One Little Deleted Scene

Perhaps this is a medium length scene at least, but I’m doing a thing. Because of the titles, get it? This is a deleted seen from One Little Lie. If you haven’t read before, Ryan and Luke are dating, and Luke is pretending to date Lydia for the sake of both their parents. Ryan is trying to figure Luke out, and that’s what you missed on Glee... or whatever.

Also, hey, let me so casually slip in that the third book, One Little Problem is available right now! Hooray!

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My life was really almost perfect. I had no problems. Except for boyfriend problems. Life had never gone so smoothly, only one area was wrong, but it wasn’t a little area. It didn’t matter that everything else was fine, having that part off screwed with the entire system. It made it feel like everything was wrong.

“I think something’s off,” I started, mostly talking to myself while I graded freshman quizzes for Mrs. Reynolds and she hopefully was doing something academic and teacherly on her computer instead of taking personality tests while I did TA stuff. That had happened before.

“If you mean with the bio quizzes, I know, they’re dumber than usual.” I glanced up at her, my look telling her that was inappropriate. I mean, she wasn’t wrong but still I’d hate for her to get in trouble; it was too late for me to find another favorite teacher. She continued, “Just grade and don’t despair for the future of America.”

She turned back towards her computer then seemed to think of something and looked back at me. “But If you mean there’s something wrong with your personal life, please continue.” To her credit, she acted super professional and teacherly during classes and in front of most the student body and faculty. But when she was just with her little cadre of science nerds, her filter greatly diminished.

“It’s with Luke,” I confided. “He seems happier and likes being around me, when he isn’t busy with Lydia, but he won’t really tell me what’s going on.” These freshmen quizzes were bad too, but I’ll own up to being a terrible person. I cared more about myself right now than the future of the country.

She made an acknowledging noise and said, “You should probably talk to him.” Was she listening? I tried, but he shuts me down.

But maybe he had nothing to share? I couldn’t tell if it was me or him. “Normally I just wait him out and he gets himself together eventually. But things just feel different. Only then I wonder if I’m just not being supportive.”

“You could find out,” she started.

I kept going. “But it’s hard to be supportive when he’s keeping me at arm’s length.” I didn’t feel like a priority anymore. But see that was about me, so was I just being needy or something when this was about Luke?

“You should let him know your concerns.”

“Once when we were texting he told me he hoped his mom got strawberry jam from the store instead of grape,” I reminisced while slashing a red mark through an answer on the sheet in front of me. “And then I couldn’t text later, so he called me on the phone just to tell me she got the strawberry. And now there’s this whole thing we suddenly can’t talk about? That’s not right.”

“So—”

“I have no idea. I can only do so much of this on my own.” I could keep going back and forth on whether I was crazy or not, but it didn’t really matter. I was only one side of the equation and I couldn’t figure anything out without input on his end. Which meant…

“Which is why you should talk to him,” Mrs. Reynolds said as I said, “I have to talk to him.”

“Yes, finally,” she told me. “Thank you for listening.”

“What?” She couldn’t steal credit! “I came up with that on my own.” Five bucks said she wasn’t even doing anything important on her computer.

She raised an eyebrow and said dryly, “You’re so lucky you’re my second favorite student.”

“What? I’m your favorite.” I would slap Shelly Michaels if she’d edged in front of me.

“This conversation has caused me to evaluate my priorities.”

I held up the papers in front of me to her. “I can let you grade these.”

“Look at that, you’re my favorite again.” Damn right.

“What are you doing anyway?” I leaned over to look at her computer screen and she tilted it away before sighing and letting me look.

“I really need to know which District I would be in if life were the Hunger Games,” she filled me in as I glared at her. “You can take it next!”

Apparently, I would be in District Seven. I didn’t even care.

But why District Seven? That was so unfair that I apparently belonged in a forest since I lived in a flat, Midwestern plain. And who cared about District Seven, anyway? It was such a boring district. …Though, Johanna Mason was a badass and that was just a fact. Okay, I cared a little. But mostly, my mind was on Luke.

