can do is run.

Scott’s number-one regret is believing Antonio would hurt him. He’s never forgotten the look on Antonio’s face the night they broke up. If there’s any chance he can repair the damage he’d done, he’s going to take it.

Though they care deeply for each other, Antonio and Scott will need to forgive and trust again if they're to find their way around the obstacles in their path.

Finding His Place by Nic Starr
Summary:
Sometimes finding your place in the world can lead to love.

Kieran Walters is the illegitimate son of a successful businessman. Despite striving to win his father’s affection, a confrontation that has been years in the making leaves Kieran devastated to realize he will never be good enough. Jealous of the half brother he’s never met, and who most likely doesn’t know of his existence, Kieran vows to find out what makes his brother so special in their father’s eyes.

Darius Jensen manages a nightclub. He loves his job, but is reluctant to commit when given the opportunity to become a partner. His previous foray into business ownership with a boyfriend had disastrous results, and Darius is still paying the price, both financially and emotionally.

When Kieran starts working with Darius at Sparks, Darius shows him it’s not too late for Kieran to realize his dreams—the fulfilling career, a loving family, and someone who loves him for who he is. If only Kieran can convince Darius of the same thing. But before Kieran’s and Darius’s dreams can come true, Kieran needs to come clean with his brother and deal with the resulting fallout… which threatens his relationship with Darius.

Uncommon Ground by Kelly Jensen
Summary:
Dillon Lee’s grandfather was a conspiracy theorist. Every summer he’d take Dillon on a tour of New York City while entertaining him with tales of aliens. Fifteen years later, after a phone call from a lawyer, Dillon is carrying his grandfather’s ashes from landmark to landmark, paying a sort of tribute, and trying to figure out what to do with his unexpected legacy. When someone tries to steal the ashes, a guy Dillon has barely met leaps to the rescue, saving the urn and the day.

Steilang Skovgaard is a reclusive billionaire—and not human. He’s been living in Manhattan for over twenty years, working on a long-term plan to establish a safe haven for his people. For seven years, his reports have gone unanswered, however, and he is the only surviving member of his interstellar team. The connection he forms with Dillon soon after meeting him is something he’s missed, something he craves.

But after someone keeps trying to steal the ashes, it looks as though Dillon’s grandfather was involved in more than theories—and might not have been exactly who everyone thought he was. Steilang doesn’t know how close he can get to the truth without revealing himself, and Dillon is running out of people to trust. Can these two work out what’s going on before the thieves set their sights higher?


A Way with Words by Lane Hayes
I handed him a plastic container and a fork then grabbed the second one and sat back before braving a glance at my companion.

“How’s your day going, sweet-cheeks?”

“Sweet-cheeks?” I repeated in a deadpan tone.

Remy chuckled. “Sorry. You seem a little tense. I was just trying to get you to smile. Thank you for the—what is this? It looks delicious.”

“Cold pasta. It’s okay.”

“Ahh. ‘Okay cold pasta.’ My favorite! I brought dessert.” He reached for the paper bag next to his feet. “These are called ‘better than extraordinary’ chocolate cupcakes. I brought you two. One for yesterday and one for today.”

“You didn’t have to do that.”

Remy narrowed his eyes and cocked his head. “And you didn’t have to bring lunch. I did it because I wanted to. I hope you didn’t feel like you had to bring—”

“No. That’s not it.”

“What’s wrong, then?”

“Nothing. I’m just…I shouldn’t be here, Rem.”

“Why not?”

“I like you, that’s why,” I snapped. I unfastened the top on my container and stabbed at the fusilli noodles.

“Oh. That makes sense,” he teased. “For the record, I like you too. I think I even told you so.”

I looked at him then, loving the warmth in his pretty eyes. “Why do you like me?”

“Because you bring me food,” he said with a laugh. When I didn’t join in, he kicked my boot until I met his gaze again. “Hey. Come on. Get it off your chest. What’s eating you?”

I didn’t respond immediately because the answer overwhelmed me. I took another bite and stared unseeing at the greenery over his shoulder.

“I shouldn’t be here, but I’m happy I am. Does that make sense?”

“Sure. You feel guilty. You like me, but you wish you didn’t. Is that right?”

