Sunday, 1 December 2019

Rainbow Advent Calendar

Welcome to the Rainbow Advent Calendar!

Thank you to Alex Jane for organising this event! I'm looking forward to reading all the stories.
the links can be found here: 

My story is a short one adapted from a prompt in my Facebook author group.

Bikers doing a gift drop off at the kids hospital. The boss falls for a nurse/doctor

In Santa’s Arms

© Sue Brown 2019

“Charlie! You’re here! Look at my new pyjamas!”
A whirlwind with a mop of sandy-blond hair rushed over as Charlie pushed through the double doors of the children’s ward and flung his skinny arms around Charlie’s legs.
Trapped by the small boy, Charlie grinned down at him. “Hey Jake! You’re out of bed and rocking those Spiderman jammies!”
Jake gave him a gappy grin. “Mum said Santa left them under the tree for me.” Then his face wrinkled, and he tugged Charlie down to whisper in his ear. “I think my mum bought them for me, but I won’t tell her. You promise to keep the secret?”
Charlie nodded solemnly. “I promise.”
He had kept many secrets like that over the years.
“Has Santa been here yet?” he asked, although he knew the answer.
Jake shook his head. “’Mela says he’ll be here soon and he’s bringing all his elves cos it’s their holiday now.”
Charlie grinned. Amelia, one of the ward sisters, said the same thing every year.
He’d come in on his day off to help with Santa’s visit. It was Christmas Day. Charlie’s best and worst day of the year.
Best because it was Christmas and Charlie reverted to a big kid when it came to the festive season. If he had his way, he’d put the enormous Christmas tree up on the first day of October.
Best because he worked with amazing kids, and it didn’t matter how sick they were, when he saw their eyes light up as Santa Claus visited them, it made it all worthwhile.
Worst because he would see Santa again. Charlie sighed. He sighed again.
He’d had three years of watching the man of his dreams ho-ho-hoing into the ward to gasps and giggles from the children. Three years of watching the big man talk gently to children, some of whom would never see the New Year, let alone another Christmas.
Three years of watching Santa listening intently to the children whisper their dreams to him. Charlie always swallowed back a lump in his throat and wondered how he got so lucky to see this.
But it was also three years of knowing Santa didn’t even realise he existed. It wasn’t that he hadn’t had boyfriends in between, but none of them had excited him like his annual glimpse of Santa. Short of dragging Santa into the supply cupboard, holding up mistletoe, and saying, “Surprise!”, he didn’t know how to attract the big man’s attention. Big wasn’t a euphemism. He was twice Charlie’s size in height and width. And he made Charlie’s mouth water. He wanted to climb Santa like a tree.
“Charlie, Charlie, look at my Lego!”
He was distracted from his lustful and definitely NSFW thoughts by Jamal waving a box at him. Lego pieces spilled over the bed and onto the floor.
Charlie rushed over to help the little boy pick them up. “Oh, hey buddy, you don’t want to lose pieces before you’ve had a chance to make it.”
It took five minutes to make sure all the Lego pieces were safely in the box and Jamal’s heavily pregnant mother thanked him for his help. She didn’t scold her son. Jamal was notoriously clumsy, and they all took it in their stride now.
“Ten minutes to Santa!” Amelia called.
Excited yelling and cheering and clapping filled the ward, and Charlie cheered along with the rest of them, whilst his heart skipped a beat. He would see Santa again!
He dumped his backpack and jacket in the ward office and went out to help position children, chairs and beds around the large windows.
“Is Santa coming on a sleigh?” one of the children asked as they were finally all in place.
“Something better,” Charlie promised.
The parents and kids all looked a bit bemused by the sudden activity, but the staff knew it would be worth it.
Jake peered eagerly out of the window. “Is he coming on Rudolph?”
Charlie grinned at him. He’d spotted something in the distance. “Just watch.”
The children’s ward overlooked the main entrance to the hospital. A large motorbike rumbled down the drive.
“There’s Santa! There’s Santa!” Jamal screamed.
His mother winced as her son screamed in her ear.
Jamal was right. Santa was on the Harley in the front of a cavalcade of green elves on equally large motorbikes.
“Santa is on Rudolph!” Jake said indignantly to Charlie.
The front of Santa’s motorbike was decorated with a large red nose and antlers.
“So he is,” Charlie agreed, his mouth dry just looking at the large man nicely filling his red suit.
