Today, Always You, my childhood BFFs-to-lovers story turns two years old. It’s a short, emotional M/M contemporary, gay awakening story about Thom and Lee, friends so close they’re accused of behaving like an old married couple. With lots of emotional obliviousness and crushing on young Clint Eastwood!
Don’t you just love friends-to-lovers stories? There’s something so magical about the thought of falling in love with someone you know so well, someone you already trust. It’s also a terrifying thought; what if you try a romantic relationship with your BFF and can’t make it work? What happens to the friendship if you break up?
I’m married to my best friend, but we started out the other way around, as lovers who then became best friends. Maybe that’s the safer route to go? What do you think? 🙂
This is a sweet, fun and delightful short story with amazing characters.
Best Friends. Roommates. And now, maybe…more?
Thom Novak feels like a walking cliché: the gay guy desperately in love with his straight best friend, Lee. But he’s willing to keep his feelings hidden, to do whatever it takes, as long as they stay friends forever.
Lee Conway loves sharing an apartment with Thom, his best friend since birth, and would be happy doing it for the rest of his life…no matter his current girlfriend’s opinion on the matter. But he’s never been known for being in contact with his emotions.
When something happens to upset the status quo, Lee pulls away. Has Lee learned how Thom feels about him? Will it mean the end of their friendship? Or is there another reason Lee needs time to think? A more…hopeful reason?
Strike a Pose: Didrik’d do anything for his BFF Filip, including taking naked pictures for a charity calendar of his dad Johan, the stunning man responsible for Didrik’s gay awakening. Now a widower, Johan is ready to move on. As they start the project, the attraction between them grows with every pose for the camera. Their connection is easy, but not without challenges. Will they get their happily ever after?
Can a chance meeting in the rain change someone’s life?
It Rained All Night: Meeting Mikko is an eye-opener for Henrik. The man is his opposite, but the connection is immediate. The encounter lasts a few minutes, but they exchange phone numbers and soon they text and call daily. But a late-night question on the phone has Henrik re-evaluating his feelings. Is the connection Henrik and Mikko forged long distance enough to sustain them when they meet again?
Two men, a silent train car, and a scribbled conversation
Secrets on a Train: It’s the fountain pens that capture Valentin’s attention on the morning commute, not the attractive man using them. But when they start a written conversation, Valentin must admit it’s not just the pens. It’s him. Runar. They share secrets they’ve never told another soul, their connection is powerful, growing with every encounter. But can secrets shared on a train be enough to build a forever?
Once upon a time, two handsome young princes fell in love, faced down adversity, and lived happily ever after. Until one romantic evening, they unwittingly ate a confection laced with a mind-wiping toxin.
In this light fantasy world, four realms have settled into an uneasy peace. A surprise twist to a prearranged marriage agreement spawns this story of unexpected love, newfound courage, and heroic adventure. Join Princes Efren and Marcelo on their heart-warming journey as they sort through misleading twists and turns to defeat devious foes. Twice! Contains the stories:
The Contingency Plan: An untimely death throws a marriage arrangement, the final phase of a treaty, into disarray. Now the Crown Prince of Zioneven can make his own choice from among the princess’s younger siblings. As a royal son in the matriarchal sovereignty of Sheburat, Prince Marcelo grew up knowing Royal sons never married. Never. Period. Except Prince Efren isn’t from Sheburat, and he has other plans.
The Best-Laid Plans: A death that wasn’t what it seemed … A kidnapping that isn’t what it seems … Time is running out. Enmeshed in political intrigue, death, and a kidnapping, will Prince Efren untangle the web of clues in time to save his naïve young husband, or will Prince Marcelo dig deep to discover a previously untapped inner strength and determination to facilitate his own survival?
Change of Plans: Once upon a time, two handsome young princes fell in love, faced down adversity, and lived happily-ever-after… until one romantic evening, they unwittingly ate a confection laced with a mind-wiping toxin. Are their chances at rekindling their love doomed? Or will their ignominious new beginning propel them toward a more teasingly fun rapport?
Also contains three bonus scenes not included with the individual stories.
