Playing Love's Refrain

By Lesley Davis

Food
Music
People of Color

Drew Dawes’s life revolves around fantasy. She’s the geeky owner of a comic book store, cosplays at conventions, and loves her superheroes. Her life is a million miles away from the one her parents envisioned for her as a musical prodigy. They expected fame, fortune, and headlining the stages in Nashville. Drew never wanted the life they forced onto her as a child, and their deaths changed her world forever. Since then, the songs in Drew’s heart are silent.

Wren Banderas has her career planned out in minute detail. Becoming head chef at a very popular restaurant is just another step closer to her biggest dream: a restaurant bearing her own name. Her star is rising, yet self-doubt plagues her.

Drew and Wren couldn’t be more different, but each still carries wounds from the past. Falling in love was never part of the plan, but they just need each other to heal and make their dreams come true.

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Profile

By Jackie D

Workplace Romance
Federal Agents
Police
Police Procedural 
Political Thriller

Alex Derby is crass, bossy, and unrelenting. She’s lived in her father’s shadow during her tenure with the FBI, and she wants nothing more than to be free of it once and for all. She’s been sniffing around a case that seems to be connected to others and, if broken, could make her career—or maybe destroy it if the insider corruption she uncovers is divulged too soon. The clock is ticking, and each passing day leaves her caught in the cross hairs. The last thing she wants is to ask for help, but she’s running out of options.

Cassidy Wolf has made a name for herself within the FBI Behavior Analysis Unit. Her empathetic and level-headed nature makes her a poster child for recruitment brochures. She’s shocked when the beautiful and tenacious Alex Derby comes to her for help but finds it’s difficult to say no.

Life, death, and careers hang in the balance as Alex and Cassidy inch closer to the truth. Falling for each other is the last thing either of them needs. It could be what saves them or finishes them for good.

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A Christmas Miracle

By Fiona Riley

An All I Want for Christmas Novella

Mira Donahue’s bar, Mirage, is the hottest Christmas party venue in Boston, despite Mira’s secret: she hates Christmas. When self-described Queen of Carols Courtney Rivers books Mirage for her company’s holiday party, she clashes with Mira over the plans. Then a freak storm strands them in the bar, and more than miracles abound.

A Christmas Miracle was previously published in All I Want for Christmas: Romance Novellas (Bold Strokes Books, 2020).

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Almost Perfect

By Tagan Shepard

Olivia Duran has made being a TV fangirl her life. Creating fan art sure beats her job as a parking lot attendant, and immersing herself in fictional worlds where girl gets girl helps her cope with her less-than-happy reality. If anyone deserves a little escapism, it’s Olivia.

Queer entertainment influencer Riley St. James has a huge following and an even bigger secret that could tank her career. Somewhere along the way her love for TV turned into a job that pays the bills. She’s never told anyone she sometimes has to fake it.

When Riley and Olivia attend QueerCon, Olivia gifts her favorite actress one of her drawings and goes from unknown to overnight sensation, while devoted fans flock to Riley, who only has eyes for Olivia. Navigating the world of long-distance dating, career crisis, and family obligations, Olivia and Riley begin to wonder: Can their real-life love ever be as perfect as those they see on-screen?

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Craving Cassie

By Skye Rowan

Virgins/First Love
Children / Families
Big City
Coming Out

Siobhan Carney and Cassie Townsend are opposites. Siobhan’s struggling in her marriage but keeps things together for her two children. Cassie’s a charming investment banker and infamous flirt who just won’t commit.

When Siobhan arrives as a trainee at Cassie’s firm, desperate to shake up something in her life, she doesn’t expect their connection to change their lives forever. Siobhan and Cassie are instantly drawn to one another, but far too much stands in their way, including Siobhan’s children and Cassie’s fear of falling in love.

