Tag Archives: erotic

Review Tour: Their Property by K. A. Merikan

Their Property | K. A. Merikan

Four Mercenaries #3

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Buy Links:

Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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Cover Design: Natasha Snow

Length: 75,000 words approx.

READ MY REVIEW

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Blurb

— Bruised not broken. Loved. Always. —

Clover’s life was perfect a year ago. He’d found four men to love, each essential to making him whole. Each one of them tough in their own way, part of a crew of mercenaries living on the wrong side of the law.

Tank was his loving Daddy, Pyro the wild one always pulling him into mischief, Boar taught him how to cook, and Drake showed him how to use knives in a wholly different fashion.

All Clover wanted was to finally be an equal in the group. So he trained, he pushed, and risked, but when real danger stared him in the face, he broke like a twig.

Now, with one of his lovers taken, Clover can’t find a way back to his former self. Each of the relationships they’d so meticulously built is fractured, and might never be the same.

If their group is to ever be whole again, Clover needs to find the courage he’s lost, but that means facing the monster who scarred him, and truths none of his men want to confront.

*

THEIR PROPERTY is a dark gay harem contemporary romance, book 3 in the “Four Mercenaries” trilogy. The story contains scenes of explicit violence, offensive language, morally ambiguous characters and lots of scorching hot, emotional, explicit scenes.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

Themes: polyamory, mercenaries, bounty hunters, albinism, commitment issues, dark past, male bonding, human trafficking, size difference, danger, alpha male, found family, size difference, distrust, shared, victim and protector, revenge, organized crime, angst, trauma, rescue, missing

Four Mercenaries Series 

Book #1 – Their Bounty – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

Book #2 – Their Obsession – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

TourGraphic-62.jpgAbout The Authors

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K.A. Merikan are a team of writers who try not to suck at adulting, with some success. Always eager to explore the murky waters of the weird and wonderful, K.A. Merikan don’t follow fixed formulas and want each of their books to be a surprise for those who choose to hop on for the ride.

K.A. Merikan have a few sweeter M/M romances as well, but they specialize in the dark, dirty, and dangerous side of M/M, full of bikers, bad boys, Mafiosi, and scorching hot romance.

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M/F ROMANCE BY MISS MERIKAN

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Release Blitz: Their Property by K. A. Merikan

Their Property | K. A. Merikan

Four Mercenaries #3

RBBANNER-75.jpg

Buy Links:

Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Universal Link

Cover Design: Natasha Snow

Length: 75,000 words approx.

TheirProperty-KAM-f900-web.jpg

Blurb

— Bruised not broken. Loved. Always. —

Clover’s life was perfect a year ago. He’d found four men to love, each essential to making him whole. Each one of them tough in their own way, part of a crew of mercenaries living on the wrong side of the law.

Tank was his loving Daddy, Pyro the wild one always pulling him into mischief, Boar taught him how to cook, and Drake showed him how to use knives in a wholly different fashion.

All Clover wanted was to finally be an equal in the group. So he trained, he pushed, and risked, but when real danger stared him in the face, he broke like a twig.

Now, with one of his lovers taken, Clover can’t find a way back to his former self. Each of the relationships they’d so meticulously built is fractured, and might never be the same.

If their group is to ever be whole again, Clover needs to find the courage he’s lost, but that means facing the monster who scarred him, and truths none of his men want to confront.

*

THEIR PROPERTY is a dark gay harem contemporary romance, book 3 in the “Four Mercenaries” trilogy. The story contains scenes of explicit violence, offensive language, morally ambiguous characters and lots of scorching hot, emotional, explicit scenes.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

Themes: polyamory, mercenaries, bounty hunters, albinism, commitment issues, dark past, male bonding, human trafficking, size difference, danger, alpha male, found family, size difference, distrust, shared, victim and protector, revenge, organized crime, angst, trauma, rescue, missing

Four Mercenaries Series 

Book #1 – Their Bounty – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

Book #2 – Their Obsession – Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal Link

About The Authors

Copy of Copy of author_gnb.png

K.A. Merikan are a team of writers who try not to suck at adulting, with some success. Always eager to explore the murky waters of the weird and wonderful, K.A. Merikan don’t follow fixed formulas and want each of their books to be a surprise for those who choose to hop on for the ride.

