Review: Wandering Star by K.M. Penemue

Zane and Sixia are Jacks, meaning they'll take on almost any job, though most of their time is spent running cargo and hunting bounties across space.

While on Venus, they take on a job well outside the usual: deliver Isais, a slave, to his waiting master. The job comes with explicit instructions not to treat Isais like a person, but it's not long before Zane finds himself enjoying Isais's company more and more.

Adding to the stress is the fact that someone doesn't want them completing the job, and doesn't mind leaving them dead if that's what it takes. But if they somehow manage to make to the delivery point, Zane fears letting Isais go will prove infinitely harder than keeping everyone alive.

It’s not explicitly displayed in the blurb nor by the labels in the publishing house, so I will tell it myself: this is a POLYAMOROUS book. For some reason I can’t consider this M/M/F. I don’t consider it a spoiler, just a fair warning, or at least, the fair warning I would have liked to read before getting into this adventure.

Because it’s action-packed, that’s undeniable. It’s fun, and well-written, and easy to read, and very very cool.

Sixia and Zane are Jacks. They accept any job that can make money, mostly outer-space deliveries, but this time their assignment is different: they are requested to bring a slave to the King of a faraway planet. And they are ordered not to treat him as a person.

Zane fails spectacularly.

The sense of humor is great.

So why am I so deflated? Well, for starters, this is my first asexual book and maybe this sounds absurd but I wanted my first time to be special. I expected a love story in which the MC would accept his partner with no conditions and with no “alternative” resolutions.

This means: I wanted the MC to be with the other MC and be utterly happy with that. Just like any other love story.

But what happened with Zane was this instead: I love that blue-haired guy but he doesn’t want sex, but that doesn’t matter because I can happily fuck the girl. WTF? Don’t get me wrong, he never says that and I honestly believe he truly falls in love with Isais and loves Sixia, too, and he’s obviously content with both of them.

The problem is, I wasn’t.

I know I’m making this sound worse than it should but I felt Isais was the consolation prize, the second choice, the not-enough-for-me kind of person.

I didn’t like that. At all. I wanted Isais to be his everything. But he wasn’t, he was just a part of his everything. Because the other part is Sixia and the sex.

I felt the book was trying to sell me the story that the solution for people falling in love with asexual people is to fuck another person instead. And no worries about that, because the HEA for the three of them is guaranteed.

Just no.

I mean, I have no experience in these asexual stories but it felt all WRONG to me! Asexual people don’t want sex but I have a feeling their hearts are intact. I’ve always assumed they longed for their other half as any other human being does, and that doesn’t include accepting your partner to have fun with another. Maybe I’m too naïve in this but those are my feelings and I can’t change them. For me, asexual people and people who are in a polyamorous relationship are two different concepts, not the same one. They may coincide sometimes but not because it’s inherent in their natures but because they feel complete with said situation.

You should know I’m not a fan of M/M/M and much less of polyamorous, so I try to avoid them. That’s why I would have appreciated to have had some kind of warning. Unfortunately, for some reason, the out-of-the-ordinary romances are quite vague in their descriptions, so I’m never sure when I’m reading a blurb whether or not they are telling me what I need to know, and I unavoidably feel cheated afterwards.

Still, I’ve read some threesomes love stories that were precious to me. I just have to be REALLY motivated to read them and for the author to be REALLY good at it. So they are not an absolute contraindication, but a relative one.


Second part of the review.

Adding to this big romantic fail we have to consider the scientific one.

There was a scene in which there is a heart arrest. And they save the person with an injection in the heart. I admit Tarantino is the best, I admire him, I love him and I think he’s the best American you can find, he’s my role model in so many ways (well, ok, I try control myself. Mostly). Whatever, I would vote him for President and all. But I would never, never, NEVER, ask him to save my life.


Well, because that scene is… a myth. To give you a hint, cardiac surgeons think about it VERY seriously before deciding to make a pericardiocentesis, and only the most trained ones manage to do it without complications. Translation: if you are not careful, you can perforate the heart, and everybody with more than two neurons knows that’s bad news.

So, do you honestly believe a non-experienced person should do it?

I’m not an expert, and that’s why I know I would NEVER do it. I mean, if I was in the middle of nowhere (outer-space) and I had to stick a big needle in someone’s chest to save his life… I would reject that foolhardy idea immediately. I mean, a hole in your heart, no less! How can this possibly result in a happily-ever-after?

