A Lucy Review: Snowed In: Jonah and Cooper by Kris T. Bethke


Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Jonah Lyons is looking forward to spending a weekend at a cabin with his sister, Ellie. So the last thing he expects is for his ex-boyfriend to show up. 

Captain Adrian Cooper was once the love of his life, but Jonah thinks he’s moved past it. Getting trapped together because of a snowstorm wasn’t on the agenda, but it means they either have to talk or murder each other. 

When Cooper admits the reason he left, Jonah doesn’t know how to react. The depth of Cooper’s love has never waned, and Jonah realizes he still loves Cooper, too. Now he needs to decide if he can forgive Cooper. Can he give them both the second chance they deserve?

I have a feeling I am going to be in the minority on this one but it just wasn’t working for me.  I am a big fan of short stories (this one clocks in at 45 pages) but it has to have a “complete” feel and in this case the length worked against it.

Jonah is a wonderful little brother who can’t say no to spending time with his big sister, Ellie.  When she convinces him to spend a long weekend with her at her in-laws cabin, he knows he will agree.  Even when she asks for chicken Florentine for lunch, a meal he only made for the former love of his life, he figures she doesn’t realize the significance and agrees to that too.  Except, of course, she doesn’t show up but Adrian Cooper, the military man who loved Jonah and then broke his heart three years ago, does.

When Jonah (who had blocked Cooper’s number) doesn’t answer his calls, Cooper resorted to getting Ellie to help.  Again, Jonah is an awesome little brother because as under-handed and crappy as that move was, he forgives her right away.  Jonah is completely ready to throw Cooper out the way he came, except the snow storm that started when Jonah was driving is now in full force the roads are closed.  Oh, boy.

So Cooper’s reason for breaking up with Jonah, demolishing his spirit and leaving him without a backwards glance was selfish in my opinion. “When I broke things off, I thought I was doing the right thing.”  You know, because why talk to the one you love?   Add in that he’s so surprised that Jonah doesn’t want to be with him.  “Is it really so bad? Being stuck with me?”   A pet peeve of mine, when the one who hurt their love believes they can just show up and all will be magically forgiven.  That right there was my biggest issue with the story.  There is a quite explanation that was BS, no groveling, “I did it for you” and then on to sex.   I didn’t even feel that Cooper “did it for…” Jonah.  He finished his time and then went looking.

I am usually a fan of second chance stories but this needed more for me and perhaps due to the short length, it didn’t deliver as I had hoped.

Cover art showing two happy men hugging over a snowy cabin scene is very pretty, though didn’t fit the feel of the couple.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 41 pages
Published January 19th 2019 by JMS Books LLC
ISBN 139781634867948
Edition Language English

J.P. Barnaby on a Conversation with her Character and her new novel Saving Hannah (author guest blog)


Saving Hannah by J.P. Barnaby

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Tiferet Design

Release Date:  December 18, 2018
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press  | Amazon


Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host J.P. Barnaby here today on tour for her latest novel, Saving Hannah.  Welcome, J.P.


A Chat with Hannah Aberthol

Saving Hannah, while a romantic suspense, is at its core—a love story. It’s a love story between two men and a little girl. Hannah has leukemia and her father, Thomas, will do anything to get her the medical care she needs. Aleks has loved Thomas since college and wants to help them both. Along with the suspenseful elements, there is a lot of love.

I thought it would be fun to sit down with little Hannah and talk about her role in the book, her relationship with her father, and how she feels about the developments in their relationship.

JP: Hi Hannah, thanks for sitting down with me today.

Hannah: Hello. It’s nice to see you again. Daddy said you helped us become a family.

JP: Well, I just wrote it down. That was all your daddy and Aleks.  They’re good guys.

Hannah: Meemaw said Daddy is a good man who did a bad thing. Aleks is a good man too. He helped me with the doctors and medicine and stuff.

JP: How are you feeling, Hannah?

Hannah: Way better. Daddy says I can go to school soon.

JP: That’s great! Are you looking forward to that?

Hannah: Yeah, I just wish my hair were longer. They’re gonna make fun of me.

JP: Tell them you were in a rock band and shaved your head.