K.A. Merikan have a few sweeter M/M romances as well, but they specialize in the dark, dirty, and dangerous side of M/M, full of bikers, bad boys, Mafiosi, and scorching hot romance.

Social Media

FACEBOOK PROFILE

K.A. MERIKAN’S TWITTER (RUN BY KAT)

AGNES MERIKAN’S TWITTER

K.A. MERIKAN ON GOODREADS

PINTEREST

M/F ROMANCE BY MISS MERIKAN

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

 

 

Stunning conclusion to this polyamorous romance

46247369._SY475_.jpgTheir Property by K.A. Merikan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

No-one writes this kind of twisted, deliciously filthy, utterly insane and beautifully romantic stories quite like Kat and Agnes.

I have to say I was worried with where things had been left at the end of book two. Boar was missing, Clover and Drake were dealing with the aftermath of what they’d been forced into, Pyro was self-destructing and Tank couldn’t see a way out of the mess.

Of course, I knew all would work out in the end but never in my wildest imaginations could I have foreseen where this book would go.

It’s a headrush for all the right reasons, the pace never falters and the action never stops until the glorious moment at the end where all becomes right in the world again.

Utter brilliance.

#ARC kindly received from the authors in return for an honest and unbiased review.

View all my Goodreads reviews

Release Blitz: The Foundling Trilogy by Wendy Rathbone

The Foundling Trilogy | Wendy Rathbone

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Series Blurb

Billionaire, amnesia, organized crime, romantic, hurt/comfort, tropical hot-hot, with a happy ending.
Great for summer reading! But have a cool drink or breeze on hand. These books are erotic.

All three books in The Foundling Trilogy are now live on Amazon and available to read in KU. 

Rescue Me

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What do you do when you find an unconscious man floating on a raft in the middle of the Caribbean?
Rescue and fall in love with him, of course!

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07TW2Y5Y2

Sacrifice Me

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What do you do when your beautiful new lover’s life is in danger and he wants to be bait to catch the enemy? You protect him with all your might.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07V5RMGCT

Remember Me

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What do you do when your memories return and the most horrific nightmare you can imagine is real?

You try to bury it. You try to run. But none of that works.

Your lover is rock solid. He is always there for you, but is it enough?

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07V78PWRT

About The Author

wendy

I love to write. I have this thing about words and how they are used to describe beauty, love, and all the things that open us up inside to our true self, our power. Words do that for me. They make me happy. The new moon smiling, the sadness of a fallen feather at dusk, predatory eyes gazing through smoke.

Currently, I write all male/male romances. For the past few years it has been my first love, and is my focus.

The reason I write romance these days is because the overwhelming power of falling in love (which has been proven to heal even cancer) is a game-changer. It makes sad people instantly happy. It makes bleak reality look sun-warmed and friendly again. But it can also be a feeling of total agony, which is why I always give my characters a happy ending.

I have written in all genres: scifi, fantasy, horror, paranormal, contemporary, erotica, romance. Also, my poetry has won awards, publishing contracts, and was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. A fiction story of mine won Writers of the Future. My fantasy/horror fiction and poetry has received honorable mentions from esteemed editor Ellen Datlow in “Years Best Fantasy and Horror”.

I am a hybrid writer, publishing both indie (under my press name Eye Scry Designs) and with publishers including “The Android and the Thief” with Dreamspinner Press in 2017.

All my books are available on Kindle and CreateSpace.

Release Blitz: A Daring Journey by Jeanne St. James

A Daring Journey | Jeanne St. James

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Each of the stories are standalones but should be read in order only because of recurring secondary characters.

Overall Heat Rating for the series: 5 flames

Double Dare

What could be better than waking up next to a hot guy? Waking up sandwiched between two of them.

Cover Artist: April Martinez

Length: 67,500 words / 258 pages

Release Date: January 25, 2010

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Blurb

Quinn Preston, a financial analyst, is not happy when her friends dare her to pick up a handsome stranger at a wedding reception. What better reason to give up men when her previous long-term relationship had not only been lackluster in the bedroom but he had cheated?

Logan Reed, a successful business owner, can’t believe that he’s attracted to the woman in the ugly, Pepto-Bismol pink bridesmaid dress. And to boot, she’s more than tipsy. After turning down her invitation for a one-night stand, he finds her in the parking lot too impaired to drive. He rescues her and takes her home. His home.

