Nov 11, 2017
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The best Lesbian Fiction Books

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Lesbian Fiction Books

Lesbian fiction books are not hard to find these days. Established writers of lesbian fiction keep on bringing us more as well as the newbie self publishers promoting their material on global platforms such as Amazon and Lulu. It’s easy to fid something for everyone.

Here’s a list of our lesbian fiction gems.

Curious Wine by Katherine V.Forrest

One of the best lesbian fiction books ever written in terms of popularity, having sold over 350,000 copies in its lifetime. This beloved romance is finally back in print. Candid in its eroticism, intensely romantic and remarkably beautiful, this story of two women coming together in an intimate cabin at Lake Tahoe, Nevada, is a journey through the joys and passions of first discovery that will remain in readers’ memories forever.

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Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg

A novel written by transgender activist Leslie Feinberg. Jess Goldberg, the main character, is aware from a young age that she is different from other girls. She hates wearing dresses, and often received the question – “Are you a boy or a girl?” – from strangers.
The contempt of her parents and the hatred of most of her classmates became so oppressive that she ran away from home shortly before her sixteenth birthday. She finds a new family in the coworkers in the factories where she works, and the butches and femmes who frequent the gay bars of Buffalo, New York.
Throughout her life, Jess is plagued with the feeling of not fitting in. Even when she is allowed to dress in men’s clothing, the rules about how to be a butch don’t always fit. Jess hides underneath a “stone butch” persona, which does not really protect her from trauma and often distances her from intimacy.
Jess learns that she can take male hormones and “pass” as a man. She feels this is the only way she will stop being targeted as an outsider. But “becoming” a man alienates her from the lesbian community and forces her to live a lie in front of everyone else. In the end, Jess decides to stop taking hormones and learns to be comfortable in her own skin, regardless of what anyone else thinks. At the end of the book, she becomes an activist and speaks up for the rights and dignity that every human being deserves. One of the best lesbian fiction books for trans/butch interest.

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The Night Watch by Sarah Waters

A dark, historical fiction novel that was shortlisted for the 2006 Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the 2006 Orange Prize. The novel, which is told backward through third person narrative, takes place in 1940s London during and after World War II. The storyline follows the fragmented lives and the strange interconnections between Kay, Helen, and Julia, three lesbians, Viv, a straight woman and Duncan, her brother, a gay man – their secrets, shames, and scandals that connect them despite their different experiences. The war, with its never-ending night watches, serves as a horrifying context, backdrop, and metaphor as a constant reminder of the morbidity that surrounds life and love. The central metaphor of the night watch is about the sleepless nights, detonated by war, but more so, by love.

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Keepers of the Cave by Gerri Hill

While the investigations go on in Dallas and Baton Rouge after the disappearance of a senator’s daughter, FBI agents CJ Johnston and Paige Riley are assigned to the sleepy backwoods of East Texas for a dead-end assignment to infiltrate an all-girls school.
Random disappearances dating back fifty years and more raise red flags that point to the tiny, isolated community of Hoganville. But CJ and Paige fear there will be little distraction from the memories of the one-night stand they shared six months ago.
Nevertheless, they integrate themselves into the lives of the teachers and staff, but soon the odd behavior of the townspeople has them convinced something sinister lurks there. Something, perhaps, that even the residents of Hoganville don’t know about. One of the best lesbian books for drama.

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The Blue Place by Nicola Griffith

A police lieutenant with the elite “Red Dogs” until she retired at twenty-nine, Aud Torvigen is a rangy six-footer with eyes the color of cement and a tendency to hurt people who get in her way. Born in Norway into the failed marriage between a Scandinavian diplomat and an American businessman, she now makes Atlanta her home, luxuriating in the lush heat and brashness of the New South. She glides easily between the world of silken elegance and that of sleaze and sudden savagery, equally at home in both; functional, deadly, and temporarily quiescent, like a folded razor.
On a humid April evening between storms, out walking just to stay sharp, she turns a corner and collides with a running woman, Catching the scent of clean, rain-soaked hair, Aud nods and silently tells the stranger Today, you are lucky, and moves on—when behind her house explodes, incinerating its sole occupant, a renowned art historian. When Aud turns back, the woman is gone.

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Rage: A Love Story by Julie Anne Peters

A National Book Award Finalist offers an intense portrait of an abusive relationship. Johanna is steadfast, patient, reliable; the go-to girl, the one everyone can count on. But always being there for others can’t give Johanna everything she needs—it can’t give her Reeve Hartt.
Reeve is fierce, beautiful, wounded, elusive; a flame that draws Johanna’s fluttering moth. Johanna is determined to get her, against all advice, and to help her, against all reason. But love isn’t always reasonable, right?
In the precarious place where attraction and need collide, a teenager experiences the dark side of a first love and struggles to find her way into a new light.

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By the Light of the Moon by Radclyffe

One night during a lunar eclipse, four friends with an Ouija board open a door to another dimension, and two women from different worlds share a night of passion that changes past and future.

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Desert of the Heart by Jane Rule

Two women meet and fall in love in Reno, Nevada. This classic of lesbian eroticism is Jane Rule’s first novel.
Set in the late 1950s, this is the story of Evelyn Hall, an English professor, who goes to Reno to obtain a divorce and put an end to her disastrous 16-year marriage. While staying at a boarding house to establish her six-week residency requirement she meets Ann Childs, a casino worker and fifteen years her junior. Physically, they are remarkably alike and eventually have an affair and begin the struggle to figure out just how a relationship between two women can last. Desert of the Heart examines the conflict between convention and freedom and the ways in which the characters try to resolve the conflict. The book was also made into a 1985 movie, Desert Hearts.

