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BT Urrela – One hot mess

I’m 33 years old. And I have been a part of the romance writing community longer than BT Urrella. And this post isn’t about name calling or anything like that – there might be some shade but it cannot be helped.

When BT Urrela first came to my attention, it was through Michael Stokes. No one does the male body better than Mr. Stokes. I didn’t care that BT was an amputee –  a gorgeous man is a gorgeous man and believe me he is beautiful to look at – but apparently, from what I’ve been reading, he may be good to look at but he can be a bit of a prick.

Before I get to that – I also watched him on the television show Coupled and from what I saw, I thought for sure he was a pretty decent guy. With that said, when I found out I could buy his picture for book covers, I was over the moon! I didn’t care how much they cost. I was determined to save and save until one or more of those pictures were mine. But most of you know me, and bad behavior is bad behaviour and I can’t tolerate that.

Let me say this, I am a strong believer in second chances and of learning from one’s mistake. But when you do asshole things on more than one occasion, people have to start thinking that, yes, you are an asshole. Maya Angelou said “when someone shows you who they really are, believe them.”

It came to my attention that BT has ‘fat shamed’ someone and at first I laughed because I couldn’t believe it. I mean, he seemed like a nice guy, writing, modeling, the world is his. Why would he do something like that? That is until someone dropped a screen capture and I was floored.

To be honest, he claims it was a joke. We all have those moments when we make what we thought was a funny joke and it turns out it wasn’t so funny. We have those.

But this, I don’t know why  Mr. Urrela thought this would be funny. Someone needs to look up the definition of the word “joke” and send it to Mr. Urrela. First of all, taking someone’s picture without their permission is illegal–first of all. And an ex-playboy bunny is finding that out the hard way at the moment as she was charged for doing this exact same thing. Only difference is, the guy isn’t naked and the woman in that other case was. Secondly, how dare you take someone’s picture without their permission and post it on social media?

That is cruel.

The man is there working out, trying to be healthy and instead of going over, shaking his hand and working out with him, you’re posting his business all over social media as a “joke.” I dare you to take this to this man and see if he finds it funny.

Then, to make matters worse, when the backlash began, Mr. Urrela, began calling all those who opposes his assholeness “crybabies” because apparently, being a decent human being and calling bullshit to his crap makes people “crybabies.”To add to that, he began deleting comments from all who opposes his assholedness.  (Yes, I am quite aware that assholeness and assholedness aren’t real words but this occasion calls for it).


Seriously? Then, his photographer starts defending him. How can you defend this mess? Sure, from a business standpoint I get it, you’ve sunk so much work into Mr. Urrela that now you’re trying to back him thinking it will make the mess magically go away but it just makes me not want to support you either. You cannot, in good conscience think this is okay.

Then, after the above post, Mr. Urrela posted something he thinks is an apology. Listen, if he’d posted that before he posted the above, then I would be like “okay, he knows he has been king asshole and he is sorry he was being king asshole” but after the above post I just think that now he’s only apologizing because, one, he got caught. Two, someone is making him, and three he doesn’t mean a word of it. Then, he and his photographer begins deleting people’s comments whenever they say anything about the whole situation that isn’t kissing both their asses. Someone tried explaining that even if BT meant this as a joke, it was a poor one and he shouldn’t have done it. Another author was called “a nobody trying to start something” and blocked. So even after people are trying to explain to him why the few of us who is livid at his behaviour, are the way we are, he doesn’t listen. Doesn’t care. This shows he’s not sorry at all. He just said it to save face.

Look, the romance industry has been taking hit after hit recently. From underhanded business dealings within publishers, to lack of diversity to models who think they are the be-all and end all in the industry. We have been trying to show the world that romance is a serious field, that we are inclusive, that we love and support each other and that we carry ourselves with integrity and decorum. But this, Mr. Urrella, is not okay. This goes against everything we authors have been fighting for since day one. For people to take us seriously. How can they do that, when we fat shame others then act as if we didn’t do anything wrong?

