End of Pride Month and the History of Stonewall Inn .This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

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End of Pride Month and the History of The Stonewall Inn

 

 

Located on Christopher Street in the Greenwich Village, the now historic Stonewall Inn opened in 1967 in New York City.  Owned by the mafia (as was many of the gay nightclubs), it was operated as a restaurant previously but now served as a gay bar serving illegal liquor for the mob and paying protection money in monthly payoffs to local cops to keep the raids down.  Down but not stopped.  In those days, dressing as the opposite sex was illegal and carried jail time, not just harassment and beatings.  And the Stonewall Inn was heavily frequented by drag queens, transgendered people, crossdressers., and lesbians who dressed “male” or butch. The last was important because some say it was a lesbian who threw the first punch at a cop that night in retaliation over the brutal treatment of another patron. But because there are so few images and differing accounts, the truth might never be know.  Others say it was a transgendered person and others still a drag queen. Although the Inn itself could not be called a fancy establishment, it’s decor not the best, it’s dance floor and  atmosphere, that despite police raids, let people feel free to be themselves, kept the place alive and packed.  Of course, the liquor helped too.

But the raids were growing more frequent and City Hall had orders to shut down Stonewall Inn for good.  Courtesy of history.com (see that link for enlarged narrative) is the timeline of the explosion that followed that decision:

A Stonewall Riot Timeline :

June 24, 1969: Police arrest Stonewall employees, confiscate alcohol

June 27-28, 1969: Stonewall crowd erupts after police arrest and rough up patrons.

Early hours of June 28, 1969: Transgender women* (other accounts have this as drag queens or crossdressers) resist arrest. Bottles are thrown at police.

Close to 4 a.m. June 28, 1969: Police retreat and barricade themselves inside Stonewall.

June 28-29: Stonewall reopens, supporters gather. Police beat and tear gas crowd

June 29-July 1, 1969: Stonewall becomes gathering point for LGBT activists.

July 2, 1969: Gay activists protest newspaper coverage.

The beginning of the Gay Pride Movement has been ignited!

Today, The Stonewall Inn remains a place of LGBTQIA history and a gathering spot for all, where everyone can be themselves.  Only now it’s legal,  the right hard fought on this spot. A sign erected lest people forget.  Not that they are likely too.  There are parades, and books, and vids, and movies and more ready to remind us.  Especially now at the 50 year anniversary of Stonewall.

Here are some links you might want to visit:

The Stonewall Inn: The People, Place and Lasting Significance of ...

The Night the Stonewall Inn Became a Proud Shrine – The New York …

50 Years Ago the Stonewall Riots Sparked a Movement That Lead to …

And books to read:

Stonewall: The Riots That Sparked the Gay Revolution by David Carter

Stonewall: The Definitive Story of the LGBTQ Rights Uprising that Changed America, by Martin Duberman

The Stonewall Riots: A Documentary History, by Marc Stein

The Stonewall Reader, edited by New York Public Library with Edmund White

We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power, and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation, by Matthew Riemer and Leighton Brown 

The Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets, by Gayle E. Pitman

What Was Stonewall?, by Nico Medina, Who HQ, and Jake Murray

 

I hope you’ll visit some of those links and enjoy some of those remarkable books.  Martin Duberman’s was reviewed here and the stories of the  individuals in the movement made a big impact on me.

Paul Richmond, an amazing artist some of you may recognize only through his covers for Dreamspinner Press or other of it’s houses, is doing this month.  Over at his facebook page Paul Richmond Studio , every day this month, Paul has taken a different LGBT artist, past or present. and highlighted their works. He has talked about why this artist has meant so much to him, or perhaps the struggles this artist has had to go through.  The journey through different eras, artistic lives and styles has been a revelation!  Paul’s LGBT Artist of the Day has continued.  If you have missed a artist or day, its not too late!  Head over to Paul’s FB page and start your introduction to some jaw dropping artwork and artists.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Pride Month!  We have highlighted NHL Hockey for Everyone efforts with absolute delight, we have had great recommendations for stories, showcased Paul Richmond and LGBTQIA artists and finishing up with The Stonewall Inn.  How has your Pride Month been?

This is where I will also wish everyone in the US and expats abroad a happy and safe Fourth of July!

 

Note:

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is looking for Reviewers!  We are looking for reviewers for our blog.  If you love to read or listen to LGBT stories and share your thoughts about them with others, consider reviewing with Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.  Please send all inquiries to scatteredthoughtsandroguewords@gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.  We are very flexible about how many reviews each reviewer takes on.   That’s entirely up to each reviewer’s own schedule.

And now onto our week ahead.

This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Sunday, June 30:

  • New Release Blitz for Save the Date (Harrisburg Railers #9) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey
  • End of Pride Month and the History of Stonewall Inn
  • This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

Monday, July 1:

  • Blog Post – Victoria Milne – Purple Method
  • BLOG TOUR Change of Heart by KM Neuhold
  • Release Blitz  – Amy Tasukada – Yakuza Path Box Set
  • A MelanieM Review: Ammo and Enchiladas by BA Tortuga
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Tea by Matthew J. Metzger

Tuesday, July 2:

  • BLITZ Palm Trees and Paparazzi by J.C. Long
  • Release Blitz – Ruby Moone – Eyeliner and Lace
  • Review Tour for Save the Date (Harrisburg Railers #9) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey
  • A MelanieM Review:  Save the Date (Harrisburg Railers #9) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey
  • A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Raze (Riven #3) by Roan Parrish
  • An Alisa Release Day Review: Fox Hunt (Shifter U #4) by J. Leigh Bailey
  • A Caryn Release Day Review: The Importance of Being Kevin by Steven Harper

Wednesday, July 3:

  • Release Blitz – I’ve Got You by Becca Seymour
  • BLITZ Where the Night Reigns by Emilie Lucadamo
  •  PROMO BA Tortuga on Come Back Around (Leaning N #4) by B.A. Tortuga
  • Blog Post – LA Bryce – Love, Trust & Secrets
  • A Stella Review : I’ve Got You by Becca Seymour
  • A MelanieM Release Day Review:Come Back Around (Leaning N #4) by B.A. Tortuga

Thursday, July 4th:

  • DSP PROMO j. leigh bailey and Fox Hunt (Shifter U #4)
  • Release Blitz – Sam Burns – Salmon & The Hazel (Rowan Harbor Cycle)
  • Release Blitz  – MATED by Tricia Owens
  • TOUR DANCING WITH THE LION: BECOMING by Jeanne Reames
  • An Alisa Review Waited So Long by JM Dabney
  • Reviews – MATED by Tricia Owens

Friday, July 5:

  • Review Tour – Ari McKay – Recipe For Romance
  • PROMO Victoria Milne
  • Release Blitz – Espejos (South Texas Lore 1) by Michael War
  • A Lila Review: Espejos (South Texas Lore 1) by Michael War
  • A MelanieM Review: Recipe for Romance (Recipe for Romance #1-4) by Ari McKay
  • A Chaos Moondrawn Release Day Review: Never a Hero (Tucker Springs #5) by Marie Sexton

Saturday, July 6:

  • Release Blitz  Tour – Michael Mandrake – Death’s Angel
  • A MelanieM Review: Here Comes the Son by Dahlia Donovan

Release Blitz and Giveaway for Save the Date (Harrisburg Railers #9) by R.J. Scott & V.L. Locey (series finale)

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Length: 27,000 words approx.
 

