Review: Alpha's Redemption (The Alpha/Omega Verse #3) by D.C. Juris

Tondreau has spent the last four years helping raise Cadajen's terminally ill daughter, Linea. Though not mates, they've carved out a happy life with each other. It all comes crashing down when Linea's health takes a turn for the worst. Together, they must face the hardest decision of their lives. Will it tear them apart? And can Tondreau put aside his fears and be the Alpha Cadajen needs him to be?

Holy shit that book hurt like a mother fucker! It was also ridiculously sweet and heartwarming, but my God I looked ridiculous while reading it!

First off this can’t really be read as a stand alone. You might be able to make your way through it, but it will be a bit confusing. This couple are completely different characters than from previous books, but the alien species aren’t described as full in this book and you will be a little lost with some of the terms.

This book deals with one very heavy issue and I will be giving away spoilers in this review, so if you don’t want to know what happens step away!

So let's start with Cadajen, who is an Alien (they’re humanoid but very very alien, as in blue glowing skin and hairless) and an omega. He has a terminally ill 4 year old daughter, Linea, who is at the last stages of her life. Tondreau, (another very Alien humanoid of a different species, he has scales) is an Alpha and friend of Cadajen, he’s been with Cadajen since the birth of his daughter and has helped raise and care for her.

For reasons I won't reveal in this review Tondreau feels he is unable to mate with Cadajen, so they’ve been tiptoeing around the fact they act as mates and are madly in love, but are not in fact mated. Their HEA is perfection and well deserved!

Ok onto the heavy stuff, Cadajen and Tondreau have to go through the process of euthanizing Linea when her condition worsens…. yes, now you see why I was an ugly mess!!! This is beautifully written, which was terrible in this instance because it made every feeling and every ounce of pain seem more real.

They both looked down at Linea when the healer had finished. “We love you, baby girl,” Cadajen murmured. “We love you so much. It’s not because we don’t want you anymore. We just don’t want you to hurt.”
Tondreau squeezed his leg. “She knows.”

Ahhh just reading those quotes has me teared up again.

Everyone knows I’m not a fan of ‘the sad’ or ‘the angst’ in my books, but this gets such a high rating because it is more than that. Cadajen and Tondreau do get their own beautiful HEA and there is just so much love in this book, even the sad moments were only sad because of the love.

Definitely recommend, but only with tissues and if you can handle the heavy content.

A copy provided for an honest review.

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Blog Tour: His Needs by Kris T. Bethke

Kris T. Bethke is here today to talk about her new holiday novella!


Hi! I’m Kris Bethke, and I’ve popped in to give you a little taste of my latest release, His Needs. I love a good holiday romance, and throw in some friends to lovers, and I’m a happy camper. I know I’m not the only one. So it was at the forefront of my mind when I wrote this happy, sexy, holiday novella. Here’s an exclusive excerpt, and if it sounds like your thing, I hope you’ll pick up a copy.

Happy Holidays!


