New serial from Sue Brown at Patreon

Are you following this witty serial from the talented author Sue Brown? I’m loving it :).

Are you already one of her fans / do you like one or more of the books she’s written? This serial’s a special treat, only available at the moment through her Patreon group.

Personally speaking, I subscribe to a few Patreon accounts, for authors, bloggers and artists I’m interested in knowing more about, and want to support beyond buying their public work. Obviously none of us have money to waste nowadays, but I reckon for the price of (yet another *g*) ebook a month, I can help them build the funds to keep going with what they – and I – love.

There is NO obligation at all, but if you’re encouraged to invest in a truly talented and hardworking author’s work – and get all kind of sneak peeks at work in progress LOL – you can join up for Sue’s account from HERE.

(PS and how fabulous is that graphic, from the equally talented Meredith Russell???)


For the Left-Behind-ers

I first called this post “Catfish Confession” then thought it may be misleading LOL. So I renamed it the Left-Behind-Ers, for reasons I hope become clear.

You see, I’ve been catfished. I’ve been emotionally manipulated and then dropped / shocked / made to face the horrible and humiliating truth that I was FOOLED.

My sympathy is always with the catfish-ees – those Left Behind. And I want to shout out a HUG to them, to assure you I’ve suffered it and am happy to talk about every humiliating, painful detail if it helps you come to terms. Then I have a fairly fierce Demand that you (i) grieve, but then (ii) you regain perspective, rebuild your confidence, and get on with the important thing i.e. Your Life.

My catfisher was a gay man I wrote online with, for over a year (I don’t know his real name, or if he was gay, or a man at all *sigh*). On another continent, so the timezones only overlapped for a few hours, which meant I was always up late and/or early to share time, which took its toll on my sleep, and also made my family worry.

It was fun and challenging, he was outrageous, told me exotic and intimate stories of his lovelife, always led the way on our provocative, edgy writing. Never showed me a photo – though we exchanged gifts a couple of times – never gave any other personal details that I could have checked *if* I’d wanted to. But I didn’t give too much away either, so it seemed fair. This was early in my writing career, and maybe I had some self-protection in place even then, or maybe I just thought my life was totally boring compared to his, so not worth going into detail! I’d never heard of the term “catfish”, I was relatively new to online chatting.

He was in general amused at my naivety, but sometimes asked my help and advice, so I felt a personal connection. Then one day he claimed an upset in his personal life and just vanished offline. Good God! It was devastating. No contact, no trail, no recourse. I was shocked, hurt, suddenly aware of how emotionally fragile online relationships can be. Me, a professional, intelligent, mature woman, in floods of tears over an online chat friend. Ulp.

He came back online briefly, several weeks later, but we slowly dropped contact. He never admitted to being anything other than his writing persona, but I suspect now he was a catfisher. During the time he was offline, I’d found other women online who’d been in contact with him, equally horrified to have “lost” him, probably on an equal fan footing as I was. Ouch. I’d been amazed and horrified at my response, and I determined not to be hurt like that again.

It still makes me wince, to think of ME as I was then! but I’m proud of myself as well, in that it spurred me to learn more, develop more, so I’m confident now in who and what I am.

But if anyone wants to talk about it? I can and will, to prove you shouldn’t feel humiliated or embarrassed or a fool – at least, not for ever. I can stand outside now and see I *was* a fool, but also how cruel *he* was. It may have been deliberate, though I suspect/hope it wasn’t, just someone seeking attention, which ultimately came at my expense. No money changed hands, no physical harm was done. But I was in emotional distress for a long time afterwards.

Also, don’t be afraid to be honest with yourself – you were fooled, you were misled, you were lied to, whether deliberately or by omission. And you know what? Admit that it was LOVE. Maybe not sexual (my guy was gay, apparently, what sexual relationship could I have had, even if I’d wanted?) but these connections are so often a combination of romantic love / fascination / titillation / pride / flattery. We’re not honest enough with ourselves, trying to avoid the self-hate, embarrassment, shame at falling for a non-person. The admission that, at the time, we were looking for someone special for ourself. But it’s not wrong to love – it just needs to be the right kind of love.

I feel I lost a lot at the time, because of it. But I’ve gained so much more since then.


