This isn’t a beginning, for all that it’s my first post on here. I’ve been writing on and off most of my life. Words are an essential part of my being and not just in a ‘required for life’ oxygen sort of way but in a required for truly LIVING sort of way (unless the endorphins get in the way but more on that later…).

This isn’t an ending, though there will be some postings of past musings as I hope to use this space to gather the scattered writings I’ve done publicly and privately and whatnot.

Besides, the best stories start somewhere in the middle. The middle is an especially comfortable place to be for someone who doesn’t identify strongly with binaries. It isn’t the center – this isn’t a linear spectrum – it is an unspecified location within the vast miasma of between. I relish the fuzzy grey areas, the challenging bits that don’t play nicely with pigeon-holes, the venn diagram overlaps –> the utter rejection of mutual exclusivity when it comes to identity, self-expression, and enjoyment.

Stay tuned for glimpses of my middle 😉

OMG Talia Hibbert Writes PNR Y’all

Stay tuned for a review this weekend! ❤


This Halloween, love bites back… hard.

Chastity Adofo knows a monster when she sees one. As soon as Luke Anthony wanders into her family’s coffee shop, she recognises the evil lurking beneath his charming smile and fantastic arse. The handsome werewolf is determined to have her—but she’s determined to cut out his heart.

Little does she know, Luke’s plans for her are far more pleasurable than murder. And when the full moon rises, all bets are off…

Warning: Mating the Huntress is 30,000 words of red-hot, Halloween-themed romance. This book contains one flirtatious, cursed creature of the night, one badass, knife-happy heroine, and forbidden lust at first sight. Please read responsibly!




Talia Hibbert lives in a bedroom full of books. Supposedly, there is a world beyond that room—but she has yet to drum up enough interest to investigate.




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“I’ll answer a question,” he said, “for a kiss.”

“How very nefarious,” she muttered dryly.

“I’m a monster, aren’t I?”


“You should slap me and run off into the light.”

“Oh, piss off. Slap you and break my bloody wrist, more like.”

“I can’t help it if my bones are particularly sturdy.”

“Why are they so sturdy, again?”

He grinned at her innocent tone. “A kiss, love.”

“Fine.” Before he could grasp what was happening, she darted up on her toes and pressed her lips to the corner of his mouth. Every fibre in his body seemed to shatter, to explode on impact, as if the slight, chaste brush of skin against skin were the most erotic thing he’d ever felt.

And then she was gone, pressing herself back against the wall as if she could sink into it, her lashes lowered. “There. Now answer the question.”

It took him a moment to find the wherewithal to speak, but he tried to sound unaffected. Luke had a feeling that with Chastity, the slightest slip of control might be taken as permission to ride roughshod.

Not that he’d mind her taking advantage of him, once in a while.

“That wasn’t a real kiss,” he said. “You missed my mouth.”

“It’s dark,” she scowled. “Except for those bloody eyes of yours.”

“Thanks to these eyes,” he said patiently, “I can see you just fine. So we’ll do it again, and I’ll kiss you.”

“Nope. My kiss counts. You never said it had to be on the mouth.”

He smiled slowly, glad that the shadows hid his satisfaction. Ah, she had no idea what she’d just walked into. “Alright. Fair enough.” He enjoyed the expression on her face for a moment, all adorably pleased, as if she’d just won a prize. “Like all healthy, cursed beasts beholden to the moon, I am physically stronger, faster and sturdier than the average human. Higher bone density, more powerful muscles, magic, blah blah blah. And I believe I have a stronger immune system.”

“Why do you think that?”

“I’ve never gotten sick,” he said. “That was another question, Chasity. You owe me a kiss.”

She rolled her eyes. “You’re a pervert.”

“You know,” he said reasonably, “you could always reject my bargain. Or at least, you could if you weren’t determined to prove yourself useful to a family who have, for some reason, denied your skills as a huntress. But since you are determined to do so, and since you also secretly want to kiss me, why don’t you be a good girl and let me take what I’m owed?”

