Talking in Code by Ariel Tachna: Exclusive Ficlet and Giveaway


Some things crumble under pressure. Others are tempered by it instead. For three former soldiers, a tragedy might be the catalyst that binds them together—stronger than ever.

Richard Horn and Timothy Davenport met in the SEALs twenty years ago and have been lovers ever since. Now running their own paramilitary organization, Strike Force Omega, they work in the shadows to protect their country and its people. When Tim falls for Eric Newton, a deadly sniper and strategist on their team, Richard accepts that Tim’s heart is big enough for two men. He respects, admires, and even desires Eric enough to accept him into their relationship—and their bed—but he’s never been fully a part of what Eric and Tim share.

Then Eric is captured by terrorists and Tim is gravely injured in an op gone wrong, bringing Richard’s world crashing down around his ears. Even if he gets his men out alive, Eric must face the aftermath of months of physical and psychological torture—and without Tim to lean on, Eric’s PTSD is tearing him apart. Richard has to figure out the third leg of their triangle fast, or Tim won’t have a life to come back to.

tco exclusive

Talking in Code starts in media res. Eric, Tim, and Richard are already well and truly involved with each other, but the story includes references to moments before the book begins, moments that are not fully explored in the novel itself.

This is the fifth of those moments.



The minute the door to their quarters closed, Tim and Horn were all over him again. Eric wasn’t sure he’d ever been stripped so fast, no matter how motivated he was. He tried to strip Tim in return, but he couldn’t get a hand on either of them. They had him too wrapped up in their arms. Somehow they managed to strip themselves or each other, though, because that was definitely bare skin against his back and chest. They kept him between them as they moved toward the bedroom, like they were worried he might try to escape. He’d have told them they had nothing to worry about—he wasn’t going anywhere—but between Tim’s tongue in his mouth and Horn’s mouth on his neck, words weren’t happening.

Moans, though… he could handle moans, because fuck, Horn knew just how to bite at the curve of his shoulder to make his whole body light up. And the brush of his goatee only added to it.

They toppled him onto the bed. Tim followed him down immediately, but Horn took a moment to watch them. Eric’s nerve almost broke at the unreadable expression on Horn’s face. Yes, Horn had said he was okay with this, had explicitly invited Eric to join them, but he’d made it clear he was doing it because Tim wanted it. If Horn had changed his mind, they’d never find his body.

Horn ran a hand up Tim’s bare back—shit, he was in bed naked with Tim Davenport—drawing Tim’s attention momentarily. Tim was already smiling before he turned his head out of the line of Eric’s vision, a smile like nothing Eric had ever seen on his face before. He wanted Tim to look at him that way, as impossible as that was. If anyone ever looked at Eric with half the devotion on his face as was on Tim’s, Eric would count himself a lucky man. Horn cocked an eyebrow at Tim, a silent question Eric didn’t know how to read. Eric didn’t see whatever gesture or expression Tim made in return, but Tim turned back to Eric, the expression on his face never changing, as Horn stretched out on the bed next to Eric.

“How do we do this?” Eric asked hesitantly.

“How do you want to do this?” Tim replied.

Eric shrugged. “I’m up for anything that doesn’t involve blood or tying me up. He… um, Horn—”

“Richard,” Tim prompted.

Eric swallowed hard. He couldn’t call the commander by his first name, but they were naked, in bed, about to fuck each other’s brains out. He couldn’t keep calling him commander. “Richard said you’d talked about this, that you had… fantasies.”

“More than a few,” Tim said, making Eric groan softly. “But the only part of them that really matters is that they involve you. Anything we do will be better than empty dreams.”

“How about you do what you want, and I’ll tell you if there’s something I don’t like?” Eric said. Anything more than that was already beyond him. Sure, he’d imagined being with Tim, but it had never included Horn, and that had him totally off-balance.

“We can do that,” Horn said and rolled onto his elbow so he could kiss Eric. The kiss was deep and thorough, a siege of his mouth and mind. If he hadn’t known Horn was only here because Tim wanted him, he would have believed Horn was fully invested in this.

When Horn lifted his head, Eric’s senses were spinning, but before he could put any order to his thoughts, Tim was there, stealing what was left of his brain. Someone’s hands—Horn’s, he thought, but he couldn’t be sure—moved over his arms, stroking along the dips and curves of muscle. Eric knew he had buff arms, but he’d never viewed them as anything other than what he needed to draw the bows he collected and restored in his spare time. Now, with Tim kissing him and Horn lingering over them like they were the best thing he’d ever seen, he was suddenly tempted to flex them. Would it make Horn interested enough to let him come back to their bed another time?

“Fucking gorgeous,” Horn murmured near his ear. “I’m never going to be able to watch you train again without getting a hard-on.”

Eric wasn’t ever going to be able to sit through a briefing again without one, but that was a personal problem. He reached for Horn with one hand, seeking whatever contact he could find. He cupped the other around Tim’s nape and tried to make Tim as breathless as he was. He wasn’t sure it worked, but Tim moaned into his mouth and rutted against his side. Eric rocked back against him as best he could with Horn on his other side. If it had been just him and Tim, he would have pulled Tim on top of him, but he was there by Horn’s good grace. He couldn’t ignore him completely.

Tim released Eric’s mouth and kissed his way down Eric’s neck. Eric took a deep breath to steady himself, only to have Horn lean down and latch on to his nipple. Eric arched into their mouths, already desperate for more contact. Tim must have noticed his reaction to Horn’s mouth because he mimicked the gesture, leaving Eric thrashing on the bed.

“Easy,” Tim murmured against his skin. “We won’t leave you hanging.”

“The rate you’re going, it won’t come to that.”

Horn lifted his head. “That sounds like a challenge. You’re young. You can take it.”

Eric wasn’t so sure, not when he was already out of his mind with lust. Then again, maybe if he came now, he’d actually be able to relax and enjoy the rest.

“Is that what you want?” Tim asked “A quick orgasm now and then something more drawn out? Or can you wait long enough for us to fuck you?”

Eric moaned. He’d never last long enough for one of them to fuck him, much less both. “Make me come now. Then you can fuck me as long and hard as you want.”

“Told you he could take it,” Horn drawled, and it didn’t feel like he was just referring to his recent comment, but like he and Tim had discussed him, had planned this seduction. Before Eric could ask for more details, Tim slid a hand down Eric’s belly to encircle his cock. He bucked into the touch with a hoarse shout, and only years of self-denial kept him from coming on the spot. He’d told them to make him come, but he had a little self-respect.

Tim jacked him too well, though, and then Horn reached between his legs and cupped his balls, and Eric was lost. He shot all over his stomach and collapsed back on the bed, panting.

“Now,” Tim drawled, “you said something about fucking you….”

Eric made to roll over, but Horn caught him before he got to his stomach and pulled him back into the curve of his body. He reached down and draped Eric’s top leg over his thigh.

“Richard, have some patience. Just because I relax automatically at your touch doesn’t mean he will. Let him roll over so we can open him up properly.”

“You can’t kiss him if he’s on his stomach,” Horn replied. “You enjoy him. I’ll stretch him. I wasn’t going to take him dry.”

Eric shuddered, but at the rate they were going, he would probably have accepted even that. Tim stretched out along the front of his body, pressing against him from chest to knee and running his hands over Eric’s skin like he couldn’t get enough. Eric fell eagerly into the embrace, barely even flinching at the bite of cold lube against his hole.

“He forgot to warm up the lube, didn’t he?” Tim murmured as he reached around Eric and spread his cheeks for Horn. “He always forgets.”

Eric moaned a little at the thought of being between two lovers who knew each other so well. What would it be like to be a part of that not just for the night, but to have all that knowledge for himself too? He wouldn’t have said he wanted it if someone had asked, but now that he was here….

“Just wait until he gets inside you,” Tim continued. “He’s got magic fingers. He’ll make you feel so good.”

Horn suited actions to Tim’s words and slid a finger past Eric’s sphincter. Eric tensed automatically, but Horn didn’t push deeper, giving Eric time to adjust. “He needs a distraction,” Horn said behind him.

“Did you have something in mind?” Tim asked.

“All that skin in front of you, not to mention his dick, and you have to ask for suggestions?”

“No, but since you seem to want to run things, I thought I’d check.”

“It’s your fantasy, Dav. I’m just helping you act it out.”

The reminder soured in Eric’s stomach. Tim wanted him, yes, but Horn was just here because he loved Tim. This wasn’t the start of something more. It was one lover indulging another with him as the treat shared between them. He might have pulled away if Tim hadn’t kissed him right then, tangling his tongue with Eric’s so Eric couldn’t do anything but moan and rock against him, which rocked him right back onto Horn’s finger. It went deeper, enough to remind him how long it had been since he’d done this. He’d found the occasional willing partner to trade blow jobs or to let Eric fuck him, but it had been years since he’d bottomed for anyone. That he had offered so immediately spoke volumes about how gone he was over Tim.

Then Horn leaned forward and kissed the back of Eric’s neck, right at his hairline, a lover’s gesture if ever he’d felt one, and his world tipped on its axis. Horn twitched his finger inside Eric, and his breath hitched. “So responsive,” Horn murmured against his skin, his goatee adding another layer of sensation to his breath, raising goose bumps. “Going to make you feel so good.”

Eric didn’t need to be told that. They had already made him feel amazing, and it was only getting better. Horn pressed deeper, finding Eric’s prostate. Eric let out a hoarse shout as he tossed his head back. Tim took that in stride, transferring his attention to Eric’s chest instead.

“Did you like that?” Horn asked as he pressed against Eric’s sweet spot.

“Y-yes,” Eric gasped out between jolts to his system from Horn’s teasing.

“Enough to take another finger?” Horn prompted.

Eric moaned and rocked back against him as Tim sucked hard on one of his nipples. Eric cried out again and grabbed Tim’s head, holding him in place. He carded his fingers through Tim’s blond hair, trying to imprint the memory of this night on as many of his senses as possible since this would probably be his one chance to experience it.

Everything swirled together around him—Tim’s mouth and hands on him, Horn’s fingers stretching him while he kissed his way along Eric’s neck and shoulders. The burn of Horn adding a third finger cleared his head for a moment, but then Horn went back to milking his prostate, and Eric went under again, a drowning man going down for the third time.

“Condom,” he heard Horn say, followed by the ripping of a package. He blinked a couple of times to see Tim rolling the latex on.

“Come here,” Tim said. Eric moved toward him, but Tim gestured for him to flip around. That made sense. Easier for Tim to fuck him from behind. It took a bit of awkward fumbling to get him arranged the way Tim wanted, but they eventually settled on their sides with Eric’s top leg over Horn’s hip and his bottom leg sandwiched straight between their bodies.

Tim steadied him with a hand to his hip and pushed against Eric’s hole. He relaxed his muscles consciously as Tim rocked against him, going deeper with each thrust until he was fully seated in Eric’s ass. “So tight,” Tim murmured. “You feel so good, even better than I imagined.”

