Review: The Red Thread by Bryan Ellis

After a suicide attempt left him hospitalized for seven months, Jesse Holbrooke is returning home to live with his parents. Despite the treatment he received, his depression hangs like a cloud over his head, casting his life in a perpetual darkness he can’t seem to escape. But just when the obstacles become insurmountable, a glimmer of light appears.

Life hasn’t been easy for Adam Foster, a barista with a bad stutter, but he keeps his chin up and tries not to let the mockery of others get to him. Though shy, Adam is sweet and romantic, and Jesse knows they could be perfect for each other. Adam’s support gives Jesse the courage to face the darkness and believe in the possibility of happiness at last. But if their romance is going to last, both young men will have to look inside and find acceptance—for themselves as well as for each other.

DNF @ 12%

There is something in the tone of this story that made it very difficult for me to read. This story is about a man with depression, and to be quite honest, the way this is written caused me to sink into a not good place. I doubt that is what the author intended, and I like to believe that Jesse would start to move into a slightly more level headspace while developing his relationship with Adam, but unfortunately, after trying twice, and being triggered twice, I cannot put myself through it.

From what I read, there was a lot of internal monologuing. Not my favourite style of writing. Coupled with the darker emotional content, and it stalled the story too much for me. I felt like I was sinking into a fog and I had to stop reading for a few days just to get my headspace back.

I’m sure there is an audience for this. I think it’s an important topic to write about. It is also important for love stories to be written with characters who live with depression, and for it to be realistic and not presented with ‘love cures all’. I think this story was going to be that. Jesse’s depression and Adam’s stutter would push both into acceptance of the other’s needs and differences. But alas, since I didn’t get far enough into it to know, I’m just going to have to have faith that the author put a lot of love and care into the way the main characters were authentically presented from start to finish.

A copy was provided in exchange for a review

Find out on Goodreads

Review: Suddenly Yours (One Fine Day #2) by Jacob Z. Flores

What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas.

Cody Hayes is having one epic morning-after. The hangover following a Vegas bachelor party is nothing new to him, and neither is the naked man in his bed.

His apparent marriage is a different story.

Carefully plotting every detail of his life carried Julian Canales to a Senate seat as an openly gay man. A drunken night of Truth or Dare isn’t like him… and neither is marrying a man he just met. He’d get an annulment, but the media has gotten wind of his hasty nuptials. If Julian’s political career is going to survive, he has to stay married to a man who’s his opposite in every way.

Now he must convince Cody that all they need to do is survive a conservative political rival, a heartbroken ex, their painful pasts… and an attraction neither man can fight.

I'm not sure who at DSP devised this plan to turn me into a cracky fluff addict but they are crushing it! I wouldn't say I have a problem... okaaaaaaaayyyyy maybe I have a problem. 

They say the first step is admitting it, so step one down. I think I'll tap out there because I've absolutely no intention of quitting this series. Save all your intervention efforts. I NEED MY CRACK!

Jacob Z. Flores knows how to deliver my cracky fluff just how I like it-warm, cozy, comforting, maybe a little cheesy with some drama thrown in to sucker punch me right in the feels. I was started on romcoms at a tender young age by my mom. She has a tendency to watch the same movies over and over again and that stuff sticks with you! I've got a million and one random dialogue lines forever imprinted in my subconscience and Suddenly Yours brought many of them to the fore.

You know how people always say the best decisions are made when you're drunk and your inhibitions are lowered? Well, except for Britney Spears, that is. I digress. Anywhat! Cody and Julian got married in Vegas on a drunken whim. Only Julian doesn't remember this the next day. Did I mention that Julian's a Senator? So... OH SHIT!!!!!!!!!! He got drunk married in Vegas to a Waiter is headline news. 

Once he stops praying to the porcelain god and the night starts coming back to him, he decides this marriage might not be as catastrophic as he initially thought. Neither believes in love so they embark on a mutually beneficial "arrangement". *grabby hands*

Wanna know the best part? Julian's NEVER been in love before! 