The cavalcade came to a halt outside the entrance and Santa looked up at the window for the children’s ward. They all screamed and waved, and he waved back. The noise in the ward was incredible. Santa swung his leg off his motorbike and waited until his elves joined him on the pavement. He looked up at the window again. He seemed to be searching for something. But then he smiled and disappeared from view as they all entered the hospital.
The children’s ward was always first on Santa’s list, so the staff got everyone settled back in their beds, ready for the visit. Charlie’s heart was pounding so hard he was surprised the kids couldn’t hear it.
This is the last time I drool over Santa. Four years is enough.
He sat with little Anna on his lap as her mum had been delayed. Ana was one of their sickest children this year, but she was still excited by the prospect of meeting Santa.
“I can hear bells,” Jake yelled.
He was right. There were bells outside the door to the ward. Then they opened and Santa strode through, followed by his elves, some of them almost as big as Santa.
“Ho! Ho! Ho!” Santa bellowed, his blue eyes twinkling as several kids rushed him, including Jake and Jamal.
Charlie sighed like a boy with his first crush. Santa was just perfect. He caught Amelia’s smirk in his direction. Once upon a drunken night at a staff party somewhere, he’d made the mistake of telling her about his lust for Santa. She hadn’t been as drunk as he had been, dammit. She’d never forgotten it.
Santa rose to his feet, Jake and Jamal hanging off him. He looked around the ward and locked gazes with Charlie. It was a second, maybe two at the most, but Charlie stopped breathing.
Then Jamal tugged at his beard and Santa’s attention was diverted.
“Well, well, well,” Amelia murmured, “that was interesting.”
“It was?” Charlie squeaked. He coughed and tried again. “It was?”
“I could fry an egg on your cheeks.” Her smirk was positively wicked.
Charlie was about to tell Amelia where to stuff her egg when one of the elves stomped over to ask her about who Santa should see first. The elf had to be six feet three if he was an inch, and in lurid green spandex and black biker boots, the effect was more than a little alarming. Amelia winked at Charlie and hurried after the elf.
Under Amelia’s direction, Santa made his way around the ward. Charlie tried to stare at him, but it didn’t help that Santa kept sending glances his way. One thing he had learned was that Santa’s beard was real. He’d actually winced when Jamal tugged at it. How did he have a snowy-white beard? What colour was his hair? How old was he?
Anna tugged on his finger and Charlie smiled at her. “Is Santa coming to meet me?”
“Of course he is, Miss Anna.”
“I think Santa likes you,” she said shyly.
Charlie couldn’t hold back a blush. “He likes everyone.”
“He keeps looking at you. I thought you had a bogey hanging out of your nose.”
Charlie gave a bark of laughter, aware of Santa looking his way. “No bogey. Look.”
He wrinkled his nose, laughing harder when she studied his nose very closely.
“No bogey,” she agreed.
She yawned and sucked her thumb contentedly. If Santa didn’t hurry up, Anna would be asleep. Charlie looked over at Santa, caught his eye, and nodded down at the little girl almost dozing in his lap. He didn’t blush…much.
Santa nodded, sent the elves ahead to the other children so they didn’t feel forgotten and strode over to Charlie and Anna. He knelt down in front of them and smiled at Anna.
“Merry Christmas, Anna.”
She whispered a sleepy, “Merry Christmas, Santa.”
Charlie wasn’t surprised Santa knew her name. Every year, he wandered around the ward greeting each child by name.
Then Santa looked up at him. “Merry Christmas, Charlie.”
Charlie stopped breathing.
Santa’s lips twitched at Charlie’s wide-eyed stare.
“Uh…hi. I mean, merry Christmas, Santa.”
He knows my name! Oh my God, could I sound more lame?
Santa grinned and then looked at Anna. “You look a little sleepy.”
She nodded, yawned, and pressed into Charlie.
Santa reached into his sack and pulled out a large brightly wrapped box with a pink bow on top.
She sat up and stared at it. “Is that for me?”
Charlie grinned at the awe in her voice. He didn’t know what it was, but the local toy shop, who donated toys to the children in hospital, always put in wonderful gifts. He glanced at Santa who returned his grin, and for a moment, time stood still. It could have been just them in the room.
Santa coughed softly and stood up. “I must visit the other children or my elves get annoyed. Bye bye, Anna.”
“Bye, Santa.”
He walked away with a quick wink to Charlie who knew his cheeks were flaming again.
Anna still clutched her present, too tired to even open it. Charlie laid her on the bed, her present next to her. She was asleep before he’d tucked the blanket around her.
“He so likes you,” Amelia hissed in his ear.
Charlie really hoped he was on Santa’s nice list…or maybe the naughty list would be more fun.