Hannah: That’s silly. And a lie. Daddy said we’re only supposed to lie about certain things.

JP: That’s got to be a scary thing.

Hannah: Yeah. I’m scared I’m going to mess up and something bad will happen.

JP: Tell you what, if I don’t write it—it won’t happen. And I won’t write something bad happening to you. Does that make it better?

Hannah: You can do that?

JP: Yep.

Hannah: You’re the bestest ever! I’m gonna go tell Daddy and Aleks. See you later!


Thomas Aberthol’s luck has run out. His daughter, Hannah, needs a miracle he can’t deliver. A hacker with a felony record, Thomas has little chance of finding work that will provide the care she needs. Out of money, out of options, and out of hope, he throws himself on the mercy of someone he never thought to see again.

Even after ten years, Aleksander Sanna still dreams of that drunken kiss. A perfect moment in time when Thomas wanted him. In his world of elegant code and high finance, the picture he holds of Thomas torments him in the dark of night.

Their worlds collide as Thomas interviews for the job he so desperately needs with the company Aleks inherited from his father. Thomas doesn’t get the position, but Aleks offers him a completely different kind of proposal, one suited to Thomas’s unique talents… one that will change the course of both their lives.


About author J.P. Barnaby

JP Barnaby is an award-winning contemporary romance and romantic suspense novelist with over a dozen novels. Her heart and soul, the Survivor Series, has been heralded by USA Today as one of their favorites. She recently moved from Chicago to Atlanta to appease her Camaro (Jake) who didnít like the blustery winters. JP specializes in recovery romance but slips in a few erotic or comedic stories to spice things up. When sheís not working on her latest novel, she binge watches superheroes and crime dramas on Netflix with her husband and Jack Russell Terror, Chase.

Sign up for her newsletter and try a free story: https://bit.ly/2xSB8kE


A Lila Advent Calendar Review: Boca Dreams by Scudder James Jr


Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

You can’t correct the past.

Or can you?

Stephen’s not proud of who he was back in boarding school—spoiled and a player. Now, at the holiday reunion ten years later, he has a chance to show his former classmates who he really is: out and proud, devoted to helping others, and partnered with Victor.

Stephen understands why Victor, who grew up in a poor and abusive household, hates the rich kids at the reunion, but his attitude is ruining everything. Luckily Stephen bumps into Aaron, a former grunge rocker who has also changed. Stephen never forgot their one steamy night together.

With the help of three very unusual personifications of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, can Stephen revisit his mistakes and find the happiness that’s eluded him?

Boca Dreams is a non-traditional second chance story. More of a hope for a once missed opportunity; a what if with the one that got away.

I liked that Stephen was ready to show his classmates who he was but I’m not sure he went into it with the right mindset. It seems he had not changed much from that teen looking for acceptance. Victor read as a stereotype of a bitter man. It felt unnecessary to the story.

As someone that enjoyed high school. I love class reunion stories and I can see Stephen & Aaron as an item many years later. Unfortunately, their coming together didn’t feel feasible. The Scrooges part didn’t work for me. I  wanted a little less drama and a bit more reminiscence. The story does have a nice ending, though.

The cover by L.C. Chase follows the 2018 Advent Calendar | Warmest Wishes template. The picture within is pretty standard and I’m not sure if it is Stephen or Aaron.

Sale Link: Amazon | Nook | Dreamspinner

Book Details:
ebook, 42 pages
ASIN: 9781644050477
Published: December 1, 2018, by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English


A Stella Review : A Love To Remember by Sarah Hadley Brook


RATING 2,75 out of 5 stars


Graham Hayes decided long ago he’d never be in a relationship. It was better to stay single than to fall in love only to be left alone, which he was certain would happen to him. He’d seen Alzheimer’s ravage his family members all his life, leaving their loved ones to deal with the fallout. Some of them stayed, but some didn’t. Graham isn’t going to risk it. When he hires nurse Sam Morgan to take care of his dad during the day, his pledge to stay single is put to the test. He soon finds it difficult to maintain a professional distance. Graham’s guarded his heart for so long, but his resolve is crumbling. Will he be able to conquer his fear to give himself a chance at love? Can he trust Sam to stick around for better or worse?

