Friday, July 31, 2020

Audiobook Review Tour: SYN Consulting: Dragon War Chronicles Book 1 by A.G. Carothers

Book Title: SYN Consulting: Dragon War Chronicles Book 1

Author: A.G. Carothers

Publisher: A.G. Carothers

Narrator: Michael Ferraiuolo

Release Date: August 17, 2018; Audiobook: July 9, 2020

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal

Trope/s: Slow Burn, Friends to lovers, 

Themes: Conspiracies, Secret Wars, Hidden Societies, 

Multiple Relationships Tied Together

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 6 hours 22 minutes

The story ends in a cliffhanger.

Buy Links

Continue to hide or help save the very kin she's hidden from?

Welcome to SYN Consulting, the top business strategy consulting firm in Europe, home to a motley crew whose leader has a life changing secret. CEO, Danica Lestrange, is the first female dragon born in the last 800 years. Hidden from the rest of her kin and raised in the human world, she built a life that she would defend until her death.

A devious plan is unearthed while working on a new business deal that could plunge the dragons into another war with the humans. The humans may have forgotten the last dragon-human war, but the dragons have not. Will the war reveal this hidden world to the humans, or will the clans come together to defeat their enemies and maintain their anonymity?

Danica must gather her allies and help the very dragons she's hidden from her whole life. She can only hope that she'll be strong enough to protect her chosen family.

This is the first book in a new series about dragons who want nothing more than to live in peace, but refuse to be subjugated. In war there's also love, and love is blind. Love doesn't care about gender, race, species (in this case), or sexuality.

Attention: This book contains explicit sexual content between consenting adults. The sexual scenes are MM, MF, and MMF. There are romantic relationships depicted that are MM. There is also a high level of explicit language, snark, kink, and possibly bad puns and fart jokes.

This book ends in a cliffhanger.

Dragon War Chronicles is a continuous series. It is best read in order.

SYN Consulting

Secrets Revealed

First Strike

Dragon's Hoard

The Honeymooners: A Dragon War Chronicles Novella (Coming Fall 2020)

Cold Revenge (Coming Fall 2020)


Karen's review:

I have to admit, I read “Dragons, Michael Ferraiuolo” and that was all I needed to get my attention and quite honestly…I regret nothing! Not even the nail biting, heart stopping, cliff hanging ending in this first book of A. G. Carothers series the “Dragon War Chronicles”.
A. G. Carothers is a fairly new to me author, having only listened to one other audio book by this author that for me ended up being just okay, I ended up not being very excited about things, unlike “Syn Consulting” which has totally left me in a dither of the best kind as I am more than anxious to find out what’s going to happen next to this collection of interesting and unique characters.
Michael Ferraiuolo has been a favorite of mine when it comes to narrators from the first time I heard his voice and in “Syn Consulting” he more than proves why with the range and diversity of the voices that he’s able to provide throughout this story as always his narration was solid and his efforts only added to my enjoyment of the book.
“Syn Consulting” is a step outside of my reading norm, which in many ways is neither here nor there since I like to occasionally challenge myself with it comes to my reading choices. The part that’s unusual is that there is a m/f relationship at the center of this story and for those who don’t like to have their MCs involved with others you might not find this one to your liking so, I’m not saying don’t read/listen to it but I am advising caution if any of this is a deal breaker for you. As far as the relationship dynamics go…all I can really say is everything is early days for this story. From the relationship between Danica and Zander to the relationships between Danica and/or Zander and the rest of their found family. 

Release Blitz: Time and Tide: A Changing Tides Novel Book 2 by Bryce Winters

Book Title: Time and Tide: A Changing Tides Novel Book 2

Author and Publisher: Bryce Winters

Cover Artist: Resplendent Media

Release Date: July 31, 2020

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: Second Chance Romance

Themes: Wounded soldier, recovery, grief, rekindling love, forgiveness

Length: 77 000 words

Heat Rating: 4 flames 

The Changing Tides Series Book 3 will be available in late August.

Available on Kindle Unlimited
Book 2 - Time and Tide

Lincoln Holt and Kent Scott, former lovers, find themselves thrust 
together again twelve years later after Linc comes home 
from the Army with an injury that Kent will be treating.

The tides tore them apart…

Lincoln Holt is a damn fine soldier - one of the best. But an ambush leaves Linc injured and many of his squad dead. Discharged and disillusioned, he heads back to the small town he’d once been desperate to leave. Then a physical therapy appointment brings him face to face with a grown-up, sexier version of the boy he had once loved, and Linc finds himself hoping against all hope for one more chance.

