Queer Romance New & Recent Releases: February Edition

Welcome to another queer romance list! There are so many books here, y’all. You’re welcome and also I apologize for the TBR damage. Kind of.

Housekeeping:

If you find any errors, please let me know so I can correct them. And if you ever spot an AI cover here, please reach out so I can yank that book down with a quickness.

New and Recent Releases

The Pull of the Shadows by Emryn Jace (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Queer nonbinary author. Sapphic and nonbinary romantic suspense. Self-published.

Can you find more than darkness in the shadows?

After a night out with her best friends, Carina finds herself at the hands of a dangerous man only to be saved by a mysterious vigilante known as Night Watch. Together, they uncover that the trouble Carina found herself in is much more than either of them ever imagined.

But sometimes, Trouble can pull two people together.”


Shuck by Parker Foye (Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Sirens, ghosts, neopronouns… honestly, what more could you want? Self-published.

“Robin leaves the city and travels to the small coastal town of Lastings, hoping a holiday will help soothe his recent heartbreak. Staying at a remote cottage on the seafront, Robin spends his days walking along the cliffs and following the jagged line of the coast, while at night he plays guitar and sings his troubles to the sea.

He doesn’t expect the sea to begin singing back.

The siren has spent xyr long life singing to humans of their desires and yet has never considered the music of xyr own. When a compelling song reaches xyr hunting ground, the siren follows it to a strange new shore, where xe listens to the lone figure playing on the dock and wonders about raising xyr voice in response.

One night, the siren draws close enough to Robin to be seen.

Before long, however, a third figure joins their chorus: the Silver Maiden, one of Lastings’ ghosts. Powerful and mercurial, the Maiden has her own agenda and intends to use Robin and siren to fulfil it—even if the whole town of Lastings will suffer as a result. Can Robin and the siren reach an understanding in time to break free of the Maiden’s thrall? Or will they remain unheard?”


Welcome, Caller by M. Dean Wright (Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Filed as trans romance on Amazon, by a trans guy. I’ve started reading this and I’m really enjoying it so far. Self-published.

“Malcolm would like for his life to stay comfortably predictable. He spends every day with his best friends in the world, and it takes 12 seconds to walk to his workplace below his apartment. Like an episode of Friends, it’s the type of thing every person in their mid-20s wants. But good things don’t last. Malcolm’s self-proclaimed archnemesis, Peter, has re-entered his life after their long-dead rivalry back in college–a rivalry which seemed to start without Malcolm’s knowledge or permission. Already dealing with bursts of extreme anger that he can’t seem to explain, Malcolm needs to keep his routine from being interrupted by any more unnecessary stressors; and, as infuriating as he is handsome, Peter Tollemache is one massive stressor.

Determined to keep Peter off his mind, Malcolm finds solace in calling into a late-night radio show hosted by the charming and mysterious “Rebo.” Malcolm isn’t one to have crushes (much less on people he’s never met in person), but something about Rebo’s soothing voice is too enticing to ignore. He’s funny, kind, smart…and familiar. Before he can stop himself, Malcolm’s daydreaming about him; about his voice, his laugh, and what this stranger could possibly look like on the other side of the phone. Rebo and his radio show become a new part of Malcolm’s routine; unexpected, but certainly not unwanted. That is, until Malcolm finds out the man’s true identity.

With Peter on one shoulder and Rebo on the other, how will Malcolm bring his life back into its comfortable balance? How can he keep his anger episodes in check when his nemesis has a habit of popping up around every corner? How can he keep these two worlds he’s created from colliding? And more importantly: does he want to?”


How to Love a Dragon by Lila Mina (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: DRAGONS. Polyam that includes two queer women over 35. Self-published.

Note: This is the second book in a series and you may want to start with the first.

“Yes, Naomi’s dragon lover knows how to make her body beg for more – in all his presentations. But what does an immortal kami know about simple mortal love and human needs? To make things worse, an old and forbidden flame has popped back into Naomi’s life, and now her heart is split in two.

Forget judgmental and bossy cousins, fire-spitting monster spiders or creepy bureaucrats from the Imperial bureau: Naomi is not going to let fate, family and duty dictate her life. Mr. Jerk and Cocky will need more than a glass of champagne and a skilled tongue to keep her by his side!”


Luck Be A Lady Pirate by Catherine Stein (Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: SAPPHIC LADY PIRATE. Also, a bi gal + lesbian pairing and y’all know I love those.

