Review: Mage of Inconvenience by Parker Foye

 

Mage of Inconvenience

 

Can they find the magic in a practical union?

West is on the run from his werewolf pack, but if he cannot renew his magical defenses, he won’t get far. What he needs is a mage….

Julian is part of a wealthy and ancient family, and one day, his legacy will include his mother’s vast library of spell books—and the knowledge he needs to correct his past mistakes. But his inheritance comes with a stipulation: he has to be married before he can collect. What he needs is a husband….

West and Julian can help each other, and at first they don’t want anything further. But as they dodge meddling cousins, jealous rivals, and an insidious drug, it becomes clear that their lives are entwined in ways they never imagined—and they’re in greater danger than they thought possible.

 

REVIEW

 

When a practical union becomes more than they bargain for, West and Julian start to understand that magic and love can be found in the most unusual circumstances.

West is running away from his pack. To keep himself safe, he needs the help of a mage who can do the spells that will guarantee the safety he needs. Julian is perfect for the job, but West can’t afford the kind of magic he needs done. Julian has problems of his own. He’s looking for a husband or else he can’t able to collect his inheritance, as is explained in his mother’s will. West’s appearance in his life could be the solution he has been waiting for.

I found myself unable to put this book down. Parker Foye is a new-to-me author so I wasn’t sure what to expect of the book but I was pleasantly surprised. It was very entertaining. It got my attention quickly. It is a slow burn romance with a convenience relationship that, as expected, developed into love.

One of the things that I liked the most about it was the fact that their relationship didn’t feel forced. I was aware they would fall in love eventually, but it was more of a slow burn development of their relationship. It makes it more believable and more into my usual taste. They both were nice characters. It isn’t too romantic and it has low heat level, but it’s an enjoyable read. What got my attention was the plot. I liked how, being about a shifter, the paranormal elements didn’t rely on this. It took a stronger spotlight to the magic world than the pack dynamics without actually removing it out of the story. It was full of nice twists and some subtle hints for the reader to catch them. It was a nice experience.

The only issue I had about the book was that, being slow burn, it took them too long to get together. There were only a few moments to appreciate them as a couple. Other than that, it was an entertaining book to read.

 

The Romance Review

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Review: Scales of Gold by L. B. La Vigne

Scales of Gold

 

Merfolk trading is a lucrative, but illegal business. After Brandon, a hunter, spends a few days tracking Vez, he gets second thoughts about imprisoning the golden tail merman who’s immediately put up for auction. Brandon decides to break Vez out of his enclosure and bring him home.
But with the merman in his bathtub, Brandon has no idea what to do. Things become even stranger when Brandon returns to his house only to find Vez is no longer waiting for him in the bathtub, but in his bed.

 

REVIEW

Brandon is a hunter whose next task is to capture a merfolk. As lucrative as the business is, when he gets to know the merman he’s been after, his charming captive is all he can think of. Now, the most important thing is to keep Vez away from the destiny that will see him in the hands of the traffickers who have contracted him.

Vez and Brandon are both lovely characters. I liked the moments when Vez hesitate to trust Brandon. The story was entertaining even though it was a bit predictable. The problem was the blurb give too much away. I liked the author’s writing style and the pace was nice and steady. The book was out of my comfort zone. I choose to read it because it seems interesting and I wasn’t mistaken. I had a good time reading it. I wouldn’t consider it particularly romantic, but it does have some nice moments between the main characters.

The only issue I had with it was how short it was. It made the relationship development felt too rush. It made me hard to believe there was more than just an attraction between Vez and Brandon. A few more words would’ve made the romance a little more captivating. Even with that issue, I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes a merman romance.

The Romance Review

Review:Need: A Need Trilogy Short Story Collection by R. Phoenix

44099392

 

Brothers Tavi and Rex return in this collection of short stories. These stories are set between twelve years before Want to after Have.

The stories include:
Sweet Sixteen
Whispers in the Dark
The Price of Escape
Have: Chapter Fourteen (Tavi’s POV)
Dichotomy
Operation Rescue Dildo Pony
Exercise
Immortality
Together

 

REVIEW

 

It was fun to read all this stories. They won’t work as a stand-alone, so read the books before because it has spoilers.

