Novellas

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Xylophone

2014 Award Winners

Daren Boothe's most significant secret centers on an unlikely object: a xylophone. That secret led him to develop his professional alter-ego, a sensual, androgynous dancer. When Dare begins his second (and considerably more wholesome) job playing clarinet in a polka band, he meets a young man who takes his grandmother out dancing. But Dare knows the man has his own secret.

Jonah Day immediately recognizes the clarinetist. Three years earlier they crossed paths in a therapist's office, but they both abandoned that route to mental health. Neither was ready then to open up about the psychological traumas that haunted them.

In an attempt to heal their wounds, Dare and Jonah turn to each other. Understanding and empathy come instantly, accompanied by ambivalence about their growing attraction. But the repercussions of victimization are many. Soon, the very experiences Dare and Jonah share threaten to drive them apart.

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When Allan Song’s ex, Mac, shows up to model for the life drawing class Allan teaches, he turns everything upside-down. Mac is still as infuriatingly attractive as when Allan first met him—and still trying to figure out where he fits on the gender spectrum. He’s more than a little out of control, and he’s taken some stupid risks that have come back to haunt him. If they’re going to get back together, Allan wants a real relationship—but for that, he and Mac will need to look below the surface.

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A Gentleman's Agreement

By
2012 Advent Calendar | Evergreen

Thomas Derrik is about to have the worst Christmas of his life. Three days before the holiday, he finds out the father he doesn’t get along with is arriving on Christmas Eve, his ex-lover and new brother-in-law will be staying at his estate until the New Year, and his beloved brother, Edmund, has died.

Luckily, Edmund’s last holiday scheme may well save Thomas’s Christmas: Henry Appleby, a young lord fresh from the Continent, has arranged to court Thomas. But the family tragedy and jealous exes may put an end to the romance before it begins.

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Bianca’s Plan

2012 Advent Calendar | Evergreen

Bianca worries that her daddy, Gavin, is lonely and decides he needs a boyfriend for Christmas. So she enlists her father's best friend, the straight and unattached Curtis. Gavin has a Christmas wish, too, and Curtis setting him up on disastrous dates isn't part of it! Meanwhile, Curtis finds life becoming complicated as he tries to please Bianca, make Gavin happy, and fend off his own unexpected mixed feelings. Will anyone's wish come true?

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Snowbound in Nowhere

2012 Advent Calendar | Evergreen

When a funeral calls his friend Martin away, sunbelt resident Chris is left alone in Martin’s cabin in the dead of winter—and in a blizzard to boot. When the power goes out, Chris thinks he’s going to freeze to death. Luckily, Horace drops in to check on him—and then runs out after a few kisses, leaving Chris upset and feeling used. Horace does come back with explanations, but is their time together keeping each other warm enough for them see they belong together? Or are these sudden emotions the product of being snowbound?

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Turkey in the Snow

2012 Advent Calendar | Evergreen

Since Hank Calder’s four-year-old niece, Josie, came to live with him, his life has been plenty dramatic, thank you, and the last thing he needs is a swishy, flaming twinkie to complicate things. But when Justin, the daycare worker at his gym, offers to do something incredibly nice for Hank—and for Josie—Hank is forced to reconsider. Justin may be flamboyant in his speech and gestures, but his heart and kindness are as rock steady and dependable as anyone, even Hank, could ask for. Can Hank trust in his dramatic “turkey in the snow” to offer his heart the joy he and Josie have never known?

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There’s a snake in Aidan’s bed, but it’s not the kind he wants. A nest of snakes under his house heralds the kind of disruption that Aidan has been trying to avoid all his life and turns him into a hysterical mess. First he sleeps with his best friend, Baxter. Until their one-night-stand, Aidan was happy with his life and their friendship. Now he’s lonely and craves a relationship Baxter doesn’t want.

Then Aidan meets Detective Sam Walters while consulting on a murder investigation and his dreams are suddenly invaded by a man who makes Aidan want to strip faster than an attack by green ants. Too bad Sam is straight.

When snakes take over Aidan’s home and a gorgeous snake catcher comes to his rescue, Aidan’s confusion is complete. To add to the mess Aidan’s life has become, a man ends up dead on his living room floor, Baxter confesses to his murder, and calm, cheerful Sam yells at Aidan. It’s enough to make a quiet professor of sociology prefer the snakes.

