Review: 'Nother Sip of Gin (Sinners #7) by Rhys Ford

For Crossroads Gin rock stars Miki, Damien, Rafe, and Forest, life is a Möbius strip of music, mayhem, and murder. Through it all, the sweet, hot moments between tours with lovers, friends, and family keep them sane, healthy, and happy.

This Sinners collection features short stories spanning the entire series, from before the first note to after the lights go out.

['Nother Sip of Gin features bonus shorts finally together in one volume as well as four new Sinners Gin stories, combining classic foundational pieces with newly written material.]

‘Nother Sip of Gin brings together the numerous short stories that have interspersed the Sinners series. While most of the shorts in this collection have been released or posted online previously, there are also some new additions.

Whether old or new, each of these shorts encapsulates what makes this series so great - family, friendship, perseverance, and unconditional love. And some irreverent snark to top it off.

And perhaps unsurprisingly, these are also all reasons for why the Sinners series is one of my favourites!

Each short story reaffirms the relationships that have been built throughout the series. That includes the brotherhood of Crossroads Gin, and bonds of the Morgan clan they’ve become a part of.

And most importantly - the romances of Crossroads Gin and the men they love!


The key difference between this collection and the full-length books - a distinct absence of murder or explosions!

And though I do quite enjoy Rhys Ford’s brand of mayhem and mystery, these men more than deserve some quiet moments here and there.

However, I’ll note that while I’ve always enjoyed revisiting the Sinners men in between the main books over the years, reading each of these short stories back-to-back might not provide the best reading experience.

There ends up being quite a bit of repetitiveness, as the band’s relationships with each other, the men they love, and the family they’ve been adopted into, is explored in each short.

Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed walking back through this series - how Kane slipped under Miki’s walls, how Damie found peace in Sionn, how Forest and Con built their proverbial white picket fence, and how Rafe just gets Quinn.

And how Brigid and Donal are total badassess that need to be protected at all costs!

For fans of the series, ‘Nother Sip of Gin will bring all the feels and laughs that you should expect from Crossroads Gin and the Morgans!

A review copy was provided.

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Not Used To Cute by Becca Seymour

Author Becca Seymour and Gay Book Promotions host the Not Used to Cute blog tour today! Learn more about the contemporary hurt/comfort romance and enter in the $15 Amazon gift card giveaway!


Book Title: Not Used To Cute
Author: Becca Seymour
Publisher: Rainbow Tree Publishing
Cover Artist: BookSmith Design
Release Date: August 22nd 2020
Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance
Trope/s: Hurt/comfort, big/small
Themes: Trust, homophobia
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 46 000 words/225 pages
It is a standalone story.

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Will they find the courage to take what they want?

A bar owner who’s not looking for a relationship. A lost soul who’s afraid to trust. When Elijah and Seb meet, sparks fly. But will either of them find the courage to take what they want?

Pouring his all into his business, Elijah is perfectly content running his bar. With its prime location and its infamous drag shows, Bar QK is the place to be. Elijah is used to meeting new and sometimes interesting people, but it’s rare anyone catches his interest for anything longer than a five-minute conversation.

It takes a wandering, unfiltered surfer, who’s tired of the chase and dog-tired of people taking advantage of him, to spark long-buried interest in Elijah.

While kindness runs through his veins, Seb doesn’t believe in fairy tales. He has a past he’d rather forget and has no real expectations for his future. He believes it’s safer to not make assumptions about anything or anyone; that way, he’ll remain safe.

It takes his elusive, aloof boss, whose mixed messages are more confusing than Ikea furniture instructions, to show Seb that opening his heart can be worth the risk.

When Elijah and Seb find themselves working on a common goal, the high stakes may be just the nudge they need.


“What happened?”

His words registered though made no sense.

“Just,” he clarified, “everything was fine. You smiled, then it all changed. I lost it.”

“Lost it?” I was convinced I’d been dropped into a conversation midpoint as I floundered to catch up. Elijah was direct, as I was, or usually was. I liked that about him. A lot. But he also had a habit of using clipped questions, or short sentences that took me a while to work out what he meant.

“I lost your smile.”

“Oh.” Oh! What the heck was a guy to say to that? Yeah, he’d asked a question that he wanted answered, but hot damn, that he’d lost my smile? I really hoped to God that that meant what I thought it meant. But far out, I wasn’t sure my heart could handle a man like Elijah.

From the moment we’d met at his bar, there’d been a connection. It was undeniable, but still, at work he kept his distance. Admittedly, he took time out to make sure I was coping and settling in okay, but he was the boss. And he occasionally brought me treats. And maybe we chatted about a few things other than work sometimes. It was his job. Right? Right? Okay, so perhaps he didn’t quite keep his distance at work.

And then when I’d told him about what had happened with the paint, he’d seemed to have lost his guard for a few seconds and had mentioned an “us.” At the time, a flurry of activity had burst free in my gut, pretty similar to the havoc currently taking place there. The thought that it was more, the possibility that he could actually likeme like me and that Harriet was right…. Then there was the mention of that kiss, which I was sure had happened and hadn’t been a figment of my imagination brought on by shock.

Heat crept through my body. I had no idea where it travelled from or was heading to, but my senses flared to life. The subtle shift of his fingers as they still made contact with my cheek, the fresh masculine scent of his aftershave hovering between the two of us, the controlled sound of his breathing, which actually deepened a little… all caught up with me and, honest to God, weakened my knees.

I wobbled a little, and he reached out his other hand, not realising I’d been leaning into him. He placed his hand on my hip to steady me.

Not quite flush with him, it didn’t seem to matter as his body heat pushed against me. Warmth that was welcome and comforting pulled me in and made unbidden words spill forth. “You like my smile?” When his lips moved and it looked like he was about to speak, my filter vanished, was whisked away into the abyss and I was powerless to stop it.

“So does this mean you like me”—please stop—“because if you do, which is great, but are you sure? It’s just that you said I was, well you know, small and stuff, and I don’t know, everyone at work says you’re into big guys, or at least bigger than me.” Please, make it stop. I didn’t listen to myself, despite my last comment causing his brows to lift. “You just don’t seem like the kind of guy that would go for someone like me. It’s just, I’m not saying I’ve been bashed with the ugly stick or anything”—a nervous, awful laugh escaped my lips, carrying my words—“I know some people think I’m good-looking. Not that I’m vain or anything. Nothing like that. But I saw some of the men at the bar who I know you’ve hooked up with, and they’re nothing like me. They have a good few inches on me—in height,” I quickly added. “I’m packing, and”—for the love of all that is holy, make it stop. I prayed for a hole, a tsunami, a vortex—“anyway, I just, well, I like it when you smile, too.” I finally ran out of steam with no clue what I was talking about or even if I had a point or answered his damn question.

