Ann Gallagher aka L.A. Witt aka Lauren Gallagher aka Lori A. Witt

Books: Romance | LGBT 

Bluewater Bay: All the Wrong Places (2016)  

Three Stupid Weddings (2018) 

Bluewater Bay

All the Wrong Places (2016)

All the Wrong PlacesBrennan Cross doesn't know what's wrong with him, only that there must be something, since all his girlfriends cheat on him and then dump him.

Once was chance. Twice was coincidence. Three times was a goddamn pattern.

Zafir Hamady works at a sex shop for the benefits and at a pizza place for the extra money, because being a single father is expensive. But when Brennan comes into the shop looking for answers as to what he's been doing wrong, Zafir's answer is unexpected: perhaps you're ace.

I deeply appreciate that Brennan recognizes the adage, "the common denominator in all your unhappy relationships is you."

Even better is how hard Zafir works at being a good parent.

"I'm not a parent, and I'm no expert. But it sounds like you've got that balance, you know? Between being protective and being too protective. You let him take risks, but don't let him do things that'll get him seriously hurt. You know, enough that he knows that if you say not to do something, there's probably a reason for it."

Zafir recognizes his over-protective instincts and works to let Tariq make his own mistakes. And even though he desperately doesn't want to, he lets his son take up skatboarding, which is how he keeps spending time with Brennan, who has offered to teach Tariq to skate.

What is particularly good about this story is just how much Zafir is willing to sacrifice for Tariq. A screw up that might be worked past in one relationship is far more difficult when his son's heart gets broken with his own.

So yay for another good story!

Publisher: Riptide Publishing 

Three Stupid Weddings (2018)

Three Stupid WeddingsVictor Nelson is still struggling with his breakup–even if everyone (including Vic) knows he is so much better off without Max. So when he find out he has to attend three family weddings over the summer, he's miserable at the thought of all of his relatives introducing him to every single guy they know. So he feels saved when his best friend Dom volunteers to go to the weddings with him as his fake boyfriend.

Unfortunately, Dominic is in love with Vic, and pretending might be more than he can handle.

THIS STORY IS SO ADORABLE! It's exactly what I needed to read.

Dom and Vic are both Ace, and have been friends for years, and it's Dom who helped Vic put himself back together after Max left. But it'll take a bit of work, since Max was a terrible boyfriend.

"But you've been through hell the last couple of months." I squeezed his arm. "There's nothing wrong with protecting yourself, and it doesn't matter if someone else has been through worse."

Vic managed a little smile. "Thank you." He stepped closer and hugged me tight. "You're the protective big brother I never had."

I smiled, and hopefully he didn't feel me wince. "You know I'm always here for you."

"I know. And I really, really appreciate it." He pulled back, and when our eyes met, his smile melted my heart. Had Max ever stopped to appreciate how beautiful this man was? Probably not. He'd always been too busy finding reasons to criticize.

Really, Max was awful.

(D)espite how much it broke my heart to see Vic hurting because of Max, I was relieved that their relationship was finally over. Not so I could have him for myself, though— I hated Max. Had from day one. I'd tried to tell myself it was jealousy, but no, it wasn't. I hated how he'd always wanted Vic to tone down his usually flamboyant personality. How much he pressured Vic to think about "better career options" when we all knew damn well he meant he was embarrassed to be dating a hairdresser. A damn successful one, too, which must have dented the hell out of Max's delicate middle-management ego. Nothing Vic ever did— hell, nothing he ever was— could ever be good enough for Max.

Even worse, after all the criticism Vic is no longer convinced of his self-worth, and has internalized all the shame Max piled upon him. Although he's gained some weight back after nagging from his family and friends, he still worries about how he looks and hates eating because of it.

So yes, Vic does have an eating disorder, but she does a great job dealing gently and realistically with it, including there being no quick and easy fix for it.

But what I loved was the interactions between Vic and Dom. Both are unrepentant geeks, and that is always going to make me happy. It is also lovely to see Vic's parents and sister to be so supportive of him (even if they are pushing him him to find someone).

And it's a well-written story as well, something I could re-read when I need a pick-me up.

So: yay!