“Noah, come on. We’ve been friends for twenty-five years and you’ve never even looked at me.”
“Because I didn’t think I could!”
What?” That was… not what I was expecting at all. It didn’t even make sense.
Noah’s smile was sweet, and he closed the distance between us. Instead of sitting on the coffee table like he’d been doing for the last two weeks, he sat next to me. Close, so that we were touching, but angled so we could see each other without craning our necks.
“You’re the reason I knew I liked boys when I was seven,” he said simply, his voice soft and full of affection. “But you were Joe’s best friend, my older brother for all intents and purposes, and I knew I didn’t have even a glimmer of a chance.” He paused and then his smile turned rueful. “Well, I didn’t know then. But by the time I was thirteen, I figured shit out and what cocks were really for, and what I wanted to do with them. It was then that I shoved all thoughts of you firmly into the friend box, and I never looked back. I couldn’t allow myself to.”
The timing of it was funny considering that was about the time I fell in love with him. I shook my head. I couldn’t dwell on that, and I had to be the strong one here. He was confused, I knew that. And I had to help him. “Noah, you don’t really want me, and that’s okay. I’ve been dealing with this a long time and I promise—”
His laugh cut me off. His eyes were brimming with affection as he leaned into the back of the couch and studied me. “Travis, why are you fighting this so hard?”
I was so taken off guard by this whole exchange I didn’t even censor myself. “Because I’ve wanted you for so long and I can’t really believe that you’d flip to wanting me so fast.”
Noah tucked one leg underneath him, seemingly settling in.
“I can see how you might think it’s fast, but if you look at it from my perspective, it’s really not,” he said patiently. He reached out and took my hand, twining our fingers together. I forced myself not to focus on how right his hand felt in mine. “It’s the thing I never allowed myself to acknowledge, not consciously. But it’s always been there. You’ve always been there.”
I heard his words, knew he was speaking the truth. I had his strong, capable hand in mine, felt his warm skin and his pulse at the wrist beating against mine. My senses told me this was real, that it was actually happening. But there was a part of me that knew I must be dreaming. Or better yet, that I’d been hurt much worse and was really in a coma, hopped-up on hallucinogenic pain meds. There was no way I could believe it, despite the fact that I knew it was true. My brain couldn’t process this.
Noah lifted my hand, and his lips were warm and soft as he brushed them against my knuckles. I swallowed hard and stared, entranced, as he kept my hand pressed to his lips and looked up at me through his lashes.


When State Trooper Travis Kinslow is injured right before Thanksgiving, the only positive is that for once he won’t be working during the holidays. Since he has no family, Travis was absorbed into his best friend, Joe’s, and he considers them as good as his own. Everyone except Joe’s brother Noah. Travis has been in love with the younger man for much of his life, but he’s always kept his distance.

As an ER nurse, Noah is a caretaker by nature. When his brother’s best friend is hurt, he’s happy to help Travis while he heals. He’s only ever allowed himself to think of Travis as the next best thing to an older brother, but by the light of the Christmas tree, Noah finally sees Travis’s true feelings. And in that moment, everything changes.

When faced with opposition and a Christmas nothing like they imagined, will their hopes for the future be enough to carry them through?

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Author Bio:

Kris T. Bethke has been a voracious reader for pretty much her entire life and has been writing stories for nearly as long.  An avid and prolific daydreamer, she always has a story in her head.  She spends most of her free time reading, writing, or knitting/crocheting her latest project.  Her biggest desire is to find a way to accomplish all three tasks at one time.  A classic muscle car will always turn her head, and naps on the weekend are one of her greatest guilty pleasures.  She lives in a converted attic with a way too fluffy cat and the voices in her head.  She’ll tell you she thinks that’s a pretty good deal. Kris believes that love is love, no matter the gender of people involved, and that all love deserves to be celebrated.

Find her on her site or on Twitter

Review: Summer Lessons (Winter Ball #2) by Amy Lane

Mason Hayes’s love life has a long history of losers who don’t see that Mason’s heart is as deep and tender as his mouth is awkward. He wants kindness, he wants love—and he wants someone who thinks sex is as fantastic as he does. When Terry Jefferson first asks him out, Mason thinks it’s a fluke: Mason is too old, too boring, and too blurty to interest someone as young and hot as his friend’s soccer teammate.

The truth is much more painful: Mason and Terry are perfectly compatible, and they totally get each other, but Terry is still living with his toxic, suffocating parent and Mason doesn’t want to be a sugar daddy. Watching Terry struggle to find himself is a long lesson in patience, but Mason needs to trust that the end result will be worth it, because finally, he’s found a man worth sharing his heart with.

Mason Hayes’ tendency to blurt things out without thinking has made relationships difficult. All Mason wants is someone to laugh with, to care for, and someone who enjoys sex as much as he does. When he first meets Terry Jefferson, Mason is skeptical. Terry is much younger, and still in the closet. But the attraction between them is undeniable.

