Wrap-Up | October

Another month has gone by, and this time we’re doing the Wrap-Up Wednesday on a Tuesday because we’re having a guest tomorrow. I haven’t had time to read much toward the end of the month, but I did carve out some reading time for myself at the beginning.

Pressure Head (The Plumber’s Mate Mysteries 1) by J.L. Merrow

I started the month with a re-read. It’s been many years since I first read Pressure head, but I enjoyed it a lot, maybe even more this time than I did the first. Tom is a great character.

Pressure HeadTom Paretski’s not just a plumber with a dodgy hip courtesy of a schoolboy accident. He also has a sixth sense for finding hidden things. Called in by the police to help locate a body near Brock’s Hollow, he’s staggered to encounter Phil Morrison, his old school crush—and the closeted bully whose actions contributed to Tom’s accident.

Phil’s all grown up now, and Tom’s unwilling attraction to him is back with a vengeance. Phil’s now openly gay—and what’s more, he’s interested in Tom’s personal charms as well as his psychic talents. As a private investigator called in by the dead woman’s parents, Phil is sceptical about Tom’s unusual gift, but nevertheless quick to spot its potential to aid him in his work.

The further they go with the investigation, the less they can ignore their shared past, and the more the pressure and the heat build between them. But Tom isn’t certain he wants to know the secrets he’s helping to uncover, while there’s a murderer on the loose who won’t hesitate to kill again—and this uneasy couple is moving right into his sights.

https://books2read.com/PressureHead

Forsaken Fae: Book Three (Forsaken Fae 3) by R.A. Steffan

Look at me finishing a series!!! With Fae and BDSM. Actually, now I feel like reading more books with fae. I haven’t read many MM fae stories at all. I’ve read some MF, but it was many years ago.

Forsaken FaeSome people just want to watch the world burn.
Unfortunately, those people seem to be in charge right now.

Trapped at the mercy of a corrupt Fae Court, Len and Albigard must overcome their harshest challenges yet in order to stop the Wild Hunt and retrieve their friends’ lost souls.

Albigard’s father seeks to use his estranged son as a weapon against their enemies, the demons. And apparently, he’s not bothered by the idea of entire worlds becoming collateral damage in his endless war.

Meanwhile, the pair’s only potential allies reside among the dregs of Fae society. The Forsaken—outcasts condemned by the Court—carry a terrible secret regarding the magical imbalance decimating the Fae realm of Dhuinne.

If the three worlds are to survive, Len and Albigard must tame Dhuinne’s dark heart before everything around them falls into ruin.

https://books2read.com/ForsakenFae3

Dangerous Ground (Dangerous Ground 1) by Josh Lanyon

This I read by mistake. I scrolled past it on my reading app, sure I’d read it but couldn’t remember it, so I opened it. I hadn’t read it. With Lanyon, you know what you get, but I was a bit confused at times with this one.

Dangerous Ground

It’s complicated…

Special Agents for the Department of Diplomatic Security, Taylor MacAllister and Will Brandt have been partners and best friends for three years, but everything changed the night Taylor admitted the truth about his feelings for Will.

Taylor agreed to a camping trip in the High Sierras — despite the fact that he hates camping — because Will wants a chance to save their partnership. But the trip is a disaster from the first, and things rapidly go from bad to worse when they find a crashed plane and a couple of million dollars in stolen money.

With a trio of murderous robbers trailing them, Will and Taylor are on dangerous ground, fighting for their partnership…and their lives.

https://books2read.com/DangerousGround

Slippery Creatures (The Will Darling Adventures 1) by K.J. Charles

I picked up the audio of this from the library, yay! I get so happy when I find something I want to read at the library. I enjoyed it, not my favourite K.J. Charles story, but great all the same!

Slippery CreaturesWill Darling came back from the Great War with a few scars, a lot of medals, and no idea what to do next. Inheriting his uncle’s chaotic second-hand bookshop is a blessing…until strange visitors start making threats. First a criminal gang, then the War Office, both telling Will to give them the information they want, or else.

Will has no idea what that information is, and nobody to turn to, until Kim Secretan—charming, cultured, oddly attractive—steps in to offer help. As Kim and Will try to find answers and outrun trouble, mutual desire grows along with the danger.

