One Day More!

Releasing tomorrow from JMS Books!

One in Vermilion

Wyatt Janson needed a change of scenery in the worst way, so he packed up his dog and moved to a small tourist town. When he spots a man in a vermilion beanie, he’s intrigued. Why would someone would wear such a hat in the middle of summer? Their paths keep crossing, and Wyatt soon learns that Truitt Rackley owns a dog grooming and training service. It’s the perfect opportunity for Wyatt to meet Tru.

What begins as friendship quickly blossoms into more. But Tru’s happy demeanor hides a sad past. The hat he wears is only one part of it. Tru needs Wyatt’s support as he deals with the fallout, and Wyatt is glad to be able to provide it. Now that he’s found Tru, he knows he’ll do whatever he must to keep him. Can two broken men find the happily ever after they’ve been searching for?

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Flash Fic Friday

**The ever delicious prompt for today: irritation. Enjoy!**

Cole took one look at his desk, dropped his bag to the floor, and cursed. Well, silently cursed, as he was in the office and the sorts of words he wanted to say would definitely get him in trouble. For the third day in a row, his pen holder was on the wrong side of his desk. The mouse pad was turned the wrong way. The phone was moved, the chair was lowered, his monitor was off center,  and his stapler and tape dispenser were set askew.

He grumbled, trying to keep it quiet. Three days these childish pranks had been been going on. Now he had to spend time–time he should be working–straightening his desk just so he could work. He knew if he made a big deal about it, then the jerk or jerks would had done this would feel as if they succeeded. Cole didn’t want to give them the satisfaction of knowing they got to him,. But frankly, it was more than a little irritating.

Once his desk was set to rights, he logged in and began working. It was only an hour, when the columns of numbers were starting to swim before his eyes, that he realized he hadn’t gotten his usual coffee from the break room. Too distracted by finding his desk messed with, he’d forgotten to make a cup. That rankled even more. Whoever had done this was messing with his entire day now. Aggravated, he grabbed his favorite mug and went to get his much needed caffeine.

“You okay?”

Cole jerked his head around to see Mason loitering by the coffee pot. Cole tried not to scowl. Mason always seemed to be well put together. More than that, he had a relaxed and jovial attitude that Cole found irksome. Everyone in the office adored Mason. Cole couldn’t say that he disliked the man, but he didn’t find him as charming as everyone else seemed to.

“Yes. I’m fine,” Cole snapped.

“You sure?” Mason gave a slow blink, and then a small smile. “You seem kind of…irritated.”

“I’m sure.” Cole would not admit that he was beyond irritated. Instead, he poured himself a mug of coffee and all but stomped from the break room.

With sufficient caffeine flowing in his system, Cole was able to focus. Before too long, he was so absorbed in his work he’d all but forgotten about his the state of his desk when he’d arrived. At twelve-thirty precisely, he clocked out for lunch and headed down to the cafeteria to eat his turkey sandwich on whole wheat. Then he headed back upstairs.

To find a purplish colored smoothie sitting on his desk, conscientiously placed on a napkin so the condensation from the plastic glass didn’t mar his desk top. Cole glanced around, but no one was paying him any attention. he sat at his desk, and noticed the note propped up against the side of his cup.

It’s blueberry-strawberry-banana. Supposed to be good for energy. 

I’m sorry.

Odd, but Cole took a cautious sip anyway. It was delicious. And Cole had to admit, a few hours later, he didn’t hit the late afternoon slump he usually did.

Six o’clock rolled around faster than normal. Cole was surprised when he heard his coworkers calling out their goodbyes. He started shutting down his computer and packing up, already dreading what state his desk would be in when he arrived in the morning. Perhaps he should put everything away in the drawers and lock them?

“I’m sorry I messed with your stuff.”

Cole spun around to see Mason standing in his cubicle entrance, a look of sincere remorse on his pretty face. Cole shook his head, then narrowed his eyes.

“You did it?”

Mason nodded and dropped his gaze. He took a deep breath and looked back up. “I was trying to get your attention.”

“That seems…rather childish, yes?” The words were out of Cole’s mouth and he racked his brain for a way to diminish the accusation, but Mason was already nodding.

“Yes. Definitely. But every time I try to talk to you, you blow me off. I was getting desperate.” Mason offered him a hint of a grin. “I’m sorry though. I didn’t think about how it would piss you off. That really wasn’t nice of me.”