With everyone now in attendance, Queen Giselle stepped forward. “Your Royal Highness, Ladies and Lords, and people of Zioneven, please accept our warm welcome to Sheburat, and I hope you’ll accept our sincere apology for the chaos in which you find us today.”
Prince Efren inclined his head. “Of course, Your Majesty. On behalf of Zioneven, I offer our heartfelt condolences on the loss of your beloved daughter.”
“Thank you,” Queen Giselle replied. “Sadly, our loss yesterday affects more than simply causing us private pain.”
“Indeed.” Prince Efren kept his reply short, perhaps diplomatically leaving it to Queen Giselle to either further the conversation toward whether or not he was ready to choose his alternate, or to wait for a time when her grief would be less immediate.
His mother would put diplomacy first, Marcelo didn’t doubt that. The conversation may or may not happen today, but it would occur during this visit. Diplomacy always came ahead of personal concerns.
“Although disappointment caused by the cancellation of the wedding we’d expected tomorrow is unavoidable,” Queen Giselle said. “I hope you’ll find a small comfort in knowing that you may now make your own choice of your future bride from among my younger daughters rather than the arrangement made on your behalf at the tender age of five.”
Again, Prince Efren inclined his head. “Sibling.”
“Sibling. The terms of the treaty specify I may choose an alternate from among Princess Marcela’s younger siblings. It didn’t restrict the choice to daughters.”
Marcelo stiffened. What in the world could Prince Efren mean by that? Men didn’t marry men. At least, he’d never heard of such a thing occurring in Sheburat. Marcelo wasn’t alone in his bewilderment. Everyone on his side of the room stilled. None of the faces opposite them exhibited confusion. Was that an acceptable option in Zioneven’s culture?
It was only by mere minutes, but Marcelo did qualify as a younger sibling to Marcela.
For the first time in Marcelo’s recollection, his mother faltered. “Do…surely…but…”
Marcelo turned his head toward her, his wide eyes silently imploring her to voice an objection. Kemble may have recently grown complacent thinking herself in the clear, but she’d at least spent her life knowing she was the likely backup plan.
As a royal son in this matriarchal society, Marcelo had grown up knowing he would never marry. Never. Royal sons did not marry. Period.
He’d been perfectly happy with that knowledge because he’d never experienced the attraction that men outside the royal family felt toward women. In fact, he’d enjoyed knowing he would not have to merge his life with a woman’s with the expectation of having to bed her.
His gaze flicked back and forth between Queen Giselle and Prince Efren before settling on the prince. Prince Efren had kept his eyes locked with the queen’s, but as if sensing Marcelo’s scrutiny, his head turned to reflect Marcelo’s regard.
Marcelo’s heart thudded so vigorously in his chest, surely everyone in the room must hear it. His respiration quickened. That single word uttered by Prince Efren had shattered Marcelo’s understanding of everything he knew about the world and had expected in his life.
Queen Giselle remained frozen for a few more moments, her brows drawn together as she processed the unexpected direction of this discussion. She cast a brief, apologetic glance toward Marcelo, then lifted her shoulders in a barely visible shrug. “The treaty does indeed use that word. Prince Efren, the choice is yours.”
Marcelo’s stomach dropped as her words echoed through the silent hall even though he’d known in his heart that she’d put Sheburat before her son’s individual concerns. So, he felt no personal betrayal. It was who is mother had to be.
Prince Efren continued to stare at Marcelo as he firmly stated, “I choose His Royal Highness, Prince Marcelo. The wedding will proceed tomorrow as planned.”
Marcelo swayed as the blood drained from his face. How could this be? How did such a marriage work? Would he be expected to—
“Marcelo?” Suky’s whispered tone voiced her concern. “Are you unwell?”
She repeated the words, but from farther away. Or did her voice only seem distant? He wobbled as the people around him faded, and then, thankfully, this nightmare all went away.
About the Author
Rainbow Award winning author Addison Albright lives smack dab in the middle of the USA. Her stories are gay romance in contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction genres. She generally adds a subtle touch of humor, a dash of drama/angst, and a sprinkle of slice-of-life to her stories. Her education includes a BS in Education with a major in mathematics and a minor in chemistry. Addison loves spending time with her family, reading, popcorn, boating, French fries, “open window weather,” cats, math, and anything chocolate. She loves to read pretty much anything and everything, anytime and anywhere.
The third topic for our Read Around the Rainbow webring is What was your character like in high school/as a teenager? And to be perfectly honest, I considered sitting this one out. You know me; I write short, slice-of-life stories mostly under 20K words (with a few exceptions). Emotional stories. The kind of stories that rarely calls for in-depth character portraits that go into every minute detail and dig deep into the teenaged years of the characters. My kind of story calls for enough backstory to make the characters come alive, so everyone reading ends up rooting for them. There can’t be too much information, though, because a short story doesn’t have room for it. That doesn’t mean I don’t know lots of backstory about my characters when I write them; it just means it never ends up on the page. And very little of it is related to the characters as teenagers or young adults. So what would I even write about in today’s topic?
But! Based on everything I do know about my characters, I can make assumptions.
Didrik in Strike a Pose was undoubtedly a confident, creative, and ambitious young man in high-school/university. He was also a horny teenager who enjoyed the attention of pretty boys and never said no to a detour to a dark corner for a hasty one-on-one groping session. Henrik in It Rained All Night clearly went to a posh, high-brow private school, because his mother, the Countess, wouldn’t allow her precious son to go to a plebeian public school, are you crazy?! Adrian in They Met in the Library obviously spent all his school years with his nose in a book, Runar in Secrets on a Train didn’t have many friends because he was competitive, stand-offish, and perceived as a hard-ass, and Buck in His Steady Heart didn’t go to high-school, because fuck that shit.
This is information I never thought about when I wrote the stories – I figured it out as I wrote this blog post – because that’s not the kind of writer I am. I don’t have character sheets detailing everything about each and every person in my books, I have scribbled, close to illegible, notes in my bullet journal with the most important traits to remember. But! I don’t write complex murder-mysteries where there needs to be a motive for the character’s actions, a motive to commit the crime, where the reason for the incident must be believable to the reader.
Because my stories are about falling in love, and falling in love needn’t necessarily be believable, does it? In fact, the falling completely for someone can be pretty unbelievable, and sometimes we fall head over heels when we least expect it. Like when we get lost in the forest (like Måns in They Met in the Woods), when our neighbor knocks on our door on Christmas Eve in desperate need of someone to play Santa (Sigge and Kristian in The Santa Emergency), or even when we really shouldn’t fall in love because the one you fell for can’t really be out (like Sully in Late Night Poetry), or the relationship won’t be accepted by the significant other’s family (like Kieran’s in All I’ll Ever See). And when that happens, does it really matter who you were in high-school?
I don’t know. Maybe it does. Maybe Adrian wouldn’t have come to Manne’s rescue when he panics in the library if Adrian hadn’t spent every second with his nose in his books when he was fourteen? Maybe Didrik wouldn’t have been so confident if he hadn’t had the support of his best friend’s father during his teenaged years?
Would my stories have been better had I come up with these details before I wrote them instead of when trying to come up with a topic to write about on my blog?
Again, I don’t know. What do you think?
Make sure to check out the other blog posts on the topic written by these fabulous people.
I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump lately. I find nothing interesting, all blurbs sound like blah-blah-blah to me and it makes me sad and frustrated. Back before we moved to Malaysia, my day job made me so stressed I completely stopped reading, I didn’t read a single book for years and years. It sucked, and I don’t want that to happen again. So I’m re-reading old favorites. I’m re-reading Harry Potter fanfics I love, just to keep up with the reading habit because reading is important to me. It’s a big part of who I am.
I’m also reading ARCs generously provided to me by author friends, or throwing myself on new releases by favorite authors. Which is how I stumbled upon these two gems that I’m going to talk about today.
When I was younger, I dreamed of becoming an actor. Not in movies, no my love was in theatre. I was a part of a theatre group, living and breathing theatre, and even applied to acting schools. I wasn’t accepted, and now I’m happy about that because I’m not cutthroat enough for that business. But I haven’t lost my love for the theatre, so when my dear friend Ally said she was writing a story set in the world of theatre, I made grabby hands and said GIMME!! And because she’s Britishly nice and polite, she obliged and kindly gifted me an ARC 😀
Quote from Out of Focus by A.L. Lester. Possibly the best quote in the world?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll most likely say it again, but I simply adore the quiet, understated romances Ally writes. There are no flowery, over-the-top gestures, no sentimental drivel, only down-to-earth characters that feel like real people, struggling to find love. And yes, maybe sometimes reading is about escaping the real world, maybe it’s a moment of hanging out with shifters and vampires instead of regular people, but I have a huge soft spot for regular people. And Ally writes those characters so well.
I read this book in one sitting, unable to put it down, and when I finished, I messaged Ally and demanded more books set in this fabulous Welsh theatre world. I was promised that more books are forthcoming, and I can’t wait. But until they are released, I warmly recommend this book. And I’ve added it to my list of favorites to re-read if the reading slump doesn’t let up.
So to sum it up: Britishness, Welsh Theatre, a quiet romance, and regular guys. Oh, and I almost forgot: tea! What else is there to do than give it five stars?? 😍
I don’t have to tell you that K.L. Noone is one of my favorite writers, right? So it won’t come as a surprise that the second book I’m going to recommend is written by her, right? 🙂 She also teased me terribly on Facebook with excerpts from the book before it was published, so the moment it was released, I one-clicked it so hard my phone almost broke.
He told himself that. He told Finn’s ring that. They were both cold and scared, sitting in a hospital waiting area.
Quote from Tempests in April by K.L. Noone
Tempests in April is the fourth book about established couple Wes and Finn, and I’ve read them all, and mentioned them on the blog. October by Candlelight was the first one and I raved about it here. I read the second one, December with Peppermint, in December when I was sick for five weeks (not covid, people apparently still got regular flus) and it was a soothing balm for my poor achey self. I read the third one, February Sugar, by the kitchen fireplace, and it made me crave chocolate.
And now I’ve read the fourth one, Tempests in April. It’s possibly my favorite one, and it made my heart ache. Poor Finn is hurt and Wes is panicking, and I was panicking right along with him. When Wes was crying, I was crying. It made me feel so much, and it was exactly what I needed at the time when I read it. I felt as though there were no more good books in the world, and then I found this darling book. It saved my soul. (Yes, yes, a slight exaggeration. But you know what I mean!!)
Blurb Out of Focus (17500 words / MM Contemporary)
Alex has never quite believed he’s good enough. Not as a person and not as a lighting technician. He hates that however hard he tries he can’t get his boss, Luke, to like him. In the two years he’s been in the job it’s become a Thing with him and he’s got a huge crush on the man. He needs to move on for his own sanity and his career and he’s just about to accept a job at a bigger theatre when one of the volunteers he’s bedded and dumped pushes him off a ladder.
Luke likes Alex a lot and has done since the day he walked through the door of Theatre Fawr two years ago. He doesn’t date his staff though, or do casual—and Alex is the epitome of casual. So Luke keeps his distance despite Alex’s constant flirting.
Will Alex’s injury give Alex and Luke the push they need to open up to each other? Or will Luke’s inadvertent discovery that Alex has a secret job offer push them further apart?
Blurb Tempests in April (14305 words / MM Contemporary)
The weather might be terrible, but Wes is having a good day. He has a boyfriend he adores, Finn’s acting career’s going well, and Wes just might be making plans to ask a certain question very soon.
But when an accident leaves Finn injured, none of Wes’s plans can help. There’s nothing he can do, and he’s afraid it was his fault. Even worse, Finn’s the one comforting him when Wes falls apart.
Wes wants to be strong for the man he loves. But he’s scared he isn’t doing enough. And there’s something Finn isn’t telling him.
With love and checklists and cinnamon-walnut scones, Wes will try his best … and hope he and Finn can weather rainy days and tempests together.