Novellas

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Asher Kaufman could use a miracle. But first he’ll have to believe they exist.

Ash is single, strapped for cash, and burned out from his work at a nonprofit. Everyone else’s holiday spirit leaves him feeling like he’s in the wrong movie.

Then strange, thoughtful gifts begin appearing outside his door: a rustic basket filled with pinecones and acorns, and a beautiful handmade scarf in Hannukah colors. But the most wonderful gift of all comes when he meets Clay, his secret admirer, a beautiful young man who happens to be a fairy who lives in the wooded wonderland behind the duplex where Ash lives.

Clay brings warmth and magic into Ash’s dreary life–but when the realities of the human world threaten the bridge to fairyland, it will take all Ash’s faith to bring about a happy-ever-after that will work for everyone.

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After courtship, cohabitation, and learning about love and each other, Andy and Eli face the ultimate test: being separated at Christmas.

Eli’s seen the propaganda—the country boy goes home from the city and realizes his heart is back among the snow, trees, and chickens. A big happy family is something Eli, with his demanding job running a shelter for LGBTQ youth, can’t provide. He’s been readying himself for the other shoe to drop anyway—Andy’s mother is a force of nature, and she wants her little boy home. 

Andy may be in Vermont, but his heart is back in Brooklyn with the man who’s battling basement floods and crumbling buildings to bring Christmas to sixty kids who’ve had their hearts broken too many times already. Holiday myths may say that Christmas means going back home to a happy family, but Andy knows happy endings don’t come without a little faith and a lot of hard work. He's got an army ready to put in the elbow grease. If he can get Eli to believe in him, they might just save Christmas after all.    

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Lake Copeland’s best friend Miriam is perpetually single. When she laments the idea of returning to her hometown solo for the holidays to meet her mom’s new husband, Lake has the perfect solution: he’ll tag along as her boyfriend. Fake boyfriend, that is. Some of his favorite holiday romances have fake boyfriends that lead to true love—and complications. But since he’s gay, there'll be no complications. Right?

Unfortunately Lake’s foolproof plan didn’t account for Miriam’s new stepbrother Spencer, who sets Lake’s heart aglow….

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Cassidy Hancock déteste être en retard, c’est même pathologique chez lui. Par un frais matin d’automne, il s’arrête sur le trottoir pour regarder le si beau fils de sa voisine courir derrière son chien… et voilà qu’un arbre lui tombe dessus.

Mark Taylor, interne en chirurgie orthopédique, assiste à la scène et prodigue les premiers soins au jeune homme. Malgré lui, il est fasciné par son voisin et peu à peu, tandis qu’il s’efforce d’aider Cassidy à se remettre de sa fracture, il comprend ce que cache cette obsession pour la ponctualité : l’histoire d’un garçon solitaire qui pense qu’il doit être parfait pour être aimé.

Les Taylor sont loin d’être parfaits, mais pour Cassidy, ils pourraient représenter la parfaite solution. Alors que les deux hommes apprennent à se connaître, Cassidy se met à fantasmer sur un avenir heureux en famille, ce qu’il n’aurait jamais pensé avoir un jour. Quant à Mark, il s’attache de plus en plus à Cassidy, à sa gentillesse, à ses grands yeux écarquillés et à sa surprenante créativité. Mais pour avancer, le couple doit surmonter les peurs de Cassidy. La période de Noël offre des joies infiniment plus riches que la ponctualité. 

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Rudolph the Rescue Jack Russell

Must Love Dogs | Book 3

Alex goes to a dog rescue with one mission: overcoming one of his fears. But he gets more than he bargained for when he unexpectedly bonds with a Jack Russell terrier named Rudolph and decides to take him home.

When shelter volunteer Luther offers to show Alex the ropes of dog ownership, their time together proves they have more in common than just Rudolph’s affection. But if they’re going to have a happy holiday, Alex needs to come to terms with his issues. Can Luther help him see that love really can be unconditional?

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The Winging It Holiday Special

Hockey Ever After | Book 1.5

Hockey’s started, holidays are looming, and NHL player Dante Baltierra’s husband is keeping secrets.

