Thursday, July 28, 2016

Cosmic Inception Release Tour Prize Winners!!

Cosmic Inception Release Tour Winners!!

$10 Gift Card - Jodi C.

$5 Gift Card - Breeze

The Experiment & Adverse Effects eBook copies - Jen F.

Thank you to everyone who followed the Cosmic Inception Release Tour and made it such a success!!

*e-mails have been sent to the winners, so check your inbox!*

Cover Reveal! Wide Open Spaces by Renee Stevens

Check out the awesome cover for Renee Steven's newest release in Dreamspinner's States of Love novella series!!


(Did you know Renee Stevens took the picture of these horses in her state, Wyoming?!)


Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Maria Fanning

Pre-order Release Date: 7/28/2016
Official Release Date: 8/31/2016

Genre: Contemporary
Series: States of Love
Length: 35,659 Words
Rating: Adult/Mature


Devon fled Wyoming as soon as he turned eighteen, leaving behind his high school love, Levi. After six years in the big city, Devon returns to his hometown. Not much has changed, except that Levi is no longer in the closet. He’s also single and living his dream—managing the local wild horse population. Both of them are very interested in picking up where they left off, but Devon is no more ready to reveal his orientation than he was as a teenager.

No one is going to shove Levi back in the closet—not even Devon. For a relationship to work, they’ll have to put the past behind them and find the courage to face the future as who they really are—a couple in love. But Devon doesn’t know if he’s strong enough. Maybe Levi would be better off without him—and his hang-ups.  

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.


Devon sank down on his couch as exhaustion swamped him. Most of it was from moving in, but the change in elevation didn’t help. He’d gotten used to being closer to sea level, so going back to the dry air at over six thousand feet was going to take some getting used to.

Bloody noses had become the norm while he stayed with Blake. Devon didn’t want to deal with them repeatedly and considered getting a humidifier until he managed to acclimate.

He looked around his living room. Boxes were scattered everywhere, and he should be unpacking, but he was too tired. At least he hadn’t had to carry everything in himself. Blake, Travis, and Seth were waiting for him when he pulled into the apartment complex. They shrugged off his objections and insisted they had nothing better to do. Devon appreciated it, but he wasn’t comfortable around them anymore. He managed to be a proper host, but damn, he was glad they left after a couple beers each. They made noise about getting together again soon, but Devon had used getting settled in as an excuse to keep from committing to anything.

He stood and wandered into his small kitchen. He didn’t bother opening the fridge or any of the cupboards. He knew they were empty. His stomach growled, reminding him he hadn’t eaten for a while. Devon dug his keys out of his pocket and headed for the door. He’d get something to eat and then maybe stop at the store to pick up a few staples. Paper plates, sandwich fixings, some chips, and he’d be good for a couple of days. At least it would give him time to get a few things—like pots and pans—unpacked. Then he could do a full grocery shop.

An hour later he was comfortably full from a greasy burger, fries, and a shake. He’d never eaten a lot of fast food, but he had few other options. He headed to Walmart, determined to stick to his list of sandwich stuff and maybe some eggs. Surely he could dig out some pans before the food expired. He headed to the chips first and scanned for the familiar bag of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles. They were his all-time favorite, though he also knew he’d want something else after a day or two. So he grabbed a couple of other bags and headed for the eggs and then the freezer aisle.

Sandwiches and chips would get old fast. He found some frozen breakfast sandwiches he could microwave, tossed them in the cart, and moved on. Frozen lasagna quickly joined the few other items in his cart, followed by some potpies, a few TV dinners, and a bag of chimichangas. So what if he wasn’t sticking to his mental list?

He was more focused on getting groceries for the next few days than on the people around him.


He froze when a familiar voice spoke his name. He closed his eyes briefly, ducked his head, and steeled himself. He knew it would happen eventually, when he found out Levi still lived there. He thought he’d have more time to prepare. He swallowed—hard—and turned to face the man who had at one time meant everything to him. The man he’d risked being found out for. He lifted his head and gazed into the moss-colored eyes.


About the Author

Renee Stevens first started writing in her teens but didn’t get serious about being an author until her mid-twenties. Since then she’s written a number of contemporary stories, as well as delved into the paranormal. When not writing, or spending time in the outdoors, Renee can usually be found working on in her capacity of Admin, Blog Coordinator, and Anthology Coordinator.

Renee resides in Wyoming with her wonderfully supportive husband and a menagerie of four-legged critters. Making the most of the nearly constant negative temperatures and mounds of snow, Renee spends much of the winter months in hibernation with her laptop, the voices in her head keeping her company while her husband works.

