Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Random Tales of Christmastime Part 3

Merry Gentlemen by Josephine Myles
’Tis the season of goodwill to all men…even the one who dumped you.

Riley MacDermott’s ambitions are simple. Managing the annual Bath Christmas Market—which involves long hours in the cold and a whole lot of hassle—will secure the promotion he needs to afford to move out of his noisy, top-floor flat. Where not even his balcony is safe from an aggressive herring gull.

The last stallholder he expects to see is his ex. Riley never recovered from their break up, and five years on the old chemistry still sparkles. So does their habitual head butting.

Stan never wanted to leave the love of his life, but the pull of the woods was too strong—and Riley was firmly planted in the city. Reconnecting is painful, but Stan still jumps at the chance to stay with his old flame during the Market. And damn the consequences.

As the weeks pass, the two grow closer than ever. But despite scorching sex and cozy intimacy, they both know they face a cold and lonely future. Unless one of them can compromise.

Warning: Contains sex in a shed, a seagull with a grudge, glamping, awful Secret Santa underwear, misuse of an Abba song, and as many wood-related puns as the author thought she could get away with.

Christmas with Danny Fit by Amy Lane
In a perfect moment of cold November sunshine, pudgy accountant Kit Allen realizes Jesse, his new office assistant, is everything he's ever dreamed about in a man. Feeling supremely unworthy and desperate to get a life—even an imaginary one—Kit embarks on a self-improvement campaign featuring DVD fitness guru, Danny Fit. In the meantime, Jesse has begun a subtle campaign of his own, one designed to bring Kit out of his DVD dream world and into Jesse's arms. Jesse isn't perfect—he's no Danny Fit—but he hopes that the kind, funny man who has been looking at him so soulfully since his first day at work has what it takes to be everything Jesse has always wanted.

How can you not fall in love with Kit?  He is like so many of us in his "averageness" or at least in his mind, and yes I know averageness is not a real word but if you can't create a word when describing Amy Lane's writing then I don't know when you can create new words.  And like so many of us, Kit's fascination with Danny Fit keeps him from seeing what is right in front of him, even though Jesse's attempts at friendship and inclusion is what jump started Kit's desire to improve himself.  A great tale any time of the year but throw in the holiday setting and it's an amazing read that you don't want to miss.

Personal Shopper by Tere Michaels
Will Nixon only has three days to whip up the perfect NYC family Christmas to impress his twin sister's future in-laws. By chance he meets the charming and possibly perfect Hudson Smith, an out of town business man, who agrees to be his "personal shopper" in order to get everything done. In the middle of a whirlwind of prep, Will and Hudson find themselves doing more than shopping - they might be falling in love.

Holiday Hootenanny by Ari McKay
Clint Barker wants to take his relationship with boyfriend Joshua Cash to the next level, and that means meeting Josh’s family at Christmas. Clint is sure he can deal with anything, even though Josh has expressed reservations that his big, loud hillbilly family might be too overwhelming for an introvert like Clint to handle.

Josh loves his family, but the only other time he brought a boyfriend home to meet them, the guy didn’t last through dinner. Clint means everything to him, and though he knows his family means well, Josh is worried their nosiness and sheer overwhelming presence will drive Clint away.

Between having to fix an illegal still, getting treed by a wild hog, and barely avoiding a bar fight between rednecks and bikers, the holiday doesn’t get off to an auspicious start. Then at the traditional Christmas Eve Hootenanny, Josh and Clint argue, and Clint later turns up missing. Will this spell the end of their relationship, or will a newborn in a stable work a little Christmas miracle for them both?

Despite what Josh fears about the boisterousness of his family and meeting Clint for the first time, I think most of us want the support he has.  Clint may be a little reserved but he seems to fit right in despite a few hiccups. A great addition to my holiday library and one I highly recommend you to give a chance, you won't be disappointed.


Humbug by Joanna Chambers
Quin Flint is unimpressed when his gorgeous colleague, Rob Paget, asks for extra time off at Christmas. As far as Quin is concerned, Christmas is a giant waste of time. Quin's on the fast track to partnership, and the season of goodwill is just getting in the way of his next big project. But when Quin's boss, Marley, confiscates his phone and makes him take an unscheduled day off, Quin finds himself being forced to confront his regrets, past and present, and think about the sort of future he really wants…and who he wants it with.

