A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Sink or Swim (Anchor Point #8) by L.A. Witt


Rating: 5 stars out of 5

I must say I was very pleasantly surprised by this story. I’ve followed the series and have only given one other book in the series 5 stars, but this one is certainly worthy of my highest rating.

Was it the characters? The topic? The setting? The insight into Naval operations? I think it may have simply been the combination of all of the above. Certainly, these two men are among my favorite MCs and most definitely make an outstanding couple.

Chaplain Dylan Pedersen has recently left his partner of eight years—his very emotionally abusive ex-partner—one who wants him back and is using Dylan’s family and friends to persuade Dylan to come back. When Alhazar Bukhari, a civilian electrician contractor, comes to the chapel to ask for space to store his mat and Q’uran, the two are immediately attracted, but it’s not until they find out that they are both gay that they act on that attraction. And when they do? It’s one of those explosive up-against-the-wall sex scenes that this author does so well.

The thing I liked best about this story is that while there are indeed some mighty hot times between the sheets, there’s so much substance to the relationship development of the two men. And there’s more to the story. Alhazar’s son is gay and has a steady boyfriend, though both are still in high school. We learn of his culture, his prayer times with both children, his unusual past marriage to his best friend who is a lesbian and served in the Navy at the same time as Alhazar. We witness his fear over telling his parents, even though he’s over forty-years-old. And we see what a good friend he is to his coworker, Kimber Fraser, whose dad is Clint Fraser from Afraid to Fly. Kimber is suffering from harassment from her fellow male employees and though the author explores the subject and clearly shows the stress Kimber is under, at no time did I feel I was being lectured or that Kimber’s concerns were minor.

In response to the recent concerns brought to him by LGBTQ men and women as he counsels them in his capacity as chaplain, Dylan organizes an LGBTQ support group for those working at the base and for parents of LGBTQ children. Helped by Alhazar and others we’ve met in the past, including Mark and Diego from Once Burned, the response to the group is overwhelming, leaving Dylan happy and proud. Naturally, shortly after that, he has a face-to-face confrontation with his ex, and Alhazar’s presence complicates Dylan’s attempt to stand up to his abuser. It’s not until he officiates at the wedding ceremony for Diego and Mark that Dylan faces his own needs and realizes he’s had happiness within his grasp all along but walked away from it.

Thankfully, our guys get their HEA, and as a reader, I feel that I’ve gotten so much more than simple pleasure from a well-told story. I learned more about the needs of sailors and their family members and the issues that come up during deployment. Also, I learned more about the Muslim religion from this one story than from any other single source.

I can happily say kudos to LA Witt for bringing this story to life and I very highly recommend it.


Cover art: L.C. Chase.  It’s a gorgeous rendering of the male torso and works within the series covers as well.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 340 pages
Published July 16th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleSink or Swim
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesAnchor Point #8

A Caryn Review Daisy, Yellow (Paw Prints #1) by Angelique Jurd


Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Who can resist a cute little puppy?  Turns out, no one in this story, which is as it should be!  Dog lovers will really enjoy this book, not only because Daisy figures prominently throughout, but also because of all the dog themed humor.  Not over the top, but just right for a vet and a city boy who just moved to the farm.

Noah Jenkins is an engineering consultant in Chicago who had just gone through a humiliating breakup when his grandfather died and left him a farm in rural Newton, Illinois.  Leaving the city to get away from his ex seemed like a perfect plan, and since his work was primarily on-line, he was able to move immediately.  He didn’t know a thing about farming, but thought he would just figure it out as he went along.  He bought a puppy – another completely new experience – and jumped right in.

One of his first days out, Daisy got bit, and Noah rushed her to the local vet.  He was convinced it was a snake bite, was embarrassed to find out it was just a bee sting, but it was a perfect meet-cute for Noah and Hunter Ross, veterinarian.  Newton is a small town, so they inevitably met up later, and although Hunter was a little awkward, they bonded over Daisy and became friends, and shortly afterwards, lovers.  But Newton was more than just a little conservative, and Hunter was still haunted by the memory of a local man beaten and run out of town for being gay, so he was as deep in the closet as he could get.

