It’s June, so time to stock up on those summer reads, right? Right! I thought I do a #WhatToReadWednesday about summer reads. There’s a slight problem, though. I could probably give you a list of a hundred autumn and winter books I think you should read, but summer? I’m struggling. And it’s not so much that I don’t like summer books, though there is something to it – sweat and bugs aren’t my thing LOL – but I just don’t remember.
So what did I do? Complain in the morning office of course, and the lovely Nell Iris sent me a link to a Goodreads list called: Gay Beach – Summery Reads
Not all stories on there are summer stories, I don’t think, but that doesn’t mean you can’t read them on the beach or you know indoors in a cool room far away from all the bugs.
So here are ten books I think you should read this summer if you haven’t already.
Bone Rider by J. Fally
Bone Rider by J. Fally. I’ve written about this book so many times on this blog, but seriously, if you haven’t read it, I’m commanding you. I love this! It has love, action, and an alien living inside one of the main characters. Awesome!
Riley Cooper is on the run. Misha Tokarev, the love of his life, turned out to be an assassin for the Russian mob, and when it comes to character flaws, Riley draws the line at premeditated murder. Alien armor system McClane is also on the run, for reasons that include accidentally crashing a space ship into Earth and evading U.S. military custody. A failed prototype, McClane was scheduled for destruction. Sabotaging the ship put an end to that, but McClane is dubbed a bone rider for good reason—he can’t live without a host body. That’s why he first stows away in Riley’s truck and then in Riley himself. Their reluctant partnership soon evolves into something much more powerful—and personal—than either of them could have imagined.
Together, they embark on a road trip from hell, made all the more exciting by the government troops and mob enforcers hot on their trail. Misha is determined to win Riley back and willing to do whatever it takes to keep him safe. When hitman and alien join forces, they discover their impressive combined potential for death and destruction. It will take everything Riley has to steer them through the mess they create.
Motel. Pool. by Kim Fielding
Motel. Pool. by Kim Fielding. Nothing can go wrong with a ghost from the 50s, nothing! (Unless I’ve written the story, then the ending is all messed up, but it’s on my to-do list to fix it) Jack was supposed to be the next James Dean, then he died. Love this one!
In the mid-1950s, Jack Dayton flees his working-class prospects in Omaha and heads to Hollywood, convinced he’ll be the next James Dean. But sleazy casting couches don’t earn him stardom, and despair leads to a series of poor decisions that ultimately find him at a cheap motel off Route 66, lifeless at the bottom of the pool.
Sixty years later, Tag Manning, feeling hopeless and empty, flees his most recent relationship mistake and takes to the open road. On a roundabout route to Las Vegas, he pulls over to rest at an isolated spot on Route 66. There’s no longer a motel or pool, but when Tag resumes his journey to Vegas, he finds he’s transporting a hitchhiking ghost. Jack and Tag come to find much-needed friends in each other, but one man is a phantom and the other is strangely cursed. Time is running out for each of them, and they must face the fact that a future together may not only be a gamble… it may not be in the cards.
Slow Bloom by Anah Crow and Dianne Fox
Slow Bloom by Anah Crow and Dianne Fox. Last I checked this wasn’t available anymore, but if you have it tucked away in your library… This book is soooo far outside my comfort zone, I don’t know why I even picked it up in the first place, but I’m glad I did. It’s one of those that has stayed with me despite making me squirm in my seat and making me want to hide out of discomfort (it’s not scary, just a larger age gap than I’m comfortable with, BDSM, and things I normally shy away from)
Ricky Talbot, fresh from his first year at university, is looking to have a perfect summer. He gets to work for the man he’s had a crush on for years and spend the rest of his days in the pool, training for the swim team. Jack Corson, on the other hand, is a suburban hermit with a tangled past. Jack’s a lot more experienced than Ricky, cantankerous and more than a little anti-social. When an unexpected one-time encounter between the two of them turns into more, Ricky and Jack must see if they have what it takes for love to bloom despite all of their differences, the distance between them while Ricky’s away school, Jack’s past and Ricky’s parents. Can their slow-blooming love come to fruition?
A Case of Possession by K.J. Charles
A Case of Possession by K.J. Charles. The Magpie Lord, you’ve got to love the magpie lord. I suggest reading the first story first – why not bring the entire series to the beach?
Magic in the blood. Danger in the streets.
Lord Crane has never had a lover quite as elusive as Stephen Day. He knows Stephen’s job as justiciar requires secrecy, but the magician is doing his disappearing act more than seems reasonable—especially since Crane will soon return to his home in China. When a blackmailer threatens to expose their illicit relationship, there’s only one thing stopping Crane from leaving the country he loathes: Stephen.
Stephen has problems of his own. As he investigates a plague of giant rats sweeping London, his sudden increase in power, boosted by his blood-and-sex bond with Crane, is rousing suspicion that he’s turned warlock. With all eyes on him, the threat of exposure grows. Stephen could lose his friends, his job and his liberty over his relationship with Crane. He’s not sure if he can take that risk much longer. Crane isn’t sure if he can ask him to.