Horn reached over them and poked Tim’s hip. “My turn. I want a piece of the action too.”

Tim withdrew, but before Eric could protest, Horn pushed into him from in front. The angle was different, dragging against his inner walls in other places. He couldn’t have said which he preferred, only that the change turned him on even more. Horn fucked him backward against Tim with eager snaps of his hips, so that his ass rubbed against Tim’s cock. Tim moaned, a sound Eric echoed. After a few thrusts, Horn withdrew, only for Tim to return, pushing Eric forward so their cocks rubbed together.

Oh fuck, they weren’t going to take him one at a time. They really were going to share him.

They fell into a rhythm—thrust, retreat, thrust, retreat, switch—that left Eric flying. He’d had some wild sex in his life, but nothing had ever turned him on like being caught between these two powerful, sexy men who kissed him, touched him, fucked him like they’d never get enough. He already knew he was addicted. He’d never have another lover like either of them, much less like the two of them combined.

He reached blindly for Horn, needing a kiss to ground him. It didn’t even matter that Horn was the one to give it to him. He just needed something.

Tim withdrew and Horn took his place, but instead of thrusting a few times and letting Tim have his turn, Horn kept going, pegging Eric’s prostate with every pass as he kissed him so deeply Eric’s vision started to white out. He came with a sharp cry, lost in Horn’s mouth, and felt Horn follow a moment later. They lay there panting until Tim swatted Horn’s hip loud enough that the smack roused Eric from his stupor. “My turn.”

Tim nudged Eric forward, but he had nowhere to roll except on top of Horn. Horn didn’t seem to care, pulling Eric on top of him and taking his mouth in another torrid kiss. Tim moved between their spread legs and ran his hands over Eric’s back and down to his ass. “So damn beautiful.” He spread Eric’s cheeks. “Look at you, all slick and open from Richard fucking you.” He brushed his thumb over Eric’s hole. “I don’t want to hurt you. Can you take me?”

“Yes, please,” Eric begged. He spread his legs wider, or tried to, anyway. He was already nearly as spread-eagled as he could get. Tim fell on him like a starving man, rutting into him, forcing him down against Horn’s body. Holy hell, that was hot! It only took a few thrusts for Tim to come. He collapsed along Eric’s back. Horn grunted but didn’t push them off him, so Eric stayed where he was, basking in the afterglow.

He’d have to get up soon. He didn’t want to spoil an otherwise amazing night by overstaying his welcome. Right at the moment, though, he couldn’t have moved if he wanted to, with Tim’s weight on him and Horn’s arms around both of them. It took him a moment to realize that one of the hands on his hips was Horn’s, not Tim still holding both hips.

Had he misread the situation?

Tim rolled to the side, taking Eric with him, and Horn followed so that Eric was still tucked snugly between them. Eric wasn’t an expert on threesomes or adding a one-night extra to an existing relationship, but he’d had enough one-night stands to know that cuddling was generally not on offer, yet neither Horn nor Tim seemed in any hurry to move away.

Finally Horn rolled to his back to deal with the condom. Eric figured that was his cue to make himself scarce, but when he started to sit up, Tim tightened his arms around him, and before he could question that, Horn had rolled back into place, adding his arm to keep Eric in place.

“Lie still,” Tim murmured against his skin. “We don’t have anywhere to be before morning and neither do you. Don’t fuck this up.”

The words might have stung in another situation, but Eric was too blissed out to hear them now as any kind of criticism, especially since they implied that leaving would be what would mess things up.

Horn kept him in a tight embrace and kissed him when Tim rolled away for a moment to clean himself up, but Eric had learned his lesson and made no attempt to pull away. And then Tim was back, a line of sturdy heat along his spine. Eric gave up fighting and let them snuggle around and get comfortable. It wouldn’t take much and he’d be asleep.

Tim stroked up and down his arm, such a soothing touch that Eric drifted closer to unconsciousness.

“Dav?” Richard’s voice was pitched low, clearly intended not to disturb him.


“We’re gonna need a bigger bed.”


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ariel bio picmeet the author

When Ariel Tachna was twelve years old, she discovered two things: the French language and romance novels. Those two loves have defined her ever since. By the time she finished high school, she’d written four novels, none of which anyone would want to read now, featuring a young woman who was—you guessed it—bilingual. That girl was everything Ariel wanted to be at age twelve and wasn’t.

She now lives on the outskirts of Houston with her husband (who also speaks French), her kids (who understand French even when they’re too lazy to speak it back), and their two dogs (who steadfastly refuse to answer any French commands). The cat pretends they’re all beneath her, no matter what language they’re speaking.

Visit Ariel:





I’m offering a signed copy of Talking in Code to two winners who share posts from the blog tour. I’m also offering an ebook copy of any of my backlist to someone who comments on each individual post.


This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

TCO Exclusive Guest Post: Victoria Sue – A Five-Minute Valentine


TCO is so excited!!!! Victoria Sue has offered to do a monthly guest column on Two Chicks Obsessed, and we couldn’t be more thrilled. First, because we absolutely adore this woman…and if and when you meet her, we guarantee you will too. Second, because she always brings the fun, sexy and delicious times. And third…because she is British, and you know that at some point, we will be doing some sort of audio interview. 😉

So, without further ado, Victoria Sue is here with her first guest column, which is a fantastic little bite out of her fantastic new series. Book 1 is called Five Minutes Longer, and if you haven’t read it, grab it now, because you will want to read it as soon as you read her Five-Minute Valentine short.



tco exclusive

A Five-Minute Valentine


“So, are you going with the traditional flowers and chocolates, or are you being a bit more creative?”

Talon blinked at Gael, having no earthly idea what he was talking about. “Please don’t tell me you forgot,” Gael said flatly.

Talon paused, his mind going a mile a minute. It wasn’t Finn’s birthday. “Fuck,” he swore succinctly. Fucking Valentine’s day was tomorrow. Gael slapped him on the back, grinning.

“He’s a guy,” Talon said defensively after a few seconds.

“Who’s a guy?” They both glanced up as Vance came down the corridor toward where they were standing outside the medical bay.

“Finn, apparently,” Gael drawled.

“Huh?” Vance looked from one of them to the other in confusion.

“I mean he’s not going to be into all that stuff, flowers and shit,” but even as Talon spoke the words, he knew it was a lie. Gael just raised an eyebrow. Vance barked out a laugh.

“You forgot Valentine’s day.”

“You could just take him out for dinner,” Gael suggested.

“When?” Talon nearly wailed not even attempting to disguise his I know and freely admit I’ve fucked up voice. It was nearly ten p.m. They had just finished up a really long day and they’d all eaten take-out earlier. “He’s going on that crime scene forensics course tomorrow, and I have no idea what time he’s gonna be done.”

“There are one or two places that will be open late in Ybor,” Gael mused. “Although, Friday and Valentine’s Day? It’ll be a zoo.”

Talon nearly growled in frustration. He hated eating out. Hated the stares, the whispers when they saw the mark on his face. The fear and mistrust many didn’t bother to hide. “Gianelli’s,” Vance pronounced naming their favorite Italian restaurant. Gianelli’s had a private back room, and they had originally gone to celebrate Doctor Natalie’s engagement. The doc had gotten Gael the private help he had needed when he was diagnosed with skin cancer and had kept it away from the bureau. When she’d asked them to come, they couldn’t say no. They’d all been eating and suddenly heard the sound of raised voices in the main dining room. It had turned out there was a birthday party going on, except the boyfriend of the birthday girl had objected to her ex thinking he could turn up and it had quickly become a fight. Talon and Vance had just grabbed a man each by the collar and hauled them outside. It had been over and done with in a few seconds, and the owner was so grateful his restaurant hadn’t got wrecked, they’d all drunk complimentary champagne. It was the only place the team ever went to eat out, not including Betty’s Diner.

Talon pulled his phone from his pocket and started dialing the number. Three restaurants later he gave up in disgust. Everywhere was slammed. The others didn’t take bookings but were expecting wait periods of at least an hour and the thought that he had no idea what time Finn was going to be back made the two early slots he was offered impossible to accept.

“Can’t you stop and get him something on the way home?” Vance asked.

“The truck’s in for service. We’re both in Finn’s.” In fact, any second his boyfriend was going to come out of the locker rooms looking for him. As if Finn had heard him, the door opened at the end of the corridor and Finn came out with Sawyer. Finn was laughing, and Sawyer was shaking his head in amusement. Finn looked up, and Talon met his green eyes. Everything in him soothed instantly. He wanted to do something special. He didn’t want to do chocolates and flowers, and yeah, he’d stuffed up the chance of both because he’d forgotten. Forgot Finn was normal, and he was anything but. Forgot his boyfriend was and would always be the very best thing that had ever happened to him. Forgot he wasn’t supposed to take him for granted. His lips curled upwards in the answering smile to Finn’s soft one.

“You done?” Finn said softly and gasped as Talon drew him in close to his body. Finn looked around, alarmed.

“Everyone’s gone home,” Talon murmured desperately wanting a kiss.

“Well, we haven’t,” Sawyer groaned, turning and following a chuckling Vance. Gael threw him a pointed look and then ruffled Finn’s hair.

“Knock ‘em dead, tomorrow, kid.”

Finn’s eyes sparkled, all eager. “I can’t wait.”.

Talon smiled indulgently. He couldn’t imagine anything more boring than discussing the nuances of directional blood-spatter, but he knew Finn had just bought a book by a famous forensics scientist in preparation for the course and Talon had already been lectured by his boyfriend on the value of it. Apparently, the book – Forensics for Fiction – had been written for authors, but Finn had raved about it and had even gotten their boss Gregory interested. Their team didn’t have the experience to handle murders in any way, and to be honest, they were having enough problems with the living, but Gregory was trying as hard as he could to plug all the numerous gaps in their training.

And Finn was an asset Gregory had recognized when he had been too stupid to. No, he had to get Finn something special…



Talon was fairly pleased with how things were going so far. He’d deliberately turned off Finn’s alarm and woken him up with breakfast in bed. Just a little too late to have Finn worrying about anything other than ramming down his chocolate chip muffin and racing in and out of the shower. He’d arranged for Gael to pick him up as he was still without the truck and after Finn had disappeared in an eager blur, he was showered and ready for Gael when he showed. Gael quizzed him immediately when he’d arrived, but Talon had just said everything was in hand. Gael had grinned and called him a lucky bastard. Which he knew. He had a dozen stops to make when he got his truck back but was waiting outside the training area next to the Tampa PD building when Finn came out of the door. Finn looked in surprise when Gael took his keys from him and promised Finn his “baby” would be safe and sound in their parking garage when he needed it tomorrow. Talon steered a bemused Finn to his truck and got him settled in there.

He started the truck and turned around. “You thought I’d forgotten, didn’t you?”

Finn opened his mouth, then closed it, and Talon smiled at the pink flush that started in his neck. He leaned over and pressed his lips to Finn’s, satisfied when he felt Finn’s hands creep around his back. He pulled back and then nearly—for a split second—thought to hell with the plan and wanted just to drive Finn home and carry him to bed, but he didn’t.

