A MelanieM Release Day Review: Two Cowboys and A Baby by BA Tortuga

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

A little bundle of joy means big changes.

Hoss McMasters has a working ranch, a bull riding career, a nosy momma, and a best friend he’s been in love with since he can remember. He’s a busy, happy cowboy, living the good life.

Then one morning he discovers a baby on his doorstep.

Well, Hoss does what any reasonable man would do—he calls his momma and his buddy, Sheriff Pooter, and they head to the clinic to see if Doc knows of any suddenly not-so-pregnant girls.

In the meantime, Hoss and his best friend, Bradley, have their hands full trying to care for an infant, run a ranch, and deal with the sudden confession that Bradley doesn’t hate Hoss for coming out to him in high school. In fact, Bradley’s been trying to catch Hoss’s attention for damn near a decade.

Well, hell.  Two Cowboys and A Baby.  Shakes head.  Really, its hard to get much cuter than that.  So of course, I loved this sweet baby left on the doorstep story by B.A. Tortuga, a favorite author of mine.  B.A. talked about loving tropes like this in her author guest post on this story (read it here), but the tale of how these long time friends (yep since childhood) finally move towards HEA and a family is heartwarming and sweet.  Of course, there’s some wild plot doozies here that I throughly enjoyed.  There’s almost a ‘B.A. goes Texas soap opera’ thrown in but who knows?  Totally possible so I rolled with it.  These days  anything goes so it could happen.

I of course, loved Hoss.  The author makes Hoss and his profession so painfully real with all its breaks, pain, and physical wake up in the hospital realism.  That the part of the life, people never see when watching the rodeos.  Here (and in all of B.A. Tortuga’s stories) its laid out in all it stark, bill and injury-laden reality. Another element that I look forward to when reading a Tortuga novel?  Her families and its another key element here.  Bradley has been a part of that, living as he has been on Hoss’ land in a trailer.  But all that’s about to change with a baby bundle lands on Hoss’ doorstep.

I think if I have only one major issue here, it would be Bradley’s behavior at one point.  His lack of faith in Hoss and inability to talk to him.  I kept trying to rationalize that as fear but still it seemed as unlike the man’s personality as laid out before so it brought down the rating.  There’s another hugely intriguing area that just cries out for its own story.  If you read this book you’ll know what I’m talking about and who.  I hope the author is already working on that. What a story that would be.

As it is, I loved Two Cowboys and a Baby.  Its sweet, heartwarming and a wild journey of two men towards HEA and a family.

Cover Artist: Bree Archer. Cover art is perfect and just as cute as the story.

Sales Links

 

Book Details:

ebook, 220 pages
Expected publication: March 15th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635333855
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Review: Love by Design by Sam B. Morgan

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Rating:  2 stars out of 5

 

Two years ago, Jeremy Lanzo’s life almost fell apart when he fell for his boss and the golden prince of McIntyre Corporation, Benjamin McIntyre, the Third. After being ruthlessly rejected, he swore off the blue-eyed blond and did everything in his power never to cross paths with Ben again.

 

Now the two of them have been chosen to lead the company’s largest project to date; a lavish hotel in Sydney, Australia. Working and residing with Ben is difficult enough, but Ben’s continued attempts to make amends and re-kindling their broken friendship may prove more tempting than either of them can handle.

 

Ugh, I really wanted to like this story and kept hoping the tone would change and it would pick up, but it never seemed to.  Jeremy has pretty much been on his own since he went off to college and has sworn to stay away from Ben as much as possible while Ben is hoping to get their friendship going again.  Their connection to each other is strong, but they worry of what others would think could very well be their downfall.

 

I liked the premise of this story and definitely didn’t enjoy this as much as the author’s previous book I have read.  It started off right with the poor me attitude and it just continued through the book with both characters.  We see both of the characters points of view which means we hear how both of them are sad or depressed about what happened before and what they would like now.  I couldn’t connect with the characters as they seemed to live a bubble from the outside world and once that comes into play it feels like they give up.  It was nice to see Ben finally grow a pair near the end of the book and decide what he had with Jeremy is more special than anything else, but it just couldn’t redeem the rest of the story for me.

 

Cover art by Natasha Snow is nice and works well for the story.

