Thursday, December 13, 2018

Random Tales of Christmas 2018 Part 7


Phin's Christmas by Bonnie Dee
Summary:
Doubt invades a fairy-tale holiday.

Excited to celebrate his first Christmas with his true love, Phin Abernathy searches for the perfect gift for Teddy, the artist who saved him from solitude (The Artist). But his happy holiday dreams are soon threatened.

After a year of living on his own, then with his beloved partner, Phin has mostly banished his negative view of himself. He and Teddy are happily saving toward a house they can share, when a chance encounter with a stranger raises Phin’s old ghosts of doubt, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

Struggling to quell such negative spirits, Phin focuses on volunteering at a children’s shelter. But when he sees his Teddy and handsome Justin Crump (The Medium) in a suspicious situation, it is difficult to control his racing thoughts. Belief in Teddy’s love for him wars with Phin’s fear his lover wants something more.

Phin must decide how far he is willing to go to keep Teddy in his life, and truly embrace his own worth before he can ever celebrate the season.

Monday Memorial Moment: The Artist

Monday Mystical Magic: The Medium


Phin and Teddy are finding their place in the world, living and loving as they work toward getting a home of their own.  When Phin sees Teddy with someone else his old fears of self-worth come to the surface.  Will he be able to face those fears and continue his happily ever after?

Phin's Christmas is a follow-up to The Artist, almost a Christmas Coda though probably too long to actually use that phrase but whatever you call it, it is a must read.  If you have already read Artist than it is a no-brainer that you will want to dive in to Phin's Christmas and if you haven't then I highly recommend reading Artist first.  Technically this could be a holiday standalone and a lovely tale at that but knowing the journey both Phin and Teddy(especially Phin) faced to get to where they are now makes this holiday treat even better.

One of the elements I loved the most about this story is that the author showed that even though Phin conquered many of his fears in The Artist, they still lurk in his mind and it doesn't take much for them to surface.  Yes, had he just communicated with Teddy more than he need not have feared the worst but considering the life he led up to meeting Teddy(which is why I highly recommend reading Artist first) it is no wonder that he warred within himself if the risk was worth it.  Just beautifully depicted from beginning to end.

I should add that we get to see Justin and Albert(and Albert's mom) from The Medium and where they are in life.  Do you need to read Medium first? No.  My personal preference is I'm glad I did but no you don't need to, you won't be lost with their contribution to the story.  This may be Phin and Teddy's holiday tale but it was nice getting a glimpse of Justin and Albert too, just heightening the Christmas treat level for me.

RATING: 

Christmas Outing by AE Wasp
Summary:
Veterans Affairs #1.5
Troy and Dmitri have worked everything out - well, almost everything. Except for the part where Troy's family doesn't know Dmitri exists.

Troy's been out of the Army for almost a year, and except for a few short weeks, hasn't been back to West Virginia at all.

Now Christmas is coming, and his mother can't be put off any longer, not unless Troy wants to break her heart.

But Troy's biggest fear is that going home, new boyfriend and service dog in tow, is going to break his Momma's heart just as much.

A Protectors Family Christmas by Sloane Kennedy
Summary:
The Protectors #5.5
It’s the holidays for a group of very special men who’ve managed to become a family in the last year and while all the guys are coming together to celebrate Hawke and Tate’s upcoming wedding, a few of them have big plans of their own…

A change of plans…
Newlyweds Ronan and Seth are settling into married life as Ronan considers his return to medicine and Seth starts dreaming of a future that may include the pitter patter of little feet a lot sooner rather than later.

Building a future…
Knee deep in wedding preparations, Hawke and Tate are celebrating something even more important – Matty’s final round of chemotherapy treatment. As they anxiously await confirmation that their son is finally in remission, both men strive to give their little boy a normal life including a new house, playdates with Matty’s new best friend, Leo, and a new support system of men and women who are starting to seem a lot like family.

An important question to ask…
Meanwhile, Mav is looking to make things official with Eli despite the young man’s busy schedule with medical school. But before he can ask the man of his dreams that very important question, he has to get past Eli’s family first, including a posse of two overprotective fathers, several intrusive uncles and a little girl who just wants to brush Mav’s hair!

Figuring it all out…
With Memphis, Brennan and Tristan settling into their newfound relationship and our favorite threesome from New York visiting for the wedding, there are plenty of chances for old friends to connect and new bonds to be formed.

The best kind of chaos…
And of course, what wedding wouldn’t be complete without a little drama including some white hot sexual tension between a not so old grandfather and a certain cocky bodyguard? Add in some more Barrettis, a couple of precocious kids, several dogs, one spoiled cat and a gaggle of new, hot alpha men and you’ve got the perfect storm for a holiday that only the Protectors could pull off!