And then Will discovers the truth about Kim. His identity, his past, his real intentions. Enraged and betrayed, Will never wants to see him again.

But Will possesses knowledge that could cost thousands of lives. Enemies are closing in on him from all sides—and Kim is the only man who can help.

A 1920s m/m romance trilogy in the spirit of Golden Age pulp fiction.

https://books2read.com/SlipperyCreatures

The Carpenter’s Secret (Family Secrets 1) by Noah Harris

I don’t know where or when I got this, and I was afraid to read it, to be honest. As long as I only saw the cover and the title, it was fine, but then I read that the series was called Family Secrets and I feared I’d manage to download a pseudo-incest book or something. I’m terrible when it comes to reading the blurb, and in many cases, it broadens my horizons, but incest – pseudo or otherwise is my biggest NO. Then I read it was a werewolf story and I heaved a great sigh of relief LOL. I liked the story, but if you’ve followed me for some time, you know I’m allergic to epithets and there were way too many ‘the man’ for my liking.

The carpenter's SecretDean Matthews leads a normal, boring life. Until that is, he finds a long-forgotten letter that changes his life forever. Leaving behind his respectable career, Dean returns to his grandfather’s farm to restore it to its former working order and to steward the land that’s been in his family for generations. It’s a choice that leads to a host of complications, including what to do about Mikael Reed, the hot carpenter with a dangerous secret.

The predictable life that Dean used to lead couldn’t have prepared him for Mikael or the complexities of his past. Their easy friendship soon turns into more, but eventually, echoes of family legends rear their heads and a decision must be made.

In this paranormal gay romance, you’ll be intrigued by family mysteries and the secrets that emerge. What happens behind closed doors can be spine-tingling, sometimes hot and sometimes sinister as Dean’s digging results in the illumination of shadows from the past and things that go bump in the night.

https://books2read.com/TheCarpentersSecret

Findley Black and the Ghosts of Printer’s Devil by Amy Spector

We have to have some spooky reads in October, it’s a rule! There is one huge perk with having author friends and that is that you sometimes get to read stories before anyone else does. This story will be released tomorrow, and Amy is the guest who’ll be here 😊. I enjoyed this short story a lot – the book shop is to die for.

Findley Black and the Ghosts of Printers DevilStarting over at thirty-four is harder than Owen Key expected. Lonelier too. There’s Bella, and the odd assortment of kids he’d inherited when a father he barely knew left him Printer’s Devil. But his bookstore employees and his cat aren’t much good when it comes to getting laid.

Findley Black says a lot of things. At least according to everyone at the store. When Owen runs into him for the first time during one of his ghost tours, with his leather jacket and flirtatious looks, Owen finds himself more than interested in what he has to say.

Owen may have been hoping for a one-night-stand, but when Findley asks to stay the remainder of Halloween night in the Printer’s Devil in hopes of seeing the ghost of a serial killer, he finds it hard to say no.

Halloween is a time for ghost stories and trick or treat. But running out of candy is a bad omen, and it’s hard to get lucky when something otherworldly seems determined to ruin your night.

https://books2read.com/Findley-Black

Honey Witch by K.L. Noone

A short, sticky FF read about a princess and her witch. I won’t reveal anything about the plot, you get to figure that out by yourselves. (Last I checked, it was free over at B&N)

Honey WitchWhere does a princess go for advice? In the kingdom of Rosewood, the answer’s simple: ask the honey witch.

Ursula has grown up knowing she’ll inherit the throne, and she’s devoted to her land and her people. But she wonders about her future, whether she’ll be happy, and whether she’ll marry for love. Beautiful earth-witch Esmerelda promises answers, divined in magical honey … and one smile from her has always made Ursula’s heart race.

Esme has loved Ursula silently for years, despite knowing a common earth-witch can’t hope to marry a princess, especially one so generous and passionate and worthy of a royal marriage. But when Ursula comes to her with a question about love, Esme can’t resist introducing her princess to the sweetest magic of desire … and some even sweeter uses for enchanted honey.

https://books2read.com/Honey-Witch

Fridays at Ofelia’s | The Truth Of Sweet Things

Trick or Treat

Today, fellow JMS author A. J. Morrow is on a visit, and I have to say, I love the cover of her upcoming story, The Truth Of Sweet Things (that you can pre-order over at JMS Books and get a 20% discount) Welcome A. J.

