Short Stories

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Traditions

2016 Advent Calendar | Bah Humbug

When Marcus and James started dating a few years ago, James invited Marcus home to spend the holidays with his close, Christmas-loving family. Marcus quickly realized once was enough, and since then, he’s stayed behind. 

But this year will be different. Though the festivity and chaos make Marcus uncomfortable, he loves James, and he’s decided to put aside his unease so they can spend Christmas together—even if it means losing his hotel room to one of James’s siblings, braving the cold to go caroling, and battling the crowds so the children can visit Santa. It’ll all be worth it if Marcus can take his place in the family’s traditions—and maybe begin a new tradition for the two of them. 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Advent Calendar "Bah Humbug."

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Alpaca Lies

2016 Daily Dose | A Walk on the Wildside

Alpaca shifter Alfie dreams of a life beyond the petting zoo at stately Mattock Hall. He can’t explore his crush on Simon Mattock, heir to the estate and caretaker to the animals, for two reasons. One, he’s never shifted into human form, and two, Simon is saddled with a boyfriend who’s exploiting him for his wealth. But when a fire threatens both the zoo and Simon, Alfie knows the time has come to put his fears aside, make his first shift, and save them. He just hopes Simon will like what he sees.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Daily Dose package "A Walk on the Wild Side."

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Always Follow Your Goat

2016 Daily Dose | A Walk on the Wildside

Camp Pooka has been a summer staple for Noah Matthews since he learned he was a shifter, and he’s looking forward to spending a final summer there before beginning his career as a veterinarian. But the season takes an unexpected turn when Noah meets blunt but charming Jack Rideaux and his goat, Milly. Soon Noah is sneaking off every night, gladly following Milly to Jack’s cabin.

When life and Noah’s work intrude and the two men lose touch, it’s time for meddling Milly to work her magic and help them reconnect.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Daily Dose package "A Walk on the Wild Side."

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A Werewolf in Sheep's Clothing

2016 Daily Dose | A Walk on the Wildside

Jackson is a member of a wolf pack, though he feels alone and not at all like the others. A chance meeting with a bear named Woodly shows him he isn’t the only vegetarian in the forest; it also unites him with Frank, a wolf who happens to share the same deep, dark secret. Together, the pair of outcasts might be the only hope for the other woodland creatures who are different.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Daily Dose package "A Walk on the Wild Side."

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Buddy the Cat

2016 Daily Dose | A Walk on the Wildside

Noel is a lonely librarian who spends most of his time working, surfing dating websites to no avail, and hanging out with the cat who shows up on his balcony every night. When he meets Mike, he’s finally found a man who holds his interest. But it soon becomes clear that there’s more to the bird-chasing businessman than what’s on the surface.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Daily Dose package "A Walk on the Wild Side."

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Bye-Bye Birdie

2016 Daily Dose | A Walk on the Wildside

Christopher Robin and Dashiell Hammond couldn’t be more different. Dash is an iguana shifter who provides aid for natural disasters far and wide, but Chris is a flighty parakeet shifter who can’t find his way across town without Google Maps. To Chris, Dash is a superhero, but he spent more time saving the world than saving their relationship.

To conquer his heartache, Chris books a cruise, determined to meet Mr. Right Now instead of Mr. Right. But he doesn’t expect the cabin steward responsible for his adorable towel animals to be none other than his ex-boyfriend. When the pair fall overboard and take refuge on a deserted island, old feelings resurface. With Dash’s hardnosed survival skills and Chris’s fickle insecurities, they’ll have to learn to compromise if they want to get back to slamming daiquiris at the tiki bar.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Daily Dose package "A Walk on the Wild Side."

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Chords

2016 Daily Dose | A Walk on the Wildside

As a werewolf, Kieran Woodsmith’s career options are limited. Luckily, he can howl in tune, and his voice earns him admission to the prestigious Juilliard School of Music. Desperate to prove to his family that his admission wasn’t a fluke, Kieran auditions for the Broadway Musical Review. But when he meets an upperclassman with no scent and strange violet eyes, Kieran is thrown off his game.