My friend, the author Sue Brown – and thankfully a real person! 🙂 – shares her feelings too in a very honest and compassionate post here:

Greg and Perry at birthday time – my ficlet at Amber Kell’s!

Over at Amber Kell’s blog this month, a whole bunch of fabulous authors are celebrating with birthday ficlets for their own characters :D.

I’ve written a little scene for my dear couple Greg and Perry from Romancing the Ugly Duckling. Hop on over to the blog and leave a comment – you can win a GIVEAWAY of the book itself, if the guys take your fancy ;).

BLURB: Is this the makeover of a lifetime?

Ambitious fashionista Perry Goodwood lands the project of his dreams—track down a celebrity family’s missing brother in the Scottish Highlands and bring him back to London for a TV reality show. But first he must transform the rugged loner into a glamorous sophisticate.

Greg Ventura has no use for high fashion. He lives on the isolated island of North Uist to escape the reminder that he’s nowhere near as handsome as his gorgeous brothers and avoid the painful childhood memories of being bullied.

Greg wants nothing to do with city life, and Perry’s never been outside London. When Perry is stranded on North Uist, this conflict seems insurmountable. But Greg is captivated by the vivacious Perry, and Perry by both the island and his host. However, Perry’s one heartfelt wish remains: that ugly duckling Greg fulfill his potential as a swan.

Welcome to authors’ spooky mayhem…

Join me today as I drop in on some of the authors with me in the best-selling erotic MMM anthology:

Myths, Moons & Mayhem

Paranormal Gay Menage and Erotic Romance
BUY: Kindle | Paperback

Myths, moons, and mayhem make the perfect threesome—and so do the men in this anthology.

Enjoy nine erotic stories of paranormal ménages a trois fueled by lust and magic, where mystical forces collide with the everyday world and even monsters have their own demons to conquer.


The Secret of the Golden Cup by Rebecca Buchanan—A classics professor finds himself at the center of a magical war. With an unfairly attractive student and a campus janitor as his only allies, can he stave off the forces of evil?

Rebecca: I have a confession to make: I read smut. A lot of smut. I also write smut, though I haven’t published very much of it.

That changed with the release of Myths, Moons, and Mayhem. A new anthology from Sexy Little Pages, it contains nine paranormal menage romances ranging from the ghostly to the magical to the — well — mythic.

When the submissions call for MMM popped up, I knew that I wanted to send in something … I just wasn’t sure what to write. I knew at least one of the characters would be Pagan, a practitioner of a pre-Christian religion. The question was, which tradition? So many to choose from! I debated and dithered and plotted for a week, jotting down and then rejecting various ideas. Luciferian witches? Lithuanian nobles fighting off Crusaders? A priest of Ra finding adventure and happiness with two Roman soldiers? Fae worldwalkers seeking treasure and romance as they move between parallel worlds?

All of those ideas sounded awesome, but I was working against a word limit and time constraints. I finally settled on a story based on ancient Cretan spirituality. “The Secret of the Golden Cup” centers around three men: Grover Benson, an introverted professor of linguistics; and Dominic Hartley and Steffan Dunbar, a married couple who are secretly magic users and devotees of the ancient Goddesses of Crete. When Grover discovers a long lost Minoan cup, he unwittingly becomes the focus of malevolent forces … who are determined to have Grover and the cup for themselves.

Sound fun?

Rebecca posts at

When The Big Moon Shines by Carl Redlum—A college student is intent on hunting down the man who turned him into a werewolf. But his mouthwatering neighbors keep getting in the way.

Carl: When I first saw a call for gay werewolf romance, I thought, “clearly I must drop everything right now and write.”

Werewolves are my favorite monsters. They make visceral the dichotomy present inside of us all–between the good people we wish to be, and the beasts we know that we can become. With that in mind, I feel a good werewolf story must explore that dichotomy.

Supernatural romance joins the carnal to the fantastical. What better way to do that than with werewolves? And what could be more human than the urge to find a pack to call your own?

But, to be honest, I’m not sure how well my story fits with the rest. For a romance story, it’s not very . . . romantic. Perhaps there’s a reason werewolves aren’t as popular as ghosts and vampires. Their stories can’t avoid the painful mess of transformation.