Hi there! 

I’m A. J. Morrow, author of The Christmas Arrangement, The Truth Of Sweet Things, and A Christmas Exchange (as well as several other projects in the works). When writing, I try to focus on a little bit of escapism–short, fluffy novellas, the type that make you feel warm inside. I especially love holiday stories, and those set in autumn. You can’t beat the atmosphere in the colder months!

My upcoming work, The Truth Of Sweet Things, is a short story I wrote after a long weekend back in my hometown, which reminded me of all the happy memories I have of the fall. It inspired me to write about the season–even if the focus is on a character who hates it. Of course, the main character, Becca, soon learns to get over this when she reunites with her teenage crush, Amy–an avid lover of the season, and a newly out lesbian.

One of my favourite parts of the writing process is getting to know your characters and settings. I try to keep certain things (like town names/places) vague so that the reader can imagine the places they’re familiar with, but I do still aim to get a good sense of the environment and people within the story. Hopefully, the atmosphere of fall–the browning leaves, the slight chill in the air, the pumpkins and novelty coffee and the long walks with people you love–will be one of the main take-aways from this story.

This story has taught me a lot about the art of short stories–usually, my shortest works are about twenty thousand words long, so this was very new to me! I really enjoyed writing this piece–shorter fiction is very different in structure and style to longer works, so it was a fun experience, and hopefully I’ll be able to take what I learnt into future stories.

More than anything, I’m just excited to get this story out there, and to see people’s responses to it.

The Truth Of Sweet Things comes out on the 6th of October.

Blurb:

Book cover the truth of sweet things by A. J. Morrow

Becca hates Fall and everything that comes with it; her best friend, however, disagrees

and decides to set her up with her sister, Amy, who she’s sure will change Becca’s

mind. Amy is charismatic and smart–and the woman Becca has been in love with since

high school. When Amy texts her out of the blue, will Becca come out of her shell

enough to pursue this relationship?

Excerpt:

‘Becca glanced at her watch. She was early, but the cold was bitter that day so she decided to head inside already.

The coffee shop was small and quiet–homey, even–with wooden tables and low hanging lights. Paper Halloween decorations were hung over the windows and across the counter, the orange of them matching the orange leaves visible outside. Becca slid into a chair on the far side of the room and took the menu from in front of her.

She stared out the window, letting her mind wander. As her eyes traced over a cluster of leaves dancing in the wind, she felt her anxiety melt back into the chair. It was warm inside the shop, warm and heady, and Becca was already tired from a day at work. When the waitress came over to get her order she stuttered an answer, somehow surprised that she had been noticed.

The drinks arrived quietly in front of her, the waitress smiling at Becca, who must have been quite visibly nervous. Becca took a sip of her hot chocolate and then turned back to the window, watching to see if Amy would actually turn up.

For all her intense watching, she didn’t actually notice when Amy did arrive. She was exactly on time–which fit her character, Amy was known to be punctual–and when she slid into the seat opposite her, Becca jumped.

In the time she’d been waiting, the sun had slipped out of the sky, taking most of the sunlight with it, but when she turned to look at Amy, Becca realised that she didn’t need it. Even in the dim, newly October light, Amy was magnificent.’

 

Fridays at Ofelia’s | The Four Legs of Fate by D.J. Fronimos and Elke Lakey

Guest-Post

Today, we have fellow JMS authors D.J. Fronimos and Elke Lakey on the blog. They’re talking about their story, The Four Legs of Fate, that will be out tomorrow. Welcome!

