Allison Temple Blog

Awkward and Thoroughly Kissable
Teaser: Cold Pressed

Cold Pressed is out in 2 weeks! This juicy friends-with-benefits romance features Oliver, who you may have met in Top Shelf, who meets Nick, a divorced single dad with a complicated personal life. Sparks fly, but neither one of them has time for a relationship. A little no-strings sex though? They’ve got time for that? What could go wrong?

Spoiler: Everything. Everything could go wrong.

You can pre-order Cold Pressed on Amazon and it will be in your inbox on July 15, or if you want to, you can read the opening right now!


Chapter 1

If it had been anyone but Brian, Nick would have laughed the suggestion off as ridiculous in an instant. If it hadn’t come at the end of a double shift, Nick would have recognized the terrible idea before Brian even finished talking.

Instead, because he liked Brian, and because he was hours past when he should have gone home, Nick didn’t see it coming until too late.

“When’s the last time you had fun?” Brian asked.

“That depends on your definition of fun.” Nick’s eyes felt like sandpaper, and his stomach was curdling after he’d downed one too many coffees to push through the darkest hours of his night shift. Fun sounded like a ham sandwich and a warm bed. Nick was a man of few needs.

“Well . . . just . . . fun. Go out. With someone. Have a few drinks. Maybe a meal. You know. Fun.”

Nick stretched his arms overhead and glanced at the clock. He had seven minutes to go, and then he was out of here. The day shift would arrive any minute now, and it didn’t matter if someone had the plague. They were going to drag their asses to this desk, and Nick was out.

“We go out all the time,” Nick said. Their guys’ nights had been happening less since Brian had gotten back together with his wife, but Nick could only be happy for him about that.

“No, not with me.”

Nick’s eyes were bleary, but as he blinked, he realized Brian was blushing.

“I don’t understand.”

“Jess wants to set you up on a date.” Brian’s whole face was strained. The lines around his eyes creased into deep furrows. His lips pressed tight, and his throat bobbed up and down like he was trying to swallow a goldfish.

“Jess wants to—”

“Please say no.”

“Then why would you—”

“Because I told her I’d ask you, and I can’t say no to anything she says these days. But you can. Please say no, and then we can forget this whole thing.”

Now Nick was blushing too. Hopefully this was not the moment a call came in for a five-alarm fire or an MVA. He wouldn’t be able to function, and the way Brian’s face was trying to pucker in on itself was hilarious.

Brian swallowed his goldfish and exhaled loudly. “I told her we shouldn’t bother you. That you hardly ever talked about dating anyone, but she said that was all the more reason to ask. Forget about it. I’ll tell her it was a bad idea.”

Nick was happy that Brian and Jess were back together. But if the joyful reunion was turning to matchmaking, that might not be such a good thing after all.

“Is it someone I know?”

“No. I don’t really know him either.”

Him. That put a different color on it. Not many people knew about Nick’s bisexuality, but Brian was an exception. After fifteen years working together for the Seacroft Fire Department, he and Brian didn’t have many secrets left. Brian had stuck with him after the accident that cut Nick’s firefighting career short, and Nick had been there to help Brian mourn the end of his marriage and then celebrate its sudden recovery last fall. No point in keeping things from someone who had your back for almost half your life. Brian was always discreet, no matter what Nick told him.

That discretion didn’t apparently extend to the wife Brian was obviously still trying to win over, however.

“It was her idea,” Brian said, as if he had read Nick’s mind. “I don’t know how she knew about . . . ” He waved vaguely toward Nick. “Look, forget about it. It’s a stupid idea, but I told her I’d ask. You know Jess. She gets excited about things.”

Brian deserved to be happy. But Nick’s warm and fuzzy feelings about Brian’s domestic bliss had limits. He kept his private life private for a reason.

“I’ll think about it.” He pulled himself to his feet. Two minutes to go.

“No, forget I said anything.” Brian stood from the chair he’d pulled up so he could sit by Nick’s desk. He appreciated Brian’s willingness to hang out at dispatch, while most of the other firefighters stuck to the dorm room and lounge on overnight shifts. “I’ll tell Jess you weren’t up for it. It wouldn’t be a bad idea, though, you know. For you to meet someone. You spend a lot of time by yourself.”