Careful What You Wish For by Elizabeth Coldwell—Josh dreams of meeting Mr. Right, so his roommate offers help with a love spell. Neither man is prepared for what happens when the spell begins to work.

Elizabeth: Every author has stories they don’t feel got enough love the first time around, and Careful What You Wish For was one of those. It had been published as part of another paranormal collection but had been out of print for a few years before the submission call for Myths Moons and Mayhem came out. I couldn’t believe how well it fitted with the theme, although it’s been revised and expanded slightly for this new anthology.

The book’s editor, Dale Cameron Lowry, was looking for gay ménage stories with a paranormal theme, featuring three or more characters. The resulting book has a fabulous selection of humans and otherworldly beings getting it on, from ghosts to vampires to aliens. In Careful What You Wish For, the threesome involves two ordinary men and a third being that they spirit into existence from the dust in the atmosphere around them.

Josh has a crush on his roommate, Aaron, but as Aaron has been in a string of relationships for as long as Josh as known him, he doesn’t think he stands a chance. Aaron wants to help Josh meet someone, and he suggests a love spell which is designed to do exactly that. It will bring the man who’s perfect for Josh into his life, and though Josh is sceptical about this (as I think a lot of people would be), it works. However, when Josh’s ideal lover appears, it comes as a shock to both him and Aaron. Though if you want to know who the third person in their ménage is, you’ll have to read the story…

Elizabeth Coldwell’s blog | Goodreads 

Celyn’s Tale by Rhidian Brenig Jones—A young Welsh farmer is haunted by visions of his future lover, only to discover that the lover is not one, but two—and not exactly human, either.

Rhidian: This anthology gave me the perfect opportunity to write a story that brought together some of my favourite themes: hot threesomes; the mythos of Wales; and the past. Although I do write contemporary stories, I prefer to linger in the past. As long as writers don’t make clanging errors-research is so vital- we have such freedom to imagine and invent. Some of my published work features fourteenth century monks, eighteenth century pirates and nineteenth century vampire hunters. Brilliant fun! I adapted the Welsh myth of the Tylwyth Teg, the fair folk, to my own purpose in order to come up with something different. I’m Welsh, so I like to introduce Welsh elements where I can so that readers in far flung places (cough: the USA) might find out a little more about my lovely country. And its sexy men!

Myths, Moons, and (Clare’s particular) Mayhem

As part of the release tour for Myths, Moons, and Mayhem we’ve been interviewing ourselves – and here am I, over at Rebecca Buchanan’s blog, with my answers to her Fast Five questions. 

Find out why I’m fascinated by ghosts – and what I want to do about it! – and where Mayhem happens around me at home. There’s even the hint of mystery around a No. 7 London double decker bus :).

The anthology’s doing really well – many thanks to all who’ve bought it / reviewed it / talked about it / supported the authors! XX

You Can Win Without Cheating FFS

This was sobering and heartening advice for me as an author, maybe for you too?! 🙂

David Gaughran

Most self-publishers will agree: it’s getting tougher out there.

If you are in KU, then you’re pretty much dependent on one income stream and if Amazon sales dip or you run afoul of the Hall of Spinning Knives for whatever reason then you are totally boned. And it’s getting so competitive in KU that it seems to take more titles and quicker releases, along with multi-pronged marketing campaigns – which can be complex and/or expensive – to get any real traction or stickiness.

If you’re not in KU, hitting the charts on Amazon is increasingly difficult and holding on to position is near-impossible – especially when your book is being leapfrogged every hour by thousands of borrow-boosted KU salmon running all that mad marketing. And you can’t even advertise to the same level because they are getting reads on top of those sales to make ROI easier.

Getting visible at…

View original post 1,057 more words

On the Red Carpet – Elin Gregory’s new release

Elin Gregory’s writing is like the best kind of chocolate – rich, layered, subtle, and pure, tasty delight. Witty, too, but I couldn’t make that work with the chocolate analogy ;).

The Bones of Our Fathers released today!

Malcolm Bright, brand new museum curator in a small Welsh Border town, is a little lonely until – acting as emergency archaeological consultant on a new housing development – he crosses the path of Rob Escley, aka Dirty Rob, who makes Mal’s earth move in more ways than one.

