'A New Normal' by Carol Lynne
You never forget your first love, but what if your first love never forgot you…and orchestrated an unconventional reunion?
Less than a year after the death of his wife, musician Charlie Foster agreed to perform at a convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He thought getting away from New York for a few days would be good for him, but he didn't expect to see the first person he'd ever fallen in love with.
Jake Pierson gave his heart to Charlie when he was barely fifteen years old. As best friends, Jake believed he and Charlie would be together forever, but when Charlie took the easier path in life, Jake was left to deal with a future without the man he loved.
Jake knew tricking Charlie into performing at a conference he'd helped organise was low-handed, but he had a promise to keep and a future to build.
'Convention Confusion' by Amber Kell
Dressing up as a girl can sometimes win you the man of your dreams.
Billy Ferris has adored Jennvian Fellows comics since he read the first edition. When the chance to meet the illustrator comes up he accepts his friends help to dress as his favourite character, space pirate female Kixie.
Little does he know that Jenn not only prefers men but is looking for the mate of his dreams to take back to his home world. Will Billy be able to show his true self and capture the man of his not-so-pure dreams.
'Ninja Cupcakes' by T.A. Chase
Ethan's special talents and cupcakes bring him the love of his life.
Ethan Gallagher loves to bake, and his cupcakes are known throughout his area as being the best. When he agrees to do the desserts for a sci-fi convention his brother is putting on, Ethan gets a chance to realise his biggest fantasy.
One of the panelists is Callum MacLaughlin, a man Ethan's been lusting after since they'd met four years ago. Ethan discovers Callum will be there, and he decides it's time to make his move on the astrophysicist.
With the help of some special cupcakes, Ethan makes not only his dream come true, but the hopes of his brother and his best friend as well.
'Operation: Get Spencer' by Jambrea Jo Jones
Even if superpowers were real—Benjamin still might not get his man.
Benjamin and Spencer are spending the day at Comi-Con. Spencer is a comic geek and Benjamin would follow him anywhere. The only problem?
Spencer thinks Benjamin is straight and Benjamin just realised he is in love with his best friend. Is a day enough for Benjamin to convince Spencer that his love is more powerful than a locomotive and that it hit him faster than a speeding bullet? Tune in to find out if Benjamin saves the day.
'Fan-Tastic' by Stephani Hecht
Everybody knows the best lovers are geeks.
It's time again for the annual Comic Book and Horror Convention. Normally, Deke liked to avoid these things. While he may be a well-known actor, he wasn't hunky or a beefcake and he was always overlooked. In fact, most people like to call him 'the geek of geeks'. But, the producers of his popular TV series don't care and they order Deke to go. So, while he knows he won't have any fun he has no choice but to attend.
Blake harboured a crush on Deke even before the other man became famous. When he finds out that Deke will be at the convention, Blake knows he has to attend as well. Since he is trying to promote his own comic, Blake decides that he can mix a little business with his fun.
To Blake's dismay, not only does Deke not remember him, but the actor refuses to believe that Blake could have any romantic feelings for a geek. Blake decides that he can't let this opportunity slip through his fingers, though. He may have given up on Deke all those years ago, but not this time. Will Blake be able to convince Deke to give him a chance? Or will the final credits roll before they find love?
'Rough Awakening' by Devon Rhodes
When Mario sets out to find a roommate for the convention, little does he know he'll end up finding much more.
Is there anything worse than learning you have to share a hotel room with your ex-boyfriend and his new love? Mario has to scramble to find someone else to share with and ends up reconnecting with a sexy acquaintance…in more ways than one.
Jordan remembers Mario from two conventions ago and goes along with his need to find a roommate. Sparks fly between them from their first phone call and everything looks more than promising for a very memorable convention.
But when two tops tango, which one is guaranteed the lead? It ends up being a rough awakening for one of these alpha athletes…
General Release Date: 10th September 2012
'A New Normal' by Carol Lynne
Charlie Foster loosened his tie as the plane took off. He hated flying almost as much as he hated being shoved into a seat made for a small child. Why didn’t airlines understand that grown men were also forced to fly on occasion?