Thank you so much, Ofelia, for having me here on your blog today! I’m excited to share our new release with you, ‘The Four Legs of Fate’, a novella about two women and two dogs and the first novella D.J. and I have co-authored together. As some of you may know already, D.J. and I are partners in life as well as in writing. We met in 2015, and until we started working on our first novel (Watching Cars Go By, released in November 2020), I had only ever written in German. Needless to say, it was a huge adjustment. Having lived in the US since 2000, I was fluent in English, of course, but as I’m sure you will agree, the written and the spoken word are two totally different sides of the same coin, and being comfortable in one doesn’t mean you’ll easily master the other. But there we were, D.J. and I, attempting what neither one of us had done before: writing lesbian fiction worth publishing. Yet, with two full-length novels and one novella published, and two more books in the works, I feel I can proudly say D.J. and I have accomplished our mission.

Like all our stories, ‘The Four Legs of Fate’ was written from two separate points of view. And, also like all our books, it encompasses bits of truth about us and our own lives. Devoted dog-mom D.J. came up with the plot, and she ‘is’ Lisa Fitzgerald, who in the story ends up with adorable Terra, who she believes to be a puppy. Lisa originally doesn’t want a dog, but soon is won over by Terra’s cuteness, and she spoils her no end, just as D.J. has always done with her dogs. A horse-lover and owner in real life, I like dogs as well, and have had at least one for most of my life. But, as I’ve learned from owning horses, spoiling your animals doesn’t necessarily serve you well. In comes Erin, whose German shepherd, Max, is her best friend and trusted companion, but is so well-trained he listens to her every word. I don’t own a German shepherd and never have owned a dog as obedient as that, but if Max were real, I’d take him in a heartbeat. So, while the two women connect over Terra and Max, there’s plenty of room for disagreement. D.J. and I learned to compromise when we moved in together, as did our dogs, but then neither our dogs nor our views on how to treat them were as different as Lisa’s and Erin’s are. Our dogs were pretty easy, too. Shadow, my big, bulky black Labrador retriever who has since crossed the rainbow bridge, was the perfect gentleman to D.J.’s Aria, a blue-heeler mix. With any other dog, Aria’s bossy attitude may not have gone over as well, but Shadow not only let her eat his food, he also gave up his favorite spot to her whenever she wanted it. Terra and Max, on the other hand…Well, you’ll just have to read their story.

First meeting

Terra picked up speed and suddenly she was pulling Lisa forward. Oh no! A bicyclist was coming straight at them. Terra darted into the street at the same time that Lisa took a step back. Terra’s leash went taut and suddenly there was an ugly crunching sound as the bike’s handlebars met the pavement. Lisa watched in horror as the bicycle’s rider, a woman, toppled forward and slid across the pavement, stopping in a crumpled heap a few feet ahead. Lisa made as if to bend down to the woman and was stopped by the angry snarl of one of the biggest dogs she’d ever seen. Teeth bared, the German shepherd planted himself between the woman on the ground and Lisa with what she could have sworn was an accusing stare. She must’ve let go of Terra’s leash when the bicycle hit it because suddenly Terra showed up on Lisa’s left. Before Lisa could grab her, Terra flung herself at the German shepherd, yipping and growling and biting at the huge beast that could kill her at any moment.

“Stop! You’re going to get bit!”

Lisa, who’d been about to reach for Terra, pulled her hand back. The woman on the ground had pushed up into a sitting position. “Max! Voraus! And then sitz!” The German shepherd lunged forward and Lisa thought she was about to die as it came straight toward her, but went past an inch or so to her right where it stopped and sat. Terra tried to go after him, but the woman had managed to grab her leash and Terra was yanked back mid-lunge.

“How about giving me a hand up?”

“Of course.” Lisa felt her face grow hot. She had stood there helplessly while the catastrophe unfolded and the woman took charge, despite being the injured party. The huge dog remained still as a statue despite Terra continuing to make threatening noises in his direction. Stupid dog. Nothing but trouble.

Lisa pulled herself together and extended her hand to the woman on the ground.

“I’m so sorry. Are you all right?”

“I’ve definitely been better.” The woman grimaced as she examined her right forearm where the skin was scraped off. “And, apparently, so has my bike. My front wheel is definitely out of alignment.” She had taken Lisa’s hand and gotten up and now pulled her bike upright as well. “Guess, I’ll have to push it home. You know, you really shouldn’t allow your dog to get ahead of you like that.”