As if that weren't enough, I really liked both these dudes. Cody is outgoing, funny and could charm the pants off anyone. How obsessed invested Cody is in Days of Our Lives cracked me up because he's such a dude; it's the last thing I'd expect of a 6'2" muscle hunk, y'know? It humanized him or something. Julian is more reserved, deliberate and cerebral, but being around Cody makes him bolder, less stuffy.

They both have baggage that creates the conflict. I could've done without Cody testing Julian. I despise that sort of nonsense and through this he seemed to close off and become less vibrant. I missed his happy-go-lucky goofballdom.

The build up of tension between them could've blocked out the sun it was getting so thick. They agreed to live together but take sex out of the equation so they could objectively evaluate their "arrangement" over a 6 month period so... one sex scene but it was pretty epic. I do love a size difference. 

The end is super fluffy, somewhat cheesetastic and has the cutest HEA, ubiquitous to all the great romcoms. Cody's frat buddies providing the comic relief.

I know this is listed as a book 2 but it is in no way related to book 1 and can absolutely be read as a standalone.

If there is a cracky fluff god, there will be another one in this series.

I needz.

Recommend for fluffy crack addicts like me. You know who you are.

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads & Dreamspinner Press.

Review: Will You Be My Escort (The Carlisles #2) by Meg Harding

A Carlisles novel

Jackson Carlisle has rotten luck with men and women, and after an especially bad situation, he takes a step back from romance. But with a two-week family reunion in Hawaii looming, his mom is determined to set him up with one of the sweet singles she knows would be perfect for him. A normal person would tell her no and be done with it. Instead, Jackson tells her he has a boyfriend. The only problem? He doesn’t.

Aaron Wilkes is an escort. He’s a little surprised when a friend’s girlfriend hires him to date her brother, but he’s had stranger jobs. Jackson is cute, and he thinks a fling with Aaron might be just the kind of no-strings-attached fun he needs to get over his dry spell. As they explore the islands together, their carefully laid plans begin to get away from them. Feelings aren’t supposed to come into play, but that shouldn’t be a problem. After all, you can’t fall in love in two weeks….

Fluffy cuteness!

Seriously, this could easily fit into the Dreamspun series.

Will You Be My Escort can be read as a standalone, NOT that I would recommend that since I LURVED Dinner For One to the moon and back; but, to each their own.

This is the second of The Carlisles novels and combines the fake boyfriend trope with the male escort trope to great effect. 

Jackson is the youngest of the Carlisles and he's had his heart broken one too many times thus has stopped dating to avoid Heartbreak 97.0. A big family reunion IN HAWAII plus a well meaning, if slightly pushy and meddlesome, mother make the perfect breeding ground for THE LIE. 

You know the one, so now he's got to produce "the boyfriend". Thankfully his enterprising sister Georgina knows a guy.

Remember when Carrie (SatC) decided she was going to take a LOVVAAAHHHHH and everyone from here to Schenectady knew that was never going to happen? Because Carrie's incapable of anything other than monogamous relationships? Jackson is Carrie and he thinks he's going to have a rebound fling to get back in the dating saddle with the hot escort who makes him babble and blush like a 14 yr old. I find this amusing in so many ways. 

Jackson's eccentric, independent(ish), artistic, a romantic and ever so slightly neurotic. He's also a chatterbox when nervous something Aaron finds adorable as did I. The gumball brain never fails to entertain me with the "yeah, you said that out loud".

Aaron is an escort but also Tristan's best friend (Georgina's beau). He's also highly professional and never ever falls for his clients. 

So... they're both a little deluded. *shrugs* Nobody's perfect.

Can I just say, I'm completely and totally enamored with the Carlisle family. They are nosy, kooky, and competitive as all get out but CHEESE AND CRACKERS! They got charisma is all I'm saying. 