The ones that I liked the most were the first ones. The ones that were set before the books happened. There was something about it that make me second guess my loyalties, but it was nice to make me think of my favorites in a different way. It was fun to read. It has high heat level and a few emotional moments. It was beautiful to see so few words could be so powerful and create so much feelings. I had a great time reading it. I couldn’t put it down.

I think any reader who has read the books will have a wonderful time revisiting Rex and Tavi. Even with the few issues I have about some subjects it address, I wouldn’t hesitate on recommend it.

 

  

BOOK LINKS

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AUTHOR

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Book Blitz: The Princess of Baker Street @MiaKerick @XpressoTours

The Princess of Baker Street
Mia Kerick
Published by: Harmony Ink Press
Publication date: January 22nd 2019
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Young Adult

“Always wear your imaginary crown” is Joey Kinkaid’s motto. For years, Joey, assigned male at birth, led the Baker Street kids in daring and imaginative fantasy adventures, but now that they’re teenagers, being a princess is no longer quite so cool. Especially for a child who is seen by the world as a boy.

Eric Sinclair has always been Joey’s best friend and admirer—Prince Eric to Joey’s Princess Ariel—but middle school puts major distance between them. As Eric’s own life takes a dangerous turn for the worse, he stands by and watches as Joey—who persists in dressing and acting too much like a Disney princess for anybody’s comfort—gets bullied. Eric doesn’t like turning his back on Joey, but he’s learned that the secret to teenage survival, especially with and absent mother, is to fly under the radar.

But when Joey finally accepts who she is and comes to school wearing lip gloss, leggings, and a silky pink scarf, the bullies make her life such a misery that she decides to end it all. Eric, in turn, must decide who he really is and what side he wants to stand on… though no matter what he chooses, the consequences with be profound for both teens, and they’ll face them for years to come.

Is there a chance the two teens can be friends again, and maybe even more?

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EXCERPT:

Every day’s basically the same—it’s like the lunchtime bullying plan is set in stone, and it’s only the end of September. And it’s way worse than it was last year, even though he sat alone then too. Travis gets to sit at the jock table, seeing as he’s on the
county football team. He starts in on Joey as soon as he sets his rear end on the bench and drops his lunch tray onto the sticky table. For Travis, “bullying Josie” is sort of like a bad habit he just can’t kick. But I’m pretty sure he’d say it’s more like a hobby he’s real good at.

“All the way through sixth grade, Kinkaid wore a dress, like, every day after school—I kid you not.” He announces this loud enough for the jocks and the entire hot-girl table, and of course, lonely Joey, to hear. And even though Joey wasn’t hiding that he wore his mom’s purple dress after school when we all played together, blabbing about it makes me feel like we’re ratting him out.

An imaginary knife stabs into my gut and twists around. I try not to squirm and to keep my face blank, but it’s next to impossible because my belly hurts like I’m having a baby.

“You’ve got to be kidding me—he wore a freaking dress?” Miles Maroney is always the first guy to jump in whenever things start getting mean and dirty. “But I betcha Josie looked cute, if you go for gays.”

We all laugh, and I mean all of us.

I laugh even though I don’t want to. Because I still remember how it was: Joey was the Princess of Baker Street, and Travis and Emily and Lily and me all looked up to him as much as middle school kids look up to the guys on the soccer team now. Joey was the neighborhood kid with all the best ideas. None of us cared what he wore out to play—not even Travis.

“What a freaking princess!” yells Noah Mayer, and we all laugh some more becauseNoah is the starting forward on the soccer team, and we pretty much have to laugh at everything he says when he’s trying to be funny, or he won’t pass to us. Maybe I forgot to pay my brain bill, but I know how shit like this works.

Author Bio:

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—one in law school, another a professional dancer, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son, heading off to college. (Yes, the nest is finally empty.) She has published more than twenty books of LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays,offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing scholarship essays. Her husband of twenty-five years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it’s a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled people in complex relationships. She has a great affinity for the tortured hero in literature, and as a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of tortured heroes and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to her wonderful publishers for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.

Her books have been featured in Kirkus Reviews magazine, and have won RainbowAwards for Best Transgender Contemporary Romance and Best YA Lesbian Fiction, a
Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, a Story Monsters Purple Dragonfly Award for Young Adult e-book Fiction, among other awards.

Mia Kerick is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constantprayer to the Gods of Technology. Contact Mia at miakerick@gmail.com or visit at http://www.miakerickya.com to see what is going on in Mia’s world.

