#shedeservedit

By Greg Herren

Coming Out
Virgins/First Love
Young Adult
Psychological Thriller
Sports
Amateur Sleuths

Liberty Center High School’s football team has a long history of success, and the dying small town has nothing else to cling to. But when Lance, the star quarterback, is found dead, Alex Wheeler becomes the prime suspect in his best friend’s murder. Alex thought he was the only one who shared Lance’s biggest secret—but someone else found out. How well did Alex really know Lance, and what else did he keep hidden?

To prove his innocence and figure out what really happened to Lance that last night, Alex starts connecting the dots and finds that everything leads back to the recent death of a cheerleader who may have been sexually assaulted at a team party. Did online bullying drive her to suicide? Or was she murdered?

Alex must come to terms with his own secrets and soon finds his future may be at risk, as he gets closer and closer to the horrifying truth about how far Liberty Center will go to protect their own.

Content advisory: This work contains references to sexual assault.

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Fresh Grave in Grand Canyon

By Lee Patton

Close Quarters
Veterans
Children / Families
Amateur Sleuths
Friends & Community

When Ray O’Brien volunteers to raft the Grand Canyon with a research team, the last thing he expects is murder. After a few days on a river closed to the public, one of the volunteers is found struck dead on a secluded beach. Sixty wilderness miles from contact with other people, the group must carry on in total isolation, sure someone committed murder and may kill again. 

Despite the terrible timing, Ray falls for Duke, the group’s handsome ranger, who seems to return the attraction. Ray and Duke join forces with Jenny Bridger, the group leader, to solve the mystery. Jenny must act with confidence and decisiveness but meets puzzling resistance from the volunteers. Ensuring safe passage for all will mean overcoming the group’s misgivings and slaying Jenny’s own demons, but her compassion for the victim’s widow may lead them all astray.

The age-old Canyon becomes more and more ominous as the group fights to survive alone in nature and uncover a murderer among them.

Fresh Grave in Grand Canyon contains a racial slur by a minor character.

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Loyalty, Love, & Vermouth

By Eric Peterson

Animals 
Big City
Friends & Community

After a bitter and humiliating breakup, Charlie Vernon lives not-quite-alone in his Capitol Hill town house. He kept his beloved dog, Mamie, the cockapoo that he and Freddie adopted together, but he’s just arrived home to find he’s been visited by thieves…and they’ve taken Mamie.

For the next thirty-six hours, he and his family of choice—a pair of rhyming lesbians, a Georgia-born man who might be married to a sex addict, and the hostess of DC’s hottest Drag Bingo—will band together to search for Mamie. What’s at stake isn’t just a cherished pet, but whether Charlie will be brave enough to love anything or anyone, ever again.


“Eric Peterson’s debut novel is a heartwarming and charming tale of love, loss, community, and self-discovery featuring man’s best friends of the two- and four-legged kind. A delightful read.” —Michael Nava, Lambda Literary Award-winning author of Lies With Man

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Bury Me in Shadows

By Greg Herren

Amateur Sleuths
Young Adult
Homecoming
Psychological Thriller
College Life
People of Color
New Orleans 
Ghosts
Children / Families

After landing in the hospital after a bad breakup and an ensuing drug-and-alcohol binge, college student Jake Chapman is given two options: rehab, or spend the summer at his dying grandmother’s decaying home in rural Alabama. The choice is obvious. 

His grandmother’s land has been in Jake’s family since the early nineteenth century; the ruins of the old plantation house are a short walk through the woods behind her home. An archaeological team is excavating the ruins, looking for evidence to prove an old family legend—and there’s a meth lab just over the ridge. 

Once Jake is there, he begins having strange experiences—flashes of memory, inexplicable emotions—that he can’t explain, and he keeps seeing something strange out in the woods. As he explores his family history, he uncovers some dark secrets someone—or something—is willing to kill to keep hidden.

Mystery Scene raves: "History looms over Herren’s superior Southern gothic thriller, which sensitively explores the region’s legacy of racism and homophobia. Jake’s wonderfully vulnerable narration is full of foreboding, the supernatural elements are expertly incorporated, and a flurry of stunning reveals catapults the thoughtful, multilayered plot to a devastating yet hopeful conclusion."

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A Different Man

By Andrew L. Huerta

Virgins/First Love
Multicultural 
Coming Out
Children / Families

What does it mean to be a gay man in America today? This diverse collection of stories chronicling the challenges of gay life at various ages shines a light on the progress made and the progress still to come as family expectations, cultural norms, and religious practices continue to influence gay self-perceptions and out and proud identities in America. With openly gay celebrities, homoerotic images, and LGBTQ+ popular media, being gay is becoming increasingly mainstream. Are gay men still different?