Then Rob discovers something wonderful, and together they must combat greedy developers and a treasure hunter determined to get his hands on the find. Are desperate measures justified to save the bones of our fathers? Will Dirty Rob live up to his reputation? Do museum curators really do it meticulously?

Answers must be found for the sake of Mal’s future, his happiness and his heart.

Buy Links:

Amazon UK –
Amazon US –
Kobo –
Smashwords –


As Mal trotted down the narrow stairs from the attic to the lower landing it suddenly occurred to him who might have been making Betty giggle and who she might trust enough to let them loose on the upper corridors of the museum. So he wasn’t altogether surprised to glimpse a yellow hard hat through the wrought iron of the bannisters.

“Hey.” Mal leaned over the rail and grinned as Rob looked up at him. “Didn’t think I’d see you again so soon. No pool table but I can make you a coffee.”

Rob gave him a beaming smile. “Tea and you’re on,” he said and followed Mal into the little room they had set aside as a staff kitchen.

Mal took a couple of mugs down from the cupboard and turned on the kettle. “I think I thanked you all for last Thursday, didn’t I? It was good fun.”

“Yeah,” Rob’s grin sounded in his voice but Mal turned to look at him anyway just for the pleasure of it. Rob had taken off his hard hat and put it on the window sill and was leaning against the edge of the window, hands in his pockets and looking out over the patch of grass and shrubs that was all the museum could afford of a garden these days. With his high vis jacket and coveralls undone to show a bright segment of printed tee shirt—Mal could see the “-oun-arm-lu” of “Young Farmer’s Club” and a bit of a bull logo—and with long legs in rigger boots crossed casually at the ankle, he looked both wildly out of place and very much at home. Mal really envied his ease. Here was a man who knew exactly what he wanted and was confident of getting it.

And what he wants right now – apart from tea – is me!” Mal found that a very satisfying thought.

The kettle whistled and Mal poured the boiling water into the mugs, soaking the special pyramidal bags that Sharon insisted made much better tea than any other variety. Mal stooped to open the fridge.

“Milk?” Malcolm asked. “Sugar?” Rob had stopped looking out of the window and was watching Mal. Mal could feel it.

“I never say no to a bit of sugar. Bit o’ milk too. Just enough to take the edge off.”

Mal grinned and made the tea then turned and offered Rob his mug.

“Thanks,” Rob said then lifted the mug a bit to read the printing on the side. “Museum curators do it meticulously? Oh. My. God. I hope that’s true.”

Mal snorted. “It’s part of the job to keep the paperwork in good order.”

“That’s not what I meant and you know it.”

Mal just smiled his agreement. “Come through to my office,” he suggested.


Elin’s bio:

Elin Gregory lives in South Wales and has been making stuff up since she learned to talk. Writing has always had to take second place to work and family but, slowly, she is finishing the many novels on her hard drive and actually trying to do something useful with them.
Historical subjects predominate. She has written about ancient Greek sculptors, 18th century seafarers but also about modern men who change shape at will and how echoes of the past can be heard in the present. Heroes tend to be hard as nails but capable of tenderness when circumstances allow.
There are always new works on the go and she is currently writing more 1930s spies, adding to a series of contemporary romances and doing background reading for stories set in Roman Britain and in WW2.
logo by Catherine Dair

Website: Blog:

Just Hanging Out by Lillian Francis – on the Red Carpet

I’m so happy to welcome this enchanting, romantic, and witty new release from Lillian Francis on the Red Carpet today. Make sure to snap up your copy at this special price!


Just Hanging Out
by Lillian Francis

Will that tempting rainbow of colour be forever seared onto Shawn’s brain?

Only 99p

“Come and honour the Oak King.”

The countdown to the company solstice picnic is one of Shawn’s favourite times of the year. The scents of sage, mint, basil, sunflower, and lavender fill the air as the workshop mixes up the final batch of Litha, their solstice soap. It’s celebration time! This year, Shawn has an extra spring in his step, and it’s all for the new buyer, Tim. Shawn’s fine having a crush on the gorgeous new straight guy. Until he isn’t.