Here’s my bottom line – If when people began showing outrage, Mr. Urrela had manned-up and gave a true apology, things would not have gotten this out of control. And before you say, this isn’t a big deal, imagine this man in the photo was your child. And you’re going through the internet and see this picture, with that same caption and all the comments below it. Would you think this wasn’t a big deal? Or imagine if the man in the photo was you – Would you think this was funny?

We’ve become a world of assholes because we’re behind a keyboard and a screen. We do not take people’s feelings in account because we feel we cannot be held responsible for our actions. Maybe, the few of us standing up won’t be able to do much, but at least we can let Mr. Urrela and people like him know this is not okay.

Mr. Urrela, I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but the gym is for working out and maybe picking up chicks (we hate that by the way). You shouldn’t be taking anyone’s pictures unless they are of you! You’re the kind of sorry excuse of a human being, that makes some people not want to go to a gym, who make women wear make-up to go work out because some idiot with a camera is going to take their picture and broadcast it to the world. That is NOT a safe environment.

People do not go to the gym to be your very own, private punchline.

And word of advice, when you show up somewhere late, you don’t walk in banging around, dropping things, slamming doors – no. You’re late. You walk in, take the first seat you can find, sit down and shut the hell up. You’re new to this community, and for you to be causing such an uproar, it’s not appreciated. And if you can’t behave your damn self, get the hell out.

I will no longer be supporting Mr. Urrela or anyone he operates with. This includes photographers. I may be a small fish in a big pond but this small fish is going to stand up to this kind of behaviour the only way she can – by spending my money elsewhere.




Queen Midas In Reverse

Image resultOkay, honestly, I read this story without reading the blurb. I thought it had something to do with a girl with powers to change things from gold to something weird or to reverse anything turned to gold by magic. Yeah, nothing like that. You should probably read the blurb first lol. And the cover had me thinking royalty, but nope, none there either. Anyway, here is the blurb, read it first – seriously – read it.

The Rock and Roll Fantasy gang find themselves in a special Contemporary Romance from USA Today Bestselling Author Diane Rinella.

For Jacqueline, a second date is as rare as a unicorn. She’s beautiful. She’s intelligent. So why is she experiencing a string of first dates that leaves her ducking behind bushes and running for buses? Contrary to her nature, trading in her heels and curling iron for an easy chair surrounded by cats sounds appealing. Is she cursed, or can she find the man who will steal her heart.

Let’s start off y saying this. I usually cannot stand stories written in the first person present tense. Nothing grates on my nerves more than reading a book that tells a story as if it’s happening as I read the book. I love a story that tells the story as if it already happened and the narrator is well, for lack of a better term, telling me the story. So that was a little ick for me.

Queen Midas in Reverse itself is super short. For all you know me and my tastes in romance I love two POV’s, the main female and the main male and that’s it. This story has a third but isn’t as problematic but just surprising. I could have done with a little more of the story because it was so fast and ending a little abruptly. I wanted more romance, more softness, more.

Let me break it down. The characters are awesome – there is absolutely no doubt about that. I am a SUCKER for friendship in a story–especially strong female ones. There is nothing like having that awesome person who is there with a kick in the pants if you need one or a hug or who will literally throat-punch a sucker for messing with you. That I am down with 100%.  When I read secondaries, there has to be a reason they are in the story. And these women had purpose and further the story beautifully.

Whenever my niece reads one of my books, I usually get a phone call that goes “Seriously aunty? You are mean to your characters.” But I should let her read Queen Midas in Reverse.  It’s not mean where Ms. Rinella kills off half the characters then sits back and go “take that suckas!” No, this was the kind of mean that had me going “oh no she did not just do that!” And at one point I was looking at my tablet screen going – in the middle of a food court saying out loud “This cannot possibly get any worse!” And then it did! Hilariously!