Jackson and Aaron didn't get under my skin the way James and Bastien did. I think the feelings happened too quickly and I missed watching them develop. But it was still a warm fuzzy read with some satisfying sexy times and two adults who use their words, though I'm not a huge stickler for effective communication. Sometimes opening up and showing vulnerability is hard, I get that. Plus all that poor communication can make for great tension and usually fireworks. *eyebrows* I heart fireworks. A lot.

But Aaron and Jackson were both verbal and they both love dogs! Which everyone knows automatically makes someone trustworthy.

I can't wait for the twins stories and to catch up on Tristan and Georgina!

Recommend for those who need a little fluffiness in their life, as a beach read or to those in a blizzard who want to remember what warmth feels like. Because Hawaii. 

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more on Goodreads & Dreamspinner Press.

Check out the Blog Tour/Giveaway stop here!

Review: Loving Djinni by Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus

Left to die in a sealed tomb, David, an educated and good-natured New York arts dealer and part-time forger, stumbles over a old oil lamp. But instead of producing a little light for David’s last hours, it conjures forth a veritable djinni.

An ancient, tempting, puckish djinni, who in David’s company prefers to show himself as an irresistibly handsome, fit and barely legal teenager. Quite literally an incarnation of trouble waiting to happen. So what’s a modern man to do with his three wishes, when he can literally wish for anything except the one thing the truly desires - to mend his broken heart?

Tags: Romance - Gay - HEA - Paranormal Romance - Humor - Fluff - Explicit Erotica - Dubious Consent - New York - Magic Spirit - Nerd


Or in Loving Djinni's case, the djinn.

Genie, djinn, whatever you'd like to refer to these magical entities, I've been a fan for a LONG time. I've put out the call for authors in the past to think genie. I think it's an untapped magical treasure chest of fun just begging to be written. In the paranormal sector of Romancelandia where werewolves and vampires reign supreme, genies are practically nonexistent.

You could just imagine my excite when I saw this title. Once I read the blurb, I quelted. Thieves? A twink? Dub Con? NY? Nerd? Humor? Not only did the entire thing read like it was written for me, it was like manna was delivered directly into my hot hands.

Nerdy doormat New York arts dealer David is trapped in a sealed tomb in Cairo at the beginning of Loving Djinni, written by the Brackhaus husband and wife team. He's been dumped by his over confident sleaze of an ex-boyfriend, lawyer Stanley. And David thought maybe going on a grand adventure with questionable thieves in Egypt might catch his wayward ex's eye. All he gets is impending death for his trouble in a nearly empty for an oil lamp containing a cursed djinni who shall be called Sharu.

The mischievous spirit was enslaved be an evil sorcerer (who is actually a historical figure - cool tidbit) and forced to grant whoever rubs his lamp three wishes and serve them as magical servant to their Master. And his form changes to whatever is most pleasing to his new Master. It's demeaning and Sharu hates humans with an unholy passion. Imagine his surprise that he's been locked up in his lamp for over thousand years.

Imagine the culture shock...

Imagine the hijinks...

I happened to read over one important tag in the beginning: fluff.

Oh cracky fluff how you make me happy.

The story spans a couple of days. But it didn't read like it. Or maybe it was the fluff haze *shrug* Where the story really shined is getting deeper into David and Sharu's characters. We get to learn of their insecurities and feelings. Both have baggage: Sharu was once might and powerful, brought down by a human. David is a nerd, average looking and just wanted to find someone to call his own...and did some questionable things for a guy's attention. His self esteem is lacking. And both of their hang ups endeared them to me.

And the fact that the sex didn't start automatically. Consent and feelings were a key factor in the development of David and Sharu's relationship that started in the beginning with a healthy animosity in Sharu's part and nerdtastic wonder on David's. The asshole ex made for a good enough villain. A little OTT, a little predictable, but within the fluff category, he worked.

It all worked.

And the sex...seriously, it really was like it was written for me. *coughs* public shenanigans *coughs* More than once!