It’s been a while since I read a contemporary romance with this level of homophobia, but I thought the author sold it well.  Even as I got frustrated with Hunter’s reluctance to acknowledge his relationship with Noah to the safe people in town, I understood why he held back.  The pace of their relationship also seemed just right for their situation, and Noah’s reasons for holding back were also explained in a way that were consistent with who he was, and how he acted with other people in his life.  The secondary characters rounded the story out well, and had their own wisdom to add.  I thought the dialogue was great – they joked, they bantered, and it was funny and entertaining without being fake, and I thought it would be fun to hang out with these guys.  I loved it when Hunter teased Noah by using  the same language with him that he did with Daisy!

I would have given the book a higher rating except for a few things.  First, the book is written in present tense, which I absolutely hate and which usually makes me DNF a book.  Present tense is annoying and feels artificial, and all I can say is that at least I stuck it out because the story itself was really cute; change the tense throughout the entire book and it goes up one whole star.  Second, the ending seemed rushed and incomplete.  I was expecting the violence, but Noah’s and Hunter’s reaction to it didn’t seem quite right and I wanted more explanation of how they felt and why they decided to do what they did, but then the story was just over.  It felt like the entire book was building up to a HEA, but the author just stopped midway to make it HFN and possibly make a sequel.  There was no satisfactory wrap up to the plot (or at least to the character’s feelings about the events), but also there was nothing that made me think I have to read the next book.  It felt like the author had a story arc for one book, but decided to drag it out into a series or something.  So, overall it was cute, but nothing to make me want to read it again.

Cover by May Dawney Designs is adorable

Sales Links:

Amazon US  

Amazon UK 


Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 177 pages
Published June 23rd 2018 by Small Black Cat Media
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesPaw Prints #1 settingIllinois (United States)

A Lila Review: The Merchant’s Love (Chronicles of Tournai #6) by Antonia Aquilante


Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Faelen, cousin to the prince and son of a diplomat, has finally come home to Tournai after years away. The pull to return was almost tangible, and the sense of rightness at being back is absolute. He wants nothing more than to put down roots and build a life among family while pursuing his linguistic studies. Becoming involved in magic meant to protect Tournai isn’t part of his plans…but falling in love is even more unexpected and unfamiliar, but he finds himself doing just that as his friendship with Maxen deepens into something more.

Maxen, second son of a wealthy merchant family, longs to leave Tournai and see everywhere he can. All his life, he’s found places on maps and dreamed, planning out routes to get to them. For now, he’s tied to Tournai’s capital city by family obligations and his position in their shipping business. Someday, though, he’ll be able to travel. His sudden attraction to Faelen shocks him, but their friendship soon becomes a necessary part of his life. Love, however, has no place in his plans, especially not love for a royal cousin with secrets who wants nothing more than to stay in one place.

For Faelen and Maxen to build something real between them, they must resolve their differences, but when magic goes awry and all Faelen’s secrets are revealed, will Maxen remain at his side?

The Merchant’s Love brings us back to Tournai for another sweet love story. We knew about Maxen and Faelen from previous books. In their story, we get a chance to learn more about them individually and as a couple. I enjoyed the amount of time the author spent making them three-dimensional characters with more to offer than their looks and connections.

The way the characters took their time getting to know each other worked well with the plot. I wished they have continued their writing and courting for a little longer. The tidbits of information they shared were endearing and gave us a glimpse to what their hopes and dreams were. Those also played a roll disturbing their blossoming relationship. The side if humor was an added bonus.

The amount of detail in the story goes beyond the main characters. We get updates from other couples and information about the country and the overall series plot. I’m not sure how many more books the author has planned, but I hope it’s a couple of them. There’s so much more about Tournai and its people I would love to learn.

The cover by Natasha Snow matches the previous book in the series. Perhaps too modern for my idea of Tournai but it works with the story setting.

