Green's Hill-Amy Lane's Home - News

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Challenge Accepted-- well, a little

So, I'll be honest.

I gave up with the GIANT CHRISTMAS KNITTING QUEUE about six years ago.

The people I love get knitwear when they ask for it, I'm always working on something and I'll give it to them when I'm done.

But as this Christmas approached I had... urges. Unholy, unhealthy, inescapable urges.

I wanted to KNIT for people.

People I hadn't knit for before. Or hadn't knit for in a long time. Or just... people. *gestures vaguely* I'll be honest--it might have been ZoomBoy asking me to knit the Infinity Mitten for him, but I have a BIG cache of patterns so it might have been building for a while.


This pattern-- Incognito, found on Knitty-- is one of those things I wanted to knit for a friend. This one's for a specific friend, but if I can overcome my aversion to duplicate stitch and sewing (and there's a LOT of it in this pattern!) I may make a couple of them for other friends.

I don't know what to tell you. The mustache... OMG the mustache.

Anyway... Blogging may possibly become a little spottier as this urge continues... but I promise to post pictures.

BTW? This mustache is called "Snidely"-- there are two other types on the pattern-- Buckaroo and Poirot.

I gotta tell you, knitting as a warm, squishy, hilarious joke is one of my favorite things :-)

Also? Squish told me she wants one with an entire cartoon face on it. I told her she had to create the graph. I think she's thinking about it.

So there you go.

The evil urges of knitting for Christmas.

May Goddess save my soul-- preferably before 4 a.m. Christmas morning as I'm trying to crochet a doll and a complete set of clothes for it before the kids get up for Christmas.

Yes, I've done that before.

No, I don't still have the dolls.

But I must tell you--  Big T's doll looked so much like him as a kid, I put one of his old onesies on it. He loved it. It was adorable.


Yeah. I'mma need a wake up call. Hopefully when I'm done with the rest of these Incognito cowls...

Scuse me--I'm running away to knit.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

I'm Writing

Oh God the laundry... I can get to it... but my characters... but I'm writing.

The kids are talking in the car and I don't hear them.

I'm writing.

That e-mail is pretty important... that newsletter... that blog post...

I'm writing.

But shouldn't you be planning dinner? Christmas? Oh my God, have you even thought of shopping?

I"m writing.

Mom! Are you coming to pick me up???

On my way! Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!

I'm writing!

Oh, there's that edit I've been talking about...I'm on it... I'm reading it... wait--I forgot that part where my people do--

Oh Jesus, am I writing again?

I'm writing.

And even when I'm not at my keyboard...

On my walk,

In the car,

Doing dishes,

Cooking dinner...

I'm writing.

They're in my head--they have more to say--can't you hear them?

Can't you see?

They're fighting and fucking and fooling around and they're just so real--

Here... Let me show you.

I'm writing.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

ZoomBoy's rabbit hole...

I got a long, sad hug from ZoomBoy today, and I kept it going as long as I could, until my shoulder went to sleep because boy has bones like razor blades.

He fell down a music rabbit hole and ended up at "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel, looking up all of the political events that started it.

"Mom, I know this is a sad question, but has there ever been a time when mankind was not at war?"


"No. In fact, when you read the Christian myths, you'll see that Adam took a bite of the apple of knowledge and was cast out of Eden-- it essentially means that once you have free will and knowledge of the world, you can't escape conflict."


"No, honey. It's why Puritans taught, 'In Adam's fall sinned all.'  I mean they interpreted it to mean that we're all damned because we're evil, but I think it was more basic and less black and white than that. It means that once men have knowledge and free will, doing the right thing--and deciding what is right--gets harder and harder. And it's scary. I'm sorry."

He hugged me harder.

"This scares me too."  Oh God, does it. Have you lOOKED outside? Have we SEEN what our vile, corrupt, ignorant, syphilitic turd of a governing body has been doing to our world? Jebus fucking Christmas. And the puckered angry white men who think that's okay-- I am constantly angry. Anyway, I needed to give my kid hope. "The thing I keep reminding myself is that the small kindnesses we do matter. We can't control the actions of corrupt and powerful assholes who want us all dead. But we can be kind to the people in our lives, no matter how small. We can take whatever power we have and use it for good. "


"Also, we can listen to Springsteen for a while-- he believes in redemption."

"Yeah! He does! Okay! I'll do that!"

So there you go. Small kindnesses and Springsteen. I won't tell him that I cry in the car a lot out of fear for my children, for their generation. The kids have both learned about "duck and cover" in the last couple of years at school, and I told them that yeah, I had nuclear bomb drills when I was a kid.

"But that's so stupid! It wouldn't do any good! You'd be dead."


"So what's the use of having the drill?"

"You can plan how to make yourself right in your heart if it ever happens."

"What would YOU do?"

"Well, I'd try to get us all home. So we could sit and talk and hug and tell stupid stories until we couldn't anymore."

"That's a good plan. We like that plan."

I don't tell them I hate that plan. I would rather plan to die old and happy and know they were living good lives in a better world.

But you have to tell your children what will give them peace. They're smart, my kids. They see the news. They see Mate and I trying not to fall into anger and despair.

Our plan has always been each other. It's still a good plan. It's the best comfort we can give.

Also, Springsteen. Can't hurt.

Monday, November 26, 2018


Okay, so for starters I made turkey + gravy w/mashed potatoes for dinner, and set the turkey carcass to slow cook for soup tomorrow.

*happy sigh*

Boy, do I love leftovers.

I also, I confess, have a thing for yarn leftovers.

The red and white hat (which is NOT color true at all because the couch is oxblood and we have zero creditable light sources in our house right now) I made with these two random balls of chunky yarn that was just sort of hanging around my stash. I kept looking at it thinking, "Uh... I have no idea what I'm going to do with this..."

JUST enough for the hat and the ragged floof ball on top.

It looks like a candy cane.

It doesn't have a destination yet, but I'm pretty sure by the time I'm done with this year's crafting I'll find one. btw-- the yarn is a multi-ply 50% wool, 50% acrylic-- I used the original yarn for a blanket for Chicken, because I got it on sale. Did the whole thing in K1, P1 rib and while it made me want to slit my wrist with monotony, the blanket is still on her bed and doing very well.

The little gray set...

Not so much a leftover, but a repurpose. The original batch of yarn was meant for a big poncho that I never got to, with several gradations of dark purple fading to light purple fading to gray. And then I used a skein of the purple tweed for socks, and then a skein of gray for mitts for a guy, and then I got a request for the same thing in gray again.

