I thought I knew my best friend.
Transcontinental video chats didn’t do him justice.
He’s not an awkward teenager anymore, and one look from him sets my body on edge.
I’m the type of woman who has her life together. Sure, a panic attack here or there might derail my day, but I’ve got this. I have my life under control.
I’m not the type of woman to lust after the most important person in my life.
But he knows me better than I know myself—even the anxious parts I try my best to hide.
Now that we’re in the same place, everything in our relationship is changing.
I’m back for her.
She’s my best friend.
Being in love with Jess has been the sweetest agony, and I’ve waited long enough.
I’ve watched her fall for men who don’t appreciate her.
I’ve waited for her to see me.
Now it finally seems like she might, and I won’t hold back until she’s mine.
Victoria is a lover of all things romance, including movies, books, and television shows. A hopeless romantic since childhood, she is always dreaming up stories and happily ever afters. Caramel lattes are her fuel in the morning and she can usually be found reading anything she can get her hands on. She lives with her family and a beautiful Siberian husky in sunny California.
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. The author will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Eighty-four seconds can change your life. Or destroy it. Josie Nickels is an Emmy-winning news anchor, poised to rise through the ranks of television journalism. On a bitter March evening on live TV, the pressures and secrets burbling behind the closed doors of her ridiculous Victorian mansion explode and the overwhelmed journalist spills family secrets like a Baptist at altar call. The aftermath costs her much more than a career. It robs her of a beloved son—a preppy, educated millennial trapped in the deadly world of addiction. Desperate for a new start and a way to save her son, Josie packs up her pride, her young daughter, and accepts a new job slinging cosmetics at a department store make-up counter with other disgraced celebs. In the gorgeous mountains of Asheville N.C., known for hippies, healings, and Subarus, Josie is faced with a choice for her son: Take a chance on a bold, out-of-the-ordinary treatment plan for her son or lose him forever. This heart-wrenching and, at times, hilarious novel, will delight fans of book-club women’s fiction and inspire and give hope to those with addicted sons and daughters.
Read an Excerpt
She’d felt the bump of her lower abs, firm with life as she stood from the vanity and twirled in the fitted, beautifully cut gown, its swishy A-line skirt floating beneath her waist. In the mirror, the iridescent beads shimmered against the sun drifting through her bedroom window.
Her parents’ fifteen-room Beaux Arts mansion spoke Southern elegance at its uppity best. As she admired the gown, she heard staccato raps at the door. Without invitation, her mother burst into her pink-and-cream bedroom with its billowing canopy bed that made Josie feel protected. “You look beautiful,” she said, scanning her in her entirety. Josie waited for the “but.” “Turn around and let me see you from the side.”
Katherine looked striking—and intimidating—in her ruby mother-of-the-bride gown, its ruched waist showing off her incredible figure and a front slit opening to reveal a long, tanned leg. “The dress is deliciously posh. However…” she said, hands on Josie’s shoulders as she angled her in the light. She rubbed her forehead. “I’m having second thoughts about you wearing white. Anyhow, too late now, isn’t it?”
Josie inhaled sharply, refusing to let her mother ruin this day. “Can’t you wear a support garment? Around your middle?”
“I’m four months pregnant, Mother. It’s not exactly a secret.”
“Secret or not. We’re not the bloody sort to display our premarital lust at the altar.”
Josie flushed but said nothing. Her mother’s barbs and put-on British jargon would not get to her today. She had nothing to hide. It was 1994, for heaven’s sake, and not puritanical times when young women like her had been shuttled away to stay with “beloved relatives.”
About the Author:
Susan Reinhardt grew up in LaGrange, GA. and Spartanburg, S.C.where most girls twirled batons, entered beauty pageants, and became debutantes.
Bucking the norm, Susan spent her free time water skiing almost every day, fishing, and pining for a ragamuffin boy who was always up to no good.