Santa visited every child. Jake had tried to get two presents but Santa had told him that would put Jake on the naughty list next year. It was doubtful Jake would see Santa next year but he nodded, smirked, and then gave Santa a stranglehold of a hug. Santa didn’t hesitate to hug him back.
Then they left to visit other wards. Every in-patient received a small gift. The bikers made sure of that.
Charlie watched them go with a sigh.
Merry Christmas, Santa. I wish you were mine.
“For heaven’s sake, go after him,” Amelia said as they walked into her office. “I can’t bear seeing you moon over him for another year.”
“I can’t do that,” Charlie protested. “I don’t even know if he’s gay.”
Amelia rolled her eyes. “I know you’re pretty, but how did you get to be a nurse? You’re so oblivious.”
“What do you mean?”
Charlie knew but he just wanted someone else to confirm it.
“Our Santa wants you to sit on his lap so you can ride him like a cowboy.”
“You’ve got two options, Charlie-boy. Fuck him or forget him.”
He shook his head. “You have way too much imagination.”
Amelia threw up her hands. “Whatever. Go home before I put you to work. Are you going over to your parents?”
“Not tonight. We’re doing Christmas Day tomorrow. I’m going to watch the entire series of Fast and Furious and drink lousy beer because my brother drank my vodka when he broke up with his girlfriend.”
“You could come over to my house and drink cheap gin with the wife until I get home.”
He was touched. Amelia fiercely guarded her privacy and he was one of the only members of the ward staff to meet her wife and children.
“That’s really kind of you, but I’m going to go home and dream Santa comes down my chimney tonight.”
She squinted at him. “Is that a euphemism?”
“I’m going now!”
Charlie grabbed his backpack and hurried out of the office before she could suggest anything else.
As he left the ward he looked over at Anna. She was still asleep, her arm around the unwrapped present. Her mum had arrived and sat on the chair by the bed. She waved when she caught sight of Charlie and he waved back. He didn’t believe in prayers, but if he did, Anna and her family surely deserved them.
On impulse, Charlie walked along the corridor to the windows overlooking the main entrance. Rudolph and his motorcycle gang were still there. He wasn’t surprised. It was going to take a while to get around all the wards. Charlie resisted the urge to hunt down Santa. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to drag him into the supply cupboard, but he’d spent four years staring at him from afar; Charlie knew his limitations.
He ran down the stairs, taking them two at a time and rounded the corner to run into a leather wall.
“Shit!” Charlie yelped as someone grabbed him before he rebounded and cracked his head against an actual wall.
“Charlie, are you all right?”
Bright twinkly blue eyes. A white beard. No, not white. Blond, with white dye in it. Gorgeous blond hair so pale it looked white in this light. The leather was right. Black leather jacket, trousers, and boots.
The man furrowed his brow. “Charlie? Are you hurt?”
He knew Charlie’s name. He did?
Charlie’s mouth fell open. “Santa?”
Santa snorted. “Not until next year. Now I’m just Iain.”
There was nothing ‘just’ about this man. He was as big and solidly muscled as Charlie had imagined under the Santa suit.
Charlie tore his eyes away from Santa’s—Iain’s—chest and looked up at him. “What are you doing here? Did you leave something behind?”
“No. Yes.” Iain huffed.
Charlie couldn’t help the twitch of his lips. “Which is it?”
“Not something. Someone. I left you behind.”
“Me?” Charlie did that squeak again.
“Look, you probably don’t want to, and you might not even be…, but I can’t take another year of waiting to see you and not asking.”
The words tumbled out, so fast Charlie had trouble keeping up. But then he worked through it and realised Iain was trying to ask him…something.
“Ask me what?”
Charlie needed to know exactly what he was saying yes to.
“Coffee, or beer, or a meal. Anything. If you’re free.”
“Everywhere is closed today.”
“Tomorrow then. Something will be open tomorrow,” Iain declared.
Charlie was about to say yes and then he realised he had Christmas dinner at his parents.
“I can’t,” he said regretfully.
Iain’s face fell and he took a step back. “Oh, okay. Well, thanks for listening to me babble.”
He went to walk down the stairs. In a panic, Charlie leapt at Iain and pushed him into the wall, knocking the breath out of him. Iain stared at him; his eyes huge above his beard.
“No! Wait!” It was Charlie’s turn to babble. “I do want to, and I am gay, and God yes, I want to drink coffee and beer and anything with you, but tomorrow I have dinner with my parents.” He dragged in a breath and carried on. “Are you doing anything now? I mean, I only have cheap beer and frozen pizza, but I was going to watch DVDs for the rest of the day. I know it’s not exciting, but you’re welcome to join me. If you want…that is.
Charlie ground to a halt feeling a bit stupid. Where was a supply cupboard when you needed one?
Iain still had that wide-eyed look but now he was smiling. “I understand. You can’t miss the family dinner.” He licked his lips. “I’m on my own. My flatmate is away. Would you like to come over for dinner? It’s not up to frozen pizza standards, but I’m not a bad cook.”
“You don’t have anywhere else to be?” Charlie asked, sounding a little breathy.
Santa was asking him to dinner!! And then a few more !!!!!!! for good measure.
“No. My parents have gone on a cruise. They asked me but I couldn’t get the time off.”
Charlie beamed at him. “I’d love to come for dinner.”
Iain breathed out and Charlie realised he’d been holding it as he waited for Charlie’s answer.
“That’s great! Are you free now? I noticed you weren’t in uniform.”
Charlie nodded. “I’m off today. I just like helping out.”
So I could see you.
Iain looked relieved. “Come on then.”
“Aren’t you supposed to be going around the hospital with your sack of presents?”
Iain looked a bit sheepish. “My friends got sick of me mooning over you. They told me to put up or shut up. I’m paraphrasing here.”
Charlie flushed a little as he remembered Amelia’s words. “The sister on the ward said the same thing.”
“One of the elves is now playing Santa. I’m free to do what I’ve wanted to for a very long time.”
“What’s that?” Charlie asked breathlessly. He looked up to see the green leaves and white berries in Iain’s meaty hand above their heads. “Oh. You’ve got mistletoe.”
“May I kiss you?” Iain murmured, his gaze locked on Charlie’s mouth.
This huge biker wanted to kiss him too! It was a Christmas miracle!
Charlie nodded and pressed in close. “Yes, please, Santa.”
Large arms wrapped around him and he was gathered up against Iain’s body. He curled his fingers in the jacket and tilted his head for Iain to kiss him. Iain’s mouth was warm, and he tasted a little of mint. Charlie wanted the kiss to go on forever.
When breathing had become a necessity, Iain pulled back and looked down at him. “I’ve wanted to do this for so long.”
Charlie didn’t ask why he hadn’t. It didn’t matter right now. He was where he wanted to be; in Santa’s arms.

