Monday, 27 October 2014

The Runaway by Nephylim

“The Runaway” by Nephylim,
From Flying With Red Haircrow

“When all you ever wished for is the last thing you ever wanted....”

  • Title: The Runaway
  • Author: Nephylim
  • Publisher: Flying With Red Haircrow
  • Publication Date: September 12, 2012
  • Genre: Contemporary Romance, Gay Interest
  • Length: 290 pages
  • ISBN: 9781301198573
  • Available: Smashwords, All Romance Ebooks & soon other online distributors
  • Book Trailer

Description: “Ciarrai is running away from a past that’s still breathing down his neck. Jack has no past, his memory wiped in the accident that killed his parents. They meet and their lives move forward like stones skimming the surface of the water, dipping into memories that want to surface and those that want to lie buried forever.

Together, they struggle to come to terms with what happened in the past and where they want to go in the future, but can Jack cope with a man who likes to dress in leather mini-skirts and silk kimonos? Can Ciarrai trust Jack with the secrets of his past; secrets he can’t escape, secrets that are snapping at his heels?

When those secrets catch up, forcing Ciarrai back to the life he’d left, a life that was slowly draining his life away, he and Jack’s love is both threatened and tested by forces from without and within.”


Sometimes, Jack wondered if the whole falling in love thing was a product of the head injury, part of the not remembering. Maybe he’d forgotten what falling in love was supposed to be like. Maybe he had forgotten what kissing and holding and staring into beautiful eyes should feel like. Maybe it was because there were no girls and Ciarrai was so pretty and soft and… real. Maybe it was a lot of things but whatever it was, he knew it was wrong.
If Ciarrai had been a girl, would it have been so different? Would he have made a move? Said something? He didn’t think so. Ciarrai was so different, so—beyond him. There was something about him that made him…different. Special. Jack was fascinated, captivated, but he knew Ciarrai would never feel the same about someone like him, someone so…frightened and empty and…shut down. He wasn’t sure what love should be but he had a good idea what it couldn’t be.
Yet, still he came. He couldn’t stay away, and Ciarrai was always happy to see him. He was always welcoming, always ready with a smile and a hug and a happy bounce, even when he’d been sad before. Maybe it was just because he was so lonely, anyone would do. Maybe…. Jack sighed. His head was hurting from all the maybes. There were so many of them in his life. Aunt Jane had brought him here to get away from the maybes, from the pressure. He was supposed to just let things happen and not to think too much about it, but how could he think about anything else?
He didn’t remember his parents or the accident. That, at least, was a blessing. He didn’t think he could cope with that, not yet. As much as he wanted to remember, he didn’t want to remember that. It would help if he could remember himself, though.
The bright light grew closer and he heard singing floating from the open window. Ciarrai sang well. Ciarrai did everything well. He was precise and deft and fluid and, seemingly, fearless.
No one answered when he knocked on the door, even when he knocked harder and harder. He knew the door would be open but he was afraid to simply walk in. What if Ciarrai were naked or something? Now that was an image that could burn itself into someone’s mind. Shaking, he turned the handle and allowed the door to swing gently open.
“Ciarrai,” he called softly, “Ciarrai are you there?”
What a stupid thing to say. Of course he was there. Hadn’t he just heard him singing? Actually, he could still hear him, and he could also hear the soft notes of some kind of music player. Ciarrai often did that, turned down the music so he could sing over it. He didn’t like to sing loudly. That beautiful voice wasn’t made for loud sounds.
“Ciarrai?” There was no reply. He hadn’t really expected there to be, because Ciarrai got completely caught up with the music and he wouldn’t have heard if a herd of elephants stampeded through the house. The smell drifting through the hall suggested he was in the kitchen and if he were cooking, he would be doubly absorbed.
Closing the door behind him, Jack allowed himself to be drawn to the kitchen by his nose. When he opened the door the smell hit him full in the face and it was amazing. Ciarrai was a good cook but he didn’t generally spend much time on it, preferring to throw something together from the freezer and the tins in the cupboard. Tonight, it smelled as if he was making something spicy, curry maybe. Curries were one of the few things Ciarrai liked to cook from scratch. They always tasted so good.
However, as soon as he set eyes on Ciarrai he completely forgot about cooking. For a few moments he forgot about breathing.
Usually, Ciarrai dressed casually in jeans and t-shirt, with trainers. Sometimes he wore pyjamas around the house when he wasn’t expecting anyone to come. They were black. What he was wearing today wasn’t black. It wasn’t….
It was a multi-coloured silk kimono. Delicate flowers wound their way along slender branches and cherry blossoms fell like rain. The silk sighed and swayed as he moved, sliding over the curves of his body in a way that made Jack feel tight. He’d caught up part of his hair and secured it with a silver clip at the back of his head, while the rest fell in golden waves, swishing when he turned his head. Jack bit his lip.
Ciarrai seemed taller, somehow, and it took a few minutes for Jack to realise he was wearing feathered, black, high heeled slippers. Fucking shit.