On the eve of his lunar cycle, Kieran’s friend drags him to a party at the purple-eyed senior’s house. Distracted by the mystery of Brett’s missing smell, Kieran forgets about the moon. When he wakes up in a cage in Brett’s basement, Kieran realizes he’s not the only one who is more than he appears.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Daily Dose package "A Walk on the Wild Side."

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Fieldwork

2016 Daily Dose | A Walk on the Wildside

Agent Ignacio Ritter is content serving the CXO, the Central Xenomorph Organization, from the safety of his desk. He has good reasons for avoiding fieldwork like the plague: his parents died in the field, leaving him to be raised among wolf-shifters. Because of his adopted family, everyone thinks he is a wolf, a lie that protects him from the ridicule he’d face if he revealed the truth.

When the charming and dangerous tiger-shifter Agent Reed Daily chooses Ignacio to help close the books on a gang threatening to tear Chicago apart, Ignacio can’t refuse. Perhaps it’s the chance to avenge his parents, or perhaps it’s the tight fit of Reed’s suit and heat Reed’s smile ignites in Ignacio. When the chips are down and the whole city’s depending on him, will Ignacio prove himself a man or a mouse?

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Daily Dose package "A Walk on the Wild Side."

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Love, Marriage, and a Baby Carriage

2016 Daily Dose | A Walk on the Wildside

Theodore Reinhart is a young man looking for love. In San Diego. At a convention. For penguin shifters. WaddleCon is the go-to event of the year when looking for your life partner, but Theodore isn’t comfortable with the game they’ve turned dating into, nor does the convention provide for the gay community. A mistake in speed dating table assignments puts Theodore in front of Wesley O’Neill, a handsome and confident model who lets it slip that he’s definitely noticed the spark of attraction between them.

 

A perfect date ends prematurely when Theodore finds an abandoned egg in a bathroom trash can. Unable to leave it behind, Theodore and Wesley play a mad game of cat and mouse across the resort trying to keep it safe, all while growing closer to one another. Wesley may be the forever partner Theodore came looking for, but their relationship won’t work if they don’t make room for a little addition to the family.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Daily Dose package "A Walk on the Wild Side."

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Love Unmasked

2016 Daily Dose | A Walk on the Wildside

Aaron Loreto can’t lay claim to being anything as sexy as a werewolf or bearman. Once in a blue moon, he turns into a raccoon. With the predatory members of the shifter community looking down at him like he does actually spend his days rummaging through the trash, he prefers to keep his condition private.

When he meets Philip MacRory, Aaron falls head over heels. Philip is hot, sweet, and open-minded about shifters. Given his past experiences, Aaron’s still terrified to come out… until a night of passion with Philip shows that Aaron’s not the only one keeping secrets.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Daily Dose package "A Walk on the Wild Side."

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More Beautiful Than a Unicorn

2016 Daily Dose | A Walk on the Wildside

Tobias is a twenty-five-year-old virgin, bored with his life, and unsatisfied with how average and unremarkable he is—until he sees a silver unicorn. When the beautiful creature begins appearing to him regularly, Tobias doesn’t know if it’s a cruel joke or some form of mental illness. What interest could the unicorn have in someone like him? Searching for it in a park at night leads to an attack on Tobias, but he’s rescued by a handsome and mysterious man called Amar. Something about the man calls to Tobias, and suddenly his life feels a lot less ordinary and a lot less lonely. But fate can be harsh, and the biggest challenge to Tobias and Amar’s relationship has yet to reveal itself.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Daily Dose package "A Walk on the Wild Side."

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Of Nuts and Men

2016 Daily Dose | A Walk on the Wildside

Summer break is a time to relax and reconnect at the family cabin in the Eastern Sierras. Unfortunately for squirrel shifter Jamie, his first day back is anything but restful. When his adoptive brothers can’t resist winding Jamie up and sending him on a wild squirrel chase for last season’s buried nuts, he finds himself diverted from his mission in the best possible way.