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Far from Xanadu by Julie Anne Peters

In this fresh, poignant novel, Mike is struggling to come to terms with her father’s suicide and her mother’s detachment from the family. Mike (real name: Mary Elizabeth) is gay and likes to pump iron, play softball, and fix plumbing. When a glamorous new girl, Xanadu, arrives in Mike’s small Kansas town, Mike falls in love at first sight. Xanadu is everything Mike is not — cool, confident, feminine, sexy…. straight.
Julie Anne Peters has written a heartbreaking yet ultimately hopeful novel that will speak to anyone who has ever fallen in love with someone who can’t love them back.

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Empress of the World by Sara Ryan

Nicola Lancaster is spending her summer at the Siegel Institute, a hothouse of smart, intense teenagers. She soon falls in with Katrina (Manic Computer Chick), Isaac (Nice-Guy-Despite-Himself), Kevin (Inarticulate Composer) . . . and Battle, a beautiful blond dancer. The two become friends–and then, startlingly, more than friends. What do you do when you think you’re attracted to guys, and then you meet a girl who steals your heart? A trailblazing debut, reissued with an introduction by acclaimed author David Levithan, and copious back matter, including three graphic novel stories by Sara Ryan (and artists Steve Leiber, Dylan Meconis, and Natalie Nourigat) about the characters.

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Two Friends: Nineteenth-century Lesbian Stories by American Women Writers by Susan Koppelman

Koppelman beautifully compiled this anthology book which includes stories by Constance Fenimore, Octave Thanet, Mary E. Wilkins, Kate Chopin and Sarah Orne Jewett, that was originally published in periodicals of their time. The stories range from the ‘explicit’ to the ‘referentially’ lesbian, Koppelman said, “I recognize these stories as stories about women loving women in a variety of romantic ways that we wouldn’t even have to struggle to define if we were talking about man and women loving each other.

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Romancing the Girl by Camryn Eyde

Aimee Turner is a country girl, living and working on her family’s sheep station in rural Australia. Life is easy and full of hard, dusty work, but when her brother Joseph decides to become a contestant on a reality TV dating show, Romancing the Farmer, everything goes to hell.
The station gets overrun by city women and stuck-up producers right in the middle of shearing season. Justine Cason, the ringleader of the circus Aimee instantly detests is an irritating, arrogant presence that she is forced to chaperone around the massive property.
The two women find more in common than trading insults the more time they spend together, sparking an unexpected connection neither was looking for. As Joseph navigates the dating scene, and Aimee’s sister Sally navigates a crumbling marriage, Aimee’s life turns on its head in more ways than one when her blooming connection with Justine is the catalyst to leaving the land she loves.
When the worst fire season in decades strikes their patch of the world, the Turner family must find a way to save themselves and the ones they dearly cherish. Can they put aside their differences to protect each other?

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Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Based in London 1892, and divided into three parts, the tale is narrated by two orphaned girls whose lives are inextricably linked. It begins in a grimy thieves kitchen in Borough, South London with 17-year-old orphan Susan Trinder. She has been raised by Mrs. Sucksby, a cockney Ma Baker, in a household of fingersmiths (pickpockets), coiners and burglars. One evening Richard “Gentleman” Rivers, a handsome confidence man, arrives. He has an elaborate scheme to defraud Maud Lilly, a wealthy heiress. If Sue will help him she’ll get a share of the “shine”. Duly installed in the Lillys’ country house as Maud’s maid, Sue finds that her mistress is virtually a prisoner. Maud’s eccentric Uncle Christopher, an obsessive collector of erotica (loosely modeled on Henry Spenser Ashbee) controls every aspect of her life. Slowly a curious intimacy develops between the two girls and as Gentleman’s plans take shape, Sue begins to have doubts. The scheme is finally hatched but as Maud commences her narrative it suddenly becomes more than a tad difficult to tell quite who has double-crossed who. Waters’ penchant for Byzantine plotting can get a bit exhausting but even at its densest moments–and remember this is smoggy London circa 1862–it remains mesmerizing. A damning critique of Victorian moral and sexual hypocrisy, a gripping melodrama and a love story to boot, this book ingeniously reworks some truly classic themes. This is one of few lesbian fiction books that was made into a movie.

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Carol / The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith

One of the best lesbian fiction books of all time. Therese is just an ordinary sales assistant working in a New York department store when a beautiful, alluring woman in her thirties walks up to her counter. Standing there, Therese is wholly unprepared for the first shock of love. Therese is an awkward nineteen-year-old with a job she hates and a boyfriend she doesn’t love; Carol is a sophisticated, bored suburban housewife in the throes of a divorce and a custody battle for her only daughter. As Therese becomes irresistibly drawn into Carol’s world, she soon realizes how much they both stand to lose…First published pseudonymously in 1952 as The Price of Salt, Carol is a hauntingly atmospheric love story set against the backdrop of fifties’ New York.
Carol was made into a movie which received critical acclaim and many accolades, including five Golden Globe Award nominations, six Academy Award nominations, and nine BAFTA Award nominations;

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Oranges are not the only fruit by Jeanette Winterson

This is the story of Jeanette, adopted and brought up by her mother as one of God’s elect. Zealous and passionate, she seems destined for life as a missionary, but then she falls for one of her converts.
At sixteen, Jeanette decides to leave the church, her home, and her family, for the young woman she loves. Innovative, punchy and tender,
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is a few days ride into the bizarre outposts of religious excess and human obsession.
The book was adapted into a BBC television drama of the same name.

