Monday, December 30, 2013

Songs By Heart

Music. It brought them together, and it might just tear them apart.

When Mike met Harry, he knew this sweet, insecure, and musically talented guy was going places. What he didn't know was how hard it would be to stand back and let him.

It seems to take forever before skittish Harry--who works as a part-time waiter and plays guitar in the park--will even consider dating handsome, musical, and geeky Mike, especially when Harry feels betrayed by circumstances beyond Mike's control. 

But once they start dating, they're so happy together.  Apparently two ordinary guys can find love.

Then their relationship is tested by each man's insecurities, and by Harry's unexpected chance in the music industry.  When he ends up on a reality TV show for singer/songwriters, the enforced distance (and the media outing Mike) almost destroys their relationship. 

With all these changes, do they still have room in their lives for each other?

A sweet, gentle contemporary gay romance.

Length: 101,000 words (full length novel)

For sale on Amazon:

and Barnes and Noble:

Should be available from some other vendors before long.  :)

This is a full-length novel, really quite long, and it took me from one and a half to two years from start to finish.  (I can't remember exactly when I started it, and I haven't kept very good records, sorry!)  

In one sense it's difficult to actually let go and put it out there, to say goodbye to my boys.  But ah, it was time.  I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I did.  Okay, probably not possible--but at least a bit, maybe?

Have a good New Year's!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Magic for Lee

Peter runs a magic shop, quietly helping people with his magic, resigned to living alone—and trying to hide his crush on Lee, his baker friend. Then one day Lee asks him to make a special spell, a spell to reveal Lee's feelings to the person he loves. Peter never expected to have his crush returned, so he resigns himself to making the spell for Lee's beloved, in the meantime relishing the time Lee spends with him. 

Dangerous magic comes to their peaceful neighborhood: a harmless, gentle neighbor is killed. The police consult briefly with Peter about it, though they don't tell him what happened or why. Peter and Lee wish they could investigate, but instead stay out of it as ordered. Or at least, they try to… 

Length: 24,000 words 
Heat Level: very low 

You know, I'm kind of almost sad to see this one finished.  I don't want to say goodbye to my boys!!  Also, I wish it had turned out sexier.  I know, I can't believe I'm saying that either....

Saturday, December 21, 2013

books & more books!

Tinsel Fish is out!!!!!!!!!!!!  What a great Christmas gift.  :-)  I was going to try to wait till Christmas to read it, but don't think I'll make it.  :D

Also on my reading list:

The Heart of Frost, by Charlie Cochet

So many wonderful books are out!

I want to talk about more I've read or want to read, but that will have to wait.  :-)

Hope you guys all have a great Christmas / Holiday season!  

Friday, December 20, 2013

Coming Soon: Magic For Lee

cover design by Melody Simmons

Magic, sweet gay romance, and a little mystery!  24,000 words, coming soon from Spare Words Press.  I had a lot of fun writing this one.  And I really, really like the cover.  Melody does great work.  :)

Yes, It Is That Hard

I was thinking today about how difficult it is to be a writer.  I mean, hey, I get to sit down & write whatever story I want to tell.  Nobody can stop me and nobody can make me give it up.  So how is that hard?

Well, on the one hand it's EASY.  It's kind of addictive, and very important to me.  Telling stories is the best.

On the other get any good, you need a lot of practice.  You need to learn the mechanics of writing, get a feel for story structure, and practice till your fingers practically bleed.

And then there's no guarantee that the stories you write will be any good, or at least something that interests anyone else.  Or if they do, that it'll interest them enough to buy it.  Or if it does and they do, that they won't end up hating it and leaving reviews that make it sound like you're both racist and evil.  (This hasn't happened to me, as far as I know--but I'm not reading a lot of my reviews, LOL!)

The point is, there are no guarantees.

I have been taking this seriously for more than twenty years.  Yes, part of that time I was a child.  I still took it intensely seriously--practicing, planning for the future, learning and writing as much as I possibly could.  Wanting to be a writer with my whole heart.

I've written for thousands of hours, millions of words (yes millions), and story upon story upon story.  I have no guarantees that anything--anything--I've ever written or ever will is "important" or "good" or even "entertaining," because these things are kinda subjective.

I do know I've enjoyed almost all of it.  Except editing.  And a lot of business stuff that goes with writing.  And the crippling self-doubt that sometimes hits any writer.   (If you're a writer, you know what I mean.)

