Stay With Me

Moving to Seoul for a job at an entertainment company has made a self-reliant woman out of Filipina. But when she gets injured in an accident and her boyfriend, Gabriel, proposes she move in with him until she’s back in shape, Fi reluctantly gives up her independence in favor of some TLC.

What happens when being under one roof ignites the desire she has been firmly keeping underneath the surface? Will she up and leave, or decide to stay?

This is a Backstage Pass B-Side.

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Stealing Luna

Cora Justa Dumagat has had enough. Daughter of a Cincamarre Councilman and of the Justa Galleries, she is tired of watching the corrupt, fat cats of the council override the monarchy and risk the people’s lives in exchange for a payday. Despite advice from her Princess, Cora has decided to take matters into her own hands and hit the Joaquins where it hurts—to steal their precious Juan Luna painting right from under their noses in Barcelona.

The job shouldn’t be too difficult, if only Luis Ang, her ex-boyfriend was hired to be her bodyguard. Luis knows that Cora is up to something, and will stop at nothing to make sure she’s safe, even at the cost of Cora’s plans.

As Luis and Cora become more and more deeply entangled into each other, the more dangerous the situation becomes. Will Cora have her revenge? Or will stealing Luna be the the thing that spells her death?

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No Two Ways

AJ Felipe makes the most of being the head information security engineer for a local law firm with the help of her loyal team of nerds. Their job isn’t really the most fun, but things take a turn when one of her junior security engineers decides to nominate her for a makeover show.

Enter Jackie Niño, the one-night stand AJ didn’t expect to meet again—who also happens to be the makeup artist who’s going to get her all dolled up on national television.

More complications arise after the episode is aired and another ghost from her past comes back to haunt her: Axel Herrera, the ex-boyfriend who still thinks she left him because she’s a lesbian.

Spoiler alert: She isn’t.

Being bisexual is hard enough. How will AJ navigate new feelings while finding closure for old heartaches?

(Disclaimer: F/F Romance, On-page F/F and M/F only)

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You, Me, U.S.

Best friends Jo and Liza are as opposite as night and day. Sex worker Jo swears by the worry-free, one-day-at-a-time dance through life. Salesclerk Liza has big plans for her family’s future, and there is nothing bigger than a one-way trip to the U.S. But an almost-kiss, a sex dare, and news of Liza’s engagement to her American boyfriend unveil feelings Jo and Liza never thought they had. Deciding between staying together and drifting apart puts Liza’s best-laid plans and Jo’s laidback life in jeopardy.

When love clashes with lifelong ambitions and family expectations, someone has to give in.

Question is: who?

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Kiss and Cry

Calinda met Ramirez when she was 20 and he was 22. She was the rising star of women’s skating, and he was the superstar forward of men’s hockey. Her parents and coach were against their relationship, and because Calinda wanted to prove that no hot guy would ever distract her from her dream, she chose skating over him–and also avoided him all together.

Ten years later, they meet again as gold medalists and prominent sports advocates, still single and undeniably attracted to each other. It’s still not a good time for them, because Ramirez is retiring from hockey and moving back to the United States. Calinda doesn’t do relationships, really, and proposes they use his final three weeks in Manila to explore what might have been, and do all the things they wish they’d done (there’s a list!). Then he can leave for good, and they can both move on with their lives without this one regret.

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Flipping the Script

Miri dela Merced’s film director grandfather and Pabs Paglinauan’s studio head grandmother had a huge falling out that ended Lolo Ikong’s career. At seventeen, Miri finds herself in the same summer film internship program as the down-to-earth film studio heir Pabs, whom she’s decided to automatically write off, just because of his lineage. As Miri gets a crash course in her expectations vs the reality of what’s it like to work on a real movie, her true feelings for Pabs become harder and harder to ignore. In between attending outdoor screenings of classic Pinoy movies and battling monster production assistants together, can flipping the script on a decades-old grudge be only a few sequences away?

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Mango Summer

Magic is in the air…

For the first time in a century, the fruit in San Antonio’s most famous mango farm all turned sour. Fiona, thirty-six and single, knows why. According to her family’s legend, the only way to keep the mangoes sweet is for the women who run the farm to be married and bear children. If Fiona doesn’t find anyone soon, the inheritance her family has been protecting for generations is in danger of rotting away.