Earlier in her college years, she pursued nursing, but most of her patients were terminal and her mastery and frequency of giving enemas had her questioning this line of work, though she adores nurses and often wishes she’d have stuck with the field.
She recently took a part-time job caring for adults with disabilities and loves the work, figuring it would at least make up for past misdeeds and get her a better shot at the Pearly Gates.
Writing has always been her first love. And she became good enough at it to earn many dozens of awards, including three Best of Gannetts for her feature stories and columns. Along with a bunch of other junk that really doesn’t matter in the end.
What matters to Reinhardt is making people laugh. And think. And love others.
She is married to her second and final husband, country and genius lawyer Donny Laws who is bald but has a ponytail and loves to ride a bike. She has two adult kids, three steps, and a granddaughter.
She’s been on national TV, has modeled for one glossy magazine, and was the subject of a British documentary on aging and body image. She hopes that the documentary is lost and never resurfaces.
She once had a radio show called Susan Uncensored; a sold-out one-woman show called “From Hilarity to Insanity and Back.”
She no longer water skis but performs fairly decent front and backflips from a diving board and half-ass rides a unicycle and twirls a baton simultaneously.
Her hobbies include a vintage camper obsession and she’s owned three. Recently she’s settled on her 1968 Scotsman, which she hopes to paint pink and teal with polka-dots and haul on book tours.
She has two rescue cats who vehemently hate each other.
In her next life, she’d like to be a figure skater.
Stars on Fire Sky Gold
(The Sable Riders, #1)
Publication date: February 26th 2023
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Science Fiction
The thing is, Selene, I don’t do forever. It’s not what this is.’ – Kainan Sable.
He’s lethal, wraith-like, a warrior who lives in the twilight, the hidden inferno amongst the stars.
She’s driven, ambitious, and unrelenting, with an allure that forces him from the shadows.
He needs to control the intensity of his reaction to her.
She fights the temptation glinting in his sapphire wildfire eyes.
He wants revenge.
She wants forever.
But he can’t give her ‘forever’.
Or can he?
War is stirring in the skies and stars above Eden II. Between empires in ascension and realms in decline. Kainan and Selene find themselves caught up in the maelstrom. Together they’ll light the stars on fire, even as darkness beyond their control seeks to turn their destiny – and their forever – to ashes.
If you’re in the mood for:
A strong, smart heroine AND a sexy, badass anti-hero
Unrequited love and a personal growth saga that spans a universe
Steamy, hot epic jolts!
All the feels AND heartfelt escapism
Then take to the Skies Above Eden II. A whole new world awaits you.
Kainan’s voice rumbled behind her. ‘Selene Munene, meet the Sable Riders, also known in our official capacity as The Sable Group.’
She stepped closer to the table and gazed at her new acquaintances as calmly as she could manage.
The one closest to her was just as significant in size as Kainan, a hulking figure with a mass of short jet-black hair with blue streaks, a bushy black beard and silver grey eyes, with a stubborn jaw and a swathe of jagged scars down one side of his face. His massive feet were slung up and crossed on top of the table.
The man beside him was also tall, with angular, dark features, a roughly shaven jaw, a beard and penetrating eyes with hazel irises ringed with glowing sapphire flecks. He leaned back in his oversized chair to study her unhurriedly.
Kainan pointed to the scar-faced man. ‘This is Kage, call name Shadow. He’s our ship designer, tech head and all-around maestro. He also runs our mini armada. Next to him is Xion, call name Phoenix – head of internal security on Eden II, privately overseeing law and order on the rock.’
Two other men glanced at her from the other side of the room.
One sported a magnificent sheathe of dead straight white and silver hair that fell to his back in a long, smooth sheet with a braid to one side. His skin was pale, and so were his white irised eyes that he seemed a ghoul, albeit a very handsome one. He wore a close-fitted black jumpsuit with the same crest on his shoulder as Kainan. She assumed this was The Sable Group’s insignia.