The most dangerous pirate in the skies might be the one who steals your heart.

Yvette Séverin has piracy in her blood. The only child of the vile Captain Redbeard, she has commandeered his name, his best smuggling routes, and a perfect airship. Now she’s determined to shove all her past failures aside and make herself the best possible captain. The new Captain Redbeard leaves no woman behind. If protecting her crew leads to kidnapping a prim and proper—and irresistible—psychologist… C’est la vie.

The last thing Catalina Navarro needs is an alluring and chaotic pirate upending her orderly life. The offer to join Redbeard’s crew of unconventional women is tempting, but Lina will only accept under her own terms: It’s a job, and it’s only for a few months. When her attraction to the pirate captain swells into something undeniable, Lina lays down the rules again: The affair will be casual, private, and temporary.

But when mechanical monsters attack the pirates and threaten civilians, Yvette and Lina will be flung headlong into an ocean-spanning whirlwind of danger and intrigue. With enemies on their heels, they must rely on old friends, new crewmates, and on one another. Teamwork means time together, and soon Yvette and Lina will question both their intimate arrangement and their long-held beliefs. Saving the world won’t be easy. But it might be possible if the captain and her mate can open their hearts and fight side-by-side.”


Miss Havisham Says Yes by Eule Grey (Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Such a lovely sapphic cover eeeeeeee! Small press.

“Kind-hearted redhead Cindi has a lot on her mind: Gran, college exams, bills, and what to wear at the Valentine’s Day student ball. She needs a Cinderella dress, glittery shoes, and a girlfriend to cuddle up with. What a pity fairy tales are only for kids. Aren’t they? All is not lost. It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and the sweetest magic is in the air … Cindi takes a tumble while mopping the floor and bangs her head. She opens her dizzy eyes to the gift of one magical wish. What will it be?

Tara, the climber. Childhood friend and daughter of Cindi’s employers. Wealthy, lithe, sexy, and thoughtful. Tara’s wish? To climb Mount Everest and to spend time with gorgeous Cindi. She’d love to take her best friend on a date to the college ball — and then go all the way from blushing student to confident girlfriend, from shy Cinderella to dancing queen. Pumpkin to … moped.

When two wishes collide, a spark is ignited, powerful enough to tickle anyone’s peak. When everything is laid bare, only one sparkling question remains: Will Miss Havisham say yes?”


The Nightingale Prince by Zack Bel (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Nonbinary author. Self-published.

The crown of a Fae Prince is a dangerous thing

Toby’s boyfriend just kicked him to the curb, so when he inherits a decrepit mansion in the remote Aussie bush, he jumps at the chance for a break. He finds a charming little town full of big personalities, and a handsome, mysterious gardener. But Toby will soon discover that everything he thought he knew is a lie. He’s not even human.

The Fae are real, and he’s one of them.

The ancient nature Fae Amaethon has buried the pain of losing his lover a century ago. These days, he finds plants easier to talk to than people, but Toby pulls him out of his shell so easily. When the same evil that took his lover returns, he’ll fight to protect Toby and the chance to love again.

An ancient magic is reawakening, and Toby is the heir. To make matters worse, Fae hunters want him dead, and they’ll destroy this quiet town to stop the Nightingale Prince from rising.

Amaethon and Toby will have to fight together to survive, and failure means the end of all Fae kind.”


Martis the Brazen by Rien Gray (Available on itch.io / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: DRAGONS. Sapphic book by a nonbinary author. Self-published.

Follow a fellowship of sapphic knights as they’re seduced by witches, queens, goddesses—and each other—in a dark, lush fantasy inspired by Arthurian legend.

Under the reign of King Theomacha the Exalted, the Land of Maidens flourishes. Her knights protect and explore the realm, seeking artifacts lost to time and fending off wicked, cunning magics.

Martis, sole daughter of a dragon and a witch, was raised in the legendary Gorsedd mountains. After her mother’s tragic death, Martis’ monstrous rampage of grief tore the land apart until she was saved by Theomacha’s intervention. Sworn as a knight to the king’s court, Martis took on a new name and identity.

Ten years later, her sire—the dragon Thouros—is dying. Martis returns to Gorsedd for the first time in a decade only to find a cult worshipping the dragon, and the beautiful woman they’ve captured to sacrifice. Martis saves the mysterious Amoret, but the tangle of desire that rises between them is complicated by her companion’s true identity, pitting Martis’ grief against the honor keeping her life intact.”