About the Author
Becca Seymour lives and breathes all things book related. Usually with at least three books being read and two WiPs being written at the same time, life is merrily hectic. She tends to do nothing by halves so happily seeks the craziness and busyness life offers.
Living on her small property in Queensland with her human family as well as her animal family of cows, chooks, and dogs, Becca appreciates the beauty of the world around her and is a believer that love truly is love.

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Blog Tour + Giveaway: Il Padrone (Vendetta #1) by Leigh Kenzie

Author Leigh Kenzie and Gay Book Promotions host today's blog tour stop for Il Padrone (Vendetta #1)! Dark Mafia reads your thing? Find out more and enter in the $15 Amazon gift card giveaway!

Book Title: Il Padrone (Vendetta Book 1)
Author: Leigh Kenzie
Cover Artist: Temptation Creations
Release Date: August 18, 2020
Genre/s: Dark MM
Trope/s: Dark MM Mafia, Stockholm Syndrome, Age gap
Themes: Mafia, Dub-con, Captive/Captor, Forced Submission
Heat Rating: 5 flames
Length: Approx. 44 500 words/ 190 pages

Buy Links - Available on Kindle Unlimited

Now that I own him, there’s no escape

I’m Il Padrone, the Master of this Family, and Emilio will learn his place. I’ll bathe in his tears and watch as he humiliates himself. It’s all for my pleasure. I own it all and he’s just another addition to my collection.

Il Padrone calls me his toy. His property. He says I can earn the right to be higher in his organization if only I submit. If only I change who I am. I may be younger, but he hasn’t seen the likes of me before.

Just how twisted can a tale of vengeance become?

Trigger Warnings: This is a dark MM Mafia with graphic violence and extreme sexual situations.

Book 1 of the Vendetta Series ends on a cliffhanger. Book 2 releases September 2020!

Excerpt (Allesandro POV):

I watch my servants scurry around to complete my orders as I get ready for my guest. I laugh mentally because he's definitely not going to feel like a guest. I'd care if I had a heart, but as most accuse me of, I don't. I'm greedy, and I know it.

The bedroom is two doors down from mine. It's a basic bedroom, freshly painted white. There's a bed in the middle and a closet with built-in hangers. A small bathroom is joined to the room, but there's no door. The toilet, sink, and cramped shower is barely enough to stave off claustrophobia. I'm sure he'll complain about the door—or the lack thereof—but really, I'm being nice considering the size. Most of the comforts my previous boy enjoyed have been removed. It takes time to earn those luxuries. I like to leave some rewards in the room like blankets, pillows, and even a limited amount of clothing. It's not out of kindness, really. It serves my purpose to give him things I can take away when he rebels as he learns his new role in life—and he will rebel.

I'm pleased with how everything is coming together. The room between us has already been fixed to my specifications—it's a place for me to play with my new acquisition. It's the one room that I wouldn't let the servants touch. It didn't need much anyway, but the cell is ready for any significant disobedience. I can't stop my evil grin because no matter how well I explain someone's new life to them, they always end up there. Thankfully, I have cameras in all three of the rooms, so I'll get to enjoy the show as he breaks, and as I mold him into my perfect boy.

As the servants leave, Luca walks in holding a file.

"I have all the information you requested," he notifies me with a disapproving look, barely able to meet my eyes.

"Give me the highlights."

"Name is Emilio, but he goes by Lio typically. Mother is deceased, father unknown. Interestingly, Cliff isn't his full brother, although I'm not sure if they're aware of that. It came from the blood work when the mother was in the hospital, and of course, I accessed Emilio's medical file. We already have Cliff's. Different fathers," he states tiredly. I'm sure he didn't sleep much as he worked to find out everything there possibly was to know about Emilio for me.

He pauses for a moment. I'm not sure why he's scowling now, but it could be due to my gleeful expression. Knowledge is power, and that's a good find I can use against Emilio. I try out Lio mentally, but I'm not sure how I feel about the nickname. It's not like he'll retain his name anyway, so I dismiss it.

"What else have you found?" I question, gesturing for him to finish.

"He's...different. Much different than your normal choices. He's a junior in college. Very young. He's only nineteen. Extremely intelligent. Everyone in the mathematics department I was able to speak to had glowing recommendations. He'll be the type to be missed. Aside from his high IQ, which testing shows is among the top percentile, he's rather oblivious about life. He's never dated, and nobody can figure out if he's gay, straight, or other. He's had both sexes flirt with him, but he didn’t respond. The professors can't decide if he's legitimately clueless about being flirted with or simply uninterested in sex," Luca stops briefly and shifts uncomfortably. "He's so young, with his whole life ahead of him and his disappearance won’t go unnoticed. After the last boy…”

Luca abruptly halts when he sees the fury on my face. He knows this is not his decision to make. I’m in charge, and it seems like my friend needs a reminder who is Il Padrone here.

“Everything you said increases my interest. I’ll enjoy making him my best boy ever. At least you’d better hope for that outcome. Because once he’s here, you’re going to be the one to cover his disappearance. Oh, and instead of giving him a life to go back to, I want you to completely ruin him. There will be nothing but ashes left when you’re done, correct? Because I know you’re worried about what I want and don’t really care about my new toy, right?” I end the last question with a deadly quiet voice that reinforces my position. I see his face go grey, and I’m satisfied I’ve made my point.

It’s too bad I had to do that, but it’s necessary. At least this means Lio is going nowhere, and when I’m bored, I’ll simply find a solution to take care of the problem. With a quick wave, I dismiss Luca and decide to recheck all three rooms. After all, I need it all perfect for the new property I’ve acquired. This time, I can’t stop the laugh from escaping. Really, I don’t even try. This is going to be perfect.

About the Author
Leigh is a dark M/M romance author from Texas with two needy terrors of terriers and a chaotic family. She considers coffee a major food group and her family fears broken coffeemakers. She writes in her spare time, forced to the keyboard by characters entirely too vocal in her opinion and often falls victim to plot monkeys. In between creating mayhem with her characters and friends, her hope is to transport readers to fictional places and provide darkness with a twist.

