Book It: A Literary Lover’s Anthology
Publication date: November 30th 2020
Genres: Adult, Romance
IN THE REALMS OF LITERATURE, ROMANCE KNOWS NO BOUNDS.
From bookstore owners to college students, drag queens to muses, professors and erotica authors; whether in a brothel of the old west or a spaceship in uncharted territory, the stories of Book It cross genres to warm hearts.
In these pages, you’ll find sweet stories of first-time love to established couples growing closer through their love of the written word. Each author delivers a unique and diverse tale of romance and literature.
Featuring the stories of Marie Piper, Kat Ryan, K. Parr, Katey Tattrie, Sonni de Soto, Felicia Nicole Hall, J. Leigh Bailey, Trisha McKee, Stephen Sottong, Leandra Vane, Mallory Behr, CM Peters, Alexis Ames, and Aila Alvina Boyd.
A PAGE OUT OF HIS BOOK
by K. Parr
Hot Dad was back again.
With thick muscles, a neon blue Mohawk, abundant piercings, and colorful tattoos that crept down his neck and arms, he presented as exactly Max’s type—tough-looking on the outside, gooey on the inside.
From behind the cart of graphic novels he was shelving, Max witnessed the gooeyness in action while Hot Dad, in ripped jeans and a flannel button-down, played house with his daughter in the children’s area of the library. The girl couldn’t be more than four and shrieked with joy whenever her dad sampled imaginary food or helped ‘chop vegetables’. The sheer earnestness of Hot Dad’s encouragement made Max’s insides squirm like a colony of fuzzy ants.
Oh, to be treated so tenderly, to have such kindness and love directed toward him. Hot Dad was the rugged yet soft hero of Max’s beloved romance novels, and Max was the heroine swooning onto a settee.
Except unlike book heroines, Max was doomed to remain invisible. Who would notice him—a scrawny library page with thick glasses that made his eyes bug, brown curls that were always too frizzy, and drab clothes that hung off his skinny frame?
With a sigh, Max pushed his glasses further up the bridge of his nose and returned to his cart. Luckily, shelving afforded him the opportunity to fantasize as his body moved on autopilot. He picked up where he left off, dreaming of carding his fingers through Hot Dad’s Mohawk, of counting each piercing along his ears and lips, of tracing the tattoos and learning their meanings.
An ear-splitting squeal preceded a small projectile ramming into the back of Max’s legs, and he let out an ‘oof’ as he blinked down at Hot Dad’s daughter.
She put a finger over her mouth. “Shh! I’m hiding.” She dropped down to crawl behind his cart.
“You know, the library isn’t a playground,” Max started—his usual spiel to kids who ran around uncontrolled.
And then Hot Dad rounded the corner.
Max’s whole body flushed hot, then cold, then hot again.
SEEING THE STORY
by CM Peters
Talking in front of his students was one thing. Introducing himself to a bunch of strangers was another, even if they had something in common. Gabe Collins wiped his moist hands on his jeans; it was as if the rain falling outside came straight out of his fingers.
The book club was a new thing for him and the best way he’d thought of to meet new people. With a deep breath, he smiled to his nearest seat neighbor and lifted his head when he heard his name called out.
“Why don’t you tell us about yourself, Mr. Collins?” the club president, Mrs. Gray, asked with a smile on her lips.
He nodded, cleared his throat, and stood nervously. “Hi. I’m Gabriel Collins. Gabe. I’m… uh… I’m the new History teacher at Fairview High, and uh…”
“Good thing you’re not the dialect coach,” a female voice called out mockingly.
With a frown, Gabe scanned the small crowd to see a brunette, curly-haired woman with a lopsided smile on her face. “Excuse me?”
“Sorry, couldn’t help myself. For someone who speaks to kids all day, you sound nervous to talk to people your age.”
His shoulders slumped and Gabe let out a laugh, feeling all the tension in his shoulders evaporate. “Yeah, uh… It’s different when I’m not talking to kids.”
“Mr. Collins, this is a book club, not the United Nations. We just want to know who you are and what you’ll bring to the club.”
He nodded. “Right. So, I’m Gabe, I’m thirty-eight, I’m into fantasy, historical, and crime novels mostly. I write in my spare time, I read a lot, and I’m here to broaden my horizons.”
“There you go!” The woman let out a tinkling laugh, clutching the book on her lap.
Gabe wasn’t sure how to react to this woman heckling so he chose not to say a word. Instead, he sat back down and grabbed his notebook.
“Thank you, Mr. Collins,” the older woman said. “Welcome to Fairview’s Book Club. If you have suggestions for future books, we’ll be discussing that later, and we’ll get to this month’s book in a minute. For now, a welcome back is needed, although everyone has heard her.” She turned to the curly-haired woman. “Frankie, we’re so happy to see you here again.”
A low murmur rose in the small crowd, making Gabe frown again. He observed the young woman for a moment, seeing emotions on her face until she composed herself.
“I’m glad to hear you guys, too. I’m here for the company, I guess. I’m still learning,” she said, lifting the book on her lap.
From afar, Gabe finally understood. The book was in Braille and the woman, blind. Something came over him and he called out, “Maybe we could help?” he asked, standing.
A blush came over the woman’s skin and she turned her face toward him, tilting her chin. “Are you blind too?”
“Come on, get it out. What did you mean?” she said with a sigh.
He gave his answer a longer thought, and a soft grunt later, Gabe said, “If you let us, we could take turns reading the books to you?”
Frankie’s face closed up. “Do I look ninety?” she asked through gritted teeth, quick as lightning.
“Well, no!” Gabe replied quickly. “Never mind, I just wanted to help.” All around him, he saw averted eyes, making him a bit disheartened by this first contact with the book club.
When he moved to Fairview, Maryland, a fresh start after the end of a relationship and five years teaching on the West Coast, he thought it would be easy to blend in a small town, meet nice people, and establish relationships. This was not how he’d expected things to go during a book club.
The older woman called for attention. “So, if we get back to our musings, a nice welcome back to Frankie. We’re all happy to have you with us again and that’s why you chose the book for us this month. An oldie but a goodie, you said?”
Frankie nodded. “One of my favorites, yes. It’s from a South American author and a short novel. But since I’ve read it before… you know… I can follow the discussion when it’s time.” She held the book in her lap while lifting another book from her bag after puttering in it. “In Spanish, it’s called ‘El Cartero de Neruda’.” The cover showed a man standing by a bicycle on a cliff overlooking the ocean.
Gabe smiled inwardly. He’d read this book years ago in college from a Literature of the Americas class. The Postman had been a favorite of his from then on and he re-read it at least once a year, enough that he was on his second copy.