A Free Dreamer Review: Adder and Willow (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #6) by Sam Burns

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Fletcher Lane has a problem. His boyfriend’s parents are coming for a visit, and they want to meet up. He’s ready to commit, so what happens if his prospective in-laws don’t like him? And how is he supposed to keep Rowan Harbor’s unique nature a secret when he might be the worst liar ever born?

To make matters worse, when he finds and helps two strangers stuck on the road, it leads him to a new threat: the man who’s been terrorizing the town has set events into motion that endanger more than just Rowan Harbor. Can Fletcher and his friends stop him before there’s nothing but a smoking crater where the Oregon coastline used to be?

In case you’re wondering, no, “Adder and Willow” is not a standalone. You have to start with book one to fully understand and enjoy all the other books in the series.

So far, Sean and Jesse were my favourite couple of the series. But after this book, Fletcher and Conner are definitely giving them a run for their money. They’re so wonderful together and I really love their dynamic. And Fletecher’s fox form is so adorable.

Their first book ended with them just starting to date and “Adder and Willow” starts with them as an established couple of a few months. I can see how some people might be disappointed by that but personally, I really like established couples. And there’s still a lot of serious relationship building happening. Meeting the parents is always an important turning point and there were also a few other things happening with serious impact on their relationship.

We get a lot of Fantasy action this time around and I absolutely loved it. I was so hooked, I just couldn’t put the book down and finished it in two sittings. It would have been one, if I hadn’t started reading so late at night. And we get to see more of Oak, so yay! I won’t go into any more details to avoid spoilers. Just know that you’re in for one hell of a ride this time around.

There’s quite a bit of character development happening as well. Fletcher has some serious growing and changing to do and by the end, he’s well on the way to overcoming his troubles. Conner is such a wonderful boyfriend and together, they’re absolutely perfect.

Honestly, “Adder and Willow” is easily my favourite book of the entire series so far. It felt like a whole new level of worldbuilding happened and we get a pretty detailed look into how magic works in this universe. I like how this series doesn’t just focus on the couples but also keeps showing us glimpses into the lives of the other residents.

So, yeah, this was awesome. If you liked the fantasy elements in the previous books, you’ll love “Adder and Willow”.

The cover by Melanie Farlow is pretty awful. It looks horribly fake and just really doesn’t fit the awesome story at all. I don’t think there are any mountains around Rowan Harbor to actually go hiking in, like the cover seems to imply.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book details:

Kindle Edition,155 pages

Published October 11th 2018

The Rowan Harbor Cycle Series

Book #1 – Blackbird in the Reeds – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Wolf and the Holly – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Fox and Birch – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Hawk In The Rowan – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #5 – Stag and the Ashe – Amazon US | Amazon UK

 

Review Tour and Giveaway – Adder and Willow (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #6) by Sam Burns

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length:
45,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Melanie Farlow @ Clause & Effect

The Rowan Harbor Cycle Series

Book #1 – Blackbird in the Reeds – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Wolf and the Holly – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Fox and Birch – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Hawk In The Rowan – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #5 – Stag and the Ashe – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

Fletcher Lane has a problem. His boyfriend’s parents are coming for a visit, and they want to meet up. He’s ready to commit, so what happens if his prospective in-laws don’t like him? And how is he supposed to keep Rowan Harbor’s unique nature a secret when he might be the worst liar ever born?

To make matters worse, when he finds and helps two strangers stuck on the road, it leads him to a new threat: the man who’s been terrorizing the town has set events into motion that endanger more than just Rowan Harbor. Can Fletcher and his friends stop him before there’s nothing but a smoking crater where the Oregon coastline used to be?

 

 

Read Scattered Thoughts and Road Words 5 stars out of 5 review here.

Sam wrote her first fantasy epic with her best friend when she was ten. Like almost any epic fiction written by a ten year old, it was awful. She likes to think she’s improved since then, if only because she has better handwriting now.

If she’s not writing, she’s almost certainly either reading or lost down a Wikipedia rabbit hole while pretending to research for a novel.

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Release Blitz and Giveaway – Adder and Willow (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #6) by Sam Burns

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length:
45,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Melanie Farlow @ Clause & Effect

The Rowan Harbor Cycle Series

Book #1 – Blackbird in the Reeds – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Wolf and the Holly – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Fox and Birch – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Hawk In The Rowan – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #5 – Stag and the Ashe – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

Fletcher Lane has a problem. His boyfriend’s parents are coming for a visit, and they want to meet up. He’s ready to commit, so what happens if his prospective in-laws don’t like him? And how is he supposed to keep Rowan Harbor’s unique nature a secret when he might be the worst liar ever born?