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Book Blitz: Snowed In – Ross and Ashton by @JVSpeyer @XpressoTours

Snowed In – Ross and Ashton
J.V. Speyer
Publication date: January 5th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance

Massachusetts State Trooper Ross Huber is giving one last sweep of the roads before heading in for the night. The nor’easter hitting the Boston area is worse than expected by an order of magnitude, and the governor hasjust issued a travel ban. He finds a wrecked car half buried in a snowbank and rescues its human and canine occupants from carbon monoxide poisoning, but is forced to take shelter with them in a vacant or abandoned house when the roads are blocked.

When he gets the victims indoors, he thinks the human looks uncomfortably familiar…

Ash Machado has been through a lot in his career as a war correspondent. Sidelined by an injury, he’s returned to Boston to take up a job as a news anchor. After he loses control of his car on an icy road, he wakes up in an unfamiliar home, looking into the face of the guy who broke his heart in college.

Neither Ross nor Ash are the same guys they were in college, but they’re trapped inthe abandoned house with no place to go. Can they get past old hurts long enough to get through the storm, or will the same misunderstandings that drove them apart years ago make this confinement unbearable?

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EXCERPT:

Ash moistened his lips and scratched between his dog’s ears. “More or less, yeah. He definitely likes to be on the receiving end of any affection.” He swallowed hard. He could still taste Ross on his tongue, bad morning breath and all.

He lurched to his feet. “I’m going to see what I can do about excavating some spacefor Porthos to do his business. He’s going to have to sooner or later, and I don’t want to wreck the joint.” Ash had to get up and do something. He had to get away from Ross or his brain might explode.

“Good point.” Ross grimaced and stood up too. “Can you shovel, with your arm like that? Do you want me to do it?”

Ash forced a little smile. Ross’ words cemented his worst fears. Ross hadn’t kissed him out of affection or even nostalgia. He’d kissed Ash out of pity. It turned Ash’s stomach. “No, thanks. I’ll be sore, but I really want to move around a bit.” He ran for the
back door as fast as he could.

Was this really what life was going to be from now on? Pity kisses from guys who occasionally wanted to throw him a bone, and who didn’t have any better options? A sedate anchor job covering sedate local news from the safety of a swanky downtown newsroom, instead of being out in the field like he’d been born to do?

He struggled into his coat and pushed the intrusive thoughts out of his head. The doctors had warned him about this after his injury, both in Turkey and in Germany. Intrusive thoughts were normal. Bouts of depression were normal. He’d survived a major explosion, and he’d had to make some major lifestyle changes as a result. It was okay to be upset, and it was okay to be frustrated. Ash should be patient with himself, they said. And they also acknowledged it would be a challenge for
him to find that patience. He knew exactly what to expect.

He attacked the snow with vigor. He’d made it out alive when plenty of others had not. He was not going to squander his second chance on self-pity and pining for a guy who’d dumped him almost a decade ago. He was here, breathing free air. He might be in pain, and he might not have full use of all of his limbs, but he could use most of his parts and that was enough. He was a lucky man. He just needed to remind himself sometimes.

He hacked into the snow, using his anger and his grief to power through the pain. Okay, sure, this sucked, and he’d need more surgery on his shoulder eventually. He’d get it. In the meantime, chances were that he’d find himself in a position to need to shovel. He needed to get used to it. He needed to toughen up, and get used to doing things for himself. Two hours later, he’d carved out enough space to function as a doggy outhouse. It would be foul soon enough, but it had become almost like a little snow cave. Ash had worked up a good sweat, and he’d accomplished something to take care of Porthos. He hadn’t had to depend on Ross, or anyone else. He’d done it himself. He could be proud of it.

Author Bio:

Want to get cocktail recipes, book updates, and craft beer notes from J. V.? Sign uphere (http://eepurl.com/dtlwBH)!

J. V. Speyer has lived in upstate New York and rural Catalonia before making the greater Boston, Massachusetts area her permanent home. She has worked in archaeology, security, accountancy, finance, and non-profit management. She currently lives just south of Boston in a house old enough to remember when her town was a tavern community with a farming problem.

J. V. finds most of her inspiration from music. Her tastes run the gamut from traditional to industrial and back again. When not writing she can usually be found enjoying a baseball game or avoiding direct sunlight. She’s learning to crochet so she can make blankets to fortify herself against the cold.

