Saturday, September 9, 2017

Saturday's Series Spotlight: Dublin Virtues by Helena Stone

Patience #1
Patience is a virtue. But what if you wait too long?

While Xander Ekman’s dream of becoming a successful artist has come true, his love life has gone from bad to worse. Sick of the endless string of one-night stands, he accepts the challenge when his best friend, Erik, bets him that he can’t be celibate for a month. Now all he needs is a reminder to keep his distance in the heat of the moment.

Troy Moriarty doesn’t have time for love. He’s too busy trying to keep his recently opened tattoo parlor afloat. Besides, ever since the man who was supposed to be his business partner abandoned him to run the shop on his own, he has a hard time trusting others.

When Xander turns to Troy for a tattoo that will remind him to be patient, the attraction is instant. But faced with Xander’s month of celibacy, Troy’s trust issues, and a nemesis lurking in the background, their relationship may be doomed before it has a chance to begin.

Equality #2
Love is love. But what if the fight for equality gets in the way of building a relationship?

Lorcan Barratt has never considered himself relationship material. After his parents made it perfectly clear they’d never welcome a partner of his into their home, he learned to love his own company and can’t imagine sharing his life with another. After a single passionate kiss with Eric Kavanagh—the night before he travels to Canada for three months—Lorcan’s no longer sure he wants to be on his own. The problem is, he has no idea what sharing his life with someone else might entail.

Eric Kavanagh grew up in a loving and supportive family and always assumed he’d end up in a committed relationship. Sure that he’s found the one, Eric doesn’t worry about the fact that Lorcan has no experience when it comes to love and relationships. They are good together, so what could possibly go wrong?

When both men get involved in the marriage equality referendum in Ireland, it appears to bring them even closer together until Lorcan’s insecurities get the upper hand and he shuts Eric out. Will the fight for a yes-vote cost them their relationship or will they be able to find a balance between the love they share and the need for equality?

Renewal #3
When everything changes, can renewal bring redemption?

Shane Boyle left Dublin for America, burning most of his bridges, certain his future lay in Florida. When a family crisis forces him back to the city he grew up in, he knows his life will never be the same again. With his sister close to death, his mother and five-year-old nephew Danny need him not just to be around but also to be the rock they can depend on. Torn between panic about his new responsibilities and despair at his impending loss, love and a relationship are the last thing on his mind.

Chris Anderson left Australia for Dublin ten years ago with no intention of ever going back. For reasons he can’t explain, even to himself, he hasn’t been in a relationship for almost as long as he’s been in Ireland. Now thirty-five years old, he wonders what happened to his dream of a lasting bond and a family to call his own.

When Shane and Chris hook up one night in a pub, neither knows that the next day they’ll meet again, this time as colleagues in a tattoo parlour. Chris has no idea about Shane’s dodgy past and Shane can’t figure out the mountain of a man who refuses to take no for an answer. Having to reinvent his whole life is only the start of Shane’s process of renewal. Will Chris turn out to be his savior or his downfall?

Patience #1
Original Review April 2017:
I'm going to jump right out of the gate and say what a lovely story Patience is, realistic and beautiful.  Now, as any one who is familiar with my reviews knows that I don't do spoilers.  Having said all that, Xander and Troy could have saved themselves quite a bit of time and stress had they been more upfront with each other from the get go.  Sometimes stories with misunderstandings, miscommunication, or lack thereof, make the reader just want to scream and shake their ereader but not Patience.  Let's face it, if there was no drama then you would be reading a 10 page leaflet instead of a full length novel and where is the fun in that?  But Patience is much more than just drama caused from miscommunication, there is a clear reason why both Xander and Troy haven't divulged everything to each other, but those reasons you'll have to discover for yourself.

Along with the budding romance between Xander and Troy, I loved the true bromances boy men have with their lifelong friends, Eric and Lorcan.  Helena Stone has created a journey that blends the title, the reasoning behind it, and interesting characters that will keep you hooked from the first page to the last.  You might actually even discover something about yourself as you ride along with Xander and Troy in their quest for a healthy future that all began with a little tattoo.

Helena Stone is a new author for me and after just one story I'm already looking forward to more, beginning with Equality, Dublin Virtues book 2 which follows Eric and Lorcan.  She is definitely an author I'll keep on my radar.

Equality #2
Original Review May 2017:
I have been looking forward to reading Eric and Lorcan's story ever since they met when their best friends, Zander and Troy met in Patience.  Boy, did Helena Stone deliver!  Set with the backdrop of the Yes Referendum for marriage equality in Ireland, Eric and Lorcan try to balance dating, family, and well equality.

As a heterosexual woman I have no idea what it is like to come out to one's family and having a close loving relationship with my parents I can't imagine what it feels like to have them turn on you either but I would think that to face what Lorcan does could be so trying.  To have them basically say "okay but don't bring it to our door", I can't imagine the lack of hope and support he feels so when his grandmother steps up and supports him at a family dinner made me smile and cry happy tears and showed Lorcan that perhaps not all hope is lost.  Having said that, the author really conveys Lorcan's fears throughout, even if you want to shake him and tell him to open up to Eric.

I just love this series so far and I love how the equality is not just about marriage, gay and straight, but also between Eric and Lorcan.  Lorcan is in a relationship for the first time in his life so for him to balance what he's always done alone with Eric is also a battle.  Like in Patience, you just might walk away with a little new insight about yourself as well as enjoyed a lovely work of fiction as you follow Lorcan's journey.

Renewal #3
Original Review June 2017:
Shane Boyle left Dublin a couple of years back for better things in Florida on his terms which didn't really leave many un-burned bridges to come home to when tragedy strikes.  Chris Anderson came to Dublin from Australia a decade ago and even though his career has found a home at Pins & Needles Tattoo Parlor his personal life is not as satisfying.  When these two meet one night and have a bit of a hook-up their lives will never quite be the same even if they aren't exactly on the same page at the same time.

I can't lie, when I read that book 3 in Helena Stone's Dublin Virtues series was going to be about Shane, the man who left Troy in a financial lurch in Patience, book 1 and how he interfered between Troy and Zander, I really didn't think I'd be able to warm to him as a proper character with his own love story.  Could the author really make a man like Shane redeemable? I had my doubts but I went in with an open mind and to say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement.  I really loved how Shane wasn't immediately redeemed, we get to see what brought him home and how it has humbled him and put things in perspective.  Chris needs no redeeming but his heart needs healing and together they may just find their place in this world.

I really loved how the author doesn't make everything okay right away without struggle, both internal and externally for both boys.  I also loved seeing Troy and Zander pop in and find a way to overcome their past troubles with Shane.  I just really enjoyed Renewal from beginning to end, even if my acceptance of Shane surprised me, to make a character we've had reason to hate likeable takes talent and I look forward to see what the author brings us next.


Patience #1
Here we go again. Xander stared as the man he’d spent a few sweaty hours with walked away without a backward glance. He closed the front door as softly as he could before his guest reached the stairs leading to the street. With a sigh, he rested his forehead against the smooth wood. Weariness crept into his bones, swiftly followed by anger. He squeezed his hands into fists and raised one before lowering it again. The middle of the night was not the time to slam his hand against the door, no matter how frustrated he was.