Greg used to have a massive crush on his older sister’s best friend. When he drops by Fiona’s farm to get his sister some of San Antonio’s sweetest mangoes, his quick visit turns into an extended vacation. As the days go by, his feelings for Fiona begin to take root and grow. At twenty-eight, how can he convince Fiona that he’s more than her friend’s kid brother?

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Project Saving Noah

Noah might be the best oceanographer the Institute has seen in years, so he’s in no hurry to finish his Master’s degree…until a new arrival threatens his chance at a once-in-a-lifetime research grant. Suddenly, it’s sink or swim time.

Lise knows there’s a slot at the Institute’s newest project with her name on it. But she’s all math and very little science, and when it comes to the ocean, she’s completely out of her depth.

Lise and Noah are determined to win—even if it means working with each other to overcome their fears. But what begins as a shallow bargain lands them straight into the deep end when they realize they want the same thing—each other. Unable to ignore their physical chemistry, can they balance personal ambitions against an illogical attraction that threatens everything they’ve worked so hard to achieve?

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How She Likes It

CEO-in-training, heiress and cosmetics company marvel Isabel Alfonso needs to hire an assistant. She needs to hire someone who is smart and competent to arrange a trip to Shanghai for her to meet with potential business partners. She needs to learn how to let go of her cosmetics company, her baby, in order to take on the CEO role which she’s been groomed for her entire life. What she does not need to hire is a young single dad, last seen with her in bed as a one night stand.

Falling for Adam Sevilla is a complication that Isabel doesn’t need. And with so much on the line, she can’t afford to make any mistakes. Can she really leave everything behind, just to head the family business? Or will she hold on to what she has with zero guarantees?

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Heartstruck

Seventeen-year-old Alexa Zamora looks as if she’s always been the beautiful and graceful center of attention. If you knew her in grade school though, you’d remember a sad little girl, who had lost her parents, and spent most of her time on the martial art arnis—a rough sport, not something girls were supposed to like. If you knew her then, you might have ostracized her for it.

She learned from this mistake, and has done her best to hide all traces of her sport and skill in a new school, and now she’s New Hope Academy’s It Girl. But transfer student Theo Guevarra, who happens to be her old arnis buddy and first love, arrives and makes her question the life she’s been living. How long can she keep up appearances, before it all falls apart?

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What Kind of Day

It’s a bad day for Ben. After years of earnest work, he’s been fired from his job as a speechwriter for a Philippine senator. Name tarnished and bridges burned, he steps into what he thinks is a shuttle ride home, and accidentally joins a tour of his own city.

It was supposed to be a good day for Naya. Her passion is traveling, her hobby is discovering cool things to see and do, and taking people on tours of Metro Manila is her only job right now. An extra person at the last minute isn’t ideal, especially if the person is a former colleague and the subject of the day’s hottest political trash fire. But work is work, and she decides to let him stay in the tour.

She’s hoping she won’t regret it. He’s hoping his day turns around. What kind of day could it be? Maybe the best kind.

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Second Wave Summer

All roads lead back to beachside music festival Summer Crush for another weekend of high waves, rock & roll, and the promise of summer romance.

On any given day, Michael Brian doesn’t need to do much to hit the right notes with a girl, but there’s something about this day—and something about this girl—that’s got him out of tune. (A Taste of Summer, Six delos Reyes)

Indie filmmaker Datu puts on his dusty event videographer hat for Summer Crush. But memories of a love he let slip away resurface from every corner of this surf town. Now what he thought would be an easy job just isn’t so easy anymore. (Rushes, Tara Frejas)

Corporate-highflyer-on-vacation Ringo has a question to which cookie bar boss woman Kris has the answer, if only they’d stop getting in each other’s way. (Ask Me Nicely, Jay E. Tria)

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Love And Other Questionable Life Choices

Rae and JR choose to begin, taking that final step into something new.

Rachel and Geoffrey choose to give in, claiming what they’ve always wanted and running with it.

