Mar 28

April 2nd World Autism Awareness Day

Autism Awareness GraphicEvery April RJ Scott hosts a blog in an effort to raise awareness and to teach us things about Autism we may not know. Through her real life experience, she is highly qualified to share this knowledge with us. The stories she shares with us about her son are sometimes heartbreaking, but just as often they are inspirational. There are bad days as well as good in her small family as in anyother, but everyone who knows them well are aware of how much how much she and her husband love her son. RJ is humble and I’m sure she’d brush off any praise, but I wish every child with autism had such a family to cherish them as they grow.

Autism is misunderstood and often misdiagnosed. As more knowledge of the condition reaches the mainstream, the better chance children have of getting the help they need. Too often they are written off as being out of control brats, or as having parents who didn’t know how to discipline. If I could teach someone reading this a single fact about Autism it would be this:

Autism is not caused by a person’s upbringing and is not the fault of those with the condition.

I have a lot to learn about this condition myself and I will continue to support RJ and others in their efforts to educate a sometimes uncaring world. I hope that all of you will as well.

I’m having a contest! Everyone who comments will be entered to win a signed copy of Last First Kiss. I’m also giving away an ebook edition of that novel. So don’t forget to say hello!

I’ve also written a short story to share with everyone today. I am not qualified to write about an Autistic child without a lot of research. Instead I’ve written a scene with Gage and Trent and their boys from Last First Kiss. It is a scene I’ve had on my mind for a while and which might be included in the sequel. I feel it is appropriate for the day as it touches on the kind of negative attitudes faced daily by those with Autism and the ones that love them.

What are Little Boys Made of?

I’ve been keeping this online journal for a while now and all of y’all reading it know a little too much about my personal life. I’d say you know more about me than you want to except I’m not making you read this thing. Trent said I need to tone it down before someone comes and burns us out of a place to live. If that happens I suspect it will be more about the way he can’t keep his hands off me in public than about this blog.

We had an incident at Kody’s daycare this week. I had no idea how to handle the situation as a whole, much less the attitudes of those involved. If Trent weren’t already my hero, he’d have earned that status this week alone. More than that, he’s cemented his place in the hearts of my boys. He’s stuck with us for good now. We celebrated our first anniversary last month and I’ve been thinking. Gay marriage is legal in NC these days…maybe it’s time I put a ring on my Christmas list.


“Coming?” Gage put the truck in park and cut the engine. He unbuckled his seatbelt and glanced at Trent. “You know what he’ll be like if you don’t.” Kody wanted both his dads to pick him up from daycare. He could be mollified if only one was in the car but woe to the man who chose to remain outside and wait.

“Wouldn’t miss it.” Trent had his seatbelt unbuckled and the door open. “We need to hurry or Nash’s bus will beat us home.” He pushed his dark hair out of his eyes and stepped out of the truck. The battered old Ford had seen better days but Gage refused to part with it. The doors slammed in unison and Gage hurried forward to open the gate.

“He’ll be okay if it’s only a few minutes.” True enough but Trent knew Gage hated for Nash to beat them home. Fridays were Trent’s short days at the office. Some weeks he stayed and helped with the free clinic but more often Gage met him in town for lunch and they did the weekly grocery shopping together. They normally had plenty of time to finish, pick up Kody and make it home before Nash’s bus. That day had been filled with one chatty acquaintance after another. Trent’s popularity in their small town usually made their lives easier. Still there were times he considered shopping out of town to avoid the overabundant greetings of ‘how are you Mr. Trent?’ The opening for too many fifteen minute conversations.

Trent walked through the gate, moving close enough to brush his fingers over Gage’s hand where they were shielded by their bodies. “We’ll be there on time. Don’t worry.”

Kody must have zeroed in on them as soon as Trent opened the door. He met them in a headlong rush that almost rocked Trent  off his feet when the sturdy little body impacted against his legs full force. Arms and legs wrapped around him as Kody tried to climb him like a tree.

“Buddy!” Came the usual high pitched greeting.

Trent tossed Gage a grateful grin as he steadied him with a strong hand in the small of his back. He reached down and swung Kody into his arms. “Hello there little buddy!” He gave Kody a raspberry on a round cheek that resulted in uncontrolled giggles.

“Buddy, stop!” Kody protested and buried his face in Trent’s neck to escape. Trent pressed a kiss into the dark curls and hugged him tight. Without warning Kody twisted around and lunged for Gage. “Whoa! Dude!” Trent fumbled trying to keep his grip on the wiggly boy. Gage caught him with a laugh before he could fall on his head and settled him on his shoulders.

“Giddy-up daddy!” Kody drummed his heels against Gage’s chest. Trent watched with a smile as they began their daily romp through the classroom. Gage took high prancing steps to avoid the other children. Affection warmed his heart as he turned to the cubbies to collect Kody’s things. The afternoon teacher met them at the door with Kody’s artwork for the day in hand. She handed it to Trent with a smile and roughed Kody’s curls when Gage set him back on his own two feet.

“Bye, Miss Cindy!” Kody chirped happily pushing his arms through his backpack straps.

“We’ll see you tomorrow.” Trent caught Kody’s hand before he could escape out the door.

“Bye, Kody.” The teenager’s smile flashed white in contrast to her dark skin. “But I need your dad for a minute.” The three paused at the door. Trent felt a twinge when the girl glanced at Kody before meeting Gage’s eyes.

“We’ll go ahead to the truck.” Trent bumped shoulders with Gage and let Kody tug him out the door.

“Miss Janette is in her office and wanted to talk to you for a few minutes.”

Trent heard Cindy explain before the door closed and cut off the rest of the conversation. He frowned at the barrier separating him from Gage and wondered if he should go back inside but Kody was already talking a mile a minute about his day as he pulled Trent towards the stairs. He reminded himself that Gage had been doing the whole dad thing for a lot longer than the year Trent had under his belt. There was no doubt he could handle whatever the teacher needed to discuss.

Kody was explaining something mostly incomprehensible about the big boy class as Trent strapped him into the car seat. Kody interrupted himself to frown down at it.

“Tight.” He tugged at the straps.

“It is tight.” Trent ruffled Kody’s hair. “To keep you safe. Sorry, bud, I know it sucks.” He settled in the passenger seat and let Kody tell him about the art work he’d made that day. It was obvious the featured color was blue and that the almost three year-old favored feathers and buttons. Both items filled the paper in a design Trent felt sure held little meaning to anyone but the little boy happily stroking the blue feathers. The sound of a door slamming caught Trent’s attention and he glanced up from admiring blue crayon spirals. Gage looked shell shocked as he stumbled down the stairs.

“I’ll be right back.” Trent took long enough to ensure Kody was fastened securely in his car seat before he practically fell out of the cab of the truck in his rush to get to Gage. Trent made it to the gate before Gage was halfway down the walk. He hurried to his side and laid his hand in the small of his back. He leaned in a little too close for public, but his concern for Gage’s state of mind outweighed his sense of caution.

“Are you alright?” Gage’s hands were fisted at his side and Trent realized he was visibly trembling. Trent was familiar with the signs of supressed rage, he’d seen them often enough in himself. In the time they’d been together he’d never seen Gage so close to the edge. “Gage?”

Jaw locked tight, Gage shook his head and dug in his pocket. He came up with the keys and pressed them into Trent’s hand.


Trent nodded and steered him towards the gate with a little pressure against his back. A hundred questions pressed but the look on Gage’s face kept him silent. Later, then. First they had to get home, where Trent would get the answers he needed. He glanced back at the daycare as he closed the truck door behind Gage. He didn’t know what happened, or who had caused such a reaction in Gage, but Trent burned with the need for someone to pay.



“Ready to talk?” Trent closed the bedroom door behind him. The evening had been gone smoother than he’d anticipated. Gage had calmed and proceeded to impress Trent with his ability to keep his boys from figuring out anything was wrong. He’d retreated to their bedroom early when Trent volunteered to head up bath/bedtime. With the kids finally in bed and sound asleep he could finally find out what had happened between Gage and Kody’s teacher. Trent stripped out of his shirt as he crossed the room to where Gage sat at the corner desk frowning at his laptop. He tossed it in the direction of the hamper without watching to see where it landed. Gage’s T-shirt clad shoulder was warm under his hand.

“Blog giving you trouble?”