Time kept them apart…

Love doesn’t last. That’s Kent Scott’s belief after watching his mother bounce from husband to husband. His own short-lived affair with Linc is further proof – especially since Linc had left without saying goodbye. Kent had resolved to never let love dig its claws into him again. Then Linc lands in Kent’s clinic, looking taller, broader, and more gorgeous than ever, and Kent feels the pull.

Time and tides renew…

With every heady moment spent in Linc’s presence, Kent’s resolve weakens. But when Kent discovers a secret, all his doubts and fears come rushing back. The time and tides of life were once strong enough to keep them apart, but will love be enough to keep these forces at bay?

Welcome to The Changing Tides Inn, the perfect getaway for those looking for a little romance.
Time and Tide is the second 77 000 word novel documenting the inn’s (and owner’s) impact on the lives of its guests and can be read as a standalone. Follow the guests’ adventures and be assured there will always be a happily ever after.


Kent made his way to the door, laptop tucked under his arm, but before he could get far, Linc’s hand snatched his. Startled, Kent looked back at Linc, who looked confused as he stared at their hands.

“Thank you, Kent,” Linc said after a long moment, dropping Kent’s hand. “This is the first time I’ve actually felt some relief since being home,” his voice trailed off, and he shrugged. “Just thank you.”

“Of course,” Kent said, not knowing what else to say. “We’re going to get you better, Linc. But it isn’t going to be easy.”

“You said that to me before,” Linc said, giving Kent a quick smile. “You’re probably not lying now either.”

Kent blinked at Linc before remembering the talk they had in the library during their first meeting as tutor and tutee. Kent had lost his patience with Linc, who had been moaning about baseball practice and the games coming up and how he was wasting so much time studying math with Kent when he should be in the gym. Kent had told him then and there that unless he gave some effort toward his math homework, Linc wouldn’t be playing ball period. That had shut Linc up enough to listen.

“It isn’t going to be easy,” Kent had said then. “But I guarantee that if you try, you’ll succeed.”

Thursday, July 30, 2020

ARC Review: People Like Us (Winsford Green 2) by Ruby Moone


Arthur Fitch clawed his way out of the violence and poverty of the slums of London to become a valet to the aristocracy. His ambition to secure a higher position led him to a disastrous appointment with a cold, brutal man, and when things come to a head, Arthur is forced to flee into a snowstorm to find safety.

Joseph Wilkinson is the Winsford Green blacksmith. He has a good life, good friends, owns a thriving business, but at the end of the day when he goes home, loneliness consumes him. When he stumbles upon a small man determinedly trudging through the snowstorm, he invites him into his home to shelter.

Arthur Fitch is older, smart-mouthed, and as prickly as hell. But, as Joe peels back the layers, he discovers a warm, funny, vulnerable man whose tastes in the bedchamber leave Joe gasping and desperate for more. Trouble is, having found the real Arthur Fitch, how can he convince him that life in a small town can be infinitely better than working for an Earl? That love really is possible for people like them? Particularly when Arthur’s past catches up with him in horrifying fashion.

Dani's rating:

I am officially in love with Winsford Green and its residents. Historical romances are my favorite, and Ruby Moone does a wonderful job creating a sense of time and place while crafting MCs that feel real and complex.

Joe is immensely likable. Hard working, kind, rugged, and handsome, Joe is the blacksmith of everyone's fantasies. Wait. Not everyone has blacksmith fantasies? Hmmm ... you're missing out, my friends.

Arthur, who's more than a decade Joe's senior, is harder to like. Self-contained, fussy, detached, Arthur likes to be in control in all ways but one. Arthur doesn't give in to his emotions, but there's something about Joseph that awakens his basest desires, and Joe plays Arthur's game beautifully.

People Like Us is full of feels. Arthur's abuse at the hands of a cruel lord, first witnessed in book one, made me rage, while his insecurity and shame, not to mention Joe's loneliness, made me want to weep. I expected that.

Blogtour: The Friendship List by Susan Mallery

Please welcome Susan Mallery with 

The Friendship List

Ellen and Unity have been best friends basically since birth, but they couldn’t be more different. Unity married her childhood sweetheart just after high school and became an Army wife, moving from base to base…until her husband's shocking death in the line of duty leaves her a widow. Grief-stricken, it’s time for Unity to come back home to Ellen—the only person she can trust to help her rebuild her life. But Ellen has troubles of her own. Boys never seemed to notice Ellen…until one got her pregnant in high school and disappeared. Her son is now 17 and she’s wondering what to do with herself now that he’s heading off to college and he's literally her entire world.

