Anniversary Shenanigans: Author Visit + Giveaway - Kaje Harper

Your eyes do not deceive you today! Kaje Harper is in the building and she is dropping angsty Kaje sized flash fiction nuggets for all to enjoy!

If you're in America, hopefully you're not on line or strong arming folks for the latest deals because you're going to want to make some time read this. 

Happy Black Friday! ;P

You Were
Kaje Harper

Some nights, I have this dream…

I'm out walking, on a damp, heavy evening. I wander into the park, and sit on our old bench. When I look to my right, there you are, one knee crossed over the other, your long arm draped along the back.

Hey, Derrick,” you say.

Your hair curls like it always did. Your glasses slip down your nose. That familiar smile tilts the right corner of your mouth.

“Surprised to see me?”

It's been three years, three months, two days. Yes, I'm still counting. But in this dream, it's only right that you're there.

“Just glad.” I sigh at that truth. “It's cool that you're better…” I wave up and down your lean, fit body, relieved that somehow, in this afterlife, you're not the sallow stick-figure that cancer left you. Then I blush, because that's dumb. I'd have taken that stick-figure in a heartbeat, to have one more word with you.

You laugh, and stretch, like you always do when I'm looking at your abs, or your chest. “I'm good. You, on the other hand—”

“What?” A trickle of anger surprises me. I was never a match for you. Three years of age and grief haven't improved me. My hair's thinner, my belly sags, and my muscles have gone stringy without you coaxing me out to run. I suck in my gut.

No! D-man, I didn't mean that.” You touch my cheek, fingers warm, strong, real. “You're still so alone. Not letting go.”

“Still wallowing, you mean?”

No, dumbo.” Your smile's gentle. “Grief's become a habit. You planning to be alone the rest of your life?

I lean away from your touch, though I want it like an addict wants heroin. “So? I'm fifty, Thom. I'm grouchy and flabby and I barely take care of myself. I'd be an awful boyfriend now.” Or ever, for anyone but you.

You shake your head. “Don't sell yourself short. Your heart shines so brightly, I can follow it here from heaven.

“I'm tired,” I say.

As if in response, the skies open up, and the rain falls. I'm enough of a Seattle native not to leap up at the first drops. Then I notice that the rain to my left is different. It falls in ribbons, in streaks, rainbow colors bright against the dim, grey park.

“What the hell?” I watch it approaching. Swirls of color begin to run across the wet ground, pooling at our feet.

Here, I've got this.”

When I turn back to you, you're holding an umbrella, conjured out of nowhere. The space under it is brighter, as if you trapped sunshine in its fabric. You slide off the bench and kneel, the light sparkling off your damp curls and outlining the width of your shoulders.

Join me.”

I'm not limber, and the ground's soaked, but for you I'd still go anywhere. I ease to one knee in front of you.

And you kiss me.

I taste your mouth, familiar from a thousand days and nights, a hundred thousand kisses.

The streamers of color reach us and fall in sheets, turning the world to rainbows, parting around that shelter you hold. I reach for the handle of the umbrella to steady myself. For a moment I have it all, as your wrists brush mine, your lips part, your breath and mine mingle.

Then you ease back and say, “It's time. You know it. Let go.”

You melt away. The metal pole in my hand turns to mist. Your smile's wistful, but not sad. You tilt your head and wink at me, behind the rain-flecks on your glasses. Then you're gone.

I'm kneeling, chilled, water dripping down my neck, and soaking my knee.

In the dream, another umbrella suddenly appears over me. It's not full of magical light, or draped in rainbows. Just an umbrella, dark fabric, metal ribs, a bit bent. But it shields me. A soft, deep voice says, “Hey, man. Are you okay? Let me give you a hand.” Strong, roughened fingers grip my elbow, to ease me to my feet. I turn…

And wake.

I never see his face.

Lying in the dark, my cheeks wet, I mutter, “Not subtle, Thom.” You were always such a nag, when it came to my well-being. I ruffle the new pillow you never used, in this room you never knew. I'm taking little steps, day by day. “All right. I hear you.”

You'd probably chuckle, “Keep it up.” If you were here, it'd be a bad pun, and you'd pat my dick. You're not here. I will try to move on. Tomorrow. Tonight, just one more time, I'll remember how much I loved you, and how you brought color, and shelter, to my world.


About the author:

I live in Minnesota, where the two seasons are Snow-removal and Road-repair, the mosquito is the state bird, and where sometimes in winter it can be breathtakingly beautiful. Of course, the deepfreeze chill contributes to the breath-taking, but Minnesota's a kindly, quiet place and it's home to me now. I've been writing for far longer than I care to admit (*whispers - forty years*), mostly for my own entertainment, and currently am focused on M/M romance (with added mystery, fantasy, history, SciFi...) I also have a few Young Adult stories released under the pen name Kira Harp.

My first professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out from MLR Press in May 2011. My husband finally convinced me that after all that time writing, I really should submit something, somewhere. I was thrilled when it was accepted. I have a weakness for closeted cops with honest hearts, and teachers who speak their minds, and I had fun writing the four novels and three freebie short stories in the series. I've been just delighted by the reception Mac and Tony have received.

My first free book became the first story that I actually released - I put it up a month before Life Lessons just for the fun of getting it out there. Lies and Consequences began as a reaction to the November 2010 election. It looked like the repeal of DADT might be derailed by the political shift and I put the insanity of that law into the book. Then as I was finishing the first draft in mid-December the repeal passed. Which was great, but prompted a rewrite to a lighter and more action/romance book. This was a solo effort and I learned a lot from writing and releasing it and from the reviews. Check Smashwords for that one and many of my other freebies.