Thank you for reading!
Don't forget to keep up with the calendar here. 


I have two Christmas tales (so far) out this year. 

Last Place at the Chalet is on pre-order here!


Stocking Stuffers is out now on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited!

Friday, 16 November 2018

Southern Brit by Marissa Holt

TITLE: Southern Brit
SERIES: He’s The One – Book 4
AUTHOR: Marissa Holt
LENGTH: 277 Pages
BLURB: Flynn Henderson has always enjoyed the single life. Hot guys and hookups with no strings worked perfectly for him…until his best friend, Kace, found love with his dream man…that’s when Flynn decided to give love and monogamy a try for himself.
But when Flynn’s first attempt at a real relationship ends in disaster and his boyfriend abandons him, Flynn takes drastic measures to ensure his heart is protected and he’s never hurt again. However, Flynn’s plan is quickly jeopardized when his ex-boyfriend’s brother, Royal, shows up in Atlanta needing a place to stay.
Royal Maddox, a UK reality star with a bad reputation, is looking to mend his rocky relationship with his brother on a visit to the US. After finding his brother has taken off, Royal becomes intrigued with Flynn while staying with him temporarily, unaware of Flynn’s true history with his brother.  
Temptations and desires intensify on both sides as Royal re-evaluates what he truly wants before returning home - possibly the guy his brother deserted…and Flynn devises more extreme measures to keep the gorgeous Brit from stealing his heart.
It’s all hands on deck as Flynn’s friends help him navigate the choppy waters of mending a broken heart and pushing past fears to take a second chance on love…this time with maybe the one perfect guy meant just for him…before it’s too late.
Southern Brit is a steamy Second Chance at Love M/M Romance Novel with a guaranteed HEA. This is Book 4 of He’s the One Series. Can be read as a standalone.
(Flynn has just returned home with a drunk Royal after going out to a club.)

