Rachel Ember

twisted beginnings and happy endings

The Term

m/m romantic suspense

Ryan is no one... a broke nineteen-year-old who dropped out of high school to ride race horses, a job he outgrew—literally—four inches and twenty pounds ago.

When a stranger shows up at the back paddock of the dead-end track where Ryan is scraping together a living as an exercise rider, he makes Ryan a bizarre offer: he'll give Ryan a whole life, including a boyfriend and a penthouse apartment, for a one-year term.

Ryan is in no position to turn down that kind of meal ticket. He's expecting Nathan to be an ogre, not a handsome, high-powered lawyer whose shoes cost more than some people's cars. Why would Nathan, who has the world at his feet, sign over everything to be at Ryan’s feet instead?

working title: Awake on the Quiet

m/m sci-fi romance with suspense elements

The remote prison station Quiet is rumored to be haunted and known to contain all the most vicious criminals in the System, even if they’re harmlessly stored inside stasis chambers.

Because almost no one wants the post, the Quiet will take just about anyone who volunteers. Even an overgrown street urchin like Les, who’s never left the mining station where he was born. Les doesn’t want the post, either, but like everyone who signs onto the Quiet, he’s desperate. Taking the job is the only way he can escape the station gang that’s after him.

For the first few weeks after he arrives, Les wonders what he was so worried about. Sure, there’s a mind-numbing monotony to his work on the Quiet, sanitizing floors and polishing the transparent cell barriers. But he knows where his next meal is coming from and doesn’t have to sleep with one eye open. It’s practically a vacation.

Never mind that the prisoners on the Quiet are not, as the public believes, stored on the station in static dormancy. They’re wide awake. Les has always been too curious for his own good, but even he knows that exploring the Quiet’s secrets would be much too dangerous.

The Quiet has one mystery that Les can’t ignore: a hauntingly beautiful inmate man named Nav. The night they meet, Les and Nav experience a strange, instant connection… and it’s one that Les, after a life spent alone, can’t resist.

Nav wants Les to help him break out of his cell. And as the Quiet’s secrets slip out one by one, each more dangerous than the last, Les decides that helping Nav is worth the deadly risk.

working title: Waiting for Lightning

m/m contemporary romance with magical realism

Nolan is a sympath—on the spectrum, but not a reader, though most people don’t know the difference. Unlike his brother, who can read someone’s every thought, Nolan only sees the underlying emotions. And unlike his brother, who’s using his forbidden skill to steal and con, Nolan is determined to keep his head down and get by without the constant thread of arrest that he grew up under. He’s grateful to be pushing a broom at the big tech campus that hired him (on the condition he take suppressants, of course) eight months ago.

When he goes in for his next suppressant injection, he isn’t expecting the doctor at the clinic to offer him a job… and when he hears the details, warning bells go off in his head. But he can’t turn down the chance to make ten times what he’s paid to scrub toilets.

River Bailey is famous for a lot of reasons. His good looks; his playboy youth; his billions of dollars; his famous island estate. But for all that the public knows him for, he also has a very serious secret: he’s a powerful reader, and after taking suppressants his entire life, they’ve suddenly lost their efficacy.

Until he can learn how to control his own mind, he can’t leave his home or interact with anyone but the few people he trusts not to sell his secret to the media. After a year of therapy with the leading expert on readers, and almost two years of near-constant solitude, River needs a test subject. Someone who can fulfill the strange task of living as River’s shadow while River learns sustained control. Someone whose silence can’t just be bought—but also insured. River can’t let anyone learn his secret, or it could jeopardize his ownership of the company he inherited from his father, leaving him with nothing.

Nolan is the perfect candidate; he has his own secrets that he’s desperate to keep.

Night & Day

m/m contemporary romance

Ty’s parents seem to have their shit together, and his little brothers are old enough that he doesn’t have to constantly worry about them anymore. He could finally transition to full-time college classes, if he could find an overnight job that won’t kill him. One where he might be able to study occasionally, or catch a nap. When he sees the advertisement for a night nanny, he knows there’s no one better for the job. Didn’t he practically raise his brothers? And the pay and hours make it the perfect gig to balance against full-time classes. So perfect, that he’s willing to lie to get the job.

Maybe Ty is more sleep-deprived than he’s ever been in his life—little Isabel isn’t much of a sleeper—but he’s always adored babies, and can’t believe he’s getting paid to hang out with one for the handful of hours she’s awake, and to spread out his text books on the coffee table when she’s asleep. And if he’s having some seriously sinful thoughts about Isabel’s handsome, melancholy father—well. His thing for older men is nothing new, and he can keep himself under control for the half-hour their paths cross in the morning and evening.

Jonathan is overwhelmed by his wife leaving abruptly—though, to be honest, he’d known it was over for years—by the new responsibilities he’s just been handed at his law firm, and by the baby daughter he adopted three months ago, Isabel. The baby his now-vanished wife had been begging for. He was lucky to get a place for Isabel in the best infant care program in the city, but it closes at 5 p.m. Before Isabel, Jonathan had never held a baby or changed a diaper. He needs help day and night.

When Ty answers his advertisement, and he looks past the tattoos and piercings at the way Ty expertly soothes the baby, Jonathan hires him on the spot. The only problem in the weeks that follow is how much Jonathan begins to look forward to Ty’s arrival every night, and not just because he’s ready to hand over the baby and get some sleep. There’s something that fascinates him about the kid who steps out of the darkness late each night with a crooked smile.

Then, Isabel’s daycare temporarily closes unexpectedly. A desperate Jonathan asks Ty if he can work more hours, and Ty says he can—if he can crash in the guest room, too.

The Whipping Boy

m/m fantasy romance

Elian is a good thief, and has carved out a bare-bones life for himself on the rough streets of the trade city where he was born and has never had the opportunity to leave. But even good thieves can be caught. When the worst happens, he's given two options: lose his hand to the village and spend five years in jail, or lose his dignity to the crown and spend a single year as the prince's whipping boy. It's an easy decision. After all, Elian is quite fond of his hands, and he knows he can bear a little pain.

The royal city is full of surprises. Its luxurious corridors disguise even more threats than the dirty streets Elian was snatched from. His duties as whipping boy aren’t even what he expected.. there’s something about the pretty, haughty, and untouchable Prince D’Poe that makes Elian almost enjoy suffering for him. And suffer he does, because everything the prince does seems designed to displease his king and father, and invite a punishment that will be Elian’s to bear.

But the prince doesn’t only want Elian to suffer. He seems to crave his company, and his pleasure, too.

All his life Elian has had only himself to look out for, and maybe that’s why he finds himself growing more protective of the prince the more that they share. But when Elian discovers a plot against the royal family, he has to decide if he’s willing to risk more for the prince than just his skin.

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