You can't help but notice the connection to A Christmas Carol, which is my favorite Christmas story ever, so that alone piqued my interest.  Well, only a chapter in and my interest was justified because Quin definitely has something to learn about life and himself.  He may not have help from the spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future as Scrooge did but life has dealt his boss, Marley a hard lesson in loss and she in turn forces Quin to take a break from the office. I always tear up when Scrooge learns the meaning of Christmas and when Quin learns a few things about himself I teared up too.  A truly perfect read for the holiday season.


Merry Gentlemen
You could lose yourself in Stan’s eyes. Well, I could. They reminded me of sun-bleached denim, with a deeper indigo ring around the outside. They were the kind of eyes that spoke of hard work in the great outdoors, and if it hadn’t been for the fact they’d been just the same back when he’d slaved away as a housing officer, I’d believe they really had been lightened by the sun. His hair certainly had. I’d always thought of him as a dirty blond rather than a honey one.

I still thought of him as a dirty blond, although not because of the colour of his hair.

Before my brain could get hijacked by thoughts of just how dirty Stan could be, I recovered my manners and stuck my hand out.

“Stan. Fancy seeing you here. I had no idea. Really.”

Stan stared at my hand like I was offering him a slice of mouldy pizza. I was just about to snatch it back when he grabbed it and held on.

“Ri? You look… You haven’t changed. Not one bit.”

Normally I’d preen a little at a comment like that. Make some allusion to Botox—not that I had any desire to freeze the expression out of my forehead, as how would I cope if I couldn’t do my patented single-eyebrow raise?

But right now, with Stan holding my hand in his rough, calloused—oh my God, he had genuine, honest to goodness callouses!—paw, I found it hard to do anything other than fight down my body’s instinctive response to him. I wanted to hit him and I wanted to lick him all over, and I couldn’t bloody well figure out which urge was winning.

Actually, right now I needed to stop paying any attention to my body and concentrate on keeping my cool. Couldn’t have Stan seeing me ruffled.

“Well, you’ve definitely changed,” I said. “You’ve got that whole rugged, outdoorsy vibe working for you now.” I didn’t need to hide the fact I was checking him out, thank Christ, so I took my time drinking in the sight of him. “Going back to nature really does pay off, doesn’t it? Shit, you never bulked up this well in the gym. And you’re tanned in the winter, but not a streak of orange to be seen. It’s a modern day miracle. Hallelujah.”

“I don’t need to fake it,” Stan growled, tilting his head back to look down at me and making the most of his three-inch height advantage. It was his arrogant-bastard pose, and he bloody well knew I was a sucker for it because I’d once made the mistake of telling him. Never, ever let a toppy git know just how much they turn you on, or you’ll spend your whole bloody life in a state of perpetual turned-on-ness. Was that even a word? It was now.

“What happened to your hair?” I said, reaching out for a lock. “Totally hot, but aren’t you getting a bit old for the whole surfer look? And you’re way too landlocked, down in deepest, darkest Somersetshire.”

“Piss off, Ri,” Stan said, but there was no heat in his words. The heat was all in his eyes, beaming out and frying me like a laser beam. They’d find me later, nothing more than a pair of melted boot soles on the cobbles.

Was that angry heat or turned-on heat? Couldn’t figure it out on him either. I had to face it, we both had ample reason to be pissed off with each other, but five years was a long time to hold a grudge.

“Much as I’d love to get on my way, it’s actually my job to check up on you. See if there’s anything you need any help with. Lend a hand, you know.” Jesus, could I have made that sound any more like a come-on? Clearly my mouth was in cahoots with my dick rather than my brain. I bit the inside of my lower lip, just to show it who was boss.

But Stan just carried on staring at me, while the sun-warmed denim of his eyes frosted over.

“Right. Just your job.” Oh, that guttural Slovakian accent! After the best part of a decade of living in the UK, Stan’s had definitely mellowed compared to when we’d first met, but it was still sexy as hell. “I’ll make sure I let you know if there’s anything you can help me with.” He stepped a little closer then, and tucked both thumbs into the waistband of his combats, hands framing his package like I needed any reminding of what was hidden in there. Well, not so hidden. Whereas I was a grower, Stan was most definitely a show-er, meaning his tackle was almost as big flaccid as it was erect. Not that that was a disappointment. More of a relief, really. If he’d got any bigger when hard, I’d have had to make like a snake and dislocate my jaw before giving him a blowjob.

And I really didn’t need to be remembering blowing Stan right now.

