Sunday, September 30, 2018

ARC Review: Liam For Hire by A. Zukowski

Liam for Hire (London Stories, #2)Blurb:

Liam Murphy has kicked his drug habit and now pays for the high living costs in London as an escort. His life is finally in balance. His only problem is that he obsesses about the minimum number of times he has to bend over to make ends meet. As long as he has his emotions under control, it’ll be fine. That’s what Liam keeps telling himself until he meets the young widower Alastair, also known as Ali, whose emerald eyes remind him of Ireland.

“I...I want us to have sex as though we’re making love.”
Making love? Jaysus.
I scratch my head. “Okay. You mean more kisses and shit?”
Ali laughs.
“And shit.” His face lights up and he looks about ten years younger. “Like cuddles.”

Featuring Liam from The Boy Who Fell to Earth.

This title contains material some may find objectionable or trigger-inducing: mature content, drug use, suicidal thoughts.

Sandra's rating:

This was my first book by this author, read and reviewed upon request.

I liked it for the most part. The tropes used are not new, but the age-gap, baby-gay, and falling-for-your-escort themes worked for me. Ali, the older of the two Mcs is at mid-forty nearly 25 years older than Liam (he of the title), when he hires Liam to teach him about gay sex.

See, Ali (short for Alastair) has been married, and his late wife never knew that he was gay. It's obviously something that Ali has suppressed for a long time, and he's only recently realized his true sexuality.

Liam, having left Ireland and his farmhouse home at 16, makes his living as an escort in pricey London after having kicked his drug habit. He rents a room in a shared flat, and still struggles not to relapse into addiction. When Ali hires him, he's initially somewhat taken aback at Ali's request that they "make love" instead of simply having sex. But hey, money is money, and rent needs paying, so Liam gives Ali what he's asking for.

I like that the author didn't flinch at showing the reader what's going on in Liam's head and Ali's head. Their struggles, individual and specific as they may be, felt realistic and believable. While this book isn't full of drama, there is enough of it to earn itself that shelf - for both Liam and Ali.

ARC Review: Craft Brew (Trouble Brewing, #2) by Layla Reyne

Craft Brew (Trouble Brewing #2)
Assistant US attorney Dominic Price is staring down the barrel of his father’s debts. The bull’s-eye on his back makes him a threat to everyone he cares about, so when his lover wants to go public with their relationship, he bolts. Not because he isn’t in love—he can’t stomach the thought of putting Cam in danger.

Kidnap and rescue expert Cameron Byrne is determined to figure out what trouble Nic is running from, but devastating news from home brings him back to Boston and to the cold case that has haunted his family for two decades. Shoving aside his pride, he calls Nic for help.

Together they search for answers, navigating the minefield of Cam’s past. But when they get too close to the truth, Cam must use every skill in his arsenal to save the man he loves…before it’s too late.

Jewel's rating:

NOTE: Craft Brew does not stand alone and should be read after Imperial Stout

I'm loving the Trouble Brewing series as much as I did Leyla Reyne's Agents Irish & Whiskey series, of which this is a spin-off. Interesting suspense plot that doesn't overshadow the romance, wonderful chemistry, and MC's that I love. Color me a happy camper!

Craft Brew starts off with a separation that takes Nic to San Diego for a few weeks. After the threats on his life, Nic feels the need to distance himself from those he cares about, to protect them. But things heat up again as Nic and Cam are briefly reunited, before a family emergency takes Cam back to Boston.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

ARC Review: Honeymoon for One by Keira Andrews

Betrayed the night before his wedding by the supposed boy of his dreams, Ethan Robinson escapes the devastating fallout by going on his honeymoon alone to the other side of the world. Hard of hearing and still struggling with the repercussions of being late-deafened, traveling by himself leaves him feeling painfully isolated with his raw, broken heart.

Clay Kelly never expected to be starting life over in his forties. He got hitched young, but now his wife has divorced him and remarried, his kids are grown, and he’s left his rural Outback town. In a new career driving a tour bus on Australia’s East Coast, Clay reckons he's happy enough. He enjoys his cricket, a few beers, and a quiet life. If he's a bit lonely, it's not the end of the world.