Of course, secrets aren’t unusual this time of year, but Dante is pretty sure Gabe isn’t being squirrelly about a new flat-screen or tickets for a second honeymoon. Whatever is eating Gabe is more serious than a surprise under the tree. But as much as Dante wants to help, asking about it would be fruitless. Besides, he has a theory about the problem—and the solution.

He’s just not sure Santa has the power to deliver what Gabe really wants this Christmas.

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Conner MacKay is the last of the TV cowboys, but he’s withdrawn from society—even before a global pandemic forces the world into quarantine. When he meets activist Dante Burke, though, Conner takes a chance. He can’t leave a young Black man on the street in the face of a public health crisis. What kind of cowboy would he be then?

On the surface, Conner and Dante live in opposing realities: midlife versus youth, flush versus flat broke. But their politics, attraction, and close quarters bring them together until the heat between them grows into a burn almost too hot to handle.

Then old dangers breach their safeguards and threaten not their love, but their very lives.

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Lucas Arrowood is walking to school on his first day of kindergarten when he meets Dalton Churchill—a boy who stops and helps him tie his shoe. He knows from that moment he is going to marry that boy one day. “Boys can’t marry other boys,” his mother explains, but that doesn’t stop Lucas. He knows what he wants.

He and Dalton become best friends. And then, no matter how much he resists, Dalton falls in love with Lucas. Dalton’s very conservative family can’t accept that their boy loves another boy, but finally Dalton stands up for love and for Lucas. Still, he declares he won’t marry Lucas until it is legal everywhere. He hates the “commitment ceremonies” gay men have. They aren’t the real thing. Why bother?

So Lucas waits for his day. The day same-sex marriage finally becomes legal and he can be joined forever with the love of his life. 


Originally published in the anthology A More Perfect Union, Dreamspinner Press, June 2016

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For Javi Navarro, Detroit will become another blood-splattered city in his rearview mirror after he puts its dead back into the ground. Expecting an easy hunting job, Javi instead finds a kiss of ancient vampires on the hunt for a descendant of their long-dead creator. 
 
Reclusive Ciarnan Mac Gerailt abandoned his family legacy of blood and death magic after it nearly destroyed him. Unfortunately for Ciarnan, the Motor City can only be saved if he resumes his dark arts and joins forces with Javi Navarro, the hunter who brought the vampire apocalypse—and hope for the future—straight to Ciarnan’s front door.

Previously published as "Legacy of Blood and Death" in the anthology Creature Feature 2.

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A chance meeting. A one-night stand. And then a pattern of them.

For Nigerian-born professional football linebacker Arikawe “Ade” Adeloyebe and Chicago newspaper reporter Rex Palmieri, not-so-casual sex is all they can have. Ade is closeted to protect his career, and Rex has to toe the line between his own job and his secret relationship with a sports celebrity.

Both men fall deeply in love, but misunderstandings, miscommunication, and outside pressure threaten to implode the relationship. Then a bounty-hunting scandal followed by a bloody gay bashing force Rex and Ade to face some hard choices. Can they tackle the opposition and cross the goal line to happiness together?

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Chère Ruth,

Je ne suis pas d’humeur à fêter Noël. Après une relation amoureuse partie en fumée, je suis retourné dans ma ville natale du Kansas rural. Puis ma mère est décédée. Je suis très occupé par mon travail de capitaine des pompiers, et maintenant par la chronique de conseils de ma mère, que j’ai reprise à contrecœur. Il y a un nouveau venu sexy dans la rue, un homme avec une petite fille et un malheureux mépris pour la sécurité incendie. Il semble vouloir nouer une amitié, mais cela crée des problèmes qui pourraient être trop brûlants pour moi. Je n’ai vraiment pas besoin de décorations inflammables et de trop de nourriture de Noël en ce moment.

Comment suis-je censé prodiguer de bons conseils aux autres alors que je n’arrive pas à mettre de l’ordre dans ma propre vie ?

– Rabat-joie, Bailey Springs

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Bad to be Merry

Bad to Be Good | Book Four

Bad to Be Good: Book Four

Former mobster Richard Marsden grew up scrounging on the streets of Detroit. This Christmas, for the first time, he has a family and the means to provide an abundant Christmas, and that’s what he intends to do.

