A VVivacious Review: Reckless Seduction (Reckless #1) & Reckless Behavior by Amanda Young

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Rating: 2.5 Stars out of 5
 
Armed with an invite to the hottest party of the year and one hell of a sexy Zorro costume Cody is out to get his cherry popped. What he doesn’t expect is that Dante Santiago of all people would show an interest in him.
 
Cody has a massive crush on Dante, his uncle’s friend, one which he is never been able to get over. Now that Dante is showing an interest in him, Cody can’t help but want more, more than just one night and more than a casual meaningless encounter and more than that, this time Cody is going to make sure Dante knows it.
 
The first thing I want to get out of the way is that this is the second edition of Reckless Seduction and this book also included the bonus follow-up novella to Reckless Seduction that is Reckless Behaviour. So the following review is effectively a review for both Reckless Seduction and Reckless Behaviour.
 
This book made for an okay read for me, primarily because this book is spattered very judiciously with sex scenes and I just wasn’t able to get into those scenes. There were very few scenes that started out hot but most of them lost their flare in the long drawn out description that followed. All the sex scenes in this book are very long and very detailed and in the second part of this book “Reckless Behaviour” they don’t even add much to the story. This is also the reason I found the first novella a bit better than its follow up because the first book has two sex scenes, though I am sure they take up half the length of the novella, but at least they added something to the story. The second part is just three consecutive sex scenes till we finally get to the meat of the issue.
 
I really liked Dante’s character, I loved his integrity. I really liked how at the end of the first novella he tells Beau everything exactly as it is. I for one could really appreciate the courage it took to do what he did. Even in the second novella I couldn’t find fault with Dante’s character I really felt that his actions and feelings were all very human. Dante’s character is an amazing one and to some extent I think the story isn’t able to do him justice.
 
Cody was an okay character. I didn’t think one way or the other about him until that very stupid thing he does in the second novella. He jumps to a conclusion on the drop of an hat, in an instant he is ready to believe everything everybody else says about Dante and what was actually worse was the fact that he didn’t even have the decency to give Dante a chance to explain. This fact really irked me about Cody’s character.
 
I liked the story as it was though if some of the sex scenes could be deleted it would be a bonus or at least trimmed, as it stands now even if the scene is interesting in the beginning by the time it ends you’re just exhausted with having read every minute detail till the activity is only pleasurable for the characters and excruciatingly boring for you, especially in the second novella.
 
The second novella has a blurb that tells you everything you need to know about Cody in the first half of the book and then the moment you read the first page of the novella you know everything there is to know about Dante in the first half and then it is just a sequence of one mind numbing sex scene after the other till finally at about the halfway point the story finally progresses to a point beyond that mentioned in the blurb.
 
Overall it was an okay read but this book does have a big plus point in Dante.
 
Cover Art by Kaylea Ehm. I liked the cover for the book.
Sales Link:  Amazon
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 132 pages
Published May 3rd 2017 (first published October 28th 2008)
Original TitleReckless Seduction
ASINB072DVN24Y
SeriesReckless #1
CharactersCody Bradbury, Dante Santiago settingVirginia (United States)

A MelanieM Review: Frozen Heart (Love Lessons #1.5) by Heidi Cullinan

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Proposals don’t come with instructions.

Walter Lucas knows his boyfriend has been looking forward to the newest movie about a certain snow princess, but he isn’t prepared for the reality that is the front-row seat of Kelly Davidson’s cartoon obsession. There’s more going on in November than just the movie, however—Walter’s been working up the nerve to ask Kelly a certain question. When Walter set up his elaborate Thanksgiving marriage proposal, it seemed like such a good idea, but as the holiday, the movie premiere, and the question Walter never dreamt he’d be asking anyone converge…let’s just say even Hollywood’s best couldn’t sing and dance their way out of Walter’s tangle.

A short story or interlude in the Love Lessons series from Heidi Cullinan,  Frozen Heart is the proposal story of Walter and Kelly.  If you have followed this series, then you know this couple.  Kelly loves and for a special reason his Disney movies.  He’s been waiting for Frozen to come out and Walter has been waiting to  propose to Kelly.  Its hugely emotional, heartwarming, and everything I love about this series in a small bundle.