Clay befriends Ethan, hoping he can cheer up the sad-eyed young man, and a crush on an unattainable straight guy is exactly the safe distraction Ethan needs. Yet as the days pass and their connection grows, long-repressed desires surface in Clay, and they are shocked to discover romance sparking. Clay is the sexy, rugged man of Ethan’s dreams, and as the clock counts down on their time together, neither wants this honeymoon to end.

Dani's rating:

Ethan lost his parents, his hearing, and his social identity all in the course of a few years. But he still had his boyfriend and his best friend. Michael and Todd were incredibly supportive as Ethan struggled with crippling depression.

The night before his wedding to Michael, Ethan is filled with nervous anticipation—a little doubt, but mostly joy. He rushes home to see his groom-to-be, only to be confronted by Michael's betrayal.

Ethan had my heart from page one. He was so gentle and vulnerable, too good for Michael and his cheating ways. Ethan wanted to marry the boy of his dreams, but the solo honeymoon to Australia would have to come before the wedding.

Clay is divorced and uninterested in dating. He actively resists his daughter's attempts at getting him to meet women through a dating app. Clay worked in the mines, a man's world, but quit following his divorce and now works as a tour guide, showing seniors the beauty of Australia. Clay notices Ethan, because Ethan is the youngest member of Clay's current tour group and the only one who's alone.

Ethan falls for Clay's Crocodile Dundee charm, his rugged looks, and his kindness. Clay just wants to help Ethan. He never shames Ethan when Ethan asks him to repeat something he said. He reminds others not to mumble and prints off notes so Ethan can read along with the tour. He goes with Ethan to buy a hat and tracks down extra hearing aid batteries.

Everything about Clay and Ethan's relationship rang true. The romance begins with friendship, but the scorching sexual tension is not far behind.

Clay is sixteen years older than Ethan and has never considered that he might not be straight. But Ethan is patient and doesn't push. The age gap matters naught when you stay up drinking beer and passing a note pad back and forth.

Release Blitz: Honeymoon For One by Keira Andrews

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Length: 80,000 words approx.
Cover Design: Dar Albert @ Wicked Smart Design


The wedding is off, but the love story is just beginning.

Betrayed the night before his wedding by the supposed boy of his dreams, Ethan Robinson escapes the devastating fallout by going on his honeymoon alone to the other side of the world. Hard of hearing and still struggling with the repercussions of being late-deafened, traveling by himself leaves him feeling painfully isolated with his raw, broken heart.

Clay Kelly never expected to be starting life over in his forties. He got hitched young, but now his wife has divorced him and remarried, his kids are grown, and he’s left his rural Outback town. In a new career driving a tour bus on Australia’s East Coast, Clay reckons he's happy enough. He enjoys his cricket, a few beers, and a quiet life. If he's a bit lonely, it's not the end of the world.

Clay befriends Ethan, hoping he can cheer up the sad-eyed young man, and a crush on an unattainable straight guy is exactly the safe distraction Ethan needs. Yet as the days pass and their connection grows, long-repressed desires surface in Clay, and they are shocked to discover romance sparking. Clay is the sexy, rugged man of Ethan’s dreams, and as the clock counts down on their time together, neither wants this honeymoon to end.

Honeymoon for One is a gay romance by Keira Andrews featuring a May-December age difference, a slow burn of newfound friends to lovers, first-time m/m sex, and of course a happy ending.


As Ethan walked through the resort on Fraser Island the next afternoon after a tour to gorgeous Lake McKenzie, he finally admitted to himself that he was looking for Clay.

Because he’s nice! He’s fun to talk to. Besides, my harmless crush is just that. Harmless. Why shouldn’t I enjoy it? Nothing’s going to happen. He’s apparently straight and I’m on the rebound. But we can be friendly. I like his accent, and he’s a nice guy.

Of course, Clay wasn’t just nice. He was sexy. His accent? Sexy. The Australian slang he used that made him sound like Crocodile Dundee sometimes? Sexy. His broad shoulders and solid build? Sexy. That he didn’t have chiseled abs and was a little soft around the middle? Sexy. Those blue eyes, and how the auburn in his hair gleamed in the sun, especially in his beard and the hair on his arms, and how he had freckles…

Sexy, sexy, sexy.