“Ciarrai?” he croaked and Ciarrai turned with a smile. His eyes were smoky dark, outlined with eyeliner, the lashes unnaturally long. But it wasn’t his eyes that drew Jack’s attention. It wasn’t even his flawlessly powdered and rouged cheeks. It was his cherry red lips, curling slightly in a sweet smile, twisting his stomach and begging to be kissed. What the fuck?
“Hey, Jack,” Ciarrai said lightly, as if there was nothing wrong. “I was making curry. Do you want some?”
Jack couldn’t find his voice. Neither could he take his eyes away from those lips, which were smiling broadly now.
“I think maybe you could do with a drink.”
Jack nodded dumbly and Ciarrai drifted over to the wine rack. A bottle was already open on the counter.  He took out another glass and filled it, returning to hand it to Jack. He wasn’t walking but gliding, the silk swaying and whispering sibilantly.
With an effort, Jack raised his eyes from the cherry lips to the smoky eyes and swallowed hard. “What?” he croaked. “What…?”
“What…?” Ciarrai asked with a grin. Jack shook his head, his mouth dropping open at the husky purr in Ciarrai’s voice. Then Ciarrai dropped the blatant flirtation and smiled a more natural smile, handing Jack the wine. As he took it, he noticed the long, red, lacquered nails. “I’m sorry,” Ciarrai said, laughing. “I’m being cruel. I just couldn’t help it. Your face was a picture.”
“But why?”
“Why what? Why am I cooking curry in a silk kimono?” Jack shrugged and Ciarrai continued. “Why not? I didn’t think anyone was going to see me.”
“Do you…? Do you often…?”
“Wear a kimono? No, not often. Only when I’m feeling….” Ciarrai trailed off. A dreamy smile touched his lips as he stared into the distance, with a faraway look in his eyes. “When I want to feel cool silk on my skin.”
“No. I meant…. I um…meant….”
For a moment, Ciarrai looked puzzled, then he grinned. “Oh right,” he said. “You mean dressing like a woman?”
“Yeah, that would be it,” Jack said, recovering a little and taking a large swig out of his glass. He choked and Ciarrai laughed again.
“Why not? Like I said, I like the feel of silk. I like wearing high heels. I like the way I look with makeup on. I like the way I look in short skirts and suspenders. It makes me feel sexy.” For a moment his face fell. “Not that there’s anyone to feel sexy for anymore.” He shrugged. “Not that there ever was. It just makes me feel good, for me.”
“So um…um…. Do you…? Are you…? You’re not…not…?”
“Not what?” He giggled. “A woman?”
“Er…no; no I’m not. I could prove it if you like.” A wicked gleam lit Ciarrai’s sparkling blue eyes and the look on his face made Jack think of a mouse between the paws of a cat. It was almost predatory.
“No…no that’s fine. I…believe you,” Jack said, shrinking back and almost falling off the stool. Ciarrai laughed.
“So, do you like it?” he asked, twirling and making the silken hair and silk kimono float around him. The heels clacked on the tiles.
Jack swallowed, hard. “I…guess….”
Ciarrai stopped and smiled a gentler smile. “You don’t mind do you? I mean, does it make you feel uncomfortable?” He looked uncertain, and Jack’s heart leaped.
“No…well yea, but not in the way you think.”
“Oh. Okay.”
Ciarrai turned back to the stove and Jack drank most of the glass of wine.
“So are you…?” he asked after a long silence, during which Ciarrai had started to hum. “Are you…?”
“Am I what?” Ciarrai asked, ladling curry onto plates, next to the mounds of rice.
“If you…. If you like to…um…um…dress as woman, does that mean…? Does it mean you’re…?”
Ciarrai looked up and shrugged. “I don’t think it means anything, except that I am what I am, and I’m not afraid to show it.”
“I know but….”
Ciarrai tilted his head to one side and gave him a calculating look. Then he shrugged again. “Am I a transvestite? I guess—part time. Am I gay? Absolutely. Am I embarrassed or ashamed? Absolutely not. I guess I’m just,” he paused, “me.” Shrugging again he picked up the plates and set them on the table. “Come on. Let’s eat before it gets cold.”
Jack found it difficult to eat. It wasn’t that the food wasn’t good, it was. It was that he simply couldn’t take his eyes off Ciarrai. His red lips wrapped around the fork and, occasionally, a pink tongue darted out to lick sauce off them. The long white fingers, with their shiny red tips, caressed the cutlery, or wrapped around the stem of the wine glass. The long lashes fluttered, the silky hair swished and a delicate, flowery perfume, switched his hormones into overdrive. He was overwhelmed. He simply had no idea what to think, what to say, what to feel.
This was Ciarrai, his friend, and yet…and yet it wasn’t. This person was some kind of magical creature, some fey witch, come to steal away his senses, his mind. He ached to reach out and touch him. Any part of him. Anything….
Ciarrai had always been androgynous, and there’d been many times when Jack had been confused by it; confused about the way he felt about it. There had been occasions when Ciarrai had worn eyeliner, when his feminine side had been close to the surface, and Jack could almost have believed….  But this…this was….
“Are you alright?”
“Alright?” Jack repeated, numbly.
“You’re not eating much and you look pale.”
“I…. It’s…. It’s just….”
“Oh. I’m sorry. I forget.”
“Forget what?”
“Forget not everyone thinks and feels like I do. I’ve kind of given up trying to work out what everyone else expects so I kind of…. Now that I’m here, alone, I guess I’ve just…let myself be me. I forget there’s anything wrong with it.”
“Wrong? Hell no. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just…. I can’t….” He swallowed hard again and looked up to find Ciarrai smiling, with such a strange look in his eyes.
“Are you in love with me, Jack?” he asked, and Jack all but fainted.