“I hope you’re hungry.”

Fifteen minutes later they pulled up outside Betty’s Diner. “What are we doing here?” Finn asked in astonishment. Talon grinned and jumped down from the truck and was at Finn’s door before he’d recovered from his shock enough to open it. Betty served breakfast and lunch six days a week, closed at 3 p.m., and it was the first place Talon had ever taken Finn to. To be honest, the diner looked closed. All the shutters were down, and it looked like the usual emergency lighting was on when you glanced at the door.

Talon just smiled and clasped Finn’s hand which he almost never did. He led Finn solemnly to the door and opened it. “I screwed up and forgot to book anywhere early enough.”

But Finn didn’t answer. He was too busy staring at the setting inside. Betty stood beaming, but even Talon was impressed at the table. All the smaller tables usually in the middle had been pushed to the side against the booths. The only table left was set up in the middle of the now empty floor. Talon blinked at the snowy white tablecloth and napkins, and the two candles flickering gently. The bottle of champagne he had dropped off earlier was chilling in the ice bucket. There were rose petals sprinkled over the table, and a single rose in a vase next to the candles.

Finn’s hand tightened in his, and he glanced at him quickly. The green eyes he loved shimmered as he stared, and then Finn gazed back at Talon and swallowed.

“It’s beautiful, Betty. Thank you,” Talon said, quietly.

“How?” Finn swallowed, and Talon guided him to the table. Talon didn’t answer because Betty was busy serving the soup. Finn inhaled. “My favorite.”

Betty beamed. “Of course,” and then she sniffed in that what did you expect kind of way. Talon’s belly growled as he smelled Betty’s homemade tomato soup. He’d spent all day worrying about making tonight perfect and hadn’t even thought about eating anything.

“How was your day?” Talon said.

Finn’s face lit up, and Talon listened as Finn eagerly told him what he had learned. They finished their steak and Betty pulled over a cart with some tiny deserts for them to share, and pressed a set of keys into Talon’s hand. “You just lock up when you’re done.” Finn stood up and threw his arms around her, and she chuckled and left them alone.

It was immediately quiet, and Talon swallowed down his suddenly dry throat. “You would be right thinking I forgot about Valentine’s day…I did.” Talon watched the green eyes he loved widen a little at his pronouncement, but then Finn’s face softened, and his smile was back. Gentle, forgiving and sexy as all hell. He was crap at sharing, but Finn deserved the truth and so much more.

“Normal life stopped for me the day I woke up with this.” Talon gestured to his face, then took Finn’s slim hands in his because he needed the touch. “Grandma and Grandad tried, but after Grandad died I stopped bothering.” He shrugged. “I never saw anything worth celebrating.” Finn’s hand tightened in his. “No, that’s not even strictly true. It…” Talon swallowed again, searching for the right words. “It was as if normal life didn’t involve me. Other people had lives. Went to ball games, hell – even dated. So, I didn’t forget exactly. I knew it was Valentine’s day. I just stopped thinking anything like that applied to me.”

Finn’s eyes glittered, and Talon brought Finn’s hand up to his mouth and kissed Finn’s palm. He needed a few seconds to cover his own eyes becoming suspiciously bright. Talon slid a hand into his back pocket and brought out an envelope. He squeezed Finn’s hand before he let go and straightened the envelope a little before handing it over. Finn’s lips parted soundlessly. “Yours is at home.”

Talon understood immediately. “And I bet you would never have said a word about it if I hadn’t.” Finn would never try and make him feel bad. Finn’s lips curled up into the shy smile he loved. “Open it.”

Finn tore the envelope and grinned when he saw the card. He arched an eyebrow. “This is a valentine card?”

Talon chuckled. “I think it’s a birthday card, but I managed to find one with nothing written on it. He watched as Finn read the words Talon had written and saw the lump travel down Finn’s throat.

super hero with heart

“I think this is you, not me,” Finn said quietly. “You’re the one with the super abilities.”

“Come here,” Talon ordered quietly, and Finn got up, and Talon drew him close until he was sitting on his lap. Talon gently raised Finn’s chin with his finger until their eyes met and held. “Every day. Every day you make me a better person. Every day when I can’t love myself, you do it for me. You have the biggest heart of anyone I know, and I don’t know how the hell I ever got so lucky that you make room in it for me.” Talon thumbed the moisture from under Finn’s eyes and captured his lips with his own.

He had gone to five stores before he had found the card he wanted. It had a picture of Superman on it, and Talon could hear the words as he had written them.

“You are my hero. Love is your superpower, and you save me with it every day.”



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Cross My Heart by Catt Ford: Exclusive Cover Reveal and Excerpt

Guest PostBecause this is a story about a man who likes to dress and live as a woman, creating a cover presented a challenge. As an artist, I can certainly take a photograph of a man and apply believable makeup in Photoshop, but at the postage-stamp size, the cover would just look like a story about a woman.

By cropping the model to leave most of his/her appearance to the imagination of the reader, but providing feminine clues, such as the dress, shoes and even the room, I hope to intrigue people enough to investigate further.

I realize that the subject matter will not appeal to everyone, but the essential theme of the book, as in all romances, is acceptance. Being loved for who you are, something I think we all yearn for.

I always find it difficult to decide what to include as an excerpt, but I hope you will like this one:


When Dom finally pried himself away, Lana bolted the door after him in relief.

She really hadn’t needed that added little bit of drama Dom always seemed to stir up. She went back to the window. The man had apparently given up. He was walking west to the end of the block. Then he turned right. Lana waited. After a minute she spied Dom following the man in a suitably surreptitious manner, skulking as he’d promised. Lana rolled her eyes when she saw Dom flatten himself against a building and then sneak around the corner. She drew the curtains, hoping Dom would not call her tonight with the results of his playing detective. If the phone did ring, she would feel obligated to answer to prevent Dom rushing back over here to make sure she was alive.

Lana picked up her shoes and carried them to the bedroom. It was tucked behind a partial wall and furnished with furniture she’d found at the flea market.

The headboard was upholstered in velvet, and a silk duvet covered the bed, lending a bit of luxury to the secondhand pieces. Lana stored her shoes neatly away in the mirrored wardrobe. Early on she’d discovered living in such limited space required organization and constant policing, difficult when paired with an addiction to clothes. She took off her suit and hung it on a padded hanger. Lingerie went into the hamper.

She went down the narrow hall leading to the bathroom. A pedestal sink shared the microscopic space with the toilet and shower, but a bathtub had been sacrificed for the practicality of a washer. The frosted glass window let in light while still guarding her privacy.

Although small, the flat was the first place she’d ever had all to herself. Lana loved the beauty and tranquility she’d created. The only thing that would have made it better was someone to share it with, but that dream was impossible.

Quickly, Lana removed her makeup and bent over the sink to wash. She buried her face in the towel for a moment and then looked up at the mirror to see herself stripped bare.

“Hello, Roland.” His voice was soft and husky. “Nice to see you again.”

Roland reached for a jar of moisturizer. As he started to smooth the cream onto his skin, he closed his eyes and pretended it was another man’s hands roaming over his body. Not just any man, he realized. The hands Roland wanted to feel on his skin were those of the handsome man who’d followed him. The man might prove to be dangerous, but he was sexy as hell. Roland kept thinking about the man even though there was no point. Roland tried to forget him and concentrate on the usual faceless, nameless hero of his imagination. He wrapped his arms around himself in a tender embrace, but tonight the fantasy of happily ever after wasn’t working. That castle in the air dissolved into his lonely reality. After one last try, Roland opened his eyes to be confronted with the reality of him groping himself. He sneered at himself in the mirror.

“L’amour. Le bullshit. Pathetic.”

He returned to the bedroom, put on a negligée, and went to bed.

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Do you believe in love at first sight?

Roland Reynolds—or Lana Renault, as she’s now known—knows that life is no fairy tale. Fortunately she has her trusted friends, nicknamed the dwarfs, to keep her company. She lives her life to the fullest while keeping what’s beneath her skirt to herself.

American painter Daniel Hunter is no stranger to adversity either, and it’s left him with not only strength but secrets. Unlike Lana, he remains aloof, content to observe life and beauty from the sidelines… until the first time their eyes meet on a crowded Paris street.

Cupid’s arrow finds its mark in Daniel, but while Lana longs for romance, she knows there’s no prince in her happy ever after. If their story is to have a fairy-tale ending, Daniel will have to convince Lana to let down her walls—and, in the process, reveal what he fears sharing the most.






Are you ready to see the gorgeous new cover created by Catt Ford?









meet the author

Catt Ford lives behind the orange curtain in southern California with a partner and two familiars in the form of cats whose fur is as black as their evil little hearts. She is a graphic artist by day and a storyteller by inclination. Catt enjoys the research required for writing a believable story. She is a rabid card-carrying fan of bull riding and also enjoys swing dancing. She gets drunk on words and sometimes over imbibes, but loves to write about love and happy endings.


This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

12 Days of Kissmas: Jessie G


TCO is so excited to bring you 12 Days of Kissmas. We have 12 of your favorite authors ahead over the coming days, bringing you beautiful pictures of men kissing that the authors have chosen themselves, along with exclusive posts, excerpts, and giveaways. The idea sprang from a conversation with an author that just turned into a “what if…”, and when I started asking a few authors, they immediately said they were in. Make sure you enter the giveaways, as there are lots of them! Thanks for stopping by, and a HUGE thank you to all the authors for their generosity, and loving spirit. Happy Holidays to everyone!


tco exclusive




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Last Light on Longs Peak from a Frozen Bear Lake


Guest Post

A month or so ago, Denise asked if I wanted to host a spot in her 12 Days of Kissmas event and I agreed. Unbeknownst to both of us, Chris and Owen were tired of waiting to get married and determined that I write them a Christmas wedding. Now I know what you’re thinking! This seems like too important an event for a slice of life scene…and you’d be right! I didn’t write a wedding scene for this final post in the #13Months13Scenes tour, I wrote a book.

Still with me? So…that big epic tease in the group, the one where Christina called me a bad word…yeah, she not only knew, she had the book in her hands! Who didn’t know? Poor Denise. I tortured her endlessly about my big project and held off sending the material as long as possible. It’s a wonder she’s still talking to me L Help me earn my way back in her good graces by commenting on how wonderful she is below.

Without further ado, the first chapter of Deciding on Forever, available NOW on Amazon and all retail outlets.

Happy Holidays!

Jessie G

Last Light on Longs Peak from a Frozen Bear Lake


What is it about those two words?

“Oh, wow, would you look at that?” The awe in that statement had Owen looking up from his sketch pad.

When they made their plans to fly to Colorado for a pre-Christmas vacation, Owen happily offered to take the aisle seat. He’d visited many times, during all seasons, and knew that first view of the Rockies was something Chris wouldn’t soon forget. Even though he expected it, seeing the wonder on that strong, handsome face infused Owen with a huge sense of accomplishment.

