Friday, December 30, 2022

Charity Saturday: Fostering woman leaders – #Education #GenderEquality #HumanRights #CharitySunday

Charity Sturday banner

For today’s Charity Saturday blog hop, I’m supporting a new (for Charity Sunday) organization, the Harpswell Foundation. Harpswell focuses on providing housing, educational opportunities and mentorship to young women in Cambodia, especially women from impoverished rural backgrounds. For more than fifteen years, Harpswell has been working to create positive social change in Southeast Asia through the action and equal participation of women. They provide scholarships for qualified girls to attend university. Equally important, they’ve created safe, female-only dormitories in the capital city of Phnom Penh, so that their scholarship recipients will have a place to live while pursuing their studies. In addition, Harpswell fosters the development of community, with program alumnae serving as “older sisters” and mentors for younger women entering the program.

You can read more details about the principles underlying Harpswell, as well as their success metrics, here:

I learned about Harpswell from some friends of ours who have been active in its work for years. Since I live in Southeast Asia, I have some personal experience with the gender inequality that is prevalent here. Furthermore, as a university professor, I know firsthand that education, coupled with financial and emotional/social support, can change lives.

Anyway, for this month’s Charity Saturday event, I will donate two dollars to Harpswell for every comment I receive on this post.

In addition, I have a New Year’s gift for everyone reading this post. Grab yourself a copy of my new holiday romance Once upon a Blizzard, absolutely free.

Although it has nothing to do with women’s education, I’ll give you an excerpt from the book, to whet your appetite.



No electricity. No water. Plenty of heat.

Suzanne and Gino have a history going back to high school, but for more than a decade the workaholic CEO has been thousands of miles from her New England home town.

A mistletoe kiss at a Christmas party rekindles the old spark and Suzanne finds some things do indeed get better with age. When Gino rescues her from a blizzard, though, she discovers that she's not the only love in his life. Gino shares his bed and his colonial-era farm house with taciturn painter Harris Steele.

Snowed in with two lusty men who truly seem to care, she wonders why she’s so determined to return to her lonely West Coast life. Is there really a chance for a holiday happy ending?


Jack had obviously taken a shovel to the path not long before. Nevertheless, Suzanne’s fancy heels sank into two inches of new snow. By the time she reached her car, her toes were numb. How stupid of her! Why hadn’t she brought boots? She should have remembered December in New England. You might get a balmy sixty degrees or a blizzard.

Her breath hung in pale clouds in front of her. At least she had gloves. Fumbling with the key, she finally managed to unlock the door of the rented Chevy and slide inside. She murmured a little prayer of thanks as the engine kicked over on the first try. She turned the heat to high, then sat waiting for the windshield and her toes to defrost.

Her thoughts wandered back to Gino. A pang of regret sliced through her. If only things were different… But she had to be back for work on Monday. VPs from two Swiss pharmaceutical companies were coming to tour the CompuGenix facility at nine AM sharp.

She hadn’t even told her parents she was in Boston, since she knew she wouldn’t have time to visit them. She’d see them in a few weeks, at Christmas.

Blasts of hot air thawed her chilled feet. The windshield cleared. She switched on the headlights. Watching the fat flakes swirl in the beams made her dizzy. Good thing the hotel was so close. She took a deep breath, engaged the transmission and crept out of the driveway. She’d just take it slow and easy. She’d be okay.

Judging by the fresh piles heaped up along the margins, Helena’s street had probably been ploughed within the last hour. Still, the surface was completely white. Snow-burdened tree boughs swooped low on either side. Suzanne shifted into low gear and inched along, peering into the flurrying crystals in front of her. It had been years since she’d driven in winter weather. She only hoped the rental had snow tires.

The car crawled along. Suzanne swallowed her impatience and pushed her worry away. She could do this. Fifty feet ahead, a streetlight illumined the intersection with Amherst Road, the main route into town. More traffic would likely mean a clearer surface. Once she reached the larger road, she could probably make better progress.