The next morning Quinn’s conservative life turns on its ear when Logan introduces her to pleasures she never even considered before. And to make things more complicated, Logan already has a lover.

Tyson White, ex-pro football player, is completely in love with Logan. He has mixed emotions when Logan brings home Quinn. But the dares keep coming…

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Daring Proposal

Never in her life has she been so bold to propose something so daring…

Cover Artist: April Martinez

Length: 50,267 words / 210 pages

Release Date: January 3, 2017

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Blurb

Since losing her husband years ago in a tragic accident, Eve Sanders hasn’t dated. Her husband’s death proved life is short, so why waste time denying her unfulfilled desires. Eve desires two men, but not just any two. Both happen to be former Super Bowl champions and best friends.

When both men participate in a Celebrity Date Night charity event, Eve’s determined to not only be the winning bidder for the retired NFL quarterback Lawrence “Long Arm” Landis, but also Cole Dixon, his former Boston Bulldog’s teammate. However, Ren not only has a problem with another man dating the same woman, but he definitely isn’t planning on sharing her in the same bed. Even if it’s with his best friend.

Openly bi-sexual, Cole is sexually attracted to Ren and has secretly wanted him for years. He’s never acted upon it, assuming Ren wouldn’t want to be with another man. Eve’s daring proposal gives Cole hope his dream with Ren will come true.

Being with two men is one of Eve’s fantasies, but never in her life has she been so bold. Not only is she nervous about proposing something so daring to the two men, but will both be willing?

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Dare to be Three

 

He was dark. So dark, she couldn’t keep her gaze from him…

Length: 52,061 words/ 210 pages

Release Date: March 2, 2017

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Blurb

When Paige Reed spots a man across the room at a party, she’s fascinated and decides she wants him in her bed. Fortunately, her husband, Connor, doesn’t mind. He’s attracted to the powerful man too.

Always bi-curious, the right opportunity has never presented itself to Connor Morgan. Until now. He doesn’t mind bringing another man into their marriage as long as it doesn’t drive a wedge between him and Paige.

Former NFL player, Graedon Ward likes to be in control. He’s more than pleased with Paige’s obvious interest. However, she makes it quite clear: it’s a package deal. If he wants her, he has to take on her husband too, and past experience has taught him that’s a dangerous road to travel.

The chemistry between the three is explosive, but it’s Grae’s desire to share the same level of intimacy he sees between Paige and Conner that puts real pressure on the threesome. And it may cause it all to crash and burn.

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A Daring Desire

Take two defense attorneys, add one troubled NFL QB who needs them, and what do you get? A threesome of hot, sexy conflict.

Length: 52,440 words/ 220 pages

Release Date: May 17, 2017

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Blurb

Gryff Ward made a serious mistake when he hired the hot-as-hell defense attorney Rayne Jordan as an associate in his high-profile legal firm, even though she’s one of the best. Now he’s struggling to keep it professional, especially when she insists on calling him “Boss.”

Rayne’s been attracted to the firm’s top attorney ever since her interview. And she’s well aware that calling the conservative man “Boss” drives him crazy…in a very good way.

Add Trey Holloway, their newest client, a troubled NFL quarterback, into the mix. Tension arises when it’s clear that both Gryff and Trey want Rayne and Gryff is willing to fight for her. However, Trey doesn’t hide the fact that he wants Gryff too.

Now Gryff’s having a hard time fighting not only his attraction to Rayne but to another man. Even though he stubbornly refuses to admit his deepest, darkest desires.

Then Rayne takes control. She’s determined to have them both in not only her bed but her life, and she won’t give up until she does.

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Dare To Surrender

One woman, two men, a fierce attraction and a danger that could destroy them all…

Length: 63,469 words/ 256 pages

Release Date: Jan 11, 2018

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Blurb

Olivia Holloway’s life has never been easy. On her own at sixteen, she’s fought to survive ever since. When she finds herself in a dangerous situation that even she can’t handle, she has to break down and ask for help. She reluctantly seeks it by showing up at her estranged brother’s law firm.

However, it’s not her brother, Trey, who steps in, it’s the firm’s private investigator, Elliot Stone and his husband, Grant Lane. They agree to hide her at their home to keep her safe after she witnesses a powerful Senator commit murder.