When she needs a break from writing, Renee takes to the sewing machine to design, and make, beautiful quilts. When the snow finally disappears, usually around May or June, Renee can be found in the great-outdoors. She spends her time on the mountain, at the lake, and just anywhere that she can do some camping, take some photos, and ride the four-wheelers with her hubby. Once back at home, it’s back to writing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wednesday Briefs: Mine! Chapter 11

Another week, another update to Kraig and Deke's story! This one was inspired by the prompt: "What did you just say?" Enjoy!

Chapter 11

I swallowed hard and consciously controlled my breathing. Kraig’s forehead was wrinkled and he was clenching my hand so hard his knuckles turned white. His whole body shuddered as he let out a deep breath.

“They strapped me down and took blood, skin samples, saliva, semen”—I saw red knowing what they must have done to him to get that—“but the worst part was when they strapped my head down, drilled holes in my skull, and attached wires to my brain.”

Horror consumed me. “They invaded your brain?” So much could’ve gone wrong and Kraig could’ve been damaged for life, if not killed outright.

“More than once.” Kraig dipped his head and pointed to faint depressions on his skull. “They asked me questions while the wires were in there but other times they just zapped me over and over. I wanted to fight them, but I was too weak. They kept injecting me with stuff, and I never got enough food or water. The only time I stood up was when they dragged me from my cage to the chair but after a while I couldn’t even walk.”

I wrapped around him and held him close, rage and terror impossible to suppress. “I will find everyone involved, and they will all die.” I growled. “Every. Single. Person.”

Thankfully Kraig didn’t pull away because I needed his scent and the warmth of his body tight to him. My tiger soul was raging, and it was all I could do to restrain my urge to tear into someone. Kraig put his hand on my chest and held it there. Gradually his purring drowned out my growls as I regained control.

“Can we stop talking about this right now?” I asked. “Just spend some time enjoying the peace?”

“Fine by me.”

I pushed off with one foot and started the swing moving gently. Free time to just relax had been practically non-existent since the mantle of leadership had fallen onto my shoulders when my dad died. Resigned to a life only half-lived with Kraig gone, I’d thrown myself into the streak. I’d been trained well, and our streak was tight-knit, so my youth wasn’t as much of a problem as it could’ve been. Park had reestablished our boundary lines to ensure no other groups tried to take over the far territories, and I’d kept things settled here at home.

“Alpha!” A shout broke the silence. Kraig yelped and flinched. I reacted to his fear and the strident tone Park only used when things were really wrong. By the time Park had thundered through the house and onto the back porch I had Kraig against the wall and hidden behind me.

Park skidded to a halt far too close. I bared my fangs and hissed. He stepped back. “What’s is it?” I asked once he was out of arm’s reach.

He glanced over his shoulder and frowned. “Hold on.” He turned away.

“Stop! What did you just say? You do not come running up shouting and then tell me to hold on,” I roared.

“Ritch isn’t here.” Park looked over his shoulder again.

“Who is Ritch?” I flicked my claws out. My patience was rapidly running out.

“The visitor I told you about, remember? I need to find him. He came over here with me.”

“So there’s no danger.”

Park finally stilled and met my eyes, his expression deadly serious. “There’s danger, but it’s not knocking on the door quite yet.”

Kraig had both hands on my back. He rubbed them up and down. “Let him go so I can help you calm down.”

I nodded. “Fine. Go find the human werekin.” Park took off like a shot. I took several deep breaths, wanting to calm down before I helped Kraig back to the swing.

“A human werekin? A stranger?”

“Your brother called while you were sleeping and told me about him. Park’s a capable Beta, so I told him to find out why he was here.”

“But I haven’t had a chance to tell you everything! The doctor wasn’t working with another alpha, at least not a bonded werekin alpha. He was working with human werekin and other pure humans.”

“Inside, now.” I snatched Kraig up and rushed him in the house, locking the front door first. “You have to stay safe.” I paused by the stairs to the basement, but I wasn’t that stupid, even so close to a rage. The downstairs bathroom was too small for a person to climb through, and the door had a lock. Kraig would be as safe as he could get there. I did fling the drawer in the kitchen open and pull out the gun lock box.

“Do you think you can still shoot this?”

Kraig’s eyes were flat. “I won’t let anyone take me again. I’ll be able to shoot,” he said grimly.

To be safer I put him in the tub. I handed him the box. “The combo is your birthday,” I said. He grabbed my hand and squeezed it hard.

“You stay safe too,” he ordered.

I locked the door but left my keys inside. Kraig would hear me shouting if it was safe to let me in the house... or he’d hear someone breaking the door down because that was the only way they were getting in. And they’d have to go through me to do it.