She gaped at him like a particularly pissed-off fish. Then, finally, she spluttered, “Don’t psychoanalyse me, you inhuman prick.”

“How am I supposed to support you in overcoming your insecurities—”

“Call me insecure again and I will scoop out your eyeballs with a silver spoon.”

“—if I don’t put effort into understanding you? And Chas, we both know you’re never going to attack me again. I’d be open to play-fighting, though. You’re very sexy when you’re trying to remove my vital organs.”

“What on earth are you blathering on about?” she demanded. But she didn’t sound as brashly confident as usual, or as disgusted and dismissive. She sounded, beneath that iron voice of hers… unsure.

He didn’t like that, because he knew she must be uncomfortable. Chastity appreciated certainty, which meant that he appreciated certainty for her. That was what drove him to say, his words painfully blunt, “I want to mate you.”

There was a heavy pause. Then, finally, she said, “I wish I didn’t know what you meant by that, but…”

“Context clues?” he guessed helpfully.

“Context clues,” she agreed.

“How do you feel about it?”

“Horrified, obviously. I don’t think I need to tell you that whatever matingme entails, it’s never going to happen. Unless you force me.”

He ground his teeth together and breathed through his nose for a moment, her scent ironically comforting as he fought down nausea and fury in equal measure. Then, his temper and his roiling stomach under control, he gritted out in his best imitation of calm, “I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that.”

“Um… are you okay?”

“Do you care?” he snarled, the moonlight-fine thread of his control finally snapping.

“Yes,” she clipped out, her voice equally harsh. And then they both faltered, blinking at that unexpected response. There was a heavy pause as she swallowed, the sound loud in the silence. Distantly, he recognised the rumble of passing cars on the nearby street, the open-and-shut of a door somewhere close, a faint conversation across the block. But that evidence of a world beyond the secret space between them wasn’t enough to drag Luke out of this moment, this precious breath of time when her eyes met his without aggression, when her pretty lips parted not to attack him, but to drag in air.

When she was just as affected as him, and unable to hide it.

His heart pounding, his beast growling hungrily for more, he leaned closer. “Chastity.”

“Mm?” she hummed, the sound unsteady.

“May I have my kiss, now?”

She took a deep breath, then gave a jerky nod.

“Say it,” he murmured.

Her voice was whisper-fine. “Yes.”


It’s tricky. It comes and goes. I’m still not sure if those workshops are a good idea cuz even when I’m not thinking about it, it’s lurking there in the back of my mind simply due to the nature of the beast.

(Side note: I can’t believe that fucking jerk tried to talk to me like we’re friends. Maybe she was just being pleasant and, considering she is fucking terrible at boundaries, that’s the only way she knows how. Still though. FUCK HER.)

I was talking to my therapist this week about how wonderful it is to have a physical goal to focus on because the results may be incremental but they’re measurable and consistent and so much more tangible than emotional goals. It was a good talk. This week has been hard though. Hard in ways that I haven’t really had to deal with in awhile.

I’m reading this incredible romance by this new-to-me author that writes really phenomenal contemporary, some of which has a kinky slant, and I came across this quote and it blew my mind.


THIS. So much this. I posted it on fb and I know that everyone who responded to it did so with their own lens, that it doesn’t necessarily mean for them what it means for me and that’s ok. For me though … this so beautifully encapsulates everything I want to say to the people (especially you) that were so insistent that I get to a place where I can forgive. To be honest, they’re probably still so insistent but I don’t associate with them anymore. Fuck them. I am not in that place. I am not ready to forgive and, quite frankly, no one has ever apologised. At least, no one who caused actual harm. It hit me that I need that. I know I won’t get it – it’s purely a pipe dream – but I need it. This isn’t super surprising, considering how powerful it was when she apologised back in January. Even knowing that it was basically meaningless and just to make her feel better about herself, it was powerful. I need you to apologise. You won’t and that sucks. You’d have to acknowledge that you did something wrong. You’d have to acknowledge my personhood. I’m sure you’ve concocted some story about how I need to apologise or whatever – more of that bullshit about how you’re so hurt and angry (and how fucking dare you, btw). Still though. I need you to apologise. You won’t. That sucks.