Heroes for Holidays by Charles Payseur
Summary:
Spandex and Superpowers #4
Cody travels from Metro City to the Caribbean island lair of Dr. Devious to look after the place while the supervillain is in space for the holidays… and maybe to mend his broken heart. With Christmas fast approaching, Cody is desperate to avoid reminders of his recent disastrous breakup, and a few weeks of sun and relaxation sound perfect—until a drunk (but very cute) superhero crashes the party by literally crashing onto the beach.

And that’s just the start of Cody’s problems—angry shark-men, mysterious lava creatures, and a malfunctioning AI all make his holiday getaway anything but relaxing. Amid the chaos of his adventures in lair-sitting, though, Cody might find just what he needs—a new chance at love.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2018 Advent Calendar "Warmest Wishes."

Saturday Series Spotlight: Spandex & Superpowers


OMG!(And you know I am so NOT an "OMG-kinda-gal" so when I say OMG I mean O-M-G!!😉😉  I discovered Charles Payseur's Spandex and Superpowers series last Christmas and loved the originality of it.  Well, Hero for the Holidays is just as original, not something you can often say by the fourth installment of a series.  From Cody's landing on Dr. Devious' island to his first encounter with the drunk superhero who crashes while he's sunbathing au naturel to the television show All My Werewolves, everything just made me smile, laugh, and cheer.  Let's face it, superheros and supervillains aren't exactly the first thing to come to mind when thinking of Holiday Romance but Charles Payseur makes it work and leaves you wanting for more.  A perfect blend of rom-com, fantasy, and sci-fi makes Hero for the Holidays a must read, especially if you want something different this holiday.  Can't wait to see what not-so-evil-doings he brings us next.

RATING: 

The Boyfriend Rule by Francis Gideon
Summary:
How to Make a Carrot Cake #2
Billy Lawson hates Christmas, which means his boyfriend, Nate must work twice as hard to keep the holiday spirit alive between them.

Billy Lawson hates Christmas. The carols, the gaudy decorations, and the crowds seem to be even worse this year. To make matters worse, it looks like Billy's father, Jimmy, will be stuck in the hospital over the holiday season due to his illness. Billy thinks he's fine, but when Nate wants to go to yet another holiday party, Billy ditches the cookies he's making and the party. Just when Billy thinks he'll be alone on Christmas, Nate reminds him that there are certain rules boyfriends must abide by.














Click to Check Out Previous
Random Tales of Christmas 2018

Part 1  /  Part 2  /  Part 3  /  Part 4
Part 5  /  Part 6


Phin's Christmas by Bonnie Dee
December 1903
Snow was rare in London, but one gloomy afternoon, pristine white hid the usually coal-streaked walls and trash-strewn streets and alleys. Shop windows and doors were framed in pine boughs, smudged windows washed clean so passersby might better gaze at the wares within.

I had spent the previous Christmas season on my own, free from the prison of my parents’ home at last, a lonely, contemplative time that had actually strengthened my resolve to become my own man. This year, I had Teddy and could truly enjoy the bustle of shoppers, carolers, and bell ringers. For weeks, I’d collected small gifts for my beloved in preparation for the holiday, but that particular afternoon, I’d purchased a paintbrush Teddy had gushed over, an expensive addition to his art supplies.

“Buy a nosegay, mister?” A little girl swathed in a woolen shawl offered a bedraggled bunch of cloth posies. “Only a penny.”

I bent to examine her basket full of equally pathetic flowers before choosing some violets. “Here you go, my dear. I’ll give you a shilling for such a large and lovely bouquet.”

Her eyes grew to saucers as I placed the coin in her cold palm. “Thank you, sir.”

I pretended to smell the flowers. “Mm, a touch of spring in the heart of winter. Lovely.”

She giggled at my joke. I wanted to take the skinny little thing someplace where she could warm her feet and get a good meal. Instead, I bought her a small bag of hot chestnuts from a nearby stand. They’d serve to warm her hands as well as her stomach.

Suspicion narrowed her eyes. “I’m no down-the-alley Sally, y’know.”

“I didn’t think you were, miss. Happy Christmas to you.” I continued to offer the striped sack.

Her gaze shot back and forth between the bag and my face before she snatched it from me. “Thanks, mister.”

She darted away as if fearing I’d change my mind or drag her someplace private for a poke. The grim facts of city children’s lives never ceased to make my chest ache. Teddy had told me I would go broke if I kept giving out pennies, buns, or boiled potatoes to every urchin who approached me on the street, but such small kindnesses were only a drop in the bucket of their miserable lives.

“I love your generous heart, Phin,” Teddy once said as he held me close and kissed me. “My greatest goal in life is to follow your example and become more giving.”

I had pointed out how generous he’d just been during lovemaking and our talk led to another bout in the bedsheets.