I shook his shoulder. “Wake up! We’re home.”
“Ahh…brilliant…” Royal muttered with his eyes still closed and opened the car door. He staggered up the walkway behind me acting drunker than when we’d left the club.
Once inside, I aimed him toward the couch. “I think you better go to sleep.”
I went to my room, stripped down to my boxers and put on a clean T-shirt, then came back out expecting Royal to be asleep. Instead, the only thing resting on the couch was his shirt that he’d apparently shed.
Noises drew me to the kitchen where I found Royal standing shirtless with his jeans unbuttoned and partially unzipped as though he’d started to take them off but never finished.
He fumbled around in the cabinet and pulled out the brand-new bottle of tequila I’d bought the other day which was now almost empty. “I need a drinkie.” He opened another cabinet and grabbed a glass.
A drinkie?
I took the glass from his hand and put it back. “No more drinkies tonight. And you told me you only had three drinks earlier. Over half this damn bottle is gone.” I pointed at my tequila with a sneer.
“Ooops.” He chuckled at his fib and backed me against the counter, his hard body only an inch from mine.
I scanned his incredible chest and abs down to his open jeans where the dark hair just above his dick peeked out.
I sucked in a breath and looked away as a wave of heat spread over me and down to my own dick.
Royal gripped the counter on either side of me, pinning me against it as he grinned. “You’re so bloody sexy, Flynn. Even when you’re mad.” He pressed his hard body against mine, causing my knees to almost buckle.
What the hell? Royal had flipped from angry on the ride home to a mix of silly and flirty all of a sudden.
“How many drinks did you have at the club?” I asked, only remembering him drinking the one Marie bought all of us.
“Hmmm….” Royal tapped his rugged jawline humorously as though trying to recall the number. “Marie bought me one…no…two…or maybe it was three.” He grinned. “I lost count.”
Dammit Marie.    
“Oh…Sawyer bought me one, also.” He smiled. “I like that bloke.”
“Yeah,” I said. “Sawyer is a good bloke, as you put it. Now, I think it’s time for beddy-bye.” I didn’t know why I was using words like beddy-bye, maybe because he used drinkie.
Royal chuckled and backed away, giving me a view of the huge bulge down the leg of his open jeans. I wanted to grab his zipper and yank it up before a something popped out.
The crazy thing was normally I loved surprise packages. And Royal’s looked enticing as hell. The long, thick impression in his jeans all but told me what I’d receive if I dared explore inside. But I’d taken that damn vow not to open and enjoy any packages…at least for now, and I still held on to that…if only by a string.
I cursed myself as I led Royal to the couch and made him stretch out for sleep. Then hurriedly tossed the sheet over his tempting body so I could bring my racing heartbeat down to a normal level.
“Don’t get back up,” I commanded.
He chuckled. “Oooh, I like bossy Flynn.”
I rolled my eyes at him, turned off the lamp and went to the bathroom, then shut the door and brushed my teeth.
By the time I finished, exhaustion had set in.
I left the bathroom quietly, hoping Royal had passed out. All hope died the second I opened my bedroom door. I gasped.
Royal was in my bed, obviously naked since his jeans and boxers were on the floor beside him.


Marissa was born and raised in the Southeastern, US and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.  Along with her passion for writing, she’s always had a soft spot for hot, sensitive bad boys who are flawed, yet still yearn for that perfect guy to fall in love with.
When she’s not at her computer plotting steamy male/male love stories, Marissa is usally with her boyfriend and their “baby”, a German shepherd named Tyler.
She also loves spending time with close friends. Her perfect night out is at the local Mexican restaurant with a pitcher of frozen margaritas, her favorite drink btw.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Shadow Voice by Mary Rundle

Shadow Voice

Mary Rundle has a new MM paranormal mpreg book out: Shadow Voice.

The Blackwood Pack saga continues…

This is part of an on-going series and reading the previous titles is advised. Readers of the past books will enjoy meeting old friends once more as the pack does what it does best ̶ caring for each other.

Slate, one of the last Dire Wolves, has carved out a life which suits him fine—plenty of traveling to exotic locations and an abundance of one night stands to handle his needs. While he’s happy for his brother, who has found his Fated Mate, Slate isn’t interested in finding his—at least not for a long time. That is, until his body betrays him. Seeking his mother’s help—who is an Oracle—Slate pays a visit to the Blackwood Pack where he finds the Fates have once again, messed with his life.