And I kept hearing Nathan Lane in the back of my head--that quote from BirdCage. "It does want but a hint of color."

So I broke out that gray purple and went to town.

And there was enough of both for the hat.

So I'm feeling very smug about leftovers right now. Seems very thrifty, right? Very, very thrifty...

Sh... don't tell anybody, but I have SO MUCH RAW YARN in my house right now, I could knit a hat a day for the rest of my life in any color, and there would still be boxes of it left when I die.

But the illusion of thrift...

We take our props where we can.

And I have to add here-- you may notice the gray mitt/hat set on the back of the couch. I have to admit, I had a sad little moment there. I set it up to block and thought, "Well, I don't know why I'm spending so much time making sure it's straight--Gordie's gonna come sleep on it almost immediately."

Damn cat hated me, but he loved my knitting, and not having him come make sweet lurve to my blocking knitwear is pretty damned sad.

Fucking cat.

Sunday, November 25, 2018


*covers mouth*

Scuse me.

It's been a long couple of days of eating.

So, since you last saw Squish's crown, the week has gone like this...

Wednesday-- clean kitchen. Cook for Thanksgiving.

Thursday-- start with the following conversation with Chicken on text:

Chicken: So, you're coming to get us so we can carpool to Aunt Teresa's, right?

Me: Uh...

Chicken: I don't remember how to get there.

Me: Okay. What are you bringing for food?

Chicken: Uh...

Me: *racks brains* No, no, I have enough food to justify bringing seven grownup eaters to the family gathering.

Chicken: Seven? How are we seven?

Me: We are picking you guys up on the way to get Grandma Alexa in Sacramento before we go to Ophir. (For those who know the area, we are talking about a forty mile loop, one way, and then we have to do it reverse, the other way.)

Chicken: Oh... okay. We'll be ready!


But the dinner-held at my Aunt Teresa's--was really lovely, and for once, we didn't have to run away to go to another dinner.

Friday: My friend Berry Jello and her kids came over to our house to help us clean. And we cleaned. I mean, the house isn't GREAT, but the kids are like, "We haven't seen this much improvement since sixth grade!"

Berry Jello is a saint and I haven't knitted nearly enough for her.

That will change.

Saturday: Sent Mate out to store in early morning for a pan to put the turkey in. Mate sent me back this picture, and brought home a cookie sheet.

Berry Jello and her kids and my older kids and Chicken's friend (Guest Dog Gibbs's mom) all come over and I cook and cook and cook. I ask Mate to come help me with the turkey and he grabs two knives, pirate style, while I try to grab the dripping bag so we can save the drippings for the pot. The cookie sheet is NOT deep enough for the drippings, the bag MUST be saved, we are NOWHERE NEAR THE SINK.

And the following words are uttered:


We eventually found a pan, while the double skewered turkey dripped a combination of root beer, turkey drippings, dressing, and butter on the quickly failing cookie sheet. The turkey wasn't just falling off the bones, folks, the bones were falling off the turkey.

Hey-- it was the OPPOSITE of the turkey from the National Lampoon.

I try to clean up at the end, but my back decides it's done for the weekend and I sit while Mate serves me and then cleans up.

We watch MST3K. It's hilarious.

Everybody eats pie and waddles home and I am happy.


Sunday: Mate wakes up early to bake a strudel--which is apparently a pie with a chewy crust. (I'll be honest. I prefer pie. But he was so proud of his strudel!)  Some of the strudel filling leaked out onto the burner from the cookie sheet. A friend of the family told Mate, "This is great! How'd you get the crust to taste smoked?"

"Well, first you use the wrong kind of pan..."

And anyway-- we took the strudel to my parents place and had Brunchgiving, which was nice. We missed them for the holiday.

Maybe next time, I'll just cook once!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Every Princess Deserves One...

OKay, so I admit, I was one of those parents who would give the other kids birthday presents on the one kid's birthday. Nothing huge, and the birthday kid was definitely the star of the show, but everybody knew I was a little bit of a pushover during birthday shopping.

Everybody wants to feel special.

But the Infinity Mitten was a pretty big act to follow, and I really didn't expect any requests.

But then, some smartass (*kisses and love* to Kris Marshall Gray on FB) posted THIS on FaceBook -- and I thought it was so cute, I showed Squish.

And she WANTED one.

And it looked quick and easy (SO quick and SO easy) and, me, having that mind that has to do things one better, said, "You know... we still have jewels leftover from ZoomBoy's Infinity Mitten..."  (SOOOOOO many jewels. So many. I tried to push them on a friend-- THAT many jewels.)

She actually picked out the jewels before I even made the first stitch.

And tonight, she had her brother help her glue the jewels on. (It was a BONDING experience... get it? heh heh heh heh...)

And the result is an ear-warmer meant for a princess, who is not too old to want to be a princess.

And a mom who feels like a queen :-)

Monday, November 19, 2018

The Christmas Special

 Okay--where should I begin?

My first story for Dreamspinner was a teeny tiny novella titled If I Must. It sold decently, and since then--Christmas, 2009-- I've released one to two Christmas stories every year.

Some of them were novellas.

Many of the novellas have been bundled in one form or another, so it's possible to get them in paperback.

The longer novellas either haven't-- Freckles is the one I can think of, or have been lengthened to be available in a paperback-- and that would be Regret Me Not. 

A word about Freckles. Freckles has changed publishers--and while the first publisher released their 40K novellas in paperback, Dreamspinner Press does not. Freckles will be recovered and made available in March I think-- but only as an e-book. BTW? The cover is still adorable, but DSP is doing cover reveals and it's not available yet.

A word about Regret Me Not. Originally released as a novella-- 40K-- I loved the guys so much I wrote about them all year, and now have enough for a paperback. It will be released in paperback format for those of you who want it, and I'm pretty sure the extras will be available as a free download for everyone who already purchased the book. For everyone who hasn't, the price will go up when it's re-released, and you will get a 60K-ish short novel length book. Yay!

A word about Christmas Kitsch.  Originally available from Riptide with a different cover, this will be rereleased on December 7th. Nothing has changed. Okay. One thing. Rusty's going to Stanford instead of Berkeley-- don't ask me to explain why, it makes me stabby.

A word about Candy Man. Candy Man is a novella, and it became the first in the series. If you're a sucker for paperbacks, it can be found in the paperback of Bitter Taffy as a sort of free insert at the beginning. That makes the total EBOOKS in the series FOUR, but the total PAPERBACKS in the series, THREE.