All at once she lost traction. There was a sickening disconnect between the wheels and the road. She struggled for control as the car swerved to the left. Don’t brake, she remembered. Steer into the skid. The technique didn’t seem to help. A wall of white loomed in front of her, an instant before the sedan plunged into the snow bank.

Her head snapped forward with the impact. Black spots danced in front of her eyes. The seat belt bit into her chest, even through her bulky coat. The engine revved as the wheels spun, then died.

Suzanne’s brief vertigo faded. She was still shaky, but other than some bruises she figured that she wasn’t hurt. The car was another matter. Football-sized clods of packed snow lay piled on the hood, blocking the windshield. She turned the key in the ignition. The grating screech of metal on metal raised goose bumps. She didn’t remember hearing a crunch but maybe she had smashed into a tree and damaged the engine.

She’d have to walk back to Helena’s for help. A half mile? A mile? Suzanne didn’t recall seeing any other houses along the rural lane. Maybe it would be better to head for the intersection and try to flag a passing vehicle.

She turned the door handle and pushed. Nothing happened. The side window was frosted with her breath. When she cleared it with her sleeve, she could see out into the snow-starred darkness, so she wasn’t completely buried. Still, the door wouldn’t budge.

Damn, damn, damn. What was she going to do? She shivered inside her down parka. Her feet were already blocks of ice. Someone would come along eventually, but Helena’s parties tended to run late. Would a semi-drunken party-goer even notice her car, smothered in the fast-falling snow?

She flicked the switch on the dome light, hoping it might make her predicament more visible to passers-by. In the weak glow, Suzanne saw that the back window was already obscured. She was trapped, cocooned in metal, wrapped in a chilly blanket of blinding white.

Don’t panic, she told herself. You just have to wait. Slipping off her shoes, she tucked her feet under her butt to keep them warm. She dug her hands into her pockets; her leather gloves were more fashionable then practical.

Her eyelids drooped. Suzanne fought against the grogginess, recalling that it was dangerous to sleep under these circumstances. It felt so good to relax, though, to let go. The chills wracking her body faded away. She drifted back to that sultry kiss under the mistletoe, Gino’s body warm and welcoming as a summer day…

A knocking close to her ear brought her back to consciousness. “Suzanne! Wake up, Suzanne!” The familiar voice was muffled, as though coming from far away. She forced her eyes to open.

Gino’s pale, worried face peered in the driver side window. “Gino!” she cried. “The door’s stuck. I can’t get out.”

Wait a sec. I’ve got a shovel in the truck.”

Her shivers returned. Her teeth chattered like old bones. It seemed like hours before she heard the scrape of his shovel against the hull of the car.

It didn’t take him long to clear the snow away. He yanked at the door hard enough to make the whole car rock, but it wouldn’t open. “I think the lock’s frozen,” he yelled. “Try it from your side.”

Turning the latch, she pushed with all her strength as Gino pulled. “Harder!” he urged. “I felt it move a bit.” She threw the weight of her body against the stubborn panel. All at once the resistance gave way. Suzanne tumbled out of the car, into the snow at Gino’s feet.

She didn’t have time to feel the cold seeping into her. Her rescuer crouched and swept her into his strong arms. “Are you all right?” he asked, lifting her as though she weighed no more than one of the snowflakes tumbling around them. Without waiting for an answer, he carried her to his truck.

Suzanne snuggled against his jacket. Even through the layers of fabric and insulation, she felt his heat. “I’m fine,” she murmured, exhausted and a bit giddy. “Perfectly fine.”

Don’t forget to leave a comment! And I hope you’ll use the links below to visit the other blogs participating in today’s hop.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Already in big trouble .... #LGBTQIA #Suspense #MMEroticRomance @ThomWolf

Deep Waters cover

About the Book

In search of a story, he found murder and romance.

Author Christian Costner is researching material for one of his dark thrillers, and Nyemouth seems like the perfect setting for his next book. The small seaside town has witnessed plenty of trouble over the years, and Christian thinks it will provide him with the inspiration he needs.

