#WhatToReadWednesday | Gay Small Town Romances

I was making a TikTok video (Yes, I’m on TikTok now 😆) with some of my small-town romance titles – in other words, my Up North titles – and thought I’d do a #WhatToReadWednesday post about it. Not about my stories (though I’ll mention a few at the bottom of the post) but some titles for you to check if small towns are your jam.

Promises by Marie Sexton

It’s been many, many years since I read this one, but I remember liking it. A small Colorado town, loneliness, and hope.

PromisesCan a man who loves his small hometown trust it to love him back?

Jared Thomas has lived in the mountain town of Coda, Colorado, his whole life. He’s never hidden his homosexuality, but he’s never exactly flaunted it either. He never had reason to. The only other gay man in town is twice his age and used to be his teacher, so staying single seemed like Jared’s only option.

Then police officer Matt Richards moves to town.

Matt claims he isn’t into guys, but he doesn’t care that Jared is. A summer camping and mountain biking together cements their friendship, but in a town as close-knit as Coda, it doesn’t take long for rumors to start. Facing small-town gossip, Matt’s affair with a local woman, his disapproving family, and harassment from Matt’s coworkers, Jared fears they’ll never find a way to be together… assuming he can even convince Matt to try.

https://books2read.com/PromisesCoda

Nowhere Ranch by Heidi Cullinan

Being on a ranch pretty much ensures it’s a small-town romance, right? It’s a bit lite cheating, but I saw this on a list of small-town romances, so… kinky cowboys, anyone?

Nowhere RanchLove will grow through the cracks you leave open.

Ranch hand Roe Davis absolutely never mixes business with pleasure—until he runs into his boss, Travis Loving, at the only gay bar within two hundred miles.

Getting involved with the ranch owner is a bad idea, but Roe’s and Travis’s bedroom kinks line up against one another like a pair of custom-cut rails. As long as they’re both clear this is sex on the side, no relationship, no interfering with the job, they could make it work.

Shut out by his family years ago, Roe survived by steadfastly refusing to settle into so much as a post office box. As his affair with Travis grows into more than just sex, Roe’s past catches up with him, threatening the thin ray of happiness he’s found, reminding him it’s well past time he went on his way.

But even a loner gets lonely, and at this point, there’s nowhere left to run. The shame and sorrow of what he’s lost will stay with Roe wherever he goes—until he’s ready to let love lead him home.

https://books2read.com/NowhereRanch

Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk

How big is Widdershins? Small town? Medium-sized town? It has some of that small-town feeling and cool monsters.

WiddershinsA reclusive scholar. A private detective. And a book of spells that could destroy the world.

Love is dangerous. Ever since the tragic death of the friend he adored, Percival Endicott Whyborne has ruthlessly suppressed any desire for another man. Instead, he spends his days studying dead languages at the museum where he works. So when handsome ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty approaches him to translate a mysterious book, Whyborne wants to finish the job and get rid of the detective as quickly as possible.

Griffin left the Pinkertons after the death of his partner. Now in business for himself, he must investigate the murder of a wealthy young man. His only clue: an encrypted book that once belonged to the victim.

As the investigation draws them closer, Griffin’s rakish charm threatens to shatter Whyborne’s iron control. But when they uncover evidence of a powerful cult determined to rule the world, Whyborne must choose: to remain safely alone, or to risk everything for the man he loves.

Widdershins is the first novel in the Whyborne & Griffin series, where magic, mystery, and m/m romance collide with Victorian era America. Buy it today and join the adventure.

https://books2read.com/Widdershins

Rattlesnake by Kim Fielding

If you’re in the mood for a small town, look no further.

RattlesnakeA drifter since his teens, Jimmy Dorsett has no home and no hope. What he does have is a duffel bag, a lot of stories, and a junker car. Then one cold desert night he picks up a hitchhiker and ends up with something more: a letter from a dying man to the son he hasn’t seen in years.

On a quest to deliver the letter, Jimmy travels to Rattlesnake, a small town nestled in the foothills of the California Sierras. The centerpiece of the town is the Rattlesnake Inn, where the bartender is handsome former cowboy Shane Little. Sparks fly, and when Jimmy’s car gives up the ghost, Shane gets him a job as handyman at the inn.

