A Caryn Review: Last Call in Wonderland by Rob Browatzke

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Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

You know that line from the old poem, “when she was good, she was very very good, and when she was bad, she was horrid”?  I think that expresses my thoughts about this book perfectly, and that made it very hard to rate.  The first 80% was shallow and boring – at least the characters were – and then it got very intense, very fast, and made me think about recent real world events in a much deeper and more personal way than I ever had before.  I was glad I finished the book, but have to admit that if I wasn’t reading for a review, I would have quit very early on.

The story is told from multiple points of view, from each of a very close group of friends who regularly party together at (and in the case of Brandon and Aaron, work at) the club Wonderland.  This is the third book in a series, and though I did not read the first two, it clearly works as a stand-alone.  Two couples – Jesse and Colton, and Steve and Alex – bartender Brandon, drag queen Aaron, club owner Chess, and a few other side characters each speak in chapters (fortunately titled by character so you can keep track of who’s speaking, which would otherwise be difficult) in a roughly chronological narrative.  At first, it seems to be random musings of good-looking, oversexed, shallow, alcoholic party boys, and I was completely turned off.  I couldn’t even say it was porn with plot, because there is minimal explicit sex, and there didn’t seem to be much plot.

The basis of the book is that Wonderland, the iconic gay club of River City that was founded by Chess and his partner Jack a generation ago in the early 90s, is finally closing its doors.  There are only 4 weeks, 4 final Saturdays, before this landmark of the gayborhood (a term used very frequently that to me is like nails on a chalkboard) will be no more.  It is the end of an era, and for this group of friends, it almost seems like the end of their lifestyle – because where else will they get blackout drunk and pick up random gorgeous guys to fuck?  It caused the men to examine not only the current way they were living, but also to realize that they really didn’t have any particular plans for the future, and that maybe they should, and maybe there was more to life than the next shot of tequila or the next hot threesome.

The only character that I really connected with was Chess.  The decision to close Wonderland was a difficult one for him – he reflected on what the world was like for gays and lesbians when they first opened, when a gay dance club was a safe place for them to gather and be themselves.  When society was more homophobic, when AIDS was the “gay plague”, when nothing about being gay was mainstream.  How ironic it was that as society became more accepting, that places like Wonderland were becoming unnecessary and irrelevant.  That the dream of acceptance that his generation fought for was beginning to come true, but diminished the importance and meaning of his club, his baby.  I found that whole discussion quite poignant, and resonant.

There is no way to discuss the events that changed how I felt about the book without giving extensive spoilers, so I won’t do that.  Suffice to say, circumstances shocked these shallow party boys into something a little more mature.  The way they experienced the suffering and pain of those events redeemed them to some extent for me, but I found myself again not really connecting to them, but to the collective emotion of the situation.

I can’t wholeheartedly recommend the book, but it had its moments.  Not enough that I would go back and read the first two in the series though….

Cover art: Alexandria Corza.  It’s eye catching, yet retains enough dark elements that run through the novel.

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |  Paperback  |  Amazon UK

Book Details:

Buy for $6.99 or try Kindle Unlimited to read over a million titles
Kindle Edition, 334 pages
Published August 4th 2019
ASINB07TKR3JGW

A MelanieM Review: The Good Green Earth (Colors of Love #3) by VL. Locey

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

After the Syracuse Stallions clinch the championship, Nathan Zinkan, the renowned wild man of the AHL is arrested for a DUI. Again. When a no-nonsense judge adds a heavy dose of community service to an already stiff sentence, Nathan has to forget a summer of partying and slide on a pair of gardening gloves. His entire future now rides on how well he can behave while helping elderly urban gardeners tend to their tomatoes.

Watching local garden center owner Bran Cavanaugh working without his shirt is a benefit he wasn’t expecting. Pity Bran is also the one in charge of the community garden as well as keeping tabs on Nathan’s hours served. The two men are instantly at odds due to Nathan’s rebellious nature and Bran’s icy demeanor. Yet there’s no denying the attraction that begins to build between the hot-headed athlete and the cool as a cucumber master gardener.

Will their attraction grow into something deeper, or will it wither and die on the vine?