It’s a bit too dangerous. Firstly, the chances to reach the part of the heart you want to reach are small, and even less if you have no knowledge of anatomy. Secondly, the person would bleed himself dry in a matter of minutes. Thirdly, if he doesn’t bleed himself to death (I doubt it), it would easily get complicated into an hemopericardium that could lead to cardiac tamponade that could lead to cardiogenic shock. And if that doesn’t happen, there are also endless chances of complications: infection (pneumonia, miocarditis, pleurits, etc), hemo/pneumothorax, the rupture of an important vessel with the consequent internal bleeding… and maybe some may not lethal by themselves at first but one possible/probable/unavoidable common road to them all is… yes! You are right! Death! Sooner or later, but death nonetheless. Above all with no medical support, in the middle of the space. With the injection he may (shockingly) live, but that doesn’t mean he will have a long life, if you know what I’m trying to say. And of course, when you finally get to reanimate someone, there is no guarantee that there are no sequels. The more time it takes to reanimate someone, the more chances for that person to suffer some degree of brain damage, above all when you have waste precious seconds in preparing and using the injection (neurons don’t take ischemia very well). So when the character wakes up and begins walking and causing trouble again as if nothing has happened, with barely no symptoms at all (maybe a little of weakness) I was not entirely convinced. But hey, everything for the sake of fiction, I guess.

If I was there, I’d use the injection in whatever vein I can find and proceed with CPR in a heartbeat (pun intended). If I find none, I would inject it anyway and pray my brains out while doing the CPR. That way the drug would circulate really quickly and hopefully do its work. You know what? Forget the injection, I’d do the CPR right-the-fuck-now! CPR is the trick, break the ribs if you have to but DO IT WELL AND DON’T STOP.

But hey, that’s me. You can do whatever you think suitable.

But do you know what’s the worst thing? None of this is necessary. Things are much more obscure. The crux of the matter is: how come we are in the future in the middle of nowhere and the spaceship doesn’t have defibrillators? (Or any other cool technology you could expect) More and more businesses have one. Nowadays there are very dumb defibrillators, you put the paddles on the chest, order everybody to stay clear, push a button and voilà. Even kids learn to use them.

We are in the future and we have fancy sodas, but no defibrillators. Think about it a minute or two. Lots of spaceships. With artificial gravity. And fancy sodas. But no defibrillators.

It’s kind of mind-blowing and not because we are in the space.

This future sucks, IMO.

So I honestly believe this is a good book, but for the reasons I have told above I couldn’t fully enjoy it. I still recommend it, though, because I’m pretty sure other readers would appreciate it better than I did.

Check out on Goodreads or Booklikes!

Review: Ravenous by Alexandra Blunt

Just when Julian Schwarzenberg accepted that discarding his kinkster skin might be for the best, a call from the owner of one of London's BDSM clubs rekindles his need to have someone to call his own; to dominate and nurture to his heart’s content. Julian was hurt in the past, and he’s reluctant to accept a mystery invitation that could very well lead to a massive case of heartache. And to welcome Christopher into his life might just be Julian’s undoing.

Christopher’s life is like a permanent construction site: unstable and filled to the brim with flakes of emotional plaster. His eating disorder is consuming him from within, and his quest for Dominant Mr. Right--the one thing keeping him going--is a mirage akin to finding water on Mars. But fate finally delivers one effective punch--a smokingly hot Dom who is on the hunt for Submissive Mr. Right. Love may be waiting for Julian and Chris, but it will require them to take a leap of faith. They might just be willing, because they're both Ravenous.

2.75 Hearts

This is me... On the fence.

Because this book was a mixed bag for me.

Julian is a successful lawyer who left the BDSM scene 6 months prior, wanting more from the lifestyle than what he could find at his local BDSM club. When he gets a call from his best friend and club owner, he knows she wants something from him, he just couldn't have guessed it was to take on a new sub. Chris is damaged. He's emotionally vulnerable, recently kicked out of his brother's home, and suffering from anorexia. But there's something about the blue eyes and quiet strength of the young man that has Julian agreeing to take the boy in.