It doesn’t take long for Mason to begin falling for Terry. But Terry doesn’t want a relationship, even if Mason is the best man he’s ever met. Things are made even more complicated by Terry’s sense of duty towards his hateful and controlling mother. The two can’t be happy until Terry learns that it’s okay to love another man, and that being family doesn’t give anyone the right to stomp all over his life.

I liked Mason in Winter Ball. His foot-in-mouth disease made for hilarious moments. Mason’s funny gaffes continue in ‘Summer Lessons’, and I liked getting to know more about him. He’s a genuinely nice person, so it didn’t take any effort at all to root for him.

Terry takes a bit more getting used to. He’s unsure of himself, and his place in the world. Some of that comes down to age, but it’s more so due to the affects of his emotionally-abusive mother. Even though I could sympathize with him, there were points when I wasn’t too fond of him.

Terry plays hot-and-cold with Mason for most of the book. It hurts both himself and Mason, and it got old pretty fast.

But even so, I wanted the relationship to work out. They were just so sweet together, and clearly made each other much happier people. I liked their early dates, which involved them trying to teach each other their favourite sports. It doesn’t go so well, but it gave the two an excuse to be together more often.


Plus, the two were killer in the bedroom. Mason loves to let go in the bedroom, something that his previous lovers haven’t always appreciated. Terry has no issue with that at all, giving as good as he gets. The two definitely didn’t lack in the sexual chemistry department.

Family plays a big role in this book. Mason’s housemate is his younger bipolar brother, Dane. Working with Dane to keep his medications and environment stable is exhausting, but Mason would do anything for Dane. The bond between the brothers was really something special.

Terry’s mother is the biggest stumbling block in his life. She’s held him back from moving on, and from accepting himself. I could understand Terry’s struggle, but I honestly wouldn’t have minded if he’d left the nasty woman behind without a second thought. I really liked seeing how being with Mason gave Terry the confidence in himself that he needed to finally break free.

I wasn’t a big fan of the drama at the end of the book. I think it’s an overused plot device in MM, especially when there’s an age gap between the MCs. It felt too contrived and unnecessary, and left me a tad annoyed.

Even so, I was happy with the way things ended. The epilogue reassured me that Mason and Terry definitely have what it takes to make it in the long-run.

Overall, I enjoyed ‘Summer Lessons’. It’s not one of Amy Lane’s killer angst-fests, but there’s a good dose of angst, with some hot sex and a sweet HEA. Recommended if you’re looking for a contemporary MM romance with some feels!

Find on Dreamspinner Press or  Goodreads

Review: 'Tis the Season by Alex Jane

Aaron has spent the past ten months alone. When he meets a sad, yet strangely familiar man on a cold Halloween night, he impulsively invites him home. But the intimate connection they share lasts only until morning. Aaron wakes up alone—wracked with guilt and devastated to have lost his chance.

Or so he thinks.

Thanksgiving brings Aaron another shot at happiness, but letting go of an old love and accepting a new one isn’t as easy as everyone keeps telling him. And by the time Christmas Eve rolls around, it becomes clear that Aaron’s not the only one struggling to let himself love again.

Christmas miracles are all well and good, but it’s going to take more than the Holiday Spirit for Aaron to get his happy ever after.

A story of grief, sadness, and letting it go; and finding love when you least expect it. 

'Tis the Season is a heartwarming holiday story about letting go of grief and moving forward.

Aaron and Dylan meet on Halloween when Aaron found Dylan standing alone on a bridge. They spent Halloween night together, only to part ways in the morning. They had another chance meeting at Thanksgiving and, since it's obvious Aaron is planning on spending the day alone, Dylan invited him to dinner with his family.

I loved the Thanksgiving dinner. Dylan's family was open and loving. Even though the story was told form Aaron's POV, there were some good revelations about Dylan through this dinner with his family. I think it really added depth to Dylan's character.

Then the story moved forward to Christmas. Through this time the guys were trying to figure out who they were together. They've both experienced heartbreak and aren't sure if they're ready for more. For being such a short romance, there was a lot of depth to these characters. I really felt for Aaron and his personal grief. I loved Dylan. He's such a great guy and so understanding. He wasn't ever pushy and let Aaron do what he needed to do in order to move on.