With a sigh of resignation, he closed his eyes in an effort to escape pleasant banter with the older woman seated next to him. It had been a mistake to take the piano gig. What the hell had he been thinking? Travelling across the country less than a year after Jen’s death just to play at some convention was stupid, even if he was doing it as a favour to his manager.
He often wondered how different his life would’ve turned out if he hadn’t met Jen in college. It had been a confusing time, and falling in love with Jen had brought a sense of peace to his life—so much so he hadn’t regretted a moment of their time together.
"Can I get you something to drink?"
Charlie opened his eyes and stared up at the attendant. "I’m fine, thanks." The conversation over, Charlie went back to feigning sleep, only to be nudged by the bony elbow of the woman next to him.
"I’ve been admiring your wedding ring. Is that a thistle?"
Charlie stared at the ring he couldn’t bring himself to take off. "Yeah. My wife was obsessed with that Outlander series. It was her idea."
The woman’s face lit up. "Oh, Jamie and Claire," the woman practically swooned, clutching her hands over her heart. "How sweet of you to indulge your wife like that."
"I would’ve done anything for her," he mumbled. Shame threatened to consume him as it did every time he thought of the woman he’d lost. He’d spent eight years with Jen, six of them married, but one drunken night with his best friend had destroyed the husband he’d thought himself to be.
"Excuse me." Charlie unbuckled his seatbelt and walked to the front restroom. He closed and locked the door before turning to lean against the sink. Jen’s mom had been in town to help during the second round of chemotherapy, and, for some reason, Charlie had let them convince him to get out of the house for a few hours. Jen had been the one to call Jake and had set up the outing, just one more thing for Charlie to feel guilty about.
It had started innocently enough, a Mets game followed by a trip to the bar where they’d done most of their drinking in college. It was easy to fall back into the camaraderie he’d once shared with his childhood friend. As the evening and the number of drinks progressed, Charlie had asked Jake the one question that had been on his mind since the day he’d announced his engagement to Jen. "Why didn’t you fight for me?"
'Convention Confusion' by Amber Kell
"Are you sure I need this much makeup?" Billy Ferris asked.
Cathy Adams rolled her eyes as she slicked on another layer of eyeshadow across Billy’s lids. "Like I told you before, if you want to look like Kixie you need thick makeup."
Billy squinted at her through the thick mascara. "I think you just like to put makeup on me."
"If you don’t want to look convincing for the conference or when you meet Jenn..." She let the words hang in the air.
Rolling his eyes, Billy settled back into the desk chair they’d pulled from the hotel room’s living area into the bathroom. He had worked hard to make his costume perfect. He adored the new Space Girl series and the leader in the comic, Kixie Spacefarer, looked almost exactly like Billy in drag. Of course, Cathy would’ve been the first one to notice and insist on dressing him just like Kixie once they’d announced the creator of Space Girl would be at the Sci Fi convention. Billy had a major crush on Jennvian Fellows, the comic’s creator and now executive producer of the television show.
"You’re going to look so great he’ll think you’re his dream come true." Cathy smiled as she continued to add more makeup. "To get you perfect I need to make your eyes look bigger and I can only do that with more eyeliner than any self-respecting prostitute would wear."
Billy’s stomach had aggressive, dive-bombing butterflies and he kept swallowing to hold back his urge to hurl the powdered donut he’d eaten earlier. Damn those sugary carbs.
"Thanks for helping, Cath." As much as he bitched about the thigh-high latex boots and the tight corset top, he wouldn’t have been able to do it without his friend helping out.
"No problem, honey, you helped me get Gil’s attention last year, the least I can do is return the favour."
Billy didn’t know how much of a good thing setting her up with Gil had turned out to be. The guy could be a major butt wipe if he didn’t get his way. The only reason Cathy could help Billy get ready was because Gil had an out-of-town business trip.
He wisely kept his opinion to himself, not wanting to endanger their friendship by sharing his views of Gil with his love-struck friend.
"Anyway, I do appreciate it."