He jerked his chin to her, his pale eyes keenly raking her face.
Next to him was a lean, long, striking, powerfully built man in a beautifully cut suit with dark thick hair, a neat moustache and a beard with piercing blue eyes. His elegant presence contrasted sharply with his more casually dressed companions. He nodded to her cordially.
‘At the far back is Riv, call name Wraith. He runs our armouries. He occasionally moonlights as the head of our private surveillance ops and militia, and on his off days, he dallies as a bounty hunter. With him is Zane, call name Phantom. Our business and financial controller. He runs our sales, logistics, private equity and finance division.’
Selene nodded her head formally in acknowledgement, momentarily unable to speak. As it were, her breath had been snatched from her lungs by the presence of these five devastatingly powerful creatures. She saw sleek blasters strapped to their powerful thighs and hips and imagined the various other weapons tucked in places unseen. These were no boy scouts she was dealing with.
‘You remember Mirage,’ Kainan added drily, gesturing toward the gyrfalcon with silver wings and feet.
Selene’s eyebrow rose. ‘Really?’
‘It is indeed, Selene,’ said the gyrfalcon in the AI’s harmonious tone. ‘As a nano-engineered AI, I can take various forms, but this is the one I tend to prefer when I’m off Kainan’s ship. But, of course, I’m also still on the ship due to my split consciousness and various remote capabilities.’
‘Mirage is our eyes and ears across the rock, and she oversees all AI on all our ships and holdings,’ Kainan explained.
‘I’m also taking an encrypted recording of these proceedings,’ Mirage piped up. ‘Which will be shared to all your comm tabs after the meeting and only accessible with your bio authentication.’
Kainan inclined his head. ‘As you can see, she’s a very valued member of The Sable Riders.’
The gyrfalcon bent her sleek silver head in a bow.
‘Sit,’ Kainan ordered Selene, pulling out a plush chair.
‘What’s your call name?’ she managed to ask him softly as she sat down.
He paused for a moment.
‘Chimera,’ he said quietly.
Fitting, she thought, given the strange ability he had to switch her feelings, from hot to cold, in seconds.
Sky Gold is a best selling author, writer and lover of all things delicious, fun and courageously life affirming. She imagines herself a warrior for the people she loves and values she stands for! She looks to her gorgeous husband, her whimsical kids, her loyal friends, her sweet Russian Blue Cat, and the stars themselves for her heavenly inspiration.
The Waters’ are a strong, prominent black family in Philadelphia with
access to the good life. Money, power, and lack of respect flow through the
tight-knit family as destruction threatens to rock the foundation they are
all trying to keep together.
Judge Waters and his wife, Lillian, work overtime to save their marriage,
but when hatred and bitterness take over, all bets are off. Once the
fighting starts, their children Keenan Jr., Naomi, and Saint go off into the
world, wearing their parent’s drama as a coat of arms. They then lie,
cheat, and steal, causing havoc in the lives they come across, just like
their mother and father taught them to do.
Ultimately, damaging secrets and decade-old lies will all come crashing
down around them. When death comes knocking, The Waters Family and their
shattered fate hang in the balance, wondering what’s coming next . .
About the Author
Nick Haskins is the author of My Husband’s Wife, Betrayed,
She’s Obsessed, and his new book series, Dark Waters, dropping this
summer. Nick was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, where he currently
resides. After years of aspiring to become a professional screenwriter, he
began to shape his creative dreams and released his first African American
fiction book, On the Edge of Heat, in 2011. In addition, Nick has been
actively working on his first feature film and developing a new streaming
Readers can visit Nick’s website at http://www.nickhaskinsbooks.com, email
him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on social media
Years ago, he hopped on a bus to pursue his dreams in the music business.
But that meant leaving behind the girl who could never really be his.