Plus if you have been oversaturated by the movie Frozen, Heidi Cullinan, through Kelly and Walter’s eyes and ears, reminds you why it resonated with millions of people young and old world wide.  Don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing those songs out loud once again.  You  really can’t help it.  It’s magic and so is this little story about a Frozen proposal.

Cover art by Kanaxa is adorable and works for branding the series and story.

Buy links: Amazon USAmazon UKBarnes & NobleiTunesKobo,  Smashwords

 

Book Details:

ebook, 2, 32 pages
Expected publication: May 23rd 2017 by Heidi Cullinan (first published December 24th 2013)
Original TitleFrozen Heart
ISBN139781945116025
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttp://www.heidicullinan.com/frozen-heart
SeriesLove Lessons #1.5

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review:Summer Lessons (Winter Ball #2) by Amy Lane and Nick J. Russo (Narrator

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Rating 5 stars out of 5

I finished this several days ago, and I still remember every moment of the story. I loved the story itself, especially the author’s description of this young boy growing up in a loving, supportive family, where Mom has to lace the Kool-Aid to survive Mason’s fascination with his penis once he discovers all the wonderful things it can do. Honestly, only a mother with a rich sense of humor—and perhaps maybe a similar life experience—can so humorously describe that life with a young boy. Kudos, Ms. Lane! And to make this story even better—a feat that hardly seemed possible since it was already so great—add in the narration by Nick J. Russo and Mason’s story comes to life with fantastic vocalizations.

Sadly, as Mason grows older, he fails to lose his awkward tendency to shoot from the mouth before his brain engages. That’s cost him many potential boyfriends and now in his thirties, he’s far from finding a life partner. All he wants is kindness and love and someone who enjoys sex as much as he does. After all—penis! What’s not to like? He’s an exec now at the firm where Skip, the MC from Winter Ball, is working. To get him out of his shell and out to the playing field where he might meet a nice guy, Skip and Mason’s brother Dane drag him out to learn how to play soccer with their team.

There he meets a cute guy named Terry. Terry is much younger and still lives with his mother—a woman who gives nasty mothers a run for the money as top contender. She’s thrown all her responsibilities his way all his life. After all, she’s on welfare due to being burdened with a baby when she was just a kid. How could she get out of that slump? She’s put the burden of the household on his shoulders all his life so he finds it pretty hard to get out. But aside from that and the guilt he carries about carving out time to have his own time for fun, he manages to play on this soccer team and he finds Mason pretty hot. Awkward and clumsy, but hot, and though Terry doesn’t like to admit he’s gay, he is, and Mason realizes he may have found the man of his heart. Now, if only he can find the patience to let Terry come to that same conclusion and to let Terry make the moves he needs to get away from his mother.

In the meantime, Mason is dealing with Dane’s lifelong battle with manic depression—the reason Mason chose to live with Dane while Dane finishes college in a town far from their family. Mason assures that Dane stays on track with his meds, but when he goes off and his behaviors change, it comes at the worst time as Terry is finally making a move away from his mother but not cementing his relationship with Mason. The man finds the patience of a saint to continue to work with his brother and to allow Terry to spread his wings and fly. He can only hope and pray that he’ll find his way back to Mason.

Mason is one of my favorite characters, ever. I love the voice given to him by the narrator and the emotions imparted by the author. If anyone ever deserved love, it’s this smart, humble man with a sense of humor, a tendency to awkward conversations, and a heart as big as the great outdoors. Terry is the perfect companion to him and I love the way he developed as a character throughout the story. The deep voice given by Nick Russo was so individual and so right for the character as well. I’m very impressed with this audiobook version and I would highly recommend it. Though it’s book two, and the characters from book one play a minor role in this, it can definitely be read as a standalone.

The cover by Anne Cain is a simple design, yet manages to capture the three activities that dominate the outdoor summer fun experienced in the book: soccer, golf, and swimming. Simple, colorful and appropriate.

