About The Wrong Woman
As an independent filmmaker, Katie Cherry is used to difficult shoots—but a band’s music video in a tiny lesbian bar is proving worse than most. Stress-busting, expectation-free sex with Zay, the calm, gorgeous bartender, seems just the ticket. But then she and Zay discover the band’s lead singer beaten into a coma in the bar bathroom. They need an alibi, but playing girlfriends is a role Katie’s never excelled at, so she can’t see this ending well.
Zay Fayed-Smith is finally getting her life back together after her junkie ex broke it apart. She’s working part-time while pursuing her dream of being a lawyer, and definitely keeping things chill on the girls front. Of course, that’s when a crime happens in her bar and her ex shows up wanting to try again. “Dating” Katie seems like the best way for Zay to keep her head down and teach her ex a lesson.
Except pretty soon, the charade begins to feel less and less like acting. And when the attacker turns his attentions toward Katie, they have to cut through the lies to discover what’s real.
Now available from Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/the-wrong-woman
The winters might be cold, but hearts are warm in Toronto. Canada’s largest city is home to a big lake, a big tower, and a big queer community. People here are trying to get by like everyone else: pay the bills, deal with life in the city, and maybe find some happiness along the way with someone who’s sweeter than maple candy and more constant than a Canadian’s love for Timmie’s coffee.
For some, falling in love is a real challenge. For others, falling is the easy part—it’s the happy ever after that proves a little more difficult. But in the end, love is worth every complication, misunderstanding, and occasional swear word.
Check out Toronto Connections! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/toronto-connections
About Cass Lennox
Cass Lennox is a permanent expat who has lived in more countries than she cares to admit to and suffers from a chronic case of wanderlust as a result. She started writing stories at the tender age of eleven, but would be the first to say that the early years are best left forgotten and unread. A great believer in happy endings, she arrived at queer romance via fantasy, science fiction, literary fiction, and manga, and she can’t believe it took her that long. Her specialties are diverse characters, gooey happy ever afters, and brownies. She’s currently sequestered in a valley in southeast England.
Connect with Cass:
To celebrate the release of The Wrong Woman, one lucky winner will receive a $15 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 27, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
The Dam was starting to liven up, and it was about damn time. Katie stood behind the curtain on the Dam’s stage, peering through a gap at the slowly burgeoning crowd. After the afternoon’s filming, Katie was completely ready for other people to draw the band’s attention away from the camera.
It was supposed to be a simple music video. Okay, a gig video intercut with scenes of audience appreciation, band members horsing around, and partying. Which was fine—if kind of a boring concept—but hell, it wasn’t entirely up to her. Katie had done music videos before; this one should’ve been a cinch. Easy. Simple. Quick. Today, tonight, boom, done.
This fucking band.
When Riz, the manager, had approached Katie about the job, it had sounded great. An alternative punk band comprised entirely of queer women; like Katie would ever, ever say no to that. Who would? Problem was, it seemed no one had told the band that showing up for work late, high, and/or drunk; ignoring the director; and hitting on the director’s intern was considered bad work ethic. Or a total cliché. Katie wasn’t sure which was worse.
Her intern, Emily, kept telling her not to sweat the small stuff, but that was literally Katie’s job. She had to take care of the small details. Why paying attention to your director was a small detail now was beyond her, but for fuck’s—
At least the space was nice. The Dam was a queer bar at the far end of Queen Street West, and like the rest of this part of Parkdale, the place was fashionably true to its roots. Gig posters were pasted over each other on the exposed brick walls, there was a stuffed beaver above the front door, the fittings were steel and copper, the floors stuck to shoe soles, and the washrooms were graffitied to hell. Right now, the bar was filling up with the kind of people who bought ripped clothing at designer prices, or yesterday’s designer wear hocked with tears at thrift prices.
Katie’s eye caught on a figure at the bar—a fine figure, standing with hip cocked as she drew a pint. She’d been standing there on duty all afternoon, serving drinks and making funny comments about the band while Katie had tried to film them.
Yes. The space was very nice. Even if Katie didn’t have a chance in hell.
She turned from the curtain with a sigh and made her way to where Emily was adjusting her camera. Katie sagged against the wall next to her, longing for a glass of wine. Actually, no, scratch that—she wanted gum. Sweet, minty gum. Specifically, the calming clarity that came with it. Why had she given that up again? Was an achy jaw and pained stomach really that bad?
Well. Yeah. Good thing wine existed. Only, she was on the clock. And this wasn’t that kind of bar, because this place only served beer and hard liquor.
Ugh. Today sucked.
Emily patted her shoulder in sympathy. “A beer says Nave pukes during the set.”
