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Early 2011, it all began with a letter and a picture in the Goodreads M/M Romance Group.

Dear Author,
My marriage ended badly but I have no regrets as I now have a wonderful son. I wonder what's next for me, though, and if I'll ever find true love?
A Reader

And from those two sentences a story was born. 

This is that story. 

Devyn Strake's tattoos and piercings are sexy as hell, but what really attracts Sully Moore's attention is his new neighbor's tender care of his infant son.

Devyn shouldn't let his attraction for his handsome neighbor distract him. He's in trouble, and he has to make baby Kail his chief priority.

How does a good cop find love with a bad boy in trouble?

**Please note: This is a newly edited version of a previously released short story.

Furious, Devyn Starke stalked up the overgrown path to Kayla’s apartment. It was his weekend to have Kail. Devyn was stuck with this stupid visitation agreement, Wednesday nights and every other weekend, alternate holidays. He should have had full custody, but instead, the judge had decreed that a boy of eight months needed his mother more than his father. Bullshit. Kail needed him as much as he needed Kail.
2C. He hadn’t been here before, but, surely Kayla could afford better on the amount of child support and spousal support he’d been required to pay?
He knocked politely on the door, a sharp rap. A noise from inside drifted through an open screen window. It only took a moment to recognize the sound as the pathetic cries of a baby. He pounded his fists on the grubby door, calling out, “Kayla! It’s Devyn. I came to get Kail for the weekend.” There was no response, no sound from within but the continued cries. He wasn’t supposed to be here. Kayla had claimed he’d threatened her, asked the judge for a restraining order. The judge had eyed him up and down, noting every piercing and tattoo, and the order had been granted. His expensive lawyer and his dad by his side in his Armani suit had counted for nothing. He looked like a thug, therefore, he was a thug.
Then again, Kayla was supposed to bring Kail to him for his visits at a prearranged public place. He’d waited at the McDonald’s for over an hour past the time they were to be there. When he couldn’t reach Kayla on her cell phone, he’d given in to the anger and headed over here. She could have all the money he could get his hands on, but Kayla wasn’t keeping him from his son anymore.
He could hear Kail’s frantic cries from inside the apartment, but other than that, there was no sign of anyone being home. It was his weekend to have Kail, and Kayla was fucking nuts if she thought she was going to get away with not bringing him to the meeting place again. Restraining order be thrice-damned.
Pain ripped through him as his son’s cries grew louder on the other side of that door. He looked around frantically. Either Kayla had gotten a lot more tolerant than she used to be or she wasn’t in there. If she was, she was passed out. He had to get to Kail. The manager’s office had an out to lunch sign on the door. No help from that quarter. No one else seemed to care about the noise he made or the noise his son made.
Devyn bent forward to peer in the window, hoping to catch sight of Kayla or Kail through the window. He couldn’t see Kayla, but he saw Kail right away. The little boy stood clutching grimly at the bars of the playpen, screaming and crying, face red with exertion. Tears had etched shiny tracks down his face, and he was nude except for a bulky-looking diaper.
Desperate to get to Kail, he pulled from his pocket the Swiss Army knife his dad had given him for his fourteenth birthday. The window to the left of the door was raised just a bit. Kneeling down, he used the sharp blade of the knife to cut the screen away from the frame. Peeling the screen back he raised the window, talking as soothingly as he could to Kail. “Daddy’s coming, big boy. No need to cry. Daddy’s here.”
When Kail turned to the window and caught sight of his daddy climbing through, his shrieks subsided to sobs. The tear-drenched dark eyes ripped another hole in Devyn’s heart. Fuck. He landed on the floor under the window, knocking a withered plant over on the way down.
Without Kail’s cries, the apartment was eerily silent. Kayla wasn’t here. Devyn rose shakily and hurried to the playpen. Kail reached out to grab him, striving to climb out on his own. “Shh…I got you.” He pulled the squirming little body close, grimacing as hot liquid seeped through the soggy diaper and wet his own T-shirt. He wrinkled his nose at the scent of piss. Poor tyke hadn’t been changed in a while.
He searched the dingy room for diapers and wipes, relieved to find them and a diaper bag on the floor by the battered sofa.
On the way over to the sofa, the sticky tapes on the side of the current diaper caved to pressure and it fell off to land with a sickening plop on the floor. He left it there. Bitch could clean it up when she got back. He set Kail down on the sofa, and held him in place with one hand while he knelt next to the sofa. He patted blindly with one hand, reaching for the wipes and a diaper.
A sudden sharp prick of pain in his finger and he glanced down in disbelief. No freaking way. The thin glint of metal caught his eye. Way. A needle. His gaze zoomed to the grungy coffee table and took in the other paraphernalia there. Shit. Fuck it. He whipped his T-shirt off over his head and wrapped it around his son. Fuck this shit.
Grabbing the diaper bag, he hoisted Kail into his arms and headed for the door. He clutched his little man to him with one arm, heart aching at the baby’s desperate grip on his neck, and pulled his cell phone from his pocket. A few quick zoomed in shots of the drug stuff, a few wide angle shots of the whole room, and he was on his way. If Kayla walked through the entry while he was on his way out, he’d mow the bitch down.
Bad enough to leave the little man alone in the apartment for god knows how long, but to be using again?