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Book Blitz: Professional Courtesy by @JVSpeyer @XpressoTours

Professional Courtesy
J.V. Speyer
Publication date: December 21st 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance

This is the story of two college professors who share an office and not much else – until the holiday season works its magic.

Eric’s semester hasn’t been going all that well. Not only have renovations to the English Department’s physical space forced him to share an office with the department’s newest faculty member, Mike Kistler, his mother showed up at the beginning of the semester with all her worldly possessions and a U-Haul. It’s not that hedoesn’t care for his mother, but she’s disruptive. She keeps wanting to honor traditions they never cared about when he was growing up, starting with the giant antique advent calendar she dragged over from her parents’ house in Hamburg.

Eric has a solution, though. He might not have much interest in his mom’s traditions,but his irritating office mate does. He’ll bring Kistler over, and his mom will have someone who cares, and someone to speak German with, and Eric will be left alone to grade papers in peace.

Mike is the rising star of the English Department. He’s worked damn hard to get from homeless teen to young PhD, he’s proud of his accomplishment, and he loves to give back. He likes his work. He could live without his office mate, who’s attractive but stuffier than an overfull burrito. He’s shocked when Eric invites him to help his mother celebrate Advent, but intrigued by the old traditions. And it’s been more than ten years since he’s had anything like a family to celebrate anything with, so he agrees.

Moving from a cramped office to a family setting shifts things for Eric and Mike, and they start to see each other through different eyes. Can they find love, or will old family issues keep them apart forever?

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Request a review copy here!

EXCERPT:

“Hey,” he said in a feather-soft voice, one calculated to not wake Suzanne. “I wanted to say thanks for last night, but you were gone. Want me to make you breakfast instead?”

Eric could see, in Mike’s eyes, exactly how he’d wanted to thank him for last night. He could see the possibilities for the future stretching out in front of them. His chest hurtas he looked away. “Actually, I think they’ve gotten the roads clear. I’d better take you home.”

Eric heard Mike’s clothes rustle as his posture changed. He stood straighter. His whole body stiffened. Eric couldn’t make himself look at Mike’s beautiful face, but he heard the unmistakable chill in his voice when he said, “I see. Okay, then, let me grab my bag.” He moved swiftly and silently into the guest room to grab his things. A few moments later, he was back, his coat and shoes at the ready.

Eric bit his lip to keep from screaming. He had to do this. If he had to do it, why did ithurt so much? He grabbed his keys and his coat, and they headed over to the garage together in silence. Comm Ave was indeed clear, so Eric pulled out and got them onto the road.

“We shouldn’t have done that,” he said, once they were on their way toward Allston. “I enjoyed it. It might have the best night of my life. But we — I — shouldn’t have done it.”

Mike pressed his lips together. He stared straight out the windshield, without lookingdirectly at Eric. Eric couldn’t tell if he was angry or hurt. He had every right to be either. “Well, we work together. So, I guess that makes sense.” He took a deep breath.

“That’s not it.” Eric gripped the steering wheel a little tighter. “It’s just… my mom. I know she’s nice to you and all that, but she’s never accepted my sexuality. When I came out they didn’t kick me out or anything, but they did tell me ‘not in our house.’ And this is her house now.”

“Okay.” Mike considered. “And you’ve made your choice. I’m not going to try to argue with you or change your mind. But it seems to me like your mother wasn’t very subtle about leaving us alone together last night.”

Eric choked on his own breath. “She didn’t mean it like that. Oh God. Not at all. Not even a little bit. I’ve known her a long time and her brain doesn’t work like that. She doesn’t think that way.” He fought down his nausea. It might have been nice if Mike at least tried to convince him to stick around, but Eric knew it would only be to flatter his ego. Eric didn’t deserve to have his ego puffed by anyone, least of all Mike. Not today.

“She’s your mom.” Mike turned his head to look out the window. His tone was resigned. “Thanks for everything, I guess. I’ll see you when the new semester starts up.”

“You’re not coming over next week?”

“Don’t you think that’s a little much to ask?”

“Yeah.” Eric slouched in his seat. “It is. Mike, I’m sorry. I really am. I just—”

Mike held up his hand. He looked exhausted. “Don’t. Please. Just… just don’t.”

