Thursday, 24 February 2022

Sweet as Huney Release day and first three chapters!!

Happy book birthday to me!
You guys, I am so excited! Sweet as Huney is my 22nd story to be published, but more importantly, it is my very first bi/poly paranormal romance!

What happens when a human, a fae, and a bee shifter get caught in the middle of a cupid/anti-cupid feud? I can tell you one thing, it's a wild ride!

Here's a peek at what you can look forward to.  Click HERE to pick up your copy!


Three months ago... 

Crimson Moon Hideaway...

“So, you really had no idea?” Luther snorted, shaking his head. He watched Matt roll his eyes before smiling. He fought the urge to take the man’s hand, completely overcome by the feeling. It wasn’t like he’d never been attracted to a man before, but this was Nat’s partner. And he was human. And he’d just found out about all the paranormal things in this world. And he knew the man had had a wife.

The detective ran a hand through his dark hair and the sunlight caught the hints of silver in it as he smoothed his beard. 

“No. I didn’t have a clue. I knew Nat’s family. Not well, but I’d worked a few leads with her dad. When she ranked up to detective, they put her with me. I mean, I knew she was fast and had a crazy sixth sense about where a perp might have gone, but no. Never in my wildest dreams did I think there was such a thing as magic and elves and all of this.” He waved a hand to encompass the Crimson Moon Hideaway resort and everything in and around it.

They made their way up the path that led to the cliffs where Luther was sure Huney would find a flower she’d like. The honeybee buzzed from her perch on Matt’s shoulder and the human smiled.

Luther cocked his head in question.

“She says if I hadn’t accidentally shot Gage thinking he was a bear, she would have told me sooner than later.”

Luther laughed. “Does she know why she can talk to you and no one else?”

Matt shook his head. “She says no.”

The men stood on the cliff and Luther let the breeze blow over his wings. It wasn’t very often he could just forget about the glamor that hid his true self. Being able to just be who he was, was freeing.

He noticed Matt watching. Matt always seemed to be watching. The Fae had chalked it up to the man being a detective. It most definitely wasn’t because he might be interested in him. Matt wasn’t the most talkative, but Luther had learned he was a widower and his life partner had been a woman... Still, that didn’t stop Lew from wondering if maybe there was something else behind the looks.

He gave a flick of his wings and Matt cocked his head.

Luther smiled. “Ask away.” It was strange. He’d met the man less than twenty-four hours before and yet he found himself drawn to the human who could talk to bees.

“Can you actually fly with those?”

The Fae laughed. “I can, yes.”

“Sorry. They just... They look like fancy dragonfly wings.”

Luther grunted. “First, I’m a sparkly elf, now I’m a fancy dragonfly. If I keep hanging around you, I’m going to end up with a complex.” He smiled to show he was joking.

Brushing some almost white bangs out of his very light blue eyes, he jumped off the cliff.

“Lew!” Matt’s relief was obvious as he rose up into view. 

“Why, Matthew! Were you worried about me?” teased Luther.


The Fae laughed. “Right. Well, no one has ever accused me of being a sensitive guy.” He frowned. “Except maybe Nat and Venice.” He set back down on the ground beside Matt. “Sorry.”

Wait. Why was he apologizing? 

“That was pretty impressive.”

Luther grinned. “Before you ask, no, I can’t carry any more weight than mine.”

Matt’s hazel eyes blinked and he burst out laughing. “I wasn’t going to ask. You might be taller than me, but I probably outweigh you by a good thirty pounds.”

Lew smiled. He’d definitely noticed. He wasn’t sure what the detective did to stay in shape, but the way he filled out his t-shirt... the size of those calves... 

He realized they were simply staring at each other. He should talk about something. Nat. Her upcoming wedding to Gage. The resort. Anything. 

Matt rescued him by clearing his throat and turning toward the flower patch. He tensed.

“There.” Luther pointed to a blue daisy.

Matt’s gaze fell on Huney and he visibly relaxed.

Lew had to turn away to hide his smile. Big, burly, Detective Matthew Cain was worried about a honeybee. There was no way he was going to admit his heart had also flopped when he hadn’t noticed her right away...

A chirp had him spinning toward the bee in question.

Matt’s head snapped to the right as a red bird flew from the trees, making a charge at Huney.

No! Luther gathered his magic, feeling it well in his chest. Snapping his arms forward, he threw a shield at Huney.

The magic engulfed her and the bird bounced off it, flying off with a surprised squawk. 

“What the...” Matt gawked at the sight in front of them.

Where the bee had been hovering in the air, a woman with long light brown hair and honey-colored eyes sat on the ground. Naked.

Luther’s lungs emptied and he struggled to suck in a breath when his head started to spin. He couldn’t breathe. Why couldn’t he breathe?

Matt rushed to her side, kneeling beside her.

“Huney?” He pulled his t-shirt off and helped her into it.

She opened her mouth, her voice coming out a raspy squeak. She nodded and threw her arms around his neck, shaking.

“Shhhh... It’s okay. You’re okay.”

His wide eyes met Luther’s and the Fae jerked. 

“Luther. Get the fuck over here! What’s going on?”

Give him a second. Huney’s voice laced through his head.

“What’s wrong with him? Jesus. You’re the one that’s not a bee anymore.”

Luther couldn’t move. All he could do was stare at the scene before him. Long, pale legs peeking out from under the dark blue shirt, Matt’s thick arms around the tiny woman who was now in his lap. The Fae groaned.

Matt leaned back enough to tuck her hair behind her ears, his gaze taking in her face. “How are you not a bee anymore?”

Luther’s magic interrupted the spell. 

Huney’s voice wrapped him in warmth and Lew’s brain picked up that bit of information. “What spell? Is that why I didn’t... why I couldn’t...” He hopped up and down a few times, shaking out his arms and wings.