The Color of Love series just keeps growing in depth and richness with each new story.  The characters and the situations of the latest novel,The Good Green Earth (Colors of Love #3) by VL. Locey, certainly demonstrate how greatly this author not only loves the men and game of hockey but is still able to widen her universe and include a believable town or village in this case that also grows over the series.  We add families and businesses, locations, and a real sense of community that infects the reader with a familiarity of coming home when we pick up each story and dive into the series once more.

Here we get introduced to wild man Nathan Zinkan, coming off yet another DUI, and not exactly repentant.  His team won and, well, he’s expected to party right?  Boom, we are thrust immediately into Nathan’s mindset, one that will slowly undergo a change, a huge seachange, as Nathan matures and grows in a new environment.  I love how we grow to love Nathan and understand the man, his past, watch the baby steps and then the larger ones appear as he moves towards a larger future. Every part is realistic, humbling, gritty in parts, and endearing as well.

There with him as a blockade, and then as a friend and supporter, and then as someone who loves him, is Bran Cavanaugh, a man who understands loss and people who don’t exactly “color within the lines”.  Bran is another one of those special characters who will stay with you. The combination of Bran and Nathan, along with their ever changing dynamics keep you glued to this story that is full of emotions.  Laughter, so much laughter (watch out for that scene in the trailer), and tears too.  It reads as authentic in the struggles to move forward, whether it’s the need to continue a person’s sobriety or to end mourning the loss of a deep love.

I certainly could have stayed with this couple for several more stories.  This couple, the seniors in  the garden plots, and the friends that surround them.  Oh, my, be prepared for some side splitting laughter!  Gentle, hilarious, real, how I could see it all happening and happily reread those parts immediately.

Yes, I think this is my favorite book so far in the series.

And I love this series.

Not familiar with any of these stories?  You’re in luck!  They are listed below.  Check them all out and then come and get this one.  It’s a true gem, one you will reread  and keep smiling about.

How on earth will the author top this ?

Cover Design: Designs By Sloan. Not my favorite cover.  Does brand the series but where is the garden or hockey elements?

Sales Links:  Amazon 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 230 pages
Published September 16th 2019
ASIN B07XZN29SD


Colors Of Love Series


Book #1 – Lost In Indigo – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Touch Of A Yellow Sun – Amazon US | Amazon UK

A Chaos Moondrawn Review : Fated Hearts (Shadow Bound #1) by Garrett Leigh

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

There is a free short story prequel to this book, but you don’t need to read it to enjoy this story. Alpha Varian of the Northern Pack is allied with the Shadow Clan against the allied packs of the South. I don’t really understand how this alliance works; it is something to do with the peace accord with other supernaturals (like vampires), but that is never discussed in any detail. Shadow Clan has so far stayed out of the agression. Zio is a beta in Varian’s combat squad, full of rage after the death of his best friend Emma, their wolf healer. When Shadow Clan sends their healer Devan to replace Emma, he must navigate culture shock, distrust, grief and the mating bond in order to save the lives of his new Pack.

The fish out of water element is a great way to explain things through Devan’s POV. Unfortunately, this is completely underutilized. In this world, paranormals coexist with humans, but shifters are treated differently in different parts of the world. The wolves are born with their own supernatural powers, like an affinity with different types of magic…and nothing is done with that except for a few small tremors and some shielding, which is literally a few sentences. There is one human character introduced briefly in the book even though humans try to stop the werewolf aggression and some wolves have human mates. Also, Devan is a different type of shifter…the author purposely doesn’t say what type until well into the book, but it’s on the cover so I didn’t understand the big secret. As an enemies to lovers story, it’s based on the loss of Emma, not that they are different animal spirits. The way humans or paranormals become shadow shifters is something else not well explained because the prequel made me have more questions than the book did–some people die once, while some people die twice…or is that only vampires who become Shadow Clan? I don’t know.

Zio is not in the correct frame of mind, as the reader can tell when his POV is given at key times. The only things that make sense to me about his extremes are either immaturity or PTSD, although that isn’t discussed, yet it’s treated more as a charcter issue that is fixed with the mating bond. This is a book about war, but the action scenes weren’t that gripping. Some shifters die and there are a few horrific injuries, but it is seen at a distance somehow, even with Devan being the one to heal them. None of the other side characters come alive; they are supposed to be close, sometimes having sex after battle, but I never got to feel anything for any of them because that is something the reader is told instead of shown. I wasn’t emotionally attached to whether they lived or died.