About The Author:

Born into a poor but loving mining family in the United Kingdom, Nephylim grew up in the beautiful and history rich South Wales Valleys, becoming the first in her family to attend university. As a lawyer practicing Family Law for several years, the profession allowed Nephylim to learn more about human nature at its worst and best moments, and develop empathy and a view of life not limited by social standing or background.

Tapping into the heritage of her people that throughout Earth's ages welcomed the wandering bard into the hearts of their villages as keepers of lore, Nephylim trained as a Druid and brings the richness of her Celtic past and spiritual training to enrich and elevate her writing. Since a child Nephylim has been fascinated with other worlds, which exist within and alongside her own and has reveled in creating worlds and characters for others to enjoy.

Despite lack of family support, Nephylim continued writing privately and eventually found the Gay Authors website. With the positive response and a warm welcome received, she found the confidence to pursue her passion to a greater degree. Feeling gay fiction was a woefully neglected corner of the market where readers were all too often presented with what amounted to erotica, Nephylim strives to write quality gay fiction where sex and sexuality is not the central premise. Instead, concentration is given to character and narrative development through storytelling that goes beyond the physical.

Nephylim still resides in Wales, UK, and enjoys writing, reading, art, and taking part in medieval reenactments.

Author Links:

Interviews with the author:

About the Press:

Opening its doors on October 31, 2010, Flying With Red Haircrow is an independent publisher and writer cooperative with a large range of interests and possibilities who entreats everyone to, “Dance above the surface of the world. Let your thoughts lift you into creativity that is not hampered by opinion.”

We publish: Literary Fiction, Poetry, GLBTIIQ Fiction, Fantasy (Dark, Epic, Speculative), Multicultural, International, Memoir, Psychology, Sociology and more. For those interested in being a part of our team, have proposals or offers, please visit our website for more details.