But the sexiest thing of all was how thoughtful he was. How he made such an effort to make sure Ethan could hear him when he spoke. How he’d told him the secret of the Mission Bay sunrise. How he’d copied the tour guide notes for him. Even back in Cairns, how he’d held Ethan’s backpack while Ethan was snorkeling and watched over him, then later took him to buy a hat.

Ethan was wearing the hat now, and it gave him a giddy little thrill.

Is he straight though?

Release Blitz: Sadistic Sherlock (Ward Security) by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott

Series: Ward Security Series #4
Publisher: Drake and Elliott Publishing, LLC
Release Date: September 28, 2018
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 64k
Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense

Add to Goodreads


Ten years ago, Dominic Walsh faked his own death. With no true identity, it wasn’t hard. But if he’d stayed, he would have been drawn further into a life he’d never chosen. He has friends and family at Ward Security now and has managed to escape his dark past. There is only one thing he truly wants.

Abraham Stephens.

When Dom was first tasked with watching over his friend’s father, he didn’t expect to fall so hard for the gorgeous silver fox. But Abe is interested in friendship only. He’s at a point in his life where he wants something permanent, not a romp with the sexy redhead who happens to be the same age as his son.

But Abe finds himself drawn deeper into Dom’s life when cryptic messages start appearing—ones that frighten the skilled security specialist. The more Dom tries to hide what’s happening, the more Abe wants to help him.

And maybe, just maybe, he’ll find a way to trust the strength of the bond Dom understood from the start.


Dom insisted on helping him clean the kitchen, and it took all Abe’s concentration to not attack the guy. He wanted to lift him up on the counter and—

“That’s it,” Dom announced. “I can’t handle the way you keep looking at me.” He threw the dishtowel he’d been using and backed Abe into a wall this time. He braced both hands on either side of shoulders and stared hard at him. “We’re doing this at a slow pace. I mean it.”

Friday, September 28, 2018

Review Tour: Darcy by RJ Scott & Meredith Russell

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 40,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Meredith Russell

Darcy’s newest assignment is to play the role of boyfriend to a wealthy socialite, but never expected the intense attraction to his date’s brother. Falling for Adrian is dangerous and certainly not part of the plan.
Adrian has been as unlucky in love as his sister, but he doesn’t approve of hiring a boyfriend, whatever the reason. Until he meets Darcy. Then he comes to realize that love can happen in the most unexpected of ways.
One week. That is all the two men needed to fall in lust, but will they have a lifetime to fall in love?

Karen's review:

This one’s a pretend boyfriend story with a twist…
Darcy Bridges works as a boyfriend for hire and no in this case it’s not code talk for sex-trade worker. His life plan had been the military but as is often the case life is what happens when we’re busy making other plans so when an injury ends that plan he goes to work with his childhood friend, Rowan at Bryant & Waites, Boyfriends for hire.
When Adrian’s sister, Abby needs a date to attend a family wedding with her. She turns to Rowan & Waites for assistance. While Darcy and Abby become fast friends…thankfully there’s Abby’s only interest in Darcy is platonic and business…as in he’s her pretend boyfriend and maybe Abby’s a total workaholic and just doesn’t have time for relationships. Adrian thinks his sister’s idea of hiring someone to pose as her boyfriend is bad but even worse is the fact that Darcy pushes all of Adrian’s boyfriend buttons.
‘Darcy’ turned out to be a sweet, pretend boyfriend story with the twist that Darcy was pretending to be Abby’s boyfriend and not her brother, Adrian’s, no spoiler here it’s in the blurb. I liked that there was no emotional conflict between Abby and Adrian where Darcy was concerned.  for Abby, her relationship with Darcy was a business transaction, however, Darcy and Abby did become friends and all things considered that was nice.

Review Tour: Lucky by Garrett Leigh

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Length: 70,000 words approx.
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design

Dominic Ramos is a Premiership football player with a secret. There are no trophies for being gay in his game. Locked into his rep as the meanest defender on the pitch, keeping his secret is soul-crushing, but love has no place in his sport, even if his soft heart craves it.