Cathy swiped a line of lip gloss across his lips. "You’re welcome, hon. There! All done. Go look."
Stepping away to let Billy stand up, Cathy all but bounced as she waited for his reaction. Billy gave her an indulgent smile as he stood up to get a better look in the bathroom mirror.
"Oh, wow!" With the black bustier, flirty multi-coloured skirt and black boots he looked exactly like his favourite space pirate. The long black wig completely covered his blond locks. "I make a hot girl."
'Ninja Cupcakes' by T.A. Chase
The aroma of freshly baked cupcakes scented the air, and Ethan breathed deep, filling his lungs with the delicious smell.
"I’m still not sure agreeing to bake twenty dozen cupcakes for your brother’s convention is a good idea. A lot of those sci-fi gamer geeks should lay off the sugar if they want to get a date outside of World of Warcraft."
Ethan turned to see Jocelyn, his best friend and fellow pastry artiste, lounging against the door frame. She’d been out in the main bakery, making sure all of the cookies, cakes, and cupcakes were ready for the customers. He’d stayed in the kitchen, baking the order he’d promised his brother.
"Stop it, Jocelyn. You’re as big a geek as most of the people who are going to be there." Ethan smiled at her. "You should be happy. Since we are one of the food vendors, we get in for free."
"No way!" Jocelyn screamed.
Ethan nodded. "Yes way."
She raced across the room and jumped into his arms. He caught her easily, and whirled her around before setting her feet back on the floor.
"Do you know who the guest of honour is?" She didn’t wait for him to reply. "Rafael Charmine, the lead actor from that new sci-fi series."
"Really? I never would’ve known, considering it’s all a certain someone has been talking about for weeks."
Jocelyn jumped up and down like a kid at Christmas. "I’d been trying to figure out a way to wrangle a day pass or something from your brother, that didn’t involve me going on a date with him as payment."
She wrinkled her nose in disgust, and Ethan laughed.
"Earl has good taste in women, even if he’s a bastard around them," he teased.
Jocelyn Street had been Ethan’s best friend since they met on their first day of culinary school. By the time they graduated first and second in their class, they’d decided to open a bakery. Ethan had the money, and Jocelyn had the business sense. A year after graduation, they opened Ninja Cupcakes and never looked back.
Aside from both being five-eleven, they were the complete opposites in appearance. Jocelyn’s exotic dark looks attested to her Latin roots, while Ethan’s rather plain blondness never allowed him to stand out. He placed all his energy and drive into the shop.
"Whatever," Jocelyn shot back. "Abby and Ollie will be here soon. Do you want them helping you with the cupcakes or do you want them out front?"
Ethan closed his eyes and thought about his two part-time employees. After a few minutes, he looked at Jocelyn.
"You and Abby work out front. Ollie can help me back here."
"Not a good day?" Jocelyn looked worried.
'Operation: Get Spencer' by Jambrea Jo Jones
"Dude, I’m not gay," I insisted, again. Hell, I almost shouted the words.
"Keep tellin’ yourself that, Ben, my man, maybe it’ll stick." Frank Rutherford, my roommate, smirked.
"Just because my best friend is gay doesn’t mean I am." I was exasperated and beyond tired with this recurring conversation.
"Whatever." Frank waved a hand as if dismissing me.
"What’s that supposed to mean?" I was so sick of defending myself against something I shouldn’t have to. I wiped a hand over my face and rubbed my eyes.
"Nothing. I’m late for a date. Later, man." Frank slammed the door behind him.
I was beyond relieved when my roommate left. We always got into this conversation and more and more lately it was getting hard to say the words ‘I’m not gay’. I shouldn’t have to defend my straightness. Hell, didn’t I bag tons of co-eds? Last week alone I’d slept with Rita. Or was it Rhonda? I couldn’t remember. Maybe that was a bad thing, but I was happy with my life, wasn’t I? So what if sometimes I felt lonely. That was what Spencer was for, to have fun with. I enjoyed spending time with my best friend. I could hang out and not worry about...things.
That didn’t make me gay. Nope. Not at all.