Both within the community of Rattlesnake and in Shane’s arms, Jimmy finds an unaccustomed peace. But it can’t be a lasting thing. The open road continues to call, and surely Shane—a strong, proud man with a painful past and a difficult present—deserves better than a lying vagabond who can’t stay put for long.

https://books2read.com/Rattlesnake

Coming Home by M.J. O’Shea

I reread this some time ago, and it has the whole coming back to the hometown you tried to escape thing going.

Coming HomeIt’s not always easy to start over where everyone knows you… especially when the hottest guy you’ve ever seen already hates your guts.

Tallis Carrington ruled Rock Bay with his gang of jocks and an iron fist – until a scandal destroyed his family’s name. Ten years later, Tallis is dead broke, newly homeless, and on the walk of shame to end all walks of shame. Rock Bay is the only home he knows, but the people in town haven’t forgotten him – or the antics of a spoiled brat who’d had everything handed to him.

The only person in town willing to overlook his past is Lex, the new coffee shop owner, who offers Tally a job even though he appears to despise Tally on repuation alone. When Tally discovers his gorgeous boss is the kid he tortured back in school, his ice cold routine finally makes sense. Now, Tally has to pull out all the stops to prove he was never really the jerk he seemed to be.

After all, if he can win Lex’s heart, the rest of town should be a piece of coffee cake.

https://books2read.com/ComingHomeOshea

Once Upon a Haunted Moor by Harper Fox

Creepy things on the moor. This is a missing-child mystery with a psychic and a small-town cop.

Once Upon a Haunted MoorGideon Frayne has spent his whole working life as a policeman in the village of Dark on Bodmin Moor. It’s not life in the fast lane, but he takes it very seriously, and his first missing-child case is eating him alive. When his own boss sends in a psychic to help with the case, he’s gutted – he’s a level-headed copper who doesn’t believe in such things, and he can’t help but think that the arrival of clairvoyant Lee Tyack is a comment on his failure to find the little girl.

But Lee is hard to hate, no matter how Gideon tries. At first Lee’s insights into the case make no sense, but he seems to have a window straight into Gideon’s heart. Son of a Methodist minister, raised in a tiny Cornish village, Gideon has hidden his sexuality for years. It’s cost him one lover, and he can’t believe it when this green-eyed newcomer stirs up old feelings and starts to exert a powerful force of attraction.

Gideon and Lee begin to work together on the case. But there are malignant forces at work in the sleepy little village of Dark, and not only human ones – Gideon is starting to wonder, against all common sense, if there might be some truth in the terrifying legend of the Bodmin Beast after all. As a misty Halloween night consumes the moor, Gideon must race against time to save not only the lost child but the man who’s begun to restore his faith in his own heart.

https://books2read.com/Once-Upon-a-Haunted-Moor

When All the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock 

This has a darker tone than the ones I’ve mentioned above, though Widdershins isn’t exactly light-hearted, but here we have murder and bullying and nightmares.

When All the World SleepsDaniel Whitlock is terrified of going to sleep. And rightly so: he sleepwalks, with no awareness or memory of his actions. Including burning down Kenny Cooper’s house—with Kenny inside it—after Kenny brutally beat him for being gay. Back in the tiny town of Logan after serving his prison sentence, Daniel isolates himself in a cabin in the woods and chains himself to his bed at night.

Like the rest of Logan, local cop Joe Belman doesn’t believe Daniel’s absurd defense. But when Bel saves Daniel from a retaliatory fire, he discovers that Daniel might not be what everyone thinks: killer, liar, tweaker, freak. Bel agrees to control Daniel at night—for the sake of the other townsfolk. Daniel’s fascinating, but Bel’s not going there.