As the clock ticks down to Picnic-Day, Shawn’s confidence and Tim’s sexuality become mired in doubt and second guesses. It’s a minefield of embarrassed glances and missed opportunities. Seems like they’ll never get together…

To cap it all, Shawn’s drawn Tim in the secret solstice gifting. What to get for the quiet man who turns Shawn’s legs to jelly and has the best underwear hanging from the washing line in his garden? And will that tempting rainbow of colour be forever seared onto Shawn’s brain?


“Come on, everyone. Time to honour the Oak King.” Miriam stood in the centre of the office and jiggled a deep wooden bowl, exquisitely carved with the face of the Green Man. “Come and pick your giftee.”

Yes, I did say Oak King. Miriam’s a new-age hippie, whose 100% natural soap has taken her from cooking the stuff up in her kitchen and selling it from a stall at various markets, to a thriving shop and workshop with a staff of twenty plus. We’ve branched out into candles in the last few years, but it’s the soap, especially the seasonal range, that brings in the punters. Oh, and she’s a Pagan. Hence, the honouring the Oak King statement.

Don’t worry. There’s no sacrifice involved. We have a massive picnic on the Downs on Midsummer’s Eve, drink too much local ale, and the Oak King—normally Ali from Packaging, in a headdress made of antlers and a myriad of leaves, flowers, and herbs—hands out our jokey gifts. Then we settle in to watch the sunset and bid the Oak King farewell for another six months. In other words, it’s a chance to eat well, drink better, and have a laugh, all the while showing appreciation for an amazing boss and honouring her beliefs, even if we’re a mix of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and atheists. Dunno why the atheists can’t have their own capital letter. Me, I’m probably an agnostic with Taoist leanings.

“You too, Shawn,” Miriam called over to me. “Stop hogging the copier and grab a name.”

I glanced at my watch and then flicked my gaze surreptitiously out the window. Still time. If I was quick, and Miriam didn’t choose that moment to chat, I could be back at my station without missing a moment of the action. Shaking a leg, and my impressively pert behind, I slipped in between two of the admin clerks and plucked a slip of paper from the pot. Without bothering to even glimpse at the name written on it, I stuffed the folded slip into the front pocket of my jeans and returned to the photocopier. One more glance at the time—8:52—and I pressed the button to start my items printing.

There were enough pages in this print run to keep me at the copier for a good few minutes. I saved up all but the most urgent for these five minutes just before nine. It was a routine I’d been keeping for the last few months. As the copier warmed up after a night of inaction, with the gentle whirr of reanimated machinery, I took a moment to enjoy the view from the window. The azure blue of the sky contrasted with the white blossom on the tree just on the edge of the company’s land at the rear entrance. Beyond, a neat row of cottages caught the eye and drew the gaze of anyone who had time to stop and watch.

As I appreciated the view, a door of one of the cottages opened and a tall, broad man stepped out onto the path that led down a well-kempt front garden to the road. Yeah, I know that kempt means well cared for, so the well is redundant. I work in communications and I’ve a Desmond in English Lit and Environmental Science. That’s lower second class honours for those of you not in the know. Not bad for a lad from Saath London. Of course, four years at Canterbury, another four living in this small Sussex town, coupled with some conscious effort, have more or less knocked that accent out of me.

Less about me, back to another thing that was kempt and well put together. The object of my voyeuristic tendencies stepped through his gate and out onto the pavement then turned in my direction. A happy sigh escaped me as the early morning sun caught his wavy hair just right; fiery copper reflected back to me in reds and gold. His eyes were green, and flecked with amber. Not that I could see his irises from this distance—I could barely make out the strong features that made up his ruggedly handsome face. And the freckles that gave him an oddly incongruous boyish look were filled in from memory at this point. I sighed again, far too dramatically for my own liking.

Rather than concentrate on the parts of him that required my imagination, I studied the visual feast in front of me. Now he’d cleared the obstruction of his neighbour’s privet, I had an uninterrupted view, where I could drink my fill without the risk of getting caught.

Chinos—the russet pair today—encased long legs, and heavily muscled thighs bunched beneath the material with every determined stride that brought him a step closer. Finally, the man disappeared below my sight line. The photocopier whirled to a stop, spitting out the last few pages of my weekly comms report and a stack of sample leaflets for Miriam’s perusal. I had about five minutes to school my features and get back to my desk, or get caught tongue-tied. Again.