4.5 stars for the story plus an extra boost due to the outstanding narration = 5 stars for this one!

Sales Links

Dreamspinner Press |

Audiobook Details:

8 hrs 25 mins

Audible Audio

Published March 31st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published November 25th 2016)
Original TitleSummer Lessons
ASINB06XXMQ6N7
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesWinter Ball #2

An Alisa Review: Truth or Lie by Lynn Lorenz

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

Anthony Pappas has known since puberty he was gifted with a special gift due to his Greek ancestry. After all, he’s the descendant of Artemis and Socrates’ one night stand. It’s good, because he has a passion for teaching. It’s bad, because he can tell when someone is lying to him. As he’s matured, he’s realized his superpower is a relationship killer.

 

Everyone lies. And if they lie over the little things, like jobs, they’ll lie over the big things, like cheating. So he just hangs back, teaching elementary school, waiting for Mr. Tall, Dark and Honest. So far, it’s been a bust.

 

Travis Conner is just a dumb fire fighter, or at least it’s what he’s been told and he believes. He’s hated school his entire life, but one thing he does love is his nephew, Rusty, his sister’s kid. When Rusty begs him to come to school for Bring Your Dad to Work, Travis can’t say no, no matter how uncomfortable it makes him feel.

 

But when he gets there, and meets Anthony, Rusty’s sexy, but geeky teacher, he’s smitten. And for Anthony, Travis’ honesty and honor draw him to Travis like a magnet. Both men have stayed aloof, each for his own reason, but can their attraction pull them out of the shadows and into a relationship?

 

Can Travis be Anthony’s Mr. Honest and will Anthony still want Travis when he finds out he barely graduated high school? Both men have secrets, but when they get down and honest about them, will those secrets, especially Anthony’s gift, tear them apart?

 

This was a nice story.  Travis and Anthony have both been hurt in previous relationships and are a bit gun shy about getting involved with anyone.  Travis won’t make the first move because he can’t believe a teacher would want a dumb jock but all Anthony can see from their first meeting is how honest and caring Travis is.

 

I liked both Travis and Anthony in the general terms but it felt like they both kept doubting themselves and waiting for something bad to happen.  Travis is quick to jump to conclusions but after taking some time to think and talk to his sister and nephew he realizes that maybe he should be a bit more trusting.  They both came together rather quickly and resolve their one problem fast too.  I think it would have been nice to see them build up a solid relationship and not have everything work out so well so fast.

 

The cover art is nice and gives visuals of both of the characters.

 

Sales Links: Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 108 pages

Published: May 9, 2017 by Hartwood Publishing

Edition Language: English

DSP GUEST POST Laura Bailo on The Sun Still Rises

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The Sun Still Rises (World of Love) by Laura Bailo
D
reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Available at

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Laura Bailo here today to talk about writing, characters and her latest novel, The Sun Still Rises. Welcome, Laura!

~Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Laura Bailo~

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

I think there are always bits and pieces of the authors that bleed into their characters. Even when all I was writing were short stories, I could see this. What I write, my words, they’re like little windows into my soul, I always put a bit of myself there. In this case, Erik’s got my anxiety and David has got my love for Pamplona. They’re not me, I didn’t write myself into the book, but I created their personalities, and I think it’s normal a piece of mine slotted there along with theirs.

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

I’d say both, although I haven’t written anything that required a lot of research, at least not yet. In The Sun Still Rises, I wrote what I knew, since it’s set in my city and I’ve experienced the San Fermín festival more than once. I’ve never done the running of the bulls though, that part came completely from my imagination.

But I also enjoy making up worlds and different cultures. I started writing a fantasy story a while ago and I was loving writing it and playing with the world building. It’s on stand-by right now, but I do plan on getting back to it as soon as I can. 

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

I don’t think so, or at least, not directly. I read a lot when I was a teenager, and I read in every genre. I was reading Agatha Christie by the time I was twelve years old. But I was also reading Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and everything I could get my hands on. My mother loves reading, and she’s always loved mysteries, so I had quite a few to choose from. Still, to this day, I haven’t been tempted to write a mystery novel.

