NEW RELEASE BLITZ: Her Little Secret by Gemma Johns (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title: Her Little Secret

Author: Gemma Johns

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 05/28/2024

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 69100

Genre: contemporary, teaching, non-traditional family situation, children, surrogate parent, lovers to friends, hurt-comfort

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On a rare night out, single mum Lily stumbles into the arms of the dazzling Parker. They spend one passionate night together, but both know it will never be anything more. Lily has lost too much over the years to even want to try again.

A year later, devoted teacher, Parker, is excited to start the new year at her brand new school. Greeting the parents, she sees one familiar face in the crowd—the woman she met over a year ago. The woman she has been unable to forget.

Arriving at the classroom, Lily cannot believe her son, Bodhi, has Parker as his new teacher. This surprise was totally unexpected!

Their roles have changed now—as teacher and school parent—but the attraction toward each other has remained. And, as if the situation wasn’t already complicated enough, there’s Bodhi’s dad: Who is he? And why on earth is he still hanging around?

As their worlds clash, Parker knows she needs to be super professional, even though her heart races when she sees Lily. With everything to lose, but their chemistry so strong, is it worth taking a gamble for love?


Her Little Secret
Gemma Johns© 2024
All Rights Reserved


“My feet are aching,” Lily called out over the music. “I’m exhausted!”

Maree rolled her eyes at her friend. “Come on. Stop acting like an old lady. You’re not even forty yet. We are partying til at least three.” Maree was whining. “Just let down your hair.”

Lily shook her head. Not for the first time that night, she vowed never to go out with Maree again. She pondered joking with Maree about the fact that her long hair was already down, but she figured she wouldn’t be heard over the music. “I’ll go sit down, then.”

Maree grinned in response, but Lily knew there was no way she could get her to leave the dance floor. She had her eye on a petite blonde dancing off to the side. It was typical of Maree—as soon as her relationships finished, she’d be on the lookout for some new girl. “The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else” was Maree’s motto, but it was definitely not Lily’s way of thinking. Besides, meeting someone in a club wasn’t exactly her cup of tea. The nightclub, the Palace, seemed like a meat market. That’s what Maree enjoyed.

Spying a chair off in a quiet corner, Lily made a beeline for the bar, hoping the seat would still be empty once she got a drink.

She got herself a cola and dodged drunk people everywhere to sit down. As she approached the quiet chair in the corner, though, she noticed a woman sitting off to the side at the same table. She must have been there the whole time but had been blocked by the wall. “Do you mind if I sit? I wouldn’t normally intrude, but my feet…” Lily couldn’t believe she was asking—she usually wouldn’t approach a stranger—but she was desperate. The woman was sitting quietly, so it shouldn’t be a problem. Lily just hoped she didn’t have a group of friends that would soon join her.

The woman shook her head. “Please, make yourself comfortable.”

Lily smiled. “Thank you. What a terrible night,” she muttered, more to herself than to the woman near her. But the woman near her responded anyway. “I’m Parker,” she said. “So tell me why it’s such an awful night, and why you don’t go home?”

Lily rolled her eyes. She hadn’t intended on chatting, but she had started it, clearly interrupting Parker’s peace and quiet, so she figured she’d better explain. “My friend just broke up her latest U-Haul relationship. And she’s clearly looking for another.” Lily gave Parker a crooked grin. “Or something. That’s her there, and she seems to have her eye on that blonde in the purple dress.”

Parker craned her neck and glanced at Maree and the blonde in the purple dress. “Okay, and what are her chances?”

“I have no idea. I have seen them stealing glances at each other, but…” Lily shrugged. “Truthfully, I have enough trouble working out whether women are attracted to me, let alone whether Maree has a chance.”

“Are you flirting with me?” Parker asked.

Lily was confused. “Huh? Flirting?”