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Cover Reveal: Heart of the High King (D’Vaire #19) by Jessamyn Kingley

Author Jessamyn Kingley and Gay Book Promotions reveal the latest cover in the author's popular urban fantasy series, Heart of the High King (D’Vaire #19)! Don't miss out on today's book info!

Book Title: Heart of the High King (D’Vaire, Book 19)
Author: Jessamyn Kingley
Cover Artist: LJ Anderson, Mayhem Cover Creations
Release Date: September 3, 2020
Genre/s: M/M Urban Fantasy Romance
Trope/s: Fated mates
Heat Rating: 3 flames

Honoring Fate demands unbreakable courage.


High King Aleksander D’Vairedraconis prefers the comforts of home, rarely leaving his estate. While forthright by nature, his sexuality is a secret Aleksander guards—even his best friend is unaware. With the possibility of his mate showing up at his large estate in Arizona next to impossible, Aleksander focuses on family and building more wealth to allow them to flourish.

Duke Rafferty Kestledraconis is new to the Council of Sorcery and Shifters and is learning what he can about this fresh start. His life revolves around pleasing his royal father and brothers, and he rarely explores past their plot of land. Unable to refute an order given by his king, he travels with his eldest sibling to the remote D’Vaire sanctuary, where to his bewilderment, he discovers that his mate is the only High King in the dragon realm.

Aleksander and Rafferty are ill-prepared for the reality of being mates and unready to take the final step of being fully joined, but together, they slowly build something worth protecting. Circumstances soon spin out of control, testing their fortitude and straining their wills. In the end, they must cling to hope if they want to be together—it will take everything that rests in the hearts of the High Kings to honor the call of Fate.


“We weren’t expecting anyone but Duke Sullivan, Your Grace,” Aleksander said and closed his eyes at his inanity. If he wanted the type of matebond that was so highly valued within the Council and his family, he was not off to the best start.

“Your Highness, I apologize,” Rafferty responded in a deep, gravelly voice that curled Aleksander’s toes. The D’Vaire king would be happy to listen to him talk day and night. It was hard to hold on to fear when he was so pleased with Fate’s choice, which was rather ironic, since he’d been insisting for centuries that he didn’t want a mate at all. I guess it’s different when he walks through the door, Aleksander thought. “My brother insisted.”

“I think in light of the circumstances, you can forgo the title business.”

“What do you mean, Your Highness?”

Lowering his head and staring into black eyes full of emotions he couldn’t read, Aleksander studied the handsome planes of his face as he contemplated how best to react. “You are my mate, Rafferty.”

“I had a good friend who used to called me Rafe. She died some months ago, and I still miss her,” he said, then scowled, which made Aleksander’s belly flop in arousal. “I don’t know why I just told you that.”

“Are you going to pretend that we aren’t mates?”

“Are you sure we are?”

“Yes, I am, Rafferty.”

“I don’t think you understand, though. I can’t be gay.”

“It’s okay, my family doesn’t know I am yet either. I have to tell them, though. At least the immediate members. We don’t have secrets in this house if we can help it. They aren’t going to take it well. I’ve kept it a secret a long time.”

“My brother can’t find out.”

“Kendrick? He hasn’t had any issue with the many gay men in the house.”

“Not that one. I hardly know him. I mean Duke Sullivan. In fact, we should leave right away in case he figures it out. My family doesn’t have any tolerance.”

“So, you’ve kept it a secret because you’re afraid of how they’ll react?”

Rafferty rubbed a hand over his face. “I don’t know.”

“Okay, I’m sorry. We don’t need to get into all this right now. Like you, I’m freaking out, and this is going to mean a lot of changes for us both.”

“I think I should leave.”

“You just got here.”

His expression grew pained as he threw his arms out. “I don’t know what to do. I need to go.”

“Give me your phone.”

With a questioning glance, Rafferty dug into his pocket and fished out the device, which he handed to Aleksander. It only took a few moments for Aleksander to punch his contact information into Rafferty’s phone and put his mate’s into his. “Now we can text each other, okay?”

“Can I leave now? I should go.”

“What about Kendrick? Aren’t you here to visit him?”

“Yeah, I guess. I mean, yes…Sullivan made me come.”

It was odd that the more flustered Rafferty grew, the calmer Aleksander felt. The dragon in front of him had to figure out how to tell a family that had no tolerance that he was gay. For Aleksander, he had the same secret, but there was no real question of how the D’Vaires would react. There wasn’t a single person in his home who didn’t have the utmost respect for the diversity Fate enjoyed creating in her people.

“Hey, it’s going to be okay. You don’t have to do anything right now or tell anyone about us. We’ll have to figure this out, and I can assure you that there is no reason to rush.”

“I have absolutely no idea what to say to you.”

“Go back to your hotel and take a deep breath. We won’t say anything to Sullivan. You two can enjoy hanging out with Kendrick until you head home. I meant what I said, Rafferty. I will not pressure you. I just need you to know that I’m going to tell my family who you truly are to me. In time, we’ll know if Fate was right about us.”

Rafferty licked his lips, which Aleksander tried very hard not to notice, then bit his bottom one. There was tension in every line of his body, and Aleksander wanted to figure out a way to calm him, but they’d just met. With no idea what the right words were or if a relationship between them was eventually possible, Aleksander was still pleased by the man in front of him. Only Fate knew if he was going to ever be more to him than a sexy voice and a handsome face. As if he could read the troubled thoughts plaguing Aleksander and wished to unsteady him further, Rafferty spun on one giant white sneaker and walked out of Worth’s office into his own.

“That went well,” Aleksander muttered aloud to the empty room.

About the Author
Jessamyn Kingley lives in Nevada where she begs the men in her head to tell her their amazing stories which she dutifully writes it all down in what has become a small mountain of notebooks. She falls in love with each couple and swears whatever book she wrote last is her absolute favorite.
Jessamyn is married and working toward remembering to start the dishwasher without being distracted by the scent of the magical detergent. For personal enjoyment, she aids in cat rescue while slashing and gashing her way through mobs in various MMORPGs. Caffeine is her very best friend and is only cast aside briefly for the sin better known as BBQ potato chips.
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Blog Tour + Giveaway: The Experiment by Rebecca Raine

Author Rebecca Raine and Gay Book Promotions visit on The Experiment blog tour! Learn more about the friends to lovers romance and enter in the giveaway to win 1 of 5 mobi copies of The Experiment!