“Don’t hold back on my account.”

Xander’s heart stuttered at the unexpected voice coming from behind.

Shit. Bollix. Fuck. Xander raised his hand again and forcefully hit the door, immediately regretting the action as pain seared through his arm.

“Another one bites the dust, I see.”

Xander spun around, fury and embarrassment battling for dominance, as he glared at his housemate, and most of the time best friend, Eric.

“What are you doing up at this ungodly hour?” Xander didn’t try to keep the frustration from his voice, in the hope that an attack would hide the discomfort he experienced.

“I’ve got no idea. Give me a minute. What could possibly have me awake at this time of night?” Eric remained expressionless as he stared at Xander. “It may have been the bed frame rhythmically hitting the wall between our bedrooms earlier. Or the noises from the shower. Or maybe it’s because you still haven’t done anything to stop the hinges on your door from squeaking every time it opens or closes. Take your pick.”

“I…” Xander swallowed, biting down on a smart retort as he realized his housemate had a point. He glanced at Eric’s face and was just in time to see his features relax and a small smile tug at his lips.

“Cat got your tongue? It’s not very often you’re lost for words.” A smirk appeared on Eric’s face but the sting had gone out of his tone and Xander allowed himself a small sigh of relief.

“I’d love to know what’s up with you, though. You’ve always been popular, but I’ve never known you to slut around like this in the past. Is this a new thing? Something you developed while I was overseas?”

Xander opened his mouth to give a flippant reply then pressed his lips together again. He might not like to admit it, but once again, Eric had a point. Instead of answering, he shrugged and shook his head, hoping it would be enough to make Eric drop the subject and allow them to go back to bed. It was three in the morning. Apart from the opportunity for a few hours of undisturbed sleep, Xander couldn’t come up with a possible positive spin to put on his guest’s early departure.

“Let’s have a cup of tea, seeing as we’re both up, anyway.” Eric didn’t wait for an answer but turned and walked toward the kitchen.

Xander watched his friend’s retreating form and sighed before reluctantly following him. He didn’t want to have this conversation but he’d known it was coming. It had been six weeks since Eric had returned from Canada where he had worked and lived for two years. It had made sense to offer his spare room to the man who’d been his best friend since they’d both been ten years old, just as it had seemed logical to tell Eric there was no need for him to hurry about finding a place of his own. Reasonably priced accommodations were next to impossible to find in Dublin unless you were prepared to live in a shoebox, and Xander had more than enough space in his apartment. Of course, Xander hadn’t stopped to consider what having a live-in guest would mean for his nocturnal adventures. He sighed as he realized he wouldn’t be able to fob Eric off with half-answers and evasions either. The man knew him too bloody well.

When Xander dragged himself into the kitchen, the kettle was on and Eric had two mugs waiting on the counter.

“It’s still the middle of the night.” Xander figured it was worth a try. “You need to get up for work in a few hours. We could have this conversation later today.” Or not at all. Xander didn’t hold out any hope for that possibility.

Eric turned from the counter and looked at Xander. All signs of levity were gone and replaced by concern. “It’s okay. I’m wide awake now, anyway, and I’ve been trying to find an opening for this talk for days. Might as well take advantage of the opportunity.”

“I don’t really want to—”

“Leave it, Xander. You know me well enough to realize I’m not going to let it drop, now that I’ve opened my mouth.”

Xander nodded. Eric rarely dropped an issue after he’d broached it—something he used to admire in him. He sat down at the kitchen table and waited in silence for the kettle to boil and for Eric to make their tea. Only when they both had a steaming mug in front of them did Eric speak again.

“So, what is going on with you? It’s shocking how much you’ve changed in only two years. If I remember correctly, you used to say how you couldn’t see the attraction in one-night stands.”

Bollix. This was not what Xander had prepared himself for. He’d been ready for a speech about him being a selfish bastard. He was happy and willing to apologize for not taking Eric into consideration when he brought people home and took them to his bed. He didn’t want to talk about why he did it, though.

“I haven’t been that bad.” As he said the words Xander realized that not only did he sound childish, he also wasn’t being honest.

“Really?” Eric raised an eyebrow. “You reckon ten one-night stands in six weeks is unremarkable?”

“You’ve been keeping count?” Indignation swept through Xander.

“I told you, your nighttime activities have been hard to miss or ignore.”

Indignation evaporated and was replaced by shame. “I’m sorry. I guess I’m still getting used to sharing my house. I’ll try and be quieter in the future.”

“No!” Eric shook his head. “That’s not why we’re having this talk. I want to figure out what happened to you. Where’s the Xander I used to know and what have you done with him?”

Xander hesitated. He understood exactly what Eric meant but didn’t want to consider the question or try to formulate an answer so he attempted to buy himself some time. “What do you mean? I’m the same Xander I always was.”

“No, you’re not.” Eric almost sounded sad. “If you had ten casual hook-ups in the decade between coming out and the day I left for Canada it was a lot. Do you remember that talk we had before I went? I could have sworn you told me you were ready to settle down, be responsible and hopefully find a long-term partner. That is what you said, right?”

Xander could only nod.

“And you did some of it. You established yourself as an artist and illustrator and managed to snap up your own apartment. So what happened to creating stability in your love life?”

Xander picked up his mug and took a sip of the still too-hot tea, buying himself some more time as well as a burned tongue.

“Hey,” Eric’s voice was soft and gentle, “it’s me you’re talking to. Remember me? I’m your friend. There’s nothing you can tell me that would make me love you less. Just spit it out.”

“Men.” Xander stopped talking and swallowed. “Men happened. If there is anybody our age out there looking for a relationship I’ve yet to find him. I tried, trust me. I really did.” He thought back and had no problem remembering how it had all unfolded. He’d gone out, and more often than not, he’d end up talking to a man he liked. They’d spend the evening chatting, drinking, flirting and laughing and by the end of it there never seemed to be a good reason not to bring him home.

“Those first few times, I hoped that sex would lead to breakfast together, an exchange of phone numbers followed by more dates, more nights and maybe a relationship.” Xander was surprised to find it still hurt. “It never worked out like that. Those men would leave as soon as we’d both gotten off. Some might take a shower first, but with one or two exceptions they never stayed long enough for scrambled eggs.”

The few times a man had stayed until morning, the atmosphere had been so uncomfortable even Xander had been glad when his hook-up had decided it was time to leave. And all of that didn’t even take into consideration the selfish bastard he’d brought home three months or so ago. For that man, it hadn’t been enough to just leave. He’d humiliated Xander first. Anger bubbled up again as Xander remembered how he’d ended that night crying in the shower—disgusted with himself and angry with the world.

“I guess you could say I gave up on the whole idea. After a few months, I’d gotten the message. I was good enough for some hot sex but not interesting enough for anything beyond that. So now I just take what I can get. There’s no point in continuing to set myself up for disappointment.” Xander clamped his mouth shut. He wasn’t going to go on and tell Eric about that prick who’d made him cry. Just because Eric was his best friend didn’t mean Xander was happy to share all his humiliations with him.

Xander put his now empty mug on the table and rested his hands next to it. When Eric reached across and squeezed one of them, Xander realized he’d been far less successful at keeping the hurt out of his voice than he’d hoped.

