Cover is amazing and I love it! Preorders are now being taken for the fifth of the Sentries series!
We climbed into the ute and Travis drove, only mumbling under his breath once or twice about what side of the road he was on. I thought we were headed to find something to eat, but he pulled up at a pet store.
“What are we doing?”
“You’ll see,” was all he said as he was getting out.
I followed him into the pet shop, past the puppies, fish and birds down to the kennels and produce. When he stopped at cat beds, I shook my head. “Oh, no no no. We’re not getting a cat. We used to have one, it lived in the shed and the bloody thing was feral.”
He didn’t even look at me. “It’s not for a cat, Charlie.” He picked up a cushion-box looking thing with a hole in the front. The label called it a cat igloo. “It’s for your damn wombat.”
“Oh,” I said brightly. “Well, that’s okay then.”
He pushed Nugget’s new bed into my chest. “So he sleeps in his bed, not ours.”
A sales guy, about eighteen years old, walked up and was looking at us funny. He probably just heard what Travis said, and I didn’t care. I just shrugged, guessin’ that I’d come a long way in the last six months. “How did I know he’d think it was playtime?”
Travis sighed and turned to the sales assistant. “Do you have any feed pellets for wombats?”
He raised his eyebrows. “Wombats?”
N. R. Walker
Author Bio: Who am I?
I am many things: a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer.
I have pretty, pretty boys who live in my head, who don't let me sleep at night unless I give them life with words.
I like it when they do dirty, dirty things… but I like it even more when they fall in love.
I used to think having people in my head talking to me was weird, until one day I happened across other writers who told me it was normal.
I've been writing ever since…
Find NR Walker on Facebook: Facebook: N.r. Walker Facebook Fan Page: N.R. Walker Author
October 17: SA McAuley, Because Two Men Are Better Than One, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Rainbow Gold Reviews
October 20: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
October 21: Love Bytes, Hearts on Fire
October 22: Nic Starr, Jade Crystal, Wake Up Your Wild Side
October 23: Nephylim, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves, Emotion in Motion
October 24: Amanda C. Stone, My Fiction Nook, Prism Book Alliance
October 27: Fallen Angel Reviews, Parker Williams
October 28: MM Good Book Reviews, Multitasking Mommas
October 29: Smoocher’s Voice
October 30: BFD Book Blog, Queer Town Abbey
Do you see writing as a career?
Definitely, though it's a brand new and underdeveloped career for me. Even though I’ve been writing for twenty years, I’m still an infant in the grand world of publication, with so much to learn. I’ve tried to stay open and teachable, and learn as much as I can from fellow, more experienced authors, while cultivating my own voice. At the same time, I’m also a librarian and have been for the last seven years. I see the library as a career as well. I don’t think I would ever give up one over the other because I love both of them and think both paths are valid. I once told someone that I was lucky that I got to do my two dream jobs professionally, and she scoffed at me and said, “Lucky? You worked incredibly hard, don’t undersell that.” (I still think luck played its hand there, though!)
But Rook had no interest in waiting for permission. He’d come forward, snaking his arms around Toren’s sheet-covered waist and pulling him hard against his body. “It’s just a kiss,” Rook breathed before he put his lips against Toren’s. Should he protest? Had he protested? Toren couldn’t remember. In that moment there was nothing but Rook’s firm lips, gently teasing his own apart. Toren kissed back, tasting the other man, sucking at his bottom lip. Rook’s mouth was intoxicating, and quite suddenly, Toren forgot why he’d ever resisted. He liked kissing Rook. But after only an appetizer’s worth of his mouth, Rook pulled away. The sensation of their mouths pressed together lingered, and Toren was dumb with the moment. Lost on it. Uncertain what they’d even been talking about.
“Do you remember me now?” Rook asked.
“Mmn,” Toren agreed, warmth lingering on his lips. “Rook.”
Silence was his reply. The arms around his waist fell away, leaving him feeling cold.
Toren slowly opened his eyes to find he was standing alone, clutching his sheet, as Rook walked away from him toward the staircase
Called "Queen of the Sweetness" (well, two or three people said it anyway!) Raine O'Tierney loves writing sweet stories about first loves, first times, fidelity, forever-endings and...friskiness?
Raine O'Tierney lives outside of Kansas City with her husband, fellow Dreamspinner Press author, Siôn O'Tierney. When she's not writing, she's either asleep, or fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom at her library day job. Raine believes the best thing we can do in life is be kind to one another, and she enjoys encouraging fellow writers. Writing for 20+ years (with the last 10 spent on M/M) Raine changes sub-genres to suit her mood and believes all good stories end sweetly. Contact her if you're interested in talking about point-and-click adventure games or about which dachshunds are the best kinds of dachshunds!
Raineotierney.com | Dreamspinner Press Author Page | The Hat Party (LGBT Author Interviews!)
Facebook Fan Page | Twitter
October 10: Angel Martinez, My Fiction Nook, Up All Night, Read All Day
October 13: Amanda C. Stone, Decadent Delights
October 14: Jade Crystal, Nephylim
October 15: LeAnn’s Book Reviews, Velvet Panic
October 16: Full Moon Dreaming, Dawn’s Reading Nook
October 17: Wake Up Your Wild Side, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
October 20: Parker Williams
October 21: Cate Ashwood, Love Bytes, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves
October 22: Regular Guys, Hot Romance, Emotion in Motion
October 23: EE Montgomery, MM Good Book Reviews
October 24: Iyana Jenna, Prism Book Alliance
Foundation of Trust:
David Weller thought he had it all—a loving partner who gave him a ring, a steady job he didn't hate, and so much hope for the future. But in the wake of a devastating diagnosis, everything he thought was solid and real lay in pieces at his feet.
Four years later, he’s still sifting through the rubble of his life. His catering partnership occupies his days, while his nights are filled with dangerous sexual hookups and very bad decisions. Then the last person he ever expected to see again walks back into his life.
Owen Hart's single biggest regret is the way he was forced to leave David behind—no explanations, no chance to make it right. Until now. Finally free of eight years of lies, Owen's back for the only man he's ever loved.
An incendiary encounter in a club proves that time hasn't weakened their physical connection, but David's wounds run deeper than Owen's deception. And if David can’t first forgive, Owen doesn’t have a second chance in hell.
Warning: This book contains an Australian transplant with a head full of secrets, a party planner with enough baggage to sink a battleship, and a surly teenager who just wants them both to get over themselves.
Foundation of Trust:
A shadow drifted across Owen's face—the same shadow that had been there almost constantly that first year. An angry shadow that had diminished under the brilliance of their love for each other. "We had to, me and my son both. Michael was born Benjamin Hadley Swenson."
"But why?" David needed to know why he'd been lied to for so long. Why he'd fallen in love with a man whose name he never really knew.
"To protect us from the man who killed Michael's mother and grandfather."
"You told me his mother was killed during a home invasion."
"I used parts of the truth to fashion the lie. Makes it easier to remember. She was killed by a man who had no business in that house, but he wasn't there to rob anyone. He was a dangerous man, and I did what I had to do to protect my son."
Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance
Stand by You
Three months after his rescue from an abusive boyfriend, twenty-two-year-old Romy Myers has landed his first legitimate job—bussing tables at his friend’s new coffee shop. The job has brought him some stability after years of abuse have left him feeling damaged and broken. He's working hard on his panic and social anxiety, and those things are often tempered by the big, burly presence of Brendan Walker.
From the moment ex-football player Brendan helped rescue Romy from his ex’s abuse, he's wanted to protect him. And he does, from a distance, with joking text messages, a new gym routine to toughen him up and a genuine friendship. So far it's been easy—but Brendan's feelings aren't just friendly anymore...
When an argument spirals out of control, a hot and heavy make-out session causes Romy’s friendship with supposedly straight Brendan to reach a new level. The last thing Romy wants is to fall for another guy who could potentially shatter him, but Brendan also wakes up a part of him he thought had been destroyed by violence—his heart.
“So make a plan for yourself.” Romy was getting excited over the idea of Brendan going back to college—maybe because Romy had never gone and probably never would. He didn’t even have his GED. And here he was giving Brendan career advice when the longest job he’d ever held in his life was as a hooker. “Figure out what it will cost to go back and finish. Figure out how you’ll save the money. Nothing is impossible, Bren, not if you want it bad enough.”
Brendan looked at him, chocolate brown eyes catching his, and something in that moment changed. Like a snap or a zing, Romy couldn’t describe it. Only that his words had touched something in Brendan, and that something leapt across the space between them and right into Romy. His pulse raced.
Romy broke eye contact first, using the untwisting of his bottle cap as an excuse to kill the odd charge between them. Not happening. Not again, and not with Brendan. Brendan wasn’t even gay!
A. M. Arthur
A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone's throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She's been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn't been coined yet back then) and "The Young Riders" with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories.
When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she's an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.
Contact her at email@example.com with your cooking tips (or book comments).
A.M. Arthur's work is available from Samhain Publishing, Carina Press, Dreamspinner Press, and Musa Publishing.
10/20: Emotion in Motion, Multitasking Mommas
10/21: Amanda C. Stone, MM Good Book Reviews
10/22: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Velvet Panic
10/23: Wake Up Your Wild Side, Smoocher’s Voice
10/24: The Novel Approach
10/27: Hearts on Fire, Because Two Men Are Better Than One, The Blogger Girls
10/28: Iyana Jenna, Foxylutely Book Reviews
10/29: Love Bytes, My Fiction Nook
10/30: Prism Book Alliance, Cathy Brockman Romances
10/31: Parker Williams
11/3: Book Reviews and More by Kathy, All I Want and More Books
11/4: LeAnn’s Book Reviews
11/5: Havan Fellows
11/6: Romance the Night, Queer Town Abbey
11/7: Crystal’s Many Reviewers
Ash was Texan by birth, but his southern roots only laced his speech when he was too tired to repress them… too tired to block out all the horrible shit that kept an invisible barrier between us.
He was just seventeen when his friend Ellie found him drawing on the streets of Philadelphia. He was homeless and drew comic book characters on the sidewalk for money. The way she told it, he was one of the best street artists in the city, but he said he just did it to survive. Ellie was in college at the time, and she spent the next three years trying to get him to go to a shelter. Eventually, she got her way, and when she moved back to Chicago a few months later, she asked him to come with her. It took him a year of procrastination and pulling his shit together, but after finishing his tattoo apprenticeship in Philly, he did just that.
Living together was a huge adjustment for both of us. Some days I thought we’d cracked it, but others….
I draped the comforter over us and tucked it around his shoulders. He settled against me with his arm stretched out across my torso. I ran my hand absently along his bicep and enjoyed the rare moment. Though he could be tactile when his mood was right, he rarely cuddled up to me so freely. Most times, he preferred our positions reversed—him on his back with his arms around me.
Curious, I pressed a kiss to the top of his sweat-dampened head. “You okay?”
“Yeah, I just missed you.”
I smiled into the darkness. “I missed you too.”
A light hum was his only answer, so I held him a bit tighter and made the most of having him curled against me. After a while, I felt him shift. I opened my eyes and quirked an eyebrow, too mellow to speak. He just stared at me, but his blazing eyes told me what I knew he found so hard to articulate.
I put my hand to his head and nudged it back down with a sad smile.
Garrett Leigh is a British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id and Black Jazz Press. Her protagonists will always always be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed. Throw in a tale of enduring true love, some stubbly facial hair, and a bunch of tattoos, and you’ve got yourself a Garrett special.
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. That, and dreaming up new ways to torture her characters. Garrett believes in happy endings; she just likes to make her boys work for it.
Garrett also works as a freelance cover artist for various publishing houses and independent authors under the pseudonym G.D. Leigh. For cover art info, please visit blackjazzpress.com
9/12: Rainbow Gold Reviews, Nephylim, Iyana Jenna
9/19: Parker Williams, Velvet Panic, Jade Crystal
9/26: MM Good Book Reviews, Smoocher’s Voice, Cate Ashwood
10/3: EE Montgomery, Inked Rainbow Reads, Regular Guys, Hot Romance
10/10: My Fiction Nook, Book Reviews and More by Kathy, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
10/17: Emotion in Motion, Queer Town Abbey, Foxylutely Book Reviews
10/24: Fallen Angel Reviews, The Blogger Girls, Love Bytes
10/31: Amanda C. Stone, Prism Book Alliance, The Novel Approach
Temptations of Desire
by Tempeste O’Riley
Desires Entwined, #3
M/M Erotic Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 22, 2014 (ebook/print)
Length: Novel / 200 pages
Order: ♥ ♥ Dreamspinner Press ♥ All Romance ♥ Amazon ♥ ♥ Add to: Goodreads
Alexander James Noble is a gender fluid gay man who gave up on finding Mister Right a long time ago. He’s not asking for much, though. He just wants a guy who loves all of him and appreciates his feminine form too.
At the local LGBTQ center where Alex regularly volunteers, he meets Dal Sayer, an officer of the Milwaukee PD. Because he’s been rejected one too many times, Alex doesn’t trust the huge cop and the interest he shows in him, but once Dal sets his mind on something, he goes all out. Pushing aside his preconceived notions, Alex opens up just a little and soon caves.
From their first date—while dealing with his father’s failing health and his parents’ demands for him to settle down and have children—Dal never takes his eyes off his goal of making Alex his. But proving to Alex he isn’t like all the men who couldn’t see him for who he truly was and only wanted to hide him away is harder than he thought.
About the Author:
Tempeste O’Riley is an out and proud omnisexual / bi-woman whose best friend growing up had the courage to do what she couldn’t–defy the hate and come out. He has been her hero ever since.
Tempe is a hopeless romantic that loves strong relationships and happily-ever-afters. Though new to writing M/M, she has done many things in her life, though writing has always drawn her back–no matter what else life has thrown her way. She counts her friends, family, and Muse as her greatest blessings in life. She lives in Wisconsin with her children, reading, writing, and enjoying life.
Tempe is also a proud PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, Rainbow Romance Writers, and WisRWA. Learn more about Tempeste and her writing at http://tempesteoriley.com.
Website ♥ Goodreads ♥ Twitter ♥ Facebook ♥ Google + ♥ DSP ♥ Blog
“DAMMIT, DAL, what’s up with you today?” Rhys snapped at him. “You’ve lost count. Again.”
They were at the gym, and he knew he was supposed to be counting his reps while his big brother spotted him, but the most beautiful amber—flecked with small chips of gold and green—eyes he’d ever seen kept floating in front of him. Dal had always liked guys that were shorter, though he didn’t usually go for the more waif-like twinks like his brother. But then, he liked the delicate curves of a woman too—something his brother had never been interested in. Still, he needed to concentrate!
“Sorry. Maybe we should move on. I’m just not feeling it today.”
Rhys stared at him for a long moment. Dal knew he was being examined, but there was no way, he hoped, Rhys could know who had his mind and libido so distracted.
“How ’bout we call it a day and go grab a couple a beers?”
“Sure.” He flashed a grin as he sat up, grabbed his towel, and began wiping down the bench before standing and heading to clean up and change.
“Then you can tell me who’s got you all in a twist,” Rhys added once they were in the shower area, smirking as he dodged the towel Dal snapped at him.
“You know, you’re worse than mom with the gossip and busybody routine.” Dal grabbed his shower kit and walked off before Rhys could retaliate, as he was apt to do.
Once both men were clean and dressed, they headed to where their bikes were parked. Rhys’s black and chrome Harley Softail and his red Ducati Diavel stood out in a sea of generic cars and trucks in the parking lot.
“Meet me at Flanagan’s?”
Dal knew this was going to be unpleasant, but nodded and dutifully straddled his bike before heading out to their favorite pub on this side of town—probably in the entire metro area if he were honest.
By the time he arrived and got up the courage to go inside, Rhys had already grabbed two mugs of beer—Guinness for himself and a Murphy’s Stout for Dal—and snagged a corner booth. The grin he flashed told Dal just how serious his brother was about him spilling what was on his mind. He rolled his eyes, making sure Rhys saw him, and huffed as he flopped down on the other side of the booth.
“So dignified, Dal,” Rhys grumbled but smiled. “Now, take a couple a good pulls on your beer and tell me what’s got you so out of sorts. I haven’t seen you like this since….” Rhys bit the cuticle of his right thumb, seemingly lost in thought.
Taking a hearty gulp of his stout, Dal tried to think of a way to distract Rhys. “Ha, you just want to play yenta since your love life is so wonky right now. How is Chase, anyhow?”
Rhys’s green slit-eyed stare landed on him with a near-physical push. “I have no idea how Chase is. He works for me. Period.” Flexing his left hand repeatedly, Rhys stared down at his drink with what Dal knew was confusion and hurt.
He shouldn’t have asked that. He knew better. “Sorry, Rhys. That was low, even for me.”
Rhys looked up. His eyes seemed to clear as a small smile tugged at his lips. “It’s okay. But seriously. What’s really going on with you? Who is she? Or is it a he?” The last question came out so softly Dal barely heard it over the noise of the other patrons.
Dal looked his brother over a moment but decided that fighting with him over it wasn’t worth the headache, and well, he could use some advice. Maybe.
Dal lowered his gaze to the tabletop and breathed a deep sigh before he met Rhys’s eyes again. “His name is Alex. We’ve had roughly five minutes worth of conversation, most of which was about the upcoming dance you and I offered to bounce for. He’s, well, I don’t know what he is to the center. He was cooking when I was there, so I guess a cook or chef of some kind.”
“And by the soft tone of your voice and the glassy eyes, I’d say you’re smitten with him.” Rhys waited until Dal gave one tight nod to continue. “So, do you know anything about him? What’s he like? Do you want me to check him out?”
Dal’s head snapped up, glowering, or he hoped it was a death glare anyway. “You have enough man trouble, don’t you dare go hitting on Alex.” Dal could hear the growl in his voice but couldn’t care less. “He’s sweet and shy and has the most captivating amber eyes I’ve ever seen. His skin is so smooth it begs to be touched and is the most beautiful creamy cappuccino-like color.”
One side of Rhys’s lips turned up into a smirk. “So, he’s a pretty boy?”
“Yes. No. Ugh! Yes, he’s pretty, almost feminine in a way, yet all man at the same time. He’s the kind of person who would be beautiful and sexy either way, but he’s not like the kind of guys you usually go for and, just, you leave him alone.”
At that, Rhys let out a belly laugh the likes of which Dal hadn’t heard from his brother in a while. Not in a year or more, probably. “Don’t worry, I would never try to poach. You know better than that, little brother. But, what are you going to do about this Alex of yours?”
Dal couldn’t tell whether Rhys’s tone or the Cheshire cat grin plastered across his face annoyed him more, but he had no freakin’ clue what to do, so he settled for scowling at his brother. Not that it seemed to have any effect. Criminals, troubled teens, guys sitting in interrogation…. Sure, his “look” worked fine on them, but his brother? Nope! Besides, he hated the self-righteous look he was getting right then.
Finally, Rhys stopped grinning at him. “Fine, Dal, but I haven’t seen you interested in much of anyone in a long time. Not girl or guy, so yeah, if this guy is able to bring out your protective side like this after only five minutes, I’m going to say ‘hell yeah,’ go for it!”
“Rhys, I know nothing about him. I don’t think he likes cops much, considering he was initially hostile. I think that was more fear than anything, though, really, but no—” he grabbed Rhys’s free hand “—I do notwant you to investigate him. Promise me, Rhys.”
Rhys waited a moment before grumbling but nodded his agreement.
Blurb: Six months after starting their hunt for a serial killer who is still at large, FBI agents Jerry Lee Parker and John Flynn are partners in every sense. But Jerry has serious doubts about their relationship and whether they would even be together if not for the way Flynn changed after touching a mysterious artifact in a museum.
Flynn hates the extraordinary power bestowed on him by the artifact and wants nothing more than to have a normal life again. Jerry fears that without the unusual connection they forged, Flynn will no longer want or need him. Chasing after a similar artifact takes them back to Flynn's old stomping grounds in Washington D.C., where his newfound abilities uncover long-buried secrets, the kind people would kill to protect. But they aren't the only ones looking for these powerful relics, and what they discover will threaten their relationship—and their lives.
I was asked recently what the significance was in choosing the title for Walk a Mile. I had to laugh because that was easy to answer. It's about walking a mile in someone else's shoes and finding out their lives are more complicated than you thought they were.
Special Agent John Flynn is your typical action hero kind of guy. He’s impossibly handsome, amazingly athletic, and a silver-tongued devil with almost everyone he meets. He’s a fearless maverick, a lone wolf who still manages to be well-liked and respected by his colleagues. He’s everything that Jerry Parker is not. When the characters are first assigned to work together in Unspeakable Words, it’s because Flynn got a hot lead on a cold case and Parker is his local liaison at the Bureau. Right away, their investigative styles—and personalities—clash. While Flynn frequently disregards the rules, Jerry is very much a by-the-book kind of guy. He can’t help but be both attracted and annoyed by Flynn.
Everything changes when Flynn accidentally acquires inexplicable powers after chance contact with a mysterious artifact in a museum. Suddenly Flynn is thrown off-balance and Parker is the one covering for him. Circumstances form a bond between them, but Jerry can’t help but feel that the bond between them was artificially created. His theories—and fears—are put to the test in Walk a Mile, when Flynn will go to any lengths to rid himself of his powers, and Jerry discovers first-hand what it is like to live Flynn’s life. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be!
Excerpt: Jerry returned his attention to the tableau unfolding in the aisle. Flynn was making his way casually toward Jerry; he yawned, taking his time. 15-A hesitated; Jerry could see that he had stepped into the aisle, but was thinking of sitting back down again. Just then, the door to the toilet opened and the toddler came out into the aisle. Picking up on the air of tension, the child immediately started to wail.
15-A snapped like a wire stretched beyond its tensile strength. Whipping off his sunglasses, he reached into the pocket of his hoodie and pulled out a glass vial. Holding it up high over his head for everyone to see, he shouted, “Everybody stay where you are!”
People glanced up and turned around in their seats, startled and immediately alarmed. 15-A looked around sharply, making sure that no one was trying to rush him. Several people had started halfway up out of their seats to see what was going on; Jerry knew they were remembering United Flight 93.
15-a moved his hand in a broad semi-circle so that everyone could see the vial tucked in his palm. “I have Sarin!” he announced. “If anyone moves, I break the vial. Someone make that child shut up!”
Meet Sarah Madison
Sarah Madison is a veterinarian with a big dog, an even bigger horse, too many cats, and a very patient boyfriend. She is a terrible cook, and concedes that her life would be easier if Purina made People Chow. She writes because it is cheaper than therapy.
October 3: Louise Lyons, Parker Williams
October 6: Multitasking Mommas
October 7: Prism Book Alliance, 3 Chicks After Dark
October 8: Amanda C. Stone, Emotion in Motion
October 9: Andrew Q. Gordon, Inked Rainbow Reads, Love Bytes
October 10: Romance the Night, Cate Ashwood
October 13: Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Because Two Men Are Better Than One
October 14: Wake Up Your Wild Side, Book Reviews, Rants, and Raves
October 15: Queer Town Abbey, The Blogger Girls
October 16: MM Good Book Reviews, Jade Crystal, Velvet Panic
Thanks for hosting me, Elizabeth.
Winter Duet is the 2nd book in the Echoes series, which is set in WW2, and the sequel to Shadowboxing. Book 3 will be called Comes a Horseman—I’m planning to start writing it next year.
Echoes book 2 - Sequel to Shadowboxing
With Kristopher finally fit enough to travel, he and Michel leave the security of their safe house and continue their journey across Germany toward Switzerland. Caught in a series of Allied bombings, they stop to help civilians and narrowly escape capture by German forces.
While investigating a downed aircraft in the Black Forest, the two men discover an injured RAF pilot. After they are separated, Kristopher and the pilot are discovered by a German officer who claims he is not who he appears to be. Determined to find Michel again, Kristopher has to trust the stranger and hope he is not connected to those searching for him and the information he carries. Meanwhile Michel is intercepted by one of the Allied soldiers he met in Berlin. His help is needed to save one of their own.
Time quickly runs out. Loyalties are tested and betrayed as the Gestapo closes in. Michel can only hope that they can reach safety before information is revealed that could compromise not only his and Kristopher’s lives, but those of the remaining members of their team—if it is not already too late.
Kristopher dropped to his knees and examined the boy. His eyes were glazed over, and he flinched when Kristopher touched him. “He must have hit his head when he fell,” Kristopher said. He brought his hand away from the boy’s temple. It was covered in blood. “He needs help, but I can’t do much for him here, just try and stop the bleeding.” He quickly opened his satchel and pulled out a short length of bandage, bundled it into a wad, and held it against the wound. It probably wouldn’t be enough to stop it, but it was better than doing nothing. Head wounds tended to bleed, didn’t they? It didn’t mean it was something serious, but it could be.
He let out a quick breath. Damn it. He wished he’d paid more attention when he’d watched Clara at work. Why had he agreed to disguise himself a medic? In this situation when that was exactly what was needed, he was next to useless.
“We can’t stay here,” Michel said. “Can you tie something around the bandage so it keeps the pressure on it when we move him?”
“Keep pressure on the wound while I look.” Kristopher searched around in his bag, ripped some more of the bandaging material, and tied it quickly. His hands were shaking, but at least there didn’t seem to be any blood seeping through the original cloth he’d put over the wound. “I think that should hold it for now.”
Michel handed Kristopher the flashlight and then lifted the boy into his arms. “What’s your name?” he asked softly when the boy opened his eyes and looked up at him.
“Fritz,” the boy replied, his voice wavering. He put his arms around Michel’s neck and clung to him. Thankfully, he seemed more alert than he had a few moments before.
“Hello, Fritz. I’m Michel, and this is Paul,” Michel said. “We’re going to keep you safe, I promise.”
“You promise?” Fritz’s earlier confidence was gone. “I didn’t think it was so dark. I know this place. I shouldn’t have tripped.” He glared at the ground. “Stupid thing. Stupid stupid. Everything looks different.” He sniffled loudly and wiped one dirty hand over his face.
“Do you remember the way to the shelter, Fritz?” Kristopher asked. Michel was watching Fritz carefully, holding the boy close to him. His grip had tightened at the first sign of Fritz’s distress.
“I don’t need to put you down,” Michel reassured Fritz. “You can still guide us while I’m holding you.”
“I don’t want to walk.” Fritz bit his lip. He looked around and then pointed to a street to their left. “If we go down there it’s only about ten minutes away.”
They’d never reach the shelter in time before it closed.
“There isn’t one closer?” Michel asked.
“It’s the one I know about,” Fritz said, somewhat defensively. “Mutter told me if something happened I should go to it.”
“Where’s your mother now?” Kristopher asked. The light from the flashlight was dying quickly. They had to hurry.
“I don’t know. She went to get my baby sister, but she never came downstairs.” Fritz stuck his chin out. “I waited like she said, even when I heard the loud noises and people crying.”
“You live around here?” Kristopher hoped Fritz’s family had survived this. They’d have to try and reunite them or at least find someone who could look after him before they left Stuttgart.
Fritz nodded. Whatever his wound, it seemed as though it was definitely superficial or he wouldn’t be talking as much as he was. “I went looking for her, and I couldn’t find her.”
“You sound much better, Fritz. Do you think you could walk?” Michel asked.
“I don’t want to lose you and Paul too,” Fritz said. He let Michel put him down and then put one small hand into Michel’s.
“You won’t lose us,” Michel promised. “Keep holding my hand, and Paul will look after the flashlight. We can work together.”
“Michel’s very good at working together,” Kristopher told Fritz. He shone the flashlight around. The farther out into the street they got, the more rubble there was. It wasn’t safe to move too quickly, and at this speed they’d never reach the shelter before daylight. He glanced up at the sky. Most of the flashes of light now seemed to be focused toward the city center. “I’m wondering if it’s safer to stay here but get as far away from the buildings as we can and wait for daylight.”
“We don’t know how long this raid is going to last,” Michel said, “but we need to make a decision.” Something creaked and groaned to the side of them. “Move!” Michel yelled. He picked up Fritz and ran back the way they’d come. Kristopher didn’t stop to see what was going on behind him. He followed.
Moments later, more rubble hit the street where they’d just been standing. If they’d stayed there they would have been buried in it.
Kristopher shone the flashlight on it and shivered. “I think finding the shelter is the least of our problems,” he said. “We need to get out into the open. It’s not just more bombings that could kill us, but the buildings that are already damaged.”
“I know a place,” Fritz said after Michel put him down. “I’ll show you.” He took hold of Michel’s hand again. “You and Paul are soldiers.” He pointed to the Red Cross on Kristopher’s arm. “You’ll stay and help look after all the hurt people, won’t you? Vater is a soldier too. He’s fighting at the front. Mutter says he’s very brave.”
“Yes, we’ll stay and help,” Michel said before Kristopher could say anything. He squeezed Fritz’s hand. “We’ll also help you find your mother, or at least someone who can look after you.” He looked over at Kristopher and gave him a questioning look.
“Of course we will,” Kristopher said, wondering why Michel felt he’d even had to ask.
Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing "discussion," and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.
In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.
She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as "too many." These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of "spare time" is really just a myth.
Connect with Anne Barwell
Although Addy’s heart and body bear the scars from his life before he was adopted by the Deans, he’s ached for something he thought he would never find. Until he met Benny. He isn’t sure how anyone can care for someone as broken as he is, even though he wants it desperately.
High school senior Benny Peters has his whole life planned out for him, until a chaste kiss at summer camp opens a new world of possibilities. Determined to erase Addy’s insecurities, Benny works to take away his boyfriend’s pain and replace it with love.
When Addy’s past intrudes on their future, it’s going to take everything Benny can muster to show that no matter what – or who – they face, they belong together.
ADDY SAT in the car, worry creasing his brow. Not even an hour ago, he’d been so happy. Why was he so nervous now? His thoughts drifted back to his conversation with his dad. Would Benny still want him when he found out what had happened? Would he think Addy was too broken? Addy shivered. He tried to tell himself Benny would never be like that, but how could he know for sure?
“What’s up, little man? I can hear you thinking from over here.” Benny chuckled.
“Nothing, Benny. I’m okay.”
“Addy, c’mon. I can tell you’ve got something on your mind. I need to know what it is. I can’t help if you won’t let me.”
Addy took a deep breath. “I’m afraid,” he admitted. “Of what? Camp?” “No... of losing you.”
“I don’t understand. Why would you think you’d lose me?”
“Benny.” Addy sighed. “I need to tell you some stuff. It’s not going to be easy, and it’s really not going to be nice.”
Meet Will Parkinson
WILL PARKINSON believes that no matter what obstacles are thrown in the path of young love, it will always find a way to win in the end. He wants his characters to have their happily ever after, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to come easily.
None of this would have happened if he had followed the advice he was given many years ago. “What are you wasting your time on that for? It’s never going to amount to anything.” He believed it for the longest time, abandoning characters he’d created in his childhood.
He picked up his very first m/m story by a writer named Eden Winters, who was an absolute joy when they corresponded. She asked him if he wrote and he told her the story. Eden explained to Will that the voices in his head would never go away and how he needed to let them out. With that thought in mind, Will put e-pen to e-paper once more. It was truly a liberating experience and one he has no intention of giving up again
9/22: Because Two Men Are Better Than One, Joyfully Jay, Velvet Panic
9/23: The Hat Party, Iyana Jenna, Rainbow Gold Reviews
9/24: Prism Book Alliance, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words
9/25: LeAnn’s Book Reviews, Havan Fellows, Andrew Q. Gordon
9/26: Hearts on Fire, Lee Brazil
9/29: Decadent Delights, Foxylutely Book Reviews, The Novel Approach
9/30: Jade Crystal, Wake Up Your Wild Side, MM Good Book Reviews
10/1: Cate Ashwood, Book Reviews and More by Kathy, Kimi-Chan
10/2: Amanda C. Stone, Elisa - My Reviews and Ramblings, Fallen Angel Reviews
10/3: Emotion in Motion, Love Bytes
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