Book Title: The Experiment

Author: Rebecca Raine

Cover Artist: Bec Rivers 

Release Date: Tuesday, 18 August (AEST)

Genre/s: Contemporary MM Romance

Trope/s: Friends-to-Lovers, Gay for You, First-time Gay

Themes: Friendship, Self-discovery, Self-experimentation

Heat Rating: 4 flames 

Length: 85 000 words/ approx. 210 pages

It is a standalone book.

Buy Links - Available on Kindle Unlimited


When a single kiss calls your sexuality into question,
there’s only one sure path to a reliable answer: further research.


When a single kiss calls your sexuality into question, there’s only one sure path to a reliable answer: further research.


I like to think I know myself outside and in. As a developmental psychologist, I’ve spent years exploring the true foundations of my identity. So, when losing a bet means kissing my best friend, Logan, I already know I’m going to hate every second of it. All the relevant questions regarding my sexuality were asked and answered years ago. The results were conclusive: despite the odd same-sex attraction, I dislike being touched by men.

That is, it seems, until Logan is the man doing the touching. The intense desire aroused by his kiss contradicts all my expectations and I have no idea how to integrate the new information. Thankfully, I know exactly how to uncover the truth about myself—once and for all.


I’ve put a lot of effort into keeping Patrick out of my fantasies and in the friend-zone. Our recent lip-lock may have unleashed my feelings for him temporarily, but I’ll get them back on their platonic track in no time. Falling for a friend, especially a sexually ambivalent friend, is a one-way ticket to heartache.

But, when the unforeseen impact of our kiss inspires Patrick to conduct an experiment into the extent of his bisexuality, I can’t resist volunteering to help. If any man is going to join Patrick on his journey of self-discovery, it’s sure as hell going to be me.



“You can do your experiment with me.”

My heart pounds, as I wait for him to respond to my offer. The part of me that’s sure he’ll say yes is already weak with relief that he won’t go out looking for anyone else. I don’t want other men touching Patrick. If he’s only ever going to do this experiment with one man, I want that man to be me.

“I thought you wanted to go back to the way things were.” His gaze is wary, and he has yet to move a muscle. “We’re friends, nothing more. That’s what you said.”

“Yes, and it’s still true,” I assure him. “I do want to go back to being friends. But we can do it after the experiment.”

His breath has quickened and, when he speaks again, his voice is rough. “Are you sure you want to do this?”

“It’s the best viable solution,” I tell him, as if coating my possessiveness with a thick layer of pragmatism will make it less obvious. “Don’t forget, it was my kiss that breathed life into your queerness.” My body reacts to the idea of doing it again… and again… and again. However many times he needs to be satisfied. I make a show of licking my lips, enjoying the way he watches with rapt attention. “How much do you want to bet I can get more than a boner out of you?”

With a start, his eyes narrow and he points a finger at me. “No more bets.”

Laughing out loud, I nod. “That’s right. How could I forget?”

He runs a hand over the back of his neck as he looks around the bar, before returning his gaze to me. “I’ll admit, when I decided to do this, my first instinct was to come to you.” He gestures at me with an impatient hand. “You’re the only guy I’ve ever enjoyed kissing and it totally blew my mind. Why do you think I’m doing this in the first place?” he growls, his frustration coming through. “It’s not just because of what happened when we kissed. It’s the fact I can’t stop thinking about it.”

He’s not the only one. I’ve rubbed my cock raw in remembrance. The urge to shove him back against the nearby wall washes over me. I want to give him something new to think about. Ignoring the impulse, I swallow hard and speak in a low voice. “When you’re thinking about it, are these analytical thoughts about what it all means? Or are they wanking thoughts?”

He glances away, trying to appear nonchalant. “Both.”

My muscles tighten at the thought of him with his hand wrapped around his throbbing dick, fantasising about kissing me while he pants and moans his way to orgasm. I want to know what he looks like when he comes. What he sounds like. How he feels.

“But,” he says, with emphasis, interrupting the lustfest going on in my head, “I decided against it because I know you don’t—” The words cut off and his eyes close briefly. “I don’t want us to stop being friends.”

“I don’t want that either but, Patrick, you’re playing with fire here and assuming no one will steal the matches. I’m the only one I trust to do this right.”

He’s still reluctant. I can feel the force of his doubts. But he hasn’t said no.

“Patrick, listen to me.” I slide a hand around the back of his neck, urging him to meet my gaze. “You need someone you can trust to stop when you say stop, no matter what’s happening when you say it. Someone who won’t get pissed at you and accuse you of being a tease when you leave them with blue balls.” Releasing him, I grin. “Besides, you tried looking for someone else to kiss. It didn’t work. You chose me and now you’re stuck with me for the duration.”

He huffs out an indignant sound. “I could find someone else to kiss,” he blusters, “if I looked really hard… for about ten years.”

I laugh out loud, knowing I almost have him convinced. “Yeah, but even if you did, it wouldn’t matter.”

“Why is that?” He leans closer, as if he’s looking forward to my response.

In that instant, I realise how badly I want this—him. I want to tug on every thread of his sexuality, freeing each strand for thorough inspection. I want to tie him in knots, before making him unravel for me. And I want him to know, every second along the way, I’m the one who is doing this to him. That I’m the only man to ever make him feel this way.

Licking my lips, I take a step closer and bring my face in next to his. “Because even if you did hit your limit with someone else, you’d always wonder how much further I could have taken you.” I lower my head, so he can feel my breath against his neck as I go in for the kill. “Patrick, my friend, I’m going to drag your arse so far down my end of the spectrum, you’ll have to claw your way straight.”


About the Author 

Rebecca is a long-time lover of all things romance. Whether it’s a book, movie, or real life, she will always have more fun if there’s a love interest thrown into the mix. She lives in Queensland, Australia with her very own hero husband, two quirky kids and one big, black dog. Other than reading and writing books, her favourite things include loud music, enjoying a glass of wine on the patio, organising everything in existence, and spending too much time on the Internet.

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one of five mobi copies of The Experiment



Tag Team Review: Abstract Love by Sara Dobie Bauer

I hate Sam Shelby. So why do I want to kiss him?

Sam never expected to move back to Cleveland.
Donovan never expected to be attracted to a man.
Well, shit happens.

After high school, Sam Shelby moved to New York. Eight years later, he returns to Cleveland and lands a job at the best ad firm in town. It would be the perfect gig, if his boss weren’t such an ass.

After his wife leaves, Donovan Cooper questions everything. The arrival of a young, arrogant, gifted graphic designer at Donovan’s firm is the last straw.