Cover Design: Meredith Russell


Harrisburg Railers Series


Book #1 – Changing Lines – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – First Season – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Deep Edge – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Poke Check – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #5 – Last Defense – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #6 – Goal Line – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #7 – Neutral Zone – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book #8 – Hat Trick – Amazon US | Amazon UK 
 
Blurb
 

Ever since he first set foot in Harrisburg, Tennant’s life has been a rollercoaster. Ups and downs too numerous to mention, hard knocks and championship rings. Through all of those monumental moments, one thing has been a constant for him, Jared Madsen. Now that their wedding day is drawing nearer, Ten is seriously considering eloping. He would, if not for his mother, his father, his brothers, the wedding planner, the guests, the cake, the press, and the team. Oh, and then there’s his best friend, who is vying for the job of ringmaster of the wedding circus. Would sneaking off during the night with Jared and skipping to the honeymoon part of the festivities really be all that bad?


When Jared proposed to Ten, he imagined a quiet wedding, on a beach somewhere, with family, and maybe the team. But life gets complicated with Ten’s warring brothers, a Russian goalie with a love of sequins, and a bachelor party organized by Adler. When Trent sends them a wedding planner, every spare hour is filled with choosing invitations, cake tasting, and finding a rose in the perfect shade of green. Add in Layton organizing a press conference, and suddenly their private wedding is destined to become a media sensation. Is it wrong to think seriously about kidnapping Ten and spiriting him away to a small deserted island?


Adler organizing the bachelor party, Trent supplying the wedding planner, and Stan writing a speech. What can possibly go wrong?

USA Today bestselling author RJ Scott writes stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, a happily ever after.


RJ Scott is the author of over one hundred romance books, writing emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.


The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.


She’s always thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers. Please contact via the links below:

USA Today Bestselling Author V.L. Locey – Penning LGBT hockey romance that skates into sinful pleasures.


V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, Torchwood and Dr. Who, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a pair of geese, far too many chickens, and two steers.


When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in one hand and a steamy romance novel in the other.

 
 

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A MelanieM Review : Love’s Glory (Revolutionary Heart #3) by Janice Jarrell

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

In October of 2017 cocky, alpha-male Irishman, Colin Campbell, Sergeant in Charge of the Special Assault Unit of the University of Virginia Campus Police Force, dove in front of a bullet meant for a University of Virginia student. The bullet shattered his thigh and severed his femoral artery, a wound which nearly took Colin’s life and left him temporarily disabled. His infirmities robbed him of the strength and athletic prowess which had been his for most of his life leaving him humiliated and bereft.

His partner, Joshua Abrams, a Doctor of Psychology at the Rainier Clinic in Charlottesville, never once left his injured lover’s side. He poured every ounce of strength and love he possessed into healing the magical Irishman whom he adored and was overwhelmed with relief and gratitude when Colin was taken off the critical list. Thinking that they had survived their trial, he took Colin home, believing that their happiness was now assured.

But like many injured police officers, Colin subsequently withdrew from his partner. Overwhelmed by feelings of shame and embarrassment, he devoted himself almost obsessively to the physical therapy with which he hoped to rebuild his strength and reclaim the life he had lost. Unable to share his pain and feelings of inadequacy, he shut Joshua out, leaving him to cope alone with the post-traumatic stress he suffered as a result of Colin’s shooting.

In the following months Colin and Joshua fought to keep their relationship alive. Although deeply in love, they felt powerless to cope with the after-effects of Colin’s injuries both to his body and to his pride as a man, and to heal the emotionally devastating PTSD with which Joshua suffered.

Love’s Trials tells the story of this painful and challenging time in Colin and Joshua’s life. As we join them now, Colin is still walking with a cane and still suffering the physical after effects of his injuries. But he and Joshua are both in therapy and are now dealing positively with the emotional and psychological damage they both endured.

They face their future side by side, determined to stand or fall together, as soul mates and lovers. This book follows them on their journey as they move toward the happy future they both long to share. They have moments of anxiety and intense emotion, but you can count on a happy ending. In fact, you can count on a happy read. In this book, Colin and his beloved Joshua have left their trials behind and now revel in Love’s Glory.

Love’s Glory is the third installment in Janice Jarrell’s Revolutionary Heart series and while it reads like the end of the story for Colin and Joshua’s main romance, it also opens op the next stage in their relationship and for a new couple’s story to begin.  This is definitely not a standalone novel as it rests firmly on the foundation of the previous stories,Love’s Magic and Love’s Trials which tell the story of Joshua and Colin’s initial meeting, rocky romance, their solid relationship and the traumatic events referred to in this story.  All remarkable tales and great reads.

And all culminating in this book and this stage in their relationship.  In a way, Love’s Glory is Janice Jarrell’s gift to her reader’s and this couple who have been through so much angst and pain and have now mostly emerged through the other side, entact and ready to move forward to the next stage in their lives.

Since it is not mentioned in the blurb, I will not give it away here in the review but there is a major feature of this novel and oh, my….it is the most wonderful, glorious thing to read in every way.  So many elements of this aspect of the story just shine.  From the families to the cultural aspects included to the religious.  I will tell you right now to bring your tissues! because you will be breaking them out.

Per usual, there is still some emotional and psychological hurdles to move through for this couple. Colin is still in rehab and Kathy’s death (his sister) remains a deep loss he’s never gotten recovered from. Joshua too has his own struggles to deal with.  The author beautifully and realistically (as always) shows Colin and Joshua communicating and (in an adult manner) working together to resolve as a couple the issues each is struggling with.  These characters are nuanced and believable, although Colin does have a bit of an Irish “glow” about him, so brightly does he shine at home and in Ireland.