Matt cocked his head. “You heard her?”

He nodded. Gods. He heard her. He felt her. He felt him...

Huney held her hand out and Luther went to her. Staying in Matt’s lap, she wrapped Lew’s arm around her. Her shaking lessened.

When I was young, I met a man. A warlock.

Luther stiffened and felt Matt do the same beside him. 

It’s not a long story, really. He wanted me to be his mate. I just couldn’t. I’d always felt I had a true mate, but I hadn’t met him yet. I told him this. He cursed me. 

“He cursed you?” Matt’s anger was palpable.

She nodded. I was to be a bee for eternity. I mean, I am a bee. I’m a shifter. A bee shifter.

Luther’s eyes met Matt’s over her head. Nope. He couldn’t look into those eyes right now. He focused on the top of Huney’s head. 

Her face turned up to Matt’s. I couldn’t tell anyone. The spell kept me from talking to everyone. Except you. I knew the moment I saw you. At first, I stayed away because Gage had warned me you didn’t know anything about us. Then, when you shot him, I found I could actually talk to you, but the spell still kept me from telling you anything about the curse or that you were my mate. 

Christ, I almost smooshed you with my file folder.”

Luther watched as the other man’s fingers ran through her hair and waited to feel a stab of possessiveness or jealousy. Nothing. Just the need to also tug at those long locks and maybe feel what the detective’s fingers would feel like against his skin... Her long legs, Matt’s big hands...

He groaned. 

I couldn’t talk to you at all. She turned her head towards the Fae. I felt a pull, but it was so faint... I think he cast the spell to ward against me finding a paranormal mate. He didn’t think I’d also have a human one. But your shield... I don’t think anyone else’s would have worked.

Matt shook his head, inhaling deeply.  “Okay. Let me know if I’m getting this right. When you were young, some asshole cursed you to never be human again because you turned him down. Then you met me and you realized I’m... I’m your mate? Like Nat and Gage?”

Huney nodded. 

“And that’s why I feel the need to walk around with a bee for company all the time. Because even though I’m human, I can somehow feel this.”

Another nod. Luther watched as he worked it through in his mind.

“And Luther, he’s also our mate.”

Luther swallowed hard. Our. He’d said our and hadn’t sounded disgusted or freaked out.

Matt’s lips twitched. “That explains that.”

The Fae frowned. “Explains what?”

“Why I wanted to be around you just as much as I wanted to be around Huney. I mean, you’re gorgeous, but this is the first time I felt like I needed to be around someone like this.”

Luther cleared his throat and Matt raised an eyebrow.

“This is a lot harder on you than it is on me, isn’t it?”

Lew nodded.

It will get worse for everyone once the curse is lifted.

It was Matt’s turn to frown. “I thought Lew broke it.”

He interrupted it. This won’t last. I can already feel my bee fighting to take over. She sighed. Being able to talk to both of you, actually touch you... 

Tears streaked down her face. I’m sorry.

Luther’s heart ached for her. “What, in the Gods’ names, are you sorry for?”

Matt wiped her tears. “Holy shit. I can feel that. Please don’t feel like that.” He tightened his hold on her and Luther pressed his lips to her hair.

We finally found each other and now you’ll be stuck with a bee for the rest of our lives.

A shiver ran through her.

Luther watched Matt’s eyes widen and knew he could feel her panic just as vividly as he could.

“It will be alright.” The Fae said it for their benefit as well as his.

I... I need to do this in case it never happens again. Huney tilted her head up and sighed as Matt’s hands cupped her face, his lips claiming hers, simply knowing what she needed.

Luther watched as the other man’s tongue found hers, the kiss slow and tender. He groaned.

Huney’s next shiver broke off the kiss.

“It’s going to be okay,” whispered Matt.

Amber colored eyes met his light blue ones and Luther took a moment to memorize every spec in them.

Lew, please. Another shiver ran through her.

Luther claimed her mouth gently, fighting every mating urge he had. Now wasn’t the time. And she was right. There may never be a time when the three of them could all be together. He refused to believe the curse couldn’t be lifted, but there were so many unknown variables... If that was the case, she was going to know she was cared for and cherished. No matter what form she was in.

As a shiver caused their lips to separate, he made her a silent promise. They would find a way to break the curse.

Huney stood, barely able to stay upright with the force of the next tremor. Both men were on their feet in an instant.

I can’t keep her back anymore. The spell is too strong. She pulled the t-shirt over her head and handed it to Matt. I just... I just hope I can still talk to you after this. 

Luther’s heart sank as her form shimmered and seemed to evaporate, leaving a honeybee in the woman’s place. He swallowed hard.

“Huney?” Matt’s voice cracked.

Can you hear me?

Relief flooded through him. “Loud and clear.” 

Now that the spell was back in charge, the mating pull wasn’t as strong, but there was no denying it was there. 

Luther let out a long breath to steady his nerves. “We need to talk to Jianna.”

Matt frowned. “The resort’s owner?”

Luther nodded. “If there’s a way to lift this curse, she’s our best bet at either knowing it, or knowing where to start looking.” He held his hand out and Huney landed on it. “We’ll figure this out.”

Matt’s large hand squeezed his shoulder and he could feel the man’s determination. 

Huney’s excitement nearly bowled him over as she made her way to the detective’s shoulder.

Matt smiled. “Let’s go get some answers.”



“What do you mean you’re not packed?” Luther’s voice rose an octave over the phone.

Matt grunted. “Relax. Some of us don’t have a regular work schedule. People don’t kill each other on a regular nine to five, Monday to Friday timeframe. Don’t start. I’ve been up for damn near thirty-six hours.” He ran a hand over his face and let out an exhausted sigh.

“You’re pinching the bridge of your nose, aren’t you?”