Let's just be honest: BDSM isn't even remotely a cure all. It might help a sub become more disciplined and focused, but it's not going to cure a physical or mental issue. It's not meant to. Julian and Chris both know this, and for the most part Julian doesn't try to fix Chris's eating disorder by being all Dommy. He orders Chris to eat regular meals, and while it may force Chris into eating some, generally, he balks and skips the meals when Julian isn't there to supervise. Instead, Chris sees a therapist and doctor to get treatment for his disorder, so YAY! for that.

But remember, I said this was a mixed bag.

The good:

The plot. Both the treating of the eating disorder, and the evolving relationship between Julian and Chris were fantastic. The growth of the relationship between the two was really enjoyable, and frankly, I would have been happy to have that be the sole focus of the book.

The demand from Julian for open and clear communication was absolutely refreshing.

Waiting for Chris to grow into his own person within the boundaries of their relationship before bringing sex into the mix, was a wise decision by Julian, despite what Chris thought.

And the adorable affection between Julian and Chris was as easy as it was smile inducing. I loved seeing these two men grow and open themselves up to each other.

The bad:

The knowing looks from the doctor when Chris was brought in for treatment, like KINK was tattooed across their foreheads, was irritating, at best. But when it comes to the knowing look department, Julian and Chris have it down to a science. These two men can read an entire kaleidoscope of emotions just by looking into each other's eyes. The most I get when I look into someone's eyes? Eye color. Maybe some indications that they need more sleep. But lust, excitement, a tinge of anxiety, and a boatload of need, in one look?

It's not as sexy as you'd imagine.

Chris often relies on being bratty to get his Dom's attention. What was cute at first, soon wears out its welcome, and it was a trope I wish the book hadn't resort to.

There was unnecessary conflict with Chris's brother near the end, where the real focus should have been Chris's eating disorder. I wanted to see growth and healing from Chris with his doctors and his Dom. Instead, we're told about any progress that happens in passing, like an afterthought. It's my biggest sad when it comes to this story, because it looked like it was heading for a serious Miracle Grow kind of moment, but then we get a maniacal villain who steals the spotlight, instead of the healing of a character.

And last, but not least, a very uncomfortable scene that takes place at Mistress Jessamy's house. Listen, I know BDSM tends to be portrayed as a public thing, but having an intimate scene in front of another couple, outside of a club, while they have a scene... It all just seems so skeevy.
But that's on me.

The ugly:

I have a whole new repertoire of dirty talk at my disposal. Are you ready to be seduced?


...Julian alternating between the two rosy love buttons. (hahaha, he means nipples)

...Julian deprived him of his touch, snapping a leather cock ring on his tumescent - and precum-leaking- organ.

Julian kept on with his task, coating Chris's body with the oil until his skin was thoroughly impregnated. (

...stimulating that hard bundle that was Chris's prostate. And for every jolt of pleasure coming from his overexcited love gland... (stop laughing! I'm trying to seduce you here!)

His prostate singing joyous hymns when those deft fingertips made contact with his gland.

Another digit penetrated Chris's steaming hole... (WTF?! Chris, you need to see a doctor about that.)

...the love tool retreating until it almost slipped out... (no lie, I LOL'd hard at that one)

Before he could step away from their love nest... (I'm so using that as the word for "bed" from now on.)

It keeps going, but I think you get the idea. It's flowery with a side of cheese.

And I know it's protocol to call the sub "boy", but after a whopping 824 times of reading that word, IDGAF, I never want to read that word again. (If you were wondering, "Master" makes an appearance 442 times.)

Dirty talk aside, I found that there was quite a bit of repetitive internal monologuing that could have been edited out. It came across more telling than showing, and it made the story drag in places.

I don't think this was the "right book at the right time" for me. Or maybe, it never was going to be the book for me. While the plot is a fantastic one, the style just hit me all wrong. But that's me, and everyone reads books differently. I can see other people loving this, especially people new to the BDSM genre, who need the extra bit of explanation and conflict in their story.

Recommended for those who like kink, some hurt comfort, and a little sexual healing.

Now take all that newfound dirtytalk I just taught you, and have some fun!

A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Bombs and Guacamole (Border Crossing, #1) by BA Tortuga

ER doctor Dusty Lowry grew up in a conservative rural Texas family that has never quite forgiven him for staying in New Mexico after his stint in the Army. Paramedic Nate Miller, Dusty’s best friend since their early Army days, has a hippie momma, a tiny apartment, and is in lust with his buddy. When their other Army friend, Kyle, gets married, they start thinking about settling down. In fact, they both know what they want: each other. Too bad they’ve never shared that goofy little fact.

