Brody O’Connor joins the revelry of the yearly St. Patrick's Day pub crawl, hunting a like-minded man for a night of fun and frolic with no strings attached. When a mystery man in an emerald green shirt engages Brody’s interest, it doesn’t take long for the hunter to become the prey.
Well-matched with his mystery man, Brody regrets his "no strings" approach to a night of shared passion that leaves him hungry for more. The morning after, Evan is gone, as agreed. Brody knows it was a mistake to let him go, and vows to find him.
Evan also never expected to meet someone like Brody. Now Brody wants to change the rules, and Evan decides he’ll give Brody one more night to convince him to stay.
By nine o’clock, I wasn’t sure if I was worried or angry, but I was jittery. Caught up in that first flush of a new relationship, I missed him on a visceral level. I longed for his presence, for his smell, his heat. His laughter.
I resisted the urge to call his cell phone, mainly because I didn’t want him to think I was checking up on him. A family visit could last a lot longer than anticipated. A lot.
What had begun between Evan and me was not imaginary. It was remarkable and real, powerful and potent. Yes, we had a lot to learn about each other still, but I wanted to take my time, peel back the layers of him slowly, savoring each new revelation.
I’d reached my mid-thirties and had learned a few things. I could read people pretty well. Evan was as serious about me as I was about him. The only games he would play were those like the night of the pub crawl, open and for all to see. If he planned to see someone else on his way back to me, he would have said so.
Midnight came, draping a heavy cloak of worry over my shoulders. I knew, beyond any doubt, he’d not purposefully stood me up. I paced the floor, trapped by the four walls and a sense of impending disaster.
When the doorbell rang, I was unprepared for the adrenaline rush of fear that paralyzed me. I shook it off, bolted to the door, and flung it open. Darren and Cole stood there, grim-faced. A cold finger of unease traced the length of my spine.
“Do you two know what time it is?”
Cole, another of the Rumours partners, and an old friend, grasped my elbow. “Brody, we need to sit down.”
I pulled away from him. “Why? What’s wrong?”
“Brody, just how is it between you and Evan Delapontes?”
My stomach roiled, churning up acid. “Serious. What’s wrong?”
Darren moved to my side, close. “Listen, Brody. We don’t know much. Cole was on call this afternoon.”
My knees threatened to give out. Cole was a paramedic.
“What call?” I grabbed him by the front of his jacket. He didn’t try to shake me off, just covered my hands with his.
“About five o’clock, someone ran a red light and broad-sided Evan Delapontes’ Jaguar. I recognized him ’cause he works in the same building with Nate. When I got to the club just a bit ago, Darren said you and he had a thing going…”
Seven hours ago. I should not have worried about pissing him off and gone looking for him.
The world took on an unreal, distant quality. The air in my lungs felt heavy, liquid. Surely I hadn’t heard Cole correctly. Darren’s voice came to me through a tunnel.
Cold fear, so icy it burned in my chest, kept me from asking the question, the answer to which could end all the hopes I’d built during the day.
Darren saw and spared me. “He’s in intensive care at County General.”
Asher Myles struggled to put his life back together after an identity thief stripped him of everything but his talent for capturing light and shadow with a camera lens. With a new job and a new start, Asher’s on his way to Montana – and a meeting with the man he’s fantasized about since he first saw him on the silver screen.
Nick Light, actor, director, and Hollywood royalty, doesn’t like paparazzi. When he agrees to have his Montana ranch photographed for a style magazine, the unexpected happens. Asher's not the man Nick expected to find behind the camera. Asher knows he'll have to convince Nick they belong together, but he has an edge.
Because if there’s one thing Nick can’t resist, it’s a man with a talent for seducing light.
* * *
“Okay, Mr. Light, here’s a little—”
“Nick. Call me Nick.”
I nodded, and hoped I didn’t stutter when I tried to say his name for the first time. “Nick. I’ll just point out that all my professional information is on the website and move on to the photos.”
“I see you have references. Are they valid?”
Crap. He had heard the stories.
I rolled the cursor over the link and the page opened for him to see. He read the names, then nodded. “I don’t know any of them, so you won’t mind if I call them, right?”
“Sure. Call ’em. Just don’t be surprised if they don’t believe you’re Nick Light.”
He snorted again, the corner of his mouth quirking up in what might actually be a little smile. “I get that a lot, boy.”
