Gabbi Reviews: Stitch by Kim Fielding, Eli Easton, Jamie Fessenden and Sue Brown

Title: Gothika, Book 1, Stitch

Authors: Kim Fielding, Eli Easton, Jamie Fessenden and Sue Brown

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages: 294

Characters: Multiple Heroes

POV: Varies

Sub-Genre: Paranormal, Anthology

Kisses: 4.5

Blurb:

Gothika: Volume One

When a certain kind of man is needed, why not make him to order? Such things can be done, but take care: Much can go wrong—but then, sometimes it can go wonderfully right. Imagine…

In The Golem of Mala Lubovnya, a seventeenth century rabbi creates a man of clay to protect the Jews, and the golem lives a life his maker never imagined, gaining a name—Emet—and the love of a good man, Jakob Abramov. But their love may not survive when Emet must fulfill his violent purpose.

In Watchworks, Luke Prescott lives as a gentleman in a London that never was. His unique needs bring him to famed watchmaker Harland Wallace. Romance might blossom for them if Harland can come to terms with loving a man and keeping him safe.

In Made for Aaron, a young man in an asylum for being gay met the love of his life, Damon Fox. Twenty years later, Aaron thinks his life is over when Damon dies and then disappears from the hospital. Aaron is determined to find the truth, but secrets hide the unthinkable.

Reparations unfolds on the harsh planet of Kalan, where weakness cannot be tolerated. When Edward needs help, his life becomes entwined with exceptional cyborg slave, Knox. But when Knox remembers things he shouldn’t know, the two may pay a blood price for their taboo alliance.

Review:

Stitch is a Multi-Authored Anthology that left this reader yearning for more! Each and every story was intriguing and filled with plenty of romance with unique and well-written characters. I was quickly swept up into the addictive storylines these authors’ created and loved every minute I spent reading it.

One of the things that I’ve come to expect when it comes to reading Anthologies is that there are going to be some stories that I’m going to love and some that don’t resonate with me as a reader. I was floored by all of the creative storytelling abilities each of these authors have and enjoyed the stories they had to tell.

I can’t really pick a favorite story or a least favorite because I loved them all. Each and everyone brings something special to the anthology and if you like plenty of romance and even some nail-biting gothic suspense, this is definitely the book for you.

Highly Recommended!

Reviewed By: Gabbi

Click HERE to enter the Dreamspinner Press Homepage

Check out J. Scott Coatsworth has stopped by to show off his AMAZING newest release, The Stark Divide and to give us some insider information on his Writing Cave!

My Writer Cave

Every writer has a place they feel comfortable writing. Mine is my writer cave, where my computer monitor is like a window into other worlds.

But I’ve also surrounded myself with other things that help inspire me, and I thought it would be fun to give you a little tour.

There’s my Buddah Board, a cool paint with water thing that I use when I need a little Xen in my life.

There’s my little Marvin the Martin (who doubles as a secret flash drive).

There’s also this really cool graphite filled hour glass that Mark got me last year for my birthday.

And on the walls, some of my favorite sci fi art – the cover from Guy Gavriel Kay’s Tigana, a LOTR cover, and one of my newest acquisitions, a painting by a local Sacramento artist that reminds me of Mars.

Each day, I sit down at my desk and these things help me as I plug on trough my writing. Any writer will tell you that writing is a solitary sport, that we spend months plugging away on a novel all alone, only to come out for a few brief moments into the sunlight when the story is finally published.

Thank God for a comfy, familiar, inspiring writer cave. 🙂

The Stark Divide

Publisher: DSP Publications
Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Length: 284 Pages
Format: eBook, Paperback
Release Date: 10/10/17
Pairing: MM
Price: 6.99, 16.99
Series: Liminal Sky (Book One)
Genre: Sci Fi, Space, Gen Ship, Apocalypse, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer

Blurb:

Some stories are epic.

The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.

Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them—43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her—a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.

From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.

Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.

Book One of Liminal Sky

Excerpt:

“DRESSLER, SCHEMATIC,” Colin McAvery, ship’s captain and a third of the crew, called out to the ship-mind.

A three-dimensional image of the ship appeared above the smooth console. Her five living arms, reaching out from her central core, were lit with a golden glow, and the mechanical bits of instrumentation shone in red. In real life, she was almost two hundred meters from tip to tip.

Between those arms stretched her solar wings, a ghostly green film like the sails of the Flying Dutchman.