In those first months together following our separation, we could scarcely keep our hands off each other. Every moment was precious since it must be carved out of our busy lives. It did not help that I lived at Mrs. Pettigrew’s boardinghouse and Teddy in rooms on his uncle’s property. Lord Peter Worthington’s former carriage house had been converted to a garage to hold a shiny new Wolseley gasoline carriage. He allowed his nephew to use the chauffer’s quarters above for a studio and bedroom. Teddy and I could not cohabit under his uncle’s very nose, but we were saving to buy a small house.

Soon. By spring for certain. I pictured a little brick home on a quiet street with neighbors who were not curious about bachelors sharing living quarters. An idyllic life I’d never dared to imagine was within my grasp all because wonderful Teddy had looked past my ungainly appearance and deformity to see me, Phineas Abernathy. The day he’d arrived at Everdale, my family home, to paint my sister Rose’s portrait was the day my life had changed forever.

Lovely fat snowflakes had turned to cold rain by the time I reached Miss Dolly’s tearoom, where I was to meet Teddy. I entered the warm, steamy shop, which smelled of cinnamon and currant buns, and greeted the portly woman behind the counter with a nod and a smile. Only a few of Dolly’s regular customers knew that underneath her feminine clothing was a man’s body. I, of all people, understood the parts one must keep hidden in order to survive in the world.

I spotted Teddy at a table in the corner and hurried to join him. He smiled and stood up to greet me with a handshake. We would have kissed if we were someplace private, but even Dolly’s, a haven for men of our sort, was too public a place for such a display.

He gave my hand a warm squeeze. “How was your day?”

I shed my coat, and we both took our seats. “Busy. I have a new client, a German girl named Greta. Her parents want me to erase her accent to give her a better chance of landing a British husband. With a last name like Schultz, there’s little hope of that.”

Teddy shook his head. “Ah, the things parents do to ‘improve’ their children’s lives. What a sorry world it is.”

He pushed a half-eaten bun toward me and poured a cup of tea. “But no lamentations today. I have a surprise planned. It’s a gift for us both, but I can’t keep it hidden until Christmas as you will need to take part in it.”

“What is it?” I bit into the soft, cinnamon pastry that melted into sugar on my tongue.

“I’m afraid to tell you until we get there. You might not agree to do it.” But he didn’t sound worried. Teddy knew very well he could convince me to do almost anything.

“That sounds ominous. What do I have to do?” A sip of bitter tea was a wonderful chaser to the sweet bun.

“I want to have a tintype made. A keepsake, something we can look at years from now when we are old that will help us recall our youth and all the wonderful times we had.”

I stopped drinking. “But you’ve already painted a portrait of us.”

“Photographs are different, a brief moment preserved forever. The camera captures a likeness exactly, which is why portrait artists must do something more or become irrelevant. That is what the old school realists refuse to accept!”

As always when speaking about art, Teddy grew passionate. He could go on a tangent for minutes at a time, but I loved his passion. Actually, I loved him in every mood, even when he was frustratingly stubborn, pushy, or impulsive.

“Will you pose for a tintype with me?” he wheedled. “It will be a perfect Christmas gift we can share to celebrate our first year together.”

“If that is what you want, I’ll do it.” I’d become more comfortable with my body and modeled for Teddy in the privacy of his studio wearing fewer clothes than I would wear for this tintype, but posing in front of a strange photographer would be difficult for me. My aversion to my appearance was a battle I might never completely win.

Dolly stopped by our table, her square, ruddy face beaming above her high lace collar. “May I refill your pot, gentlemen? Or perhaps you’d care for more buns.”

“No, thank you,” Teddy replied. “We’re off on a holiday errand. I’ve got Mr. Abernathy to agree to a tintype. What do you think of that?”

Her low voice dropped to a murmur. “Wonderful. You make a lovely couple, if you ask my opinion. Ah, how I miss my dear Harry during this festive season. I wish I had a tintype of him.”

Dolly’s love had died almost a decade ago, but she continued to hold vigil for him in her heart. When she spoke, one would think he had passed only yesterday. I imagined I would feel the same if I ever lost Teddy. The very idea made me ill.

“Have you someone with whom to spend Christmas, Miss Dolly?” I enquired, thinking to invite her to pass the day with us if she would be alone.

“I’m afraid I’ve promised to spend the season with my brother’s family. The teahouse will be closed while I don trousers and waistcoat and conduct myself as a jolly old fellow.” She shook her head.

“We shall celebrate the holiday when you return,” Teddy said. “The three of us and some of our other friends who enjoy a more unconventional sort of gathering.”

“Sounds divine, my dear. I shall look forward to it while I’m suffering suet pudding and my brother’s memories of the good old days.”

We bid Dolly goodbye and donned our outdoor clothing.

I unfurled my umbrella to shelter us as we hurried through the drizzle. Already the white blanket had melted to dingy gray, and the snow would soon be gone. But it had certainly been pretty while it lasted.

Christmas Outing by AE Wasp
Dmitri didn’t often come to the waiting room area of the University Veterinarian clinic. He stayed mostly back in the lab, entering and exiting through a staff entrance in the back. It always caught him off-guard that there were people with their pets sitting in the room, waiting, as the name implied, to be seen by the vet students and their supervisors.