When I read a story by a new-to-me author and love it, and go to find more of their work and then see that they haven't published anything else, I'm always disappointed.  :(  But...I get it.  I really do.  It's harder than they thought it would be, or they don't have the time, or they let the bad reviews get to them, or they did the math and realized, "What the heck?  I sold twelve copies and spent months of my life doing this??  I could do better and have more fun selling on eBay!"

Or maybe they're still out there working on another story.  I hope they are; I'm rooting for them, for entirely selfish reasons: because I want to read more of their work.  I'm rooting for you, one-story author.  Or aspiring author.  Or blocked writer.  Because I love to read as well as write, and more stories are always a good thing if you ask me.  :)

But, I do get it.  I get quitting.  It's hard to keep writing sometimes.

And weirdly, as serious as I take it, I can't take it too seriously.  I have to play while I'm writing--enjoy it and write something that I find interesting.  Because sitting down and Writing Something Serious and Important doesn't seem to work.

No matter what I do, I don't know what the reaction will be to my next story: disappearing, getting trashed in reviews, or what.  But it doesn't matter.  Writing can't be about that.  It can't be about the money, if any.  (Oh, and it's really best not to work out how much time you spend and whether you're earning minimum wage, with this work that you spend hours on every day and often earn little or nothing from.)  It's best to have fun, do your best, and then let it go.

It's probably really best to not be a writer at all, but I'm not sure I have that choice.  :-)

And you know what?  Tomorrow I get to get up, sit down, and start typing on a story that I have been longing to write.  I get to meet new characters, lose myself in the atmosphere, and wrestle with plot, and I can just feel it's going to be fun.

I am looking forward to tomorrow.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thank you for the nominations!! :)

Best Historical nominations: Adrian's Librarian and Winton's Strays.  

I don't think I deserve to win (hell, I didn't even vote for myself!) but I am very grateful for the nominations.  

Thank you!  <3

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

stories that didn't work.

Now that the year is almost through, here's a look at my unfinished or abandoned work.

The Clone – A sci fi story about a clone.  -  Didn't quite work; felt 'off.'

Teds and Bread – A guy who bakes bread meets a guy who sews teddy bears and has a chip on his shoulder about his cheating ex.  -  Didn't manage to find a way to finish this.  It sounded so good in my head but it fizzled.

Jody the Con – A guy meets an old friend, the boy he first loved—now a man who can't be trusted an inch.  -  I didn't trust Jody an inch; couldn't finish it.

Lollipop Guy & Bakery Man – Fred's boyfriend breaks up with him and he finally notices that sweet, swishy Sascha is interested in him—and not ashamed to be with a "big, dumb baker."  -  Too much sex, and I didn't like the characters enough. 

"Bookstore" – Alex is hiding out in fear for his life, working at a bookstore.  His old boss finally tracks him down and sends his ex-partner—and lover—after him.  Reece isn't certain he can forgive the only man he ever loved for running away, but he can't let him go either.  -  Too much sex, too much angst, ran out of plot.  Also, not enough books for being about a man working in a bookstore.

"Flight" – A flyboy acquires a new wing-walker in a scruffy farm boy desperate to escape his old life.  -  Something about this story just doesn't click.  The farm boy needs more personality, or the flyboy does, or they both do.

"Decorations" – Two men who work together in a candy shop discover a mutual love of Christmas, and a mutual attraction neither has dared admit.  -  I'm really sad this one fell through, because I like the guys, I just couldn't seem to write the story.  It's been over a year so I probably have to accept it's dead.  

I've pretty much had to admit defeat and move these stories from my "WIP" list to my "defeated" list.  Maybe I'll find some way to fix and finish these next year, but I won't hold my breath.

NOTE: If you take any of these story ideas, PLEASE let me know and credit me.  It would be appreciated!!  I don't mean vaguely inspired by, but if you actually take the idea.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mark & Ethan

Sometimes I think these guys could cheer up any day, with their random, real-life adventures.  

It's so nice to see young guys in a committed relationship that's happy, healthy and fun. 

Angst is fine in stories - but I think in real life we'd all prefer to be as happy as these guys seem together.  


Friday, December 13, 2013

RJ Scott's competition!

Download for free at Love Lane Books or All Romance Ebooks

Hey guys!  RJ Scott, who made this lovely anthology, is running a free drawing.  You can enter here:

(To enter her big competition, go here:

The prize I signed up to give is any two copies from my back-list, whatever format you'd prefer.  RJ will tell me who won, and I'll send you your choices.  :)

Back to the anthology.  I had so much fun being part of this free Christmas book, and I'm grateful to RJ Scott for creating it.