Is the story perfect? Nope. I don't think it's trying to be. (Thank goodness)

Overall, the pacing is good. It could have been better in a few areas. The main characters would hit a decent stride, then either of them would say something slightly out of character or a little odd, making it a little disconcerting. I had to reread passages or sentences maybe 3-4 times at most to see of a character switched POV, or if there was a jump. the authors would weave the story back around the oddity. And there were about once or twice where the story got to be indulgent for the writers, more than the characters (ex. that elevator scene: hot, but what dd it really add to the story?)

And the ending was so abrupt. I literally was stunned at the end of the story. I kept hitting the corner page of my Kindle as if it'd give me the last pages of the epilogue, Loving Djinni, could have benefited from. So many it could have been a touch longer?

Does the story need a sequel? No.

But the history intertwined with the fantasy of djinn made for interesting would building. It would be cool to read more about Sharu's world, how the beings came to be, what other magical beings there are, or at least learn of his actual name.

It's trope-y. The fluff tag is definitely put to good use, so please keep it mind when reading for maximum enjoyment.

This is a quick, fluffy read with endearing characters, a cool little historical sprinkling with magic dosed all around

Because genies djinn.

This story proves genies romances needs to continue being a thing.

Recommended for readers who don't mind the blurb's tags, enjoy light, low angst, trope-y bonbons with magic and historical strokes.

Find on Goodreads or Booklikes!

Series Recap Tour + Giveaway: Overly Dramatic (Treading The Boards #1) by Rebecca Cohen

Check out Rebecca Cohen's actor series Treading the Boards! Enter the giveaway below to win a $10 Amazon or ARe gift card.

Overly Dramatic (Treading The Boards #1)  Rebecca Cohen

Author: Rebecca Cohen

Length: 41,081 words


Andy Marshall moves to London looking for a fresh start after breaking up with his long-term boyfriend. To stave off boredom from his day job as an accountant and to meet new people, Andy joins a local amateur dramatics society called the Sarky Players based in Greenwich, South London.

Despite his best efforts to avoid it, Andy is cast as one of the leads in a truly dreadful play called Whoops, Vicar, There Goes My Trousers, written by a local playwright.

The play might be bad, but the Sarky Players are a friendly bunch. Andy quickly makes new friends and finds himself attracted to Phil Cormack, a local artist helping with the props. But life doesn’t run to a script, so Andy and Phil will have to work hard to improvise their own happy ending.

Author Bio

REBECCA COHEN is a Brit abroad. Having swapped the Thames for the Rhine, she has left London behind and now lives with her husband and young son in Basel, Switzerland. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and a cup of Darjeeling in the other.

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Review: What Boys Are Made Of (Saint Flaherty #1) by S. Hunter Nisbet

With the swing of a baseball bat, a back alley prize fight ends in one teenager’s death. The other walks away with cash in his hand and a conscience screaming for mercy.

Just another day in Buchell.

A second civil war has torn America apart, leaving Appalachia an isolated minefield ruled by cartels. In the town of Buchell, Simon “Saint” Flaherty cage fights for money—until the day a fight gone wrong leaves him a murderer.

His coach uses the publicity to set Simon up in the fight of his life in scarcely a month's time, but physically ready doesn't mean mentally ready. Still reeling from what he's done, Simon will do anything not to kill again.

But Simon’s coach isn’t the only man in Buchell with an eye for talent. The cartels that keep a stranglehold over the mountains are scouting for new recruits, and the local kingpin has his eye on the teenager with the one-punch knockout.

With big money on the line and no way to escape, it's time for Simon to learn to live with blood on his hands--before he ends up dead too.

This story was hard and necessary for me. Not a romance, or erotica, this is a dark thriller, set in a dystopian world where cage fighting is the best way to make a living, through betting, and fighting. The town is under the control of a cartel, and there are plenty of twists and relationship reveals that kept my mind spinning.

There is also some pretty heavy topics of sexual and physical abuse. This is definitely not a book for people with triggers who are healing or sensitive to this sort of story. But for those who can work with emotional pain, and can read past the suggestion of abuse, there is something glinting underneath the dirt and grit. A tiny shard of hope for something more than the life these characters live.