I chose to review A Love To Remember because I read some other titles by the same author and found them interesting, plus this new release treats a theme very dear to me and for a couple of reasons I knew I could relate to Graham. So of course I wanted to give the story a chance. The premises were there and were great. I have to say the plot was good, I liked the relationship between Graham and his dad, how he turned his life to stay with him. And then it was very sweet how the MCs met again, I adore when a couple seems destined to be together.

All of these caught my attention, but from a certain moment the story lost all its potential and became something I wasn’t expecting. What I didn’t like resides in the way the romance developed between Graham and Sam. I thought when they first met, they were pretty hot together, I felt the attraction they had for each other, I felt how both of them wanted more but it wasn’t possible. Then they got a second chance. And just there, things shifted for me. I couldn’t feel anymore the chemistry, they could have been easily friends because there wasn’t a difference. The author told me how much Sam wanted Graham but I actually see it. And moreover I found some behaviours they had too childish for grown up adults like them.

Although it didn’t truly convince me, I still appreciate A Love To Remember, especially cause the author was able to deliver a light story with an important theme like Alzheimer’s and this was a huge bonus to me since too many times, books that deal with diseases are too heavy to take.

The cover is lovely and full of light, I like it.

Sales Links:    Amazon |      Universal Buy Link


Kindle Edition, 85 pages

Published April 28th 2018 by JMS Books LLC


Edition Language English


An Alisa Release Day Review: Smitty’s Sheriff (Hope #3) by Cardeno C.


Rating:  4 stars out of 5


Todd is too flakey. Richard is too stubborn. Together, they’re perfect. A May-December couple get a second chance at love.


Retired soldier Richard Davis wants a stable life in a quiet town with a forever man. Becoming the sheriff of Hope, Arizona, accomplishes two of his three goals, but instead of finding a serious partner, he falls for too-young-to-be-committed and too-flakey-to-be-serious Todd Smitty. Richard won’t find the right man if he’s obsessed with the wrong one, so he walks away from Todd.


It’s lust at first sight when Todd meets his sister’s army friend. He sets his sights on the worldly, strong, stable older man, and the more time he spends with Richard, the harder he falls. But after three years together, Richard cuts off all contact with no explanation.


When a mutual obligation requires Todd to move into Richard’s house, he’s thrilled at the opportunity to earn a second chance. Ignoring Todd from across town was hard enough. Can Richard resist temptation under his own roof?


This was a sweet story even if I was frustrated with some of the characters actions.  Richard is so sure that Todd isn’t the right man for him and doesn’t want to hold him back so he breaks off their relationship.  Todd has been so confused as to why Richard broke off their relationship that when they have to work together and watch Todd’s niece he is so scared of doing something wrong.


This story definitely had a d/s undertone to it, Todd is completely submissive to Richard’s dominate nature and that is where some of the problems lie with these characters.  Todd loves to be taken care of which makes sense considering what we learn about him in this story while Richard is afraid that he is making too many decisions for Todd and it isn’t what Todd wants.  However, I still can’t understand Todd’s thought process about having sex with other guys before that since Richard didn’t specifically say anything that he could sleep with whoever, that part just didn’t work for me.


This story is told from both characters’ points of view which gives a nice look into both of their thoughts.  It takes some work on Todd’s part but he finally gets Richard to talk about why their relationship fell apart and they are able to clear the air with each other.  Richard is breaking his own heart staying away from Todd while Todd can’t help but hope they will be able to work it all out.


Cover art is great and I love the sweet visual of these two characters together.


Sales Links: Amazon | PayHip


Book Details:

ebook, 33,297 words

Published: July 17, 2017
ISBN: 9781942184737

Edition Language: English

Series: A Hope Story

Release Blitz for Accepting The Fall by Meg Harding (excerpt and giveaway)



Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Length: 61,000 words

Confronting the past is never easy.

Cole Whitaker is happy. He has the job and boyfriend he always wanted. His heart’s in no danger of being broken, and he can’t ask for more from life. As a kindergarten teacher, he sees it all; however, one troublesome student has him reaching out to the parent, wanting to help. There’s something about Savanah that tugs at his heartstrings.