Personally, I find there's something special about writing a Christmas story.  Perhaps because there's always something to shoot for--that specific feeling that, to me, means warmth and Christmas and happiness and, if possible, snow!  :)  

Plus I do love a happy ending, and Christmas stories seem to just go with happy endings.  Well, enough yammering from me!  I hope you have a great Christmas, whatever it holds.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

sales + cover art!!!!!!

Five of my stories are on sale on Amazon for the next few days:

And...this is so exciting...check out my new cover art, made by the amazing Catt Ford!  :-D

Isn't it just beautiful??  :)  This is another Dreamspinner Press title and will be out in Spring!  :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Delights anthology - free!

Hey guys!  Belatedly wanted to let you know it's out.  You can get it from Love Lane Books or All Romance Ebooks.  

My story is called "The Christmas Mansion."   It's a "sweet" story that takes place in a historical fantasy version of America with some magic and two guys falling in love while fixing up an old mansion.  Here's the blurb:

The Christmas Mansion, by Hollis Shiloh
In a world of gas lighting and horse-drawn carriages, Rex is fixing up an old mansion to host a Christmas party for his wealthy family's business. He meets a gentle, insecure magician named Gene, who's come to work on the crumbling mansion's moldings. He doesn't expect to fall in love.
(Approx. 9500 words)

Anyway, it was really awesome to get to have one of my stories in here, and I appreciate it so much that RJ Scott made this free Christmas anthology!!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Harper Fox books

Does it sound strange to say that I always hesitate to start a new Harper Fox book?  They are such deeply emotional & beautifully written reads for me that I find myself almost unable to put the books down once I start one.  Sometimes it feels like I can hardly catch my breath until I find out what happens next.  At any rate, over the last couple of weeks I've read a bunch of them, gulping them down like I usually do, moved by the emotion and intensity and plots, but also by the beautiful writing style.  Fox is one of those authors that makes me want to be a better writer!  I don't know how she does it, but she always manages to make me care about her characters, even when I don't think I'll be able to!


Saturday, November 9, 2013

diet time

So, I'm currently trying to lose some weight.  This year I concentrated on writing, editing, and all the rest of it so much that I've rather neglected certain important considerations.  Like not eating a lot of junk food, for instance.

Unfortunately changing my diet seems to make me a bit...emotional.  I'm inches from tears at the moment, and dreadfully missing carbs.  It seems like there's never a good time to change one's diet though, doesn't it?  :)

Anyway, I can always stop if I have to.  And stay fat.  *sobs*

This is not at all an important post.  But I do want to start taking my health seriously so I don't have to make any more sudden changes this year or the next.  I shouldn't be sacrificing eating properly to write, because I know it's going to come back and bite me sooner or later.  In the ass.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go prepare peanut butter on celery sticks.

Friday, November 8, 2013

2 interviews + a pre-order!

Hey guys!  Thanks so much to anyone who is buying You Were Always the One!  I'm really happy to see that people are interested in reading about Max and Jamie.  Or else they just love the beautiful cover art, but I'm cool with that.  ;)  Anyway, thank you!


Here on Chris T. Kat's blog!

Here on Books On Silver Wings!

Thanks very much to both blogs for hosting me.  :D


Always Saying Goodbye now has a pre-order page at Less Than Three Press!  It will be released in January.

Oh, also, my wolf shifter story, "Brian's Mate," is going to be illustrated by Dreamspinner's Catt Ford!  Isn't that amazing??  :)  I'm really looking forward to seeing what she creates.  :D

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

release day: You Were Always the One, by Hollis Shiloh

You Were Always the One

by Hollis Shiloh


Max struggled through every day in high school, especially when his hormones seemed to crave boys rather than girls. His best friend Mason and Mason’s younger brother Jamie made a bright spot in his teen life, until he confessed to Mason he was gay. Mason responded by ripping away all his joy, ending their friendship, and warning Max against seeing Jamie. Max is a policeman now, comfortable in his sexuality but private and wary, taking solace in his job and the friendship of his golden retriever, Alex. But the past he thought was behind him demands resolution when a prickly, wounded, shockingly sexy Jamie gets arrested, and Max comes to the rescue.

ISBN-13:  978-1-62798-270-2
Pages:  104
Cover Artist:  Christine Griffin

An excerpt can be read on the Dreamspinner Press site.