After checking the knob again, I stepped down off the porch. My heart pounded, flooding my body with adrenaline. My vision sharpened, and I couldn’t stand still. I paced in front of the steps, watching and listening.

The human werekin’s scent came to me before I saw him. He was tall and muscular, nearly as large as the men in my streak, but I was still bigger. Park rounded the corner of the house, a step behind him.

“Stop right there,” I snarled. “Who are you?”
“My name is Ritch.” The stranger’s voice was calm... too calm to be facing a raging alpha.


Want more flash fiction? Check out these other updates:

Friday, July 22, 2016

Special Post: Envisioning Afiowa Tau

Want to see one of the planets Nick and Fieo visit during their journey in Cosmic Inception? Visit Nephy's World to see today's post, Envisioning Alien Worlds Part 1! Don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter contest while you're there.

You're probably guessing there will be a Part 2... yep! Keep an eye out for another planet later in the Cosmic Inception Release Tour.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wednesday Briefs: Mine! Chapter 10

Another week, another update! If you haven't noticed yet *snorts* Cosmic Inception is live and I'm running a Release Tour with another contest for readers, so make sure you check that out. In the meantime, if you can't get a copy of CI, you can still read my weekly flash story for now. This week's installment was inspired by the prompt: Use an animal. Enjoy!!

Chapter Ten

“I’m not a glutton for punishment, so I’ll call Uncle Radford this weekend. I don’t want to talk to him after he’s had to teach a freshman class.”

“Trust me, I get it. You wouldn’t believe the lectures he gave me about proper behavior and appreciating that this streak allowed human werekin to pursue higher education.” Kraig covered the bandage around the bad wound on his wrist. “Not that I ever got to attend a class.”

“You don’t have to talk about that right now. Do you feel up to going for a walk in the garden? Or we can just sit on the back deck swing. It should be shaded right now.”

“Try the swing and then see how it goes? I haven’t walked very far.”

“We’ll go a little farther each day, and you’ll get stronger in no time.” I got up and grabbed a bag out of the sitting room. “Your mom brought you some more of your clothes.”

“Great.” Kraig dumped the bag out on the bed and grabbed a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. He managed to get them on by himself, which gave me some hope he was already feeling better until he stood up and the shorts fell around his ankles and the shirt hung off his shoulders. Kraig had never been one to wear baggy clothes, but they were at least three sizes too big now.

“It’s fine,” I said. I knelt in front of him and pulled the shorts up. “You can tie them.”

“I should’ve done that before I stood up.” Park smirked. “Or maybe I just wanted the alpha on his knees in front of me.”

A growl rose up from my throat. “Do you want me to show you what I can do from down here?” I leaned forward and nuzzled his groin then flashed a fang at him.

His eyes widened. “Um. No teeth.”

“You’d love it.” I stood up. “But we can’t stay in bed all day.”

“We got up for breakfast,” Kraig pointed out. “Even visited with my family.”

“Swing. Garden. Fresh Air.”

Naked longing passed across Kraig’s face. “Yeah,” he said softly.

Determination was the only thing that got Kraig down the stairs on his feet. I went down two stairs in front of him so he could brace himself on my shoulders, and we took it one step at a time. By the time we got to the back door he was shaking. He heaved a huge sigh of relief as soon as I helped him ease down onto the cushioned swing.

“It’s bright.” He squinted but took a deep breath. “I forgot how good your mom’s roses smelled. They’re bigger than ever.”

“Your mom and Anita come over all the time. You know me—I have a black thumb.” Kraig was going to get a headache if he kept squinting. “Hold on, I’ll be right back. Door’s open and I’m just going to the front hall.”


I grabbed my sunglasses and a throw off the living room couch. Kraig smiled when I handed him the glasses to put on while I tucked the blanket around us both. I wasn’t cold, but I wanted to make sure he stayed warm.

Small mammals didn’t come around—wild animals tended to recognize our nature—but there were butterflies flitting around the vibrant flowers bobbing in the light breeze.

“You’re quiet.” I said after a while.

“There’s so much going on in my head right now,” Kraig stared straight out in the yard. “The biggest one is why the doctor brought me back here.”

“You don’t have to—”

“Stop saying that!” Kraig snapped. “You keep saying I don’t have to say stuff but it’s here in my head. I have to get it out.”

He was right. “I’m sorry. You are the one who lived in that hell for two years, but every time you tell me something, I have fight back my rage. I want to hunt down everyone who hurt you. You’re in pain, and that makes it hard in here.” He pressed a hand against his chest.

