#Top5 with Erik O’Malley and River Svboda from Shadows You Left




In Shadows You Left Erik O’Malley our resident bartender who moonlights as a cage fighter, is broody, messy and troubled, but also charismatic and charming, which should make him quite gifted in the pouring department. Unfortunately, Erik can’t seem to craft a cocktail for the life of him.


So, what drinks could you order at a bar that would make Erik grit his teeth and roll his eyes?

  1. Old Fashioned – I mean, c’mon? The bitters? The sugar? Peeling the orange? Yeah, no. Erik would pass on that.
  2. Bloody Mary – How many ingredients does a cocktail even need? Not that many.
  3. Sex on the Beach – Erik would absolutely take this drink order as an invitation to flirting, not quite drinking. Or both, maybe. Just not that drink.
  4. A Frozen Anything – This is Seattle, not Hawaii, and Erik works at a dive bar. I can hear him now, looking at Desiree with a sneer and asking, very sarcastically, where the hell the blender is. Do they even have a blender?
  5. Mojito – If Erik has to muddle fruit, he’s not gonna be happy about it. It’s sticky, it takes forever and he always forgets the mint. Even if it is a main ingredient.


River Svboda is an incredibly talented artist with a gift for watercolor and ink style tattoos at one of Seattle’s trendy tattoo shops, Styx. From his tattoos to his sweet charm and even occasional edge, River is a what you see is what you get kind of guy. Unless it comes to his secret passion: yoga. River likes to excel at all things, but there are some yoga poses that no matter how hard he tries, he just cannot master.

  1. Lord of the Dance: He’s got the flexibility, no problem, so River should have this one in the bag. But he can’t. stop. falling. over.
  2. Crow: Whether it’s because he’s too sweaty or because of some inexplicable instinct to do a forward roll whenever he tries, River’s only managed to achieve this one once. For about five seconds.
  3. King Pigeon Pose: Flexibility? Yeah, no River’s seen pictures, this isn’t just flexibility. He has a spine and it’s not made of rubber. He’s pretty sure this pose is just a myth.
  4. Lotus Pose: None of this modified Lotus business. Actually achieving Lotus? River’s not convinced anyone should do that to their ankles, no matter how many people can, and other than him, do.
  5. Shoulder Pressing Pose: River’s got a secret name for this one: ass to floor pose. It’s not that he can’t, he tells himself, it’s that his ass can only take so much.



Pick up Shadows You Left by Jude Sierra and Taylor Brooke today!



The white picket fence.
The happily-ever-after.
That life was never meant for him.
For years he’s been bouncing from city to city—from one cage fight to another.
That’s his outlet. That’s pain Erik can control.
But in Seattle, everything changed.
River’s an artist.
He’s a pretty boy.
He does yoga.
Someone so soft shouldn’t be intrigued by Erik’s rough edges.

His life was quiet. He had a simple routine.
Designing tattoos, avoiding drama. Well, mostly.
Then Erik comes along—scarred and dangerous, shrouded in mystery.
A mystery River can’t resist trying to solve.
Maybe a secret as dark as his own.
Neither of them expected a relationship so complicated, so intense.
Neither of them expected…each other.
Erik and River are both trying to escape a shadowed past.
But the thing about shadows is: the faster you run, the faster they chase you.






Jude Sierra is a Latinx poet, author, academic and mother working toward her PhD in Writing and Rhetoric, looking at the intersections of Queer, Feminist and Pop Culture Studies. She also works as an LGBTQAI+ book reviewer for From Top to Bottom Reviews. Her novels include Hush, What it Takes, and Idlewild, a contemporary LGBT romance set in Detroit’s renaissance, which was named a Best Book of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews. Her most recent novel, A Tiny Piece of Something Greater was released in May of 2018.






After working in Los Angeles as a special effects makeup artist for many years, Taylor Brooke (she/they) turned her imagination back to her true love—books. When she’s not nestled in a blanket typing away on her laptop, she’s traveling, hiking or reading. She writes #ownvoices Queer books for teens and adults. Connect with her on Twitter at @taysalion.


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