Yet as he’s drawn further into Daniel’s dark world, Bel finds that he likes being in charge. And submitting to Bel gives Daniel the only peace he’s ever known. But Daniel’s demons won’t leave him alone, and he’ll need Bel’s help to slay them once and for all—assuming Bel is willing to risk everything to stand by him.

https://books2read.com/When-All-the-World-Sleeps

Whitetail Rock by Anne Tenino

This is a freebie, and I don’t remember all that much about it to be honest, but I love Too Stupid to Live which is the third and last story in this series, because who doesn’t love to play highlander with their boyfriend? Sam 🥰

Whitetail RockNikhil “Nik” Larson is a snarky, dark-skinned adoptee from India who grew up in the Whitest Town in America. Back to visit his parents Nik meets Trooper Jurgen Dammerung, a blond, butch motorcycle cop who’s so hot he leaves a con trail wherever he goes.

Jurgen is the epitome of everything Nik hated about growing up the lone Indian boy among a town of white people. But Jurgen surprises him rather (ahem) pleasantly, in spite of — or because of — Nik’s attempts to needle him. By the end of his visit, Nik realizes he likes Jurgen. But Jurgen’s so not the relationship type.

Right?

Read here

Know Not Why by Hannah Johnson

This is a YA/NA book, and I don’t read a lot of those, but this has a special place in my heart, though it’s many years since I read it.

41d3avw8psl._sy346_Howie gets a job at Artie Kraft’s Arts ‘N Crafts hoping to score with his lady coworkers. After all, girls love a sensitive guy, and what’s more sensitive than dedicating your life to selling yarn and … stuff? (Okay, so maybe it’d be a good idea to actually learn what one sells at an arts ‘n crafts store.) But things don’t go exactly according to plan. Coworker #1 is Kristy: blonde, bubbly, unattainable perfection. Coworker #2 is Cora: tiny, much-pierced, and way too fierce to screw with in any sense. And Coworker #3 is, well, Arthur. It goes without saying that he’s not an option. Right?

… Right?

Yeah, Howie’s life just got straight up confusing.

Pun intended.

https://books2read.com/KnowNotWhy

In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish

This story has a lot of small-town charm… and other qualities 😁

In The Middle of SomewhereDaniel Mulligan is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home in Philadelphia with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates looked down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Holiday, Northern Michigan, but he’s a city boy through and through, and it’s clear that this small town is one more place he won’t fit in.

Rex Vale clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his muscular body, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people.

When the two men meet, their chemistry is explosive, but Rex fears Daniel will be another in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in can be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia, where he discovers a secret that changes the way he understands everything.

https://books2read.com/In-the-middle-of-somewhere

Murder at Pirate’s Cove by Josh Lanyon

Cosy mystery? By the sea? If that’s not enough, I’ll up the stakes and mention that our main character owns a bookshop.

Murder at Pirate's CoveEllery Page, aspiring screenwriter, Scrabble champion and guy-with-worst-luck-in-the-world-when-it-comes-to-dating, is ready to make a change. So when he learns he’s inherited both a failing bookstore and a falling-down mansion in the quaint seaside village of Pirate’s Cove on Buck Island, Rhode Island, it’s full steam ahead!

Sure enough, the village is charming, its residents amusingly eccentric, and widowed police chief Jack Carson is decidedly yummy (though probably as straight as he is stern). However, the bookstore is failing, the mansion is falling down, and there’s that little drawback of finding rival bookseller–and head of the unwelcoming-committee–Trevor Maples dead during the annual Buccaneer Days celebration.

Still, it could be worse. And once Police Chief Carson learns Trevor was killed with the cutlass hanging over the door of Ellery’s bookstore, it is.


**This story contains NO on-screen sex or violence.

https://books2read.com/Murder-At-Pirates-Cove

Spirited Situation by Louisa Masters

Ghosts! I’ve been meaning to read the second book in this series, and now I saw there is a third coming. I always fail with series. Sigh.

Spirited SituationWhen you can talk to ghosts, things are bound to get spirited.

The ghosts have been there since before I can remember. When I was a kid, they doted on me, but as I got older, they got more demanding. I’ve spent my whole life seeing and talking to dead people and trying to pretend I’m not, because the living just don’t understand. Nobody wants to be around the freak who claims to see ghosts.

Until I go to Mannix Estate.