Because there was some depth, I wish the story was longer. I wanted just a little more from these characters. I felt like there was just enough to get me to love them, but not enough to feel completely satisfied. 

At less than 100 pages, 'Tis the Season is highly recommended for a quick read that's loving and sweet.

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more info on Goodreads.

Review: Wrapped Together (Portland Heat #5) by Annabeth Albert

In the bustling restaurants, shops, and cafés of Portland, Oregon, things really heat up for the hard-working men behind the scenes when the holidays come into town . . .

For a stationery store owner, the holidays are great for business. But for Hollis Alcott, Christmas reminds him of the tragic events of three years past, and the last thing he wants to do is take part in Portland’s over-abundance of festive cheer. But Sawyer Murphy, a hunky gift shop owner whose brother is married to Hollis’s sister, has made it his mission to pluck Hollis out of his holiday blues. And his plan is beginning to work. Wrapped in the warm glow of newfound passion, the former business rivals hit up Portland’s finest holiday traditions—and Hollis’s icy attitude begins to melt like snowflakes on his tongue. But he isn’t sure he can trust anyone with the only gift he has—his heart—without breaking it like an antique ornament. Unless he can find the courage to take a leap with the one lover he never expected . . .

Hollis Alcott isn’t usually a ray of sunshine, but turns into an outright grinch during the holiday season. He’s annoyed by all of the festivity, and his dislike is compounded by his grief for his deceased parents. When Sawyer Murphy, the brother of Hollis’ childhood best friend and an extended family member, decides to bring some holiday cheer into Hollis’ life, Hollis isn’t amused.

But as the two take into what the city has to offer, they find it difficult to ignore the heat building between them. Hollis is as skeptical about the connection between them as he is about the holidays. Sawyer makes it his mission to not only cheer Hollis up, but to convince Hollis that they can build something special together.

I’m a fan of opposites-attract romances in any case, but even better is a romance between a holiday grinch and someone who can’t get enough of the Santa jizz. It’s bound to be a funny and heart-warming ride!


I immediately liked Hollis. Sure, he’s a bit short with most people and his self-isolation wasn’t doing him any favours. But reading the book from his POV, it was clear that underneath that hard exterior was a big old softie. And I could understand where he was coming from.

I particularly found it funny how Hollis tried to convince himself that he didn’t have any feelings for the annoying/meddling/sexy/charming Sawyer.

Sawyer’s a hoot and a half. He knows just how to convince Hollis to agree to spend time together, appealing to Hollis’ competitive side. But he’s also very aware and sensitive to what Hollis needs, and gives him the support and space to heal.

The romance builds gradually, and was entirely sweet and realistic. There’s some angst, but it’s not overwhelming. I’d say it’s more so a slow healing than an out-right angst-fest.

Their not-dates around the city were very charming. I really liked the setting of Portland, Oregon during the holiday season.

Not only do Sawyer and Hollis have a strong emotional connection, but their physical connection is also undeniable. From the moment they gave in, they were burning up the bedsheets. The kink was a very welcome surprise!

If you’re looking for a very sweet and sexy holiday read in which a grinch opens his heart to love, give this stand-alone novella a try!

Find on Goodreads!

Checked out the Wrapped Together Tour Stop yet? See here!

Blog Tour + Giveaway: Wrapped Together (Portland Heat #5) by Annabeth Albert

Jump into the Wrapped Together (Portland Heat #5) Blog Tour with Annabeth Albert and IndiGo Promotions! Curious about the book? Check out Annabeth Albert's exclusive excerpt or read our 4.25 Hearts review here! And there is a Giveaway! Enter for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card!!

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Title: Wrapped Together
Series: Portland Heat #5
Author: Annabeth Albert
Publisher: Kensington Books
Release Date: December 6
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 35,000 words
Genre: Romance, contemporary, friends-to-lovers

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In the bustling restaurants, shops, and cafés of Portland, Oregon, things really heat up for the hard-working men behind the scenes when the holidays come into town . . .