A trip to visit Dusty’s family in Texas changes everything, and Dusty and Nate aren’t sure where to go from there. Good thing they’re smart guys, and between a series of bombings that target first responders, their friend Kyle’s wife getting pregnant, and more than one bowl of guacamole, they begin to figure out how to have a relationship.

But as the bombings get closer to home, Nate and Dusty must navigate love and commitment before they lose their chance.

Friends to lovers, friends to lovers, friend to lovers - my all time favourite storyline... so it breaks my heart a little to give it just two and a half stars. Unfortunately, for me, this story just didn't work, and I hate to say it but it is the writing and editing that let it down.

The bones of this story work. I love the storyline and it seems like it should easily build up to a fabulous story, but inconsistencies and silly errors meant it just didn't work. It had so much potential and just didn't live up to the promise. It felt like it had been written in a rush and submitted as a  first draft with no beta read at all.

For example, at one point Dusty's sister is trying to get him an a friend to come and visit for their parents anniversary. She specifically tells him he'll have to share a  bed so it would be better if he didn't bring a girl - yet when they arrive Dusty is surprised to be put in a room with only one bed.

Another time is when it says "Food they could always bond over. Kyle always called them unnatural and wanted to meet at the gym or on the running trail or something. Personally Nate thought Kyle was the weird one wanting to work out for fun." Which seems to contradict with the earlier statement "Kyle was the one who was desk sitting more these days, and who had asked them to help him get in shape for the wedding. Man, it had been fun to put him through boot camp all over again."

Later, Kyle tells Dusty his innocent face sucks, yet previously it had been said that he had a good poker face.

There are other little inconsistencies like this that made me pause in my reading and flip back and forth to check if I'd retained the facts correctly, and if I keep getting pulled out of the story to fact check I'm going to find it hard to get into. I will say that I was reading an ARC copy, so maybe these just hadn't been ironed out by an editor; I don't think it's good practice to send out unedited copies for review though. Formatting I can overlook, I understand that is not important to reading an ARC, but if I'm writing a review of the story I can only judge it on the words in front of me.

Other than that there were several abbreviations I didn't understand (VFW, T or C, GSW, LVN), now maybe it's a cultural thing (I'm British, perhaps these don't translate, I know my Britishisms don't always translate) or maybe I'm just thick and these are common abbreviations that everyone bar me knows, whatever the reason  it means that there are at least four points of the story I don't understand.

I think it's fair to say I wanted to like this book more than I actually liked this book. I also feel with another rewrite or edit there could be a really fab story here.

Check out on:

Dreamspinner Press


Review: What She Wants by BA Tortuga

Calleigh and Adrian might have an open relationship, but she’s tired of staying home. She wants Adrian, and his lover Packer, to be all hers.

Calleigh and Adrian have always had an open marriage. Adrian being on the road all the time has made it easy for them to have separate lives, but neither of them acted on their agreement to see other people until Adrian met fellow Aussie and force of nature, Packer Stevens.

Now Packer and Adrian are always together, and Calleigh is left at home, missing her man. When Calleigh decides she’s not going to let Adrian go without a fight, she comes up with what she thinks is the perfect plan. She hits the spa, and the gym, and sets out to find her inner buckle bunny, intent on getting her bullrider back, and maybe on impressing Packer a little, too. She heads out on the road, ready to fight for her husband.

What Calleigh doesn’t understand is that her plan will be wildly successful, and also the hardest thing she’s ever done in her life. Packer is more than willing to play, but he’s as complicated as Calleigh is emotional. As much as he loves Calleigh and Packer, and the sexy games they play, Adrian has to try to set things right, but can he find a way to give Calleigh what she wants, and make everyone else happy at the same time?

Publisher's Note: This book has previously been released elsewhere. It has been revised and re-edited for re-release with Pride Publishing. This book can be read as a stand alone novel but is related to the Roughstock Sweethearts series.


Goddamn, this was good! Fuckhot and then some. BA Tortuga sure knows how to write menage erotica. I was in for a complete shock as I started reading this on my way to work. Squirming all over the train seat…. Jeebus. This threesome is amazeballs! (is that still a thing?)