Mick Tyler is insanely successful and has achieved everything he ever wanted, but he’s never been more miserable. Feeling a little disenchanted and introspective, Mick can’t help but let his mind wander through all of life’s “what if” moments. The biggest what if? What if I hadn’t walked away from the girl of my dreams—the one who had dreams of her own. And now that he’s thought about her once, he can’t stop wondering.
Sienna Ashley is desperate for a little excitement. As thrilling and satisfying as her pursuit of scientific research has been for her intellect, it’s left her heart feeling a little neglected. For years she dreamed of finding someone who not only understood her brains but accepted her and all her quirks. Once upon a time she thought she’d found that someone, but it’s been years since he walked out of her life.
Past and present collide when Mick and Sienna unexpectedly come face to face. Together, they decide to see what could have happened had they chosen a different path all those years ago. But they’ve given themselves a deadline. Two weeks. Two glorious weeks to either work each other out of their systems, or to embark on the love of a lifetime.
Download today on Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and Kobo!
Samantha Chase is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller of contemporary romance that’s hotter than sweet, sweeter than hot. She released her debut novel in 2011 and currently has more than seventy titles under her belt – including THE CHRISTMAS COTTAGE which was a Hallmark Christmas movie in 2017! She’s a Disney enthusiast who still happily listens to 80’s rock. When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading romances, playing way too many games of Solitaire on Facebook, wearing a tiara while playing with her sassy pug Maylene…oh, and spending time with her husband of 30 years and their two sons in Wake Forest, North Carolina.
Welcome back to the Veil friends, and congratulations to Danielle M. Orsino on the release of A Fae is Done! Read on for details!
A Fae is Done (Birth of the Fae #5)
Publication Date: March 30th, 2023
Genre: Epic Fantasy/ Fae
Prophecies, broken hearts, secrets, and scars. Bodies delivered on the wings of butterflies.
After Queen Aurora’s execution, the Court of Light falls into political unrest. The riots continue as new Queen Sekhmet takes her place on the throne and puts her long-planned agenda into action. Meanwhile, King Jarvok attempts to remedy his heartache but ends up divulging suspicions he has held close for centuries instead.
Alliances shift as dark mysteries bubble to the surface, but a prophecy reading brings a ray of hope. Unfortunately for others, it foretells certain doom. The Oracles speak of a future child who will unite the Fae courts and bring karmic retribution. Unlikely heroes will be forced together by fate, while unexpected enemies are revealed.
There are Fae in both courts who have plenty to hide. Some would kill to keep their secrets. Some are willing to die for them.
Danielle M. Orsino is a fantasy novelist whose lifelong vision to create whimsical realms that her readers can escape to. Her compelling word-weaving pays homage to a multitude of personal muses, from Chris Claremont and George Pérez (both famous comic book writers), to Anne Rice and Wonder Woman.
The creative spark of storytelling has been with Danielle ever since she was a child, but martial arts and her nursing career took center stage into adulthood. Then, on a day like any other, it was reignited during the most unexpected of moments: while treating one of her patients. Seeing that they longed for a distraction during their arduous treatments, the floodgates of inspiration soon burst forth. So, Danielle took it upon herself to tell them a story; a fantastical narrative that would leave the confines of that IV room’s walls and land upon a page. Before she knew it, what started as an imaginative tale to pass the time, turned into book, followed by an entire series: The Birth of Fae. This awe-inspiring series includes Locked out of Heaven (Book One), Thine Eyes of Mercy (Book Two), and From The Ashes (Book Three), all of which are published by 4 Horsemen Publications, Inc. And with an unwavering passion for cosplay and comics, it was a unanimous decision to place her on the cover of each book in all her Fae cosplay glory. The Birth of Fae also features Los, an affable chameleon dragon inspired by her fun-loving Yorkie named Carlos.