Once a private country home, then a posh hotel, it was closed after a suspicious incident but is now an immersive historic experience. It’s also haunted AF, and everyone knows it. Finally, I’ve found a place to work and live where I can be useful. Where I’m actually wanted.

There are only two problems: I spent a hot, sweaty, satisfying night with Ewan the blacksmith before I knew we’d have to work together. Everyone knows sex with colleagues is a bad idea, right? Even if he’s the world’s most ripped cinnamon roll.

Plus, the ghosts are keeping secrets. There’s something going on that’s not normal, even for a haunted estate. And I suspect that when the truth comes out, I’m the one who’ll have to deal with it… and it won’t be good.

https://books2read.com/SpiritedSituation

Into This River I Drown by T.J. Klune

I cried my eyes out when I read this the first time, I don’t think I’d be able to read it now. A lot of grief here, but also a tiny town.

Into This River I drownFive years ago, Benji Green lost his beloved father, Big Eddie, who drowned when his truck crashed into a river. All called it an accident, but Benji thought it more. However, even years later, he is buried deep in his grief, throwing himself into taking over Big Eddie’s convenience store in the small town of Roseland, Oregon. Surrounded by his mother and three aunts, he lives day by day, struggling to keep his head above water.

But Roseland is no ordinary place.

With ever-increasing dreams of his father’s death and waking visions of feathers on the surface of a river, Benji’s definition of reality is starting to bend. He thinks himself haunted, but whether by ghosts or memories, he can no longer tell. It’s not until the impossible happens and a man falls from the sky and leaves the burning imprint of wings on the ground that he begins to understand that the world around him is more mysterious than he could have possibly imagined. It’s also more dangerous, as forces beyond anyone’s control are descending on Roseland, revealing long hidden truths about friends, family, and the man named Calliel who Benji is finding he can no longer live without.

https://books2read.com/IntoThisRiverIDrown

My Small-Town Romances

Not all, because as I mentioned above, a big chunk of my catalogue is small-town romances. Pretty much all of them, actually, but the Up North stories are tiny tiny towns 😊

aroundseven

Oswald Sattle has been sleeping in his Toyota Camry for the last 273 days, the exact number of days since he discovered his fiancé cheating on him. Now, out of money and out of options, he’s on his way to Nortown. Aiden, an acquaintance from his past, has offered him a job opportunity he can’t turn down, no matter how much he’d like to.

Joshua Roth moved to Nortown four years ago, and he has everything he needs — a job, friends, peace and quiet. He’s not looking for a boyfriend; no one even knows he’s gay, and he’d like it to stay that way. Everything changes when he offers Oswald a place to stay, though.

Oswald looks like he wants to run away, and Josh finds himself suggesting things that will make him stay. All he wants is for Oswald to smile. Oswald doesn’t want to overstay his welcome, but nothing soothes his nerves like being with Joshua in his cabin.

How long can Oswald stay before it’s time to move on again? Can Joshua have Oswald staying with him without the whole town talking about them? Probably not, but does he care?

https://books2read.com/AroundSeven

onceinmay

In an attempt to run from his past, John Welsh has spent the last few years building walls around himself. He knows the best way to stay safe is to keep people at arm’s length and preferably out of sight. During weak moments, he might wish he had someone, but he’s not ready. After all, it takes seven years for the body to replace all its cells. He has four years to go before he’s new.

Zachary Fane is always on the move, always on his way to somewhere. He’s going from job to job, from country to country. Contrary to what people might think, he wants nothing more than to find a place to call home, and he knows just where. This time, he is ready. This time, he will stay in Nortown. This time, things will be different. But when he arrives to buy the log cabin he believed would be his, he finds it inhabited. When he goes to talk to the new owner, he is met by the most beautiful green eyes followed by a door slammed in his face.

John should’ve known the peace he’s found in Nortown wouldn’t last. One day everything is fine, the next a mountain of a man shows up wherever he goes. All Zachary wants is to be close to the quiet man who has moved into his cabin. If following him around is the only way, then so be it. Sooner or later, John will get used to having him there … at least, if Zachary hangs around long enough.