Sawyer is a man stuck in a tree with no way down, and things are about to get a little weird when one very inquisitive squirrel turns up to save the day. At least it’s not the mountain lion who chased him there to begin with. Still it takes a while before Sawyer’s convinced he’s not seeing things. By the time he’s got his feet back on the ground, it’s Jamie who needs a little TLC—fortunately for both of them, Sawyer’s tent is close by, and Sawyer has the perfect way to heat things up.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Daily Dose package "A Walk on the Wild Side."

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Putting Down Roots

2016 Daily Dose | A Walk on the Wildside

At twenty-nine, Mark is lonely and unhappy. With his teaching degree, he never expected to be scraping by at a dead-end job in a bookstore. So when he’s given the opportunity to do the work he’s always dreamed of, he jumps on it.

But there’s a catch. Mark has just agreed to spend the summer teaching a recalcitrant student at a lonely manor outside the most haunted village in the UK. It doesn’t take Mark long to figure out there’s something strange, really strange, about Thomas, his host and the father of his pupil. They say the village changes people, and it turns out Thomas is living proof. Now Mark has to decide if he should run like hell or stay and become part of the family.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Daily Dose package "A Walk on the Wild Side."

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Quiet as a Mouse

2016 Daily Dose | A Walk on the Wildside

Upon moving to a new town, shy shifter Paul is instantly smitten with local choirmaster Cale. Wanting to spend as much time with Cale as possible, he becomes the proverbial church mouse so he can enjoy Cale’s music without revealing his feelings. But when Cale sees him and traps are set, Paul faces a difficult choice. What does he want out of life, and does he have the courage to go after it? Will he be a man… or a mouse?

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Daily Dose package "A Walk on the Wild Side."

 

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Shifter

2016 Daily Dose | A Walk on the Wildside

When Gray Fox sets out by canoe to visit Elk Horn, his childhood friend and secret crush, mysterious forces strand him on a terrifying hunk of ebony rock known as Black Island. During the dark, cold night, a strangely androgynous being seduces the young virgin. In the midst of his passion, the creature shifts into a comely youth, shocking the naïve young man. He can hardly wait to tell Elk Horn about the experience. But does he dare?

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Daily Dose package "A Walk on the Wild Side."

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Spiked and Feathered

2016 Daily Dose | A Walk on the Wildside

Anthony’s had the day from hell at his call center job, and he plans to drink away the memory, so he finds the nearest club and gets started. Lucky for him there’s an attractive man in the crowd who’s willing to act without too many questions. A hot trip to the back of the bar and some heavy action is in order.

The next morning Anthony wakes in an unfamiliar bed to a hellish headache and the heavenly scent of coffee. He didn’t ask questions the night before, so why ask them now? Okay, maybe one. Why does his attractive one-night stand have feathers?

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Daily Dose package "A Walk on the Wild Side."

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They Called Him Nightmare

2016 Daily Dose | A Walk on the Wildside

Growing up, Kai Bennu was taunted for skin dark as midnight and his otherworldly appearance. They called him Nightmare, but Alec Vasilios, a wealthy and powerful businessman, wants to call Kai his own. Kai’s past has left him with little trust in others and even more reluctance to surrender himself to Alec’s power. With both men harboring supernatural secrets, finding common ground won’t come without sacrifice.

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2016 Daily Dose package "A Walk on the Wild Side."

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2nd Edition

After a meet-cute in a bathroom and a whirlwind courtship, Ryan is ready to introduce Scotty to his parents. But a misunderstanding and some stubborn cuff buttons tangle Ryan up in an oxford shirt at a really inopportune time. Can Scotty take this opportunity to teach Ryan one or two more lessons about falling in love?

Previously published in the Curious: A Woman's Introduction to Gay Romance anthology by Dreamspinner Press, 2010.

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