When writing wasn’t at the forefront of her mind, Danielle was a successful Martial Artist. Some of her achievements include “1999 World Martial Arts Hall of Fame Inductee”, “Female Martial Artist of the Year”, “WKA World Champion Silver Medalist 2008”, and numerous more. She has also garnered hundreds of martial art tournament wins, various other national and world titles, and features on big-name channels like TLC and CBS. She even had the rare opportunity to perform for former U.S. President Bill Clinton and collaborate alongside Vincent Lyn and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. From there, she pursued her Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science, and she is now a Licensed Practical Nurse who focuses on Lyme disease research.
This “New Queen of the Fae’s” unmatched world-building and masterful Fae-origin retellings have led to an ever-growing queendom of “Fae-natics”. To begin embarking upon a quest in an epic world unlike any other, visit Danielle M. Orsino’s official website at http://www.BirthOfTheFae.com.
This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Trixie Silvertale will be awarding a $75 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other hosts on the tour.
A pattern of murder. A threadbare case. Can our psychic sleuth pick out the guilty before time spools out?
Mitzy Moon is finally tying the knot. And she’s loving the whole town’s excitement for their upcoming big day. But when their tailor is found buttons up behind a jazz lounge, the almost-newlyweds will have to hem in a murderer before their dreams rip apart at the seams.
Knowing they’ll get no help from the new sheriff in town, the couple embarks on a tightly woven undercover assignment. But Mitzy fails to heed ominous warnings from her mentor, Ghost-ma, and her entitled feline. When another body drops, she could be the next target erased by the mounting powers in the darkness…
Can Mitzy and Erick unravel the twisted clues, or will their wedding be eclipsed by a funeral?
Bells and Bombshells is the first book in a hilarious new paranormal cozy mystery series, Harper and Moon Investigations. If you like snarky heroines, supernatural intrigue, and a dash of romance, then you’ll love Trixie Silvertale’s wedded whodunit.
Buy Bells and Bombshells to stitch up a killer today!
Read an Excerpt
At long last, Erick turns to me and exhales dramatically. “How about we take a little drive, and I bring you up to speed?”
What am I going to say? First and foremost, I’m a diehard snoop. I absolutely have to know what’s going on. “Sure, Sheriff Harper. I can’t wait to be ushered into the inner circle.” My snarky tone is not lost on my intelligent boyfriend.
“Don’t get a burr under your saddle, Moon. It’s all good, I promise.”
He grabs his thick uniform jacket, takes my hand, and leads me out to his cruiser.
As he opens the door for me, a cloud of sadness blows over me. Is this my last time riding in the cruiser with the sheriff? What is he going to do next? And more importantly, where is he going to do it?
He closes the door, jogs around the front of the vehicle — making his plain uniform look like an Armani European-cut suit — and hops into the driver’s seat.
He cruises down Main Street, past Rex’s Drugstore, the boarded up Montgomery Wards, and a few other abandoned buildings whose signs have long-faded. When the iron ore mines shut down, most of Birch County took a massive financial hit. Towns like Pin Cherry Harbor have been able to keep afloat by repositioning themselves as enviable tourist destinations.
The sheriff turns right and heads across Third Avenue, past my favorite patisserie, and right again, eventually making it back to First Avenue.
We’re only a few blocks past my bookshop, back on the corner of First and Main, when he turns into an old gas station. This particular abandoned petrol station played a key part in a previous case I solved, and I happen to know it used to belong to local criminal mastermind Leticia Whitecloud. Not to mention, it connects to a warren of underground tunnels used during the prohibition era.
Despite the little pout I’m having, my curiosity is piqued.
Erick jumps out, opens my door, and instructs me to close my eyes.
“Close my eyes? I don’t think I like any part of this, Sheriff. You do know I have quite a lot of other senses I can rely on, even when my eyes are closed.”
He circles his arm around me, leans tantalizingly close, and whispers in my ear. “I’d consider it a personal favor if you would turn off all of those other senses, and let me have this moment. I promise I’ll make it worth your while.”