What made me gay was being in love with Spencer Wilde. I banged my head on my desk as this realisation washed over me. I didn’t know what to do about it. Spencer was oblivious to my growing feelings and Frank didn’t help at all. And of course Spence was due here any minute. We were supposed to go to Comic-Con together. Spencer was a comic book nut and would drag me all over the place, but it was worth it to see the smile that would light up his eyes. We’d talked about going for a couple of years, but this was the first time we’d both been able to make it. It was only a day pass, but we’d make the most of it. We always managed to have fun.
Yeah, I had it bad.
And Frank was going to laugh his ass off once I finally told him I was in love with Spence. It still didn’t make me gay. At least I didn’t think so. No other man attracted me like Spence did. And I’d tried watching gay porn and had even gone to a gay bar and...nothing. There was just something about my best friend that drew me in and made me want more. It was becoming embarrassing when my cock jumped to attention any time Spence was around.
I should’ve been getting ready instead of worrying over things that I couldn’t change. I might never have had feelings for a man before, but that didn’t matter. I was a take-charge kind of guy and I was going to use the day to get Spence to finally notice that I wanted more than friendship.
'Fan-Tastic' by Stephani Hecht
Blake didn’t know if he was going to faint, pee himself, or scream like a girl.
Maybe he’d go for the gold and do all three. Yeah, that was one way to make a memorable impression. But, who could blame him? He was in the same building as Deke Masters! The Deke Masters who starred in Zombie Drive, which was not only ashow on TV, but a damn good comic, too.
Blake scanned the busy, crowded convention hall, desperate to get a glimpse of Deke. He knew that it would be easy to miss the guy. According to his stats on the internet, he was only five-foot-eight inches. Plus, he had short dark hair, which tended to make it hard to distinguish him in a group of people.
Blake ran a self-conscious hand through his own blond hair. Just that morning it had seemed like a great idea to spike it up and put red and black streaks through it. Now Blake found himself regretting the decision. Not only did it make him look like he was desperate for attention, but he found that countless other guys were sporting the same style and they were all younger than Blake’s twenty-five years.
But he wasn’t just another fanboy—at least not this year. Blake reached over to the table by his side and ran his fingers lovingly over the cover of his comic. Sure, it might be a small indie-press and he might only have a handful of followers, but he was finally starting to get noticed. Shoot, if even one person asked for an autograph over the week, Blake would do a happy dance to celebrate the moment. Especially since the last thing he’d signed was the court order that evicted him from his home.
He took in another breath, his gaze flicking over to the large display that Zombie Drive had up front. While various other cast members were mulling about, Deke had yet to make an appearance and Blake was getting nervous.
The program had explicitly said that Deke was going to be there, but what if something had changed at the last minute? Panic began to bubble inside Blake. Shit, he’d wasted the last of his money to come here and it might have been a waste of time.
Of course it was a waste of time! Even if he did get to talk to Deke, there was no way in hell the guy would give a loser like Blake a second glance. The man was a TV star for frick’s sake—whereas Blake shared his mother’s basement with her five, grumpy, ugly, smelly cats.
"Wow, Star Cats! I love this comic," a voice called.
Blake was so caught up in his musings that he almost missed the comment. Great! This was probably his one and only fan in the place and he’d almost blown it. He threw a smile on his face and turned around, only to be stunned right down to the tips of his bright red Nike high-tops, to find himself staring at none other than Deke himself.
'Rough Awakening' by Devon Rhodes
No way in hell.
Mario struggled to keep his face neutral while hiding the emotions churning underneath. After years of being together with a man, after all, it was difficult to let go of the notion that he was yours. But he didn’t want his reaction to be misinterpreted. He did not still want Luke.
He just didn’t want to see him—literally—sleeping with another man.
He was able to let his face relax as the pair turned away from him. They stood with hips touching companionably at the kitchen counter as they huddled over Derek’s laptop, looking at the conference schedule. As he watched, Luke raised a hand to lightly rub Derek’s lower back, prompting Derek to absently lean and kiss Luke’s temple without taking his eyes from the screen. You’d think they were the ones who’d been together for nearly a decade instead of only a few months.