Includes the short story, “Honey Baked.”

https://books2read.com/OnceInMay

Crazy Joe

Abe Cooper is starting over. For fifteen years he’s lived the life that was expected of him, but not anymore. He’s packed up his things, bought himself a cabin in Northfield, and managed to secure a job at the local high school teaching gym and coaching the football team. But his new beginning didn’t include running into Crazy Joe on his first trip to the grocery store.

Jonas Raghnall has everything he needs — good friends and a job he loves. He’s worked hard to get over what happened sixteen years ago, but one run-in with his past and all the memories come flooding back. Seeing Abe Cooper, The Abe Cooper, sets everything out of balance.

Abe had pictured a fresh start with no ties to his past, but now that Jonas is there, he wants nothing more than to be close to the man who had butterflies filling his belly when he was in high school. Jonas doesn’t want to come face to face with his past, but if he sees Abe every day, it’s not really meeting up with your past, is it? It’s more like a date with your future.

https://books2read.com/CrazyJoe

Release Day | 2022 Top Ten Gay Romance

It’s release day! 🥳 Today, the 2022 Top Ten Gay Romance anthology is released, and The Ruby Tooth is in it 😁

It’s an anthology of the ten best-selling gay romance stories under 15k during 2022, so if you’re in the mood for short stories, give it a go!

I wrote The Ruby Tooth as part of a Naughty or Nice call where we were to pick one or the other. I cheated and had a little of both. The Ruby Tooth is a bar divided in two. The doormen are veritas, which means they can look into everyone’s soul and see if they’re good or bad people. 

Ilya is sent to the good side and Ulric to the bad, but Ilya is Ulric’s mate. Ilya doesn’t believe him. He’s human and doesn’t believe in werewolves and other paranormal beings, at least not until he’s attacked by a vampire. Then having a crazy man claiming he’s a werewolf and your mate isn’t all that bad 😆

2022 Top Ten Gay Romance

2022toptengayromance2022 Top Ten Gay Romance brings together the best-selling short stories published by JMS Books that year.

From first love to true love, from submission to sensual, from heat to sweet and everything in between, the couples in these stories are sure to keep you turning the pages as you fall in love with them.

With stories by Sarah Hadley Brook, Holly Day, Ofelia Gränd, Nell Iris, Hannah Morse, K.S. Murphy, K.L. Noone, Amy Spector, Ellie Thomas, and Tinnean, this head-over-heels collection goes beyond bedtime reading. Whether happily ever after or happy for now, there’s an ending for everyone in here!

Contains the stories:

  • Found in the Storm by Sarah Hadley Brook
  • The Wingman by Holly Day
  • The Ruby Tooth by Ofelia Gränd
  • Secrets on a Train by Nell Iris
  • Hatch by Hannah Morse
  • Trust with Glittering Eyes by K.S. Murphy
  • The Snails of Dun Nas by K.L. Noone
  • How to Cheat at Dirty Santa by Amy Spector
  • The Thrill of the Chase by Ellie Thomas
  • Twelve Desserts by Tinnean

Buy links:

Gay Romance Anthology: 119,567 words

JMS Books :: Amazon :: books2read.com/2022TopTenGayRomance

Bullies

Excerpt from The Ruby Tooth:

Ilya placed his glass on a table by the wall and pushed through the door to the kitchen. His heart was hammering as he took another few steps. What the hell was he doing? He should phone Vera and suggest they call it a night, or head out for pie. He had a sudden craving for apple pie.

“You’re not supposed to be here.” A woman glared at him. She had tattoos everywhere—hieroglyphs. He almost yelped.

“No, I know, and I’m sorry, but a woman is throwing up right in the middle of the dance floor and no one seems to care.”

She frowned then headed for the door. Ilya didn’t wait for her to turn around and tell him to come along, he darted through the kitchen. Someone else called after him, but he rushed through the brightly lit room and pushed open a door.

Stumbling, he was momentarily blinded by the change of light as he proceeded out into a shadowy room. His lungs shrank as his gaze swept over the people there. Most of them were men twice his size, and the women resembled the woman he’d met in the kitchen—tattoos and dramatic clothes.