“No,” Cole agreed. He sighed, and shouldered his bag. “But if you wanted my attention, you could have just said ‘Hey, Cole, want to meet me for a drink sometime?’ That would have worked rather well.”

Mason bit his lip, and his smile grew. He pushed an errant lock of hair out of his eyes. “Hey, Cole. Want to meet me for a drink sometime?”

Cole had always found Mason attractive, but Cole never thought Mason would be interested in a somewhat staid introvert like himself. Clearly, he’d been wrong. And what was the harm in a drink? If it didn’t work out, they could part ways.

“Does Friday work for you?”

Mason’s wide grin was all the answer Cole needed.

In a Bind

Okay, so I got laid off. And it was kind of traumatic. And after I moped about that for a while, I decided to take as the gift it was and write. Write my little fingers off. I have deadlines. I could get done well before the deadlines. I could make progress! It will be good.

And then I ran into trouble.

At the same time I was looking at the word count in the WIP I was working on, and knowing damn well I didn’t have enough story left to make the minimum, I got edits back on Hearts and Hazelnuts. And in those edits, my editor asked me to look at two specific things and resolve them better. And I was like, wha? Why?

So I turned to my Brubby.

I sat down with him and basically said, “I’ve got a problem. I’ve got TWO problems! And I need help.”

So we discussed the WIP first, and he suggested that I needed to add more of the secondary story line. From what I told him, that was basically the only way I was going to beef up the word count. He talked through some suggestions with me, some ideas that would add to that story line but still be relevant to the greater narrative. But nothing he said really gelled in my head. It didn’t really work. But I knew what he was getting at. I just had to think on it.

So we turned to the second issue, the edits and the resolution that I needed to revise. I whined a little at first, but he wisely and patiently pointed out the reasoning in language I would get. And that made me laugh. There, when he suggested things, I was like “Oh oh oh! What about THIS?!” And he said yes, that works, and here’s how you do it. He talked out my resolution with me, and I knew clearly what I was going to do.

On my way back to my computer later that evening, the thought struck and stuck, and I knew with absolutely clarity what to add to the WIP that would increased the length and also be a vital part of the story. So I threw it at him real quick, just so he could tell me it was the right idea (even though I already knew it was). And then I wrote. I wrote lots of words. And in two days, I finished Lost Souls Found, the sequel to my contracted Dreamspun Beyond title. It stands alone, in that the story is not dependent on the first to make sense. It’s a brand new couple, though we see them in the first. And it’s done, all but the final finessing and tweaking to make it as shiny as possible before I send it in.

And now I need to start on the third book. Which has one MC we’ve seen before and one who is brand new.

(I totally want to write a fourth as well, but I’m putting that on the back burner for a while. Maybe one day.)

So, all in all, I think I’m using the lack of EDJ as a good thing. At least for the moment. 🙂

Coming Soon!

I do love to share these things!

Coming on July 22, 2017 from JMS Books!

Wyatt Janson needed a change of scenery in the worst way, so he packed up his dog and moved to a small tourist town. When he spots a man in a vermilion beanie, he’s intrigued. Why would someone would wear such a hat in the middle of summer? Their paths keep crossing, and Wyatt soon learns that Truitt Rackley owns a dog grooming and training service. It’s the perfect opportunity for Wyatt to meet Tru.

What begins as friendship quickly blossoms into more. But Tru’s happy demeanor hides a sad past. The hat he wears is only one part of it. Tru needs Wyatt’s support as he deals with the fallout, and Wyatt is glad to be able to provide it. Now that he’s found Tru, he knows he’ll do whatever he must to keep him. Can two broken men find the happily ever after they’ve been searching for?

 

 

Pre order at your favorite etailer:

JMS Books

Amazon

BN

Kobo

iBooks 

 

Flash Fic Friday

**Today’s prompt: pulled over for speeding by a cop who was once his boyfriend, but cheated on him ten years before. Enjoy!**

I saw the flashing lights in my rear view mirror, so I immediately slowed down and pulled to the side so the cop car could zoom by me in pursuit of whoever they were after. I was so focused on that, it took me a moment to realize the car was not passing me by, but instead, pulling in behind me. The lights still going, the officer in his dark blue uniform pushed open his door and stepped out.

Fuck.

I put down the window, and then sat stock still, both hands on the steering wheel, gaze fixed straight ahead. When the cop came close, he bent down to peer inside my car, and didn’t say anything for a long moment.

“License and registration.”

I took a deep breath, then slowly lifted my hands off the wheel. “I’m going to reach into the glove box for the registration, then into my back pocket for my license.”