Free review copies are always available.  Just let me know which 
format you'd like: mobi, epub, or pdf.  

Buy links:

Dreamspinner Press: 


(It should be available elsewhere soon, too!)

Hope you have a great day!

Friday, October 25, 2013

RJ Scott's Christmas Anthology - Free!

You guys...I'm going to have a story in this.  Can you believe it???????  :D

My story is called "The Christmas Mansion."  It takes place in the same universe as "Jude's Magic," a sort of 1890s alternate America, with magic.  Sort of.  Anyway, my story is about 9500 words and definitely on the "sweet" end of the scale.  

It was a lot of fun to write.  I can hardly believe I'm going to have a story in this anthology!  You'll be able to download the anthology (for free) in December.  :)  Did I mention the free part?  I'm so excited...and yes, a little scared!  

Also, isn't this cover gorgeous?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

release date - Oct. 30!

Available for pre-order!

The release date is October 30!  Halloween Eve!!  Too bad it's not a scary story, huh?  :D

I'm hoping to post on a few blogs, if anyone will have me, around the release date (that day, earlier, or a bit later).  

Really excited my story is coming out soon.  :)

Monday, October 7, 2013


So, I joined Scribd!

One can sign up for a monthly fee to read as many books as you want.  They don't have all books, but they have a good selection, I think!  

These are the currently available Dreamspinner titles (over 800):

Best of all, Elizabeth said authors still get full royalties for reads from this site.  I hope the models works for them.  I'd like to keep reading here!

Here are some of my recent reads that I've enjoyed a great deal:


It's lovely to read as quickly as I want and not "ration" stories!  :)  If they keep being this amazing, I'll probably stay a member for life.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Jack & Julian (I really need to get better at names!)

Jack & Julian 

Julian is a doctor, an American who's been living in England since before the War. Jack is English and served his country faithfully during WWII, but now he's a private tutor in a small English village, sent away from the SIS in disgrace for being homosexual. 

Julian, limping, closed-off, and blunt, is drawn to the giving and whimsical Jack. And Jack is drawn to the quiet steadiness of the man who might have secrets, but would never take him to bed simply because there's no barmaid handy. 

The two forge a relationship in the only way they can just after WWII: secretly. The warmth and caring blooming between them gives them both the safety to share their pasts with one another. 

But all is not serene, because someone wants Jack dead. 

And Julian can't lose another lover. Not like this. Not again. 

Length: approx. 16,500 words 


"Jack is fine," said the sandy-haired man, facing me. His blue eyes snapped friendly and naughty. He was taking me in, looked like he liked what he saw. I did, too. 

I gave him a small nod. "And you can call me Julian. Perhaps we'd best go to the kitchen, where there's more light." I turned away, and he followed. 

After a moment, he reached out and took my bag with his left hand. I gave him a startled blink, but let him take it. It felt surprisingly intimate walking with him quietly through that great house. He didn't say anything, and he gave the Gladstone back to me before we arrived in the kitchen. 

"How did you hurt yourself?" I asked, even though Lady Jane had already told me over the telephone, calling me up herself apologetically. The new tutor had fallen from a tree and caught his arm on some fencing, and could I come over and stitch him up? 

He shrugged. "Foolishness." He gave me that smile again. 

He didn't look like any tutor I had ever seen. He had the bluff, confident, laughing looks of a young pilot, or a wealthy landowner's second son. His hair was just that color that is nearly blond, light brown with streaks of paler hair burned in by the sun. He was the type I always fancied. I expected him to be noisy, chattering, but he was silent. I barely looked at him till I was bandaging his arm in the kitchen, sitting at the large, scarred wooden table together, our heads bent over his arm, the sunshine streaming in. 

The kitchen smelled of apples. Behind us, the large, comfortable-waisted cook, Mrs. Smith, was peeling them slowly and cutting them one at a time into a pie crust. She glanced over at us. Her competent hands were thick and hardened with work, skin that didn't cut even when she pressed the knife against it, cutting each slice of apple. 

The kitchen held a quiet, calm, sleepy warmth. A large bluebottle buzzed lazily around, stopping to bang itself against the window glass and then returning to the pie in progress. Mrs. Smith waved it away with her knife. 

Jack still hadn't spoken and neither had I. I washed and stitched his arm carefully in the warm stillness. His hand squeezed tight into a fist at the pain, but he only jerked once, closing his eyes, tightening his jaw, and enduring. 