And I’m dead
About the Author:
USA TODAY Bestselling author Trixie Silvertale grew up reading an endless supply of Lilian Jackson Braun, Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew novels. She loves the amateur sleuths in cozy mysteries and obsesses about all things paranormal. Those two passions unite in her Harper and Moon Investigations series, and she’s thrilled to write them and share them with you.
Welcome to the book tour for Got Trouble by Dave Dobson! Read on for more details and an exclusive excerpt!
Publication Date: January 3rd, 2023
Trouble can find you anywhere
When your day starts at 11 pm, it’s a long way to sunrise. Glynnis Cary is stuck working as a night manager at the Gas-O-Mart. Her husband Keith’s idea of romance is buying her grocery store flowers, usually only when he comes home drunk. Her son is in trouble at school, skipping out with his girlfriend, and keeping secrets. Big secrets, ones that may turn out to be both lucrative and felonious. Keith’s bumbling unexpectedly makes Glynnis the target of multiple murderous enemies and a lot of bullets. Way more bullets than is reasonable. On the run with a new friend, one whose life she’s just inadvertently destroyed, Glynnis has to rely on her gut, her grit, and her ability to spin big lies to find a way to survive.
Got Trouble is a new novel of suspense, thrills, humor, and one woman’s attempt to just have something go right. For once. For crying out loud.
Content warnings: Coarse language, some gun violence
Her breath was still coming fast. She tried to calm herself down, but that was nearly impossible. Her rear right window was a web of silver-green cracks. There was a jagged hole in the lower back corner, framed with a splash of radial lines and white fragments. She had no idea where the bullet landed. Or where the other one that had hit the car had struck. Or if it had hit anything important. The car had shown no ill effects in driving, and the gas tank hadn’t exploded. Or whatever it should do. She suddenly felt the need to look down at herself. Her breath sped up again. She’d heard of people not realizing they were shot. But she seemed to be unharmed. She lifted her sweatshirt, looking for blood, and felt all over her arms and back, but she seemed to be whole. She realized she wasn’t wearing her seat belt, and she felt guilty. Then she felt like that was stupid, because taking the time to buckle in would have gotten her shot and killed. Then she felt like THAT was stupid, because if she ever had needed a seat belt, it was when she was flying out of a parking lot in a hail of gunfire.
A native of Ames, Iowa, Dave loves writing, reading, boardgames, computer games, improv comedy, pizza, barbarian movies, and the cheaper end of the Taco Bell menu. Also, his wife and kids.
In addition to his novels, Dave is the author of Snood, Snoodoku, Snood Towers, and other computer games. Dave first published Snood in 1996, and it became one of the most popular shareware games of the early Internet. His most recent project (other than writing) is Doctor Esker’s Notebook, a puzzle card game in the spirit of escape rooms.
Dave taught geology, environmental studies, and computer programming at Guilford College for 24 years, and he does improv comedy every week at the Idiot Box in Greensboro, North Carolina. He’s also played the world’s largest tuba in concert. Not that that is relevant, but it’s still kinda cool.
Omen: The Stained Sea Paul Carver Williams
Publication date: March 31st 2023
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, New Adult
In the wake of a lost messiah, an oppressed religious sect known as the ‘singers of Oros’ are targeted by those in power. A lone singer calling himself Runo works tirelessly to revive the faith of his people by any means necessary, involving a hunt for a witness who could expose his darker actions
Meanwhile, a young slave named Cai is called on by a philosopher to aid in a catalogue of the wealthiest families in Grecuria, starting with the owner of the library where he works. On his journey he must confront a past that isn’t his own.
Lastly, sailing on a sky ship surrounded by merchants, Mele Amahki was given passage to begin a new life. However, everything changes when they find themselves in a new, unexpected world. Mele is thrust into power, unsure of what is best for her crew.
Knowledge, religion, power, and blood run through the veins of the Grecurian islands, but through these three headstrong individuals, the veins will be cut and darkness will stain the sea.