He never expected her father.

Zander Brooks hasn’t had an easy life, and he’s made some mistakes. Freshly retired from the military and working as a firefighter, Zander thought he’d left Cole in the rearview mirror. He’s not expecting him to appear in St. Petersburg, Florida, of all places, teaching his daughter’s kindergarten class. Suddenly, his biggest mistake is being shoved in his face.

This is Zander’s chance to close a door he’d never fully shut, but time with his former flame might change his mind.


Time had done nothing to dull Cole’s memories of Zander Brooks, though he wished it had. His stomach rolled, and he had to lock his knees to keep upright. Breathe, Cole, you’re being dramatic. Of all the places for them to see each other after nearly two decades…. It was some consolation, a very small amount, that Zander appeared equally as shocked to see Cole. He stood in the doorway, unmoving and silent, his lips parted. Cole could feel Zander,s gaze on him like a physical touch. It made his skin prickle, his heart skip a beat. He was supposed to be over this.

Cole needed to find his words. He was a professional, and whatever personal history they’d had, it was just that. History. It was irrelevant in this room. He played pretend with his class sometimes. He could do that now. He cleared his throat, feeling a bit like a cat with a hairball. “Hello, Mr… Emerson?” It was less confident than he’d been going for, but it would have to do. Zander took a minute to noticeably reorient himself. He walked into the classroom slowly. His pace could even be considered hesitant. Cole tried to ignore the observation, the nagging surge of satisfaction that he wasn’t alone in being off kilter.

From behind him, Savanah snorted. Cole glommed onto the excuse to look away from Zander and turned to her. Savanah’s pert nose was scrunched. “Can I play outside?” she asked, gaze darting between Cole and her father.

Jesus. Zander was a father. Zander was the father who Cole had been wanting to meet. If Cole didn’t regulate his breathing, he was going to have a full blown panic attack. He’d been in love with one of his student’s fathers. He’d had his heart broken for the first time by him. Seventeen years later and it somehow still stung. “No, but you can use one of the stations,” he said, hoping he didn’t sound too strangled. He ran a hand over the back of his neck, damp from sweat. He thought it was possible he’d had a nightmare like this before.

Savanah pouted but went in silence to the reading corner. She made sure to scuff her shoes over the carpet on the way.

“It’s Mr. Brooks,” said Zander, sounding much closer. His voice was the same, deep and smooth like velvet. It sent parts of Cole’s insides fluttering in a way he hadn’t experienced in years.

Cole retreated under the guise of picking the workbook and pencil off the floor. Savanah had Goldfish crumbs littered around the legs of her desk. “Ah, I see. My apologies.” He aligned the book and pencil symmetrically on the scarred desktop. A few of the workbook’s pages were crinkled now, folding in on themselves. He tried to smooth them down and noticed in the process that Savanah had been working ahead. He made a mental note of it.

He was going to have to stop delaying and face Zander eventually. Could he play this off like he hadn’t recognized Zander or was that cat long out of the bag? “Why don’t you take a seat? I’ll be right with you.” He cupped his hand at the edge of Savanah’s desk and used his other to sweep eraser crumbs into his palm.

“Uh.” Zander coughed, shuffling his feet and rustling his jeans in the process. “Here?”

Cole managed to look at Zander at last. His lips even twitched into a half-smirk of their own accord at the picture of Zander squeezed into a child-sized seat. The smirk didn’t last long. Zander was too close. Cole could make out the nearly golden striations in his irises, could see the slow progression of his pupil taking over the brown. He had a scar at his temple now, a jagged slash from hairline to the arch of his eyebrow. Stress lines looked to be permanently etched in the dark brown skin at the corners of his eyes and mouth. If Cole didn’t know better, he’d have said he was staring at someone in their forties. The years they’d been apart had not been overly kind to Zander.

Strangely the realization left Cole with a hollow feeling, a tinge of… disappointment, maybe. He’d been angry with Zander with every fiber of his teenage being, but buried underneath had always been a quiet hope that Zander would figure out how to be happy.

Clearly he’d not.