Katie snorted. Nave, Brine’s lead singer, was a nymphal vision of long hair, bad decisions, and netting in thigh-high boots. Add in the glazed eyes, glowing cheeks, gruesomely alcoholic breath, and the way she was currently holding up a bottle of tequila like it was somehow a new discovery—the bet didn’t seem a good one. If she puked—or maybe, when she puked—she’d be front and centre. No doubt she’d somehow make it cool.
At least it would be memorable footage?
The band members sank another round of tequila shots, and Katie withheld a disapproving sigh. At this rate, they’d be lucky to get footage of them standing upright, let alone performing.
At least each of them looked the part in her own way: arms or thighs tattooed, hair teased (or perfectly shaved), faces pierced, eyes smoked, and bodies leather-clad. Clothing choices were pretty typical: skulls and statements like DEATH TO THE KYRIARCHY abounded. When they weren’t cracking jokes, or drinking, or refusing to listen to directions, she had to admit . . . the five members looked crazy good. Ugh, why?
Not that Katie particularly liked the punk aesthetic or anything, but she was thinking that maybe her problem was that she hadn’t seen it on five gorgeous women at once before. Course, she’d like it more if their pupils weren’t huge and she hadn’t seen Nave pull a hip flask out of the waistband of her skirt multiple times.
Now Nave was doing a belly dance while balancing a shot on the back of her hand, her bandmates egging her on loudly. Katie couldn’t help it: her eyes were drawn to Nave’s flat belly and full hips as they gyrated and rolled. She looked as agile and pettable as a cat. Mmmm.
Next to Nave, Ana laughed and swiped the shot off Nave’s hand, downing it in one practiced swallow. As she ducked back from Nave’s outraged swipe, her eyes caught Katie’s and she winked.
Katie swallowed, mouth suddenly dry. If Nave was punk in netting, Ana was smoke in leather. All dark eyes, dark hair, olive skin, and sharp angles. Very handy with her guitar—Katie had managed to get good clips of her that afternoon. Nice finger work.
Shit. What was it Emily had said? Beer? Katie hated beer, but right now she wanted nothing more than to swim in a nice cold pool of it. Anything to get her head back into professional mode.
“I prefer wine,” Katie croaked. She cleared her throat and tore her eyes away from Ana’s hands.
“Aww, take the bet.”
“No way. They’re seasoned drinkers. They’re just getting warmed up.”
Emily shifted the camera on her shoulder. “Maybe, boss, I just really want a beer and you’re not taking the hint.”
Seeing as Katie wasn’t paying her much for the dubious honour of being her intern, and there was still twenty minutes before the start of the show, Katie decided she could get the girl a beer. She checked her camera was still safely against the wall and ducked out to the bar. Being in the crowd wasn’t much better, but at least she didn’t have to watch the band slowly disintegrate with alcohol. She wound her way through the packed space, her eyes on the bar.
God, this place took her back to her early university days, when she’d bounced around Toronto’s lesbian scene before settling on her favourite spots and events. She preferred more generic bars, ones that served wine and played music she recognized. The women in here were hot, but seriously, half of them looked like they tapped their own maple syrup. Not that she didn’t see people like these in her usual places too, but the Dam was so very, very obviously theirs.
Brushing past ripped shirts and intricate sleeves, Katie was supremely aware of her standard black-shirt-and-fitted-jeans combo, the one that said staff more than anything more personal like available or interested. Maybe she was more didn’t make the effort.
Which kinda sucked. No one was looking, and she wished they were. She hadn’t been laid in ages, and all this proximity to hot alt women wasn’t helping.
Fine. She’d get this job done, and next time she met her friends for drinks, she was going to try her best to get to second base at least.
But not with any of her friends. Oh God, no. They were so past that.
When she finally reached the bar, she surveyed the beer choices with rising dismay. Jesus. Nothing but microbrews. What kind of beer did Emily like? Would she care? Because Katie had no clue what the difference was between IPA or bitter or light or golden or malt or what. What was wrong with just an ordinary beer? Where was Molson when you needed it? She frowned at the nearest tap.
“What can I getcha, sugar?”
Katie looked over into cheerful dark eyes. Her throat dried up. Behind the bar stood the cute bartender who’d been cracking jokes all afternoon. At close range, she was even more strikingly gorgeous: teasing grin, half her hair shaven-but-growing-out, the other half braided over one shoulder, a nose piercing, tattoos across her shoulders and down her arms, and a tank top that read HOLY PUCK with a stencil of a haloed puck. The stencil looked homemade. No team mentioned. Her brown skin and full lips and black hair (the long half) spoke of Middle Eastern heritage. Her nose piercing sparkled red, matching her lipstick.
Make that an ocean of iced water Katie needed, not chilled beer. Holy puck indeed. Was it just her, or had every hot queer woman in Toronto congregated here tonight?