This week I read a super feel-good novelette, and an intriguing mystery novella, both of which I heartily recommend. Better yet, they’re both on sale throughout July! Both ebooks are 12% off at JMS Books in celebration of the publisher’s 12th anniversary. Pretend You Are for Five More Minutes by K.S. Murphy is also 25% off in Smashwords’ summer/winter sale, and The Death of Digby Catch by Amy Spector is 50% off in the Smashwords sale!
Pretend You Are for Five More Minutes by K.S. Murphy
Woo! Fake Fiancé is one of my favorite guilty pleasure tropes! It never gets old, amirite? I ended up highlighting way too many snippets as I read, but I’ve pared them down to this selection:
Besides Fake Fiancé, Best Friends to Lovers is another great trope represented in this sweet novelette. The almost inevitable but I don’t want to ruin our amazing friendship reasoning works because it makes sense. Especially the longer they’ve been buds, the more worrisome it would be (to me, anyway) to instigate a change to the relationship dynamic at the risk of making it forever awkward going forward. K.S. Murphy makes it work.
All the snippets are from Henry’s 3rd-person POV.
Here’s a teeny snip from a longer conversation Henry has with his friend Ashley:
“Henry,” Ash murmured. “Wouldn’t it be better if you just…knew instead of wondering?”
A knot pulled in Henry’s stomach. Tight and painful. Because she did have a point. Henry had been holding this in for so long that it hurt.
“Yeah, but it’s not that easy, Ashley.”
This little snippet is because I always love quirky/goofy grins:
Giving Henry a thumb’s up, Luke flashed that goofy smile of his and handed Henry his winter coat while he put on his own winter gear.
Love this next line! Also, even though I knew what was coming because it says so right in the blurb (What Henry doesn’t expect is for Luke to blurt out that they’re engaged. Which they’re most decidedly not. Even if Henry wishes it were true.), I might’ve executed a little fist pump accompanied by a soft “yaaassssss!” after reading the paragraph coming right before this one. Here’s Henry’s internal reaction to Luke’s announcement:
The whole world faded away for a second before shooting back around him so quickly it made his head spin.
*happy sigh* I love feel-good stories, and this one definitely qualifies!
GENRE: Gay Erotic Romance
LENGTH: Novelette / 11,170 words
RATING: 4 flames
Henry Kato is in a really bad mood. One of his rude, annoying, and mildly offensive co-workers has been bugging him for weeks about the upcoming office party. To get him off his back, Henry enlists the help of his best friend Luke to go with him as his plus one.
What Henry doesn’t expect is for Luke to blurt out that they’re engaged. Which they’re most decidedly not. Even if Henry wishes it were true.
Do they have what it takes to convince everyone the engagement is real? Or will they burn up in smoke before the night even gets started?
The Death of Digby Catch by Amy Spector
I love mysteries, and this is a good one! In this story our romantic interests first meet after August Catch’s uncle, Digby, dies. Digby works as the head groundskeeper for the estate of Theo Webb’s mother. Turns out there’s more to the death of Digby Catch than was originally apparent. The story is told from dual 3rd-person POVs (August and Theo), and the snippets all come from early in the story so as not to risk spoiler-ing anything to do with the mystery.
On to the snippets. This story is longer, so I let a couple more slip through when I was paring down all my highlighted passages.
I grabbed this one because it’s such a creative way to clue us into a character—in this case a deceased, but still important character. Maybe it’s the writer in me that notices this kind of thing, but I’m always drawn to simple yet intriguing paragraphs that drop lovely little morsels of insight. From August’s 3rd-person POV:
The rain had slowed the procession of cars winding their way to the gravesite to a mournful crawl. It was fitting. Not only because it was a funeral, but because the weather was as overly dramatic as Digby Catch had always been.
This snippet because it made me laugh. From August’s 3rd-person POV:
He could have fallen from the pages of a GQ article about how to dress if you wanted to get laid after a funeral.
Here’s another one I picked because I love interesting passages where authors show us a bit about a character and their background in just a few short words. From August’s 3rd-person POV:
August missed his groundskeeper job at the Blue Horse. He missed the horses, and he’d miss the free passes to watch them run in the Derby, even if he wouldn’t miss the Kentucky winters. And now, he’d miss Digby all over again.
At least he no longer missed Jackson.
Here’s another fun little description that gave me a chuckle. From Theo’s 3rd-person POV:
August Catch was a giant of a man, with dark hair and shoulders that looked like he could maybe do pushups for a living.
Final snippet…the tie-in to Naked Gardening Day is freaking hilarious, and ties into August and Theo’s investigation. From Theo’s 3rd-person POV:
Admittedly, asking August to do naked yard word in front of his mother and what was easily forty strangers, was not the best start to a relationship. But then, what was?
GENRE: Gay Thriller Erotic Romance
LENGTH: Novella / 19,375 words
RATING: 3 flames
It’s more than eighteen years since August Catch’s Uncle Digby disappeared to the Cape to mourn the death of his sister. So when August arrives at Arachne’s Loom to collect his late uncle’s things, he isn’t expecting to find stories of a man larger than life. Or the very real possibility that Digby’s death may not have been from natural causes.
Theo Webb has had few people in his life he loved, and fewer still he can trust. But the estate groundskeeper, Digby Catch, was one of them. Returning home for Digby’s funeral, Theo is thrown together with Digby’s nephew, and the attraction is instant. But so is Theo’s certainty that things surrounding Digby’s death don’t add up, and at least one person isn’t telling the truth.
Discovering a killer is difficult when someone is desperate to keep more than just their identity a secret. And when all the clues point in one direction, even Theo isn’t sure what to think. He and August must work together if they’re going to solve a murder, and not let the thing growing between them be a distraction.
But then, maybe a distraction is exactly what they need.