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The Lonely Drop by Vanessa North

thelonelydropWhy I read it:  It was recommended to me all over the place.  It’s also free as a free thing which is free.  Extra bonus points for the clean formatting and good copy editing.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Dear Author,

Ten years ago, I turned him down.

One night stands were his norm, and not because he couldn’t have had a relationship if he’d wanted one. He could pretty much have any man he wanted. I walked away because I deserved better.

Now our paths have crossed again. He has the world at his feet. It’s a tempting thought to throw away my lifetime of ideals for a single night with him.

Do I still have the strength to walk away?

Do I even want to?

Photo Description:
Two men lie naked in bed. One is on his stomach, with his head out of the frame, the other strokes a hesitant hand down his lover’s back.

This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group’sLove’s Landscapes” event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  Nick Hana and Kevin Dorsey have been best friends all through college. They’re both on the college soccer team and they’re both gay. They also have a lot of other things in common and have been very close.  Nick is in love with Kevin but Kev gets around and is notorious for one-night stands.  Nick is a firm believer in sex having to mean something.  He doesn’t want to have sex for the sake of sex.  He wants the relationship too.  Believing he cannot get that from Kevin, they part the eve before graduation on unfriendly terms.

The Secret Casebook(s) of Simon Feximal by KJ Charles (includes Remnant with Jordan L. Hawk*)

CaldwellGhostButterfliesRemnant

Why I read them:  There are three short stories in this series (so far).  The first I bought for $1.99 from Torquere Press. It’s too expensive because it’s less than 15 pages. But the good news is that the other two self-published shorts are free from Smashwords in all the formats.  Taken together, $1.99 is well worth it.  And I think The Caldwell Ghost has possibly my favourite opening paragraph ever.

The Caldwell Ghost

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  When Robert Caldwell inherits a haunted house, he calls on ghost-hunter Simon Feximal to rid him of the supernatural menace. But the ghost is stronger than either man realizes — strong, angry, and desperate for release. Trapped in a haunted house with a dangerously attractive ghost-hunter and a sexually frustrated spirit, can Robert survive the night intact…and will he want to?

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  This clever little short has an absolute cracker of an opening paragraph.  We are plunged into the action immediately.  It’s only about 13 pages but in that time, the setting – both the time period and the creepiness and the characters are drawn with a deft hand. It’s not a romance, but rather the pair meet and, while fixing Robert Caldwell’s ghost problem, have a sexy interlude which promises to be more.  We know in fact that they go on to have a very HEA because of the letter to the editor at the beginning.  It’s all very cleverly done.

 

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