He hires local tour guide and fisherman Harry Renner to help him explore the coastline for a couple of days. Harry is knowledgeable and mature beyond his twenty-eight years. Handsome, too, though Christian thinks Harry is far too young for him.

As the weather worsens, Harry cuts short their first sightseeing trip. Heading back to shore, they spot a figure in distress in the water. A difficult rescue is made far worse when they discover that the casualty has a knife wound to his abdomen and dies before they reach the safety of the harbour.

United by the trauma, Christian and Harry find comfort in each other, but when another murder comes to light, they find themselves at the heart of a dangerous mystery and the target of a killer more ruthless than they could ever imagine.

Reader advisory: This book contains murder, verbal racism and homophobia. It can be read either as a standalone or as book three in a series.


The winds increased, and the boat swayed farther in the swell. The weather was changing much faster than he’d expected. A few heavy splats of rain landed on the deck.

Things are about to get choppy,” Harry told Christian. “Come into the wheelhouse. You’ll be sheltered from the worst of it.” He told Tom to brew another round of tea.

As Christian stepped inside, the rain started in full and was soon bouncing several inches off the wooden decking.

Is it always so unpredictable?” he asked.

Yep. The only thing you should expect at sea is the unexpected. I’m going to have to pick the speed up a bit if we’re going to outrun the worst of it. That means it’s going to get bumpy. Hold on to something and watch your footing.”

Harry pushed the throttle. The front and back pitch of the boat increased as it ploughed through the strengthening waves. He estimated they were forty minutes out from Nyemouth Harbour. The North Star was an old vessel, but she was sturdy. She could handle a lot worse than this and had done so many times, but when people chartered the boat, he had a responsibility to them. Though some captains might take a different attitude, Harry wasn’t in business to make his clients sick or frighten them in high seas. He would get Christian back to shore before the worst struck, even if the ride was a little uncomfortable.

He glanced over his shoulder at the older man. He looked to be bearing up okay. Christian stared at the worsening conditions with seeming curiosity. There was no sign of anxiety.

Tom returned with three mugs of tea, distributing them without spilling a drop.

There’s a bottle of whisky below,” Harry said to Christian, “if you fancy a tot to keep the cold out.”

This is fine. Thank you.”

Satisfied that the client wasn’t about to freak out on him or fall over and break something, Harry gave all his concentration to the boat and route ahead. The wind blew hard against the port side, but they were far enough from shore that he didn’t have to worry about it blowing them off course or onto the rocks. When he reached the entrance to the harbour, the force of it would be behind them and shouldn’t cause much trouble.

What do you do when you’re not running private charters?” Christian asked.

Sightseeing mostly,” Harry answered. “During the summer, I run a variety of different excursions along the coast. Bird watching, half-day fishing trips, twilight cocktail parties…anything to get the tourists on board. I have a few private charters to keep me going over the coming weeks, but once we get into deep winter, I’ll spend my time maintaining the boat and getting ready for next spring.”

Have you been out here long? Working on the boat, I mean?”

My whole life. It used to belong to my dad. He was a fisherman, and I grew up on this thing, going out most weekends and every day during the holidays. He retired four years ago, due to his health. Fishing full-time isn’t for me, so I repurposed the boat for the tourist market. I’ve been running these trips ever since.” He glanced over his shoulder at Christian. “You’re not going to use me in one of your books, are you?”

Tom laughed. “You wish he would.”

Christian gave another of his cracking smiles. It completely changed the appearance of his otherwise down-turned features. “I don’t know what I’m going to write about yet—or whom. I’ll let you know. So, with all these exciting things happening around Nyemouth, have you ever been caught up in any of them yourself?”

He turned back to the view ahead. “I crewed on the lifeboat when I was younger, but not as much as I wanted to. I was at sea so much myself that I was rarely available when they had a call out. It was also a struggle to keep up with the training demands. We had some hairy rescues, all the same. We once evacuated the entire crew of a trawler just minutes before she sank.” He pointed ahead. “They were so close to the shore when they went down, about a mile from the harbour. They had taken on so much water there was nothing we could do. We might not have saved the boat, but we got the crew home safely to their families that night.”