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Brand New Flavor

Delectable

A Novella in the Delectable Series

When artisan ice cream maker Jay Brown first meets food writer Cameron Clay at a charity tasting event, they get along like strawberries and chocolate sauce. Jay's unique flavors thrill more than Cameron's jaded palate, but after a delicious encounter in Jay’s delivery truck, where extra-creamy frozen treats are not the only delights sampled, Cameron loses Jay’s contact info—and any hope of a real date.

Desperate, Cameron convinces his editor to host an artisanal ice cream contest in hopes of drawing out the elusive genius. But more complications threaten to intervene. Will Jay even enter the contest? Or will the chance of a happily ever after melt away?

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Knitter in His Natural Habitat

Granby Knitting Series
2013 Award Winners

A Granby Knitting Novella

Stanley’s life took a left turn at a knitting shop and hit a dead end. The closest thing he’s had to a relationship breaks things off to date a “nice boy,” and none of the pretty young things in Boulder’s limited gay scene do it for Stanley. He needs to reevaluate whether working as a floor designer for a series of craft stores is really where he wants to be.

Then Stanley does a peculiar thing: he starts to live the life he fell into. Stitch by stitch, he knits his life into something meaningful. Just when he does, Johnny, the store’s new delivery boy, walks in.

Johnny is like no one Stanley has ever met: he doesn’t believe in quickies in the bathroom and has a soft spot for theater and opera. There has to be a catch. When Johnny’s dark past comes back to haunt them, Stanley realizes how much he loves his cushy life in the yarn store—but he’ll give it all up to keep the man who makes his ordinary life extraordinary.

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Crow and Firefly

By
Crow and Firefly and Crow and Crown
2013 Award Winners

The laws of man and nature are harsh and decisive: Unwed mothers are not allowed to raise their children, and shapehifters must wed and consummate the marriage to satisfy the magic that would otherwise render them beasts forever upon the morning of their twenty-third birthday.

With the life of his sister and newborn nephew at stake, shapeshifter Ari is trapped in a castle and compelled to accept a situation he’d dreaded: he is forced to marry Lord Dagur, a man he’s never met. A man called “The Cruel.” A man he fears, and not just because he fancies someone else.

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Burnished by Fire

By Fire Series

Sequel to Strengthened by Fire
By Fire Series: Book Three

Firefighters Lee Stanton and Dirk Krause need a vacation. Work seems to have other ideas: they spend the day before their holiday begins battling a fire that claims three lives. Thankfully, Lee and Dirk will have a whole week on the high seas to recover. 

They’re having a wonderful time—until they spot Dirk’s miserable, closed-minded father on the ship. Between his father’s presence and his guilt over the lives he couldn’t save, Dirk feels sure his romantic cruise is going to tank. But then he saves another passenger’s life—and maybe he can salvage something else too.

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How to Raise an Honest Rabbit

Granby Knitting Series

A Granby Knitting Novella

Everything about Jeremy has always been a lie—including his last name. When one grift too many ends in tragedy, Jeremy goes straight. But life’s hard for an ex-con, and Jeremy is down to panhandling and hope when Rance Crawford offers him work at a tiny alpaca farm and fiber mill. Jeremy takes him up on the job, thinking this could be his last chance to be a good man, and meets Aiden, who is growing into a better one.

As Aiden comes of age, Jeremy finds himself desperate to grow up, too, because Aiden starts looking to him for things Jeremy doesn’t know how to give. Being honest is terrifying for a man who’s learned to rabbit at the first sign of conflict—more so when Aiden gives Jeremy a reason to stay that can’t be packed up and carried in a knapsack. When Jeremy’s past comes knocking at their door, can Jeremy trust enough in Aiden and his new home to answer bravely back?

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Angel Elegy

Wings of Faith
Bittersweet Dreams

A Wings of Faith Novella

Twin Angels Jophiel and Ariel are servants of Heaven bound to help the humans of a world headed for ruin. But for them to become the independent Angels they need to be, their bond must first be broken.