I didn’t answer, just clicked on the slideshow and leaned back to watch it with him. His focus shifted to the screen. I watched him as the pictures scrolled. Every so often, he’d nod or cock his head, but he didn’t speak. We sat there in silence as the clouds slid past the sun and the rain dribbled down the outside of the windows. Finally, he spoke.
“Okay. You’re good. But with your reputation, how’d you get this job?”
I met his gaze. “Don’t believe everything you hear about me.”
His chin lifted. His eyes narrowed. “Why not?”
“Because it’s not true.”
Nick crossed his arms over his chest. “Tell me your version of it then.”
My temper flared. “I was hired to do a job—take a photo shoot of your ranch. I have a copy of the contract in my case, and nowhere in that contract does it say I owe you any explanations.”
His response was unexpected. “You want that sandwich now, boy?”
Tired of him referring to me as “boy,” I shot him a look, and froze at the glittering curiosity in his eyes. He studied me, his green gaze a mix of wary caution, grudging respect, and more. I fell into those mystical depths, forgetting to breathe as the blood pooled in my groin.
My heart stuttered, then hammered in my chest. I couldn’t look away, even as my face grew hot under his scrutiny. My body reacted, rising as the phantom of my nights stared at me with witchy interest.
Nick Light was gay.
Scott Thomas is tagged to oversee the new commuter rail line from Easton to Marionville, a high profile project that demands expertise. His love of trains makes him a natural for the job. When a friend invites him on a Mystery Train Dinner Adventure, Scott’s onboard for an evening of fun. He gets more than he ever dreamed about when he meets his ideal tall, dark haired stranger on the adventure.
Dakota Reece views the new commuter rail as the opening he’s needed for him and his brother to build their own firm and future. Planning a start-up company while working on the commuter rail project is hard work, and Dakota takes an evening off to relax on the Mystery Train. When the train stops to serve dinner, Dakota is boldly cruised by a fellow passenger. He has to get to know this smart, sexy man and asks Scott to join him for a drink.
Scott and Dakota hit it off and a quiet cup of coffee leads to unexpected possibilities - and consequences. When Dakota makes a sudden decision to advance his timeline, Scott will do whatever is necessary to keep them together, on track, and avoiding derailment.
* * *
Dakota fell into step beside me as we climbed the stairs. “This is some place, isn’t it? Booze, boys and boogie.”
“Yep. I generally stick to the cafe when I come here, but every once in a while I go downstairs to the Cancun Bar.”
We agreed on a table against the rear wall. He pulled out my chair and then sat across from me, his hands folded on the table.
“I’m really surprised this place doesn’t have a back room. It’s got everything else a guy needs for a memorable night on the town.”
“The back room is tucked in behind the stage. Go through the arch with the twinkling white lights. You gotta pay the cover charge to conduct illicit activities with strangers at Frolic.”
He grinned, his silver eyes glittering in the low lighting. “I think you’d be worth the five bucks tonight.”
I bet he was worth a lot more. “Thanks. I think. I’m getting a decaf. What would you like?”
“Oh, no. I asked you, so I’m buying.”
As we were only talking about two dollars, I didn’t argue. The server arrived and greeted me by name. Dakota ordered two decafs and then blinked at Charlie’s retreating backside. He lowered his voice.
“I don’t want to be politically incorrect here, but is she…”
“Well, she is for tonight. Tomorrow, he’ll be in a suit in a corner office on the ninth floor.”
“Damn. No offense to present company, but Charlie is fucking hot.”
“Charlie does have that effect on everyone. Thanks for the coffee, by the way.”
“My pleasure. Will you have dinner with me tomorrow evening?”
“Hell, yeah, but I insist on at least Dutch treat.” I pointed my finger at him before he could speak. “If you argue, we’ll end up at the food court at the mall.”
Dakota rested his hand, palm up, on the table between us. I smiled and laid my hand in his. Little tendrils of heat snaked up my arm and made me shiver as his fingers closed around mine. I should’ve paid the cover charge so I could haul him into the back room, but rushing could ruin a lovely friendship.
“When did you move to Marionville?” I asked.
He sipped his coffee. “I don’t live here. I’ve been in and out of town on business for the last year or so. But if my company is awarded part of the new commuter rail job, I’ll move here for the duration.”