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Busy Ain't the Half of It

By Frederick Smith and Others

People of Color
College Life
Holidays |
Weddings

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?

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Death Foretold

By David S. Pederson

A Detective Heath Barrington Mystery | Book 7
Veterans

A traveling spiritualist is found shot to death in an alley late at night with his underwear around his ankles. But the perpetrator is an enigma. Was it the young trick with a drug problem the spiritualist met in the alley? The unusual woman who runs the boarding house where the trick lives? The dead man’s wife, another spiritualist with secrets of her own? The handsome, alcoholic protégé? The beautiful woman who leads the spiritualist’s fan club? Or someone else altogether?

With a list of suspects a mile long, only Detective Heath Barrington will be able to crack the murder. But Heath’s handsome fellow detective, Grant Riker, has an unlikely connection to their prime suspect that reveals a shady past he’s ashamed to admit. With more questions than answers, a séance may be the only way to the truth. Or perhaps the answer is in the cards? While Heath searches for the murderer, he uncovers more dark secrets than he bargained for, and witnesses firsthand the relentless pressure for LGBTQ+ people in the 1940s to stay hidden in the shadows.

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The Fiend in the Fog

By Jess Faraday

International Setting
Magic

1885, East London

Abigail and Gideon are under siege. Noxious fogs have been bringing their clinic waves of indigent patients with inexplicable symptoms, telling wild tales of a demonic presence in the fog. If that’s not enough, someone wants the clinic for themselves, and they’re using the force of law to get it.

On the other side of town, heiress Meg Eisenstadt and her brother Nat live a life of well-intentioned aimless luxury. She dabbles in social justice causes and he pursues alchemy. And in a secret lab in the depths of Whitechapel, disgraced physician Jin Wylie attempts to rebuild his shattered life by performing dubious research for a shadowy cabal.

They live in separate worlds on different trajectories until the mysterious fiend in the fog brings them together.

Abigail and Meg discover a shared passion for social justice, and for one another. But where does that leave her plans with Gideon? And what of the future of the clinic? Gideon has his own monster. Can he keep it in check without Abigail’s constant presence? Does Dr. Wylie’s research hold the solution to Gideon’s problems, or is it the cause of them? And could Nat’s own dabblings be the key to defeating the vicious killer in the fog?

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A Little Village Blend

By 'Nathan Burgoine

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.

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In Our Words

By Anne Shade and Others

In Our Words: Queer Stories from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Writers is a thoughtfully curated collection of short stories at the intersection of racial and queer identity. Comprising both the renowned and emerging voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color authors, across multiple countries, and diverse in style, perspective, and theme, In Our Words reflects the complexity and diversity of human experience.

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Best of the Wrong Reasons

By Sander Santiago

KindleUnlimited
Homecoming

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.

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Coming to Life on South High

By Lee Patton

For 21-year-old gay virgin Gabe Rafferty, the first decade of adulthood is unpredictable and intense. 

Flat broke upon college graduation, Gabe navigates the passage from menial work to globetrotting corporate drudge, then strives for a real chance at professional fulfillment. His journey exploring his sexuality—from inhibited innocence, to first-love crises, to random hookups—doesn’t seem to lead to the more sensual, committed relationships he wants. Then he meets Marty, an African American art student, and Gabe must face his white working-class background and racist father for a chance at true love.

Throughout, he traverses the joys and hazards of loving a headstrong cast of friends, including a lesbian couple, and Candy, a straight female friend whose life intersects with Gabe’s in unexpected ways.

For Gabe, what happens after coming of age and coming out is a scramble to survive first journeys into sex, love, and livelihood.

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Village Fool

By 'Nathan Burgoine

Holidays
A Little Village Novella

Owen is only confident in two places: at work, supporting clients through IT woes, and when he’s sitting around a gaming table in the role of a smooth and charming bard. He’s never acted on the crush he’s had on his physiotherapist—and total cubcake—Toma. Even though Owen’s no longer Toma’s patient, and his crush hasn’t dialed down in the slightest, Owen can’t figure out how to make a move.

When a friend decides to play a prank involving Owen’s contact list, Owen spends the morning of April Fools’ day inadvertently texting smooth and charming thoughts about Toma... to Toma himself.

By the time Owen discovers the prank, things are completely out of control. Discussions of thighs and awards for the World’s Best Chest have been handed out—not to mention they’ve set an accidental coffee date—and there’s no taking that sort of thing back. When this joke finally gets told, Owen’s convinced he’ll be the punchline, but with a little luck and some nudging from his friends, the last laugh might be the best of his life.

