A Christmas Vision
There’s no glory in custodial work. That never bothered campus janitor Carl Gibson any. He worked hard—had to. His love life was a tragedy best not reopened and his only hope for the happiness he broadcast to the world was in two things: Halloween and the shrill, ever-demanding bark of his darling Lilah. But Halloween decorations were being displaced by Christmas already, and his precious pug? He could only hope she’d hold on a bit longer.
Austin Edwards had failed his little boy. The most junior dining manager at the college, when everyone called out on Halloween, he got called in. The house lights were all dark. except one. A sparkling hope of legend at the college. For his boy’s sake, he hoped Carl was as crazy about Halloween as the stories said. When Carl filled his son’s empty bag with candy, Austin couldn’t help but wonder why such a wonderful man was so alone. He had to find out.
With Christmas fast approaching, Carl and Austin tip-toe into dating. But they both have ghosts and memories to contend with. Can Austin be Carl’s Christmas vision? Or will Carl retreat, as he always has?
The Tendire Gate
After Doomsday, there wasn’t much left—a world that had fallen apart. It hadn’t been enough to boil the oceans and raze the surface with fire. With that scorched earth had come a final solution, the contagion. In a world where every breath was ash and disease, few survived.
The Imperium hunted them, extracting healthy flesh to extend the life of the powerful. All the while, soaring unseen, the tools of an old order search. Hidden far from the sight of the ruthless Imperium, deep beneath the earth, the DIRE stations offer renewal—an exit from the destruction of the world.
Those ships, like a phoenix, rise with the last refugees to bring them to DIRE, hoping that a keeper yet lives to hold open the only chance of escape.
As a soldier, Dustin Cooper survived his unit being blown up. His twin brother didn’t survive the blast, and Dusty knows he’s lucky just to be alive. He doesn’t feel lucky. Crippled and scarred in the explosion, Dusty can’t even go to the local grocery store without being called a monster by any kid who gets a good look at what’s left of him.
When Dusty collapses in the aisle, he wakes to an angel looking down on him. Benjamin Newell offers hope, offers help. That he’s gorgeous only makes the whole situation more tense. But Dusty is determined to overcome his injuries and the trauma of the past without any charity from a stranger. There’s only one thing he wants from his grocery store savior—a date.
The Byte of Betrayal
Caleb McDonnell lives his life online. A thirty-year-old fast food worker, he spends his time talking in an Internet world where his job and living conditions can’t dictate his friendships. He’s found acceptance, friendship, and even romance. But when an online friend is revealed as a fake, Caleb loses all sense of trust. To stave off the emotional collapse of his betrayal, Caleb leaves his online life behind and retreats into the monotony of his job.
Nicodemus Rokos feels like his heart has been torn out. He knew Caleb would be hurt, but he’d hoped not to be shut out of his boyfriend’s life. He can only hope Caleb still feels something when he shows up in person to reclaim what he’s lost.
The Byte of Betrayal was originally published by Dreamspinner Press in their Daily Dose: Mended collection.
The Colors of Romance
A disastrous date during his freshman year of college has left Theo Dwyer with no faith in men, relationships, or especially Valentine’s Day. When his roommate sets him up on a blind date, naturally Theo refuses. Then a persistent online suitor known only as TruClrs4vr begins sending Theo flowers and arranging romantic virtual meetings. After his treatment by his ex, Theo is reluctant to trust another man, but the determined TruClrs4vr might be the one to rekindle his passion, one color of the rainbow at a time.
I Almost Let You
When Aaron refused to discuss getting married, he didn’t expect Chris to take it so poorly. They’ve been together twelve years. Aaron thought they’d at least talk about his very valid reasons. Gay marriage isn’t even legal in their state, and what do they need a piece of paper for, anyway? When Chris leaves after the fight, Aaron tracks Chris down just in time to see him about to lock lips with a stranger in a club, which drives home the situation’s urgency. Aaron must make things right with Chris. He’s willing to do anything, but their friends’ advice only goes so far, and when he learns what Chris has been hiding, Aaron has to decide if a life with Chris is even an option.
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