Tempers flare over office gossip, and following a nasty argument and scathing kiss, Donovan flails away from heterosexuality while Sam struggles to keep his “no relationship” rule intact.

Despite ugly socks, fiery fights, and their best intentions to not fall in love, these bullheaded coworkers can’t deny their chemistry. Donovan seeks happiness while Sam seeks success, but is there room for more?


R *A Reader Obsessed* - 4 Hearts

If you’re wanting an office romance featuring an age gap, opposites attract, enemies to lovers progression with dominance overtones then look no further!

Donovan is a top notch grump at a top notch advertising company. He’s also a control freak, makes no apologies nor any concessions, and he’s very very good at his job. NO ONE questions him, until one day new hire Sam, a daring brilliant artist, explodes onto the scene and proceeds to challenge Donovan in all aspects of his life.

On principle, Donovan hates everything about Sam, from his wild off putting clothes to his inability to be intimidated to his genius unfiltered mind. Sam is sunshine and charm, sass and beauty, enchanting all those around him, even slowly melting Donovan’s unbreachable defenses. In turn, Sam’s attracted to the cantankerous asshole and takes personal glee at pushing every single one of Donovan’s buttons, secretly hoping that Donovan will exert his bossy will on Sam just a little bit, pretty please.

Hence, annoyance breeds animosity, turns into lust, causing clashing confrontations, ultimately resulting in angry desperate oh so hot interactions. These two can’t stop thinking about each other, and neither can they stay away for very long, the chemistry irresistible, the pull undeniable. There’s just some “minor” snags in achieving a happy ever after, one of which is Donovan has always identified as straight, and Sam never ever does relationships.

Despite the oft used aforementioned obstacles, Bauer brings a snarky antagonistic back and forth between Donovan and Sam that was highly entertaining to witness with thankfully, little protracted angst. There's the inevitable evolution and growth to both men, of course. Donovan is still reeling from his recent divorce and must come to terms with how miserable he is with his life despite being so successful, and Sam has terrible family dynamics to work through that have obviously affected how he goes about any and all of his relationships, never getting too attached to avoid the sure to come loss.

Beware lots of jealousy, running away from one’s problems, awful parents being awful, and a pretty fast progression to love proclamations. Regardless, this still succeeds at some really wonderful UST, foreplay, and fantastic dialogue!

As one can see, I enjoyed myself just like I did with Bauer’s A Lord to Love for different reasons. This author apparently dabbles in a varied mix of genres that makes me all the more curious to explore her backlog as well as keep an eye out for what she may bring to the table next!

Annery - 5 Hearts

Donovan Cooper is tall, handsome, and professionally successful. He’s also miserable, angry all the time, and his marriage has imploded. These things are not unrelated.

Sam Shelby is beautiful, an eccentric dresser, and a graphic designer wunderkind. He’s also lugging around some family baggage.

These two forces collide at Stoker & Steele, an advertising agency in Cleveland, and sparks fly. Donovan is Sam’s boss and to all appearances they two go together like oil and vinegar, not an unfair assessment, but they also bring out the best in each other.

I’m delighted to say that this book by Sara Dobie Bauer brings me back to the level of enjoyment I had with We Still Live. Maybe I enjoy her Ohio set stories better? Dunno. Last year I read what I now know are the first few chapters of this in the Come Play anthology and I liked it very much. My complaint was that it just stopped and here is the full, satisfying story.

There is age gap, first time gay (Donovan), and some kink, (the domineering kind), but these things are almost incidental to the development of the relationship between the MC. Make no mistake, the sex scenes are scorching and reading how creative Donovan gets with Sam shouldn’t be done in public. But what I liked most was how SDB explored the reasons for Donovan’s perpetual bad mood and Sam’s NO DATING policy. I loved that, despite everything, Donovan didn’t deceive himself or make a big production about his attraction for Sam. I loved that though he enjoys submitting in the bedroom Sam doesn’t let Donovan get away with anything outside the bedroom. He’s very clear on a demarcation between what he wants in his sexual relationship and who he is as a man in the world. I was thrilled to see actual bi representation with both MC. I loved that Donovan’s ex, though flawed, isn’t portrayed as a villainess, just human.

I really enjoyed the sense of humor, Sam and Donovan’s inner monologues particularly, but also Zen (her trippy self) and Monica who translates Donovan to his colleagues. I liked how these people were grounded in authenticity. In a former life I worked in advertising and IMO the author perfectly captured that world. I particularly enjoyed the art aspect, how the MC related to it, how it informed their lives. I can also say that this is perhaps one of my favorite covers ever. Not only because I find it beautiful but because it perfectly captures the story between the covers and speaks to its sensibilities.

If I must have niggles I’ll say that … nah. Nothing. Nothing worth complaining about in a romance that otherwise made me happy with smart characters and a love story I can believe without having to squint even once.

Release Blitz + Giveaway: On the Square (University Square #1) by Brenda Murphy

Author Brenda Murphy and IndiGo Marketing host today's release blitz for On the Square (University Square #1)! Learn more about the romance and enter in the $10 NineStar Press credit giveaway!

Title: On the Square
Series: University Square, Book One
Author: Brenda Murphy
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: August 17, 2020
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Female/Female
Length: 64400
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, Contemporary, romance, family-drama, interracial, blue-collar, restaurant, chef, reality TV star, builder, single mother, in the closet

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Dropped from her television show after a very public split with her cheating ex, celebrity chef Mai Li wants nothing more than to reopen her parents’ shuttered restaurant and make a fresh start in her former hometown. So what if twenty years of neglect has left the building in need of a major renovation?

Seduced by Mai’s charm and determination, hard-edged contractor Dale Miller agrees to take on her renovation project.

After a spring storm causes significant damage to the building and renovation costs exceed Mai’s budget, Dale offers her a deal, but is it a price Mai is willing to pay?


On the Square
Brenda Murphy © 2020
All Rights Reserved

Dale filled her coffee thermos. The scent of the dark brew had her wanting to linger over another cup. She tightened the lid. “You riding the bus today?”

“Nah, Chip’s coming to pick me up. We have a cross-country team meeting.” Noah slid the omelet he was cooking onto the plate. “You sure you don’t have time? You can have this one, Mom. I’ll cook another for me.” His round face and solemn dark-brown eyes were fixed on her face. He lifted the plate and waved it in her direction.