“Okay.” Eric bowed his head and kept driving.

Mike’s street still hadn’t been plowed. It might not be plowed for days. Eric stopped the car at the end of his street and bit his lip again. “Is there someplace else I can take you, someplace you can go?”

Mike shook his head. “I’ll be fine. See you in January.” He hopped out of the car andclimbed up onto the snowbank before Eric could argue. Eric couldn’t blame him. He’d want to get away as fast as he could too, if he were in the same position.

He drove home as quickly as he could. He hoped to get in before his mother got up,but she was already making breakfast by the time he walked in the door. She stared in surprise. “Eric, where did you go? I was just making breakfast for you and Michael! I’ve got bacon, and pancakes, and I’ve started the coffee. How late does he usually sleep?”

“I have no idea.” Eric hung his coat up. “He didn’t sleep very late today. I just dropped him off at home. He had papers he needed to correct. You know how it is.” His voice shocked him with its raspiness.

She stared at him for a moment. “I’m surprised he made you go out in all this. He seems like such a nice young man.”

“Oh, he didn’t ask me to. I noticed how nervous he was and I offered.” Eric squirmed. He hated lying to his mother. “It’s his first job as a professor, you know? He doesn’t want to feel like he’s slacking. I wasn’t much different.”

“I suppose.” She gave him a long, measuring look, and then she shrugged. “Well, this is a lot of bacon. I suppose we can use it in sandwiches, or quiches.”

Eric tried to choke down the breakfast his mother has gone to so much trouble for, but he couldn’t make much headway. When he’d done what he could, he excused himself and retreated to his room. There, he could indulge himself in a good cry.

He’d done the right thing. He knew he had. He just wished doing the right thing didn’t hurt so much.

Author Bio:

Want to get cocktail recipes, book updates, and craft beer notes from J. V.? Sign uphere (http://eepurl.com/dtlwBH)!

J. V. Speyer has lived in upstate New York and rural Catalonia before making the greater Boston, Massachusetts area her permanent home. She has worked in archaeology, security, accountancy, finance, and non-profit management. She currently
lives just south of Boston in a house old enough to remember when her town was a tavern community with a farming problem.

J. V. finds most of her inspiration from music. Her tastes run the gamut from traditional to industrial and back again. When not writing she can usually be found enjoying a baseball game or avoiding direct sunlight. She’s learning to crochet so she can make blankets to fortify herself against the cold.

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Release Blitz: Is It Over Yet? by LA Witt

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 60,000 words 
 
Cover Design: Lori Witt
 
Blurb
 

Rhys Powell and Derek Scott are divorcing. Mistakes have been made, lines have been crossed, and there’s no going back. Both men are exhausted and ready to move on.


But their daughter is getting married soon. In the name of not putting a damper on her wedding, Derek and Rhys agree to keep the divorce on the down-low and show up as the happy couple everyone still believes they are.


And between a roller coaster of a road trip and the love and joy surrounding the wedding… Derek and Rhys just might remember why they fell for each other in the first place.


Are they only kidding themselves? Or can a rekindled spark really light the way to forgiveness?

 
Excerpt
 

Chapter 1


Rhys


The suburban Chicago house I’d lived in for the past six years came into view, and my stomach knotted tighter. It was the same feeling I’d had on my way to a job I’d hated a lifetime ago, when pulling up to the building made me groan out loud at the prospect of another shift in that godforsaken place. Didn’t seem right to feel that way coming home, but there it was, same as it had been for the past two months.


By the time I pulled into the garage beside the familiar red Corolla, my jaw ached from clenching my teeth. Probably because that’s what I’d been doing every night this week at the same time. Ugh. If I didn’t move out of this place soon, my dental bills were going to be astronomical. That was a good enough reason to step things up, wasn’t it? So I didn’t grind my teeth to dust?


As if I didn’t already have a laundry list of reasons why I needed to get out of here.


With an ache in my jaw and a sour feeling in my throat, I collected my coffee cup, lunch bag, and briefcase, and got out of the car. On the way inside, I couldn’t help limping a little, which added to my festering annoyance. It wasn’t unusual for my leg to be sore by the end of the day, especially after I’d been coaching basketball, but it wasn’t doing much for my shitty mood. I couldn’t think of much that would, though. Nothing short of substances that would get me fired. Or maybe finding a note on the counter that said I moved out. There wasn’t a plant on this earth that would get me higher than reading those three sweet little words.