It was just my luck the most interesting guy I’d met in the last twenty years might be gone for good in a week. And if not, I had an even bigger problem, like a conflict of interest problem.
Private investigator Ian Coulter and his FBI partner Rick Mohr work hard and play harder. Making their relationship a priority is a challenge they willingly embrace. Life is better together, and when their cases overlap, it gets pretty interesting.
An evening stroll turns deadly when a sniper targets Rick. Needing to be with his lover, Ian has to trust Rick’s team with the hunt for the shooter. As Rick heals tensions between the men escalate and some uncomfortable truths are revealed.
Ian gets a break in the case but the sniper proves to be elusive. With the FBI conducting a manhunt in Amethyst Cove, Ian has to deal with his own man. It’ll take patience and some tough love to heal recent fractures and secure the future he wants with Rick.
* * * * *
Becoming “us” hadn’t been part of any original plan but we had become “us” in ways I couldn’t imagine ending.
I picked up my cell phone. Rick answered before the first ring ended.
“Ian. Darling, what’s really wrong? Are you going to be okay?”
Was I? A tenuous connection opened between us, powered by wireless magic.
“I’m better for hearing your voice. I feel like a real ass saying this to you, Rick, but it’s been a rough couple of weeks.”
“Believe me, I know. Please come back so we can talk.”
I downed the remainder of the bourbon in the glass.
“Can’t. I shouldn’t drive. I’ve had a drink.”
I heard him take a deep breath.
“Okay. You’re right, of course. And you’re right about the other things. Listen, Ian. We need to stop being stupid with each other and I’ll start. I love you. I hurt bad enough I can’t rest, and I’m miserable being off my feet. I’m taking it out on you, and that’s not fair. I promise to stop being bitchy.”
My throat tightened. “Rick. I almost lost you.” My voice broke. I couldn’t breathe. The city lights blurred in my vision. His voice was soft in my ear.
“It’s okay, my darling. You’ve been my rock, Ian. I forgot even diamonds crack under enough pressure.”
I managed a deep breath and swiped my fingertips across my eyes. “We’re still gonna talk, big guy.”
“I know. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, Ian, but I can’t promise it’s always going to be easy living with me.”
“Well, I guess I can’t make that promise, either. We just have to remember life is better when we’re together.”
“How about we have a safe word to tell each other to back off?”
“What? Like ‘screw you, Rick’?”
He chuckled softly. “No, babe. That’s foreplay. I live to hear you say those words.”
I laughed in spite of myself. “Yeah. I know what you mean. I need to go to bed. Get some sleep. I’ve got a bunch of installations to finish tomorrow and God only knows how big a job Sheldon’s going to sell next.”
“Can I call you?”
“Yeah. That would be great. I love you, Rick. I guess maybe I’m a little afraid you’ll leave me.”
“Never, Ian. Not gonna happen. Are we good?”
“We’re good. ‘Night, Rick.”
The call disconnected and left me staring at my phone, exhausted. Were we really good? Sometimes when something cracked, it stayed that way,
And sometimes, when mended, it was stronger than before.
I twisted the wide silver band on my right ring finger around, then took it off and slipped it onto my left hand. It glittered, a circle of steel reflecting the city lights.
Leon McNamee successfully worked his life plan to a good job, his own home, and the one thing he always wanted as a boy - a dog. He hasn’t had much luck in the relationship department, but in Smoke, he has all the company he usually needs.
Jeremy Cooke’s new plan is to stay clear of entanglements and not get hurt again. He moves to Marionville to start over and decides to rescue a damaged dog. After all, he’s well acquainted with abuse.
Leon and Jere get acquainted over their shared love of dogs, but Jeremy holds close his secrets. When an argument escalates, disaster strikes. Leon has to fight to save Jere’s dog - and the man’s trust. At the end of the day, his best ally is a black Labrador Retriever named Smoke.
* * *
I didn’t want to do that. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to him for fear I’d never see him again. My instinct said he’d never call me, and if I called him, he might hesitate to answer. I showed my desperation.
“Do you like baseball?”
“Yeah, I do! It’s really cool Marionville is getting a double A team.” He narrowed his eyes. “What?”
I hung my head. “I don’t know a thing about baseball.”
“So why did you ask me if I liked it?”
“Would you like to hang out at my place and watch the game? You can teach me about it.”