"Finished," I said at last, sitting back, a crick in my back as I straightened. A neat row of stitches ran up his arm, replacing the rough gash from the fence he'd managed to cut himself on while falling. 

He looked up and met my gaze, his paler now, almost gray. His eyes held something, almost a plea or a longing, as though he wished to say something but knew he mustn't. He licked his lips and tried to smile. He gave a faint nod, but didn't speak. 

"Head between your knees," I said, reaching up and putting my hand on the back of his head, drawing him down. 

He breathed shallow, gasping breaths. 

"Brandy, Mrs. Smith?" I asked. 

She moved to fetch it quickly, making it clear she had been watching. I left my hand on the back of his neck for a moment, stroking his fine hairs gently.


Buy links: 

On Amazon:

On Scribd: 

(Selling on Scribd is a bit new for me -- let me know if it works for you if you try it!)  :)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Coming Soon: You Were Always the One

 cover by Cris Griffin

Max struggled through every day in high school, especially when his hormones seemed to crave boys rather than girls. His best friend Mason and Mason’s younger brother Jamie made a bright spot in his teen life, until he confessed to Mason he was gay. Mason responded by ripping away all his joy, ending their friendship, and warning Max against seeing Jamie. Max is a policeman now, comfortable in his sexuality but private and wary, taking solace in his job and the friendship of his golden retriever Alex. But the past he thought was behind him demands resolution when a  prickly, wounded, shockingly sexy Jamie gets arrested, and Max comes to the rescue.

To be published in November 2013 by Dreamspinner Press.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Loved You Once - includes free short story - Regency romance

Two sweet gay Regency romance stories:
Loved You Once (novella of ~16,000 words)

Boyhood friends are separated and grow up apart. When they meet again, Sander is shocked to discover his friend Paul still has feelings for males—and acts on his feelings. Sander is disturbed and unnerved; he's never allowed himself to think those sorts of things, much less act on them. The punishment would be death, after all. But he doesn't want to lose Paul again, no matter what. Perhaps his friendship can be enough; perhaps Sander won't be jealous of more….

Laurent St. Claire (short story of ~6,000 words)

When Laurent St. Claire discovers the handsome singer he's been seducing is a virgin, he breaks things off cruelly between them. He doesn't want a hesitant lover—and he doesn't want matters of the heart to enter into it. Or so he thought….

Total length for both stories:
~22,000 words

Heat level: low

Categories: sweet gay romance, Regency romance, historical / English romance

Friday, September 20, 2013

Newsletter Special - free book for joining

For the next few days (September 20-23), anybody on my newsletter, or who joins my newsletter, has the choice of one free ebook of mine.  Just tell me what book and what format you want.  I'll try to send the ebooks within 24 hours, but I don't know what kind of response I'm going to get, so please be patient if it takes me a little longer!  :)

No strings attached, except joining my mailing list (and if you find it irritates you, you can always un-join at any later date).  The only restriction I have is that for my Dreamspinner Press title, "Adrian's Librarian," only the first five people who request that will get it.  Other that that, have at it!  :)

Here are my titles:

This is a new thing for me, and I'm excited and a little scared.  (What if only three people participate?  What if three hundred people join and I get overwhelmed and fall behind on sending them ebooks??)  Depending on how this goes, I might try it again sometime, or end up telling myself, "Never again!!"

Anyway, if you want to help me with this experiment, please just email me, tell me what you'd like to read that I wrote, and what format works for you.

P.S. The only thing I use my mailing list for is telling you about new releases or special deals.  I promise not to bombard you with messages or share your email address with anyone who wants to buy it, or anything like that!


Oh, my email address is at the right, or written on this little green leaf:

Monday, September 16, 2013


So these are some stories that I'm into:

Scrap Metal, by Harper Fox

I read this book months ago now, but it's still stuck with me.  The atmosphere, the mystery, the strong narrative voice, the setting, the emotion.  I keep thinking I'll reread this but getting busy with other things.  But I remember it very clearly; it made a big impression on me.  I think about it often, and I wish I could write with as much emotion as Ms. Fox!

I really enjoyed "Seeing Red," by E. L. Esch.  A lot.  Like, a lot.  I feel like I like the sweet stuff most of the time, but this was a hot read that I also found sweet.  It stuck with me.  I wish this author had more books like this out.  I found the characters very appealing 

How many books hold my attention well enough to read them in one day, laughing almost every page, sometimes twice a page or more?  That was this book for me. It had it all, mystery, humor, "Englishness," and that indefinably wonderful characteristic of charm in the narrator.  I'm looking forward to reading the sequel when it's published.  I enjoyed this book so much I went out and bought almost everything else the author had written afterwards.  This one's still my fave, though.