I thought I’d concealed my arousal pretty damn well, but something must have registered, because Stan got this triumphant grin. “You’d better get back to work. Can’t have you giving up your chance at climbing the corporate ladder for my sake.” And the bastard turned his back on me and went back to fiddling with the display board.

Ouch. That was an old barb, and one I’d had thrown at me many times in the months leading to our breakup. Or my dumping, as I thought of it in my maudlin moments. Usually while cradling a glass of pinot noir and listening to bluesy jazz.

I had to set things straight. Let Stan know I’d turned over a new leaf. “Actually, I’m working for the council now. Public sector. Not corporate.”

“And I should care why, exactly?”

Double ouch. And worse yet, I knew I probably deserved it, as I had made it very clear my career was the priority back then.

“I’ll be on my way, then. If you need anything, Janine and I are patrolling. Should be one of us checking up on you every half hour or so. Oh, and I’m sorry about your pitch.” I indicated the litter bin that sat in front of it. “Not the best we have to offer. You’ll have to get in quick next year if you want one of the prime ones with decent footfall.”

Stan just shrugged. “It’s fine. I’m used to things being quiet.”

“Yeah, I bet.” I wanted to ask him more about how it was going out in the woods, but he’d made it pretty clear he didn’t want to talk. “Bye, then.”

I got a grunt in response. Bloody charming.

Cavemen. You can try to civilise them, but the minute they get back to the great outdoors, they go all feral again. I pitied the good folk of Somerset, having to put up with a grumpy old hermit in their midst.

And I kind of envied them too.

Yeah, I was so not over Stan, it wasn’t even funny.

Christmas with Danny Fit
KIT ALLEN moved out of his mother’s house one week after he started his new workout regimen, two months after he got his new personal assistant at work, and six weeks before Christmas. He was thirty years old, and these events had more in common than first meets the eye—all except the Christmas.

Jesse, his new assistant, was a beautiful man, with hair the color of dark honey and sloe brown eyes. He keyboarded like the wind, understood the internet like a prodigy, ran interference when Kit was getting work done, and prodded him to get up out of his seat and move around when he’d done too much work and had to force himself to remember to breathe. He was constantly trying to anticipate Kit’s needs, and since Kit didn’t seem to need much, he was constantly trying to bring Kit things—coffee, water, a funny video he’d never seen—that Kit hadn’t known he needed but apparently couldn’t live without.

Something about Jesse made Kit supremely aware of the fact that he was forty pounds heavy and had never gotten laid.

It wasn’t that Jesse tried to make Kit feel uncomfortable. In fact, just the opposite. Jesse went out of his way to be friendly, and since Kit had always been a shy, awkward sort of boy and then a reserved, awkward sort of man, overtures of friendship were foreign to him.

“Would you like me to get you coffee, Mr. Allen?”

“Uhm….” And suddenly another cup of coffee sounded both wonderful and frightening.

“How about some water? Water’s good for you, you know.”

“Uhm….” It was the first time in his life he’d ever felt that something good for him would actually seem good for him.

Jesse would offer to eat lunch with him when he worked at his desk, and Kit would freeze, absolutely stunned. Should he make conversation? Should he work on the tables and figures he’d stayed in his office to finish in the first place? Holy crap! How was he supposed to behave when Jesse sat and chatted to him about television and movies and….

Wait a minute.

“Yeah,” Kit said in bemusement, “I thought David Tennant was the best Doctor Who. How could you not? But I think Matt Smith has a lot of potential—he’s got this wise thing about him that makes him seem a little older, you know?”

Jesse’s face lit up, and he looked a little surprised as well. “Absolutely—and I think Amelia Pond is adorable. Donna Tate seemed like a lot of fun too—probably less likely to try to get into my pants, which would be more comfortable. So tell me, do you like Torchwood too?”

As it turned out, both of them shared a deep and abiding love of science fiction television, starting with Doctor Who and moving on to Torchwood, Being Human, Firefly, Dollhouse, Stargate (SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe!), Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5, Warehouse 13, Eureka, and even that most holy of holies, Star Trek, all five incarnations, including the only spin-off not to make it seven seasons, Enterprise.

After that first week, lunch became less and less about doing work at his desk and more and more about talking about sci-fi with Jesse.

It was at the end of the second month that Kit saw Jesse with some of the other men from his building, playing basketball in the yard across the street from their accounting firm in the slanting November sun. He’d waved, and Jesse had waved back, but after a couple of months of working together—and eating lunch and yearning, at least on Kit’s part—Kit was not quite sure if he was comfortable enough to go up and say anything.