So my choice of genres didn’t really carry on into my choices for writing, but my love of reading did influence my love of writing.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

Absolutely. I love picking up a romance book and knowing the characters are going to end up together, despite all the curveballs life throws at them. It gives me hope.

As for a preference between them, I’d say it depends on the book. I love HEAs, but in some cases, a HFN suits the characters better, or their circumstances.

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

I didn’t read them as a teenager, although I always loved when there was a romantic element in the stories I was reading. I started reading romance just a few years ago, but from then on, I’ve been hooked and I just can’t stop. I still read other genres, but I always have a romance book in mind to start once I’ve finished my current read.

  • How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I don’t think I’ve got any specific feelings about the ebook format. Reading is reading, doesn’t matter to me how it’s done. I still love and buy paperbacks, but the ebook format has given me a whole world of new books I wouldn’t have access to otherwise. I live in Spain and mostly read in English, but finding physical books in English here in stores is kind of difficult, unless they’re either bestsellers or classics. The book format give me a lot of possibilities outside of what my usual stores have to offer, and I love that.

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

Are you sure you are allowed to ask this to an author? Isn’t it like asking a parent which one of their kids they love more?

I don’t think I’ve got a favorite, or at least not so far. I haven’t written enough stories to be able to tell you “I like this above all the others”. You can ask me again in a few years.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

Officially, I’ve contracted a short story with Nine Star Press for one of their F/F Paranormal anthologies. It’s about two girls that come to Spain to walk Saint James Way and find themselves in the middle of a Galician legend.

Besides that it’s just writing, writing and writing. I’m immersed in writing a story with two 17 years old MCs, one of whom is asexual while the other one is bisexual. I’m loving writing it and getting to know the characters and where they want to go, but I’m a slow writer, so we’ll have to wait until it’s finished. And then wait to see if anyone wants to publish it.

Blurb

Erik’s father lived for Pamplona’s yearly festival and the running of the bulls. Now he’s gone, and Erik flies to Pamplona on a whim to see the festival his father loved—without booking a room first. He’s looking at sleeping on the ground until friendly David from the tourism office offers to share his home.

When Erik realizes he trusts David, that he might even be willing to face his anxiety to get to know David better, he begins to understand what this trip could mean. Pamplona is even more beautiful when seen through David’s eyes, and Erik might have traveled around the world just to find himself. But can he hold on to his newfound confidence—and to David—when it’s time to go home?

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

About the Author

Laura Bailo is a veterinarian and a teacher in training who can do surgical sutures but can’t sew on a button to save her life. 

She lives in Spain with far too many books and boxes full of notebooks. She loves exploring the narrow streets of Pamplona and she’s known to have gotten lost in her own city. She loves reading, singing and trying out new cooking recipes, and if she’s feeling adventurous she may try to do all of these at the same time.

She loves hearing from people and you can find her at:

https://www.facebook.com/laura.bailo

https://twitter.com/LauraBailo

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16360938.Laura_Bailo

https://laurabailo.wordpress.com/

Release Audiobook Blitz for Isobel Starling ‘s As You Wish, Narrated by Gary Furlong

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Ebook Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Narrator: Gary Furlong
 
Length: 4hrs 9mins
 
Blurb
 

Declan Ramsay’s brother Oliver was marrying Annabelle Aiken at a fairytale castle on the banks of Loch Ness in Scotland. The bride and groom decided that Annabelle’s gay younger brother would share the best man duties with Declan. Declan had never met the kid who was to be his joint best man. Sam Aiken was abroad, working as an interpreter and finishing his studies. He wouldn’t meet Declan until a few days before the wedding, so the best men communicated and planned their speech by email for more than a year.


But on meeting Sam Aiken, Declan is surprised to realize the kid isn’t a kid at all, but a tall, blond, and athletic young man. Declan is sure he’s straight, so he’s alarmed by the ferocious attraction he feels for Sam. And as the attraction is reciprocated, the events at Dunloch Castle change everything Declan has ever believed about himself.