Gage shook his head and leaned into Trent’s side. He trembled and Trent suspected this time it wasn’t his temper causing the reaction. “Hey.” Trent slid his hand along Gage’s shoulder to thumb his pulse, it beat frantic under his touch. “Gage?”

Gage shook his head. He wrapped his arms around Trent’s hips and buried his face against his belly. “Whoa, hey, what’s going on?” Gage’s arms squeezed tight and Trent felt like he’d been locked in a vise. He didn’t complain. He ran one hand through Gage’s hair and used the other to turn the computer towards him. “Autism? Why are you reading…Okay. Time to tell me what the fuck that woman said to you.”

Trent hauled Gage to his feet and hugged him tight. “Tell me.”

“Sometimes I start to feel like I’m making some headway. Like I’m finally getting a handle on this whole dad thing.” Gage moved out of Trent’s arms and went to sit on the edge of the bed. “I’m really good at lying to myself.”

Trent counted to ten. He counted down from ten. He counted ten breaths. He toed off his shoes and stripped out of his work slacks still counting. All of it in his head as silence lengthened between them. He grabbed the closest pair of sweat pants and pulled them on. Of course they turned out to be Gage’s and hung from his hips and pooled around his feet. He snorted. Ridiculous. But he didn’t change. With his temper successfully reined in Trent sat on the bed beside Gage and took his hand. He threaded their fingers together.

“You already know what a load of crap I think that is. I happen to think you are father of the century. What happened? Why are you looking autism on MedWeb?” Trent felt like shaking the man next to him until he spilled answers to all his questions. Instead he waited in silence. After a while Gage bumped his shoulder and squeezed his hand. Tension bleed from Trent’s shoulders. Finally.

“Do you know anything about autism?” Gage sounded small and defeated. Trent hadn’t heard him like that in months and he didn’t like the fact a few careless words from a daycare teacher had sent him into a spiral of self-doubt.

“Not a lot. Why?” Trent tried to keep the bite out of his words. He wasn’t upset with Gage but his temper couldn’t be trusted to aim at the appropriate target.

Gage shrugged, his shoulder brushed Trent’s and silence fell between them once more. He broke it before Trent expected. “What is it? I mean is it something a kid can get by how he was raised?”

“What…What!?” Trent started to his feet but tethered by Gage’s grip on his hand settled back onto the bed beside him. “No, Gage. I don’t know a lot but that’s one thing I do know. Autism is a condition. Not something a kid gets because he got yelled at or didn’t get to have dessert or something.”

“Yeah that’s what it says on that website. Boys get it though, more than girls. Kody likes to wear skirts.” Gage fell silent once more.

“That’s true, but…wait. What. Dude what in the hell do skirts have to do with autism? And since when? And so what?” Totally flabbergasted Trent stared at Gage’s profile.

“I’m not sure. About any of it really.” Gage met Trent’s eyes for the first time since he’d come into the bedroom. Trent hated seeing him look so vulnerable. Whatever the teacher had to say had gone straight to his heart.

“Just tell me what she said.” Trent urged relieved he at least knew what lay at the root of Gage’s jumbled emotions.

“Kody turns three next month.”

Trent nodded. “So far you haven’t mentioned a single thing that makes sense in connection with anything else. Anyone who’s met Kody in the last two months knows he’s turning three.”

“Yeah, well you know that means he’s being promoted to the three year old class.” Gage sighed.

“Sure, he’s excited about going to the big boy room. Has something changed? Did he get into trouble?” It wasn’t hard to imagine. Kody had a stubborn streak. Sometimes the only one who had a prayer of getting him to cooperate was Nash.

“I’m not sure. She said he plays dress up in the mornings and wears a skirt the rest of the day. I didn’t see how that was an issue, but she says in the three’s room the kids are encouraged to role play in gender appropriate costumes. He won’t be allowed to wear the skirts. I guess there’s been a couple issues when they tried to stop him before and it was easier just to let him.” Gage shifted on the bed turning more fully towards Trent, who breathed a sigh of silent relief to feel him finally opening up about what happened. “I don’t see what the big deal is and said so. It went downhill from there.” Gage dropped his gaze and Trent urged him to lift his head with a knuckle under his chin.

“I’m pretty sure Kody’s not autistic. He’s quiet and a little shy which are not the same thing, but if it’ll make you feel better I’ll talk to Jax. I’m sure he’d have said something if he’d noticed anything. If Kody is on the spectrum it’s not your fault and we’ll handle it.”

Gage nodded. “Yeah I know, but it won’t be easy.” Trent could see him thinking, weighing the difficulty of a problem that they didn’t have.

“What’s easy about either of them?” Trent laughed and leaned his forehead against Gage’s for a moment. “And you know, wearing skirts isn’t a sign of anything but interesting fashion sense. I wonder why it’s never come up at home.”

“I don’t know. I’m going to talk to both boys tomorrow. I’ll keep Kody home for the day. I’m not sure what to do. I don’t want him with people who think I’m making him gay and autistic and are so fixated on gender roles. But he’s been there since he was six weeks old.” Gage fell back on the bed and huffed at the ceiling. “You’ll talk to Jax?”

Trent laid down beside him and nestled under his arm against him. “First thing. You know we can’t take Kody, back there. Let me look around I’m sure we can find something better.”

“I know, but I can’t miss too many days. Fall harvest.” Gage reminded him. The stress was gone from his voice and he lay pliant against Trent. A glance at the clock revealed it was close to midnight. Unless he was canning or involved in some other crazy super dad crap Gage was in bed and asleep by ten. Oh and sex. Trent smiled a secret smug smile. Sex usually won over everything. Considering the day they’d had he had a feeling he’d be losing Gage any minute. No decisions had been reached. Trent still didn’t know the whole story, but at leaset sharing the hateful things the woman had said seemed to help. Trent’s temper was just getting revved up over the situation, but Gage was coming down, thinking more clearly. Once he rested he’d be ready to face the day all systems go.

“Yeah I know. You have to pick pumpkins. Stop worrying and go to sleep Gage, we’ll handle it tomorrow.”

To Be Continued Sat 4/4

Jan 03

The Winner of the Blog Tour

wolf congratsChristine M is the winner of a free copy of my next book!!  It’s a WIP but I have most of it finished. The title if giving me fits this time for some reason. You can all keep a look out for it from Lane Books, hopefully late winter!

Thank you all for your kind comments. I enjoyed each one very much.


Dec 02

Holiday Fail

banner namesThank you for stopping by my small part of RJ Scott’s Christmas Story Blog Tour and welcome!!

I hope you enjoy this short visit with Trent and Gage the main characters from my most recent release Last First Kiss. Thank you for stopping by for a little while.

Love and peace to you all. Everyone who makes a comment will be entered into a random drawing to win a copy of my next book. Merry Christmas!


In-laws. Why doesn’t anyone warn gay men that we get them regardless of the status of ‘I do’s.” It’s not a deal breaker or anything but dang.

 Trent’s folks are mostly okay. We’ve visited them a few times. The gay thing doesn’t seem to bother them. Heck, Trent’s mom is so happy to have grandkids she’d forgive him if he’d killed someone to get them. His dad is happy if she’s happy. So they Skype with the boys and send too many presents. They talk to Trent from time to time and pretty much ignore me. I’m not that upset about that development, let me tell you.

As awkward as stuff can get with his side of the family it gets worse. Cause there’s my folks. We made a couple unsuccessful overtures our first holidays together, after being rebuffed both times we decided to steer clear of them. I explained to the guys as well as I could that my parents don’t approve of Trent and I being together. I tried not to make them sound like horrible people (even though they are pretty awful), but I could tell that the boys had reached understanding level zero by the end of the conversation. I figured I was in for the long haul of explanations but surprisingly Nash let it drop. I was more than happy for the chance to just ignore the entire mess.  

I’ll give you some free advice. If you have a kid that normally latches onto anything he doesn’t understand and nags until he is satisfied he’s got it, and that kid suddenly just lets something go? Do not believe it. It means he’s doing all of his conniving…thinking I mean…inside his head. And that special kind of crazy that all kids suffer from? Gets so much worse when it’s internalized.


Trent stretched out on the couch in the living room of the house he shared with Gage Harris, his partner of four years, and his two sons Nash and Kody. He propped a foot on Gage’s lap and let the other rest on the floor. He nudged the magazine in Gage’s hand enough to catch a glimpse of the cover and gave a snort of amusement to see it was a seed catalog.

“Shut up.” Gage shoved at his foot without any real annoyance.