That’s what really matters.”


I think maybe there is a book here. Everyone I’ve spoken to seems to have an interesting story to tell.”

Harry shrugged. “Maybe. I don’t think about it that way. It’s all part of life.”

The boat took a sudden lurch to starboard as a heavy wave struck them, side on. Christian crashed against the wall of the wheelhouse and hissed as he spilt his tea.

Sorry,” Harry said, getting the boat under control. “Are you both okay?”

I’m fine,” Christian said, “though it’s maybe more excitement than I bargained for.”

It won’t be long now. If you look ahead and to the right, you can make out the harbour walls and the lighthouse. We’re almost home.”

They carried on in silence for the rest of the journey. Harry hoped the freak wave hadn’t startled Christian enough for him to cancel tomorrow’s trip. This shitty front was forecast to blow over during the night, and the outlook for the morning was good. He’d take him to The Fisherman’s Arms when they got back to make up for the shortened trip and persuade him to stick to his plan.

There was now less than half a mile to the harbour entrance. Almost there.

Wait!” Christian shouted, stepping forward. He came up beside Harry and stared through the rain-lashed window.

What is it?” Harry tried to follow his eyeline.

I’m not sure. I thought I saw something.”

Harry eased back on the throttle. “What kind of something?”

Christian chewed his thumbnail. “I’m not sure. I thought for a second it was…a person in the water. I don’t know. Maybe…”

Harry’s pulse quickened in an instant. “Where?”

Christian pointed. The surface of the sea was a turbulent mass of dark-grey waves and deep swells. Harry reduced their speed even further, causing the boat to pitch and roll dramatically. Tom went onto the deck and scrabbled around the wheelhouse to the bow for a better view.

When the sea is like this, it can play tricks on the eyes,” Harry said. “Are you sure?”

Christian narrowed his eyes, straining to see. “No. I’m not sure. It’s just—there.” He lurched forward, pointing.

Harry saw it at the exact same time on the upward sweep of a wave, the unmistakable shape of someone’s head and shoulders. The waves crashed, and they vanished from sight in the next second. He altered course.

If there was someone in the water this far out, they were already in big trouble.

Buy Links

Book 3 in the Jagged Shores series -

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First For Romance:

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About the Author

Thom Collins -

Thom Collins is the author of Closer by Morning, with Pride Publishing. His love of page turning thrillers began at an early age when his mother caught him reading the latest Jackie Collins book and promptly confiscated it, sparking a life-long love of raunchy novels.

Thom has lived in the North East of England his whole life. He grew up in Northumberland and now lives in County Durham with his husband and two cats. He loves all kinds of genre fiction, especially bonkbusters, thrillers, romance and horror. He is also a cookery book addict with far too many titles cluttering his shelves. When not writing he can be found in the kitchen trying out new recipes. He’s a keen traveler but with a fear of flying that gets worse with age, but since taking his first cruise in 2013 he realized that sailing is the way to go.

You can take a look at Thom's Blog and follow him on Twitter.

Author Links





Enter for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card! Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

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They want different things – #HolidayRomance #SweetRomance #99Cents @BarbaraWDaille


One Week To Win Her Boss cover

By Barbara White Daille (Guest Blogger)

Lisabet, thanks so much for hosting me at your blog, and for helping me to get the word out about my short-term bargain book!

Happy New Year to you and your readers!


Single mom Amber Barnett loves family, kids, Christmas…and unfortunately, her boss, confirmed bachelor Michael DeFranco. It's a crush she really needs to get over. Except, when she’s temporarily forced from her apartment, her only option is to stay at Michael’s private ski lodge, where she's the housekeeper. No problem. Her handsome boss rarely visits Snowflake Valley unexpectedly, plus he’s spending the holidays with his family. Or so she thinks…

A stormy Christmas Eve reunion leaves Michael seeking the solitude of his lodge, where he finds Amber in residence—and in trouble. Attempting to save her from her matchmaking family, he announces they’re a couple. His good deed backfires when they’re instantly included in each and every holiday event in town. So much for solitude.