“Are you at least enjoying these one-night stands?”

Eric’s question made perfect sense, and yet it pulled Xander up short. He’d never asked himself that, and now that the issue had been raised, he wasn’t sure it was something he wanted to pursue.

“It’s fun while it lasts.” Xander realized he once again said a lot less than he might have. He didn’t want to admit these nights left him feeling increasingly empty and alone, and he definitely didn’t want to tell Eric that his confidence had all but disappeared once it had become clear that the men he encountered never saw him as relationship material. These days, picking up men was almost a necessity—a confidence boost he needed to convince himself that he was still attractive in the eyes of others. If he wasn’t good enough for a relationship, he needed the reassurance that he could at least still connect on some level.

“Have you ever considered that you might be going about it the wrong way?” Eric sounded almost hesitant when he spoke.

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t know.” Eric shrugged. “Seems to me that if you take every man you meet straight to your bed they could be excused for concluding you’re not in the market for a relationship.” Eric grinned. “And now I sound just like my father when he tries to talk some sense in to my baby sister.”

Xander stared at his friend, trying to figure out if he could be right. “That doesn’t sound right. I mean, picking up men is perfectly normal in the crowd I hang out with. Everybody does it. Some end up in a relationship, although they appear to be in the minority. Most men don’t, and as far as I can tell, they’re perfectly fine with that.”

“How can you be sure about that?” Eric asked. “Would anybody who doesn’t know you as well as I do be able to tell you’re less than happy with the situation?”

Xander contemplated the question for a few moments. “Probably not,” he eventually conceded. “I don’t want others to be aware of that. It’s bad enough I’m clearly not relationship material. I’m not about to advertise how much I hate that.”

“Don’t be stupid.” Anger crept into Eric’s voice. “Jaysus, if I didn’t see you as my brother I’d have a relationship with you myself. The problem is, you don’t give people the chance to get close to you. They’re probably all convinced you’re only interested in a quick fuck and they’re accommodating enough to give it to you.”

Eric looked away as if his outburst had surprised him as much as it had shocked Xander. “I’ve got an idea.”

“You have an idea.” Xander smiled for the first time since they’d started their talk. “Why does that sentence scare the shit out of me? Oh…wait, it’s all coming back to me. In the past, one of your ideas led to me being stranded in the middle of Paris without any money. And then there was the time I ended up being brought home by the gardai.”

Eric beamed back at Xander, apparently sharing Xander’s relief that their conversation had taken on a lighter tone. “Nothing like the ideas I had on those occasions. Besides, the gardai incident had far more to do with your poor impulse control than my idea. Anyway, I wonder… Are you up for a little bet?”

“What are we betting on?” Xander wasn’t sure whether or not to worry about what might be coming next.

“I bet you can’t go a whole month without bringing another man home.” Eric paused for a moment. “Or without going to another man’s place.” Eric grinned, clearly delighted with himself for closing the loophole before Xander had even spotted it.

“How’s that a bet?” Xander laughed. “If I just stay at home for a month there’d be no risk of me picking anybody up.”

“That would be considered cheating.” Eric smiled before his expression turned serious again. “The bet would mean that you’d live your life as you always do, be your usual sociable self, with the one exception that you wouldn’t have sex with anyone.”

Xander sat back and stared at his friend as he considered the proposal. He and Eric had always been competitive and he was tempted just to say yes and jump into the challenge but he detested losing too much not to take his time before replying.

“Spell it out for me,” Xander said. “I would still go out. I can still talk to men, and what else? Would I be allowed to kiss? Give or receive blow jobs? Is it just about lack of penetration or is there more to this bet of yours?”

“You’re considering taking up the challenge then?” Eric asked.

“Yes. I think so.” After all, Xander pondered, given how frustrating the meaningless one-night stands have recently become, I can’t imagine a month without picking anyone up being any worse.

“Nice one.” Eric’s grin was almost wicked. “Here’s the deal. You can date. You can kiss, but you can’t get naked, so blow jobs are off the table for a month, too.”


“Hey, it’s a bet. There’s supposed to be something at stake or it wouldn’t be worth it,” Eric said.

“While we’re on the topic of stakes, what happens if I win?” Xander hesitated before going on. “Or if I lose for that matter?”

“Oh. I hadn’t thought that far ahead.” Eric stared off into the distance, leaving Xander caught between excitement and apprehension. He’d already made up his mind to accept the challenge but he’d spent more than enough time around Eric to realize the man could come up with devilish ideas once he set his mind to it. Xander studied Eric’s face and recognized the moment he made his decision.

“I could suggest something silly or outrageous, but I’m actually serious about this so let’s keep it simple. Whoever loses takes care of the other and the house for the subsequent month. That’s the cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, the whole shebang. How about it? Are you in?”

“Fuck, yeah. It’s only one month. Easy win for me.” Xander laughed and was surprised when Eric didn’t join him.

“I hope you’re right, mate.” Eric got up from his chair and moved around the table before resting a hand on Xander’s shoulder. “I really hope you’re right. You haven’t been yourself since I returned and I want the old you back.” Eric squeezed Xander’s shoulder one last time and walked on. “I’m going to see if I can’t get a few more hours of sleep. You should do the same.”

Xander yawned as he watched Eric return to his bedroom. Getting some shut eye sounded like a good idea.

Equality #2
“For fuck’s sake.”

The red brake lights on the back of the car in front of him flared brightly for the tenth time in less than a minute, making Lorcan curse, his words reverberating through the Nissan as he hit the steering wheel hard with the flat of his hand. He glanced at the clock on his dashboard display and realized he had more than enough time, but the thought didn’t settle his nerves or do anything to lessen his frustration with the stop-go traffic he found himself caught in.

Maybe it wasn’t the traffic jam so much as the uncertainty surrounding the day and his upcoming reunion with Eric. Lorcan wasn’t sure and couldn’t settle his thoughts long enough to figure it out. Being stuck in a barely moving line of cars didn’t help the tension building in his stomach.

He went over the details once more. If the plane arrived on schedule it would land in an hour. Getting from the plane to the arrivals hall would take Eric at least another half hour, which meant that even if Lorcan had to leave his car behind and walk from here, he’d still make it to the gate with time to spare.

The traffic in front of Lorcan started to move and he shifted his car into first gear before almost whooping out loud when he had to change into second. Fifty meters, one-hundred meters, third gear…fourth—much to Lorcan’s surprise, traffic continued to progress, and a few minutes later the exit sign for the airport came into view. The closer Lorcan found himself to his destination, the harder it was to control his nerves. He had no idea how this reunion was going to work out. Lorcan was looking forward to his reunion with Eric as much as he was dreading it. Excitement and apprehension alternated, throwing him from butterflies in his stomach to nervous cramps and back again now that the thousands of miles that had separated them were almost reduced to zero. In just about an hour they’d be face to face, and Lorcan had no idea what to expect, no frame of reference to work with.