Making Chris happy and helping him experience all the things he’d missed was a purpose he never could have imagined before. Where he once wallowed in his own misery, holding it close while keeping the rest of the world at bay, Owen no longer allowed those thoughts to surface. After more than a year together, there was too much love and pure enjoyment of life that there just wasn’t room for all that negativity.

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Owen asked as he watched Chris carefully.

Prior to their trip to New York, Chris had never been further north than Orlando. As first trips go, dropping him in the heart of Manhattan might have been a little unfair. The crowds, the noise, and constant sensory input had Chris on edge most of their trip. Short of another family gathering, he couldn’t imagine either of them wanting to relive that experience. Colorado couldn’t be more different and Owen really wanted Chris to love it as much as he did.

“The pictures don’t do it justice,” Chris agreed as he turned to look at him, gaze shining bright. “Thank you.”

That heartfelt gratitude made him duck his head. Two simple words shouldn’t embarrass him, but they did. What had he done to deserve them? Nothing. Not really. They’d planned the trip together, paid for it out of their joint bank account, and were equally responsible for making it happen. All he’d done differently was give up the window seat and he already knew Chris would make sure he got it on the return flight, so it wasn’t all that special.

A finger beneath his chin reminded him that hiding wasn’t an option, especially when Chris asked, “What is it about those two words that bothers you so much?”

Back at the start of their relationship, when they were acknowledging their feelings for one another, they agreed to make all their decisions together. That required communication. Chris was usually the one asking the questions and he had this focused way of listening that made Owen say things he would have normally kept inside. Like now.

With those dark eyes assuring him that he was safe and loved, Owen admitted, “I was just thinking…why are you thanking me? We did this together.”

“Exactly, and that’s why I’m thanking you,” Chris agreed as if it were obvious. “Do you think I ever would have done this for myself?”

Owen knew the answer was a resounding no and that it went deeper than the years lost in his step-father’s abuse or the events that followed. Adult Chris, free of the past and working to support himself, didn’t think about such luxuries as traveling or taking in a ballet. He focused on survival and taking care of others, and there was no room for anything else.

“This was the furthest thing from my mind and I know you believe I was missing out, but I like to think I was just waiting to experience it with you.” Chris leaned in for a tender kiss and whispered, “So, thank you.”

The appropriate response wasn’t any easier to get out the second time, though Owen attributed that to the lump in his throat. “You always say the right things.”

“It’s a gift.” Chris grinned and leaned in for another kiss, this time taking a nibble of his lower lip until he groaned.

Owen pushed him away for his own sanity and attempted a glare. It was hard to look stern when your heart was fluttering and your dick was hard, but he tried. “Let’s not get too full of ourselves, big guy. This plane isn’t equipped to handle your massive ego.”

Chris’s full laugh had several heads turning and that attention made Owen frown. Only a year and a half ago they were celebrating the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality and now, with the new election, they were facing the possibility of another battle to keep the rights they’d only recently won. In the current climate, they’d all noticed a new hostility in the air whenever they expressed even the slightest bit of public affection.

Being conscious of it didn’t mean they were willing to be swept back under the rug. If he wanted to hold Chris’s hand, kiss him on an airplane, or make him laugh like a loon, he damn well had that right. Anyone who had a problem with it could look the other way. If they didn’t, well, he didn’t want to be a fighter, but he would defend his right to love Chris.

“Ah, baby.” Chris sighed, reading his shift in moods easily. “The only one who’s given us a second glance is the brunette across the aisle that’s been making googly eyes at you.”

“Googly eyes?” Owen snorted out a laugh and tried to look, but Chris held him firm. “What the heck are those?”

“You know, batting her lashes and sighing. Can’t you hear the sighing?” Chris cocked his head as if he were listening hard. “There, she just did it again.”

“I don’t hear anything.” Of course, Owen was too busy laughing at Chris to hear beyond their little huddle. “Is she cute?”

Chris made a show of looking past him and shrugged. “Sure, I guess, if I wasn’t gay and engaged to this really hot guy.”

“Oh my god, are you guys here to get married?” The stewardess nearly skidded to a halt beside their row and beamed. “I’ve heard Colorado has some of the most beautiful spots for destination weddings. My fiancé and I were just talking about eloping someplace amazing like the Rocky Mountains. We have a ton of family and every time we try to whittle the guest list down to something we can afford, someone gets insulted.”

Without waiting for a response, she leaned on the seat in front of them, nearly knocking the guy’s hat off in the process, and shared, “We’re paying for the wedding ourselves and when we crunch the numbers, it just makes me sick inside. If you think about it, the money you’d spend on a big wedding could be the down payment on a house. My fiancé is worried I’ll regret it if I don’t get the frilly dress and all the trimmings, but you guys understand, don’t you? It’d be nice, but setting ourselves up right from the start would be nicer.”

“Sounds like you know what you want,” Chris said with an indulgent smile. “If you tell it to him just like that, I bet he’ll understand.”

“You’re sweet.” Again, she beamed that megawatt smile and when she sighed, it was all Owen could do not to laugh aloud. “So are you staying in Denver? Personally, we’d want to drive out to one of the little mountain towns, if we were going to do it.  Something quaint and historic, with great views.”

“We’re driving up to Estes Park,” Owen said and could see she never heard of it. “It’s near Rocky Mountain National Park. There’s a quaint little town, an historic hotel, and unparalleled views—just like you wanted.” This produced another sigh and Owen almost felt bad for bursting her bubble. “But we’re not here to get marr…”

Chris took his hand and tugged, cutting off his denial and reminding him, “Someone once told me that Colorado was the perfect place to get married.”

Before Owen could respond, the tone to indicate the captain was about to speak sounded overhead and the stewardess pointed at them. “Get yourselves buckled in. We should be landing soon and I would hate for anything to happen to you before you said your vows.”

With that, she was gone, leaving Owen gaping at Chris. “Why did you let her think we were getting married here?”

“Because we are.” Chris made a point of checking his seat belt and nudged Owen to do the same before he said, “You told me that you always dreamt of getting married in Colorado.”

“Well, yes, but not like…I mean our whole family’s back in…Liam and Maddie would be furious…” Owen knew he was babbling like an idiot and every half-formed idea added another knot in his stomach. Even that wasn’t strong enough to quell the rush of excitement. “You don’t mean this trip, right? Just something to think about for the future. Right?”

Owen wasn’t sure if he wanted Chris to agree or not. Yeah, that was a lie. Now that the thought was in his head, he could absolutely see them eloping. They weren’t big on crowds, on being the center of attention, and neither of them needed the frilly dress or the trimmings. All they needed was each other, a Justice of the Peace, and maybe a snow-capped mountain in the background for it to be perfect.

“I know it’s not fall and we’re not going to your family’s house in Breckenridge, but—” Chris looked at him with so much love and longing that Owen felt his heart flutter all over again. “If the opportunity presented itself tomorrow, would that be far enough in the future?”

“Did you plan this?” Owen had to ask because he certainly wouldn’t put it past Chris to do something this amazingly romantic.

“I planned to convince you,” Chris admitted as he entwined their hands again. A little tug brought them together and Owen just knew whatever Chris said next was going to level him. “It’s been more than a year since we decided on forever, Owen, and I can’t think of a better Christmas gift than to make you my husband.”

The plane was just starting its descent when the first tear fell. As Chris reached up to gently brush them away, Owen grabbed his wrist and said, “Maddie and Liam will get over it.”

“Eventually,” Chris agreed with an unrepentant grin, and just like that, they were getting married.

© 2016 Jessie G Books, Inc. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jessie G and Jessie G Books, Inc. with the appropriate and specific direction to the original content here at Two Chicks Obsessed with Books.

Author’s Note
I hope you enjoyed the last installment of my #13months13scenes tour. I can’t believe it’s over. Or is it? Starting in January, I’ll be posting scenes based on reader prompts. If there’s something you’ve been wanting to know about my characters or see them do, email your prompt (with picture inspiration) to with the subject “Reader Prompt.”

Did you miss a previous installment in the 13Months13Scenes tour?

December 20th KathyMac Reviews Merry Christmas from Ric & Davin
January 20th Book Lovers 4Ever A Sizzling WTF Moment with Saul, Javier & Kyle
February 20th Carly’s Book Reviews Chocolate Hearts & Cuban Sandwiches w/Chris & Owen
March 21st 3 Chicks After Dark Thinking Mushy Thoughts with Ty & Chase
April 20th Sassy Girl Books There Are No Losers in Love with Billy & Liam
May 20th Two Chicks Obsessed Memorial Day with Garrison & Micah
June 21st Foxylutely Books !!Jessie & Greg’s Birthday Surprise!!
July 20th BFD Book Blog Bull & Red’s 1 Year Anniversary
August 20th Molly Lolly Clay & his boys celebrate Romance Awareness Month
September 20th Bike Book Reviews Kyle’s Birthday – Preview of Saving Saul
November 11th Divine Magazine Happy Belated Halloween with Colin & Arnaud
November 21st Joyfully Jay Snake & Greg’s first family Thanksgiving
December 15th Making it Happen BONUS Scene: A Devils Pride Christmas




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Love Is Heartless by Kim Fielding: Cover Reveal, Excerpt and Giveaway

Guest Post

Hi! I’m Kim Fielding, and I’m so excited to be here today to reveal the cover of my new book, Love Is Heartless!

The cover is by the very talented Brooke Albrecht (, who did a great job capturing the mood. The cover gives a nice sense of the setting—Portland, Oregon. And if you look closely at the wall, you’ll see some relevant graffiti.

This is the second book in the Love Can’t series. If you missed Love Can’t Conquer, the first book, you can easily read this one as a standalone. But if you’re familiar with the first book, I think you’ll be happy to learn that this one stars Nevin Ng, the sharp-dressing, foul-mouthed detective who’s friends with Jeremy Cox. Nevin is generally a confident guy, but some chance encounters with a bow-tied property developer are about to throw Nevin for a loop. Expect a lot of swearing, some mysterious murders, and some surprisingly sweet romance.

Intrigued by that cover? Story sounds like your cup of tea? You can preorder Love Is Heartless now. And you can enter to win an e-copy of Love Can’t Conquer, along with a $10 Dreamspinner gift certificate.



Small but mighty—that could be Detective Nevin Ng’s motto. Now a dedicated member of the Portland Police Bureau, he didn’t let a tough start in life stop him from protecting those in need. He doesn’t take crap from anyone, and he doesn’t do relationships. Until he responds to the severe beating of a senior citizen and meets the victim’s bow-tied, wealthy landlord.

Property manager and developer Colin Westwood grew up with all the things Nevin never had, like plenty of money and a supportive, loving family. Too supportive, perhaps, since his childhood illness has left his parents unwilling to admit he’s a strong, grown man. Colin does do relationships, but they never work out. Now he’s thinking maybe he won’t just go with the flow. Maybe it’s time to try something more exciting. But being a witness to a terrible crime—or two—was more than he bargained for.