“You’re a pretty thing,” he said softly. He loved these ships, their delicate beauty as they floated through the starry void.

“Thank you, Captain.” The ship-mind sounded happy with the compliment—his imagination running wild. Minds didn’t have real emotions, though they sometimes approximated them.

He cross-checked the heading to be sure they remained on course to deliver their payload, the man-sized seed that was being dragged on a tether behind the ship. Humanity’s ticket to the stars at a time when life on Earth was getting rapidly worse.

All of space was spread out before him, seen through the clear expanse of plasform set into the ship’s living walls. His own face, trimmed blond hair, and deep brown eyes, stared back at him, superimposed over the vivid starscape.

At thirty, Colin was in the prime of his career. He was a starship captain, and yet sometimes he felt like little more than a bus driver. After this run… well, he’d have to see what other opportunities might be awaiting him. Maybe the doc was right, and this was the start of a whole new chapter for mankind. They might need a guy like him.

The walls of the bridge emitted a faint but healthy golden glow, providing light for his work at the curved mechanical console that filled half the room. He traced out the T-Line to their destination. “Dressler, we’re looking a little wobbly.” Colin frowned. Some irregularity in the course was common—the ship was constantly adjusting its trajectory—but she usually corrected it before he noticed.

“Affirmative, Captain.” The ship-mind’s miniature chosen likeness appeared above the touch board. She was all professional today, dressed in a standard AmSplor uniform, dark hair pulled back in a bun, and about a third life-sized.

The image was nothing more than a projection of the ship-mind, a fairy tale, but Colin appreciated the effort she took to humanize her appearance. Artificial mind or not, he always treated minds with respect.

“There’s a blockage in arm four. I’ve sent out a scout to correct it.”

The Dressler was well into slowdown now, her pre-arrival phase as she bled off her speed, and they expected to reach 43 Ariadne in another fifteen hours.

Pity no one had yet cracked the whole hyperspace thing. Colin chuckled. Asimov would be disappointed. “Dressler, show me Earth, please.”

A small blue dot appeared in the middle of his screen.

“Dressler, three dimensions, a bit larger, please.” The beautiful blue-green world spun before him in all its glory.

Appearances could be deceiving. Even with scrubbers working tirelessly night and day to clean the excess carbon dioxide from the air, the home world was still running dangerously warm.

He watched the image in front of him as the East Coast of the North American Union spun slowly into view. Florida was a sliver of its former self, and where New York City’s lights had once shone, there was now only blue. If it had been night, Fargo, the capital of the Northern States, would have outshone most of the other cities below. The floods that had wiped out many of the world’s coastal cities had also knocked down Earth’s population, which was only now reaching the levels it had seen in the early twenty-first century.

All those new souls had been born into a warm, arid world.

We did it to ourselves. Colin, who had known nothing besides the hot planet he called home, wondered what it had been like those many years before the Heat.

Buy Links Etc:

DSP Publications (paperback): https://www.dsppublications.com/books/the-stark-divide-by-j-scott-coatsworth-416-b

DSP Publications (eBook): https://www.dsppublications.com/books/the-stark-divide-by-j-scott-coatsworth-415-b

Amazon:

Barnes & Noble:

Kobo:

iBooks:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35834187-the-stark-divide

Author Bio:

Scott spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Enticed into fantasy and sci fi by his mom at the tender age of nine, he devoured her Science Fiction Book Club library. But as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were in the books he was reading.

He decided that it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at his local bookstore. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s mind works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He loves to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

Starting in 2014, Scott has published more than 15 works, including two novels and a number of novellas and short stories.

He runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own lives.

Author Links:

Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Facebook (personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Facebook (author page): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

Twitter: https://www.facebook.com/jscoatsworth/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/J.-Scott-Coatsworth/e/B011AFO4OQ

Anne Reviews: The Stark Divide by J. Scott Coatsworth

TITLE: The Stark Divide
Author: J. Scott Coatsworth
Publisher: DSP Publications
Pages: 269
Characters: various LGBTQ/straight. Although there are relationships, the focus of this story isn’t a romance.
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Series, Science Fiction
Kisses: 5

Blurb:
Some stories are epic.

The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.

Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them—43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her—a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.

From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.

Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.