His memories once more transported him back to the night he’d last seen Eric. Lorcan and Eric had been circling each other for almost two months by then, ever since their friends, Troy and Xander, had first met and had subsequently hooked up. The farewell party Xander had thrown for his best friend and housemate had drawn to an end and despite the fact that Eric was supposed to have been saying goodbye to all the friends who had gathered, he’d spent almost the whole evening with or close to Lorcan. Even when either of them had been talking to others they’d always been aware of where the other was and who he was talking to. It hadn’t been until the last guests had left, and Xander and Troy were cleaning up the mess, that Eric had literally cornered Lorcan at the front door.

Lorcan steered his car toward the entrance of the parking garage. The first floor was full, as was the second. By the time he reached the roof and found a spot, he knew he should have saved himself the hassle of checking the lower levels. At least it wasn’t raining. In fact, it was a very nice day for late March. After a long and mostly gray winter it was at last possible to believe spring would be brightening the world before too long. He rested his head against the support behind him and closed his eyes as the moment came back with such clarity he could almost feel and taste it.

He leaned into the door, handle pressing into his side, trapped by Eric’s bigger and taller body only inches from his. His heart thundered as his mouth went dry. The look of pure hunger in Eric’s eyes as he licked his lips stole his breath. When Eric bent forward and teased Lorcan’s lips with his tongue, a sensation of pure pleasure ran through his veins, leaving him weak and mesmerized.

Never before had a kiss affected him like this. Toe curling and boner evoking didn’t begin to describe it. They clung to each other like two men hanging onto a raft for dear life in the middle of an oceanic storm. The kiss went on, getting deeper, more heated and urgent with every passing second. He had no idea how long their lips had been locked together when Eric pulled back and pressed his forehead to Lorcan’s.

“Why did we wait until tonight?” Eric’s voice held all the regret Lorcan experienced and he had no answer.

The vividness of the memory sent shivers down Lorcan’s spine and had an immediate effect on his cock. Lorcan still didn’t understand what had possessed him to go home that evening, even if they had promised to stay in touch before he’d left.

He took the lift down to the arrivals hall as he reluctantly admitted to himself that he did know why he hadn’t stayed that night. Even then the strong attraction he felt for Eric had scared him. He’d thought three months might be long enough to lessen the pull, to bring him back to his normal level-headed self. He’d been wrong.

Lorcan found himself on the receiving end of quite a few bemused stares when he reached the arrivals hall, checked his watch and laughed out loud. Despite the traffic and torturous hunt for a parking space, he was still almost an hour early. Clearly his obsession with never being late had gotten the better of him yet again. Still, it was one thing less to worry about and, on the upside, the plane from Canada was still scheduled to arrive on time, so the wait wouldn’t be longer than it needed to be. Lorcan walked to the coffee counter, ordered himself a large Americano and tried to settle into one of the surprisingly comfortable seats. He allowed his thoughts to roam freely as he stared at the people moving back and forth around him.

To say he had been disappointed when Eric had told him he’d have to return to Canada for three months would’ve been a gross understatement. Long before that kiss, Lorcan had privately acknowledged there was a connection between him and Eric. Even the very first night they’d met for what should have been a purely business related chat, Lorcan had hoped they would find an opportunity to get to know each other better. Xander and Troy falling for each other and quickly settling into a relationship had taken care of that issue. What was more, from that first night, he’d been sure he wasn’t the only one who couldn’t deny the pull between them.

A frown formed on Lorcan’s forehead as he recalled how they’d never acted on that attraction. They’d been content to just enjoy each other’s company whenever the four of them had met up and when Eric had to be in Lorcan’s workplace to oversee the interior design job he’d been contracted to do by Lorcan’s boss. Back then, Lorcan had told himself Eric was simply keeping his professional and personal lives separate. The fact that they hadn’t kissed until after Eric had finished working for Lorcan’s boss, shortly before he had to leave for Canada, had seemed to confirm that impression. But maybe he’d been wrong. After all, he was nobody’s prize. With his short, spiky dark-brown hair and average features, he rarely warranted a second glance. Why somebody as sophisticated and handsome as Eric would be interested in him was beyond Lorcan—almost as big a shock as the fact that he occasionally found himself thinking about Eric in a long-term sort of way.

And yet… Lorcan relaxed as the memory surfaced again. It had been Eric who’d instigated the kiss. Eric had insisted they stay in touch while he was gone. Most calls between them had been initiated by Eric and it had been him who’d first introduced the idea of using Skype so they could see each other while they talked. Eric had obviously been delighted when Lorcan had offered to pick him up from the airport. On the other hand, Eric hadn’t accepted Lorcan’s invitation to stay with him until he could move into a place of his own.

Lorcan watched the area in front of the arrivals doors and smiled when a young woman started running before the sliding doors had a chance to close behind her again, straight into the arms of an attractive man. The couple held on to each other as if they’d been apart for years—and who knew? Maybe they had. No matter what happened next, the chances of Eric running toward Lorcan to collapse into his arms were slim to none. And that was probably just as well. Lorcan might have come to terms with the fact he was gay, even be comfortable with it most of the time, but it wasn’t something he wanted to broadcast to all and sundry. Especially since chances were the majority of people weren’t ready to appreciate such displays of affection. Sure, things were getting better almost by the day, and Lorcan wanted to believe that the upcoming marriage equality referendum would further improve the situation, but personal experience told him that many Irish people clung to their beliefs and preconceived ideas as if they were treasures to be guarded.

Suddenly restless, Lorcan drank the last sip of his now lukewarm coffee, got up and walked to the small bookshop. It was as good a place as any to kill time. He didn’t want to think about his parents and their attitude toward him, but as always, his thoughts had a mind of their own and attacked. Sure, his father had made it very clear they would never reject him, but he’d also told him they didn’t really want to meet any partner of his, should he find one.

‘What would the neighbors say, Father Brendan? How would we be able to hold our heads up while the whole town is talking about our son’s sinful lifestyle? And what about the grandkids? How would we answer their questions?’

Just remembering their words made Lorcan’s blood boil. His sister, Laura, had taken some of the sting out of the situation when she’d assured their parents that her kids knew better than to discriminate, but it hadn’t made a difference. His parents had refused to change their minds. The message had been clear. Lorcan could be exactly who he wanted to be, as long as he didn’t do it at home.

When a government minister had come out as gay in January, Lorcan had hoped it might make his parents less judgmental. They’d always been supportive of the politician and Lorcan wanted to believe they wouldn’t suddenly change their opinion based on his sexual orientation. He’d been both right and wrong. Their position had been that while they didn’t think the fact that the minister was gay would affect his political decision making, they would have preferred it if he hadn’t gone public with the news. Frustration ate at Lorcan as he wondered, not for the first time, how his parents managed to navigate their way through life while wearing blinkers.

Lorcan didn’t really see the titles of the books he was staring at as he recalled how he’d all but begged them to watch Panti Bliss’s Noble Call. He didn’t know how anybody would be able to watch those poignant ten minutes and not understand why it was important to allow people to be who they were without fear of repercussions. They’d flatly refused and Lorcan had stormed out of the parental house when they’d told him they would never be able to take a man dressed as a woman seriously.

He glanced at his watch for what felt like the umpteenth time since he’d entered the airport and realized he’d somehow managed to miss the plane’s arrival. Eric had touched down on Irish soil twenty minutes ago. Nerves and happiness renewed their battle in Lorcan’s stomach as he strode toward the doors which would open to reveal Eric before too long. He pushed his way through the other people waiting until the barrier stopped him from going farther, and fixed his gaze on the entrance.