Even though Zio was bitten young, he was raised by humans and doesn’t seem to know wolf history or understand wolf biology. That’s convenient to move the story along, but he purposefully never rectified it and willful ignorance isn’t a very attractive character trait. Devan seems to be more arrogant, thinking he can ignore their growing bond, while Zio doesn’t recognize they are mates at all. Frankly, as a healer used to dealing with different kinds of supernatural, Devan should know better. About 60% of the way in, Devan says he likes Zio but I’m not sure why when they have barely spoken to each other and their interactions are contentious or a short sexual activity. All of the sudden, just when they start having whole conversations, there is a manufactured crisis to keep them apart, which would have worked better if the attention to the political details had been in the world-building. Again, while this is convenient for a slow burn romance, it doesn’t really work with the story except as an excuse to wallow in an agonizingly precarious position. Then all of the sudden Devan is dying for no reason. What? At the end, the humans are involved and have some drug to use on shifters, which has to have been stuck in there at the last minute to create conflict for the next book. I really wanted to like this more than I did, but I didn’t connect to this story.

The cover art was done by Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design. I’m not sure it is representative of the mood of this story.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by Fox Love Press
ASINB07XSKC3ZP
Edition Language English
Series Shadow Bound #1

An Alisa Review :Bitter Heat (Heat of Love #3) by Leta Blake

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

A pregnant omega trapped in a desperate situation, an unattached alpha with a lot to prove, and an unexpected fall into love that could save them both.

Kerry Monkburn is contracted to a violent alpha in prison for brutal crimes. Now pregnant with the alpha’s child, he lives high in the mountains, far above the city that once lured him in with promises of a better life. Enduring bitterness and fear, Kerry flirts with putting an end to his life of darkness, but fate intervenes.

Janus Heelies has made mistakes in the past. In an effort to redeem himself, integrity has become the watchword for his future. Training as a nurse under the only doctor willing to take him on, Janus is resolute in his intentions: he will live cleanly in the mountains and avoid all inappropriate affairs. But he doesn’t anticipate the pull that Kerry exercises on his heart and mind.

As the question of Kerry’s future health and safety comes to an explosive head, only the intervention of fate will see these desperate men through to a happy ending.

This gay romance novel by Leta Blake is the third in the Heat of Love universe which began with Slow Heat. It’s 111,000 words, with a strong happy ending and a critically-acclaimed, non-shifter Omegaverse. It features alphas, betas, omegas, male pregnancy, mpreg, heat, and knotting. Content warning for a violent and oppressive society regarding reproductive rights.

Oh man, the other books in this series have been emotional but this one is even more so.  Kerry has had to endure so much and continues to suffer at the hands of his alpha’s parents even while the vile man is in jail.  Janus is trying to make up for his mistakes and really he seems to have completely turned over a new leaf since I saw him in the last book.

I hate the society that these men have to live in but this author has done such a wonderful job of creating this world and all that it entails.  Kerry was wooed by a bad man and due to the rules of this society he is essentially owned by his alpha’s family even if they don’t care about his wellbeing more about what they want.  And let me tell you his in laws are horrible with how they force him to be beaten during his heats (and plenty before that) since they won’t allow him to not spend them with their son, all for the chance at a grandchild.

I was glad to see Kerry find solace in going home to his pater but even happier when him and Janus finally realize what they are to each other after the baby is born.  Janus is making great strides towards being a good man and his move to the mountains does so much more to help.  I loved how caring he was with Kerry even when he didn’t agree with his decisions.  I could see the pull these two had for each other from their first encounter and how it confused them but it wasn’t clear as to why they were so drawn to each other until the baby came.  I really liked the little time jumps at the end that helped to show how Kerry and Janus’s relationship grew.

The cover art by Dar Albert is very nice once again, though the models don’t quite seem to match the descriptions to me.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 325 pages

Published: September 12, 2019

Edition Language: English

Series: Heat of Love #3

Don’t MIss Out on the Release Blitz and Giveaway for Of Autumn Leaves and New Beginnings by Nell Iris

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Length: 17,809 words
 
Publisher: JMS Books
 
Blurb
 

Sometimes love finds you even when you’re not looking for it.


At 47, Oren Walker isn’t looking for love. When he knocks on Pete Higgins’ door, all he wants is to thank him for helping his mom after she broke her femur. He never expected that one look at the man would make his knees weak and heart flutter.