Jacqueline – Lawd I thought I had bad luck with men. And the “dark reaping”? I couldn’t breathe I was laughing so hard. I can totally relate with going out with a guy because he looks “normal” and then gets hit with a double uppercut when he turns out to be nuttier than a fruitcake.

This story will have you giggling and laughing out loud. I did enjoy it. It’s a tale that will keep you from going psycho on the streetcar as you’re stuck in rush hour traffic. You will love Jacqueline dearly and her friends are a riot. I really do wish it was longer and we could see more of mister hottie with the gorgeous eyes.

Stalk–er I mean–visit Diane Rinella here. You can find all her goodies there.  Snag your copy of Queen Midas in Reverse here.



Sugar & Spice – RE Hargrave

**warning, reading this book will make you hungry and trigger one kick ass case of the munchies for all things sweet**

I am a HUGE fan of romance. Not only because it was a huge part of my childhood or because I write the stuff, but a good romance is often time weaved with amazing writing and that makSugar & Spice Audiobookes me happy. But lately, the genre has been flooded with sex, sex and nothing but.

Blurb: Lacey Harrison has been dealt an unexpected hand in life: being a single mom. With her father’s help and that of the residents at Royal Hills Nursing Home, she thrives and goes on to become a successful baker. She is content with her life but knows that she and her daughter Candy are missing something. Will things change for the better when Trent Childress moves into town and adds some spice to her sugar?


The Narrator is David White – I’m not sure how I feel about him. His reading was fluent but there was something about his voice that I just couldn’t quite get into.

The story itself very good. If you’re looking for sex and nothing but, this is not the story for you.  If you love a well done, romance–I’m talking a real grow in love– then this is the book for you.

The characters were stunning.  Can I say how much I love Lacey and her baby girl? That kid is an old soul that I love so much in stories. Lacey, on the other hand is a mom – one terrified her baby is growing up too fast and wants to keep her that little girl forever.Her story is real, and something that happens all to often in real life – someone could be reading this book and thinking “that is my life, right there.”

Here comes Trent. Trent is just the perfect definition of a man. Funny, caring, well spoken *trembles*

I loved this story. I am happy with the natural progression, of this story. Sugar & Spice is a welcomed change from the current market and gives me hope, that romance is alive somewhere in today’s market.

Listen here. Ebook here.



Part 2: The Divine Trilogy – A Divine Life

***Contains explicit sexual content (including multiple partners and gender pairings) and mature situations which could be trigger-inducing for some readers. Not meant for underage readers.***

Over the past year of being Jayden Masterson’s collared submissive, Catherine O’Chancey
has worked through the mental terrors left behind by her old Dom—she thinks. To celebrate their collaring anniversary, Jayden organizes a special day, during which her final limits and fantasies will be realized. Will it prove to be more than she can handle? Can she endure the erotic onslaught her mind and body will experience and survive unscathed? A Divine Life Audiobook
While Catherine faces dark shadows and pleasurable highs, Jayden finds his own inner strength being tested. He has come to realize that, somewhere along the way, Catherine has taken possession of his heart, mind, and body. Now he faces his biggest challenge ever; he must let go of all his submissives but one: his jewel, Catherine. Can he leave his philandering ways behind? Has he made the ultimate mistake by putting his jewel into the hands of others?


A continuation of To Serve is Divine, this story A Divine Life,  picks up where the last book left off. I mean, right where it left off which was good for me and because I binge listen to both these books, everything was fresh for me. I enjoyed the story a lot, even if BDSM isn’t really my thing. Jayden and Catherine are further developed and more secrets are revealed about Catherine’s past.

Catherine continues to grow under Jayden’s watchful eyes, tongue, toys and other delicious things in his arsenal. She learns that even if Jayden cannot be there, the trust he places in a few amazingly hilarious friends will see her through. Their relationship will be tested, especially by the ghost of Catherine’s past and in the end – well, in the end it could all backfire in Jayden’s face.