Yes, we go to Killarney too (one of my favorite places), and home of the Campbells.  What a treat that turns out to be.  I could wish that Jarrell writes an entire series about the Campbell clan in Killarney because I grew to love them all so.  Here’s hoping she’s listening.

Love’s Glory (Revolutionary Heart #3) by Janice Jarrell is beautifully written, full of memorable characters on a journey of love you won’t forget.   I highly recommend this story and all the ones that preceded it.  I have listed them below.  Pick them all up and read them in the order they were written in order to get the most out of the stories and the couple’s journey.

Cover art: Robin Vulcich.  The couple on the cover is cute but not anywhere near the ages of Colin or Joshua who are in their 30’s, nor do I think they look like them.  So cute but definitely for another story.

Buy Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 228 pages
Published June 24th 2019
ASINB07TJ1VKK1
Edition Language English
Series Revolutionary Heart #3

Revolutionary Heart Series (Goodreads Links)

5 primary works • 5 total works

Release Blitz Love’s Glory by Janice Jarrell (excerpt)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Love’s Glory (Revolutionary Heart series)

Author: Janice Jarrell

Cover Artist: Robin Vuchnich / mycustombookcover.com

Release Date: June 29, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Heat Rating:  4 flames

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

They did it all for the glory of love.

Blurb

In October of 2017 cocky, alpha-male Irishman, Colin Campbell, Sergeant in Charge of the Special Assault Unit of the University of Virginia Campus Police Force, dove in front of a bullet meant for a University of Virginia student. The bullet shattered his thigh and severed his femoral artery, a wound which nearly took Colin’s life and left him temporarily disabled. His infirmities robbed him of the strength and athletic prowess which had been his for most of his life leaving him humiliated and bereft.

When Colin was shot, his partner, Joshua Abrams, a Doctor of Psychology at the Rainier Clinic in Charlottesville, never once left his side. He poured every ounce of strength and love he possessed into healing the magical Irishman whom he adored and was overwhelmed with relief and gratitude when Colin was taken off the critical list. Thinking that they had survived their trial, he took Colin home, believing that their happiness was now assured.

But like many injured police officers, Colin subsequently withdrew from his partner. Overwhelmed by feelings of shame and embarrassment, he devoted himself almost obsessively to the physical therapy with which he hoped to rebuild his strength and reclaim the life he had lost. Unable to share his pain and feelings of inadequacy, he shut Joshua out, leaving him to cope alone with the post-traumatic stress he suffered as a result of Colin’s shooting.

In the following months Colin and Joshua fought to keep their relationship alive. Although deeply in love, they felt powerless to cope with the after-effects of Colin’s injuries both to his body and to his pride as a man, and to heal the emotionally devastating PTSD with which Joshua suffered.

Love’s Trials tells the story of this painful and challenging time in Colin and Joshua’s life. As we join them now, Colin is still walking with a cane and still suffering the physical after effects of his injuries. But he and Joshua are both in therapy and are now dealing positively with the emotional and psychological damage they both endured.

They face their future side by side, determined to stand or fall together, as soul mates and lovers. This book follows them on their journey as they move toward the happy future they both long to share. You can count on a happy ending. In fact, you can count on a happy read. In this book, Colin and his beloved Joshua have left their trials behind and now revel in Love’s Glory.

 

Excerpt

“I can change, Josh.”

“I’m sure you can.”

“In fact, I’m changing already.”

“I’m fully aware of that.”

“Does it worry you?”

“Well, of course, it worries me.”

“Why?”

Joshua sighed. He scooted higher then dipped his head to kiss Colin’s chest. “Because maybe the new Colin won’t…,” he faltered, “won’t likeme.”

“Different Colin. Not new.”

“Still.” Joshua pressed his face to Colin’s body, his warm breath caressing the solid muscles beneath his lips.

Colin’s hand cupped his chin and lifted it. “Josh, right now I’m a kite in the wind flip-flopping all over the sky. The only thing keeping me sane is that I know you’re holding the string.”

Joshua bowed his head, his lips pressed to Colin’s skin. The breath he drew in trembled in his throat. “Glad to hear it,” he murmured. “Real glad.”

“You’re my bedrock, Josh. My oak.”

Joshua met his eyes and stared into their honeyed-green depths. The frown had disappeared from Colin’s face, replaced by an expression of profound love. He smiled down at Joshua, then bent and hooked one powerful arm around him, lifting him until his body was sprawled on top of Colin’s, molded to him down their entire length.

“You worry too much,” Colin murmured then dragged his tongue across the crook of Joshua’s neck.

“It’s an ethnic problem,” Joshua replied, and felt Colin quiver with laughter.

“I’m not buying that, ” Colin said, still chuckling. “I’ve seen you eat pork. You’re a piss-poor Jew.”

Joshua lifted his head and grinned at his partner. “I’m not a piss-poor Jew,” he protested. “I’m a genetic Jew who doesn’t keep kosher.”

“Semantics,” Colin muttered, pulling Joshua down into his kiss.

Joshua moaned as their mouths molded together in a passionate echo of their bodys’ intimacy. He felt the shape of Colin’s mouth pressed softly against his and his breath caught in his throat. His lover’s kiss was filled with tenderness, and within the fervor of that kiss Joshua felt Colin’s desire that he feel secure in the love of his magical Irishman.

When their mouths parted, Joshua slid his lips to Colin’s ear. “You know,” he whispered, “you should never mistake my momentary bouts of insecurity as a sign that I don’t believe in us.” He lifted his head and, again, his eyes met Colin’s. “Because I do.”

“You’d better,” Colin muttered. “Or you’re gonna feel pretty damned silly fifty years from now.”

Joshua nodded, his face against his lover’s shoulder, his body nestled against Colin’s as they lay pressed together, filling in Colin’s every muscular ridge with the planes and contours of his own physique. “My god,” he whispered, “you feel so fucking good.”

“So do you,” Colin replied. He slid his fingers into Joshua’s dark curls and tugged, lifting his face until their eyes were inches apart. “I chose you,” he murmured, his voice rough-edged. “Don’t ever forget that, Joshua. I could have had any guy I wanted… all of the gays and quite a few of the straights, far as that goes. But I chose you.”

Joshua smiled. “I know. Seeing you sitting at my dining room table that day was the biggest shock of my life.”