But now that Ellen and Unity are reunited, they’re done with their stale lives. It’s time to shake things up and start living again, knowing that they'll always have one another to lean on. So they create a list of challenges they have to accomplish--everything from getting a tattoo to skydiving to staying out all night. And whoever completes the most challenges is the winner. But with new adventures and love just around the corner, there’s no such thing as losing…

On Sale Date: August 4, 2020
9781335136961, 1335136967
$26.99 USD, $33.50 CAD
Fiction / Romance / Contemporary 

384 pages

Get the book:


Chapter One

“I should have married money,” Ellen Fox said glumly. “That would have solved all my problems.”

Unity Leandre, her best friend, practically since birth, raised her eyebrows. “Because that was an option so many times and you kept saying no?”

“It could have been. Maybe. If I’d ever, you know, met a rich guy I liked and wanted to marry.”

“Wouldn’t having him want to marry you be an equally important part of the equation?”

Ellen groaned. “This is not a good time for logic. This is a good time for sympathy. Or giving me a winning lottery ticket. We’ve been friends for years and you’ve never once given me a winning lottery ticket.”

Unity picked up her coffee and smiled. “True, but I did give you my pony rides when we celebrated our eighth birthdays.”

A point she would have to concede, Ellen thought. With their birthdays so close together, they’d often had shared parties. The summer they’d turned eight, Unity’s mom had arranged for pony rides at a nearby farm. Unity had enjoyed herself, but Ellen had fallen in love with scruffy Mr. Peepers, the crabby old pony who carried them around the paddock. At Ellen’s declaration of affection for the pony, Unity had handed over the rest of her ride tickets, content to watch Ellen on Mr. Peepers’s wide back.

“You were wonderful about the pony rides,” Ellen said earnestly, “And I love that you were so generous. But right now I really need a small fortune. Nothing overwhelming. Just a tasteful million or so. In return, I’ll give back the rides on Mr. Peepers.”

Unity reached across the kitchen table and touched Ellen’s arm. “He really wants to go to UCLA?”

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

ARC Review: When I First Saw Red by Kasia Bacon

From the Blurb:
RED: Lázhien’s human. A common Imperial soldier. And my soulmate. How could fate get it so wrong? The demon in me craves this bond with every shred of his being. He pushes me to accept it. This time I won’t yield to his demands.

LÁZHIEN: Red’s a lust demon, a whore and a stuck-up snob. The most beautiful man I’ve ever seen. Pain in the arse. And he hates my guts. I’d be an idiot to pursue him. Yet something about him compels me to make him mine.

When I First Saw Red is a complete and standalone short novel with an HEA ending, featuring a couple of reluctant fated soulmates—a demon and a human—trying and failing to defy destiny.

Ky's rating:

I think it's a given after so many successful stories that Kasia Bacon knows how to write a fantasy story with magical creatures. She has the ability to fit a full story in just a few pages and make it complete.

In her latest release, When I First Saw Red - a full length novel! - she plays again with fated mates (like in Rago). It's another unlikely pairing, this time between a human and a demon.

Bookblast: Two Princes by Maggie Blackbird

Book Title: Two Princes

Author: Maggie Blackbird

Publisher: Devine Destinies

Cover Artist: Martine Jardin

Release Date: June 12, 2020

Genre/s: Young Adult, multicultural, contemporary, LGBT romance

Trope/s: Friends to lovers

Themes: Coming of age

Heat Rating: No sexual content - only kissing 

Length: 67 345 words/ 235 pages

It is the second book in the When We Were Young series.

Buy Links

To win over the chief’s haughty son, a drug-dealing punk from a dysfunctional family must risk the only two things he has: his reputation and freedom.

Billy Redsky, a rebellious punk who loves art and nature, is saddled with a welfare-leeching, alcoholic mother and criminal older brother who are the joke of their Ojibway community. Sick and tired of being perceived as a loser, Billy deals drugs for his older brother to earn quick money. He hopes if he buys a dirt bike, he’ll finally impress the chief’s popular and aloof son, René Oshawee.

When the two are forced to serve detention together, a friendship blooms, but much to Billy’s frustration, René keeps putting him on ice. To make his biggest dream come true if he finally wants to call René his own, Billy must make a huge decision that could cost him everything.