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Sword of the Guardian by Merry Shannon

A shocking assassination creates an unconventional bond between a princess and her guardian in a kingdom filled with political intrigue, danger, and unexpected romance. Princess Shasta Soltranis enjoys a pampered life of court dances, elaborate finery, and the occasional secret fencing match with her twin brother, Daric. But in the midst of a birthday celebration, her world shatters when a mysterious assassin takes her brother’s life. Shasta, the only remaining heir to the throne, narrowly escapes the assassin’s blade thanks to the intervention of a traveling acrobat named Talon.
With the threat of another attempt on Shasta’s life imminent, her father declares that the young hero will become the Princess’s bodyguard. But what Shasta doesn’t know is that her new guardian has a very well-kept secret: he is actually a she.
Talon and Shasta soon grow closer than anyone, especially her father, could have predicted. Will the truth of her guardian’s secret change their relationship forever?

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Starting from Scratch by Georgia Beers

My name is Avery King and I’m probably a lot like you. I’m a 34-year-old single lesbian and my heart belongs to my rescued mutt, Steve. I work as a graphic designer and my life is quiet and comfortable. All in all, I’m a pretty regular girl and for the most part, I lead a pretty regular life. Things I look forward to: baking goodies and then sharing them; spending time with my grandmother; reading anything I can get my hands on; enjoying dinner with my friends; a quiet evening and a glass of wine; hiking new trails and exploring nature with Steve. Things I’d like to avoid at all costs: in-depth discussions with my ex; dealing with children; online dating; babysitting; falling for somebody’s mom; taking my perception of myself all the way back to square one.
Lambda and Golden Crown Literary Award-winning author Georgia Beers brings to you her long-awaited seventh novel, Starting from Scratch, a story where learning, laughing, loving, and baked goods are just a few of life’s basic ingredients.

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Wasted Heart by Lynn Galli

Austy Nunziata has spent two years pining for her married best friend and about the same amount of time berating herself for it. In fact, she’s so adept at trying to stamp out her feelings that she could probably write a How-To guide on the subject. One, move 3,000 miles away from your best friend. Two, get a time-consuming job so you don’t have time to think about your best friend. Three, hang out with new friends who aren’t anywhere as enchanting as your best friend. Four, get involved with a striking woman who is smart, sexy, caring and, most importantly, available, unlike your best friend. Five, hope the new love interest doesn’t find out about your pathetic best friend obsession before you have time to replace it with actual life-altering love. Even following her own step-by-step process, Austy may not be able to redirect all of her misguided feelings. Becoming involved with Elise Bridie helps her realize how pointless her pining has been. But when Elise suspects that she harbors feelings for someone else, will their new found love survive the unrequited infatuation of Austy’s fantasies? (Special Edition includes epilogue never before in print.)

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Set the Stage by Karis Walsh

Emilie Danvers wins a place in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s company and gets a second chance to launch her acting career. She’s vowed never to repeat the mistakes she made the first time: no following her heart, no putting herself second to someone else, no relationship drama. She won’t let any woman keep her from reconnecting with her dreams.
Arden Philips has stood on the outskirts of the festival for years, tending the gardens of nearby Lithia Park. She’s seen actresses come and go and only allows herself the occasional dalliance. But when she comes across Emilie rehearsing on a mossy riverbank, Arden realizes her heart might not listen to her head.
The stage is set, the house lights dimmed. Is true love merely make-believe or can these two women write it into the script of their lives?

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Echo Point by Virginia Hale

Bron never intended to move back to Australia. Wracked with guilt over her sister Libby’s death, she’s spent three months trying to handle her grief while taking care of Libby’s young daughter, Annie.
Libby’s best friend Ally never had a chance to say goodbye to her dear friend. When she finally returns home, Ally finds Libby’s family open and welcoming…everyone, that is, except Libby’s sister Bron.
For her part, Bron can’t fathom why her family is so enamored with Ally—even offering her a job and a place to live—but grudgingly admires the way Ally and Annie get along.
While Bron contemplates moving Annie to Boston and away from the only home the little girl has ever known, bushfires begin to rage in the nearby mountains, and Bron begins to see that she’s sorely underestimated her sister’s friend. Soon Ally’s past and Bron’s future collide—with a heat and wonder that neither of them expected.

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Beebo Brinker by Ann Bannon

Designated the “Queen of Lesbian Pulp Fiction” for authoring five landmark novels beginning in 1957, Ann Bannon’s work defined lesbian fiction for the pre-Stonewall generation. Unlike many writers of the period, however, Bannon broke through the shame and isolation typically portrayed in lesbian pulps, offering instead women characters who embrace their sexuality against great odds. With Beebo Brinker, Bannon introduces the title character, a butch 17-year-old farm girl newly arrived in New York after she is driven from her Wisconsin hometown for wearing drag to the State Fair. Befriended by the gay Jack Mann, a father-figure with a weakness for runaways, Beebo sets out to find love. She never knew what she wanted until she came to Greenwich Village and found the love that smolders in the shadows of the twilight world.
Overwhelmed with her discovery, Beebo is infatuated in turn with the vixen Mona Petry, the sweet femme Paula Ash, and the famous actress Venus Bogardus. Sexy, dangerous, and often touching, Beebo Brinker’s search for love takes her from password-protected 1950s lesbian bars to the glamour and ritz of Hollywood and back. Chronicling the reality of 1950s lesbian life through Ann Bannon’s dreamy butch, Beebo Brinker is an astounding and engaging read and one of the best lesbian fiction books on our list.