Later in this amazeballs book, I came across this quote and I cried.


That’s really the crux of it, isn’t it. You never expected the best from me. You were always waiting for the other shoe to drop, always convinced that my assholery was about to attack, always throwing up walls and guards to make sure that I wouldn’t get away with it unscathed.

It took me MONTHS to understand that I couldn’t pin any hopes on you, or your ability to come through. I believed you and I believed IN you. Sometimes I still do. That sucks too. It really, really does.




In retrospect, of course it was a bad idea. I know better. Hell, ninety percent of the time I wouldn’t even have been tempted! (Or so it feels these days …)

… but they looked so cozy and friendly and I wanted so desperately to belong that the words were out of my mouth before my brain had caught up.

Gods, the looks on their faces. It was obvious that the knowledge I shouldn’t have had came as an unpleasant shock. How dare I, really? What service could I possibly think to provide THEM in their exaltedness? It seemed best at the time to brazen through it, as pausing and retreating might have drawn more attention than pretending it wasn’t a big deal … but it was, of course. It IS.

And that absolute meany. To preach at me about friendship and love – all while damning the rest of them – and then sit there aligned in solidarity against me, the malicious interloper, the antagonistic presence.

Fuck it. Fuck them. Fuck her. Fuck all of it.

I will never fit. I will never be welcome. I’ve lost even the worthiness for the bare minimum effort of pretending I’m marginally tolerated.

How the pain of that burns, deep down inside, right through all of the pride I had at getting to a place where I had let go …

I’m just a huge ball of shame and stupidity.

AD is my muse tonight

“And I think of your letters as love letters …”

If only. How much text constitutes a letter I wonder? How far would I have to stretch to delude myself into believing that you wrote to me at all, much less of love?


“I think I’ll even wonder if you meant it at the time”

Constantly. Well, maybe that’s not so true. Only when I give myself room to doubt. Most of the time I’m secure in the knowledge that you didn’t. It’s easier that way. Safer.


“As long as she can say, this dance is mine”

The beauty of the solitary existence —> it’s always mine. Even when it’s yours, or theirs, or hers … it’s always mine. It’s tiring though. Dancing this marathon on my own, knowing I can’t take a break or the judges will tap me out, knowing there isn’t anyone to take up the slack if I falter, appreciating that at least there are people to bring me water and a smile.




There are so many ways to erase someone. So many people talk about how wretched minimising someone is, how cruel it can be to blithely tell someone they don’t understand their own experience(s), and it is pretty fucking awful.

Solidarity is worse in some ways though. Maybe not the “real thing” but who can even tell what that is? What makes it so? It’s like the debate about sympathy vs empathy … but it’s not.

My mom is an expert at the one upmanship game. Whatever story you tell her, she’s got an anecdote from her life that can top it. Hers is worse, better, in all ways MORE. It’s like she’s trying to out-you you. Unfortunately she honestly, truly, thinks she’s being good to you and helpful. It isn’t sympathy. She’s not denigrating you, she doesn’t pity you – to show support she has to reframe what happened so that she is in the starring role. Her worldview simply doesn’t allow for anyone else’s reality.

Funny concept, reality. We imbue it with this sense of singularity and finiteness – there can be only one. It’s got to be the most subjective concept out there. What is this ridiculous insistence we have about fact vs fantasy, where we’ve placed fact on this sky-high pedestal. Everything needs to be proven, backed up with solid evidentiary support, or it should be chucked out like so much rubbish. Only certain types of proof are acceptable, of course, as we can’t allow just anything (anyone) to be raised to that hallowed ground. The more tangible the better, though pure logic is also revered.

As such, we throw our baby feelings out right along with that fantasy bathwater. Feelings aren’t a legitimate reason for decision making, unless you’re a fictional mystery solver with a reliable gut. For all that we counsel people to trust themselves and their guts, we belittle anyone that takes us up on it.

It’s all about us, really. Each one of us is the center of our own universe and we each have a separate reality that is true only for us.