The rats are closing in, and something has to give…
Butterfly Hunter by Julie Bozza
Butterfly Hunter by Julie Bozza. This is beautiful. Two men searching for a rare butterfly in the Australian outback. It’s about the fragility of life.
It started as a simple assignment for Aussie bush guide Dave Taylor – escort a lone Englishman in quest of an unknown species of butterfly. However Nicholas Goring is no ordinary tourist, his search is far from straightforward, and it’s starting to look as if the butterflies don’t want to be found. As Dave teaches Nicholas everything he needs to survive in the Outback he discovers that he too has quite a bit to learn – and that very often the best way to locate something really important is just not to want to find it…
Hainted by Jordan L. Hawk
Hainted by Jordan L. Hawk. I’m not sure this is a summer book, I remember it as cold, but maybe that’s from the evil ghosts and not the weather. I can’t remember. Anyway, creepy ghosts!
The Good Guy: Haint-working runs in Dan Miller’s blood. Not everyone can help the restless dead cross over, especially when the haunting threatens the Living. But the death of his parents six years ago forced Dan to give it up in exchange for raising his brother and sister, all the while struggling to keep their rural NC farm afloat.
So when the flamboyantly goth Leif Helsvin shows up on Dan’s doorstep looking for help with an evil necromancer named Runar, Dan’s first instinct is to turn him down. With two teenagers to look after, he’s already got all the trouble he can handle. Besides, the sexy Leif is too much of a temptation, and Dan is firmly in the closet.
The Bad Boy: Pierced, tattooed Leif never has sex with the same guy twice. It keeps things simple, especially since his oath to stop Runar has him constantly drifting from one town to the next.
But this time, it looks like Leif is going to need help, in the form of the very down-to-earth Dan. Since Nice Guys are off the menu, Leif just has to keep his hands to himself for as long as it will take to stop Runar’s latest scheme. But as Leif finds himself drawn deeper into Dan’s life, he quickly realizes he’s not just in danger of breaking the rules, but breaking his heart as well.
Clear Water by Amy Lane
Clear Water by Amy Lane. I hadn’t planned on including this one, I had Treasure here, but I realised that would make two Kim Fielding books and in the ‘readers also enjoyed’ corner of Goodreads, this showed up. Frogs! If you’ve followed me for a while, you know I have Ranidaphobia (phobia of frogs and toads) so I was a bit horrified by this story since there are a lot of frogs, but frogs are an important part of the ecosystem, and this book illustrates that.
Meet Patrick Cleary; party boy, loser, and spaz. Patrick’s been trying desperately to transform himself, and the results have been so spectacular, they’ve almost killed him. Meet Wes “Whiskey” Keenan; he’s a field biologist wondering if it’s time to settle down. When the worst day of Patrick’s life ends with Whiskey saving it, Patrick and Whiskey find themselves sharing company and an impossibly small berth on the world’s tackiest houseboat.
Patrick needs to get his life together and Whiskey wants to help but Patrick is not entirely convinced it’s doable. He’s pretty sure he’s a freak of nature. But Whiskey, who works with real freaks of nature, thinks all Patrick needs is a little help to see the absolute beauty inside his spastic self, and Whiskey is all about volunteering. Between anomalous frogs, a homicidal ex-boyfriend, and Patrick’s own hangups, Whiskey’s going to need all of his patience and Patrick’s going to need to find the best of himself before these two men ever see Clear Water.
Dance with Me by Heidi Cullinan
Dance with Me by Heidi Cullinan. Ballroom dancing? This is an opposite attract story far more ‘mainstream’ than most of the Cullinan stories I’ve read.
Sometimes life requires a partner.
Ed Maurer has bounced back, more or less, from the neck injury that permanently benched his semipro football career. He hates his soul-killing office job, but he loves volunteering at a local community center. The only fly in his ointment is the dance instructor, Laurie Parker, who can’t seem to stay out of his way.
Laurie was once one of the most celebrated ballet dancers in the world, but now he volunteers at Halcyon Center to avoid his society mother’s machinations. It would be a perfect escape, except for the oaf of a football player cutting him glares from across the room.
When Laurie has a ballroom dancing emergency and Ed stands in as his partner, their perceptions of each other turn upside down. Dancing leads to friendship, being friends leads to becoming lovers, but most important of all, their partnership shows them how to heal the pain of their pasts. Because with every turn across the floor, Ed and Laurie realize the only escape from their personal demons is to keep dancing—together.
Where My Love Lies Dreaming by Christopher Hawthorne Moss
Where My Love Lies Dreaming by Christopher Hawthorne Moss. New Orleans! Considering I went through a phase when I almost exclusively read books taking place in New Orleans, I should’ve had a lot of summer reads to recommend, but turns out most of them were M/F books, so… But you need a riverboat this summer, I’m sure of it!