Lisa took Terra’s leash back and gave her an angry glare as she tried in vain to assert her authority over the recalcitrant dog. The shepherd remained seated but with a tightly coiled air as he gave Terra a look that clearly showed what he was capable of. And yet Terra still pulled in his direction, stupid dog. “I can’t tell you how sorry I am. I only got the dog yesterday and it seems she hasn’t had any kind of training. Do you live far? Are you able to walk?”

“Of course. I live just one street over. About two blocks down from here. You’ve probably seen the townhouses. There’s a whole row of them. Max and I are in the last one at the corner which gives us a little more backyard. I … Crap!” She had taken a step and now tentatively took another one, followed by a hissing intake of breath. “Looks like I’ve hurt my ankle.”

Max had risen to a standing position and Lisa resisted her inclination to step toward the woman to assist her. “What can I do to help? I’m not far from my own apartment. I can go back for my car and take you home. Your bike and — Max, was it? — should both fit. Don’t worry, I’ll drop Terra off.”

“Yes, please.” The woman flashed her a smile and Lisa was struck by how pretty she was now that she wasn’t frowning. “I would normally hate to put you out like that, but, I’m figuring since my spill was technically your dog’s fault …”

Her tone was more playful than accusatory, and Lisa relaxed. “Honestly, I’m surprised Superdog here didn’t lead you in a graceful leap over the leash, or take the bike in his massive jaws and carry you to safety.” Lisa wrapped Terra’s leash around her wrist several times. “It’s the least I can do.” Never mind that she’d have to take the shortest route home, which meant going past the house with the immaculate lawn Terra had fouled.

“Superdog, eh?” The woman gazed fondly at the shepherd, who at a subtle flick of the woman’s wrist trotted to her side where he stood as if glued to her. “Guess we’ll be waiting right here for you. By the way, I’m Erin.”

Blurb

The four legs of fate

Freshly out of a relationship with a woman who decided she likes guys better, Lisa Fitzgerald parties too much and wakes up the next morning with a puppy. Terra, as she names the dog, turns out to be a designer-breed full-grown Pomsky.

Erin visits her long-time partner Cici, who is teaching a guest semester in Paris. But Erin feels out of place in France and they break up when Cici asks her to move there. Max, a well-trained German shepherd, becomes Erin’s sole companion.

Cute little Terra wreaks havoc not only on Lisa’s home and life but also on Erin’s when she darts into Erin’s path as she is bicycling with Max. Lonely for human contact outside of work, Erin makes light of her spill and cons Lisa into spending time with her and Max.

Soon the four of them meet regularly. Their friendship blossoms when Lisa decides to keep Terra, but the women privately yearn for more while at the same time denying their mutual attraction. Having been burned recently, both Lisa and Erin are wary of crossing the line and promptly flounder when they ditch the dogs for an evening together. But their interest in one another persists and eventually they try a second time, only to fail miserably.

Can fate on four legs bring them back together?

Buy links

JMS :: Amazon

About the Authors

DJ Fronimos

Debra J. (D.J.) Fronimos shares a five-acre ranch in central Texas with her partner and co-author, Elke, two horses, and a spoiled blue heeler mix. When not writing, she works as an ultrasound technologist, and in her spare time sings in a women’s chorus that has won medals in annual regional competitions. She has a passion for traveling, especially road trips, and indulges it as often as possible, but hasn’t found a way to drive to Europe yet. Besides lesbian romance, D.J. has dabbled in lesbian erotica, travel essays, poetry, songwriting, and received an award for a professional medical paper.

Elke Lakey

Elke Lakey, born and raised in the Bavarian town of Augsburg, indulges her lifelong passion for horses by riding with the Tejas Rodeo Rough Riders, an award-winning precision drill team. Growing up her interests were horses, reading and making up stories, and medicine, not necessarily in that order, and she now works in the lab as a medical technologist. Elke has written play reviews and articles for two German fan magazines, and has published fan fiction in both magazines and anthologies. She now vastly enjoys creating lesbian fiction with her partner.

Between them, Elke and D.J. have raised five children (four boys and one girl), and have one grandson.

Where you can find us:

https://www.facebook.com/DJ-Fronimos-and-Elke-Lakey-104203748309889