Lucky Coleman is on his knees when he meets a man with more money than sense. It’s a Grindr hook-up for cash, not a love match, but dreaming of his desperate, kind eyes earns a place amongst his numerous bad habits.

Meeting once was risky, twice pushes Dom’s courage to the limit. Losing Lucky seems inevitable, but his tight grip on his image counts for nothing when Lucky starts to fall.

Catching him could cost Dom everything, but if he can set his heart free, getting Lucky long term might be a risk worth taking.

Jewel's review:

I sure do love Garrett Leigh's brand of angst. Her characters seem so real to me. No matter their situations, or social standing, I can always find something to relate to. Lucky had the perfect balance of angst and was I glad there wasn't a bunch of melodrama mixed in. What we get is a believable mix what I could see as real life.

Lucky is about a homeless young man down on his luck and a closeted professional footballer desperate for affection. Neither expect to find anything beyond a release, but they actually find a connection amidst the fear of discovery.

Lucky is homeless when he decides to try a hookup for cash exchange. He's got acquaintances that do it and so he figures he might as well, too. He needs the money to try to get off the streets. He wants to find a job and a place to live and lead as normal a life as he can. A Grindr hookup for cash was a means to an end.

Blogtour: Dragonslayer by Matthew Lang

Please welcome Matthew Lang with 


Twitterlight #1


A Twitterlight Story

Kill the dragon, marry the princess, and rule the kingdom. It’s a fantasy come true… if you’re straight.

Adam is a chemistry student and martial artist, active in his local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism. But none of that prepares him to be the savior of a faraway land locked in perpetual dusk.

In a world of shape-shifters, necromancy, and religious politics, Adam is fated to slay the golden dragon, Khalivibra, and defeat its mind-controlling sorcery to help Princess Esmeralda of Aergon retake her city. Tradition dictates he’ll rule by her side—but Adam is much more interested in Duin, a warrior who changes to beast form in the light of the sun… or fire.

Adam hopes he and Duin might end up together when their ordeal ends. But first, the reluctant hero, the spell-casting heir to the throne, the beast-shifting object of Adam’s desire, a six-legged cave lizard, and any allies they can gather must do the impossible… and live to celebrate their victory.

The Official Winged Traveller Guide to Aer Goragon

AER GORAGON is the capital city of the kingdom of Aracao. Actually, it’s the only city in the kingdom of any note. It’s populated by some two thousand odd people, and watched over by the ever-vigilant eye of its queen: the great gold dragon Khalivibra.

It means the Golden City, I think it was named because it was the heart of the kingdom, and all the wealth flowed there.” – Self styled Princess Esmeralda of Aergon, would be usurper to the throne.

One of the holy cities of the sun goddess Helene, the city is known as ‘golden’ for its walls, which are said to have reflected the light of Helene back towards her. While they still do, some have argued that the city should therefore be known as the red city, as the light of Helene is the same unwavering red as it has been in living memory. Not once has it ever been golden. Any visiting tourists are advised not to repeat such heresy, as our queen has gently reminded such doubters that the light of Helene will once again be gold when humanity has paid our penance in driving her sister from the skies.

Although often dismissed as a ruin, the northdark quadrant of the city is in good repair and bustling with the activities of daily life. Once the houses of Aracite nobility, the buildings now house the majority of the population, a truly egalitarian society where all men are equal. All women too, for that matter. While the locals have a reputation for being quiet and unfriendly, the truth of the matter is that the people of Aer Goragon have developed a near telepathic understanding of each other to the point where they require very little speech. They are, however, fully capable of it, so don’t be afraid to walk up and ask for directions or assistance. You’ll find them all only too happy to help. However, be mindful that some words commonly used elsewhere are not frequently used in Aer Goragon, especially those relating to day, night and/or time of day. Since there is no day and night cycle in Aracao, at least, not anymore, citizens typically measure time in sleeps. So instead of saying “How are you today?”, a better greeting would be “How are you this sleep?”, “How are you this wake?” or “How are you this waking?”. Since sleep is typically an unconscious activity, ‘wake’ or ‘waking’ is sometimes substituted by the locals. Similarly, the rather innocuous phrase “See you tomorrow” is likely to cause confusion. “See you next sleep” is more appropriate. When referring to the sleep just gone, “yestersleep” is appropriate. For a full lexicon of common phrases, please see Appendix A.