Personal Shopper
Chapter One
Will Nixon had the excuses already churning in his head as he skated his four hundred dollar ergonomic chair across the slick floor and reached for the ringing phone--a compact slim line relic from the 70's in a stunning avocado color. He loved that phone, except when it was ringing at eleven in the morning on the Wednesday before Christmas and he was three plus weeks past a deadline.

"Michelle, I love you I do but you can't rush genius," was his opening bid - faux cheery - and even as his voice echoed through the loft, he winced. His agent was not going to be charmed at this late, late, late date.

Really late.

"It's not Michelle, it's me," his sister Veronica said, a touch impatient, and Will felt a brief pang of regret at his beautiful phone for its lack of glamorous high tech things like caller ID. He could blow off his sister and actually be asleep right now; another long night of not writing had left him fuzzy brained.

Small talk was not on his agenda.

"Sorry. I could feel her shoving a pin in my voodoo doll's ass." Will got out of the chair and gave it a shove back under the desk, blessing the phone's extra long cord. Sitting there meant he'd look at his laptop, which meant a reminder of his writing inability at the moment. He settled down at the kitchen island, pulling his bathrobe a bit tighter. NYC lofts that were once factories - architecturally sexy but cold as Iceland in December. "I'm a little late."

"Yeah, I know, Mom told me. I don't mean to bother you but uh...I'm just going to bother you with my life problems and make you solve them."

"Is this a twin thing?" Will rubbed his jaw and tried to remember the last time he'd shaved. Or showered.

"No, it's a ‘you owe me' for that time with the thing and the guy." Veronica sighed. "Actually, I'm bashing my head against the wall in Paris. Can't you feel it in New York?"

Will rubbed his forehead. He hadn't slept in thirty-six hours and he was out of coffee. Yes, yes, he could feel a headache forming.

"What's wrong?"

He could hear Veronica breathing on the other end of the line. Like a nervous prank caller working up their nerve to begin their joke.

"We were supposed to be staying in Paris for the holidays you know, but ugh, his parents are being...they insist on meeting my family, to check me out because you know - they think I'm a gold digger or a prostitute or something and I know they've had someone pull my file - which, did you realize I even have a file? What the hell could be in a file?! And so I called mom and dad and they were already on the stupid ship and...and..." Veronica unleashed the words in a furious rush, a barrage Will tried to decipher while she hyperventilated.

Paris was a lark, a change of scenery for his cellist sister, a job at a small music school owned by a friend from Julliard. She went for six months, stayed two years and announced - very suddenly - at Thanksgiving that she'd met someone the month before, they were in love and surprise! They were getting married on Valentine's Day.

Normally the good twin, Veronica had single-handedly caused chaos for five straight holidays. When Will came out at sixteen, he'd only ruined the joint Passover/Easter dinner his grandmother insisted on. Veronica's drama was epic.

Not to mention no one had met the mysterious Roan and they wouldn't until after the New Year...except...

"So we're flying to New York for the holidays and Mom and Dad are flying back from Bermuda so - oh God Will, I'm sorry."

"Sorry for what exactly?" he asked suspiciously. He opened the cookie jar shaped like the genie bottle from "I Dream of Jeannie" and took out two Twinkies he had a strong suspicion he'd be needing for strength in the next few seconds.

"Sorry that you have to throw together a really nice Christmas for eight at your place on two days notice?" She had the good grace to cough apologetically at the end.

"No. Nooooo." Will's heart started to beat triple time. Organization? The Holidays? Responsibility and Adulthood? He'd rather be getting a verbal bitch slap from Michelle right now, while she was jabbing his effigy with a hot coal.

"Will, you're the only person who can do this! We're flying out on Christmas Eve! Mom and Dad won't be able to get back from Bermuda until then!" The exclamation points flew. "Roan told them how wonderful our family was and how close we were - I need visual proof of this."

"We have to fake normalcy for your fiancé's parents?"


"I hate Christmas."

"You hate socializing and shopping. That's not Christmas' fault." Veronica moved to mid-level wheedle. They both knew he'd cave because Will's backbone was made of pudding, particularly when it came to his twin.

"I'm working," he tried.

"No, you're avoiding working. Think of this as a legitimate excuse to fuck off."

How well she knew him.

"Ugh, enabler. So - a tree, presents, dinner? Is that what we're talking about here?" Will sighed dramatically. "Everyone's getting a scarf, just so you know."