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Death's Prelude

By David S. Pederson

Virgins/First Love
International Setting
A Detective Heath Barrington Mystery | Book 6
Vacation
New York City
Age Gap
Amateur Sleuths

It’s 1937, and Heath Barrington is a naïve twenty-two-year-old about to set sail across the Atlantic on theQueen Mary. While on board, he meets the handsome Lord Simon Quimby, who invites Heath to his estate. Heath falls for Simon hard, but Simon soon becomes withdrawn and distant. Is Simon all he appears to be, or is there more to him than meets the eye? And what of the old gypsy curse Simon claims his family is under? Did it really cause his mother’s death, his sister’s suicide, and his father’s murder, or did Simon have something to do with it all? It’s up to Heath to uncover the truth, despite his heart telling him otherwise.

In this prequel to the Detective Heath Barrington Mystery series, Heath discovers that first love changes you forever and drives you to become the person you’re destined to be.

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His Brother's Viscount

By Stephanie Lake

Virgins/First Love
Disability
Reunion Romance
International Setting
Vacation
Age Gap
Royalty
Friends to Lovers Romance
Military

As a baron’s youngest son, Hector Somerville has no real prospects. He will not inherit, and he’s overshadowed by two perfect brothers. While searching for ways to improve his situation, Hector finds respite in an invitation to a country estate—and has a second chance at rekindling his illicit affair with Viscount Wentworth, captain of HBMS Dragon. The upcoming fortnight could be everything Hector dreamed of since their disastrous parting.

Wentworth has forsaken love, and yet, memories of guilt and heartache resurface. He loved a boyhood friend once, Hector’s older brother William, until the man left him, trampling his heart in the process. Years later, he wonders if he ever fell out of love. Is his heart bound by William, or can he create a life with Hector?

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The Dubious Gift of Dragon Blood

By J. Marshall Freeman

Children / Families
Young Adult
Enemies to Lovers Romance
Virgins/First Love
Coming Out
Multicultural 
Friends & Community
Other Worlds
People of Color
Royalty
Big City

High schooler Crispin Haugen already has so many identities to sort through—Asian, Scandinavian, not to mention gay. Then a messenger from another world arrives to tell him he also carries the blood of dragons in his veins.

Transported to the Realm of Fire, where dragons and humans live in harmony, Crispin falls for Davix, a brooding, nerdy scholar. But dark mysteries threaten the peace of Crispin’s new world. Without warning, dragons from the Realm of Air unleash a bloody war.

With everything he cares about on the line, Crispin must find the courage to fight...for justice and for love.

The writing of this book was supported by the Toronto Arts Council with funding from the City of Toronto.

 

Advance praise for THE DUBIOUS GIFT OF DRAGON BLOOD:
"Freeman does a great job of building an unfamiliar environment without overwhelming the reader with superfluous details....VERDICT From swoon-worthy romances to epic dragon fights, this has a little bit of everything for readers to enjoy." —School Library Journal
 
"Sixteen-year-old Crispin Haugen is chosen to be the Dragon Groom who will
mate with the Dragon Queen in order to maintain the Five...Further complicating matters is the growing attraction between Crispin and the Prime Magistrate’s handsome and devout pupil Davix. The recurring emphasis on personal agency and consent is a pleasant surprise, especially as it is applied to both intimate relationships and the chosen-one trope." —Kirkus Reviews
 
"In J. Marshall Freeman’s fantasy novel, Crispin wants to leave the shadow of his sophomore year, when he was outed and lost his first boyfriend, behind him. He takes comfort in starting his junior year as part of the popular clique, even if their ringleader treats him as a filler....Most concerned with a boy who has always felt out of place, The Dubious Gift of Dragon Blood is a young adult fantasy that’s primed for a sequel." —Foreword Reviews
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Quake City

By St John Karp

People of Color
Dystopian
Psychological Thriller

Andre met his best friend Amy on a night like tonight. The way Amy tells it she had to stop him from climbing over the bar at Aunty Bob’s to punch the bartender, though if you ask Andre he’ll say, “What? That never happened. I don’t even know what you’re saying to me right now.” 

Now Amy is worryingly missing in action, and Andre goes to Aunty Bob’s on a quest to find her. No sooner does he walk in with his depressingly heterosexual date than his best hat is spirited away by a lesbian in the throes of breaking up with her girlfriend. She in turn has it stolen from her when she starts a fight with two twinks at the bar. The hat makes its way around Aunty Bob’s from one head to another, giving glimpses into the dozens of stories playing out at the same time, unaware of each other but colliding in catastrophic ways. Can Andre find Amy before this party devolves into a nightmare of broken hearts, malevolent drag queens, and spontaneous human combustion? Or has it always happened this way, every night, at Aunty Bob’s Quake City Club?

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