With Sweetie sitting at his feet, Troy blended in with the rest of them. Dmitri observed him, unseen, from behind a pillar.

Clutching Dmitri’s travel mug between both hands, Troy looked a little lost and uncertain. His forehead was wrinkled between drawn-together brows, and his leg jittered so hard, Dmitri was surprised the woman sitting next to him hadn’t moved or asked him to stop yet.

He was also gorgeous even in the stark hospital lighting. When he leaped up to grab the door for a woman struggling with a small kid in a stroller, a somewhat larger kid who clung to her hand, and what sounded like a very unhappy cat in a bulky pet-carrier, Dmitri sighed.

Troy was just so thoughtful, and kind, and dealing with crap Dmitri was just beginning to comprehend the depths of. Ron, the dog trainer and friend responsible for introducing Sweetie into their lives had cautioned Dmitri that the holidays would add an extra level of stress and that Dmitri was going to have to be extra-patient.

Dmitri watched as Troy gave the woman his seat and introduced the free-range kid to Sweetie, letting the kid pet the endlessly-patient dog. Troy’s smile at the sight was blindingly pure, and Dmitri felt as if a band had squeezed his heart.

How had he gotten so lucky? He didn’t deserve it. He was nowhere as nice and kind as Troy. But he could try to be the partner Troy deserved. Summoning his nerve with a deep breath, he walked into the room. He cringed as every eye turned to him as they saw his white lab coat and assumed he was one of the doctors that actually treated the animals. Sorry to disappoint you, Dmitri thought to himself. I wish I could help you.

“Hey,” he said, coming up behind Troy, touching him gently on the shoulder.

“Oh, hi.” Troy straightened up from the crouch that had brought him to the kid’s level. He held out Dmitri’s coffee mug. “You forgot your coffee. I know you hate the coffee here, and, well…”

Dmitri took the cup. “Thanks. Sorry, I was -”

“Sorry, I -” Troy spoke over his attempted apology.

Troy wrapped Sweetie’s leash over his hand and unwrapped it, over and over. “Can we talk?”

The woman looked between their faces, watching as if they were the best show she’d seen all day. He gave her a tight smile and led Troy away with a hand on his elbow. “Follow me.”

He ignored the glares from people thinking that Troy had jumped the line and guided Troy down the hall. He tried a few doors until he found an empty consultation room. He flipped the occupied indicator flag out and closed the door behind them.

“I’m sorry,” Troy was saying even as Dmitri turned around.

“No. Really. It’s fine. I totally get why you haven’t told your parents yet. You’re right. I did have it easy. Pretty much as easy as you can be without having gay parents.” He reached out and pulled Troy in for a hug. “So, you do what you have to do, okay?”

Troy nodded against his shoulder. Dmitri kissed the side of his head. “You are going to have to tell them about us eventually someday. Unless you’re planning on dumping me?”

“No! Don’t even joke. Besides, you’re going to dump me one day when you get tired of my crap.”

“Never.” Oops. He hadn’t meant to say that so seriously. They hadn’t talked about the future yet. Not really. Even the moving in had been framed as more of a way to save money than as a recognition that Troy slept over six nights out of seven and both of them liked it that way.

Troy’s arms tightened around Dmitri, and he could feel Troy’s heart beating against his chest. If only they could just stay here like this for an hour, a day. A lifetime.

Troy exhaled heavily and pulled away. “I know I have to come out to my parents. I know, and I will. That’s why I’m here. I’m scared; I’m just scared. You don’t know what it’s like; your parents were open to it from the beginning. From what I understand, they knew you were gay before you did.”

What could Dmitri say to that? It was true. Sure, he’d had to deal with some bullying at school and the general homophobia of Western society, but he never had to worry about his parents not loving him because of who he was

“As long as I know you’ll tell them eventually. I know it’s stupid, but I feel like you’re embarrassed by me. And, and I don’t know if it’s jumping the gun to say this, but I kinda want to be in your life for a long time. That means one day I’m going to have to meet your family.”

Troy set on the edge of the examination table, twisting his wool cap in his hand. “I know. And I don’t want to go without you. I need you there. I know I’m going to need you there as much as I need Sweetie maybe more.”

“So what do you want to do?”

Troy reached for Dmitri with both hands and Dmitri came to stand between his legs. Troy slid his hands around Dmitri’s hips. “Come with me? Come with me to my parents’ house.”

“As your boyfriend? Or friend?”

Troy took a deep breath. It seemed like every step he took required all the bravery he could muster.

Dmitri thought Troy had been brave in Afghanistan, but he’d told Dmitri that the things he had to do since getting back – admitting his weaknesses, admitting he was scared, and admitting to himself and others that he was gay – sometimes felt as if they dwarfed anything he had to do in the war.