To make matters worse, when he finds and helps two strangers stuck on the road, it leads him to a new threat: the man who’s been terrorizing the town has set events into motion that endanger more than just Rowan Harbor. Can Fletcher and his friends stop him before there’s nothing but a smoking crater where the Oregon coastline used to be?


Sam wrote her first fantasy epic with her best friend when she was ten. Like almost any epic fiction written by a ten year old, it was awful. She likes to think she’s improved since then, if only because she has better handwriting now.

If she’s not writing, she’s almost certainly either reading or lost down a Wikipedia rabbit hole while pretending to research for a novel.

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A Free Dreamer Review: Stag and The Ash (Rowan Harbor Cycle #5) by Sam Burns

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Jesse Hunter is finally trying to be an adult, but still feels like an act. His place on the town council is a sham. He’s rarely called on to do anything. His boyfriend is grieving the loss of his mother, and while everyone seems to think he’s doing a great job caring for Sean, Jesse feels like he’s more of a distraction than a real help.

March is shaping up to be a bad month. First, random chance leads him to the realization that the town’s recent trouble is his fault. Then new werewolves come into town, and it turns out they’re also Jesse’s responsibility. He feels like he may be at his breaking point, and he doesn’t want to drag his friends and loved ones down with him. But how will he handle it alone?

In “Stag and Ash” we’re back to my favourite couple of the series: Sean and Jesse. Once again, this book is not a stand alone. You have to read the previous books to understand enjoy this book.

I really like both Jesse and Sean and their relationship dynamic. They’re so wonderful together. Neither of them is perfect and Sean is definitely going through a rough time after his mother’s death.

Jesse has to face his own demons and he grows while doing so. I think I actually like him even more now than I did after their first book.

We also get some more world building and learn some interesting details. I really enjoyed those parts.

Overall, this book is a quick, fun read. I finished it in less than 24 hours and found myself well entertained.

But just like the rest of the series, “Stag and Ash” is a bit short and was over too soon. It kind of feels like the books always finish before things can get really going. But it’s better than part four, which was my least favourite so far. I really hope the next books will be longer again.

The cover by Melanie Farlow fits the overall look of the entire series. It’s not my favourite but it’s okay.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book details:

Kindle Edition, 158 pages
Published June 28th 2018
ASINB07DYXYB8M
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series The Rowan Harbor Cycle :

Book #1 – Blackbird in the Reeds – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Wolf and the Holly – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Fox and Birch – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Hawk In The Rowan – Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review Tour and Giveaway for Stag and the Ash (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #5) by Sam Burns

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 45,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Melanie Farlow @ Clause & Effect
 
The Rowan Harbor Cycle Series
 
Book #1 – Blackbird in the Reeds – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Wolf and the Holly – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Fox and Birch – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Hawk In The Rowan – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

Jesse Hunter is finally trying to be an adult, but it still feels like an act. His place on the town council is a sham. He’s rarely called on to do anything. His boyfriend is grieving the loss of his mother, and while everyone seems to think he’s doing a great job caring for Sean, Jesse feels like he’s more of a distraction than a real help.


March is shaping up to be a bad month. First, random chance leads him to the realization that the town’s recent trouble is his fault. Then new werewolves come into town, and it turns out they’re also Jesse’s responsibility. He feels like he may be at his breaking point, and he doesn’t want to drag his friends and loved ones down with him. But how will he handle it alone?



June 28OMG Reads, July 2We Three Queens, July 6Lillian Francis, Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings, My Fiction Nook, Bayou Book Junkie, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Wicked Faerie’s Tales & Reviews, Mikku-chan

 
You can find Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Word’s review here. We definitely recommend it.
Author Bio
 

Sam wrote her first fantasy epic with her best friend when she was ten. Like almost any epic fiction written by a ten year old, it was awful. She likes to think she’s improved since then, if only because she has better handwriting now.


If she’s not writing, she’s almost certainly either reading or lost down a Wikipedia rabbit hole while pretending to research for a novel.


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Goodreads
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Release Blitz and Giveaway – Stag and the Ash (Rowan Harbor Cycle #4) by Sam Burns

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 45,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Melanie Farlow @ Clause & Effect
 
The Rowan Harbor Cycle Series
 
Book #1 – Blackbird in the Reeds – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 – Wolf and the Holly – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 – Fox and Birch – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 – Hawk In The Rowan – Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Blurb
 

Jesse Hunter is finally trying to be an adult, but it still feels like an act. His place on the town council is a sham. He’s rarely called on to do anything. His boyfriend is grieving the loss of his mother, and while everyone seems to think he’s doing a great job caring for Sean, Jesse feels like he’s more of a distraction than a real help.


March is shaping up to be a bad month. First, random chance leads him to the realization that the town’s recent trouble is his fault. Then new werewolves come into town, and it turns out they’re also Jesse’s responsibility. He feels like he may be at his breaking point, and he doesn’t want to drag his friends and loved ones down with him. But how will he handle it alone?

 
Author Bio
 

Sam wrote her first fantasy epic with her best friend when she was ten. Like almost any epic fiction written by a ten year old, it was awful. She likes to think she’s improved since then, if only because she has better handwriting now.


If she’s not writing, she’s almost certainly either reading or lost down a Wikipedia rabbit hole while pretending to research for a novel.


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Twitter
Goodreads
Pinterest

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A Free Dreamer Review: Hawk In The Rowan (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #4) by Sam Burns

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Devon Murphy has been back in Rowan Harbor for three months. He’s taken on a host of new responsibilities, and is in a serious relationship for the first time in his life. He loves the town and its inhabitants, but it’s starting to feel like too much for the former drifter.

Now there’s a storm on the horizon, and it doesn’t seem like things are going to slow down and let him catch his breath. A blizzard is brewing, and three people have gone missing in the woods south of town. Devon needs to find them before time runs out.

This book is the fourth of nine in The Rowan Harbor Cycle, not a standalone. Devon and Wade will return in book seven for their HEA.

Devon and Wade from book one are back in this fourth installation of the series. They’re my least favourite couple of the three. Devon is just too genuinely nice. While we do find out a little more about his heritage and how that influences his character, I still just can’t quite bring myself to like him.

Nor am I too fond of the relationship dynamic. It always reminds me a little of the big bad Alpha (Wade) and the poor helpless little twink (Devon). It doesn’t help that Wade is actually a werewolf, which makes the whole dynamic even more pronounced. We do see some moments of Devon standing up for himself, so I might just come to like him one day…

“Hawk in the Rowan” mostly focuses on Devon and Wade and their relationship woes. There’s also a storm and some other ominous things happening around town. But overall, it definitely showed that this is the shortest book of the series so far. It felt like we were only just getting started on the real plot at the end. It just wasn’t quite satisfactory and felt more like a little short story between two “real” books. A shame, because I think even Devon and Wade have great potential that just got lost due to not enough pages.

I’m usually very bad at keeping up with series I start, especially if they have more than three or four parts. But something about “Rowan Harbor” just has me coming back for more. While this fourth installation was a bit of a disappointment, I’ll definitely read book five and hopefully the rest of the series as well. I just hope the books will get longer again instead of shorter…

Cover Design: Melanie Harlow @ Clause & Effect.   The is beautiful. I really like it and it fits the story perfectly.

Sales Link:  Universal Buy Link

  
The Rowan Harbor Cycle Series
 
Book #2 – Wolf and the Holly
Book #3 – Fox and Birch
 

Book details:

Kindle Edition, 1 edition, 152 pages
Published May 3rd 2018
Original TitleHawk in the Rowan
ASINB07CQ8M5H1
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Rowan Harbor Cycle #4

A Free Dreamer Review: Fox and Birch (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #3) by Sam Burns

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Fletcher Lane wants to protect people. It was why he became a deputy. A month ago, it was why he killed a vampire who kidnapped one of his friends. Now, that death has started a cascade effect that’s tearing his life apart, leaving him possessed by magic that whispers to him in ancient Gothic.

While he’s already fighting for control of his own mind, he has to hold it together when strangers come into town looking for the dead vampire. They say they’re bounty hunters, but Fletcher knows that’s a lie. They’re the same kind of murderers who killed Fletcher’s mother. When one of them puts up a kind front, Fletcher knows that people who hunt the supernatural can’t be trusted. However nice Conner Mason seems, the worst thing Fletcher could do is fall for his act.

First of all, “Fox and Birch” is not a standalone story. While we meet the third (and final) couple in this book, the events in the previous books are too important for the overall story arc to just skip over and still understand what’s going on in book three.

I liked Fletcher. He’s very different from our other MCs, much more vulnerable but also so very strong. We don’t learn much about Conner, his love interest. But that’s okay, it’s their first book and I’m sure we’ll find out more about him as the story continues.

However, since we really don’t know much of anything about one of our MCs, the romantic feelings were a little hard to follow. They barely know each other and Fletcher has every reason to distrust and even hate Conner. Conner coming across as a genuinely nice guy just wasn’t enough for me to understand Fletcher’s feelings. Even though there’s no magic zap like the werewolves of Rowan Harbor get when they meet their fated mates, this smacked awfully of insta-love, something I can’t stand.

Aside from the love story, I quite enjoyed this book. Fletcher’s abilities are really interesting and so very different from what we’ve seen so far. I’ve never read about a fox shifter before and I can’t wait to find out even more about him and his unusual talents.

This was my second favourite book in the series so far. I liked book two a little more because there was more focus on the world building. And I think Fletcher might actually be my favourite character of them all. So I’m eager for the next book about him.

The cover by Melanie Harlow is nice to look at. Maybe a little too nice, because the overall tone of the book definitely felt more sinister to me.

Sales Links:  Universal Buy Link

Book details:

Kindle Edition, 166 pages
Published March 8th 2018
ASINB07B6P29KP
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Rowan Harbor Cycle #3

Review Tour and Giveaway for Hawk In The Rowan (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #4) by Sam Burns

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Length: 45,000 words approx.



Cover Design: Melanie Harlow @ Clause & Effect

 
The Rowan Harbor Cycle Series
 
Book #2 – Wolf and the Holly
Book #3 – Fox and Birch
 
Blurb
 

Devon Murphy has been back in Rowan Harbor for three months. He’s taken on a host of new responsibilities, and is in a serious relationship for the first time in his life. He loves the town and its inhabitants, but it’s starting to feel like too much for the former drifter.


Now there’s a storm on the horizon, and it doesn’t seem like things are going to slow down and let him catch his breath. A blizzard is brewing, and three people have gone missing in the woods south of town. Devon needs to find them before time runs out.


This book is the fourth of nine in The Rowan Harbor Cycle, not a standalone. Devon and Wade will return in book seven for their HEA.

 

About The Author


Sam wrote her first fantasy epic with her best friend when she was ten. Like almost any epic fiction written by a ten year old, it was awful. She likes to think she’s improved since then, if only because she has better handwriting now.


If she’s not writing, she’s almost certainly either reading or lost down a wikipedia rabbit hole while pretending to research for a novel.


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Twitter
Goodreads
Pinterest

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Release Blitz Tour – Hawk In The Rowan (The Rowan Harbor Cycle #4) by Sam Burns (excerpt and giveaway)

Standard

 

 
Length: 45,000 words approx.



Cover Design: Melanie Harlow @ Clause & Effect

 
The Rowan Harbor Cycle Series
 
Book #2 – Wolf and the Holly
Book #3 – Fox and Birch
 
Blurb
 

Devon Murphy has been back in Rowan Harbor for three months. He’s taken on a host of new responsibilities, and is in a serious relationship for the first time in his life. He loves the town and its inhabitants, but it’s starting to feel like too much for the former drifter.


Now there’s a storm on the horizon, and it doesn’t seem like things are going to slow down and let him catch his breath. A blizzard is brewing, and three people have gone missing in the woods south of town. Devon needs to find them before time runs out.


This book is the fourth of nine in The Rowan Harbor Cycle, not a standalone. Devon and Wade will return in book seven for their HEA.

 
Excerpt
 
Standing next to Annie Anderson as she inspected his knitting, Devon felt like he was waiting for a teacher to grade a test he already knew he’d failed. Every time he thought he was getting the hang of knitting, he made a mess of something.


“I’m honestly not sure what you did here, honey. You’ve got the same number of stitches, but that cable just isn’t right.” She held it up toward the overhead light and peered at the half-made sock.


He could make a plain row with his eyes closed, but whenever he tried the cable pattern, the result was twisted and gnarled, all sharp edges and wrong angles instead of smooth, intertwined curves.


She set the sock down on the counter and smiled at him. “I have an idea. Why don’t we just change the pattern? Play to your strengths, that’s what I always say.”


Salli, coming up behind her, snorted. “No, you always say face your fears and embrace the steek.”


“I have no idea what that means,” Devon told them, sighing and leaning on the counter. “Am I totally hopeless?”


Annie ruffled his hair. There weren’t many people in town he would accept that from, but Annie Anderson was . . . well, she was about the only one. Maybe Madame Cormier, the venerable witch on the town council, but he doubted the serious, dignified lady would be interested in ruffling his hair.


“You’re fine,” Annie said, and rested her hand on his. “This is all new to you, but you’re learning fast. You’ll get there. It just takes time.”


The intense look she gave him implied she was talking about more than knitting, but Devon wasn’t sure he wanted to ask what she meant.


“It looks kind of cool, even if it’s wrong, like tree roots or vines or something,” Salli observed as she took a bite of the apple she was carrying and leaned across the counter toward Devon. “You’re not staying for knit night, are you?”


That made him frown. “Why not? You guys don’t want me here?”


He’d thought he was getting better at handling the shop’s busiest night of the week. There were always dozens of people, coffee and tea, snacks—heck, sometimes people even brought wine—and at first, the night had been a little overwhelming. Running a shop packed with people was a lot of work, especially when they all wanted to ask questions about merchandise he was still learning himself.


But he was getting the hang of the job, or so he’d believed.


Annie and Salli were looking at him like he was the biggest idiot ever born.


“What?”


Annie sighed, shook her head, and looked over at Salli. “How much do you want to bet he hasn’t done anything?”


“How much of a sucker do you think I am?” Salli asked with a snort and took another bite of her apple.


“Devon, honey, do you know what day it is?” Annie asked.


“Um, Wednesday?”


Salli picked up his weirdly cabled sock with the hand that wasn’t holding the apple, inspecting the row of stitches. “Wednesday,” she agreed. “Wednesday, February . . .”


He took a second of mental calculation to place the date. It wasn’t as though he had a schedule that forced him to pay close attention to that. So it was Wednesday, February—


“Fourteenth,” he answered. Then he realized what they were getting at. “Oh, come on you guys. Valentine’s Day? As much as I like chocolate, why would I be interested in a candy-industry holiday?”


The two women shared another look before Salli leaned in toward Annie. “Maybe you were wrong about him getting the hang of this.”


Annie shook her head, resolute. “Absolutely not. He just needs time.” She took the sock from Salli and stuffed it into the bag where Devon was keeping it, along with the cake of gray yarn. “And right now, he needs to go upstairs and put on nice clothes.”


“Do what?”


They both stared at him.


“But why? I mean, it’s not like Wade and I have anything planned.”


Neither woman said a word.


He sighed and turned to stomp off toward the stairs to his apartment. “Fine, I’ll put on different clothes. But if Wade asks why I’m all dressed up, I’m blaming you two.”


All the way up the stairs, he muttered to himself about interfering friends and small-town gossip. His boyfriend wasn’t into hearts and flowers. Wade was a serious guy, and when he wasn’t being serious, he still wasn’t the romantic type. The lack of romance didn’t bother Devon. He was comfortable with Wade not being over-the-top romantic.


Sure, everyone wanted to know they were valued, but Wade was good at telling Devon that without words or chocolates. It was there in the way his face lit up when he saw Devon at the end of a long day, or his pleased sigh when they woke up spooned together. It was definitely there in the way Wade made them breakfast on Thursday mornings. Wade was enough without some day invented by capitalism to sell heart-themed merchandise.


But if it would please Salli and Annie, he would change clothes. He toed his shoes off as he passed the doorway, then tossed his T-shirt and jeans in the hamper as he passed it. Halfway into the walk-in closet, he turned and stripped off his plain white briefs, adding them to the dirty clothes. If he was going to go to the trouble of dressing up, he might as well put on nice underwear too.


Twenty minutes later, he was examining the results in the mirror. All black except for a dark red button-down, and he just might have found a pair of underwear to match the shirt. His auburn hair was still a mess, but nothing ever fixed that. People always seemed to think it was an intentional mess, so he didn’t worry about it.


Instead of slipping his sneakers back on, he decided on a pair of black boots. They weren’t much nicer, but he didn’t own a truly fancy pair of shoes. He hadn’t ever had the money for that.


He glanced over to the window to check the sky, not even sure why he’d bothered. It was the same as it had been for almost two weeks: gray and threatening. It felt ominous, but he’d never spent a February in Rowan Harbor before, so maybe it was normal. No one else seemed bothered, so he was trying to keep his concern to himself.


He didn’t want to be the guy who went around asking, “Cold enough for you?”


When he got back down to the shop, Salli and Annie were still standing at the counter, and they turned to examine him. Annie twirled her finger to indicate that he should turn around. Confirming the fact that Annie was a creature of pure magic, Devon complied without complaint.


No, he didn’t think she’d magically forced him to turn around. He just hated the idea of disappointing her, so he did what she wanted.


“It’s passable,” Salli said, her tone grudging, as though she thought he could have done much better.


Annie walked over and patted him on the shoulder. “I think you look very nice, dear. I don’t know why your hair won’t lie flat, but I suppose that’s the way people like it.”


He shrugged but didn’t answer.


“Jeez, look like you’re headed for your own execution, why don’t you?” Salli asked. “It’s Valentine’s Day. It’s not like he’s going to take you out for fried grasshoppers or something.”


Devon scrunched up his nose. “Do they serve that?”


Salli shrugged but then nodded. “Somewhere, no doubt. I mean, it’s all protein, right? But nowhere in Rowan Harbor that I know of.”


“You’ll make the boy nervous, Salli,” Annie told her, waving her off. “I’m sure Wade knows his taste well enough to feed him. And if I remember correctly, Wade’s quite the cook.”


He looked between the two of them and shook his head. “I’d promise not to say I told you so, but I don’t think I’ll be able to stop myself.” Sometimes it would be convenient to lie, he thought. It was a recurring theme in his wishes, but there were worse things than being known for telling the truth.


The two of them ignored the admission of impending rudeness and fussed over his hair for a minute.


“That’s even worse,” Annie said with a sigh, stepping back.


Salli gave a sharp nod. “Perfect.”


He was about to open his mouth to once again tell them that they were crazy, but the electronic bell over the door jingled, and they all turned to look.


It was Wade, looking windblown and gorgeous. He was wearing date clothes too, a white button-down and pinstripe trousers. That wasn’t so shocking; Wade dressed up when he intended to go out for dinner.


But . . .


In one hand, Wade held a long-stemmed red rose. In the other was a picnic basket.


Part of Devon wanted to groan. Salli and Annie had been right, and how did they know Wade better than him? Never mind the fact that they had spent decades around the man and he hadn’t; weren’t he and Wade supposed to be some sort of fated soul mates? How had he not seen this coming a mile off?


It wasn’t too hard to admit, if only to himself, that most of him thought it was adorable and endearing. Wade had made a picnic.


Wait.


“It’s February, Wade,” he said. “It’s going to snow.”


Everyone in earshot groaned, including a lady sitting halfway across the shop who had been engrossed in her knitting. She pushed her project into her bag and stood. “I guess I’d better get to the grocery store and pick up some essentials in case it gets bad.”


Salli leaned back against the counter. “Should we cancel knit night?”


“Please,” Devon said with a roll of his eyes. “People would show up for knit night if there were an earthquake currently happening. Worst comes to worst and you can’t get home, you can sleep on the bordello sofa. It’s comfy.”


Annie quirked an eyebrow. “Bordello sofa?”


Normally Devon didn’t explain the sofa, but the exchange with Annie reminded him that she was older than his grandmother. Bordello wasn’t a word he used in conversation with his elders, and his cheeks heated at having to explain. “That was what Mom called it. I’m sure it was never—”


Annie waved him off. “I get it. Now, since you shouldn’t be going out, you two should go sit on your bordello sofa and eat the lovely meal I’m sure Wade has made for you. Shoo, off you go.”


Wade gave him a shy smile and held up the basket. “A picnic in your apartment okay?”


Devon couldn’t say no. Not because he didn’t want to disappoint Wade—he couldn’t even lie to spare Wade’s feelings—but he found that, surprisingly enough, he kind of wanted to eat a picnic in his apartment.


He was glad he’d changed clothes. Salli winked at him as they headed toward the stairs, and even though he knew she was going to give him hell later, he was grateful to have her as a friend.


“Everything okay?” Wade asked, his voice tinged with a nervousness that Devon wasn’t used to hearing from him.


He looped his arm through Wade’s. “Yeah, I think so. Unexpected, maybe, but just fine.”
 
About The Author


Sam wrote her first fantasy epic with her best friend when she was ten. Like almost any epic fiction written by a ten year old, it was awful. She likes to think she’s improved since then, if only because she has better handwriting now.


If she’s not writing, she’s almost certainly either reading or lost down a wikipedia rabbit hole while pretending to research for a novel.


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