Forcing his parents and their negativity out of his mind, Lorcan concentrated on the last conversation he’d had with Eric.

“Are you sure you can put me up? I don’t want to be a nuisance,” Eric had asked.

“Of course I’m sure,” Lorcan had answered. “I wouldn’t offer if I wasn’t. Besides, what else are you going to do? Move in with Xander again? Book yourself into a hotel until you find a place of your own?”

The grimace on Eric’s face when Lorcan had mentioned Xander had been priceless. “I’m sure Xander would offer me his spare room again, but…”Lorcan hadn’t needed the rest of the sentence. He had known that Xander would never leave his best friend stranded, but he’d also realized Eric might feel uncomfortable in the apartment Xander shared with Troy. Those men were as in love and demonstrative about it as they had been when they’d first gotten together. Eric would be welcome to use Xander’s spare room again, but Lorcan was sure he’d prefer not to intrude on the lovebirds.

When Eric had agreed to consider the idea, Lorcan had been elated, convinced that Eric would end up saying yes. Now that the moment of truth had arrived, he wasn’t sure what he wanted anymore. If Eric agreed to stay with him for the time being it would answer any questions Lorcan had about them. He couldn’t decide what would be worse—to discover that they were indeed irresistibly attracted to each other, or to find that the pull between them hadn’t been strong enough to survive three months apart. One thing Lorcan had no doubt about was that he would be hurt if Eric decided to move into a hotel. And that was just stupid. Lorcan didn’t do love or relationships. He didn’t need anybody in his life—he was more than good on his own, and yet…the rejection would be devastating. Of course, acceptance of the invitation would be terrifying.

He watched while people who weren’t Eric entered the arrivals hall and made their way either to those waiting for them or toward the exit. He hated the insecurity he experienced. He hadn’t been as uncertain about meeting another man since he’d been a teenager. This situation would have been easier to handle if Troy and Xander had been here, too. But when they’d called to say it would be impossible for them to make it to the airport on time, Lorcan had told them not to worry about it since he would be there anyway.

Of course, now he was the one worrying about it. Would Eric think it strange Lorcan had come on his own? Would he mind? And where would Lorcan end up taking him? His mind went into overdrive again when the sliding doors opened once more and Eric walked through them. All worries and nerves evaporated momentarily as Lorcan lost himself in the sight of the tall man who somehow managed to look distinguished and fresh, even after a seven-hour flight. Then they were back with a vengeance—he who always planned his life down to the minute details had no idea what would happen next, and he hated it.

Renewal #3
Shane accepted his change from the barman, picked up his pint and turned around. The pub was all but deserted and he had his choice of empty tables. Hardly surprising, given that it was eight o’clock on a Wednesday evening, but that didn’t lessen the small stab of disappointment he felt. The first opportunity he’d had to go out in three weeks, probably the last in the foreseeable future, and not a familiar face in sight.

Not that he necessarily wanted to run into anybody who knew him well. He’d rather not answer questions about why he was never around these days. On the other hand, he desperately needed a distraction, something to take his mind off the situation he found himself in. A vaguely familiar face, somebody he could join and pass an hour or two with without running the risk of the conversation turning heavy or personal would have been perfect—and clearly wasn’t happening tonight. A hook-up was even less likely and he could do with one. It had been months since he’d gotten off through means other than his own hand.

He pushed the thought to the back of his mind as he glanced around again, trying to figure out where to take his drink. The idea of sitting at one of the round tables on his own filled him with a heaviness he didn’t want to explore. Shane pulled a barstool toward himself with his foot and sat. Staring into the mirror behind the bar, he took a long drink from his glass as he remembered the scene he’d left behind at home.

‘Where you’re going, Uncle Shane?’ Five-year-old Danny had sounded close to tears even before Shane answered.

‘Out for a drink, boy.’ Shane had stroked the still-wet blond hair.

‘Are you coming back?’ The big tears welling in Danny’s eyes had almost made him reconsider his idea. He couldn’t blame the child for no longer trusting the adults in his life to come back after they left. He’d knelt and made sure to make eye contact before answering.

‘Of course I’ll come back. We’re in this together, right?’ He’d forced a smile in the hope it would quell the lad’s growing panic. ‘When you wake up tomorrow morning I’ll be making you breakfast. Just as I did today. I promise. Besides, don’t you like it when your granny minds you? Doesn’t she let you stay up late?’

The combination of a triumphant smile and tears on the five year old’s face had almost broken Shane’s resolve. Christ, but I love the nipper.

‘On you go, son.’ His mother’s voice had put an end to the conversation with Danny. ‘Don’t you worry about anything at all. Go and enjoy yourself for a while.’

‘Sure, Ma, thanks. Don’t keep him up too late.’ He’d given Danny a hug and a kiss before getting up and walking out of the door, grateful for his mother’s support. The situation was even harder on her than it was for Shane and not for the first time he wondered how long she’d be able to keep up the pace.

Irritated with himself, Shane picked up his pint again and drank some more. Spending his evening worrying about the situation at home defeated the purpose of the exercise. He was supposed to get a short reprieve from it all. Wallowing in the pain and stress wouldn’t get him anywhere. In fact, if he couldn’t force his thoughts away from pursuing the subject, he might as well go back home. At least there he’d have something to do, which meant his mind was less likely to go over the whole sorry situation in a never-ending loop.

He finished his pint and immediately waved the bartender over to order another one. Too bad he couldn’t allow himself to get drunk. But he’d tried going through the early morning routine with Danny while hungover once, and it wasn’t something he wanted to repeat.

“That’s quite a frown you’ve got on your face, mate.”

Shane glanced up from the spot on the counter he’d apparently switched his attention to at some point and turned to his left, only to discover he needed to tilt his head back in order to look the man who’d addressed him in the face. Fuck, the geezer is big. At a loss about what to say in response to what was clearly a statement of fact, Shane took his time to study the man-mountain smiling down at him. He had to be at least two meters tall, with broad shoulders and a wide chest. Shane didn’t think there was a lot of fat on that body though—just bones and muscle.

“You’re on your own too?” the man asked. “Mind if I join you? Drinking on my own always makes me feel kinda desperate.”

“Sure.” Shane nodded in the direction of the empty barstool next to him. “Help yourself.” He noticed the accent and tried to place it. “Australian, are you?”

“Yeah,” The man’s friendly features stretched into a grin. “Thanks for getting it right, mate. I’m so tired of people asking me if I’m American, I can’t begin to tell you. I’m Chris.”

“Shane,” he responded. “I lived in the States up to five months ago. I knew you weren’t American as soon as you opened your mouth.”

Shit. Why had he said that? He didn’t talk about his time in Florida with anyone—not about going there, not about coming back and not about the reasons why he’d needed to return. There was too much shame and pain in those stories to share them with others.

Shane picked up his pint while sending up a silent prayer Chris wouldn’t ask him about his time on the other side of the Atlantic and thanking his lucky stars when the bartender picked that moment to come and take Chris’ order.