Luke had been good about sharing with me, up until recently. But maybe I hadn’t done the same. I had concerns and didn’t tell him. I thought I had a good reason for not voicing them but… I don’t know. I could be wrong. I hate being wrong. Oh well, I’d have to talk to Luke and get things figured out.

Excerpt from One Little Problem

Here’s a sample from the beginning of One Little Problem, available on June 16 and for pre-order now.

Ryan

OH WOW, MY LIFE IS SO TERRIBLE BUT AT LEAST THERE’S A HOT GUY TO LOOK AT WHILE EVERYTHING GOES TO HELL. ALSO, I’M A SPAZ.

Just figured I’d put that out there. Draw people into my story, make my life relatable and not totally perfect because who wants to read about someone who’s got everything and having the time of their life? Well, hopefully someone is interested in that… I certainly am.

Because, yeah, my life rocks. But don’t go anywhere! It didn’t always rock. I used to have only one friend and everyone hated me because I was the lone out gay kid in this Midwestern conservative farming town, which was totally  unfair because if they actually got to know they’d see I have several other qualities that others might call annoying, but I called charming, and hate me for those instead. But no, they didn’t even take the time to hate me for who I am, so rude.

There was just me and my one friend Alicia and my dad and I had no love life, no life of any kind. But then Luke Chambers came into my life and now? Things were pretty good now.

“Okay, okay, okay,” I said, holding my hands up to stop Luke from talking more even though he might not have a clear view of that because he was driving. “I refuse to be associated with Post Malone in any way.” I felt very strongly about that; it was a matter of principal.

This was very serious business. The last Big Relationship Decision—or Luke and Ryan Being Disgusting as our friends called it; our friends were tools—was deciding nicknames. Now we needed a song. Why? Because relationship. That’s why.

“What about the new Jonas Brothers song?” I asked Luke.

Luke didn’t even think about my suggestion. “Even you aren’t that gay,” he joked, keeping his eyes on the road. He was driving, I wasn’t, so I happily put my eyes on him. He wore a blue t-shirt that hugged his shoulders, and his aftershave smelled woodsy and intoxicating.

He was gorgeous, but I glared at him anyway. “How dare you imply there are limits to my gayness?”

“You’re right,” he conceded. “My mistake.” He looked over at me for a moment with a goofy smile that showed off his dimples.

One Little Problem

Ryan Miller knows how to handle life when things go wrong, but what about when things go right?

He hasn’t quite figured that out yet.

Ryan has a bright future ahead of him and a great boyfriend in the present. Luke Chambers is the total package, a blonde, green-eyed baseball player who is incredibly fun to tease. Life seems almost perfect. What comes next? A break up.

See, there might be a tiny problem. Their families don’t approve of the happiness this nerd and jock found together. With summer approaching and bringing new changes, a fake break up might provide the opportunity Ryan and Luke need to escape disapproving parental figures and enjoy their relationship.

This all sounds perfectly logical in Ryan’s head.

What could possibly go wrong?

Ryan and Luke are about to find out.

One Little Problem is a silly and sweet young adult novel that features romance, gay characters, snark, and hand holding. This is the third book in a series, but the novel can also be read on its own.

Get the book here.

You were right

Here is a little snippet from One More Problem, available for pre-order now. It will be released on June 16.

Ryan was under me and I had his hands pinned above his head, trying to wrangle him into submission, but he would not be swayed. He pouted his half insane/half ridic pout. “One more time. Please?” He relaxed into my hold a bit, as if trying to convince me he was docile and innocent. Yeah right.

But I gave in anyway. “Fine,” I sighed, my breath releasing on an exhale against the skin below his ear.  “You were right.”

“Oh my god, you should always be whispering those words in my ear.”

Well, that was nice to hear, so I did it again. “You were right,” I whispered and paused to nip at his ear and then he made a noise that was also really nice to hear, so I did it again and then said, “This worked.”

“Yay.” He looked smug and happy, like a cat lying in the sun. Now that he was getting his way, he did stop fighting me, actually relaxing and letting himself be praised and kissed. I should probably do something about this soon. His smugness would know no bounds, growing and growing until he thought he got to make all our relationship decisions, until it threatened the planet… Eh, I’d worry about it later.