And now, about Winter Ball. Winter Ball was a novel to start with, and it's now the first of the series. The second is Summer Lessons, and the third--Clay and Dane's story will be written this spring. (I'm excited about this!) The books will also be recovered because I love these books and although *I* loved the concept of the covers, I think we've firmly established that I have no taste, so the publishers are going to try with somebody who DOES have taste and see if we can't cheerlead these books to a little more notice.

So we're on to The Winter Courtship Rituals of Fur-Bearing Critters, which is a name so long I'm not typing it again. Anyway-- this too became the first of a series, four books in all, but the first three were short form. So the firs three-- Winter Courtship, How to Raise an Honest Rabbit, and A Knitter in His Natural Habitat, were all bundled together into The Granby Knitting Menagerie for a paperback. The last book in the series--Blackbird Knitting in a Bunny's Lair is full novel length and available in both formats.

And now for the big bundle.  If I Must, Christmas With Danny Fit, Turkey in the Snow, Puppy Car and Snow, and Going Up! are all fluffy, tiny, adorable, fun Christmas confection stories that are all of the sweet and only a touch of the tender, just to make the sweet taste better. Anyway, all five of those stories have been bundled into An Amy Lane Christmas, and are available for a bundled price (which is a pretty decent price, after all) but they are also available by themselves.

So there you go.

That leads us to Homebird, which is out on December 18th, and which will get it's own page as we draw near because I SO want to talk about this story-- there's oh so much to say!

All of my Christmas stories are special to me. You might have noticed but I'm sort of obsessed with the "Oh my God, how bad could it get?" scenario, and you'll never believe me when I tell you-- I pull my punches. Even in Stain, I pulled my punches. Even in Chase.  In my Christmas stories, I never punch. I may give a little ear flick, just to deepen the happy, but I never punch. There may be some melancholy, and even some conflict--but I never punch. Holiday stories (and some of them are TRULY holiday stories and not Christmas stories at all. They're sort of NEAR Christmas, actually) are meant to make us feel good--not worry.

So these stories are sweet. They're tender. They're not too scary or too angsty, and you never doubt the two people are going to end up together. The families are going to relent if there's friction, and the dog will always be okay.

These are miracle stories, and we all need some of that in our lives.

I hope you all enjoy them--and it's very possible there's a couple here you haven't read before.

I know I have to go back and count them every year I post.

And I'm always sort of proud.

I mean-- that's a heckuva lot of happy, right?

Yeah. Happy holidays everybody-- and VERY happy reading!

OH! A word about Bells of Times Square-- I loved this story, but it's not included on this list. Bells is sad--it's chest rippingly sad, and the HEA has been hotly debated. It finaled in the RITA awards, a thing I'll always be proud of, and if you're interested, I posted the link above. But this list is about the happy, and Bells doesn't really fit. That doesn't mean I don't love it, just means that for most of us, who so desperately need to hear laughter and joy and goodness, now is not the time.

So here are the happy stories-- go forth and read and know the world with a happy, sunshiny yellow glow. The hard shit is hard enough-- let's embrace some joy.


Strange Days

So, California caught fire, and our air quality has been dismal and the world is topsy-turvy and upside down.

Most of California's outdoor events have been cancelled for the past weeks--including soccer--and the kids got Friday off school because just walking from class to class was killing them.

I've been taking the dogs for their walk because they get so damned restless and things are slightly clearer in the morning, but once we get back? We're done. The end. Exhausted. We've got nothing.

On Saturday, I was lucky-- because I didn't have a trip and there wasn't soccer, I got to go to my local chapter RWA meeting, and they were lovely lovely people and I want to go back again. *crosses fingers*  It's just that I want to be a part of them. They're really great. Then we went out to lunch and saw a movie-- Fantastic Beasts--and then came home.

And I fell asleep at eleven o'clock because that was a lot of hard work when you can barely breathe.

So today, I took the dogs walking and... *wheeze wheeze wheeze*  Like I said. The end. That's all she wrote. Except I DID get writing done, and even though I'd planned to get housecleaning done instead, the writing was good, because I've got multiple deadlines and that was some work down.  But the house, tho... I had so many plans.

Mate did not.

He did the dishes and later made corn bread to go with our soup for dinner, but everything else he tackled was administrative. For example, everybody's car registration is now completely taken care of. Yay!

But I guess the grimness of not being able to go outside and really do much didn't set in until I got back from the walk, exhausted and eyes itchy and just tired of trying to breathe the density, and I found my kids both wearing their pajamas at one in the afternoon.

They were both like, "We understood that nobody was really going to expect anything from us today. This appeared to be the appropriate uniform."

Frankly, I didn't have the energy to go a different way with that.

So here's hoping for rain and cleaner air tomorrow.

Here's hoping for total containment of the fires in Paradise and Chico.

Here's hoping for aid to the people who've lost their homes and need help and money and geez-- just gas to get out of Chico and go to their own families.

Here's hoping for leadership--I have hope for the sitting governor and the governor elect who can both get shit done.

And here's hoping the traitor from the White House gets out of our state as soon as possible. He's making the air quality worse.

Friday, November 16, 2018

ZoomBoy's Birthday

So, the thing is, school is canceled tomorrow due to the smoke in the air--and it's just as well. The lot of us are headachy with itchy eyes and the whole family is waking up and coughing like 80 year olds after a cigar and whiskey bender.

But the thing is, the kids got to stay up tonight.

Which was unfortunate in a way, because I had planned to stay up all night and make ZoomBoy's gauntlet.

But the more I worked on it, the more fascinated he became.

I mean, the original plan?

Was to have it in a box all finished, with some purple felt and package fill representing Thanos's severed arm sticking out of the back.

But he watched me make it, and came and asked where the gems went, and it was twelve o'clock as it was.

"Do you want to glue the gems on?" I asked uncertainly. I mean, I'm supposed to be making it for HIM.

"YES!" He got so excited!

"Uh..." And I paused here. My family knows I'm not good with secrets, but this one was SO GOOD. "Uh, do you want to set it up in the box? We were, uh, gonna--"


So, ZoomBoy has helped finish AND wrap his gift.

Because it's cool.

And funky.

And fun.

Pretty much just like my fifteen year old son. Who stayed up until 1:30 tonight watching Close Encounters of the Third Kind with me so he could see the end of the movie--AND his birthday present at the end.

He's sort of the best.

He's the funniest, and the smartest and the coolest and the funkiest and the most awesome ZoomBoy a mom could wish for.