Cover Reveal: Sweet Clematis by R. Cooper

We're delighted to reveal the cover for R. Cooper's upcoming book 

Sweet Clematis 

Being(s) In Love #9


Can a curse be a blessing?

Clematis works hard to embody every fairy stereotype. He can be a sulky prince or a submissive flirt, slutty and arrogant or silly and soft. He makes himself into whatever causes someone to want him. Combine that with beauty that’s incredible even for a fairy, and everyone wants him sooner or later… just not for long.

Well, everyone except the fairy Clematis secretly adores. But then, he’s never expected happily ever after, not when he’s spent years burying his emotions and making himself unlovable to push people away and protect his heart.

But his curse changes all that, and Clematis can no longer prevent his feelings from rising to the surface. He’s terrified that when his few friends see him for who he really is, they’ll abandon him, just like his parents did.

It’s hard to imagine friends who see past his act to the sweet person within, but maybe happiness has been in front of him the entire time, waiting for the real Clematis to break free and blossom.

Release Date: November 27, 2018
Category: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 306
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond

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And now, drumroll, please....

Cover Reveal: Tit For Tat by JS Harker

We're delighted to reveal the cover for JS Harker's upcoming novel 

Tit For Tat

a Dreamspun Beyond title


Cold has never been so hot.

College sophomore Derek is busy working over his holiday break—but his shifts at the toy store are no hardship if they mean more opportunity to dream about the sexy new guy working as an elf in Santa’s Workshop. When his mother gifts him a bag of cookies, Derek regifts them to Flynn as an excuse to get to know him. Flynn has presents to offer as well, and soon they’re dating, with Derek finding out his comfort zone is bigger than he imagined.

But Flynn is hiding a secret—he’s really a winter fairy whose magic is bound to the season. He can't stay in the mortal realm, and Derek doesn't want to lose contact with his family. Can they find a way to hold on to each other when the snow and sugar plums melt away?

Release Date: December 18, 2018
Category: Holiday, Other Paranormal, Dreamspun Beyond
Pages: 242
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Get the book:

And now, drumroll, please....

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Author Of The Month - Taylor V. Donovan - Grand Finale

Welcome to our Grand Finale celebrations for the amazing 

In today's post, we'll look at Hearsay and Capital Loss, and we'll have our author interview. There's also one more chance to win one of Taylor's books!

First up, Hearsay


Senior associate attorney Derrick Swain wants it all: a loving husband, a fulfilling career, and a couple of kids. After years of hard work he's on the fast track to a promotion. He’s also met the man of his dreams. A week of daily lunch meetings in Central Park provides the perfect setting to get to know him better, and Derrick thinks it won’t be long before they take the next step and go on a date. But instead of asking him out, the object of his affection stops showing up without explanation, leaving him to wonder what went wrong.

As part owner of one of the most prestigious law firms in New York City, Roman Bradford knows that professional success isn’t the be all end all. Although he’s been lucky in life, true love has eluded him for the most part. One too many failed relationships have caused him to be leery of trying again, until he meets a man that can only be described as temptation personified. A few conversations is all it takes for Roman to start believing things will be different this time around. It doesn’t matter that they are boss and employee, or that he’s feeling too much, too fast. Not when he can see the same emotions in Derrick’s eyes. Then life turns on a dime, and Roman has no option but to let his chance at happiness go.

A battle of wills ensues when a life-altering case brings them together a year later. Roman wants to do the right thing by not letting anything happen between them, and Derrick is determined to prove they’re meant to be together. Evidence will be presented and final arguments will be made. Will they be able to come to an agreement, or will they opt to have their potential relationship dismissed?