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Delay of Game by Tracey Richardson

Passion and patriotism sizzle on the ice at the Winter Olympics. It’s been a dozen years since two of the world’s best women hockey players, Niki Hartling and Eva Caruso, first competed against each other in the Olympic Games.
The pressure of the intense USA-Canada rivalry forced an end to their love affair, and both women moved on–Niki to coach and to marry, Eva to stretch out a playing career that her ravaged body can barely sustain anymore. The Games are upon them once again. Eva wants one last chance to beat the Canadians and win hockey’s biggest prize. Niki, now a widow and single mother, strives to coach her country to gold, even as the obstacles against her mount. The locker room seems to have ears and there are few people Niki and Eva can trust.
Rivals and former lovers on hockey’s biggest stage, will Niki and Eva feel the same spark that first brought them together? And can they win on–and off–the ice with the whole world watching!

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Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids Singing by May Sarto

First published 1965 and adapted into a movie in 2004. Hilary Stevens – in her 70’s and a renowned poet – is disrupted first by a young poet, then by two journalists seeking the source of her creativity. They help her come to terms with her past, in the first book in which Sarton wrote openly about homosexual love.

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Pages for You by Sylvia Brownrigg

When Flannery Jansen arrives at university, she is totally unprepared for an encounter that will rock her existence. But when she comes across Anne Arden in a local diner, Flannery falls dramatically and desperately in love. Flannery is quickly embarrassed in the face of the older woman’s poise and sophistication, and under the gaze of those impossible green eyes, but slowly their paths intertwine, and soon Flannery becomes Anne’s eager student in life and love.
Pages for You is the story of the beginning, blossoming and falling apart of that delirious love affair.

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Hood by Emma Donoghue

A novel written by Irish author Emma Donoghue in 1995. The book was the recipient of the 1997 Stonewall Book Award and is heavily influenced by James Joyce’s Ulysses. When Cara dies in a car crash, Pen is left to cope with a secret widowhood. ‘Hood’ follows Pen through the week following Cara’s death, through her grief and the ecstasy of nostalgia of their 13-years together, to a point where mourning and making a new life melt into one.

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Diana: A Strange Autobiography by Diana Frederics

This is the unusual and compelling story of Diana, a tantalizingly beautiful woman who sought love in the strange by-paths of Lesbos. Fearless and outspoken, it dares to reveal that hidden world where perfumed caresses and half-whispered endearments constitute the forbidden fruits in a Garden of Eden where men are never accepted.
This is how ‘Diana: A Strange Autobiography’ was described when it was published in paperback in 1952. The original 1939 hardcover edition carried with it a Publisher’s Note: This is the autobiography of a woman who tried to be normal.
In the book, Diana is presented as the unexceptional daughter of an unexceptional plutocratic family. During adolescence, she finds herself drawn with mysterious intensity to a girlfriend. The narrative follows Diana’s progress through college; a trial marriage that proves she is incapable of heterosexuality; intellectual and sexual education in Europe; and a series of lesbian relationships culminating in a final tormented triangular struggle with two other women for the individual salvation to be found in a happy couple.
In her introduction, Julie Abraham argues that Diana is not really an autobiography at all, but a deliberate synthesis of different archetypes of this confessional genre, echoing, as it does, more than a half-dozen novels. Hitting all the high and low points of the lesbian novel, the book, Abraham illustrates, offers a defense of lesbian relationships that was unprecedented in 1939 and radical for decades afterward.

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The Gravity Between Us by Kristen Zimmer

At just 19, Kendall Bettencourt is Hollywood’s hottest young starlet, with the world at her feet – but behind the glamour and designer dresses is a girl who longs for normal. Payton Taylor is Kendall’s best friend since childhood and the one person who reminds her of who she really is – her refuge from the craziness of celebrity life. With her career taking off, Kendall moves Payton to LA to help keep her sane. But Payton is hiding a secret that could make everything ten times worse. Because to her, Kendall is more than a best friend – she is the only girl that she has ever loved.
Just as they need each other more than ever, they’ll have to answer the question of where friendship stops and love begins? And find out whether the feelings they have can survive the mounting pressure of fame…
The Gravity Between Us is a daring, romantic, emotional story about friendship, love, and finding the courage to be yourself in a crazy world.

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Perfect Rhythm by Jae

Pop star Leontyne Blake might sing about love, but she stopped believing in it a long time ago. What women want is her image, not the real her. When her father has a stroke, she flees the spotlight and returns to her tiny Missouri hometown.
In her childhood home, she meets small-town nurse Holly Drummond, who isn’t impressed by Leo’s fame at all. That isn’t the only thing that makes Holly different from other women. She’s also asexual. For her, dating is a minefield of expectations that she has decided to avoid.
Can the tentative friendship between a burned-out pop star and a woman not interested in sex develop into something more despite their diverse expectations?
A lesbian romance about seeking the perfect rhythm between two very different people—and finding happiness where they least expect it.

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Summer Heat: A Lesbian Summer Romance Story by Harper Bliss

When Cat is unceremoniously dumped by her girlfriend right before their holiday, she decides to join her parents on their annual trip to Tuscany. Prepared for two weeks of sun-drenched melancholy, she finds much more than nostalgia in the house where she used to spend her summers as a child.
Summer Heat is a lesbian erotic romance story.

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18 Months by Samantha Boyette

Alissa Reeves came out for Hannah Desarno. Hannah is smart, beautiful, and has just gone missing. Worse, she isn’t Alissa’s first girlfriend to disappear. Eighteen months ago, Alissa was caught kissing bad girl Lana Meyers. Too scared to admit her feelings for Lana, Alissa let her friends blame Lana. Weeks later when Lana disappeared, no one in their small town thought much of it until months later when her body was found.
With Hannah gone, Alissa finds herself following clues that will help her discover what happened to both girls, and the truth will change everything.