Dress-up party. He pulled in a sigh of relief, and while he couldn’t say what they were dressed up as, it calmed his soul. There were two lumberjacks by the bar—wild beards, broad shoulders, and plaid shirts. He smiled and nodded toward them. The man behind the bar looked like someone you should avoid, but he wore a Santa hat, and Ilya’s shoulders dropped a fraction.

“Ilya!” Vera jumped to her feet by the table she was seated at, and Ilya might have imagined it, but he believed the lumberjacks growled. Maybe Vera had misunderstood the theme of the night.

In the more lit area of the club, everyone—or close to, at least—had been wearing Christmas costumes. Here Ilya tugged at his tunic, wishing it hid more of his tights-clad thighs.

Nervously, he touched the tip of his ears. They were pointed. Vera had gotten him elf ears and body glue. They looked surprisingly real, but now he wanted them off. This was not the place to have elf ears, he couldn’t say how he knew, but he wished he wore his normal clothes.

Vera called his name again, and several heads turned his way. He hunched his shoulders and hurried over to her table. She was with a dangerous-looking man—of course she was.

Ilya hesitated. His heart beat fast, but not in a wanting-to-get-away kind of way. No, he found himself taking a step in the man’s direction, wanting to be close to him.

He stopped himself before he embarrassed them all. “Hi.”

He waved his hand but regretted it when the man groaned. Vera frowned at the sound but pulled Ilya in for a hug.

There was a growl coming from nearby. Ilya jumped, then bent to search for a dog underneath the table.

“Strange. I could’ve sworn I heard a dog.” He focused on the man and almost jumped again. “Oh, cool contacts.” The man’s eyes were a glowing honey color. Ilya nervously offered his hand. “I’m Ilya.”

The man grunted and grabbed his hand. Ilya never wanted him to stop touching him. Then he became aware of Vera frowning at him and tried to pull back, but the man refused to let go. For a second, Ilya’s heart jumped to his throat. The man wasn’t hurting him, but the hold on his hand was tight.

“Excuse me.” He tried pulling again, and the man let go. Ilya forced himself to take a step back and focus on Vera. “So… erm… what the hell are you doing here?” He kept his hissing low and was somewhat discreet as he gestured around. The man Vera was with saw him, of course. Those honey eyes never left him.

“The goon at the door showed me in here.”

“They were so creepy! When I tried to search for you, they stopped me.”

“They?”

“Had to lie to the poor woman in the kitchen.” He shook his head regretfully, and the man chuckled at the same time as he buried his face in his hands. Ilya gave Vera a glance. The poor soul looked like he was having a breakdown.

Vera shrugged, so Ilya waved a hand and pretended the man wasn’t there. “Anyway, I was thinking…” He wiggled his eyebrows at her. “Let’s grab some pie!”

Vera groaned. “No. You’re getting wasted, we’re gonna get laid—” The growl sounded again, and Ilya stared at the man. It had sounded as if it came from him, but it couldn’t have. He bent and glanced under the table again—only legs. When he glanced up, the man was studying him.

“See anything you like?”

Ilya jerked. The tone was harsh, more growl than anything else. “Eh… no… I thought I heard a dog.”

“A dog? In a nightclub?”

Heat climbed Ilya’s cheeks. “Health regulations, of course. Didn’t think of that.” He nodded and a mix of a groan and a laugh escaped the man. Ilya looked at Vera again. Pie would be really nice now or to go home, slip on flannel bottoms, and curl up in front of the TV.

“Can we go? Please?”

“But we just got here.” Vera toyed with her glass.

“No. I’ve been here for an hour, if not more.” He didn’t think it had been more than an hour, but he was already exhausted. This many people and having rushed through the kitchen when he wasn’t supposed to be there. It took its toll.

“Pie?” Maybe she’d agree to go to a calmer place. Not that this part of the nightclub was noisy. The music and the chatter had been louder on the other side.

“No. We’re having a drink.”

Ilya groaned.

Wrap-Up Wednesday | December

It’s Wrap-Up Wednesday time, and I have not been reading. A little, very little. I’ve reread some Shelly Laurenston (MF) because I was in the mood for some crazy, but other than that, I haven’t read much at all.