Although if he wants me to top the Infinity Mitten for another birthday, I really COULD wish for some more heads up.

But other than that?

It's perfect.

(btw-- he is trying to pose with the glove doing the Thanos snap from the movie, but it doesn't show off all the jewels... just saying, we do love a bit of detail here!)

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

I'm sorry, I won't be blogging tonight, I'm making an infinity mitten...


I need to finish it by Friday!!!

btw-- I had this idea... stuff it full of polyfil and glue some purple felt together at the end and fabric paint it red (like blood) to make it look like we ripped the mitten off the bad guy's arm and put it in the sacred box of the Avengers.

Let's just say I've been inspired by the project.

But this is what I'm dong instead of blogging tonight--hope you all forgive me!

I think ZoomBoy is really going to like it, don't you?

It's hard to be the bard...

So, I've got an embarrassment of projects right now--and I'm enjoying them all.

I'm writing the sequel to Beneath the Stain, titled Paint it Black, and it's sort of grabbed me by the throat and won't let go and I love it when that happens!

I'm also working on Jai's story on the side. For those of you who missed the third installment, it showed up on Amber Kell's blog HERE-- this chapter's from George's point of view, and that was fun too. George gets a little cheeky here--but only a little. He did, after all, have a rough weekend.

And, I'm gearing up for an edit on my craft book--which I think I'll start tomorrow. I was going to start it Sunday, but if you saw yesterday's blog, well, it caught us all by surprise, and I just wasn't present enough to commit to edits, which are painful by nature.

Writing fiction, though, that's something I do when I'm hurting, and I slid into Mackey's world like it was a tub of warm water.

This book is about Cheever and Blake, and one of the things I have to do to make it plausible is release the shorts on Instafreebie--the ones that came out when the book was in serial release, even before the full length book was out. Because as much as Blake protests about, "Nuh-nuh, no gay porn for me!" the fact is, he had feelings for Kell that weren't all platonic, and he's grown up some since Stain. 

So much to do--and gear up for ZoomBoy's birthday, including making the Infinity Mitten (heh heh heh... yeah, doesn't get old!) for him.

I'm torn about that, too-- Chicken and I came up with the idea of having a TRULY awesome gift box--Chicken wrapped it with an Avengers tablecloth and it's stuffed with tissue paper, and I can either A. Present it to him Friday night, in this box, with a sort of Arc of the Covenant vibe, or I can have it ready for him Friday morning so he can wear it to school.

Maybe it depends on how close to done I am Friday, right?


So lots of stuff to do that I really enjoy.

An embarrassment of riches...

Feels dumb to complain.

So I'll leave you with this--because it's hard to be the bard ;-)