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The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

A coming-of-age teen novel published in 2012. The novel’s protagonist is Cameron Post, a 12-year-old Montana girl who is discovering her own homosexuality. After her parents die in a car crash, she is sent to live with her conservative aunt. She develops a relationship with her best friend and is sent to a “de-gaying” camp.
According to author Emily Danforth, the novel was influenced by the 2005 Zach Stark controversy, where teenager Zach Stark was sent to a de-gaying camp run by Love In Action after coming out to his parents. The story is set in the author’s hometown, Miles City, Montana in the 1990s

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Fated Love by Radclyffe

What do you do when your carefully planned life takes a wrong turn into hell? When Quinn Maguire, a dashing young trauma surgeon, unaccountably accepts a position as an ER physician, her new boss, Honor Blake, suspects that Quinn is hiding a dark secret. While the two declare an uneasy truce in an effort to work together, both struggle with mutual, and unexpected, attraction. Honor, however, has more than one reason to resist her growing feelings for the attractive newcomer–not the least of which is that her heart belongs to the woman whose wedding ring she wears. Amidst the chaos and drama of a busy emergency room, Quinn and Honor must contend not only with the fragile nature of life but also with the mysteries of the heart and the irresistible forces of fate.

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Nothing to Lose by Clare Lydon

Can you find love in a hopeless place?
Nobody would ever describe Scarlet Williams as a ray of sunshine, but that doesn’t mean she deserves the flood that wipes out her basement flat, making her temporarily homeless.
Enter Joy Hudson, local mayor & sunshine specialist, who opens her house to flood refugees and ends up with Scarlet on her doorstep. Two more opposing characters you couldn’t fail to meet, and yet, somehow, they strike up a friendship. But when the rain stops and the sun comes out, could that friendship blossom into something more?
Fans of contemporary lesbian romance will love Scarlet & Joy’s story, bursting with real characters and one of the best lesbian fiction books for British wit. From the international best-selling author of London Calling and This London Love comes a heart-warming tale of love & redemption.

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The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall

Denounced, banned, and applauded — the ‘strange’ love story of a girl who stood midway between the sexes. Perma Books published controversial novel ‘The Well Of Loneliness’ in 1951. The story centralizes on an upper-class Englishwoman whose “sexual inversion” (i.e. homosexuality) is apparent from childhood. The protagonist, Stephen Gordon (so named because her parents expected a boy), falls in love with Mary Llewellyn while the former is serving as an ambulance driver in World War I. The couple’s relationship ultimately fails because of social isolation and rejection, and the novel closes with Stephen’s plea to God: “Give us also the right to our existence!”. ‘The Well’ came under immediate attack by the editor of ‘The Sunday Express,’ James Douglas, who wrote: “I would rather give a healthy boy or girl a vial of prussic acid than this novel. Poison kills the body, but moral poison kills the soul.
The novel was pulled in the United Kingdom and subsequently banned in France, though it nonetheless became an international bestseller. And, while few claim that ‘The Well’ is a great piece of literature, its early treatment of lesbianism and gender fluidity influenced writers including Ann Bannon and Rita Mae Brown, and the novel continues to inspire study and debate.

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Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

Published in 1973, the book was described as “The breakthrough lesbian novel” by the Washington Post and one of the best lesbian fiction books on our list from a historical point of view. It was remarkable in its day for its explicit portrayal of lesbianism. The term “ruby fruit jungle” is a term used in the novel for female genitalia. The story focuses on Molly Bolt, a young lady with a big character. Beautiful, funny and bright, Molly figures out at a young age that she will have to be tough to stay true to herself in 1950s America. In her dealings with boyfriends and girlfriends, in the rocky relationship with her mother and in her determination to pursue her career, she will fight for her right to happiness. Charming, proud and inspiring, Molly is the girl who refuses to be put in a box.

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Symphony In Blue by MJ Duncan

It was just supposed to be a working weekend in Maui and not anything remotely life-altering, but all that changes the moment Gwen Harrison holds a hotel elevator for Dana Ryan. Beautiful and charming, Dana is a breath of fresh air that Gwen is helpless to resist—something she dearly regrets when their whirlwind weekend is over and reality sets back in. The course of true love is notorious for being anything but smooth, but the truths and consequences of an inauspicious beginning such as theirs are enough to put that old adage to the ultimate test.

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Patience and Sarah by Alma Routsong (Isabel Miller)

A 1969 historical fiction novel with strong lesbian themes, using the pen name Isabel Miller. It was originally self-published under the title ‘A Place For Us’ and eventually found a publisher as ‘Patience and Sarah’ in 1971.
Routsong’s novel is based on a real-life painter named Mary Ann Willson who lived with her companion Miss Brundage as a “farmerette” in the early 19th century in Greene County, New York. Routsong said she came upon Willson’s work in a folk art museum in Cooperstown and was inspired to write the story after reading the description of Willson and Brundage. It tells the story of two women in Connecticut in 1816 who fall in love and decide to leave their homes to buy a farm in another state or territory and live in a Boston marriage. The story addresses the limited opportunities and roles of women in early America, gender expression, and the interpretation of religion in everyday life.

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Her Name In The Sky by Kelly Quindlen

Seventeen-year-old Hannah wants to spend her senior year of high school going to football games and Mardi Gras parties. She wants to drive along the oak-lined streets of Louisiana’s Garden District and lie on the hot sand of Florida’s beaches. She wants to spend every night making memories with her tight-knit group of friends. The last thing she wants is to fall in love with a girl, especially when that girl is her best friend, Baker.