“It seems I taught you well.”

My gaze snapped to the officer, whose eyes were hidden behind mirrored sunglasses. There was something in his voice, the way he held himself, that gave me pause. I studied what I could see of his face, then moved my attention to his chest. The name tag said it all. Reyes.

“Angel.” I said, my voice cold. I knew he couldn’t mistake the tone, and the tiny jolt that went through his body let me know he had heard it. And that he knew exactly why I’d used it.

“License and registration, please, Cooper.”

I did as he asked, purposefully keeping my gaze averted. Officer Reyes took them and sauntered back to his car. I watched his ass in my side mirror. It was still the most perfect ass I’d ever seen. Even if I hadn’t laid eyes, or hands, on it in ten years. But back then, I hadn’t been the only one touching him, which is why I’d walked away without a backward glance. If he’d been honest about the others, that would have been one thing. But he’d told me he was all for monogamy, that he wanted that with me, and then screwed around on the side.

The ass.

I was still stewing, all that hurt and anger from so long ago making a resurgence even though I’d been sure I put it behind me, when he handed back my license, registration, and a ticket.

“Really?” I squinted at him.

He shrugged one shoulder. “You were going fifty in a thirty, Cooper. I can’t just let that go.”

“Fine.” I tucked the registration back into the glove box, and tossed the ticket and license with my wallet on the passenger seat. “Am I free to go, officer?”

Angel opened his mouth, shut it, shook his head, and then nodded. “Yeah. Be careful.”

“Absolutely, sir.”

I pulled away and made sure I drove exactly the speed limit all the way home.

****

I called my brother about the ticket, because he was a lawyer and I wanted him to handle it. Or, at least get it reduced. I was pretty sure twenty miles over the speed limit would carry a hefty fine. After that was done, I settled in front of the couch with a local micro brew, and flicked on the TV.

The knock on the door was unexpected, and I took my beer with me to answer it. Maybe it was girl scouts. Was it cookie season? I pulled open the door with a smile on my face. Which promptly fell off when I saw who was standing there.

“What are you doing here?” I hissed at Angel.

He’d grown up, that was for sure. Ten years ago, he’d been twenty-two to my twenty-four, fresh out of the academy, and arrogant as hell. I’d adored him. Until I found out about the cheating, that was. But in the intervening years he  packed on more than twenty pounds of muscle, I could swear he was at least two inches taller,  and filled out. His face was older too, with tiny creases around his mouth and eyes, but in the good way. The way that made him look distinguished and worldly. He looked amazing, actually. But I would not dwell on that.

“I got your address from your license.” His grin was unapologetic.

“Isn’t that illegal? I’m pretty sure that’s illegal.” I squinted at him. “Lachlan is a lawyer now. I can call him with a push of a button.”

Angel’s smile didn’t falter. “I just need a minute of your time.”

I crossed my arms and leaned against the doorjamb. No way I was letting him into my house. He stared me down, or tried to, but when I wouldn’t budge, he sighed.

“I was a stupid, arrogant fool. Back then. I want to apologize for the way I treated you. For the the things I did and the way I lied.” His smile turned rueful. “You leaving, disappearing, was a wake up call for me. It took me a little while, but I’m not the asshole I was back then. At least not about relationships. So I wanted to apologize. And say thank you.”

The sincerity poured off him in waves, and it was clear to see he meant it. Whether he’d actually changed or not, I couldn’t say. But it was big of him to apologize, and that was something the Angel of ten years ago never would have done. He was making the gesture, and the least I could do was accept the overture for what it was.

I held up the bottle in my hand. “Want to come in for a beer?”

He went still, and his smile slipped a tiny fraction. I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t been staring so intently.

“Won’t your boyfriend…or partner or husband…mind?”

I sighed and turned, leaving the door open. “I don’t have one of those.”

I heard the door shut behind me, then Angel’s footsteps as he followed me into the kitchen.

“Excellent,” he murmured.

I handed him a beer, then gestured to the couch. “Just sit. Drink your beer. Tell me what’s been going on with you.”

His grin was radiant. “I’d be happy to.”

Now on Payhip

Hey everybody! I’m working hard on getting things finished and submitted, waiting to hear on a Christmas story, and basically using my forced vacation to get a lot of stuff done!