But, is Samuel Aiken all that he appears to be?

Author Bio
 

Born in Germany, Isobel Starling spent most of her twenty-year professional career making art in Ireland. She relocated to the UK and, faced with the dreaded artist’s creative block, Isobel started to write and found she loved writing more than making art.


The ‘Shatterproof Bond’ series is an Amazon Gay Romance bestseller. Isobel has just completed her eleventh book and signed French and German and Italian, translation and publishing rights deals for the whole Shatterproof Bond series. The ‘As You Wish’ translation “Comme Vous Voudrez” is a best seller on Amazon France. It was released in German in March 2017, and as an audiobook in May 2017.


Isobel’s greatest love is writing M/M relationships, and she hopes one day to actually finish the fantasy novel that she put ‘to rest’ three years ago.

 Giveaway

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In the Spotlight: Frozen Heart (Love Lessons #1.5) by Heidi Cullinan (giveaway)

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Frozen Heart (Love Lessons #1.5) by Heidi Cullinan
Cover Artist: Kanaxa

 

FULL BLURB:

Proposals don’t come with instructions.

Walter Lucas knows his boyfriend has been looking forward to the newest movie about a certain snow princess, but he isn’t prepared for the reality that is the front-row seat of Kelly Davidson’s cartoon obsession. There’s more going on in November than just the movie, however—Walter’s been working up the nerve to ask Kelly a certain question. When Walter set up his elaborate Thanksgiving marriage proposal, it seemed like such a good idea, but as the holiday, the movie premiere, and the question Walter never dreamt he’d be asking anyone converge…let’s just say even Hollywood’s best couldn’t sing and dance their way out of Walter’s tangle.

Buy links: Amazon USAmazon UKBarnes & NobleiTunesKobo, Tolino, Smashwords

RELEASE DATE: May 23, 2017

Original free edition release date December 25, 2013

Format: Short Story • Genre: Contemporary New Adult Romance • Length: 9,000 words

Publisher: Heidi Cullinan

Cover Artist: Kanaxa

ISBN: 978-1-945116-02-5

Series: Love Lessons #1.5

Characters: Walter Lucas, Kelly Davidson

 

About the Author

Heidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, playing with her cats, and watching television with her family. Find out more about Heidi at heidicullinan.com.

INTERLUDE PRESS TOUR for And It Came to Pass by Laura Stone (author interview,excerpts and giveaway)

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And It Came to Pass by Laura Stone
I
nterlude Press

 

Purchase Links
 

 

AND IT CAME TO PASS by Laura Stone

Today Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is very lucky to be interviewing Laura Stone, author of And It Came to Pass.

Hi Laura, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Hello, hello! I’m thrilled to be here. Thank you so much for hosting me on my book tour for And It Came to Pass! This is my third novel with Interlude Press, and I just want to gush over the cover for a moment. When the book designer sent me a proof I honestly choked up. It’s everything I could have wanted. Growing up LDS (Mormon), the church’s logo on grey granite was everywhere, on our church buildings and temples, on our books and lesson guides, and the cover serves as a sort of “calling card” for other members or even ex-members to know what the book’s subject is. Sorry for detouring for a bit, but I just wanted to make sure that CB Messer, who designed the cover, gets a little shoutout.

This novel started off almost ten years ago as a short story I’d written for a cousin who was deeply in the closet because of his father. My family is Mormon—Handcart and pioneer Mormon—and the Mormon church is not okay with acting on “homosexual feelings.” (Don’t get me started on their stance regarding transpeople, or I’ll rant and rave.) The idea in the Mormon church is that you must be straight and have children. Or, you know, at least live that way if you’re not. They went so far as to state in November of 2015 that if any members are gay, they can’t act on it. Not ever. And if you have children and are gay, your children cannot be baptized as members of the church unless they renounce you after they become adults.

It’s been pretty devastating for many church members, as you can imagine. Unfortunately, it’s also led to an absolutely frightening spike in LGBTQ suicides, and the youth are particularly vulnerable to a sense of hopelessness and wrongness. Utah currently has four times the number of suicides than anywhere else in the nation, a fact that utterly breaks my heart.