“It’s winter, Dude, take a break already.” Trent yawned but instead of closing his eyes he turned to watch the boys laying on the faded rug that covered the battered hard wood floor. Nash was coloring a picture his second grade teacher had sent home with him and Kody was playing with a set of Legos. From what Trent could see he was building a square polar bear.

“Winter is when I plan for next season. I have to order the seeds before it’s time to plant them.” He sounded a little bored and Trent didn’t blame him. He kind of made it a habit to pretend he still didn’t know jack about farming in an effort to get a rise out of Gage, but the young farmer had been on to him for a while.

“Can’t you just change the date on last year’s order?” Trent poked him in the side with his sock covered toe.

Gage gave him a cool look from under a raised brow. “Is that how you run the office? Oh just order the same thing we did last year.”

Trent hid a smile and shrugged. “Sure. A bandage is a bandage right?”

Gage pinched his calf and mouthed “Jackass” at him in slow motion so Trent easily lip read the message. He chuckled and let Gage go back to his catalog and the wonders of okra over tomatoes or whatever the dilemma of the day happened to be. For himself he was happy to be done at the office for the weekend and had no plans to think about it once.

Friday evening stretched out ahead of them long and lazy. Saturday morning would be an early one despite the current lack of crops. They had the new calf and piglet to take care of and a pancake breakfast to enjoy before tree hunting.

Gage had mentioned bringing his gun along the next day in case they spotted the wild turkeys his uncle had mentioned taking up residence on his property. Trent intended to make enough noise they never saw a turkey, and he’d bet next week’s pay it wouldn’t be hard to find allies in Nash and Kody wittingly or not. He balked at the idea of pulling the feathers off his Christmas dinner. Let the birds keep their finery. The freezer was filled to the brim with last year’s Bossy and Piggie. Trent felt a twinge of guilt and wondered if he’d ever get used to eating animals he’d had a personal hand in raising.

“I want prime rib for Christmas dinner.” He declared turning his attention back to Gage, who shrugged as he turned the page of his catalog.

“Okay.” His free hand wrapped around Trent’s ankle, and his fingers brushed the bare skin at the top of his sock. The skin on skin touch hidden under the hem of Trent’s jeans. The casual caress sparked against Trent’s leg and he pushed into Gage’s grip. His self-satisfied smirk made Trent frown. After four years he was still ridiculously aroused by the simplest touch. Even the most innocent brush of rough fingers had Trent ready to strip for more. The tenderness that softened Gage’s smile and the fact he didn’t stop tracing patterns on Trent’s leg eased his faint rush of embarrassment. He had no doubt where Gage’s thoughts had gone as soon as he instigated the touch. They were equally fools for one another.

Trent glanced and caught Nash studying them his face thoughtful. His radar picked up on any sudden silence recently. Once they’d been able to slip away easily for super-special-grown-ups-in-love hugs. As the boys got older things got trickier. If they tried to duck out for a few minutes before the kids were in bed, Gage’s curious gaze followed them on their return.. Trent was not looking forward to the day when that look evolved into the I-know-what-you-were-doing-and-ew smirk.

“What do you guys think?” Trent asked the boys. He ignored the huff of laughter from Gage that had certainly been caused by his attempt to distract the curious eight-year-old.

“It’s okay with me as long as I get a bone.” Nash agreed. He’d decided a few months before that meat with bones was superior to the boneless variety.

Kody rubbed his nose with the back of his hand and set the polar bear, square shoulders and all, aside and began digging out black bricks while adding to his pile of white. “Roasts don’t have drumsticks.”

“Steak bones are as good and Buddy can fix mushrooms.” Nash used his blue crayon to draw a bird in the sky of his picture.

“Mushrooms.” Kody sounded satisfied. He pulled some orange blocks from the bucket. “Okay.”

“Guess you won’t need a gun to hunt our tree tomorrow.” Trent nudged Gage’s thigh with his heel high enough up to feel the swell of his erection against the side of his foot. Want tugged low in his belly and he dropped his head onto the arm of the sofa and grimaced at the ceiling. Gage’s fingers edged higher up his pant leg and Trent wondered if thinking about cleaning Piggy’s pen would be enough to keep his boner from completely tenting his jeans. He glowered at Gage for causing his dilemma, but he didn’t pull his leg away.




“So it’s just us this year.” Trent plugged in the cord for the outside lights and grinned at the squeals from outside where Nash and Kody had run to watch them come on. They’d done the same thing every night for the past three weeks.

Gage peeked out the window at the hyper excited kids and shook his head. “Sort of.” He chuckled at the antics of the boys as they rushed back inside hooting and stomping their feet.

“It’s cold.” Nash informed them and stuck his hand up Trent’s shirt.

“Whoa! Hey!!” He protested and back pedaled trying to get away from the cold press of the small hand against his stomach.  He grabbed Nash’s hand and pulled it away just as two blocks of ice in the shape of four-year-old hands came to rest on his lower back under the hem of his tee-shirt. He jerked away with a startled yelp. “God…” his gaze caught Gage’s expression and he swallowed the curse. “Dang it. You guys!”

“He’s right you should stop.” Gage’s tone sounded deadly serious and Trent turned towards him in surprise. The boy’s hands dropped away. Unsure about what was wrong Trent caught the spark of mischief in Gage’s expression a second too late. “Because it’s Tickle Time!” The boys’ squeals would have put an entire class of twelve-year-old girls to shame and Trent turned to run. He didn’t make it. Gage took him to the floor in a controlled tackle that spoke volumes about the strength he harbored in his ridiculous muscles. He obviously harbored no qualms about using both against Trent as he held him down for the poking tickling fingers of their sons.

Since the beginning of their relationship Gage had used tickle time as an excuse to cop a and as much as Trent appreciated the way his hands lingered over his most sensitive he wasn’t sure the brief caresses were worth getting tickled to death.

“Three against one! No fair!” he gasped. “I think it’s Daddy’s turn!”

Gage let them take him to the floor. Trent had no delusions about Gage unable to resist their efforts to take over. He straddled Gage’s hips and watched his face flush with laughter. Blond hair stuck up in every direction and his head tilted back, baring the long line of his neck. The sight convinced Trent that Tickle Time was totally worth the torture. He leaned in to steal a kiss, affection warmed his chest when Gage’s fingers tangled in his hair.

“Ew. That is not tickling!” Nash complained.

“That’s kissing!” Kody crowed and made Nash laugh.

“Daddy and Buddy sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G!” Nash sang through his giggles.

“They aren’t in a tree!” Kody protested.

“First come love!”

Trent grabbed for him but Nash skipped out of reach laughing so hard he could barely sing. “Then comes marriage and then comes Daddy pushing a baby carriage!” Trent scrambled for him across the slick hardwood floor but he managed to stay out of reach. Gage was no help curled up and choking on his laughter, ears flaming red.

“Baby Carriage?!!?” Kody’s squeal stopped them all in their tracks. “Is Daddy going to have a baby?”

And then Trent was laughing so hard it sounded more like a howl.

“What?” Gage sat up. His expression panicked. Trent gasped for breath at the sight of it. “What? No. Of course not, no babies.”

“Daddy and Buddy can’t have a baby because they’re both…” Nash’s explanation was cut off when Gage scooped him up around the middle.

“Because we’re both not ready for another baby.” Gage tucked Nash under his other arm and faced Trent. “It think it’s bedtime, or Santa won’t come, right Buddy?”

Trent nodded but his gaze was fixed on the knowing waggle of Nash’s eyebrows. His worst nightmare come true. The kid had figured it out. Maybe he’d finally made the boy cow plus girl cow connection. Or it could have been Johnny or Suzy from school who’d filled him in. God, he’d told Gage they should homeschool.

He watched Nash warily as he got to his feet. “The lights are on, the cookies are out and there is hay on the roof for reindeer. Sounds like bedtime to me.”

“Story and hot chocolate?” Nash gave Trent a beguiling smile decorated with his best dimples.

“Sure, if Dad says it’s okay.” Trent raised a brow in question at Gage. He set the boys on their feet.

“Go get your pajamas on while we make the hot chocolate.”

The boys disappeared down the hall and Trent followed Gage into the kitchen to help with the hot chocolate. No Swiss Miss for his man. They’d have to heat the milk…Trent lost complete track of his line of thought when Gage backed him up against the wall. His hands cupped Trent’s face and his thumbs traced his cheekbones. His eyes dilated when he rocked his hips against Trent. “I’d fill you up with a baby if I could.” He whispered against Trent’s mouth.