“And I had no intention of leaving until you agreed to come back to Virginia with me.” Colin’s fingers moved to Joshua’s cheek, tracing the angles of his face. “I would have been back, pounding on your door, every single day until you said ‘yes’.” He relaxed onto his pillow. “I went to Glencoe to get you and I wasn’t leaving ’til I hadyou.”

Joshua laughed. “It’s not like you had to struggle much. I caved pretty quickly.”

“Yeah. A real time-saver, that, because, believe me, I wasn’t going anywhere.”

 

About the Author

 

 My name is Janice Jarrell. I am a retired grandmother who lives in Seattle, WA.  I have two children and three grandsons. I’ve been writing gay romance since I was twelve years old, only back then it wasn’t called ‘gay romance’. In fact, it had no name at all. It was the fifty’s, and it was worth your life to admit to being gay, let alone confess to being a girl who constantly fantasized about relationships between gay men. Hell, I didn’t even know what a homosexual was. I lived on a farm out in the sticks in a tiny Michigan village and I’d never, to my knowledge, even heard the word. I just knew I loved the thought of boy on boy romance. I just knew that there was something hot going on between Tom Corbett and his Space Cadets and all those guys on ‘Combat’.

I wrote slash fanfiction for 30 years, writing over 337 stories, some as short as 100 words (a drabble) some as long as a series which was over 119,012 words. I enjoy writing my stories. I enjoyed the feedback I received from my readers. It was a creative release I’d been searching for my entire life and I blessed the Internet for leading me to this artistic oasis for my spirit.

Love’s Magic was my very first step into writing my own characters. I will always be grateful the slash fanfiction community for nurturing the budding author until she was ready to blossom into a fully realized novelist. It’s been an amazing thing to watch the gay community’s growth over these past twenty years. My own journey has echoed theirs in many ways, and I’m grateful to all those gay activists who fought to give the gay community the rights and privileges they always deserved.

My second contemporary gay romance novel, Love’s Trials followed Colin and Joshua on their journey as men and as a couple. The readers who fell in love with them in Love’s Magic were thrilled to see their romance continue to grow and blossom, but were forced to watch our beloved boys go through some pretty traumatic trials in this book, trials which nearly shattered their relationship. But their love proved stronger than any troubles in the end and they now move forward into the happiness they know they deserve.

In Love’s Glory, my newest release, Colin and Joshua bask in the happiness that eluded them in Love’s Trials. If you’re looking for a book filled with anger, fear, and anxiety… look elsewhere. Love’s Glory is about just that… the glory of love and the continued growth of these two extraordinary men and the amazing friends who are a large part of their lives.

I’m also grateful to the gay romance community, readers, authors, publishers and promoters, who are making these, my retirement years, the most creative ones of my life. When I’m not writing, I’m traveling, walking, hiking, knitting, crocheting, and weaving, and enjoying my life here in the heart of the Pacific Northwest.

 

🌐 Social Media Links 🌐


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Facebook

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads

Twitter

Pinterest

YouTube

 

LOVE’S MAGIC – the first book in the Revolutionary Heart Series – will be FREE from July 1 – 5

LOVE’S MAGIC is also available to listen on audio.

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Release Blitz for Bernard’s Diary by S. L. Danielson (excerpt)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Bernard’s Diary

Author: S. L. Danielson

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Diana TC (triumphcovers.com)

Release Date: June 28, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Themes: Coming out, suicide attempt, forgiveness

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 44 000 words/142 pages

Add on Goodreads

Universal Buy Link

 

Can a suicidal bellhop find true love?

Blurb

Bernard Covington, suicidal and not the most-handsome man in the world would be happy to leave the world behind altogether. That is until he meets Dr. Jack Larson. The physician takes his wounded heart and soul and patches them back together, but is he Mr.Perfect?

Bernard and Jack develop a romance, but soon the tide begins to shift as Jack’s past is revealed and it becomes a game-changer for the couple to deal with.

Will Bernard and Jack have a happy ending or will he succumb to his desire to end it all or will dealing with Jack’s phantoms keep him going? Only Bernard’s diary knows what secrets lurk in his soul…

Excerpt

Prologue

Bernard sat on his bed after another long day at the hotel just a few miles away. He was a bellhop.

Not the most glamorous profession, but the only one he could get years ago when his life plans changed drastically. He raked his fingers through his thick salt-n-pepper hair and yawned wide. He reached down and opened up his nightstand drawer and pulled out his journal. He flipped to an open page and plucked off the pen that was attached to the outside and clicked the point down.

I can’t hold this in much longer. Jeremy makes me want to explode every time I get near that incredible body of his! He’s such a good customer, tips well, and never has much luggage. I love bringing up room service to him…I wish it were me that was staying behind in the room with him. I have to tell him how I feel; he must suspect something by now. I’d give anything to have a real man in my life for once, just once! Something’s gotta change in a big way or…shit. I’ve just, I’ve got to do this before I fall apart and die a 46-yr-old virgin. Wishing myself luck!

Chapter 1: Fateful Night

August 8th. 10 p.m. The blinding red and blue strobing from the ambulance lights lit up the dark street. It’d been a silent evening until its arrival. Two paramedics rushed up the concrete steps to the midnight blue steel entry door on the far side of the long, rectangular apartment building. The lights from the ambulance painted a brilliant hue onto the otherwise dull, gray brick building. Even the trim was gray and all of it was rusted and falling apart.

Another medic followed after, steering a gurney down the steps. Their patient was out cold and

stripped from the waist up. He had all kinds of medical apparatus on him; IVs, a breathing mask,

and a defibrillator on standby. Finally, the two medics maneuvered their patient down and into the waiting ambulance.

“Ok, what’ve we got?” barked the voice over the radio.

“Heart attack and attempted suicide,” the medic replied in a professional, matter-of-fact tone.

“Any defib?”

“Shocked him twice. 46-year-old male, obese, two bad wrist lacerations, and ingestion of pills.”

“10-4, we’ll be ready.”

The ambulance pulled into the emergency department at Adams County hospital. It wasn’t a fully-equipped center, but it would have to do. The patient was near death. The doors on the ambulance flew open and the stat team ran out to greet them. In charge was a tall, handsome young doctor named Jack Larson. They ran with the gurney inside and to a treatment room. There were four people working on him at once, but Jack kept order to the chaos.

“Nurse, type and cross-match his blood and start him on Narcan.”

“Yes, Doctor.”

“What’re his vitals?” he demanded.

“BP is 90 over 50, pulse 135,” the lead nurse replied.“Damn, too high. What’s our patient’s name?”

“Bernard Covington.” The other nurse read it from the report.