Sale Links: NineStar Amazon | Nook

Book Details:

ebook, 343 pages
Published: June 18, 2018, by NineStar Press
ISBN: 9781948608831
Edition Language: English

Series:  Chronicles of Tournai
Book #1: The Prince’s Consort
Book #2: The Artist’s Masquerade
Book #3: The Scholar’s Heart
Book #4: The Sorcerer’s Guardian
Book #5: The Dragon’s Devotion 
Book #6: The Merchant’s Love

Fantasy Spotlight on Incubus Honeymoon (Arcana Imperii #1) by August Li (guest blog )


Incubus Honeymoon (Arcana Imperii #1) by August Li

DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Blake Dorner

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with August Li

Trans and Enby Characters, Own Voices, and the Challenges Therein

I’ve written a lot of blog posts to promote this book. I was happy to see Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words offered a series of interview questions and that I wouldn’t have to think up an entire subject on my own. The interview starts with the statement “You can answer any or all of the questions.”

I only ended up answering one. You’ll see why.

How much of yourself goes into a character?

Quick answer: it depends. Empathy aside, a writer really has to draw on their own experiences, and if not specific experiences, then similar emotional events. Everyone has love, loss, frustration, and inspiration to draw from. A writer doesn’t need to deal with exactly what the character does if they can find a time when the emotional impact was similar. That and some research is usually plenty.

The easiest characters are those closest to me in personality—in this book, Dante with his anger at the world’s inequity and injustice, coupled with a sense of futility, that nothing he can personally do will fix anything, came easily from my feelings about the world at the moment. I also work hard to make sure the nonhuman characters exhibit motivations that set them apart, so the differences are more than cosmetic.

But the truth is one of the characters in this book is more personal to me than probably any I’ve yet written.

I’ve always been very open about being trans, and I’ve even, to an extent, documented some of my physical transition. Yet it’s been many years now since I came out, but I’ve never used my Own Voice and written a trans or nonbinary character until now. Why?

One thing that made me hesitate is that I don’t necessarily want to shape people’s notions of trans and nonbinary people, and maybe especially not with this character. Jet can be kind of nasty. Jet uses their skills to harm people they don’t like or don’t agree with, rather than trying to understand those people or come to any kind of an understanding. While not a bitter or unhappy person, Jet is defined by what they hate—granted, that’s tyranny, racism, inequality, etc.—more than by what they love. Jet does not go high. Jet is not opposed to the use of force. Jet smokes a lot of weed and has a lot of sex with whoever strikes their fancy. Altogether, a hell of an introduction to a nonbinary person for those who have never met one in real life or fiction. I wondered if I was doing the right thing. I debated on making Jet a cis person or toning down their more… controversial actions. But I couldn’t do it. Jet IS a nonbinary person; Jet IS a resistance fighter and one who thinks the ends justify the means. Jet likes to stir up shit and fuck with people. Remove any of these characteristics, and they are a different person. And in my opinion, they’d have suffered a tremendous loss. I’m curious how others feel about writing underrepresented characters who are morally ambiguous.

I also didn’t want to use it as a crutch. There are almost as many gay romances as straight at this point, and it’s hard to stand out amongst them. God knows it’s hard to stand out in mainstream fantasy. Trans and nonbinary characters are starting to get more attention—finally; yay!—but it’s still a much smaller pool. And it’s easier to be a bigger fish in a smaller pool. I really didn’t want that. I didn’t want my book to get attention just because there’s a nonbinary and an asexual character; the book and the characters mean too much to me. The solution to that was a simple, though brutal, one: I made sure this was the best book I could possibly write. I did everything in my power to construct a world and a plot that would compel readers, that is hopefully complex but not confusing. I revised and revised, weighing each word. My editorial team helped a lot too. A lot. Bottom line, I wanted to write a damn good urban fantasy. Some of the characters are queer. While that matters, I don’t want it to qualify the previous statement. I hope I’ve succeeded in what I set out to do.