“It’s complicated.” Nick gave him a tired smile.

Brian squeezed Nick’s shoulder. “Yeah, I know.”

Allison Temple
Coming Soon: Cold Pressed.
Cold Pressed. Seacroft novel 2. Contemporary MM romance from author Allison Temple.

So I know the dust is barely settled on Top Shelf, but are you ready for more Seacroft? There’s a cover reveal (and this might be my favourite cover for the whole series) coming next week, but maybe you’d like a blurb?

Cold Pressed will be out in July!


No strings attached is all Oliver can offer. He's hiding a broken heart that holds him back from diving into a new relationship, but he'll go on a blind date to make his family happy. Just one date, though; he doesn't have time for love to derail his plans.

Divorced and demoted to the night shift, Nick has his own problems. He's got an ex-wife who needs him and a kid with one foot in juvie. The last thing Nick needs is to butt heads—or other body parts—with a tempting hipster who wears a sad smile on their blind date. 

Their chemistry can’t be denied, though, in an argument or in bed. No strings sex is uncomplicated and that's what Nick and Oliver need. But getting into bed together is one thing. Staying out of each other’s hearts soon becomes so much more complicated than either one imagined.

Cold Pressed is an 80k contemporary MM romance. It features a smouldering bisexual single dad, a broken-hearted hipster with a thing for beet juice, and a friends-with-benefits arrangement that blooms into the HEA you've been looking for.

Allison Temple
Teaser: Top Shelf
Top Shelf contemporary gay romance from Allison Temple. Coming May 20 to Kindle Unlimited

Top Shelf is out on May 20, but you can read the beginning of chapter 1 right now!

Chapter 1

The exterior of Martin’s new workplace did not inspire confidence. Dog Ears Book Shop was a two-story brick building on Seacroft’s main street. The sign out front was painted in large black and white spots that were probably meant to look like a Dalmatian, but actually looked more like a cow. The ‘Help Wanted’ sign was still in the window. If that was an indication of his new employer’s faith in his abilities, Martin’s career in bookselling would be short.

He’d been told to be here by eight-thirty, and he was early. There was a diner next door, and he’d popped in to grab a tea to go. That had been ten minutes ago, and now the bookshop’s locked storefront staring back at him made him worry. What if he’d made the job offer up? What if this was just another punch line on the cruel practical joke that was his life lately? Not being able to hold down an obscure academic position was one thing. Not being good enough to work at a lonely used bookstore in a sleepy seaside community was another issue completely. His thesis supervisor had always said life was not a pony farm, but Martin didn’t even want the whole farm anymore. A seat at the trough would do.

A dark sedan pulled up to the curb. Martin hunched into his tea, avoiding eye contact with the driver. They didn’t need to see him like this.

“Thanks, Mom!” A teenage girl with hair like coiled springs got out of the passenger side. She leaned in and spoke to the driver for a minute, before slamming the door and waving as the car pulled away. She smiled when she spotted Martin.

“Are you the new guy?” She hiked her backpack up on her shoulders. Martin nodded, and her smile spread. “Doctor Lindsey, I presume!” She stuck out her hand for him to shake. He juggled his tea and his bike helmet before reaching for her.

“It’s just Martin,” he said.

“I’m Cassidy. Mrs. Green said you’d be starting today. I’m supposed to show you the ropes.” She pulled a ring of keys out of her backpack and stepped around him to the door. She appeared to be younger than any of his former students had been. It said a lot that someone who didn’t even have a high school diploma would be training him.

“Have you worked here long?” he asked as she fumbled with the lock. She jammed her hip against the doorframe, and then rattled the doorknob before twisting the key. The heavy old door swung open on groaning hinges that shattered the quiet Saturday morning. A jogger running by turned as he passed. Martin ducked his head while Cassidy waved.

