Novellas

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Conner MacKay is the last of the TV cowboys, but he’s withdrawn from society—even before a global pandemic forces the world into quarantine. When he meets activist Dante Burke, though, Conner takes a chance. He can’t leave a young Black man on the street in the face of a public health crisis. What kind of cowboy would he be then?

On the surface, Conner and Dante live in opposing realities: midlife versus youth, flush versus flat broke. But their politics, attraction, and close quarters bring them together until the heat between them grows into a burn almost too hot to handle.

Then old dangers breach their safeguards and threaten not their love, but their very lives.

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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. 


Originally published in the anthology A More Perfect Union, Dreamspinner Press, June 2016

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For Javi Navarro, Detroit will become another blood-splattered city in his rearview mirror after he puts its dead back into the ground. Expecting an easy hunting job, Javi instead finds a kiss of ancient vampires on the hunt for a descendant of their long-dead creator. 
 
Reclusive Ciarnan Mac Gerailt abandoned his family legacy of blood and death magic after it nearly destroyed him. Unfortunately for Ciarnan, the Motor City can only be saved if he resumes his dark arts and joins forces with Javi Navarro, the hunter who brought the vampire apocalypse—and hope for the future—straight to Ciarnan’s front door.

Previously published as "Legacy of Blood and Death" in the anthology Creature Feature 2.

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A chance meeting. A one-night stand. And then a pattern of them.

For Nigerian-born professional football linebacker Arikawe “Ade” Adeloyebe and Chicago newspaper reporter Rex Palmieri, not-so-casual sex is all they can have. Ade is closeted to protect his career, and Rex has to toe the line between his own job and his secret relationship with a sports celebrity.

Both men fall deeply in love, but misunderstandings, miscommunication, and outside pressure threaten to implode the relationship. Then a bounty-hunting scandal followed by a bloody gay bashing force Rex and Ade to face some hard choices. Can they tackle the opposition and cross the goal line to happiness together?

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Chère Ruth,

Je ne suis pas d’humeur à fêter Noël. Après une relation amoureuse partie en fumée, je suis retourné dans ma ville natale du Kansas rural. Puis ma mère est décédée. Je suis très occupé par mon travail de capitaine des pompiers, et maintenant par la chronique de conseils de ma mère, que j’ai reprise à contrecœur. Il y a un nouveau venu sexy dans la rue, un homme avec une petite fille et un malheureux mépris pour la sécurité incendie. Il semble vouloir nouer une amitié, mais cela crée des problèmes qui pourraient être trop brûlants pour moi. Je n’ai vraiment pas besoin de décorations inflammables et de trop de nourriture de Noël en ce moment.

Comment suis-je censé prodiguer de bons conseils aux autres alors que je n’arrive pas à mettre de l’ordre dans ma propre vie ?

– Rabat-joie, Bailey Springs

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Bad to be Merry

Bad to Be Good | Book Four

Bad to Be Good: Book Four

Former mobster Richard Marsden grew up scrounging on the streets of Detroit. This Christmas, for the first time, he has a family and the means to provide an abundant Christmas, and that’s what he intends to do.

But his husband, Daniel, grew up with everything. For Daniel, Christmas isn’t about receiving gifts, but the opportunity to help others. With his son in the hospital recovering from a tonsillectomy, Daniel knows just who he wants to help this year.

Both Daniel and Richard make plans for their family Christmas assuming the other is on board, leaving their holiday dangling on the precipice of disaster—unless they can remember that family, love, and the holidays mean compromising to give each other what they need. 

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Until recently, Adam Brookhart has led what he considers a relatively uneventful life. His biggest problem is that he can’t let his guard down and allow himself to get close to anyone, emotionally or physically—until he meets Shane Farmer.

Shane lives in a small town many miles from Adam and is his complete opposite. In fact, he’s just about the last person Adam can imagine himself in a relationship with. But Adam is drawn to the man, and neither distance nor their differences can keep him away.