Only the more time he spends with the beautiful, cheery brunette, the more he yearns to make things real between them. But he and Amber want different things, and Michael could never be the family man she's looking for.

Find the book – only 99 cents through January 4th!


Michael crossed the room to her, and the laugh caught in Amber’s throat.

Some of you aren’t bad at all,” he said.

I’ll take that as a compliment.”

You should.” He reached for her hand. She hadn’t realized nerves had left her toying with the zipper tab of her knitted jacket. Warmth from his fingers heated hers. “Want some help taking off your sweater?” She’d heard that same teasing tone this morning when she’d wondered if he meant to flirt with her.

No wondering now. And her imagination wasn’t working overtime. The curve of his lips and the gleam in his eyes told her he was going for the full flirt. And more. Slowly, he unzipped her jacket. With every inch the tab lowered, the higher her excitement climbed.

Words like boss and employee, paycheck, and independence, filled her mind. She brushed them away like snowflakes, leaving room for words like anticipation and possibilities and together.

Michael tugged at the final inch of the zipper. A shiver ran down her spine.

Once he’d helped her slip out of the jacket, he tossed it onto the couch. He moved a half step toward her, close enough for her to feel the heat from his body. His lips curved another few degrees.

Beautiful,” he murmured. His gaze held hers for a long, silent moment, then drifted to her mouth. She could read his thoughts. They echoed hers.

The sparks inside her burst into fireworks, consuming every caution she could give herself, every warning she wanted to obey. For months, she had imagined what it would be like to have Michael kiss her.

She held her breath, watching…wanting…even willing to make the next move.

The warmth of his lips on hers, oh so briefly, sent a rush of pure pleasure through her. With one finger, he traced a strand of hair brushing her cheek. “As late as it is, I wasn’t sure you’d want to come all the way back up here to stay the night.”

Of course,” she said softly. “I told you, I don’t have anywhere else to go. Or anywhere else I’d rather be.” She wanted to wrap her arms around Michael, to have him wrap his arms around her and hold her forever. But for now, she’d take another kiss. Smiling in anticipation, she stared up at him.

He lowered his hand and stepped back.

I’m sorry,” he said.

About Barbara

Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom. Barbara also loves writing, reading, and chocolate. You can find her books, blog, and newsletter signup here:

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Join us for Charity Saturday, 31 December 2022! #CharitySundaySignup #Altruism #Marketing

Holiday lights

Image by bluartpapelaria from Pixabay

Since 2017, I’ve been devoting the last Sunday in each month to a post which features some worthy cause.

However, the last Sunday of December was Christmas Day. I figured that our charity blog hop would not get much traffic on the holiday, so for this month only, we’re having Charity Saturday – on New Year’s Eve, 31 December 2022.

Charity Sunday (or Saturday!) is a meme designed to give authors and bloggers a chance to give back to the world—as well as, hopefully, to attract new readers.

How does it work? Each participant selects a favorite charity. Before
the date, you should prepare a blog post that: 1) talks about the charity and why you support it; 2) provides a link to the charity; 3) includes an excerpt from one of your books; 4) includes the code to show links to other participating blogs.

It’s fun if you can make the excerpt relate somehow to your chosen charity, but this isn’t required.

For every comment left on your post, you commit to giving some amount to the relevant charity. The specific charity and the amount to donate are up to you. You can set an upper limit to your donation if you want.

If you’d like to participate in the next Charity Sunday
on December 31st, just sign up using the Linky List below. Please be sure that the link you enter will lead directly to your Charity Sunday post, not just to the home page of your blog.

For more detailed instructions, go here:

You can get my
2022 Charity Sunday banner from here. (I’ll have a new banner for 2023 in January!)