 

Sales Links: Loose Id | Amazon 

 

Book Details:

ebook, 205 pages

Published: February 17, 2017 by Loose Id

ISBN: 9781682522899

Edition Language: English

An Ali Release Day Review: Sophie (Survivor Stories #5) by J.P. Barnaby

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Rating: 4 out 5 stars
It’s amazing how a single word from a tiny girl can change your life.

Spencer Thomas’s world turns upside down when his beloved Nell dies and leaves custody of her three-year-old daughter to him. Her “Spenna” comes when Sophie needs him most, but his boyfriend, Aaron, can’t be a parent. He just can’t. Neither of them expected a baby to fall into the lives they’d finally just settled.

When Nell’s ex comes to claim Sophie, Aaron needs to make a decision: man up or walk away as Spencer faces the fight of his life.
This was a touching and beautiful end to this series.  At time this story takes place Aaron and Spencer have been together for seven years.  They’re doing well until Spencer ends up with Sophie.  Aaron is terrified of raising a child because if anyone knows the tragedies that befall children it’s him.  There comes a point where both Aaron and Spencer have some tough choices to make.
There’s an author’s note at the end saying this is her last book before she retires.  I’m so glad she wrote this before she does.  It was like a gift to fans.  There’s nothing better in my opinion that seeing everything wrapped up for your favorite characters and knowing they’ll have their happily ever after.  The gang’s all here in this.  Aaron’s parents, his brothers and their families and Spencer’s dad.
I don’t want to say much more because I don’t want to spoil anything, but if you’ve read this series over the years, this is a must read.  (This book is not a standalone though and it probably won’t have the same impact if you haven’t read Aaron and Spencer’s book.)
Cover Artist: AngstyG:  I love the cover.  It fits the story well and stays within the same style as the previous books in the series.
Sales Links
Book Details:
ebook, 108 pages
Expected publication: March 15th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781635333909
Edition LanguageEnglishSeries Survivor Stories

An Alisa Release Day Review: Running with the Moon by Kiernan Kelly

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Heart of the Wolf

What happens when a veterinarian ends up a patient in his own animal clinic?

 

Dr. Dae Anderson needs to lose the deadbeat boyfriend who is holding him back, but Jack is determined to hang on to Dae—even if he has to resort to violence.

 

Dae has worked hard to fit in among humans, and if his secret gets out, he’ll lose everything. His veterinary assistant, Sean, might be just the man to stand with Dae… against Jack and the world.

 

Courage of the Wolf

The most painful changes don’t involve the shape of the body, but of the heart….

 

Just as Dae and Sean are settling in to life as a couple, Dae is contacted by his brother, who still lives with his former pack and who exiled him for being gay.

 

If he refuses to return to Wyoming, a sociopathic alpha will slaughter Dae’s family one member at a time. And deep down, Dae knows he must confront his past before he can truly have a loving future with Sean. First, they have to stay alive.

 

I enjoyed both of these stories.  Dae has been in a continuous self depreciating relationship with Jack, a user and cheater.  He hasn’t had anyone who really wanted him since he was kicked out of his former pack for being gay.  When he is hurt it he has to take the chance and show Sean his one big secret and hope he doesn’t run.

 

I loved both of these characters and how open they were with each other once the walls were broken down.  Dae is more innocent in his personal life as he has never really had a real relationship because his one with Jack wasn’t.  Sean has been hiding his feelings for Dae for years working beside him and when he is given the opportunity for his dreams to come true he grabs on with both hands.

 

We see everything from both characters’ points of view so we aren’t guessing what each person is thinking.  Dae and Sean know that they are stronger together and support each other; it is so easy to see how much they care for the other and will do anything for them.  I was glad to see Dae finally get some closure with his family when they contact him.  It was wonderful seeing Dae and Sean’s relationship grow in the second story and get the chance to make a family of their own.

 

Cover art by Paul Richmond is great and I love it.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 140 pages

Published: 2nd edition, March 15, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN: 9781635333435

Edition Language: English

Sarah Madison on Writing, Characters, and her story ‘Unspeakable Words (The Sixth Sense: Book One)’ (author interview, excerpt and guest post)

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Unspeakable Words (The Sixth Sense #1) by Sarah Madison
D
reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase

Available for Purchase at

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Sarah Madison here today talking about writing, characters, and her latest novel, Unspeakable Words. Welcome, Sarah!