"Yes - but..." Veronica was gearing up for something more. He could feel it.


"But, slightly more elegant, traditional and serious than you know, every holiday we've ever had."

"You realize I'm gay, but not actually Martha Stewart?"

Veronica huffed. "Don't you have friends? Cool artistic gay friends like on television?"

"I know other horror writers, gamers and the Korean family who owns the restaurant downstairs. And Lenny from across the hall. He's gay but he's an accountant. I'm guessing he won't be a huge help." Not to mention disinterested in helping Will with anything after that awkward New Year's one night stand from last year - when Will called him "Larry" the next day and asked if he lived nearby.

"Unhelpful." The quiver in his sister's voice said tears imminent and if that didn't scare him into action, nothing else would.

"Fine. I' an article on the Internet and get something going." Maybe the switched up insanity of buying linen napkins--and matching china and adult food and a freaking tree--would shake the ending of his book free. "What time are you going to be here?"

"We should get to your place by ten in the morning on Christmas Day. Mom and Dad'll probably get in a little later." Veronica sniffled. "Thank you Will. I owe you everything."

"I want something cool for Christmas, and it better not be a scarf."

A guilt-ridden Veronica then proceeded to burst into tears. In between sniffles, Will learned about how hard Roan's parents' attitude was, and how worried her true love was, and how she was afraid it would break them up.

Will started to take this personally.

How dare anyone hurt Veronica's feelings? That was his job, and one done with the love of one sibling to another. They could fight like Crips and Bloods but at the end of the day, it was the Nixon siblings against the world. And Will would punch the first rich French family who made his sister cry.

Every stupid thing Will had ever done, Veronica had his back. When he came out, she didn't blink. When he left NYU junior year to write horror full time, she bought him macaroni and cheese by the crate and beer on Fridays. Tim and Nancy - artists, teachers, hippies - parented in a way not normally seen outside a sixties era commune, so sometimes it was Will and Veronica against the world. Or at least in charge of "normal" around their house.

He owed her.

And plus - she was totally right about the fucking off. If he did this, he could continue to avoid killing off Sheriff Black.

Holiday Hootenanny
Motioning for Clint to stay put, Josh moved slowly around the bulk of the still, careful to be as quiet as possible. When he rounded the end, he looked toward the source of the noise, barely refraining from yelling in frustration and fear at the sight of a huge boar snuffling and ripping at a half-empty sack of corn his father left just inside the shelter.

The boar was engrossed in its free meal, but Josh knew that would end if it decided he or Clint were a threat to it or if it thought they might try to fight it for the food. Moving slowly, he backed toward Clint, putting his lips close to Clint’s ear.

“Wild boar. We need to get out of here.”

Clint nodded vehemently, the alarm in his eyes escalating into panic, and he gestured for Josh to lead the way.

Josh took Clint’s hand, giving it a reassuring squeeze before starting to move slowly and quietly toward the other end of the overhang. The camouflage netting had been secured to the rough stone of the wall with nails pounded into the rock, but Josh lifted it away carefully, motioning for Clint to duck outside.

Clint slipped outside, then reached back to hold the netting up for Josh in return, darting anxious glances in the direction of the boar. Josh ducked his head as he stepped outside, but as he turned to tug the netting back in place, he pulled a bit too hard, and a huge section at the top of the overhang pulled away, sending the fabric and its weight of branches crashing back against the end of the still.

There was a loud squeal of alarm from the boar, and Josh knew that things had just gone from bad to worse. “Run for that tree!” he yelled at Clint, taking off for the closest of the pines. Even though he hadn’t climbed a tree in years, he hadn’t forgotten how, and he grasped the lower branches, hauling himself up before turning and reaching a hand down to Clint. “Come on!”

Clint didn’t bother grabbing Josh’s hand, latching onto the lower limbs and scrambling up. He made the mistake of looking back, and seeing the boar closing in made him slip, but he clamored up the tree and perched on the sturdiest limb he could find, clutching the trunk like a lifeline.

“What now?” He shot Josh a panicked look. “Will it get bored and go away on its own?”

The boar, which was mottled brown and black and had to weigh at least two hundred pounds, squealed furiously and charged at the tree. It impacted on the trunk, ripping at it with his tusks and gouging the bark.

“I sure hope so,” Josh replied, cautiously climbing up to a branch at the same level Clint occupied. “Being stuck up here is going to be a hell of a lot colder than what we were planning.”