Dakota, the chef for the Blackwood Pack, fell in love with cooking as a young child and ultimately the kitchen became a place of refuge for him. Suffering with a ‘curse’ through much of his childhood, he relied heavily on his mother’s help to deal with it. After the massacre of his mother and siblings by their greedy uncle, Dakota barely survives, but finally forges a life for himself, content to stay home and take care of the people he loves.

About the Series:

Blackwood Pack

Join the journey of the Blackwood Pack, seven brothers who are gay wolf shifters in search of their fated mates – stories about love at first sight with twists and turns, angst and humor, romance and adventure. Each book has two main characters who meet, fall in love, mate and achieve an HEA but the stories also chronicle the continuing saga of the Blackwood Pack. The series is best appreciated by reading the books in order.

A long-hidden secret, rejection of a mate, acceptance of rare gifts, and a brutal kidnapping are just some of the obstacles Dakota and Slate must battle together to save their relationship. As the pack rallies around them, both must learn to trust the other before they can find the happiness that the Fates have ordained for them…

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon UK | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads

Friday, 5 October 2018

Three Bears by A Nybo

Cover Art by Alex Corza

Three Bears by A. Nybo

At Three Bears surf break, the attraction between a group of friends is anything but “Luke warm….”

Dan goes to stay with his best friend Josh in Margaret River, the surfing capital of Western Australia, to sort out his sexual confusion. But his best friend is the source of that confusion. Having never been attracted to a man other than Josh, Dan fears risking their friendship just to discover men aren’t his thing.

Within the first few days, Dan meets Luke, a local barista who offers him surf lessons. Dan soon finds himself emotionally coveting not one, but two men. When they go to Three Bears, his hidden desires begin to emerge. As the ambiguity of Dan’s mixed signals clears, it becomes apparent both of his surfing companions want him—badly.

It is only when Luke and Josh hook up that they formulate “Operation Three Bears,” an adventurous plan that might lead to a satisfying outcome for all of them.

Buy Links: Dreamspinner

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Giveaway: Aliens, Smith and Jones by Blaine D. Arden

Aliens Smith and Jones - Blaine D. Arden

Blaine D. Arden has a new MM sci fi book out:

“It’s not all about serving coffee and typing reports.”

Working for a secret organisation specialising in alien cover-ups, Connor Smith is no stranger to the abnormal or dangerous. His love life on the other hand… not so exciting. Until he reluctantly agrees to a blind date and meets the perfect bloke, Jason.

Things are finally falling into place for Connor, so of course that’s when he attracts an alien stalker.

Noah Jones, ex-alien, has been stranded on Earth and forced to live as a human since 1648. Alone and detached from the world around him, Noah has spent centuries observing and recording humankind. In all that time, he’s only experienced a connection with a human once… until he finds Connor.

Even knowing Connor is in a relationship, Noah can’t ignore their potential bond, or stay away.

While dealing with missing alien artefacts, a dangerous and shadowy group of collectors, and the ever-present Noah, Connor finds his orderly life crumbling around him. At least he still has the perfect boyfriend…

When Noah goes missing, Connor is forced to face the feelings growing between them and the mounting evidence that Jason isn’t who he says he is…

Amazon | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads


Blaine is giving away two sets of "A Triad in Three Acts" & "Oren's Right" with this tour – enter via Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link:


Aliens Smith and Jones meme - Blaine D. Arden

The Dross Woods, four-bloody-something in the morning, hunting for six-armed, two-legged white creatures.

Agent Connor Smith, personal assistant of Chief Security Lieutenant Natalie Tallis of Primrose UK, yawned. The lingering mist clung to his ankles as he tightened the straps of his field gear. He took his tranq out of its holster and flicked his torch on. The dense, tall trees hampered visibility, and the smattering of shrubs didn’t help, either. The path, at least, was wide enough for two.

“How many were there again?”Agent Simpson, team Alpha’s leader, asked. His dark, bald head gleamed in the early dawn as he moved to stand next to Connor.

“Ten, I think.”Or eleven. Connor hadn’t been awake enough to pick up everything during the interview with the Cleaton brothers, two aging sheep farmers, who had called it in. Why have a sheep farm so close to this vast and dense piece of forest? It was asking for trouble.

“They kept them in the stables, right? So, what happened?”

