- Release Date
- Words 84,800
- ISBN-13 978-1-62639-539-8
- SKU 9781626395398e
- File Formats epub, pdf, prc
Travis Gaines and Stephen Davis are as close as two best friends can be. Born less than a month apart, they grew up as neighbors in a small northern New Hampshire town. After college, they make their way together to Boston, craving the excitement and fast pace of New England’s biggest city.
As they get their bearings in Boston, Travis falls hard for Benson, a senior executive at the financial services firm where he works. Benson is wealthy, handsome, and well connected among Boston’s well heeled. At first it seems like Benson is everything a guy could ever want, but behind that glossy veneer is a dark side that threatens to tear Travis and Stephen’s friendship apart and change their lives forever.
Advance praise from Foreword Reviews:
"A Careful Heart is a romance novel by way of domestic abuse. Sound improbable? Perhaps, but Ralph Josiah Bardsley takes on that often-neglected subject within the genre well. The book follows two best friends from childhood to early adulthood. One finds romance, and the other thinks he has but realizes that the “perfect guy” comes with a devastating price....Bardsley crafts the family dynamics of both characters well, giving enough information to enrich the story without lingering too long on secondary characters....Violence in relationships can affect anyone, as A Careful Heart compellingly proves."
Ian Baines seems to have it all—a career as a hotshot software programmer in Silicon Valley, a beautiful wife and family, a nice house in an upscale San Francisco neighborhood, and a past that he’s mostly managed to forget. Life takes an unexpected turn for Ian when he finds himself in Paris for a three-month work project where he meets former fashion photographer Luca Sparks. The unlikely friendship grows and Ian sees a new side to life as Luca takes him on a journey through the glamorous and lustrous Paris nightlife. But something strange starts to happen during their adventures in Paris—the two start to fall in love. Both battle their own demons on the road to self-discovery, ultimately learning how to come to peace with their feelings and their pasts.
Lambda Literary says...
Outwardly, Ian Baines’ life has all the clichéd trappings of success: a rising career as a software programmer at a Silicon Valley start-up; a beautiful, accomplished wife; two above-average sons; a fabulous house in an upscale San Francisco neighborhood. The long hours at his job, however, begin to strain his marriage and threaten to unravel his perfect family life. Against his better judgement, then, he accepts a three-month work project based in Paris, creating a database of the fashion house Môti’s collection. While in Paris, alone, he meets the former fashion photographer Luca Sparks who introduces him to the Paris that is hidden from tourists, and together they enjoy the glamorous Parisian nightlife. Their unlikely friendship soon develops into something deeper, until finally Ian is forced to make a choice.
Such is the basic story behind The Photographer’s Truth by Ralph Josiah Bardsley. The two protagonists appear to share little in common: Ian, the unkempt and logical American contrasts with the impeccable, artistic, and cosmopolitan Frenchman Luca. But neither man is entirely what he seems on the surface: for example, buried in their pasts are Ian’s single sexual experience with another man, and Luca’s marriage to a female photojournalist. Ian, in typical American fashion, is rather out of touch with his feelings, so it takes a while for what is obvious to the reader to dawn on him, namely that Luca is attracted to him and is courting him. Perhaps it is Ian’s liberal Californian upbringing, or being thrust into a milieu so different from his normal world, but Ian is not consumed with feelings of “I can’t be gay or Bi”; instead he is consumed by guilt over cheating on his wife.
Bardsley allows the relationship between the two men to develop at a believable pace; as the narrative unfolds, we gradually learn more about the two men at the center of the story, and how they evolve over the course of the romance. Ian narrates the story, so it is clear to the reader how drastically his attitudes and life change; but when Ian meets Luca’s friends, and through them learns Luca’s backstory, it becomes apparent to him (and the reader) that their relationship has also changed Luca. A notorious recluse, once he meets Ian he begins ignoring even his close circle of friends; he also quits smoking.
It used to be said that “the camera doesn’t lie”—at least without irony before the advent of Photoshop and Instagram filters—but the truth is that the photographer carefully constructs the photograph (using light, shadow, color, setting, etc.) in much the same way that the fiction writer constructs a scene in a chapter. Both use their respective media to tell a story, and both use lies to tell a deeper truth. Luca acknowledges how much artifice goes into making art when he explains to Ian that the “photographer must make a decision. He must decide what his subject looks like before he takes the picture. We have to decide what we want to see….What do you want to see? What do you want your world to be?” Of course, Luca’s explanation of how to be a good photographer could just as easily be applied to the question of how to live one’s life in an authentic manner.
Elijah Golden and Justin Monroe are uncle and nephew with eclectic careers, friends, and family in LA, trying to center joy in their lives.Then their worlds turn in ways nobody expects.
Elijah, a dedicated thespian, auditions by day, does theater by night, and works two jobs on weekends. With enough life for three people, he keeps his recently divorced partner Zaire coasting on bliss…until secrets and real-life dramas test their love.
Justin, Elijah’s uncle, is a single father with teenage twins, and a TV journalist who’s been replaced at the anchor desk when new management arrives. No longer in the public eye, living true to his sexuality is something Justin can finally do. Dating and romance—Justin’s ready for fun. Conflicts with fatherhood and career—he’ll have none.
Elijah and Justin seek happily-ever-afters, but are they too busy to notice happy when it’s there?
According to Ivan’s sister Anya, Ivan’s tea leaves promise his perfect match is out there somewhere, just waiting to be swept off their feet. Ivan knows Anya’s always right—an annoying trait for a sister if ever there was one.
Ivan’s own knack with tea might not deal with the future, but it’s pretty good at helping with the here and now. When Walt, a tall, dark, and grumpy soldier shows up at his store, NiceTeas, in obvious need of a hand—and a dog-sitter—Ivan rises to the challenge and offers blends to make Walt’s life a little easier. There’s just no way he can help falling for the guy. But Anya says Walt’s not the one for Ivan, and the tea leaves don’t lie.
Is it worth steeping a here-and-now while waiting for the one-and-only? Ivan’s not sure, but everything tells him it’s all just a matter of finding the right blend.
When Franklin—Fin—Ness makes up his mind it tends to stay made. Running, med school, and caring for his healing mother are things Fin never second-guesses. More stubborn than his mind, his heart picked Orion a long time ago. Seeing Orion again proves his heart is still invested, but his temper and fears about their past repeating have Fin wondering if following his heart is worth losing his mind.
Musician and drifter Orion Starr expects ghosts at his mother’s funeral in his rural Georgia town. He never expects one to be his former crush, Fin. Especially since he ghosted the guy in college. The surprises keep coming as Orion waits to spread his mother’s ashes. He runs into friends, an old bully, and the cops, but the redheaded Fin threatens to make Orion do something he hasn’t done in years—look forward to the future.
By Jane Kolven
Praise from Foreword Reviews: "[B]rims with warmth, tenderness, and comedic wit. The Queen Has a Cold is a nonconforming romance that’s fun and lighthearted."
Remy, the heir to the throne of the tiny nation of Montamant, is finally free of their royal chains as they start graduate school in Boston. No one here knows Remy is royalty or intersex. It’s the break Remy has been looking for—until they meet Sam, the sassy lesbian across the hall. Sam doesn’t tolerate Remy’s snobbery and won’t let anything distract her from getting a PhD in gender studies. But Sam understands Remy in ways no one else ever has, and Remy pushes Sam to see beyond her books.
As things are starting to heat up between them, Remy is summoned home. The queen has a cold and can’t perform her royal duties. There’s just one problem: the people of Montamant haven’t seen Remy since puberty and the changes might mean Remy’s not the princess they expect. When Remy asks Sam to come with them, it might be the chance they both need to conquer their fears and find true love.
Content advisory: This book contains instances of misgendering and references to medical procedures.