For a stationery store owner, the holidays are great for business. But for Hollis Alcott, Christmas reminds him of the tragic events of three years past, and the last thing he wants to do is take part in Portland’s over-abundance of festive cheer. But Sawyer Murphy, a hunky gift shop owner whose brother is married to Hollis’s sister, has made it his mission to pluck Hollis out of his holiday blues. And his plan is beginning to work. Wrapped in the warm glow of newfound passion, the former business rivals hit up Portland’s finest holiday traditions—and Hollis’s icy attitude begins to melt like snowflakes on his tongue. But he isn’t sure he can trust anyone with the only gift he has—his heart—without breaking it like an antique ornament. Unless he can find the courage to take a leap with the one lover he never expected . . .


Thank you so much for having me! I’m celebrating the release of WRAPPED TOGETHER, my holiday story about two competing shop owners who are about to turn the heat up… I brought along an EXCLUSIVE sexy excerpt for you. I can’t WAIT for you to meet Sawyer and Hollis and all their holiday #PortlandHeat fun!

Grasping either side of the scarf, Sawyer used it to tug me forward until we were kissing, him locking me in place with the scarf. His mouth was more confident tonight, as if he’d figured out some essential truths about my reactions on Friday and intended to exploit them. And indeed he did, lips and tongue claiming my mouth. He sucked on my lower lip and I moaned. He was simply too good at this.
He shifted, hands still on the scarf but pulling it lower so it dropped across my shoulder blades, another tug and our chests were mashed together. He chuckled softly, obviously pleased with himself.
“Someday I want to tie your hands with this scarf.” His voice was a dirty promise in my ear.
I made a noncommittal noise as someday implied a future of repeats that I refused to think about right then. One act of insanity at a time. But his words also thrilled me, made my pulse flutter. I hadn’t let anyone do that since Yuto. Hadn’t wanted to do that since Yuto, truth be told. But affable Sawyer, the last person I would have thought, made those old longings hum.
“You’d let me,” he said, wonder in his voice. My eyes must have given me away. “Hols…”
He dropped to his knees, a surprisingly graceful movement from a six foot two guy built like a soccer defender. His hands immediately went to my belt, but I stayed his touch. “Not that.”
“You don’t like being blown?” Sawyer looked up at me like I’d confessed to not liking birthday cake.
“I’m not entirely opposed, just…context…” My hand fluttered as I struggled to explain. This position in particular didn’t work for me, for reasons I really didn’t understand.
“Context.” Sawyer raised an all-knowing eyebrow, then stood, eyeing past the kitchen to my bedroom door as if trying to decide how far he could push me before I’d bolt. Evidentially not very far as he tugged me toward my couch. It was a nice, long midcentury-styled gray number, one I’d dozed on during more than one insomniac movie marathon. I silently praised its sturdy build as Sawyer none too gently toppled me back into the cushions. “You’ll tell me when I find the right…context for touching your dick?”
“This isn’t terrible,” I admitted, luxuriating in the heavy press of his body against mine as he stretched out. Two tall men was a tight fit, even with the generous proportions of my couch. Truth be told, I kind of liked being a bit squashed by Sawyer. He propped himself up with one arm, using the other to work at my shirt buttons. One-handed was more than a bit fiddly, and after two buttons I pushed him up.
“Oh here, I’ll do it.” I shed my shirt and T-shirt in short order while he did the same, his green and yellow Ducks sweatshirt hitting my white rug.
“Swear to God, if you need to stop and fold, Hollis, we’re going to have an issue.” He half-growled, half-laughed.
Want more? Check out WRAPPED TOGETHER!


Kensington Books | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

Wrapped Together Teaser 2

Meet the Author

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open— no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.
Represented by Saritza Hernandez of the Corvisiero Literary Agency

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Review: The Boy Next Door by Kate McMurray

Life is full of surprises and, with luck, second chances.