*  *  *


George Gets Ideas
After literally falling at Jai’s feet as he fished and throwing up stuff he hadn’t eaten yet and wouldn’t eat for another ten years, George slept all Saturday, so grateful for Jai’s cozy tent and egg crate and the water by his elbow that he could have cried if he wasn’t so dehydrated.
Sunday morning he woke up and managed to make it to the portajohn to take a leak and brush his teeth—thanks Jai for the toothbrush, actually. When he got back he collapsed on his sleeping bag, winded and shivering, and Jai wrapped him up in the sleeping bag again.
“More sleep? I am going to have to take you home and I’m not sure what to do with your shitty vehicle.”
George groaned. As much as he loved the way Jai’s big hands felt on his body, tucking him into the warmth of the sleeping bag, he needed to get home. For one thing, Annaliese was only planning to watch his cat, Jingle, until that night. If George wasn’t home by about eight o’clock his cat would have barfed in all his shoes and he might not have a job.
“Let me nap this morning. If I can drink some more broth this afternoon, maybe I can drive home.”
“Going to meet with Harvey and Gary?” Jai asked mockingly, folding his long legs underneath him and pulling out a deck of cards.
“No.” George smirked, because the story of the threesome he wanted no part of was much funnier when Jai put it that way. “But I have a cat who will need me, and I should at least call in sick to my job tomorrow.” Every bone and joint in his body ached. Even if he got home okay, he wasn’t going to be good for work.
Jai grunted and reached into the pocket of his fleece jacket. “Here. I found it in your car and charged it while you slept. You make arrangements for tomorrow, and I can stay with you until around five in the morning. We can break camp and you might not crash your shitty truck and die on the way home.”
George looked at the phone, feeling dumb. “That’s a good idea. Do you have to be somewhere tomorrow?”
Jai grimaced. “Sadly, yes. I was supposed to be back last night, but I called my boss and said I would be late. He told me to take my time, but he and Sonny do not take enough days off as it is.”
George paused in the middle of texting Annaliese about the cat. “That’s sweet. That they’d give you time off, and you don’t want to take it. Doesn’t sound like a boss, it sounds like… you know. A friend.”
Jai shrugged. “Da. I was supposed to be on loan, you see. From my original boss. Ace was racing, and he almost died not killing my boss’s young niece. So I was Ace and Sonny’s reward—I could work on cars, I could help Sonny until Ace was back up. But…” He looked away. “Ace and Sonny were kind. My old boss was not. They couldn’t really pay me, but my old boss… he asked me if I wanted to stay and I said yes.”
“But how do you make a living?” George frowned. Jai wasn’t rich—he drove an old Toyota and his clothes looked second hand or really well worn. But he didn’t seem destitute either.
Another shrug rocked those massive shoulders. “Ace did things—racing mostly—that were not strictly legal to pay me better. He is a good man.”
Fine—I’ll watch your cat and call in sick for you. Are you going to live?
The relief at having a little more time was staggering.
Maybe. I’ll tell you about the stomach flu when I get home.
 “Your friend?” Jai asked, taking the phone away from him and setting it down by his pillow. “She said you don’t have to wreck your shitty truck?”
“Yeah.”  Sleep was weighing on George’s eyes and he was pissed. Talking to Jai was about the most interesting thing he’d done outside of work for years. “Apparently he’s good enough to know one when he sees one,” he mumbled.
“Know what?”  Jai sounded puzzled. George didn’t blame him.
“A good man.”
Jai’s laugh rocked the little tent.  “You are very funny. When you do not feel like death, you will see what a comedian you are.”
But I don’t feel like death. I’m just tired. Maybe when I wake up…
 And sleep.
He woke up a couple hours later feeling like he might be able to stand up, and maybe peek outside the tent. Jai was working at the small camp stove, and as George stumbled up, wearing the moccasins Jai had pulled from the George’s truck and one of the fleece blankets over his shoulders, Jai put a mug of hot chicken broth on the table in front of him without comment.
“God! Afternoon already?”
“Yes. I am sorry—this was not a great vacation for you.”
George took a sip of chicken broth and shuddered in appreciation. “Well, maybe not. But it did help me reassess my priorities,” he said with decision.
“Like making sure someone knows where you are in case you get sick again?” Jai asked, the concern on his broad, stoic face touching.
George took another sip of the broth. “Well… you know. I was thinking.” He tried to smile winningly, although he was aware his blond sandy hair was probably sticking up in sixty-eleven places and Jai was probably sorry he’d ever gone fishing so George could come throw up practically at his feet.
“I am waiting,” Jai said gravely. George looked to see what he was doing for a moment and realized he was making a grilled cheese sandwich.
“That actually looks good,” George said, thinking about it.
“Toast. I shall give you toast. You keep that down, there can be grilled cheese later.”
George smiled a little. As a nurse, that’s exactly what he would have done, but as a patient, he wanted that grilled cheese sandwich now. “You are very wise,” is what he said. “But that has nothing to do with what I was thinking.”
“Which is…”
George took another sip of broth and barreled ahead. “I, uh, I’d like to go camping with you again. Not next weekend—maybe in three weeks? I’ll give you my phone number, you can text and tell me you can make it. We can, you know, aim for this campground, or first one there tells the other one where we are—you know. Like friends.”
Jai’s eyebrows had crept up to where his hairline would be, if he didn’t shave it. “Like friends?”
George started to feel less certain about this whole idea. “Yes.”
“In the same tent.”
George’s heart sank. “Well, if we’re sharing the same campground.”
Jai scowled, and studied the grilled cheese sandwich with undue attention. “Nyet.”
Ouch. “I swear, I’ll look better next time.” George sort of begged him with his eyes to look up. And hoped he had the eyes of someone who could give a really good blowjob, if prompted.
“You look fine now.” Jai waved that concern away like a mosquito. “No, you are very pleasing to look at, and very kind. But if we were to share the same tent, I would want to sleep in the same sleeping bag. And if we shared the same sleeping bag and you did not feel like death, I would want to touch you, and I don’t think that’s what you’re asking.”
George frowned. “That’s funny. I thought that was exactly what I was asking. You bring rubbers, I bring lube—”
“I am on PReP,” Jai said bluntly. “I will bring my latest screening.”
“Me too!” Oh, that was good news. No rubbers! Who didn’t like no rubbers? “Well, I’ll still bring lube—”
“Stop talking.” Jai plopped a nicely grilled piece of toast onto a napkin in front of him, and dished up the grilled cheese for himself. After pouring water for hot chocolate into his own mug, Jai sat down and started stirring the chocolate ruminatively. “You do not have to have sex with me just to thank me,” he said after the chocolate was well and truly dead.
“I don’t want to have sex with you to thank you!” George burst out, thinking this was harder than it had to be. “I want to have sex with you because you are funny and kind and you have these ginormous hands, and I think they’d feel good on my body!”
Jai didn’t say anything but he did roll his eyes.
“And if you were a douchebag, you could have banged me while I felt like death, but you kept me warm instead, and that ticks pretty much all my boxes for ‘Better than any boyfriend I’ve had previously.’”
A tiny smile started at the corner of Jai’s lean mouth. “You have shitty taste in boyfriends. Stop looking at people named Harvey.”
George took an experimental nibble on the toast. “I could do that. Maybe if, I don’t know, I had someone to look forward to, I could leave guys named Harvey and Gary in the dust.”
Jai sighed and took a perfunctory bite of what looked to be a truly awesome grilled cheese. “I am… I am a poor substitute for a real boyfriend.”
Oh. Well, this wasn’t insurmountable. “Well, let’s… you know. Go camping in a month. And… you know. See how it goes. Maybe we can ease into the boyfriend thing. Maybe we can be… camping buddies.”  He really did try for his best smile here, and Jai met his eyes, and his lips curled up a little more so it was worth the effort.
 “Camping buddies,” Jai repeated.
“Yes. Who bring cards and fishing tackle and soup.”
“And lube.”
George bit his lip, thinking he might have won. “And lube.”
Jai rolled his eyes and then concentrated on his grilled cheese. “I will think about it,” he said softly. “But I won’t believe it until you meet me back here.”
George took another bite of toast. “Trust me with your number,” he said, his stomach settling from the nervousness of even making the proposal. “I’ll show you how reliable I can be.”
Jai didn’t answer, but he took another bite of his grilled cheese, and they ate quietly.
Jai cleaned up when they were done and kept the pan of hot water on the burner, in case. “Here,” he said. “I will go get a camp chair for you—”
“Sit next to me,” George said softly. He gestured with his chin. “Look. I’ve got an amazing view of the sunset over the lake from here.
To his great pleasure, Jai did just that, sitting a respectful distance away.
George scooted a little closer, stopping when their thighs touched.
Then he put his head on Jai’s shoulder.
When Jai didn’t do anything, he reached into the big man’s lap and took his ginormous hand into his own two hands, and held it, rubbing the back softly with his thumbs.
The sun went down over the lake in a springtime explosion of lavender and poppy, and both of them caught their breath as the whole thing faded to blue.
George shivered in the cold of the approaching night, and Jai gently disengaged their hands to drape his arm over George’s back.
Oh my God.
George melted into his body heat, almost weeping with the joy of the warmth and the comfort and the solid male smell of this nice man who claimed to be an ex-mobster but should have been a nurse.
“This is good?” Jai asked hesitantly.
“This is perfect,” George sighed. “Please meet me again, so we can do this some more.
Jai shifted, pulling away, and for a moment George was disappointed. Then he turned George a little and George looked into his face, dark against the lingering light of the sky.
“What?” George breathed, but he knew what, and it totally made brushing his teeth that morning worth it.
“Testing,” Jai breathed back, and leaned forward, brushing his lips against George’s. George gave a happy little moan and pushed into the kiss, gently, because he was still sore, and Jai was so big.
Just a little more pressure, and George opened his lips, letting Jai in.
His tongue was nothing much—just a little exploratory, gently questing.
George rubbed it a little with his own, and Jai pulled back, ending the kiss.
“How was it?” George asked, every pulse in his body fluttering with “Please stand by.”
“It was worth coming back for,” Jai whispered, and George went limp against him.
“Good,” he said softly. “Give me your phone. Right now. Before you change your mind.”
Jai chuckled softly but he did what George asked.
George typed in his number with growing excitement in his stomach (which was the best thing his stomach had felt in three days.)  It didn’t matter that they had to wait a month. Waiting a month for a date that George knew was going to be great was so much better than the few shitty dates he would have had in the meantime. As he input his number into Jai’s phone—and then called himself so he would have Jai’s number too—he thought wistfully of the night they’d have together now.
He’d probably sleep the whole time—he was already wiped out.
But maybe, after that kiss, he could sleep in Jai’s arms.
That alone was worth waiting for.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Goodbye, sweetheart

About a thousand years ago I was doing GRL in Albuquerque and like I usually do when I sign up for events, I was a little bit lost. And then Ethan Day, the organizer, contacted me and asked if I wanted to do my panel with him, because he wrote comedy and he'd heard I was "kind of funny" and he thought that would be a good mix.