But his husband, Daniel, grew up with everything. For Daniel, Christmas isn’t about receiving gifts, but the opportunity to help others. With his son in the hospital recovering from a tonsillectomy, Daniel knows just who he wants to help this year.

Both Daniel and Richard make plans for their family Christmas assuming the other is on board, leaving their holiday dangling on the precipice of disaster—unless they can remember that family, love, and the holidays mean compromising to give each other what they need. 

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Cassidy Hancock hates being late—he’s pathological about it. Until the crisp fall morning when he pauses to watch his neighbor’s handsome son chase his dog down the sidewalk… and gets hit by a tree.

Mark Taylor sees the whole thing, and as a second-year medical resident, he gets Cassidy top-notch care. In spite of himself, he’s fascinated by his mother’s stodgy neighbor, and as he strives to help Cassidy recover from a broken leg, he begins to realize that behind Cassidy’s obsession with punctuality is the story of a lonely boy who thought he had to be perfect to be loved.

Mark and his family are far from perfect—but they might be perfect for Cassidy. As the two of them get to know each other, Cassidy fantasizes about the family and happy-ever-after he never thought he’d have, and Mark starts to yearn for Cassidy’s wide-eyed kindness and surprising creativity. But first they have to overcome Cassidy’s fears, because there is so much more fun to be had during Christmas than just being on time.

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Until recently, Adam Brookhart has led what he considers a relatively uneventful life. His biggest problem is that he can’t let his guard down and allow himself to get close to anyone, emotionally or physically—until he meets Shane Farmer.

Shane lives in a small town many miles from Adam and is his complete opposite. In fact, he’s just about the last person Adam can imagine himself in a relationship with. But Adam is drawn to the man, and neither distance nor their differences can keep him away.

Late one night, while driving home from Shane’s house, something very strange happens. Adam loses two hours of time and has no idea how or why. But as he digs for clues, the answers he finds are totally crazy… and the man he is falling in love with might be crazy as well.

Originally published by Dreamspinner Press in the Contact (Gothika #5) anthology, October 2016.

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Mike Ellsworth was alive and well one minute, and dead the next. Only he’s not really dead—he’s a ghost. One with lots of unfinished business. He’s never told his wife that he has come to accept that he’s gay. He’s never told her that he has a secret lover. He’s never been able to tell his lover that he is in love with him. Now there’s nothing Mike can do about it. And that’s only the beginning! He soon finds out he can help other ghosts leave the spirit world and step into the light. So what’s keeping him stuck on earth? If only there were a way he could make up for all he’s done wrong, and finally do what’s truly right. And maybe, just maybe, there is.

Previously published by Dreamspinner Press in the Spirit anthology, October 2015.

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Finding Armando

Found At Last

Found At Last: Book Two

An investigative adventure in search of an elderly man’s first love brought Theo and Jamison together. Now they’re called to put their sleuthing skills to use once again and reunite Pocono resort manager Asher with his lost love, Armando. But the hunt through rural Pennsylvania won’t be easy with Jamison’s younger brother locking horns with the resort’s assistant manager and a shocking offer from the sous chef, Grace.

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When a hot tip leads Kansas City reporter Taylor Dunton to a series of grisly murders, his investigation points to Myles Parry and his vodou shop. Myles wants nothing more than to practice his religion in peace, and he hopes Taylor can help him show the community they have nothing to fear. The problem is all the clues point to Myles as the suspect and only Taylor can help him prove his innocence. However, this case has also caught the attention of the vodou spirits of the Lwa... and they've taken an interest in Taylor as well.

Previously published by Dreamspinner Press in the Bones anthology, October 2014.

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When ex-priest Jack finds a dead man nailed to his bed, he knows it’s going to be a bad night. He just has no idea how bad. Now he’s been recruited by his own personal demon to find the thieves who killed a man, kidnapped his family, and stole something of indescribable value from the demonic Math. To find answers he has to delve deep into the infernal underbelly of his town and face his own past. Jack’s been promised his soul back if he succeeds. As local cop Ben Ambrose risks his own soul by following too closely in Jack’s footsteps, and with a child’s life on the line, Jack has to decide if it’s a deal he’s willing to make.

Previously published by Dreamspinner Press in the Devil Take Me anthology, January 2019.

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