Not what he’d expected to hear. He waited for the punch line but it didn’t come. Gage sucked on his bottom lip and one hand moved down to grip his hip and pull him in closer his breathing ragged. Trent’s own sense of humor was oddly absent and instead of laughing Gage’s words made Trent want to climb him like a tree, wrap his legs around his trim waist, and get fucked hard against the wall. It’d been a while since they’d done that and he loved when Gage pounded into him like he meant to leave behind a permanent impression of his body on Trent’s.

Trent’s fingers dug into the back of Gage’s shoulders as he opened his mouth in eager surrender to the invasion of Gage’s tongue, the slip slide of it in his mouth tangled with his own brought every nerve ending in his body awake. He knew they were getting carried away, but Trent couldn’t make himself care. He didn’t even give a damn why found it so hot thinking about Gage wanting to make him pregnant. The whole thing was outrageous, but it’d damn sure got him going.

The bathroom door slammed and startled them back into some sense of reason. Gage stepped away but his hand still held Trent by the hip and he hadn’t let go of Gage’s shirt where he’d fisted his hand in it.

“Do you really think about that when you fuck me?” His lips swollen with Gage’s kisses Trent watched him from under heavy lids unsure what he wanted to hear.

“Not during really.” He grinned flashing the dimples that turned Trent’s knees to jello. “But sometimes I do think about what it’d be like, having a baby around with your eyes and smile.” Gage sounded wistful and he reached over to thumb the corner of Trent’s mouth. “It was the one good thing about being with her. Everything is perfect with you…but…I don’t know. It doesn’t seem fair.” Gage ducked his head and gave an embarrassed laugh.

“Dude, if you want another baby you should have said something. There are plenty of options.” Trent’s heart felt like it was about to pound out of his chest. He hadn’t really thought about having another baby but now that it was out there it seemed like the most natural thing in the world. A sister for Nash and Kody, they’d be the most awesome big brothers ever. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

Trent tugged Gage closer and used two fingers under his chin to tilt his head so their gazes met. They were nearly the same height, something Trent sometimes forgot. Gage’s bulk made him feel small. “Right now we’ve probably got about two and a half minutes so talk to me quick.”

“I didn’t think it was something you were ready for and I don’t want to rush you.” A dimple dented Gage’s cheek and Trent shook his head. With his weakness for dimples he’d joined the wrong family.

“Consider me officially not rushed. We’re going to sit down and talk about this.” Trent let Gage go and gave him a little shove in the direction of the fridge. “Weirdest way ever to broach a subject, by the way.” He couldn’t help tease and regretted it immediately when Gage cut him a look over his shoulder eyes gleaming with wicked humor.

“Your reaction to the idea of me trying to impregnate you is also something we are going to talk about…” He promised. “At length.” Trent groaned. His head fell back against the wall with a solid thump and he determinedly ignored the heat that pooled in his belly at the promise of Gage’s words.



“Roast is in the oven. Potatoes in the toaster oven and green beans simmering away.” Gage yawned and stretched. He knuckled the small of his back. “I think we can rest for five minutes.”

Trent watched the play of Gage’s muscles under the soft material of his Christmas sweater and wondered if they could get away with a twenty minute ‘nap’. Before he could suggest it the doorbell rang and startled him out of his lascivious thoughts.

“I’ll get it.” He headed for the door. The boys were in the backyard playing with their new bikes and making enough noise to drown out the arrival of a jetliner. There was a bunch of scrub oak and scraggly pine not far from the house that Gage had mentioned digging up to turn the small patch of ground into a dirt track. Trent thought his man was pretty damn smart. Kids were loud.

The doorbell peeled again. “Hold your horses I’m coming.” He grumbled as he made his way through the crumpled paper and discarded toys that now carpeted their living room. They’d established the tradition of giving the boys until after lunch before they had to bring order to chaos. Since he and Gage spent most of the morning after opening presents in the kitchen working on Christmas dinner it was a plan that served them well.

He edged a new box of Legos out of the way before he opened the door. Trent stared at the woman in the open door as if she were someone he’d never seen before though he’d met her a couple times. He’d never seen her inside Gage’s house in the three years they’d been together.

“Mrs. Harris.” He said the same time he heard Gage’s whisper. “Mom.” They stood staring at one another until Nash burst in the backdoor.

“You came!” His shout held pure delight as he hugged his dad around his waist. “Merry Christmas, Daddy. I asked Grandma to come ‘cause it’s Christmas and that means you can be happy and make friends.”

Gage’s hand came to rest on Nash’s head but he still hadn’t moved. Trent opened the door wider. “Come in.” he invited though the look on Gage’s face made him want to slam the door shut in her face and deadbolt it. She walked through the doorway, her gaze on where she placed her feet clad in sensible brown pumps that probably cost a month of what Gage had made when he worked for his uncle. Trent closed the door behind her unable to lose the feeling she was on the wrong side. He watched as she looked around her expression seemed to judge everything she saw. She was not a tall woman, about five foot five. She looked neat and put together in her beige pant suit, her hair pulled back in a neat bun. Small gold hoops decorated her ear lobes and her only make up was a touch of soft colored lipstick. From the outside she looked exactly like a grandmother should.

Trent took a deep breath. It was Christmas. Nash wanted this and so they’d be polite to one another, get through the awkward and everything would be fine. “Would you like to sit down? I can get you something to drink. We have tea and water.” He was hyper aware of the fact Gage still hadn’t moved or spoken. Used to his friendly, smiling partner Trent found the silence nerve wracking putting him even more on edge. Gage’s mother’s mouth curled down in distaste as she surveyed the well-used furniture. Trent bristled. His hyper-urge to protect Gage and his boys kicked in full force.

“Just because something’s been used doesn’t mean anything is wrong with it. You can sit down the sofa is perfectly clean.” Trent tried to keep the edge off his tone but knew he’d failed when she narrowed her eyes at him. Nash had let go of Gage’s waist and was busily picking up wrapping paper and stuffing it into the box from Gage’s new charcoal grill. The pieces were scattered behind the couch where Gage had started putting it together. They were laid out in a perfect map of what to do next. Trent loved watching Gage put things together.

“Well. It’s not perfectly clean.” Nash was telling his grandmother as he sorted out the bows and tossed them into a large gift back to save for the next year. “Kody used to pee on it sometimes. But daddy cleaned it real good so I think it’s mostly clean.” He shrugged as he gathered the presents into stacks by ownership. “It doesn’t smell anymore.”

Hand to her chest Gage’s mother took a step away from the couch as if she expected to chase after her.

“Why are you here?” Gage demanded the same time Trent asked Nash. “Where’s Kody?”

“He’s hiding in the kitchen. He thinks Nana is a new person. I tried to tell him, but…” he lifted his hands up in the universal sign for ‘what can you do?’

“You left him alone?” Trent felt a surge of relief when Gage’s attention was diverted from his mother.

Nash looked baffled. “He’s not alone. He’s in the kitchen. Our kitchen. We’re all right here.”

“Nash.” Gage’s voice was firm but Nash still looked bewildered.


“Never mind. Finish picking up. I’ll get him.”

Nash watched him leave the room with a puzzled frown. He turned to Trent. “What’s wrong with Daddy?”

Trent searched his mind for something to say but he came up empty. He bit his lip and squatted beside Nash in an effort to reassure him. Before he found the words Nash’s grandmother spoke.

“He doesn’t like me.” Her voice seemed as cold as the wind rattling the branches against the house. Nash’s head jerked up and he stared at her wide-eyed.

“That’s what you’re going with? Really mom?” Gage came back into the room, Kody perched on his hip. Trent knew it’d been months since Kody had let Gage hold him ‘like a baby.’ Nothing about the situation boded anything good.

“I don’t like my mom either.” Nash volunteered the information. “But we’ll be friends one day. Buddy is here and he’s going to love us and stay forever. I can still be friends with my mom, because we can love lots of people.” Nash spoke with confidence as he parroted the things Gage and Trent had told him, but Trent read how nervous he was in the shift of his feet and the curl of his fingers. His dimples were nowhere to be seen.

Trent resisted the urge to go to him. Nash wouldn’t thank him if he made him look like a child. There’d be time for comfort when this had played out however it was going to.

“You and Daddy can be friends. If you want.”