“Since I was in tenth grade. I started working after school, and then Mrs. Green let me work full time over the summers. Now that I’m back at school, I’ll mostly be here in the afternoons and on Saturdays.” She walked in and flicked a switch by the door. Ancient strings of incandescent lights flared to life. Martin’s next question caught in his throat as the bookstore loomed in front of him.

He’d been in once before, when he dropped off his resume, but he hadn’t bothered to stay. It might have even been Cassidy he’d handed his CV to for all he knew. It had taken him two tries to walk through the front door, and then he’d finally run in, thrust the paper at the person behind the cash, and fled. It had been embarrassing, but getting this far was an improvement from the trajectory his life had taken in recent months. His doctor had said he should be proud.

Oddly enough, despite that frantic and hasty attempt at applying for a job, he still remembered the smell of the store as he walked in. It was something damp and forgotten, and the space held an incredible sense of age and weight.

Heavy dark shelves of every height and width lined the walls from floor to ceiling. Books were stacked up and down, lengthways and sideways. Martin had read a lot in his life, and he had never seen so many books all in one place.

“Welcome!” Cassidy held her arms out, as if she spoke for every title and every writer represented in the giant space. She glanced over her shoulder. “It’s kind of like the TARDIS, isn’t it?”

“Bigger on the inside than the outside?”

Cassidy’s smile grew. “You watch Doctor Who?”

Martin shrugged, ignoring the little thrill in his chest at the normalcy of this conversation.

“I missed the last few seasons,” he said. “It stopped being good after David Tennant left.”

“I guess we’re not going to be friends after all.” Cassidy’s green eyes narrowed, but her smile didn’t fade.

Feeling a little braver, Martin stepped around a low table stacked with picture books and a sign that read ‘For When They Won’t F*ing Sleep.’ Beyond that, a bookshelf was labeled with ‘100 Ways to Cheat on Your Diet.’ Most of the titles below the sign were pastry cookbooks and European travelogues.

“I made that one,” Cassidy said, as Martin examined the sign. It was done in chalk, the lettering alternating orange and green, with what looked like a steaming plate of spaghetti and a glass of wine nestled underneath it.

“It’s very nice.”

“Let me give you the tour. We won’t be open for another half hour.”

The TARDIS reference turned out to be fairly apt. Every time they came to the end of a teetering row of bookshelves, Cassidy would turn and take him in a new direction. Somehow though, they never wound up at the front of the store again. Sometimes the shelves were broken up with ancient and overstuffed armchairs before the books continued. There didn’t seem to be any logic to the way they were organized. Instead of standard headings—fiction, non-fiction, travel, mystery—each section was labeled in the same cheeky blackboards as Martin had seen up front. ‘Pets.They’re Better Than Kids’ and ‘Old Dead Guys Say Famous Things.’

“Wouldn’t it just be easier to organize them by genre?” he asked as they wound their way down another aisle.

“Why? It’s more fun this way.” Cassidy seemed to know exactly where they were, despite the fact that Martin was hopelessly turned around. They passed a shelf labeled ‘Books To Read On Dark Nights.’

“But how do people find what they’re looking for?”

She glanced over her shoulder at him, and for all there had to be over ten years between them, Martin suddenly felt like a kid asking stupid questions of a weary parent.

“Have you ever worked in a bookstore before? Mrs. Green said you had.”

“In college.” It had been humiliating to have to put that little nugget of experience back on his resume.

“When you go to buy a book, if you want a recommendation, do you ask for a contemporary mystery, written in the last two years, by an American writer?”

“Yes?”

Cassidy snorted. “Well, that’s not how most people work. Most people come in here, and they say they want something a little funny, a little sad. Something about families, but not something where someone dies. It’s easier if we organize them this way.”

“But it doesn’t make any sense!”

They passed a shelf called ‘We Didn’t Know Where Else To Put These.’

“It will.” She turned another corner, and suddenly, they were back where they started. A cyclist went by, followed by a woman with a stroller. They didn’t so much as glance through the window. Martin felt like he’d been on a kind of quest that had lasted a thousand years, only to return home and find that no time had passed at all.

“So the first thing to do is tidy up the kid’s section.” She pointed to the picture book table. “The Mommy and Me group will be here at nine-thirty.”