“Can we start with friend?” he asked. “I know it’s cowardly, I know it. And I hate myself for even asking. But I need you there. With me.”

“Best friends, at least?”

Troy smiled. “Of course. We can get matching bracelets.”

Dmitri grabbed for Troy’s arms where they held his hips. “You know I’m there for you, babe. However, you need me. I can be just your friend if that’s what you need.” He pushed in close to Troy, sliding his hands up to Troy’s neck and tilting his head up and bending down for a kiss. It was a good kiss; he gave it everything he had. Swiping his tongue across Troy’s lips until he opened his mouth and let Dmitri in.

Dmitri cradled Troy’s skull in the palm of one hand while he kissed all the breath from his lungs. Troy’s hands tightened on Dmitri’s hips, and he pulled Dmitri flush against him. They made out pressing against each other until Dmitri felt as if he was two seconds away from having sex with Troy right on the table. With a groan, he pulled off of Troy and stepped back, glad for the white lab coat that he could draw around him.

The evidence of Troy’s arousal, however, was plain to see. Dmitri bit his lower lip and ran his hands over Troy’s erection, pressing hard.

Troy closed his eyes and groaned. He grabbed Dmitri’s hand by the wrist to stop him “God, stop. That’s not fair.”

“And it’s not something a best friend would do either,” Dmitri grinned. “I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep my hands off you the whole time we’re at your parents’ house. We’ll probably have to sneak off somewhere to make out, like teenagers. Is there a barn? Always wanted to have my way with some hot cowboy in a barn.”

Troy stood up adjusting himself in his pants. “There’s no barn, but I will have my truck. We’ll probably have to pick up groceries at some point, and it’s a long dark road to the grocery store.”

“I like the way you think, Detroit.”

Dmitri walked Troy back to the waiting room, keeping his hands to himself, figuring it was good practice for his Christmas break. “Wait a second, did you say we’ll have your truck? We’re driving?”

“Yep. I gotta take Sweetie, and I don’t think she’d do well on the plane. Plus it will be fun. I haven’t been on a road trip in forever.”

“How long does it take to drive to West Virginia?”

“Twenty-two hours.”

Dmitri groaned.

“With two drivers, we can do it in two long days.”

“But your truck’s a manual. I don’t know how to drive a stick.”

Troy hooked a finger into the belt loops of Dmitri’s pants and whispered into his ear. “Oh I don’t know, I think you drive stick just fine.”

Dmitri smacked him with an open hand. “You’ll be singing a different tune day two into a three-day road trip as the only driver.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll teach you how to drive before we leave. It’s easy. You’ll pick it up in a jiffy.”

“You’d better hope I do.” He planted a quick kiss on Troy’s lips. “Angel is going to be so jealous.”

“We’ll bring her next time.” Troy kissed Dmitri back. “See you after work.”

Dmitri watched him walk across the parking lot. It was a nice view. When he turned back to the room, the woman from earlier caught his eye and smiled.

“Everything good?”

“Going to meet the parents,” Dmitri admitted, raising his eyebrows.

She laughed. “At Christmas? Good luck!”

“Thanks.” Dmitri bent down to look into the cage. A small black kitten sat with her feet tucked up under her, eyes wide as she stared around the unfamiliar place. “What’s wrong with the kitty?”

“Oh, nothing,” she answered. “Just getting spayed.”

The small child tugged at Dmitri’s coat. “She has to get an operation, so she doesn’t get pregnant because cats have sex and make babies just like people. Only they have more kittens than people have babies because people only have one baby at a time.” He paused. “Usually. Mostly.”

Dmitri met the woman’s eyes, and they shared a smile. “That is one hundred percent correct,” he told the little boy. “Good luck with your cat,” he said to the woman.

“Thanks.”

As he walked back to his lab, Dmitri wondered if he had made a mistake by not having his own practice.

Heroes for Holidays by Charles Payseur
COME DOWN to the Caribbean, Sanjay had said. Take your mind off things. It sounded almost too good to be true.

Cody’s stomach lurched as the jet’s propulsion pushed him back into the plush cushion of his seat. There was no way this was legal. Not when the small, egg-shaped craft had landed on the roof of his apartment building in Metro City. Not when a pleasant, robotic voice had asked him to kindly step inside before any local superheroes arrived to stop them. Not with the ground blurring below him, the craft ripping a path through the sky, the gentle hum of an impossible engine the only noise to distract him from his rushing thoughts.

Was it normal to think of an ex when hurtling toward maybe-certain-doom? Cody cursed himself and tried to put all images of Craig and his carefree smile and his sexy butt and his mischievous eyes and… what was he doing again? At least he was leaving winter behind, and with it the memories of his and Craig’s last Christmas. Rented cabin in the woods. Boxes of wine. Entire sample kit of lube and toys. Cody shook his head.