Review:
When I read a book by J. Scott Coatsworth I know I’m going to be treated to a story with fabulous world building, and interesting characters. The Stark Divide has all of that and more. One thing I really loved about this story is that although there are romances, they don’t drive it. Also it is populated by diverse characters with differing sexualities IE gay, straight, bi, and trans, which is accepted by this society in the future. The issues here aren’t that, but how mankind has ruined the Earth, both ecologically and because of war. The author has done a great job in taking current concerns and extrapolating where they might lead the future human race if we continue on our current course. The tent city for refugees in one part of the story echoed current news stories scarily well.

I loved the nods to other SF authors, such as Asimov and McCaffrey. Some were direct mentions, others more subtle.

The world building is interesting, and different to anything I’ve read before. Although the ship-mind has echoes of Anne McCaffrey’s ship series, Coatsworth uses it as a springboard, and flies. The ship-mind, world-mind, and station-mind are interesting, developed characters, as are the humans who take centre stage in this story. The idea of growing a planet using biological technology is brilliant, and it was obvious the more I read that it is very well thought out. I also liked how the author split the book into three different time periods, each one jumping forward from the previous. It gives the story an epic feel, which is perfect for what it is—the rebirth of the human race on another world told through the perspective of not only those who are key players in that journey but of the world itself, and the generation ship it becomes. The linking of time periods through both older versions of already familiar characters, and the introduction of the next generation was nicely done, as was the expansion of the planet-mind.

I liked too, that the characters are very human, and take the time to cry, whether in relief or grief. I felt as though I was reading about real people. Not all of them have the greatest of intentions, they make mistakes, and are often driven by emotions that are a mix of good and not so good.

The descriptive of space is wonderfully emotive—“the stars poking brilliant holes in the firmament above.” The descriptions of Forever—the name given to the world by the colonists—are not overdone as to bog down the story, yet make the setting very easy to visualise. I spent several evenings getting lost in the story and staying up far too late in order to read just one more chapter.

I’d recommend The Stark Divide to readers who enjoy science fiction with detailed world building, interesting characters, and an epic story. Highly recommended.

Reviewed By: Anne

Click HERE to purchase The Stark Divide

Get into the Halloween Spirit! Check out the release day blitz for a collection of stories by NineStar Press!!

Get in the holiday spirit with the Halloween collection of stories from NineStar Press

Releasing between October 9th and October 23rd, don’t miss a single one!

Available October 16th 

Synopsis

Danton is a 1200-year old vampire, blinded by the Medieval Church, who makes his life as a paranormal romance novelist. He writes about a vampire detective and “pretends” to his fans to be a vampire himself. But book sales are down because he has been without love for over 30 years and just doesn’t have that spark of romance left in him. Until he meets Kevin, a disbelieving young man, desperate for a job, who is brought in by Danton’s agent to try to lighten up his life and heat up his prose.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Available October 16th 

Synopsis

Drew hates labels, but loves Halloween and he wants a trick-or-treat of his own. At his mother’s to deliver emergency candy, she has him get the door in his gender-bending costume. The handsome man with the little trick-or-treater would be Drew’s perfect treat.

David’s attraction to Drew is no trick. He wants the whole Drew, in all his unlabeled glory, making Drew think this could be a treat that lasts long past the holiday.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

 

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Kimberly Reviews: High Balls by Tara Lain

Title: High Balls

Author: Tara Lain

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages: 163

Characters: Theodore, Snake, Andy

POV: 3rd

Sub-Genre: Contemporary

Kisses: 4 

Blurb:

Though only twenty-six, single father Theodore Walters lives with his head in the clouds and his feet firmly planted in reality. At the center of his life is Andy, his seven-year-old son, with whom he shares no DNA, though nobody—including his religious-fanatic in-laws—knows that, and Theodore will do anything to keep them from finding out. Theodore works hard to get his PhD and the tenure and salary that might follow to make a better life for Andy—but the head of his department thinks his dissertation on Jane Austen and romance novels is frivolous. 

Theodore’s carefully planned life goes off the rails when he walks into a popular Laguna Beach bar and meets the bartender, “Snake” Erasmo, a pierced and tattooed biker who sends Theodore’s imagination—and libido—soaring. Snake has even more secrets than Theodore and couldn’t be a less “appropriate” match, but he might be the only guy with the skills to show Theodore that happily ever after is for real.

Review:

An intriguing storyline, a dose of mystery, and some family-time bonding all makes for a wonderful novel from Tara Lain. This novel is part of the Balls to the Wall series and makes for a great new addition.