He added ZAM to the roster, and we said we'd talk about the panel when we got there--ha! He was one of the organizers of the event--he had a thousand people talking to him almost constantly, and I had a surprising number of people I was excited to meet as well.

Finally--about fifteen minutes before our panel together, we had a quiet moment to talk. He'd ordered pizza, and he offered me a couple of pieces--neither one of us had eaten lunch. We ate in blessed silence, and then collaborated on the panel, giving Zam the details when she was done with her other events, and then we went and did our thing.

The con was busy--GRL is always sort of a riot--but I remember Sunday morning. It was my first con, and I hadn't yet discovered the joys of Sunday morning--it's the day you finally get to talk to people you've been trying to see for the entire event.

Ethan was drinking a Diet Coke--at the time, it was my drink of choice, and I told him I was jealous, because neither of us had a chance to get a drink or even breathe to ourselves. Everybody was saying goodbye--so damned many friends.

And we were still talking to other people, and we met eyes, and suddenly...

We were on the same page.

"I'm so done," he said with a little laugh.

"I've got to be alone," I completely agreed.

We managed to escape and made our way to our own rooms, but when we saw each other at dinner (a huge dinner so many people) we had a word about how rare it was. We were both pretty good with the public, but to be able to meet someone's eyes and say, "I need to be alone!" That was pretty special. Not everybody got that about us--but we got that about each other immediately.

The next time we met was at Romantic Times. I was talking to Damon Suede and Heidi Cullinan as they waited in line for a party that I had no intention of going to, when I caught sight of Ethan, plowing through the crowd--a pizza over his head.

When Mary and I got back to our room, I texted him. I saw that.


You escaped through that crowd with pizza.

Yeah. Don't get in the way of a bitch and his pizza. I will cut you.

Ethan was such a nice guy--I laughed about that for a long time.

Next time, share.

And we did.  GRL, Romantic Times--whenever we were at a con together we managed to find a quiet moment together. Often, there was pizza--but not always.

Not this last year.

This last year, we were doing a panel again, and I was talking to people as they came in and sat down. He sat and said, "So, we don't have a moderator. How about you do it?"

"Sure." (You have to imagine me with big eyes as I say this. I tend to have a BWAK BWAK SKY IS FALLING! reaction to every new thing introduced to me.)

But I did it--I gave Ethan and Jordan Castillo Price an introduction, and I was going for, "Introducing them like the gods that they are!" and I hope I did them justice.

We found quiet time at this event too--managed a meal even (thanks, Carol Lynne for inviting me!) and we promised to stay in touch.

We've texted and skyped through the years, lots of e-mails, lots of making each other laugh. We wanted more Skype--he liked showing me his yorkies, I liked sharing my Chi-who-whats, we both got each other's company, and although we were both busy--demands on both of us, pretty much throughout all of our time together--we always managed to find that quiet moment, that moment to connect, because that first meeting we had seen a kindred spirit--the person who loved people, and loved a crowd, but sometimes just needed to be alone.

I know I was not Ethan's best friend, or his oldest. We were afterthought friends--our circles were just out of distance from each other. But whenever we cycled around, we found a reason, a way, to reach out and clasp hands and touch.

Those touches were important, to both of us. It's not often you find that person who gets the two sides of you--the introvert and the extrovert, the happy public and the shy private person--with just one look and a fondness for the same drink.

Ethan was only Ethan Day to the M/M community--and he was so much to us. He was one of the first people to write gay romance funny, and to think funny was important. He gave a lot of his life to making GRL for us--because he believed a chance for our community to connect was so vitally important.

He was such a big part of this genre because of his tireless energy, his enthusiasm, and his vision--his press Wilde City was such a generous idea.

But he could have been all of this and just been an authority figure, someone to talk to when I went to GRL, someone I saw around on the net.

He was my friend because he was kind, and he was funny, and because we would both escape a tornado just to sit alone and eat pizza--or something better for us, as we grew older--and have a chance to talk alone.

I have so many Ethan stories, so many moments of remembered kindness, of humor. I can't believe there's no more to come. We had such plans to fight the tornado this year, to push all the other things outwards, and sit in a quiet center and share dog stories. And Skype.

We were both aware that having a friend was precious and we didn't want to squander that.

Goodbye, sweetheart. I will miss you at totally stupid times when I think I'm thinking about something else, but you will pop into my mind. When my kids want pizza. When I'm walking my dogs. When I hear someone else's story about how this totally mild mannered person actually did something that involved stupid, naked, and alcohol when they were too young to know better.

When I hear a voice from Missouri or Ohio, or see someone with a glorious albeit shy smile.

And sometimes I'll miss you at really appropriate times, like tonight when I cried through the last twenty minutes of Bohemian Rhapsody and wanted to ask if you'd done the same.

And you weren't there to ask, because our circles had gone around one last time, and GRL was our last chance to touch.

Thank you for all the times you made plans with me to push back the tornado. I treasure every moment. Thank you for thinking I was funny, and for looking at me when we were both cooked and done, and seeing a friend.

Goodbye, sweetheart. I'll miss you. I can't believe our last hug was our last hug. I hope we see each other again, when all our tornadoes are blown out, and we have a chance for a quiet room, and all the time in the world.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Infinity Mitten

Me: aHA!

Mate: What?

Me: They have one!

Mate: One what?

Me: A pattern for the thing ZoomBoy wants for his birthday. *shows Mate THIS LINK*

Mate: Are you serious?

Me: Yup. He asked. Said it was the only thing he really wanted.

Mate: No, really.

Me: He called it "an infinity mitten".

Mate: You can make that?