Author Bio

Meg Harding is a graduate of UCF, and recently completed a masters program for Publishing in the UK. For as long as she can remember, writing has always been her passion, but she had an inability to ever actually finish anything. She’s immensely happy that her inability has fled and looks forward to where her mind will take her next. She’s a sucker for happy endings, the beach, and superheroes. In her dream life she owns a wildlife conservation and is surrounded by puppies. She’s a film buff, voracious reader, and a massive geek.

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A Caryn Review: Urgent Care (Hearts & Health #3) by D.J. Jamison


Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This is the third in the Hearts and Health series by this author, and once again characters from the previous two books appear in minor supporting roles, but it is basically a stand-alone.  I think this was my favorite of the series, and I enjoyed it, but still not a book I’d put on my re-read list.

Both of the MCs are in the medical profession in this book.  Xavier James is a nursing student, a little older and with a lot more life experience that most of his peers.  Dr. Trent Cavendish was Xavier’s high school boyfriend, but he went on to college, medical school, and ultimately a career as a successful but workaholic surgeon.  When Trent’s best friend and fellow surgeon cracked under the pressure, it served as a wake up call to Trent, who took a good look at his life and where it was going and saw that it really held little meaning.  So he decided to go back to the beginning, back to his hometown of Ashe, Kansas, and gave up surgery to work in an indigent care clinic.  He and Xavier had been in love, but that blew up dramatically when Trent left town to go to school and Xavier stayed home to care for his family.  Though the men hadn’t spoken in 12 years, Trent still hoped that Xavier might be available to give him a second chance.

I really enjoy second chance stories, when you have the chance to reconnect with “the one that got away”.  And I think this one was well done – both men certainly had changed quite a bit, and matured, and with that actually were able to recognize why it ended so badly all those years ago.  The path back together required not only that they face those old truths (through wiser eyes), but also that they re-evaluate where they wanted to be, and how they wanted to get there.  The character development was much stronger in this book than the others in the series, and I ended up liking these men quite a bit better as well.  I also found Trent to be a much more sympathetic doctor than Paul in Bedside Manner.  As in the other books in the series, the medical details were pretty authentic – I had to laugh about the process of granting emergency privileges to Trent in the rural hospital.  I guess it could happen, but I couldn’t help thinking that any non-medical readers were probably wondering what all the fuss was about.

Overall, a decent read.  I haven’t read the rest of the author’s books set in Ashe, but I am sure fans of that series would enjoy this one as well.

Cover art works for branding the series and is more eye-catching.

Sales Links 

Buy on Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 200 pages
Published May 4th 2017
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Hearts & Health:

A MelanieM Release Day Review: Take Two by Shira Anthony


Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Take TwoShiver me timbers! When Professor Wesley Coolidge accepts a summer job as a historical consultant to a pirate movie being filmed in North Carolina, the last person he expects to bump into is his soon-to-be-ex, movie star Sander Carson. Just like the flamboyant pirate he’s playing, Sander, aka Sam Carr, is used to getting what he wants, and he makes it clear he wants Wesley back in his life.

Sam acknowledges it’s his fault they split up. He lost Wesley when he left their life in New York City behind for a career in Hollywood. But Wesley has finally managed to put the pieces of his heart back together, and he isn’t interested in Sam and Wesley: The Sequel. Sam soon realizes that convincing Wesley to give their relationship a second chance will take much more than apologies and reminders of good times past. If he wants Wesley back, Sam will have to show Wesley that they really can sail into the sunset together—a real-life happily-ever-after that won’t end once the final credits roll.

Take Two by Shira Anthony is a different sort of story then the ones we’ve been reading lately from this author.  Far from the action/adventure or fantasy epics of recent releases, this romance of lovers trying to find their way back (or at least one) to the magic that was once theirs brings me back to the tone of the Blue Notes series and the books where I found Shira Anthony.

Lovers reunited is a trope I adore, especially when its one lover trying to win back his true love.  That the lovers here are older makes this story just a tad sweeter and more perfect.  Sam knows he screwed up big time (how much he’s yet to realize) but he know he wants Wesley back.  The story is all about Sam’s doing what it takes, physically rearranging things like schedules, growing emotionally, whatever, to get Wesley back.  Things do not fall into place, although it seems as though its going to happen that way at first.  Life is never so accommodating and Anthony is well aware of life’s foibles and whimsy.