He touched the patient’s shoulder and leaned over him. “Mr. Covington? Can you hear me?” He pulled out his exam flashlight and pulled up the man’s eyelids one at a time to check the dilation.

“He’s out cold, doc. Cops said they found him like this, pills were right next to him.” One of the medics chimed in.

“How many and what kind?” Dr. Larson asked.

“Effexor, 50 mg. Had 30 pills filled, only 20 were found, and it was just filled.” The nurse drew the necessary blood and labeled it for the lab.

The doctor groaned. He hated seeing suicide cases. “All right, let’s pump his stomach, suture these wrists too. They’re pretty deep.”

“Yes, sir.” The nurse prepared the needle, cleansed the wounds, and very skillfully sewed up the wounds. He wrapped them in a thick, cushy layer of gauze and laid them at the patient’s side.

“Good job, Higgins.” Dr. Larson nodded at him.

“Damn, Dr. Jack; that’s the worst I’ve seen. Cops found a butcher knife with blood on it.”

Jack looked at the nurse in surprise. “A butcher knife? Damn, Bernard, you’d cut your hand off.”

He pursed his lips and shook his head.

“He’s stabilizing, Dr. Larson,” the nurse reported.

“Alright, go prep him and pump his stomach. Keep him on constant watch.”

“Yes, Doctor.”

About the Author

S. L. (Stephanie) Danielson began writing at the tender age of five. She knew it was her calling from the moment she put pen to paper. In her teens she began writing alternative works and the genre stuck. She created ever more elaborate tales and finally in her early 20’s years began to create works with her new love; male/male romance. She has since written more than 30 works both solo and collaborations).

Stephanie is classically trained in business, accounting, and HR/training, possessing both an undergrad and graduate degree. She also owned and operated Romance First Publishing where the ultimate goal was to help other unknown, as well as known authors get their start in the publishing world.

Beyond writing, her other hobbies include: painting, gaming, and spending time with her husband and two cherished cats.

Her blog is www.sldanielsoncom.wordpress.com and email is ladyauthorsld@gmail.com

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COVER REVEAL for Treasure Trail by Morgan Brice

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COVER REVEAL

Book Title: Treasure Trail

Author: Morgan Brice

Cover Artist: Lou Harper

Genre/s: Urban Fantasy MM paranormal romance

Trope/s: Second chance, friends to lovers, starting over, psychic/medium and a cop, mystery, action/adventure,

Themes: Taking a chance on love, running from your past, trust, friendship, found family

Heat Rating:  4 flames

 

When a missing antique shows up under mysterious circumstances, Ben and Erik are plunged into danger as a cursed hotel’s long-ago scandals resurface. Someone wants those secrets to stay buried—and is willing to add Ben and Erik to the death toll to keep the past hidden.

Blurb

Erik Mitchell traveled the world uncovering art fraud and relic theft, which pitted him against spoiled billionaires, unscrupulous collectors, mobsters and cartels. He worked with law enforcement across the US and Europe, but a sting goes wrong and Erik ends up injured, then returns to find his partner cheating. Erik decides to stop globe trotting and buy an antique shop in scenic Cape May, NJ, rebuild his life, and nurse his broken heart.

Undercover Newark cop Ben Nolan went down in a hail of bullets when a bust went sideways, after a tip-off from a traitor inside the department. After he recovers, he spends a couple of years as a private investigator, only to tire of seeing the worst of human nature. So when his aunt offers him the chance to take over her rental real estate business in Cape May, it seems too good to be true. Now if he could just believe he could ever be lucky again in love.

When a missing antique shows up under mysterious circumstances, Ben and Erik are plunged into danger as a cursed hotel’s long-ago scandals resurface. Someone wants those secrets to stay buried—and is willing to add Ben and Erik to the death toll to keep the past hidden.

 

About the Author

Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions. Characters from her Gail books make frequent appearances in secondary roles in her Morgan books, and vice versa.

On the rare occasions Morgan isn’t writing, she’s either reading, cooking, or spoiling two very pampered dogs.

Other books include Witchbane, Burn, Dark Rivers, and Badlands. Watch for more in these series, plus new series coming soon!

Join my Worlds of Morgan Brice Facebook Group! Get the early scoop on upcoming books and new series, see new covers first, enjoy insider news and special contests and giveaways! Plus it’s where I get my beta readers and launch team! 

 

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A MelanieM Review:The Doctor’s Date (Copper Point Medical #2) by Heidi Cullinan

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Sequel to The Doctor’s Secret
Copper Point Medical: Book Two

The hospital’s least eligible bachelor and its aloof administrator hate each other… so why are they pretending to date?

Dr. Owen Gagnon and HR director Erin Andreas are infamous for their hospital hallway shouting matches. So imagine the town’s surprise when Erin bids an obscene amount of money to win Owen in the hospital bachelor auction—and Owen ups the ante by insisting Erin move in with him.

Copper Point may not know what’s going on, but neither do Erin and Owen. Erin intends his gesture to let Owen know he’s interested. Owen, on the other hand, suspects ulterior motives—that Erin wants a fake relationship as a refuge from his overbearing father.

With Erin suddenly heading a messy internal investigation, Owen wants to step up and be the hero Erin’s never had. Too bad Erin would rather spend his energy trying to rescue Owen from the shadows of a past he doesn’t talk about.

This relationship may be fake, but the feelings aren’t. Still, what Erin and Owen have won’t last unless they put their respective demons to rest. To do that, they’ll have to do more than work.

When I was reading the first story in this series, The Doctor’s Secret, I was loving the world that Heidi Cullinan was building and the characters she was introducing us too.  It’s never just a couple, but a foundation of friends, family, a network of co workers and townspeople that form a tapestry that make a place and people come alive for us.   I did get wrapped up in the courtship and romance of Jack and Simon but…and so remarkable and Heidi Cullinan like…there were two characters I couldn’t take my eyes off of.

Like lightning bugs in the darkness, flashes of brightness flickering away,  the characters of Owen Gagnon and Erin Andreas kept pulling my attention towards them when it should have been solely situated on Simon and Jack.  There was something about these two argumentative and yes, oddly broken men that I could never look away from. And I wanted their story…badly.

So here came The Doctor’s Date (Copper Point Medical #2) and honestly?  It’s my new favorite story.  I’m hugging this thing so hard because it’s everything I look for in a romance and more. It’s love, and healing, and self discovery, and finding the perfect someone and a home, and even redemption.  The author picked up the pot of narrative contemporary romance perfection, gave it a toss or two, and out came Owen and Erin’s story.

