Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Fox Heart



Fox Heart

by Hollis Shiloh

A Shifters & Partners story


About the story:

There are too many cops in my life.  First there's Ken, the guy I've been seeing.  I've been his secret for far too long.  Now he wants to join the Shifters and Partners organization—with me as his partner.  

I'm not convinced.  There's also this wolf hanging around now.  Eli works with the cops, and he's awfully easy to get a rise out of.  But he's also kind of my friend now.  And he's...hot?  

Fox shifters and wolf shifters don't mix.  Everybody knows that.  But this situation is starting to get tricky for my poor heart.  

What am I supposed to do when love is always just around the corner—for somebody else, but not for me?


Heat level: low

Word count: approx. 40,000

 


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Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Cody (shifters & partners #28)

 


CODY
by Hollis Shiloh

Cody, a fox shifter, has been finding it challenging to do the homicide work he was hired to do.  He works without a partner, thank you very much.  He's starting to realize he might not be cut out for this work after all.  Should he just give up and quit, or is there a better option?

Robert, whose shifter partner died years ago, has been paying his penance by checking up on precincts to make sure their consultants aren't being put in the same dangerous situations as his partner was.  But he's been burned out for a while now, and starting to think he has to quit.

When they meet, they fall for each other fast.  It feels complicated to start a relationship this way, when they're both not on sure ground about what they want to do with their lives.  

But how many chances does a person get at happiness?  Maybe it's worth the risk...


Cody previously appeared in "A Quiet Man" and Robert appeared briefly in "Foxed Up"

27,000 words
low heat


Thursday, February 24, 2022

Martin & Josh (short story)

Martin & Josh

by Hollis Shiloh

 

 

A soft knock at the door.  

Martin stirred, stretching arms over his head. The book on his chest fell, plopping to the floor. He'd fallen asleep reading it last night.

"Come in."  Did the bed-and-breakfast include room service? He was too fuzzy-headed to remember.

"Sorry, did I wake you?" A friendly, freckled face peered round the corner, smiling apologetically.

Martin's mouth fell open.  The guy had striking red, flame-like hair that seemed to have a life of its own.  It was long, reaching nearly to his shoulders.  Freckles stood out on his pale face, his expression shy.

"Josh?" asked Martin.

"Hi, Mr. Winston."  He ducked his head a little, blushing.  "Didn't think you'd remember me."

"Of course I remember you."  He sat up, pulling the sheets modestly to his chest.  A few years ago, when he was a young tutor still working on his teaching degree, Josh had been his favorite student.  

Josh was only a few years younger, and they'd both felt a friendly connection, but kept from getting too close.  Martin was trying too hard to be professional to allow it.  But there had been something about their interactions that made him wish he was younger or Josh was older.

"Do you work here now?"  Martin fumbled for his glasses.  Josh's features appeared more clearly.  The last few years had transformed Josh from shy teen to handsome young man.  Their slight age difference didn't seem to matter much now.

I'm an idiot for thinking about such things.  It must be his morning wood doing the talking.

"Er, yeah, I'm the cook."  Josh reached up to push back a few strands of his gleaming red hair. "Just wanted to bring you your tea."  He held up a blue mug.  "I hope I'll see you again later.  Sorry if I woke you."

"You—ah—thanks," mumbled Martin, wishing he knew what to say.  It had been easier when they had rigorous homework assignments to get through.

Josh closed the door quietly, and Martin stared at its warm wooden texture, feeling bereft.  Josh's cute face and striking red hair had filled his dreams more than once, although he always resolutely pushed away the images when he was awake enough to realize.  It wasn't nice to fantasize about a seventeen-year-old.   But Josh wasn't seventeen now…

 

* * * * *

 

Martin went for a walk after breakfast, hoping he'd see his favorite ex-pupil. 

The bed and breakfast was at a peaceful, wooded area in beautiful Vermont.  Martin needed to rest up from a difficult year, catch up on his reading, and start writing the novel he'd been putting off for years now.

He rounded a corner of the quaint building and stopped suddenly.  Ahead was a small wooden bench, where a familiar redheaded figure sat looking up at the trees.

Martin stood still, just watching.  The breeze moved red hair slightly, and Martin felt his throat tighten with longing, and then his trousers, too.

He started to retreat, embarrassed, but his feet made a sound on a small branch; a little crunch.  Josh turned his head.  "Hi, Mr. Winston."  His smile held an apologetic question.  "Sorry, you don't have to go just because I'm here.  You won't disturb me.  Sit down if you want."  He patted the bench. "There's plenty of room."

Martin cleared his throat, cheeks heating.  He knew he was just being shy and awkward.  As usual.