Delicately browned, perfectly cooked. The aroma of melted cheddar cheese and butter filled the small kitchen. The omelet tempted Dale even more than the coffee had. She sighed and cursed herself for agreeing to an early morning appointment for an estimate. Dale grimaced. Cowed by the insistence of the woman who called for the estimate, her oldest, Seth, had made the appointment outside of business hours. Afraid to turn down work. Knows we need the money. If it works out.

Dale tucked two peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwiches into her cooler, wrapped an apple in a napkin, and placed three battered and scruffy water bottles around the sides, spacing them evenly. She shut the lid and bungeed the ancient metal relic of a cooler shut. Please let it work out.

“What, Mom?”

The concern in Noah’s voice drew Dale from her thoughts. “Nothing. I wish your brother would’ve talked to me before he scheduled this. I hate to talk to people before I’ve had my coffee. And who the hell needs to meet at six in the morning for an estimate?” She peered out of the window at the sky, barely pink.

“Someone in a hurry? Like maybe you should be. Or you’re gonna be late.” Noah smirked as he shoved aside stacks of paper and clutter before he placed his plate on the table. He pulled a chair out, sat down, and flipped his napkin out with a flourish.

“Damn.” Dale took two steps over to Noah and mashed a quick kiss to his forehead. “Don’t forget to tell Thomas to pick up Grandad’s prescription and have a good day at school.”

Noah scrubbed his hand over his mouth. “I will.”

Dale snatched her thermos and her lunch cooler off the counter as she bolted for the door.


The large black pickup truck roared into the parking lot, kicking up a fine spray of dust and small gravel. Mai ended the call she had been ready to make to cancel the estimate appointment and shoved her phone back into her pocket. She frowned as a layer of gray dust settled over her polished black wingtips. Tinted windows prevented her from seeing inside the truck. With a snap of her wrist she straightened her collar, leaned back against her car, and crossed her arms over her chest. She tapped her foot and pursed her lips as she contemplated how much she was going to enjoy telling the yahoo in the truck what she thought of their driving skills. A warm-up for what she was preparing to tell the contractor who didn’t think her time was valuable. She didn’t do business with people who were not punctual. This town has not changed a bit. Still on country time. She snorted thinking about the ridiculous lengths she had to go to get the idiot on the phone to agree to a timely appointment.

The scuff of boots on gravel on the opposite side of the truck made her look up.

“Sorry I’m late.” A tall woman in faded jeans and work boots rounded the front of the truck. A thick tan work belt with a multitool pouch clipped to it held her jeans up over her curvy hips. She tucked a metal clipboard under her arm and stuck her hand out to shake.

“Who are you?” Mai didn’t take the woman’s hand. “I had an appointment with a general contractor for an estimate. Dale Miller?”

“That’s me.” A flash of irritation flew across Dale’s face as she withdrew her hand and stuck it into her rear pocket.

“You’re late.” Mai studied the unapologetic woman in front of her. Thick honey-blonde hair streaked with gray brushed her shoulders. A head taller than Mai, she had broad shoulders and a trim waist. Her pale-blue undershirt set off her golden-brown eyes. The sleeves of her flannel overshirt were rolled back and displayed well-muscled forearms.

Dale rocked back on her heels and glanced skyward before bringing her gaze back to Mai’s face. “I am. And I apologized. This is outside of our normal hours for estimates.”

“And I wasn’t…”

Dale cut her off. “And you weren’t expecting a woman.” She swept her hand through her hair. “You know what. I’m not certain I’m the best person for this job.” She turned on her heel and walked away from Mai, head high and shoulders rigid.


Dale turned and rested her hand on the hood of the truck. “Why? You’ve made your mind up. I’m not going to waste my time. Or yours. Good luck with your project.”

Mai looked down at her shoes before returning her gaze to Dale’s face. “That’s not what I was going to say.”

“Right.” Dale arched an eyebrow. “I’ve been in this business too long to be scolded for being late. I don’t schedule appointments this early because I don’t like talking to anyone at this unholy hour.”

Mai laughed. “How have you stayed in business?”

Dale walked back over and stepped close to Mai, invading her space. “Because most people in this town recognize business hours are business hours and don’t expect special favors.”

Mai held her ground. “Special favors? I asked for an early appointment. It’s not my fault whoever answered the phone doesn’t know your hours.”

Dale clenched her fists. “My son knows the hours perfectly well. He was trying to be nice. He said yes to accommodate your schedule. Which, apparently, is way more important than mine. Good day.” She spun on her heel and stomped back to the truck.

Mai chewed her lip as she desperately tried to ignore how much she liked the way Dale’s ass looked in her jeans and failed. “Hey, wait.”

Dale yanked the truck door open and tossed her clipboard inside.

Mai sprinted around the truck and her shoes skidded on the gravel lot. She caught herself on the truck hood and narrowly avoided bumping into Dale. “Hey, please stay. I’m sorry we got off on the wrong foot. I’ve had too many folks be rude to me because I wasn’t what they expected. Please. I’d like you to at least look at the project.”

Dale turned to her and the delicate scent of lemon verbena wafted from her, undermining Mai’s determination to keep to the business at hand.

A rueful grin crossed Dale’s face. “No. I’m sorry. You’d think I didn’t want the work. I’d like to see what you want done.” She tilted her head and met Mai’s gaze. “Do you mind if we have coffee first?”

Mai held out her hand and Dale shook it. “Bring your thermos.” She tilted her head toward the silver flask. “Come on. We don’t have to talk until you’ve had another cup.”


NineStar Press | Amazon

Meet the Author

Brenda Murphy (she/her) writes erotic romance. Her most recent novel, Double Six, is the 2020 Golden Crown Literary Society winner for Erotic Novels, and Knotted Legacy, the third book in the Rowan House series, made the 2018 The Lesbian Review’s Top 100 Vacation Reads list. You can catch her musings on writing, books, and living with wicked ADHD on her blog Writing While Distracted. She loves sideshows and tattoos and yes, those are her monkeys. When she is not loitering at her local library, she wrangles twins, one dog, and an unrepentant parrot.

I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it. For a free short story, information on book signings, appearances, work in progress snippets, previews and sneak-peeks, sign up for my email list.

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Review: Common Goal (Game Changers #4) by Rachel Reid

New York Admirals goalie Eric never thought his friends-with-benefits arrangement with much-younger Kyle would leave them both wanting more…

Veteran goaltender Eric Bennett has faced down some of the toughest shooters on the ice, but nothing prepared him for his latest challenge—life after hockey. It’s time to make some big changes, starting with finally dating men for the first time.