Trent watched as ice blue eyes turned towards Gage. “Is that right? Can we be friends?” She said the right words but her tone was wrong and Trent saw the realization hit Nash. He sucked in his breath.

“oh.” His small voice went unnoticed by his grandmother. Trent’s heart broke for him as Nash edged closer and slid his hand into Trent’s.

“I’m sorry.” He whispered. Trent squeezed his hand.

“It’s okay.” He kept his voice down and his attention fixed on Gage and his mother. He almost missed Nash’s next comment.

“No. I don’t think so.”

“What in the hell does that child have on?” The first real sign of emotion colored her voice. Righteous indignation. “You dress your son in a skirt? My God how sick are you?”

Trent’s temper woke with a vengeance and roared through him with a force that made him see white. He held onto Nash’s hand and too keep him from engaging his grandmother even as he struggled to regain control before he did something he’d regret. Or more accurately, cause trouble he’d regret. He felt more than saw Gage’s worried glance in his direction.

“It’s not a skirt, it’s a kilt. He’s got scotch.” Despite his efforts, Nash pulled free of Trent’s grasp and ran to stand between his grandmother and his brother. “Aunt Pearl sewed it for him. It’s a for real kilt. He can take it off and make a blanket. He’s got lots of them cause he likes them. It’s not bad.”

Trent didn’t dare move. His temper hadn’t cooled at all. Gage laid his hand on Nash’s shoulder. “Son.”

Nash shook him off. “NO! I don’t have to be polite. You can’t make me. I won’t let her talk like something’s wrong with Kody. He’s fine just the way he is and he can wear kilts if he wants to.” His hands fisted at his side and he yelled at his grandmother. “He can wear actual skirts if he wants to. Girl skirts. PINK GIRL SKIRTS.”

Gage caught him by the back of the shirt and reeled him back in. “Nash.”

“With ruffles.” He crossed his arms over his chest and glared. If the whole situation hadn’t been so terrible Trent might have laughed. Or cheered.

“No girl skirts. I like kilts.” Kody lifted his head out of his father’s neck for the first time and Trent thought he might burst with pride at the way he met his grandmother’s eyes. “Your skirt is ugly. Aunt Pearl can make you a pretty one. You should ask her.”  He buried his face in the curve of Gage’s neck and shoulder as if he’d never made an appearance.

Sharp blue eyes studied Gage and his sons before flicking briefly over Trent. He didn’t like the way Gage seemed to shrink under her glare. “I can’t believe Sara got herself involved in this mess. Your boys don’t know boys from girls, right from wrong, or up from down. Someone should call the authorities.”

The fear that filled Gage’s expression was raw and real. It stripped Trent of his hard won control in an instant. “That’s enough.” The hard sound of his voice drew every eye in the room his way and he squared his shoulders. Trent crossed the room to stand at Gage’s side and covered his rough calloused hand where curled protectively around Nash’s shoulder. “Gage take the guys outside. Pet the pig or something.” Gage opened his mouth but Trent shook his head before he had a chance to make a sound. “I’ve got this. You need to talk to Nash. I don’t think this went exactly the way he pictured it.”

Trent ruffled Nash’s hair. “Hang in there big guy. Intentions count.” Gage gave Trent a grateful look and herded Nash towards the back door.

“What does intentions mean?” Trent heard Nash ask just before the door clicked shut behind them.

Silence hung heavy between Trent and his lover’s mother. To his surprise she was the one to break it, much less surprising was her subject.

“Who told that poor deluded child he could be friends with his mother?” She pulled the jacket to her suit tighter at the waist her fingers tight on the edges.

“We told him that. Boys, girls, grown-ups, we all tend to keep loving their mothers even at their worst. What the hell were we supposed to tell him? ‘Forget about her, kid. She’s a selfish no good cu…bi…witch and you’re better off without her. Goddamn, you’re as bad as she is and I still can’t forget you’re Gage’s mother.”

“That’s one thing we have in common because neither can I.” Once again her words seemed to suggest one thing, perhaps regret but her tone said something else entirely. Trent shoved his hands into his jeans pockets to keep from making a fist. If he gave in to that first compulsion he wasn’t sure he’d keep from hitting her.

“No matter how hard you try, huh?” He searched her face hoping for something, anything that would give him some hope for Gage’s relationship with her. A moment of weakness that might suggest the boys would one day have two grandmothers. He saw only dislike and disgust. Trent realized her gaze was fixed on his neck where Gage had bit him earlier. He wondered how she imagined he’d gotten it. He hoped whatever image it conjured up haunted her.

“Exactly.” She lifted her chin but didn’t meet his eyes she gazed over his shoulder into the dining room. He supposed she found it as lacking as she had the living room. “That table is undoubtedly worth something, and that china cabinet. I assume John furnished the place for Gage. he’s always doted on the boy and spoiled him. He’s exactly the sort to ignore the real value of something that should be a prized possession.”

Trent ran a hand over his face and gaped at her. “Lady are you kidding me? You are worried that Gage’s uncle gave him a table to use as a table while you throw the real treasure in this house aside like it’s nothing?” Trent walked to the front door and opened it. The sounds of the kids playing drifted to them on the chilly breeze. The sound warmed his heart despite the cool temperature and grounded him easing the threat of his temper. “You should leave before I forget myself and say things that Gage wouldn’t approve of. I don’t know why in the hell you accepted Nash’s invitation, but don’t ever do it again.”

She stopped in front of him and gave him a tight smile. “I wanted to see for myself what sort of depravity was going on in this house. It’s worse than I imagined. Those poor, poor boys.” Trent’s hand came up almost before he realized what he intended. He stopped at the last second and forced his fist to relax and ended the movement by running his fingers through his hair. Judging by her lack of reaction she had no idea how close she’d come to getting punched in the face.

“Would you just get the hell out of here?” He barely managed to get the words out his jaw was clenched so tight.

“Oh, I’m going. She stopped before stepping onto the first step she didn’t look back as she spoke but stared out over the yard. “You tell him to keep his head down. I remember every detail. The four-year-old boy in skirts. The evidence of sexual excess displayed openly in front of the children. The lack of order or even general housekeeping. I remember and whoever I tell those things to will listen.”

“You bitch.” Trent took a step in her direction and she finaly turned but not with the reaction Trent expected. She tsked him waggling a finger back and forth between them.

“It goes for you too, lover boy. Not so much as a hint of scandal or the person knocking on your door won’t be nearly as kindly as I am. Like I told you, sugar. I’ll remember. It’s for the best if you do too. Merry Christmas.”

Trent watched her slim form walk away. The sandy beige suit perfectly tailored. Her three inch heels totally inappropriate for the farm. The neat bun of hair at the back of her head gleamed under the weak winter sun, without so much as a hair out of place. She climbed into her silver Mercedes and drove out of the yard without ever looking back. Trent had no idea how she’d managed to squeeze a child out of her vagina what was anything more than a mini-me. Gage was more than amazing he was a fucking miracle.

His family met him in the kitchen. Trent didn’t say a word to Gage about his mother’s threat. There wasn’t any reason to spoil Christmas with the repetition of ugly words. He let Gage soothe him with the soft brush of lips, a tender touch on his face, and the familiar pressure of his hand on the small of his back. Trent silently reveled in the security of having a lover who knew him so well.

“Are you okay?” Gage asked. Trent thought he should be the one asking but they’d have plenty of time to talk about what’d happened later. For the moment he just shrugged and took Kody out of Gage’s arms for a quick squeeze.

“Sure. I’m way more worried about our dinner. Pretty sure the roast is cold.” They’d tried a cooking method for the roast that Gage had read online that involved roasting the prime rib at a very high heat for a time and then turning the oven off with the roast inside to sit for two hours. The time limit had come and gone.

“Better cold than burned.” Gage headed over to check on the meat. “I can make hash or something, you’ll see.” Trent smiled fondly at him before he focused on wiggly Kody. Nash had already returned to the living room digging through their Christmas loot. Kody was anxious to join him. When Trent put him down took the opportunity to check that the kilt was over Kody’s shoulder and the pins still fastened correctly.

The plaid was his first authentic kilt that fastened with something besides Velcro. The kilts were Trent’s brain child. Born of necessity when the boy had taken to dressing up in the play clothes at school and refusing to take them off. His young teachers hadn’t been open to the idea of the boy wearing skirts all day, but were beside themselves with delight when he showed up for the first time in a kilt. They thought it was a wonderful way for him to learn to understand and appreciate his heritage. Gage and Trent had just been relieved they didn’t have to fight about skirts any longer.