Matt could hear the smile in his voice. He grunted. “No.” He let go of his nose.

“Are you okay?”

He nodded. “Yeah. Just tired.”

Moving into the bedroom, he found his duffle bag, threw in some shorts, a pair of swimming trunks, underwear, jeans, some t-shirts, and a hoodie. “There. I’m packed. You can relax.”

He could almost hear Luther roll his eyes.

Matt smiled. “Anyway, Nat was filling in Granger so she can help out should anything come up while I’m gone.” He raised an eyebrow. “Lew, I can hear you grinding your teeth through the phone.”

“I can’t stand that woman.”

He grinned and managed not to laugh. “While you’re adorable when you’re jealous, there’s no need to be. Gail is happily married.”

Luther grunted. “Tell that to her drunk ass at the pub two weekends ago.”

Matt pinched his nose. “Alright. I’m too tired to deal with your really weird and sudden paranoia. Christ, Luther. Have you seen yourself lately? You make straight guys stop and stare.” 

He thought back to two weeks ago when the Fae had come to visit. Nearly every head in the pub had turned as the man had walked into the room. Matt didn’t blame them. That five o'clock shadow, the short, messy blond hair, those light blue eyes... not to mention the tall, lean body. With his crisp white button up and khakis, Luther didn’t really dress to entice, but he didn’t need to. Not to mention the glamor he used to hide his true self seemed to attract other humans like moths to a fucking bonfire.

He’d watched, amused, as one of the rookies had made her way to his side, hips swaying. She’d blinked, clearly shocked as he said something, pointed to Matt and made his way over to him.

“Lew, you have that whole magic mojo thing going on. I’m just plain old human me.” 

What was it Nat said all the time? Fucking Fae and their fucking gorgeous everything? Yeah. That sounded about right.

The detective cracked open a beer. “If anyone should be worried and jealous, it should be me. Which I'm not.”

“Okay. Just... I’m sorry. You know I’m not actually, you know...”

“Possessive and jealous and paranoid?”

“Yeah. Those. I’m just...”

Matt could hear his teeth grinding again. “You’re just worried about this weekend,” he said softly.


“Yeah.” He blew a breath out of his nose.

“Is she there?”

“No. I was supposed to pick her up yesterday after work, but then I got stuck there.” Matt ran a hand over his face, nerves and exhaustion making him feel sick. “I’ll pick her up on the way to the airport first thing in the morning.”

“Don’t forget your cigarettes.”

Matt glanced at the plastic cigarette pack protector already on his duffle bag. It fit perfectly in his shirt pocket and kept Huney hidden and safe when they were out in public. It always got a grin out of Nat when she saw either man with it since neither of them smoked.

“Already done. Are you sure you don’t want to come here and pack for me?” He didn’t bother hiding the sarcasm in his question, though he was smiling.

Having Luther as a mate was almost the same as having Dee as a wife. For such a carefree, fun-loving guy, the Fae was quite the worrier when it came to Matt and Huney.

“Sweetheart, if I showed up at your house tonight, there would be zero packing going on.”

Matt could see the lopsided grin in his mind. He missed that grin.

If someone had told him a year ago that his partner was an Elf, her husband was a bear shifter, and that he, Detective Matthew Cain, human, would be mates with a Fae and a bee shifter stuck in bee form, he’d have laughed them out of the building. But today? Today, it was the most natural thing in the world. And he was happy. The happiest he’d been since Dee had passed away. Fucking cancer.

“As fun as that sounds, by the time you got here, I’d be on my way to meet you at the resort.”

Luther grunted. “I’m really looking forward to next week.”

Matt smiled. “Me too. Did you finish packing up your office?”

“I did.”

“How did your trial go today?”

“Not guilty, as it should have been.”

“I knew you’d convince them.”

“Well, I’m not going to lie. I almost forgot my closing arguments because all I could think about was getting Huney uncursed and then getting us all moved into our new place.” Luther grunted. “Never in my life did I ever think I’d leave the big city to live on an acreage outside of itty bitty Palbert City. Is it even big enough to qualify as an actual city? I keep meaning to check the population online...”

Matt chuckled. “Yes. It is.” 

“Hey. Nat said you got sent to the principal’s office.” Luther sounded a mix of amused and concerned.

He rolled his eyes. “Yeah. The captain didn't appreciate my speech.”

“You gave a speech?”

“After you met me at the bar, tongues started to wag. Seriously, I couldn’t give a shit if they want to talk about me, but they started pulling Dee into the conversation.”

“Shit. I’m sorry.”

Matt grunted. “Don’t be. I walked by the water cooler and heard two rookies fucking talking about it. Something about ‘what would my dead wife think about the fact I was screwing a guy’. The bastard wasn’t even around when Dee was alive. So, I stood on my chair, got everyone’s attention, and told them that Dee had known I was attracted to both men and women, she was alright with it, yes, I was now in a relationship with a man, and if they had a problem with it, they could all go fuck themselves.”

Luther was laughing on the other end of the phone. “Tell me someone took a video. I need to see that.”

Matt rolled his eyes. “If they did, they haven’t been brave enough to show me. If they thought us being together was gossip worthy, they’re going to shit their pants the first time they see us with Huney.”

Both men sobered. If they ever saw them with Huney. 

“This is going to work, right, Lew?”

No answer, but even this far apart, he could feel the Fae’s worry.

“Stop grinding your teeth, Babe.”

“Only if you stop pinching your nose.”

The magical pull he felt to Luther and Huney always hurt after not being around them for any amount of time. Two weeks away from Luther and it was almost intolerable. He knew it was worse for his mate because he was paranormal. It would get worse still once the curse on Huney was lifted. It had played a part in his decision to ask Luther move cities. That and the fact that even without the magic, he loved the man.

One more night.

He finished his beer and set the alarm on his phone. “I’m going to head to bed before I fall asleep standing up.”

