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Love Is Proud

Genre: LGBT Romance Anthology
Length: 138,562 words

ebook 9781634862080
print 9781534909052

In the early morning hours of Sunday, June 12, 2016, a gunman entered Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, and opened fire. Forty-nine innocent people lost their lives that night, and many more were injured. The LGBT community reeled when the news broke, not only because it was the deadliest mass shooting in the US to date, but because the act of terror and hatred was aimed directly at them.

In the aftermath, many of us struggled for a way to express our grief and fear. With that goal in mind, the authors of JMS Books sought an outlet for their emotions; thus, this anthology of short stories and poems was created.

Love Is Proud celebrates queer love in all its forms, showing that love must triumph over hate. Whether it's spending a quiet evening together at home, a night out on the town, or attending the local Pride event, this collection embraces how empowering love can be between men -- or women, or any and every shade under the LGBTQIA umbrella.

Featuring never before published work from 49 different authors, Love Is Proud is a collaborative effort whose entire proceeds will go to Equality Florida to benefit the victims and their families of the Pulse nightclub shooting. All the work in the collection, including the editing, has been donated to offset the costs. This stunning anthology will be a charitable keepsake whose message of pride in who and how we love is an enduring testament to all those affected by this tragedy.

My short story in the anthology is entitled "BFFs," which is not available anywhere else.

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Excerpt from "BFFs"

Someone approaches her table, and Emily sits back as the waitress places an empty mug in front of her. "Coffee?"

Emily nods. "Yes, please."

She pours a stream of hot, dark java from a glass carafe, then sets it on the table and pulls a pen and pad of paper from the front pockets of her apron. "What can I get 'cha, hon?"

"Um ..." Emily looks at the menu again. "How about a waffle and two eggs over easy? That's all."

The waitress reaches for the menu and Emily hands it over. For the brief moment when they both hold the plastic-coated piece of paper, they glance at each other and something unspoken passes between them. Emily knows this woman, she's sure of it. Her face looks so familiar for some reason, but Emily can't say why. Then she drops her gaze to the waitress's nametag. Jenna.

"Oh, my God," Emily whispers, a slow grin spreading across her face. "Jenna McAllister? Is that you?"

She expects Jenna to not remember her, or to fish for her name, or to ask her who she is. After all, Jenna didn't say or do anything to indicate she had recognized Emily first. So Emily is pleasantly surprised when Jenna smiles down at her. "Hey, Emily. Didn't think I'd ever see you in here."

Releasing the menu, Emily grabs Jenna's hand instead. It's warm and smooth, the skin impossibly soft. "How long has it been? How are you doing?"

"Oh, I'm fine," Jenna says, though she sounds tired, as if she's been on her feet all day. "Let me go put in your order, okay?"

"Can you come sit with me?" Emily wants to know.

But Jenna shakes her head. "No, sorry. I'm on the clock."

Emily glances around the empty restaurant and arches a questioning eyebrow. "Yeah, I can see this place is packed."

When Jenna laughs, the years seem to fall away from her face and the sixteen-year-old girl Emily used to know shines through. "Well, I get off at eight ..."

Rubbing her thumb over the back of Jenna's hand, Emily says, "I can wait around."

"I don't want to keep you ..."

Emily laughs. "Trust me, I literally have nothing I'd rather do."

As she watches Jenna walk away, Emily can't stop smiling. Suddenly her evening is shaping up to be much better than it was moments ago.