Finally, and this is probably going to get a little personal, so if you’d rather skip to the blurb or ogle that gorgeous cover art by Blake Dorner, no foul. I won’t go into a lot of detail, but there’s some pain tied up with all of this for me. Since I came out as trans, I’ve lost people. People who I thought would always have my back turned against me. I wasn’t allowed to visit my grandfather before he died, and I won’t get to see my grandmother either. But on the other hand, I have a publisher, Dreamspinner Press, who changed my name on my entire backlist without me even asking. I have a community of friends who helped me raise money for surgery. I’ve met the person I hope to spend the rest of my life with. Still, it was scary to come out, and using my Own Voice and writing a trans character was similarly scary. It brought back some of the bad. But it brought back a lot of the good too, and I can’t wait to write more trans and nonbinary characters. As a reader, do you like reading about these characters? What are some of your favorite books featuring them?

Book Blurb:

As the so-called magical creatures go, I’m low on the hierarchy, and my powers aren’t much good to human mages. I’m a lover, not a fighter, through and through. I’m also selfish, lazy, and easily bored. But I’m damned good at what I do.

Too bad that won’t get my arse out of this sling.

Do one—granted, uncharacteristic—good deed, and now I’m held hostage to an arrogant faerie prince, trying to track down the one who summoned him while dodging gangbangers, gun runners, and Nazis. Add the powerful mage guilds scrambling to gather firepower for some doomsday event they’re sure is around the corner, and my cushy life of leisure might be nothing but a memory. On top of that, something’s compelling me to change on my most fundamental level. I’m not sure what I’ve got myself mixed up in, but nothing will ever be the same.

Bloody hell.


Featuring a new twist on urban fantasy combined with fast-paced action and intrigue, the Arcana Imperii series books are standalone adventures, each completely accessible to new readers.

About the Author

August Li plays every game as a mage. He thinks the closest thing to magic outside of games and fantasy is to bring things into existence from nothing, which he does in words and images. As a proud trans man, he hopes to bring diversity and representation to all those who want to see themselves in the art and stories they enjoy. He’s a perfectionist, travel enthusiast, and caffeine addict.

Gus makes his home on the coast of South Carolina, where he spends his days in search of merpeople, friendly cats, and interesting pieces of driftwood. He collects ball-jointed dolls, tattoos, and languages. He believes in faeries and thinks they’re terrifying… but still wants to meet one.


DSP Publications


Social media links:





Fox-Hat’s Den on Facebook

Hudson Lin on Writing and the new release Three Months to Forever (guest blog)


Three Months to Forever (World of Love) by Hudson Lin

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon


Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Hudson Lin

Hi! I’m Hudson Lin and this is the blog tour for Three Months to Forever. Read on for some of my thoughts on writing, what I’m working on now, and the blurb for my new novel!

  • How much of yourself goes into a character?

A lot and not very much at all. I always put a little something of myself into my characters, usually some sort of neurosis that plays into the character’s personality and affects the choices they make. So while the characters are unlike me in most ways, the little bit that is similar ends up becoming an important part of how they think and what they believe about themselves.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

HEAs and HFNs are one reason why I love romance. I can always count on a satisfying and happy ending. In fact, when I read non-romance books, I often get anxious half-way through the book, because what if the book doesn’t end happy?!

However, I seem to have different definitions of HEA and HFN than most people. To me, an HEA is when two people admit they love each other and committed to their relationship. This doesn’t have to mean marriage because marriage isn’t always the right choice for everyone. Also, just because two people get married doesn’t mean the relationship won’t fall apart later and result in divorce. So as long as the characters have committed to each other, I consider that an HEA.

  • If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

No, I don’t believe a character can be too real or have too many faults. In fact, I prefer characters who are deeply flawed and stories that show they can still find love. To think otherwise is to believe that there are people in the world who are beyond loving, who are so broken that they do not deserve love. This is antithesis to the core principle of romance. Everyone deserves to be loved—no matter how flawed and broken they are. 

  • Have you ever had an issue in RL and worked it through by writing it out in a story?  Maybe how you thought you’d feel in a situation?