Calleigh is determined to give it one last go at reviving her 8 year marriage with Adrian after the last 9 months being separated by his Rodeo tour, and his relationship with fellow rider Packer. So she works her arse off to get all fit and sexy, and then presents her case by ambushing Adrian and Packer as they wake up in their hotel room, on said tour. What happens over the next few weeks is complete flames. All over the place. But can the momentum last, or is this just one last play before Calleigh’s and Adrian’s marriage ends for good?

This is a novella, set after Book 2 in the Roughstock series, and while I have not read the prior books in the series, I am going back to inhale the rest of them as soon as I’m done writing this review. That said, this book can be read as a standalone, in my humble opinion.

BA’s writing style is pure country. Beautiful and gritty. I especially love that the Aussie’s in this story are convincing. Some American writers try to write Aussie and it falls completely flat, but this woman! OMG she nailed it! The speech style, the sneaky slang, especially for country boys, without going over the top. Pure joy to read. I’m almost convinced Texan’s and Aussie’s are the same….. Almost.

I love Packer. He is a city girl’s wet dream. All hard, and direct, with an edge. Taking charge and being all cave man while still being loving and attentive, taking what he wants and giving it back ten-fold. Swooning here. This is why there is reality shows called “The Farmer Wants a Wife” that does so well here (yeah I know it’s a British invention, but it is huge here, in it’s 10th year running). Everyone wants that kind of cowboy. Dreams of sea-change, picking up and moving out bush to find some rugged country boy, yes please.

Adrian is a sweetheart, and really, he is trying his best. It’s hard to be in love with both your best friend, and your wife. Poor Adrian (not really), but after his initial shock of Calleigh turning up, he melts into things as if they were never apart. I love the way he speaks to Calleigh. His dirty talk is both panty-melting, and loving. The way he responds to both Calleigh and Packer is delicious.

Calleigh - poor, sweet, awesome Calleigh. Her self-doubt made my heart twinge for her. It took her a while to feel like this wasn’t just a play party, and that these fellas really wanted her to stick around. But she was on fire while she was making her case (not that she needed to, these guys love her). She kept her shit together and just went with it, taking what she wanted, and making no apologies. Sexy, strong woman. Independent as hell. I love her so much. She deserves all the happiness in the world.

As you can tell, I love this novella, and I am falling in love with this series. The rough edges of the cowboys works so well. There’s something so raw and primal about these characters. They just get down and dirty, and then get on with it. I’m beginning to want to visit a Rodeo just for the experience and excitement of watching burly (hairy?) men ride.

I’m pretty sure I mentioned the sex was off the charts hot. For those of us who love MFM/MMF menage, this will hit the spot. I was a little worried that after the first few sex scenes, it would lose it’s edge, or that it was PWP; I was relieved of that anxiety and found that there was a decent plot, and this trio were getting to know each other in the non-biblical sense just as much as they were getting naked. And yes, the sex stayed hot the entire read. Beautiful, passionate, slutty, messy, sex.

For a novella this was a well rounded piece. A full length novel would have been even better (because I’m greedy for this trio), but I’ll take what I can with this one.

Recommended for lovers of western erotic-romance, with bisexual men, and a woman who knows what she wants, and goes and gets it.

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Review: His Vampire Lover by Pascaline Lestrange

Beau went to the club looking for one thing. He knew what he wanted—who he wanted: Christopher. His lover, his companion, his vampire. Together they played a dangerous and erotic game of cat and mouse, one that only heated up more when it entered the bedroom.

I’ve had a really good run of unique takes on unoriginal storylines from NineStar Press lately. His Vampire Lover is a short story, basically consisting of an extended sex scene between Chris and Beau, a vampire and human couple. These two have a dominant/submissive relationship, however Beau, the human is the dominant. I don't think I've ever read a vampire story like that.

It was actually a shame that this was so short because I would have loved to have read more about this dynamic outside of sex.

Seriously though, this sex was hot! There was lots of dirty talk, begging, biting and rough fucking.

“Come on. Ride my face before you ride my dick. I’m gonna lick you open, make you nice and wet for me.”

I mean delicious right?!?

Would definitely not have said no to a longer story, but this worked as a short if you’re just wanting to read a sexy vampire scene with a twist.

A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

Find out more on Goodreads.