For an example
post, check out this link from my last Charity Sunday:

Review Tuesday: Knight Errant by Rue Allyn – #HistoricalRomance #MedievalRomance #ReviewTuesday

Knight Errant Cover

Knight Errant by Rue Allyn

Prowl Books, 2015

The year is 1294. Lady Juliana Verault is a noblewoman, cousin to the King of England, but she has fled her privileged existence to join a community of lay religious women called Beguines, headquartered in Belgium. Intelligent, courageous, compassionate and stubborn, she wants to follow her faith, heal the sick and remain single. Her personal history has taught her that men are vicious beasts and that women who wed them are little better than slaves.

Sir Robert Clarwyn has been sent by King Edward to retrieve the Lady Juliana and bring her back to England, where she’s to be the pawn in a political marriage. He catches up with her in Italy, but finds his mission far more difficult than he’d expected. Not only is Juliana unwilling to accompany him, but she and her sister Beguines have attracted the attention of a cruel but influential priest who views the lay sisters as heretics, and delights in torturing them. Sir Robert must rescue her, then keep her safe during the long journey back to her home country. Meanwhile, he finds himself falling in love with her. He has undertaken the King’s commission in order to free himself from dishonor, but his passion for the forbidden Juliana could easily be viewed as treason.

I really enjoyed this historical romance, especially the background on the Beguines. I wasn’t previously aware of this movement, but it provided a realistic and compelling context for the love story in Knight Errant. Ms. Allyn begins the book with a disclaimer about the characters and historical accuracy, but my researches after I’d finished indicate that the basic situation with the lay religious movements was as she describes. The women wanted to be left alone to live in peace and offer charity. The men in charge of the Church saw them as threats. (Indeed, there are still echoes of this dynamic in modern Catholicism.)

Juliana is a delightful heroine, truly admirable while still having some flaws. She saves a number of lives over the course of the novel, while risking her own. Her efforts to sidestep Sir Robert and stymie his commission are just this side of humorous. Though he has many excellent qualities, he’s no match for her. Ultimately, of course, she succumbs to her attraction for the brave and austere knight. The circumstances of her deflowering are surprising, and I won’t spoil the pleasure by sharing them here, but suffice to say that their coming together only ratchets up the conflict.

In fact, I don’t read that much romance because I often find it overly predictable. Of course I knew that this novel would have a happy ending, but I could not guess exactly how the author was going to resolve what seemed like a near-impossible situation. And when Robert and Juliana finally are together, with the King’s blessing, I felt the satisfaction that keeps romance readers coming back for another HEA.

I bought a copy of Knight Errant after reading in the author’s newsletter that it was on sale for ninety nine cents. Just an indication that author newsletters and special deals do work! I’d never read any of Ms. Allyn’s work before. If Knight Errant is representative of her romances, I’ll definitely be seeking out other titles.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Is she the daughter of a fallen angel? #Paranormal #EroticRomance #UrbanFantasy

Stone and Chains - Out now!

About the Book

The fates of an angel’s daughter, a reformed gargoyle and an unrepentant incubus are bound together in a city where a deadly demon is rising.

Abby Stone, a night-shift nurse with healing powers and a secret demon-hunting habit, has been saving victims of demons and their cults ever since she left home to search for her father—an angel turned to stone and trapped in the mystical hotspot of Meridian.

As Abby starts making an unwelcome name for herself in all the local demon haunts, she crosses paths with earnest ex-demon Zekiel, a gargoyle who fights against evil for his redemption, and charming incubus Charles, who calls her nephil offspring—daughter of an angel who has fallen.

Charles’ attempts to convince her that she’s meant to be a demon confuse and infuriate her, but now that an incubus has set his sights on Abby, there’s no denying how tempting he is—and how dangerous.

In the meantime, with a demon prince’s ascension rattling the city of stone and chains, Abby could stand for things to be a little less interesting.

Reader advisory: This book contains BDSM sessions with beating and humiliation, MM interaction, child endangerment, scenes of bloody violence, and sexual coercion.