Graduate student Kyle Swift moved to New York nursing a broken heart. He’d sworn to find someone his own age to crush on (for once). Until he meets a gorgeous, distinguished silver fox hockey player. Despite their intense physical attraction, Kyle has no intention of getting emotionally involved. He’ll teach Eric a few tricks, have some mutually consensual fun, then walk away.

Eric is more than happy to learn anything Kyle brings to the table. And Kyle never expected their friends-with-benefits arrangement to leave him wanting more. Happily-ever-after might be staring them in the face, but it won’t happen if they’re too stubborn to come clean about their feelings.

Everything they both want is within reach… They just have to be brave enough to grab it.

I love this series so much; it's a comfort read for me. It's smart. It's sexy. And (most importantly) it's got Ilya!

He seems to turn up in every installment to deliver the chuckles, though he was not flying the Chuckle Ship solo this time. Eric "Benny" Bennett's teammates also delivered in the levity department, something that's always a win for me.

As much as I liked Benny and Kyle Common Goal started off slow for me. The push/pull thing is not one of my favorites. I like my MCs to use their words. These two gets points for using words they just used the wrong ones. Not great but points for effort.

However, what turned the tide was Benny being willing to embrace his bisexuality for the first time in his life at 41. I'm a sucker for sexual discovery plus I really liked Benny. He's not a character that leaps off the page like Ilya or one that you want to mummify in bubble wrap like Ryan but he's just... good people. Genuine. Loyal. Humble.

He wants a relationship, someone to share his life with and because he's such a good person he feels the 16 year age difference between he and Kyle would be shortchanging Kyle. Thus the push/pull betwixt what he thinks is the "right" thing to do and what he actually wants begins.

Rest assured, he wants Kyle with the force of a Cat-5 hurricane.

Kyle even though he's still kind of rebounding from his unrequited crush on Kip quickly turns into Team Benny's #1 fan. Maybe it was too quick but then again Benny is well, Benny so... I get it and what's more, Kyle counterbalances Benny superbly. He's just exuberant enough to bring out Benny's playful and adventurous sides and they have just enough in common to make me buy into their well-suitedness.

To get the ball rolling, Kyle offers to be a "mentor" in all things gay. Let me just say, the sex is... SKYROCKETS IN FLIGHT!!!!!!!!! AFTERNOON (and evening. and morning) DELIIIIiiiiiiiiIIIIIIIiiiiiiiiiIIIIiiiiiIIGHT!!!! Bossy top, edging, a little bondage, begging... *bites fist*

Their connection builds slowly and it took me a while to invest but once I did I enjoyed their journey.

Alongside Benny and Kyle's journey, what I liked a lot again were the secondary characters. I felt like I really got to know (and like) Scott in this one and the whole Maria-n-Matti Jalo thing... can I get a short on this? Do I need to beg? Though if there's one thing I crave in a sports romance it's team dynamics and those were on point in Common Goal! The whole locker room scene was funny and heartwarming... perfection.

Bottom line: Reid delivered again and I can't wait to see what's in store for us in Game Changers #5. 

*cough*Dallas Kent*cough*

C'mon! It would be the greatest twist to ever twist!

An ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Evie and the Pack-Horse Librarians by Laurel Beckley

Author Laurel Beckley and IndiGo Marketing celebrate the release of Evie and the Pack-Horse Librarians! Discover more about the fantasy read and enter in the $10 NineStar Press credit giveaway!

Title: Evie and the Pack-Horse Librarians
Author: Laurel Beckley
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: August 17, 2020
Heat Level: 1 - No Sex
Pairing: Female/Female
Length: 24100
Genre: Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, libraries, fantasy, lesbian, romance, shifters, magical abilities, paranormal

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As an assistant editor at the prestigious Hanhat Publishers, Evie Southiel is entrusted with fine-tuning the manuscripts of the company’s most important authors. Her skills as a book witch allow her to manipulate the stories she reviews and bring them to life.

When her girlfriend steals the secret manuscript of Hanhat’s best-selling author and leaks it to the press, Evie is exiled to become a journey carrier with the Pack-Horse Librarians in the eastern mountains.

Timid city mouse Evie doesn’t know the first thing about surviving in the wilderness, riding a horse, or dealing with the rugged mountain folk and coal miners surrounding the town of Hevis. She does know books, though, and she’s determined to do the best job she can. But that goal is jeopardized when her horse gets spooked on her first solo run, sending her tumbling out of the saddle and into a mysterious woman’s life.


Evie and the Pack-Horse Librarians
Laurel Beckley © 2020
All Rights Reserved

A hard knot had formed in Evie’s throat since she was summoned into Mr. Lodge’s corner office, and now the butterflies in her stomach transformed into a hive of angry bees threatening to upset her meager breakfast.

Mr. Lodge gave another long humph, the fifth in as many minutes.

Evie shuffled in her seat, trying to keep her fingers knotted together in her lap, struggling to prevent her feet from tapping with anxiety.

After an eternity, Mr. Lodge looked up from the newspaper, placing it carefully onto his desk. He closed his eyes. When he opened them, his usually cheerful expression was gone, replaced with a stern man Evie didn’t recognize.

“Miss Southeil,” he began, then stopped. Another sigh. He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his long nose. Evie unconsciously mimicked the gesture, pushing her own wire-rimmed glasses further onto her face. She caught a glimpse of her ink-stained fingers from the corner of her eye and hastily dropped her hands into her lap, letting her dull-gray skirt envelop them.

Mr. Lodge opened his eyes. “Miss Southeil,” he repeated. “Of all the journeys present, I might have expected this egregious misstep from anyone else. But not from you.”

Evie bit her lip, trying to prevent the knot in her stomach from bringing up actual food onto Mr. Lodge’s manuscript-filled desk—manuscripts she had nurtured into books to be published and read and devoured by the hungry readers of historical fiction. Even among the handful of journey-rank editors at Hanhat Publishing, Evie was special. She knew she had the gift of turning rough sentences into delightful bouquets for the eyes, and yet here she was. Quivering in her boss’s office. Oh, how she had messed up.

Mr. Lodge removed one manuscript from the pile and placed it directly underneath the damning newspaper. Evie stared at it, trying to will away the blasted thing’s existence.

He tapped the stack of papers with an inky finger. “How did you let this come to pass? Our competitors are breathing down our backs, eager for any hint of weakness, and you give them the scoop of the year!”