He was nothing like the type of man Shane was normally attracted to. Sure, he liked his men tall and handsome—both of which Chris was—but Chris was too close to a bear. Shane’s preference ran to slimmer builds and he wasn’t a huge fan of facial hair. On the other hand, he couldn’t deny that the short dark brown hair dotted with tiny hints of gray was attractive, as was the goatee which covered Chris’ chin but did nothing to obscure his full lips. Glasses usually didn’t do anything for Shane either but they suited Chris and made his dark gray eyes sparkle.

When Chris raised one eyebrow, Shane averted his gaze and reached for his pint, disgusted to have been caught staring. What was wrong with him? Sure, it had been a long time—too long—since he’d flirted with a man, never mind picked one up. That wasn’t an excuse for looking and acting desperate though.

“Have you been in Ireland long, then?” Shane asked in the hope a conversation would distract both of them from his less than subtle perusal of Chris.

“Almost ten years,” Chris answered. “Came here for a few months to visit family and just never left again.”

“What made you stay?” Much to his own surprise, Shane was really curious to hear the answer to that question. “I can’t imagine it was the weather.”

Chris threw back his head and laughed, the sound deep and clearly genuine.

“The Irish climate is nothing to write home about, that’s for sure,” Chris agreed. “Mind you, the heat in Australia didn’t agree with me either. If I had to choose I’d take the mild but wet weather over the oppressive heat.” He winked. “I guess that’s exactly what I did when I decided to stay.”

The both picked up their glasses and drank in silence for a few moments.

“I like your ink,” Chris said while studying Shane’s arm.

Shane followed his gaze and stared at the Celtic design covering most of his right arm. “Thank you.” He couldn’t keep the pride out of his voice. “I designed the pattern myself.”

“You did?” Surprise flashed across Chris’ face before being replaced by a look of delight. “You’re a tattoo artist too?”

“I am,” Shane confirmed. “And since you said too, I guess the same is true for you?”

Chris nodded. “Yes, have been for almost fifteen years now. It’s the only real job I’ve ever had.”

Shane lowered his gaze and studied Chris’ forearms, only to find no sign of a tattoo anywhere. “But you’ve no tattoos yourself?” Shane couldn’t imagine a tattooist without art on his own body but he guessed there was a probably a first time for everything.

Chris studied his own arms for a moment before answering. “None where people can see them. My mother had issues with tattoos, among other things.”

“Oh?” Shane left it hanging there in the hope Chris would say more.

“You’ll need to get to know me a lot better before you find out where exactly I do have art.” Chris smirked before tracing a finger along the lines of the Celtic cross on Shane’s biceps.

He couldn’t suppress a shudder. It had been so long—too long—since anybody had touched him in a meaningful way. “Want another pint?” Shane hated the tremble in his voice when he asked the question.

“Not right now.” Chris lifted his gaze while he continued to stroke Shane’s arm with his finger. He glanced over Shane’s shoulder in the direction of the hallway leading to the toilets and beer garden, before quirking an eyebrow at Shane.

Shane swallowed hard before nodding and getting off his barstool. He’d no idea why he was nervous. This used to be standard fare in the past. Rushed encounters in dark corners and quick fucks in the rooms of men he’d forget as soon as he left had been his normal until recently. Why the fuck did it suddenly feel like a big deal?

He forced himself to walk slowly, all too aware of the presence behind him. When he slowed down as they neared the toilets a soft push against his lower back made him continue through the backdoor and into the balmy August evening air. When he came to a standstill, Chris leaned into him and whispered in his ear. “Just around the corner there.”

Glancing to the right, he saw the small path and followed it until they’d rounded the corner and found themselves in a side garden. He opened his mouth to ask where to go next and forgot the question when Chris grabbed his shoulder, pulled him around and shoved him up against the wall. Shane’s heart skipped a beat as he realized he was all alone with a man big enough to squash him if he felt like it. He forced himself to meet Chris’ gaze and got caught in the hungry, heated stare from his eyes.


Chris lowered his head and captured Shane’s lips with his. Since he’d no idea what he would have said if he’d been allowed to finish his sentence, Shane didn’t even pretend to object and allowed himself to respond with equal urgency. It had been too long. It felt too good. He’d hardly ever kissed the men he’d picked up in the past—the short-lived encounters he preferred had never warranted that level of intimacy. Right now, he couldn’t for the life of him remember why that had ever made sense.

He closed his eyes and lost himself in the play of their lips, relishing the way Chris’ goatee scratched and tickled his clean-shaven chin. The small sounds escaping his mouth and betraying his need should have embarrassed him but only spurred him on. Given that Chris’ hand was suddenly on his crotch, unzipping his fly, he imagined the feeling was mutual.

Shane’s mind switched off. He’d always been the one to take charge and control of proceedings in the past. Tonight he was more than happy to relinquish control to the big Australian—delighted to just take whatever happened to be on offer. Warm air brushed across the skin of his hard and now released cock and he shuddered. The sound of a second zip opening took him by surprise, but he resisted the temptation to open his eyes. When a large hand surrounded his dick and pressed it against an equally rigid cock, he opened his mouth wider and released a groan which felt as though it came from his toes, grateful that Chris’ mouth, still crushing his, captured most of the sound.

Shane was dimly aware that Chris’ hand was big enough to fully encircle both their cocks. The first few strokes, the way their dicks rubbed off each other and the slight squeezes and twists Chris applied drove Shane mad. He could already feel his balls drawing up and knew he wouldn’t last long. The thought shot through his head that he should ask Chris to slow down but he couldn’t make himself pull back from their never-ending kiss. His orgasm roared through his body, satisfying him in ways a solitary hand job had never been able to do. Chris didn’t stop his movements and stroked Shane through his orgasm and beyond until Shane’s knees didn’t feel strong enough to hold him up anymore.

“Fuck yeah.” Chris mumbled the heartfelt words against Shane’s lips as he too erupted.

The kiss ended as soon as Chris’ orgasm had passed. For a moment he pulled Shane close, holding both of them up as they regained their breath and Shane managed to find a semblance of his equilibrium again. When Chris released him, pushing his softening dick back into his pants and zipping up, Shane did the same. He’d no idea why he felt both fully satisfied and deeply disappointed and ignored the question. This encounter had been more and much better than anything he could have hoped for. He’d be a fool to question it.

When Chris turned and walked back in the direction of the entrance to the pub, Shane followed.

“Thirsty work,” Chris said without turning around.

Shane tried to swallow and found his throat was uncomfortably dry. “Yes, thirsty work indeed. I guess that means you’re ready for that pint now?”

Author Bio:
Helena Stone can’t remember a life before words and reading. After growing up in a household where no holiday or festivity was complete without at least one new book, it’s hardly surprising she now owns more books than shelf space while her Kindle is about to explode.

The urge to write came as a surprise. The realisation that people might enjoy her words was a shock to say the least. Now that the writing bug has well and truly taken hold, Helena can no longer imagine not sharing the characters in her head and heart with the rest of the world.

Having left the hustle and bustle of Amsterdam for the peace and quiet of the Irish Country side she divides her time between reading, writing, long and often wet walks with the dog, her part-time job in a library, a grown-up daughter and her ever loving and patient husband.