Together for a decade, Eli and Grant’s marriage is solid and they’re still deeply in love. But when Olivia shows up at the firm they both work at, Eli feels a pull toward the woman he can’t deny. Only now he needs to convince his husband that bringing her into their relationship will not destroy what they have but only enhance it. However, will Grant agree?

And will the trouble that’s following Olivia put them all at risk?

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Audio: Coming soon

A Daring Journey

Two paths: one new, one familiar. And a burning desire to choose them both…

Length: 75,589 words/ 316 pages

Release Date: July 6, 2019

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Blurb

When Damon spots a stunning redhead on his plane, the pilot’s determined to get to know her better. It’s been a long time since he’s experienced an instant connection with anyone. The last time was with his former lover, who left without an explanation over five years ago, devastating him. Though now cautious when it comes to relationships, MacKenzie just might be everything he’s looking for and more.

Not expecting to meet the tall, dark and handsome captain on her flight home, Mac finds Damon’s domineering persistence a turn-on. She decides to take a chance on him, which, in the end, might be a mistake when a person from his past returns. A man Damon loved and still does.

The last five years had been dark journey for Trevor, and he’s now ready to return to the light. He’s back in Boston to not only ask for forgiveness but to reconnect with Damon, since he still loves the man. However, there’s a complication. Damon is seeing someone else and Trevor might be too late.

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Audio: coming soon

Excerpt

Trevor stood on the stoop staring at the dark blue painted front door. The house was a modest two-story, the yard well-maintained, the landscaping professionally done. The paved driveway was empty, and he only hoped that the two-car garage held Damon’s car as he knocked on the door.

After the other night at the bar, it had taken every bit of strength and determination he had to show up at the man’s home. But he couldn’t give up so easily. He understood Damon’s anger. In fact, Trevor embraced it.

Simply because he deserved every drop of it.

But he couldn’t move forward unless Damon forgave him. Even if his former lover wouldn’t accept him back, wouldn’t give him a second chance, his soul might settle a little with forgiveness.

Even so, Damon didn’t owe him anything.

What Trevor did was wrong. Awful, in fact. To hurt the one person in the whole world that loved you completely was…

Unforgiveable.

Trevor closed his eyes and pressed his fists to the sides of his thighs.

He should leave. But seeing Damon the other night had wrecked him. Especially when he saw that this “Mac” Damon had a date with was a woman.

Truthfully, it probably would have bothered him just as much if Mac had been another man.

He hadn’t pushed it, he let Damon leave with his date without another incident. Instead, Trevor had sat at the bar and did something he normally didn’t do anymore, drank until some of the sharp edges of the pain had dulled.

Then he went home.

Or back to his apartment, more like it. He had only moved in a few weeks ago so it still didn’t feel like home.

Truthfully, nothing felt like home since the day he left Damon all those years ago.

It had taken too long to realize Damon was “home” to him. Not being with him made Trevor homeless.

No matter what, he couldn’t keep standing in front of Damon’s home pitying himself.

But he struggled to pull himself from that darkness caused by missing a man so deeply that it was crippling. Damon had always been his light that kept that restlessness at bay, until Trevor had done something stupid and extinguished it.

As he lifted his hand to knock again, a car pulling into the driveway had him turning his head. The garage door lifted as the black Lexus sedan with tinted windows remained in the driveway, even after the door was open.

Trevor waited. The car waited.

Trevor’s heart thumped heavily in his chest, but he couldn’t make himself unfreeze his feet from the concrete stoop.

Then the engine revved slightly as the car pulled into the garage. Before Trevor could force himself to move, the garage door closed.

He remained at the front door, willing it to open.

Fifteen minutes later, he nodded, whispered, “I’m sorry,” turned on his heels and went back to his car.

Damon wasn’t ready to forgive him.

Quite possibly, he might never be.

About the Author

JEANNE ST. JAMES is a USA Today bestselling romance author who loves an alpha male (or two). She was only thirteen when she started writing. Her first paid published piece was an erotic story in Playgirl magazine.

Her first erotic romance novel, Banged Up, was published in 2009. She is happily owned by farting French bulldogs. She writes MF, MM, and MMF ménages.