Five Stars

Ciarrai is running away from a life he didn't choose, a life of fame, fortune and constant unwanted attention. He finally breaks away but freedom isn't all he thought it would be. A chance encounter brings Jack into his life. They heal eachother and Ciarrai is finally able to find himself, to be the person he never knew he was. Then his past finds him, and he leaves Jack rather than subject him to the life he hates.
I almost don't know where to begin. This book has given me some things to think about. Like, what does fame really do to young people unprepared to handle the attention aka Lindsey Lohan. Why is it so difficult to accept people who are different? Why do we judge those who dress differently or love people of the same sex? Beyond making me think, this is a quite beautiful love story between two fragile people. Don't let the description scare you away, this book is well done, there's romance, a bit of suspense, and lessons learned.

The author kindly shared this story with me. I have in turn have left this honest review.

Five Stars

The story, like the fairy tale in the prologue is simply magic!

Jack- A man who is struggling through his present, trying to dive into the lake to get at his sunken, lost past; only managing to skim the surface with the stones he throws into it and
Ciarrai- A man who is struggling to live in the present trying to stay on the surface, to get rid of his past, but only managing to sink all the stones he throws in no matter how much he tries otherwise.
Nephy put them together, discussing techniques, secrets, and their lives, and we manage to see the struggle both of them are trying to make their way through. Somehow they’re fighting the same demon: their past, just from two opposite ends. Each of them strong to the other, but self depreciating.
Sunk in depression, Jack latches on to the phenomenon that is Ciarrai; slowly but steadily getting his life back on track. In return all he can hope is Ciarrai will be there if his past comes back to haunt him.
Instead, its Ciarrai’s past that catches up with them, tears them apart and leaves us in anguish.
There is so much beauty in life: some of it meant to be experienced, some of it just to be admired, and some, just to be left untouched. The Runaway shows us how so many lives can easily be destroyed when we don't really categorise the forms of beauty properly.
There is love, drama, silk, leather, angst and a healthy dose of manipulation in this remarkable novel that takes us for an unforgettable ride through the life of a remarkable man, the Runaway.
I wish I could have given it more than 5 stars, but... yeah!

Kudos again Nephy!

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Wayward Ink Publishing Halloween Sale

Wayward Ink Publishing Halloween Sale

No tricks, Just treats

Wayward Ink Publishing is celebrating Halloween with a book sale and they’ve got nothing but treats for you! Everything on the WIP website is 30% off for eight days. This sale applies to both published titles and those in the Coming Soon section of the website, so make sure to check them all and buy your favorites!

Male sure you take advantage of this Halloween book sale from Sunday, October 26th to Sunday, November 2nd.  The extra days after Halloween are for those of you too busy with their costumes and parties.

WIP buy pages to check

Whilst you're there, looking around at all the amazing books on offer, check out my book

Project X was released by Wayward Ink Press on 23 September. It's available for purchase from

Wayward Ink Press

And the Stranded Anthology, in which my story Ari is featured.

Be My Human by Julie Lynn Hayes and M A Church

Be My Human (Moonlit Skies Book Two)
Reed and Taz are still adjusting to their new lives together when a medical emergency sends them flying down to Florida on short notice. Not quite the way Reed pictured introducing Taz to his family. Reed’s sister, Rene, welcomes the outgoing Taz with open arms, and the kittenish alien charms Reed’s parents.

But someone isn’t quite so enamored of Reed’s boyfriend—his homophobic older brother Jacob seems determined to be as unpleasant as possible, and he’s making their visit very uncomfortable. The sudden appearance of Reed’s controlling ex releases a flood of insecurity and bad memories.

Reed begins to doubt himself, and his ability to love and be loved in return. When strange items begin appearing as if out of nowhere, he wonders if he’s being stalked, or is he just paranoid? What can Taz do to prove to Reed that he’s more than enough man for this alien?