Getting out of Metro City was a good idea. No little things to remind him that his relationship had just imploded. No having to see the café where they would go to people watch, or the park where they had once built a snow fort. Just warm sand and… and… and lair-sitting for an infamous supervillain. Definitely a good idea.

Cody looked down at the landscape rushing beneath the jet. It certainly beat dealing with airport security. In what seemed like minutes, land disappeared and everything was the blue-green expanse of water. He sucked in a breath. He’d never been that far from Metro City—certainly never traveled out of the country—and the sudden change dropped like a weight in his gut. Working in advertising, much of his time was spent arranging ads, for everything from cologne to dog shampoo, that featured happy people on the beach, but he had never even been to the ocean.

And with that, the gravity of the situation finally sank in. What was he doing? On a jet bound for the island fortress of Dr. Rex Devious, one of the most nefarious villains the world had ever known. And okay, so, yes, Devious was also the boyfriend of Sanjay, one of Cody’s dearest friends, but still. This was in an unsanctioned aircraft probably breaking dozens of international laws, which made Cody a criminal now, too, and all for what? Why had he agreed—

“Onboard scanning indicates a spike in heart rate,” a robotic voice said, cutting off his racing thoughts.


Bonnie Dee
Dear Readers, I began telling stories as a child. Whenever there was a sleepover, I was the designated ghost tale teller guaranteed to frighten and thrill with macabre tales. I still have a story printed on yellow legal paper in second grade about a ghost, a witch and a talking cat.

As an adult, I enjoy reading stories about people damaged by life who find healing with a like-minded soul. When I couldn’t find enough such books, I began to write them. Whether you’re a fan of contemporary historical or fantasy romance, you’ll find something to enjoy among my books.

To stay informed about new releases, please sign up for my newsletter. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter @Bonnie_Dee.

AE Wasp
After time spent raising children, earning several college degrees, and traveling the world with the U.S. State Department, she is returning to her first love - writing.

A dreamer and an idealist, Amy writes about people finding connection in a world that can seem lonely and magic in a world that can seem all too mundane. She invites readers into her characters’ lives and worlds when they are their most vulnerable, their most human, living with the same hopes and fears we all have. An avid traveler who has lived in big cities and small towns in four different continents, Amy has found that time and distance are no barriers to love. She invites her readers to reach out and share how her characters have touched their lives or how the found families they have gathered around them have shaped their worlds.

Born on Long Island, NY, Amy has lived in Los Angeles, London, and Bangkok. She currently lives in a town suspiciously like Red Deer, Colorado.

Sloane Kennedy
Although Sloane Kennedy always dreamed of being a writer as a teenager, she didn't take the plunge until 2015 when she released her first novel. Since then, she has released nearly 30 books including the Amazon best-selling "Pelican Bay" and "Protectors" series. While she initially began writing M/F romance, she found her true passion writing gay romance and nearly all of her most recent releases reached the #1 spot on Amazon's Gay Romance bestseller list and several have made it to Amazon's overall bestseller list. Sloane was born in Germany but grew up in the U.S. and although she currently lives in Wisconsin, the place where she has always felt most at home is Seattle and many of her books take place in the Emerald city. When not writing, a menagerie of 2 dogs, 3 cats and 2 horses takes up what little time she has left in the day!

Charles Payseur
Charles Payseur lives and writes in the frozen reaches of Wisconsin, where he enjoys the craft beer and excellent cheeses of the area a bit more than is strictly healthy. Along with his partner and growing herd of pets, he avoids doing household projects by reading and writing, and his short fiction and poetry has been published or is forthcoming at Strange Horizons, Nightmare Magazine, and Lightspeed Magazine, among others.

Francis Gideon
Francis Gideon is pretty much nocturnal and drinks too much coffee. These two things may be related, but he's not sure yet. Also, he writes books. Francis Gideon is a writer of m/m romance, but he also dabbles in mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal fiction. He likes to stay up late, drink too much coffee, and read too many comic books. He credits music, especially the artists Patti Smith, Frank Iero, Gerard Way, Florence + the Machine, and The Pixies as his main sources of inspiration, but the list grows every day. Since age twelve, he’s been trying to figure out what genre is best suited for a strange, quiet kid like him and so far, he’s happy to be where he’s ended up. When not writing fiction, Francis teaches college English classes while he studies for his PhD. He has published several nonfiction and critical articles on everything from the Canadian poet and artist P.K. Page, transgender identity in the YouTube community, using fanfiction as a teaching tool, and character deaths in the TV show Hannibal. Those are all under different his “real” name, though. He writes his novels using his middle name, Francis, so that his students don’t Google him and ask too many questions. Both Francis and his partner live in Canada, where they often disagree about TV shows and make really bad puns. To talk more about books, bad horror movies, LGBT poetry, or anything else, please drop him a line! PS: The image used for this profile is clearly not Francis, but the album art cover for Brand New's Deja Entendu. Which is really good. You should check it out.