Despite their differences, Colin and Nevin discover that sparks fly when they’re together. But sparks are short-lived, dampened by the advent of brutal crimes, and Colin and Nevin have seemingly little in common. The question is whether they have the heart to build something lasting.



Even though Colin had a head start, when he arrived at his building, the purple GTO was already there. In the fire lane. Colin generally stuck pretty close to the speed limit; Nevin, he suspected, did not. Colin pulled alongside Nevin’s car and lowered the passenger window. “You can’t park there,” he said loudly.
Nevin sat behind the wheel, tapping his fingers impatiently. “Nowhere else to park in your fucking neighborhood, is there? Not for the rabble, anyway.” He nodded toward the gated entrance to Colin’s lot.
“But it’s a red zone.”
“And every goddamn meter maid and gorilla in blue knows Julie. I’m not getting ticketed.”
Okay, so being a cop brought privileges. “What if there’s a fire?”
“Then your building goes up in flames, hundreds die, and you get to blame me. Satisfied?”
Colin had never been so tempted to wrap his hands around another person’s neck. It was lucky he couldn’t reach Nevin at the moment. “Fine. Meet me at my car.” He pulled away and into the lot.
Without exchanging more than a few grunts, they wrestled the heavy box across the street and up to Colin’s apartment. They had to put it down while Colin got out his keys and unlocked the door. “Don’t let Legolas out,” he warned as he turned the knob.
“My cat.”
They got the box inside, and Nevin kicked the door closed. “What kind of name is Legolas?”
“You know, the elf.” They set the AC down. “From Tolkien. Orlando Bloom was one of my first crushes.”
Nevin clearly had no idea what he was talking about.
“Lord of the Rings,” Colin explained.
“Never seen it.”
“You should. It wouldn’t wound your masculinity. It’s not Disney, there’s no singing, and no princesses.” He paused and thought for a moment. “Okay, there sort of is one. She’s an elf too. But mostly there’s a lot of fighting. Manly fighting.” He decided to omit the homoerotic undertones of Frodo and Sam’s relationship.
“I don’t watch that shit.”
“What do you watch? Car chases and explosions?”
Nevin shrugged. Then, instead of leaving, he ripped the flaps of the box open. “Gimme a hand.”

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meet the author

Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

Twitter: @KFieldingWrites



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This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

12 Days of Kissmas: Susan Mac Nicol Guest Post and Giveaway


TCO is so excited to bring you 12 Days of Kissmas. We have 12 of your favorite authors ahead over the coming days, bringing you beautiful pictures of men kissing that the authors have chosen themselves, along with exclusive posts, excerpts, and giveaways. The idea sprang from a conversation with an author that just turned into a “what if…”, and when I started asking a few authors, they immediately said they were in. Make sure you enter the giveaways, as there are lots of them! Thanks for stopping by, and a HUGE thank you to all the authors for their generosity, and loving spirit. Happy Holidays to everyone!


Guest Post

As this is a Kissmas blog photodune-2816846-gay-couple-kissing-xl post, I thought I’d delve a bit into the history of kissing. Hopefully I might be able to surprise you with some of the things I found out.
Kissing- or snogging, smooching, necking to call it by another name – is something we in the Romance genre know a lot about. We write it in our stories, we use it to express affection and passion between two (or more) men and we certainly do not hold back when it comes to describing the act itself. On various parts of the body, not just the mouth, might I add.
There are two different schools of thought on how kissing evolved. One is that it’s an instinctual, natural reaction and one we are primed to be spontaneous about. The other is that it’s developed from so called ‘kiss feeding’ where mother’s masticated food for babies and then fed into them via mouth. However, as not all cultures kiss, it could be said that this is more a learned action that one of instinct or nature. A study in 2015 stated that less than 46% of the population kiss as a societal norm.
Kissing has been detailed in the Kama Sutra, was rife with the Romans and Greeks and in India it was thought to be a gesture of ‘sharing one’s breath’. I like that description, it invokes tenderness and mutual need. Kisses could be performed for various reasons- sexual, romantic, respectful, religious, peace, friendship, familial or even ritual.
There are different types of kisses. The internet will detail over 50 but I think the ones we probably all know more about is the deep, passionate French kiss with tongue, the cute Eskimo kiss, the platonic forehead kiss, the air kiss, the Spiderman kiss and even the blood sucking vampire kiss.
Animals kiss too. There is documented evidence that elephants do it with their trunks, monkeys and primates do it mouth to mouth and certain species rub noses.

Check out the adorable pictures below of meerkats and other animals indulging in this pastime.

Pucker Up, Furry Lips! 10 Animals That Love to Kiss

If you want to be a voyeur of the kiss, then watch these short videos which will make you feel all oooh and aaah and get the blood pumping……

Want to find out a bit more about ‘the kiss’?



New from international bestselling author Susan Mac Nicol
Based on an idea from L.A. producer and actor, Nicholas Downs, Susan and Nicholas have developed a story straight from the heart.
In a gripping tale of lovers fighting against the odds
comes a story of universal appeal about rejection and acceptance
and finally finding what is real and true.


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Sometimes We Don’t See Love Coming

A stolen weekend in the Florida Keys drove 17 year olds Nate and Cody to a deeper and hotter connection than either could imagine. They were meant to be together. Then for reasons only Nate knows, they weren’t.sight-unseen-wrap-240
Now best friends, the yearning remains, despite the long-ago secret that drove them apart. When tragedy strikes, they find themselves in the dark and must grope their way back to who and what they are…and what they are meant to be.

You can also add it to your Goodreads TBR


Susan Mac Nicol is giving away an ebook set of the first 3 Men of London books. For a chance to win, just leave a comment on this blog post. Do you enjoy second chance love stories? What is your favorite part about them?


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12 Days of Kissmas: Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott : Exclusive Short and Giveaway


TCO is so excited to bring you 12 Days of Kissmas. We have 12 of your favorite authors ahead over the coming days, bringing you beautiful pictures of men kissing that the authors have chosen themselves, along with exclusive posts, excerpts, and giveaways. The idea sprang from a conversation with an author that just turned into a “what if…”, and when I started asking a few authors, they immediately said they were in. Make sure you enter the giveaways, as there are lots of them! Thanks for stopping by, and a HUGE thank you to all the authors for their generosity, and loving spirit. Happy Holidays to everyone!


The authors of the Unbreakable Bonds Series, Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott are stopping by today with an exclusive little holiday story. If you haven’t read this series, sit down, and let’s chat shall we, because my love for this series is serious. 🙂 (I’m not a stalker, no matter what the courts say!) Anyway, these lovely ladies also write all kinds of little snippets between the books (book 4 is due out next year) to keep us loving these men. So, stop over to and check out all the extras!

tco exclusive


Noah bit his tongue, holding back the snide remark that rose up, while the doctor shined a light in his eyes for a third time and asked him a series of questions. Even blinded, he could feel Rowe across the sectioned-off area, glaring at him with his arms folded over his chest. The air was heavy in their little corner of the emergency room and Noah knew that his friend was just waiting for the doctor to leave so he could explode.

Not that he could blame Rowe.

He’d not followed his training. Well, his training for Ward Security. And he’d gotten hurt. Not badly, but enough that he’d been required to make an appearance in the ER.

“Well, Mr. Keegan, it looks like you got lucky,” the doctor said, clicking off his little pen light. He stepped back and stuffed the light into the pocket of his white coat. “You might have a mild concussion, so I’m going to order up a scan to get your head checked. I want to also x-ray your wrist. It’s not broken, but you could have a hairline fracture in there that could only get worse for you if we don’t catch it.”

“But other than that, I’m just fine, right doc? Nothing serious?” Noah said, earning a snort from Rowe.

The doctor scratched the gray stubble along his jaw and glanced at Rowe out of the corner of his eye before looking at Noah again. “No, nothing serious. Let’s just get those scans done and then you can be on your way.”

“Any chance you can give my boyfriend here a sedative before you go?”

The doctor looked over at Rowe, who was still glaring at Noah and stammered something about getting those orders in before he scurried past the dividing curtain and out of sight.

Noah smirked. Sometimes it was too easy. He looked at Rowe and his amusement faded away. “All right. Just let it loose. You’re going to hurt yourself if you hold it in any longer.”

“What the fuck!” Rowe shouted. A few voices outside their curtain immediately stopped. Rowe walked to the foot of the bed where Noah sat. His hair was standing up, pointing in all directions as if he’d been pulling on it in frustration. Probably had been considering that Rowe had actually beat him to the hospital and then been forced to sit in the waiting room while he was initially checked out.

“I know. I screwed up. I wasn’t supposed to chase the guy, but Royce said he had the client covered. I hated missing the opportunity to catch the douchebag.”

“We’re not cops. We’re not in the Army any more. We protect the client. That’s all. We don’t pursue. We don’t catch the bad guy. We keep people safe.”

Noah lifted his right hand to shove his hair away from his eyes but stopped himself. His wrist did hurt like a motherfucker from where he’d tried to catch himself while diving out of the way of a car running him down. He’d landed hard and ended up slamming the back of his head against the concrete … hence the potential mild concussion.

Not that any of this was really bad. Hell, he’d been more painfully injured playing flag football with friends, but Royce called an ambulance the second he’d seen Noah go down and the paramedics started throwing around “concussion” as they checked him out, requiring a trip to the hospital.

But Noah knew this wasn’t just about him breaking from his training.


Unfortunately, any comforting words he could offer were cut off by the curtain being pulled back to reveal Snow standing there in a set of dark blue scrubs. The surgeon looked over Noah  quickly before turning his narrowed gaze on Rowe.

“Don’t even fucking say it!” Rowe snapped, pointing a finger at Snow. “I can freaking hear Lucas laughing already.”

“He wouldn’t laugh at you,” Noah said.

Snow snickered. “Like hell he wouldn’t. Do you know how many times he’s come to the ER because Andrei was injured on the job and Rowe said that he needed to stop worrying so much? He’s definitely giving you shit about this.”

“He wouldn’t if you didn’t tell him.” Rowe barely got the sentence out before his cellphone started to chime. Rowe didn’t even reach for it. He just glared at Snow. “You called him.”

“Of course I called him. He worries.”

“Hell,” he sighed, pulling his phone out of his pocket. He started for the opening in the curtain and then stopped, pointing at Noah. “Stay. We’re not done.” And then he disappeared on the other side of the curtain.

Noah let out a sigh of relief before he glanced at Snow, who watched him with narrowed eyes.

“Your chart says you’re good,” Snow said carefully.

“It’s not lying. I’m good. Stupid, but good.”

Snow grunted. “Don’t be stupid. He needs you intact.”

“I know. I’ll be careful and smart.” And he meant it. Rowe had already lost Mel and he was taking a big risk with his heart by dating Noah. The least Noah could do was to not take unnecessary risks.