Late one night, while driving home from Shane’s house, something very strange happens. Adam loses two hours of time and has no idea how or why. But as he digs for clues, the answers he finds are totally crazy… and the man he is falling in love with might be crazy as well.

Originally published by Dreamspinner Press in the Contact (Gothika #5) anthology, October 2016.

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Mike Ellsworth was alive and well one minute, and dead the next. Only he’s not really dead—he’s a ghost. One with lots of unfinished business. He’s never told his wife that he has come to accept that he’s gay. He’s never told her that he has a secret lover. He’s never been able to tell his lover that he is in love with him. Now there’s nothing Mike can do about it. And that’s only the beginning! He soon finds out he can help other ghosts leave the spirit world and step into the light. So what’s keeping him stuck on earth? If only there were a way he could make up for all he’s done wrong, and finally do what’s truly right. And maybe, just maybe, there is.

Previously published by Dreamspinner Press in the Spirit anthology, October 2015.

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Finding Armando

Found At Last

Found At Last: Book Two

An investigative adventure in search of an elderly man’s first love brought Theo and Jamison together. Now they’re called to put their sleuthing skills to use once again and reunite Pocono resort manager Asher with his lost love, Armando. But the hunt through rural Pennsylvania won’t be easy with Jamison’s younger brother locking horns with the resort’s assistant manager and a shocking offer from the sous chef, Grace.

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When a hot tip leads Kansas City reporter Taylor Dunton to a series of grisly murders, his investigation points to Myles Parry and his vodou shop. Myles wants nothing more than to practice his religion in peace, and he hopes Taylor can help him show the community they have nothing to fear. The problem is all the clues point to Myles as the suspect and only Taylor can help him prove his innocence. However, this case has also caught the attention of the vodou spirits of the Lwa... and they've taken an interest in Taylor as well.

Previously published by Dreamspinner Press in the Bones anthology, October 2014.

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When ex-priest Jack finds a dead man nailed to his bed, he knows it’s going to be a bad night. He just has no idea how bad. Now he’s been recruited by his own personal demon to find the thieves who killed a man, kidnapped his family, and stole something of indescribable value from the demonic Math. To find answers he has to delve deep into the infernal underbelly of his town and face his own past. Jack’s been promised his soul back if he succeeds. As local cop Ben Ambrose risks his own soul by following too closely in Jack’s footsteps, and with a child’s life on the line, Jack has to decide if it’s a deal he’s willing to make.

Previously published by Dreamspinner Press in the Devil Take Me anthology, January 2019.

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When Xander Spade went through the Looking Glass, he wasn’t looking for salvation. He’d been running from the devil who took his soul, only to fall prey to the greatest monster in Wonderland City, the Queen of Hearts. Years later, the Queen is dead and Xander has a chance to go through the Looking Glass and back home where he belongs.

Xander’s devil wants him to find a little girl who escaped into Wonderland City, before her presence brings down an apocalypse of uncontrollable chaos to the already mad world. Along with Jean Michel, the former Knave of Hearts, Xander now is in a race against time to find the missing child before all Hell breaks loose and he loses his chance to go home.

Previously published by Dreamspinner Press in the Devil Take Me Anthology, January 2019.

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Finding Giorgio

Found At Last

Found At Last: Book One

When young accountant Theo Stratis visits Nolan Downes, an elderly gay man in a local nursing home, he is surprised by Nolan’s request: find the lost love of his youth, Giorgio Roberto. Theo is also surprised to meet handsome and successful Jamison Radames, who is visiting the same nursing home. As Theo and Jamison embark on an investigative adventure to find Giorgio, they discover a great deal about themselves and each other. Solving the mystery of what happened to Giorgio might mean happily ever after for more than just Nolan.

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Un cuore di vetro

Avvocati innamorati

Avvocati innamorati

La paura di essere come il padre fedifrago ha portato l’avvocato Asher Caldwell a costruire una barriera attorno al proprio cuore. Riuscirà l’ex procuratore distrettuale Zach Richardson ad abbattere quei muri per liberare l’uomo passionale che si nasconde dietro allo stacanovista con la fobia di impegnarsi. Oppure sarà la gelosia di Zach a distruggere ciò che stanno cercando di costruire?