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To Have Loved and Lost by Eliza Andrews

Alexis Woods knows who she is, or at least, she thought she did. She’s number 17, point guard, MVP, all-star, co-captain of the Lady Raiders NCAA Division I women’s basketball team. But there’s a darkness growing inside of her, a darkness that started the night her beloved died in her arms, and if she doesn’t turn things around soon, the darkness just might swallow her whole.

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Tropical Storm by Melissa Good

From best-selling author, Melissa Good comes a tale of heartache, longing, family strife, lust for love, and redemption. Tropical Storm took the lesbian reading world by storm when it was first written, and it hasn’t stopped entrancing audiences.
Dar Roberts, corporate raider for a multi-national tech company, is cold, practical, and merciless. She does her job with razor-sharp accuracy. Friends are a luxury she cannot allow herself, and love is something she knows she’ll never attain.
Kerry Stuart left Michigan for Florida in an attempt to get away from her domineering politician father and the constraints of the overly conservative life her family forced upon her. After college she worked her way into supervision at a small tech company, only to have it taken over by Dar Roberts’ organization. Her association with Dar begins in disbelief, hatred, and disappointment, but when Dar unexpectedly hires Kerry as her work assistant, the dynamics of their relationship change. Over time, a bond begins to form. But can Dar overcome years of habit and conditioning to open herself up to the uncertainty of love? And will Kerry escape from the clutches of her powerful father in order to live a better life? The answer to both questions is no – unless these two women can strengthen and cement the tenuous bond that forms between them. First, they must face storms that neither expects . . . and live to tell the tale.

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Affinity by Sarah Waters

The story of unmarried upper-class women, Margaret Prior, who starts visiting the Milibank Prison in 1870 set in Victorian-era England. She is an unhappy person, recovering from her father’s death and a failed suicide attempt. She becomes a ‘Lady Visitor’ of the prison hoping to escape her troubles and be a guiding figure in the lives of the female prisoners. As she peers through a flap in the door, she sees the sight of a young woman with a flower, she is reminded of a Carlo Crivelli painting. Of all the prisoners, she is most fascinated by the inmate with the flower, whom she learns to be Selina Dawes, medium of spirits. There are twists and turns in the story and lots of desire and passion. The book was also turned into a movie.

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Kiss the Girl by Melissa Brayden

Sleeping with the enemy has never been so complicated. Twenty-eight-year-old Brooklyn Campbell is having a bad day. A speeding ticket, a towed car, and a broken heel are all working against her laid-back vibe. To top it all off, her birth mother, whom she’s never met, has requested contact. The only bright spot is an impromptu date with a beautiful and mysterious brunette.
Jessica Lennox is what you would call a high-powered executive. She’s the head of a multimillion-dollar advertising firm in New York City, and it didn’t happen by accident. But when the blonde head turner from the wine bistro turns out to be her number one competitor, her life gets infinitely more complex.
Is New York big enough for both Brooklyn and Jessica? Maybe it’s just time they experienced it together…

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Poppy Jenkins by Clare Ashton

Poppy Jenkins makes everyone smile. She’s the heart of Wells, a beautiful village in mid-Wales, leaving light and laughter in her wake. She has a doting family, an errant dog and a little sister with a nose for mischief. But she’s the only gay in the village and it’s a long time since she kissed a girl: the chance of romance in sleepy Wells is rarer than a barking sheep.
If she doesn’t think too hard, life is cozy, until a smart sports car barrels into town with the last woman Poppy wants to see behind the wheel. Beautiful Rosalyn Thorn was once Poppy’s high school BFF even though she was trouble. Then one day she abandoned Wells and Poppy without explanation. Now the highflier is back and bound to cause fresh havoc in the village and with Poppy’s heart; folk are not happy.
Wells needs to wake up to the 21st century and Rosalyn can help, but old prejudices die hard. If they can be friends it could be the chance to make everyone’s happy ever after. Couldn’t it? This is one of the newer lesbian fiction books on the list.

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Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

Published in 1985, this novel was eventually turned into a BBC television drama of the same name. ‘Oranges are not the only fruit’ is a popular coming-of-age story about a lesbian girl who grows up in an English Pentecostal community. Key themes of the book include the transition from youth to adulthood, complex family relationships, same-sex relationships, and religion.

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The Microcosm by Maureen Duffy

At the House of Shades, Matt, a bar-room philosopher, tries to make sense of the disparate lives which cross here — of Judy who saves herself and her finery for a Saturday night lover, of Steve the gym teacher who dreads a chance encounter with a pupil in this twilight environment, and of Matt herself, who needs these vicarious exchanges despite the security of her relationship with Rae and her sense that this lesbian sanctuary is a prison too, enforcing the guilt and estrangement of the city streets beyond.
Elsewhere there are women such as Marie, trapped within an unwanted marriage and unable to admit her sexuality, and Cathy, for whom the discovery that she is not ‘the only one in the world’ is an affirmation of her existence. With its innovative structure and style, perfectly mirroring the voices and experiences of women forced by society to live on the margins, The Microcosm remains as powerful today as when originally published in 1966.