“I’m not a baby.” Kody pulled away from Trent and he became conscious of the fact he’d been fussing with the boy’s clothes longer than he’d intended. He laughed at Nash’s glower and pushed him towards the other room.

“Don’t worry I know.” His assurances fell on deaf ears as Kody hurried over to where Nash was fiddling with the tablet they’d received as a joint present. Trent watched the two climb onto the couch their new Kindle Fire in hand. “It’s not just books! Sponge Bob is on here.” Nash stage whispered to Kody. “Let me show you.”



“That was without a doubt the best food I’ve ever had.” Trent groaned as he pushed away from the table. His stomach tight and aching with the amount of food he’d indulged in. “You, Gage Harris, are a hash slinging master.”

“I told you.” Gage snagged another roll and smothered it with butter. He took a big bite and Trent had to look away. He was too full to watch anyone eat. Nash and Kody were drooping over their plates and Trent sympathized completely. He wished he were an eight-year-old headed for a nap instead of a grown-up who hadn’t done the cooking and so had cleaning next on his Christmas agenda.

“You should have lent a hand with the cooking.” Gage smirked.

“Ass.” Trent muttered. He folded his arms on the table and snuggled his head into them. “Stop reading my mind and give me five minutes.”

“Lazy.” Gage leaned back in his chair and stretched. His muscles tensed and relaxed under the soft clinging materiel of his sweater. Trent pretended not watch. The sound of a car door interrupted their teasing. They shared an uneasy look.

“You don’t think she came back?” Trent watched the front door uneasily.

Gage made a face. “I seriously doubt it…” Before he could expound on his thought a quiet strangled noise came from Nash’s direction. Trent decided it was a good time to clear the table. He stood up and started collecting plates unsure he could survive whatever had caused Nash’s sudden panic. But he lingered when Gage called Nash to him at the same time a knock sounded on the door. Nash walked to his father dragging his feet with his head down.

“Nash.” Gage prompted him gently but Trent saw the boy’s shoulders tense. “Tell me.”

“So. Maybe. I might have called another grandma.”

“Another…” Gage sounded aghast before Trent could ask for clarification the knock sounded once more.

“Yoo-hoo! Anyone in there?”

Trent stacked some more plates. “That’s not my mother.” He observed as if anyone had thought it would be.

Gage took a deep breath as he got slowly to his feet. “Nope. That’s the other Grandma.”

“It’s Grandma Tamra.” Gage explained. “She was happy I called. I have to let her in.” Gage jumped down from the chair and headed for the door.

Trent felt frozen in place. “That’s…”

“Cara’s mom, yep.” A loud redhead was hugging the boys as Gage got to his feet.

“It’s been four years, why now?”

Gage huffed a laugh and tilted his head toward the other room. “You know why.”

Trent watched as Nash pulled a woman he’d met only a handful of times towards them by the hand..

“Dude.” Trent grabbed Gage’s hand and held onto it as if his life depended on it.

Gage gave him an amused look. “What?”

“Next year I’m so taking over the guest list.”



Mar 10

True Love Tuesday: Rick Reed




Best Selling Author Rick Reed is my guest this month and shares his delightful story of true love.




Rick R Reed Q/A for True Love Tuesday


Bruce Rick Vashon Island better


When and where did you meet the person who has your heart?

Bruce, my husband and I, are a modern couple. We met online on a gay dating site. He responded to my ad, which wondered, “What’s Your Story?” This was in May of 2002, almost twelve years ago. Things have never been the same.


Do you remember what you thought the first time you saw him/her?

Yes. I can still see him sitting on the front steps of his apartment building in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago, waiting for me to pick him up for our first date. He was wearing jeans and a dark blue T-shirt with pencil-thin white stripes. At the time, he had a goatee. Even before he said a word to me, I knew I was in love, which is why I devoutly believe in love at first sight. I remember I was coming from the doctor’s office and had just gotten three stitches pulled from my eyebrow from a biking accident I’d recently had and I was worried about how I looked. I guess I needn’t have worried because our first date went very well.

Did your first impression of him/her turn out to be accurate?

It’s twelve years later and we’ve never really been apart. We’re now legally married and looking forward to spending the rest of our lives together. What do you think?

When did you first fall in love?

As I said above, the first time I laid eyes on him. I will admit that we did e-mail back and forth for a couple of weeks before we met in person and he totally charmed me with the humor and intelligence that came through loud and clear in those early e-mails. Big secret: I still have them.

When you fell in love did you know it was for good, or did it take a while to realize this person was the one?

That’s the interesting part. See, when we met I was so not looking. I had just gotten out of yet another failed relationship and, this time, I had decided I was going to be single and love it for a good long time, maybe forever. I found my dream apartment on Chicago’s north side and I was totally enjoying my independence. I got to enjoy it for two months; then I met Bruce. I did put up a token resistance at first to being a couple, but it was hopeless. Love comes along when you least expect it!

How long have you been together?

Almost a dozen years.

What is the thing you’ve loved about him/her from the start?

Because he said yes when I asked, “Can I kiss you?”

What do you love most about him/her today?

His generosity and kindness. He spoils me. And the great thing about that spoiling is not what comes out of it, but seeing how happy it makes him to do it.

Is there anything small that bugs you about each other that you’ve learned to accept or that has become kind of an inside joke?

Oh, we were doing so well. Let’s not be negative. And honestly, I am hard-pressed to think of anything. As Edith Ann said, “And that’s the truth”.


Rick, thank you for being a part of True Love Tuesday and sharing your wonderful love story with us!

Rick R. Reed Biography
Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”




Love comes along when you least expect it. That’s what Duncan Taylor’s sister, Scout, tells him. Scout has everything Duncan wants—a happy life with a wonderful husband. Now that Seattle has made gay marriage legal, Duncan knows he can have the same thing. But when he proposes to his boyfriend Tucker, he doesn’t get the answer he hoped for. Tucker’s refusal is another misstep in a long line of failed romances. Despairing, Duncan thinks of all the loving unions in his life—and how every one of them is straight. Maybe he could be happy, if not sexually compatible, with a woman. When zany, gay-man-loving Marilyn Samples waltzes into his life, he thinks he may have found his answer.

Determined to settle, Duncan forgets his sister’s wisdom about love and begins planning a wedding with Marilyn. But life throws Duncan a curveball. When he meets wedding planner Peter Dalrymple, unexpected sparks ignite. Neither man knows how long he can resist his powerful attraction to the other. For sure, there’s a wedding in the future. But whose?

Buy Links

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Jan 31

Spotlight Author of the Month: Ashlynn Monroe

I’m so busy with everything going on that I run out of time to read. When I do have a little time, I find myself falling into the habit of rereading old favorites instead of taking a chance on something new. To encourage myself to read new authors and different books I’m kicking off my Spotlight Author of the Month, a once a month post featuring a book by an author I’ve never read. I’m going to read the featured book and then share my thoughts about it.

And now let me introduce my friend Ashlynn Monroe! I was supposed to be a part of her blog tour. Until it turned out I was not only clueless, but apparently beyond hope considering I never did figure it out. I still want to do my part and so here is Ashlynn and her brand new book as my first Spotlight Author of the Month.



Jewel’s father, the smuggler king, decides to take his honorary title a step too far when he offers her in trade for an army and a secure port to do his illegal business. She finds herself on the run from her father, and the evil mutant prince who wants to impregnate her with his heir.

Jewel faces a brutal world alone as she attempts her escape. With a fortune in bounty on her head, she soon discovers staying free isn’t as easy as she’d hoped it would be, but her cunning and fighting skill help her evade capture time and again.

Only one bounty hunter, Rion, is man enough to capture her, but she’s also the true mate to his inner wolf. When he makes love with her, the act of taking her virginity bonds him to this woman of worth. Now, keeping his mate alive and safe make Rion and his friends wanted men.

Rion can only think of one way to insure his woman remain safe, she needs a guardian. Rion asks his mentor, Makis, and the other shifter agrees to bond with the woman. Can Jewel find love and happiness with both men?


Sol gripped the shuttle’s comm and turned it off. They didn’t want any ships to hail them. He set the coordinates in the computer to take them to the planet Atala. “I wish we were closer. Every second counts, and I want to earn this bounty and get back home. Linus Lilymann—huh, he’s such a crook. You know we’re probably looking for stolen, stolen property,” Sol complained.