They’d been living together for a month now, ever since the fateful day Taz had literally fallen on Reed at the Empire State Building. One of the first things Reed had done after the adorable alien had moved in with him was buy Taz a cell phone, then teach him how to use it. Even though Taz was from another planet, one that was much more advanced than Earth, he was unfamiliar with Earth’s comparatively primitive technology. Reed swore after Taz had been kidnapped by the creature he’d dubbed the Evil Alien, he’d always have a way to call for help, thus the phone. That first week after they’d been reunited, Taz had talked Reed into letting him stay home alone while Reed worked at the boutique. Bad idea. Very bad idea. Taz had called Reed around lunchtime, nearly in tears.
When Reed arrived home, he’d been greeted with a nightmare of a mess. Even before he got to his apartment, he could hear the TV blasting in the living room. Which was bad enough, but Taz had somehow figured out how to turn the surround sound on. When Reed opened the door, the noise nearly blew him out of his shoes. It was like sitting in the front row at a movie theater. That, it turned out, was the easiest problem to rectify. Reed had shut the TV off, then looked around the apartment, stunned and slightly horrified.
He’d forgotten about Taz’s natural curiosity. What a mistake that was, and the proof of his error in judgment was spread out all over the kitchen. Flour had been strewn across the floor, a few eggs lay broken on the counter, every covered container in the refrigerator had been taken out and opened… then tasted. Taz had found the blender, dumped some sort of liquid in and turned it on, without putting the top on the machine. There was unrecognizable goo all over the counters, the cabinets, the floors. Plus, Taz had found the sugar. From the looks of it, he’d eaten half the bag.
And that was just the kitchen.
The bathroom had been thoroughly explored as well, as evidenced by the streams of shredded toilet paper spread throughout the place, toothpaste smeared all over the counters in minty globules, and so on.
What was that old saying about curiosity killing the cat?

Meet the Authors:
Julie Lynn Hayes was reading at the age of two and writing by the age of nine and always wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Two marriages, five children, and more than forty years later, that is still her dream. She blames her younger daughters for introducing her to yaoi and the world of M/M love, a world which has captured her imagination and her heart and fueled her writing in ways she'd never dreamed of before. She especially loves stories of two men finding true love and happiness in one another's arms and is a great believer in the happily ever after. She lives in St. Louis with her daughter Sarah and her cat Ramesses, loves books and movies, and hopes to be a world traveler some day. She enjoys crafts, such as crocheting and cross stitch, knitting and needlepoint, and loves to cook. While working a temporary day job, she continues to write her books and stories and reviews, which she posts in various places on the internet. Her family thinks she is a bit off, but she doesn't mind. Marching to the beat of one's own drummer is a good thing, after all.  Her published works can be found at Dreamspinner Press, Wayward Ink Publishing Amber Quill Press, MuseitUp Publishing, Torquere Press, and eXtasy Books. She has also begun to self-publish and is an editor at Wayward Ink and MuseitUp.  

You can find her on her blog at, and you can contact her at

My links:
Twitter @Shelley_runyon

M.A. Church is a true Southern belle who spent many years in the elementary education sector. Now she spends her days lost in fantasy worlds, arguing with hardheaded aliens on far-off planets, herding her numerous shifters, or trying to tempt her country boys away from their fishing poles. It’s a full time job, but hey, someone’s gotta do it!
When not writing, she’s exploring the latest M/M novel to hit the market, watching her beloved Steelers, or sitting glued to HGTV. That’s if she’s not on the back porch tending to the demanding wildlife around the pond in the backyard. The ducks are very outspoken. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and they have two children.
She was a finalist in the Rainbow awards for 2013.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The Shed by Dianne Hartsock

The Shed
by Dianne Hartsock



As a Certified Mental Health Therapist, Scott Reid has his share of interesting experiences, though nothing compares with the time he spends with the psychic, Alex Elson. Plagued by terrifying images and dreams, Alex turns to Doctor Reid in the hopes of learning to control his visions. Instead, Scott is pulled into Alex’s world, where dreams and reality mix and nightmares are real.

Two young men, brothers, have been abducted from the lake outside of Oakton without a trace of who took them. That is, until Alex receives a silver pocket watch in the mail belonging to the elder brother, a taunt from the kidnapper for Alex to come find them. Alex’s visions turn at once into nightmares. Images flash in his mind of an abandoned well and a terrified, lonely boy slowly dying at the bottom. The shed looms close by, holding a horrifying secret, a dark place Alex’s frightened mind refuses to go.

With the help of Scott Reid, Alex endeavors to control his visions and find the brutalized victims before death claims them. But the watch is ticking away and time’s running out.