“Alright. Have a good sleep. I’ll see you tomorrow. ‘Night, Sweetheart.”

“G’night, Lew.”

He hung up, smiling. Everything would go according to plan. 

Everything had to go according to plan.


Luther sat on the edge of the bed in the cabin, his leg twitching with nerves. He could hear Matt telling him to stop grinding his teeth and the thought helped him relax. 

Drinking the mini bottle of rum, he stood. Not usually one to hide from a crowd, the busy lobby of the resort was too much to handle right now. He wanted a proper drink, but there was no way he was leaving the cabin they’d rented. His chest hurt so badly, he was sure it would implode at any moment. He needed to see them. He needed to touch them. Gods, he missed them. The past two weeks had been a special kind of hell.

Maybe it was because this weekend had been looming and beyond this weekend, whatever future was in store for them. Whether Huney was a bee or able to shift, one thing was certain: the three of them would be together.

He shook out his wings, pacing around the cabin.

What time was it? 

He checked his watch. Soon. They’d be here soon and from that moment on he wouldn’t have to feel this pain ever again.  

His phone rang and his heart warmed. “Hey.”

“Hey. I can feel how much you’re hurting. We’re almost there. Is this better?”

The instant Matt’s voice reached his ear, the pain lessened.

“Yeah. A bit. It’s never been this bad before.”

“Maybe it’s all the magic in that place.”

“Well, whatever it is, it sucks.”

“We’re about ten minutes out.”

He took a deep breath. “No problems at the airport?”

“It was all smooth sailing. We had a kid sitting beside us. How old was he?” There was a pause while Huney answered him. “Twelve. He noticed Huney sticking her head out of my pocket.” He grunted. “Yes, I know you like to look out the window. You’re just lucky it was that kid and not some bitchy adult who would have made a fuss.”

Luther chuckled. “What did the kid do?”

“He asked why I had a bee in my pocket. I told him she was mine and she liked to ride in my pocket when I went places.”

“And he didn’t question it?”

“Nope. He asked me her name and what she liked to eat. I told him she liked stories. Lew, this kid spent the entire flight telling her stories.” He laughed and the Fae’s pain lessened a bit more. “When the flight attendant came by with crackers, he asked for honey to dunk his in then set up a little book fort on his table so Huney could eat hidden.”

“That’s...” Luther shook his head. “That’s pretty amazing.”

“I thought maybe he was paranormal, but it’s not really something you can just ask someone.”

Luther burst out laughing. “No. It isn’t. Did he get off with you?”

“Yeah, but I think he had another flight to get on. He’s visiting his grandparents.”

A car pulled up to the cabin.

“Please tell me that’s you. I can’t handle anyone else right now.”

“It’s us.” 

The call disconnected and he sat on the couch, relief flooding through him. He heard Matt jump three steps to get onto the deck and the door opened.

Matt’s eyes took a fraction of a second to find him. It took the rest of that second to kneel in front of the Fae, his strong arms wrapping around him, careful of his wings.

Luther’s head dropped onto his mate’s shoulder with a groan. The pain started to ease and his lungs could finally fill properly.

Huney landed on his shoulder. That was too long. 

He nodded. “Never again.”

Inhaling deeply, he relaxed. It was alright. Everything was going to be alright.

Sitting back, he found himself looking into worried hazel eyes.

Matt frowned. “You okay?”

Luther smiled. “I am now.” He closed his eyes as Matt held his face.

“Are you sure? I mean, it was pretty bad for me and worse for Huney, but you... That was intense.”

“I’m sure.”

Matt’s lips found his, the slow and tender kiss pulling another sigh from the Fae. Everything was definitely okay.

“Babe, you look exhausted.”

He grunted. “It’s hard to sleep when it feels like you’re dying of a heart attack for a week.”

“Why didn’t you tell me how bad it was?”

“Because then you would have driven a day to come see me and you were in the middle of a case. Anyhow, it doesn’t matter. We’re here, we’re all fine, and no one feels like they’re dying anymore.” He kissed his mate again. “I promise.”

And now that he was fine, he was reminded he hadn’t eaten since the night before.

“Are you hungry?”

Matt nodded. “I could definitely use a steak and a beer.”

Luther smiled. “Good, because I’m starving.”

Huney buzzed. Me too.

Matt scoffed. “You ate a whole packet of honey on the plane.”

And now, I want another one. Take me out for supper, boys. 

Luther grinned. “Yes, ma’am.”

Huney settled on the Fae’s shoulder. Matt closed the door and laced his fingers with his as they started walking to the resort.

So, there you go! Click HERE to see what happens next!

Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Author Spotlight: Ryan Southwick

Spotlighting one of our sixteen awesome authors and their story: Ryan Southwick brings you Dragon Assassin - keep scrolling for an interview with Ryan about his story and himself!