There were scenes from The Doctor’s Secret where your heart just broke for Erin, especially as he prepared to stand  alone against his father. That fight continues here.  Both Owen and Erin have to face huge issues in this story dealing with their fathers, abuse, and their upbringing.  Cullinan writes so realistically about the impact childhood abuse has on adult men that your heart shatters for them over and over. Just as realistically, it’s been dealt with, at least by one of them with years of therapy and in some cases medication.  This is a element I’ve seen lacking in far too many stories.  They include the abuse but not how the characters have dealt with the impact authentically.  Here we believe it and in them.

There are so many moments here from the auction to the important elements with the violin which swing from comedy to deep angst to tissue laden scenes that will leave you weeping for joy.. I read and read until this story was finished and then started it over again.

From the serious issues with the board (suspense and white knuckle action) to the hilarious competitive bromance between Owner and Jack to the novelty socks that carry such meaning, The Doctor’s Date is one book that is a treasure chest of story threads to keep exploring read after read.

And the next one is already coming out.  I think Copper Point Medical series just might be my new favorite Heidi Cullinan series.  This story definitely is.  I highly recommend it.  It’s now on ;my comfort reads list.  Pick it up, the first story too.  I bet they will make yours as well.

Cover art: Kanaxa.  As cute as that model is and as perfect as it brands the series, there is one glaring omission that almost ruins the cover.  No socks!  Socks, novelty socks, for both men, is a huge element here, and the model is sockless!!!!!  I would have photoshopped something onto his feet at least.  Utter fail. See Heidi’s guest post on socks here.

Sales Links:Goodreads • Publisher • Audible • Ripped Bodice • Barnes & Noble • Google Play Ebook • Google Play Audio • Apple Books • Kobo (US) • Kobo (Canada) • Amazon (US) • Amazon(Canada) • Amazon (UK) • Powells

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 448 pages
Published June 18th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Original Title The Doctor’s Date
ASINB 07PNPP1GD
Edition Language English
Series Copper Point Medical #2

Copper Point Medical Series

The Doctor’s Secret

The Doctor’s Date

The Doctor’s Orders

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Ledgers and Rent Boys (Ore 5 #2) by Meraki P. Lyhne

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 Rating: 4 stars out of 5 

This is book two in a series and they would be best read in order as this starts the day after the last book ends and has an overarching plotline. The bump in their relationship has passed with Ethan deciding to stay instead of returning to Earth. Although Ethan and Ryder are now a couple, with Ethan’s insecurities, he convinces Ryder not to let people know he’s off the market, saying it would hurt his business. They are now working together, neighbors, and lovers. The inventory issues, theft, and prostitution issues have gotten even more involved than they thought. It will take Ryder’s connections and Ethan’s accounting skills to save them from a hostile takeover by the Eastern European mob back on Terra.

For an erotic romance, I actually like the plot. I’d like to see more of it. I rarely say this, but I’d like less hot sex and sweet romance, and more of the politics and alien life featured. With the addition of some new characters, like the rentboy Hayden and Ryder’s friends from outside the club, this is starting to round out nicely. Hayden is integral to the story moving forward; I’m glad he’ll be in the next book as I became attached to him. Brutus, the bouncer, is more than he seemed, so I expect his character to continue to be expanded, but this was an unseen plot twist. I am left wondering if I missed some foreshadowing from the first book.

My favorite parts about this book are the same as in the first book: Ryder dancing, the discussions of the rule of law on Ore 5, the likeable secondary characters, and Ethan and Ryder together. My criticisms are the same also. What is with the Scyphoes–poisonous sea-life-like creatures? It is obvious Ethan is going to get stung at some point. This isn’t even a spoiler, just a foregone conclusion. But, is that the only reason for this alien lifeform to exist on this planet in this story? Because that is such a missed opportunity. The first book seemed like more of a complete story, while this is a go between…with a huge cliffhanger. That made me want to stab things. The author keeps throwing in plot twists and my concern is that this will turn into a longer soap opera than I personally have patience for. I’ll give book three a try because I want to see the conclusion of this story arc.

This cover art is by Angela Waters. I love all three of the covers (so far) in this series. They match, show key characters how I pictured them, and show a science fiction background. The colors remind me of cities at night or Las Vegas–places you expect neon signs to flash, which is very fitting for the setting.

Sales Links: eXtasy Books Inc  | Barnes & Noble  |  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 242 pages
Published June 22nd 2018 by eXtasy Books Inc (first published June 15th 2018)
ASINB07DTBHCYL
Edition Language English
SeriesOre 5 #2

A Lucy Prerelease Review: Eyeliner and Lace by Ruby Moone

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

The day Ryan Fulton realizes he’s in love with Jamie Holt is the day he knows he’s losing him. With blue-tinted white blond hair, eyeliner, and a personality to match, Ryan knows he’s a bit much. But can he change? Can he tone it down and, if he does, can he live like that? He’d never suspect Jamie of cheating, but maybe his closeted boyfriend decided flamboyant Ryan wasn’t worth the effort.

But Ryan isn’t going to take it lying down. Determined to win Jamie back, Ryan even decides to get rid of the black and blue lace undies he just bought.

Then Jamie comes home and says they need to talk.

This is a short story (211 locations on Kindle) detailing a scary moment for Ryan in his relationship with Jamie.  Jamie is the epitome of professional and, in Ryan’s words, “Jamie was all but in the closet, Ryan was…out there.”  Jamie wears suits, Ryan wears tight pants, eyeliner and dyes his hair white and blue.  They live together and are happy.  At least Ryan thought so until Jamie starts to act suspicious.  Text messages and calls from “no one”; leaving home or coming home late with no real explanation of where he’s been, changing passwords and general evasiveness.  Ryan knows he can be “a bit much” and wants to tone it down, do whatever he can to keep Jamie.  Or, woo him back.  “Woo him…” Aiden’s face was a picture.  “What are you? Some kind of fricking Victorian mill owner?”  Aiden is Ryan’s best friend and he’s lovely.  He’s also convinced Ryan has lost his mind about Jamie, as he knows Jamie adores Ryan.  But the evidence is against him.

Because the story is so short, this is really just a scene from their lives.  I thought it was well written and the misunderstanding completely understandable.  I would have loved more, because I wanted to know – how did they meet? What did Jamie’s family think of Ryan? Why is Jamie closeted?  Their history and backstory, because I liked them very much. 

It is a cute, sweet short for a super quick read.