Kraig took a deep breath. “I know, I’m sorry too. I didn’t mean to snap. I know you have a lot on your plate as the alpha of the streak, and now there’s this whole... thing.” He waved his hand. “This was more than one doctor. There were others—other victims, other people working with the doctor, and probably more behind the scenes I don’t know about. I need to talk about what I know so maybe we can figure out what was really going on.”

“Okay. We’ll start at the beginning.” I took a deep breath and traced a line down Kraig’s finger to the sharp claws that tipped his fingers. “Tell me what you remember from when they first took you.”

“I was driving to college, and I stopped in some little town for gas. When I got back in my car, there was a guy in the backseat. He made me drive, holding a gun on me. I thought it was a carjacking, so I was scared but didn’t... I didn’t expect it when he had me pull over and he shot me with a tranquilizer. I don’t really remember anything after that for a few days, just hazy memories.”

I squeezed Kraig’s hand. “What is the first thing you do remember?”

Kraig went very still. “The cages.”

Just the thought of Kraig in a cage made me growl. He turned his hand over and gripped mine.

“There was a tiger in one, but the rest were empty. I could curl up on my side, sit with my head bent forward, or crouch on my hands and knees, but that was it.”

“They took him out of his cage all the time, and not for exercise. His screams echoed off the walls. I knew, the first time they came for me, it was going to be bad.”

Want more flash? Check out these other authors:
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Monday, July 18, 2016

Now Available: Cosmic Inception Saving Caeorleia Book 3!!

Today and Tomorrow Get Cosmic Inception 25% off at Dreamspinner Press!

Buy Links:

To celebrate the release of the third novel in my Saving Caeorleia series, I'm running a Release Tour with all sorts of exclusive excerpts, author posts (get a few glimpses of the worlds they visit!) interviews, and more! You'll be able to enter multiple times with my Rafflecopter contest so make sure you visit all the stops over the next 10 days.

Blog Tour Stops:
7-19: Brilliant Disguise  :  Sinfully Gay Romance

7-20: M.A. Church  :  Prism Book Alliance

7-21: Love Bytes Reviews

7-22: Nephy Hart :  The Novel Approach

7-23: Jim’s Blog  :  Carol Pedroso   

7-24: Mann Ramblings   

7-25: Full Moon Dreaming   :  Dog-eared Daydreams

7-26: Denise Wyant  :  Man2ManTastic

7-27: Renee Stevens  :  Bayou Book Junkie

7-28: Cia's Stories: Winners Revealed!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wednesday Briefs: Mine! Chapter 9

This week's moving right along as we delve into things that might be hard for Kraig and Deke. Inspired by the prompt, "Don't look at me like that." Enjoy!!

Chapter Nine

“Let me find out what he knows,” Park said. “He’ll talk to me.”

“Is he a danger?” That was the biggest worry I had. I didn’t like this stranger showing up right after I found Kraig again. “I won’t tolerate any risk to the streak.”

“I don’t think so, but I’ll watch him closely.”

“Come over when you know more. I’m sure Kraig would like to spend more time with you. Tomorrow, though.” I was reining in my instincts as much as possible, but I chafed at the responsibilities taking me away from Kraig’s side. We deserved time together, but I was torn by my duties to our streak.

And I really had to read more of that sadistic prick of a doctor’s files. After I hung up with Park, I grabbed my laptop. I wasn’t going to make the same mistake. If Kraig needed me to keep the nightmares he faced in the darkness away, I was going to do that.

The bed hardly dipped as I gingerly sat on the bed, but Kraig still rolled toward me. He nestled his head against my side, sighed, and then settled back down. I waited for a few minutes for the log in screen to come up, and then I had to go through several other layers of encryption to get at the late doctor’s files, some he’d had in place and some I added to keep everyone else out.

Medical jargon took me forever to understand since I had to look things up online every few sentence. I’d examined the newest records before I wreaked punishment on the doctor, and I skipped those. Knowing they were about the abuse he heaped on Kraig... I’d lose it. I couldn’t afford to do that while he was sleeping.

“Antiparallel, baceteriophage, souls...” I ran a hand over the stubble that was all that remained of my ruff. I missed running my hands through it and tugging on the coarse strands. Sighing, I leaned my head back and banged it on the wall.

“What are you doing?” Kraig asked. He yawned and then sat up so he was pressed against me shoulder to shoulder. He stiffened. “I know what that is.”

“You do?”

“The... doctor.” Kraig curled his lip and growled. “The bastard liked to talk. Brag to the other people who came to the lab. “

My tiger didn’t like the fear I could smell from Kraig, even though he tried to disguise it with his snarl. “I don’t want to upset you, make you remember.”