Abby closed the book, glancing between her two charges. “I think that’s all for now. I’ll be back on Wednesday for chapter four. That’ll be exciting, won’t it?”

There wasn’t enough tea in the world to get her through reading aloud another two chapters, although she loved the young adult fantasy series and wished she could read it forever. Her charges, about the same age as Abby herself, never complained that they were too old for the reading material.

Abby smiled and patted the two hospital beds on either side of her. Two young women—one of them quite pregnant—reclined supine, their monitors beeping softly in a steady rhythm. Neither of them could tell her if they enjoyed the books, but it wasn’t about the stories so much as the women knowing someone was there to do more than give them sponge baths and prevent bed sores.

The pregnant woman’s baby was getting more human care than the woman herself, out of the belief that Maggie wasn’t really there anymore after the car accident that had put her in the extended care ward. Then there was Kara on Abby’s right, who had simply lost consciousness one day and never awakened, cause unknown.

Coma patients still experienced the world around them, just not in the same way that they did when conscious or even when asleep. Like infants in the womb, the lost sometimes remembered it like the shadow of a dream, but it was still something. They knew the difference between caring and concern versus the cold, clinical indifference and abandonment they often experienced in a hospital environment. Just as most people didn’t like the reminder of mortality from the elderly, they didn’t like the stark blankness of the comatose.

But Abby felt their presence in the way some sensed the passing of a ghost—except she experienced it as warmth on the back of her neck instead of a chill. And that warmth was the reason she came to the hospital several times a week in the middle of the night to read to her two friends, although they’d never formally met.

No handsome doctor was going to wake them up with a kiss. All they could really depend on within the mortal realm was divine intervention and an overworked, underpaid woman who wanted to give them some kind of connection, even though she couldn’t help them any more than that.

Abby was tired, always tired, pulled between day life and the night shift, making money and helping people. There weren’t nearly enough hours in the day for everything she needed to do, so she depended far too often on free coffee refills in twenty-four-hour restaurants. There were other things more important to her than sleep, and it was easier to get out of the house more often when her bedroom—which was actually just the storage closet under the stairs—barely held the bed, and she shared living space with two other girls who didn’t share her hours.

Still, life could be so much worse. She could be trapped in her own head like Kara and Maggie. Abby tried never to forget what she’d been blessed with. She’d been born with so many gifts, gifts she couldn’t keep to herself, even if she tried. Volunteer hours and night shifts meant she didn’t have much of a life, but Abby could live with that if she could give other people the life she didn’t allow herself.

And here in Meridian, she felt like she could finally put down some roots after these last two years of seemingly aimless wandering from city to city.

She felt like she might have finally found what she’d been looking for.

Life could be worse,” Abby whispered into Kara’s ear before kissing her cheek. Kara’s skin was cold from the hospital air, but underneath the surface was the heat of life, and within that life, there was still hope.

She sent that hope to Maggie as well, and to Maggie’s eight-month pregnant belly and the baby within. “Stay safe.”

Abby carried mace and a switchblade in her purse to go to and from her night shift at the Cemetery Grove clinic downtown, but just because Kara and Maggie were in a bright hospital ward and supervised by security cameras didn’t mean that they were safe, even if the only thing they weren’t safe from was their own minds—what dreams and nightmares haunted them, the kind of horrors that machines couldn’t measure.


Buy Links

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First For Romance:

Add to Goodreads:

About the Author

Aurelia T. Evans -

Aurelia T. Evans is an up-and-coming erotica author with a penchant for horror and the supernatural.

She’s the twisted mind behind the werewolf/shifter Sanctuary trilogy, demonic circus series Arcanium, and vampire serial Bloodbound. She’s also had short stories featured in various erotic anthologies.

Aurelia presently lives in Dallas, Texas (although she doesn’t ride horses or wear hats). She loves cats and enjoys baking as much as she dislikes cooking. She’s a walker, not a runner, and she writes outside as often as possible.


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Saturday, December 24, 2022

Last Minute Gift – #GayRomance #BoxedSet #ChristmasEve

Comfort & Joy cover

Season’s greetings!