~Our Sarah Madison Interview~

How much of yourself goes into a character?

Oh, that’s a good question. I’d have to say elements of myself go into nearly every main character. When I’m writing about feeling insecure or out of my element, that’s me. If my character is unafraid of physical danger but terrified of emotional loss, that’s me. If a character admires competence and loyalty, that’s me. Many times, a story evolves out of something I’m going through at the moment—like the notion of whether or not one person can make a difference. And many of my stories have the common theme of creating your family rather than relying on flesh and blood to see you through, or that life is more than mere survival.

No matter what themes we choose to write about, be it feeling unattractive, abandoned, underappreciated at work, personal loss, or whatever, naturally we pull from our own internal resources to describe how our characters feel. There is always an Objective Observer in me that notes events in my life with an impartial eye. I can be in the midst of some great trauma, and a part of me is categorizing my reactions and thinking, “I’m going to use this in a story someday…”

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

Do you mean a fine line, where on one side it’s acceptable to draw on personal experiences but it doesn’t take much to cross over into Mary/Gary Sue territory? Yes, I think that’s true. For example, I can write a character who is brilliant at his job but sucks at his personal relationships. I can borrow from my own experiences, especially if they are funny or embarrassing. But I am neither brilliant at my job nor horrible at personal relationships. The character is never a stand-in for me in the story. I’m taking an idea and building a character around it, taking advantages of life events and experiences that will help lend verisimilitude to the creation.  I’d never want to create a character that not only serves as my avatar but is larger-than-life perfect and can do no wrong. Not only would the character wind up cartoonish and two-dimensional, but it would be hard to create new characters without having them all sound and act the same.

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

May I say both? Because I adore research. I can get lost for weeks or months reading and researching a particular topic, which is one of the reasons I don’t write as fast as I’d like. But I also love world building too. When I wrote Crying for the Moon, it was my first-ever vampire story. I started to plunge headfirst into my usual research mode (which is to read and watch everything I can get my hands on before jotting down a single word) but then I realized I didn’t need to do that. I could write my vampires any way I wanted—creating a world and mythology that made sense to me without relying on the existing bank of culture. The end result was a vampire story many considered refreshingly different and original. I had a lot of fun doing that.

But when I wrote The Boys of Summer, I did the total immersion thing. I haunted the history section of the bookstore and library. I watched documentaries and era-movies. I read books on the Battle of Britain. I was appalled by my lack of knowledge about such an important part of history that I couldn’t rest until I’d learned enough that I thought I could tell the story of those young pilots effectively.

I have an entire section of bookshelves devoted to forensics, true crime, and profiling, thanks to the Sixth Sense series. Last summer, I went to Writer’s Police Academy, which I highly recommend for anyone who wants to write mysteries and crime drama.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

I suspect it’s why I can’t settle down to one genre. I love them all! Historicals, mysteries, sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, you name it, I read it. I actually read very little romance growing up, but I adored any story that had a romantic subplot.

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

More times than I care to admit. Usually, the story needs time to mature so I can figure out where it needs to go. I’ve got one story on job burnout I may never finish however. Writing it is just too close to home.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

It’s a must for me at this point in my life. That’s not to say I will never read a story that breaks my heart. Some of the most amazing stories I’ve ever read did just that. They stay with me today because of the powerful impact they made on me. But to be honest, these days, life is pretty crappy for a lot of people. I write because it takes me out of myself and out of a bad day. I hope those reading my stories can escape reality for a few hours and forget about being a caretaker, or chronic illness, or the fact their boss/wife/husband/parent/child is being a jerk.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

Some, but I lived for mysteries and sci-fi. Probably why so many of my stories have a paranormal element to them.

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

The story dearest to my heart is probably The Boys of Summer. Partly because of how the research drew me in, but also because in many ways, it is a more gut-wrenching story than what I usually tell, and yet I still managed to give it a happy ending.

I am very partial to the Sixth Sense series as well, though. Probably because as a series, I’ve spent more time with these characters than any of the others. Also because I love how the characters have grown and how their relationship has evolved over time.

What’s next for you as an author?

The revised and expanded version of Unspeakable Words is available for pre-order now, and will be re-released on March 10th, 2017.