Smoke by Amy Spector

For all the creature and monster stories I’ve read throughout the years, I can’t remember ever having read one about a jinn. It’s a lovely story, and in true Spector form, there is some sneaking around an abandoned house, well in this case it’s an apartment, not a house, but damn, there is always sneaking around in Spector’s stories LOL It’s just to make me nervous, I swear 😆

Smoke Cover HalfSizeWyatt Calder is trapped—in a rundown neighborhood, in a dead-end job, by the endless string of trouble his brother drags to their door—and it seems he’s destined to slowly fade away within the aging walls of Picket House, longing for his best friend’s cousin. That is until his upstairs neighbor Abel Walters dies on the staircase just outside Wyatt’s door.

Saalik has spent most of his existence asleep and waiting for the next person to discover his bottle and claim their wishes. And the last four years playing prized possession to Abel Walters and spying on the downstairs neighbors. But he has a plan. And, like every plan worth planning, it has taken patience. But if life as a Jinn has taught Saalik nothing else, it’s taught him that.

When a break-in sends Wyatt out his second-story bedroom window and into his dead upstairs neighbor’s apartment, he finds more than a place to hide. He discovers a magical solution to all his troubles.

Or does he? Because really, when is life ever that simple?

https://books2read.com/SmokeSpector

A Christmas Engagement by Ellie Thomas

My plan as December started was to read a lot of holiday stories. It didn’t happen, but on Christmas Day, I woke with a kid next to me in the bed who’d been feeling poorly during the night, so I didn’t want to move and risk waking her by getting up, so I grabbed my phone, and I read A Christmas Engagement in one go. She woke up when I was on the last page, so perfect timing, and a little holiday feeling for me 🥰

A Christmas EngagementIn 1805, Charles Denham’s comfortable life in Regency London with his long-term partner Avery Mallory is disrupted by the sudden death of his father. As the heir to a modest country estate in Gloucestershire, Charles returns home to care for his bereaved family and take up his new responsibilities.

Overwhelmed with grief, rather than leaning on Avery, Charles rejects his love and becomes fixed on the idea of taking a wife for reasons of family duty alone. With this plan in mind, during early winter, he travels the short distance to Bath only to find that Avery and his family have already arrived at the resort.

Will Charles follow through with his ill-conceived plan for a hasty betrothal by Christmas? Or will he come to his senses and resume his relationship with the nicest man in England?

https://books2read.com/AChristmasEngagement

The Long Way Home by Z.A. Maxfield 

This is my re-read story of the month, and I’m disappointed. I remembered loving this, but now years after, I don’t feel the same way. You can read about why over at Holly’s blog where I talk about it.

The Long Way HomeEver since the accident that cost him his job on the Seattle police force, Kevin Quinn has been living with psychic abilities he refers to as the ‘gift that keeps on taking’. His attempts to use his talents to help the police have met with limited success. Yet, when teenage boys start going missing from the beach cities of Southern California, Kevin gets on a plane.

Connor Dougal has every reason to believe all psychics are fakes and charlatans. He’s still numb from the disappearance of his first love, a boy who went missing ten years earlier. Everything he aspires to is a direct result of that tragedy, even the acquisition of his detective shield. The irony of having to babysit Kevin Quinn is not lost on him.

These two suspicious men must develop trust and respect for one another to solve the case and, on the way, maybe fall in love.

https://books2read.com/TheLongWayHomeZA

Rainbow Advent Calendar 2022

Rainbow Advent Calendar

Every day there were new short stories in this advent calendar, and I had plans to read at least some of them. I read two… but ah well. They’re still up, so have a look if you’ve missed this.

Single Elves by Anna Martin

I got the feeling this was part of a series, and I was probably meant to have read the story before this one because I didn’t understand all that much. But there were elves and reindeer, so yay Christmas.

Read here! 

What does an android do during the holidays? by Toshi Drake

This was cute! An android named Thomas who’s been working too hard and has to shut down right as he wants to play with his emotions.

Read it here!

That’s it, folks! I haven’t had the headspace to focus on reading, but I hope that will change soon because I miss it.