Wesley too has a bit of relationship blinders on, ones that anyone whose had relationship issues or problems will recognize.  Whether its with current relationships or ones in the past, the author realizes that the need to see what we want to see rather than what’s really occurring is a strong overriding emotion.  Its an authentic need and a thread that runs throughout the story.  And as we are pulled into Wesley’s turmoil of a life and his mixed-up inner emotions, we wonder what’s it going to take to bring Wesley to take his blinder’s off and …boom…we’ve fallen in love with both men and their problems.

Of course, it helps spectacularly that Shira Anthony has set her story on Bald Island, NC a place the author is intimately familiar with.  A lifelong sailor herself along with her husband, the scenes on the water, in and around as well as on Bald Island are vividly and lovingly described because she feels that way about the place.  It shows.  I wanted to grab a plane, car or boat and head there myself.  There’s a sea rescue too that’s as white knuckle as they come. Yes, that’s  authentic as well.

I think that’s why this story reminded me so of the Blue Notes story.  Where those were focused on the musical world that Anthony was a part of for so long, Take Two is surrounded by another element in Anthony’s life, that of sailing, the water, and North Carolina.  Her deep love and knowledge of all three shines bright here as music does in the Blue Notes series.  That made me hope that perhaps another series could be coming.  There is a secondary couple here.  I would love to see where their romance takes them. Plus the Barbary Pirates need exploring right?

Things I haven’t mentioned?  History and pirates!  Yes to both!  I loved learning about the pirates of North Carolina and definitely wanted more, along with the humor that the author threw in to go along with it.  There’s some wonderful giggling moments here, along with a few ‘laugh out loud’s too. Ah, me. Wonderful characters, lovers reunited, sexy scenes, sailboats, and pirates!  Argh, me hearties!  This romance was everything I wanted and more.


Cover art by L.C. Chase is missing several elements.  I like the script.  But where, oh where, is Bald Island, NC, the sailboats and the pirate ships?


Sales Links



Book Details:

ebook, 214 pages
Expected publication: September 9th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634773853 (ISBN13: 9781634773850)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Love Sails After Its True Heart with Shira Anthony’s Take Two! Release Day Special Blog and Tour Stop!


Take Two_FB BannerFINAL3


Take Two by Shira Anthony

Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art by L.C. Chase


Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Shira Anthony here today on her Take Two video tour.  Welcome, Shira!


Thanks so much, Melanie and Scattered Thoughts, for hosting the Take Two video tour! Throughout the tour, we’ll be making video stops on one of my favorite places at the North Carolina coast and the location for Take Two: Bald Head Island.

Take Two is a second chance at love story set during a movie shoot. It’s a sweet and sometimes funny story about love that won’t quit, and includes anachronistic pirates, silly dialogue, and general mayhem as action star Sander Carson, a.k.a. Sam Carr, tries to woo back his estranged husband, pirate expert and history professor Wesley Coolidge. You can find all the videos after they’re posted on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6nv628KGwo&list=PLPthSb07JAMhidI3zIKcD6FLK5wTrnjV_

I hope you’ll enjoy this lighthearted romp and that you end up believing in second chances! The book is now available for preorder at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, and all the usual suspects. -Shira




Shiver me timbers! When Professor Wesley Coolidge accepts a summer job as a historical consultant to a pirate movie being filmed in North Carolina, the last person he expects to bump into is his soon-to-be ex, movie star Sander Carson. Just like the flamboyant pirate he’s playing, Sander, aka Sam Carr, is used to getting what he wants, and he makes it clear he wants Wesley back in his life.

Sam acknowledges it’s his fault they split up. He lost Wesley when he left their life in New York City behind for a career in Hollywood. But Wesley has finally managed to put the pieces of his heart back together, and he isn’t interested in Sam and Wesley: The Sequel. Sam soon realizes that convincing Wesley to give their relationship a second chance will take much more than apologies and reminders of good times past. If he wants Wesley back, Sam will have to show Wesley that they really can sail into the sunset together–a real-life happily-ever-after that won’t end once the final credits roll.