I’m currently working on the fourth and final installment in the series, tentatively titled Deal with the Devil. Current release date sometime in 2018. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating the relaunch of the series, or coming to the party for the first time. I think you’ll enjoy it.

About Unspeakable Words

The Sixth Sense: Book One

Special Agent John Flynn is everything Jerry Parker is not: dangerously handsome, coolly charismatic, and respected by his peers. Special Agent Parker is dedicated and meticulous, but his abrasive personality has given him a reputation for being difficult. When new information on a cold case appears, Parker is assigned to work with Flynn, and the sparks fly as their investigative styles clash. Contact with a strange artifact changes everything when it bestows unusual and unpredictable powers on Flynn… and the two men must learn to trust each other before a killer strikes again.

First Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, 2010.

Excerpt

“Jerry!”

Jerry abandoned his conversation with Flynn to look for the owner of the voice from his past. His heart squeezed painfully to a halt at the sight of Derek standing on the sidewalk behind him, only to restart at double-time.

Jesus. Talk about running into your ex.

Derek wore a brown blazer over a tan turtleneck, with a brightly colored scarf carelessly thrown around his neck. Jerry had a momentary spurt of irritation for the affectation and then felt his heart sink. There was no way he could avoid speaking to Derek without looking churlish, and he didn’t want to give him that satisfaction.

“What are you doing down here?” Derek’s voice was inappropriately coy as he raised an eyebrow in Flynn’s direction and gave him the once-over. “Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friend?”

His sun-bleached hair was overly long and curling at the collar, and Jerry was secretly amused that it appeared to be getting thin on top. Derek had creases at the corners of his eyes as well. Too much time in the tanning booth, no doubt.

He must be having a cow over that.

It must be harder now for Derek to catch the attention of some sweet young ass, unless the young thing was desperate for a sugar daddy.

“Derek Collins,” Jerry said smoothly, “my partner, John Flynn. We’re here on business, Derek.”

This is the guy that I thought I loved once. Boy, was I an idiot.

“Partner?” Derek glanced swiftly at Jerry’s left hand and then gave a little laugh. “Oh, partner,” he repeated without explanation, shooting a sly smirk at Flynn.

Jerry felt Flynn go rigid with tension, like a dog with his hackles up.

Relax. Gayness isn’t catching.

Flynn shot him a wounded look, and Jerry felt ashamed when he realized Flynn wasn’t embarrassed by Derek’s innuendos, he was pissed off on Jerry’s behalf. That was just…. Wow. Warmth suddenly flooded him, and he was both embarrassed and comforted at the same time.

Inexplicably, Flynn’s face relaxed, and a lazy smile appeared. “Yes, partner.” He practically purred as he placed a hand on Jerry’s arm. “Come on, Jer. We don’t want to be late for that interview.”

He guided Jerry away with a decidedly possessive hand on the small of his back.

“What was that about?” Jerry hissed as they left Derek openmouthed behind them.

“That asshole,” Flynn growled. “I can’t believe he cheated on you with a twinkie.”

Jerry stumbled and then laughed. When he quickly glanced over his shoulder, he saw Derek staring at the two of them speculatively. He laughed even harder and clapped Flynn on the back.

“It’s ‘twink’ if you really want to be cool,” Jerry corrected him.

“Asshole.” Flynn repeated the epithet for good measure, sounding pissed off again. “I wanted to punch him, but then I realized what would jerk his chain.” He appeared insufferably pleased with himself.

“You’re an idiot,” Jerry said with amusement. “A nice one, but an idiot all the same.” It’ll be all over town by this evening that I have a hot boyfriend. He fixed a sharp look on Flynn to check his reaction, but Flynn merely whistled innocently. “Come on,” Jerry sighed, not knowing what to make of the gesture. “We’ve got work to do.”

About the Author

Sarah Madison is a writer with a little dog, a big dog, an even bigger horse, too many cats, and a very patient boyfriend. An amateur photographer and a former competitor in the horse sport known as eventing, when she’s not out hiking with the dogs or down at the stables, she’s at the laptop working on her next story. When she’s in the middle of a chapter, she relies on the smoke detector to tell her dinner is ready. She writes because it’s cheaper than therapy.