“Well, you said you can’t work out if women are attracted to you. Was that a loaded comment? Like you’re waiting for me to look in your eyes and say, ‘I am,’ or something. Because I’m not…”

“What? No!” Lily shook her head. She couldn’t believe the woman was thinking that! She’d barely even looked at her. “No, I was just meaning… Never mind.” Now she was annoyed. She couldn’t even sit down without someone in the meat market thinking she was fair game.

“Sorry, I’ve made things awkward. It’s just…that was a little forward of me, but I wondered if that’s what you were getting at.”

Lily blushed. “Sorry, I’m not here for that. Unlike Maree over there.” She looked over and noticed Maree was now dancing closer to the blonde in the purple dress. Lily turned back to Parker and looked at her for the first time. She realised that if she was looking, Parker was exactly the type of woman who would make her head turn. Short dark hair, broad shoulders, strong. Not her ‘type’ exactly, but sexy as hell. She had to look away.

“She’s getting closer,” Parker said, interrupting Lily’s thoughts. She gestured toward Maree and the blonde. Lily followed her gaze. “I’d just noticed that too.”

“What happens? She’ll go home with her? If she’s interested?” Parker was curious.

Lily shrugged. “Maree will do whatever the circumstances demand. She’s a serial monogamist, and while she does go home with a girl on the first night, that’s not usually her style. She’d prefer a phone number at the end of the night.”

“A phone number.” Parker smiled. “Cute. I didn’t know people still did that. Not since 2005.”

“You don’t give out your number?”

“It’s not that I don’t give out my number, it’s just…I hate the phone.”

“I hate the phone too. Text me, email me, messenger me. Just don’t call me.”

Parker absentmindedly looked toward the dance floor. “My friend is in there somewhere too. I don’t know where he went.” It hadn’t even occurred to Lily that Parker was there with someone. Actually, Lily hadn’t really given any thought to why Parker was there.

“Do you have to stay til he comes back?”

Parker shook her head. “He does this. He might have already found some bloke. I don’t know. He invites me out, and we usually just grab dinner, have a nice catch-up. But then some nights he pleads with me to come to a place like this, and bam, I don’t see him again. I fall for it every time though. This is not really my scene.” Parker gestured around the club. “I’m here for Nathan.”

“That’s…nice of you…I guess.”

“Tonight we had incredible pizzas, so it’s not a total waste of a night. I should probably head home soon, but I thought I’d sit for a bit, finish my beer, and then you came along.” She gazed toward the dance floor, clearly scanning for her friend.

Lily frowned. “Does he usually return?”

“Generally, but it could be way past my bedtime.” She yawned. “He doesn’t seem to worry if I’m waiting, so I don’t worry about him.” She laughed dryly. “Hey, I don’t even know your name.”

“Lily,” she said, smiling.

“That’s a pretty name. It suits you.” Lily blushed, but Parker kept talking. “Listen, there’s a coffee shop around the corner. It makes the most incredible—”

“Lattes?” Lily asked, grinning. “I go there too. When Maree ditches me.”

“Do you have caffeine this late at night?”

Lily shrugged. “I usually have no trouble sleeping, even when I do. Usually by the time I’ve danced the night away, I’m exhausted enough. Do you want to go?”

“I’d love a coffee, and I’m enjoying chatting with you.”

Lily was pleased. It had been a long time since she’d enjoyed the company of a gorgeous woman, and though she wasn’t planning to date any time soon, she was enjoying talking to Parker. As they sipped their coffee and shared a large chunk of caramel slice, they realised they both loved eighties music and reminisced about various music film clips.

“The Thriller one got my sister and I dancing every afternoon after school. We would try to moonwalk. Jacqui was really good at it. I was never as good as her.”

“I used to moonwalk, and breakdance with my sister too.”

“Oh yeah, breakdancing! That was fun!” Lily smiled, remembering how she and her cousins used to try to breakdance at parties.

“The children of today won’t have anything like that in years to come,” Parker said. “They’ll remember just pouting into the camera, and planking, and all the ordinary stuff. The eighties were much better.”