A Fae’s Two Alphas by jem zero (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Transmasc author, trans man MC, polyam book, and jem is a wonderful writer. I beta read a partial earlier draft of this. Self-published.

“Bennett Chiston is fed up.

After eight years with his fae father in Faerie, being trapped in a small Northern Michigan town with his controlling human mother is pure agony. Magic defined Bennett—it affirmed his identity as a trans man and allowed him true freedom.

Too bad Bennett’s father stole his magic and kicked him out of Faerie with zero explanation.

Desperate to return, Bennett hunts down Callum Truett, a reclusive magewolf alpha who may be able to restore Bennett’s magic. He doesn’t expect his long-lost childhood best friend Jesse Chen, another alpha wolf shifter, to barge in during the meeting. The tension between the two alphas is impossible to ignore, but it works in Bennett’s favor when Jesse needles Callum into accepting the job.

As each magical experiment fails, taciturn Callum keeps Bennett grounded, while cheerful Jesse lifts his spirits. The developing three-way connection turns into powerful attraction, even forcing Jesse and Callum to confront the mutual feelings they’d denied until Bennett arrived. Together, they all fit.

Yet Bennett still can’t let go of his desire to leave the mundane realm behind. Everything about it makes him miserable. Everything except Callum and Jesse.

When an opportunity to return to Faerie finally appears, Bennett is forced to choose: give up his two gorgeous alphas, or change his definition of home.”


Teeth and Tarot by A.A. Fairview (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Don’t know much about this one, but the author’s pronouns are they/them and I quite like the cover. Self-published.

“Lance fled the comforts of his wealthy witch family a decade ago and has settled into a human existence. But the nightmares remain and drowning out the memories with clubs, hookups, and early morning coffee runs only helps so much. When he spots a hot stud as his favorite coffee spot, things seem too good to be true. His gut tells him it’s too good to be true and to not trust the man who calls himself Adam.

But a one-night stand can’t hurt. Right?

Like a curse he can’t escape, Lance is pulled back into the world of witches, werewolves, and gangs. For every person he has in his corner there is another working against him. Never mind his stud hookup– who went and got himself bit by a werewolf. Forgetting things has never been easy and Lance isn’t ready to just forget this man… even if keeping him close puts them both in danger.”


Give A Witch A Chance by Colette Rivera (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Queer M/F (they’re both bi), first book in a queer series with a mix of gender pairings, bi author. Self-published.

Magic forced them apart. Can it bring them back together?

Psychic Witch, Aria Belmonte is determined to avoid her past. Even if it means failing to make it work in the Mortal world. When her building is condemned, and her mediocre magic skills can’t save her, Aria turns to the kindness of strangers. Except her new roommate is no stranger. He’s the one she must avoid at all costs. Her most complicated ex.

Owen Sanchez has a dream. To successfully run the Coffee Cat Cafe despite the bizarre events trying to thwart him. He’d say it’s haunted, but he’s never believed in the paranormal. That is, until Aria walks back into his life.

Twelve years ago, they were best friends – first loves – until she disappeared without a word, breaking his heart. Now, Owen is determined not to let Aria’s presence affect him. All he wants is a simple life. And yet…

Magic fractured their relationship all those years ago, so what will Aria do if, this time, Owen discovers magic truly exists?”


Never Too Much by Sienna Eggler (Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Black ace lesbian MC in her late 30s, trans and nonbinary SCs. Black author.

Note: Non-polyam HEA.

“Romance was never a priority in Cyrille’s life; her work on the local nature reserve came first. And compounded by her upbringing in a small town, finding a girlfriend seemed out of reach. ‘If it happens, it happens.’

But now that she’s in her late 30’s, Cyrille realizes it’s better now than never.

And a lot has changed over the last twenty years, leading to a steadily progressive attitude in town. A not yet out Cyrille braves a speed dating event, where she meets three potential partners: a childhood friend, a fellow park ranger, and a self-proclaimed ‘Goblin of the Forest.’

A hopeful Cyrille has one person in mind, but life is full of surprises.”


Shipwrecked: Being a tale of true love, magic, and goats by Juniper Butterworth (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: It’s sapphic, someone gets KIDNAPPED BY GOATS, and I really don’t see why I would need a third reason to be excited when I have those two. You can see some of the goats here. Self-published.

“The quiet daily routine of the sea goblin village is upended by the wreck of a pirate ship in the harbor. Tellop, who wrangles magical goats, rushes down to help the hapless crew, only to be instantly smitten with the dashing Captain Heron.

Heron has been navigating one disaster after another since her twin sister, Haven, gave birth to a rare goblin baby two years ago, and now she just wants to get her ship patched up so she can get back to raiding dreamstone caves for enchanted dishes. Heron has no intention of a pleasurable nighttime encounter with Tellop becoming anything more than a temporary liaison. But when the captain’s niece is kidnapped by goats and taken to a magical pocket world, the two goblins must work together to rescue the baby from learning the worst manners possible. Can a pirate captain and a magical goat whisperer ever find lasting love?”


The Secret Life of Spinsters by Renée Dahlia (Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Always more sapphic recency, please! Part of a queer series with a mix of gender pairings. Self-published.

An unexpected alliance between spinsters…

Confirmed spinster ELSPETH DEXINGTON works in the Dexington family linen manufacturing business dealing with logistics. She believes that machinery will make clothing cheaper for the people, and therefore everyone can afford new clothes, not hand-me-downs and turned cuffs. But when her father declares they will stop manufacturing linen and shift to cotton, she has a new fight on her hands. Producing affordable clothing shouldn’t come at such a great human cost. Help comes in an unexpected form.

FLORENCIA WAULKER is the daughter of one of the Luddite organisers. She does all her blind father’s correspondence, but when he orders an attack on the Dexington factory, she realises his belief in the need to rid factories of machines have gone too far. She sneaks out to warn the daughter of the factory owner, only to find herself caught up in a conspiracy.

Can two spinsters work together to prevent a disaster, or two? Or is falling in love the real problem?”


The Speed of Slow Changes by Sander Santiago (Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Queer trans BIPOC guy author, polyam HEA. I’ve read some of Santiago’s work before and he writes emotion really well. Small press.

“Al Jefferson has people: wife, kids, father, siblings, friends. When Lucas shows up at a local polyamory party, Al knows he is ready for more. Sudden illnesses, date interruptions, and an unexpected visit prove that mixing Lucas into his already busy life isn’t going to be easy.

Lucas Laverty has people too: wife, daughter, parents. And though he and Al are both looking for a boyfriend, Lucas learns they mean different things by ‘boyfriend.’ They don’t see things the same way when it comes to their other relationships, either. And before Lucas can sort out his relationship with Al, he’ll have to track down the father he missed out on.

If being a coach’s son has taught Al anything, it’s that winning the game might mean changing the play. But Lucas isn’t exactly flexible, and people don’t fall into neat categories. As Al and Lucas navigate the ups and downs of life, only one thing is certain: romance has never been so crowded.”


How That Makes You Feel by Elle Diaz (Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Queer M/F with a bi guy MC, Latinx author, Latinx and mental illness rep. The heroine is also sober and divorced. I’ve started reading this and I’m really enjoying it. Self-published.

“Therapist Camila Moore isn’t the girl she used to be. Divorced, correctly diagnosed, and (mostly) over her disastrous rebound, she’s happier than ever. She’s saying yes to MMA classes and meditation, and no to booze and drama. She’ll be damned if she gets her big feelings wrapped up in a man — even a gorgeous, funny man like Zach Hoult, the jeweler she meets at the arts festival. Their flirtatious transaction leads to a karaoke invite, innuendo over ice cream, and a scorching goodnight kiss that leaves them wanting more.

But Zach shouldn’t want more. He’d left Pittsburgh behind, until his estranged mother’s death cut his international travels short and forced him back to the city that broke his heart. He just has to get his sister to graduation and sell the family jewelry store, and he’ll finally be free to do … well, he’s not sure yet. But his sexy, smart new friend with benefits is a welcome distraction from making plans.

As Zach entices Camila out of her careful routines, and Camila cracks open Zach’s guarded heart, their summer fling turns into something deeper. Separately, falling in love always brought out the worst in them, but maybe people can change. Can two works in progress make it work? Or will passion this intense burn them both?”


World Running Down by Al Hess (Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Trans guy MC, trans guy author. As a sci-fi fan myself & having enjoyed Hess’s work before, I’m really looking forward to digging into this one. Small press.

Note: This has a substantial romance subplot rather than being a full-on genre romance, but I’m assured by the author it has some lovely romance tropes/beats and an HEA.

“Valentine Weis is a salvager in the future wastelands of Utah. Wrestling with body dysphoria, he dreams of earning enough money to afford citizenship in Salt Lake City – a utopia where the testosterone and surgery he needs to transition is free, the food is plentiful, and folk are much less likely to be shot full of arrows by salt pirates. But earning that kind of money is a pipe dream, until he meets the exceptionally handsome Osric.

Once a powerful AI in Salt Lake City, Osric has been forced into an android body against his will and sent into the wasteland to offer Valentine a job on behalf of his new employer – an escort service seeking to retrieve their stolen androids. The reward is a visa into the city, and a chance at the life Valentine’s always dreamed of. But as they attempt to recover the “merchandise”, they encounter a problem: the android ladies are becoming self-aware, and have no interest in returning to their old lives.

The prize is tempting, but carrying out the job would go against everything Valentine stands for, and would threaten the fragile found family that’s kept him alive so far. He’ll need to decide whether to risk his own dream in order to give the AI a chance to live theirs.”


Double Happiness by Jen Trinh (Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Asian American author & MCs, queer M/F (she’s bi). I’ve read a book by Jen before and she writes fun characters. Self-published.

Note: The color scheme of the cover, to me, seemed to imply an ace romance, but that turned out to be a coincidence.

“A pickle-loving industrial designer sets out to prove that the only man worthy of her younger sister is their cute-AF childhood best friend. Forced proximity / one-bed / friends-to-lovers awesomeness ensues in this romantic comedy novella.

Winnie’s sister Nancy is engaged to The Wrong Person. Anyone who isn’t Steven Yi is The Wrong Person. He’s a cute, silly doctor with a crisp, yummy voice, and the two of them were born in the same hospital on the same day. How much clearer could the Universe be?

A recovering divorcee, Winnie knows all too well what it means to marry badly. She’ll do anything to prove that Steven is The Only Person for Nancy, even if she has to throw them together over and over again herself. But her plotting pulls her closer to Steven, close enough where she begins to suspect that The Only Wrong Person is her. She could be happy, so much happier than she is now…but is it worth risking a life-long friendship and utter heartbreak?”


The Reprise: An A Capella Novella by Connor Bryan (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Nonbinary author & MC. Self-published.

Who knew an a cappella club could lead to so much bullshit?

Quinn, an off-beat tenor with more angst than a pop-punk song, is invited on a getaway to the Florida Keys with their old college a cappella group.

They’re looking forward to a week of relaxation on the beach, but the vacation goes off-key when their ex-boyfriend Wesley arrives, and with him, all the memories Quinn had tried so hard to forget.

Quinn just wants to get through this week without dredging up everything that happened, but that becomes impossible when the club signs up for a local singing competition. Now, Quinn can’t help but relive the months leading up to the group’s last performance when it all fell flat.

Quinn’s definitely in treble.”


She’s A Keeper by Liz Lincoln (Amazon / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Sapphic soccer romances FTW! Part of a queer series with a mix of gender pairings. Self-published.

“First comes love, then comes roommates, then comes friends with benefits…are they doing this right?

Soccer player Rose Olivieri has been in love with goalkeeper Cassie Dickinson for years. Determined to get over her friend, she invites the recently divorced goalkeeper to be her roommate. Forced proximity should be enough to kill any romantic feelings. Right?

With two broken marriages behind her, Cassie is swearing off romance for good. Why risk another disappointment? Still, she misses dressing up and going out. When Rose suggests they platonically date, Cassie figures why not? That unwanted attraction to her roommate is just a natural reaction to all the good conversation, fun, and quality time.

Neither woman expects the arrangement to slide into more. Friends-with-benefits wasn’t the plan, but it’s a heck of a lot of fun. Cassie’s certain she won’t catch feelings, and Rose is positive she can keep hers in check. Will these two friends discover they make fantastic teammates on the field and off?”


Too Dangerous To Keep (All These Gifts Book 3) by Skye Kilaen oh hey, that’s me (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Bi/pan gals with superpowers. Self-published.

Note: This series must be read in order, so start with Book 1 if you haven’t jumped in yet. HEA at series end.

“How far would you go to get your life back? The superpowered sci-fi romance series continues.

Deneve’s nanite powers sent her running from her home, trapped her in Austin, and tangled her up with Jolie. Now the nanites want more: a connection between Deneve and a new person who’s put a target on the city by using nanite powers on bystanders.

Jolie never wanted anything but a small, quiet life. Maybe with someone like Deneve? Those dreams died when the alien ships changed her forever. Now her nanites are changing again, and no one has any answers about what it means for her future.

As tensions in the city escalate, Deneve and Jolie end up on a rescue mission that may reveal the truth behind the kidnappings that brought them together. What they find out in the process could give people with nanite powers a way out of the danger they live with every day.

And some people want that badly enough to cross lines that shouldn’t be crossed.”


The Orc and Her Bride by Lila Gwynn (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Because I never thought I’d get to type the phrase “sapphic orc romance series starter.” What an amazing world we live in! Lila, you rock. Self-published.

“RUGA KARRSDAUGHTER, dutiful orc princess with a heart of gold, has spent the years since her sister was elected queen serving the orc country of Torden. Her duties now include marrying an elf princess for a much-needed alliance against an outside threat.

ELKETH CERIDWEN, rakish elf princess with a penchant for chaos, has never lifted a finger in her life. Now that an engagement is sprung upon her by the stern elvish king, she has to fulfill a fifty-day betrothal period in Torden surrounded by strangers…unless she can wreak enough havoc to get sent back home.

These poor orcs don’t know what they’re in for.”


Idol Minds by KT Salvo (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: I don’t know much about this, but the author’s pronouns are he/they. Small press (or rather a marketing company that is branching out into publishing queer genre fiction?).

“Movie star Jason Park was a Hollywood golden boy. The youngest ever Best Actor award winner for his role in The Moon Shines Madly, the former teen idol was ready to make the jump from teen comedies to dramatic leading roles. But his famously well-documented on-set blow-up cost him his part and drove him from the limelight.

Singer, dancer, and leader of the K-pop supergroup XTC, Woo Tae Hyun was a rising star and K-pop sensation until a rift within his group drove him away from music. Freshly returned from the army, Tae Hyun’s ready to kick-start his solo career. But his label has something else in mind.

When the two stars are brought together for a project neither one wants, their chemistry becomes impossible to ignore. Can they overcome the obstacles of their forbidden romance, or will the pressures of fame tear them apart?”


Dexterity Check by Katherine McIntyre (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Part of a queer series with a mix of gender pairings. Self-published.

“Eli’s sworn off irresponsible flirts, and Arjun’s one of the worst—aggravating, provoking, and everything Eli can’t resist.

After fifteen years in the military, Eli Reynolds has returned to San Francisco with broken dreams and a broken heart, courtesy of his now ex-boyfriend. He’s determined to avoid anyone like his cheating ex—which means steering clear of Tabletop Tavern’s resident flirt, Arjun Gupta.

Arjun wants a break. Ever since he added his grandmother’s nursing home to his monthly bills, he’s drowning in debt. On top of his job as chef at Tabletop Tavern, he’s been stripping at nights to cover the extra costs. She’s worth every sleepless hour, but he’s desperate for relief—of any sort. Too bad Tabby’s cousin Eli is too high and mighty for a fling.

Eli and Arjun can’t seem to avoid each other, and with each collision they realize more and more that they might have misjudged—especially when all those sparks spill over into something hot and unforgettable. However, when Eli’s folks decide to move across the country, Eli needs to choose: remain in the place that reminds him of his failures or start over fresh—and if Arjun isn’t here for keeps, Eli can’t risk his heart to stay.”


The Wolf and the Wallflower by Devin Harnois (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

Why I’m excited to list it: Trans guy author, and how much do we adore that title? (A lot!) I’ve read a couple of Devin’s books before and had a lovely time, so this one’s already on my Kindle. Self-published.

“Lord Jasper Thorne is the most eligible bachelor of the season, but he chafes against the expectation to marry a suitable lady and forge a strong alliance for his pack. Acting polite and proper at balls makes him want to take his wolf form and flee into the woods. Then he meets shy wallflower Ambrose and suddenly social events are much more tolerable.

Ambrose Linfield is hopelessly smitten the moment he meets handsome, charming Jasper. They discuss books they aren’t supposed to be reading, chat with each other at balls when Jasper should be dancing with ladies, even shift together under the full moon.

When Ambrose takes a bold chance and Jasper discovers the truth of his own feelings, everything changes. Secret kisses and stolen moments consume them, but the end of the season draws closer. Soon Jasper will have to do his duty, unless both of them are willing to defy their parents, their packs, and all of society.”


My Recent Reads and Recommendations

At the end of each newsletter, I take the liberty of recommending a few of my recent favorite queer reads, from romance to sff to graphic novels. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite book here. These may not always be self-published or small press; it just depends on what’s gotten to the top of my TBR lately.

By pure coincidence, this month several of the books have extremely heavy themes and content. I have added details beyond the blurbs.

Love Bites by Ry Herman (Amazon / Goodreads)

I really enjoyed how this sapphic paranormal romance is made up of not just POV chapters from the two MCs, but journal entries, short POV chapters from two friendly SCs, and scenes of one MC’s past that show us how she got to where she is now.

“Two years after a painful divorce, Chloë is still struggling to leave the house, paralysed by anxiety and memory. So when she’s bullied into a night of dancing by her busybody aunt and finds herself in a goth club, on her own, in a strange part of town, she isn’t looking for anything more than to pass the time until she can leave.

Then she meets Angela, a smart, beautiful astronomy Ph.D. student whose smile makes her heart pound. In Angela’s eyes, Chloë can see a future. Suddenly, home alone is the last place Chloë wants to be.

Trouble is, Angela can only come out at night. Angela doesn’t feel the cold. Angela doesn’t eat. Angela doesn’t have a pulse. Angela has sharp and deadly teeth.

Angela and Chloë might just be perfect for each other. But how do you build a life together when one of you is already dead?”

Note: This is billed as “laugh out loud” and some readers call it a rom-com, but there are some heavy themes here, including depression, on-page suicidal ideation by the mortal MC, on-page suicide attempts by the immortal MC, and extensive flashbacks to an emotionally and physically abusive relationship that ended very badly.

Invert by Clinton W. Waters (Amazon/KU / Goodreads)

I was completely engrossed by this historical dystopian noir that revolves around police entrapment of queer people and conversion therapy. NOT A ROMANCE. (Noir and the HEA/HFN don’t go together.)

“In an alternative history 1950s, where atomic war was waged on the US during World War II, birth rates are dangerously low. As a result, The Department of Virtue was founded to ensure that not only are people procreating, but they’re doing it the right way. The Virtuous Family is a ubiquitous reminder of all that Americans should strive to be.

Greer’s life is ruled by the DOV. An invert reformed in one of the nation’s many Sanctuaries, he is employed as a “Screw” (Sex Crime Worker). It’s his job to entrap other men into making advances so they can be arrested and similarly “reformed”. His wife, Alice, is a cured invert as well, prescribed by the state and ordered to attempt procreation. By chance, they have met another invert couple, Bill and Sally. Their romance must remain a secret, or else they may not be given another chance. For Greer, there are eyes in every window and shadows down every side street waiting to catch him slip.

When Greer is assigned Matthews as a new partner, he has to wonder if this man is a plant, meant to keep an eye on him, or if this new Screw is just another victim of Virtue.”

Shubeik Lubeik by Deena Mohamed (Amazon / Goodreads)

Nour, the MC of the middle story in this graphic novel, is a nonbinary college student struggling with depression. CW: An SC in the third story is dying of cancer.

“A brilliant and imaginative debut graphic novel that brings to life a fantastical Cairo where wishes are real. Author, illustrator, and translator Deena Mohamed presents a literary, feminist, Arab-centric graphic novel that marries magic and the socio-political realities of contemporary Egypt.

Shubeik Lubeik–a fairytale rhyme meaning ‘Your Wish is My Command’ in Arabic–is the story of three characters navigating a world where wishes are literally for sale; mired in bureaucracy and the familiar prejudices of our world, the more expensive the wish, the more powerful and therefore the more likely to work as intended. The novel’s three distinct parts tell the story of three first class wishes as used by Aziza, Nour, and Shokry, each grappling with the challenge inherent in trying to make your most deeply held desire come true.”

Young Men In Love edited by Joe Glass and Matt Miner (Amazon / Goodreads)

“Haphazard pirates, wayward ghosts, dashing knights, rampaging kaiju (and down-to-earth regular joes!) are all assembled here to amaze and delight you in a wildly unique anthology celebrating love between men, from an astounding array of comics creators who know exactly how it feels.”

I had so much fun reading this anthology. Tons of adorable vignettes about guys at various stages in their romantic relationships with each other, from the nerves of asking someone out for the first time to the celebration of an anniversary. I think there was only one story that wasn’t my style, and given how many short stories they packed into this volume, that’s pretty amazing.