About The Story
- What do you find interesting about your main characters?
So many things! Charon is a half-dragon shifter which, strangely, just scratches the surface of her character. Her subspecies is water dragon. In this universe, water dragons can produce a variety of chemicals from their body. Charon has adapted that into her assassin profession by becoming an expert poisoner. Instead of flashy assassinations, she goes for low profile, no violence. Not that she can’t take care of herself in a fight, of course. =]
Personality-wise, she’s an outcast, so despite her higher-than-average age, she’s reclusive and socially awkward. This proves a challenge when bigger-than-life Adan comes into the picture and forces her to flex muscles she’s never had to before.
- Where does the story take place and why did you choose this setting?
There are three primary locations, but I’ll only cover the first two to avoid spoilers. ;-)
The first is Los Angeles. LA is great because it has a variety of activities, interesting people, glorious beaches (perfect for a water dragon), and a Hollywood culture that pleasantly contrasts with the protagonist’s awkward personality.
The second is Vienna. I wanted someplace different but classy. I had the good fortune to spend a few days in Vienna with some friends on our way to Armenia (which is a whole different experience). I remember being struck by the ancient beauty of the place, and how wonderful it was to just walk around the city and get lost in all the history. And, of course, the terrific food. I wanted to bring some of that to my readers. Thankfully, the location happened to fit the story. Win-win!
- Share a little about the story behind the story.
A story about a dragon assassin who falls in love with another assassin is an idea I’ve been kicking around for years. I loved the idea of a cocky young guy thinking he’s the bee's knees, getting his butt saved repeatedly by a shy yet highly experienced creature of legend. When the Born of Shadows and Magic box set came along with a hybrid / PNR theme, I knew it was finally time to bring this one to life. I also wanted to try my hand at something steamier than I’ve written in the past. This box set was the perfect excuse. Not sure if I’ll ever write something as steamy as Dragon Assassin again, but it was a great experience.
- What is the theme or takeaway you want readers to think about?
Humans are strange and varied beasts. We’re all the same species, yet what we experience within our individual shells can be vastly different. It’s easy to forget that the person sitting next to you, who may be acting odd, might not see things or experience the world anywhere close to how you do. Charon and Adan’s tale takes this to an extreme, but I hope it serves as a reinforcement for readers to think twice before judging and try to approach everyone from a stance of empathy. The world would be a much kinder place if we all did.

About The Author
- When did you know you wanted to be an author?
About three-quarters the way through writing my first book, Angels in the Mist. I was reading a (particularly badly written) urban fantasy novel one day and suddenly thought, “Hey, I think I can do this.” It was very slow going at first; completing a single chapter took months. But by the end of the book, I had really found my groove and was really enjoying it.
It would take another five years, dozens of edits, and several more books to become even passably good, but it was during that first book that the writing bug sanks its fangs into my neck and turned me into its helpless thrall.
- Favorite animal?
Tiger. Always had a weakness for tigers. Such powerful, beautiful creatures.
- If you could travel to any spot in the world, where would it be?
As part of my day job, I’ve traveled many times to Armenia, and I feel like my second family is there. I would love to visit there again. Wonderful people, food, history, and culture. Hopefully soon.
- What’s next in your writing?
Two big things! I’m working to finish The Z-Tech Chronicles science fiction / urban fantasy series. Book 4, Angels Found, will be coming out in the first half of this year (2022). It will be a six-book series. The good news is that the rest are already written; they’re just waiting in line for edits at the publisher.
Second is a new science fiction / dystopian series called the Timeless Keeper Saga. Book 1, Holtondome, will be coming out hot on the heels of Z-Tech Book 4, and I’m already halfway done with Book 2. Good stuff a-coming!

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Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Late to Love release day! First three chapters of Yours Always, Mason!

You guys! I am so excited to be a part of this project. Finding a way to help out a friend is always a good feeling. When I heard a member of the book community had found out she had cancer and would need to undergo treatment, many of us had the same thought: we wanted to help. Since Teri's favorite trope is 'second chance', we thought an anthology filled with second chances was the way to go. 

Late to Love is a charity anthology with all proceeds going directly to #Teampink4Teri.

24 authors have banded together over the love of a friend beginning her battle with cancer to bring you this limited edition anthology.


From cowboys to werewolves to veterans, there is a story for everyone. Just remember, after every perceived failure, there’s a second chance waiting.

Fans of happily ever afters will devour this anthology of more than 24 standalone romances.

Each unique story in the Late to Love: A Second Chance Romance Charity Anthology guarantees a swoon-worthy book boyfriend and a happily ever after that fans of Melanie Harlow, Corinne Michaels, and Nicole Ellis are sure to enjoy!

#secondchance #latetolove #Teampink4Teri

★★ ★★

Here's a look at the first three chapters of my story! Yours Always, Mason is the first book in my new Yours Always series that is in the works. 



“Ronnie! Are you ready?” My mom’s voice echoed up the stairs.

“Not yet! Just ten more minutes!” 

I glanced in the mirror for the millionth time. The pale blue dress was floor length, the sandles were strappy and black... I’d gotten my hair curled into perfect dark brown ringlets that reached the middle of my back. Simple was best. I applied some dark brown waterproof mascara around my light hazel eyes and an extra coat of clear lip-gloss. Perfect.

“Ronnie! Mason is here!”

Perfect. I wanted to see his face when I came down the stairs. It didn’t matter that we’d been dating since the seventh grade. Mason’s smile when I came into view was a constant in my life. It never failed.

So many people had told us it wouldn’t last. I was captain of the volleyball team; he was captain of the chess team. Why didn’t I date a jock? Why didn’t he go out with one of the other nerds? One of my friends had compared us to Jughead and Veronica. But it didn’t matter, because we were best friends; had been since we were four and my family moved next to his. And besides, this was real life. This wasn’t a movie where the jock chick was drop dead gorgeous and the nerd boy was all awkward with bucked teeth and glasses. I was actually the ones who wore glasses. Thick ones too. Contacts were the best invention ever. And Mason? Mason could have modelled underwear and made a killing. Those natural dark brown curls, those light green eyes... and that ass.

I grinned. That ass belonged to me and I couldn't wait to see it in a tux.

“I’m coming!” I called out. 

Tonight would be a night to party it up with our friends and say goodbye to grade twelve. Summer was going to be the usual with summer jobs and campfires. In the fall, we were heading to university. I was going to be a teacher and he was going to be a computer analyst. 

I admit, I did the whole cliché walk down the stairs for a big reveal. But it wasn’t Mason who was shocked. It was me when my eyes found him at the bottom of the stairs, his eyes glued to the ground.

I stopped midway down the stairway and frowned. 