A flash of colour caught my eye as I turned away from the view and I spun back to the window expecting to see the swoop of ring-necked parakeets. The birds were becoming a more common sight in local gardens these days. Maybe the green bastards thought I was homesick and followed me from London.

Instead of the expected flap of wings, my gaze found the source of the flashes of colour: a washing line strung in the back garden of one of the cottages. Clothes hung from the line, fluttering in the gentle breeze of a pleasant June morning. Not just any clothes, though.

Nope, a whole line full of bright, skimpy, tight underwear. Underwear that I’d seen advertised in Attitude that very morning as I read on my bus journey to work. And by seen, I meant studied. Intently. Double-page spread. Three all but naked guys getting handsy with each other and appearing to love every minute of it. Hell, I’d even stuffed in my headphones, thanked any deity who wanted to listen that I was sitting in the back, and watched the ‘making of’ video. Those models were having fun, no doubt about it.

Get A Grip. Flamboyant, colourful, crotch-cupping, butt-caressing underpants. With a marketing campaign that focused on the gay man. Ask a straight guy about GAG and 95% wouldn’t know what you were talking about.

Not only that, but the garden the washing line was located belonged to—

“Morning, Shawn. Printing again?”

Now I was close enough to see the green of his eyes. The deep rumble that came from his broad chest caressed the vowel sound in my name and threatened to turn my legs to jelly.

Stupid! Answer him. All I could do was echo the greeting, anything else was beyond me, the sight of those pants hanging in a neat rainbow of colour seared on to my brain. “Morning, Tim.”

Tim faltered as though expecting there would be more forthcoming, but I had nothing. Nothing workplace appropriate, anyway. Asking your colleague to model his undies for you was probably frowned upon, even for a liberal employer like InScents, and Tim was still comparatively new and seemed kinda shy for a big guy. I wouldn’t say we were friends yet but I hoped we were getting there. So I kept my mouth shut.

The moment stretched on but it could have lasted no more than a second or two, then Tim carried on past, heading for his desk. I thought I’d detected a dusky flush of rose under his freckles but I was easily distracted and couldn’t quell the urge to watch the tight pull of Tim’s chinos as he walked away from me.

Not an unfamiliar feeling any time Tim walked in front of me.

But now I couldn’t stop myself from imaging his muscular arse cheeks enclosed in a pair of GAGs.

* * * * *

Word count: ~16700
Cover designed by Lillian Francis at Finally Love Press

Buy Links:  Payhip //  Smashwords

Universal Amazon link:

Add it to your Goodreads bookshelf here.


About the Author

Lillian Francis is a self-confessed geek who likes nothing more than settling down with a comic or a good book, except maybe writing. Given a notepad, pen, her Kindle, and an infinite supply of chocolate Hob Nobs and she can lose herself for weeks. Romance was never her reading matter of choice, so it came as a great surprise to all concerned, including herself, to discover a romance was exactly what she’d written, and not the rollicking spy adventure or cosy murder mystery she always assumed she’d write.
Twitter @LillianFrancis_
Facebook Author Page
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On the Red Carpet: R.J. Jones’ new release + Giveaway + Excerpt

Welcome today on the blog author R. J. Jones and her new release set in the town of my birth – Brighton, England. Hurrah for a romantic read by the seaside!

She’s also offering an excerpt, plus a GIVEAWAY. Please use the Rafflecopter link below to enter.


A sea change could be just what the doctor

Doctor Scott Penney used to be a Paediatric Oncologist—until he burned out. Watching children suffer and die took its toll on his mental health. To cope, he used anonymous sex as an emotional crutch, thinking it was better than hitting the bottle. But that inevitably destroyed his relationship with the man he loved.

With his tail between his legs and a year’s worth of celibacy under his belt, Scott accepts a position as an Accident and Emergency consultant, leaving his career in oncology and London behind.

Ben Jenkins is a paediatric nurse who loves his seaside city, his job, and his faithful old Labrador, Happy. When he meets the new doctor, Ben falls for Scott’s kind-yet-reserved personality—not to mention his good looks. Scott is great with the children who come through the hospital, but Ben senses there’s more to Scott than meets the eye.