Sarah Madison was a finalist in the 2013, 2015, and 2016 Rainbow Awards. The Boys of Summer won Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards. The Sixth Sense series was voted 2nd place in the 2014 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards for Best M/M Mystery series, and 3rd place in the 2105 PGR Reviewer’s Choice Awards for Best M/M Paranormal/Urban Fantasy series. Fool’s Gold was voted best M/M romance in the 2016 PRG Awards.

If you want to make her day, e-mail her and tell you how much you like her stories.

Website: http://www.sarahmadisonfiction.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sarah-Madison/e/B004K9QY5C/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1471196589&sr=1-2-ent

Dreamspinner: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/searchresults?q=Sarah+Madison

E-mail: akasarahmadison@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sarah-Madison-Author/106445646104338

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahMadisonFic

Release Blitz & Review Tour – K.C. Wells’s Step By Step

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Dreamspinner


Publisher: Dreamspinner Press


Length: 85,899 words


Cover Photo: Strangeland Photography


Cover Design: Paul Richmond

Blurb

Jamie’s life is one big financial mess, and it really isn’t his fault. However, the last thing he expected to find in the library was a Good Samaritan. He might have been suspicious of Guy’s motives at first, but it soon becomes apparent that his savior is a good man who has been lucky in life and is looking to pay it forward. Guy being gay is not a problem. Jamie’s not interested… or so he thinks.

Guy is happy to help Jamie, and the two men get along fine. But when Jamie’s curiosity leads him from one thing to another, Guy finds himself looking at the younger man with new eyes. What started out as a hand up is now something completely different….



Author Bio

Born and raised in the north-west of England, K.C. WELLS always loved writing. Words were important. Full stop. However, when childhood gave way to adulthood, the writing ceased, as life got in the way. K.C. discovered erotic fiction in 2009, when the purchase of a ménage storyline led to the startling discovery that reading about men in love was damn hot. In 2012, arriving at a really low point in life led to the desperate need to do something creative. An even bigger discovery waited in the wings—writing about men in love was even hotter….

K.C. now writes full-time and is loving every minute of her new career. The laptop still has no idea of what hit it… it only knows that it wants a rest, please. And it now has to get used to the idea that where K.C goes, it goes.

And as for those men in love that she writes about? The list of stories just waiting to be written is getting longer… and longer….

K.C. loves to hear from readers.

E-mail: k.c.wells@btinternet.com 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KCWellsWorld
Twitter: @K_C_Wells
Website: http://www.kcwellsworld.com

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✒︎A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Highly Recommended Novel.  Read Lila’s Review here.

In the Spotlight Tour: Who We Are by Nicola Haken (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Who We Are
Author: Nicola Haken
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance

Release Date: March 13, 2017


Since putting his life on hold ten years ago, Oliver Clayton doesn’t know who he is anymore. To his clients at the hair salon, he’s the sassy and confident stylist. To the crowds who come to watch his drag act at the club, he’s the fierce and fabulous Miss Tique. He’s popular. Talented. Out, proud, and self-assured.

He’s also a good actor. 

Sebastian Day is content with life’s easy, if not a little monotonous, routine. After several failed relationships, he likes the simplicity of being alone in his truck at his job as a heavy goods driver, spending the weekends with his teenage son, and putting the world to rights with his cat, Marv. He’s not lonely. He isn’t hiding.

At least…he doesn’t think he is until he meets the mesmerising stranger with the red hair and purple lips. 

Can Oliver and Sebastian help each other embrace who they are? Or will a cruel twist of fate end their journey before it’s even begun?


Angie at Wicked Reads ~ “Very heartwarming story, the banter between these guys is so sweet. I can’t say enough about this book to do it justice, just read it, you will love it.”

Beverly at Southern Babes Book Blog ~ “Sebastian and Oliver’s story is beautiful and heartbreaking… These two amazing men are trying to figure out who they really are and together they figure out that they can do anything.”

Jodi at Alpha Book Club ~ “Oliver’s story will make you cry and stand up and cheer for how strong of a human being he is… Loved this story and would recommend to anyone.”

MJ at Alixzia Reading Corner ~ “I ache and bleed with this book for every page turned! Highly recommend!”

Deanna at Two Chicks Obsessed ~ “This might be my new favorite Nicola Haken book. Broken nearly broke me, thus becoming my favorite; but this one left me far more emotional and thoughtful. I think it’s taken the crown.”