I really felt a connection with almost all the characters in this story. There were a few favourites, but I valued them all. There was a good depth of character, great world building, and clear action plot with enough guessing at the outcome to make it a very interesting and engaging read.

Told from multiple points of first person, present tense views, the story is mainly about Simon, and those who call him family, and some who don't. Considered not that smart in the beginning, there is real development in him as the story progresses. Lots of twists and turns; action and angst. Sexuality is not the focus of this story but it is a vague underlying thread.

I gorged on this story, and then I gorged on the second in this series. I couldn’t put it down, and while this does have a cliffhanger ending, I felt it was worth it. Mostly cliffhangers piss me off, and I tend to stay away, but I did not feel cheated here. It was the natural progression in this story arc, and it helped that book two is already out. Now I'm jonesing for the third novel.

The writing style may be an issue for some, but I urge those who love dystopian action/mafioso style stories to give this book a try.

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

Find out more on Goodreads.

Giveaway + Blog Tour: Will You Be My Escort (The Carlisles, #2) by Meg Harding

We have a surprise author guest today along to help promote Meg Harding's newest release, which we reviewed here!

Unicorns love surprises!

Author Interview

Thanks for having me! I’ve asked a friend of mine to interview me for this post about Will You Be My Escort and the Carlisle novels, so I’ll turn things over to her.  

Hi, all! Piper Vaughn here! First, I want to thank Meg Harding for asking me to take part in her blog tour and congratulate her on her newest release from Dreamspinner Press, Will You Be My Escort. When she asked if I’d be interested in interviewing her for a post, I jumped at the chance. I always think it’s fun to read authors interviewing authors, and I’ve only rarely found myself in the position of interviewer. So now, without further ado, let’s get right to all the juicy questions. :D

Piper: This is the second book in your Carlisles series. I loved the first, Dinner for One, which featured a chef and a food critic. Now, in Will You Be My Escort, we have Aaron, an escort, and Jackson, a man who’s sworn off romance and is looking for no-strings fun. What drew you to the idea of writing an escort?

Meg: It’s not a secret, my main source of reading material is fan fiction, and the escort trope is one that pops up fairly often. I’ve read some good and some bad—not just in quality but in terms of what hits the spot for me escort wise. I wanted to explore what it would be like for me if I got to write it, and I also wanted to try my hand at a pretty well known trope.

Piper: What’s next in the world of the Carlisles? Can you give readers a sneak peek into the future of the series? Will every Carlisle brother be getting a romance?

Meg: Every brother does get a romance! The twins will be up next, with Dorian falling for a closeted athlete and Denver learning to trust someone he’s not related to. These will be the last two in the series, and for those who like loose ends tied up, Georgina’s HEA is worked into the books in the background. All of the Carlisles are off the market by the end of this series.

Piper: Walk us through your typical writing routine. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you make playlists for your stories? Do you need silence to write? Do you use picture inspiration for your characters?

Meg: Writing is the one area of my life in which I’m crazy unorganized. I don’t plot ahead of time, I go back and change things willy-nilly, and half the time I end up writing something different than what I started out thinking it would be. I do need complete silence to work—I can’t read or write with talking/singing around me—and, ironically, the only character I’ve ever used picture inspiration for is Aaron in this novel.

Piper: What’s next up on your writing schedule? You’ve done contemporary romance. Hockey players. Hockey playing shifters (OTTERS AND RED PANDAS, PEOPLE). Any plans to switch it up to something totally different?

Meg: There’s more of those hockey playing shifters on the horizon. I’m continuing the world created in To Arizona, so that’ll be a new series from me. As for something totally different, I don’t have concrete plans at the moment. I’d like to eventually cross on over to fantasy, but we’ll see.

Piper: Speaking of hockey – because you had to know I was going to go there – we’re both fans of the game, and we both call the Blackhawks one of our favorite teams. How and when did you start watching hockey? Who are your top three players?