“I know, but Lilymann has plenty of money. This is important to him if he’s willing to contract professional bounty hunters. He doesn’t get the goods until we get paid.”

“Fair enough. You were the one to get the details. What exactly are we hunting?” Sol asked. His eyebrow rose.

“His ruby was stolen,” Isser replied.

“His ruby? As in singular? One gem?”

“That’s what he said. He said it’s the ruby he’s always wanted, and he needs it back before the full moon. A woman took it. We’re not supposed to take the gem from her. He wants us to bring the woman instead. He said she has it, without a doubt, and just to bring her back to him, alive, and that’s it. He gave me this bit of fabric. It bears her scent. She smells a bit strange, but I can’t put my finger on it.”

Sol took the scrap of pale material and pressed it to his nose. He inhaled sharply.

“You’re right. This scent isn’t quite human. Even the most mutated human wouldn’t smell like this. It’s not like anything I’ve encountered before. It’s almost wolf, but different. Strange.” He sighed and shrugged as he handed the clue back to Isser. “I hate hunting women, even thieves. Makis would never have accepted this job…” Sol paused and rubbed his tired eyes. “If Jewel and her pups die, the pack will never be home again. I doubt Rion and Makis would even survive. Rion might because he has Boon to think about, but Makis wouldn’t have anything if they all three die. If we weren’t on the run, we could take out credit. They’d already have had the benefit of a doctor. Even free from the clan, we are still suffering. I pray to the gods someday we’ll have true safety to live in the old way. Jewel is the glue holding us together. Everything turns to shit when she dies.”

“Don’t…fucking…talk…like…that… Just don’t! Makis is our leader. He’d never leave us by choice.” Isser sounded younger than his years and even a little frightened. The way he said leader could’ve easily been substituted for father.

“You feel it, the way it is for the three of them. Don’t tell me you haven’t woken to a wave of passion in the middle of the night. Occasionally, I’d experience the strong impression of the possessiveness and awe those two have for her. That’s the dream, to love like nothing else matters. It’s why we risked everything to leave the clan. I doubt I’ll ever have what they have, but it’s beautiful. I wouldn’t want to live if I lost a mate and that kind of perfect, forever love.”

Sol heard the clatter of Isser’s seat belt releasing. He turned and noticed his brother’s enraged scowl as the man crouched down in the single pilot compartment next to him. “We can’t think like she’s going to die. We do the job, and we get them what they need. We make it better, got it?”

Sol nodded, but the horror echoing from Isser’s subconscious hit him in waves of agony. They’d all lost family and community once. The idea of losing what they had slammed into his heart with agonizing force.

“At least we won’t have to go through any wormholes. Sit back and relax, Bro. We’re on our way,” Isser muttered. He gave his brother a quick look before he punched the accelerator on the old ship. The stars stretched out into long lines around them as they sped through space in the direction of planet Atala. The money they needed to take care of their pack waited for them.

* * * *

Ruby ached all over. Sleeping on the cold ground wasn’t what she was accustomed to doing. Her life of learning and prayer hadn’t prepared her for being on the run. Since her escape, she’d managed to avoid the men searching for her by staying in the dark woodland. New men, more skilled trackers, had joined her kidnappers. The idea of so many males hunting her was terrifying. She suffered, so ill, her whole body burning, as if it were on fire. The primal wilderness wasn’t helping her hold on to her civilized humanity. The tiger wanted freedom. Ruby missed her warm, safe bed back at the house of worship. Her pussy throbbed, and she glanced up at the sky superstitiously. She’d been warned about the urges. She wanted meat, rare—raw, delicious meat. The desire struck her as odd since she’d grown up on a vegetarian diet.

Her mind wandered to the many ceremonies where the male devotees worshipped in the temple. Ruby remembered singing the hymns with passion as she observed the women riding the hard cocks of their silent lovers. Little arrows of excitement darted through her core as she imagined hairless, purified male bodies naked and chained. They lay in a state of helpless arousal during the full moon.

Her fingers brushed her mound through her tattered robes. She moaned. Pleasuring herself before her consecration was a terrible sin against the goddess, so she stopped and ignored the ache for release. If she didn’t get back to her planet, and the house of worship, she’d die. She’d escaped before they could deliver her, but somewhere on this world lurked the man who’d paid for her kidnapping. She’d heard the monsters talking. They knew her time was running out. Luckily, her change had given her the strength to escape, but now that power had left her. This world didn’t have the red burning moon of her home, but the lack of astronomical markers wasn’t stopping her body from the tormenting effects of her first heat.

Panting, she lay in the cool grass, trying to focus on the sensation of the cold dew instead of how much she craved the end of her virginity. If she were home, she’d be lying naked, awaiting the male worshippers who would unleash the cat inside her. Until today, she’d dreaded the experience, but now she needed sex.

A wave of dizziness hit her. Light-headed, Ruby sat up. The early-dawn light burned strangely bright. She lifted her hand to shield her eyes, and the action caused her to notice her nails. Gasping, she pulled her hand closer to her face. Her eyes widened, and her lip trembled. She squeezed her mouth tightly shut to stop the tremble. Terror gripped her. The bitter taste of bile rose up in her throat. The nasty flavor caused her to suck in a deep breath as she fought to maintain her composure. Her nails had grown into sharp claws, and each of her knuckles had a frightening patch of hair jutting out from her skin.

She wanted to kill prey and eat it. A consecrated youth learned the virtue of a sweet and serene attitude. Now she desired violence as her inner agitation escalated. Her stomach rolled. Hunger had always been a usual part of her daily routine. Showing restraint at all times, included meals, was part of her ritualistic worship practices, but she’d never experienced such a gripping demand for sustenance. Agony curled her into a ball. She took deep breaths through her nose and exhaled deeply out of her mouth. When the torment subsided, Ruby stretched. Sitting in the dirt wasn’t going to fill her belly. A strange urge to hunt made her restless.

She didn’t have the slightest idea about how to stalk prey, and yet her tiger wanted to do it. The beast had always been deep inside her, but this was the first time her inner animal was strong enough to control her. She didn’t like it. The sensation of losing control shook her with terrifying ferocity. Every moment she became more feline than human. Nothing made sense this morning. Her mind filled with images of animals running, but instead of thinking of them as creatures, she thought of them as delicious food. Her breath caught. She battled the impulse to run off into the wilderness and hunt. This foreign woodland taunted her with its majesty. Lost and alone, she wasn’t sure where to go. What remained of her rational thought reminded her she needed to find a way back to her sanctuary. The old mother would know what to do. The other tiger priestesses would help her through this transition.

A noise caused her to sit up. At least two light-footed creatures were running. Instinct changed the way her senses brought information to her brain. Everything hit her mind so much more richly and yet in a truly primal way that left her feeling off-kilter. She tried to stand, but the world spun, and she landed hard on her ass. Ruby moaned, closing her eyes. Cramps filled her stomach. This pain clawed her much worse than her monthly cycle, this fire burned through her—killing her. She closed her eyes and sucked in a deep breath.

“Who are you?” The gruff male voice terrified her. Ruby’s eyes opened quickly. She lay too weak to flee. She must have fallen unconscious for a few moments. Her body wouldn’t respond, as it stayed worthless for moving or fighting. This affliction had taken a great toll. Terror grew exponentially as her blurry vision sharpened, and she realized just how large and imposing the male’s body truly appeared. She could smell him. He wasn’t human.

“I am Ruby, devotee of the cat goddess,” she managed to respond. This man wasn’t one of her attackers. They’d been human. This male was like her. Shifter. His warm amber eyes weren’t cruel. His hair was long, black. He wore it tied back in a ponytail. He was handsome. She didn’t have much experience with men, but this one was so unmistakably perfect she was able to register his masculine beauty even in her condition.

“Shit! Damn it, Lilymann is fucking with us. This is the girl,” said the male who’d questioned her. “Do you smell her? I think we’ve been played.” Weakness lingered, and she couldn’t open her eyes, but he wasn’t talking to her.

“You’re right. The scent is different now, but it’s definitely her. She’s—oh gods, no, that spiciness—she’s a tigress,” replied another man. “That’s what smelled off about her scent. She’s never shifted. That’s why we couldn’t tell. Tigers don’t shift until they go into heat. Damn it!”