“Maybe. I had dinner with my family last night and…” My nostrils flared and to my absolute mortification, my voice cracked when I continued. “God, I wish I wasn’t me sometimes.”

I was on the verge of losing it, and fuck, it was embarrassing. I was grateful he let silence take over before addressing my outburst.

“Tony, look at me.” He waited until I complied before continuing in a fierce tone. “You’re the you that you’re supposed to be. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”

Hot Date by Felice Stevens
“Julian?”

He blinked and realized Nick had stood and was ready to leave. “Uh sorry. I was—”

“Busy, yeah I saw.” Without another word, or waiting to see if Julian followed, Nick turned and walked away.

Scrambling after him, Julian caught up with Nick walking down the block. “Why didn’t you wait for me?”

“You were working.” The clipped response angered Julian.

“We were done with dinner and you were paying the bill. Me checking my emails wasn’t taking away from our time together.”

“Whatever. It’s no big deal.”

“You’re being ridiculous. Why are you starting a fight with me?” They’d reached the loft and since Nick still had residual anxiety about using the elevator, he took the stairs, Julian trailing behind him. Unwilling to air their argument in public, Julian waited until they were behind the closed door.

“Before you said you didn’t want me having the phone while we’re eating. Now you’re picking a fight with me for looking at my phone after we’d finished dinner. It’s like you want to argue.”

Nick tossed his keys into the bowl by the door and went to the refrigerator to get a beer. He cracked it open and took a deep swallow while Julian waited patiently for him to speak. Meanwhile, the phone buzzed incessantly in his pocket and he was dying to find out if they’d secured the last two models needed for the show—most importantly, Lucien. But he held off; it wasn’t right after he’d promised to stop.

“I don’t want to argue. I wanted to have a nice dinner and be us again. But you’re obsessed with checking that phone. For once I’d like to be disconnected. Have it be only you and me.”

Shedding his jacket, Julian let it drop to the floor, never taking his eyes off Nick who set the beer can down on the counter top. “I don’t see anyone else here.” He stepped out of his loafers, undid his tie, and began unbuttoning his shirt. “Do you?”

Keeping silent, Nick shook his head and walked up to him until they stood less than a foot apart. “Come here.”

“I am here.”

The breath whooshed out of him as Nick pulled him up hard against his chest. “Now you’re here. Right where you belong.”

Memories Follow by SC Wynne
When four o’clock neared, I made my way to Paws For Care. I opened the door to the veterinary shop, but I wasn’t greeted by the usual cheerful woman at the counter. Instead, a cute blond guy sat in her spot looking like he’d rather be anywhere than where he was. His face was flushed, and he avoided direct eye contact. “Welcome,” he said stiffly.

“I have a four o’clock appointment with Dr. Hazelton.” Pinky squirmed in my arms and I kissed her furry little head.

The guy scanned the logbook in front of him. “Name?”

“Pinky.”

He frowned and kept his eyes down. “No, I mean your name.”

“Oh.” I laughed. “Sorry. It will be under Bernadette Franklin. I’m her son.”

He flicked his sky-blue eyes to mine and then down again. “Okay. It’s here.”

“Of course it is. Do people usually try to sneak in to see the vet?”

“Not really.”

When he turned his head toward the back, I noticed there was a long, jagged scar that ran along his jaw. My stomach tensed as I wondered how he’d gotten it. He didn’t look like the type who’d go in for plastic surgery. While he looked kind of rumpled, he seemed clean. His plaid shirtsleeves were rolled up, revealing muscled forearms, and he smelled like detergent. “You’re not the usual receptionist.”

His face flushed more, and he swallowed hard. “Patty had a hair appointment and she asked me to cover for an hour.” His thick dark lashes hid his expression. “I manage the kennel in back.”

“So you’re a jack-of-all-trades.”

“Hardly.” For the first time, he met my gaze squarely.

The punch of attraction that hit me when his light gaze rested fully on mine surprised me. He had a guarded but kind of innocent air about him that made my chest tight. I could see instantly that he’d been hurt horribly by someone. I was shocked I could read that so clearly on his handsome face, but it was there.

“You’re doing great.” I spoke firmly, wanting to reassure him for some bizarre reason.