Me: I hope so, I just bought the pattern.

Mate: What are you going to do for the other hand?

Squish: I told her she should make a purple one, and give it black fingernails, with veins and stuff.

Mate and I: ewwww... no!!!

Squish: I think it would be great!

Me: Plain gold glove. No worries.

Mate: Whatever.

Me: I have to buy yarn tomorrow.

Mate: I bet if I excavated the garage--

Me: See this color gold?

Mate: Yes?

Me: Have you ever, in a thousand years, seen me come home with anything that looks like that?

Mate: No.

Me: Yarn store.

Mate: God. Seriously?

Me: I also need to buy the fake stones.

Mate: Heh heh heh... that's sort of fun.

Me: Right?  Anyway-- I need to hurry. His birthday dinner's next Friday.

Mate: Damn. That's all he wants?

Me: Hey-- beats the heck out of his first suggestion.

Mate: ???

Me: He wanted a head-to-toe outfit, so, leg warmers to match his sweater and his hat.


Me: Right? He said that way he could wear shorts to school.

Mate: AUGH! That one's committed, like you read about!


Mate: But good luck on the Infinity Mitten. Seriously. In a week.

Me: *sighs*  Yeah.  Good thing the cat likes knitting.

Mate: I think she just thinks there's bugs on the string.

Cat: bugs bugs bugs bugs EAT YARN!

Me: Very possible. Night hon.

Mate: Happy knitting.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Remember Who's Voting Next

I haven't even checked election results. Like most democrats, I'm pretty sure I'm hiding in an enforced media blackout until tomorrow for the sake of my sanity.

Anyway--my kids were NOT super invested in their phones today on the way from school, with the exception of a rather unfortunate picture of a man with a penis shaped like SpongeBob, but other than that, it was all discussion.

ZoomBoy *tapping on my window as Squish and I wait for him*: ADHD Squirrel forgot his meds and would like food.

Me: Sure, where we going?

ZB: Carl's Jr.. Did you vote?

Squish: Yes she did, although I'm not sure what we're voting for here.

Me: Ballot measures--keeping the gas tax that's fixing our roads, not killing people on kidney dialysis to make the pharma business happy, giving first responders breaks, that sort of thing.

ZB: Good. Remember, the local races are important.

Me: Yes, I know--

ZB: Because it's important we make bad stuff illegal.

Me: I know--

Squish: Remember, last night? You told us that everything Hitler did was legal in Germany. So we can't let that happen here.

Me: Doing what I can.

Squish: I didn't get a chance to tell my history teacher that--but do you know who killed more people than Hitler and Stalin together?

Me: Uh--

Squish: Chairman Mao-- he was really bad.

Me: Yes, yes he wa--

Squish: And we read in the Red Scarf Girl about how the prejudice started, and how the girl in the class did everything right, and because she followed what she was supposed to, because the government made prejudice legal, eventually she ended up really prejudiced. And you see how a bad government can hurt individual people.

ZoomBoy: Yeah, and like, in 1984, when they had the two-minute hate, that was so people could get all riled up because the government knew they were easier to control when they hated people without reason. So we need to make sure we don't let the laws get bad.

Me: Guys, I kno--

Squish: Red Scarf Girl was really sad--it was written by someone who survived Mao. I don't want our country to end up like that.

ZoomBoy: Squish, 1984 was scarier, because it's exactly how that happens. Like, you've got to be careful about what teachers and stuff tell you because if it's not true, that's for us to figure out.

Me: *desperately* Guys! I voted! It's like a big group project--I did my part right, we'll just hope for the rest of the country, okay?

Squish: Okay. Can I have a strawberry shake?  And that thing ZoomBoy sent to us was totally gross--you have to take away that app that lets him browse those memes.

Me: I'll talk to his father.

ZoomBoy: No, no--I'll be more appropriate, I swear!  And I want an Oreo shake. And tenders. And if you order those zucchini things I'll eat some.

Me: I get a tender.

ZoomBoy: Deal.

Squish: I want fries.

Me: Deal. Anything else you want to talk about?

Squish: Can I tell you how happy I am that there's no soccer today?

ZoomBoy: Can I tell you how much it sucks that it's almost dark?

Me: Yeah, got it. Time to order....

And the moral of this story is,

A. I think California teachers are unsung fucking heroes because that was some good frickin edu-ma-cation those young-un's were spouting,


B. You Republican assholes out there who think the young are malleable and easily led? YOU'RE the generation that has been proven to have difficulty sorting fact from opinion. My children? Both generations? Are gonna save the fuckin' world from your mess. Just hope they don't have control over your old age homes. I mean, my kids are gonna take care of ME, because Carl's Jr. and soccer and dance and love, but they are SO unimpressed with the dumbasses that elected the fascist traitor  leading our government.

They're growing up, they're smarter than you are, and they're coming for you.

I'm gonna sleep well tonight.

How about you?

Monday, November 5, 2018

Kermit Flail--Giving Thanks for Great Books!


Okay-- corny intro for our November issue, but I am SUPER grateful here. 

I have to admit-- I KIDNAPPED the first item on my list here. Parker Williams is one of Jackson and Ellery's BIGGEST fans, and he's reviewed Fish Out of Water on his blog and has even given Colby and Terrell a brief cameo in one of his latest books--but he keeps forgetting Kermit Flail-- so I figured I'd promote his book anyway, because Parker is just amazing, and because this book LOOKS fantastic, and because I love him to death with smishes and Jai-fic, just for him. 


And Kaje Harper wasn't so much kidnapped as she was... uhm... nudged. That's the word. I saw she was online as I was putting my post together and I NUDGED her. Because I love her work, and because she's writing for DSP for the first time here, and because I adore HER personally--and one of my biggest regrets at GRL was not getting so much as a lunch with her. *sigh* But at least I got to flail her newest story, Fair isn't Life.

And, well, Melanie Jayne has been on the Flail before, but, see, I've known her for so long and am always so excited to Flail her and when I found out she was doing an M/M story instead of het, I was OVER THE MOON. I may have, uhm, nudged her too. 

C.J. Elliot just dropped into my lap like a ripe apple, because her story, The Kinsey Scale, looks both adorable AND delicious.

And of course, gay romance's answer to Mary Janice Davison, Ms. EJ Russell, is here with Vampire With Benefits, and I am tickled pink!

It's an embarrassment of riches, and while some of them are, admittedly pilfered, most of them were invited--yes, INVITED--like favorite friends to the table.