Excerpt from Chapter Two

The entire scene was surreal. Gorgeous boat, beautiful scenery, good wine, and me by my lonesome. In the grand scheme of life, it certainly wasn’t the worst outcome. Still, he wished he wasn’t alone.

He pulled his cellphone from his pocket and tapped the preset for Carl. If they couldn’t be together, at least Wes could describe the alternate universe he’d just stepped into for him. It took a few seconds for the call to connect, and Wes imagined the signal snaking its way down through Florida, then skimming the waves to the southwest, across the Gulf of Mexico, and over to Guatemala.

“This is Carl Stephens. I’m unavailable to take your call at the moment. Please leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I’m able.”

Figures. Wes shook his head and disconnected the call. He’d catch Carl another time. He didn’t want Carl to feel guilty about the change in plans. It wasn’t as if he was suffering here in North Carolina anyhow. He replaced the phone in his pocket and glanced up at the fly bridge again. Why not? He’d never been particularly shy, and he figured he’d feel more comfortable hanging out with the crew instead of pretending to be some pampered Hollywood celebrity. He refilled his glass and headed up the stairs.

The fly bridge was every bit as Wes had expected. Sleek, with the newest instrumentation, radio, and radar. The seats and console were white, as was the rest of the yacht, and the panoramic view was impressive. The captain sat facing the console, only the top of his head visible over the high-backed leather chair.


“We aim to please,” the captain responded without turning around. His clipped British accent reminded Wes of a young Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia. “Are the accommodations to your liking?”

“You mean the presidential suite? I only wish I could spend a month or two sailing the Caribbean in accommodations like that.” He sighed.

“I might be able to arrange that.” The captain spun his chair around so he faced Wes. Except he wasn’t a captain, and he wasn’t British at all—

“Sam?” Wes knew his jaw had just dropped to the deck.

Sam Carr—no, Sander Carson, Wes reminded himself—grinned back at him. It was too easy for forget that the Sam he’d married no longer existed. “That would be me.” The British accent was gone, replaced by a hint of a soft southern drawl. Well, at least that was authentic.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Wes demanded.

Sam appeared entirely nonplussed. “Is that any way to say hello to your husband?”

“Ex-husband,” Wes corrected.

“Not for another 46 days and seven hours.” Sam leaned back in the captain’s chair, causing the thin fabric of his T-shirt to stretch tight over the muscles of his chest. He looked better than Wes remembered. No doubt he had some expensive fitness coach he worked with every day to manage pecs like that. His bright blue eyes were as disarming as they’d always been, the hint of stubble on his strong jaw only made him look more attractive. Like a movie star. Which, of course, Sam—or Sander—was.

“You haven’t answered my question,” Wes said, trying to ignore the jab to his gut at the reminder that their divorce would soon be final. “Why are you here?”

“I had a few days off from shooting, and I thought I’d take her out for a spin. They delivered her last week, and I haven’t had a chance to—”

“Wait a minute. You mean she… this is your boat?”

“Yep. Bought and paid for,” Sam said with pride.

The pieces began to fall into place. Marv leaving suddenly. The shoot in North Carolina. Sam wouldn’t have had anything to do with Carl’s boss’s change in plans, but he’d have known whom to call to find out about Wes’s plans. And Jeffrey. Shit, he remembered where he’d heard that name before: Sam’s personal assistant.

Total setup.

Wes made a mental note to read his secretary, Viv, the riot act when he got back to New York. Which would be very soon, if he had anything to say about it. She didn’t usually handle the details of his personal life, but she had access to his Outlook calendar. Come to think of it, she’d been asking him a lot of questions about his personal life lately. And she’d always loved Sam.

Everyone loves Sam.

“This isn’t going to happen, Sammy,” he told Sam. “I’m outta here.”

“Contract?” Sam said as Wes turned to head downstairs.

“Contracts can be broken.”

“You never read the fine print, do you?” Sam was clearly enjoying this.

“What have you done?” Wes glared at Sam.

“I didn’t do anything. The studio’s attorneys, though….”

“You set me up.” Stating the obvious. Sam was a hell of a lot smarter than he appeared. And way more devious. “What do you want from me, Sam?”