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Who We Are
Copyright © Nicola Haken 2017
~ Sebastian~
I WAS JUMPING down from my cab after arriving back from my last drop of the day when my life almost ended. Okay, so maybe I was known for being a tad on the dramatic side, but when Benny – my oldest friend and biggest pain in my arse -jumped out from behind my trailer, I almost choked on my fucking heart.
“Jesus Christ,” I muttered, breathless from the fright. “How the hell did you get in the yard?”
I’d been a heavy goods driver for thirteen years, working here at Patterson Haulage Ltd. for three of those – long enough to know they didn’t let pedestrians wander in off the streets to play hide and seek behind the lorries. Transport was in my genes, I guess. My dad had been a trucker all his life, and he met my mum at work – she worked as a clerk in the office. I never wanted to do anything else. I walked straight into my first warehouse job fresh out of school and stayed there until I was old enough to train for my Class 1 licence and could go out on the road. I loved my job.
“That old lady with the bright orange face let me in. Told her I needed to talk to you about Scott.”
“Scott?” Slamming the door to my cab closed, I fished my phone from the pocket of my Hi-Vis jacket and scanned the screen for missed calls. “What’s wrong with him?”
“Well, he likes Eminem, but hopefully he’ll grow out of that.”

 

“What?” Narrowing my eyes in confusion, I stared at Benny who looked to be admiring his thumbnail. 
“Nothing’s wrong with him. I just knew they’d let me come see your truck if I played the kid card.”
Rolling my eyes, I huffed as I turned and re-opened my cab door. Climbing the steps, I leaned inside to grab my holdall and tacho card before hopping back down. “You’ve seen a wagon before. You shouldn’t use Scott like that. There could be a real emergency one day.”
“And if there is I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be the one anyone’d call about it,” he said, his tone amused as he ran his finger along the curtain of my trailer. “This needs a wash.”
“You offering?” I asked as I locked up the cab and started walking towards the transport office. I found it highly doubtful as I turned my head to the side and eyed up his leather coat, and beige turtleneck that no doubt he’d paid upwards of a hundred pounds for. Benny worked in recruitment. In other words, companies paid him far too much money to find them suitable candidates for their businesses, money which he wasted on overpriced shit he didn’t need. “Or did you come here for another reason?”
“I came because, as you know, it’s my birthday on Friday. The big three-four. I want y…” Pausing mid word, Benny spun on his heels. “Holy hot ginger.”
I didn’t need to turn around to know he’d spotted Rod, seeing as he was the only red-headed bloke who worked at this depot. “Christ, Benny. Keep it down. I have to work with these guys.”
“Chill out. The fact you’re mates with a gay guy won’t give away the big secret that you like cookies and ice cream.”
“It’s not a secret,” I snapped. Or maybe it was, given that I’d never told anyone I worked with that I was bisexual. My last two relationships had been with women, and ‘passing’ as straight was simply…easier. I was a copout and a liar but I was tired of explaining, defending myself.
There are a lot of misconceptions about bisexuality and I’d encountered most of them during my twenties. Now, at thirty-four, I was kind of exhausted with it all. I wanted to fall in love and create a future with another person as much as anyone, but I’d given up on the idea a while ago. Relationships, for me, whether with a man or a woman, seemed to consist of me justifying myself, reassuring my partner, or hiding – as Benny would say – the cookies or ice cream part of my sexuality.
I couldn’t just be me.

 

wasn’t good enough.
Contrary to popular belief, I didn’t want to sleep with everybody, and there weren’t twice as many fish in the sea, because most fish thought I was confused, greedy, unfaithful, trying to be trendy, or afraid to admit I was gay. The last one confused me the most. The number of people who believed bisexuality was a temporary label used to ease the transition to gaytown would never cease to amaze me. It happened, sure, but there were a hell of a lot of bisexuals claiming to be gay, or straight, for no other reason than they couldn’t face the stigma attached to it, too.
I was simply attracted to people. I got turned on by the way someone carried themselves, by their confidence, or even shyness. I felt the same stir in my cock and pull of excitement in my chest when I saw the rugged grooves of a man’s chest as I did the silky curves of a woman’s hips. People are beautiful. I couldn’t help it. It’s just the way I was made.
Thankfully, many people realised these days that being gay or straight wasn’t a choice. Unfortunately, some of these same people believed bisexuals were capable of making a choice, and that they should. Well, I tried that when I was a teenager. I tried to pick a side, to ‘fit’ in somewhere.
Unsurprisingly, it didn’t work out too well.
“Just tell me what you came for,” I added to Benny, pushing open the swinging door that led to the warehouse which, in turn, led to the office.
“Do you have Scott this weekend?”
“No. Lisa’s taking him to see Jenny’s parents in Cornwall. Why?”
“Great! You’re coming to the village for my birthday.”