Lily agreed. She quietly pondered Bodhi’s friends, and how much of their catch-ups were spent on game consoles, battling one another. She didn’t bother mentioning Bodhi though. She wasn’t trying to make a lifelong friend, and she certainly wasn’t going to date. She was, however, enjoying Parker’s company and didn’t want the evening to end. She couldn’t help gazing at her when she wasn’t looking and wondering what it would be like to kiss her. That unsettled her. It had been a long time since she’d even had thoughts like that, and she didn’t need to start now. She shook her head and asked Parker what video games she’d played as a kid.

“My brother and I would play for hours.”

Lily laughed. “I did, too, with my cousins. God, it was a long time ago.”

“Well, we’re not that old.” Parker put her empty coffee cup down. “This is really great, getting to know you.”

“Yeah, it’s fun.” Lily smiled. “I really should go soon though.”

Parker glanced at her watch. “Did you drive or cab it?”

“I drove.”

Parker asked her where she parked and whether she could walk her to her car. “That would be lovely,” Lily said, and she was truly grateful. She never did love walking alone to her car in the city, and although she didn’t know Parker, she felt comfortable and safe around her. As they strolled, they chatted about where they both lived—about ten minutes from each other—and how long their commutes to work were.

“The irony is I moved to Canberra and thought since everything is so close I’d have a short commute to work, but I’m going from Tuggeranong to Belconnen every day.” She shrugged. “It’s no drama, but it’s about an hour out of each day, round trip. Still, it’s hardly a Sydney or Melbourne commute.”

“What do you do?”

“I’m a teacher. I’ve been at the school I’m at for nearly ten years now. I do love it. I sometimes wonder about moving closer to work though.”

“I bet.” Lily was disappointed to see they’d arrived at the car already.

“You don’t have to drive your friend home, do you?” Parker asked as if it just occurred to her.

Lily shook her head. “No, I did text her earlier to let her know I was leaving. I didn’t tell her I’d left with a woman. That would invite twenty questions.”

“So your friend does that often, but you don’t?”

Lily shook her head. “Never.”

Parker looked disappointed. “So there’s no chance of me getting your phone number, then?”

“I told you I don’t do phone numbers. And neither do you, apparently.”

Parker’s eyes twinkled in response as she tried to hide a smile. “What about another coffee? At my house? Do you do that?”

Lily was silent. It sounded innocent enough, but even if Parker’s invitation was genuine, she knew what would happen if she went home with her, and she couldn’t say she wasn’t tempted. It had been a long time since she’d enjoyed a ‘coffee’ at the house of a beautiful woman. She couldn’t deny her attraction to Parker either. She could barely stop staring at her, but she had vowed not to have a relationship. It was incredibly tempting, even though it would have to be a one-night thing. Finally, she shrugged and asked, “Do you have instant coffee or good coffee?” She couldn’t believe she was even considering it. There was something about Parker. She didn’t want to end the evening yet, only enjoy being around Parker just a little longer.

“I have good coffee. Really good coffee.” She smiled. “It’s definitely worth the visit. I think you’ll really like my coffee.”

Parker’s cheeky smile got her, and the inuendo excited her. More than she’d been excited in a long time. She glanced at Parker again and felt desire overtake her. In a very bold move, she stepped forward and kissed her lips. Gently at first, but as Parker responded, Lily responded also.

“Wow,” Parker said when Lily broke away. “That was some kiss.”

Lily nodded and smiled. She felt the same way. It had felt comfortable and passionate—just right. Exactly what she needed. “Do you have your car here?” Lily asked. Parker shook her head, so Lily opened the passenger door. “Then get in, before I change my mind.” Lily had never seen someone jump in a car so quickly.


NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Gemma Johns has always loved writing and wanted to write a novel since she first discovered how much she loved reading them. Her older sister told her she needed to ‘live a little’ before she wrote a novel. Years later, Gemma has now lived a lot, so finally decided to put pen to paper. Writing fiction is a part time gig for her, and she has a full time job in academia. Gemma lives in Australia with her wife and their five children.

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