After his father’s death, Lowell leaves the big city to help his sick mother in the conservative small town where he grew up. He’s shocked to find himself living next to none other than his childhood friend Jase. Lowell always had a crush on Jase, and the man has only gotten more attractive with age. Unfortunately Jase is straight, now divorced, and raising his six-year-old daughter. It’s nice to reconnect, but Lowell doesn’t see a chance for anything beyond friendship.

Until a night out together changes everything.

Jase can’t fight his growing feelings for Lowell, and he doesn’t want to give up the happy future they could have. But his ex-wife issues an ultimatum: he must keep his homosexuality secret or she’ll revoke his custody of their daughter, Layla. Now Jase faces an impossible choice: Lowell and the love he’s always wanted, or his daughter. 

I liked the premise. The writing was good. But I was left feeling underwhelmed by Lowell and Jase's romance. 

When Lowell moved back to his hometown to take care of his mother, he had no idea he was moving right next door to his childhood friend. Lowell and Jase were friends when they were kids but they had a falling out after their friendship had the potential to turn into more. Jase kind of freaked and that was the end of their friendship. Until years later when Lowell moved right next door to him and his daughter. 

Jase was very securely in the closet (except to a few "family" members) but he had a hard time staying there after being around Lowell so much. Their friendship picked up pretty quickly, considering how badly it had ended originally, and things escalated to sex very fast. They were good together. They were fine. Nothing exciting though. I just... didn't really feel it, ya know? 

And then there's some drama that I just had to roll my eyes at. Jase was a father and, of course, he wanted to protect his daughter. But he's also an adult and common sense and logic should come into play. He was too irrational and let his ex-wife control him too much. I didn't connect with him and his choices made him very unlikable to me. 

I loved the daughter. She was a sweet character and I liked her bond with Lowell. They were very cute and, even if I didn't particularly like Jase, I could see them all being a very loving family together.

There was a little bit of a secondary romance going on, too. It felt really open-ended and unfinished. So many unanswered questions. Are my guesses correct? Tell me what happened with them! I need to know! I think I liked them more than the main couple. 

The Boy Next Door was a well-written, nicely paced romance. It didn't quite hit the mark for me, but I'll still be checking out more Kate McMurray in the future.

A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Find out more info on Goodreads and Dreamspinner Press.

Blog Tour: This Wish Tonight Anthology

Welcome Gregory L. Norris, J. Scott Coatsworth & Wendy Rathbone, authors of This Wish Tonight Anthology from Mischief Corner Books! If you're looking for something a little different to read this holiday season, look no further, see their tour stop below!

Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Authors: Gregory L. Norris, J. Scott Coatsworth & Wendy Rathbone
Cover Artist: Freddy MacKay
Length: 40.8k, 228 pages
Format: eBook, Paperback
Release Date: 12/14/16
Pairing: MM
Price: 4.99, 10.99
Genres: mm romance, holiday, Christmas, gay science fiction, gay contemporary


Warmth, family, good cheer? Not everyone associates these things with the winter holidays. For some, it’s a time of longing and reflection. Mischief Corner Books invites authors to create stories set during the holiday season and centered on the fulfillment of a wish or desire.

Fear of Fire by Gregory L. Norris
Glass Artist Lucius Price works desperately to create a holiday symbol intended to help the town of Villatopia heal from a rash of unsolved hate crimes against gay men. When he is targeted next and his studio set ablaze, handsome firefighter Oscar Ramos rescues Lucius from the flames, creating a different kind of fire during an unforgettable Christmas.

Wonderland by J. Scott Coatsworth
Zeke is a loner his late forties, living in a small cabin in rural Montana. Nathan has been traveling across country on foot since the zombie apocalypse, dealing with his OCD in an empty world.  Zeke just wants someone to love. Nathan just wants to be home again.

Fate brings them together in a winter wonderland, but their own fears and baggage may tear them apart.

Is there still hope for love at Christmas, at the end of the world?