“But I can’t make them go away by pretending they don’t exist either. You’re helping me, and I can help you.”

Maybe it would help him. What was I going to do? Tell him no and watch the tatters of his self-worth stripped away completely? This had been done to him, and he deserved to know how and why, if we could figure it out.

“Okay. The dates on this are from before you left. I don’t think he’s talking about you.” I pointed at the file meta data.

“There were others before me and while I was there.” Kraig reached over my lap and scrolled down. “See, there. He took away our names and gave us each a designation.”

That chilled me. “He couldn’t take away your name. It’s yours,” I said vehemently. Kraig gave me a look. “What?”

“You go enough days without food or water you’ll learn what you’re called isn’t as important as the fact your mouth and throat are so dry you can’t even swallow.” Kraig’s voice broke, like he was back there again, starving and dying of thirst. “Then you’re given just enough water to keep you alive, but never enough to take away the all-consuming thirst, and the only way to get it is to sacrifice what you have to in order to survive.”

I shoved the computer off my lap, and reached for him. He squeaked as I lifted him and turned Kraig so he straddled my lap.

“What are you doing?”

Speaking was beyond me. I stared at him.

“Don’t,” Kraig whispered. “Don’t look at me like that.” He slid his hands behind my neck and pulled me forward. I pressed my forehead against his chest.

“I can’t help it. I hate what he did to you.”

“Thank you. But as your mate I never have to live like that again.”

“You don’t.” I rubbed my cheeks against him, marking his skin with my scent. “You’ll never be alone again.”

My back was aching, and Kraig’s legs were starting to shake. I helped him back on the bed, and he picked up the laptop. “Show me what you saw that made you invade the doctor’s house.”

“Go up. Not quite the top, right... there.” I pointed at a file. “That one. This is the report on my profile. He was running it alongside another tiger’s blood work—yours, actually. It’s weaker than mine, but I think he was trying to splice it together. I thought he wanted to make another tiger stronger than me so they could take over my territory because he was exchanging emails with members of at least two other streaks.”

“You still have those?”

“Yeah. I cloned everything I could access remotely.”

“I wonder why he was mixing our blood. I didn’t see any tiger werekin after we moved this last time. I haven’t been a human werekin since the first few months... so what else was he trying to do to me?”

“The answer has to be here somewhere. I just don’t understand it.”

“You’re going to have to call in someone who can.” Kraig frowned. “Is...?”

“Uncle Radford is still teaching at the junior college, if that’s who you’re thinking about.” I knew my face mirrored his. “And he would be the best person to bring in on this considering his field of expertise is science.”

“Is he still a total asshole now that you’re alpha?”

I blew out a breath. “Worse.”

Want more? Check out the other Briefers updates this week!
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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Exclusive Excerpts from the popular A More Perfect Union Anthology!

Today I've featuring Exclusive Excerpts from A More Perfect Union, a four-author featured anthology focused on the joy that is marriage equality in the US!

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

B.G. Thomas
J. Scott Coatsworth
Jamie Fessenden
Michael Murphy
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Length: 104K / 350 Pages
Format: eBook, Paperback
Release Date: 6/26/16
Pairing: MM
Price: 6.99, 17.99


On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made a monumental decision, and at long last, marriage equality became the law of the land. That ruling made history, and now gay and lesbian Americans will grow up in a country where they will never be denied the right to marry the person they love.

But what about the gay men who waited and wondered all of their lives if the day would ever come when they could stand beside the person they love and say “I do”?

Here, four accomplished authors—married gay men—offer their take on that question as they explore same-sex relationships, love, and matrimony. Men who thought legal marriage was aright they would never have. Men who, unbelievably, now stand legally joined with the men they love. With this book, they share the magic and excitement of dreams that came true—in tales of fantasy and romance with a dose of their personal experiences in the mix.

To commemorate the anniversary of full marriage equality in the US, this anthology celebrates the idea of marriage itself—and the universal truth of it that applies to us all, gay or straight.

Someday, by B.G. Thomas

Lucas Arrowood is walking to school on his first day of kindergarten when he meets Dalton Churchill—a boy who stops and helps him tie his shoe. He knows from that moment he is going to marry that boy one day.  “Boys can’t marry other boys,” his mother explains, but that doesn’t stop Lucas. He knows what he wants.

He and Dalton become best friends—and then, no matter how much he resists, Dalton falls in love with Lucas. Dalton's very conservative family can't accept that their boy loves another boy, but finally Dalton stands up for love and for Lucas. Still, he declares he won't marry Lucas until it is legal everywhere. He hates the “Commitment Ceremonies” gay men have. They aren’t the real thing. Why bother?