As you’re all waiting for Santa to arrive, I have some entertainment for you. This is a snippet from “Last Minute Gift”, a gay holiday erotic romance available only in my holiday boxed set Comfort & Joy – free on Kindle Unlimited.

The collection includes most of my holiday shorts, as well as a few pieces not available anywhere else.

If you want a copy, you can pick one up here:

Either way, hope you enjoy meeting Scott and Flynn!


I need a butt plug.”

Scott nearly fell off his stool behind the counter. No one had come into Up Close and Personal since he'd arrived, nearly three hours ago. He'd been lost in his book, roaming La Mancha with Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. The warm tenor voice burrowed into his consciousness, pulling him abruptly back to the present.

He looked up from the page, stifling his annoyance. Guess Harry had been right, keeping the store open on Christmas Eve. Anyway, it wasn't as if he had anything better to do.

His gaze met deep, chocolate-hued eyes framed by trendy square glasses. Mouth watering, definitely, especially when complemented by fashionably ragged black hair, alabaster skin, model's cheekbones, and ripe lips nestled beneath a pencil mustache. The guy looked like an art student, though the broad shoulders and trim waist revealed by his navy turtleneck sweater suggested he didn't spend all his time in the studio.

Um – ah – sorry. Can I help you?”

A butt plug. You carry them, right?” Scott's handsome customer gave him a weak smile. He shifted from one foot to the other, clasping and unclasping his elegant hands. Scott noticed smears of purple and orange on the back of one wrist and felt ridiculously pleased at his correct guess.

Ah – yeah, of course. Over there.” He indicated a display to his right. The painter strode over to the glass case, giving Scott the chance to admire his lithe movements and the muscular butt that moved under his tight jeans. La Mancha was totally forgotten.

Gee – there's a lot of them.” The poor guy sounded lost. “I really don't know which one...” He trailed off, clearly overwhelmed by the variety that confronted him.

Scott slipped out from behind the register, glad he'd worn the jeans without any rips. “Well – probably the first consideration is size. How full do you like to feel?”

A flush of pink climbed into the artist's cheeks. “I – um – I don't know really – I've never tried....” He flashed an apologetic grin. “Sorry. I'm a bit new at this.”

Never mind. That's what I'm here for.” Scott resisted the urge to pat the other man's shoulder in sympathy. He knew that touching the guy would not help his concentration. It was bad enough that he could smell him – a combination of pot, sweat, and linseed oil. “If it's your first time, you probably want something on the smaller side. How about this one?”

Sliding the glass door, he reached inside to pull out modest plug of smooth, black silicone, about four inches long and an inch in diameter at its widest point. He held it out. His customer's eyes widened behind his glasses, but he seemed reluctant to touch the toy. Scott laid it on top of the case and picked up another plug, neon green glass, about the same size but with ridges and a curved tip.

This one's really great for stimulating the prostate. And this model,” he added, reaching for a rocket-shaped red plastic model with loop at the base, “has a compartment where you can insert a vibrating egg. Adds a lot to the experience.”

Oh God, I don't know.” It was snowing outside on St. Mark's Place, but sweat beaded the young man's forehead. He wiped his face with his sleeve. His blush had deepened. “Can I sit down for a minute?”

Sure.” Scott led him to the hassocks near the erotic books section. “Want something to drink? I've got a couple of Heineken's in the fridge out back.”

That would be fantastic. Thanks!”

My pleasure.” As Scott went to retrieve the beers, he wondered whether that might be prophetic. He certainly hoped so.

He returned to find his visitor turning the black plug over and over in his hands. The guy looked confused and vulnerable – but incredibly attractive. Scott wondered whether his customer might like a live demonstration.

Here you go.” He handed the painter a green bottle then took a swig from his own. “Be back in a sec.” Without waiting for an acknowledgment, Scott traversed the short distance to the shop door, locking in and flipping the sign to “Closed”. He definitely did not want this sale to be interrupted.

 Merry Christmas!