Bonnie Dee
FACEBOOK  /  TWITTER  /  FB FRIEND
WEBSITE  /  NEWSLETTER  /  B&N  /  KOBO
EMAIL: bonniedeeauthor@gmail.com 

AE Wasp
FACEBOOK  /  TWITTER  /  WEBSITE
NEWSLETTER  /  INSTAGRAM  /  TUMBLR
PINTEREST  /  AMAZON  /  GOODREADS
EMAIL: amy@aewasp.com 

Sloane Kennedy
FACEBOOK  /  TWITTER  /  WEBSITE
FB GROUP  /  AMAZON  /  GOODREADS
EMAIL: sloane@sloanekennedy.com 

Charles Payseur
FACEBOOK  /  TWITTER  /  BLOG
KOBO  /  GOOGLE PLAY  /  iTUNES
GOOGLE+  /  B&N  /  AMAZON
EMAIL: gipps1986@gmail.com 

Francis Gideon
BLOG  /  iTUNES  /  GOOGLE PLAY
B&N  /  AMAZON  /  GOODREADS
EMAIL: francisgideon88@gmail.com



Phin's Christmas by Bonnie Dee
B&N  /  KOBO  /  SMASHWORDS

Christmas Outing by AE Wasp
A Protectors Family Christmas by Sloane Kennedy

Heroes for Holidays by Charles Payseur

The Boyfriend Rule by Francis Gideon

Release Blitz: Dedicated by Neve Wilder

Title: Dedicated
Author: Neve Wilder
Series: Rhythm of Love #1
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: December 11, 2018
Cover Design: Mayhem Cover Creations
Summary:
“Our greatest hit is a love song I wrote for my bandmate. And he has no idea.”

Messy-haired, soulful-eyed, off-kilter lyricist Les Graves holds tight to the hedonist’s credo of consumption in every avenue of life. He has trouble staying still, trouble staying sober, trouble turning down a good time—but put a pen in his hand, and he’ll set a page on fire.

Music was Evan Porter’s ticket out of the backwater mud puddle he was born in, the passion keeping him warm as he busked on street corners, fueling him through a dead-end bartending job. Every chord, every song, every ounce of sweat has been devoted to making Porter & Graves a success. He’s the level-head, the quiet maestro, the seatbelt that keeps Les from flying too far out of control. And he’s getting pretty tired of playing savior.

Their chemistry onstage is electric, but offstage it’s another story.

Angst, snark, and nuclear levels of unresolved sexual tension combust in this tale of two rockers, a handful of secrets, a bombed album, and a publicity nightmare thrown in a remote cabin with one shot at redemption. Can Evan and Les find harmony or will they—and their music career—go down in flames?

Dedicated is a 92k standalone bisexual friends-to-lovers romance that also plays on the fake relationship trope, contains a cockblocking greenhouse, really poor decisions involving social media, and a borderline over-the-top HEA.

*Please note: This book contains reference to and depiction of a MMF scene*


Author Bio:
Neve Wilder lives in the dirty South, where the summers are hot and the winters are...sometimes cold. She is a mom to three rambunctious weebeasts who have joined forces in a mission to carpet the family home with toys and small items that really suck to step on at six in the morning.

She reads promiscuously, across multiple genres, but her favorite stories always contain an element of romance. Incidentally, this is also what she likes to write. Slow-burners with delicious tension? Yes. Whiplash-inducing page-turners, also yes. Down and dirty scorchers? Yes. And every flavor in between.

She believes David Bowie was the sexiest musician to ever live, and she's always game to nerd out on anything from music to writing.

And finally, she believes that love conquers all. Except the heat index in July. Nothing can conquer that bastard.


FACEBOOK  /  TWITTER  /  WEBSITE







Brought to you by:

Release Blitz: Seeking Warmth by Brigham Vaughn

Title: Seeking Warmth
Author: Brigham Vaughn
Genre: M/M Romance, Holiday, Young Adult
Release Date: December 12, 2018
Summary:
Benny Fuller is on his way to rock bottom. He’s seventeen, fresh out of juvie, homeless, and desperate to find a job.  His dad’s in jail and his drug-addicted mom is in no shape to take care of his sick sister, Angel. A run-in with his ex-boyfriend, Scott Sullivan, makes Benny feel even worse. He’s a thief with no future. Scott is smart, with plans for college and a great future ahead of him. Benny knows Scott can do so much better than him. Because no matter how hard Benny tries, he can’t seem to find a job or a way to take care of Angel.

The further Benny falls, the more he needs Scott’s help. Benny will have to let go of his pride and trust Scott and the Sullivan family in order to get the Christmas miracle Benny and Angel so desperately need.

Reader Advisory: This is an older (15+) YA story with themes of homelessness, drug use and prostitution (off-page), neglect of minors, and foster care. 