“I-I’m sorry, Mr. Lodge,” Evie whispered, ducking her chin to prevent tears from escaping. It wasn’t her fault. Well, it was, but it wasn’t. “I won’t—”

“You’re damn right you won’t!” Mr. Lodge slammed his hand onto the table.

Evie squeaked, jumping in her seat.

He reeled in his anger, grimacing at the appendage as though alarmed that such an outburst had come from his body. He heaved another sigh. “Forgive me, but you know as well as I that Mr. Cabot’s novel was to be the highlight of our publishing year. Having the plot…splattered across the gossip rags is an embarrassment to the company and the Guild.”

Evie wanted to curl up inside herself until she became nothing more than a ball of gray cloth, hidden from the world.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered, blinking furiously.

Mr. Lodge’s face softened as did his voice. “Evie, I’m not going to fire you.”

She lifted her head, hopeful.

“You’re the best assistant editor I’ve had in years, but I think this promotion came too fast, too soon.” He shook his head sadly. “But it’s no use having you here waiting for this whole scandal to blow over. It’ll harm the company’s reputation, and to have your face associated with this whole thing…” He paused, staring at her until she lifted her head. She tried to meet his gaze and failed. Eye contact had always been a struggle for her. “I’m sending you away,” he declared.

With her head bowed, Evie nodded. “I’ll clear my desk and head to the printers’ office.” The printers’ office was located five blocks away in the factory district. Dark, dingy, labor-intensive, and where Hanhat Publishing usually sent their screw-ups for menial labor.

“No, Evie.” She looked up, startled. “It’s going to be farther than that. I’ve reassigned you to the Librarian’s Guild.”

Evie’s heart lifted. At least she’d be near books. Near words and stories and life. Not confined to operating the massive printing machines, spending every minute in danger of getting an industrial injury. She blinked, realizing that she was still being sent away. Being transferred from one guild to another was hardly unique, but certainly not a common practice.

He went on. “Think of this as an opportunity, a chance to use your journey time to, well, journey.”

Journey? Evie wondered. Members of the Librarian’s Guild were stationed in every city, town, university, and village in Isten with a large enough population to support them, but they certainly did not travel.

“You’ll be part of the pack-horse librarians stationed in District Forty-five,” Mr. Lodge said. Obviously interpreting Evie’s miscomprehension as shock, he added, “This will be a two-year assignment. After that, you may return to Hanhat Publishing. I’ll always need copyeditors.”

“Th-thank you, Mr. Lodge,” Evie stuttered, lips moving automatically, mind still trying to figure out what had happened. Pack-horse librarians? Two years? And a copyeditor? She pressed her fingers to her lips, struggling to choke down bile and disappointment.

Her supervisor slid a folder across the table. It was depressingly thin. Mr. Lodge smiled, a mixture of kind and condescending that hurt worse than any of his words. “Someone will come by your flat to collect any remaining manuscripts. You’re dismissed.”

Evie rose from her chair to stand on legs she wasn’t certain would work and took the folder with shaking hands. She pressed the packet of papers to her stomach and bolted, bumping into her fellow journey, Anda, on her sprint to the bathroom. Once inside, she emptied the contents of her breakfast, along with the entirety of her previous life, into the toilet.

Someone knocked softly on the bathroom door, interrupting Evie’s hundredth heave.

“Evie?” The voice was hesitant.

“One minute.” Evie wiped her mouth and ran cold water over her wrists and face, trying to fight the nausea. She avoided the mirror above the sink. Her eyes were surely red and puffy, her dark skin sallow and splotchy. She didn’t need a mirror for that information.

She opened the door, nearly jumping as her girlfriend Anda burst inside and locked the door behind her. “Evie, I just heard, and I’m so sorry!” She tried to wrap her arms around Evie in a hug.

Evie pushed her away, staring into the face of the girl she had loved so fiercely until that moment in Mr. Lodge’s office. “How could you?” she demanded.

Anda’s eyes widened innocently. “Whatever do you mean?” she asked, placing a hand on her chest.

Rage bubbled in Evie’s chest, replacing the nausea and sickness. “I let you review that manuscript in confidence, Anda,” she hissed, “to help you polish your editing skills.”

If possible, Anda’s eyes opened wider. “Evie,” she cooed, “I gave that manuscript back to you a week ago. You must have misplaced it. You know how forgetful you are.”

Evie shook her head. Tears continued streaking down her cheeks, and she wiped them off vigorously with her sleeve, her fist clenched tightly.

The story had broken the night before, and since Evie had first found out about it as she entered the building for work that morning, she’d had the sinking suspicion that Anda was behind her situation. Evie was allowed to take manuscripts home and help smooth them over, but only with the explicit understanding that no one else could review an author’s latest creation.

“I returned that manuscript to Mr. Lodge a week ago. Besides me, no one but you had hands on it.”

Anda lips twisted in a facsimile of a smile. There was something predatory in her gaze, which Evie had seen her deliver to their fellow apprentices and journeys but never to her.

“Evie, dear, you know it wasn’t me. Just accept responsibility and take your punishment at the pressman’s office.” She bit her lip and looked down, fluttering her eyelashes. The predatory gleam disappeared, replaced by the image of a remorseful girl. “I think that, with all this in mind, we shouldn’t be together anymore.” Her eyelashes fluttered again. “I mean, an assistant editor with a disgraced pressman? That would taint my career.”

Evie gasped, tears beginning to spill out again. Anda’s betrayal was worse than anything she had ever anticipated, but to end their four-year relationship so… callously… was something else.

“I can’t believe you,” she whispered. “I knew you were ambitious, but—”

The remorse vanished, and Anda was replaced by a hardened creature Evie had never seen before.

“But what? I’ve been here eight years, Evie. Do you know how hard I’ve worked only to be passed up by a girl who just got promoted to journey? This position is my due. Not yours.” She sniffed. “And clearly you don’t have the maturity to handle such a job.”

Evie placed a hand over her mouth, trying to stuff her sobs back down her throat as Anda threw open the door and stormed out.

Tears overwhelmed Evie’s senses as she slid down the wall and hit the tiled floor. This was so, so much worse than she had ever imagined. She’d lost her job, been betrayed by her girlfriend, and was being sent away in disgrace.

How would she tell her parents?


NineStar Press | Amazon

Meet the Author

Laurel Beckley has been writing ever since she started her first novel the summer before eighth grade—a hand-written epic fantasy catastrophe that has lurked in her mind and an increasingly ratty college-ruled notebook ever since.

She is a writer, Marine Corps veteran, and librarian.

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