In that sense, solidarity and gaslighting can be two sides of the same coin. They both assert someone else’s reality as the one, true version. That’s not what happened, don’t make up stories. I know just what you mean, let me show you how my story trumps yours.

I’m just as guilty as anyone else, for all that I try to be more conscious of it. When I was a little kid, no matter what you told me – how you tried to wow me – my response was “I know!” It was so important to know, to be right. It was critical to my survival, or so it felt. I’ve grown out of that particular habit but am still plagued by that deep-seated need to be right, to prove myself. When we argue, expect me to provide a collated packet of evidence wth all my exhibits neatly labeled and ordered to make my case. I never went to law school because it isn’t a tendency I want to encourage.

I don’t know if my survivial instincts are in line with the norm or odd. I know they feel odd but don’t we all want to be unique? We’re all so desperate for community and sameness and yet we all want to stand out in our own ways, to carve our own paths. Ostracism is terrible, a gut-wrenching invalidation, and yet – solidarity can be just as effective a tool to erase a person.



When I think back to that night, the whole plot unravels. I’m so sure I have it all sorted in my head until I remember the way you held me, the reassurance you needed, how well we fit together. You were always an excellent lover, and certainly never shied away from touching and cuddles, but that night it wasn’t just sex for you. I wanted so much to reduce it to the physical that night and you flat out refused. The things you said to me when I kept prodding you to talk dirty still make me gooey and are on regular rotation in the spank bank.

After you fell asleep in my arms, I kept waiting for you to wake up and shift away. You were always so conscious of your own space and comfort when we slept, allowing me to cuddle up to you but only to a point. Keeping yourself turned away ever so slightly, not in rebuff or rejection, just in independence. You were always so afraid of the cling, lol, and I know it disconcerted you when I didn’t.

I absolutely assumed that you’d have reclaimed your distance when I got up to pee … but when I got back and you needed me there, pulling me so seamlessly back into the spot I’d vacated, that’s the square moment I can’t force into the round hole.

To be sure, there are other moments, other memories, that call the whole thing in to question but most of them are little things. Small details that can be framed as inconsequential or misread, especially when held up against all the bits that prove my point.

That night though. It doesn’t fit. I can’t explain it away.

Most of the time, I forget about it entirely. It doesn’t fit with the narrative I’ve concocted and so I ignore it. I can pretend it’s an obnoxious outlying point on an otherwise nicely grouped scatter plot; pretend that if I zoom in a little, I don’t even notice it.

What do you tell yourself, I wonder? I’m guessing it’s the same for you but in reverse. You’ve crafted a narrative to fit the evidence, same as I have, though instead of using the events that shaped us you’ve chosen to focus on the tale your fears told you … Wow, that was judgy. Makes me think of her self-righteous claim that she bases her actions on logic, whereas I’m locked into feelings that aren’t based in reality. Hypocritical much?

I’m not sure how else to interpret it though. I know what happened – I even know how you reacted to what happened – I was there. I saw you. I FELT you. When we were together, I know you were unhappy about it but I also know that you were mine (just as I was – as I still am – yours). Yet, seemingly out of nowhere, you were parroting a whole new set of beliefs. It isn’t my imagination that you needed to keep your distance in order to maintain your new facade. It boggles my mind that you refuse to admit how fragile it is when you’re so worried that I’ll hold up the mirror and you’ll see all the bullshit you’ve smeared across yourself.

I think back to that last date, if one can even call it that, and the rawness of your pain. I noticed it at the time but it never occurred to me that it would be the last chance I had to address it. I believed you and so I figured there’d be plenty of opportunity to hash things out “properly.”

I think I knew, though, even then that you were saying goodbye. You gave me too much. You let me see what you needed – worse, you let me provide it to you – and so I had to go. No one’s allowed to know those things. You hide them from yourself. How dare I come along and insist on the integrity you claimed to espouse?  How dare I believe in you and expect you to be the man you want to be? How dare I, indeed?