“I agreed to go over there tonight.”
“Go over where?”
“Tyler’s place.”
“What?” She pushed him away, studied his eyes, swatted him on the head, and hugged him again. “Didn’t we agree it isn’t a good idea to have sex with your ex?”
“We did,” he whispered, not really caring that Tashana was probably about to lecture him on the subject one more time. He just took a deep breath and settled in on her breasts. It was comfy there. Her bosom felt like a safe place. “But we’re both single and a little desperate right now, and he has such a pretty cock.”
Tashana swatted him again. “Every time you go and get your rocks off with the guy you avoid each other for the next four weeks,” she said.
“It’ll be the last time,” Derrick promised.
“That’s what you said three months ago,” she reminded him.
“It was way longer than that.”
“You were doing so well, boo,” she added. “Why’d you go and ruin it?”
“He’s under a lot of stress.” Derrick looked up at her. “He needs to blow off some steam. And you know what? So do I. This week’s been hell and if the guy thinks that sucking me off and fucking me through the mattress will help him, who am I to object? Plus, I’m horny. I’m so horny I could fuck a tree. Do you have any idea how long it’s been since I got laid?” He shot her a warning look. “Don’t answer that.”
“Why not let her answer?” The unexpected voice was husky; the tone scolding and dripping with derision at the same time. “After all, isn’t that what this firm pays its employees for? Discussions on all sorts of personal, intimate subjects while on the clock?”
Derrick’s voice caught in his throat. He didn’t dare breathe, but he slowly moved his head from Tashana’s chest to her shoulder until he was able to take a peek.
This was not the kind of thing that happened to him. He didn’t suffer from foot-in-mouth syndrome, and, as daring as he could be at times, he had never been caught with his pants down. But today his luck had obviously run out because, lo and behold, that was Roman Bradford looking at them from Derrick’s office door.
All of a sudden the atmosphere changed, and the office seemed to be brightly lit, as if the clouds had moved to give way to the sun right outside his window. Derrick felt a hot burst of electricity run through his body and a buzzing in his ears. He hadn’t felt this energized in a year.
“Please, tell me that’s not him,” Tashana whispered in his ear.
“Afraid I can’t,” Derrick whispered back.
He was incapable of looking away from Roman. Incapable of processing how much of a predicament they probably were in. Incapable of even feeling mortified over that bit of too personal information his boss had overheard. He couldn’t. He was too busy worrying about what the other man would make of it. He knew it was presumptuous on his part to think Roman would care, but Derrick didn’t want this man he admired so much to have a bad opinion of him.
“I’m not as much of a slut as that statement made me sound,” Derrick blurted before he could stop himself.
Looked like he was also incapable of filtering his words.
Tashana winced.
Derrick groaned.
Roman didn’t even blink behind the thick, black-framed glasses he wore.   
Lord, but he was gorgeous.
Forty-four years old, and guys half his age couldn’t hold a candle to him. Tall and elegant; powerful and sophisticated in that kind of understated way that screamed I own this joint without having to say a word. It was the first thing he’d noticed about Roman the day of his job interview with the senior partners of ABC. Six years later, it was the number one personality trait that made Derrick crazy horny for the man, closely followed by his work ethic and how modest and humble he’d remained despite his professional success. Add the physical attributes and no wonder Derrick was toast within minutes the first time he had a private conversation with him.
Roman Bradford was perfect… but there was something different about him.
It wasn’t that his dark brown hair was liberally sprinkled with gray now, or that he seemed to have lost weight and gained some muscle, which in turn made him look taller than six-foot-two. It wasn’t that, whereas he was usually calm and composed, he was now so tense that a muscle in his jaw was jumping.
Derrick perused him quickly, and that’s when he realized that even though there were substantial physical changes, it wasn’t even Roman’s appearance that was different. It was something more intangible. His demeanor, maybe… or was it his aura?     
“Don’t let my presence make you feel like you need to get back to your own office, Mrs. Woods,” Roman said, bumping the folder he was carrying on his thigh a couple of times. His voice was soft, but there was no mistaking the disapproval behind his words.
Although Roman was addressing Tashana, he didn’t look in her direction once. Instead he kept his olive green gaze glued on Derrick’s face.
“Is there something I can help you with?” Derrick managed to ask.
Roman squeezed the yellow folder, opened his mouth, and seemed to give his words careful consideration before he said, “Meet me in the conference room in five minutes.”
The second Roman was out of sight, Derrick buried his face in Tashana’s neck and took a deep breath. “I sounded like an ass.”
“A little bit,” Tashana agreed.
“I can’t believe he was just here.”
“I can’t believe you’re still holding me.”
“I need to be held.”
“He called me Mrs. Woods.”
“I’m nobody’s Mrs.,” she complained, as if she seriously expected for the boss of one thousand employees to know that detail of her personal life.
“It’s been weeks since the last time I saw him,” Derrick whispered, ignoring Tashana’s nonsense and thinking about the time he ran into Roman at the courthouse at some point in late August. It’d been brief, and no words were exchanged, but Derrick could’ve sworn his boss had wanted to talk to him.
“Last time I saw him was at the firm’s picnic.” Tashana turned her head until she was able to look at Derrick in the eye. “Is that wood I feel against my leg?”
“You’re a sick woman.” He pushed her away. “He looks different.”
“He’s lost some weight,” Tashana agreed.
Derrick shook his head. “When I started working here, he was a pretty cool guy. He was always authoritative but very easy going at the same time. Later on, I noticed he was looking stressed out of his mind, although that got better last year. Matter of fact, he looked happy for a while.” Derrick shook his head again. “I don’t know what’s happened to him, but sometimes he looks like he hates the world and… sad. He looks extremely sad.”
“What he hates is seeing his employees shooting the shit when he’s paying them top dollar,” Tashana informed, not commenting on his analysis of their boss’s attitude.
Derrick let out a long sigh. “He’s going to fire me, isn’t he?”
Tashana straightened her blouse and removed some lint from her skirt. She looked far from concerned.
“What’s he gonna fire you for? Having a sex life?”
And wouldn’t that be fantastic? Not losing his job, but for Roman to actually care that Derrick had plans to go see someone. He’d never be so lucky, of course.  
“Why was he here?” Derrick got up from the window sill and laced his fingers behind his head. “He’s never come to my office before. Not once in the six years I’ve been with the firm.”
Tashana shrugged. “You’ll find out soon enough.”