Purchase Links:

NineStar Press:

Interested in knowing more about the author and His Vampire Lover? Check it out below!

Author Bio

Pascaline Lestrange is a lover, not a fighter. She has been writing stories since she first knew how to write and telling them since she first knew how to speak. At the moment, Pascaline writes MM erotica and romance, and occasionally forays into the paranormal. Pascaline is based in Canada, but, like her stories, has a tendency to wander.

Twitter: @pascalinewrites


Sometimes they liked to play a game.

It was a dangerous game, a seductive game that Christopher and his lover, Beau, played.

Beau would pick a club, the kind with a heavy, thumping bass, filled with vampires, and slink his way sinuously into the crowd. He would single out the most attractive people on the dance floor. Men, women, sometimes both together. And he would grind and writhe against them, using them to tease his arousal higher and higher, before finally twisting away when they’d try to kiss him, grinning brightly as he left them hanging, only to slide into someone else’s space and begin again.

Christopher would watch him from afar, listening to Beau’s blood pounding, hearing the soft hisses and moans as Beau teased himself, smelling the arousal coming off him in waves.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Growing Strong by B.L. Dayhoff

IndiGo Promotions and author B.L. Dayhoff dropped by the stable to celebrate Dayhoff's upcoming New Adult release, "Growing Strong" with an excerpt and GIVEAWAY of Dayhoff's cowboy romance, "Sometimes the Cowboy Falls".  Make sure to enter the rafflecopter below and good luck!

Growing Strong Banner v1

Author: BL Dayhoff
Title: Growing Strong
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: Kris Norris
Release Date: 5/11/16
Heat Level: 2
Pairing: male/male
Length: 47K
Book/Buy Links: (Publisher site, Goodreads, Amazon, etc…):
Genre/Tags: Contemporary, M/M Romance, New Adult

Add to Goodreads



A chance—and embarrassing—encounter brings Hunter and Chase together, but it’s patience and kindness that keep them there. Through a slow-blossoming friendship and a series of misunderstandings, Hunter finds himself fighting an attraction he thinks isn’t returned. But with the help of his roommate, Tony, he may just be able to make the leap and confess his feelings.

But love isn’t Hunter’s only concern. With his sister’s upcoming nuptials, he also must learn to face a family that hasn’t quite disowned him for his sexuality. With Chase by his side, it’s going to take strength for Hunter to stand up for himself and to hold on to what really matters.


Hunter tripped over Tony’s briefcase in his rush to get to the door, cursed, and somehow remained upright. He stumbled a few more steps, caught himself on the kitchen counter, and stopped. Huffing once, he continued, with slightly more competence, the final few feet to the front door. When he opened it, Chase was there with a stack of DVDs in hand. “Hey.”

“Hey, c’mon in. You find the place okay?”

“Yeah, it was really easy and—oh, hi.”


“Chase this is—Tony! Put some pants on!”

Tony grinned from his boxer-clad position on the couch. “You didn’t tell me you were having a guest.”

He most certainly had. “Well I do, so, pants!”

“Careful, I might take that as an order.” Tony winked, then wagged his butt all the way back to his room.

“Sorry about him. I think his mother dropped him a few times as a child.”

Chase chuckled. “Don’t worry about it. We all have a few in our lives.”

“Tell me about it. So what movies did you bring?” He sat on the couch, tucking himself against one armrest, and was pointedly not disappointed when Chase sat on the opposite side—making himself as far away as possible.

“Um, well, La Belle et la Bête, because it’s so standard, The Bitter Sweet Tears of Petra von Kant, The Four Hundred Blows, Run Lola Run, Rashomon—which is dry but classic—and A Love to Hide.”

“Well,” Hunter chuckled. “I think I’ve heard of one or two of them. How about Lola? Unless there’s one you wanted to watch?”

“No, I just brought a variety so if you get bored, we can switch.” He opened the case, popped the DVD out, and handed it to Hunter, who got up and slid it in the DVD player.

He tracked down the remote, and when he turned around he found Tony sitting in his spot.

Glaring at Tony was equivalent to yelling at the rain, so he dimmed the lights, took the spot between them, and hit play. Lacking an armrest, he folded his arms across his chest and glanced at Tony. What did he think he was doing? Why was he crashing in when Tony had been egging him all week about how Hunter had a second date? Was he trying to make sure nothing happened? Or was he forcing Hunter to sit closer?