I now have a decent backlist in ebooks and print, both free and professionally published. A complete list with links can be found on my Books page. This writing thing is addictive. So read, comment, tell me what you like and what you don't, and help me make the upcoming books even better.

You can also email me : kajeharper ~at~ yahoo ~dot~ com


How's your heart feeling right now? Wasn't this just beautiful? Let Kaje know what you thought of You Were

All of the unicorns thank Kaje for sharing a piece of her talent today! And also sharing a prezzie for one lucky person! Deets below. ;)

Kaje has generously offered an eBook copy of Changes (Tracefinder #2) [check our 5 Hearts review here] as a giveaway prize. (And will throw in book #1 if the winner hasn't read it yet)

Brian can Find a lost child or a wanted criminal, but when his secret gets out, even Nick’s skills and connections may not be enough to keep them safe.

Brian Kerr is now free of his dangerous boss and his domineering brother. He’s eager to start using his psychic Finding talent to help people, if he can figure out how to do that safely. His dyslexia, and his tendency to act simpleminded under stress, make building his new life a daunting challenge. And while his not-quite-boyfriend, Nick, is willing to support him, in bed and out of it, Brian doesn’t want to lean on Nick. If their relationship is going anywhere, he has to be a full partner and handle his own problems.

Nick Rugo’s walking a tightrope instead of settling into the ordinary cop’s life he’d hoped for. He’s hiding too many things from too many people. He has told professional and unprofessional lies that will come back to haunt him. Now, with Brian determined to start Finding again, he’s not sure he can protect the man he cares for. If all that wasn’t enough to make him start punching walls, he also has a suspicion that Brian’s brother Damon and sister Lori may be out there, lurking, ready to complicate their lives.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway is open until 12:00AM (Eastern time) on 12/2/16. Shortly thereafter, we will contact a winner! 

Please respond to the winning notification within 48 hours or we will choose another winner. Good luck!

Trivia Question

Name the sci-fi book wherein pirates headed by Captain Valero capture Tristan, a captain of the Regency. (worth 10 pts)

Don't forget to tag @BMBReviews as well as the author on Twitter and your answer to be entered to win DSP credits! 

Don't miss entering in our month long unicorn giveaway here!


  1. Oh, Kaje! You've made me cry! So beautiful, but so sad!

  2. What do I think of this short? What? Like my teary eyes can't tell already? ;-) It was sad. But beautiful. You had my heart twisted just like your stories always do.

  3. So heartrending!


  4. Thanks for the ugly cry!! Usually never read these heartbreaking stories .. too close to real life. But because it's yours Kaje I did! Now have to go to the store to get more tissues!! Love you from Alaska

    1. Aw, sorry <3 But what a lovely compliment. I hope you pick up a warm HEA next.

  5. Wonderful, sad, but wonderful. Thank you for the short.

  6. Another great short story that packs everything in - Kaje, you are such a wonder creating all these feels in a small amount of words!

  7. That slayed me. Thank you for the beautiful story.

  8. What a beautiful s/ in the form of liquid rainbows falling to Earth to bring healing and closure. (And I open another box of Kleenex to keep from soaking my keyboard!) Is it M.S.'s BS on the trivia question?

    1. Hi Cindra,

      All Trivia Q's should be answered on Twitter - @BMBReviews to be counted.

      (It is today's answer)

  9. Thanks Jen, Suzi, Paige, Jen and Cindra. Nothing better than hearing that my words reached readers' hearts. <3

  10. Wonderful. Such a great short.

  11. What a beautiful short story. Sad, but also with hope.

  12. Beautiful story. I love stories featuring older men. This would be a great preface for a new book!

    1. Interestingly, the main character is making me write, not a novel but a holiday short story, to follow from this... We'll see if it comes to anything. :)

  13. <3 HB and Tan, I'm glad the hope came through in it.

  14. Big ugly tears while I sit in Denny's reading. You horrible woman ;-) Thank you for all your writing. It always brings a smile to my face.

  15. Beautifully done - as usual ;) I can never get enough of your words. Thank you.


  16. Oh...I love that. It's sad, yes, but it is also hopeful because if dreams our are subconscious showing us the way, better and less lonely times are most definitely ahead. Well, that's my take on it and I'm sticking to it because I love happy endings.

  17. Fantastic imagery and emotionalism as usual. I love that picture and this story is a wonderful accompaniment, thank you!

  18. I don't usually read sad stories but had to read yours. Your lovely story with all the vivid imagery made me cry but also smile - hope to read more of this ❤️

  19. That was just wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

  20. Kaje, you're a master at the craft. Thanks for a beautiful yet sad story.

  21. Thank you for sharing, i enjoyed it :)

  22. Thanks for the lovely comments, everyone. <3

  23. Why? Why do I cry? There is hope that better is coming. Dammit Kaje! I always enjoy you & your characters. You could write anything and I would enjoy it (even when you make me cry)...You are one of the few authors where I have to check myself to make sure I'm not going over budget when it is book shopping time :)

    1. Aw, Thank you for supporting my writing addiction :) And yes, better is coming for Derrick.

  24. Yup, felt that perfect painful ache. Such talent amazes me. Thanks for sharing it with us, and please do write more. I'd love to see more little steps.

  25. As soon as I caught the word bittersweet in Kaje's blog post, I knew I'd have to wait to read this. I just suffered a personal loss and really need happy right now. I've bookmarked this, though, because I know it's a Kaje story, so it'll be good. Thank you.

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