At the same time, they entered the office doorway. Billy’s side received a sharp elbow jab, and his lungs almost hurled from his throat. Pain. Major pain.

René pointed at the chair. “Sit. I’m going first. Unlike you, I don’t got all day to be playing around.” He strode to the counter. “Is Mr. Carlson in? Mrs. Lamb sent me.” The attitude in his voice melted into an ass-kissing, respectful tone.

“What for?” The secretary, with a big beehive straight out of the sixties, stood.

René pointed his thumb over his shoulder. “Redsky got into my little cousin’s face. I have to talk to Mr. Carlson about it.”

“Okay. Let me buzz you in.” The swinging-sixties secretary reached for the phone.

Never mind his aching side. Billy scrambled from the chair. “I ain’t taking the rap for this. You started it, loser.”

René whipped around. “What’d you call me?”

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Re-release Spotlight: Braving The Rapids by Brandon Witt

We're delighted to announce the re-release of 

Braving The Rapids

by Brandon Witt

Rocky Mountain Boys #2

available now in Kindle 

Estes Park native Todd Fleece works hard to honor his obligations to family and the businesses he inherited, but only his friends and the horses at his ranch brighten Todd’s life. In fighting his attraction to his best friend’s ex-boyfriend, Todd has focused solely on his work, leaving little room in his life for finding love.

Matt Abel’s reckless youth put him on a path to a self-destructive life—his most painful failure was being a horrible father. He excels at extreme sports and living on the edge. Now back in Estes Park and teaching white-water rafting, Matt tries to reconnect with his mother and his grown daughter. When he runs into his ex’s friend Todd, Matt longs for more than a fling.

But achieving happiness isn’t simple, not with Todd’s family conflicts and Matt struggling not to slide back into alcoholism. With hurdles threatening to drive them apart, Todd and Matt try to find the courage to brave the rapids and face a future together….

Buy the book:

Todd Fleece

By the time we were finished at Hooves and Trails Ranch, we were both dripping sweat, and I was fairly certain the shirt I’d worn was ruined. I should’ve ignored my vanity and chosen a shirt I didn’t care about, but this one fit so perfectly on my chest and shoulders. With all the moving I’d known we were going to do….
After the last piece of junk had been loaded into the dumpsters, I locked them up to keep the bears from rummaging, as they liked to do. Suddenly another thought hit me. It had only filled up one of the dumpsters; I should’ve taken Matt to my house and used the dumpster there. Then I could suggest cleaning up real quick. I’d seen Matt’s mattress; my bed would serve our purposes much better. Too little, too late, though. I had no idea how to suggest that now without being completely blunt. So I didn’t.
We were only back in the truck for a couple of minutes before Matt broke the silence again. “I really appreciate all your help tonight. Seriously. How about I buy you dinner as payment? You gotta be hungry after all that.”
I was. Starving. And dinner with Matt…. “Yeah. That sounds great. How about we go to—” A horrid thought hit me. “Uhm. Actually. Maybe we could order a pizza to your place or something.”
Confusion flitted over Matt’s face, but only for a moment, and then it cleared. “I guess it wouldn’t do for anyone to see us together out to dinner, huh?”
Yep. He’d read my mind perfectly. “No. It’s not that. I’m just dirty and—”

Blogtour: Hairpin Curves by Elia Winters

Please say hello to Elia Winters with 

Hairpin Curves

RITA® Award—winning author Elia Winters delivers a sexy, playful frenemies-to-lovers road-trip romance.

Megan Harris had hopes of seeing the world, but at twenty-five she’s never even left Florida. Now a wedding invitation lures her to Quebec…in February. When her ex-friend Scarlett offers to be her plus-one (yeah, that’s a whole story) and suggests they turn the journey into an epic road trip, Megan reluctantly agrees to the biggest adventure of her life.

A week together in a car is a surefire way to kill a crush, and Scarlett Andrews has had a big one on Megan for years. The important thing is fixing their friendship.

As the miles roll away, what starts as harmless road-trip games and rest-stop dares escalates into something like intimacy. And when a surprise snowstorm forces Megan and Scarlett to hunker down without the open road as distraction, they’ve got a bigger challenge than making it to the church on time: facing the true nature of their feelings for each other.

