HEA Check-in

A reader’s perspective on more time with our favourite couples

The topic of sequels or series in which we get to follow our favourite couples in their HEAs even if just as supporting characters has come up before and, yes I’m still a fan. An author once mentioned to me that in a romance once a couple has their HEA, it is very difficult to write that second or third book – how can it still be a romance? Haven’t they already had their time in the sun? Do readers really want to read about the minutiae of everyday life? Probably not all of us, but I’ve invested my time in getting to know them – it’s great to have these little reunions.

A chance to reconnect made me a very happy camper when I noticed the recent release of Ylva’s anthology After Happily Ever After. It is only in the last couple of years that I really paid much attention to short story collections or anthologies (the number of them in my library would indicate subconsciously I’ve liked them for quite a while) and some publishers have effectively used them as vehicles to raise awareness and fund-raise, celebrate holidays (Halloween, Christmas), focus on certain themes (I’m thinking erotica here) and of course give exposure to up and coming authors (GCLS Writing Academy Graduates – Written Dreams) as well as established writers. All good reasons that I heartily support – I’ve discovered many a new author reading these anthologies. Plus, I’ll often get to catch up on some of favourite couples that I might not otherwise get to read about again. Which is fun, really fun. More often than not, I end up rereading the original story and short story – a chance to rediscover some of the hidden gems in my library.

The collection of short stories that first comes to mind (actually two volumes and BEST EVER!) is Karin Kallmaker’s Frosting on the Cake (2001, 2010) and Frosting on the Cake 2: Second helpings (2010). By 2010 Kallmaker had over thirty romances and Sci-fi/Fantasy (Laura Adams) books under her belt and she covers most of them in these two collections. As an added bonus Kallmaker provides a short rundown (including 512IdqdYmsLaddressing some reader FAQs) about each of the original novels and corresponding short stories in the last chapter of each collection. I spent a good few months revisiting Kallmaker’s backlist as I went through both collections. Dare we ask for a third helping, it’s just frosting after all? This was also about the time when I realized it really was well worth the effort to read an author’s acknowledgement or the blurbs at the beginning and/or end of their novels, a habit I continue to this day. Reading the first volume I was able to solve a mystery that had been haunting me – an unknown novel I absolutely loved, wanted to read again but couldn’t remember the author and title (it was before my kindle days so storage space was pretty much non-existent so I didn’t hang on to them). Reading these collections I discovered that in my head I had combined what was actually two novels into one – surprise that I couldn’t find it. I am still pretty chuffed that my new cherished copies of Touchwood (and Watermark were autographed by the author at a GCLS conference.

The two volumes of In Deep Waters (Volume 1: Cruising the Seas and Volume 2: Cruising 51lWP-LGrfLthe Strip) include short stories by Kallmaker and Radclyffe. Just a note that my downloaded version of volume 1 includes both 1 and 2, so be sure to check before you download volume 2 (I didn’t). Most seem to be original stories (although some were previously released) and some feature characters from my favourite novels by these two authors (including Honor and Quinn, Saxon and Jude). Who could ask for anything more? Just be warned though, one unhappy reviewer was unable to finish Cruising the Seas. Essentially she states (my translation of her French review) “…. in the end it is independent/unrelated short stories, scenes of sex, one after the other, with little or no romance.” Consider yourself warned 🙂

519Gtq2EMdL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Since After Happily Ever After (2020) gave me the idea for this blog, I thought I’d finish with it. This anthology includes stories by Jae, Alex K. Thorne, Roslyn Sinclair, Lola Keeley, Lee Winter, Chris Zett, Cheyenne Blue, RJ Nolan and G Benson. Although some of the stories in After Happily Ever After have been previously released there are enough new stories to make a read through worthwhile even if you have already read a few of them. Some of my favourite lesfic couples of recent years get another moment in the sun. What’s not to like?


  1. Hey Danielle! I love sequels too- especially if they let me see a little further into the lives of my favorite characters. I’ve really enjoyed Karin Kallmaker’s two short story collections. I haven’t seen this in a while, but a couple of authors back in the early days did sequels that focused on the two main characters without introducing new mains. Just in case you and other readers want to reminisce with me (LOL!) here are a few full story series (3+ books in each) that followed the initial main characters throughout: Lori Lake’s Gun Series; Melissa Good’s Dar and Kerry series; KG MacGregor’s Shaken series; Carrie Carr’s Lex and Amanda series; Susan M. Beck’s Redemption series…and I’m noticing a theme here! These are all my old favorite Xena fanfic stories! LOL!
    Ok so for newer series that focus on the two main characters throughout: Isabella’s American Yakuza; T.B. Markinson’s A Woman Lost series; Andi Marquette’s Far Seek Chronicles.
    And now that I’ve listed a whole bunch of books that I KNOW you have already read I’m wondering if I totally missed the point of the blog which was focused on short stories. But it was fun to think of all those HEA’s continuing on so thanks for the inspiration!


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