Meg: I got into hockey about three years ago now I want to say. Maybe a little less than that, and I got into it through fan fiction lol. I love so many players that my hearts constantly torn, but I’ll claim Jonathon Toews, Patrick Kane, and Sidney Crobsy as my top three. (Sorry Malkin, Seguin, and Benn with a side of Panarin.)

Piper: If they were real people, which of your characters would be your best friend and why? Is there one you think you wouldn’t get along with, and again, why?

Meg: That’s a tough question. Most of my characters have my neurotic personality somewhere in them. I guess my best friend would have to be Marc, from To Arizona, or Denver Carlisle. Both of them came from more personal spots for me. As for not getting along, hmm, possibly James. I feel like I’d argue with him a lot.

Piper: And one last fun one – I know we’re both Marvel fans, and I also know that Iron Man is your favorite. What do you love about Tony Stark? Besides him being a genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist. ;D 

Meg: Tony Stark breaks my heart into tiny pieces. He’s who he is purely on his own merit and abilities, and everyone takes him for granted. He’s not who/what anyone thinks he is, and he’s quirky as all hell. No one’s more loyal than Stark.

Thanks so much for letting me interview you, Meg! I had fun, and I wish you much success with Will You Be My Escort.


A Carlisles novel
Jackson Carlisle has rotten luck with men and women, and after an especially bad situation, he takes a step back from romance. But with a two-week family reunion in Hawaii looming, his mom is determined to set him up with one of the sweet singles she knows would be perfect for him. A normal person would tell her no and be done with it. Instead, Jackson tells her he has a boyfriend. The only problem? He doesn’t.
Aaron Wilkes is an escort. He’s a little surprised when a friend’s girlfriend hires him to date her brother, but he’s had stranger jobs. Jackson is cute, and he thinks a fling with Aaron might be just the kind of no-strings-attached fun he needs to get over his dry spell. As they explore the islands together, their carefully laid plans begin to get away from them. Feelings aren’t supposed to come into play, but that shouldn’t be a problem. After all, you can’t fall in love in two weeks….

Buy Links:

About the Author:

Meg Harding is a graduate of UCF and Anglia Ruskin University. For as long as she can remember, writing has always been her passion, but she had an inability to ever actually finish anything. She’s immensely happy that her inability has fled and looks forward to where her mind will take her next. She’s a sucker for happy endings, the beach, and superheroes.  In her dream life she owns a wildlife conservation and is surrounded by puppies. She’s a film buff, voracious reader, and a massive geek.

Paperback copy of Dinner for One

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Review: Bitten by Eden Darry

Dr. Gray Davis is looking for a peaceful, sun-filled holiday on a remote island, but then she meets Beau Pickford. The attraction is immediate.

Unfortunately for them, Brody Douglas is also on holiday, and a stone carving he finds by the river makes him sick—sick enough to kill him. But when he awakens, he’s not who he was before, and Gray and Beau find they have to fight for their lives and a way off the island.

Of course there would be an outbreak of some creepy zombie disease while Dr Gray Davis was having her first holiday in forever. Because life sucks like that.

Lucky for Gray, sexy, flirty, Beau is also on the island, so there’s something to look forward to.

I am always on the fence about zombie themes. Sometimes I love them, sometimes I hate them. I’m a horror fiend, but I really didn’t like The Walking Dead. On the other hand, I did love World War Z. I can’t decide why (it wasn’t Brad Pitt, promise).

Regardless of my fickle nature regarding “Outbreak” style stories, I did like this. I liked the supernatural element of the stone carving. I liked the sweetness of Beau and Gray together before all hell broke loose. I like the description of the Biters and their behaviour, how quickly the disease spread, and the way I was shown the horror of creepy gnashing teeth and jerky movements. The writing was tight, and well done. The plot didn’t stray. For a shorty this was quality.

Both characters were believable, and I liked the way their relationship developed into something more, with the suggestion of a future.

I would recommend this to fellow horror readers who enjoy zombies, and lesbian almost-romance.

