Abstract Love

love is all: vol. 4

A charity anthology

love is all: vol. 4 charity romance anthology

The annual anthology celebrating Pride is back for its fourth year, with works that include short stories, a poem, and novellas from Jeff Adams, Xio Axelrod, Meg Bonney, Rachel Lacey, Chantal Mer & Susan Scott Shelley, R.L. Merrill, Connor Peterson, and Sophia Soames, and a very special foreword by Annabeth Albert!

 

This year, all proceeds from the anthology will benefit the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Chantal and I contributed Against the Rush, book one in our new Philadelphia Power hockey series.

Jalen Daniels loves his job as hockey coach to kids in the Philadelphia Power’s youth league. Coaching in the same league he played in and volunteering his time to a charity that brings the game to underserved communities takes up a lot of his time. The rest is filled with playing hockey in a rec league and bouncing at a nightclub. Meeting Leif Larsson, star player for the Power and father of one of the kids he coaches, knocks Jalen's busy life off balance and leaves him craving Philly's favorite Swede. 

 

Philadelphia Power defenseman Leif Larsson has devoted the last four years to being a dad and a hockey player, in that order. Focusing on being the best dad for his daughter and the best teammate and player for the team was all that mattered. But when he sees Jalen at a charity event, their connection is strong enough to push his heart into pursuing the talented, surprising, handsome man. 

 

Amid the bustle of hockey season and the holidays, the sparks between Jalen and Leif ignite into something bigger and brighter than they’ve ever experienced. But navigating a relationship when their conflicting schedules make meeting up close to impossible is harder on their hearts than they anticipated. Can they find a way to score a win for love?

Against the Rush | Susan Scott Shelley & Chantal Mer

Read an excerpt from Chapter One

Two hours after the youth charity event began, things start to wind down, and I find myself roped into breaking down tables and chairs. Moving chairs back to the storage room, I prop open the door. Hearing footsteps, I point to the rack opposite the one I’m filling. “You can put them on that rack.”

 

“Thanks.” The huskiness of the word sends my stomach looping.

 

I glance over my shoulder and pray that my voice isn’t as wobbly as my legs at the presence of the man who has wound me so tight. “Couldn’t get out before Monet enlisted you into helping?”

 

He leans the chairs against the wall before striding to my side. His fingers brush mine when he takes the chair I'm holding and slips it onto the rack. "I wanted to help." Heat radiates off him. His nearness so close in the confines of the storage room, the air thickens. “Specifically, I wanted to help as long as it meant I could see you.”

 

Hunger reflects in his sky-blue stare, and all I can do is nod. One finger trails from my shoulder, down my arm, ending at my wrist. I wish it was June rather than the end of November for no other reason than to be wearing short sleeves so I could feel his skin against mine.

 

“You’re not what I expected.” His gaze roams. “So big.”

 

I find it hard to take full breaths. "You're not what I expected either."

 

Looking quite pleased, he steps back, arms over his chest. “Really? What did you expect?”

 

“Not the big kid I saw sprawled out on the ice.”

 

The boom of his laughter fills the room, including a lonely part of me. “I was being pinned.”

 

“The four-year-olds in pigtails are a tough crew." At the prickle of hair on my fingertips, I realize I’m gripping his forearm but drop it before I embarrass myself.

 

“Don’t.” He catches my hand. “I—”

 

“Daddy!” Thea’s voice ricochets down the empty hallway.

 

The look on Leif’s face is… disappointment?

 

Maybe?

 

Two quick squeezes, and he releases me. "I'm coming, Bean." Before he’s out the door, he flashes me an irresistible smile that is warmer than my favorite flannel sheets. “I’ll see you around.”

 

“Yeah.” A full sentence or suggesting we get together for coffee or a beer is beyond the capabilities of my misfiring brain. Yeah, is as articulate as I’m getting right now.

 

He’s gone, leaving me with the scent of sandalwood and questions. Like when will I see him again?

Abstract Love