Patience #1

Equality #2

Renewal #3

Release Blitz: Be My Best Man by Con Riley

Title: Be My Best Man
Author: Con Riley
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: September 7, 2017
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh at Black Jazz Design
Will Jason’s third time as a best man lead to first-time love for Vanya?

After fleeing violence in Moscow, student teacher Vanya Petrov winds up lonely in a run-down London hostel. At least visiting the Bond Street store where his roommate works lets him practice his English, but as Vanya's vocabulary expands, so does his isolation, especially when he sees happy couples planning their perfect weddings.

According to Jason Balfour, weddings are a waste of time and money. After all, he’s been best man for his brother twice already. Saying that a third marriage will end in divorce too leads to an angry ultimatum: to save his relationship with his brother, Jason must meet his fiancée, at last, and make a good first impression.

Jason’s need to dress to impress brings him and Vanya together. Language is no barrier to falling in love with the young and fragile Russian, and neither is their age difference. But Vanya’s bruised soul carries secrets that could rip them apart. As the wedding draws near, Vanya must confess, and soon, or risk losing Jason—his own best man in Britain.

Author Bio:
Con Riley lives on the wild and rugged Devonshire coast, with her head in the clouds, and her feet in the Atlantic Ocean.

Injury curtailed her enjoyment of outdoor pursuits, so writing fiction now fills her free time. Love, loss, and redemption shape her romance stories, and her characters are flawed in ways that makes them live and breathe.

When not people watching, or wrangling her own boy band of teen sons, she spends time staring at the sea from her kitchen window. If you see her, don't disturb her—she’s probably thinking up new plots.


Brought to you by:

Pre-Order Blast: The 12 Slays of Christmas Box Set

Title: The 12 Slays of Christmas
Authors: Abby L Vandiver, Amy M. Reade, Amy Vansant, Cindy Bell
Colleen Helme, Colleen Mooney, Judith Lucci, Kathryn Dionne
Kim Hunt Harris, Larissa Reinhart, Nell Goddin, Summer Prescott
Genre: Holiday Mystery
Expected Release Date: December 5, 2017

💸🎅💸🎁💸Currently 99cents💸🎁💸🎅💸

And have yourself a Cozy Mystery Christmas!

We've got twelve new, never-before published, Christmas-themed cozy mysteries in a boxed set from twelve, bestselling cozy authors.

And what's a cozy without a pet? To help spread some of the Christmas spirit, the authors of The 12 Slays of Christmas, along with sharing our Christmas whodunit stories, are donating all of the proceeds from our boxed set to an animal rescue shelter to help cats and dogs in need - and you can be a part of it all!

Come on, read our cozies and have yourself a Merry Christmas with a little murder, a whole lot of fun, and a gift of love to our cozy pet partners in crime solving!

Won't you help a dog or cat in need this holiday season?

Baby, it's Cold Outside by Abby L. Vandiver

The Most Wonderful Crime of the Year by Judith Lucci

Stollen Time by Amy Vansant

Death by Rum Balls by Colleen Mooney

The Worst Noel by Amy Reade

The Case of the Curious Biscuit by Nell Goddin

Devil in a Black Suit by Colleen Helme

Frankincense, Gold and Murder by Kim Hunt Harris

A View to a Chill by Larissa Reinhart

Christmas Chocolates and Crimes by Cindy Bell

Home for the Holidays by Summer Prescott

Murder at the Holiday Bazaar by Kathryn Dionne


Abby L Vandiver
Through her various occupations, Abby discovered her love of writing. She’d always been told she had a gift for telling stories, combining the two, she became an author.

Her debut novel, the mystery/sci-fi, In the Beginning, was an Amazon #1 bestseller, it was written on a whim, packed away, and rediscovered some twelve years later. After publishing it in 2013, Abby decided to make writing a full-time endeavor. She penned three novels since - two stand alone sequels and a historical/women’s fiction novel that she co-wrote under the pen name Kathryn Longino. Abby hopes to publish another historical novel, and a paranormal romance story in 2015.

Abby, a former lawyer and college professor, has a degree in Economics, a masters in Public Administration, and a Juris Doctor. A lifetime resident of Cleveland, Ohio, Abby spends all of her time writing and enjoying her three wonderful grandchildren.

Amy M. Reade
USA Today Bestselling author Amy M. Reade writes women's contemporary and gothic fiction. Her books have been compared to authors such as Daphne du Maurier, Phyllis Whitney, and Victoria Holt. Amy's standalone novels feature vivid descriptions of exotic and fascinating locations, such as the Thousand Islands region of New York State, Charleston, South Carolina, and the Big Island of Hawaii. Most recently, she has been working on The Malice series, set in the United Kingdom.

A former attorney, Amy found that writing was her true calling. She loves cooking, reading, and travel. You can visit her website, where, in addition to information about her books and appearances, you will find a contact form, suggested playlists to go along with her novels, and notes and recommendations on wines.

Amy Vansant
Amy specializes in fun, comedic reads about accident prone, easily distracted women with questionable taste in men. So, autobiographies, mostly.

Amy is the former East Coast Editor of SURFER Magazine but the urge to drive up and down the coast interviewing surfers has long since left her. Currently, she is a nerd and Labradoodle mommy who works at home with her goofy husband.

She loves interacting with fans when the dog isn't laying on top of her, so stop by her blog or Twitter and say hi!

Cindy Bell
Cindy Bell has always loved reading, but it is only recently that she has discovered her passion for writing romantic cozy mysteries. When she is not reading or writing she loves baking (and eating) sweet treats, or walking along the beach with her energetic cocker spaniel, thinking of the next adventure her characters can embark on. Cindy is the author of the Chocolate Centered, Dune House, Sage Gardens, Nuts about Nuts, Bekki the Beautician, Wendy the Wedding Planner and the Macaron Patisserie Cozy Mystery Series.

Colleen Helme
Colleen Helme is the author of the best-selling Shelby Nichols Adventure Series, a wildly entertaining and highly humorous series about Shelby Nichols, a woman with the ability to read minds. When asked if reading minds is something Colleen wishes she could do she says, "No way! It gets Shelby into so much trouble that I would never want that ability." Known for her laugh since she was a kid, Colleen has always tried to find the humor in every situation and continues to enjoy writing about Shelby's adventures. Besides writing, she loves reading, biking, hiking, and playing board and card games with family and friends. She loves to connect with readers and admits that fans of the series keep her writing.

Colleen Mooney
I am born and raised in New Orleans. I started going to parades and watched them from sitting on my Dad's shoulders before I could walk. I've been in Girl Scout parades, high school parades, St. Patrick's parades, Mardi Gras parades, on dance teams in parades and just about any loosely organized group who deemed it necessary to parade. I just can't help myself. I love parades.

I attended Loyola of the South here in New Orleans so I wouldn't be far from a parade.

I spent 20+ years working for and retired from AT&T. I have worked and lived in New York City, Madison, New Jersey, Atlanta, Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama returning home for the big parade every year--Mardi Gras.

Before Katrina, I moved away and back three times, four if you count rebuilding the same house at the same address after Katrina flooded my home. I did miss a couple of parades that year.