“We left the gun down there.” Clint grimaced and tried to zip up his coat with one hand. When that didn’t work, he gingerly let go of the trunk and did the fastest zip-up Josh had ever seen before grabbing the trunk again. He stared down at the boar with growing concern. “Um. Can that thing knock this tree over?”

“No, don’t worry about that.” Josh smiled reassuringly, reaching out to pat one of Clint’s hands where he clutched the tree in a death grip. “We’re safe enough up here. I wish I’d thought to grab the gun, but Pa left it by the entrance, so I’d have had to go past our grumpy friend to get it.”

He sighed. So far this had been the worst trip home he could ever remember. He just hoped Clint wasn’t going to get frustrated and disgusted enough to leave.

Clint relinquished the tree with one arm and grabbed Josh’s hand, squeezing it tightly. “I guess this isn’t the best time to reveal I’m afraid of heights.”

“Look,” I said, “I know I’m not Mr. Touchy-Feely, but I’m not such a bad guy either.”

Rob turned back to me. “You reckon?” he said, and his usually warm brown gaze froze me. “Do you even know what your nickname in the office is?”

“No,” I whispered.


“Skinflint,” I repeated faintly.

“Quin Flint—skin flint,” he explained, emphasising the obvious rhyme. “Not exactly subtle, I know, but I can’t argue with its accuracy. Haven’t you noticed that no one comes to ask you for anything if they can possibly help it? If you’re given an expenses claim to approve you always question it—it’s as though you think we’re asking for money out of your own pocket! You’re as bad with leave requests. You make people feel like they’re asking for this huge favour, instead of taking time off that they’re entitled to. Do you think I wanted to speak to you this morning about leaving early? The only reason I did was because Marley wasn’t there.” He was furious, his dark eyes sparking with temper, and all I could do was stand there. I couldn’t deny anything he’d said. Eventually, I looked away, feeling wretched.

I can’t believe I used to defend you.

For some reason, the worst part was knowing that perhaps Rob hadn’t completely hated me till today.

The silence between us stretched uncomfortably but I didn’t know how to break it.

In the end, it was Rob who did, sighing heavily, then saying in a flat tone, “I should go. I need to get back to take Tim to his party.”

Reluctantly, I returned my gaze to him. He was watching me with the weirdest look on his face. Like maybe he felt as shitty about all this as I did. He certainly didn’t look as though he’d enjoyed saying his piece.

“Okay,” I mumbled. “Well, I hope you have a good Christmas with your family.”

“Thanks,” he said, his dark gaze oddly bleak. “Same to you.” And with that, he turned on his heel and trudged away, shoulders hunched against the cold.

Author Bios:
Josephine Myles
Eccentric Englishwoman, absent-minded mother, proud bisexual, shameless tea addict, serial textile craft hobbyist, iconoclastic logophile and writer of homoerotic romance—Josephine Myles is all these things at once. She has held down more different jobs than any sane person ever should and is fundamentally rebellious, preferring the overgrown yet enticing path rather than the wide and obvious one.

Jo once spent two years living on a slowly decaying narrowboat, and was determined that she would one day use the experience as fodder for a novel. It may have taken a few years, but she got there in the end. She usually does.

Amy Lane
Amy Lane dodges an EDJ, mothers four children, and writes the occasional book. She, her brood, and her beloved mate, Mack, live in a crumbling mortgage in Citrus Heights, California, which is riddled with spiders, cats, and more than its share of fancy and weirdness. Feel free to visit her website or blog, where she will ride the buzz of receiving your e-mail until her head swells and she can no longer leave the house.

Tere Michaels
Tere Michaels unofficially began her writing career at the age of four when she learned that people got paid to write stories. It seemed the most perfect and logical job in the world and after that, her path was never in question. (The romance writer part was written in the stars—she was born on Valentine’s Day.)

It took thirty-six years of “research” and “life experience” and well… life… before her first book was published but there are no regrets (she doesn’t believe in them). Along the way, she had some interesting jobs in television, animation, arts education, PR and a national magazine—but she never stopped believing she would eventually earn her living writing stories about love.

She is a member of RWA, Rainbow Romance Writers, and Liberty States Fiction Writers. Her home base is a small town in New Jersey, very near NYC, a city she dearly loves. She shares her life with her husband, her teenaged son—who will just not stop growing—and two exceedingly spoiled cats. Her spare time is spent watching way too much sports programming, going to the movies and for long walks/runs in the park, reading her book club’s current selection, and volunteering.