Just when I thought Jayden couldn’t get any sexier, I was wrong. I have no idea how that even is possible but he shows sides of him that is just a joy to read er listen to.

The gender pairings were a surprise to me – not in a bad way. It was a welcomed surprise, actually. But none of them were simply tossed in there for shits and giggles. Each pairing had a purpose and seemed as if RE Hargrave planned every word down to the final detail. The story is still chock full of BDSM delights which fans of BDSM will be completely enthralled by. I came for the story and the wonderful Holly Jackson narrating this continuation in the Divine Trilogy and I stay for the love, the feels and the giggles.

Listen here. Ebook here.




Part 1: The Divine Trilogy – To Serve is Divine

**Please note, you must be 18+ to purchase/read this book. It contains things that might be Image result for proceed no furthertriggers for some people. In other words, this book contains HEAVY adult content and some events/actions that may be offensive to some. If you are easily offended, walk away man. ***

Okay, so most of you know me and I don’t do BDSM. I mean, after trying to read book one of 50 Shades, I had a bad taste left in my mouth on the whole BDSM genre. I may not be a part of the BDSM community but I have researched it a lot when I was thinking of writing an erotic novel set in that world. I wound up not doing it because, well, I’m weird. Anyway, when it was offered for me to read two of the three books, I was hesitant. Even after I was sent the codes to get free copies of these books in Audio format because I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it. I mean most times people who write BDSM has no clue and you spend the whole time cringing. And,  I like female characters who talk back, who can tell you to go f*&k yourself and struts out with their middle fingers in the air, so this submission thing isn’t really may jam. But, a review needs to be written.


Catherine O’Chancey is a reserved, demure, and graceful submissive. All traits she trained hard to enhance when she discovered the world of Dominance and submission in college. In an attempt to start fresh after the unexpected death of her last Dom, Catherine moves to Dallas, TX to escape the shroud of darkness he left behind in her life. She has tried to fight the need that resides deep within her to submit, but finally has to admit she can’t for it is not a choice, but part of who she truly is.

After months of mental preparation, she ventures back into the lifestyle by attending a coveted open-night event at Dungeons and Dreams, an exclusive BDSM club. Is it fate or coincidence that Catherine garners the attention of one of the club’s board members who happens to be on the hunt for the perfect sub – a partner who enjoys receiving pain and pleasure as much as he enjoys doling it out?
Jayden Masterson is many things: a firm Dom, a shrewd businessman, and a gentleman. What he isn’t, is someone who partakes in relationships outside of contractual ones with his multiple, uncollared, regular submissives. While he likes rough sex, he is not an animal, and can find pleasure only if it is consensual. What his harem is missing is a pain slut; could there be one in his future? Upon meeting Catherine, Jayden feels an instantaneous spark inside him that has him wanting to know not just her body, but her mind. He wants to unravel her mysteries and discover her secrets. Through pain can they find the pleasure they seek? Can part-time pain lovers find full-time fulfillment when it’s not in their contract?


When I was thinking of reviewing this book, I had to mentally prepare myself for it. Like I said, BDSM isn’t my thing and it was right around the time when I was feeling particularly down on the romance genre because, let’s face it, romance isn’t romance anymore do I had just gone on a whole tangent to a friend of mine about how depressing that is to me.

BUT – surprisingly, I really enjoyed this story.  Let me explain – While this books has HEAVY BDSM elements, because it is ROOTED into the BDSM world, there is also a romance that is true and strong that’s weaved very well throughout the story – I really appreciated that. Another thing that is quite evident is that RE Hargrave knows her stuff. The story as thoroughly researched and that knowledge is peppered throughout the table in a way that is palatable to the reader. Some books you read and the author just throws things in to show how smart they are and that is quite annoying.

Lets talk the narrator – To be honest, I expected a man to read this story. I don’t know why, but when I realize it was a woman, I was a little skeptical but holy smokes Holly Jackson! Her Irish and Texan accents were spot on and so amazing! The tone in her voice the way she read the love scenes – Lord have mercy! I kept looking around to make sure my volume wasn’t too high and that no one around me couldn’t hear. Holly is amazing.

The characters in To Serve is Divine are wholesome and true to theTo Serve Is Divine Audiobook way of life in the BDSM. But they also have an added little quirk that had me smiling sometimes or laughing out loud during other time.

Jayden is just sexy as hell. From the authority he uses throughout his life, to the way he treats Catherine inside and outside the play room or when they are in a scene.  From the contract he designs for Catherine to the way he talks to her, the way he looks at her, I could tell this guy is a good one. He’s all tough and DOM sexy but when it comes to his Jewel, he’d burn the world to the ground. I felt Jayden’s concern for Catherine, his slow turmoil about if he can actually be good for her.
Catherine-oh lawd-what can I say about her? First her Irish accent is darling. She is one of those females who has have to learn her worth the hard way. Though she is a submissive, she is strangely independent but knows when she needs to draw strength from her DOM.

The secondary characters all had purpose. I am a HUGE fan of secondary characters because they lend some realness to the main characters. In this story, they all lend a brilliant air of authenticity to the tale.

Yes, there are a couple of things that made me cringe – because well, it’s BDSM and there are toys and actions within these pages that aren’t things I would actually participate in – But I understand why they were necessary for the story and the genre to make it real.

Bottom line is this (And I swear I never thought I’d say this about any BDSM story but here it is) RE Hargrave has a winner on her hands. To Serve is Divine is a love story about two people trying to find their place in a world that can often time turn ugly. It is lesson of being careful who you trust and knowing when to extend trust. It is a tale of crashing and burning then being strong enough to stand up and give the world two middle fingers way up. But most importantly, it is a well spun tale that is enjoyable to read or in this case, listen to.

Please support RE Hargrave (if BDSM is your jam) by clicking here for audio and here for ebook.




#BellLetsTalk day – A day for Mental Health

Today, January 25th is #BellLetsTalk day. For those of you who have no clue what that is, all day today, Bell (a communications giant in Canada) will be donating money toward funding programs for Mental illness. Today, I do my part by tweeting the heck out of the hashtag #BellLetsTalk hastag. This year, they even have a video of Howie Mandel encouraging people to tweet and for each time the video is viewed, bell will donate an additional 5 cents to the cause. Now, some of you may be reading this and thinking 5 cents? What can that do? Think about it. If this video is viewed 5 million times that’s 250, 000 dollars atop what is racked up from the views. That’s 250,000 that the cause did not have before.

There are a couple of things that irritated me about today so far which I’m not going to get into. I’m just going to say, trying to sell bagel while “celebrating Bell Lets Talk” its not cool and being pissed at bell because your province/town/city doesn’t have enough being done toward helping those with mental illnesses is ridiculous. Bell isn’t the one to be blamed for that. Go talk to your local MP and demand to know what they are doing for the cause.

Anyway, the point of this blog is this:Image result for bell let's talk

There is still a major stigma when it comes to those who suffer from a mental illness. People still try to avoid talking about the topic. My experiences have been different. For a few years I suffered from depression. I’m from a very hardcore Jamaican family so when I told my mother I was depressed, she promptly told me that I needed to “find something to do” and that “there was nothing wrong with” me. Find something to do? I was working, at times 2 jobs – one of which was like walking into the depths of hell every time I walked through the door, writing full time, trying to be a young adult with a social life and everything that comes with it–I had plenty going on at the time.

I saw my family doctor who refused to refer me to a mental healthy practitioner because in her views I was just sad.

Now let me be frank – I have been sad. When my grandmother passed, I was sad. When a book doesn’t hit the best sellers list on Amazon, I get sad. When I miss my niece, I get sad – What I was feeling for three years wasn’t sadness. It was a constant dark cloud over my head. I would burst into tears for no reason. I would spend days off, locked in my room, sometimes curled into a ball. I thought of death and dying often and even contemplated suicide a couple of times.

But I am one of the lucky few. I have a few friends and a niece who wouldn’t let me slip by the way side like so many others have been. Even though it cost me a pretty penny, I went out and saw someone for my problems, while my friends (especially my BFF Tster) had my back, encouraging me, checking in on me, helping me to lift myself out of this hole I seemed to have fallen into.

There is a disconnect between our generation today and our parents and grandparents when it comes to mental health. Most of our cultures really don’t believe in it, that the mind sometimes requires healing. They think we are merely weak or we have too much time on our hands.

But we know better so we have to do better.

We must educate those around us that mental illness isn’t a weakness. Let’s face it, if those “Strong” people had to live a day in our lives at the height of our illness they would not survive it. Mental health isn’t something we are supposed to talk about in the dark and it shouldn’t be an elephant in the room. We are pass the days when the family member with the mental illness should be sent off to the countryside to help their disposition. Today, we are better–today we know that by facing the illness head on, and seeking help, we can help the person with the illness. We can help them improve be it with medication or just some TLC.

Seeking help for depression in Ontario without a doctor’s referral is crazy expensive. I am not going to lie. And I don’t understand why this is not covered under OHIP since so many young people are suffering from depression–real, true depression. Seeing my doctor was $130 an hour plus tax.

The average cost to see a psychotherapist, as per therapy Toronto is between $125-175 per session. And you wanna know the kicker? You have to pay taxes on that because apparently it is not considered a medical expense!  I’m not sure of the government’s reasoning behind that because if something affect your health and could quite possibly cause your death, I’d say that’s medical, wouldn’t you?

This is a problem. Someone shouldn’t have to die from their mental illness for something to be done about the outrageous cost of getting help. This is why Bell is doing the let’s talk campaign every year. We need to face this–we are losing too many young people to mental illnesses that are quite treatable. Making someone feel like garbage for admitting they need help then making that help cost a king’s ransom is morally wrong and shouldn’t be happening.

So since we require a day for this, let’s show people suffering from mental health that they are beautiful, they are wonderfully made, and that there is nothing to be ashamed about. Let’s raise awareness as well as money for the issue – this is a big way to give everyone’s brains a big hug – oh ick…well maybe forget about the hug, but you know what I mean.

So please, tweet, retweet with the hastag #BellLetsTalk and well, Let’s talk!





Unwrapping Noel – Jennifer Theriot

Hey everyone, this is a review for Unwrapping Noel by Jennifer Theriot. Yes, yes, I know tis not the season but come on! The title is Unwrapping Noel! How could I have resisted even if Christmas is gone? So, now what? You want something to brighten up the new years because you’ve already screwed your resolutions and even though most thing there is still time to get back on the wagon, you’re feeling like you need something to make you smile.

I was given an audio version of this book to check out because lately, I don’t seem to have time for much reading. But I always love to check out the audio of certain things just to hear the narrator’s interpretation of the actual book. Anyway, Noel Calabrese hates the holidays as much as she hates her life. While in the Silicon Valley on a business trip, she meets Leon Hallas.

Could this sexy, silver fox be her ticket to happiness? Can she learn to trust again?
Unwrap this steamy little romance about Second Chances and Self-Worth, complete with a palindrome…

Let’s start off with the narrator, Sarah Gordon. Oh child, this lady has some talent. Sometimes you listen to an audio book and you think why in the hell did they chose that narrator! He/she sounds mad uncomfortable with the content! Not Sarah. This lady threw down like a pro and made Jennifer Theriot’s crazy funny personality shine right through my speakers. She gave each of Jennifer’s characters life making them distinct and recognizable. Trust me, definitely check out her other stuff.

Now to the actual book. I’m going to try doing this without giving anything away because you have to check out this book, no matter the version you chose.

So Noel is a plus size dynamo in the PR world and you’d think she have her crap together. But far from it. And it’s not even because of anything she’s done wrong. The world is just a jerk to her and she’s dealing, broken Jimmy Choo and all, the best way she knows how. But from the beginning, things just seem to be unraveling, hilariously, might I add. From a major wipe out on a wet driveway to a deadbeat husband who can’t seem to take a hint, this story will have you rolling.

Noel, was so real to me. She went through a lot of things that made me think, holy crap that’s good. I’m a fan of romance–even if the sex is explicit, I love a story that has some romance leading up to the hotness of some booty. Listening to this book, I felt the same way I did the first time I cracked open my first Catherine Coulter back in the day – relaxed, taken away to a place outside of my own world and was  not disappointed.

Leon – Oh lawd. The description of this man had me stopping my audio and rewinding. There is something about a yummy silver fox who has his crap together that does it for me. Leon was stunning, flirtatious, sure of himself and so sexy. He is the perfect definition of a romance novel star.

I made the mistake of listening to this book in public – on the streetcar to work and while I was filing at work – don’t do that. You will be blushing, giggling, smirking, laughing out loud. Oh and watch out for the penis drawing mishap – I laughed until I snorted.

Jennifer Theriot is a new-to-me author. I probably wouldn’t have known about her had it not been for a friend Allison M Cosgrove. But lord am I glad I found her!

Bottom line? Unwrapping Noel is a hilarious little romp that will brighten your day in more ways than one!

Check out Jennifer Theriot by clicking here.





Love Plus One

Title:  Love Plus One

Series: Maths, Book 1

Author: P.A. Friday

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: January 9th

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male Menage

Length: 60800

Genre: Romance, ménage, promiscuous, bisexual, friends to lovers, age gap, hurt-comfort, mild BDSM and D/s

Add to Goodreads


Laurie and James are a monogamous couple with an occasional lover in James’s best friend, Al. It is a casual, friend-with-benefits situation which suits them all, especially given Al’s promiscuous lifestyle.

When Al is assaulted, however, Laurie and James are forced to confront the fact that their feelings for Al might be stronger than mere liking. But would free spirit Al ever want more than what they already have?


P.A. Friday © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Anyhow, Laurie hung around outside, a little distance from the shop. He was grateful that it was a decent evening, even despite the cold. Finally, he heard the door begin to open and walked towards it.

“Don’t stay, Al. I can manage from here,” Fen called.

“Yeah, okay.” Al’s voice sounded a little strained, and Laurie moved more swiftly towards him, unwilling to let him hang around alone on the doorstep.

“Hey,” he said, tapping Al gently on the shoulder as he came up to him.

“Laurie!” Al let go of the shop door and clutched his chest in an age-old gesture of shock. “God, you scared the bejesus out of me.”

“Hell. Sorry,” Laurie apologised. Appearing out of the darkness at someone who got attacked a couple of days earlier by a group of people appearing out of the darkness. Nice one, Laurie, he castigated himself mentally. “I didn’t want to hang around in the shop looking like some sinister spectre at the feast in case your boss didn’t appreciate it,” he explained guiltily. “But I should’ve thought. Sorry.”

Al gave a weak grin. “No, you’re right. Fen would probably not have wanted you standing about watching her cash up. I’m just a bit twitchy. Sorry, yourself.”

“I feel like an idiot,” Laurie apologised.

“Nothing new there, then,” Al said, his grin widening. Then he sobered up, touching Laurie’s arm. “Seriously, though, thanks for this. Meeting me, I mean. Didn’t realise how much of a fucking wuss I was until it came to going out, and it was dark, and…”

Laurie bit his lip. Bastards. He felt the now-familiar wave of anger wash over him. So much for being a peaceable sort of chap. Laurie would quite happily have committed murder at the moment, given the right targets. He pulled Al into a one-armed hug.

“Not a problem. You’d do the same for me.”

Al looked at him, his strange green eyes lit by the street light above them. “Yes, I would,” he said quietly. “I’m glad you know that.”

Laurie felt his cheeks flush, despite the cold. He hadn’t known, not really. If he’d thought about it, he’d have presumed that Al liked him well enough—but probably more as James’s boyfriend, not for himself particularly. His own feelings for Al were one thing (and he was slightly embarrassed about his level of protectiveness, not to mention love, towards the younger man), but he had no thought that they were reciprocated, and he hadn’t been unduly bothered by that. They didn’t have that sort of relationship. But there was something simple and genuine in Al’s response that was touching. It wasn’t the normal, teasing young man who Laurie usually knew. Laurie mumbled something incoherent and left his arm around Al’s shoulders as they walked towards home. James was too tall to hold like this; Laurie’s hand always fell across his back and rounded his waist on the far side. But Al was five or six inches shorter than Laurie, and Laurie’s arm slipped around his shoulders quite comfortably.

“What did Fen say—about your face?” Laurie asked.

Al shrugged. “Told her I got in a fight.”

Laurie raised an eyebrow. Of all the people to get in a fight, Al was one of the least likely. Al stared at his and Laurie’s feet.

“Told her she should’ve seen the other guy,” he mumbled. “Wasn’t true. They were fine.”

“They were a ‘they’,” Laurie said, trying not to sound as angry as he felt. “With a knife.”

Al shrugged. It was such a familiar gesture, but this time Laurie’s arm was around Al, so he could feel it go through him. It seemed as if he could also feel the self-hatred Al was experiencing, too. It burnt, and Laurie felt helpless to do anything about it.

“Yeah,” Al said, at last. There was a silence. Then, “Laurie,” he said.


“I think I’m ready to tell the police now.”

Laurie could feel Al tense as he said the words; it was not going to be an easy experience for him, Laurie knew.

“You’re bloody brave.”

Al huffed, a little puff of cold air escaping from his lips. “Hardly,” he said. “Think I’m being anything but.” He stopped walking, shivering a little. “Thought how I’d feel if they did it to Fen. To someone else.” He leaned his head against Laurie’s arm. “I have to, don’t I?”

“No,” Laurie said quietly. “You don’t. But you will, because you’re brave. Because you’re you. Because you’re thinking about someone else two days after you—”

“Yeah,” said Al, cutting him off quickly. He hadn’t let them say the word—not Laurie, not James, definitely not himself. “I was shit. But—”

It was Laurie’s turn to cut Al off. “No, you weren’t. And no, you aren’t.” There were moments when one-armed hugs didn’t cut it. Laurie pulled Al close in against him, holding him as tightly as possible without pressing against him too painfully. No need to remind Al of all the bits of him that hurt in quite so physical a fashion. “You’re being incredible, all right?” Laurie whispered in Al’s ear. “Don’t think otherwise.”

“Going to carry on hugging me like this?” Al asked, sounding a bit happier. “Because you’re having a decent effect on my ego.” He gave a little wriggle, pushing himself up against Laurie. “More than my ego,” he added thoughtfully.

A warm Al pushed up against him was rather too good for a public street, Laurie thought. He said as much to Al, who laughed.


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Meet the Author

P.A. Friday fails dismally to write one sort of thing and, when not writing erotica and erotic romance of all sexualities, may be found writing articles on the Regency period, pagan poetry, or science fiction. She loves wine and red peppers, and loathes coffee and mushrooms.

Pronouns: she/her

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The holidays

Another year is over. I would like to take a moment to wish you and your family, from myself and my family a very merry Christmas and a prosperous new year! I hope to have tons of fancy stuff for you awesome people in the coming year!

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Be loved. Be blessed. Be safe – and as usual if you drink, don’t drive! Call a cab and there’s uber!

Hugs and love,

Kato About Town