Eve of the Great Frost by Wendy Rathbone

Remi has prepared for over a year to be the king’s gift at the annual celebration of the Eve of the Great Frost on the planet Niobe. Twelve men, taught under the tutelage of the Pleasure Master, hope to be the one (or one of several) chosen to spend an erotic night with the mysterious alien king who always wears a mask. But when Remi’s turn comes to be presented to His Majesty, everything goes wrong from a costume malfunction to breaking protocol. What happens next is a shock, and a night he will never forget

Excerpt from Wonderland:
December 19

Zeke stared up at the darkening sky from the porch of his log cabin. The clouds were rolling in over the mountains, thick as cotton. A year and four months he'd been here all alone, since he'd last seen another living human being. At forty-eight, he was resigned to the fact that nothing much was likely to change in his life from now on.
A good storm was coming—he felt it in his bones, although the winter had been unusually warm and dry so far. He'd need to haul some firewood inside the cabin and check his food stocks. He scratched at his scraggly beard as he carried in the chopped wood to lay it next to the fireplace.
Zeke lived off a combination of trout from the Clark Fork River and an assortment of canned goods from the local Grocery Surplus store, but even that vast source of food was starting to wear thin. Winter was just starting—and still not an inch of snow, though that looked to be changing quickly.
Sometimes he wished that he wasn't the last man on Earth. He'd always been a loner. He'd lived up here on the slopes of the Reservation Divide his whole life, first with his father, and then these last ten years by himself. He'd acted on his impulses once or twice, driving down to Missoula for some big-city life in the town's two gay bars, but he'd never found what he was looking for, and now it was too late.
It turned out that absence really did make the heart grow fonder. He wished that he had someone—anyone—to talk to. He snorted. If wishes were fishes, we'd all live in the sea—one of his father's favorite sayings.
Maybe I should think about heading south.
The first year after the plague, he'd stayed put as it ravaged Thompson Falls down in the valley below. Even rural Montana hadn't escaped its reach. Even so, he'd run into one of the besotted, still living a couple weeks after the end, and had blown it away with his rifle. Its blood had splattered all over his face, but he hadn't gotten sick.
He shrugged. Someone had to be immune. Maybe I was the unlucky sod.
Zeke covered the rest of the wood with a new waterproof tarp to keep out the snow and sleet. That was one advantage of being the last man in the world—there were so many things at his disposal, right there for the taking, and he didn't have to pay a dime for them.
He snorted. Money—such a strange, strange thing. Sometimes he would crack open a cash register in town to grab a handful of metal coins—quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies—just to run them through his hands.
He cranked up the generator out back and went into his library room to check the shortwave radio, just like he'd done every day since the plague. It was his ritual, though he'd long since given up hope.
He sat down and scanned through the bands, listening intently for anything signifying human contact. There was only static.
Zeke went back outside and sniffed the air. Cold wind whipped at his beard. Snow was coming, for sure, but he should have enough time to make it down to the market for a quick supply run before the storm began.
He checked the fuel gauge on his ATV. It was low—he should probably top off in town. The first month after the plague, when he'd deemed it safe again to go out, he'd found a way to tap the underground tanks at the old Sinclair gas station, so he had all the fuel he needed.
He strapped one of his heavy-duty canvas sacks onto the back of the vehicle and hopped on, firing her up. He took a deep breath of the cool pine-scented air and then started off down the canyon toward the empty town of Thompson Falls.

Excerpt from Eve of the Great Frost:

I stood quiet and still as instructed, my hands clasped behind my back, my head slightly bowed. The red jewels on my sleeves caught the light, winking. All twelve of us glimmered in rubies.
We waited.
The pleasure master was a short, portly man with gray-silver hair tied tightly back. His black shirt was trimmed in white fur. He held a traditional leather whip, black as onyx, that he gestured with the way a conductor of an orchestra might use his baton. Since the new ways and laws came into effect, whips were for ornament only, never used for punishment.
Some said the new young king wanted to do away with slavery for good. I did not know. If it were true, why were we here tonight, clad in the Cloaks of Erotic Promise? Was it for the ritual and nothing more?
My stomach lurched at the thought. I wanted more than ritual. I wanted this night to prove to myself I had something to give. I'd trained hard and with great dedication. I longed to belong to another in pleasure, in surrender. Decadence, sensual ardor, red passion's heat—these were things I craved. To be worthy. To be wanted. I would not have sold myself otherwise. I knew my family would be taken care of by being chosen, but honestly, I was doing this for myself.
I stood on that gold stage worried, nervous, excited. My fingers clenched to fists, something we were told not to do. The sounds of revelry began to diminish, the volume softening across the ocean of dancing, moving bodies until only the voices from the guests outside could be heard wafting on the cool breeze.
Heads turned. The celebrants looked in the direction behind me. I was not allowed to move. I could not see what was happening, but I could feel it: the electricity of his approach; the change in air pressure.
The king had made his entrance.
The air seemed to flutter about me. Light and flame, gilt and tinsel—everything glowed. The great hall seemed too small to contain it all.
I could feel his presence looming closer, a psychic weight, a change in the dimensions of reality both subtle and dramatic. Everything blurred, all heat and distant ringing of stemware and held breaths mixing with raised pulse rates, the inner hum of awe, the rustle of silks as people realized they now occupied the same space as a legend.
Every part of my being wished to break formation, to turn and look upon the origin of this catalyst of change and upheaval, this man who'd brought an end to our suffering ways.
Only my vow of discipline kept me in my place.
The pleasure master said from somewhere behind me in a voice of wavering bass tones, "Welcome, Your Highness, Emperor of Niobe, Greatest of Venerables, King Shin. I have the honor of presenting to you on this glorious evening the revered and most exotic gifts of our land, the finest and most beautiful physical representatives of our male citizens, trained in the esteemed art of exquisite gratification."
An enthralling voice replied, "The honor is mine."

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Author Bios:

Gregory L. Norris

I am a full-time professional writer, with numerous publication credits to my resume, mostly in national magazines and fiction anthologies. A former writer at Sci Fi, the official magazine of the Sci Fi Channel (before all those ridiculous Ys invaded), I once worked as a screenwriter on two episodes of Paramount’s modern classic, Star Trek: Voyager and am the author of the handbook to all-things-Sunnydale, The Q Guide to Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Alyson Books, 2008).

In late 2009, two of my paranormal romance novels for Ravenous Romance ( were reprinted as special editions by Home Shopping Network as part of their “Escape with Romance” segment – the first time HSN has offered novels to their customers. In late 2011, my collection of brandy-new terrifying short and long fiction, The Fierce and Unforgiving Muse: A Baker’s Dozen From the Terrifying Mind of Gregory L. Norris is being published by Evil Jester Press. I have fiction forthcoming from the fine people at Cleis Press, STARbooks, EJP, The Library of Horror, Simon and Shuster, and Pill Hill Press, to name a few.

J. Scott Coatsworth

Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him "the only one stopping you from writing is you."

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way. He has sold more than a dozen short stories - some new, some that he had started years before. He is currenty working on two sci fi trilogies, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi ( site, a group for readers and writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.

Wendy Rathbone

Wendy Rathbone has been writing for many years in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, horror, romance and erotica. Her poetry and short stories have been widely published in magazines and anthologies, and won many awards. She is a Writers of the Future alum (second place, vol. 8 and has two stories in the classic, still in print, Hot Blood series, as well as a story in the scifi volume of the classic gay anthology Bending the Landscape.

While she has always written GLBTQ characters in her fiction and fan fiction, in 2011 she began to delve deeply into the realm of male/male romance and erotica. She has many indie m/m romance novels, the most recent being “The Moonling Prince” and its sequel “The Coming of the Light”. This year she sold her newest novel “The Android and the Thief” to Dreamspinner Press for publication in April, 2017.

Wendy lives in Yucca Valley, CA with her partner of 36 years, Della Van Hise, and is currently hard at work on a new m/m romance novel.