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Second in our line-up, Capital Loss


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This short has no blurb. The description below is the prompt that accompanied the picture I chose for this event. It is my intention to expand this story into a full novel and give Cole and Eduardo time to grow as characters. The title for that story will be "Fixed Assets" and it will have a blurb.

Dear Author, How did things get so bad? I thought I had it all, a great job that I loved, a wonderful home by the beach and you. All of that is gone now. I found out the hard way all you wanted from me was my money. You left me the minute you found out I lost my job and lost the money when the financial bubble burst. Now I have nothing, I feel like I’m nowhere, no one. I don’t feel like living anymore. Will anyone save me?

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group's "Love Has No Boundaries" event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.


“Thank you for the card and the flowers,” Cole said in a sweet tone after a few seconds. “I’m a bit upset at you for not sticking to our agreement, but I really love them.”

Weeks ago Cole had decided he didn’t want to exchange presents on Valentine’s Day. He’d said having a quiet, intimate evening with his man was all he wanted, and, albeit surprised by the request, Eduardo had agreed to it. But how could he not get Cole anything? No way. It was Valentine’s Day, and the orchids and sappy heart-shaped card he’d left for Cole on his side of their bed were inexpensive and perfect. Something he could get away with.

“I’m glad you liked them.”

“But that’s not it, right?  It’d better not be,” Cole said with a flirty laugh. “I want more than orchids on Valentine’s.”

Eduardo frowned. “I thought we weren’t exchanging presents.”

“What I really want doesn’t cost a dime, and only you can give it to me, so you better get home at a decent time tonight. Your presence is crucial for what I have in mind.”

Well, didn’t that sound promising? The last time Cole was so adamant about Eduardo getting home early was on their anniversary. They’d given each other erotic rubs and tried five different positions from The Gay Kama Sutra. It’d been an amazing night. Eduardo could remember every detail as if it’d happened yesterday, even if more than a month had already passed.


Has it really been that long since the last time we made love?

Not good.

“I’ll be there at a decent time.”

“Do you promise?”

“I promise, pa,” he said as his colleague came outside and glared at him. “Eight o’clock,” he added before ending the call.

There was nothing Eduardo wanted more than taking proper care of his boyfriend, and he really meant to leave work by seven-thirty. Making love to his significant other on the most romantic day of the year was imperative.