He slammed the door on his way out, not caring who saw him as he cuddled his son in his arms and headed to his car. He fumbled his cell phone and hit speed dial. “Dad? I’m coming over. Bringing Kail. We need to talk. Call the lawyer.”

Book Blast: AJ Thomas & The Way Things Are #mmromance #pridepromotions

Book Name: The Way Things Are

Release Date: January 30, 2015

AJ Thomas 

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer
A night of drunken confusion at nineteen resulted in Patrick Connelly fathering a child. Determined to be there for his son, Patrick walked away from a sport he loved and forever hid his sexuality. After Patrick's brutal divorce and a vicious hate crime, his son, Jay, has become obsessed with graffiti. Hoping for a fresh start, Patrick moves Jay to his childhood home in Seattle. Within two weeks, Jay is arrested again. On his way to pick Jay up, Patrick stops an assault, then finds himself in handcuffs too. Thinking things canʼt get any worse, heʼs confronted by the sexiest man heʼs ever seen—his sonʼs new probation officer, Ken Atkins.

The hardest part of Kenʼs job is working with difficult parents, and the undeniably handsome Patrick Connelly is going to be a difficult parent. A chance encounter and steamy hookup with Patrick leave Ken blindsided. As they work together to try to keep Jay on the right path, the passion between them proves impossible to resist. When the assault Patrick prevented comes back to haunt them and Jay gets into trouble again, Ken must convince Patrick that ensuring his sonʼs happiness doesnʼt have to mean sacrificing his own.

Categories: Contemporary, Erotic (light), Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance


Ken shook his head, the motion making his entire body sway again. “I can’t believe you,” he said in disgust. “You have a child home alone right now, who needs an actual fucking role model in his life and actual supervision, and you’re here.” He gestured around at the dusty office. “I would have figured you’d be a bit old and butch for most of the clientele at this place.”

Patrick opened his mouth to deny that he was there selling himself, then stopped. “I’m not that old. And I am an employee of Corbin’s Attic.”

Ken chuckled. “You work for the club?”

“Yes. I had a shirt, but some vicious little drama queen insisted I dance with him, and he wouldn’t take no for answer.”

“You should have called one of the bouncers. They’re serious guys.”

“Uh….” Patrick scratched the back of his head. “I am pretty sure none of the other bouncers here would have come to my rescue.”

Other bouncers?”

“Yeah. Which reminds me, I need to steal another shirt.” The security T-shirts were in a small, tumbling stack on top of boxes in the corner, next to five bigger stacks of black aprons and towels. He sorted through the T-shirts to find his size, then held it up so Ken could see the stenciled yellow “SECURITY” on the back.

“You’re a bouncer?”

“Just until I get my first check from the Port. And until Jay gets in trouble again and has to pay another fine. And maybe until the owner finds someone else to use as eye candy when he wants to make the guy who refuses to go out with him jealous.”

Ken choked. “That was the owner? The blonde guy you were wrapped around out there?”

“That was Corbin Hollis, yes. Which is why none of the other guys would dare help me. He’s my best friend. He’s letting me pick up some hours here because I’m broke.”

Ken looked at him again, just for a moment, before he dropped his gaze to the floor. “I should let you get back to work, then.”

Patrick caught Ken as he stumbled toward the door. “Hang on, now. I told you why I was here. Shouldn’t you be fair?”

“No,” Ken said. “I shouldn’t be here at all. Not if one of my parents works here, that’s for damn sure.” Patrick wrapped his arms around Ken’s waist and tried to hold him steady while Ken squirmed. When he slumped back against Patrick’s chest, the hard cock straining against the denim of Ken’s jeans made Patrick freeze and nearly drop him.

Tour Dates: January 30, 2015

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Author Name: A.J. Thomas
Author Bio:
A.J. Thomas writes romantic suspense. She’s earned a Bachelor’s degree in Literature from the University of Montana and worked in a half-dozen different jobs, from law enforcement officer to librarian, before settling down. Life as a military spouse has tossed her around the country so many times she doesn’t know how to answer when people ask her where she’s from, but she delights in living as a perpetual tourist, visiting new places and discovering amazing things.

Her time is divided between taking care of her three young children, experimenting with cooking and baking projects that rarely explode these days, and embarrassing her husband with dirty jokes. When she’s not writing, she hikes, gardens, researches every random idea that comes into her head, and develops complicated philosophical arguments about why a clean house is highly overrated. Her work has won multiple awards, including the 2013 AMB Ovation Award for Best LGBT Inter-racial Romance, and the 2014 Rainbow Award for Best Gay Contemporary Fiction.

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Be Yourself

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. ~e.e. cummings, 1955