Try as they might, it’s impossible for them to keep away from each other. They relish the time they spend together and find they appreciate one another in ways they had never expected. This leads to a calculated proposal neither woman can resist, and their attraction grows deeper and more intense despite everything holding them back. But are they brave enough to give up everything they have ever known to be together?

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Drifting

By Lyn Hemphill

Magic
Other Worlds
Children / Families
Coming Out

Tessa has always pushed her emotions away where they can’t hurt her. She always does the right thing, or she tries to. So, when she jumps into the ocean after Jet, she thinks she’s saving her life. Of course, she can’t possibly know Jet is actually a mermaid.

Jet is desperately trying to get her tail back after a devastating battle saw her cast out of the water for her own safety. The last thing she expects is a beautiful human floundering after her determined to get in her way. Jet must work out how to get home to her people before her mistakes cause her clan’s demise.

Tessa wants to help Jet, but how can she if she doesn’t accept the truth? As they fall for each other, they discover that love can teach you what is truly important even when facing the impossibility of blending two very different lives.

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Enigma

By Suzie Clarke

World War II
Workplace Romance
Psychological Thriller
Coming Out

There is a time for courage, a time for sacrifice, a time for love.

In the fall of 1941, the United States Office of American Defense summons agent Polly Silvester to find an elusive spy. Critical information about aircraft designs, production numbers, and flight schedules vital to America’s safety are being stolen from the Portage Aircraft plant in Barberton, Ohio. And the spy is most likely a woman. Polly’s orders are simple. Find the spy—whatever the cost or sacrifice.

Polly has taken an oath to protect and serve her country, but the spy she’s hunting may be the love of her life. Desperate times and impossible choices skew the line between what’s right and what matters. Can Polly do what she must when everything is on the line?

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Finding Fault

By Annie McDonald

Women in Uniform
Federal Agents
Animals 
Enemies to Lovers Romance
Police
Friends & Community
Age Gap
Political Thriller

Two immutable forces are destined to clash in the Canadian prairies.

Dr. Evie O’Halloran is a geologist and a lifelong environmental activist. Her current focus is one of Saskatchewan’s chemical manufacturers, Farmexal, whose toxic products have been mysteriously showing up in local farmers’ fields.

Merritt Shepherd, an investigator with the Ministry of Environmental Resources committed to changing environmental policy, is undercover at Farmexal in the middle of a potentially catastrophic situation and directly in Evie’s sights.

Evie and Merritt have radically different ideas on preventing environmental disaster, and neither is looking for love. Evie is struggling to manage her PTSD, and, as an undercover investigator, Merritt risks upending her case if she shares the truth with Evie. But when they develop an attraction stronger than they’ve ever known, Evie and Merritt must risk their hearts to save their love and the environment.

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Hot Keys

By R.E. Ward

Magic
New York City
Music
Big City
Bisexual
People of Color
Enemies to Lovers Romance
Friends & Community
Gangsters

In 1920s New York City, it’s hard on the streets, but Betty May Dewitt and her best friend, Jack Norval, are determined to make their Tin Pan Alley dreams come true. Fate leads them to a speakeasy called the Trespass Inn, where people play fast and loose and criminals run the show. Betty and Jack are whisked into the glamorous and dangerous world of Prohibition rum-running, but fate has more in store for them than adventure. Romance blooms when a psychic medium’s magic dazzles Betty, and a gangster infuriates and fascinates Jack all at the same time. But danger lurks in every alley, and with the Trespass Inn under attack by rival gangsters, Betty and Jack will have to fight—not only for their hearts and dreams, but for their lives.

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Hustle & Bustle

By Maggie Cummings

An All I Want for Christmas Novella

Hannah Monroe is ready to dazzle customers with her pop-up shop at NYC’s winter holiday market. NYPD beat cop Toby Beckett, who just wants to protect and serve, barely notices the spirit of the season until events keep pushing her into Hannah’s path.

Hustle & Bustle was previously published in All I Want for Christmas: Romance Novellas (Bold Strokes Books, 2020).

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Securing Ava

By Anne Shade

Bodyguard/Protection Romances
People of Color
Private Investigator

Ava Prescott has had one goal in life, to carry on the Prescott legacy by taking the reins of Diamond Unlimited Wealth Management. Her father’s determination to uphold the company’s wholesome family image propels Ava into a reluctant fake relationship with Kyle, a man she’s sure is a threat to the business. When her father is the victim of a suspicious accident, Ava believes Kyle is responsible and has no choice but to run.

Paige Richards saw enough violence to last a lifetime during her years as a counterintelligence specialist. She’s ready for some peace on her ranch in Oklahoma and is paying the bills as a private investigator. Paige takes a case to locate and bring back runaway heiress Ava Prescott. It seems simple enough, until she stumbles upon a bungled kidnapping attempt and her peaceful life is turned upside down. Now she must use every skill she has to secure Ava.

As they try to figure out who is out to hurt Ava and her family, Paige and Ava fight to stay one step ahead of the threat and resist their growing attraction. But ignoring their feelings may prove impossible when their hearts and lives are at stake.

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The Amaranthine Law

By Gun Brooke

Financial gap/Class disparity
Bisexual
International Setting
Age Gap
Big City

In 1761, Tristan Kelly is one of six children to survive a mysterious fever aboard a ship bound for the Americas. Ever since, she has aged very slowly. She might be over two hundred years old, but she looks forty.

When Tristan hires Olivia Bryce as a new intern at her art restoration company, an unexpected attraction ignites which Tristan can’t permit. The truth must never be revealed. Despite Tristan’s resolve, their feelings grow when Tristan brings Olivia to Paris to work on a priceless painting at the Louvre. There, an old friend brings disturbing news: someone is hunting her, and all those who survived the fever, killing them one by one.

As Olivia begins to unravel the truth and the assailants get closer, Tristan and Olivia grow closer, too. Tristan knows there’s no future for them and is ready to sacrifice herself to keep Olivia out of the crossfire. But Olivia refuses to listen to Tristan’s arguments, insisting their love is fated and they must face the endgame together, no matter the consequences.

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The Forever Factor

By Melissa Brayden

Coming Out
California
Reunion Romance
Sports

Is it truly better to have loved and lost? Bethany Cahill says nope. Eleven years ago, her fellow cheerleader Reid Thatcher held her heart in her hand...and crushed it like a bug. Since then, Bethany avoids risk, reward, and anything romantic on TV. Just, no. But when grown-up Reid’s shopping cart bumps into hers, Bethany is catapulted into the past and staring into Reid’s eyes, which are still annoyingly stunning. Forgiveness doesn’t come easy, and Bethany isn’t about to let Reid in. Not after all she took.

Reid never fully understood why Bethany withheld forgiveness all those years ago, but no kiss since has ever been as satisfying as Bethany’s lips on hers. The happenstance run-in was a stroke of luck and ignites Reid’s plan to get to the bottom of Bethany’s silence, a mystery she can’t let drop. But she hadn’t planned on the reckoning in store when she learns the truth.

When Bethany and Reid confront their past, they give new meaning to letting go, forgiveness, and a future worth fighting for.

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The Frenemy Zone

By Yolanda Wallace

Multicultural 
Small Town Romances
Young Adult
Financial gap/Class disparity
People of Color
Friends & Community
Coming Out
Rivals
Homecoming
Blue Collar
Children / Families

Olly Smith-Nakamura had it all until an unexpected financial setback forces her dads to leave their idyllic life in San Francisco behind in search of a fresh start. Relocating to a small West Virginia town where families like hers are considered an anomaly was not how she planned to spend her senior year of high school. Her grandmother tries to sell her on the merits of her new home, but she just sees more reasons to leave than to stay.

No one knows Ariel Hall has a secret. No one except the BFF who broke her heart. Sharing her truth isn’t on her agenda because unless she’s throwing strikes on the softball field, she prefers to fly under the radar. Olly Smith-Nakamura is everything she’s not: out, proud, and in your face. They don’t get along at all. So why does kissing her seem like more fun than butting heads?

 

PRAISE FOR THE FRENEMY ZONE

"A fun, thoughtful small-town tale of teen romance and family connection...A coming-of-age story with a rich cast of interesting characters." —Kirkus Reviews 

"As an openly lesbian wrestler with one Black and one Japanese American father, [Olly] contends with casual racism and homophobia in the mostly white, conservative town. Her goal is to survive until graduation and move on without attachments; that is, until she meets white-cued Ariel Hall, the mayor’s closeted lesbian daughter...Emphatic writing by Wallace capably builds tension; the characters’ intensely felt hopes and fears, and their struggles navigating interpersonal and external obstacles, make for a pensive read." —Publishers Weekly

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Triple Dog Dare

By Georgia Beers

An All I Want for Christmas Novella

Sasha Wolfe has been talking up her new girlfriend to her overbearing mother for months, and when her skeptical sister dares her to invite this new squeeze over for family Christmas, Sasha accepts the challenge. After all, how hard can it be to bring your nonexistent girlfriend home for the holidays?

Triple Dog Dare was previously published in All I Want for Christmas: Romance Novellas (Bold Strokes Books, 2020).

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A Cutting Deceit

By Cathy Dunnell

Police
Gangsters

Valeria married Sirvan, a crime boss, to escape a life of poverty and find security. Now she lives life by his rules. Forced to suppress her true self and play her part well, Valeria finds solace running her hair salon, the only place she can escape and truly be herself.

Everything changes when Athena, an undercover cop, takes a job at the salon to gather evidence to prove Sirvan’s guilt. What starts as a tentative friendship quickly turns into a dangerous affair. Valeria begins to question the choices and compromises she’s made as her feelings for Athena grow. But when Athena reveals her true motives, the shocking deceit cuts Valeria to the quick.

Danger creeps closer as Valeria and Athena, wounded by betrayal, play a perilous game of truth, lies, and love.

 

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As Seen on TV!

By CF Frizzell

Food
Celebrity
Actors/Artists
Enemies to Lovers Romance
Ghosts

Who in her right mind inserts a popular laid-back chef into the top paranormal show on television? What a ridiculous idea. Granted, TV crossover shows boost ratings, but the respective stars have no interest in the other’s genre and spatter like water in hot oil. The only thing that home-spun chef Ronnie Smart and tenacious paranormal investigator Peyton Stanford agree on is the idiocy of their network’s demand. They have practically nothing in common, and it shows.

But the show goes on amidst their innuendo, snickering banter, and bumbling interference and, surprisingly, viewers clamor for more. Inevitably, the begrudging “odd couple” find mutual respect and even the occasional tease. Are they flirting? Ratings skyrocket. In their expanded finale—an investigation that airs live on a stormy Halloween night—Ronnie and Peyton come face-to-face with a paranormal spirit and a chance at forever neither can deny.

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Foolproof

By Leigh Hays

Military
Friends to Lovers Romance

Martine Roberts and Elliot Tillman’s childhood friendship was intense. When they bump into each other again thirty years later, sneaking out of an apartment after one-night stands with a pair of roommates, all their feelings come rushing back. 

Elliot needs a place to stay, and Martine needs a roommate. It should be simple, but it’s not friendship simmering between them. 

Growing up in Key West, rum distiller Martine has friends and family to spare, but her deepest heart she keeps to herself. 

With her career in the Coast Guard, Elliot’s never had a permanent address and didn’t mind, until moving in with Martine gives her a home. Now she wants to chart a different course with a woman who likes her relationships short and seasonal? Perfect.

Sometimes friends with benefits isn’t a foolproof way to hide from the truth at the heart of an affair.

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