If you’d like to read all the novels released thus far, the order is as follows:

  • Volley Balls
  • Fire Balls
  • Beach Balls
  • Fast Balls
  • High Balls

Theodore and Snake’s relationship might appear to be a case of opposites attract, but we soon learn that the two might have more in common than first thought. Plus, with Theodore’s son Andy thrown in, they have the makings of a true forever family. I love a feel-good story! There were a number of interlocking plotlines going on in this, which made you want to keep turning the page to figure out where it would go next. Not only is there the developing relationship between Theodore and Snake, but also a custody threat from Andy’s grandparents that might put their ultimate happiness in danger. And if that weren’t enough, there’s also the stress of Theodore going through his PhD defense and working against the departmental disrespect that he’s constantly having to face because of his chosen research topic. It all makes for one grand adventure.

While I liked the story very much, there were a few drawbacks that reduced my enjoyment just a bit. First was the wandering POV, switching between Theodore and Snake, sometimes in the middle of the chapter. I’m more of a fan of a dedicated POV when reading, or at least a switch that comes at a chapter break to give it more separation. Secondly, the reference to Theodore’s fellow TA kept switching between his first and last name. It kept confusing me, and I had to pause to remember that the two names were the same person. Lastly, the character of JP Rellico was very flat and did not pose any sort of threat, nor any sort of real interaction with the plot. He was a seen, but not heard entity that caused little drama since the custody issue was cleared up relatively quickly.

However, even those few drawbacks weren’t enough to detract completely from such a great novel. I loved the evolving relationship between Theodore and Snake, the flawed and complicated nature of both their characters, and how they overcame many obstacles to end up together. I am rooting for their happily ever after. They deserve all the happiness, because they certainly provided me happiness while reading.

Recommended!

Reviewed By: Kimberly

Click HERE to enter the Dreamspinner Press Homepage

Kimberly Reviews: Waking the Behr by Pat Henshaw

Title: Waking the Behr

Author: Pat Henshaw

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages: 88

Characters: Ben, Mitch, Connor, Abe

POV: 1st

Sub-Genre: Contemporary

Kisses: 3.5 

Blurb:

Both Ben and Mitch think they know exactly what they want. Turns out, they don’t even know their own hearts.

Good old boy Ben has dated women his entire life, while gay nightclub owner Mitch has never considered unsophisticated country boys his type. But after they start hanging out, the small-town contractor and the urban entrepreneur are both stunned by the electricity sparking between them.

As they step outside their comfort zones to spend time together, Mitch finds he enjoys rural car rallies, and Ben is intrigued by the upscale bars Mitch owns in San Francisco. When they share their lives and grow closer, they start to question the way they’ve always defined themselves. Then they kiss and fling open the door to love. Now they must step up and travel the road that may lead to happily ever after—even if that path isn’t one they ever expected to walk. 

Review:

Love doesn’t follow the rules, as main character Ben soon learns in Walking the Behr. Although both his brothers, Abe and Connor, have come out as gay prior, Mitch never thought he’d do so as well. That is, until Mitch wandered into his town and into his life. Now Ben is wondering what this new-found attraction means and if he’s been hiding a part of himself all his life.

What I liked about this story is that the author didn’t immediately jump from attraction to acceptance too quickly. Ben has to take time and really consider why he’s suddenly attracted to a man. And he also must consider if that attraction is even real, since it’s a jumble of emotion inside his head and all new feelings for Ben. The ongoing pull between being territorial over Mitch and wondering if his brother, Connor, is actually the better partner for this rich city boy was a great thread that ran through the first part of the book. It made the developing relationship feel more real.

The one component I didn’t like, or perhaps just didn’t understand, was the presence of Mitch’s ex, Glen, throughout their tour of Mitch’s clubs. He was just annoying and always-present, but didn’t seem to pose any real threat, even when he was described as looking for a fight. If he had been utilized as a real threat, I could see him playing a more dynamic role. At present, though, he was just a detour from the story that I could gladly overlook. 

All in all, though, Walking the Behr was a sweet, romantic story of two men who seemed to be such opposites, yet found commonality in their love for one another. I’m not sure what the future holds for Ben and Mitch, but I do know that I enjoyed seeing the two of them becoming one.

Reviewed By: Kimberly

Click HERE to enter the Dreamspinner Press Homepage

We have a Release Day Blitz for Love by Number by DJ Jamison!