Una nuova vita e un nuovo amore: è quello che Zach spera di trovare quando lascia l’ufficio del procuratore distrettuale e permette agli amici di trasformarlo. Ma l’esperimento sarà riuscito? Il suo nuovo aspetto attira l’attenzione di Asher Caldwell, il suo capo. Zach ha una cotta segreta per lui e un incontro fortuito porta a un gioco di seduzione, e a uno scambio di identità. Purtroppo, e con orrore, Zach scopre che l’uomo lo credeva un escort a pagamento. Asher, dal canto suo, è mortificato di aver fatto sesso con un dipendente. Ciò nonostante, la notte passata insieme ha significato molto per entrambi, tanto che vogliono provare a frequentarsi. C’è una possibilità che la loro storia d’amore funzioni, ma Zach dovrà convincersi che ad Asher basterà l’amore di un solo uomo e imparare a fidarsi di lui… e Asher dovrà imparare a fidarsi di sé stesso.

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The holiday season is lonely for construction worker Benjamin Morgan, a big muscular guy who just wants to submit, obey, and serve. But the men he’s attracted to usually don’t have a dominant bone in their bodies. He’s done seeking his BDSM dreams with someone who isn’t interested in putting him in his rightful place—on his knees at their feet.

When a friend sets up a meeting with Foster Ridgeway at the BDSM club, Entwined, Benjamin has his doubts. Of course he is attracted to bookish Foster, who works for the same construction company, but how will someone so small and delicate-looking master Benjamin? But when Foster--the tiny temple of dominance wielding a crop—heads toward Benjamin, he might get what he’s always wanted, just in time for Solstice.

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Love is trying to catch up to two lonely men. Can they stop long enough to let it?

Running defines Kincaid’s life. It’s not until he loses it that he realizes how isolated he’s become. But even if an injury hadn’t forced him to slow down, the hottie in the yoga studio would have given him pause. In fact, admiring the man each morning is the only thing keeping the spring in his step when it feels like he’s lost everything.

Owen’s busy life as a yoga instructor doesn’t leave him much time to meet guys, let alone date. He’s convinced his passion for helping people is worth the sacrifice, but he’s willing to spare a few moments for the cutie who walks past the studio every morning.

When their lives intersect and romance is set in motion, they stumble off the starting block. But no matter the obstacles in their path, this race won’t be over until they reach the finish… together.

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A Holiday Homecoming

2019 Advent Calendar | Homemade for the Holidays

Ten years ago Jon’s passion for the piano took him across the country to New York, where a demanding concert career consumed his life and left him no time to look back. His father’s stroke is the only thing that brings him home to Seattle. The sickroom makes for a dreary holiday until Jon runs into Bo, whose inner light can make anything sparkle.

Bo loves the holidays: the food, the crafts, the glitter! A fling with an old school friend—who grew up to be his celebrity crush—makes a good thing better. The season turns sour, though, when Jon is offered a gig he can’t refuse. He wants Bo to share the moment, but Bo doesn’t fly. Anywhere. Ever. Is this goodbye, or will a handmade ornament bring Jon home to Bo?

 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2019 Advent Calendar "Homemade for the Holidays."

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Setting for Eight, Dinner for Two

2019 Advent Calendar | Homemade for the Holidays

To overcome the bad ending of a relationship, Charlie Brooks and a friend plan to decorate his home for the holidays—including elaborate table settings like those made by local ceramicist Tory Phillips. The pieces are exquisite, but Charlie’s on a budget. So Tory convinces him to take his classes and try his hand at making his own dishes for the dinner party Charlie dreams of hosting. As they work together, they grow closer, and the fantasy gathering feels less important than what’s happening between them. When the big day arrives, it might be more magical than Charlie ever imagined.

 

A story from the Dreamspinner Press 2019 Advent Calendar "Homemade for the Holidays."

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