Grabbing the curtain, Snow started to leave the little area when Noah stopped him. “Hey! Wait!” Noah said in a harsh whisper. “I wanna ask you something.” Snow turned back, letting the curtain fall into place again. Noah hesitated, licking his lips. He didn’t know Snow all that well. He’d spent more time talking with Andrei and Ian, but neither had been available recently. And well…Rowe was pretty tight with Snow. The surgeon would know.

“I was wondering…when Rowe and Mel were together, was Christmas a big deal for them?”

“What do you mean?”

Noah shrugged and rubbed his hands on his dirty pants. “Lots of decoration and parties and the whole nine yards. Was it a big deal?”

Snow looked down, his hands opening and closing into fists at his sides for a second as if he were incredibly uncomfortable. “Yeah…it was. Mel loved to decorate for Christmas. They always went over to the Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo to see the display and threw a big party for employees. Lots of fun.”

But where did that leave him?

Noah had never really had a big Christmas celebration. He hadn’t decorated a Christmas tree since he was a kid. Starting a life in Cincinnati had left Noah hoping that maybe he could enjoy some of those family traditions like Christmas parties and trees and gift giving again. But would it all hurt Rowe, reminding him of what he’d lost?

“What do you think I should do? Should I forget it? Pretend it’s just another day?”

“What do you want?”

“I’ve love to have all the craziness. Big tree. Lights on the house. Stockings. Gifts. A party where we eat and get wasted. You know, the traditional stuff.” Noah sighed and pushed his hair out of his face, remembering to use his left hand this time. “But I don’t want to hurt Rowe. Maybe it’s best we try to forget everything.”

Snow surprised him by clapping a strong hand on his shoulder and squeezing. “It’s his first Christmas without her. He’s going to hurt no matter what we do. Maybe try something a little nontraditional for Christmas. It won’t remind him of Mel and could give him a little happiness this month.”

Noah nodded, grateful for Snow’s insight.

“Do you have my number?” Snow demanded unexpectedly.

Noah shook his head, then smiled when Snow gestured for him to hand over his phone. Noah did and he watched as Snow quickly typed in not only his number, but Jude’s and Lucas’s as well. He’d already had Ian’s and Andrei’s numbers.

“Call me or any of us if you need something,” Snow said as he handed back Noah’s phone. “Even if it has nothing to do with Rowe. You’re family now.”


“Rowe is going to have a rough time this holiday, but you’re not in this alone. Call any of us at any time.”

Noah wrapped both hands around his phone, clutching it tightly. “Thanks.” He was surprised at the relief that coursed through him at those words. The approaching Christmas holiday had him scared shitless. He was worried about Rowe, worried that he wouldn’t be enough for his lover. Knowing that Snow and the others had his back went a long way to creating some breathing space for him.

The surgeon was right. It was going to be a rough time for Rowe regardless, but maybe he could come up with something that created their own memory, something to add joy to Rowe’s life.



Rowe sat on the lowered tailgate of his truck, his keys clenched in his left hand and his cellphone in his right, pressed to his ear. He just gotten home and was trying to unload the truck when Lucas had called. They hadn’t spoken in a few days since the hospital incident. Shit had just been too busy to catch the man with more than the occasional text. Of course, he had a feeling that Lucas was still trying to make up his recent stupidity to Andrei and that was taking up most of his free time.

“I’m okay, I swear,” Rowe said for the third time.

“You’re not okay. We all know it. It’s okay if you’re not,” Lucas pressed.

“Then quit fucking asking if you know I’m not okay!”


Rowe growled. “Yes, I miss her, but I’m not going to disappear off the face of the earth again. I think we’ve both learned our lesson.” He paused, letting the heavy silence sink into their conversation.

Lucas cleared his throat. “Definitely.”

“Look, if you want to worry about someone, worry about Keegan. He’s the one living with me, putting up with my moody ass. You think this is the kind of Christmas he had in mind when he finally got out of the Army?”

“I think he’s happy as long as you are.”

Rowe grunted. Noah would have said the same thing, but he didn’t feel like it was enough.  He wanted to do more. Shoving to his feet, Rowe kicked a small rock sitting in the middle of his driveway and watched it bounce into the street. “I’m good, Luc. Let’s just get this through this holiday and nail Jagger’s ass to the wall. Then we can start working on getting back to great.”

“I like that plan.”

He smirked as he wished Lucas a good night. His gaze strayed to the contents of his truck bed as he shoved his phone into his back pocket. Just looking at it made his stomach twist into an uncomfortable knot. Taking a deep breath, he closed his eyes, getting the anxiety to ease slightly. He’d go inside. Eat dinner with Noah. Get back to normal for a little while, and then try this again later.

But normal wasn’t what was waiting for him in the house.

Rowe stopped in the process closing the front door when several things seemed to hit him all at once. The lights were all turned off and the house was lit by a dozen flickering candles, casting the house in a warm glow. Something small and dark hung from the ceiling in every doorway and room that he could see from the entrance. It was like a tiny forest was sprouting from the plaster.

And to top it all off, Noah was sprawled across the couch, naked except for a pair of tiny briefs with an image of Santa Claus stretched across his junk. The merry old elf’s mouth was stretched open as if he’d been caught mid-laugh.

“What the fuck?” Rowe demanded, finally shutting the door when a cold wind slipped through the narrow opening. “What’s on the ceiling?”

“Mistletoe.” Noah jumped to his feet, revealing that he was wearing a pair of felt reindeer antlers. “You wanna play some reindeer games?”

Laughter slammed through Rowe, knocking him back against the door so that he was leaning on it for support. Noah…Noah was fucking perfect. The man always knew how to force him out of a bad mood. He surprised Rowe like no one else ever could. Rowe gasped, trying to catch his breath as his laughter gave way to some low chuckles. Noah stood in the middle of the living room, fists on his hips and a wicked grin on his lips.

“Yeah, let’s play,” Rowe growled. He pushed away from the door and started to stalk toward Santa’s reindeer.

“Wait!” Noah said, throwing both hands out to stop Rowe. “You’re under the mistletoe.”

Rowe looked up and found he was in fact under a small sprig with white berries. “It’s kind of hard not to be. It’s everywhere!”

Noah closed the short distance between them and captured Rowe’s mouth in a rough kiss, while at the same time, sliding his hands inside of Rowe’s coat. Rowe immediately responded to Noah’s rare show of force, opening his mouth, letting the other man dominate him while shoving his coat off his shoulders. The second the heavy material thumped to the floor, Noah broke off the kiss and stepped back.

“Every time I kiss you under the mistletoe, I get to remove an article of your clothing.”

Rowe arched an eyebrow in question. “That’s a rather easy game.” As if to test Noah, he slid a few inches to his right so that he was standing under a new sprig of mistletoe. Without hesitation, Noah was on him, tugging at the dark green waffle Henley while shoving his tongue deep into Rowe’s mouth. Rowe groaned loudly, his arms circling Noah’s waist. He would never get enough of this man. His hands slid down to cup Noah’s ass and was surprised to hit bare skin rather than fabric. He broke off the kiss in surprise, allowing Noah to pull his shirt over his head.

Peering around Noah, he noticed that he wasn’t wearing briefs with a Santa face, but a jockstrap with red straps accentuating Noah’s perfect ass. There’s was even a small sprig of mistletoe fastened to the back strap, just above Noah’s crack.

Rowe pulled back and swallowed hard. “Holy fuck. Please tell me that’s where this game ends,” he demanded in a rough voice.

Noah shook his head, his smile growing even more wicked. “Nope. That’s the third game of the night.”

“Third? What’s the second?”

Grabbing a handful of Rowe’s hair, Noah pulled him under another sprig of mistletoe. “Find the lube.”



A loud groan left Noah when he tried to sit up, but he quickly stopped. Everything hurt. And not all of it was the good kind of hurt, even though there was a lot of that. His knees still felt like they were on fire from the rug burn and his back was not loving the cold tile of the kitchen floor. Roughly rubbing his face in an attempt to clear his brain, Noah blinked and was a little surprised to find himself staring up at the underside of the kitchen table with Rowe laying half across him. He wasn’t completely sure how they’d gotten there. Thank fucking god Gretchen had agreed to babysit the dogs for the night. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have been able to sneak in the fun they’d had since Rowe had walked in the front door.

After one round of “Mistletoe” and two rounds of “Find the Lube” in the living room, they’d agreed to sandwiches to regain their strength before moving on to other activities. But then Rowe had tackled him in a kitchen chair when he discovered another small bottle of lube Noah has stuffed in the flatware drawer and demanded that they had to play another round. Noah didn’t fight him. He briefly thought he should find the other two dozen small bottles he’d hidden around the house, but then shoved the thought aside. It would be interesting to see their friends’ faces when they randomly turned up an unexpected bottle from a strange location.

“I can’t move,” Rowe groaned. He turned his face into Noah’s neck, snuggling closer.

Noah lifted a hand, wincing slightly as he shoved it into Rowe’s hair, rubbing his scalp. “We never got to the third game.”

“Save it for later. I like the ‘Mistletoe’ and ‘Find the Lube’ games.” Rowe paused and then lifted his head a little so he could look Noah in the eye. “How many more bottles do you have stashed around the house?”

“About two dozen.”

Rowe’s grin matched the smile he could feel stretching across his own lips. “Good.”

Then again…maybe their friends wouldn’t get the chance to find the other bottles.

Rowe sat up, running one hand through his hair so that it stuck up in every direction. Noah watched the play of muscles under his tattoos. They were both naked now and sporting the beginnings of some new bruises.

“We never ate dinner,” Rowe announced, sounding a little surprised.

Noah shrugged. “You found lube.”

Rowe snorted. “Are there more bottles in the kitchen?”


With a shake of his head, he slowly pushed to his feet and then held his hand out to help Noah up. Noah found himself pulled tightly against Rowe’s body, his flushed skin chasing away the lingering cold of lying on the kitchen floor. Rowe strong hands rubbed his back, easing away lingering aches and pains. “Then you get to make the sandwiches.”

Noah laughed, shoving Rowe away. “Fine. Go. But you’re cooking tomorrow night.”

Rowe started for the living room and then stopped suddenly, his body tense. When he turned back to look at Noah, all the laughter was gone from his face. Noah’s heart jerked at the sudden worry furrowing Rowe’s brow. Was their laughter already gone? Had he said something to stir up an old memory to haunt Rowe? He’d been walking on eggshells for nearly a week, trying to keep Rowe’s mood up while not triggering any specific Mel-related memories.


“Grab some clothes. I need you to help me get something out of the truck,” he said gruffly.

“You don’t want to wait until after sandwiches?”

He shook his head, already walking toward his clothes scattered around the living room. “It’ll just take a second.”

Without another word, Noah hurried to their bedroom and grabbed the sweats he’d been wearing earlier and shoved his feet into the sneakers he wore to take the dogs out for their morning walk. When he rejoined Rowe in the living room, the other man was pulling on his coat. He flashed Noah a tentative smile as if trying to ease Noah’s worry, but it wasn’t enough.

Stepping out into the brisk cold, Noah flinched against the wind that whipped his hair around. But it was forgotten when he saw into the bed of the truck to find a bound Christmas tree along with a new tree stand and a bag containing several boxes of lights.