Pete is happy—albeit a bit lonely—after divorcing his wife of 20 years and isn’t looking to replace her. But when Oren shows up, all grateful and handsome and in that fancy suit, the longing for the deep connection of a relationship flares up inside him.


As the leaves turn yellow, Oren and Pete spend a lot of time in honest conversations. Their attraction grows. Will the two men recognize the promise of new beginnings, and take the chance to find the happiness they both deserve?

 
Excerpt



It’s been nearly three weeks since Mom’s accident — and the leaves are more yellow than green but the heat still refuses to let go — when my phone rings just as I’m on my way back to my office after a long, infuriating meeting. I don’t recognize the number but accept the call. “Oren Walker.”


“Oren. Hi. It’s Pete. Pete Higgins. Your mom’s next-door neighbor.”


“Oh, hey!” I would be lying if I said I haven’t thought about him these last few weeks. In the shower, before bed, while having my morning coffee. He’s hot enough to set fire to my pants, but that’s only part of the appeal. Mom hasn’t stopped talking about him since her accident; about how gentle he was when he helped her. How considerate and thoughtful and nice he was when she was hurt and scared, and in the days that have followed.


Of course, I noticed all his good sides myself, those few minutes we spent together, and he hasn’t been far from my thoughts whenever I’ve had a free moment.


“I’m sorry to disturb you at work,” Pete says.


“No problem. I just got out of a meeting with some very upset people and could use a friendly voice right now.” I close my office door behind me and throw myself onto my chair. “What can I do for you, Pete?”


“Nothing urgent. I just needed to tell you something.”


“Shoot.” I lean back and close my eyes, rubbing my temples with my thumb and index finger, trying to fend off the threatening headache.


“I just wanted to let you know that I interfered with your mom earlier. She was on her way to the grocery store. On foot, with her crutches, and I managed to catch her when she hobbled past my house.”


I groan. “Oh my God, her stubbornness is unprecedented.”


“Yeah, I hear you, man. I had to sweet talk her forever before I managed to convince her to go back home. The thing that persuaded her was when I lied and told her I was on my way to the store myself so I could pick up whatever it was she needed.”


“I don’t understand. I bought everything on her list the day before yesterday.”


“Nuh-uh. You forgot the chocolate chips. She couldn’t bake cookies for the church bake sale on Sunday. It was a class one disaster and I’m surprised she didn’t call 911.”


I groan again. “I can’t believe her,” I grumble. “I’ve told her, again and again, to call me whenever she needs anything. I bring my phone everywhere. To bed. To meetings. To the fucking bathroom when I take a shit, so I won’t miss her call.”


My rant is interrupted by a boisterous laughter.


“Gaah, I’m sorry. That was way more information than you needed.” My face heats and I slap myself on the forehead. Good job, Oren. Way to seem like a crazed lunatic in front of the nice man!


“Nah, it’s fine.”


“No, I’m sorry. That was highly inappropriate. Mom would be so ashamed of me. It’s no excuse, but I’ve had a long day.”


“I figured.”


I rub my temples harder. “I just don’t understand why she won’t call me.”


“Listen. She’s fiercely proud of you and all the hard work you’ve done to get where you are. She told me she doesn’t want to be a bother.”


“She’s not.”


“I know that. I told her. But she insists that you are busy and stressed and don’t need more on your plate right now,” he says.


“But she’s my mom.”


“Yeah. But take it from me, as a parent. When you’ve spent the biggest part of your life loving and protecting your kids, you can’t just turn it off. It’s instinct. We want to be the strong, invincible protector we’ve always been and it’s hard to accept that the situation might be reversed.”


“Oh.” That makes a lot of sense; I’ve never thought about it like that. “Thanks. That was a lot more helpful than you probably realize.”


He laughs. “Yay! Who woulda thought? Me doling out parenting advice!”


“You’re better than you give yourself credit for.”

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies’ room), loves music (and singing along but, let’s face it, she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (“Make it so”). She loves words, poetry, wine, and Sudoku, and absolutely adores elephants!


Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender, or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.


Nell is a forty-something bisexual Swedish woman, married to the love of her life, and a proud mama of a grown daughter. She left the Scandinavian cold and darkness for warmer and sunnier Malaysia a few years ago, and now spends her days writing, surfing the Internet, enjoying the heat, and eating good food. One day she decided to chase her lifelong dream of being a writer, sat down in front of her laptop, and wrote a story about two men falling in love.


Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angst, and wants to write diverse and different characters.


Email contact@nelliris.com
Web www.nelliris.com
Twitter @nellirisauthor
Facebook page www.facebook.com/nellirisauthor
Facebook profile www.facebook.com/nell.iris.12
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/nelliris
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/nell_iris/
QueeRomance Ink https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/nell-iris/

 

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Review Tour and Giveaway for The Good Green Earth (Colors of Love #3) by V.L. Locey

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link


Cover Design: Designs By Sloan


Length: 75,000 words approx.


Colors Of Love Series


Book #1 – Lost In Indigo – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Touch Of A Yellow Sun – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb



After the Syracuse Stallions clinch the championship, Nathan Zinkan, the renowned wild man of the AHL is arrested for a DUI. Again. When a no-nonsense judge adds a heavy dose of community service to an already stiff sentence, Nathan has to forget a summer of partying and slide on a pair of gardening gloves. His entire future now rides on how well he can behave while helping elderly urban gardeners tend to their tomatoes.


Watching local garden center owner Bran Cavanaugh working without his shirt is a benefit he wasn’t expecting. Pity Bran is also the one in charge of the community garden as well as keeping tabs on Nathan’s hours served. The two men are instantly at odds due to Nathan’s rebellious nature and Bran’s icy demeanor. Yet there’s no denying the attraction that begins to build between the hot-headed athlete and the cool as a cucumber master gardener.


Will their attraction grow into something deeper, or will it wither and die on the vine?

 

Read Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words 5 star review here. We love the series and highly recommend this story.

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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Review Tour and Giveaway for Fated Hearts (Shadow Bound #1) by Garrett Leigh

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link – Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited.
 

Length: 60,000 words approx.


Cover Design: Black Jazz Design


Blurb


“He’s not a wolf.”


Devastated by the death of his best friend, Zio is a soldier with one thing on his mind: revenge. Consumed by a conflict that’s raged as long as he’s been alive, he’s had little time or inclination to learn the legends of the shifter world he was raised in. And he certainly doesn’t have time to deal with a shifter of a different kind, even if it’s for the good of the war effort. For the good of his pack. The fact that he’s already crossed paths with the new face in his unit is almost irrelevant.


Almost.


Do no harm. Give life not death: it’s the oath Devan was reborn to live by, so when he’s sent abroad to embed with a wolf pack as their resident healer, he doesn’t hesitate. In the supernatural world, some bonds are instant–soldiers become brothers, pack become family. But others run deeper and before long, Devan’s at the mercy of instincts he can’t control. Zio’s inner wolf is desperate to be with Devan, while Devan struggles to keep the pack safe. But as the war escalates, and new love is tainted by anguish and pain, the battles within might prove the toughest of them all.


“I won’t let him die.”

 

Garrett Leigh is an award-winning British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Fox Love Press.


Garrett’s debut novel, Slide, won Best Bisexual Debut at the 2014 Rainbow Book Awards, and her polyamorous novel, Misfits was a finalist in the 2016 LAMBDA awards.


When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible, all the while shouting at her menagerie of children and animals and attempting to tame her unruly and wonderful FOX.


Garrett is also an award winning cover artist, taking the silver medal at the Benjamin Franklin Book Awards in 2016. She designs for various publishing houses and independent authors at blackjazzdesign.com, and co-owns the specialist stock site moonstockphotography.com with renowned LGBTQA+ photographer Dan Burgess.


Website: http://www.garrettleigh.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/garrettleighauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Garrett_Leigh




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Cover Reveal for Beyond the Surface by Colette Davison (excerpt)

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COVER REVEAL

Book Title: Beyond the Surface

Author: Colette Davison

Cover Artist: Illustrator: Bramasta Aji; typography: Colette Davison

Release Date: September 30, 2019

Genre/s: Paranormal romance

Trope/s: Fated mates, insta-love, age-gap, fairy tale retelling

Themes: Finding yourself; self-acceptance

Heat Rating: 3 – 4 flames

Universal Amazon Link  mybook.to/BeyondTheSurface

 

 

Raen has always longed to see the world beyond the surface, but nothing could compel him to break the most ancient law of the merfolk. Could it?

Blurb 

Raen should have found his mate during his first hunt, instead he almost died. Two years later, he’s struggling with internal fear, and his father’s disapproval.