So Lucas waits for his day. The day same-sex marriage finally becomes legal and he can be joined forever with the love of his life.

     My thoughts: I loved how focused Lucas was in the story, and with friends-to-lovers being a favorite trope of mine, B.G.'s story really hit the mark for me. I will say I wanted to smack Dalton a few times but you'll have to read the story to find out why. I will admit I giggled through the whole scene in the except because it is just so classic!

Exclusive Excerpt:

“Samantha drank and twirled the bottle.

It landed on Julie.

The two of them looked at each other in surprise. Samantha looked at Diego, her face a question.

“Go on!” growled Diego. “No exceptions. None.”

Samantha looked at Julie, who shrugged, and then they did it. They kissed.

Wow. Girls kissing. Who’d have thought such a thing?

He bit his lips—thought about it.

Well, why not?”

“And then Julie was kissing Diego again. And then Diego and Samantha. And then Samantha and Dalton. (Aaaarrrghhhh!) And then….

Dalton sent the bottle spinning—

(woop woop woop)

—and it landed on Lucas.

Lucas’s eyes flew wide. His mouth fell open. He looked up into Dalton’s equally surprised face. Lucas closed his mouth with an audible click.

Dalton sat back on his heels. “I’m not kissing my best friend!” he objected.

“Oh yes you are!” shouted Samantha. “Julie and I kissed, and I am not missing two boys kissing!”

Lucas’s heart was trip-hammering.

He locked eyes with Dalton.

Dalton locked eyes with him.

“God damn do it, Dalton,” snapped Diego.

“Fuck,” muttered Dalton. Lucas had never heard him say “fuck.”

“Do it!” said Julie.

Fucking do it!” said Samantha.

Would he?

And then Dalton’s eyes closed and he leaned toward him and—

This is it.

—they kissed.

It lasted only a second. A brief moment. Dalton’s lips against his.

Lucas thought his heart would explode.

And he quite suddenly understood why people kissed.

Flames, by J. Scott Coatsworth

Alex and Gio had a big fight, and Alex ran away. Then a fire at home destroyed the life they had built together, and threatened to take Gio away from him.

Alex had always thought love was enough to keep them together. Why did they need wedding rings or legal certificates? But now, with Gio lost in a coma, his mother has banished Alex from his side.

What if Alex’s voice is the only thing that can bring Gio back from the brink? Their memories are all Gio has left, and the urge to just let go is getting stronger.

Still, nothing can keep Alex from Gio's side. If it’s against the rules, he’ll break them. In stolen moments alone together, Alex fights to bring him back, one memory at a time.

My thoughts: I felt so, so bad for Alex and Gio when reading this story. I was married to my husband just 3 weeks before we had a major accident, and I was so thankful he was in charge versus my parents when it came to my care when I wasn't able to make my own decisions. That just reinforced the theme of marriage in this anthology, and gave me a whole new appreciation for it.

Exclusive Excerpt:

Gio sat on the floor. At least he assumed it was the floor. It was white. Everything was white. The ceiling, the walls, the floor. His breath.


The atmosphere muffled the word like a thick mist, although it wasn’t cold or damp. He stood, putting his hand out in front of him. It disappeared about a foot away, enveloped by the strange thick air.

He was naked.

His right hand was warm, as if someone was holding it, but when he brought it up to eye level, there was nothing else there.

“Is anyone out there?” he called again. As before, his words were muffled.

The room seemed to press down on him like layers of soft cloth, pushing in on all sides. His heart beat faster, and he struggled to breathe. He started to panic. He was trapped, boxed in on all sides. He could die here.

And then he realized he couldn’t even remem“ber his own name.

He jumped up and pushed forward into the white murk, trying to run. But the bonds of the white air seemed to tighten around his arms and legs. It was like running underwater.

He was going to drown here.

He redoubled his efforts, but the air pushed back harder.

Then he felt something else. Warmth suffused his forehead, and a disembodied voice spoke clearly to him.

Oscar’s gonna take care of you now for a couple minutes. I love you, Gio.

Of course! He remembered. He did have a name.

It was Gio.

Destined, by Jamie Fessenden

When Jay and Wallace first meet at an LGBTQ group, they have no idea they’ll be dating six years later. In fact, they quickly forget each other’s names. But although fate continues to throw them together, the timing is never quite right. Finally they’re both single and  realize they want to be together… but now they can’t find each other! With determination and the help of mutual friends, Jay and Wallace can finally pursue the relationship they’ve both wanted for so long.

It’s only the beginning of the battles they’ll face to build a life together.