She managed to open her heavy eyelids. The second man was almost as beautiful as the first man was. His hair was much lighter, and she marveled at the various shades of blond, light brown, and red that glinted in the sunlight. This stranger had hair any woman would envy, but there was nothing feminine about the sculpted masculinity of his face. He was incredible. He was also…different. She’d seen men who wanted to serve, but these men looked ready to dominate. They frightened her, but she also found them fascinating. He glanced at her, and they made eye contact. His eyes were such a deep green they reminded her of the forest. The image of a wolf leaping over a fallen log filled her brain, and she drew in a deep breath. She sighed before the exhaustion became too much, and her eyes closed again of their own accord. Ruby laid her head down in the dirt as she gave up the struggle. The weakness was intolerable, but she knew no remedy except returning home to the goddess.

“We aren’t looking for a gem. She’s the ruby. Oh gods, how were we so stupid as to believe this hunt would be as simple of a matter as stolen property?”

She had no idea what property he referred to, and she didn’t care. She hadn’t taken anything from anyone. Ruby drew in another deep breath, and her brain registered what was bothering her. These men were shifters—wolves. Why wolves would agree to hunt another shifter was a mystery to her. Her curiosity didn’t last long. Pain raced through her abdomen, tearing a cry from her lips. She hurt so badly she curled into a fetal position. She didn’t care what happened to her anymore, because she was dying. No one could hurt this bad and survive. She agonized over the emptiness of life cut too short and unfinished days. She wished for another day—an hour even—just to enjoy existence. As she lost consciousness, the darkness swept away her pain, and she sighed with relief.

You can buy Ashlynn’s book here:

Copyright © Ashlynn Monroe


Jan 30

Story in 100 Words

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Sometimes the hardest part of writing is paring down the word count. It’s easy to go on and on and suddenly realize what you’re trying to say has been lost somewhere in the morass of words flowing from quickly typing fingers.

With this in mind I have created a new contest, and I don’t mean one just for authors but for everyone. We can all benefit from taking the time to practicing focusing our thoughts in order to say exactly what we mean.

Welcome to A Story in 100 Words, a drabble contest.

On the fourth Thursday each month I’m going to post an image and a theme. Your job is to write a one hundred word drabble inspired by those two things.

This month’s theme is winter romance and the image:

winter romance(click image for source)

Post your drabble in the comments. I’ll keep the contest open for two weeks at which time I’ll conduct random drawing of the participants and the winner will receive $5 gift certificate to the Amazon of your choice.

I’m looking forward to getting a peek into your creativity. Remember this contest is open to everyone. Readers jump in there I think you might surprise yourself.

Jan 12

True Love Tuesday: Kracken



Kracken, one of my favorite M/M authors, is here to answer a few questions about the love of her life. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did.



Q/A for True Love Tuesday


1. When and where did you meet the person who has your heart?

I had a rather large gathering of friends that often met at a restaurant. One of them invited him.

2. Do you remember what you thought the first time you saw him/her?

I don’t remember what I thought, but I knew I had to go to him. I was definitely drawn.

3. Did your first impression of him/her turn out to be accurate?

I felt that I had always known him. He was everything that I expected.

4. When did you first fall in love?

I remember being at the restaurant and putting my hands on his shoulders. I felt very natural and comfortable doing so, even though I wasn’t the kind of person to do that sort of thing. He looked up at me and it felt like lightning. My heart actually clenched painfully. He felt the same way. I just knew, right then, that this stranger was the man that I had been waiting my entire life for. I’ve never felt anything that powerful since. 

5. When you fell in love did you know it was for good, or did it take a while to realize this person was the one?

We talked until the restaurant closed and then went to another restaurant. I gave him my number and he called the next day. We spent three hours planning where we would live, how many children, and do you like pets? We both knew that we were definitely getting married.

6. How long have you been together?

Twenty-two years.

7. What is the thing you’ve loved about him/her from the start?

He says he loves me and it’s for life even when I’m being maddening.

8. What do you love most about him/her today?

That he still tells me he loves me, he’s lucky to have me, and that I’m beautiful, constantly.

9. Is there anything small that bugs you about each other that you’ve learned to accept or that has become kind of an inside joke?

He washes his hands over the dish I’m washing. Makes me nuts, but I’ve learned to just sigh and wash the dish again. I often buy the wrong thing because I assume it’s in the right place on the shelf. I make some very interesting purchases sometimes.

10. Is your spouse willing to answer any of these questions as well? You can decide between you which ones.

Sorry, but no. He’s a very private person and too shy to answer any personal questions.

Thank you, Kracken for sharing your wonderful story with us. It gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. 

You can visit Kracken at her Amazon page: Kracken or keep up with her at Facebook

Today she is offering a give away of the first book in one of my favorite M/M series ever:



Blurb: Ajay is a struggling detective still trying to find his place in the world. When Devon Temple, a handsome model, walks into his life, with an unusual missing person’s case for him to solve, Ajay finds that it’s not only his business that’s taking a sudden turn, but his sexuality as well.


Winner will be chosen randomly from the comments.


Jan 12

Introducing True Love Tuesday


In celebration of the new year I’m starting a brand new monthly event at my blog.

The second Tuesday of the month is True Love Tuesday.

We are all fans of fictional romance and devour books by the hundreds if not thousands, but very often behind those books is an untold love story. That of the authors themselves.

Beginning tomorrow you’ll have the chance to experience those stories in the writer’s own words.

Mark your calendars for the chance to read all about my guest this month and find out if Love at First sight is ever real…

Dec 21

New Release Today!

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I’m happy and proud to announce the release of my first book since January of this year. A Home for Christmas, The Making of a Man Book 6 is available for purchase today from Love Lane Books.

I think it’s fitting that my first release after a troubling year is only days before the third anniversary of the series. Our December, The Making of a Man Book 1 was released Christmas day 2010.

What’s better than a contest to celebrate my anniversary as well as my new release. Comment to win the six book newly edited series! If you already own the books let me know and you can win a copy of my Januaury release Last First Kiss.

Thank you all for your support and love. I hope you enjoy spending Christmas with Jared and Alex once more.

You can buy a copy today! Buy Button 2

Dec 03

Christmas Delights!

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I love the clever title for the Christmas Anthology Love Lane Books is giving away for free this year.

Christmas delights us.

Christmas is a delight.

We love Christmas delights (thinking sweet guys in love and maybe a little chocolate).

Thinking about the title got me thinking about the holiday season and how much I love it. We are all decorated at my house. The kids and I go pick out a tree on the day after Thanksgiving and the weekend is decoration madness! Now I’ll start wrapping presents and sticking them under the tree. Now, now, no touching!!

It’s so much fun with happy spirits, lots of yummy treats, and now this year lots of FREE new stories to read. I’m going to start tomorrow and read one a day till Christmas! Now how’s that for counting down to the big day?

Okay, I have move things along because today was “surprise” day at the EDJ. I was supposed to work eight hours but SURPRISE work ten instead. I mean seriously? Ah, well, it could be worse I could hate my job and I don’t not at all. I just wish it would stop interferring with my life already!!

I want to share with you my favorite memory from this year.

We were sitting around the living room. That would be me in the recliner, young daughter on the love seat stretched out long legs hanging over the arm and young son on the sofa wrapped in the whale blanket he’s had since he was like 8 (he’s now 16) and outgrew his Bob and Larry blanket.

I don’t remember what we were watching. Something we all agree on which is nearly everything. So could have been The Avengers, or Sherlock but most likely it was our handsdown favorite Supernatural.

A commercial came one advertising something aboutthe  winning family of the year. My son doesn’t move a muscle and says. “That’s stupid.”

Sis and I are like “What?”

He says “That can’t be the best family. WE have the best family.” He never even looks away from the TV just keeps watching.

Sis gives me a grin. “He’s right. Our family is awesome.”

The show comes back on. She goes back to watching it.

And weeks later I’m still going…what just happened? Kids. I love mine like crazy.

Now it’s your turn. Comment and tell me your favorite memory from the past year. Long or short. Sappy or Funny I want to hear them all!

There’s more to gain than just entertaining me…I am giving away A Home For Christmas, The Making of a Man Book 6 (to be released Dec 23) and Last First Kiss (release date 1/14) by random drawing to two lucky winners!

After you comment and get a chance to win here, don’t forget to head over to RJ Scott’s place for the chance to win BIG. Go one and check it out! Celebrating Christmas with RJ

Don’t forget your copy of Christmas Delights Free from Love Lane Books!

Merry Christmas!!

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