But unless my soon-to-be ex-husband had won the lottery since this morning, he was just as stuck here as I was.


At the door, I paused for a deep breath to steel myself, then went inside. The kitchen and living room were empty. Derek’s car was here, so it was a safe bet he was home, but he was somewhere else in the house. Good enough for me. If I was lucky, he’d stay that way long enough for me to wind down.


I went through my usual motions—cleaning out my lunch bag, rinsing the Tupperware dishes, checking the cats’ food and water, perusing the mail. For years this routine had soothed me. Helped me shift from work to home so I could relax. Not so much these days.


Our long-haired calico, Lucy, hopped upon the counter and chirped at me, and I managed to crack a smile as I scratched her back the way she loved. She arched under my hand and purred. I chuckled, and I didn’t even mind that she was kicking the mail everywhere as she strutted back and forth on the counter.


“Hey, sweetheart. You miss me?”


More purring.


I kept scratching and petting her for a moment, trying not to think about the future. Or the fact that Derek and I still hadn’t come to a custody agreement about the cats. They were littermates, and though they could fight almost as loudly as we could, they were inseparable. There was no “you take Lucy and I’ll take Chico.” When this was all over and we finally went our separate ways, someone was taking both cats, and someone would be living without them.


I scooped Lucy into my arms, and I hugged her tight, which just made her purr louder and my conscience burn hotter. Guilt had been a constant friend for the past couple of months, and every time I thought about either losing my cats or taking them away from Derek, I wanted to cry. As if I hadn’t done enough of that recently.


I’m so sorry, guys. I buried my face in Lucy’s plush fur. I fucked everything up.


The click of a door at the opposite end of the house made my spine stiffen. Lucy tensed too. By the time Derek was halfway up the hall, she’d stopped purring. As he cleared the corner into the living room, she wriggled in my arms, and I sighed as I set her back down on the counter. She jumped to the floor and trotted out of the room, probably to the office where Chico was likely watching birds.


I watched her go, fresh guilt gnawing at me. Things had really gone to shit when even the cats didn’t want to be in the same room with the two of us.


Without the cat to hold my attention anymore, I turned to see where Derek was headed so I could make my own escape. I still needed to change clothes anyway, not to mention take off my prosthetic and sit for a while to give my joints a rest. If he was going to hang out in the living room, then I could go into my bedroom or join the cats in the office.


But Derek wasn’t heading into the living room. He was coming into the kitchen. And from the way his gaze was fixed on me, he wanted to talk about something.


I swallowed. “Hey.”


“Hey.” He slid his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “Do you have a few minutes?”


I struggled to hold his gaze. He didn’t seem like he was looking for a fight. There was some tension in his features, but it didn’t read as hostility or anger.


I shifted my weight, wincing at the vicious ache in my hip. “Yeah. Do you mind if we sit, though?”


“Sure. Yeah. Living room?”


“Okay.” I followed him out of the kitchen, and we sat on opposite ends of the sofa. As soon as I was seated, I leaned down, rolled up my pant leg, and disconnected my prosthetic. Derek didn’t speak while I removed it; for all our inability to coexist lately, he was still in the habit of giving me a minute to get situated, particularly when I needed to kick off the prosthetic after a long day on my feet.


I leaned the prosthetic against the end table and sat back, releasing a relieved sigh. Everything ached, especially my hips, knees, and right ankle, and taking some weight off them felt so good. I might’ve even relaxed if not for Derek waiting a cushion away to have a conversation. Ugh. God. What now?


Schooling my expression, I twisted toward him. I stole a second just to look at him. There would come a time in the very near future when all I had left of him was pictures, and even with the constant tension hanging between us, it hurt to imagine not seeing him anymore. Seeing him like this hurt too. The dark eyes that had tongue-tied me on day one were cold now. Beside his eyes and mouth were lines that deepened whenever he smiled or laughed, and they were barely visible now. The near-black hair I’d run my fingers through millions of times, the soft lips I’d tasted more times than I could count, that spot on his neck where a single kiss could make him shudder all over—it was all out of my reach now.


Maybe it was time to take my sister up on the offer to come stay with her. I wasn’t sure how much more of this I could handle.


Forcing back my emotions, I tried to sound casual. “All right. What’s up?”