(side note: I got laid off a couple of weeks ago, out of the blue and with no warning. I moped for about a week, needed to, because it was a raw deal. But then I jumped into writing full force and that’s gonna be my focus until I get a new EDJ)

So the Something books are now up on Payhip! If you’ve been looking for a chance to pick these books up, now’s your chance. I’ve included the buy links for your convenience.

Something Like Hope

Something Like Trust

Something Like Peace

Something Like Want

Flash Fic Friday

**I do love the flash fics, and this week’s prompt is a fun one. A love confession. Enjoy!**

This was it. The final moment. Everything the last few weeks had been leading up to. Hell, the last few years. When I agreed to take this job, got this crazy harebrained idea, I knew it was make or break. I’d drawn it out as long as I possibly could, and since Seth was my best friend, and he knew I was working this job in between all the others, he hadn’t minded that it had taken so long. The fact that I was only charging him cost for the supplies helped too.

When Seth bought this house, the backyard had been a hot mess of weeds, gravel, and just a bit of grass. I’d transformed it into an outdoor oasis. Sod now took up the better part of the area and a brick patio with a fire pit led into the space from the back door. But the shining focal point was the koi pond, slightly off center, with it’s bubbling fountain and the creeping phlox, sedge grass, day lilies, and verbena surrounding it. I’d spent the most time on the pond, digging it by hand and getting it just right.

The pond had been my idea. The design had been mine. And it was the reason I was so nervous.

“Holy shit, Clay! This looks fantastic!”

Seth’s voice, the delighted praise in it, warmed my insides but my heart was pounding too. Because he was home earlier than I anticipated, and I wasn’t ready. I’d just finish putting down the last of the mulch, and though I’d cleaned up the yard, I was still covered in dirt and bits of bark.

I almost chickened out. I’d had the whole things planned, exactly how I was going to reveal it, but Seth had blown that out of the water. I could just pretend there wasn’t anything important. Take his praise and his check, and then have a beer on the patio with him. I was sure that’s what he expected to happen.

But he looked so good in his suit, and his eyes sparkled as he took everything in. And I…I needed to man up and do the thing. It was now or never.

“You should see it from above.” My voice shook a little, but that couldn’t be help. “Go upstairs and look down at it from your bedroom window.”

Seth eyed me, but he was excited at the prospect, I could tell. He laughed, and then jogged into the house. I could practically picture him as he climbed the stairs, and with every imaginary step, my heart crawled further up my throat until I could barely breathe. I almost ran, but before I could get my feet to move, his face appeared at the window.

He was grinning as he surveyed his land. And then his eyes went wide. The smile fell off his face. And then he was gone.

Fuck. Fucking fuck. I’d messed everything up.

I had to go, now. Before he got back. But just as I moved, he ran out onto the patio, his eyes still wide, all the color drained from his face.

“It’s a heart.”

“Uh, yes.” Christ, was that my voice? I cleared my throat.

“Clay, the pond is a heart. And all the flowers make it look…it’s a heart.” Seth shifted his gaze to the pond as if he could discern it’s shape on the ground, and then slid back to me. “Something you want to tell me?”

No way I could play it off as just a fun shape, because he knew. I could tell he knew. I took a deep breath. Cleared my throat again. Breathed again.

This was it.

“I love you.”

Seth went utterly and complete stock still. I wanted to laugh it off, pretend it wasn’t real. But I’d been in love with my best friend for years, and it was time I admitted the truth. If that ended things between us, then it did. But I couldn’t go on this way.

“I love you,” I said again, surer this time, voice strong. “And I wanted you to know.”

“Jesus Christ. Clay.”

Double fuck.

And then Seth threw himself at me, and I had no choice but to catch him, dirt stained hands and all.

“I’m gonna get you dirty,” I muttered because he wasn’t saying anything. Just clutching my shoulders, his breathing ragged, jagged little puffs against my skin.

“I thought it was just me.” His voice was breathy, and a little shaky. Was he crying? I tried to pull back to see, but he just clung harder.

“No, baby,” I soothed, no longer caring about the suit. I’d buy him a new one if I had too. How long had I imagined him being in my arms? How long had he been my baby, but I couldn’t say it out loud? Seemed like forever.

“I love you too,” he whispered, then pressed his lips to my neck. Finally, he pulled back, and I saw the happy all over his face. “And that is the single most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me.”

“Just wait till your birthday. Baby, I got plans!”

He laughed, and kissed me, and I fell into it, tasting his mouth and loving the flavor. He was everything I wanted, and now I had him.

Guess my harebrained scheme wasn’t so crazy after all.