Sometimes it shrinks down to the merest pinprick

Those are the moments I can breathe again

Sometimes it widens to a black gaping maw

Those are the moments I hope it doesn’t swallow me whole

Perspective is a funny thing, giving some things nuanced context and pushing others into further extremes

I wait, trying to breathe, forcing my eyes to stay open, my stomach to unclench

It’s fine. I’m fine. Everything is fine. It’s all fine.

One more thing checked off, one more person out … except it’s more like three more

How many rings will each person cross before their fate is sealed?

When does it come back into focus?

There. The quick inhalation. The sharp, crisp lines. THERE!

Gone again in a blink


It’s fine. I’m fine. Everything is fine. It’s all FINE.

April Reading Stats

This is an old habit I’ve fallen out of and would like to revisit. Some months it’s really braggy and April is definitely one of those months!

Total Books Read: 40
Romance: 31 (77.5%)
Mystery: 5 (12.5%)
Speculative: 4 (10%)

These are the subcategories representing the types of books I most enjoy and it just so happens that everything in April managed to fit within them without any overlap – though that isn’t always the case.

As romance makes up such a large portion of what I read, here’s a slightly deeper analysis of the romance category:

– Historical: 24 (77.4%)
– Contemporary: 7 (22.6%)
– Heteronormative: 25 (80.6%)
– M/M: 6 (19.4%)

I, of course, have loads of subcategories on my goodreads shelves that aren’t represented here. There are so many tropes and subgenres in romance that I find it’s worth breaking them down for my personal analysis and to help me make recommendations to friends. Looking for a sports romance? There’s a shelf for that. An angst-ridden romance? There’s a shelf for that, too. I also have a trigger shelf as some books have elements that could be upsetting for folks that have dealt with certain types of trauma. It’s always important to cross-reference before recommending, imo. I have some 68 shelves currently on goodreads and 21 of them are related to romance (19 subgenres and 2 lists I’m working through).

I enjoy books for different reasons and my rating system is based on my personal enjoyment, as well as the likelihood of my making a recommendation of the book. Three stars is a middle ground that means I more or less liked the book but won’t be recommending it to anyone. I also won’t be warning anyone off. My dislike of a book doesn’t necessarily garner my disdain but certain tropes and plot treatments earn not only a shitty rating but a place on my ugh shelf. If a book is well written but I don’t enjoy it, I’ll usually comment about that disparity in my reviews. I do review nearly every book I read these days and for that alone, I adore goodreads. Most of the books I read end up in the 3- and 4-star realm. So here’s a look at how well I liked April:

5-star: 3
4-star: 13
3-star: 15
2-star: 7
1-star: 2

I also tend toward batch reading of certain authors. I’m currently reading through the backlist of a couple romance authors so the number of books I read doesn’t really correlate with the number of authors I read last month. Other months the numbers are much closer. I think they’re as close as they are in April since I’m on the hunt for a mystery author to tide me over until the next Sharon Bolton book and haven’t found a good replacement. Lots of great twisty British mysteries with excellent attention to detail but not so many that are also police procedurals without being stuffy about it.

Total Authors Read: 27
Women: 23 (85.2%)
POC: 6 (22.2%)

Finally, for those who are interested in getting to know my tastes in greater detail, here are the books from April I’m most likely to recommend:

1. For Real, Alexis Hall: this was a re-read and, as is so often the case, I got so much out of the book this time around that I hadn’t gotten before. Not the first re-read and not likely to be the last! This is a contemporary, m/m, bdsm romance that perfectly encapsulates so many feels about both what it is to be stumbling through life looking for that one true thing and to be stumbling through life after having lost it. So good!

2. Once Upon a Marquess, Courtney Milan: I read both books one and two of this series in April and thoroughly enjoyed them. This is an historical (mid-Victorian), heteronormative romance that does a good job of show casing what it is to fall from grace and how challenging it can be to get out of your own head and let go of your problematic assumptions. Not your typical historical by a long shot, though that’s one of the things I love best about this author. I highly recommend anything Milan writes and she has long-held the honour of having written my favourite romance heroine (Jane, from The Heiress Effect).