“Hey Alex…” Justin’s voice trailed off, and he put the coffee pot on the warmer and went over to him when the man didn’t respond. Scott joined them, leaving his computer on the table as he passed. Alex’s eyes were wide, unfocused as he stared out the window. His breath came quickly and sweat beaded his forehead.

“What do you see?” Scott asked, voice mild, placid.

“It’s hot here. Grass is dry.” Alex’s whispered words sent a shiver through Scott. He sounded…detached. “The forest is dark across the way. Crows circle above the trees.”

“Alex, where are you right now?” Scott made the question a demand.

A shudder ran Alex’s lean frame. “I’m in your office, Dr. Reid. I see the garden through the window. But I’m also here, in this empty field. Talk to me! I want to come away from here.”

Scott touched his hand. “Come home, Alex.”

“It’s hard. Something’s drawing me to the forest. God! I don’t want to go in there.”

“Jane would want you to come home,” Scott said firmly, using the ace up his sleeve. For a second he didn’t think even the deep love Alex had for his wife could draw
him back, but then he blinked his eyes into focus, and gave Scott a slight smile.

“Thank you. That’s a terrible place.”

“Is it a real place, do you think?”

Alex’s expression turned bleak. “Yes,” he whispered.



I read this book in order to review it. I’m scheduled to do so on 22nd October, and that is when it will be posted. However, I find that I have to sit down today, 12th Octover, because I can’t wait to set down on paper what I feel about this amazing book.

The Shed, in its simplest form, is a book about a psychic, Alex and his therapist, Scott. Scott is trying to help Alex come to terms with psychic visons that plague him.

Last summer, Alex and Scott helped the police solve a series of gruesome murders, through Alex’s visions, and now he finds himself in a similar situation. Visions are coming thick and fast and he’s slowly sinking under the horror unveiling itself inside his head.

Somewhere out there is a boy slowly dying in a well - and a shed. Alex really doesn’t want to go inside the shed. There’s something in there that’s so horrendous he doesn’t think, even after the horrors he’s already experienced, he can face. The shed looms in his dreams and visions, as it draws him ever closer to the heart of the horror.

Scott, while trying to help the troubled young man, relieves his own horrors, from his childhood experiences, and finally faces up to his own damaged psyche. Finding love is only the start of his journey.

The book is written from both Alex and Scott’s pov, with flashbacks to both childhoods, and also snippets of the thoughts and feelings of two kidnapped boys. Couple this with a whole host of supporting characters, good and bad, the book could very easily have been chaotic, shallow and confusing. It’s not.

The numerous strands some of which appear to have no connection at all, at times flap wildly in the wind, but eventually start coming together to make a blood stained rope that eventually brings closure, even if it’s not what the reader, or the characters hoped it would be.

To say the book had me on the edge of my seat would be an understatement. My heart is still racing. I was swept up and carried along on a wild, headlong rush into a horror that build almost by the page.

If you like well-crafted characters, suspense, horror, fast pacing and almost painfully teasing plot, this is your book.

Somehow, the book finds room for romance and sweet moments that shine like blood on the pavement.

In case you hadn’t got the message I loved everything about this 
books and hope we hear more about Alex and Scott, even if they do end up responsible for a heart attack.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Dianne grew up in one of the older houses in the middle of Los Angeles, a place of hardwood floors and secret closets and back staircases. It’s where her love of the mysterious and wonderful came from. Dianne now lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play.

She says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in the house while it pours rain outside, a fire crackles on the hearth inside, and a cup of hot coffee warms her hands which kindles her imagination.

Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.


Wednesday Briefs

I'm not posting this week, but here are the rest of the bunch for your delectation along with my favourite prompts

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Stay With Me by Layna Pimentel



Master Alex is furious when a friend’s submissive invites a naive stranger to his party. With his reputation on the line, he must keep her out of trouble and away from curious Doms. Observing signs of interest from her, he leads her down the path of wicked temptations. However, when his ex-sub pushes her way back into his life, he tries to find a balance between his discreet life and his public one.

Mercedes is fearful of the world she’s stepped into, but the curiosity of what pleasures lie beyond keep her interested in far more than the play. All is going well until a jealous woman convinces her she’s out of her league. Desperate to regain control over her life and heart, she pushes Alex away.

Will these two manage to find their way to each other, or is their relationship doomed from the moment they meet?