His mouth tightened and he said, “Yeah, right.”

“I mean it.”

He shook his head and pointed toward the chairs behind me. “Take a seat. I’ll call you when the doctor is ready for you and Pinky.”

I moved to the seating area and sat where I could watch him. I knew I was acting kind of weird, but he intrigued me, and I didn’t get intrigued easily these days.

Remember Love by Silvia Violet
Antonio looked up from wiping the bar and froze. A blond man had just found an empty stool at the far end. Antonio could only see his profile, but he would know the man anywhere. It didn’t matter that it had been three years. That golden hair, the soft, loose curls that were so fucking effortless. Scott woke up looking perfect every damn morning. His cheeks were just plump enough to give him an innocent, boyish look, as if he would never hurt anyone. And of course, he wore impeccable—if occasionally stodgy—clothes that cost more than Antonio would ever dream of spending.

Scott couldn’t really be there, could he? Antonio glanced away and then back, hoping he was hallucinating. He’d been working himself half to death recently between school and Sparks.

He looked again. He was going to have to accept it. Scott Ingles, the only man who’d ever broken Antonio’s heart, was sitting at the bar in Sparks. Antonio’s heart pounded. He felt hot and cold at the same time. Was he going to throw up?

Scott had moved to Boston after they’d broken up.

After you sent him packing and refused to talk.

Antonio shut that inner voice down fast.

What was Scott doing in New York? Business probably, or visiting friends. But why was he in Sparks? He didn’t even like going to clubs.

He didn’t a few years ago. Who knows what he likes now?

Had he known Antonio worked there? Probably not. Why would he? Sparks was one of the most popular places in town. It wasn’t odd that someone would recommend it.

“That’s quite a reaction.”

It took Antonio a few seconds to process what his boss, Marcus, had said.

“Sorry. I—”

Marcus tilted his head toward Scott. “Who’s that?”

“Just someone from a million years ago.”

Marcus snorted. “You’re too young to have problems that old.”

“I doubt he even remembers me.”

“I wouldn’t bet on that.”

Antonio couldn’t resist the urge to look up. Scott was staring at him, eyes wide, expression unsure. He remembered Antonio all right, and Antonio surely remembered him: his skin, his scent, the way he loved to hold Antonio down, everything about him. And goddammit, Antonio still wanted him, no matter how much of an asshole Scott had been.

Uncommon Ground by Kelly Jensen
Chapter One
THE INTERIOR OF the Empire State Building was almost the same as Dillon remembered it—gilded marble walls, high ceilings, and the hush of reverent voices, broken more than occasionally by happy calamity. Clutching a backpack, Dillon stepped around one knot of family and through the middle of another. It was either that or duck under one of the barriers designed to keep tourists away from the walls. He could see the attraction. The marble looked really warm. He wanted to touch it. He remembered having the same urge twenty years ago when his grandfather had brought him here for his first visit.

Murmuring soft apologies, Dillon wended his way around and through a few more clusters of people until he found a sign directing him to the observation deck. Exhilaration fluttered in his stomach as he anticipated the view, the wind, and the experience of being high above the city. He hugged the backpack tighter.

“Soon, Grandpa. Nearly there.”

All fluttering ceased when he rounded the corner and found himself in a cattle maze of humanity, all winding their way toward a row of white uniforms and metal detectors. A sign affixed to the barrier up ahead read: Two Hour Wait from This Point.

Two hours?

“Hey, buddy, you getting in line or what?”

“Uh, yeah,” Dillon answered without looking over his shoulder. He took his place at the end of the line and prepared for a long wait.

The line did move. Slowly. Dillon used the time to people watch. The guy behind him pretty much typified the casual visitor to New York City. Ball cap, sunglasses, bright red T-shirt bearing the logo of the Kansas City Chiefs, multipocketed shorts, sneakers worn with dress socks (shudder), and a brood of tired and sticky-looking children. His wife stood on the other side of the kids, penning them in. She was wearing a sparkly pink “I Love New York” T-shirt, and studying Dillon with a narrow-eyed gaze.

He guessed she wasn’t comparing the color of his hair to the bedazzled heart on the front of her shirt.