“Something has already happened to Akamai. And what— we’re to trust this, this Lili Mele in his place?”
Mele bristled, but tempered herself with a glance to Akamai, finding his eyes staring dead into hers. To her surprise, he tapped his lips. A gesture on a list he wrote. It meant she was allowed to speak freely. Mele burst from her seat and pressed her hands into the table. “Lili Mele? I am not the one who sold myself to the council of nobles in exchange for a good word with the emperor. Don’t fool yourself, Lili Takaahae, this is not the world we used to live in, and I am the most valuable asset you sniveling council of cowards has. What choice is there but to wait for now? Min needs the energy when he returns. I’d imagine tracing the edge of the land has drained his stores far lower than any of ours. Now I’m begging to return to our plans for when the search parties return. My brain has been decaying with every syllable that exits your mouth.”
An LGBTQ, Black-Latino young adult, Paul Williams has struggled with his identity, eventually leading to mental illness. However, with support from his siblings, he gained new confidence to express his inner emotions through art and writing. At age seventeen, he published his first book. He is now working endlessly to carve a place for himself among the creative professionals and pave the way for other talented ‘students’ of art and literature.
Second Chance — a small town where anything can happen — and it usually does.
Only You: Once upon a time a teenaged Alpha fell in love with a pretty Omega from the wrong side of the tracks. Zachary was everything Alex wanted — sweet, sassy, and sexy as hell. Alex would have married that boy if Zachary hadn’t run. When the secrets they’ve been keeping come to light, will they shatter their bond for keeps, or bring them together in a forever kind of love?
Yes, You Are: Everyone assumed petite Darian would be an Omega, and big, athletic Coby would be an Alpha. When they met as teenagers, they had no reason to doubt that was who they’d be. But everyone was wrong. Opposites attract like lightning and steel rods when they meet again in Second Chance, but do they have what it takes to overcome the unexpected for the long haul?
Come for You: Gabriel, a dreamer and a librarian, is so shy and introverted that he’s still a virgin Omega at twenty-five — but he can’t help wishing for a fairy-tale Prince Charming. Meet captivating quarryman Alpha Wynn. For them, it’s love at first sight. But the happy ending is harder to come by. Who will rescue who?
Take You There: Ethan teaches music at the university. He’s not looking for Mr. Right, just Mr. Right Now. A quick, dirty alley encounter should have satisfied him. But now Ethan can’t get Blue out of his mind. The smoldering musician who caught Blue’s eye and what they did in the alley, should have been enough. Until Ethan finds him. And then, everything changes. Again.
“As much of it as you can fit in a cup. No cream but double the sugar. Please.”
The train attendant shook his head, but with a smile and a finger briefly pressed to his lips as he passed over not one but two Styrofoam cups filled to the brim. He was an Omega too, in his mid-thirties by the look of him, and he wore a black jet widower’s ring instead of a wedding band. Things weren’t much easier for the widowed than the unmated or separated. He understood.
Zach took a grateful gulp, not caring that the coffee was hot enough to scald his throat, and asked, “How far behind schedule are we?” Stretching his legs at the next station would do him good; they ached when he stayed still for too long.
“About half an hour, at this point.”
Wishing wouldn’t make the wheels turn faster, but with nothing to look at outside in the dark, Zach adjusted his position so he could get a better view of the passengers in his car. Like most Omegas, he wasn’t very tall. Some new folks had gotten on and others disembarked while he’d dozed, and he liked wondering what their stories were. Two young Alphas who acted like frat bros; interesting, they weren’t the usual size for Alphas, but small and compact and they weren’t at each other’s throats but laughed and joked like best friends. A couple that had to be recently married from the way they could barely resist climbing all over each other; an Omega with a contented smile, probably on his way back home, and —
Zach’s heart jumped into his throat and wedged stuck there even around the burn of his beverage. Three rows ahead, dark wheat-blond hair and a profile almost as familiar as his own turned to smile at the attendant as he refused their offer of coffee. It couldn’t be, it couldn’t be, he hadn’t seen that profile since he was eighteen, but —
He’d changed — well, he’d grown up, the way everyone did, the bones of his face maturing from soft boyish cuteness to strong, masculine definition. A short beard, trimmed and shaped, that suited his strong, stubborn jaw. The kind of casual suit that would have cost the equivalent of a month’s rent in Manhattan. Elegant hands with sturdy knuckles and deft fingers, and a smile that lit up the train.