People hurried past Benny Fuller without seeing him. They were bundled up warmly against the snow, clutching their holiday shopping bags and packages. They were too intent on their destination to see the kid they pushed past. Now that the sun was going down, the crowds were beginning to thin. The wind picked up and the fat, fluffy snowflakes grew smaller and sharper. They stung his cheeks and made his hands ache. It had been early spring when he went into juvie. He’d had a hat stuffed in his old, beat up Army-style jacket but no gloves.

When the caseworker picked him up at the juvenile detention center and drove him to a foster home, she frowned at his bare hands. She said something about making sure he had a pair of gloves—and a warmer coat and boots—but she got a phone call a few minutes later and apparently forgot. He hadn’t said anything to the foster care lady about it either. So now the slushy snow soaked into his shoes as he walked and he still had no gloves or winter coat. He’d have to make do. But that was nothing new for him, was it? Benny had been doing that for a while now.

He kicked at a piece of torn, soggy cardboard on the sidewalk as he passed it. It did nothing to relieve the gnawing hunger in his stomach or the cold air that crept down the collar of his jacket and numbed his fingers.

It was satisfying though. Something to do to let out all of the frustration and fear boiling inside of him. His job search had amounted to nothing. Everything amounted to nothing. There were no opportunities for kids like him.

He’d been wandering the city for a week. Ever since he left the foster home they placed him in. It hadn’t seemed bad at first. It was clean and there were only two other kids there, both younger. But one of them was a nightmare. Benny had never seen anything like it. The boy screamed and tried to hit the little girl all the time. The foster mother did nothing to stop it. The little girl had bruises on her arms and legs from the boy and it made Benny sick to watch it happen. Within the first day Benny was there, the boy bit Benny hard enough to draw blood, but Benny was the one who got yelled at by the foster mother for provoking him. Benny hadn’t done anything but sit down next to the kid.

Benny had tried to help out, thinking maybe the woman was just overwhelmed, but she yelled at him for interfering. The day after he got there, the little girl had to go to the doctor for pinkeye. Benny was left home with the boy. It was a nightmare. After the boy screamed and hit him and acted like a little monster all day, Benny couldn’t handle it anymore. As soon as the woman got home with the girl, Benny crawled out the bedroom window and left.

He went straight to his childhood home, even though there was no one there waiting for him. He collected his car and a few belongings, but he knew he couldn’t stay or Child Protective Services would just drag him out of there and back to a foster home.

But once he left his old house, he had nowhere else to go. He had a car though, thankfully. It had sat, unused, while he was in juvie. It was still registered, thankfully, although the insurance on it had lapsed. He’d have to hope he didn’t get pulled over, or he’d be in big trouble.

With no home and no job, what else could he do now but wander? Sit in his car and feel sorry for himself? Even if he wanted to, he didn’t have any money for gas so he couldn’t do it for long. He tried to run the engine as little as possible. Just enough to keep himself from freezing to death. At least when he was up and walking, his blood was flowing.

He wasn’t warm, but at least he wasn’t dead. That was something, right?

Up ahead, a brightly-lit storefront spilled yellow light onto the snowy sidewalk. Its warmth beckoned Benny to come closer, but as he approached, he recognized the building and scowled. Sullivan’s Fine Gifts, the sign on the window read. Damn it. His wandering had taken him to the last place he should be.

Stupid. Why did I come here? He wondered. It wasn’t like he could go in and see Scott Sullivan. God, he wanted to though. Scott was the only person Benny had ever trusted. The only one who really knew him. Scott was the best thing that had ever happened to Benny. Too bad Benny was the worst thing that had ever happened to Scott.

Benny stood in front of the gift shop long enough for the snowflakes to settle on his too-thin jacket. His breath fogged the window and cold and hunger faded away as he stared into the store owned by his ex-boyfriend’s parents, mesmerized by the cheerful lights and decorations. It advertised home and family.

Warmth. Security. Love.

All the things Benny didn’t have.

Author Bio:
Brigham Vaughn is on the adventure of a lifetime as a full-time writer. She devours books at an alarming rate and hasn’t let her short arms and long torso stop her from doing yoga.  She makes a killer key lime pie, hates green peppers, and loves wine tasting tours. A collector of vintage Nancy Drew books and green glassware, she enjoys poking around in antique shops and refinishing thrift store furniture. An avid photographer, she dreams of traveling the world and she can’t wait to discover everything else life has to offer her.

Her books range from short stories to novellas. They explore gay, lesbian, and polyamorous romance in contemporary settings.

To stay up to date on her latest releases, sign up for the Coles & Vaughn Newsletter.


FACEBOOK  /  TWITTER  /  FB FRIEND
BLOG  /  FB GROUP  /  KOBO  /  PAYHIP
INSTAGRAM  /  GOOGLE+  /  B&N
iTUNES  /  AMAZON  /  GOODREADS
EMAIL: brighamvaughn@gmail.com