He mirrored me, pulling his knee up onto the cushion and drumming his fingers on his inseam. “Um.” He stared down at his hand. “So, I talked to Vanessa this morning.”


My gut clenched. Instantly my mind was filled with a million worst case scenarios. I’d expected him to have something on his mind about us, not about our daughter, and panic shot through me. Had something happened? Was she hurt? Sick? “What’s going on? Is everything okay?”


“Yeah. Yeah. Everything’s fine.” He made a calm down gesture. “Nothing’s wrong.”


“Okay. Good.” I exhaled, my heartbeat coming back down. It wasn’t unusual for her to call him, but the whole “we need to talk” thing had me on edge. “So…” I raised my eyebrows. Oh God, had he told her? Did he finally tell her we were divorcing? He’d been dancing around that for two months.


Derek cleared his throat, and to my surprise, he smiled, though he still seemed guarded. “She’s, um… She’s getting married.”


I blinked. “She is?”


He nodded. “Corbin proposed last night.”


“Oh. Wow.” I actually laughed because I was so relieved that instead of something horrible, he was breaking the news that Vanessa was engaged. “That’s great!”


“Yeah. It is.” He met my gaze, but then he broke eye contact, and his smile faltered.


How could a conversation be this much of a roller coaster after thirty seconds? Oh, right, because it was us and we were a disaster. A disaster our daughter still didn’t know about.


Derek took a deep breath and sat up a little. “Here’s the thing—they want to get married sooner than later. Corbin is going to be transferring within the next year, and he’ll probably deploy at some point. So they want to get all their ducks in a row quickly.”


I nodded. “Makes sense. How soon is soon?”


“They’re thinking February.”


I whistled. “Really not letting the grass grow, are they?”


He laughed quietly. “No. But it’s still three months away. It isn’t like they’re eloping next week.”


“True.” And why was this line of conversation making me apprehensive? Like it was going somewhere I really didn’t want it to go? I was thrilled for our daughter and her husband-to-be, but something about this discussion with Derek…didn’t feel right. After nine years together, I knew him, I knew his tells, and I knew there was more to this than just telling me Vanessa was getting married.


Chewing his lip, Derek dropped his gaze and watched his fingers drumming on his knee again. There was definitely something on his mind. Something he needed to say, but either couldn’t figure out how to or couldn’t quite work up the nerve.


“Derek?” I nudged. “What am I missing here? You’re happy about this, right?”


“Yeah. Of course. I’m… There’s just…” He closed his eyes. Finally, he met mine again. “Vanessa still doesn’t know about, um, us.”


I winced. In the two months since we’d decided to split up, we’d debated more than once when and how we should tell her. The holidays were almost upon us, so that hadn’t seemed like the right time, and we’d agreed to keep a lid on it until after the New Year. She couldn’t make it out for Thanksgiving, and she was spending Christmas with her mom, so it wasn’t as if we’d have to play happy husbands right in front of her. Just keep up the illusion on social media and on the phone. Easy. Except for the part where it meant we’d had to keep it quiet from almost everyone else so no one accidentally let it slip on Facebook. And we were still stuck living together anyway because neither of us could afford to move out yet, so the whole fucking world thought everything was quiet on the home front. The closest we’d come to letting it slip was when a friend noticed our wedding portrait wasn’t on the mantle anymore. Derek had quickly said the frame had broken, and the subject had dropped. For now.


“Right,” I said. “So what does that have to do with her getting—” I tensed, then inclined my head. “Derek, please tell me you’re not going where I think you’re going.”


He looked at me plaintively. “It’s her wedding, Rhys. The next couple of months are going to be stressful as hell for her, and I’d rather all that stress be about planning her wedding. Not worrying about her dads splitting up.”


Closing my eyes, I pushed out a long breath through my nose. We’d been married for seven years, and even though our happier days seemed like a lifetime ago, I remembered the stressful months leading up to the wedding like it was yesterday. The thought of my parents dropping a bomb like that in the middle of all that chaos? Of trying to enjoy my damn wedding while I worried myself sick about making them be in the same room? Okay, yeah, I got what he was driving at. But…fuck.

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…


Website: http://www.gallagherwitt.com
E-mail: gallagherwitt@gmail.com
Twitter: @GallagherWitt
Blog: http://gallagherwitt.blogspot.com

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