I think we all agree here that love is love is love. It was important for me to write this book to serve as a beacon of hope for the many LGBTQ Mormons out there who have yet to see themselves with a happy ending or even a hopeful one. It was crucial for me to include a family who takes their son’s coming out in stride and stands behind him. As the mother of three LGBT kids, I’ve seen first-hand how damaging it is for the opposite to happen. (And if I may, I’m just so proud of my kids. They’ve given me the courage to come out, myself.)

We need diverse books, as we all know, and that includes books that show that there are those in LGBT communities who have belief in a higher power and who also have full romantic and sexual lives with a partner. It’s not crucial that you’re Mormon to understand and engage with the story, but there’s is a world that often lives in secrecy… in many ways.

I hope you’ll take a chance and follow Adam Young and Brandon Christensen on their journey to becoming their true selves: Young men of God, gay, and in love.

Summary

Adam Young is a devout Mormon whose life is all planned out for him, by both his strict father and by his church. He follows the path they’ve established for him, including going off to his mission to Spain with mission companion Brandon Christensen—a handsome, enthusiastic practitioner of Mormonism. But as their mission progresses, they both realize they have major questions about their faith… and substantial feelings for one another.

AND IT CAME TO PASS ~ EXCERPT

“You’re quiet back there,” the Mission President said, catching Adam’s gaze in the rearview mirror. “Tired?”

“A little,” Adam answered. “Mostly it’s just…” He nodded out the window. “Overwhelmed by it, I guess?”

“It’s a beautiful country. Beautiful people, too. Family-oriented, like we are. These should be two of the best years of your life, son.”

Adam smiled weakly and sank back into his seat as the two men up front continued their discussion all the transfers happening in various districts. He pushed his fist into his churning belly and strained to see the ocean as they wove through traffic.

All of his life, his friends, family and church leaders had spoken of how amazing this moment would be, how life-changing this experience was for those who answered the call to serve. His friends had been laser-focused on how much they were looking forward to becoming missionaries; Adam had always smiled and nodded but never with the same zeal. Over and over returned missionaries spoke with passion about how they were overcome with emotion the first time they heard the thousands of missionaries at the MTC singing “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission” in unison. For Adam, that experience had just been a reminder that there was something wrong with him, because instead of feeling overwhelmed with the Spirit, he’d felt like a failure for not.

* * *

As Christensen walked behind Adam to switch on the clippers, Adam shivered, closed his eyes and tried to stop the repetitive battle between thoughts of how this was wrong versus how desperately he wanted Christensen to get on with it. He wanted something to happen.
All thoughts were driven out when Christensen laid a strong, firm hand between his shoulder blades to hold Adam still while he worked. Everything, every thought and feeling, and heck, the very universe was centered on those minuscule points of contact between Christensen’s hand and Adam’s bared skin. Adam chanced a look after a while but shut his eyes again when he was confronted with his companion squatting directly in front of him, squinting at Adam’s sideburns to ensure they were the same length. Christensen’s breath moved over Adam’s lips, they were so close. He kept his eyes screwed shut; his heart beat a wild tattoo in his aching chest.

Christensen’s hand suddenly cupped the side of Adam’s neck, and, at the shocking sensation of a thumb sweeping softly over Adam’s pulse point, he let out a tiny gasp.
“Oh, my gosh,” Christensen said, his voice worried. “Did I nick you?” “Hmm? Oh, no, no, sorry. It’s fine. You’re fine.” Christensen laughed. His voice was still soft as he teased, “Oh! So, you’re just afraid I’m doing a bad job?” “N-no?” “Then relax. You look like you expect me to punch you.” He patted Adam’s shoulder and gave him a squeeze. “Just need to taper this bit in the back and you’re all done.” Christensen rubbed the palm of his hand over Adam’s head to dislodge any hairs. The friction centered itself in Adam’s skull, radiated in sensual ripples down his spine, then settled low with a pulse to match Adam’s heartbeat when Christensen leaned over to blow a few pale blond strays off the backs of his ears. Adam’s skin stippled with goose bumps. Was he imagining it? Was Christensen making an extra effort to get things just right, making sure every possible stray hair was carefully blown away or brushed off his neck and shoulders with the flat of his hand, merely in order to keep touching Adam? Or did Adam just hope so?

