Home > Loose Ends, Volume One (Loose Ends #1)

Loose Ends, Volume One (Loose Ends #1)
Author: Kristen Ashley

I ALWAYS THOUGHT I couldn’t do short.

That is, write short books. Never mind short stories.

Forget about it.

Then along came 1,001 Dark Nights.

Liz Berry and MJ Rose asked me to be a part of their imprint and write a novella in one of my current series for their awesome project.

A writer needs challenges, so I took it (with, I will admit, some trepidation as I was diving into two characters who were beloved by me who I thought would never have their story told, Daisy and Marcus of the Rock Chicks—a story that would become 1,001 Dark Nights Rock Chick Reawakening).

I not only fell in love with the process, an entire new avenue opened not only for me as a writer, but more importantly for my characters.

That’s right.

I didn’t have to say goodbye.

And that means my readers don’t have to either.

I can go back to my babies, just for a spell, spend some time, see how they’re doing, how they’re raising their families, how their happily ever after stays happy.

But there was a big bonus for me.

Huge.

Colossal.

Most romance novels are anywhere in the range of 60,000 to 110,000 words.

Not mine.

My novels tend to be anywhere upwards of 160,000 words. In my books, I get into the meat of a variety of matters.

And I was struggling with some dangling characters from concluded books and series who needed their HEA. However, if I attempted to write a full-blown book, there would be a lot of filler, or forced conflict I wasn’t getting from my characters.

I simply can’t write like that.

So these beloved characters were left hanging.

My “loose ends.”

Not anymore.

With this new concept of a personal anthology, I was able to go back to The ’Burg. I got to visit Glacier Lily Cottages.

And after the personal loss of my dear friend Rick Chew, who Tod of the Rock Chick series was based on, I had the bittersweet experience of spending some time with him again as my Tod with his Stevie.

But I also was able to tell Hap and Luci’s story (from Heaven and Hell) as it was meant to be told.

Not to mention I could immediately deal with the demons plaguing Diesel from the ménage I introduced in The Greatest Risk, rather than leaving him stuck in an emotional pit of darkness. Which meant I got to give goodness not only to him, but to his Maddox and Molly.

Without delay.

If this concept works . . . that is, if you—my reader—enjoys it, I’ll do these as often as I can because I adored being back with Joe, Vi, Deacon and his Cassidy, Tod and Stevie (and the crew), Kia and Sam, Sixx and Stellan, and of course Hap, Luci, Diesel, Maddox and Molly.

The possibilities are endless. The happy endings of my characters never really have to end, and my Loose Ends can get tied up all nice and tidy.

In other words, I hope you enjoy.

I really, really do.

Because these stories took me other places as well . . . and new ideas were born. And I want to unleash them (does anyone feel Henry from The Will needs to find love? I do!).

So read on.

And as always . . .

Rock on!

One final note, if you haven’t taken the dive into my series, The Honey, because erotica just isn’t your gig, I’ll caution you about reading More Than Everything in this anthology. It is a very erotic M/M/F ménage. I think it’s beautiful and the message of love and acceptance is crucial.

But the last thing I wish to do is shock any of my readers. I hope you try it, but I understand everything is not for everybody.

And as Diesel, Maddox and Molly would all agree, you do you.

All my love,

~Kristen Ashley

A short story from The ’Burg Series

featuring Joe and Vi of At Peace

JOE CALLAHAN WALKED through the side door of the house, which brought him into his family’s kitchen.

And total pandemonium.

He tossed his keys on the counter and moved from the kitchen to the living room where he saw, rolling around on the floor, a tangle of arms, legs, heads, hair and bodies.

There were grunts of effort.

There was also shouting.

“Mom’s totally mad and says she washes her hands of the both of them.”

These words came from Cal’s left.

He turned that way and saw his girl, Angie, lounging on the couch in front of their TV, which had onscreen the show where women tried on wedding dresses.

No wonder his boys were fighting.

Better to do that than watch that fucking show.

She was his oldest blood child.

She was twirling her hair.

She was also the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.

Outside her mother.

And her older sisters.

And her two brothers, who were right then wrestling on the floor.

He turned his attention to that.

“Yo!” he bellowed.

Instantly, the wrestling stopped, both his sons disconnected, scooted from each other and took their feet.

Sam, his oldest boy and the one who learned fast-talking somewhere along the line, and learned it well, opened his mouth to speak.

Cal got there before him.

“I don’t care.”

“But . . . Dad!” Ben yelled.

Cal turned his eyes to his youngest.

If it was up to him, they’d have had two, maybe three more.

Vi drew the line at Ben.

Well, not really. They got pregnant one more time, purely by accident since she’d drawn the line at Ben, they just fucked a lot (still, thankfully) and apparently, birth control pills really were not a hundred percent.

She’d lost it in month two.

She’d been devastated because she thought he would be devastated.

He took it as a sign from God to stop knocking up his wife and God knew what He was doing, so Cal was all good.

When she found out he was all good, Violet was all good (mostly).

“What’d I say about fighting?” Cal asked his boys.

“But he—” Sam began.

“No,” Cal cut in. “What. Did. I. Say. About. Fighting?”

Sam glared at Ben. Ben looked to his feet.

“Sorry? Did I lose my hearing?” Cal prompted when neither said a word.

“Don’t do it,” they muttered in unison.

“And what did I come home to?” Cal pushed.

“Us fightin’,” Ben mumbled.

“A fight,” Sam bit out at the same time.

“How happy do you think I am right now?” Cal asked.

“Not very,” Ben said.

“How happy is your mother right now?” Cal went on.

Both boys moved away from their father, Sam leaning back, Ben actually taking a step back.

They knew what this line of questioning bought them.

He didn’t let up.

“You disrespect me by doing something I told you not to do, I can swallow that. Boys push shit. I was you once. I get that. Your mother hates you fightin’. So you also disrespect your mother when you fight. Now, when’s it okay to disrespect your mother?”

“Never,” both mumbled to their feet.

“Look at me and say that again,” he growled and got his sons’ eyes.

“Never,” they pushed out, louder, stronger.

They loved their mom.

They felt like assholes.

Good.

“Clean rooms. Homework done. Trash out,” he ordered. “Later I’ll think of other shit you can do to make me less pissed at you. And when I talk your mother into acknowledging you exist again, you’re both apologizing. Am I heard?”

“Yeah, Dad,” Ben said.

“You’re heard,” Sam said.

“Thank God I’m perfect,” Angie called from the couch.

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