Length: 320 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Imprint: Carina Press (Carina Adores)
On-Sale: July 28, 2020
Format: Trade Paperback *also available in ebook and audiobook formats.
Price: $14.99 U.S. 
ISBN: 9781335146656

Get the book:



Megan hadn’t brought a lot of clothing on this trip, anticipating getting to do laundry at some hotel along the way, but she had a couple of nice outfits in addition to the dress she planned to wear for the wedding. She selected an emerald green sweater dress from her suitcase. She was normally more of a jeans kind of girl, but this dress made her feel cute, and it felt very Nashville when she paired it with some knee-high boots. She gathered up her clothes and undergarments and headed for the bathroom.
When she left the bathroom, Scarlett was pinning up her curls into two buns up near the top of her head. It was one of the cutest hairstyles she wore, and one that always made Megan wish for something other than her own super-straight brown hair. Scarlett looked away from her hair when Megan entered the room, her gaze skimming down Megan’s body in a way that made Megan burn up inside.
Before Scarlett could say something, whether it was going to be a compliment or not, Megan blurted out, “I don’t know what to do with my hair.”
Scarlett tapped her lips, studying her like she was an interesting painting. “You want me to curl it?” Scarlett asked.
“My hair doesn’t curl.” Megan had never had any luck with that. “It’s too fine.”
Scarlett tucked the final bobby pin into her own style and walked over to Megan, running her hand through Megan’s hair. The contact sent a chill all down Megan’s spine. Oh, she wanted Scarlett to keep touching her like that.
“It’s pretty fine.” Scarlett gathered up a bunch of Megan’s hair in her hands. Megan shivered. Hopefully Scarlett wouldn’t notice the shiver. “It would curl if you didn’t wash it so much. You need it to get dirty.”
Megan laughed, and it sounded breathless coming out. “I don’t really do dirty.”
Scarlett still had the hold on her hair, and she tipped Megan’s head back to look at her. “You sure about that?”

Blogtour: Calla by Christina Bauer

Christina Bauer
(Pixieland Diaries #2)
Publication date: July 28th 2020
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

Book 2 of the Pixieland Diaries 
Big news in Pixieland! The Blue Fairy is sending our fave pixie, Calla, and her crush, Dare, on a mini-quest. 
Unfortunately it’s an adventure that requires a lot of togetherness. We’re talking tons of touching, people. 
Blue believes that since Calla and Dare are just friends, this situation shouldn’t be awkward. 
It’s totally awkward.

***A 30,000+ word diary written by Calla*** 
“I absolutely love Christina Bauer’s style, full of action, intense scenes, and characters that will test one’s imaginations to the max!”Tome Tender Book Blog 
1. Pixieland Diaries
2. Calla
3. Dare

Opening Excerpt

Day Seventy-Five

Dear Diary,

Ba ba ba ba ba ba BAAAAA!

I now have a master plan for entrapping my elf subjects. Not to toot my own horn about this scheme, but toot toot. The brilliance of my scheme is that it’s based on one of the greatest secrets in all elfdom. In fact, if this truth were known, it could upend the very balance of power between Earth and Faerie.

I’ll share it here anyway because in my heart I shall always be a nasty-ass pixie.

My Mind-Blowing Secret Of The Elves

Behold: If you want to lure elves somewhere, just leave out a bowl of Cheetos. That stuff is elf crack. The end.

Amazing, am I right? 

Last time I used bait, I chose fairy dust. Big miss. Someone cast a spell protecting my people from being magically summoned. Since fairy dust is magic—or in the case of what I left out, it’s also boobytrapped with even more magic—that set off the protection spell. No one showed up.

This time, I’m using an elf lure that is magic free. One might think the lowly Cheeto is not up to this mighty task. One would be sorely mistaken. 

Mysteries of the Cheeto

Monday, July 27, 2020

ARC Review: High Heat (Hotshots 2) by Annabeth Albert


Smoke jumping is Garrick Nelson’s life. Nothing, not severe injuries nor the brutal physical therapy that follows, is going to stop him from getting back with his crew. But when a lost dog shows up on his front porch, he can’t turn her away, and he can’t take care of her on his own. Thankfully, help comes in the form of his new sexy, dog-loving neighbor. As they work together, trying to re-home their little princess, Garrick can’t resist his growing attraction for the other man, even though he knows this guy isn’t the staying type.

Rain Fisher doesn’t take anything too seriously. He dances through life, one adventure at a time, never settling in one place for too long. When his hot, conveniently buff, neighbor shows up on his doorstep, dog in tow, Rain’s determined to not just save the adorable puppy, but her reluctant owner as well. He never expects their flirtation might tempt him into stay put once and for all...