Nothing makes her happier than knowing she made a reader laugh or smile or cry. It’s the purpose of sharing her work with people. She loves hearing from fans and fellow writers, and is always available for speaking engagements, visits and workshops. 

Ari McKay
Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who collaborate on original m/m fiction. They began writing together in 2004 and finished their first original full length novel in 2011. Recently, they’ve begun collaborating on designing and creating costumes to wear and compete in at Sci Fi conventions, and they share a love of yarn and cake.

Arionrhod is an avid costumer, knitter, and all-around craft fiend, as well as a professional systems engineer. Mother of two human children and two dachshunds who think they are human, she is a voracious reader with wildly eclectic tastes, devouring romance novels, military science fiction, horror stories and Shakespeare with equal glee. She is currently preparing for the zombie apocalypse.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.

Joanna Chambers
Joanna Chambers always wanted to write. She spent over 20 years staring at blank sheets of paper and despairing of ever writing a single word. In between staring at blank sheets of paper, she studied law, met her husband and had two children. Whilst nursing her first child, she rediscovered her love of romance and found her muse. Joanna lives in Scotland with her family and finds time to write by eschewing sleep and popular culture.

Josephine Myles

Amy Lane

Tere Michaels
EMAIL: teremichaelsblog @

Ari McKay

Joanna Chambers

Merry Christmas
B&N  /  KOBO  /  ARe

Christmas with Danny Fit

Personal Shopper
B&N  /  KOBO  /  iTUNES  /  ARe

Holiday Hootenanny


Unwrapping Noel by Jennifer Theriot

Title: Unwrapping Noel
Author: Jennifer Theriot
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: December 8, 2015
Cover Design: The Graphics Shed
Editor: RE Hargrave
Noel Calabrese hates Christmas as much as she hates her life. While in the Napa Valley on a business trip, she meets Leon Hallas. Could this sexy, silver fox be her ticket to happiness? Will she learn to trust again?

Noel Calabrese, PR 
Public Relations or Pathetic Relationship?

Gaww! I absolutely hate this day—December eighth, Catholic holy day, feast of The Immaculate Conception, and my sister, Holly’s, birthday. Did I fulfill my holy obligation today and go to mass? No, I did not. I’m a faltering excuse for a Catholic. Did I call Holly this morning and wish her happy birthday? Did I send her a card? No, to both of those. My parents are probably cursing me from their graves for the way I’ve turned out, not to mention the deity above.

It’s freezing cold. Drizzling rain and the bad weather make for a horrible commute home on the freeway. The approaching holidays make it even worse, so I shake my head and spew out a few, choice, cuss words. I flip my middle finger at the plethora of stupid drivers who believe it is their right to drive like idiots.

Tapping impatiently on my steering wheel, I look at the mall parking lot and wonder how people actually find joy in buying shit, just to be giving it away. Half the time, what you give gets returned anyway. I sound jaded, but it’s the truth. Think about it. You spend countless hours wandering around the stores, buy a gift you think someone will like, for the sake of giving, spend time wrapping it, and then the day after Christmas, everyone is clamoring to get to the mall to return their presents. A futile waste of time. Stores are open on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The whole world is after the almighty dollar instead of focusing on the reason for the season. Growing up, my sister and I were lucky to get a doll from Santa. These days, I think people just buy gifts to be buying them. The whole meaning of Christmas is pissed away by greed and material things. Isn’t Christmas supposed to be about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ? It’s His birthday after all. Why do we need gifts? I swear, this gets worse every year, and I keep telling myself that I’m not buying any more presents for anyone. I’ll just give them a card that explains the true meaning of the season and be done with it.

The red brake lights of cars, and the annoying sounds of horns honking, coupled with the blaring of an ambulance trying to meander its way through the congested traffic, have me wanting to scream. I pull into the right lane, letting the ambulance pass, and make the sign of the cross, hoping the person in the ambulance is safe.

On the other hand, I’m angry, and I’m tired. I’m stressed out, and I just want to get home, peel off my clothes, grab a glass of wine, and unwind. Pounding my fists on the steering wheel does nothing to expedite the process, so I talk myself into taking a deep breath, turn on some classical music, and deal with the anxiety.