The cover is the generic JMS cover for the recent shorts so really has no connection to this book.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC | Amazon | Kobo

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Expected publication: June 29th 2019 by JMS Books LLC
ASIN 07RQHN4BG
Edition Language English

Heidi Cullinan on Novelty Socks, Characters and her new release The Doctor’s Date (Copper Point Medical #2) (guest post)

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The Doctor’s Date (Copper Point Medical #2) by Heidi Cullinan
Published June 18th 2019
Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Sales Links:Goodreads • Publisher • Audible • Ripped Bodice • Barnes & Noble • Google Play Ebook • Google Play Audio • Apple Books • Kobo (US) • Kobo (Canada) • Amazon (US) • Amazon(Canada) • Amazon (UK) • Powells

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is so happy to have Heidi Cullinan here today talking about one of my new favorite stories, The Doctor’s Date.  Honestly, I want these socks! Welcome, Heidi!

 

Thanks for having me today. I’m here to talk about my new book The Doctor’s Date, available in ebook, trade paper, and mass market from Dreamspinner Press. It’s book two in the Copper Point: Medical series, and it’s the story of Erin Andreas, no-nonsense hospital administrator, and Dr. Owen Andreas, the cantankerous anesthesiologist.

I’m also here to talk about socks.

In The Doctor’s Date, Owen has a collection of novelty socks. When I say he has a collection, I mean he has more novelty socks than he can ever wear. It’s one of those things that started small and went out of control as friends gave him the wackiest socks they could find at every opportunity. Now he has literal baskets of them all over his room, many of them unworn.

I borrowed this sock collection concept directly from my family. Both my husband and daughter have a thing for novelty socks, and as preparation for this post I asked them both to produce their favorites for a photo shoot. They immediately came back with a pile each.

Anna has more, mind you, but these are the first-tier favorites. Mitch, our cat, is also modeling with them. The furthest left, the s’mores socks, are a heartbreak because they apparently have a hole in the toe. She can’t wear them anymore, but can’t bear to toss them either. Next favorite, and equally in peril, are the taco dinosaur socks.

These socks (middle in the photo) are actually mentioned in the book. Anna got hers in a small mountain shop in Colorado last year, but they’re starting to wear through. She clearly needs new novelty socks, at the rate these are going. Next to them are the hedgehog socks, which were part of a Christmas present, if I recall correctly.

The last three of her faves are still intact, to my knowledge: the pizza socks, her favorite, the unicorn socks, and the sushi socks.

Now we’re on to Dan, who has a different setup.

Dan has a different theme running, excepting the orange taco socks (they share a mutual love.) He has shark and octopus socks, and then Scream socks.

[

The Scream socks are one of my favorites. I can’t remember if I included them in the book? Next up are Christmas lights, the aforementioned tacos, and at last, the asshole socks.

I’ve picked up a lot of these socks for them, though some were gifts, and some they selected themselves. Much like Owen. In the story, socks are definitely a running theme of individuality. For my husband, who wore black socks only for most of his life, I think they’re a rebellion, a way to have more of “him” show up at work. For my daughter, it’s just fun to have something unique on her feet.

I hate to tell you, I have no socks to share. I don’t like to think too much about them and just want to put things on my feet. I also can’t stand one slightly out of place thread in my socks or I lose my mind. A lot of novelty socks have different stitching on the inside, which is a no-no for me. Briefly, I had a few novelty socks, but when we did our Konmari clean, I got rid of most if not all of them. My socks are white, black, or navy blue.

Let me know what YOU are rocking for socks!

I hope you enjoy Owen and his socks in The Doctor’s Date, and all the books in the Copper Point series!

Blurb

Sequel to The Doctor’s Secret
Copper Point Medical: Book Two

The hospital’s least eligible bachelor and its aloof administrator hate each other… so why are they pretending to date?

Dr. Owen Gagnon and HR director Erin Andreas are infamous for their hospital hallway shouting matches. So imagine the town’s surprise when Erin bids an obscene amount of money to win Owen in the hospital bachelor auction—and Owen ups the ante by insisting Erin move in with him.

Copper Point may not know what’s going on, but neither do Erin and Owen. Erin intends his gesture to let Owen know he’s interested. Owen, on the other hand, suspects ulterior motives—that Erin wants a fake relationship as a refuge from his overbearing father.

With Erin suddenly heading a messy internal investigation, Owen wants to step up and be the hero Erin’s never had. Too bad Erin would rather spend his energy trying to rescue Owen from the shadows of a past he doesn’t talk about.

This relationship may be fake, but the feelings aren’t. Still, what Erin and Owen have won’t last unless they put their respective demons to rest. To do that, they’ll have to do more than work together—they’ll have to trust they can heal each other’s hearts.

 

The Doctor’s Date Excerpt 2

The last set dragged on much longer than Owen cared for, but he got through it one note at a time. He distracted himself from the dull horror of playing by being irritated over Erin’s touch of his shoulder. Erin hadn’t touched him before.

Whatever. He didn’t care if Erin never looked at him again, so long as he could get the hell off this stage.

Soon enough, he managed it part of the way, stiffly half bowing with the quartet before abandoning his instrument and disappearing behind the curtain to join the rest of the bachelors, including Jared.

Jared waved at him and patted a space beside him on the wall. “Good job, Crankypants. You made it through. I warned people not to compliment you, but feel free to snarl at anyone who doesn’t listen.”

Owen shut his eyes. “Can I go first and get this over with? I want a drink.”

“Unfortunately they’ve assigned us numbers. I’m number eight. You’re number seventeen.”

Hell.” Owen shrank into a crouch.

Jared reached into his jacket, lowering himself to Owen’s side. “Here.” He handed Owen a bottle. “I thought it was overkill, but after interrogating Simon and me to figure out why you were behaving the way you were, Jack wrote this script for you and had the hospital pharmacy fill it, making me bring it just in case. It’s a handful of Xanax. Don’t take enough that you’re too stoned to stand, but maybe enough so you can remain upright without sweating.”

Owen checked the dosage, popped the lid, and dry swallowed a tablet. He hadn’t taken a short-term anxiety med in years. He was pissed that he needed to, annoyed Jack had noticed he was so off his game he required medication, but he was also grateful.

Jared grimaced. “Jack regrets making you play.”

Owen rubbed his thumb over the top of the prescription bottle. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Trust me, the message has come through loud and clear. All I’m saying is, don’t worry, we’ve got you, okay? You’re not going to have to do anything more tonight except stand on the stage long enough for Jack to pay up. I’m chipping in too if it comes to it, but I can’t imagine it will.”