“Mommy and me?”

“Yes, and then the knitting circle will be here at noon.”

“Knitting circle?” Martin checked around again. “Like people? Here? Knitting?”

“Sure! Didn’t Mrs. Green tell you?”

“Tell me about what?” Here it was. He’d expected a quiet day of recommending classics and wheezing on the layer of dust that coated everything. It had all seemed too easy, and now he would find out why.

“Oh. Well. A used bookstore is only so popular. Most people just get their stuff online these days. So Mrs. Green figured out that if we get people to come for other things, they might stick around and buy a book or two. It’s Mommy and Me at nine-thirty, knitting circle at noon, and the feminist poetry circle at three on Saturdays.”

That didn’t sound too bad.

“Do I have to learn to knit?” He was pleased he could find humor over the increasing rattle of his heart.

Cassidy laughed, curly hair bouncing on her shoulders. “It couldn’t hurt.”

No, it was bad.

Cover Reveal and a Giveaway!
Cover image for Top Shelf by Allison Temple. Contemporary gay romance available May 20 on Kindle Unlimited.

It’s here!! I’m so pleased to share the cover for Top Shelf with you. Designed by the amazing Cate Ashwood, I have loved this cover since the first proof landed in my inbox.

Seb and Martin’s small town slow burn romance will be available on May 20, but you can enter to win an advance copy one of two ways.

Meet Seb and Martin
Top Shelf Contemporary MM Romance by Allison Temple

Top Shelf, the first book in my new Seacroft series is coming next month! There’s big stuff planned. Cover reveals. Advance copies for a few lucky readers :) For now, meet Seb and Martin:

Martin is a ghost. Well, not really, but he might as well be. Job gone, home gone, self-respect gone, and no one even seems to notice. The only person who really sees him is Seb, the artist who lives above the used bookstore.

Seb haunts the edges of Seacroft in search of beauty. He knows how to excavate the hidden value in abandoned things—whether it's in the pages of forgotten books or in Martin's stuttering attempts to rebuild his life—and transform them into works of art.

Two lost souls, Seb and Martin discover the strength they need to face eccentric townies and their dysfunctional families together. But as friendship sparks toward something more, neither man wants to risk what they’ve only just found. It takes two to fall in love, but it will take the whole community to bring their beauty to life.

Top Shelf is an 83k slow burn friends-to-lovers MM romance. It features an anxious professor, a drama queen artist, a bookstore that might be haunted, and a full-blown heart-eyes HEA.

To stay up to date on release news, join my newsletter, The A-List. I’ll even throw in two free short stories right now! 

Get Going Down for Free

Hey, who’s that over on the Prolific Works blog today?

Going Down is a short gay romance featuring the sexiest game of Truth or Dare ever played in an elevator.

The last place that Lucas Sanderson wants to be is his ten-year high school reunion. Nothing has changed. The bullies are still bullies. The headmaster is still stuck in the last century. And Bentley ‘Call me Ben’ Hammersmith IV is still so charming Lucas can’t even be mad at him for forgetting Lucas’s name.
All he has to do is give a speech, have a few drinks, and then he can get the hell out one last time.
Of course, what happens next involves beautiful Ben, an elevator with no power, a call center with no clue, and a game of Truth or Dare not even Lucas could see coming. Never has he ever had a night like this one.

Grab your copy now.

The Best (and Others) of 2018
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So Long 2018.jpg

So first off, this is being posted in error, because there is NO WAY IN HELL that 2018 is almost over. This has without a doubt been one of the most action packed years of my life...which is funny, because I spent an awful lot of it working from my couch.

I wanted to write about the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of 2018, but since we also all want to leave here in a good mood, I'm going to do it backwards. This is going to be like one of those food blog posts where I ramble and you keep scanning for the recipe. Bear with me. There are some good bits in here.

The Ugly

I had a publishing deal....and then I didn't. You can read a bit about it here, but let's just say I have to tell myself it was the right decision, even when everything else is uncertain.