One of the kids whined, drawing her attention, and Dillon moved on. Dude over there was wearing a parka. In July. Weirdo. That little old lady looked like she was about to faint, and that girl in the hoodie was watching him with a curious intensity.

Looking away, Dillon stepped past the Ninety Minutes from This Point sign.

Had he had to wait this long when he was a kid? He couldn’t recall. All he could remember was the joy of being in the city, and of being with a virtual stranger—the first time, and every time. He hadn’t known his grandfather that well, and that was always part of the attraction. His grandfather didn’t know him, either.

Sometimes it was nice to be unknown. Meant no one else knew the stuff you hadn’t quite figured out yet.

Okay, that guy over there, with the slim jeans and body-hugging tank? Dillon wouldn’t mind getting to know him. Ninety minutes would be more than enough time to see if his ass really was as firm as the jeans suggested. Ample opportunity to count abdominal muscles and follow a certain trail of hair downward. Unless he shaved. Dillon angled his head for a better view of the guy’s chest and received a prod from behind.

“Line’s moving, buddy.”

Thirty-four minutes later, standing shoulder to shoulder with people who obviously didn’t want to be pressed up against a skinny guy with purple hair had started to wear him down.

“Less than an hour now, Grandpa. Nearly there.”

“Daddy, that man is talking to his backpack,” said one of the kids behind him.

“He’s strange looking,” said her brother. Dillon ignored them. He was well used to the comments, curious glances, the sniffs, sneers, and smirks. Whatever. Everyone else in the line was bored enough to take a look, though, and soon his skin crawled beneath the unwanted attention.

The dude in the tight jeans and tank had disappeared by then.

The girl, the teenager in the hoodie, hadn’t. Every now and then Dillon felt the weight of her gaze. Shouting “I’m gay, so you’re wasting your time” across a crowded hall probably wasn’t the way to go.

By the time Dillon got to the uniformed guard directing traffic toward the security setup, he felt about as tired and sticky as Kansas City Chief’s kids.

“Can you open the backpack for me, sir?” asked the guard.

Dillon unzipped his pack and displayed the contents. She poked a stick thing inside, lifting his sketchbook and laptop away from the cushion of his only change of clothes—a clean T-shirt and boxers—that he’d wrapped around the metal flask containing his grandfather’s ashes. She frowned.

“Is that a Thermos? There’s no food allowed on the observation deck.”

“It’s not a Thermos.”

“What is it, then?”

“An urn.”

“A what?”

“It’s my grandfather, okay?”

“You got ashes in there?”

“Yes.”

She clucked her tongue. “You can’t take ashes up to the observation deck. We got a strict policy about that.”

Something poked him in the back, and Dillon turned to find Kansas City Chief calling a child to heel. The eyes of both father and daughter widened as they studied his piercings. Dillon curbed the need to sneer. He was a nice person. A fun person. A guy who just wanted to pay his respects to his grandfather.

He turned back to the guard. “I promise I won’t spread them.” He’d maybe pull out a flake. Just one.

“You can’t take that up there.”

“Well, where am I supposed to leave it, then? Do you have a bag check?”

“Out in the lobby.”

“Will I lose my place in line?”

“Listen, buddy, we’ve been in this line for two hours. You wanna make up your mind?”

Turning back to the Chief, Dillon reconsidered his sneer. “I’m just trying to say goodbye to my grandfather.”

Chief rolled his eyes. “Give me a break.”

“Sir, you’re holding up the line,” said the guard.

Oh for fuck’s sake.

Dillon tugged the backpack out of her grasp and reached to zip it closed. “Whatever, where’s the exit? Maybe the Rockefeller Center will let me go up with my—”

“There is no attraction in the city that is going to let you take an urn through security. Not a metal one like that.” Her gaze flicked over his face, and her mouth moved as though she considered telling him he’d have trouble with the metal in his face too. Thankfully, she showed some restraint. “Maybe try the East River?”

Dillon huffed out a sigh. “Thank you.”

She tipped her head in a quick nod and poked her stick toward the exit. He didn’t move fast enough. One of the brats behind him stepped on the back of his flip-flop, causing him to nearly walk out of it. Dillon tripped forward. He reached for something to hold onto, and the wave of humanity parted before him like the Red fucking Sea. The impact of marble against his knees was cold and sort of shocking. Worse, his backpack clattered down in front of him, and the urn fell out of the half-done zip and rolled across the floor.