Scott tries to resist Ben’s sunny charm—Scott’s not boyfriend material, after all—but it’s impossible not to fall in love with the sad looking old dog and his charming owner. As Scott and Ben get closer and the weather heats up, tragedy strikes and Ben is left wondering how much of Scott’s history he actually knows.

For them to move forward, Ben must show Scott that no matter what happened in the past, a beautiful day can always start after the sun sets.

**This can be read as a standalone**


Goodreads | Amazon

available only on KU


Excerpt four

When I went outside to the courtyard to eat lunch, Ben was sitting on the bench. His legs were spread out in front of him, his head turned up to the sky, and his eyes closed. A slight smile playing at the corner of his mouth made me want to kiss him in the weak sunshine, just to see if he tasted as warm as he looked.

He must have sensed me staring at him. He lifted his head and opened his eyes, and when they locked with mine, his slight smile grew broader. “Hey, Doctor Penney. I was hoping to catch you.”

I gave myself a mental shake. “Can I join you?”

Ben sat up. “Of course.”

Sitting next to him, I couldn’t help but think of Friday night and the relaxed and easy way I’d been able to talk with him. “What did you need?” I asked around a mouthful of salad sandwich.

Ben blushed, the crimson snaking its way up his neck to his cheeks before he looked away. “I just wanted to make sure we were okay after the other night. I didn’t want you to think I was coming on to you, and then when I didn’t see you down the beach, I thought…”

“You mean you weren’t coming on to me?” I managed after swallowing.

Ben chuckled half-heartedly. “Well. I was, but… it kind of blindsided me… my sudden attraction to you. When I thought you were hot yet straight, you were off-limits so I didn’t think about it, but then I find out you’re gay and…”

I shook my head. “I’m still off-limits, Ben. Not because I’m a doctor and we work together, but because I can’t have a lover in my life right now.” I paused, wondering how much personal information I should tell him. I decided on the abridged version. “I came to Brighton to get away from a few things—one of those things was oncology and one was the mess I made of my life and my last relationship. I need to be by myself for a while.” Taking a deep breath, I looked straight ahead at the brick wall while I willed away the knot in my stomach. “I used to like myself, but the Scott Penney who lived in London was a selfish arse who didn’t deserve a second chance, let alone a third one. I’m trying to get back to the me I was before.”

Ben eyed me. “Is that why you didn’t come down to the beach?”

“Partly. I didn’t wake up till lunchtime, so I wouldn’t have made it. Anyway, I saw you running on Saturday evening, so I assumed you didn’t go in the morning.”

“Oh, God, this is going to sound desperate. I ran twice hoping to see you. Happy was beside himself even though he crashed earlier on the second run.” Ben frowned. “Where were you? I was keeping an eye out but didn’t see you.”

“I was walking toward the marina but was up on the road. Now I know the redheaded runner is you, you’re not hard to pick out.” I laughed.

“I wish you’d stopped me or something.”

I shook my head. “Like I said, I need a friend more than I need a lover right now. I hope you understand.”

Ben’s wide grin was back in place. “Of course. We all need friends, and we don’t really know each other anyway.”

It was good to know he hadn’t taken my rejection too harshly.



a Rafflecopter giveaway


RJ Jones

RJ started as a reader and eventually made the progression to reviewing. It wasn’t until two men popped into her thoughts, insisting on telling her their story that she started to write. It started with one scene. A hot and dirty one in the shower.
RJ’s initial thought was if she could write their scene then they’d shut up and allow her to concentrate on other aspects of the day. That shower scene was 3000 words long and three hours of work.  But they didn’t shut up.  They told her their entire story and she didn’t sleep for days.  Sometimes she couldn’t keep up with what they were telling her and she had to keep a notebook by the bed.
Whilst RJ was writing their story a side character decided he needed his story told too. Then other characters followed suit.
You see the problem? If RJ ever wants to sleep again then she needs to write.
RJ is a wife and a mother to two boys. Even her dog is a boy.
She is surrounded by males.

RJ writes emotionally charged, character driven romances. Her guys will always get their HEA, but it will never be easy.


Where to find me 

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