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Dare Truth or Promise by Paula Boock

Willa and Louie could not be more different. Louie wants to be a lawyer and is an outstanding student. Willa lives in a pub and just wants to get through the year so she can graduate and become a chef. But they are completely attracted to one another when they first meet at a fast-food restaurant. Soon they fall in love fast and furiously, and everything the girls are sure of – their plans, their faith, their families, their identities – is called into question…

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Sudden Death by Rita Mae Brown

Rita Mae Brown is responsible for some of the best lesbian fiction books on our list. Outrageous, irrepressible and endlessly entertaining, the bestselling author of ‘Rubyfruit Jungle’ and Bingo, Rita Mae Brown spins a behind-the-scenes tale of women’s professional tennis that dramatically intertwines the heart-stopping excitement of competition and the lingering heartache of intimate human bonds. Carmen Semanan loves three things passionately: tennis, money, and professor Harriet Rawls. Just twenty-four, Carmen is at her peak as one of the world’s top-seeded tennis champions, determined to win the coveted Grand Slam. She is protected from everything but the grueling demands of her sport by an avaricious agent and her devoted gusty Harriet. All the odds are in her favor. But there are weeds growing in her paradise patch. Carmen’s very latin brother, Miguel, parlays her success into a financial house of cards with deals that include smuggling, forgery, and fraud. Susan Reilly, Carmen’s archrival, and former lover, leaks word of Carmen’s relationship with Harriet to the press–and tennis’s best-kept secret is blown into a front-page scandal. From the French Open to Wimbledon, jealousies, ambitions, and passions are set to explode. Now, with everything she cherishes on the line, Carmen must test the true depths of her feelings-both on and off the court.

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Eating Life by Beth Burnett

Carefree and irrepressible, Casey Wilde has spent her life running. Running from love, running from responsibility, and running from commitment. Megan Woodson, Casey’s best friend, has spent her life building security with a long-term partner and a well-paying, highly respected position in the best ad agency in Memphis. Ben Stagg is a man who has lost everything, including the desire to live. And Brilliant Wilson is a photographer who can’t quite figure out why she keeps dating women who don’t love her. Faced with painful and pressing decisions, the group is forced to confront their own life choices. When their worlds collide and everything starts to fall apart, these friends must learn that the only important decision is the one to follow their hearts.

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It Takes Two by Harper Bliss

Ella and Kay are living happily ever after in Northville, but when Kay asks Ella to marry her, their happiness is threatened by Ella’s past. Will Ella be able to overcome her fear of tying the knot and give Kay what she wants more than anything? Find out in this sequel to Amazon No.1 best-seller At the Water’s Edge.
It Takes Two is a 15.000 words lesbian romance novelette and the sequel to At the Water’s Edge.

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Nightwood by Djuna Barnes

Nightwood was first published in London by Faber and Faber in 1936. The novel is one of the earliest prominent novels to portray explicit homosexuality between women and can be considered lesbian literature.
It is also notable for its intense, gothic prose style. The novel employs modernist techniques such as its unusual form or narrative and can be considered metafiction, and it was praised by other modernist authors including T.S.Eliot, who wrote an introduction included in the 1937 edition published by Harcourt Brace.

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The Chinese Garden by Rosemary Manning

At the Bampford School for Girls, conditions are Spartan, discipline is fierce, and love between students is the ultimate crime. Here, 16-year-old Rachel becomes trapped in a tangle of passions she does not fully understand, caught between a formidable headmistress and a passionate and defiant classmate.

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Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters

This novel is about a young girl (Holland, aged 17) who is discovering her sexuality and what it is like to experience homophobia. What starts out as a confusing “girl crush” becomes a discovery of Holland’s true feelings and coping with the concept of the attraction to a member of her own sex. Other characters in the novel discover her crush and employ various means of physical and emotional abuse and violence, displaying strong homophobic behaviors.

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Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden

A 1982 novel about the romantic relationship between two 17-year-old New York City girls, Annie and Liza whose friendship blossoms into love and who, despite pressures from family and school that threaten their relationship, promise to be true to each other and their feelings.

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And Playing the Role of Herself by K.E. Lane

Actress Caidence Harris is living her dream after landing a leading role among the star-studded, veteran cast of 9th Precinct, a hot new police drama shot on location in glitzy Los Angeles. Her sometimes-costar Robyn Ward is magnetic, glamorous, and devastatingly beautiful, the quintessential A-List celebrity on the fast-track to super-stardom. When the two meet on the set of 9th Precinct, Caid is instantly infatuated but settles for friendship, positive that Robyn is both unavailable and uninterested. Soon Caid sees that all is not as it appears, but can she take a chance and risk her heart when the outcome is so uncertain?

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Ash by Melinda Lo

Ash is a teenage girl whose loving father has died, leaving her alone with her cruel and violent stepmother. Ash’s sole source of comfort is reading fairy tales by firelight each night. Ash wishes that fairies will take her away to their world where all her dreams will come true just like she once wished as a little girl. One night, the mysterious and sinister fairy prince Sidhean finds Ash and prepares her to enter fairyland. But shortly thereafter, Ash meets Kaisa—a noblewoman and the King’s Huntress. Ash and Kaisa not only form an immediate and deep friendship, but Ash begins to fall in love with the beautiful, strong woman. Ash’s feelings seem to be reciprocated, but Sidhean returns to claim what he says is rightfully his due, and a battle for Ash’s body and soul pushes Ash to the brink.

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Strawberry Summer by Melissa Brayden

Margaret Beringer didn’t have an easy adolescence. She hated her name, was less than popular in school and was always cast aside as the “farm kid.” However, with the arrival of Courtney Carrington, Margaret’s youth sparked into color. Courtney was smart, beautiful, and everything Margaret wasn’t. Who would have imagined that they’d fit together so perfectly? But first loves can scar. Margaret hasn’t seen Courtney in years and that’s for the best. But when Courtney loses her father and returns to Tanner Peak to take control of the family store, Margaret comes face-to-face with her past and the woman she’s tried desperately to forget. The fact that Courtney has grown up more beautiful than ever certainly doesn’t help matters.