I’m so sorry, Grandpa. Dillon rested on his hands and knees for the moment it took him to suck in a breath.  Then he crawled after his grandfather and pulled the urn away from a curious hand.

“I was just gonna—”

The tourist fell silent at Dillon’s growl.

Tucking the urn back in against his chest, Dillon got to his feet, hauled the backpack over his shoulder, and made good use of his sharp elbows as he made his way back through the crowd. By the time he hit the street, the afternoon sun was touching the tops of the tallest skyscrapers, sending wide shafts of light slicing across the city. It was kinda beautiful, if you noticed things like that, especially against the shimmer of heat rising from the pavement.

After making sure the backpack was zipped tightly closed, Dillon stood still for a minute to catch his breath. Or tried to. He had all summer to do this. If he didn’t have a job to go back to in September, he’d have the rest of his life. Or until he figured out what he wanted to do.

Digging in his pocket, he located the set of keys the lawyer had given him. Time to head uptown and find out what else his grandfather had left behind.

*****

THE PURPLE HAIR caught his attention first. The shade was so similar to a near-forgotten memory that Lang stopped in the doorway of the coffee shop until a throat cleared behind him.

“Oh, sorry.”

He stepped inside and away from the door, feeling more displaced than he had for a long time. Even the aroma of roasting beans failed to ground him as he waited by the window, caught in a sudden whorl of homesickness.

The purple wasn’t that unusual, really. Lang saw a dozen different hair colors every day. Humanity was a vastly diversified species. Their skin, hair, and eyes came in a startling array of natural colors. Unsatisfied with that, however, they often played with their appearance, changing the color of their hair and skin and nails.

Then there were the clothes.

Lang looked down at his own suit—lightweight charcoal fabric over a pale chartreuse shirt and lavender tie—and smiled. If there was one thing he loved about Earth, it was the clothes.

The guy with purple hair was not wearing a suit. Instead, he had on jeans that looked properly lived-in rather than artfully distressed, and a black T-shirt with a wiring diagram printed across the front. He sat at a table in the far corner, coffee and a half-eaten donut in front of him, and a sketchbook opened across his lap. He seemed pretty absorbed by whatever he was doing until he looked up, directly at Lang.

I’m staring, aren’t I?

And he was going to stare some more because the purple-haired man was stunning. The guy’s features—wide-set, large eyes, sharp cheekbones, overlong nose, and oddly small mouth—were not conventionally attractive. Not in the way humanity classified beauty. To him, though?

Lang looked away, acutely aware of his blush. He’d be sporting two hectic spots of color high on his cheeks, and the afternoon sunlight slanting through the front window would only deepen the shade of red. Lang reached up to loosen his tie. He needed to move away from the window where the heat was stifling, and… maybe order coffee? That’s why he’d stepped inside, after all.

He joined the short queue and spent the few minutes waiting for his turn, trying not to look at the table in the corner.

The barista greeted him with a smile. “Afternoon, Lang. The usual?”

“Thanks, Rena.”

Less than a minute later, he had a to-go cup of Uncommon Grounds’ signature blend in one hand and an acai berry pumpkin seed muffin in the other. Normally, he’d walk the two blocks to his building, ride to the top in the cool and quiet elevator, and enjoy his view of Central Park while dunking pieces of muffin into his coffee cup. Instead, he sidled over to a table behind Purple and sat down.

Though he knew no one was watching him, it felt as though everyone was watching him. Steilang Skovgaard sitting in a coffee shop with a cardboard cup of coffee? It wasn’t that he was antisocial, just uncomfortable around more than one person at a time—which proved difficult when you were the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. It was because he usually kept to himself that New York’s gossip columnists paid him little attention. He’d managed to remain somewhat unknown.

Thank the stars.

Still, he didn’t usually sit in coffee shops. Not when there were other people there. And sitting behind Purple was particularly stupid as he could only see the back of the guy’s head. Then again, there was a lot to admire about the set of Purple’s shoulders and the curve of his spine as he bent over his sketchbook. The way his hair tapered at the back of his neck, giving way to moon-touched skin. Humans dwelling in North America were rarely so pale.