Title:  Love By Number

Author: DJ Jamison

Publisher: DJ Jamison

Release Date: October 12, 2017

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 31,000 words

Genre: Romance, LGBT, m/m contemporary romance

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Aidan doesn’t have the best record with relationships, but he’s had a lifelong love affair with baseball. Player stats and computer simulations make sense. People don’t. But when he needs a ride to the World Series, he must rely on another person: a sexy artist who is as spontaneous as Aidan is predictable.

Jesse doesn’t care about baseball. As an artist, he’d rather paint a player than watch him at bat. But his grandpa loves the Kansas City Royals, so he takes him to every home game. He has no idea a fender bender in the parking lot is about to deliver new inspiration in the shape of a man with a whole bag of quirks.

Despite their differences, Jesse and Aidan hit it off, and their sexual chemistry is fantastic. But when Aidan’s numbers betray him, Jesse isn’t prepared for the fall-out. If Aidan continues to put his passion for baseball stats above everything else, he could miss out on the most important numbers in life: the number of smiles, kisses and laughs they could share in a lifelong journey together.

Excerpt

Aidan clutched at his hair, heart hammering in his chest. The front driver’s side of his black Saab was crumpled. The wheel well took a direct hit, the force of the collision pressing it into the tire. He could tell from just looking that the axle must be bent, if not broken, by the way the tire tilted at the wrong angle.

It’s not drivable, he thought, and his heart hammered harder. He felt his hands trembling, and not as an aftershock of the accident. Well, not from experiencing the accident, at least. He was shaking because his plans had just been thrown in the blender.

“Hey, you okay?”

He looked up, gazing blankly at the figure approaching him. A man, but his features were lost in the shadows. Not that Aidan could focus on something like facial features right now. That wasn’t easy on a good day, much less in a moment like this.

“It’s not that big a deal,” he muttered to himself, as he’d learned from his therapist years ago. “It’s not. It’s not. But …” He groaned and clutched at his hair some more. “How am I going to get to the World Series now? I have to get there!”

He’d wrapped up so many hopes in getting to that series, in watching the Royals perform in high-stakes games. It was the perfect time to prove out his math. It might not be rocket science, but Aidan still wanted to watch his math come to life on the baseball field, in the most important series of the season. In person.

A hand touched his shoulder, and he flinched away.

“I’m sorry. Are you hurt?” a voice asked. A nice, mellow voice. He liked the raspy quality of it and the cadence of the man’s words. His tone calmed Aidan.

He managed to drag his gaze from the damage to the man’s face. “I’m …”

Sexy Artist Guy.

He faltered when he recognized the dark hair tinted with maroon highlights, dark eyes and sculpted lips — all coming together in a perfect symmetry. A perfect representation of geometry in nature, really. And the freckles splashed over his nose, highlighted now by the security lights overhead? They somehow added to his sex appeal instead of detracting from it.

Aidan had seen an open sketchbook on this man’s lap more than once when passing by on a bathroom break. He mostly drew portraits, from the look of it, but Aidan had only caught a glimpse. It made sense he was an artist since his entire appearance was like a work of art to Aidan’s eyes. He couldn’t imagine being so creative with his hair or his wardrobe or his skin, where Sexy Artist Guy had embraced both tattooing (his right bicep) and piercing (both ears and right eyebrow).

“I’m so sorry,” Sexy Artist Guy said again. “I saw an opening and went for it. I didn’t see you coming, but my grandfather was distracting me—”

“Blame it on the old man, why don’t ya?” a hoarse voice boomed loudly enough to make Aidan jump.

“Gramps, not now, huh? The guy is freaking out.”

“I’m not freaking out,” Aidan said sharply. The fascination with the stranger’s face faded as he remembered why he was in this situation. He gestured to the damage. “There’s no way I can drive that.”

“We can give you a lift,” the old man said, at the same time the handsome stranger said, “We’ll call you a tow truck.”

“But look at my car!” he said, not sure they understood the direness of the situation.

Artist Guy frowned, then glanced behind Aidan. Following his look, he realized they were blocking traffic. A line of cars snaked through the parking lot, headlights shining on Aidan’s personal disaster.

“I should move my car.” He glanced back at the bent wheel well, frowning. He hoped he could move the car.

“Jesse,” the old man spoke, “you help him push. I’ll get in and put it in neutral.”