Dani's rating:

Hotshots is another great series from the talented Annabeth Albert that I highly recommend for all men in uniform groupies. Actually, scratch that. Anyone who likes alpha males badass enough to fight fires should enjoy this series.

High Heat features an age gap and hurt/comfort overtones. Garrick and Rain are an unlikely couple, what with Garrick being a former smoke jumper recovering from a terrible accident that happened in book one and Rain being a hippy vegan.

But Garrick is pan and open about his sexuality. He loves that Rain has a femme side. Garrick and Rain bond over a lost dog that Garrick is most definitely not going to keep. Rain names the dog Cookie and makes himself useful by walking Cookie every day. It has naught to do with wanting to see Garrick. Of course not.

Garrick is struggling with his recovery. He wants to return to smoke jumping, but his body is rebelling. Garrick can walk with the help of crutches, but he mostly uses a wheelchair. He has an incomplete spinal injury and is determined to beat the odds.

Blogtour: High Heat by Annabeth Albert

Please welcome Annabeth Albert with 

High Heat 

Hotshots #2

Annabeth Albert’s Hotshots series continues—the emotions and intensity of
Chicago Fire with the raw, natural elements of Man vs. Wild.

Smoke jumping is Garrick Nelson’s life. Nothing, not severe injuries nor the brutal physical therapy that follows, is going to stop him from getting back with his crew. But when a lost dog shows up on his front porch, he can’t turn her away, and he can’t take care of her on his own. Thankfully, help comes in the form of his new sexy, dog-loving neighbor. As they work together, trying to re-home their little princess, Garrick can’t resist his growing attraction for the other man, even though he knows this guy isn’t the staying type.

Rain Fisher doesn’t take anything too seriously. He dances through life, one adventure at a time, never settling in one place for too long. When his hot, conveniently buff, neighbor shows up on his doorstep, dog in tow, Rain’s determined to not just save the adorable puppy, but her reluctant owner as well. He never expects their flirtation might tempt him into stay put once and for all...
Length: 352 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Imprint: Carina Press
eBook On-Sale: July 27, 2020
eBook ISBN & Price: 9781488057069, $4.99 U.S.
MMP On-Sale: July 28, 2020
MMP ISBN & Price: 9781335459510, $8.99 U.S.

Get the book:


 Danger lurks everywhere for Central Oregon’s fire crews, but the biggest risk of all might be losing their hearts. Don’t miss the Hotshots series from Annabeth Albert: Burn Zone, High Heat, and Feel the Fire.


Emerging from the bathroom, he pulled up short in front of the bed where a very happy, very sleepy Cookie was lounging against his pillows.
“Hey! I thought I told you to lie on your bed.”
Thump. Thump. Wagging her tail, she gave him a canine grin.
“That’s the people bed. Yours is over there.” He pointed at her bed. “Go lie down.”
Helpfully, she scooted over about ten inches but otherwise didn’t seem inclined to budge.
“Five minutes, okay? Five minutes and then you’re going to your bed.” Sitting next to her, he adjusted the bed’s angle. Replacing his previous cheap king set with this setup had been a bit of a splurge, but it beat the rental hospital bed he’d had at his dad’s. He was a big guy. He needed his space. And he was not prepared to share that space with a stubborn pooch.
“Go lay down,” he tried again after giving her some pats, but all she did was move to the foot of the other side of the bed. Yawning and out of energy, he was no match for a stubborn dog. “Fine, fine. Let’s not tell Rain that you rejected his bed selection.”
Usually nights were hard—his pain level tended to spike at night in unpredictable ways, his sleep could be 
fitful, and his mind raced through hundreds of dismal scenarios. He’d never had an anxiety problem before the accident, but lately, calming down at night was particularly problematic. If he was physically exhausted, it was easier, but then physical tiredness tended to mean more pain, which meant more sleeplessness, which meant more time for worries to charge back up.
But that night he didn’t even need to play on his phone and was asleep even before he could try again to get Cookie to move. The next thing he knew it was morning—and not crack-of-dawn morning either, but a sunny eight o’clock. A banging noise was coming from the front door.
Had to be Rain come to walk the dog. And sure enough, his phone was full of several missed messages from Rain asking about a time to come over.
“Coming,” he hollered. Hell. No time to get dressed. Letting Cookie lead the way, he used the crutches to get as far as the wheelchair, then switched to the faster method to get to the door.
“Oh, good! You survived the night!” Rain greeted him cheerily. “And uh—wow. Um. You need me to wait a minute?”
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