The Bad

My grandmother passed away in October. It was quick without being sudden. We are all sad, but I can't say we were surprised.

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Screen Shot 2018-10-21 at 6.03.31 PM

Her passing overlapped with the GRL Retreat. I was on the highway somewhere in Pennsylvania when she left us. My family and I had talked a lot whether or not I should go to Virginia at all, and in the end decided I should.

It's surreal to be all by yourself in a place you don't know when one of the pillars of your childhood leaves this world, but I drove 3000 km that week (see Figure 1) and had lots of time to grieve, remember, and distract myself with hours of Sam of Wilds' audiobooks shenanigans (more on that below).

Okay that that's done, let's get to the stuff you actually click the link for.

The Good

So much good. Good reads. Good friends. In no particular order these are:

I published a book!!

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Untitled design-9

Four books, actually. 2018 was the year I became an honest to god published romance author. It has been awesome and exhausting and sometimes heartbreaking, but I would do it all over again.

Three of these stories are short and can be found here for free. Going Down is brand spanking new and features the sexiest truth or dare game ever played in an elevator. It will also be moving to Amazon in the new year, so you should pick up your free copy now.

Speaking of pick ups, The Pick Up you have to pay for, but it's averaging 4.4 stars on Amazon, so I promise this small town single dad romance is worth your time. Also, it's on sale until January 5 if you use the code SALE18 when purchasing from the publisher's website. If you need more convincing, you can read about it here.

I discovered Verania.

I'm a slow reader. Super slow. A book a month is about my speed.

Last year, I was at GRL in Denver and Brandon Witt was speaking in a panel and said something like "And then I read The Lightning-Struck Heart and it had Gary the Hornless Gay Unicorn," and I had never heard of the book, but there was a ripple of . . . something in the room.

I didn't think about the book again until this past winter when Wish Upon the Stars came out and so there was a sale on The Lightning-Struck Heart and so I bought it and then whispersynced that puppy to get the audiobook and . . . is it hubris if I say my life changed?

Sam appreciates hubris. Let's go with it.

TJ Klune does not need my shout out. His fans are legion. And most of you are rolling your eyes going "Come on Allison, I knew about Verania ages ago!" But for me, as a long-time audiobook afficianado, this series is one of the best produced I've ever listened to. If you haven't done so already, give yourself the Gift Of Verania this holiday season (I capitalized it, so you know it's true).

I met some awesome people and read their awesome books.

I hesitate to write this, because just like we hope-click 'best of' lists even though we know our books won't be on them, someone is going to look at my recommendations and be disappointed that I didn't include their story.

Know that, if we are writerly friends, I appreciate every conversation we've had this year. A lot of writing is navel gazing and pep talks and it's awesome that the community is supportive enough that these can happen any time of the day.

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Untitled design-3

Craft Brew is book 2 in the Trouble Brewing series, which means you should probably read book 1. . . and that means you should probably read the Agents Irish and Whisky series to get the full impact. But if you're not down for that kind of commitment, just start with Imperial Stout and get ready for Nic's silver-fox-in-a-suit-hiding-so-many-yummy-tattoos and Cam's balls-out-Boston-but-Cam's-not-out-and-I-have-so-many-feelings-about-this. Seriously. The books are fast paced, the eye candy (even if it's in my head) is delightful, and there's still one more book in the series to go in 2019!

Life of Bliss is also a book 2 and I've been going back and forth about whether I like or its predecessor, Life on Pause, more. In the end, I picked Life of Bliss because I didn't know wake-up-married was a trope I'd be down for, but Vic and Todd are so frigging cute, the pining is so sweet and earnest, and Erin McLellan is my favourite sex toy queen, and this story is tamer than some of her others, but still doesn't disappoint.

Where Death Meets the Devil was quite possibly the best book I read in 2018 and LJ Hayward has subsequently put out a Coda, three novellas, and an excellent second novel in the Death and the Devil series, so while I still like the opening gambit (I'm just in awe of the dual timelines) the best, there are lots more words to help get you through your book hangover.

At some point, I'm going to write a 'what's up for 2019?' post. The short answer is SO MUCH! Thanks for being part of my debut year misadventures. Let's continue the journey next year!