From disapproving family members all the way to the state legislature, Jay and Wallace’s road to happily ever after is littered with obstacles. But they’ve come too far to give up the fight.

My thoughts: Geekdom reigns!! These guys kept coming together based on their shared interests, and that is what I liked most about the story. Sure, they both wanted each other, but things were never right until suddenly they were. This was a feel good story that pulled me in from beginning to end, not the least because they were such huge geeks like me. LOL

Exclusive Excerpt
At the end of the summer, he ran into Steve again at Café on the Corner. He’d been wanting to find him, but they hadn’t exchanged contact info the last time they’d met, so it was just chance that Steve walked in one Thursday evening as Jay was relaxing after work.

“Jay!” Steve sat down without an invite. “How you been?”

“Okay, I guess.” Jay gave him the Reader’s Digest version of his breakup with Doug and the past few months of dating.

“That sucks. I broke up with Caroline a while ago, but it was kind of a mutual thing. I’m happy being single for a while.”

Jay sighed and took a sip of his café latte. “I wish I could say the same. But I really hate being alone. Does that sound pathetic?”

“Just a little,” Steve said with a laugh. Then, perhaps seeing the look of dismay on Jay’s face, he added more soberly, “I think some people are just cut out to be alone and others aren’t.”

“I’m not saying I’m going to shack up with anybody who will take me,” Jay said defensively.

“No, of course not.”

Still, Jay felt a bit pathetic. He just hated coming home to an empty house.

“There was one guy I felt a connection with,” he said. “More than I ever did with Doug. Though we only hung out for an afternoon.”

Steve emptied the packets of sugar he’d picked up at the counter into his coffee. “He didn’t want to stick around?”

“I think he kind of did.” At least he wanted to believe that. “But this was back when I was still with Doug, so we kind of went our separate ways.”

Steve stirred the sugar in. “So call him up now.”

“We didn’t exchange numbers. I can’t even “remember what his name was—it was a couple years ago.”

“That sucks.”

“Yeah.” Jay hesitated before blurting out, “Do you happen to know where Julie and her husband moved to?”

Steve paused in the act of taking a sip of coffee, then set the cup down. He looked thoughtful. “Not really. Somewhere way up north, I think. Mark got a job offer in the Berlin area he couldn’t pass up.”

“Oh.” Jay tried to hide his disappointment.

“But I have their number, if you’d like it.”

Jeordi and Tom, by Michael Murphy

Living as an open, loving gay couple in the rural South isn’t easy—even today.

When Jeordi and Tom move in together and come out to their families, Jeordi's family does not take the news especially well. When yelling doesn’t work, they send in one sibling after another to try to separate the couple. When that fails, they call out their pastor to help Jeordi see the error of his ways. But Jeordi’s love for Tom is greater than anything they throw at them.

When an accident sends Jeordi to the hospital, his family goes too far when they try to keep Tom from visiting his partner. Jeordi and Tom are determined to do everything in their power to gain legal protection so this can never happen again. But when a bigoted county clerk refuses to issue them a marriage license, Jeordi decides a big, bold effort is called for, which is precisely what he sets in moVon so no one can ever separate him from Tom again.

My thoughts: Even people without a lot of money have dreams of being just like everyone else! The gritty nature of this story featuring the common man... er, men, who struggle to be together against overwhelming odds was so touching. Not everyone can afford to have the perfect ceremony, but when you say, "I do" that's makes it magical no matter who or where or how it all came about. I also loved the pay it forward theme. By far, this was my favorite story of the four (sorry guys, I can't lie!)

Exclusive Excerpt:

Before they could continue their conversation, though, there was a sharp knock at the door.

“What fresh hell awaits us now?” Jeordi muttered. Opening the door, he found another one of his brothers, one who had not been present earlier at the afternoon inquisition—the joys of coming from a very large family.

“What the hell are you doing this for?” the man asked as he pushed his way into the living room.

“Do come in, Jessie,” Jeordi said.

“Answer the question,” Jessie ordered.

“Excuse me?” Jeordi said.

“Cut the crap and answer the goddamned question, Jeordi. Why are you so determined to embarrass Mom and Dad in front of the whole community?”

Jeordi glanced to Tom, who shrugged, not understanding the question any more than Jeordi.

“Didn’t know that I was, so I’m afraid you’ve got to be more specific than that,” Jeordi said.

“Why is everything a fight with you?” Jessie demanded.

“It isn’t, as far as I know,” Jeordi said. “Now what the hell are you talking about?”

“This whole gay business,” he said, clearly unhappy at even having to say the G word aloud.
Jeordi stood as tall as he could. “I don’t see where you’re going with any of this, Jessie, so I’m afraid you’ve got to explain yourself a bit better.”