“Broke out,”Connor said as he trailed into the woods after Simpson. Though Connor outranked the stocky but agile team leader, Simpson had at least a decade of field experience on him. Simpson’s torch lit up the uneven, knobby-rooted ground, and Connor used his to search the shrubbery next to the path. He wished he’d brought an extra coffee, because he was not awake enough for this. Hopefully, the pale colour of the creatures made them easier to spot.

“So, broke out?”

“Have you seen the thing they called stables? It’s nothing more than a rickety old shed. Even one-armed creatures would have had no problem breaking out, let alone these... Noren, I think the brothers called them.”

“All I understood was that we’re here to catch us some aliens.”Simpson veered left, following the whimsical bend in the path, and looked back. “It was a late night.”

“Right, you were chasing another missing artefact. Lieutenant Tallis filled me in. File’s probably making its way to my desk as we speak.”Connor squinted, aiming his torch at the shrubbery to his left. A mix of red, yellow, and purple flowers brought some colour to the otherwise dreary looking forest. “It’s the eighth time this has happened. It’s becoming a problem.”

“Don’t I know it. So, did they say how big these fellas are?”

“Chest height or about. Why? Spot something?”Connor pointed his torch along Simpson’s.

The shrubs shuddered and shook until Simpson stepped forward. A twig snapped, followed by meowing. A cat. Just a cat.

Connor shrugged at Simpson and they moved forward again.

Somewhere a shout rang out: a high-pitched screech that caused goose bumps.

“One down!”someone called through the commlink—team Bravo’s Forente or Briers, Connor guessed. “There are at least two others here.”

“That way,”Simpson said, pointing to their right, onto a narrow path overgrown with creepers.

Connor nodded, but Simpson had already turned away.

Step by step, they followed the narrow path, the darkness only broken by the light of their torches. They were hampered by the creepers as they moved along—listening, stopping, and listening again—as well as having to push low branches out of their way every other step.

One by one, more teams called in their catches.

“They seem to like sheep,”Forente commented after his first catch. “I heard one bleat, and the next thing we know, one of those Noren is coming right at us.”

“Good to know,”Simpson said. “Keep up the good work.”

“How many is that now?”Connor eyed the shrubbery in front of him, squinting as he pointed the torch at it. Eerie how dark a forest could be at daybreak. He preferred the smell of fresh moss to the damp, woodsy smell that now hung around him.

“Seven. I think.”

So, three to go, and he and Simpson had yet to run into any.

Something rustled behind them, and Connor turned, aiming his tranq. He hoped it wasn’t another cat. More rustling, but no movement in the shrubs. The foliage was denser here—they must have reached the middle of the woods by now.

Satisfied a Noren wasn't stalking them, Connor went to catch up with Simpson. when a sudden crunching of leaves to his right stopped him again. Something whitish moved behind a tree, too large to be a rabbit. He wished he’d paid more attention when Tallis had told them what to look for. Not that she’d been any more awake than he was. Simpson wasn’t the only one who’d been working late. The—

Another crunch, nowhere near, though. If there were two Noren around, he'd need Simpson. He tapped the commlink. “Simpson?”

“That was me. The path circles back onto itself.”

That was a relief. “There’s one behind a tree in front of me.”

“Right. Want me to move around it?”

“Good idea.”Then he remembered the comment about the sheep. “Wait. You don’t have to. Draw it out, bleat if you have to. All I need is a clear shot. I can’t take a shot as long as it’s hiding behind that tree,”Connor said, keeping an eye on the tree the Noren hid behind. He hoped it was just the one, even though they didn’t seem violent towards humans.

Simpson’s imitation of a sheep sounded nothing like the real thing, yet the Noren thought it genuine enough, since it came out from behind the tree, straight into the dense shrubbery next to it.

“Bugger.”Connor tracked the movement, but the shrubbery blocked his view. “I don’t have a shot. It fled right into the bushes.”

Simpson didn’t reply. Instead, he made his way around Connor, judging from the flashes of torchlight jumping around, and repeated his sheep imitation.

The leaves shuddered, and Connor narrowed his eyes, hoping to get a clear shot.

Simpson bleated again, and this time the Noren came running out of the shrubbery. Connor aimed and pulled the trigger. The Noren went down hard. Hit in one. He knelt next to the creature, taking the cuffs out.

“Nice shot, Smith,”Simpson said when he reached them.