The Last Christmas
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The Last Christmas.png

It's 12:11 on Christmas morning--or is it Christmas afternoon? My parents should be here in 20 minutes or so. This is a big deal. The first Christmas in my house. A rite of pasage

In order for new traditions have to start, old ones have to fade away. I hung on to the tradition of Christmas morning at Mom and Dad's longer than a lot of my contemporaries. My husband is Jewish, so there was never any question of whose family we go to spend Christmas with. His job has him working on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. Most years I take the train to my hometown a few days ahead of the holidays, and wake up--if not in my childhood bedroom (it's the sewing room now)--at least in my childhood home.

But Christmas has been getting smaller. We don't have kids, so the frenzied magic of Santa has faded. My brother works in hospitality, so there's no question of him making the 6-hour trek at the busiest time of year. And his 13-year-old son, until this year, lived two timezones away with his mom. So Christmas got smaller.

My parents and I would roll out of bed whenever, and drink mimosas until it was time for my grandmother to arrive. Sometimes we'd be joined by an aunt and uncle, or a family friend or two. We stopped making turkey, because there weren't enough mouths to feed. We stopped collapsing into bed at 10 pm, full of too much poultry, gravy, stuffing, chocolate, wine, and whatever else, and instead started waving goodbye to our senior guests around 6 pm, and then binging something good on Netflix.

This October, we lost my grandmother, who had been too old to travel for the holidays for at least the last 10 years. I said I'd like to spend Christmas with my husband for a change (novel, I know). We said we'd move Christmas to Toronto. We'd invite the Jewish in-laws. Three weeks ago, my mom called and said she didn't think gifts were necessary this year.

You never know when the last time will be the last time. Traditions change and fade. When will be the last time you wish someone Merry Christmas? When will be the last time you rub sleep from your eyes and wander into the homey scents of your parents' kitchen?

Hug your loved ones today. Start new traditions, but appreciate the old ones, just in case it's the last time.

Nana Through the Looking Glass
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IMG_1219.JPG

"Whether I knew it then or not, I've been a writer since the second grade, when I wrote a short story about a girl and her horse. My grandmother typed it out for me and said she’d never seen so many quotation marks from a seven-year-old before."

You'll recognize this if you've read my bio (on this blog, in my books, or elsewhere). I guess you could say my Nana was my first editor.

A year ago, nearly 30 years after that first horsey short story, I wrote a novel about an artist who lived above a used bookstore. Seb makes a living taking the books people don't want anymore and turning them into something new. One afternoon, Martin (the bookstore's newest employee and Seb's love interest) finds an illustrated copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in the store and gives it to Seb who, in turn, makes it into something special—a birthday gift for his grandmother.

Two weeks ago, my Nana couldn't get out of bed. She's 86 and still living on her own. They called the ambulance, took her to the hospital, ran tests.

A week ago, I passed a used bookstore. It wasn't in my neighbourhood. I'd never been inside it. But there, in the window, was an illustrated copy of Alice's Adventure in Wonderland. I was on my way to an appointment, and by the time I walked back the other way, the store was closed. But I knew I needed that book. For Seb. For his Nana. For mine too, because she loved to read and loved the old stories best. I went back and bought it yesterday.

Today, we said goodbye to my Nana.

Her favourite books were Seven Years in Tibet and the complete collection of Churchill's Letters to Roosevelt. She raised five daughters, had eleven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. She made the best pea soup in the world and she gave even better hugs. She never finished high school, but left her home on Vancouver Island to move with my grandfather to Montreal in 1953. She lived in Morocco and the Cameroons. In 1988, she helped me publish my first book*

Seb's story is unpublished, but it's going to be, someday. When it is, there will be two words in the dedication.

For Nana.

Miss you bunches already.

*the first story had what you might call a limited distribution deal. It might still be available to be borrowed from my elementary school library though.

We Can Be Heroes
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Tomorrow is tomato sauce day. In honour of that proud tradition, here's a post from my non-author blog about the time the tomatoes nearly killed us!

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