Want to read a sample of her work? Download a sampler book here: BookHip.com/MTQQKK

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Giveaway

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Epic headrush of a middle book in this Merikan polyamory romance

Their Obsession (Four Mercenaries #2)Their Obsession by K.A. Merikan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bloody Hell that was a headrush and it didn’t go anywhere near where I was expecting it to. And it ends with a not quite cliffhanger but still a massive loose end!

It’s impossible to go into the plot without spoiling it completely, all I will say is that is goes much darker than book one and things happen which will need a Herculean effort to put right.

There’s a glorious opening which is insanely sexy and erotic before things definitely take a turn for the unexpected and the proverbial hits the fan at bullet train speed.

I have no clue how Kat and Agnes will pull this back from the brink but I cannot wait to find out how they do.

#ARC kindly received from the authors in return for an honest and unbiased review.

View all my Goodreads reviews

Blog Tour: Third Time’s The Charm by K. Evan Coles

Third Time’s The Charm  K. Evan Coles

Boston Seasons #1

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Publisher: Pride Publishing/Totally Entwined Group

Heat Rating: 4 flames

Length: 68,000 words

Release Date: May 28, 2019

Buy Links

Pride Publishing

Amazon US | Amazon UK

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Blurb

Luke Ryan’s life is too chaotic for romance, what with running his business and being the legal guardian to his ten-year-old niece, but he’s hopeful he’ll find the right man.

Trauma surgeon Finn Thomason recently relocated from Chicago to Boston, where his focus on medicine leaves him little space for a personal life. Making a commitment to find a better work-life balance, Finn hopes he’ll also find a relationship.

Caught in an evening rainstorm, Luke shelters under a sidewalk awning…and encounters a handsome stranger. The two strike up a conversation and Finn offers to walk Luke under his oversized umbrella. Charmed, Luke accepts and asks Finn out for coffee in thanks.

Luke and Finn quickly grow close, but, as the summer draws to an end, Luke struggles to keep his connection with Finn while Finn tries to come to terms with caring for a man whose attention is pulled in many directions. Both men are scrambling to get it right, but only time will tell if they’ll learn there is more than enough room in their hearts to go around.

This is book number one in a series. It can also stand as its own story.

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Excerpt

“Hey, Luke, I’m going to Starbucks to buy coffee for everyone. You want?”

Luke Ryan stared at the code on his computer monitors and nodded absently. “Sure.”

“Okay. Grab your stuff and come with me.”

Luke blinked. “What do you need me for?” He turned away from the monitors and faced his best friend and business partner, Simon Martin.

Simon stood and eyed Luke across their shared office. “To help me schlep back the orders.”

“Ugh.” It was nearly two p.m. and Luke’s concentration was flagging. As much as he wanted to keep working, fresh coffee sounded wonderful. The idea of going to fetch it, however, not so much. He stood and picked up his wallet and phone from his desk. “We wouldn’t be having this conversation if you’d let me buy a new coffeemaker.”

“I said I’d buy it, didn’t I?”

“Yes, you said that two weeks ago. And here we are, making the trek to Starbucks once again.”

Simon sighed at Luke’s grumbling. “Oh, goodness. I’ll buy one this weekend, I promise. In the meantime, you could stand to go outside for a few minutes. Your ass has been bolted to that chair all day. You didn’t even break for lunch.”

“Yes, I did.”

“You ate a plastic squeeze tube filled with something green.”

“It was yogurt,” Luke said. “I bought a box of mixed flavor tubes but Ella doesn’t like lime, so they’re all mine.”

Simon grimaced. “That sounds appalling. Serves you right for feeding that girl junk.”

Luke chuckled as they started for the door. His niece, Ella, was ten years old and particular about what she ate. Luke had been stuck eating food she’d rejected before, but he didn’t mind—weird foods came with the territory of raising children. Or helping to raise them, anyway, as Luke had been helping his brother, Peter, do for the past several years, ever since Peter’s wife had walked out on her family and Peter had moved Ella from the Marine base in Virginia back to Boston and into Luke’s Back Bay apartment.

Once outside, Luke and Simon walked a block and a half to Winter Street, navigating around shoppers and tourists. The line at Starbucks stretched nearly out of the door, and they stepped up to its end while Luke read over the orders his coworkers had scribbled on a scrap of paper.