A copy was provided in exchange for a review

Find on Goodreads or NineStar Press

Author Bio

Eden lives in London with her partner and their small, earless rescue cat. She runs her own business, and when she’s not working or writing, can usually be found rowing up and down the Thames.

Twitter: @EdenDarry

Gray Davis settled back into her seat and sighed. She closed her eyes, shutting out the low, excited hum of the passengers around her. She had been waiting for this holiday for months. Last year, she finally qualified as a GP and taken up a position in a busy surgery in West London. Gray loved her job, but lately it seemed like she hadn’t done anything except work. When the weekends came, she was too exhausted to go out with her friends. As a result, her love life was pretty barren as well. Gray’s best friend, Julia, finally staged an intervention. One Sunday morning, she had forced her way into Gray’s flat with an armload of travel brochures.
“Gray, I’m not leaving until you book one of these.”
Gray picked up the first one on the stack. “Sapphic Cruises? No chance.”
Julia simply sat down on Gray’s sofa, smiled sweetly, and leaned back with her hands behind her head. “Pick something, or I will beat you to death with the entire stack. I got on the tube with those. They’re bloody heavy.”
“I don’t need a holiday. I’m fine.” Gray plonked down on the sofa opposite Julia. She knew she was acting like a moody teenager.
“Gray, nobody has seen you in months. You haven’t had a girlfriend in what, three years? You’ve probably closed up down there.”
Gray laughed at the serious look on her friend’s face. “That’s not possible. Besides, I don’t want a girlfriend. I don’t even have time for a goldfish.”
“That’s what I’m saying!” Julia leaned forward and clasped her friend’s hands gently. “I know your career is important to you, but you have to slow down, Gray. Take some time to come out with us once in a while. And,” she gestured at the brochures, “book a fucking holiday.”
Defeated, Gray sat back and perused the glossy covers, shuffling them like a deck of large cards. She was exhausted. She’d been working non-stop for months at the new practice, hoping that by putting in the hours, it wouldn’t be too long before she was made a partner.
She’d been working towards this for such a long time. Being a partner would mean sharing in the surgery’s profits, as well as the added responsibility of hiring and managing staff. Not to mention the even longer hours. Maybe she did need a trip.
Gray stopped when one brochure caught her eye. On the front, a group of smiling women were holding hands as a blazing sun set behind them over a sparkling clear sea. She sensed Julia looking expectantly at her. “Why are they all LGBT travel brochures?”
“I told you. You need a break, and you need to give your vagina a spring cleaning. Two birds, one stone.”
Gray snorted with laughter and opened it.
So, here she was, on a plane, waiting for it to take her off to an island in the Caribbean. She glanced at the two empty seats next to her and then up the aisle where a couple more people made their way down, she wondered if she might get lucky enough to have all three seats to herself. Grinning, she closed her eyes and leaned back again.
Gray willed her mind to shut down and relax, even though it kept returning to work. Julia was right, she did need a holiday. The practice manager wasn’t thrilled at the idea of her taking time off. When Gray told her, she pursed her lips as if she were sucking a lemon and said, “You’ve only been here five minutes, and you want time off already?”
Gray tried not to let her thoughts run away with her. She was good at inventing disaster scenarios. Her biggest fear since booking was when she came back and they told her they’d picked another doctor for the partner position. It was unlikely, and if it did happen, there were plenty of other places she could work—even go in as a partner without the probationary period this surgery required. Even so, it didn’t stop her worrying. She liked it there, and it had a good reputation.
She wished she hadn’t let Julia badger her into it if she was going to spend the whole two weeks stressing about her job.
Gray must have drifted off, because she woke suddenly as someone huffed down into the seat beside her. She felt a strong leg press against hers and a sharp elbow in her side.
“Oh shit, sorry.”
Gray opened her eyes and sat up, annoyed. Typical that she would be sat next to the person who thought they deserved more space than everyone else. “Can’t you be a bit more careful? You’re right over on my side.”
“Sorry, sorry. These seats are so small. Once we take off, I’ll move into the aisle seat, I promise.”
Gray turned to look at the woman next to her, about to ask that she at least move her leg, when she stopped, unable to speak. Oh my God, she’s gorgeous. The woman was tall and muscular. Her thick brown hair was cut short and framed a face with cheekbones most models would die for. Her full mouth widened into a cocky grin that said stare away, I’m used to it.
It was the grin that helped Gray find her voice. Out of all the seats on the plane, she was the one stuck next to the lesbian Lothario. Refusing to give her the satisfaction, Gray flicked her eyes over the handsome woman dismissively. “Thank you.” Turning away, she felt the woman put a gentle hand on her arm. It tingled in the place where they touched. Gray smelled something citrusy and fresh as she leaned close.
“I’m Beau Pickford, by the way. What’s your name?”
She thought about making up a name for the hell of it. Beau Pickford was still pressed against her, and it was annoying. Although, in all fairness, the seats were small. “Gray Davis.”