He stared at me, lips slightly parted, an enigmatic expression in his eyes. “Do you like anything other besides dogs?”
“I like to ski.”
He glanced at the sky, and then looked at me. “Water or snow?”
I grinned at him. “Both.”
“Thank God. I’ve never been water skiing, but I’m pretty good on the slopes.”
“I didn’t know they had mountains in Peoria,” I quipped, still smiling.
He smirked at me. He was adorable when he wrinkled his nose and rolled his eyes.
“When I was a mere lad, we spent every, and I mean every Christmas at my grandfather’s place in Pennsylvania. I learned to ski. And you’re a smartass, Leon McNamee.”
“And you’re just too cute Jeremy Cooke.”
I didn’t actually think about it. Maybe if I had, I wouldn’t have done it.
I slipped my arm around his shoulders, leaned in, and kissed him.
He started and sucked in a quick breath. I’d never had anyone go so still in my arms. But he didn’t pull away. His lips trembled, and yet he didn’t push us apart. I moved my lips over his in a soft caress and ended the kiss.
Sarton’s most important novel tells the story of a poet in her seventies, whose life is retold episodically during an interview with two writers from a literary magazine Hilary Stevens’s prolific career includes a provocative novel that shot her into the public consciousness years ago, and an oeuvre of poetry that more recently has consigned her to near-obscurity. Now in the twilight of her life, Hilary, who is both a feminist and a lesbian, is receiving renewed attention for an upcoming collection of poems, one that has brought two young reporters to her Cape Cod home. As Hilary prepares for the conversation, she recalls formative moments both large and small. She then embarks on the interview itself—a witty and intelligent discussion of her life, work, and romantic relationships with men and women. After the journalists have left, Hilary helps a visiting male friend with his anxiety over being gay and imparts wisdom about channeling his own creative passions.This ebook features an extended biography of May Sarton.
New in town, Shiloh Rudy joins a group of civic-minded volunteers to better acquaint himself with his recently adopted community. It’s a good way to make friends, network, and help make a difference, not to mention perhaps meet someone interesting—in a romantic sort of way. The one thing Shiloh didn’t expect was a love to rival all others to come with four white paws.
Gale Widmyer is on his feet and moving forward after piecing his life back together following a series of wrong choices. The one bright spot in his existence, even in his darkest moments, was the fulfillment of his dream to become a veterinarian. Gale’s making good on a promise to himself when an abandoned kitten leads him to Shiloh Rudy and a chance at the happiness he never hoped to have.
Laying the cornerstone for a developing relationship comes easy for Shiloh and Gale. But the wounds of the past often remain unhealed at their deepest point. A few careless words erect a wall of silence between the two men, one Shiloh has to breach if he hopes to win Gale back. But it will take more than apologies to win Gale’s forgiveness and put old fears to rest. It’ll take a cat named Hercules...
* * * * *
…The abrupt weaning I understood, but the other? Who would do that to such a helpless creature? “Then I’m keeping him.”
“In that case, your kitten has fleas, ear mites, and a touch of conjunctivitis. He’s also under nourished and almost surely has worms.”
My heart pounded as I snatched the kitten from Galen’s hands and tucked him safely against my chest. “Is he going to die?”
Galen pushed his sunglasses up to rest on top of his head and grinned at me. I fell into his gorgeous hazel eyes as he stared into my sky blue orbs with open curiosity. Damn, the man had long eyelashes.
“He’ll be fine. Do you think we can finish our chores here this morning, or do we need to go straight to my clinic so I can treat him and fix you up with what you need?” He poked the kitten’s paw and those tiny, wicked claws popped out again. “You’re in for a real treat with this little guy.”
I’d go anywhere he asked me to go, but I didn’t want to appear too eager. “Oh? Why is that?”
“They call cats with these black and white markings a ‘tuxedo’ because, obviously, they look like they’re wearing one. This fellow has the added bonus of white ‘gloves.’ Tuxedos tend to have a lot of personality.” Galen squeezed my elbow. I thought his hand lingered a moment too long, but perhaps it was just wishful thinking.
“C’mon. I’ll tell the other work crew they’ll have to finish pulling up these bricks and we’ll go to the clinic.”
“Thanks, man. I owe you.”
I knew I was in two kinds of trouble when he nodded and grinned. “I’m afraid you will…”