They all took their positions, and with some work managed to push the car into an empty space next to the Lincoln Towncar that had so cruelly crunched the Saab. Aidan cringed at the scraping metal sound as his car rolled out of the lane of traffic.

Once off to the side, Jesse pulled out his wallet. He handed his license to Aidan, who stared at it. He took in all the details: 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, brown hair, brown eyes, born one year after Aidan, making him twenty-six.

Jesse cleared his throat, and Aidan glanced up.

“Aren’t you going to take a picture?”

Damn. He’d been staring. The old saying popped into his mind: Take a picture, it’ll last longer.

He flushed. “Sorry.”

He started to hand the license back, but Jesse looked at him as if he had a screw loose. Then it clicked. Take a picture. For insurance. Right.

He dug out his phone and clicked the pic of the license, and then of the insurance card that Jesse handed over. He was still rattled by the accident, thrumming with bottled-up anxiety.

“You okay? You’re pretty twitchy,” Jesse said. “I’m sure the insurance will cover the damage.”

“Yeah, but it’s my car.”

“Yeah?”

Aidan waved to his car, unsure how to make Jesse understand.

“It was reliable.”

“Um, won’t it still be reliable when it’s fixed?”

“The World Series is in two days.”

“So …”

“Jesse, stop being thick,” the old man interrupted. “Obviously, he was going to drive up to St. Louis, and a Saab is a foreign car. He won’t be able to get the parts locally. Maybe not even the mechanic. They don’t make those cars anymore. He can’t get it fixed in time.”

“Oh.”

“I have to go to that game. I go to all the away games within driving distance. I always do. And this is the World Series. I’m going to have to take a bus, and, oh God, I can’t stand to ride the bus—”

“Jesse will drive you.”

Aidan looked at the older man. He had a bushy head of white hair and enough wrinkles to give a Shar-Pei a run for its money, but his tone was confident, the kind of confident that brooked no nonsense. He’d heard that tone from his own mother too many times to count.

“He will?”

“I will?” Jesse echoed. “Gramps, I’m sure Aidan doesn’t want—”

“That would be great!”

Normally, Aidan wouldn’t want to ride long distance with a stranger, but when contrasted with a bus full of strangers, he jumped at the opportunity. Besides, Jesse and his grandfather had been at every home game. If Jesse were some kind of predator or bully, he’d have shown it by now. Right?

He’d only had one other interaction with Jesse. He’d walked up to Aidan once, when he was trying to quickly record the stats from the latest play and compare them against what he’d predicted for that player’s performance. Aidan had been too distracted to make conversation, especially small talk with a stranger. But he couldn’t help noticing his great smile. Jesse was one of those people who smiled with his whole being, not just his mouth. His eyes brightened, his cheeks dimpled and his body even seemed to vibrate with happy energy.

Aidan liked that because it was easy to see Jesse’s happiness. It wasn’t subtle, which would be lost on him, or confusing — like when people’s mouths smiled but their eyes stayed cold. He didn’t understand that. Was he supposed to respond to their mouth or their eyes? And then there were some people who just smiled all the time, even when they said mean things. What did that mean? Smiles could be confusing, but Jesse’s wasn’t.

“I have tickets to the games,” Gramps was saying now. “I was going to ask you to go, as a favor to me.”

“What? But you said in the car—”

“Hush,” Gramps said, a gleam in his eye. “I’m not up for that kind of travel. I want you to go in my place, so you can tell me all about it. You take this nice young man. It’s the least we can do. Watch the games for me, and tell me all about it when you come home.”

Aidan pulled out his phone to call the tow truck, watching the two men in a staring stand-off. He made arrangements for the tow and disconnected in time to see Jesse sigh and nod.

“Okay, Gramps. For you.”

“Good boy,” Gramps said, clapping him on the shoulder.

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Meet the Author

 

DJ Jamison grew up in the Midwest and worked in newsrooms for more than 10 years, which came in handy when she began writing stories centered on a series of love connections between small-town Kansas newspaper staffers, their sources and their readers. It was the perfect entrance into the world of fiction, and she has since branched out into ERs, health clinics and other settings to tell the stories of characters who are flawed but loveable. She writes a variety of queer characters, from gay to bisexual to asexual, with a focus on telling love stories that are more about common ground than lust at first sight. DJ is married with two sons and two glow-in-the-dark fish that are miraculously still alive.

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