Until he encounters a land-dweller.

A man he feels a deep and instant connection to.

A man who will drown if Raen doesn’t save him.

But in order to do so, Raen must break two of the merfolk’s rules:

Don’t interact with land-dwellers.

Don’t go beyond the surface.

If Raen saves the man, he stands to lose everything he’s ever known. But if he lets him drown, he’ll lose something infinitely more precious to his heart and soul.

Beyond the Surface is a paranormal MM romance, with fated mates who almost never met, a sweet insta-love relationship, and an age-gap.

 

Excerpt 

The moment he wrapped his arms around the land-dweller’s chest and shoulders, he felt complete. For a heartbeat he was too stunned to do anything. Then he remembered that the man was dying. He shot upwards, breaking free of the surface before he could talk himself out of it. In his arms lay the land-dweller with heaving chest, and he made a weird, sucking sound. Then he was still, his head lolling against Raen’s shoulder. His damp hair dangled over Raen’s back. The shorter hair on the man’s chin and jaw tickled Raen’s chest. In this fragile state, he looked heartbreakingly beautiful. But he was alive. Raen knew he was alive.

Knowing he had saved the land-dweller, Raen gaped at the vastness of the darkening sky. It seemed to go on forever, getting darker and darker the further away from him it stretched. The moon was a clear, unwavering globe, shining brightly upon him. Pinpricks of light were scattered across the darkness. Under the moon, the world above seemed to be nothing but dark blues and black, and he longed to know what visual feast would greet him if he were to break the surface when light filled the above. Most of all he wondered why. Why had his people been forbidden from seeing such beauty?

He could have marvelled at the sight forever, but the weight of the land-dweller in his arms spurred him into action. He could feel the unconscious man shivering against him. Though he wasn’t quite sure what to do, he guessed the man needed to be out of the water; he was supposed to be on land, after all. He glanced at the boat, but between the high sides and the man’s size and build, it would be impossible for him to get him inside it on his own. He looked to the dark blob of land on the horizon. Terror tugged at him, but he knew he had to get the man there. He turned onto his back, hugging the man to his chest to keep his face out of the water, and began to swim.

It was harder than he’d expected. He was swimming against the tide, and the strange, thin wrappings the man wore gave the ocean purchase to try to pull them down. The man’s unfamiliar appendages didn’t help either. Instead of a long, lean tail, he had two limbs that Raen could have mistaken for arms, except they didn’t have hands on the end. They dragged through the water, making swimming that much harder. Raen didn’t give up. He had to get the man to land, and that was all that mattered. If he failed to save the man now, whatever punishment he would face when he returned home would be for nothing.

By the time they reached land, Raen was exhausted. With difficulty, he managed to haul the man onto the shore. He found it odd that there was sand here too, but at least it was familiar. Partly, anyway. It looked silvery blue beneath the moonlight and was warm to the touch. There was no one else in sight, though he did see a handful of tiny crabs, scuttling across the sand. Out of the water, everything was hot, and he quickly began to feel… he shook his head, unable to find one word that described the damp closeness that clung to him. There was a slight coolness that whispered against his skin, but it was another thing he couldn’t name.

Raen stared down at the man, marvelling at how handsome he was, even though the moonlight robbed his skin and hair of natural colour, replacing them with a variety of blue-tinged greys. Raen was bemused as to why—or even how—the man had so much hair covering his body; not just his face and chest, but his arms, underarms, and bottom arms. Whatever they were really called.

He pressed his ear to the man’s chest, feeling the tickle of the soft damp hairs, which covered the man’s skin. There it was, the rhythmic, lazy thud-thud of a heartbeat, just the same as the one he felt in his own chest. He smiled at the comforting sound, astounded by how similar and how different they were to one another. Cautiously, he ran his fingertips over the man’s cheek and jaw. The connection he felt to the stranger was all-consuming and overwhelming. He needed to deny what it meant because this man—this land-dweller—couldn’t possibly be his mate.

 

About the Author 

Colette’s personal love story began at university, where she met her future husband. An evening of flirting, in the shadow of Lancaster castle, eventually led to a fairytale wedding. She’s enjoying her own ‘happy ever after’ in the north of England with her husband, two beautiful children and her writing.

 

 

Social Media Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter

Facebook Group: Colette’s Cosy Corner

BookBub

Goodreads

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