“Mason? Why aren’t you dressed?” I wasn’t mad. I was worried. Changing plans without letting me know was not something Mason Trenton did. Ever.

He looked up at me, his eyes red, and my heart dropped.

“What’s wrong? What happened?” I looked from him to my mom who shrugged and shook her head, her eyes showing she was just as confused and worried as me.

“Can I...” He ran his hands through those amazing curls and cleared his throat. “Can I talk to you?”

The excited butterflies in my stomach turned to nervous ones.

I nodded.

He held his hand out to me and I took it, letting him lead me across the street to the park.

Sitting on the play structure, he kept his eyes on his knees. Tear drops fell on his jeans leaving dark blue spots in their wake. I put my hand on his knee, scared.

His hand covered mine, his other arm brushing across his face. “I have to go,” he whispered.

“I don’t understand.” I swallowed hard.

“My family. We’re moving.”

My chest started to hurt. “What? Why?”

He shook his head. “They weren’t going to let me say goodbye.” He glanced back at our houses. “But I couldn’t just leave and not tell you.”

“Mason. What’s going on?” My tears were flowing just as freely as his and he reached up to wipe them away.

“I’m not allowed to say.”

“When will you be back?”

He shook his head.


His silence was answer enough.

“Well, where are you going? You need to phone me when you get there!” Sobs shook my whole frame.

“I can’t.” His arms wrapped around me held me close. I returned the embrace, needing to feel him while I tried to process what was happening.

“I don’t understand,” I whispered.

“Mason!” We both looked back at the sound of his dad’s voice.

“I have to go.” He dug into his pocket. “I... I was going to give you this tonight. You know. Just a promise that I’ll always love you.”

He pressed something into my hand and closed my fist around it. His lips found mine. The kiss was urgent, rough, desperate.

He pulled away, leaving me breathless and reeling.

“I’ll always love you.” His voice broke. “I’m so sorry, Ronnie.”

And with that, he jumped off the play set and sprinted to his family’s SUV which was waiting on the street. I watched him punch the door before opening it, his fist leaving a dent.

I didn’t notice the rain start to fall as the vehicle swallowed him whole. I didn’t notice my mom running toward me as the SUV drove away. 

I watched the taillights disappeared around the corner before looking down at the perfect silver band with the green gemstone in my hand. Yours Always, Mason; he’d gotten it engraved. My stomach heaved and I doubled over, my stomach emptying in the sand.



“Now, class! Who can tell me what six plus two equals?” I grinned as eager hands shot into the

air. “Jacob!”

“Is it eight, Miss Regnier?”

“It IS eight, Jacob! Good job!” I clapped and the rest of the class followed suit. 

The bell rang and all the kids put their books away before getting ready to head home. I stood at the door and waved goodbye as everyone left.

With a sigh, I went back to my desk and got my things ready for Monday. 

My phone vibrated one quick vibration and I dug it out of my purse.

Nel: Are you out of there, yet?

I laughed at my phone. No. Jesus, the bell just rang. School still lets out at 3:20 just like it did ten years ago.

Nel: Well, hurry your ass up and get to my place. I already opened a bottle of wine!

I grinned. Okay. I’m running home to change then I'll be right there.

A knock on my door had me looking up into Tim Aston’s dark brown eyes. I managed to hold in my groan. Now, don’t get me wrong, the sixth-grade teacher was hot. He’d also slept with most of the other female staff, even some of the married ones. I was pretty sure I was the last one to hold out since he’d been getting persistent about going on a date the past few weeks. 

“Hey, Tim.”

He gave me a half smile which had been kind of sexy at first. Now it was just getting to be creepy. “So, any big plans tonight?”

“Actually, yeah. Girl’s night.”

“Feel like some company?”

I raised an eyebrow. “Not unless you magically turned into a woman.”

The muscles in his jaw ticked.

“I have to go. See you on Monday.” I slung my purse over my shoulder the closed the door as I walked past him.

“Well, if you change your mind...”

“I won’t!” I called back over my shoulder. “Ever,” I grumbled under my breath.

My thumb automatically found the ring on my right ring finger like it did every other time I got stressed. Considering that ring was a representation of the most devastating day of my life it was sort of strange how the movement calmed me.

Getting in my jeep, I tossed my purse on the passenger side before starting it up and heading home. Once there, I put on a red flowing top with spaghetti straps and a pair of dark blue jeans. Looking through my shoes, I settled on some dark grey wedged sandals.

Flipping my head upside down, I added a bit of hairspray to keep the bounce and finished off the look with a second coat of mascara and sheer lip-gloss.

I picked up my phone. Are you home or did you walk over already?

Picking up the mail I’d brought in, I leafed through it while I waited for her answer. Bill, bill, junk... an envelope with my address handwritten on it caught my attention. Taking a deep breath, I opened it. My heart dropped and yet I sighed in relief as a thank you note fell out for a donation I’d given to a local charity.

Not a letter from a ghost.

Nel: I’m at the bar. Britt text to say she was already here.

Ok. I’m leaving the house. I’ll be there in five.

Grabbing my ID and bank card, I put them in my pocket then left my apartment, walking toward the bar.


I glanced around, trying to pinpoint where Nel and Britt were screaming my name from. 

“Hey!” I sat down, glad the girls had already ordered me a drink. I took a sip of my beer and sighed. “How was your day?” I asked over the music. I loved this bar. There was no DJ, no band, just a jukebox. The best thing about this jukebox was the music selection. There was everything on there. It made for fun and varied nights.

Britt rolled her eyes. “I swear, if I have to listen to one more asshole tell me how to change the oil on their car, I might just kill someone.” She shook her head wildly, her tight black curls bouncing around her. Her dark skin was flushed, either from the alcohol or anger. I was going to go with both. “Like seriously. You bring your car to a mechanic to get the oil changed and when you see it’s a woman going under the hood, you decide you know how to do my fucking job? I can’t wait until Roger’s is rebuilt from the fire so I can leave this drive through oil place. Then I can go back to working away from idiot eyes.” 

She scoffed and took a long pull from the straw in her rum and seven. “Assholes.”

Nel and I repeated the word, agreeing.

“My day was fine,” started Nel. Her blond hair was short and spiked, her light blue eyes rimmed by layers of black eyeliner. “Work was good. We shut down early because it was slow. Then I got home and remembered my wife fucking cheated on me, so it was a little downhill from there.”

She smiled as we each put a hand on her arms. “Thanks. But now? Now, I am fucking fantastic! Because I am here with my girls, and we are going to dance the night away!”


We all lifted our drinks and gulped them down as the next round showed up.

Nel cocked her head at me. “And you?”

I smiled. “Good. The kids were all angels today.” My mind flashed to the mail.

Britt’s brow creased. “What?”

I shook my head. “It’s nothing. I just had a moment.”

Nel put a hand on mine, not needing an explanation.

“I was opening the mail. There was a handwritten letter. I thought... How is it that ten years later I’m still so fucked up about it. Like, I wanted it to be from him saying, ‘hey! I’m back!’. And then, on the other hand, I’m still so pissed I’m pretty sure I’d hit him if I ever did see him again.”

Britt took my other hand. “He was a part of you for fourteen years, Hun. He was your best friend. The love of your life. Of course, you still miss him.”

Nel nodded. “That doc you were seeing said it would take time.”

I sighed. “I know. And I try not to think about it, but very once in a while, I can just see him, living his best life, everything perfect... and I’m not a part of that.”

Nel grunted. “Repeat to me what else the doc said.”

“Not to try and visualize what his life is like because I have no idea.” My heart dropped. “For all I know, he’s not even alive anymore.” The thought nearly brought tears to my eyes. God, I was a mess, flying from one end of the emotional spectrum to the next when it came to Mason. Stupid thank you note. I’d barely thought about him for over a month and here I was again. The worst part was the not knowing.

Taking a deep breath, I took a drink and smiled. “Tonight, we’re going to bitch out misogynist men, get over cheating wives, and forget about long lost boyfriends.”

My friends grinned and agreed.

Britt frowned. “Ronnie, did you invite that gorgeous teacher friend of yours?”

“I... what? No!” I looked back at the entrance and groaned. “What the hell! He tried to invite himself along and I said no. I didn’t even tell him where we were going.”

The chair beside me scraped back and that creepy half grin was in my face.

“Ronnie! Fancy meeting you here!”

I raised an eyebrow, not bothering to hide any of my annoyance at his presence. “How did you find us?”

“What? No! I just happen to like this bar.” His good humor started to falter as my frown turned to a glare. “Fine. I asked Teri where you like to hang out. In my defense, I asked her two weeks ago.”

“I told you it was a girl’s night. I told you you weren’t invited.”

“Right. But now I’m here, so.... why don’t we have a drink? I’m sure your friends would love me!”

Nel scoffed. “I’m a lesbian.”

He turned his attention to Britt.

“I’m straight, but right now, I really fucking hate men. So, no.”

I shrugged. “Sorry. This is a no men’s allowed table.”

I almost felt bad for him as he stood, clearly displeased, and headed to sit at the bar.

Britt leaned forward. “Okay. I know you said he was getting pushy and creepy, but what the hell!”

Nel nodded. “That’s starting to hover near the stalker line.” She looked towards the bar and gave a slight shake of her head. “Did you guys notice there’s a couple of guys with earpieces in? Do you see anyone important?”

I glanced around. “What? Where? They’re probably just on Bluetooth or something. No one important comes here.”

“Yeah. You’re probably right. One more thing... your stalker is pounding drinks like they’re saving his life, so you’re coming to my house tonight. I don’t need him following you home.”

“Awww, I love you too,” I answered, grateful for the two women in front of me.

Some older song with a good beat came on and we got onto the dance floor. I was having a blast, the stress of the work week washing away in sweat and booze.

Until I felt a pair of hands wrap around my waist and pull me to the chest attached to them. I pushed away and turned.

“Tim! What the hell! I said I’m not interested!”

“Oh, come on. I’ve seen how you look at me!” He was starting to slur.

“I look at you like you’re my coworker. I do not want to date you!”

People on the dance floor had stopped dancing and were watching. My girls stood at my back, ready to give whatever kind of support I needed.

“Who says I want to date you. I just figured you’d be a good lay,” he mumbled as he reached for my arm.

Before I could react, he was screaming in pain, his arm twisted at an uncomfortable angle behind his back. I watched, stunned, as a pair of cuffs snapped around his wrists.

“The lady said no.”

The voice slapped into me, and I forgot to breathe. I knew that voice. It was deeper and a little gruffer, but I knew that voice. My eyes snapped to the man who had come to my rescue. Those light green eyes met mine and I swallowed hard.


He licked his lips in the exact same way he used to do when he was nervous all those years ago.

All those years ago...

Anger flared. Where had he been all this time? What the hell was he doing here now? Why was he wearing an earpiece? And, oh my god! Did he know what he’d done to me when he’d left?

Ten years of pain, heartache, fear and worry came to a head in that instant.

“Ronnie, I...”

Whatever he’d been about to say stuck in his throat. I pushed him back with all my strength. Jesus, he’d gotten taller. And thicker. And...

“Ronnie, stop.” He tried to grab my wrists, but even I could tell he wasn’t trying very hard. He just let me hit him, over and over.

The body wrenching sobs were back. The ones that had kept me in bed for months after he’d disappeared. 

“Dude? You good?”

I barely registered the other man now standing beside Mason.

Mason nodded, his eyes never leaving me. “Ronnie, you can keep beating on me all you want, but let’s do this outside before someone here decides you need a night in the drunk tank.”

I was so focused on hitting him, I didn’t notice we were making our way out of the bar until we were standing in the night air.

My hands hurt. My arms hurt. My heart hurt.

All my emotions collided with the adrenaline. My stomach heaved and I puked.

All over Mason.



I sat on Ronnie’s couch in my boxers and t-shirt, waiting for my pants to dry in her dryer. Her two friends sat across from me, glaring daggers. Bear and Pointer stood off to the side, clearly enjoying my misery. So much for brothers sticking together. Traitors.

“She’s been in there an hour,” whispered the blonde to the other girl. 

There hadn’t been any introductions and any time I opened my mouth to try and make conversation, one of them cut me off and told me to zip it.

There was a knock on the door and Bear let in our fourth. Pen walked into the room and took in the scene. She grinned.

“Cute outfit,” she teased.  She shook her head and rolled her eyes. “Pervert is at the police station. There were enough witnesses that it was a non-issue. I didn’t even have to bat my eyelashes at the cop.”

Bear grunted which was his usual form of communication. 

“What? I could bat my eyelashes if I felt like it!” Pen grinned and brushed the long red hair out of her face, her grey eyes sparkling. 

She went to stand by Bear and Pointer. As always, she looked tiny beside them. Most things did. Topping out at 6 foot 5 inches, the identical twins were a wall of muscle with short black hair and dark brown eyes.

Much to the dismay of Ronnie’s friends, Pen helped herself to the fridge and pulled out enough beers for everyone.

“Since tonight was a bust, we might as well take a break,” she announced.

I shook my head as she offered me one. I needed to talk to Ronnie. Standing, I was quickly flanked by her friends.

“I need to talk to her.”

The blond grunted. “You had ten years to talk to her, Mason.”

My name rolled over her tongue and I realized I knew her. In high school she’d been the funny girl everyone got along with. She’d moved to town in grade five. Ronnie had immediately dubbed her her best friend. She’d lost a lot of weight, the hair was different, the makeup...


“Oh. You do remember me.” 

“Of course, I remember you.”

She raised an eyebrow at me. 

“Fine. It took me a minute but come on. You look nothing like you did ten years ago.”

“Yeah, well, it’s amazing how accepting yourself can improve your mental and physical health.”

I waited to see if she was going to elaborate. Instead, she glanced at the bedroom door.

“You fucking destroyed her when you left.”

I swallowed hard. “I know.” I cleared my throat. “I need to tell her what happened.”

“Why now? What’s it going to change?”

“She’ll know I didn’t want to leave her. She’ll know it had nothing to do with her. I was a kid, Nel. I didn’t have choice.”

“You could have told her why.”

“No. I couldn’t. But I can now.” I closed my eyes and blew an exasperated breath out of my nose. “Nel, please.”

I glanced at the other woman in front of me. This one I was positive I didn’t know. “I’ll go in. If she kicks me out, I’m out.”


“Britt! What the hell? United front, man!”

Britt glanced from me to Nel. “Look, I wasn’t there for the immediate carnage, but I still helped pick up the pieces when we all met a year later.”

Her statement nearly killed me. A year later? She’d still been a mess after all that time?

“I say let him go,” Pen piped up. “She’s not the only one who’s a mess over what happened. You might be friends with her, but we’re friends with him. And what happened fucked him up pretty good.”

Nel’s hesitancy slipped a notch.

“Please.” My chest tightened and I took a few deep breaths to keep a mess of emotions from bubbling up. Losing my shit right now was not going to help my case.


Everyone looked at Ronnie who was standing in the doorway. If I’d had trouble breathing before, the ability to suck in a breath completely disappeared that instant. She'd changed into a plain black t-shirt and red checkered pajama pants. Her hair was still down, the long dark waves falling around her shoulders. She’d taken out her contacts and was wearing her glasses. Those amazing hazel eyes met mine and it took everything in me not to rush over to her and crush her to me.

“It’s okay, Nel. He can come in.” The statement was so quiet, I wasn’t sure I’d heard it before she turned and disappeared back into the bedroom.

I froze. I’d thought about this moment almost every waking moment in the past ten years. Hell, I even dreamed about it. But now, the moment was here. There were no more hypotheticals, no more being able to reword things if they came out wrong...

“It’s now or never, Sneak.” Pen was watching me, all joking aside. “You’ve survived being shot and blown up. What’s the worst that could happen?”

Ronnie’s friends gawked at me.

The worst that could happen... that would be Ronnie not understanding. It would be her pushing me away... It would be her doing to me what I’d done to her all those years ago and disappearing. Because one look at her in that bar had been enough to destroy me all over again. Her telling me she couldn’t forgive me? I didn’t think I’d survive that.


His fingers ran through the hair just behind my ear and I shivered.

How did he remember exactly where to touch me after all this time? Because he was Mason. Because this was the kid who had done research on how to make a woman come before our first time because he hadn’t wanted me to be disappointed.

“I’m not asking you for more than you’re ready for. I’m back, okay? I’m here. Whatever you want, however you want...”

My brain was telling me I was being an idiot for believing he wouldn’t break my heart again. My heart was trying to remind me it hadn’t been his fault he’d left. And my body? My body was starting to melt into his touch, wondering if after all this time he’d still do that thing with his tongue...


Ten years ago, he left me sitting in a park with no explanation. You can imagine my surprise when, out of the blue, he comes to my rescue in a small-town bar. Why is he back? Where has he been? And why do I still care?


Ten years ago, I broke her heart and I couldn’t tell her why. When the dangers from my past come back to haunt her, it’s my worst nightmares come true. Ten years ago, I left to keep her safe. This time, I’m staying even if it might kill me.

Pick up your copy of Late to Love and Yours Always, Mason