AUTHOR SIOBHAN SMILE
At thirty-three, I was hopelessly in love with my best friend and roommate, Aisling Butcher. She was everything I wanted but could never have because I wouldn’t break that barrier. My fear of losing her was too much to transcend. That didn’t mean I didn’t live for every adoring expression when she looked at me. Yet how much longer could I remain strong before I revealed my secret?
My baby sister’s best friend, Toni, was flawless. She was everything I’d always wanted but knew I couldn’t possess. She was always my Babygirl. Her happiness and safety my only concern in life. That’s why I wouldn’t make my feelings known. I wasn’t good enough. I wouldn’t let my demons touch her perfection. But when teasing kisses turn to more, am I brave enough to claim what’s mine?
(Previously published in Dirty Daddies Pride 2021 Anthology. This doesn't contain any new content. Please read the author's note for content/trigger warnings before purchasing this title.)
MAMA DIDN'T SIGN UP FOR THIS
He had one rule. Sometimes rules were meant to be broken.
My life changed on the first day of school. Could this be a midlife crisis? No, that was too easy an explanation. I never crossed the line of dating a mother of one of the students in my school. That was a complication I didn't need. My brain told me I needed to keep my distance, but every time I ran into Sari Hampton, every part of me screamed she was mine. There was no way I was going to be able to resist the pretty single mom.
I may write romance for a living, but I was just faking it. At thirty-nine, I was not having any success in finding my happily ever after. There was one thing in life I could control—I wanted a family. I'd grown up in foster care. And after years of fostering children like me, I’d given them a place to be safe no matter how briefly they came to me. That was until Reggie arrived, and I knew he was my son. Yet, the first day at his new school, I met Principal Drake Pike. He was too perfect. We weren’t going to be friends, but how long could I remain strong and keep a safe distance between him and my heart?
A divorced, small town, hardware store owner, and the man most people considered a gentleman that was me. A slip up in my strict routine would send the town gossips into a frenzy. Yet I'd grown up in that town and everyone knew everyone. No secrets were safe, but I carried one that would send my world into chaos if I let it. I was falling for a town transplant and one of my best friends, Sugar. He was everything I wasn't, spontaneous, fun, and knew exactly who he was. What would he see in a boring man like me?
I was that fat, nonbinary person who hadn't known the inside of the closet in my life. With a mom like mine I was taught to never live with regrets, but I had a massive one. I fell in love with my straight and gentlemanly best friend. Grey was everything I wasn't. He was clueless but our shared friend group wasn't, how long could they stay silent in a town as small as ours?