“I don’t know what this says.” He pointed at one messy line. “This looks like Klingon.”

Simon squinted. “You would know, I suppose. I’m fairly sure everyone ordered cold brew, by the way. That’s all those hipster punks drink anyway.”

Luke laughed. “Good point. Gillian wants an almond milk Macchiato, though.” Gillian Vasquez was the third partner in their software development business. Petite, red-haired and whip-smart, her easygoing personality provided an excellent foil for Simon’s brashness and Luke’s hyperfocus. Gillian kept Simon and Luke in line and they knew it.

“Is she still doing the dairy-free thing?” Simon asked.

“I’m not sure. I think she just likes almond milk, to be honest. Ella’s the same.”

“That doesn’t make those bowls of sugar cereal you feed her any healthier, you know.”

Luke rolled his eyes. He’d never understood why kids’ cereals got such a bad rap. Beyond the high sugar content and their dubious nutritional value, that was.

“I found a recipe for Cap’n Crunch cookies,” he said. “I was thinking Ella and I could make them over the weekend.” He snorted with laughter at Simon’s obvious disgust.

“Where on earth would you find such a thing?”

“Pinterest. It’s loaded with all kinds of questionable recipes.”

“Oh, Pickle.” Simon made a sympathetic noise. “This only underscores what I’ve been telling you for months—you need to get out more.”

Luke winced. “Please don’t call me Pickle in public.” He glanced around, hoping no one had overheard the ridiculous nickname, and met the gaze of a dark-haired guy standing behind them.

Well, hello there.

Luke flashed a grin and the guy blinked, clearly surprised. He offered Luke a shy half-smile of his own just before the line shifted.

Luke faced forward. “You know I don’t have time to go out,” he said to Simon. “Even if I did, the men I’d meet would take one look at Ella and run for the hills.”

“Surely not every man you meet is averse to the idea of family.” Simon frowned. “I like children. Or Ella, at least.”

“Yes, but you and I are not dating.”

“Not since I kicked you to the curb a decade ago, true.” He smiled at Luke’s laughter. “Still, I can’t imagine anyone you meet not being charmed by Ella. She’s loveable even when she’s being difficult.”

They stepped forward as the line moved again. Luke hazarded another glance back and felt a pang of disappointment to find the cute guy talking on his phone. He met Luke’s eyes again, however, and Luke smothered a curse when Simon nudged him with his elbow.

“Ella likes you, so of course you think she’s fun,” Luke said. “Not everyone thinks the way you do or wants to stick around while I fill in for her dad, though.”

“Are you so sure?” Simon asked.

“I’m still single, am I not?”

“Yes, though I confess I don’t know why. It’s not because you’re lacking in looks and your personality is certainly adequate.”

“Nice.” Luke shrugged off both the compliment and the tease. He knew he was easy to look at. He was tall and fit with a heart-shaped face and gray-green eyes, and his friends joked he couldn’t take a bad photo. Luke didn’t suffer for lack of attention from men. Keeping a man’s interest presented the real challenge these days, and that had a lot to do with the fact that he was taking care of a young child.

“I’m thirty-two years old,” he said. “The men I meet who want children are either already parents or in committed relationships and headed in that direction.”

“This is why you need to meet new men,” Simon replied. “Ella isn’t your daughter, Luke. Pete’ll be back from deployment in a couple of months and that’ll take some of the pressure off you. There’s no reason for you to be celibate until then, either.”

“I’m hardly celibate,” Luke muttered, his cheeks hot. “And please keep your voice down.”

He paused as they approached the counter. Simon placed the order and Luke glanced at the guy behind them again. Thankfully, he was still on his phone instead of being forced to eavesdrop on the saga of Luke’s sad single life.

“I know I haven’t had a boyfriend since Ella moved in with me,” Luke continued while Simon paid for the order. “Taking care of her complicates my life, but it’s nothing compared to Pete’s wife taking off on them. And I do go out on occasion, Simon. I date.”

Simon cocked a well-groomed eyebrow at him. “Okay, and when exactly? Because we both know you don’t have time to yourself anymore.”

Despite Simon’s gentle tone, Luke winced. Even with help from his parents and his babysitter, Melissa, he rarely had a minute to himself outside his own bathroom. Even then, odds were Ella would knock on the door and blithely ask questions while Luke showered or shaved.