He shifted his gaze to Chase, who was watching the previews. With a sigh, Hunter sagged into the couch and skipped the disc ahead so he could stare at the opening credits.

But he couldn’t focus. He wished life was full of do-overs like movies. He had the running down. Or maybe just the running without ever getting anywhere. He woke up in the same bed every morning. Went to the same job. Knew the same people.

Leaning forward, he picked up the remote and paused it.

“Everything okay?” Chase asked.

Tony elbowed him in the side and said, “Dude?”

“I just realized we don’t have popcorn. Do you want popcorn? I want popcorn.” He stood and shuffled into the kitchen.

“Sure, I could eat some popcorn.” Chase followed behind. “Plain?”

“Um.” He pulled the box off the shelf. “Movie theater. So extra buttery, I guess. That good?”

“Yeah.” Chase smiled.

Hunter opened a bag, shoved it in the microwave, entered the time, and started it.

“I was worried that you hated the movie already.”

“No! I mean, it’s fine; it just started. I don’t like to judge things immediately.”

“Good. I know it’s a weird one, but sometimes I swear we only get the weird ones.”

“Ah, well,” Hunter said in his worst European accent, “you crazy Americans love that shit.”

Chase chuckled and leaned back on the counter as the smell of hot butter filled the air, joined by the pop-pop-popping of their snack. “It’s true. America sometimes feels like the redheaded stepchild of the world.”

“Well, least we’re not Canada.”

“Hey, my grandparents were Canadian!”

“Oh, uh… I…”

Chase laughed. “I’m kidding. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.” He tilted his head to the side and flashed a grin. Cute.

Hunter diverted himself by pulling a bowl down and removing the hot popcorn. The comforting aroma rushed out when he opened the bag and poured the popcorn into the bowl.

Chase snuck around him to steal a piece, popping it into his mouth with a satisfied crunch. “First piece is always the best.”

“Right…” He was distracted by the smudge of oil on Chase’s lip and the pink tongue that darted out to clean it up. Averting his eyes to the bowl in his hands, he headed back toward the living room. “So, shall we?”

“Yep!” Chase followed him, plopping down in his previous spot on the now-empty couch.

Hunter hesitated, then sat beside him with just enough room to nestle the bowl between them. He hit play.

Chase glanced down the hall toward the bedrooms. “Should we wait for Tony?”

“No, I don’t think he likes foreign flicks. It’s fine.”


They settled into the movie, taking turns gobbling up popcorn as the scene unfolded again and again. Hunter couldn’t concentrate. Their hands kept bumping, knuckles grazing and skin brushing, each awkwardly pulling away. Was Chase doing it on purpose? Was it subtle flirting? Hunter couldn’t tell. He knew he wasn’t doing it on purpose—not that he minded—but what if Chase was?

Eventually he just grabbed a large handful and ate from that, leaving Chase what was left. It didn’t matter. Things could just progress naturally. If Chase was interested, he’d say something. He’d have to have seen how incompetent Hunter was. God, he was incompetent. Not that he necessarily wanted to date Chase. Friends first, that was a good idea. So that way they’d have something to base a relationship on. Not that he thought Chase was interested in a relationship. If he was gay—and Hunter was pretty sure he was—it didn’t mean he’d automatically be interested in Hunter.

Hunter was a dork, socially screwy, and God, they’d met when he’d been fucked in an alley, drugged, and was throwing up. Yeah, there was no way in hell Chase was interested in him. He wiped his hand on the leg of his jeans and stared pointedly at the screen. Friends was good. He needed more friends. Tony would argue he needed friends period, but that wasn’t true.

He winced at a loud noise in the movie and sank down into the couch, shifting away inch by inch until he was leaning against the opposite armrest. To distract himself from the man on the other end of the couch, he tried to focus on the movie. When that didn’t work, he pondered if his character Erik would like this kind of movie. He didn’t seem like the type. Too busy with work and school to waste time watching movies when he could be studying or hanging with friends. Half closing his eyes, Hunter composed in his head.


Torquere Press

Meet the Author

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BL Dayhoff is working on coming out of her shell. She's always had an interest in writing, but only recently has done it for more than just her own personal amusement. She loves to fill her time with too many things, and her initials really are "BL" but unfortunately do not stand for Boys Love. Although maybe her parents knew something about the future...

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