“Just pay for the booze.” Owen willed the Xanax to work faster. “Why didn’t Jack give me this before we played, anyway?”

“He was afraid you’d fuck up.”

Owen snorted. No, idiot. I’d have played ten times better.

Whatever. It was over now, and he was never touching a violin again. For tonight, the damage had been done. He’d put the instrument down, but he still felt it in his hands, heard it in his head. Stirring up things he’d buried for good reason.

He could see her. Hearher. He hadn’t spared his mother a thought in years, and now she reverberated, starring in the memory that made him want to curl in a ball and vomit. It didn’t end there, though. Older ones began, tinged with the darkness of that day. All the times he trudged across the snow with the violin case clutched in his hand, his house in the distance, wondering if he’d hear her at the piano or hear his father shuffling across the kitchen, searching for another beer. He saw her profile at the piano bench as he played beside her. He saw himself crouching underneath it as he watched their arguments from between the legs.

Broken glass. The broken legs of the piano bench. The jarring discord of her back as it hit the keys, the crunch of his first violin when it slammed against the wall.

The day he’d come home from high school and she’d been sitting at the piano, waiting for him, her back in profile at the bench as she played, then stopped. Come here, Owen. I have something to tell you.

Owen reached for a second Xanax. He could push most of the memories away, but his mother sitting at the piano with her back to him lingered like something out of a horror film. If she turned around and gave him that haunted smile, he was a dead man.

Jared held out his hand. “Give me the bottle.”

Owen tucked it deep inside his interior vest pocket. “Go to hell. And never let anyone ask me to play again. Not if it’s the only way we keep the world from ending.”

By the time the auction kicked off, so had Owen’s drugs. He didn’t have any more memories playing on repeat, and he didn’t feel haunted any longer. He still felt raw and peeled back, but he was more objective about it, as if observing himself on a hospital gurney. Adult male, age thirty-four, acute anxiety attack brought on by unwanted remembrance of bullshit past. Vitals are stabilized, but recommend patient be placed in front of a bottle of Scotch and more Xanax and left alone until he forgets he ever knew how to play violin in the first place.

When Owen chuckled, Jared poked his arm and held out his hand insistently. “Seriously, give me the fucking bottle.”

Owen did, mostly because at that point he had no need for it. She wasn’t drifting through his mind anymore, but if she did, it wouldn’t matter. God bless alprazolam.

Jared made him stand to prove he wasn’t going to act drunk on stage—it was going to be a near thing, but he could fake it. “You’re a mess,” Jared said as he went off to be auctioned, and then it was Owen alone, glaring at the other bachelors for fun except when he wanted to laugh at them instead. He was freaking them out, so he stared at the wall, which thanks to the drug had become suddenly interesting.

At last they called his name, and honestly Owen thought someone should give him a medal, because instead of stomping out like a cloud of doom, he sauntered onstage with a cheeky salute. Jared, seated by a beaming elderly woman in the front row, gave him dirty looks, but Owen didn’t care. He rocked on his heels and waited for them to finish his introduction so the bidding could get over with and he could get out of here.

“Bachelor number seventeen.” The middle-aged woman Owen recognized as Mimi Roberts, the wife of one of the clinic doctors, gave an annoyingly knowing and theatrical wink to the audience. It would have bothered Owen normally, but he was too spent and high to care. She lifted her card and read, “Dr. Owen Gagnon, local boy through and through, who left Copper Point to get his degree, then returned to be our first and only anesthesiologist. He may be short on charm at times, but he’s long on loyalty, and he’s always ready to help a good cause.”

Cripes, who wrote these intros? He cast an eyebrow at Simon, but his friend was too busy staring at the emcee, paddle primed. Owen relaxed.

Oh, and there was old asshat John Jean Andreas, sitting with the other stuffed shirts from the board. Owen was surprised the jerk wasn’t tormenting his son, or at least keeping him on a short leash. Must be in the middle of greasing the old-white-man society wheels—

Owen’s blood chilled, curdling when Christian West leaned over to speak to John Jean, smile glinting in the dim light. After shutting his eyes on a long blink, Owen dove deep into the sheltering embrace of the Xanax and averted his gaze.

Mimi beamed at the audience. “As with all our bachelors, we’ll start the bidding at one hundred dollars, but I’m sure we can get—”

“Two hundred,” someone called out, and it wasn’t Simon or Jack. Oh hell, it was a clutch of drunk nurses with their pooled money on the table. Shit, this was exactly what he’d been afraid of—

Simon’s paddle whipped into the air. “Four hundred.”

The crowd erupted in murmurs, and Mimi clucked her tongue. “My, my. What an exciting beginning. It’s so good to see bidders enthusiastic, but as a reminder, we don’t need to jump up with quite so much drama this quickly—”

“Ten thousand dollars.”

Now the room was a wall of sound and a sea of chaos, people standing and trying to figure out where the bidder had come from. Owen recognized the voice, but he was sure he had to be wrong. He hadn’t heard someone bid ten thousand dollarsfor him.

Except someone had, and once again, it wasn’t Jack or Simon, who were pale and conferring with one another desperately as Jared extricated himself from his date and rushed to their table.

“Well.” Mimi laughed nervously into the microphone. “Someone certainly wants a date with you, Dr. Gagnon. I can’t see who it is, but I can’t imagine anyone else is going to top—”

“Um, eleven!” Jared’s voice broke as he held up Simon’s paddle and arm at once. Visible sweat was running down his face, but Simon and Jack nodded at him, their jaws set in determination.

“Twenty-five thousand dollars. I bid twenty-five thousand dollars for a date with Dr. Owen Gagnon, and I’m prepared to go muchhigher if need be.”

This time there was no mistaking the voice. Owen had known it before, but his brain had issued flat denials. He couldn’t get out of reality, though, when Erin Andreas walked down the aisle, holding his paddle high as the room whispered and gasped around him. Jack and Simon argued, panicking, and Jared shook his head. They were out of the running.

Owen collapsed on the edge of the stage, staring at Erin as he calmly closed the distance between them.

Well. Owen didn’t know what the hell was going on, but he did know he was going to need the bottle of Xanax back.

About the Author

Author of over thirty novels, Midwest-native Heidi Cullinan 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. Heidi is a two-time RITA® finalist and her books have been recommended by Library Journal, USA Today, RT Magazine, and Publisher’s Weekly. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading novels and manga, playing with her cats, and watching too much anime. Find out more at heidicullinan.com.