As the famous riverboat Le Beau Soleil lazily steams down the mighty Mississippi into the heart of the South, distractions of every sort attempt to pull agent for the Treasury Johnny Stanley away from his assignment. While liquor and gaming are no great temptations, his fascination with Le Beau Soleil’s owner, the debonair Frankie Deramus, means Johnny’s steadfast denial of his attraction to men is no longer feasible. Johnny fights his lust, but when he must come to Frankie’s aid, he can’t ignore his urges any longer.
Their passionate love affair falls apart when Johnny refuses to admit two men can be in love. A bitter confrontation between the lovers at a Mardi Gras masquerade forces Johnny to run north. Frankie tries to follow, but the Southern states secede one by one, making it impossible to track Johnny down. The Civil War pits brother against brother and separates lover from lover. When at last the lovers meet again, it’s on the battlefield….
Chicken Soup by Mel Bossa
Chicken Soup by Mel Bossa. No summer without Pride! This is a sweet short story that hasn’t received the attention it deserves, IMO.
Though Jimmy’s ill and isn’t getting any better, he hopes to have a bit of fun during Pride weekend. When he meets Nolan, a young dancer in the parade, Jimmy takes a chance on making himself vulnerable for the first time in years.
What Jimmy doesn’t expect is how strong Nolan will make him feel with a simple gesture of support.
Note: This short story was originally published in the charity collection, Love Is Proud.
Just to Breathe by Holly Day
Aha, bonus story! Just to Breathe by Holly Day because you also need some friends to lovers this summer.
Nico Allegretti has been best friends with Matt Barnes since kindergarten. There is no one more important to Nico than Matt, and while he’s known for years Matt is the one for him, he’ll never tell him. He won’t risk ruining their friendship.
On his way to meet Matt at the restaurant, a case of mistaken identity ends with Nico in the trunk of a car. When he’s released, his kidnappers give him twenty-four hours to give them what they want. The problem is, Nico has no idea what that could be.
Not knowing what else to do, he turns to Matt, who is a cop. Together they go into hiding while looking for clues. Being kidnapped doesn’t change Nico’s resolve to not let Matt know how he feels, but hiding in a small cabin together makes it hard to ignore. Matt’s small touches and compliments must mean nothing. Had Matt felt the same, he’d let him know by now … right?
Summer Stories by Ofelia Gränd
While I prefer to write autumn and winter stories, I do have a few that takes place in the summer…
The only thing worse than having a hot neighbor you’re too intimidated to talk to is accidentally hitting his cat with your car.
Felix Lane was perfectly content to spend the rest of his days with Sunny, his canary life companion, in their quiet little corner of the suburbs. But then Kirk Shoo with his unusual eyes moved in across the street, and Felix’s carefully constructed life is starting to unravel.
When your every bad-boy fantasy lingers at the mailbox, stands too close and smells too damn good, what’s an under-appreciated administrative assistant to do? Besides sneak out the backdoor to go to work? But when Kirk’s cat runs out in front of Felix on his way home, he has no choice but to face the music and his dream man. Unless …
What starts as a tragic accident turns into something far more bizarre. And when Felix’s backyard begins to look like a pet cemetery, he has no choice but to come clean. That is, if he can manage to find his sexy neighbor at all.
Fred Munson likes his job as a traffic cop. He’s good at it. It’s his personal life that could use some improvement. With no friends, and being too shy to talk to anyone while out of uniform, when Fred is forced to use some of his vacation time, he has nothing to fill his days. At least not until he comes home to find his driveway blocked by a stranger with car troubles.
A month after losing his father, Zen Zeppelin Cave has also lost his place in the world. The only thing holding him together is focusing on a charity junk car race to raise money for cancer research. And he’s crossing that finish line even if he ends up replacing every part of the car along the way.
Zen had planned on completing the race on his own, but a spur-of-the-moment decision changes that when he invites the adorable, blushing police officer whose driveway he’s blocking to tag along. Going with a stranger on a road trip is completely out of Fred’s comfort zone, so when he accepts the invitation, no one is more surprised than himself.
Together, Zen and Fred head south. But will the old junk car hold together long enough to reach their destination? And will crossing the finish line mean the end of the road for a budding romance, or will they find there’s more to their journey?
Tom and Santino’s anniversary is coming up, and Tom has a plan. He’s going to show Santino how much he means to him. The night will be magical.
Tom’s plan did not include a trip to Thailand. He doesn’t do aeroplanes, doesn’t do tropical climate, and he doesn’t do spas. Yet he finds himself without a stitch of clothing on a spa table, with a man he’s never met before while Santino is away on a business meeting.
This was not how it was supposed to go. Tom will do his best to live through the day so they can celebrate their anniversary when they get back to the hotel, but If Santino wanted him smooth and sparkly, couldn’t he have told him instead of booking him an appointment?