But his clients were demanding, selfish, entitled pricks that didn’t care about anyone’s needs but their own, and so it was almost midnight when he finally dragged his exhausted ass home.
Their fancy dining table caught his attention as he made his way to their bedroom.

Both he and Cole were always on the go and preferred to have their meals while reading the paper or magazines at the kitchen island. But tonight Cole had taken the time to set the table. Candles and the flowers Eduardo had given his boyfriend complemented the china they’d gotten from his mom as a housewarming present, and that was complemented by the silver cutlery Cole insisted was only for special occasions.

It was the first time Eduardo saw the prized silverware out of its storage.

“Shit,” he whispered tiredly as he loosened his tie and looked around their apartment.

The light was off in the kitchen, but the pots and pans on the stove were still warm. No surprise there. No matter how many hours he worked, he could always count on a hot meal and a sexy, exquisitely toned and willing body when he came home. But this was obviously a special dinner, and he regretted missing it.

He uncovered one of the pots and smiled at its content. “Beef stew…” he leaned in and inhaled the rich aroma. “He made my favorite.”

Knowing he wouldn’t be able to eat something so heavy this late at night, he put the food away in the fridge and rushed out of the kitchen. He wanted to apologize to Cole before he keeled over from exhaustion.

Cole looked up from the book he’d been reading the moment Eduardo stepped into their bedroom. “Hey,” he greeted with a lazy smile. “I didn’t hear the front door.”

“I was being quiet in case you were asleep.” Eduardo hung his suit jacket on the door and toed his shoes off as he walked toward the bed.

“I thought you’d be here earlier.”

“A meeting with a client took longer than I expected,” Eduardo explained. “I couldn’t get away.”

“You should’ve called to let me know you wouldn’t be able to make it,” Cole stated in a casual tone.

His boyfriend’s recrimination cut deeply. Not because he already felt guilty enough as it was, but because even though Cole talked the talk, he genuinely looked and sounded like he didn’t give a shit Eduardo had missed dinner.

That was one of the things about Cole he didn’t understand and, quite honestly, also hated. He always tried to spend more time together, but never got upset when only a small fraction of his plans came to fruition. There was no hurt. No frustration. No matter how often Eduardo fucked up, or how many promises he broke, Cole never sounded like he cared.

Like tonight.

It was Valentine’s Day, and he had a right to be pissed. He’d cooked a romantic dinner and gotten stood up, yet he looked like it was all the same to him. It made Eduardo uncertain of the reasons why Cole stayed with him, and extremely nervous as to the foundation of their relationship. No. Scratch that. It made him feel Cole didn’t care if he saw him, as long as the money kept coming in.

Stop it, he ordered himself. The fact that he wanted a few financial guarantees before moving in with you doesn’t make him a gold digger, but even if he were, you love him. You gotta stop this insecurity bullshit.

Eduardo cleared his throat and said, “I know I should’ve called, but I really didn’t have time.”

“Are you hungry?” Cole removed the covers and got out of bed. “If you are I’ll throw something on and go make you a plate, but if not...” He walked around the bed and stood in front of Eduardo, his smile feral and his eyes lustful.

“I’m not hungry,” Eduardo croaked, mesmerized by the sight of Cole in nothing but a pair of skimpy black side cage briefs. Sexiest thing he’d ever seen.

“Good,” Cole whispered hotly against his lips, “because it feels like I’ve been waiting an eternity to unwrap my Valentine’s present.”

“Aren’t you mad at me?” he blurted.

“I’ve always known your job is stressful and time consuming, and making money is a priority.” Cole traced Eduardo’s lips with his tongue and unbuckled his belt. “I’ve long accepted that not seeing you all that much comes with the territory,” he added in that flat voice that never gave away his thoughts.

“And that’s great,” Eduardo agreed. “I really appreciate it.”

“But...” Cole arched an eyebrow and looked him in the eye. “I sense a but coming.”
“But I’ve got to be honest with you.” He pressed their foreheads together and brushed Cole’s smooth chin with his fingertips. “All these acceptance and understanding can be—”

“Can be what?”
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