I'm an avid sailor and Scuba diver for many years, and made lasting friendships from sailing and dive trips. I love travel and if the opportunity presents itself, I'm there. Except for a brief stint where I had to own and learn how to ride a motorcycle, I've been a water baby. When I am not enjoying fun with friends in all New Orleans has to offer- sailing and racing with friends on Lake Pontchartrain, Mardi Gras, parties and festivals- I head to Florida.

I am an ardent animal lover and direct volunteer breed rescue work as Schnauzer Rescue of Louisiana. I love to write and I write about what I know and love! You can take the girl out of New Orleans, but you can't take the New Orleans out of the girl!

Dead & Breakfast, the second book in my series THE NEW ORLEANS GO CUP CHRONICLES placed in two categories in the 2014 SOLA Chapter of RWA's Dixie Kane contest for Short/Long Series for Contemporary fiction and for Single Title Contemporary fiction. My first book is RESCUED BY A KISS.

Judith Lucci
Judith Lucci is an international best-selling author. She writes what she knows.....Hospitals, Patients, Physicians and Health Care. She adds suspense and intrigue along with well-constructed plots, vivid descriptions, and memorable characters, and produces medical thrillers that few readers can put down.

Dr. Lucci is the author of the Alexandra Destephano Series, a series of medical thrillers that offer fans an escape into the busy world of a fictitious world-class hospital in New Orleans. The protagonist is Alexandra Destephano, a nurse-attorney who leaves her home in Virginia to become the legal counsel for a large New Orleans hospital. Lucci's thrillers are a fast-paced, riveting glimpses in the reality of hospitals that offer reader’s believable drama, and an extraordinary read that allow them to escape into the complex, often mysterious world of health care. There are currently five novels in The Alexandra Destephano series.

Lucci’s Michaela McPherson crime series is set in Richmond where Judith was born and raised. Main characters include Michaela, a retired Richmond Homicide detective and Countess Dorothy Borghase, Mic’s aging, aristocratic partner. Of special importance is retired police dog Angel. Lucci’s stories are often based on current day issues and focus on social justice. Her books advocate for vulnerable populations.

Virginia born Judith Lucci holds graduate and doctoral degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia. She is the author of numerous academic and health-related research articles and documents. She is currently a professor of Nursing at a major University in the Southern United States. Her novels are based on her clinical experiences, research and very active imagination. Lucci’s novels have won awards and all carry the Five Star Rating by Readers’ Favorite.   When not teaching or writing, Judith is an avid silk painter and multi-media artist. She lives in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia with her family and five dogs. For a free short story, check out her website.

Kathryn Dionne
Kathryn Dionne lives in Southern California with her husband, Jeff, and their Shar Pei, Bodie.

From an early age, Kathryn's love of treasure hunting sparked an interest in archaeology. As an amateur archaeologist, she's been fortunate enough to uncover some very unique artifacts in different parts of the globe. However, she's still searching for that very special scroll.

In addition to writing, she manages their five-acre property and their grove of Italian olive trees. Her husband has lovingly named their business; Saint Kathryn's Olive Oil.

In her spare time, she makes cookie jars and throws pottery in her studio. She also creates mosaics from discarded objects and sells them under the category of Found Art.

Kathryn's books:

The Eleventh Hour Trilogy, an Amazon #1 best seller, is a supernatural thriller set in Israel. The story is based on a terrifying end-of-the-world dream she had over fifteen years ago that still haunts her to this day.

She has also written a children's book called, Derek the Fireless Dragon. It is collection of illustrated humorous poems and rhyming stories suitable for children of all ages.

Under the pen name Kathryn Longino, Kathryn has partnered with author Abby L. Vandiver and wrote, At the End of the Line, an Amazon #1 bestseller. The book is a women's/historical fiction that spans from 1958 through 1972. It is a story of friendship, survival, and determination during one of the most tumultuous times in America's history.

Six Mile Canyon is the first book in the Savannah Swift Psychic Mystery Series. It is about a seventeen year old girl who keeps having nightmares about a woman being buried alive in her car. With the help of her two best friends, Savannah discovers that the the woman from her dreams is a real person who went missing three years earlier.

Kathryn is currently working on the second book in the Savannah Swift Psychic Mysteries Series.

Kim Hunt Harris
News, book giveaways, contests - Everything Kim Hunt Harris -

Kim Hunt Harris is the award-winning author of the Trailer Park Princess comic mystery series.

Kim knew she wanted to be a writer before she even knew how to write. When her parents read bedtime stories to her, she knew she wanted to be a part of the story world. She started out writing children’s stories, and her stories grew as she did. She discovered a gift for humor and a love for making people laugh with her tales, and the Trailer Park Princess series was born.

Kim loves to not only make her readers laugh and entertain them with a good mystery, but also to examine the issues the everyday people face…well, every day. Issues like faith and forgiveness, perseverance and tolerance. Set in Lubbock, Texas, the fun books feature a cast of quirky characters, outrageous situations, a drama queen of a dog, and from time to time, a tear or two. Kim lives with her husband of more than thirty years and two teenage kids in Texas.

Larissa Reinhart
A 2015 Georgia Author of the Year Best Mystery finalist, Larissa writes the Cherry Tucker Mystery and Maizie Albright Star Detective series. The first in the Cherry Tucker series, Portrait of a Dead Guy, is a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist, 2012 The Emily finalist, and 2011 Dixie Kane Memorial winner. Her books have also been nominated for Georgia Author of the Year and the Silver Falchion Award. She loves books, food, and traveling with her family.

Her family and Cairn Terrier, Biscuit, lived in Nagoya, Japan, but have returned to Georgia. You can see them on HGTV's House Hunters International "Living for the Weekend in Nagoya" episode. Visit her website, find her chatting on Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads, and sign up for her newsletter.

If you enjoy your books, please leave a review. She sends you virtual hugs and undying gratitude for your support!

Nell Goddin
She has worked as a radio reporter, SAT tutor, short-order omelet chef, and baker. She tried waitressing but was fired twice.

Nell grew up in Richmond, Virginia and has lived in New England, New York City, and France. Currently she's back in Virginia with teenagers and far too many pets. She has degrees from Dartmouth College and Columbia University.

Summer Prescott
Growing up with a military dad, I've had the amazing experience of having lived all over the world - experiencing other cultures, customs and cuisines from an early age.

Now that I've settled into a peaceful and pleasant adulthood in the Midwest, my loves in life are simple - a good book, some fine wine, and furry friends underfoot. I've found that Cozy Mystery readers are some of the nicest folks you'd ever want to meet, and I'm glad to have befriended many of you as I journey through this wonderful mystery called life.

I find inspiration for characters every day in the people I meet and the places I visit. Taking unique traits and expanding upon them, I imagine the way that new characters would look, talk, think and go about their daily lives. The folks in my books live interesting and colorful lives in the movie that plays in my head, and I get to enjoy writing down their shenanigans.

Abby L Vandiver

Amy M. Reade

Amy Vansant

Cindy Bell

Colleen Helme
Colleen Mooney

Judith Lucci
Kathryn Dionne

Kim Hunt Harris

Larissa Reinhart

Nell Goddin

Summer Prescott

💸🎅💸🎁💸Currently 99cents💸🎁💸🎅💸

Brought to you by: