Tag Archives: ALEXIS D. CRAIG

Blurred Lines: The Great Erotica/Erotic Romance Debate That Isn’t Quite So Anymore by Alexis D. Craig

Give Me Shelter COVEROur guest blog today is from Lachesis Publishing author Alexis D. Craig. Alexis writes sultry and spicy romantic suspense (Give Me Shelter and Imminent Danger) featuring the brave men and women in law enforcement.  She also writes super hot erotica featuring sexy cops (Undercover Seduction).

There used to be a day, in the early ’90s, when Erotic Romance was just getting off the ground as a legit enterprise. Even then, it was only really in the historical subgenre, and only in euphemism. You wanted more realistic wording and phrases? You went to erotica or porn.

There was a lot of ‘weeping centers of womanhood’ and ‘manroots’ about the place. Not a good scene at all, and one of which I was guilty back in the day when I was starting out.

152403Then I read Chances by Jackie Collins, and all bets were off. Lord have mercy, she had the hottest sex scenes, I mean, realistic, non-euphemistic sex scenes, but they weren’t about love. They were hot as hell, but the motivation was entirely different than romance novels. That, to me, cemented itself as the definition of ‘erotica’, e. g. sexus gratia sexūs, sex for the sake of sex.

The exploration of attraction, arousal, and fun, unencumbered by feelings (and, by extension, consequences), is a fun path to explore. What would you do if you didn’t have to answer for it (literally and emotionally)? The appeal of the forbidden comes in to play, too. Raised in a traditional American society, where heterosexual monogamy was the tacit expectation, it feels good to play outside the box, and take the reader with you.

Want to read about lesbians? Ménage and group scenes? BDSM? Erotica and porn, all day long. It was a playground without context. Arousing, fun, fetishizing, but really, at no point were the two ‘R’ words (relationship or romance) ever really mentioned.

UNDERCOVER SEDUCTIONIn that respect, erotica hasn’t really changed all that much over time. A lot of things that used to be considered ‘fetish’ material are now de rigueur, but still somewhat independent of relationships and romance. In my story, Rule Number Seven, (Undercover Seduction) Shiva didn’t even start off looking for a good time, but found one with Adam and Jason both, then summarily tossed them out of her hotel room. No cuddling, no heartfelt declarations, nada. Same with Jimmy, and the unnamed female narrator in Cookies, (Undercover Seduction) who he summarily ravishes in an ostensibly public place before she sends him on his way. The lack of Relationship and Romance, note both with the capital ‘R’, don’t detract from the heat of the story, and I’d argue actually increase it by layering a sense of illicitness over the narrative, but then, that’s me.

That’s not to say there’s no erotica in romance. My relationship with the genre began back in eighth grade home room where I’d sneak in the Harlequin Temptation stories I’d picked up at the grocery store during classroom reading time. (I was also reading a lot of Hemingway at the time, and my emotions needed something a bit more uplifting.) I loved the juxtaposition of the HEA endings and the hot, yet still semi-euphemistic, scenes.

th_055356160XErotic romance, as a genre, didn’t really gel for me, until 1994 and I discovered Tami Hoag’s Cry Wolf. I have since purchased numerous copies for other people and had to replace the version I fell in love with thrice. The emotional and sexual interactions between Jack and Laurel damn near burnt my fingers, and ignited a desire within me to recreate that type of heat and engagement with my reader.

I think, with the blurred lines of both language (no more ‘manroot’! yay!) and what is considered acceptable subject matter (LGBTQ* now included, no assembly required), the last stand in terms of difference between Erotica and Erotic Romance is the role of sex within the narrative framework.

Sex is the purpose in erotica, the source from which the rest of the story flows, with a focus on the physical sensations and not as much on the emotions or potential circumstantial repercussions (both good and bad) for the actions. Sex, within the context of erotic romance, is part of the overall expression of feeling and emotion between the characters. It can still be hot and blissfully free of euphemism, but make no mistake; the physical acts as well as the emotional structure in which they occur are on equal footing here, and to a certain extent, the emotions might be more important.

For example, Olivia has extensive fantasies about her and Josh and the naked things they could be doing in Dream a Little Dream, (Undercover Seduction) but hesitates to really discuss it since she has an emotional and professional attachment to him. Eli and Bex, Atticus and Violet, in Give Me Shelter all have the same type of story, their lives beyond their sexual desires dictate that acting on said desires would, most likely, yield disastrous results. Love means taking chances, risking the status quo in a game of ‘what if’, damn the torpedos and all that.

I would suggest that the two genres have merged and overlapped as much as they are going to, reaching an equilibrium between the two that allows them to still maintain their integrity as separate, but closely related, entities that still please their audiences, regardless of their evolutions.

Connect with Alexis D. Craig on her web site/blog and on facebook, twitter and goodreads.

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5 Star Review of Undercover Seduction by Alexis D. Craig (erotica)

UNDERCOVER SEDUCTIONLachesis Publishing author JoMarie DeGioia reviews Lachesis Publishing author Alexis D. Craig’s Undercover Seduction:

Get it on amazon for .91 cents.

What it’s About:

There’s a hot, new voice in erotic fiction and she is Alexis Craig.

In this first installment of her brand new Sensual Encounters series—Alexis brings us Undercover Seduction, an anthology about the sensual encounters of men and women in blue.

They may serve and protect, but these gorgeous cops, sultry detectives, and hunky SWAT officers also get down and dirty.

Undercover Seduction explores the steamier side of life in six, super-sexy stories: an enticing seduction after a long, hard day at work; a delectable, after-hours interlude in a bake shop; a dream encounter that becomes oh-so-very real; a rousing chess match that turns into an arousing ménage-a-trois; a rainy night and a lusty, late-night house call; a steamy, one-night stand that goes all weekend long.

You have the right to remain aroused . . . until the next Sensual Encounters.

REVIEW:

5-Stars! This collection of stories is scorching hot but that’s what I’d expected. What I hadn’t expected were the touches of heart mixed in with the heat! Without exception, the characters were well-rounded and I cared about them. Their desires and their insecurities. I was bummed when I finished each story but as soon as I turned the page I was immediately engaged in a new one!

The author uses deep point-of-view to extreme advantage, making the reader’s pulse race and their heart sigh. Each story is unique as are the characters.  From secret crushes to stranger interludes, she engages the reader in her vignettes. I highly recommend this collection and would read this author again!

JoMarie DeGioia writes sexy Regency romances for Lachesis Publishing
Connect with JoMarie DeGioia online on her web site and on facebook,  twitter and goodreads.

Alexis D. Craig writes hot romantic suspense & erotica for Lachesis Publishing.
Connect with Alexis D. Craig on her web site/blog and on facebook, twitter and goodreads.

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How to Write Hot Sex Scenes by Alexis D. Craig (romantic suspense and erotica author)

Give Me Shelter COVEROur guest blog today is from Lachesis author Alexis D. Craig. Alexis writes and sultry and spicy romantic suspense (Give Me Shelter and Imminent Danger) featuring the brave men and women in law enforcement.  She also writes super hot erotica featuring sexy cops (Undercover Seduction). Today, Alexis shares her tips on writing a hot sex scene! Take it away Alexis . . . 

Okay, so you’re writing a romance novel and you have characters whose chemistry has come to a boil. They want to take the next logical step, and you want them to, too, but you’re not sure about writing the scene. Here’s where I come in to help.

Let’s start with a few simple dos and don’ts.

Don’t get uptight about it. You want it to flow naturally and the pace with which it does is dictated by your characters and the context of the scene.

Don’t rush it. You don’t have a set series of points you have to reach in a specific amount of time. The journey is just as important as the destination.

Don’t be afraid to get dirty with it. Sex is messy, the language can be quite vulgar and if your characters are feeling it, go for it. You obviously don’t have to use words that make you, the author, uncomfortable, but the very nature of the scene gives you more leeway in terms of propriety.

Don’t, under any circumstances, get too florid with the euphemisms. I’m not saying that everything has to be perfectly scientifically proper (e.g. ‘penis’, ‘vagina’, clitoris, etc…) BUT if you get too wild while beating around the bush (ahem) you’ll take the reader out of the head space you’re attempting to create and may, or may not incite laughter/cringing.

Do write in a space that makes you comfortable. I have found that writing sex scenes in Burger King tends to make me feel a bit self-conscious. It just doesn’t lend itself to the mood I need to create in the same way that my living room does.

Do use music to help feed your muse. I always talk about music in my posts, I know, but I find that the correct series of songs does carry a scene quite well from my head to the page. I’m not saying we have to bust out the Prince/Marvin Gaye/Usher, but if that’s where your characters are mentally, go with the flow.

Do get up and take short breaks when the scene just isn’t coming (ahem). Get up, walk around, walk away from it on the page and in your head. Take a minute, get a snack, come back to it and keep going. If you force it, the reader can tell the moment the scene switches from a hot sex scene to an ‘insert tab A into slot B’ instruction manual. Unless you’re writing that type of thing, I’m pretty sure that’s not what you’re going for in this case.

Do, for the love of all that is holy (including, but not limited to, little fishes, cats, Nilla wafers, and graham crackers), make sure that the things you write are, in fact, anatomically possible. Nothing ruins a good sex scene like written visuals that make no sense physically. I have, on occasion, solicited assistance to make sure that what I’m writing and what I’m seeing in my head actually work. Alas, there have been occasions where the writing and the limitations of the physical body bore no relation to one another. I put that book down and wanted nothing more to do with it.*

*Caveat to the previous, if you’re writing about non-human entities, the dead, the undead, or formerly alive but not a zombie, shifters, whatnot, those rules are a bit looser. Given the amount of disbelief already suspended by the reader, you could probably push it a bit more, but still, keep in mind that you never want a reader to be thinking, “WTF?” while reading about your characters effing.

Finally, some important points overall:

This is about your characters and their physical expression of their feelings for each other. Keep in mind that just because it’s hot doesn’t mean they have to act differently than they would under other circumstances.

If you’re writing about kink, it would behoove you to read about the kink in which you’re interested. Lack of research becomes painfully obvious, and quickly, if you don’t take the time to do it. Understanding of the subject matter, context, and how the reality differs from the outside world’s perceptions of it will all lend an authenticity to the scene that will elevate the hotness to blistering heights.*

*Caveat, or rather, an illustrative anecdote. During a conversation recently with a friend of mine, she expressed her beef with the 50 Shades series. Paraphrasing, “It’s not realistic. Especially the after care. After care is so important when scenes are over, due to their level of intensity and potential (mental/emotional) trauma to the sub. You cuddle them, clean them up, help them come back to themselves and feel safe and secure again. You don’t just have an intense scene and then walk out like you don’t give a fuck. That’s just asshattery, that’s not BDSM.”

As a follow up to the previous, the aftermath of a sex scene is vital for really illustrating your characters. They’re emotionally vulnerable, physically spent, and disinclined to maintain their facades they show the world. To that end, the partner, and the reader, can really see the character for who they are. Capitalize on that.

Obviously, if you’re writing and you just cannot get over the mental hump (ahem), you can always cut to action off screen (so to speak), and then move on to the next scene.

Finally, the thing I’ve found to be most important when writing the scenes: if it makes you hot while writing it, it’ll make the reader hot reading it.

Connect with Alexis D. Craig on her web site/blog and on facebook, twitter and goodreads.

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Filed under CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE, EROTIC ROMANCE, EROTIC ROMANTIC THRILLER, EROTICA, Lachesis Publishing, ROMANCE AUTHOR, romance authors, romance books, ROMANCE FICTION, ROMANCE NOVEL, ROMANTIC SUSPENSE, SENSUALITY, SEX, SEXUAL CONTENT, SEXY, SUSPENSE, SUSPENSE THRILLER

5 Star Review of Just Perfect by JoMarie DeGioia (Regency historical novella)

Alexis D. Craig who is a Lachesis Publishing author of romantic suspense and erotica, reviewed the Lachesis Publishing Regency novella Just Perfect by JoMarie DeGioia (Book 3 in the Dashing Nobles series) and posted it on amazon. Here’s the review . . .

Lexie gave Just Perfect 5 stars!

Resurrecting Regency (on amazon)

just-perfect-500x724I have to admit, it’s been a looooooong time since I’ve read Regency Romance. I loved historicals as a tween/teen, but eventually, I gravitated towards contemporary romantic suspense and never looked back. That said, this one caught my eye. I really love Constance and Williams, both separately as characters and together as a couple. Constance is a plucky young thing, determined and not at all flighty or annoying, as Regency heroines can sometimes be. William is ‘perfect’, but that flawlessness is a facade for a guy just trying to get by in a rigidly structured society framework. Together they’re sweet and devoted to one another, and I loved the sweetness of the story the most. The hot love scenes, of which there were a few, were the perfect blend of sweet and heat, like jalapeno chocolate. In all, I’d read it again and I’d like to read the rest of the series.

About Just Perfect:

William Chesterton, the Earl of Chester, might be the perfect gentleman, but his feelings for Constance Bridgewater are anything but gentlemanly. Constance Bridgewater, the daughter of the late Earl of Bridgewater, might be the perfect lady, but her feelings for the Earl of Chester are anything but ladylike. They both know that if they were together, everything would be just perfect.

So what is keeping them apart?

You can buy Just Perfect on amazon (.91 cents e-book)

Or you can purchase a copy at Lachesis Publishing. (.99 cents e-book)

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Filed under book reviews, HISTORICAL, HISTORICAL ROMANCE, Lachesis Publishing, LOVE STORY, REGENCY HISTORICAL, REGENCY HISTORICAL ROMANCE, ROMANCE AUTHOR, romance authors, romance books, ROMANCE NOVEL, ROMANCE NOVELS, SENSUALITY, SEX, SEXUAL CONTENT, SEXY

So You Want to Be a Bestselling Author? Part 5: Postcards From The Edge

?????????????????????????????????We had a great response to last Wednesday’s post featuring the talented graphic artist Sharlene Martin Moore. Sharlene creates gorgeous online “postcards” for authors to use to promote their books, contests, book signings etc… She designs postcards for some of the biggest names in the biz including Eloisa James and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. We heard from several authors who are going to contact Sharlene to get some postcards made – which is awesome! A few of you already have! Dragons-Fall-Card2David Lee Summers got in touch with Sharlene and ordered a postcard for his dark vampire novel Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet OrderSharlene came up with two killer designs.

And some of you have been inspired to create your own postcards as well. Alexis D. Craig 10580012_869776593034942_4249028469916398592_n-1created a hot and sexy postcard for her romantic suspense Give Me Shelter. And guess what? Alexis has been getting great buzz on social media. Here’s the postcard Alexis created:

As you can see, postcards are a great way to engage with fans and readers. And people love to reblog them! Think of them as movie billboards – the kind you see when you’re driving. You really take notice and you want to find out more. That’s what these online postcards do. That’s the impact they have.

Make a statement with your books – both new releases and older titles will benefit from online postcards.

Until next week – keep promoting! 🙂

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100_4277Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing Inc. She loves Cinnamon Dolce Lattes, and social media networking.

 

 

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Q and A with sultry scribe Alexis D. Craig (romantic suspense / erotica)

Give Me Shelter COVERToday’s Q and A is with Lachesis Publishing author Alexis D. Craig. Alexis writes sultry and funny contemporary romances (Give Me Shelter and Imminent Danger) featuring the brave men and women in law enforcement.  She also writes super hot erotica featuring sexy cops (Undercover Seduction). By day Alexis is a police dispatcher so she knows her cops!

When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer and why?

It wasn’t a realization so much as something I just did. I enjoyed telling stories, always have. I didn’t really start writing them down consistently until high school. It made it easier to keep track of them. Once I cleared the space out of my head, I made room for more stories. It seemed like a good fit for me.

Describe your favourite place to write?

I actually really like my writing set up now. Super comfy chair, my laptop elevated on a TV tray, facing the muted TV (a habit I picked up in dispatch, I function better if the TV is on but I’m not listening to it), my music playing, my keyboard in my lap, and a dog or three snoring around me. It’s very peaceful.

What would I find on your desk at this very moment?

Lord, it’s a hot mess. I have my laptop, my detached DVR burner, my wireless mouse and keyboard, a red plastic cup, and a pen or two. My mp3 player, charging cords for it and my phone, a few hairbands, and my Lego cheerleader that my husband gave me to keep me going.

What is your tea/coffee beverage of choice when you’re writing?

Normally I’m drinking water with caffeinated cherry Mio in it. I tend to run on caffeine. My other choices are iced tea or diet cherry coke.

What do you love to read?

I’m a romance aficionado from way back. I picked up the bug in middle school and never looked back. I started with contemporary and though I occasionally ventured into historicals, one or two paranormals, I always circled back to contemporaries. Mostly romantic suspense, the spicier the better, if there’s sex and a stack of bodies, I’m definitely there.

What is some good advice you can give to an emerging writer?

Believe in yourself and keep trying, especially in the face of rejection. It’s not personal, regardless of how it feels in the moment. Give yourself a day to be pissed about it, maybe less, then carry on. I might even go so far as to say “plan for rejection.” If Plan A doesn’t work, you need to be able to pull the trigger on Plan B as soon as you can. It helps to know what Plan B is before you need it.

What do you do after you finish a book? Do you celebrate or take a nap?

Usually I celebrate a little bit. Usually it’s the middle of the night and I’m the only creature awake in the house, so I have to celebrate quietly and then I go to bed (I keep junkie hours when I’m working on a story). Next day I start at the beginning and commence the first round of clean up.

You’ve written a few books for Lachesis Publishing – two romantic suspenses and one erotica anthology. Tell us about them?

Screen Shot 2013-11-07 at 4.40.30 PMImminent Danger, my debut novel, came out of me being injured. I was angry and hobbled, on a cane and unhappy about it. That’s how I got the idea for the opening of the book. The story was entirely fictional and my first attempt at plotting vs pantsing. It worked out well, but I learned that a hybrid method works the best for me. I get too detail oriented sometimes, and that can unnecessarily hinder the process.

Give Me Shelter was done with a more ‘seat of your pants’ approach to plotting. It was definitely a departure from my normal MO, with three time frames and storylines woven together. I’m very proud of the way it finally came together. Eli, Bex, Violet, Zoe, and AR are definitely close to my heart.

UNDERCOVER SEDUCTIONUndercover Seduction was a collection of stories and snippets that really didn’t lend themselves to anything longer. They were quick scenes of hot encounters, including my first menage on paper. The title of Rule Number Seven came from a Christian Kane song lyric, “rule number seven says ‘don’t touch the women, but they can grab whatever they want to.'” That pretty much encompassed the whole vibe of that story.

You clearly love writing sexy stuff. Other than the obvious – what do you like about writing hot reads?

It’s something I love to read,  and when it’s done well, it definitely adds to the story overall. It’s never just sex for the sake of sex, it has to be germane to the story, because otherwise it’s just porn. I don’t write with the sex scenes in mind, I just let them run wild when they blossom within the story.
What are you working on next?

I have a set of books coming out next year, The Ex File in early February, and its companion piece, Dead and Disorderly in late May. Both are set in Indianapolis, like Imminent Danger,, and based around fictional members of IMPD.

Additionally, I have written a follow up to Give Me Shelter, called Bulletproof Princess. Its focus is a side character from GMS, U.S. Marshal Mack Jefferson. Eli refers to him as a ‘ginger git from Mesa’. He gets more than he bargained for when he’s pulled into a protection detail of country megastar Cassie Witt. She witnesses a murder and goes on the run from a highly skilled assassin, but how do you hide celebrity? That was the first of several problems as their precarious situation serves as the backdrop for their growing passions.

Connect with Alexis D. Craig on her web site and her facebook page and twitter.

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Sneak Peek Monday: Give Me Shelter by Alexis D. Craig (romantic suspense)

Give Me Shelter COVERToday’s Sneak Peek is from the romantic suspense novel Give Me Shelter by Alexis D. Craig.

What it’s About:

Inspector Eli Miller’s unspoken feelings for his partner, Bex, color his whole life. When his past comes calling, will it be the push he needs to seek a future with her?

Inspector Rebecca ‘Bex’ Mulcahy has lived long enough to know that love is a street con at best, and a dangerous distraction at worst. Any feelings she has for her partner Eli definitely fall into the latter category. Will her dedication to her job keep her from finding a possible future with Eli?

Their latest case is protecting Violet Burrell, a young woman with scars on her soul stretching back to birth, who inadvertently witnesses a shockingly brutal murder at the hands of a sadist. Violet is determined to testify in court. Her strength and courage impress Eli and Bex, who will protect her at all costs.

But it is Violet’s beauty and spirit that entrances Junior Inspector Atticus Randall. Atticus is also assigned to protect Violet, and while he knows he should ignore his growing feelings for her, he just can’t stop himself from falling for the brave beauty.

Life in the Las Vegas branch of Witness Protection has never been more tangled. When the emotional landmines start a chain reaction, everyone in the blast radius is going to need a little shelter.

EXCERPT:

The knock at his front door effectively cut his ruminations short as it caught his attention. Leaving his glass on the table, he opened it only after checking the peep hole and seeing a familiar face. “Hey, you okay?”

Bex gave an exhausted nod, barely moving her head. “Yeah.” When she didn’t follow up with anything further, he took in the droop in her shoulders and the slightly sallow complexion that she got when she was well and truly tired, and stepped aside without comment. “Smells good in here.” She paused stepping over the threshold. “Am I interrupting?”

The fact that she even bothered to ask him told him exactly how tired she was. “Nah, just relaxing with some Thai take away. You are always welcome to join me.” Her smile in reply was all the thanks he needed as he led her to the couch and detoured to the kitchen to get her a beer and an additional fork.

She was already popping a chicken curry puff in her mouth as she opened the first box of pad seuw. “I love Siam Kitchen.”

He watched her as she ate, finding her infinitely more interesting than the movie as he snuck a fork in here and there. The silence between them was comfortable, though he found it curious that she still wore her gun as she snuggled into his comfy couch. “You just get done?”

Bex nodded and her red hair fell from her shoulder like a curtain between them. “Just endless paperwork and little things with this damn family, and then I took Vi home and helped her get a little more settled, a few more groceries, stuff like that.” She set the empty paper box on the coffee table in front of them and heaved a soul-deep sigh.

Getting a new witness, especially a new entrant to Witness Protection always had a special set of trials, at least at the beginning of the acquaintance. It took a bit to settle into a comfortable rhythm of regular contact, attorney meetings, and court dates. Once established, it was a lot smoother for all involved and less stressful, barring the unforeseen.

“Good for you.” He nodded while sipping his drink, eyes never leaving her. “She’s a tough kid. You’d think she’d be a hard case but . . .”

“She’s not.” It left her lips as a barely audible whisper accompanied by an almost imperceptible shake of her head. “You don’t start out a hard case.” She grabbed her beer from the table before shifting on the couch to face him. “Life wears on you, relentlessly. You can let it grind you all the way down, or you fight back. She fought back.” Her beer bottle was raised in silent toast with an ironic smile.

Feeling incredibly dense for not understanding sooner, the answer to his internal question from earlier today presented itself. “You see yourself in her, don’t you?” It wasn’t a question he asked lightly or without some knowledge of how difficult her own childhood had been with an unrepentantly alcoholic mother and a wide array of potential fathers.

Her shrug was one he recognized instantly as her dismissal of his question. She pulled it out whenever he got too close to an especially raw emotional spot. She didn’t have many, but he’d managed to find more than one on occasion. “She’ll be fine.”

Not sure to which ‘she’ Bex referred, he simply agreed. “I have no doubt.” He wanted to reach out, touch her, but he’d known her long enough to be able to sense when she was at her ragged edge, and the contact, as much as he may have wanted it, would not have been beneficial to her in that moment.

Tipping her bottle of beer up to drain it, she set it on the table next to the pad seuw carcass. “So what was with you today? You looked like you’d seen a ghost.”

Speaking of emotional sore spots, he shrugged and stood, taking their trash to the kitchen. “May I get you another one?” he called from behind the open stainless steel fridge door. She may have been his best friend, but this was not something he discussed with anyone, ever, and talking about it with Bex would make it especially poignant given that he desperately wanted what was not possible between them.

If he told her about his memories of Zoe, his wishes for something different than the loneliness he lived with, and most importantly his desire for her, and she wasn’t on board, it would be awkward and horrible. They were both established here and in the Marshal Service, and it would put an undue strain on both their jobs and their personal lives. He simply wasn’t willing to sacrifice his friendship on the altar of chance.

Like what you’ve read? You can get Give Me Shelter right here.

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