What was he drawing?

That would be a good conversational opener, would it not?

Lang sipped his coffee and winced as the liquid seared his top lip. Ouch. If he’d walked home with the cup, it would be a drinkable temperature by the time he removed the lid and dunked in his first bite of muffin. Lang pried off the lid and prepared to shred his muffin… and stopped.

Did humans dunk pieces of muffin in their coffee? Surely they did. It must have been a habit he picked up on Earth. After being here for twenty-five years, however, Lang often forgot which quirks were his, and which were borrowed. He glanced furtively around and spied a woman dunking a cookie before offering a bite to her daughter.

Purple left off sketching long enough to eat the other half of his donut (undunked) and turned to rummage in the backpack swinging from the back of his chair. Lang tried not to look, but this might be his only chance to see the guy’s face again.

Sunlight flashed off Purple’s profile, picking out the bar threaded through one eyebrow and the rings at his nose and lower lip. The color of his hair shifted and deepened, what might be a natural, glossy black showing beneath dark magenta and purple-blue highlights. Effective from a distance, mesmerizing up close.

Purple glanced up and their eyes met… sort of. Lang had yet to remove his sunglasses. He rarely did during the day, unless he was behind polarized glass. Purple’s eyes were as amazing as his hair. A mixture of blue and brown that Lang wanted to study for at least an hour. Lang’s mouth went dry and the burned spot on his lip throbbed. Other parts of him thought about throbbing.

Purple quirked one black and twinkling eyebrow at him and winked.

Lang’s heart stopped beating for a second, and the blush that hadn’t fully faded swept across his face and down his neck. His armpits flooded and his throat fluttered. What he wanted to do to this man. Kissing. He’d start with kissing. Then his imagination quickly stripped Purple out of the T-shirt and jeans and bent him over the nearest surface. The coffee shop tables were just the right height. Lang had his imaginary hands on either side of Purple’s hips, his thumbs applying just enough pressure to separate the pale globes of Purple’s ass when he realized he was still staring. And Purple was staring back.

Lang quickly averted his gaze, looking down at his cup, and took another ill-advised sip. Hot coffee sloshed against his tender lip—and over his hand when he jolted.

“Damn it.” Lang put the cup down and reached for the napkin dispenser. Coffee ran down his arm, under his sleeve. Likely he’d just ruined his shirt. He patted at the cuff and mopped his hairline, feeling flustered and embarrassed and just hot.

“You okay?”

Lang glanced up to find Purple regarding him with a kind expression. He tried for a smile. “Ah, yeah. Sure. Just clumsy.”

Purple smiled.

Sensing an opening, however awkward, Lang got ready to ask about the sketchbook. Before he could get the phrasing right in his mind, however, a teenage girl pressed between their tables, temporarily blocking his view—his reason for being in the coffee shop, his excuse to do things he rarely did. Then she was gone, revealing Purple’s gorgeous face once more, a face that now held no hint of flirtation. Instead, the guy’s mouth hung open and his eyes were wide with shock.

“Hey!” Purple stood, grappling with his sketchbook. With no backpack to weigh it down, his chair skidded across the floor, stopping when it hit the window.

Without the backpack.

Lang glanced toward the door. Sure enough, the girl had the backpack slung over her shoulder as she slithered through the crowd of customers and out into the street.

“Hey!” Purple shouted again, tearing after her.








Lane Hayes
Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full time! It's no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to a well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel, Better Than Good, was a 2013 Rainbow Awards Finalist and her third in the Better Than Stories, Better Than Friends, received an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Rainbow Awards. Lane loves red wine, chocolate and travel, in no particular order (on second thought, maybe wine first). She resides in Southern California with her amazing husband and a regal old yellow Lab in an almost empty nest.

Felice Stevens
Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. While life is tough, she believes there is a happy ending for everyone. She started reading traditional historical romances as a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn't until she picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth's court that her interest in romance novels was renewed.

But somewhere along the way, her reading shifted to stories of men falling in love. Once she picked up her first gay romance, she became so enamored of the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion there was no turning back.

Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. Although she practices law, she daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be some angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

SC Wynne
S.C. Wynne started writing m/m in 2013 and did look back once. She wanted to say that because it seems everyone’s bio says they never looked back and, well S.C. Wynne is all about the joke. She loves writing m/m and her characters are usually a little jaded, funny and ultimately redeemed through love.

S.C loves red wine, margaritas and Seven and Seven’s. Yes, apparently S.C. Wynne is incredibly thirsty. S.C. Wynne loves the rain and should really live in Seattle but instead has landed in sunny, sunny, unbelievably sunny California. Writing is the best profession she could have chosen because S.C. is a little bit of a control freak. To sit in her pajamas all day and pound the keys of her laptop controlling the every thought and emotion of the characters she invents is a dream come true.

If you’d like to contact S.C. Wynne she is amusing herself on Facebook at all hours of the day or you can contact her at scwynne@dslextreme.com.

Talia Carmichael
Talia Carmichael is a romantic who believes that family, no matter if it is by blood or those you choose as family, is integral to who you are. She is an author who writes sexy stories in a variety of genres. She believes in creating stories that encompass all that falling in love or lust entails, from the highs of that first blush of attraction to the lows of not knowing if you can make your coming together as a couple work, and then finally to the acceptance of the reality of making a life together. It's all about the journey.

Among her books you'll find contemporary, futuristic, fantasy, and paranormal settings with M/M themes that will have a happily-ever-after. Her books are passionate, intense, and real...to fill the craving.

Silvia Violet
Silvia Violet writes fun, sexy stories that will leave you smiling and satisfied. She has a thing for characters who are in need of comfort and enjoys helping them surrender to love even when they doubt it exists. Silvia's stories include sizzling contemporaries, paranormals, and historicals. When she needs a break from listening to the voices in her head, she spends time baking, taking long walks, and curling up with her favorite books. Keep up with her latest ventures by signing up for her newsletter.


Nic Starr
Nic Starr lives in Australia where she tries to squeeze as much into her busy life as possible. Balancing the demands of a corporate career with raising a family and writing can be challenging but she wouldn’t give it up for the world.

Always a reader, the lure of m/m romance was strong and she devoured hundreds of wonderful m/m romance books before eventually realising she had some stories of her own that needed to be told!

When not writing or reading, she loves to spend time with her family–an understanding husband and two beautiful daughters–and is often found indulging in her love of cooking and planning her dream home in the country.

You can find Nic on Facebook, Twitter and her blog. She’d love it if you stopped by to say hi.

Kelly Jensen
If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, novellas and short stories, including the Chaos Station series, co-written with Jenn Burke. Some of what she writes is speculative in nature, but mostly it’s just about a guy losing his socks and/or burning dinner. Because life isn’t all conquering aliens and mountain peaks. Sometimes finding a happy ever after is all the adventure we need.



Lane Hayes
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Felice Stevens
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SC Wynne
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Talia Carmichael
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Silvia Violet
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EMAIL: silviaviolet@gmail.com

Nic Starr
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Kelly Jensen
EMAIL: kellyjensenwrites@gmail.com



A Way with Words by Lane Hayes

Hot Date by Felice Stevens

Memories Follow by SC Wynne

Anticipation by Talia Carmichael

Remember Love by Silvia Violet

Finding His Place by Nic Starr

Uncommon Ground by Kelly Jensen

Escape from Behruz by Judy Meadows

Title: Escape
Author: Judy Meadows
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 21, 2017
Summary:
A trek through the mountains to Iran--with her baby, her puppy, her secrets, and the man she must never love.

Two years ago, abandoned, despondent, and pregnant, Olivia was pressured into letting her sister and her sister’s husband, the sultan of Behruz, adopt her baby and pretend he’s their natural child. Her sister died soon after the baby was born, so Olivia has been able to raise her son after all. The sultan lets her stay in the palace, but if she ever reveals the baby’s true parentage, he’ll make sure she never sees the child again.

Now rebellion threatens the country. And the baby’s real father, Rashid, has returned. He arranges for Olivia and the baby he doesn’t know is his to escape with him to Iran, traveling under cover of the nomad migration.

Can Olivia spend nights in a tent with Rashid without succumbing to the attraction that has always drawn her to him? Can she survive the trip without revealing her secret and without losing her heart to him once again?