“In all seriousness, when did you last go out with a man?” Simon asked. They moved aside so the baristas could mix up their magic, and he patted Luke’s arm. “Hell, when did you last pick someone up?”

“I met someone while I was grocery shopping last week, believe it or not,” Luke replied. “We emailed a couple of times, but he dropped off the map. I picked someone up a couple of months ago, the last time Pete came home on leave.” He grinned at Simon. “You and I went out for dinner and drinks, then over to that bar in Back Bay named after Oscar Wilde. Remember?”

“That’s the bar with the boozy milkshakes?”

“Yes! I met Jeremy that night.”

Realization flashed in Simon’s eyes. “I’d forgotten that’s where you met. Where was I?”

“Sucking face with some bartender, I think.” Luke smirked at Simon’s raucous laughter.

“Oh, God, that’s right. Those milkshakes are lethal!”

“Believe me, I remember.” Luke reached up and ruffled Simon’s hair. “Anyway, I didn’t take Jeremy home that night, but we exchanged numbers and spent time together for a couple of weeks.”

“What happened between you two, anyway? I don’t think you ever said.”

“There was nothing to tell. Pete’s leave ended and I canceled a couple of dates because Melissa was busy and I couldn’t find a sitter. Jeremy just faded out.” Despite his careless tone, Luke’s heart twinged a little. He’d enjoyed spending time with Jeremy and watching him withdraw had stung.

Simon clasped Luke’s shoulder with one strong hand. “I’m sorry. It doesn’t have to be that way all the time, you know. I can watch Ella for you if Melissa is busy—I just need some notice. Gillian will, too. Hell, ask around the office if you need someone for a couple of hours. I’m sure at least one of the kids on staff is the babysitting type.”

“I know, and thanks. It doesn’t matter, though. The reality is I’m with Ella a lot because I want to be and guys usually bolt after they figure that out.”

Simon’s gentle scowl warmed Luke’s heart. He loved that his friend cared enough to listen. Then Luke saw the cute guy with the dark hair pay for his single coffee and leave. Damn. Once upon a time, Luke would have struck up a conversation with him instead of watching the opportunity slip away. Maybe Simon had a point.

“It’s fine,” he said. “And you’re right. I should make an effort to get out there and meet new men. Especially since things will go back to normal after Pete gets home. For a while, anyway.”

“That ‘for a while’ is kind of a problem.” Simon’s expression sobered. “Your brother will still be at Quantico more rather than less. I don’t even mean that in a bad way because I know you love having her here.”

Luke nodded. He’d never thought twice about welcoming his niece into his home. “I do. All the more reason to find someone who’s okay with Ella being in my life.”

Is that such a bad thing to want? Luke didn’t think so.

The barista called their order and Luke handed Simon the bags he’d been holding. “At any rate, it’ll be great having Pete back, even if he’s not in Boston. Ella hasn’t been the same since her dad was deployed.” Carefully, he collected the trays of cups.

Simon led the way out, talking over his shoulder as he held the door for Luke. “You think so?”

“Oh, yeah.” Luke sighed. “She really misses him, and it’s not like we can visit. She worries about his safety, just like my parents worry, and I do, too. Life will be a hundred times easier for all of us with Pete on US soil, whether he’s at the Marine base or not.”

“I understand,” Simon replied. “I’m just sorry I can’t do more than listen.”

Luke smiled. “Don’t be. I’d have gone bananas a long time ago without you and Gillian around to listen and keep me sane.”

“Girl, you’ve always been bananas,” Simon said, his tone airy. “But we’re used to it and don’t love you any less.” He shot Luke a wink and they headed for the office.

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About the Author

K. Evan Coles is a mother and tech pirate by day and a writer by night. She is a dreamer who, with a little hard work and a lot of good coffee, coaxes words out of her head and onto paper.

K. lives in the northeast United States, where she complains bitterly about the winters, but truly loves the region and its diverse, tenacious and deceptively compassionate people. You’ll usually find K. nerding out over books, movies and television with friends and family. She’s especially proud to be raising her son as part of a new generation of unabashed geeks.

K.’s books explore LGBTQ+ romance in contemporary settings.

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