* * *

They pulled up to a low-slung, nondescript building in what appeared to be the business district. The Mormon Church usually bought apartment buildings in lower-rent areas for their missionaries to live in, so it was about what Adam had expected. It was nicer than some of the run-down apartment buildings in the older part of Provo, for sure. He climbed out with his backpack and duffel bag and blinked up at the bright blue sky; the spring sun was warm on his face. The driver grabbed Adam’s rolling suitcase from the trunk, handed it off and gave him a nod and a “buena suerte” before climbing back in the vehicle.

He’d always envisioned traveling his mission city on a bike—the stereotypical Mormon Missionary image—but they didn’t ride bikes in the Barcelona mission. A bicycle was too dangerous and cumbersome. He and his companion would walk almost everywhere, and he’d been told to be prepared to walk up to twelve miles a day, all in their suits and dress shoes.

The Mission President shook his hand curbside. “Well, welcome to Barcelona. Christensen will fill you in. We’ll touch base tonight, Elder. Do your best.”

“Yes, sir.”

Adam watched as the car pulled away, then jostled his gear in his arms just as the front door swung open, revealing a large, well-formed young man. He was about the same muscular build as Adam’s six-foot-two inches, except instead of Adam’s baby-fine blond hair and skin so fair his cheeks were perpetually ruddy, the new guy had inky black hair and deeply tanned skin. He almost looked Spanish himself. He was visually arresting and had an aura of confidence; his resting face radiated joy and optimism instead of the sanctimonious authoritarianism Adam had anticipated.
¡Holá!” the young man said with a bright grin on his face that made Adam’s stomach twist in a completely new way. It was all so unexpected to find… this waiting for him. Adam had imagined a younger version of his father, a ham-fisted tyrant with the aura of perfect obedience pouring off him in waves—a far cry from this young man’s happy, relaxed charm.

“So, I’m Elder Christensen. Eh, but you can call me Brandon when it’s just us.” Christensen took Adam’s duffel, hoisting it with ease, and they shook hands. “You’re Young, right?” Adam found himself tongue-tied, then managed to blurt, “Um, yeah. Yes.” When their hands met, an electric shock ran up his arm and straight to his fast-beating heart. He dropped Christensen’s hand and fumbled for his other bag. Christensen jerked his head toward the building and led the way through the interior courtyard to their apartment.

Blinking away the after-image of his new companion’s smile, Adam snapped his eyes to just over Christensen’s shoulder. This had happened once before, this intense reaction to another person. Adam, after careful and fearful prayer had attributed it to a prompting from the Spirit, to the strength of the other man’s faith making itself manifest. His prayer and scripture study led him to understand that it was how God helped His followers find each other. Church history was full of stories like that. In fact, it was how people described their first meeting with Joseph Smith, the Church’s founder and prophet.

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And It Came to Pass will be published by Interlude Press on May 18, 2017. Connect with author Laura Stone at laura-stone.com; on Twitter @StoneyBoBoney; and on Facebook at facebook.com/9LauraStone.

About the Author

Laura Stone, a descendant of pioneer polygamists from the early days of the Mormon Church and a former Gospel Doctrine teacher, now keeps busy as a media blogger, ghostwriter and novelist when she’s not raising her youngest child.

While the majority of her family still lives in Utah, she resides in Texas because it’s where the good tamales are. Her first novel, The Bones of You, was published by Interlude Press in 2014 and was named a finalist for a Foreword Reviews IndieFab Book of the Year Award. Her second novel,  Bitter Springs, was published by Interlude Press in 2015.

* * *

And It Came to Pass will be published by Interlude Press on May 18, 2017. Connect with author Laura Stone at laura-stone.com; on Twitter @StoneyBoBoney; and on Facebook at facebook.com/9LauraStone.

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