I hope your November is hopeful, I hope you're surrounded by people you love, and I hope you read a lot of good books this time out.

I know I plan to!

Lincoln's Park

by Parker Williams 
A Links In the Chain Story

Lincoln Merriweather was born an entitled brat with a silver spoon lodged so deep, it might never have come out. At the BDSM club or in business, Lincoln was a storm, blowing in and disrupting the lives of everyone he touched, until the day he met a man who peeled away the tarnished layers to expose a decent person.

Lincoln found—then lost—love.

Since then, he’s tried to atone for his past, including walking away from his family’s wealth. He opened a diner, hiring people to work for him that he would have spit on before his epiphany. He’s found peace, which he’s about to lose to a hazel-eyed man.

Noel Simmons wound up on the street when his parents discovered he was gay. His path leads him to Lincoln’s diner, where he asks for a job. He’s thrilled when Lincoln agrees to hire him, but finds his new boss perplexing. Can anyone be this kind and decent?

What starts out as business becomes something more. Noel discovers he needs Lincoln in order to feel safe. Lincoln needs Noel to complete him. But when Lincoln’s past gets in the way of his present, will the two have a future?

A Change of Pace

 by Melanie Jayne

Book 6 in The Change Series

Edwin Eric is a self-made man. He’s out, proud, and more worried about the effects of winter salt on his Gucci loafers than settling down. He’s landed his dream job as a fashion consultant, but he’s not taking the job any more serious than he takes his hook-ups. Edwin has only one type, willing. He can’t imagine any man could ever change his mind.

Guillermo Cruz has known love and the pain of losing it. The owner of the hottest restaurant in Indianapolis, he is as comfortable with his sexuality as he is with accepting whatever life throws at him. He isn't looking for love and Edwin is definitely not the right man.

When Edwin is forced to change his ways or lose his job, it’s Guillermo’s cool, collected calmness that provides an unexpected oasis. Can a change of pace lead to love?

Buy at Amazon

Vampire With Benefits

by E.J. Russell 
Supernatural Selection #2

A match between a vampire and shifter could be deadly—but one broken beaver doesn’t give a dam.

Silent film actor Casimir Moreau had imagined that life as a vampire would be freewheeling and glamorous. Instead, he’s plunged into a restrictive society whose rules he runs afoul of at every turn. To “rehabilitate” him, the vampire council orders him mated to an incubus with impeccable breeding who’ll mold Cas into the upstanding vampire he ought to be. Or else.

As an inactive beaver shifter, construction engineer Rusty Johnson has fought—and overcome—bias and disrespect his entire life. But when his longtime boyfriend leaves him for political reasons, Rusty is ready to call it a day. Next stop? Supernatural Selection and his guaranteed perfect mate, a bear shifter living far away from Rusty’s disapproving clan.

But then a spell snafu at Supernatural Selection robs both men of their intended husbands. Rusty can’t face returning to his clan, and Cas needs somebody on his arm to keep the council happy, so they agree to pretend to be married. Nobody needs to know their relationship is fake—especially since it’s starting to feel suspiciously like the real thing.

Buy at Publisher

The Kinsey Scale

by C. Jane Elliott

Life is good for Eric Brown. He’s a senior theater major, an RA for a freshman dorm, and has a great circle of friends. Single since sophomore year, Eric isn’t looking for love. Then Will Butler—fellow senior, co-RA, and the cutest guy Eric’s ever seen—walks into his dorm. Will has a girlfriend he sees off campus—a minor disappointment that becomes a major problem when a housing shortage causes Will and Eric to become roommates, and Eric is forced to witness Will’s hotness day in and day out. For protection, Eric asks Jerry, his ex-boyfriend, to pretend they’re still together. Jerry warns him it’s a stupid idea, but he reluctantly agrees.

Too bad it won’t save Eric from losing his heart.

Will Butler has never believed in himself. His dysfunctional family saw to that. Although Will has loved music since childhood, he’s never seriously considered pursuing it, and the person he’s dating doesn’t encourage him. Then he and Eric Brown become roommates, and everything changes. Eric believes in Will and his talent. He’s also gorgeous and playful and fast becoming Will’s best friend. And that’s not good, because Will is hiding some big things, not only from Eric but from himself. 

Tagline: Forced roommates, fake boyfriends, fiery attraction, and a secret or two… are they fooling themselves or falling in love?

Fair Isn't Life

by Kaje Harper

Luke Lafontaine survived the past year by not thinking about the father he lost, the dairy farm he couldn’t save from bankruptcy, or his way of life that vanished with the rap of an auctioneer’s hammer. Cleaning up city folks’ trash at the Minnesota State Fair is just another dead-end job. But at the Fair, surrounded by a celebration of farm life, ambitions he’d given up on and buried deep start to revive. And seeing Mason Bell in the parade—gorgeous, gay, out-of-his-league Mason—stirs other buried dreams.

Mason left his hometown for college in Minneapolis without looking back. Student life is fun, classes are great, gay guys are easy to find, but it’s all a bit superficial. He’s at the State Fair parade route with his band when he realizes a scruffy maintenance worker is Luke, his secret high school crush. Luke should be safely home working on his dad’s farm, not picking up litter. Mason wishes he hadn’t fallen out of touch. He’s an optimist, though, and it’s never too late for second chances. Now he just has to convince Luke.

Hiding the Moon

by Amy Lane
Fish Out Of Water: Book Four - A Fish Out of Water/Racing for the Sun Crossover

Can a hitman and a psychic negotiate a relationship while all hell breaks loose?

The world might not know who Lee Burton is, but it needs his black ops division and the work they do to keep it safe. Lee’s spent his life following orders—until he sees a kill jacket on Ernie Caulfield. Ernie isn’t a typical target, and something is very wrong with Burton’s chain of command.

Ernie’s life may seem adrift, but his every action helps to shelter his mind from the psychic storm raging within. When Lee Burton shows up to save him from assassins and club bunnies, Ernie seizes his hand and doesn’t look back. Burton is Ernie’s best bet in a tumultuous world, and after one day together, he’s pretty sure Lee knows Ernie is his destiny as well.

But when Burton refused Ernie’s contract, he kicked an entire piranha tank of bad guys, and Burton can’t rest until he takes down the rogue military unit that would try to kill a spacey psychic. Ernie’s in love with Burton and Burton’s confused as hell by Ernie—but Ernie’s not changing his mind and Burton can’t stay away. Psychics, assassins, and bad guys—throw them into the desert with a forbidden love affair and what could possibly go wrong?