 

Ugh. “Ah, you know it’s not really my scene.” I had my reasons for not frequenting the village, unlike Benny who spent so much time there it could be considered his second home. Besides, after a day on the road my idea of a good time was Netflix and a takeaway. 
“Yes, Mr Misery, I know having fun isn’t usually on your To Do list but it’s my birthday and you’ll hurt my feelings if you say no.”
We’d reached the office now and I handed my keys over to June through the window partition while raising a sceptical eyebrow at Benny. “Fine,” I said. “But as soon as you’re too drunk to notice whether I’m there or not I’m leaving.”
“I love you.” He turned to June who looked rather amused by my dickhead friend. “I love him, you know.”
“Knock it off, moron,” I said, ramming my shoulder into his.
“Watch the jacket!” he shrieked as he rubbed at the tan leather that made him look like a seventies pimp. “You’re covered in dirt and smell like oil.”
“Please excuse my friend, June. They don’t usually let him out unattended.”
“Don’t mind me, lovey. I’ve seen all sorts in my time.”
I risked a glance at Benny, whose mouth had dropped ever so slightly open. For a man who wasn’t easily offended, the image was priceless.
“You’re on the Midlands run tomorrow, lovey,” June added as she tapped on her keyboard.
Nodding, I told her I’d see her in the morning, swung my holdall over my shoulder and started making my way to the car park, all the while trying not to laugh at Benny’s reaction.
“Did she seriously refer to me as an all sort?” he muttered under his breath when we neared my car. I knew he wouldn’t let it go so easily. “Clearly, out of the all sorts she’s met none of them have been make-up artists.”
“Stop it,” I said, snorting as I clicked open the central locking on my matte black Ford Galaxy. “June’s lovely. A little old-fashioned, but harmless.”
“I’m sure. It just wouldn’t hurt for her to go down a shade or twelve in the foundation department is all I’m saying.”
Opening the rear door, I tossed my bag onto the back seat. “Have you finished being a bitch?”
“God, I hope not.”
Removing my thick, Hi-Vis jacket, I threw that on top of my bag, revealing my dark green uniform polo shirt, before closing the door and getting into the driver’s seat. “Is that all you wanted? You could’ve called or text.”
Benny leaned against my open door, hand on hip. “Told you, I wanted to see your big truck.” He winked at me.
I wanted so badly to roll my eyes, or at least keep a disinterested expression, but I couldn’t help chuckle at him.
“I was in the area, and besides, you’d have said no without my pretty face to seduce you.”

 

Probably. 
“And hey, if you want to bring a plus one your red-haired co-worker is more than welcome.”
Shooing him away from the door, I pulled it closed and brought the engine to life before rolling down the electric window. “Let me know when and where during the week,” I said, dismissing the idea of inviting Rod. He’d only been here for three months and I didn’t know the guy well, but the fact he had a wife and three kids told me Rod wouldn’t be interested in the kind of socialising Benny had in mind for him.
“Will do,” he said, tapping the roof of my car before backing away. “Don’t forget I have expensive taste!”
Shaking my head, I bit my lip to suppress the grin that wanted to escape as I reversed out of my space. I already had his present – a bottle of Dior aftershave, same as every year. It was the only thing I knew the fussy bastard wouldn’t return in exchange for store credit.
Nicola Haken lives in Rochdale, England, with her five kids – one of whom is a grown man who many refer to as her husband. She spends her days writing about life, love, and all the beauty and angst that comes with it, and her nights binge watching Netflix or being the household slave. She’s also not very good at referring to herself in the third person, so if you’d like to get to know her your best bet would be to follow her on social media! 

Oh, and if the kids ever ask, she moonlights as the Pink Power Ranger while they’re sleeping…


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