Sam tilted his head to one side and rubbed his chin as if he were considering the question. “You haven’t figured that out yet?” he asked.

Wes wouldn’t dignify the question with a response.

“I want you, Wesley Warren Coolidge. What else?”

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About Shira: Shira Anthony was a professional opera singer in her last incarnation, performing roles in such operas as Tosca, Pagliacci, and La Traviata, among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle.

Shira is married with two children and two insane dogs, and when she’s not writing, she is usually in a courtroom trying to make the world safer for children. When she’s not working, she can be found at the Carolina coast aboard Land’s Zen, a 35’ catamaran sailboat, with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel.

Want to hear Shira sing? You can listen to an excerpt from a live recording of Shira performing Tosca on her website: http://www.shiraanthony.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/tosca-visse-darte-exceprt1.mp3

Where to find Shira:

A Stella Review: Black Dust by Lynn Charles


RATING 4,25  out of 5 stars

Black DustNo matter how busy he keeps himself, successful Broadway musician Tobias Spence can’t outrun the memory of a tragic car crash from his past that claimed a friend’s life and permanently injured his former boyfriend, Emmett.

Even after losing Tobias, Emmett Henderson made peace with that awful night, living in his Indiana hometown where he has become a revered choral director. When his students are asked to perform in New York City, he decides to chance reconnecting with his former love, if for no other reason than to get a proper goodbye.

When Emmett and Tobias finally meet 15 years after parting ways, it is clear to both of them that their feelings for each other have not changed. As they explore their renewed relationship, the two men face old hurts and the new challenges of a long-distance romance. Will Tobias lose his second chance at love to the ghosts he can’t seem to put to rest?

“If the past comes back to visit you, maybe you should invite it to tea.”

Black Dust is my frst book by Lynn Charles, I was curious and excited to read it. Now I can say I’m surely going to read her debut novel, Chef’s Table, in the coming weeks.

What I soon appreciated was the prologue. I adore authors who give me the basical facts at the start and don’t let me beg for crumbs of past events. In the prologue set in the 2000 Emmett and Toby are a young but solid couple, they met two years ago during the auditions at the local theater when they were just 16 and 18 years old. It’s the night before Emmett prom and they are going out with their best friend, Scott when they have a terrible car accident and Scott dies.

Fifteen years later Tobias is a Broadway musician, he plays piano all over the world. He left Indiana and Emmett behind. He came back to his life, but the struggle to forget what happened and the dreams shared with his lover forgotten, is still strong and the youthful, broken promises hard to forget. Now his home base is NY and his best friend Malik, a sculptor.

Emmett is living in Indiana, working now as a choral director. As soon as the chance of  a couple of days in NY come out, he hopeful and calls Toby, asking for a reconnection.

Among the two, Emmett was my favorite character, he’s strong, real, loyal and beautiful in his heart. I soon felt a connection with his attitude, in his everyday life, his relationships with his parents or with his students. Yes I fell for him.

Point is I haven’t fallen for Toby, at all. And this is the only reason I’m not giving the story five stars. I couldn’t feel his emotions, I found him to be cold-hearted and stiff in everything he does. To me he didn’t stand out as a good person and was almost impossible to me to see him with Emmett. I said almost because at the end, thanks to the author abilities, I was finally able to understand his loss, his guilt and the tragedy he is still trying to overcome. Hats off to Lynn for this and for giving Scott an importance and lovable portrait, I missed him like Emmett and Toby did.

The author put in the story her whole musical knowledge and beyond. The MCs’ passion and work had a huge role in the book, but it never overwhelmed my reading, on the contrary, with the help of a well developed and interesting secondary characters cast, gave the plot a foundation and realism needed. I liked the style and the writing a lot, I think she did really great. The “second chance at love” stories are one of my favorite trope in the mm genre and Black Dust greatly delivered. The book was definitely worth my time and I recommend it.

The book and cover design by CB Messer is a winner. I like it a lot, an amazing style. It’s one of the reason why I picked the novel.

Sales Links:  Interlude Press |  ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 312 pages
Published April 7th 2016 by Interlude Press
Edition Language English