"Thanks," he mumbled.  He moved to sit beside Josh, wondering if he could fake the old attitude, that he related to Josh as someone older and more mature.

"Do you still tutor kids?" Josh cast him a shy look.  It was an intimate look, full of humility and interest.

"Ah, no, I'm a teacher now.  High school English.  Sometimes I miss tutoring, though.  Especially when I got to work with kids like you.  You actually wanted to learn."

Josh blushed.  "But I was terrible at it."

"You weren't.  Learning disabilities don't make you terrible."  He hesitated, not sure if he was allowed to ask.  But he'd already said so much.  "Do you have trouble reading recipes when you cook?"

Josh shook his head.  "I make most things from formulas that I learned in culinary school.  I keep them up here."  He tapped his head.  "And I make my own variations."  He shrugged.  "It would be easy to mix up the numbers and letters in a cookbook, but I know what I'm doing now.  I know if I misread twelve as twenty-one, because it doesn't feel right.  But mostly I don't follow recipes at all.  Sorry, I'm going on and on."  He pressed his knees together, hands between them as if to keep them from fluttering around, betraying his nervousness.

Martin longed to reach over and give his knee a gentle squeeze.  He cleared his throat.  "I'm glad you've done well.  I always thought you would.  That breakfast was wonderful, by the way."  

"Thank you."

They sat next to one another in silence for a moment.  Yet somehow it didn't feel awkward.  

"It's so nice to see you," said Josh again.  "I think of you sometimes, wished I could show you I grew up…worth something."  He blushed, ducking his head.  "That…came out wrong."

Martin made a sound in his throat.  "Oh, Josh, you were always worth something."

"I…I know…I just…"  He looked at Martin now, his ears pink, his smile slightly naughty.  "I wanted you to see me as an adult.  I guess you know I had a crush on you."

"Did you?"  Martin found himself grinning, wide and teasing and full of delight.  He stretched out a little, putting one arm along the back of the bench—almost but not quite around Josh's shoulders.  "Tell me more."

Josh laughed, ducking his head, looking giddy with relief.  "Maybe a big crush," he admitted.  

Their eyes met, both gazes filled with relief and something more.  

Hope.  

Maybe this unexpected reunion could be the start of something wonderful.

  

 

The end


Previously published for free on the Dreamspinner Press website.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Sea Calls My Name (2nd edition)

 


The Sea Calls My Name
by Hollis Shiloh
2nd edition

He lost his magic. How?

Returning to the bookstore by the sea, Daniel worries about how to tell his father that the money he saved to send his gifted son to magic school was a waste.

Daniel buries his secret under the pretense of coming home for a vacation. Then he meets Leaf Springfield, a beautiful young man who's been systematically beaten down by his uncle.

Irresistibly drawn to one another, they learn they share more than a love for raw fish and the ocean—they both lost a mother, and their ties to the ocean may be more fantastic than they can imagine.

Passion explodes between the two. It terrifies Daniel how quickly his feelings for Leaf grow. There may be more here than meets the eye—about both of them.

This is the second edition.  It has no significant changes.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Charlie and Me (shifters & partners #27)

 


Charlie and Me

by Hollis Shiloh

Peter is stuck in a dead-end job, maybe a dead-end life.  It's still hard for him to accept that he's not straight, even though he should be used to it by now.  The best thing in his life is his friend Charlie.  Charlie is a wolf shifter and could qualify for a better job.  Peter thinks he should try—one of them should get ahead in life—and Charlie has a counter offer: they get a job together through the Shifters and Partners program.  If they do, it will mean spending a lot more time together.  Time for Peter to realize it's getting harder and harder to imagine he might be straight after all...or to ignore his growing feelings for Charlie.


31,000 words
low heat


Thursday, June 17, 2021

Adrian's Librarian

 


Adrian's Librarian
by Hollis Shiloh

One night at a masquerade party, rakish Adrian Knowles kisses the wrong man by mistake and meets Oliver Windham. Feisty yet wary and broken, Ollie desperately needs a friend. Almost against his will, Adrian finds himself playing the hero… and falling in love.

Adrian hires Ollie to set his library to rights—after having his servants put all the books out of order. He promises himself he’ll treat Ollie only as a friend, but Ollie quickly becomes the only man he wants.


Originally published by Dreamspinner Press in 2013. This is the 2nd edition, which has not been altered.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Shifters and Partners (Box Set 16-20)


 

Shifters and Partners

Box Set 16-20

by Hollis Shiloh


This box set contains the following stories from the "Shifters and Partners" series:


LOYAL

Trees Take the Long View

Someone Else's Wolf

A Quiet Man

Starring Role



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