“Thanks.”Connor cuffed all three sets of arms. It seemed like overkill, but he knew better than to take any risks. He was about to activate his earpiece to ask how many were still on the loose when a shrill whistle sounded, calling them back.

“Well,”Simpson said as he helped Connor pick the Noren up, “I guess that’s that.”

“All in a day’s work, Simpson, all in a day’s work.”At least, for a personal assistant at Primrose.

Author Bio

Blaine D. Arden

Blaine D. Arden is a purple-haired, forty-something author of queer romance mixed with fantasy, magic, and suspense who sings her way through life in platform boots. She is an EPIC Award winning author, and her scifi romance “Aliens, Smith and Jones” received an Honourable Mention in the Best Gay Sci-Fi/Fantasy category of the Rainbow Awards 2012.

Born and raised in Zutphen, the Netherlands, Blaine spent many hours of her sheltered youth reading, day dreaming, making up stories and acting them out with her Barbies. After seeing the film “An Early Frost” as a teen in the mid-eighties, an idealistic Blaine wanted to do away with the negativity surrounding homosexuality and strove to show the world how beautiful love between men could be. Our difference is our strength, is Blaine’s motto, and her stories are often set in worlds where gender fluidity and sexual diversity are accepted as is.

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Friday, 28 September 2018

Giveaway: No Way Out by Eric Alan Westfall

no way out

QSFer Eric Alan Westfall has a new MM historical romance out:

It’s April of 1816 in Another England.

And Jeremy—a whore from the Dock—is living in a guest bedroom at the London home of the (in)famous Iron Marquess, with over fifteen days missing from his life.

For someone who remembers everything from his third birthday on, it’s unnerving not to know. Fine, fourteen days for the coma and the infection delirium. But those first thirty-six hours. Do they explain how he got hurt, how he got to Ireton House, and why his lordship’s mountain-sized valet is taking care of him? Or why his ironness looks at him with nothing iron at all in his eyes?

Jeremy and the Iron Marquess both have dark secrets. Forced engagements, an inheritance, a scheme to clap Jeremy in Bedlam, the revelation of the missing hours, a problem with plumage, some numbered accounts, and a long sea voyage, all seem to mean there’s no way out of the snares surrounding them. Or is the old saying true: where there’s a waltz, there’s a way?

All royalties will go to a local LGBT organization.

Universal Buy Link | Amazon | QueeRomance Ink | Goodreads

Thursday, 27 September 2018


I’ve been feeling unsettled recently. More than unsettled. Angry. Sheer full-on rage as I watch the world around me change, out of my control. It’s not my personal world. That is going just fine. It’s watching the western world crack with an imbecile in charge, surrounded by religious extremists who are determined to drag us to the dark ages. He is the monkey. Who is the organ grinder? I suspect there is more than one. The veneer of civilisation has cracked, and it won’t take long for us to fall in the morass.
Our own political situation is no better. The blind leading the blind, and that’s not a slur on actual visually impaired people who have much better skills than the people in charge. There isn’t a political party in the UK who can step up and lead us through this Brexit farce. I believe in the will of the people. I didn’t vote for this shit, but we’re stuck with it, and we need giants, not minnows, to negotiate through this hell.
Alt-right politics is increasing, men’s suicide is increasing and mental health funding is dire, women’s rights are being eroded, reproductive rights attacked as funding is taken away from the clinics who help the most vulnerable, the language of women themselves in a public forum. You only have to scroll Twitter about any woman of influence to discover how much hatred there is against women. Women are forced off social media with rape, death threats and doxing. You only have to read the current news to understand what happens to women is irrelevant to the men in charge. I’m not anti-men, I’m pro-women, and it’s about time I damn well remembered that. Even language which should be inclusive erodes women; men and non-men (UK Green Party) – who is missing there? Not men, men are still there. You’ve defaulted women to the ‘other’. In being inclusive, you’ve been exclusive to 50% of the population who are still the underdog, and it matters.
It makes me want to cry to see the mess we’re in, and worse, the people who revel in it. People who think isolationist policies will work for them. Who see extra money in their pockets but don’t notice their healthcare costs rising. Who cheer at the anti-immigrant policies, but don’t notice the food costs are rising because crops are rotting in the fields.
We are screwed and I am angry. Yes, life will go on. The sun will come up, the ice-bergs will melt, and the world will slowly go to hell. What the hell can I do about it?
**I’m not posting this to social media and I’m turning off the comments. This is my rant, my blog, and I needed it.