Traffic opens up, and I push my foot on the pedal—bumping me ten miles over the speed limit to get to my safe haven. Finally, I pull onto my street, stop my car in front of the mailbox, and reach in to grab the day’s stack. I see Dave’s Mercedes parked in the driveway, but the damn front lights to the house aren’t on. So typical! It’s dark, and the floodlight on the driveway must be out as well. I get out of my car, grab the shitload of work files out of the back seat, and proceed to slip on the wet, slick driveway, falling forward.

Author Bio:
Jennifer Theriot hails from the Great State of Texas. She is a career woman, working as CFO of a Texas based real estate investment firm by day and does her writing at nights and on weekends. In her limited spare time, Jennifer enjoys being outdoors; preferably somewhere on a beach curled up with a good book. Spending time with family and friends, listening to music, watching a baseball game and enjoying a good bottle of wine are usually on her to-do lists. She’s mom to three grown children and ‘MiMi’ to three (soon to be four) grandkids – all of whom she adores!


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Garnet's Queen by Chelsea O'Neal

Title: Garnet's Queen
Author: Chelsea O'Neal
Series: Angel Crest #3
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Release Date: September 24, 2015
Cover Design: Melody Simmons
Publisher: Mirador Publishing
War has come to the castle in Garnet City. With Daniah’s fate hanging in the balance, the close group of Zoku must come together and overpower the resistance, as well as protect the humans
Lives will forever be altered. Secrets are revealed. One person must decide whether to continue on the path of destruction or follow the Everlasting, while another learns she can be more than she ever had the opportunity to be.

As the Zoku army fights back against the evil Devlo, they turn to their faith, and rely on strength, hope, and love. But, will this be enough? Can they overcome Daniah’s missing presence, or will this be what evil needs to win, once and for all? The ultimate fight between good and evil will clash in this final chapter of the Angel Crest Trilogy.

“Will you just leave already?” I demand, swiping at my tears and feel the welcomed anger eclipse the pain of hurt.

Orion looks at me in surprise for a moment then his eyes darken, determination setting in, there is no other way to describe it. He nods once then climbs over the bed and backs me against the wall, crowding me in.

“Now you listen, Tiger, I thought I had made myself abundantly clear, and I don’t wish for you to misunderstand again.” Orion takes a deep breath as I hardly dare to breathe. “I have loved you almost since that first look where you sized me up, your amazing mind deciding whether or not to rabbit. I have loved you almost from the moment you looked at me with those big, beautiful eyes, confused as I called you beautiful.” His finger gently caresses my cheek and jawbone. Feeling slightly light headed from lack of oxygen, I suck in a deep breath, letting it out shakily as I see the emotion he talks of in his eyes.

“I have loved you from the moment you cared for Lothar, a male you didn’t know, as sweetly as if he were your lover. You are beautiful, honest, and have the tenderest heart of anyone I know. I want to be around you and with you more than anyone else in my life.” Orion pauses, and after a deep breath, he cups my face in his big hands and breathes, “I love you, Mallory, please believe me.”

He wipes the tears that are still falling from my cheeks with his thumbs, looking intently at me as I sputter, “But . . . but there is nothing here for you.”

He frowns for a second then seems to understand what I am saying. “That’s why you are hurting.” He pulls me into his arms, holding me close, and it feels like he is putting me back together, one piece at a time.

His expression is pained when he pulls back. “There is nothing for me to do here, for the moment, that’s what I meant. I just want you safe, I don’t know how I could live if something happened to you.”

Relief so great spreads through me making my body tingle, and I slump a little realizing that what I heard was not at all what he meant, and after the relief comes the familiar love that I have been pushing back.

“I love you too, Orion. Though it scares me,” I whisper.

Orion tenses then forces my chin up to look at him. “I would never leave you willingly, never. I want all of you, always.”

Author Bio:
Chelsea O'Neal lives in her fantasy world where people can fly, vampires could be real, money is never an issue and the romantic meeting of your true love is a normal happening. When not relaxing in Chelsea-ville, she enjoys talking with animals who talk back and taking long walks with her prince charming.

Actually Chelsea lives in the United States in Nebraska, where she was born and raised, with her black lab Daisey, who hasn't spoken actual words to her but she is pretty sure Daisey understands her. She is yet to meet her prince charming, though she is quite sure he is out there. Chelsea enjoys working as a youth librarian. She is an avid reader and writing has always been her passion. Chelsea has written 3 novels and a novella, she is working on her next book now.


Garnet's Queen #3

Jupiter's Princess #1

Zoku's Hope #2

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