Yes! In fact, one of the first stories I posted online for free is a story about a Catholic priest who struggles with being gay. Having grown up in a very religious environment myself, I’d spent a lot of time reconciling what the Bible teaches about homosexuality with my own experience with homosexuality. What resulted was Stepping Out in Faith, where I wrote onto the page how I was able to come to terms with two seemingly conflicting world views.

  • With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away? To move past? To wide our knowledge? Why do you write?

I write for a number of reasons: to lose myself in a world where there is always a happy ending, to process questions and issues I’ve been struggling with, to recreate the real world in a better form. It’s important to me to reflect the real world in the stories I write, not only to ground the story in reality, but also to give hope that no matter how awful things are in real life, there is potential for better.

  • What’s next for you as an author?

My latest release is Three Months to Forever (out on July 20th from Dreamspinner Press) about Ben, a white man who is sent from Toronto to Hong Kong on a three-month work assignment. He meets Sai, an older Hong Kong lawyer, who has a complicated relationship with his father and his work. They quickly fall in love, despite several lost-in-translation moments, but what will they do when Ben’s three months come to an end? Set in Hong Kong, Three Months to Forever is as much a love story about the city as it is a romance about two men. Readers can expect lots of references to cultural landmarks and plenty of food!

Following Three Months to Forever, I’ve got several other stories in the works (though no set release dates), including an m/m romance set in LA about a Dreamer and his law school classmate; an m/f romance set in Toronto about former law school rivals who find themselves on opposite sides of a new case; and an f/f romance featuring Izzy from my previous book Inside Darkness.

Three Months to Forever releases on July 20th!

Three Months to Forever Blurb

Ben is looking for an adventure when he accepts a temporary assignment in Hong Kong, but he never anticipated how his life might change when he meets a sophisticated older man named Sai. Their initial attraction is sizzling and soon grows into more as Sai takes Ben on a tour of the city’s famous landmarks and introduces him to the local cuisine. Sai stimulates Ben’s intellect and curiosity, and for jaded corporate lawyer Sai, Ben’s innocent eagerness is a breath of fresh air. It would be so easy to fall in love….

But nothing is that simple. Sai’s job forces him to do things that violate his morals, and his relationship with his family is a major obstacle to any lasting relationship with Ben. Back in Toronto, Ben’s father is ill, and can he really leave behind his home for a man he’s only known for a short time? With the clock ticking, they must decide whether to risk it all and turn three months into forever.

About Hudson Lin

Hudson Lin was raised by conservative immigrant parents and grew up straddling two cultures with ofttimes conflicting perspectives on life. Instead of conforming to either, she has sought to find a third way that brings together the positive elements of both.

Having spent much of her life on the outside looking in, Hudson likes to write stories about outsiders who fight to carve out their place in society, and overcome everyday challenges to find love and happily ever afters.

When not engrossed in a story, Hudson knits, drinks tea, and works the 9 to 5 in the beautiful city of Toronto, Canada.

Social Media Links

Website: hudsonlin.com

Twitter: @hudsonlinwrites

Facebook: facebook.com/hudsonlinwrites

Goodreads: goodreads.com/hudsonlinwrites

JL Merrow on May-December Romance and the latest release ‘Camwolf’ (guest post and giveaway)


Camwolf (Camwolf) by J.L. Merrow

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art:

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host JL Merrow here today talking about her latest release at Dreamspinner Press, Camwolf.  Welcome, JL.

May-December Romance

Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m delighted to be here today as part of the blog tour to celebrate the release of Camwolf, my student/teacher werewolf romance set in my alma mater, Cambridge University.

To call Camwolf a May-December romance is perhaps slightly misleading. If we take the average male lifespan in the UK to be 79* then with Julian aged 19 and Nick aged 31, it’s more of an end-of-February/middle of April romance. But then that doesn’t quite trip off the tongue so well.

Age gaps have, historically, often been a feature of male/male relationships. Under the ancient Greek erastes/eromenos model, age gaps were expected: the whole point was for an experienced older man to take a younger man under his wing and show him the ropes**. Relationships between men of equal age were positively frowned-upon.