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Breaking Hell's Rules by Lyssa Dering

Celebrate Lyssa Dering's latest paranormal release, "Breaking Hell's Rules"! Check out the excerpt and the $10 Amazon gift card GIVEAWAY!

Breaking Hell's Rules - Lyssa Dering

Author: Lyssa Dering

Length: 25,000 words


Freedom wasn't supposed to be this dangerous...

When succubus Reth finally meets their soul quota and gains freedom from Hell, they decide to take up residence in New Orleans. Immediately they discard the body they've been wearing since 1952 and slip into something a little more virile, pleased to find they get a cozy apartment for their trouble. Too bad the apartment has a joint lease with their body's ex-boyfriend Jude.

Jude is walking around with a black eye and a bad attitude, and when Reth tries to explain things, Jude doesn't believe them. Plus, he refuses to move out. Reth doesn't want to take Jude's soul, and they really like this body. So they show him some succubus action minus the soul-grabbing, hoping to scare him off.

But they never expected for the mortal to take a liking to them. And they never could have predicted just how pure Jude's soul would be. When Reth unwittingly commits a sin against Lucifer, they'll need Jude's help to avoid an eternity of suffering... For them both.


The room was thick with tension, but Jude was feeling reckless. He set the cards back on the table and came up to Reth's back, pressing his lips to the top of his spine. When Reth didn't tell him no, he settled his hands tentatively on his hips.
Reth turned his head, looking at Jude over his shoulder. When he next spoke, it was in a near-whisper. "I already told you this wasn't a good idea."
"I'm just..." He sighed. He didn't know what he was doing. He'd never touch a stranger like this, or someone he'd only rubbed up against once. He stepped back, shoving his hands into the pockets of his sweats. "Sorry. This is stressful. Everything is stressful."
"I understand." Reth turned around, abandoning his cabinet search for alcohol. He averted his eyes but then focused them back on Jude. "I need you to do something for me, even though you're stressed."
"Don't tell anyone what I've told you. About what I am. About what you saw."
Jude couldn't help but laugh. Who would he tell, anyway? His mom? She didn't need to hear about his love life, especially when it was a mess. She'd taken a couple of years to be okay with him being queer, but demons? That would take her years to get comfortable with. And his best friend Brett was always traveling for work and wasn't great at long distance communication. "They'd think I was crazy."
"Good. Actually, it might be better if I left. And you could pretend Tyler ran out on you."
The mention of Tyler pinched Jude's chest. "He did run out on me. Basically."
"Perfect." Reth tried to leave the room, but Jude grabbed his fingers.
"Hey, wait. What's going on? You can tell me." Reth stilled but didn't say anything. "We already decided that you were staying, that you were going to help me with the rent. Just tell me what's going on so we can handle it."
Several strained seconds passed in which neither of them moved. Then Reth turned around and pulled Jude into a searing kiss.

Author Bio

Lyssa Dering is an author of queer erotic romance. She writes about damaged characters in impossible situations who, despite often horrifying struggles, will always get their happy ending.






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