“You got a tree,” Noah said, his voice barely over a whisper. They’d hung no Christmas decorations. Well, none other than Noah’s mistletoe. Rowe hadn’t given any indication that he wanted to even celebrate Christmas in any way.

“Yeah,” Rowe said and then paused to clear his throat. “Mel never wanted a real tree. She was afraid we’d have to fight the dogs to keep them from drinking out of the reservoir or knocking it over.”

“Or peeing on it,” Noah added, earning a snort from Rowe.

“That too. But I always wanted a real one. I thought…I thought we’d try something new.”

A lump grew in Noah’s throat and for a second he couldn’t speak. He didn’t think that Rowe would even consider something like this yet. Maybe not for another year or two as he worked through his grief for Mel, but he did. “You want to make this our thing.”

Rowe nodded. “Yeah, like you and the mistletoe.”

Noah stepped up to Rowe until their chests bumped. He gently brushed his lips across Rowe’s, drawing him into a slow, gentle kiss that stole his breath away. “Thank you,” he whispered, his mouth still pressed against Rowe’s. “Thank you for doing this for us.”

“Thank you for making me so damn happy.”

Noah gave him one more quick kiss and stepped back. “Anytime.”

As they pulled the tree from the truck and grabbed other supplies, a new idea hit Noah, making him chuckle.

“What?” Rowe demanded, looking over his shoulder at Noah.

“We’re dressed.”

“Yeah….” he said slowly like Noah had lost his mind.

“And we have to go through the living room again.”

Rowe stopped and smiled at Noah. “I think we’re gonna have to play another round of Mistletoe.”

Intimate gay couple


Jocelynn and Rinda are giving away an ebook of the reader’s choice. Unbreakable Bonds or Jocelynn’s Christmas MM romance novella. Just comment on this blog post with what “Love is Love” means to you.


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12 Days of Kissmas: Cardeno C : Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaways


TCO is so excited to bring you 12 Days of Kissmas. We have 12 of your favorite authors ahead over the coming days, bringing you beautiful pictures of men kissing that the authors have chosen themselves, along with exclusive posts, excerpts, and giveaways. The idea sprang from a conversation with an author that just turned into a “what if…”, and when I started asking a few authors, they immediately said they were in. Make sure you enter the giveaways, as there are lots of them! Thanks for stopping by, and a HUGE thank you to all the authors for their generosity, and loving spirit. Happy Holidays to everyone!

Guest Post

Favorite Kisses

I’m thrilled to participate in Two Chicks’ Twelve Days of Kissmas. I’m by far more a reader than I am a movie/TV watcher but I thought it’d be fun to touch on both types of kisses today so I’ll share a kissing excerpt from my book In Your Eyes and some movie/TV kissing scenes suggested by readers in my Facebook Group. What’s your favorite book, movie, or TV kiss?

  1. Just a Question of Love (Juste une question d’amour) – Laurent and Cédric. Watch on YouTube.
  2. Shelter – Zach and Shaun. Watch on YouTube.
  3. Glee – Kurt and Blaine. Watch on YouTube.
  4. Shadow Hunters – Magnus and Alex. Watch on YouTube.
  5. Days of Our Lives – Will and Neil. Watch on YouTube.
  6. Torchwood – Jack and Ianto. Watch on YouTube.
  7. Spartacus – Agron and Nasir. Watch on YouTube.
  8. Maurice – Maurice & Alec. Watch on YouTube




Excerpt from In Your Eyes by Cardeno C.

“I don’t understand what’s happening,” I confessed.

“Yes, you do. Stop thinking. Just feel.”

Before I could deny his assertion or ask what he meant or explain that using my brain was important, he closed the gap between us and pressed his lips against mine.

The feelings were already there—locked away, hidden, but there. His kiss led them out from the darkness where they were buried and showed them the light of day. He felt so good, so right, touching my face, smoothing his soft lips over mine, teasing my tongue into his mouth and letting me taste him. Before I knew it, I was reaching for him, tangling my fingers in the sides of his hair, and holding on to him, keeping him close, keeping us connected.

Without separating our mouths, he rolled on top of me and wedged himself between my thighs. I whimpered and felt him smile in response. All the while, he kept kissing my lips and petting my face. It was amazing—the warm caress of his skin, his scent surrounding me, the sound of him breathing. For the first time in my life, I was where I was meant to be, who I was meant to be. I was whole.

Gasping, I jerked back and stared at Korban. It wasn’t supposed to be possible. It shouldn’t have made any sense. And yet, suddenly, everything made sense and anything seemed possible.

“You’re my mate,” I rasped. “My true mate.”

“Yes.” He beamed, the sides of his eyes crinkling. He moved his fingertips over my eyebrows, my cheekbones, my nose, my lips, and my jaw while he gazed at me reverently. “And I am so very lucky.”

meet the author

Find More Information About Cardeno C. Here:


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Short Bio: Cardeno C. – CC to friends – is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few “awwws” into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset.

Heartwarming Stories. Strong Relationships. Forever Love.



For a chance to win a copy of In Your Eyes by Cardeno C, leave a comment about her blog post. What is your favorite kiss?


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This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

12 Days of Kissmas: Nicola Haken: Exclusive Guest Post and Excerpt, Giveaways



TCO is so excited to bring you 12 Days of Kissmas. We have 12 of your favorite authors ahead over the coming days, bringing you beautiful pictures of men kissing that the authors have chosen themselves, along with exclusive posts, excerpts, and giveaways. The idea sprang from a conversation with an author that just turned into a “what if…”, and when I started asking a few authors, they immediately said they were in. Make sure you enter the giveaways, as there are lots of them! Thanks for stopping by, and a HUGE thank you to all the authors for their generosity, and loving spirit. Happy Holidays to everyone!


Guest Post

IAffectionate young gay couple kissing together while sitting at their kitchen table in the morning’ve looked at so many pictures for my 12 Days of Kissmas post (which was fun!) and I kept getting drawn back to this one. I could’ve gone for something raunchy and steamy, for something naked and hot that got me all of a fluster…but…this picture is what Christmas, what life is about for me. It’s about waking up in the morning, kicking out under the covers and feeling that other person who means the world to you on the other side of the bed. It’s about those little stolen kisses in the kitchen, just like in this image, that you do automatically without caring whether they’ve got jam or toast crumbs stuck to their lips. It’s about having someone to share the everyday with – the ups and downs, the smiles and tears – and I think that’s what this picture shows.

I see so much in this photo. My mind is set to Christmas because of the time of year and the theme of this post, and so I see them having their first coffee on Christmas morning, just before they head into the living room to open their presents. Then, I see them heading upstairs to get ready for the day, to shower and change into their smart Christmas clothes – or maybe their funny Christmas jumpers, stealing a couple more kisses…maybe more, before heading out to spend the day with family and friends. I see love, tenderness, happiness, and so much beauty all from that one little kiss.

Another reason why this image jumped out at me is because it reminds me of a scene in the book I’m writing right now. It’s the morning after the first full night Oliver and Sebastian have spent together, and Seb begins to realise how special the little things in life can be when shared with someone important. It’s the magical turning point for my new guys, the moment things really start to heat up for them, and I’m sharing that whole scene with you here!

Who We Are is releasing early 2017 (I don’t have an exact date yet, but all will be revealed soon) and I’m so excited for you to meet Seb and Olli…and also, as usual, nervous as hell. I hope you enjoy the excerpt!