He did and didn’t look a thing like the boy Zach remembered but it was, it was, it was him.
Zach would have known him anywhere, even if he’d shaved his head and started scowling instead of smiling. If he closed his eyes, he could feel those hands on the bare skin of memory. After all, you never forgot your first.
“I love you. And I know you love me too.”
He should stop staring. Alex would sense it any second now, and he might look around, and —
His gaze drifted back up, drawn like a moth to a flame.
Alex. Oh, Alex.
Zach’s body twitched with the first pangs of arousal, wanting what he’d had once upon a time. He remembered it all, and he remembered it perfectly. He dreamed about it, when he slept. The taste of Alex’s skin, the softness and hardness of his mouth and how his eagerness had nearly rubbed the insides of Zach’s thighs raw. The fullness, almost too much and too tight, when he slid inside Zach.
“I love you. And I know you love me too.”
Anger slowly took alarm and unhappiness’s place – anger, and frustration with himself. Zach should have sensed this train was to be avoided. Dodged. Something! And Alex, sitting there as if he didn’t have a care in the world – it was everything Zach had wanted for him, the entire reason he’d left Alex in the first place, but seeing it in the flesh opened all those old wounds back up and made them bleed afresh. The pain from that moment of saying no to what Alex had offered with all his big, warm heart cut sharper than any knife – but he’d had to. You didn’t do that to your first boyfriend, did you? Take him up on a marriage proprosal and tie him down to a shitty life based on a few promises made in the afterglow?
He’d done the right thing by saying no, leaving, and giving Alex his freedom. Zach knew that. Was sure of it. Even if none of that had ever made him feel any better about it.
They must have been traveling farther and faster than Zach had realized, or he was more out of it than he’d known. Between one blink and the next the train’s PA system crackled to far-too-loud life again, announcing they’d reach their next station at Second Chance in ten minutes. Second Chance? What kind of name was that for a town?
Alex looked up at the speaker, nodded in an absent sort of way, and stood to open the overhead compartment. He took out a bulging messenger bag and slung it over his shoulder and stuffed a pair of thick gloves and a warm knit hat in the pockets of his coat. This would be his stop.
Zach caught his lip between his teeth, torn between – it was pure foolishness, the idea of going to him — and sanity, staying right where he was.
Let it go.
Zach would have, really he would. But as Alex walked past him – always so eager to do things, that one; he would start heading for the exits before the train had even come to a halt — he only made it two steps past Zach’s seat before he stopped. As Zach’s heart sank down past the pit of his stomach he saw Alex pause, then turn to look back.
He stopped, just like Zach had, blank with surprise. “Do I know you?”
Zach held his breath. Could he lie? Yes, but this new, matured Alex would have the life experience not to believe him, and he hadn’t changed nearly as much as Alex had. He opened his mouth, but nothing came out.
“I do know you. I know your face,” Alex said. His voice had matured with the rest of him as he aged, going from sweet to firm with a raspy vocal fry on the edges. “Zach?”
Will Okati (formerly known as Willa) has lived through a few Interesting Times, but come out the other side a little grayer, a little wiser, and ready to get writing. Still as passionate about coffee, cats, and crafts as ever, but knowing that to your own self you must be true. Also still one of the quiet ones to watch out for, but life — like storytelling — is always a work in progress.
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