New book available for pre-order! Gay YA Romance

One Little Problem, the third book in the One More Thing Series is available now for pre-order. The book will be released on the June 16, and I’ll be posting snippets and stuff leading up to it. I never know what to say when announcing stuff like this, so here is me being honest about that.

Anyway, here’s some more info about the book.

Summary: The path that led science nerd Ryan Miller and baseball player Luke Chambers into each other’s arms was bumpy and weird as hell, but their relationship is totally awesome.

Now all that’s left is to enjoy life… or it’s Ryan’s turn to screw things up. Or no one could screw it up, they could just be together and be blissfully happy even if they have to spend the summer apart. But no, somethings gotta go wrong. They already have both their parents against them, and the only solution is a crazy plan to save the day.

Get your copy here!

10 Gay Opposites Attract Stories for YA Fiction Readers

Throw two characters together with absolutely nothing in common and force them to interact and you’ve got a classic rom-com. Why do opposites attract? Maybe it’s because love stories are more fun when things are a little complicated. Maybe it’s because two very different people can meet and become stronger together than they were on their own.

Or maybe Stiles is right:
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Yes, it’s possible I was a Sterek shipper at some point.

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Whatever the reason, unlikely pairs with undeniable chemistry are fun to read about. These are some of the best opposites attract stories in YA fiction involving gay romances.

ONE MAN GUY – MICHAEL BARAKIVA

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Alek Khederian should have guessed something was wrong when his parents took him to a restaurant. Everyone knows that Armenians never eat out. Why bother, when their home cooking is far superior to anything “these Americans” could come up with? Between bouts of interrogating the waitress and criticizing the menu, Alek’s parents announce that he’ll be attending summer school in order to bring up his grades. Alek is sure this experience will be the perfect hellish end to his hellish freshmen year of high school. He never could’ve predicted that he’d meet someone like Ethan.

Ethan is everything Alek wishes he were: confident, free-spirited, and irreverent. When Ethan gets Alek to cut school and go to a Rufus Wainwright concert in New York City’s Central Park, Alek embarks on his first adventure outside the confines of his suburban New Jersey existence. He can’t believe a guy this cool wants to be his friend. And before long, it seems like Ethan wants to be more than friends. Alek has never thought about having a boyfriend—he’s barely ever had a girlfriend—but maybe it’s time to think again. Michael Barakiva’s One Man Guy is a romantic, moving, laugh-out-loud-funny story about what happens when one person cracks open your world and helps you see everything—and, most of all, yourself–like you never have before.

Writing Style: Third person, one POV, humorous. 274 pages
Topics and Tropes: high school freshman, Armenian culture, coming of age
For those who enjoy: music, first love stories, romantic comedies

What Readers Think:

 The story itself was very upbeat. I loved everything about the city (again, it was spot on with the attitude we get when we go into the city- we aren’t tourists, but we’re not New Yorkers). Plus, it was great to get a cute story that didn’t end with suicide or depression. I feel like a lot of LGBT books deal with those heavy topics, and while that is a very important issue, not all people face that. To have a book where the people are accepting is just nice to see.

Erin Weinman, Amazon Review

 BY THE CREEK – GEOFF LAUGHTON

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Soon-to-be high school junior David Harper hates his family’s move to the country. There’s nothing to do, and he misses his friends in the city. But he doesn’t have a choice. His mother’s job is in Mason County now, so David and his mom are too, and he has to make the best of it.

At first, the only redeeming feature of David’s new home is the swimming hole across the field from his house. Then David meets Benjamin Killinger, and suddenly life stops being so dull.

Benjamin is Amish, and cooling off in the swimming hole is one of the few liberties he and his brothers enjoy. A friendship with an English boy is not—but that doesn’t stop him and David from getting to know each other, as long as it’s on the neutral ground by the creek. After David risks his life to save Benjamin’s father, the boys’ friendship is tolerated, then accepted. But before long, Benjamin’s feelings for David grow beyond the platonic. Benjamin’s family and the rest of the community will never allow a love like that, and a secret this big can’t stay secret forever….

Writing Style: Third person, one perspective, descriptive setting. 180 pages
Topics and Tropes: boys from different backgrounds, friends to lovers, slow build, city boy and country boy, forbidden love
For Those Who Enjoy: coming of age, different cultures, inherent natural drama, unique story

What Readers Think:

Love does not know cultural boundaries, thank God. Two young men meet and fall in love, beliefs are questioned, conflicts occur. Will love be strong enough? Read and find out in a touching story of discovery. There is no need for graphic details of love making, it is not necessary, the story carries well on it’s own. I think it is a great read for young and older adults as well.

Just Relax, Amazon Review

HEAVYWEIGHT – MB MULHALL

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Secrets. Their weight can be crushing, but their release can change everything—and not necessarily for the better. Ian is no stranger to secrets. Being a gay teen in a backwater southern town, Ian must keep his orientation under wraps, especially since he spends a lot of time with his hands all over members of the same sex, pinning their sweaty, hard bodies to the wrestling mat.

When he’s trying not to stare at teammates in the locker room, he’s busy hiding another secret—that he starves himself so he doesn’t get bumped to the next weight class.

Enter Julian Yang, an Adonis with mesmerizing looks and punk rocker style. Befriending the flirtatious artist not only raises suspicion among his classmates, but leaves Ian terrified he’ll give in to the desires he’s fought to ignore.

As secrets come to light, Ian’s world crumbles. Disowned, defriended, and deserted by nearly everyone, Ian’s one-way ticket out of town is revoked, leaving him trapped in a world he hates—and one that hates him back.

Writing Style: First person, one perspective. 230 pages
Topics and Tropes: jock/artist dynamic, eating disorders, sports, friends to lovers,

For Those Who Enjoy:  interracial romance, adept treatment of serious subjects, rare perspective of male eating disorder, sweet love stories

What Readers Think:

Hate is still alive and well in far too many lunch rooms. This is one of the better books I’ve read in the recent years that truly tackles these subjects. Immense in it’s realism on the subject matters it tackles, M.B. Mulhall deserves every award in the book for not taking the easy route on this. It’s gritty, and at times very hard to handle, but the way Mulhall crafts the story allows it to be the punch in the face it should be.

Rebecca A. , Goodreads Review

NAIL POLISH AND FEATHERS– JO RAMSEY
Deep Secrets and Hope #1

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Sixteen-year-old Evan Granger has no problems with being gay. Despite his mother’s objections, he wears nail polish and makeup to school and pursues his goal of becoming a professional drag queen.

TV drag star Taffy Sweet gives encouragement and Evan’s cousin Holly tries to protect him, but school bullies abuse him so badly because of his sexuality and the girly way he dresses that he ends up at the hospital emergency room. After that, even his new crush, a closeted football jock named Moe Garcia, is unhappy about Evan’s choice to live his life openly gay. But even in girly clothes and nail polish, Evan is a force to be reckoned with, and he soon shows the bullies—and everyone else—that beating a drag queen up does not mean the queen is beaten down. (Available on Kindle Unlimited)

Writing Style: First person, one perspective. 210 pages
Topics and Tropes: drag queens, a closeted jock, bullying, gender fulidity
For Those Who Enjoy:  character story with a side of romance, teens with a strong sense of self, stories about overcoming adversity

 What Readers Think:
Evan Granger, is adamantly effeminate and not about to hide it. He wants to grow up to be a drag queen. So rare is it that a YA novel really deals with the issue of a boy who simply cannot “pass” in a straight world… The book is about Evan’s agency, and it is surprisingly powerful. I found myself echoing his friends, “why can’t he just tone it down?” And then realizing that I, too, reflect the problem the book is trying to illuminate. It is Even’s refusal to back down that is at the core of this tale.
Ulysses Dietz, Amazon Review


KING OF SNOWFLAKES
– MICHELE FOGAL
West Coast Boys #1

Grade twelve is flying by like a pride parade of gay freedom and love until Skyler finds his gorgeous downtown boyfriend cheating on him over Christmas break. The breakup leaves him raw and not up to ignoring the usual gay taunts from soccer star Ryan and his teammates.

When Skyler loses it, he’s surprised to find a straight jock like Ryan knows what it’s like to have your heart broken and what it’s like not to belong. Behind his cocky smile, Ryan is feeling hopeless about his grades, his chances of getting into university, and his lack of real friends.

When Ryan invites him on a family ski trip, Skyler thinks escaping the city will let him lick his very private wounds in peace. He doesn’t count on Ryan’s warmth and affection amid the grandiose snow-covered mountains with their wonderland white trees, or the magical way Ryan’s silky hair fills with perfect six-point snowflakes. He certainly doesn’t expect Ryan to have secrets of his own that could burn them both–or lead to Skyler’s first truly loving relationship.

Writing Style: Third person, POV alternating,  vivid descriptions. 200 pages.
Topics and Tropes: enemies to lovers, sports, whirlwind romance, self discovery,
For those enjoy: compelling romance,  bi characters, atmospheric novels, light angst

What Readers Think:

King of Snowflakes is a story that zeroes in to the heart of its characters and drags every secret out into the open. I loved it… KoS takes a very realistic view of sexuality, and takes an incredibly kind and mature approach to the idea of exploration and open communication. It was such a breath of fresh air to see these characters open up to each other and admit what they want and need. I definitely recommend King of Snowflakes for anyone who enjoys LGBT romance, it could make you feel warm inside in 10 feet of snow.

Lala, Amazon Review

LOVE COMPLICATED – Teegan Loy
Game, Set, Match Book 1

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Life is all about making choices. Some are complicated. Some are simple. But for eighteen-year-old Jalen Marten, none are easy. Jalen has managed to stay invisible for his entire high school career. He has a small group of friends, and it’s enough for him. He doesn’t want or crave attention from his peers. All Jalen wants is to survive high school.

Austin Suter is the hot, talented tennis player who has the entire school bowing at his feet. Girls routinely throw themselves at him, and boys like Jalen stay the hell out of his way. Austin is destined for greatness on the world stage of professional tennis.

The kiss between them wasn’t supposed to happen. Falling in love definitely hadn’t been part of Jalen’s plan.

And when Austin turns pro, Jalen begins to realize that the choices he makes will affect Austin’s life. One wrong choice and Austin’s career could be over before it really begins. Jalen is not sure where he fits, or even if he fits at all in Austin’s life. But the more complicated things become, the less the idea of being apart appeals. Love should simplify things, not complicate them.

Writing Style: First person, single POV. 280 pages
Topics and Tropes: sports, music, self confidence issues, angst
For those who enjoy: intense romantic relationships, strong supporting characters, a blend of YA/new adult

What Readers Think:

Ok, this is a five star read because it appeals to the ooey-gooey, sappy center of me. It’s exceptionally talented teenagers-in-love who really, genuinely have a sweet relationship and they made me root for them the entire time. It’s the sort of book that makes me want to read a fluffy HEA sequel where they just keep being strong together and triumphing over obstacles. It’s a chicken-soup comfort read sort of warm fuzzy book.

Trace, Goodreads Review

UNDER THE STARS – GEOFF LAUGHTON

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Ethan Tanner is an out and proud, fastidious, and fashionable sixteen-year-old vegetarian who likes theater and musicals. This year, it’s his sister’s turn to pick the vacation destination, so he ends up on a dude ranch he knows he is going to hate. What with the dirt, animals, and germs, he can’t possibly be happy.

Jason McCoy is the closeted sixteen-year-old son of the ranch owners and is trying to find his place in a world that doesn’t seem to fit him. He takes an interest in Ethan, shows him around, and gets him to ride a horse. When he invites Ethan camping, Ethan thinks Jason must be joking. But Ethan takes a risk, and the two boys bond under the stars.
After that, Ethan and Jason are inseparable. Their friendship grows into something deeper as they begin to figure out what they want from life. But Ethan’s home is in Chicago, and the distance might be more than the two teenagers—and their blossoming relationship—can withstand.

Writing Style: Third person, one perspective, atmospheric. 180 pages
Topics and Tropes: city boy and country boy dynamic, friends to lovers, long distance relationship
For those who enjoy: coming of age stories, secret relationships, angst

What Readers Think:

Under the Stars is a sweet gay teen romance and coming of age tale about two high school boys who meet at a remote dude ranch – one a guest and one a ranch hand… This is a solid entry in the gay YA coming of age library. While perhaps not as stellar or challenging as some other gay YA books, I found Under the Stars most enjoyable. If you enjoy gay coming of age fiction, you’ll enjoy this book.

William Siwicki, Amazon Review

VANILLA – BILLY MERRELL

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Vanilla and Hunter have been dating since seventh grade. They came out together, navigated middle school together, and became that couple in high school that everyone always sees as a couple. There are complications and confusions, for sure. But most of all, they love each other. As high school goes, though, and as their relationship deepens, some cracks begin to show. Hunter thinks they should be having sex. Vanilla isn’t so sure. Hunter doesn’t mind hanging out with loud, obnoxious friends. Vanilla would rather avoid them. If they’re becoming different people, can they be the same couple? Falling in love is hard. Staying in love is harder.

Writing Style: First person, multiple POV, verse, episodic. 325 pages
Contains: asexuality, acephobia, established relationship
For those who enjoy: poetry, unique perspectives, unconventional storytelling

What Readers Think:

Many people are saying this book is aphobic, and I have to say that I couldn’t disagree more. I just finished this book today and found it to be powerful, evocative, and frankly quite good.

Kevin, Goodreads Review

DON’T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER – ROBBIE MICHAELS
Most Popular Guy in the School: Book One

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High school can be some of the best years of life—and some of the toughest. Mark Mitchell’s strategy for surviving is to emulate the mighty turtle: pull back inside his protective shell and keep a low profile to avoid trouble. And it works—nobody bothers him. Of course, nobody really knows him, either, even in a town so small it seems like everybody must know everyone else.

Mark certainly knows Bill Cromwell, whom he meets officially when his father volunteers him for manual labor at the school. Bill is his polar opposite: outgoing, gregarious, athletic. But when a massive snowstorm traps the two boys together for three days, Mark learns that being popular doesn’t mean you can’t be bullied or abused—or gay—and that bullying doesn’t stop at the school doors.

Mark isn’t naïve. He’s seen the news reports of gay teen suicides, and he’s determined not to become a statistic. But it’s not himself he’s worried about.

Writing Style: First person, one POV, journal/diary tone. 200 pages
Topics and Tropes:  jock/nerd dynamic, thrown together by circumstance, domestic abuse, small town life
For those who enjoy: friends to lovers stories, teen issues, serious topics

What Readers Think:

Mark’s narration is simply addictive. A bit self deprecating (he is classified as a nerd), sometimes funny but totally honest and all heart… I like that Bill is not the typical jock character depicted in most similar stories and the nerd is not the one in need of help here. Bill is the victim and his rescue is the best part of the story.
IMHO, Amazon Review

Dumb Jock – JEFF ERNO
Dumb Jock Book One

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Jeff Irwin is short, timid, and studious. A bit of a social outcast, he lives quietly in the shadows of the popular kids at his school, his life ruled by his ever-present fear of rejection or failure.

Enter high school football hero Brett Willson and the chance for Jeff to embark upon the challenge of educating the world’s dumbest jock.

But what develops between Brett and Jeff proves far more challenging than any tutoring session. In 1983, rural Michigan isn’t ready to embrace love between two men, never mind two teenage boys. If they’re going to make a go of it, Jeff will have to come out of his shell—and Brett will have to prove he’s more than just a dumb jock.

Writing Style: First person, one POV, older narrator telling his childhood story. 200 pages
Topics and Tropes:  jock/nerd dynamic, small town life, bdsm,
For those who enjoy: coming of age, past setting, high school to college stories

Despite some qualms about the nature of Brett and Jeff’s relationship, the core of the story touched me very deeply. It was written from the heart. I liked seeing Jeff come into his own and working him way through some pretty deep issues – not just the typical teenager issues, but with his family. And darn it, I liked that epilogue.

Crabby Patty, Goodreads Review

Have you read any of these? Tell me what you thought! Are there any other opposites attract stories I should check out?

Under the Stars is one book I’m currently giving away, along with several others. You can click on the banner to go to the contest page.

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