There are lots of other stories I've enjoyed and will enjoy.  These are just three of my top reads off of my head.  :)

It's official

My selkie romance will be published by Dreamspinner Press!  :D

The title is "A Wizard's Shelter" (yes, there's a wizard in it!), and the contract says it's slated for publication in March or April of 2014.

In other news, I've finished the first draft of a short romance set in post-War England, still unnamed.

And I'm hoping to really, seriously get to work on getting my novel, "Songs by Heart," edited and published.

Oh, and I have a short Regency I hope to have out soon.  But I've got to be sure it's up to snuff first.  What a weird phrase that is!

New possibilities for AIDS vaccine?

Okay, I understood about one word in three, but it sounds hopeful, right!

Here's hoping we're a step closer to a cure for this plague on humanity (not just gay humanity, either!).

new releases

Mark & Spence

Mark is a cynical, too pretty, slight man working as an elf for the Christmas season at a department store. He also hasn't been in a relationship since his manipulative and abusive ex left him.

Spence is a tall, handsome, strong man who works as a reindeer helping 'Santa' at the same department store. The two share a special chemistry, but it's hard for Mark to trust anyone, even this gentle man.

They both have secrets that could -- perhaps should -- keep them apart. Gentle, caring Spence keeps getting past Mark's barriers...but will Mark be able to handle it when he finds out why Spence is really here?

Contains a Christmas theme, reindeer shifters, elves, abusive relationship aftermath, angst, and a happy ending.

14,000 + words gay romance

Design by the Sea

Rudy is excited to be working for his old friend, the shy, bewildered, terminally handsome Wes, who's inherited a bunch of antiques and a mandate to turn a mansion overlooking the sea into a museum housing them. As an interior designer, Rudy is confident he can help. But he doesn't expect the trouble that comes from a possibly-cursed crown, a jealous Roman antiquities expert... or the possibility of falling in love.

Length: 14,700 words
Heat level: Sweet

Monday, August 26, 2013

Jude's Magic

Jude's Magic (gay romance) by Hollis Shiloh

Jude has never had very spectacular magic, though he's always been too sensitive to the kind that hurts people. Desperate for work, he hires on as a companion to a wealthy man—who turns out to be a severely injured dueling wizard named Ferrous. Any sort of violent magic makes Jude physically ill. But Ferrous thinks Jude is the only one who can heal him. He might just be right.

A fantasy-themed gay romance

16,000 words


Ferrous was looking around, passing a hand over his eyes and blinking rapidly. "I can see the light, and the shape of the plants. Let me look at you." He turned to Jude and drew back, squinting and blinking. "You're slim and dark haired, right?"


"And you'll stay? As my companion?" He started to reach for Jude again, and then held back instead.

Jude hesitated. It felt like saying yes to more than a job. It felt like a lot more. But somehow he didn't want to walk away, either. "Okay. If you want."

"Oh, I do want. Please speak to my cousin. He'll see about paying you and find you a room." Again he looked as if he was going to pull Jude close. But he only stared at him, long and hard and hungrily, as Jude got up and began to leave.

Something made him hesitate. "What did you mean, 'You're the one?'" It didn't make sense to him. Yes, Jude had the ability to fix some things, slowly and not very skillfully, but there were many better healing magicians out there. Jude's father had always scorned his gift, even though he'd sometimes wanted Jude to fix a cut, bruise, or hangover for him.

Ferrous hesitated and bit his lower lip. "I can't tell you just yet. But it's a good thing. It's…I'm very grateful to you." He ducked his head slightly.

He looked like he meant it so much that Jude couldn't help smiling. "I'm glad I could help." The words came out sounding shy.

"So am I, believe me."

"But I'm sure there are much better people out there for fixing your eyes."

Ferrous seemed to hesitate, to weigh his words. "Maybe you're the one I need," he said, and he spoke with such warmth and lack of pretense that Jude found himself blushing.

"Well—uh—okay. I'd better go now," he said, retreating quickly, glancing back to be sure he wasn't going to trip over something by walking backwards.

"Yes," agreed Ferrous, but he was still watching him—or at least staring at him with great intensity. His eyes weren't so filmy white now, as if they really were getting better.

As always, review copies are available for free!