~ Sebastian ~

“Ah, I’m glad you’re awake before I plate up,” Olli said when he saw me. Dressed in only a loose fitting vest top that skimmed his thighs, he held up two bottles of sauce. “Red or brown?”
“For sausage, gotta be red.”
“There’s bacon too. It’s under the grill.”
Damn, it was way too early for such big decisions. “In that case I’m gonna need brown too.”
His nose scrunched up into a cute little ball, but he didn’t question my odd flavour combination as he put both bottles of sauce on the round bistro table that separated the kitchen from the living room. Taking a seat on one of the metal chairs, I watched him move around the kitchen, humming along to Ex’s and Oh’s by Elle King on the radio as he danced between the stove and the toaster.
The scene I found myself living in felt awfully domesticated, and I liked it. A lot. The problem was we still didn’t really know each other, and if I wanted this to continue that needed to change. If I wanted more mornings like this he had to know who the real me was. He needed to know that yesterday wasn’t my typical Saturday, that usually I had my fifteen year old son to take care of.
He needed to know that I was bisexual, and that being with him wouldn’t magically ‘cure’ my attraction to women. I’d fallen into the pretending to be gay trap, straight too, before. If I was truthful, I’d been doing the latter for the last four years, and I was tired. Lying was exhausting, disheartening, and honestly I didn’t even know why I did it. I told myself I wasn’t ashamed, but on some level I must have been.
Then I remembered Oliver on that stage last night, so fierce and proud, rocking the shit out of those long leather boots, his voice so damn powerful I wanted to turn it into a blanket and keep it wrapped around me for the rest of my life…and I really did feel ashamed.
If Olli had the courage to reveal who he was to the world then I could do the same to one man. He deserved that. I deserved that. Even after the relatively short time we’d known each other I respected him too much to lie to him, to pretend for him. I knew who I was, and I wanted Oliver to know too.
I could only hope he would accept it.
Just not today. Last night, and this morning, had been perfect, and I wanted to remember them that way.
“Wow,” I breathed rubbing my hands together when Oliver placed a plate, stacked high with sausages, bacon, beans, toast, and two fried egg yolks in front of me. “You remembered?” I said, pointing towards the eggs.
Taking a seat opposite, he smiled and pointed to the fried egg whites on his own plate. “Of course. We’re destiny, right?” he said, pushing my knife and fork towards me.
And just like that, he took another tiny piece of me that I didn’t think I’d ever get back.
“I hope your friend won’t mind that you’ve emptied his fridge.”
Olli shrugged, cutting into his bacon. “I’m doing him a favour. He needs to watch his cholesterol in his old age.”
Laughing, I dipped a piece of sausage in my beans and popped it in my mouth. Mmm. Heaven.
As the minutes ticked by I found myself paying more attention to Oliver than I did my breakfast. He didn’t mix his food, eating one component entirely before moving on to the next. Not a big deal, but it fascinated me, just like everything else about him. He caught me staring several times and at first he stared right back, but eventually he became adorably embarrassed and tried to focus on his food.
“I really like you, Oliver,” I said, reaching out and brushing over his forearm, the skin still mottled with yellowy-green bruises. I didn’t care how cheesy it sounded. I liked him, really liked him, and I wanted him to hear it.
A small smile played on the corners of his lips, his head tilting to one side. “I like you, too.”
“I guess what I’m trying to say is, are we, I mean I don’t know if this is the kinda thing we need to talk about. Like I’ve said before I’m not all that good at this shit. I just…” Jesus, stop rambling, I inwardly cursed myself. “I want to do this again. With you. Only you. I’m not after a bit on the side. I want us to get to know each other. So I suppose what I’m-”
“Are you asking me to go steady with you, Sebastian?” he interrupted, followed by an amused chuckle.
“Well when you say it like that it makes me feel like we’ve slipped into an American high school movie, but yeah. I guess I am.”
“Sorry,” he muttered, grinning. “One too many episodes of Teen Wolf.” Taking my hand off his arm, he laced his fingers through mine. “I want that, too.”
Damn those eyes of his. Those pools of blue did insane things to my body.
“We should-” I was about to suggest we celebrate our official relationship status in the shower when the sound of the flat door opening disrupted me.
We both turned towards the noise to find Oliver’s friend, Rhys, walking through it, looking decidedly less graceful than I remembered him.
“Sorry to interrupt the love fest,” he said. “I had to escape.” Skulking gingerly over to the window, he drew the blinds closed and plopped himself down on the sofa, hiding his face behind a cushion.
“What happened?” Oliver asked. “You had a row with Davey?”
“Stop yelling,” Rhys muttered, peeling the cushion off his face. “And get me some painkillers.”
“I’m not your slave,” Oliver replied in the same quiet voice he’d been using all along, yet he slid his chair out from beneath the table anyway and walked over to the cupboard above the sink, where I presumed Rhys kept the medicines. “So what happened with Davey?” he added, taking Rhys a box of ibuprofen and a glass of water.
“I didn’t go to Davey’s. I went home with that guy. The one with the nose ring.”
“That’s not like you.”
“It wasn’t like me, until a few months ago. I think I’m havin’ a mid life crisis. Anyway, I wake up this mornin’ to the sound of retchin’ comin’ from the bathroom and the most intense feelin’ of gay ja vu washes over me. Then I remember. I’ve been here before. In this same bed. Listenin’ to this same guy. A guy who can tickle his lungs with the tip of my dick without blinkin’ but can’t stand the feelin’ of a toothbrush in his mouth.”
“Oh my God.” Oliver’s hand flew to his mouth. “I, um, I’m not really sure what to say to that.”
“I think I’m gonna give up on relationships and get a cat,” Rhys said before tossing two painkillers in his mouth and washing them down with a glug of water.
“Nah. Cats are evil and they stink,” Oliver said.
“I have a cat,” I cut in.
Oliver’s neck jerked around, his expression sceptical like he didn’t know whether to believe me. Seriously, if I was going to lie to make myself sound interesting I’d have thought of something more impressive than owning a moggy.
“His name’s Marvin.”
“Oh.” Oliver’s lips melted into a guilty line. “Well I’m sure they’re not all evil. Sorry.”
“Don’t be. He’s kind of an arsehole.”
He started to laugh but stopped himself. “Wait…Marvin. So that would make him Marvin Day?”
Finally! Someone who appreciated his name. His vet simply snickered and Lisa looked at me like I was a spanner short of a toolbox.
“I don’t get it,” Rhys said.
“Day. Gaye,” Oliver explained, which really ruined the whole thing. Poor Marv. I thought his name was awesome, which is why I chose it.
“Ah. Cool.” Rhys nodded, but couldn’t have sounded less amused if he’d tried. “I think I’m still drunk. I’m goin’ to bed to think about everythin’ that’s wrong with my life. Later, girls.”
Hauling his weary body off the sofa, Rhys paused by the table where I sat as he made his way to the bedrooms, his gaze raking down my bare chest. “Nice sausage,” he said, winking.
Instinctively, I looked down to my zipper in a slight panic before I noticed his hand reaching out to pinch an actual leftover sausage from my plate. Then he walked away, leaving me annoyed with myself for not thinking of a fun comeback in time.
“Sorry,” Oliver muttered with an apologetic smile as he wandered over to the table and started clearing our empty plates.
“Don’t be,” I said, following him through to the sink, ready to help him clean the epic mess he’d created. “I’m highly experienced in the dickhead best friend department.” My voice was teasing as I bumped his shoulder with my own. Truthfully, I liked his friend. He was funny, flirty, camper than the fairy godmother on an acid trip, and from the way he looked me up and down through narrowed eyes when we first met last night, I imagined he was also fiercely protective of Oliver.
The morning still played out perfectly despite the unexpected interruption. Working together in the kitchen, washing dishes, wiping counters, smacking his arse – which I was pleasantly surprised to discover was naked beneath that long vest…it all felt so normal. So everyday. Like we’d been doing this for years. Like I’d known him all my life. Like we were supposed to do this forever. It made no sense, yet it made perfect sense. We were so different, yet the same. When I looked into his eyes I saw a loneliness there that I’d so often seen in my own. It felt like he understood what it felt like to feel lost, to feel like a diamond in a sea of pebbles.
The difference is Oliver let his diamond shine. He polished it, made it sparkle, let the world see how special it was. His diamond was fucking stunning. Me? I rolled mine around in the dirt and disguised it as a pebble.
“You’re staring,” Oliver said, his back against the open door as I was about to leave.
Pressing my chest to his, I combed his hair behind his ear with my fingers. “You’re hard to look away from, and I don’t know when I’ll see you again.”
“Maybe you could stop by the salon again in your big truck,” he suggested, his voice flirtatious as he ran the tip of his finger down the buttons on my shirt.
I didn’t find out which trips I was on until the night before, but I was sure if I flashed June a nice smile she’d work me in a few Manchester runs.
“You wanna check out my gearstick, eh?”
Tipping his head back and laughing, he pushed me away from his chest. “Okay, you just totally ruined the moment.”
“What! I almost went for ‘do you want to slip your tacho into my card reader?’ but I didn’t think you’d know what that meant.”
“Enough with the driver puns! I won’t be slipping anything anywhere in your truck. Trucks are filthy,” he said with an exaggerated shudder.
“I keep my cab immaculate, thank you very much. I’ve won driver of the month seven times for it,” I told him with a smug nod.
Again, he chuckled. I don’t know why he found it so amusing. I was rather proud of my awards. I had all seven of the little plastic trophies standing in a row on the windowsill in my downstairs toilet.
“I’ll call you,” I said, and then I grazed his lips with mine, letting them linger, not moving, just…feeling. My heart ached from missing him already and the feeling was almost surprising. I’d never considered myself unhappy, or realised just how lonely I actually was until I started spending time with Oliver. I’d been content with my life, happy with the simple routine of work, weekends with Scott, and hanging out with Benny occasionally.
But Oliver brought spontaneity, stirred emotions deep in my chest that I hadn’t felt in years, if ever. He made the world seem more interesting, waking up each day more exciting. He taught me how magical stolen kisses over a sink full of greasy water was, how funny a pointless three AM conversation about kangaroos could be, and how much I’d missed falling to sleep next to the warmth of another person.
He’d shown me that there was more to life than being content, that life could be fucking amazing when you got to share it with another person, and he’d done it so quickly too. A little voice in the back of my head, a rational voice, the one that thought back to my previous relationships, warned me to slow down before I got hurt, before I fell so hard it would take me months to get back up.
But it was too late. I’d already jumped.

Copyright © Nicola Haken 2016

Thank you, as always, to Two Chicks Obsessed for having me, and thank you to you for reading this post! I hope you enjoy what’s left of 2016. Stay safe, stay happy, and I’ll see you next year! Big hugs and smooches!

Oh, one last thing, and then I’m done I swear…here’s all my social media links and all that jazz in case you think I’m worth hanging around 😉 Love you!

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Monthly Author Column: Avon Gale recaps GRL

Featured Author Avon Gale


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So, a few weeks ago I attended my first GRL! The only other romancelandia con I’d been to was RT in Vegas last April, and wow, this was a totally different experience. And I had a good time at RT, it was definitely an eye-opening, interesting and worth-while experience…but GRL was all of that AND MORE! I had an awesome time, and I’m definitely planning to go again next year.

This year, GRL was in Kansas City – which just so happens to be about a 2 hour drive for me. I live in Columbia, which is halfway between St. Louis and Kansas City, so! Super convenient. I came up on Wednesday with a bonus! Piper Vaughn, who’d been chilling at my house that week since Mr. Gale was off for a conference of his own in San Francisco (on like, mobile banking, so not nearly as fun as mine). My roommate was the lovely Carrie Pack, who I’d met at RT and chatted with online a little. We luckily got along really well and shared a mutual love of mocking House Hunters, so that was great.

I signed up as a Supporting Author this year, and I’m glad that I did that – it was a great way to both be involved and learn about the conference. The supporting author signing on Thursday was awesome, I love getting to meet readers! I almost fainted when one of my favorite authors, Lisa Henry, stopped by and got a copy of “Let the Wrong Light In” for me to sign. !!! I tried to play it cool and probably failed, after babbling something about how she was a huge inspiration to me as a writer (I love how she can write so many different moods and types of stories and they’re all awesome). I did the same thing to Jordan Castillo Price, who I was so nervous to meet! If you’ve met me, you know I’m super friendly and will talk to just about anyone. But Jordan is one of my favorite authors and her Psy-Cop series was among my first reads in original M/M fiction. So meeting her was totally awesome, and I’m not going to lie – I actually got a little teary-eyed. But there are reasons for that! Other than me being a weirdo who gets nervous around her favorite authors, I mean.

(Lisa Henry and Jordan Castillo Price are both immensely lovely ladies, gracious and fun and I’m so glad I got to meet them! All this awkwardness is on the part of yours truly, let me just get that out there.)

Anyway, something happened between the author signing and my author lounge session that was very significant, and why I got sort of teary-eyed talking to an author I admired so much. I was going down to the conference area and I got off on the wrong floor of the hotel, and ended up…amongst other conference people, dressed in business casual and carrying folders and laptops (meanwhile, I’m in a skull dress with a bow on it, and above-the-knee red boots, carrying a box of buttons with fake hockey logos and a package of rainbow Twizzlers). “Oops,” I thought, (or said out loud, probably, knowing me), “This is not where I’m supposed to be.”
I’d been there before, though. I’d been to conferences during the ten years of my development/fundraising career, and I know they were supposed to be fun and revitalize my love for my career and all of that. But somehow they never did, and while I always loved traveling, I never had that spark of enthusiasm for what I was doing. So I couldn’t help thinking about how incredibly happy I was to be “on the wrong floor”, so to speak. Here I was, doing what I loved and at a conference full of readers and writers who share the same passion for books as I do. It was a wonderful moment of feeling like I was in the right place at the right time, and I think that’s why I got a bit emotional saying hello to Jordan. I had no idea when I first started reading her books that one day I’d get to meet her, and as a reader and as a fellow author. It was a cool moment.

Another cool moment came on Saturday night, when I got to watch an ECHL hockey game surrounded by other GRL-goers! And the Mavericks won, so that made it even better. There’s nothing like live hockey!

All in all, I had a wonderful experience at GRL and I’m so glad I went. It was lovely to meet so many wonderful people, and one of my favorite author experiences thus far – even if I didn’t win a single game of Bingo 😉  TCO note: I’m not sure anyone actually won at Bingo…I feel like it was rigged. 😉

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