When the meal was over, the women helped her put on her nomad costume. They wanted to do everything. Their hands were all over her, pulling at her sweater and trying to open the snap and zipper of her jeans. They giggled and exclaimed when they saw her small, pale breasts, but the biggest source of delight turned out to be her lacy briefs. She was relieved when they covered her with the new clothes.

“This reminds me of a wedding,” Fatima said when they all stepped out of the tent. “When a Qashami girl gets married, the women all help her dress in her wedding clothes and then they escort her to her husband’s tent.”

Walking toward the tent of her “husband,” Olivia felt like a bride. The mantle framed her face and fell down her back like a bride’s veil, and the long skirt swayed with every step. Rashid stood in front of the tent talking to Saddiq. He was wearing a long shirt and a wool vest like those worn by the other men. Time stopped for several heartbeats when his eyes fell on Olivia. He seemed to straighten up, to become taller, and everything about him became very still.

She met his gaze boldly. The petticoats swished around her legs when she walked. She felt the swing of her arms, the sway of her hips, even the slight bounce of her breasts. All the women stood behind her, waiting for Rashid’s reaction.

“Spin around again like you did for us in the tent,” Fatima whispered to Olivia.

Rashid’s nomad clothes made him look primitive and very male. His eyes were intent on her, like the eyes of an animal watching its prey. He was motionless except for a slight quivering of his nostrils.

Olivia lifted her arms slowly, and the women stepped back away from her. Then she began the pirouette. She moved as if in a trance. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion. But still the skirt rose, its colors blurring as she spun, and she felt dizzy and flushed when she stopped. She gave Rashid a smile that came from some new knowledge.

“You are a temptress,” he said in English. His eyes were dark pools that beckoned her to tempt and be tempted.

“The ladies are waiting to see what you think of their handiwork.”

He stepped toward her and reached his hand up to touch her face at her temple. Then he slid it down until it cupped the nape of her neck. A shiver of response rippled through her, but she didn’t move.

“She is very beautiful,” he said in Farsi. “The costume is perfect. She is perfect.” He kissed her lightly on the lips. The speculations and remarks of the nomads hushed. A crow cawed in the distance, and then it was silent too. She was mesmerized. She felt possessed.

Midwife in Behruz(Late 2017)
Summary:
Laila’s trip to Behruz, her father’s country and home of her early years, is meant to be one last adventure before she joins her dreamboat fiancé in Texas. But Behruz casts a spell on her. Her knowledge as a midwife is needed there. Serving women’s health in a country where no one talks about “such things” presents interesting challenges.

Majid, a doctor trained in the States, has returned to Behruz to serve his people. He’s ready to settle down, but because of old family wounds, American women are forbidden to him. That’s no problem until Laila walks into his clinic—with a sassy smile, a jar of semen, and a blond fiancé back home.

Author Bio:
I grew up in Minnesota but now live in a small town in Oregon with my husband Jim. I’m a mom, grandma, wife, gardener, cat-lover, nerd, and traveler.

I’ve had a few different careers, starting with work as a systems engineer for IBM after college. Then there was my “earth-mother” stage. Jim and I had a farm in northern California where we raised kids (one of our own and several foster kids), apples, Asian pears, and raspberries. When we retired from farming and moved to Oregon (when we should have been done with the parenting thing), we added one more child, a 10-year-old girl adopted from a Russian orphanage.

Next, when our new daughter was settled into the family, I became a doula and childbirth educator. (See www.doulajudy.com and www.mexicanmidwives.com) During 20 years of working as a doula, I helped 460 women in labor.

During a sabbatical from career number one (computers), I spent a year in the Middle East, traveling and camping in a Landrover. Later, Jim and I spent a year and a half in Iran working as computer engineers on a project that was meant to modernize the Iranian phone system (but was interrupted by the revolution). I based the fictional country of Behruz on Iran and Afghanistan as I knew them back then, before war and political turmoil altered both countries.

Now, at last, I’m fulfilling a lifetime dream by writing. My second romance novel, Midwife in Behruz, which will come out at the end of 2017, draws on my experience with childbirth. I’ve just started plotting the final book in what will be a trilogy of stories set in Behruz.


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