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The Wanderground by Sally Miller Gearhart

Gearhart’s first and most famous novel continues to be used in Women’s Studies classes as a characteristic example of the separatist feminism movement from the 1970s.
The Wanderground is set in the United States, in the future, although no date is given. The stories focus on the hill women, a group of women who have fled from the men-ruled cities to the wilderness, where they live in all-women communities in harmony with each other and the natural world. The hill women have psychic powers that they use to communicate with each other and with animals, and to move through the world. The main narrative that weaves throughout almost all of the stories, is caused by some kind of shift in the cosmic balance between the hill women and the cities. Rumors are whispered, things are getting worse for women in the cities. As the stories build on each other, subtle remarks are made about how things are getting worse, the cities are becoming even more controlling, it is more dangerous for the women underground, men are appearing outside of the cities, even to the point of rapes occurring in the borderlands. Something is changing. The tension finally comes to the foreground when the gentles (gay men, who have the greatest respect for all women, especially the hill women) request a meeting with the hill women. The message is smuggled out of the city, and a great discussion begins. Even though the gentles are considered to be allies of the hill women, they are still men, and this mixed status of ally and enemy causes a great debate.

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The Kiva and the Mosque by Kayt Peck

In a troubled world, answers rarely come from where they are expected. The need for answers to save a troubled humanity forces Kidwell Brown and Aisha Sudda, two total strangers, into roles they could never have anticipated. Kidwell and her life-partner, Anna Montoya, live a quiet life in their mountain home until the day Kidwell is drawn to visit the ceremonial cave at Bandelier National Monument. Hundreds of miles away, Aisha Sudda Fletcher lives another quiet existence, along with her husband, Greg, until the day she is drawn to visit a garden beside a vandalized mosque.
On that day, both Kidwell and Aisha are chosen. These humble women soon learn that the time of prophets has not yet passed. During mystical moments, each woman is given a message – “Desert Lightning has no power” to Kidwell, and “The scimitar has no edge,” to Aisha. They each pass along the message as instructed, neither realizing they have predicted important moments in world history.
Their mystical guides direct the women to “find their allies,” and so the lives of Kidwell, Aisha, Anna, and Greg are forever intertwined. They will face victory and exile, mystery and certainty.
In the end, the very nature of humanity proves to be the world in which they must fight and survive.

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Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowels

Eccentric, adventurous Christina Goering meets the anxious but equally enterprising Mrs. Copperfield at a party.
Two serious ladies who want to live outside of themselves, they go in search of salvation. Mrs. Copperfield visits Panama with her husband, where she finds solace among the women who live and work in its brothels, while Miss Goering becomes involved with various men. At the end the two women meet again, each changed by her experience.
Mysterious, profound, anarchic and very funny, ‘Two Serious Ladies’ is a daring, original work that defies analysis.

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First Position by Melissa Brayden

Anastasia Mikhelson is the rising star of the New York City Ballet. She’s sacrificed creature comforts, a social life, as well as her own physical well-being for perfection in dance. Even her reputation as The Ice Queen doesn’t faze her. Though Ana’s at the peak of her career, competition from a new and noteworthy dancer puts all she’s worked for in jeopardy.
While Natalie Frederico has shown herself to be a prodigy when it comes to ballet, she much prefers modern dance and living on her own terms. Life is too short for anything else. However, when the opportunity to dance with the New York City Ballet is thrust upon her, it’s not like she could say no. Dealing with the company’s uptight lead is another story, however. When the two are forced to work side-by-side, sparks begin to fly onstage and off.

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All that matters by Susan X. Meagher

Life is going damned well for Blair Spencer. She’s a very successful real estate agent, happily married to a man who encourages her to live the independent life she loves, and they’re actively working to have a baby.
The wrench in the works is that Blair favors adoption, while her husband David desperately wants to have a biological child. The fates are against them, and they finally seek the help of a group of reproductive specialists. One of the doctors, a surgeon named Kylie Mackenzie, eventually becomes a good friend to Blair. And she needs all of the friends she can get when things start to go horribly wrong at home. As her marriage teeters on the brink of collapse, she relies more and more on Kylie’s friendship.
Kylie’s happily gay, Blair’s happily straight. But the way they structure their relationship leads friends and family to privately question whether the pair is setting themselves up for heartache. They eventually come to a crossroads, which could either destroy their friendship or turn it into what each of them has been seeking. The question is whether each woman can change her view of herself and her needs. The answer is all that matters.

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A Heart Well Traveled (edited by Sallyanne Monti)

Discover the many facets of romantic relationships as authors in volume one of, A Heart Well Traveled, unravel the trials and tribulations of long-distance love affairs. Each author, with their own unique style of storytelling, will leave the reader begging for more. Go from wild rides to gentle love stories, exploring the twists and turns lovers go through as they work to be together despite the distance between them.
Explore bonds beyond friendship, chance meetings, family drama, gender complexity, longstanding love and unexpected passion as lovers seek they’re happily ever after.
A Heart Well Traveled is a collection of short stories where women who love woman share the joys and challenges of long distance relationships.
Can love really conquer all?

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Lily’s Fire by Lise Gold

Lily, a heartbroken editor from London, has just learned the hard way that love is unpredictable. After finding her fiancee entangled with another woman, she travels to Bali to recover from her failed relationship. River is a womanizing artist with a troubled past and serious commitment issues. She traded a successful career in L.A. for a quiet, anonymous life in Bali where she works as a tour guide on weekends. After the two meet on an excursion led by River, Lily is shocked to find herself curiously drawn to her new friend. Lily has never been involved with a woman before but she can’t seem to get the charming and persuasive blonde out of her head. Is this newly awakened fire just a moment in time? Or has destiny led them exactly where they needed to be?

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