“Cut the crap. You know how embarrassing it is for Mom and Dad for you to be prancing around like some girl with another guy for the entire world to see. So just what is it that they did to piss you off so much? Huh?”

Jeordi shook his head. “Do you really not get it? Do you really think me being gay is some way to get back at them for something?”

“Well, of course it is. You’re not gay. I’ve known you your whole life, and you never gave any hints of being… one of those people.”

“I was just really good at keeping who I actually was hidden from all of you because I knew how poorly you’d all deal with the truth.”

“Bull. You couldn’t hide something like that. You don’t prance around like some ballerina.”

“Excuse me?” Jeordi said, his voice rising a little in strength.

“You look and act like a guy.”

“Thank you,” Jeordi said. “I think.”

“So what’s really going on?” he pushed.

“What’s really going on is I love Tom and he loves me. We are happy. He’s the first person I’ve ever been able to be myself with. He’s the first person who has ever loved me for me, not for some superficial cardboard representation of the person everyone wants me to be.”

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B.G. Thomas
B.G. Thomas lives in Kansas City with his husband of more than a decade and their fabulous little dog. He is lucky enough to have a lovely daughter as well as many extraordinary friends. He has a great passion for life.
B.G. loves romance, comedies, fantasy, science fiction, and even horror—as far as he is concerned, as long as the stories are character driven and entertaining, it doesn’t matter the genre. He has gone to literature conventions his entire adult life where he’s been lucky enough to meet many of his favorite writers. He has made up stories since he was a child; it is where he finds his joy.
In the nineties, he wrote for gay magazines but stopped because the editors wanted all sex without plot. “The sex is never as important as the characters,” he says. “Who cares what they are doing if we don’t care about them?” Excited about the growing male/male romance market, he began writing again. Gay men are what he knows best, after all—since he grew out of being a “practicing” homosexual long ago. He submitted a story and was thrilled when it was accepted in four days. Since then the stories have poured out of him. “It’s like I’m somehow making up for a lifetime’s worth of stories!”
“Leap, and the net will appear” is his personal philosophy and his message to all. “It is never too late,” he states. “Pursue your dreams. They will come true!”
Scott has been writing since elementary school. After leaving writing for twenty years, Mark, his husband, told him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”
Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way, finishing more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before – and seeing his first sale. He’s embarking on a new trilogy, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi site, a support group for writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and supernatural fiction.
Mark and Scott have been together for twenty four years. They met at the Pacific Center, an LGBT center in Berkeley, California, in 1992. They dated for two weeks, and then Scott moved in with Mark, and the rest is history. They run their own business together, study Italian, and are almost never found apart.
Jamie Fessenden
Jamie Fessenden set out to be a writer in junior high school. He published a couple of short pieces in his high school's literary magazine, but it wasn't until he met his partner, Erich, almost twenty years later, that he began writing again in earnest. With Erich alternately inspiring and goading him, Jamie published his first novella in 2010, and has since published over twenty other novels and novellas.
After legally marrying in 2010, buying a house together, and getting a dog, Jamie and Erich have settled down to life in the country, surrounded by wild turkeys, deer, and the occasional coyote. A few years ago, Jamie was able to quit the tech support job that gave him insanely high blood pressure. He now writes full-time... and feels much better.
Michael Murphy
Michael Murphy met his husband Dan thirty-four years ago during a Sunday service at MCC in Washington, DC when a hot, smart man sat down beside him. Due to a shortage of hymnals they had to share.  The touch of one hand on the other in that moment was electric. Sparks flew that day. Though neither had planned it, they spent the day together followed by the night.  From that day, for more than three decades they’ve rarely been separated, each finding in the other their soul mate.
In the District of Columbia, where they lived, marriage became possible in early March 2010.  The minute it happened they were in line to get a marriage license, only to be stumped because the license required the name of the person who was going to marry them. There was such a sudden rush of same sex couples wanting to get married that the office already had a two-month backlog before an appointment could be secured.  Since they weren’t at all convinced that the Congress wasn’t going to step in and do something stupid to take away this right, they started calling everywhere to find someone who would marry them. It might be legal, but finding someone to marry them was proving to be a challenge.
When an article appeared in the newspaper telling of a small, local United Methodist Church that had decided to go against general church policy because marriage equality mattered deeply to them, a conversation started.  After a series of emails and phone calls, suddenly they were seated with two retired UMC ministers who were willing to risk it all to do the right thing.  A few days later, license in hand, surrounded by a handful of friends and their best dog, Shadow, they were finally legally married.