Jophiel takes his duties seriously, answering a call from an artist struggling with his dominant, sadistic nature. But Ariel, embittered after being tortured and killed by human captors and returning to Heaven in shame, hesitates. The choice is taken from his hands when he is sent to Earth, wingless and without any memory of who or what he is. Until he regains the faith in the humans he’s meant to help, he’ll never reach his full potential and be readmitted into Heaven. From somewhere within himself, Jophiel must find the courage to let go of his twin and trust Ariel to be strong enough to Rise again… or they will never be together.

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It's an unfortunate truth: love doesn't always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.

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In the future, corporations buy the life contracts of infants and raise them for specific careers. Jaymes, aka The Prince, is Erotic Bioware, Thoroughbred Class, trained to seduce and give pleasure in the highest tiers of society. But his latest client involves him in a political assassination, and Jaymes must flee the comforts of the city for the barbaric outlands.

With Drue the Fox, Bioware, Exotic Class, Jaymes struggles through the last wilderness on his world in his quest to return to civilization and his pampered life. The ruthless corporate mercenary on their trail should make them want to work together—but Jaymes and Drue are diametrically opposed in personality, class, and ideology and can’t stop bickering about Bioware inequality.

Eventually, Jaymes’s dislike of Drue evolves into something else as Jaymes wakes up to the reality of his place in society and admits that Drue is right. It will take great courage, a band of ex-military outcasts, and a sympathetic politician to clear Jaymes’s name and bring about lasting changes for all Bioware. Only then can he and Drue have a life together with all the rights a human deserves.

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Matthew Kellett and Craig Jeffries are lifelong friends and neighbors. They thought they knew everything about each other, but some secrets seem too big share. Craig hides the truth about his father—but Matthew’s secret is his own.

To celebrate their high school graduation, Craig, Matthew, and Craig’s girlfriend take a road trip up the east coast of Australia to Byron Bay. Then one night on the beach, everything changes: Matthew meets Damien, a college student who senses what Matthew is hiding. Though the connection between them is undeniable, Matthew scrambles to keep it secret. It will take a shocking revelation from Craig and a lot of courage to get Matthew back on the road to Byron—and the boy waiting there.

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It’s the sixties, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to be different. Eddie Baronski spent his high school years looking out for his partially deaf friend, Jack Emmons. Now that they’ve graduated, they spend their free time at Green Bay’s newly renamed Lambeau Field, taking in the practices.

When Eddie’s crush, Johnny Grant, a new Packers team member, offers him a ride home, Eddie thinks it’s the start of a grand romance. But Johnny and Eddie may not be on the same page, and love—true love—sometimes comes from an unexpected quarter.

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Love in Plain Sight

Senses and Sensations

A Senses and Sensations Story

What does love look like? If you see it, will you give it the attention it deserves?

Police volunteer Sebastian Sumner may be deaf, but he’s strong and capable. He’s been involved with Detective Jordan Waters for a year now. Their relationship hasn’t been smooth sailing, but their love is on solid ground. Too bad their work lives are on shakier soil—Jordan’s is, anyway, as he sets out with his partner to investigate Aldous Henley, a shady art dealer suspected of forgery and smuggling. But proving these crimes and bringing the man to justice is more challenging than Jordan expected.

Before long, Henley isn’t just a work problem. The case consumes Jordan’s attention, and he’s struggling to balance his busy professional life and his equally important private life—especially with a significant anniversary approaching. Love may be in plain sight, but that doesn’t mean it should be taken for granted.

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English prof-slash-cowboy Raine Magrath knows Johnny Bravo is an airhead. A beautiful young Apache film-making genius airhead, but still. They meet in a hot tub during Johnny's first film festival, but he bolts before his work is even shown. When Johnny drifts back to Taos a year later, they slide into a slow cowboy two-step so easily Raine starts to think Johnny might be the one. When Johnny's young cousin Weasel joins them, Raine's life seems complete, a ready-made family to love and protect.

Raine is sure that with his gentle guidance, Johnny can achieve the sort of worldly success Raine turned his back on years before. But Johnny has his own idea about what he wants his life to become. Too late Raine remembers that Johnny runs when he feels a chain tightening around his neck. Raine's quest for the perfect family might be the very thing that tears them apart.

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