Studies have found that gay men are around three times as likely as straight couples to have a relationship with an age gap of 10 years or more. This is not to say, however, that they don’t face negative attitudes from their peers. The older partner can face criticism and assumptions he’s paying for the company, and the younger man may be told he’s got daddy issues and could do better.

Why, then, are age gap relationships so prevalent? Perhaps it’s because, once you’ve gone against perceived societal norms by coming out as gay, having an older/younger partner isn’t such a big deal. And it’s been suggested that some younger men seek out an older partner for much the same reasons as the ancient Greeks: when you’re growing up with a different sexuality from the majority of those around you, it can be reassuring to be with someone who’s been through it all before.

Ageism certainly hasn’t stopped celebrity couples such as Tom Daly and Dustin Lance Black (20 years age gap); Stephen Fry and Elliott Spencer (30 years); and Elton John and David Furnish (15 years) from getting hitched. And an age gap is no barrier to a relationship’s longevity: Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy (30 years gap) were together for 33 years, until Isherwood’s death. Noel Coward and Graham Payne (19 years) were together for a similar timespan, until Coward’s death. 

It all goes to show that love is love, and as long as both parties are consenting adults, shouldn’t we let them be the judge of what works in their relationship?

What I particularly enjoyed about writing Nick and Julian’s romance was the way their roles reverse from what might be expected. Yes, Julian is a student at Cambridge University, and Nick is a lecturer as well as the older partner, but on the subject of being a werewolf, it’s Julian who is the more experienced one. It’s Julian who has to teach Nick how to deal with his altered state—despite the fact that Nick is an alpha wolf, and Julian an omega.

In the circumstances, it’s perhaps not surprising that Nick struggles more than a little.

And that’s before a certain figure from Julian’s past turns up to set the wolf among the pigeons.

*Three years longer than in the US, apparently. But two years less than Switzerland. Moral: eat more chocolate; it’s good for you.

**Assuming they were into that kind of thing.


A race to save his lover—by becoming his own worst nightmare.

Dr. Nick Sewell has it all. Good friends, a career as a Cambridge academic… and recently, a tendency to turn into a wolf every full moon.  When a new student arrives from Germany, Nick is horrified by his visceral attraction to the troubled youth—not to mention his violent jealousy when he sees Julian with another man. He’s floored to find out Julian is a werewolf too.

Unlike Nick, Julian has spent his life among other wolves, and in this subject, he’s the teacher and Nick the student. Nick struggles to adjust to this reversal of roles, especially since he’s an alpha and Julian a natural submissive. That dynamic just adds to the attraction smoldering between them, whether they’re in human form or wolf.

But Julian’s pack and the abuse he suffered isn’t far behind him, and it wants to reclaim him. For Nick to hold on to his lover, he’ll have to embrace the monster within.

Question: Book rec time: what’s your favourite May/December or student/teacher romance?

Giveaway: I’m offering a prize of a $10 Dreamspinner Press gift certificate to one lucky commenter on the tour, who will be randomly chosen on Wednesday 25th July. Good luck!

Available in ebook and paperback from Dreamspinner Press

Camwolf was previously published by Samhain, but has been completely re-edited and given a lovely new cover for this second edition by Dreamspinner Press.

About the Author

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea.  She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. 

She writes (mostly) contemporary gay romance and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour.  Two of her novels have won Rainbow Awards for Romantic Comedy (Slam!, 2013 and Spun!, 2017) and several of her books have been EPIC Awards finalists, including Muscling Through, Relief Valve (the Plumber’s Mate Mysteries) and To Love a Traitor.

JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Crime Writers Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Find JL Merrow online at: https://jlmerrow.com/, on Twitter as @jlmerrow, and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jl.merrow

BOOK BLAST – Daisy, Yellow by Angelique Jurd



Book Title:  Daisy, Yellow

Author: Angelique Jurd

Publisher: Small Black Cat Media

Cover Artist: May Dawney Designs

Genre/s:  Contemporary Gay Romance

Length: 177 pages

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  

Amazon UK 


Just months after breaking up with his boyfriend, Noah Jenkins inherits his grandfather’s farm and he decides it’s time for a change of scenery. He packs his bags, buys a dog, and moves onto the property. When his Labrador puppy Daisy gets hurt he meets local vet Hunter Ross and life starts to look interesting again. 