Mario knew Luke and Derek belonged together and he would always count them as his closest friends. Hell, Luke had been his best friend since college. But there was absolutely no way he was going to share a hotel room with the new couple for the better part of a week. Seeing them together in their bed while he slept alone...
"I’ll get my own room."
Derek didn’t even look up. "They’re completely booked."
That caught Mario off-guard. "What? The whole fucking resort?"
Luke had the grace to look guilty. "Uh, yeah. I’m sorry, Mario. We’re not the only conference in there that week and they never hold a big enough block anyway. And I’m... Well, I’m used to just booking one room for this every year. Habit." He shrugged—the uneasy, conciliatory gesture enough to make him the perfect target of Mario’s growing discomfort.
"So, because you conveniently ‘forgot’ about your new boyfriend, I have to share a room with you two lovebirds? Great. That just confirms everything I always knew about you."
"Knock it off." Derek snapped his laptop closed and turned to square up against Mario, just as Mario had known he would.
Predictable. Attack Luke, however slightly, and Derek comes to the rescue.
Not that Mario would ever do anything to hurt his former lover. Luke was one of the gentlest souls he knew. But sometimes he just needed...an outlet. A physical one...
God knows, I’m not getting it in bed.
Devon started reading and writing at an early age and never looked back. At 39 and holding, Devon finally figured out the best way to channel her midlife crisis was to morph from mild-mannered stay-at-home mom to erotic romance writer. She lives in Oregon with her family, who are (mostly) understanding of all the time she spends on her laptop, aka the black hole.
Jambrea Jo Jones
Jambrea wanted to be the youngest romance author published, but life impeded the dreams. She put her writing aside and went to college briefly, then enlisted in the Air Force. After serving in the military, she returned home to Indiana to start her family. A few years later, she discovered yahoo groups and book reviews. There was no turning back. She was bit by the writing bug.
She enjoys spending time with her son when not writing and loves to receive reader feedback. She's addicted to the internet so feel free to email her anytime.
There is beauty in every kind of love, so why not live a life without boundaries? Experiencing everything the world offers fascinates TA and writing about the things that make each of us unique is how she shares those insights. When not writing, TA's watching movies, reading and living life to the fullest.
Stephani Hecht is a happily married mother of two. Born and raised in Michigan, she loves all things about the state, from the frigid winters to the Detroit Red Wings hockey team. You can usually find her snuggled up to her laptop, creating her next book.
Amber Kell has made a career out of daydreaming. It has been a lifelong habit she practices diligently as shown by her complete lack of focus on anything not related to her fantasy world building.
When she told her husband what she wanted to do with her life he told her to go have fun.
During those seconds she isn't writing she remembers she has children who humor her with games of 'what if' and let her drag them to foreign lands to gather inspiration. Her youngest confided in her that he wants to write because he longs for a website and an author name—two things apparently necessary to be a proper writer.
Despite her husband's insistence she doesn't drink enough to be a true literary genius she continues to spin stories of people falling happily in love and staying that way.
She is thwarted during the day by a traffic jam of cats on the stairway and a puppy who insists on walks, but she bravely perseveres.
An avid reader for years, one day Carol Lynne decided to write her own brand of erotic romance. While writing her first novel, Branded by Gold, Carol fell in love with the M/M genre. Carol juggles between being a full-time mother and a full-time writer. With well over one hundred releases, one thing is certain, Carol loves to keep busy writing sexy cowboys, shifters, bodyguards, vampires and everything in between. Although series books are her passion, Carol enjoys penning the occasional stand-alone title.
As founder and President of GRL Retreat, Inc., Carol helps organize the annual GayRomLit Retreat. Now in its sixth year, GayRomLit is an annual retreat that brings together the people who create and celebrate LGBT romance for a one-of-a-kind, must-attend gathering of dynamic, informal, and diverse fun.
Carol loves to hear from her readers. You can take a look at her Website and follow her on Facebook. She also has a Website dedicated to her Cattle Valley Series.