Mercedes popped an eye open to see the candle nearly burnt out. I don’t remember lighting this last night. Oh! The weight of a large arm wrapped around her, and the sheet hung off the edge of the bed. Alex! He spent the night.
He groaned into her ear as she adjusted her position. As she did so, there was a knock at her door. Mercedes gently lifted his arm and rolled out bed, grabbing her silk robe from behind the bedroom door and glancing at the time on the digital box, which read eight-o’clock.
Who the hell could be visiting so early? She’d paid the landlord three months in advance, and she hadn’t really met anyone to expect house calls.
From behind the door she called out “Who is it?”
“It’s me, dummy. Poppy and Brian.”
Shit. What now? “Poppy, it’s not really a good time. I was sleeping.”
“Just open the damned door. We won’t take up too much of your time. We just want to make sure you’re okay.”
Mercedes sighed. Reluctantly, she did as she was asked, and they made their way inside. “I’m sorry I don’t have any coffee, guys. I haven’t even been here long enough to go grocery shopping.”
“That’s all right, sugar. We only stopped in to see how you were holding up after last night,” Brian spoke up.
“I’m fine. Really. Though it was a shocker that Poppy would even think to invite me. But, as you can see, I made it home safe and sound, eventually.”
Never mind the fact that she had walked into a sick joke by Alex’s ex-sub—or whatever the heck she was called—Mercedes wouldn’t forget last night any time soon. The moment she had a chance to take up the issue with Poppy, she would. But not until they were alone.
As she sat across from her company in the armchair, Mercedes clenched her butt cheeks and relaxed them. She couldn’t get comfortable with the damned plug in her ass, and squirming or pouting wasn’t going to make it go away any time soon. Shoot! I forgot that was still there. “Is there any reason why this conversation couldn’t have waited ’til a more decent hour? Christ! It’s Saturday, and I had a long night, if you hadn’t noticed.”
Brian smirked and peered around her to look on the dining room table where Alex had left his jacket. “You never told us you had company.”
“Well, that’s because you never asked. Last I checked, I didn’t realize I had to inform you.”
He snorted, patting Poppy on the knee. “You’re a cheeky one. I can see why you and Poppy get along so well. We’ll be on our way.”
“So soon? I thought we might all go out for breakfast,” Alex announced from the bedroom door, wrapped in nothing but the bed sheet.
Mercedes flushed like a child caught with her hand in the proverbial cookie jar. Great. Now, everyone knows the kind of things we’ve been doing together.
“Christ, Mercedes. There’s no need to be shy. We’re all adults here. Now, come in here and get dressed so we can go out for some food. After that, I’ll take you to the grocery store.” Alex nodded to his friend. “Brian, how about you and Poppy meet us at Alessandro’s family diner?”
Mercedes was so embarrassed by the chance meeting between her friends and lover that she couldn’t meet his eye. I can’t believe he just did that. He might as well have stood there naked. Mmm…now there’s a thought.
Alex prancing around her apartment in the nude made for perfect entertainment. Who needed art to hang on the walls, when one swift look at his impeccably well-kept form was pleasurable enough? Just how did I get so lucky? If someone would have told her a week ago, that she’d move back to her hometown and find herself in the arms of a handsome, built, and uber sexy gentleman, she would have called them a liar.
She wasn’t exactly the perfect zero, or whatever the preferred size of women was these days. She was a healthy size twelve, with large boobs and a generously curvy butt.
For years, she had struggled with weight loss and trying to keep up with the social norm. But no matter what fitness center she joined, or fad diet she tried, her svelte body always came back. She’d practically given up thinking that anyone would accept her body for what it was. That is, until now.
Ugh. Must think positive thoughts. Alex…naked…
She imagined reaching forward and yanking the sheet from his body. Damn. Today is shaping up to be a good one.


Secret Cravings Publishing:


Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Layna discovered her love of reading at an early age. When she isn’t devouring salacious romance novels or writing, she enjoys losing herself in researching ancient history and mythology, weaponry, and hiking. She lives in Northern Ontario, with her husband and two daughters.

Layna is a member of the Romance Writers of America, creator of the Romance Author at Large blog, and is a monthly contributor at 69 Shades of Smut. For updates on her upcoming releases, or to leave her a comment, you can find at: