A Pictorial Emotional Thesaurus AKA The Many Faces of a Cowboy w/ BA Tortuga

March 15, 2016

A Pictorial Emotional Thesaurus

Hey, y’all! I’m BA Tortuga, resident redneck and daughter to the best daddy in the history of daddies.

Y’all, Lew Squires. Lew Squires, y’all.

My daddy helped me out with a lovely pictorial layout of the many emotions of a cowboy.

Here goes:

 

SORROW

 

JOY

 

LUST

 

 

AGONY

 

 

WORRY

 

 

FURY

 

 

WHEN YOUR DAUGHTER READS HER M/M SEX SCENES ALOUD

 

Much love, y’all.

BA

 

Trial by Fire blurb:

One Aussie. One Texan. One baby. One hell of a fight.

When his sister and her husband are killed in an accident, Aussie cattle station owner Lachlan McCoughney rushes to Texas to rescue their infant daughter, Chloe. He expects to find his niece living in squalor with the Sheffields, a rodeo family.

Instead, Lachlan finds Holden Sheffield, a salt-of-the-earth cowboy running a huge business operation. They want to explore their mutual attraction despite the many problems thrown their way, and together, they must find a way to give Chloe a new family and find a love that spans thousands of acres and two continents.

 

Available March 15 from Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7492

In print: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7493

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Trial-Fire-BA-Tortuga-ebook/dp/B01C8V5U44/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1456771802&sr=8-1

All Romance Ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-trialbyfire-1991421-149.html

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/trial-by-fire-ba-tortuga/1123451801?ean=9781634769815

About BA Tortuga

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the  high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head. Find her on the web at www.batortuga.com

 

For the Love of Country Music with Remmy Duchene

February 17, 2016

For the Love of Country Music

Hello Everyone!

My name is Remmy Duchene. For those of you who have no clue who I am – here’s a brief rundown. I have an evil day job and by night I dawn a cape and fight crime in Gotham City…wait…no, that’s Batman—sorry about that.  Okay, here goes. I am a Jamaican living in the cold white north who enjoys writing romance and erotica that is infused with a rather healthy dose of cultures. It is true, I do have a day job, but when I can steal time, I love working on stories that entertain me.  Today, I’m here to speak with you about Country Soul, 2nd edition.

In Jamaica, country music was unheard of. I mean sure, we know how Garth Brooks is and a few of us have kind of an idea about Reba McEntire but on a whole, we do Reggae, Michael Jackson, Michael Bolton, some hip-hop, maybe a few Latin singers but that’s about it. Then I moved to Canada in the winter time and since I was terrified of the snow (which my mother wanted me to go outside and play in—the nerve of that woman lol), I stayed indoors for the first few days of my move to the new country just flipping through the television channels.

I crashed into CMT (Country Music Televison) to Alannah Myles’ Black Velvet. What a day that was. I went crazy dancing around my living room. To me, this song wasn’t really country—it didn’t fall under the same sound I was used to hearing from Garth Brooks when I was in Jamaica. Still, I fell in love with the sound of Ms. Myles voice so I kept the channel playing all day. From Shania Twain, to Brooks and Dunn and the list went on and on.

As I grew and matured in this new place, country music took on a whole new life. I began listening to it more than I did Reggae. In college I met one of my best friends (I call her Aster) and she is from a place so deep in Ontario, I thought didn’t exist at first. She drives a truck and LOVES country music.  With her by my side, that love of a music so foreign to me, grew into something a little more real and almost obsessive.

It always weirds people out when I’m in let’s say, a Walmart and a country song comes on, and I start singing while strutting up and down the aisles while doing a little dance. Why? It must look super strange watching a black woman, singing something like Conway Twitty.

But I digress—years I was watching Lost In You by Chris Gaines (Garth Brook’s alter ego) on Youtube (thank goodness for Youtube) –and I remember sitting there watching the video over and over because a story idea was forming and each time I watch it, the idea became clearer and clearer. I’m not sure how many times I watched it so the plot bunnies could work but Country Soul formed in that day.

After the first publisher to take Country Soul went under, it almost broke my heart. You see, as writers we pen these tales and even though we love all the stuff we write (to a point) some we adore more than others.  Country Soul is one of those for me. It came from a place of pure sadness—if you listen to this song you will see what I mean.

 

I would like to thank DSP for giving me a second chance to expose this tale to new readers. I really hope you enjoy reading about these two men as much as I enjoyed writing them.

 

Before I go, quick question – for me, my inspiration behind this story was Chris Gaines’ Lost in You.  We all have these songs –you know the ones that rip your heart out and show it to you?  I’m being dramatic but you know what I mean. What song does that for you that you think I MUST listen to? Please comment below.

 

Thanks again for stopping by! Have a lovely day!

Hugs,

Remmy Duchene

Website: http://remmyduchene.wix.com/remmyduchene

Twitter: www.twitter.com/remmyduchene

Blog: http://remmyduchene.blogspot.ca

Check out Country Soul today!

COUNTRY

Blurb: 

When Jackson Rawlings comes out of the closet, he loses everything: from his record label to the self-confidence he needs to perform on stage. Jackson feels as if the world is out to get him. Broken and afraid, he escapes to Hallesford and the ranch he calls home. All he wants is to live out the rest of his life peacefully and out of the spotlight.

But the fates just love interfering in his life.

Marques Lopez is the owner of Phoenix Records, and not only does he hate what happened to Jackson, he feels Jackson Rawlings has plenty more to contribute to the music industry. He ventures into small-town USA to find the singer and when he does, Jackson is a mere fragment of the man he used to be. To make matters worse, Marques’s body and heart step in to present him with a choice between business and pleasure—unless he could have his cake and eat it too….

 

Wrapping it up folks!

March 27, 2015

One of the fun things about writing a book is that I can make playlists for it or identify unofficial theme songs. For “The Serpent and the Angel,” there is a song by Falconer called “Wings of Serenity” that is such a perfect fit, it’s eerie. If Tobias could sing, that would be his song for Angel.

 

Here it is and it is work safe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-lTBVsaZ2I

You can find the lyrics here: http://www.metrolyrics.com/wings-of-serenity-lyrics-falconer.html

 

I love his voice, I love the lyrics, I love the music… everything! This is the sort of music I listen to frequently.

 

I don’t always find a theme song or a love song from one character to another, but when I do, it’s magical!!

 

That about wraps it up for me this time around. I’ll probably be back when “Predator and Prey” is ready to be released. One of my favorite things about writing is coming up with the titles for the stories. Sometimes I already know the title even before I start to write and other times I have to edit the story a few times before the title reveals itself. It can be the most frustrating part, yet also the most gratifying especially when I come up with that perfect title.

 

I enjoy this title because of the contrast—”serpent” often means evil and “angel” often means good. But nothing is ever so black and white, there are always shades of grey (and no, I’m not talking about that book).

 

May dragons guard your dreams,

-M.D.

Series plan and another excerpt!

March 27, 2015

Find “The Serpent and the Angel” here! http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6201

 

Remember, while this might be Book 8 of my series, it is also book 2 of my Part 2 of the series. I have 5 parts planned and while the entire series should be seen as a cohesive whole, to make my life easier, I split the books into parts to make sure I stayed on track and told the story that needed to be told.

 

It’s certainly a struggle to balance the romance with furthering the overall plot, but I welcome the challenge. I feel that with every book I grow stronger in my writing skills (and research skills), and I really enjoying seeing my series unfold and reveal itself. Every single book offers me at least one surprising moment.

 

That is the struggle with these later books since the dominoes need to start falling as the series unfolds. Part one (Psychic Moon through Master’s Blood) was more of the introduction to my universe, and the characters and the groups I will be dealing with for the rest of the series. Now the rest of the parts will be focused on the various romances (of course) but also the workings of the villain Arcas and his allies. But the core of the series is still love and how each couple tries to save the day and prevent Arcas from reaching his goals.

 

Another excerpt!

 

 

The snake slowly slid out of the small hole it had been coiled in. Flicking its tongue, sensing no danger, it slithered and scraped over rocks and boulders, easily finding a path out of the rubble. It was hungry, but it didn’t smell any prey, which caused it to focus on finding an exit out of the tunnel. For some reason it didn’t want to hide and wait for prey, it wanted to find open air. Always going with instinct, the snake never questioned or doubted its senses. The long serpent easily made its way down the open tunnel, seeming to glide over the uneven ground and disjointed tracks. It wound around the mine carts, past the fallen pickaxes, constantly flicking its tongue.

It began to feel cool air over its scales and hesitated. Slithering to the side of the tunnel, the snake eyed the opening, flicking its tongue, again sensing no danger. It moved slower now, wary of the open air, the lack of protection. But something inside it urged it out, into the open; something seemed to push it forward. Keeping close to the side of the tunnel, it peeked out of the opening, into the dark. The moon was high, the stars shining, but the snake paid it no mind. All it saw was the wide expanse of land, and all it thought about was food and shelter.

But even as it was about to move across the darkened land, it sensed movement just outside the tunnel. Coiling into itself, the snake lifted its tail and lowered its face. Sound followed the movement, and the cause of that sound formed a shadow across the land. The snake flicked its tongue out, tasting the air, oddly familiar with the scent upon it. It wasn’t prey. It wasn’t predator. What was it?

A creature walked into sight. Again, there was an odd sense of familiarity. The known scent grew stronger as the creature seemed to notice the snake. The snake coiled tighter, muscles trembling. Its rattle shook louder.

“Never seen a rattlesnake as big as you before,” the creature said.

The snake didn’t understand. But Tobias did. It felt as though he surged upward, as if he was rising out of water toward the surface, straining for air. He saw through his snake’s eyes, smelled Angel’s scent. The snake fought, of course it fought, but Tobias knew he’d win. The snake wasn’t stronger than he was. It had never been stronger.

The snake shuddered as if in pain, and the rattle stopped moving.

Angel knelt in front of the snake, at a safe distance from a potential strike. Tobias stared into Angel’s face, using it as an anchor. He knew that face. He liked that face. When he’d changed, he’d been too scared, nearly panicked with the thought of death, that he hadn’t fully prepared himself mentally for the change. This caused his snake to take over fully, for him to lose who he was, his memories, his purpose, his personality. But now he fought, and he knew he would win. But he couldn’t allow Angel to see him change back. He couldn’t even allow himself to consider the outcome of that travesty.

Tobias took full control of his snake and struck out at Angel, never intending to bite, but trying to scare Angel away. Angel jerked back in shock with a yelp. Then Tobias turned and shot down the tunnel, into the dark. But even as he did, and as Angel’s scent faded, his snake began to fight back. Tobias held onto Angel’s face, his voice, his scent, and kept control. But he couldn’t hold the snake’s form as he kept remembering what it was like to be a human. He could only move past the first corner of the mine before the air shimmered. His skin rippled violently, and he fell to the ground, a human once more.

Gasping, shaking, Tobias’s skin flashed hot then cold. He was going to be ill; he knew he was, just like the first time. He curled into himself, his throat dry, his lungs heavy. He must have made enough noise to draw attention, because he suddenly heard someone running down the tunnel. It wasn’t long before Angel ran around the corner and skidded to a stop. They stared at each other for a long, humming moment before Angel dropped to his knees and yanked off his own coat, wrapping it around Tobias.

Then, to Tobias’s great shock, Angel pulled him into his arms and hugged him hard.

“Oh, thank the spirits. I knew it, I knew you had survived.” Angel’s voice was thick with tears as he rocked them both, his arms in an unbreakable hold.

Tobias didn’t know what to say. He still felt ill and was becoming more so by the minute. But right then, he closed his eyes and allowed himself to indulge for a moment. He took a deep breath, coughed, but still relished the scent of his deputy. Angel was so warm, the kind of warmth Tobias’s skin had never exuded. He curled into his deputy, remembering acutely the reunion with his parents so many years ago. It had been so different from this. He’d been slapped by his mother, yelled at by his father. His arm had been grabbed, and he’d been dragged to their carriage and berated the entire way home. There’d been no tears, no words of relief or joy.

He didn’t know what to make of Angel’s obvious affection or how to handle it.

Angel suddenly pulled back, and their eyes met again. Tobias’s eyes had adjusted to the darkness, and he could see his deputy’s face well enough to see something in his eyes that sent a spike of fear down Tobias’s spine.

“It was you,” Angel whispered. “You were the rattlesnake.”

 

 

Want to learn more? My website is here: www.mdgrimmwrites.com

 

Do you like long series (20+ books) or would you rather a short one (under 10?) or do you prefer trilogies?

 

-M.D. Grimm

Villains

March 27, 2015

Hi there! Still promoting my story “The Serpent and the Angel” book 8 of my Shifters series. http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6201

 

As I stated in my first post, “The Serpent and the Angel” continues the story of the scrolls and their guardians. But I also wanted to mention that it also furthers the story of the main villain of my series: in present days, he’s known as Arcas, but he’s had many names over many centuries. Some of my readers might have guessed it already and that’s great, I really don’t want it to be a secret, but I also wanted a little intrigue and mystery surrounding my villain.

 

There’s a reason I spent some time describing Arcas’s sapphire blue eyes and his beauty. Lady Anne Blackthorn (Hunted Guardian) had sapphire blue eyes and was a great beauty. Another character will appear in “The Serpent and the Angel” that has the same eyes and similar beauty. Try and spot him! (yes, it’s a man).

 

My villain is just as important as my heroes, perhaps even more so. He works behind the scenes as well as occasionally stepping to the front. He has a goal/plan and nothing will stop him from executing it. ;) I really love to hate that guy.

 

What are your thoughts on villains? Do you love to hate them? Just plain hate them? Or would you rather see more of them in a story?

 

-M.D.

Excerpt!

March 27, 2015

Hello everyone! M.D. Grimm here promoting “The Serpent and the Angel,” the latest story in my Shifters series.

 

“The Serpent and the Angel” continues the story of the ancient scrolls and their bird guardians. For those of you puzzled by the direction I’m taking with this series, rest assured I have a plan, the scrolls are very important and that’s why I’m diving into the past to introduce them. And because it’s fun J

 

If you want to learn more about my “grand plan” for the series, you can check out my blog at: http://www.mdgrimmwrites.com/#!blog/cqsg

I share all you ever wanted (or not wanted) to know!

 

I’m not too familiar with historicals, which is why I wanted to challenge myself with “Hunted Guardian” (book 7), “The Serpent and the Angel” (book 8), and the nearly-completed book #9 “Predator and Prey.” I wanted to introduce the scrolls in a historical setting to set up where they are in the present (which will be books #10-#12, and possibly later ones).

 

Now here’s a short excerpt:

 

Tobias knew how to intimidate, to make others fear. Lord knew it was his greatest skill. He had a deadly stare, aptly like that of a rattlesnake, and his eyes, his expression, were blistering cold. His boots thumped up the two steps of the general store’s long porch before he entered the building itself. He turned smartly to the counter where an older gentlemen, one in a snappy suit, stood, waiting for the few customers inside to purchase their items. The man’s gaze shot to Tobias’s, and he visibly paled, his eyes widening.

With a casual lean on the counter, which didn’t fool anyone, Tobias lifted the brim of his hat a fraction before considering the man.

“Good morning, Mr. Thompson.”

Mr. Thompson had to clear his throat before he found his voice. “Good morning, Sheriff.”

“I hear we might have a problem.”

He blinked. “Problem, sir?”

“Aye, a problem. Namely, a problem you might have with a few of the hardworking miners the coal mine employs.”

“I got no problem with those men.”

Tobias’s lips lifted slightly. It wasn’t a smile. “Right glad I am to hear it, Mr. Thompson. That puts my mind at ease. Now, I’ll just leave here and go tell those nice hardworking Chinese men that you don’t have a problem with them.”

Mr. Thompson scowled, his wrinkled face becoming more wrinkled. “Damn Chinamen. What kinda trouble they causing now?”

Tobias lifted his eyebrows. “They claimed, mistakenly, I’m sure, that you be raising the prices for them, while keeping the prices reasonable for the other miners. I reckon that ain’t true, is it, sir?”

Mr. Thompson, while obviously still wary of the sheriff, didn’t seem to want to appear cowardly. There were a few decent women in the store, including his seamstress wife, who were obviously staring at the two of them, eager to see what transpired.

“They come to this country, stealing work from decent folk. Lord knows they gotta damn pay for it.”

Tobias tilted his head slowly to one side, his eyes flat, his face emotionless. Then, without warning, Tobias lashed out. He gripped Mr. Thompson’s collar and yanked him forward, causing his upper half to lie flat along the counter. Mr. Thompson gasped and choked, his eyes reeling. Tobias shoved his face near the older man’s, their noses almost touching.

“Let me make myself perfectly clear, Mr. Thompson,” Tobias said in a low voice only the two of them could hear. “Consider this your only warning. Whether it’s a Negro, Chinaman, Indian, or a damn dandy who walks into this store, you had better treat them with the same decency you treat those who look like you.”

Mr. Thompson sputtered. Tobias tightened his hold, his strength absolute.

“I don’t got a use for bigots in this town, and you know how I feel about useless folk.”

Mr. Thompson paled even further, his eyes growing dark with terror.

Tobias paused, making sure his point sunk into the man’s thick skull. “If a person got a use in this town, they get the same damn items for the same damn price. Have I made myself clear?”

“Aye.” It was nearly a squeak.

Tobias let go and shoved Mr. Thompson lightly on the shoulder, sending him back across the counter. Mr. Thompson stumbled and panted, his hands shaky as he tried to straighten his clothing.

Tobias gripped the hem of his vest and gave a light tug to resituate it, before smoothing out his shirt. He sniffed and lowered the brim of his hat again, casting his face into shadow, his eyes the only things gleaming.

“Remember, Mr. Thompson, I only give one warning.”

Mr. Thompson nodded vigorously, gulping. “Y—yes, sir.”

Tobias spun on his heal, tipped his hat to the ladies who stood behind him, stunned. Then he was gone, striding out of the store and back down the lane. The sun glinted off the sheriff’s star pinned to his vest as he now observed his surroundings. Parkers Hollow was a tough town with tough people, and he had damn well be tougher. That had never been hard for him. He was cold, detached, and merciless. He’d never pretended to be otherwise. Lord knew he was exactly the type of sheriff a town like this needed.

He lived by one rule: If a person had a use, then that person deserved his protection. In these rough lands, there wasn’t any room for laziness or parasites. The last sheriff had learned that lesson quickly… when Tobias had put a bullet in his brain. The man had been a corrupt, drunken horse turd in fancy suits. He’d certainly had no use whatsoever.

 

Which do you prefer: series with the same couple/characters every book or different characters/couples but with a related theme?

 

I shall be back!

-M.D.

The Top Five Most Amazing Exploits of the kiddos from Ever the Same

February 27, 2015

Randi and Grainger are the heart and soul of Dixon and Audie (and by association, Ever the Same). They start out, as so many of my fictional relationships do, with a fist fistfight (note: when I met my wife in person the first time, at one point she did threaten to beat the hell out of me while I was driving in a pouring down rainstorm on the highway in San Antiono traffic. True story.).

However, a birthday party, a giant mouse, some horses and a guitar later, they became partners in crime.

Instead of having fights with each other, they turned on the world.

1. During a riding lesson, Grainger dares Randi to impersonate the trick rider they’d seen at the rodeo and when Audie turned around, she was standing on Sarge’s back.

2. Randi dared Grainger to trap the possum so they could keep the babies and raise them. Possum bites hurt. So do the rabies shots.

3. Together, the kids decided to find out which spice burn. Cinnamon for the flamtastic win! FYI, powdered creamer burns pretty damned well too.

4. Grainger told Randi that she couldn’t be a cowgirl unless she rode a calf backwards holding his tail.

5. At Christmas, they dressed the dachshunds up as reindeer, tied them to a miniature sleigh that belong to Randi’s gran and proceeded to take down the tree. Dachshunds are not beasts of burden.

Much love, y’all

BA

Ever the Same is available now! 

Ten Things about Dixon from Ever the Same

February 27, 2015

Dixon, world. World, Dixon.

1. Dixon’s best friend is his younger brother, Daniel, who is currently serving overseas in the military.

2. His favorite date night used to be watching the sunset at the Oasis on Lake Travis.

3. Dix has a huge crush on Gordon Ramsey and on Sidney Poitier.

4. The first song he learned to play on the guitar was Where Have All the Flowers Gone

5. He was drum major in high school.

6. He’s a huge Blues fanatic and his first out of state trip was to New Orleans with his dad to see live music.

7. His favorite food is cheesesteaks with mustard sauce from Texadelphia.

8. His first dog was a bloodhound named Bill.

9. He lived in Texas his whole life, but Audie taught him how to ride a horse.

10. Dixon’s prized possession is a 1974 Fender Stratocaster played by Stevie Ray Vaughan.

 

Much love, y’all

BA

Ever the Same is available now! 

Ten Things About Audie from Ever the Same

February 27, 2015

Y’all, Audie Barrack. Audie, all the folks.

1. He wanted to be a professional baseball player when he grew up.

2. He’s named after a famous Greenvillite, Audie Murphy.

3. His favorite food on earth is tacos from Molinas.

4. He’s a huge George Strait fan and he has been to 3 concerts. His favorite song is “Write This Down”.

5. He never misses the weather on 10pm TV. Ever.

6. He built his own house on his folks’ ranch.

7. His dad is a long-haul trucker and one of his favorite things (and one of his son’s favorite things) was riding along in the summer and listening to the CB.

8. Audie got poison ivy on his penis once and he didn’t tell his parents because he was afraid they’d have to cut it off.

9. Audie has had full custody of his son since he was three days old.

10. His favorite toy as a little boy was a stuffed cow he named Silly Chicken.

;-)

Much love, y’all

BA

Ever the Same is available now! 

Excerpt and Contest

February 27, 2015

EvertheSameFS

Hey, y’all! I have a giveaway for a signed print copy of Ever the Same. Comment today on any of the posts and I’ll pick someone tomorrow morning (that gives all the folks a chance).

Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of the novel. Audie’s been called up to the school because his kindergarten has been in a fight…

***

Feeling like he was back in kindergarten, Audie went to the principal’s office.

“Mr. Barrack? Go on in. They’re waiting.” Miz Laws winked at him as he walked by, which relaxed him, because, Christ, this sucked. He went into the office, which was a mixture of colors and pictures of kids and that weird sternness that meant business. Dr. Shields stood and offered him a hand. Lord, he remembered when she was the drum major back when his Aunt Shirley was in the band.

There was a tiny little girl—and he meant teeny—sitting next to a dude who had hair like a girl, a dour-faced older lady, and his Grainger, who jumped up, one eye bruised. “Daddy! Daddy, I swear, I didn’t start it!”

“Hush, now. Let me talk to Dr. Shields.” He wanted to snatch Grainger up, but he knew better.

“Let’s all sit,” Dr. Shields said, and Audie fought the urge to point out he was the only grown-up standing.

Feeling chastised, he perched on the other side of Grainger.

They all sat there, staring, before Dr. Shields spoke up. “Now, we all seem to have a problem. Randi and Grainger have been in a half-dozen incidents in the last few weeks.”

“Really? Why didn’t I hear about this, buddy?” Half a dozen? Shit.

“You said not to be a tattletale, Daddy.”

Oh God. He damned near swallowed his tongue. They’d have to talk about information versus snitching.

“I didn’t start it. Not onced. I don’t hit girls, but Daddy! She hit me in the face! Hard!” There were tears there, threatening, and Grainger had that hell of a shiner.

“Now, Grainger, are you saying you didn’t push Randi?” the principal asked.

“She called me a doo-doo stupid-head!”

Did the wee girl not talk? She sat there, her chin set, her bright green eyes flashing fire. Her thin arms were crossed over her chest, and her feet swung in an angry rhythm.

“Name-calling can’t hurt you, buddy.” Was he the only adult with a brain here?

“No, but name-calling is completely inappropriate, Miranda.” That was the dad, just looking straight ahead. “You know better.”

“He’s mean! He told the girls I was smelly and not to play with me!”

Audie looked at the principal. “Am I the only one not up to speed?”

The older lady glanced over at him. “Beverly White. Pleased. My granddaughter has had some… transition issues. We’re sorry.”

“Mrs. White.” He nodded, then snuck another peek at the man sitting next to her.

The guy stared straight ahead, not looking at him at all. Crazy.

“Grainger is usually a good kid,” Audie offered. “I’m sorry about those uh, transition things.” Way to sound like a hick.

“Children, can you please wait on the green chairs while we talk?”

Grainger nodded, squeezing Audie’s fingers one more time. Audie nodded and smiled at his son, pretty convinced his boy hadn’t done anything really heinous.

The little gal stomped out, pure fire in her eyes. Oh, she was a hellion, he could tell.

“Are you going to tell me you’re going to move her again?” That was the dad, and the dude seemed about as pissed as his daughter. “She’s not the Antichrist. She’s a tiny little girl. She still sits in a car seat, for chrissake.”

“No, I think we can safely leave her where she is. I really felt that we all needed to chat, though. It’s clear that Audie here had no idea what was going on.”

“Yeah, no shit.” Audie glanced at the gran. “Pardon my French.”

“No worries.” She winked at him. “She’s not a bad girl. She’s had some terrible things in the last year.”

“And for some reason, she’s targeting Grainger. Has he spoken about Randi at all?” Dr. Shields was trying, he could tell.

“No, ma’am. He’s not said a word.” He snuck another look at the dad. This guy was a piece of work. “It’s not like him to pick on someone who’s having a hard time.”

“Of course it’s not. Randi’s the one that’s the vicious little bitch, right?”

Damn, Mr. Snooty could snap.

“Dixon!”

“What? She’s had a shit life for the last year. She lost one of her dads, she had to leave Austin and her friends and her school, and suddenly she’s the fucking bad guy?”

“Hey, I never said my boy was perfect,” Audie said, snarling a little himself. “He’s managed to get to six without trying to kill anyone, though, so this is new. Back off.”

“Enough. No one is saying either of these children are bad. Randi has a huge number of hurdles to overcome, and Grainger is a shy little boy with a tendency to follow the crowd. Neither of these children have mothers at home, and I was hoping we could brainstorm some ways to help Randi feel included with the others.”

This was ridiculous. It wasn’t his fucking job to make sure this asshole’s little brat felt like she didn’t need to punch his son anymore.

“That’s her teacher’s job, Shannon.” Audie was through with this shit. “I’ll tell my boy to stay away from her. Can we go now?”

“Yes. Yes, of course. Mr. White….”

“I’ll talk to her. If it happens again, I’ll… shit, I don’t know what I’ll do. I’ll make it up as I go along.” The guy stood, and his mom handed him a cane. A white cane.

Oh Jesus fucking Christ. Seriously? Seriously, Grainger picked the kid with a blind dad and a dead….

Wait.

Her other dad was dead. Jesus. This guy was blind, had lost his man, and his kid was a shit? That sucked hugely. “I can try to get Grainger to help. I promise.” He had no idea why that popped out, except this guy’s life had to suck, and because it had been a long time since Audie had met anyone who would openly admit to being queer like he was.

***

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Official blurb: Audie Barrack is in it up to his elbows with a sick calf when his son’s school calls. Seems Grainger has gotten into yet another fight. When he walks into the principal’s office, he’s shocked to find his son has been fighting with a little girl named Randi.

A little girl with one blind dad and one dad who recently passed away.

Goddammit.

Dixon has lost his sight, his career, and his husband. Thank God for his brothers, Momma and Daddy, and his little girl, or he would simply give up. The last thing he needs is for Randi to start trouble at school, especially trouble that puts him in contact with another dad who might expect him to be a functional human being.

Dixon is struggling to live as a blind man, Audie is terrified someone might see he has a closet to come out of, and everyone from the school to both men’s families is worried for the men and their children. Unless they get themselves together and commit to change, neither of them stands a chance.