Hunter Ross has always lived in small, conservative Newton, in rural Illinois. At 39 he’s never been in love and never had a lover and may have neglected to tell anyone he’s close to that he’s gay. It’s never been a problem – until Daisy, Yellow and her owner, Noah, show up. 

Is Noah’s love enough for Hunter to risk everything? Does Hunter have the strength to make the hardest choices he’ll ever make and survive?


The great thing about small towns it turns out is that delivery is free and it’s quick. His new furniture will arrive tomorrow morning, which gives him time to get the living room ready. The parking lot in front of the clinic is empty but Noah can see Hunter’s truck parked further back and, on a whim, he follows the driveway down. He parks, unbuckles Daisy from her harness, and clips her leash on before he gets out of the car. When he turns around, Hunter is leaning against the doorway, wearing low slung jeans and a threadbare tee-shirt, arms crossed over his chest.


“Hi,” Noah croaks. His mouth and throat have gone dry and when Daisy pulls the leash free from his grasp, he barely notices. Hunter pushes the screen door open with a bare foot and she rushes inside.

“Shit, sorry!” He leaps after her, but Hunter doesn’t seem concerned, only amused.

From the depths of the house comes a volley of high pitched barks followed by an angry hiss.

“Sounds like she’s found Rosie.”

Noah trails behind him as Hunter goes inside, taking in his surroundings as walks. The cluttered living room is small with plain, simple furnishings in faded colors. In contrast, Noah notices, the sounds system, hooked to a laptop and a flat screen television, is state of the art. In the middle of the room stands the cat from the clinic, back arched and tail puffed up. Daisy bounces forward with a yip only to be met by a grey and white paw that smacks her nose three times in quick succession and sends her scuttling back to Noah with a yelp and a whimper.

As he picks her up he spots two scratches across her nose, both beading with blood.

“Hey, your cat scratched my pup.”

“Your pup tried to chase my cat.”

Annoyed, Noah clutches Daisy to his chest and braces his shoulders. She’s bleeding.

“You should control her better.”

The statement is met by laughter. That he likes the sound of it annoys Noah even more than the laughter itself.

“She’s a cat. How do you propose I control her?”

“I don’t know but you’re a vet, you should be able to think of something.”

Hunter steps over and peers at the scratches on Daisy’s nose.

“She’ll live. You can trust me on this, I’m a vet.” The mocking tone makes it very clear what Hunter thinks of Noah’s reaction. He bends and gathers Rosie up and puts her on the back of an armchair. She immediately jumps off, flicks her tail at the room and saunters down the hallway.

In Noah’s arms, Daisy quivers and whimpers.

Noah is about to protest again when Hunter leans forward and brushes a kiss over his mouth. It’s brief and rough, over before Noah can even register it’s happening. Stunned, he runs his finger over his bottom lip and hugs Daisy to his chest as he watches Hunter walk away, calling over his shoulder as he goes.

“Do you want coffee?”

About the Author

Author, acafan, Buddhist. Angelique is owned by four cats, three adult children, two temperamental computers, and a very patient boyfriend (not a partridge in a pear tree).

A former print journalist and editor, she has over the years, written about a wide variety of topics from politics to duck breeding to rock concerts. Her interest in fandom studies was sparked in 2015 when she watched Supernatural for the first time and she has been fascinated by the intersection between fans and creators ever since and is currently completing an MA (Media Studies) in the subject. 

She likes cold champagne, hot coffee, neat whiskey, loud Springsteen, and the Winchester brothers kicking butt. When she’s not writing she likes to color, watch movies, and get more tattoos.

Social Media Links



Twitter @AngeliqueJurd 

Instagram: angeliquejurd


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