Punky and Jazz choose to accept, acknowledging that they’re different and that’s okay.

Some choices leave a small imprint in our lives, a little push, a little nudge. While some… can turn our worlds upside down.

Where will their choices take them?

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Love at First Run

After getting her heart broken, 23-year-old Diana Gomez is afraid to fall in love again. But when her office crush Paul invites her to join a running club with him, she goes for it.

What she doesn’t know is that to be a part of the club, she actually has to train for a half marathon—and that she’ll meet Joshua, the handsome club veteran who becomes her unofficial running buddy.

As if it isn’t hard enough to do speed work, interval training, and long runs after work and on weekends, she has to deal with her feelings for both boys and face her fears of falling in love.

Will she reach the finish line without getting herself (or her heart) injured? Journey with Diana as she reaches running milestones, overcomes obstacles, pushes herself to the limit, and discovers the strength within her… one kilometer at a time.

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Chasing Mindy

Mindy and Javier are not friends, okay.

Despite their mothers’ matchmaking, they’ve managed to stay out of each other’s way. Until Mindy goes to Paris for a week, and her mother insists she meet up with Javier. He’s in Paris to study, really looking forward to see you, she says. Watch over each other.

No thanks. Javier is taciturn and boring, Mindy is dramatic and has a tendency to yell at things when her eight siblings are brought up. It’s not a great combination.

But things start to look a little different under the Paris lights, and what felt like hate feels a lot closer to love.

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Start Here

There’s a first time for everything. Gatecrashing a KPop concert with an oppa in a business suit. Taking shelter from the storm with the girl you’ve been meaning to shake off. That kiss that blurs the line between friendship and something more. A one-night stand (or, is it?) with your best friend from across the hallway.

Dive into these 10 stories of first encounters – unapologetically queer, happy endings required, with a smattering of that signature #romanceclass kilig. Whether you’re recalling your own firsts or out there looking for one, there’s a story in here for you.

So, go on.

Turn the page.

Start here.

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Only a Kiss (Expanded Edition)

Expanded Edition:  Plus three short stories!

When she was nine-years-old, Katie knew she wanted Chris to give her her first kiss. It wasn’t because she was in love with him (no way, he was her best friend! Besides, she was in love with his fourteen-year-old big brother), it was because she could make him do anything she wanted.

Besides, it didn’t really mean anything. After all, it was only a kiss.

But things started to change. They grew up. They parted ways and went to different high schools. Then other girls and other boys—well, just one particular boy—came into the picture, throwing their lives upside down.
Told from the alternating points of view of Katie and Chris, this love story between two best friends will tug at your heartstrings and leave you thinking about how the simplest things mean so much.

Plus Just A Little Bit of Love:

Three short stories about three young girls: Anita, Ina, and Carla. Each one finding their lives disrupted by a boy. Maybe it’s because he wanders into the coffee shop where she works after school every Tuesday. Maybe it’s because he won’t leave her alone even if she has made it clear that she is crushing on his football teammate. Or maybe it’s because she’s spent one unforgettable afternoon with him—despite being oh-so-forgetful. Three small doses of love that serve up a whole lot of feels.

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Ghost of a Feeling

All Cris Villareal had ever dreamed of was becoming a doctor. But after the death of a patient under her care and the subsequent humiliation she suffers under a senior resident in her hospital, she begins to lose faith in herself. And no one else could understand her and her despair.

So one Halloween night, up on the rooftop of her apartment building, she decides to end it all.

She is stopped from jumping by Emilio, the ghost of a young man who haunts her building, who also committed suicide there many years ago. Eventually, Cris finds herself opening up to him, in a way she had never before, with anyone living or dead.

There is only one problem.

Emilio isn’t really a ghost.

He is actually a living young man named Nathan Morales, and Cris was just one of the unwitting victims in a prank he had once played on the tenants of her apartment. But being Emilio was the only way he could think of to stop her that night, and the only way now he could get her to open up to him. As Emilio, he was someone she could trust enough to help her, in a way Nathan himself never could.

As their relationship becomes deeper and their feelings grow stronger each day, can he finally help her find a reason to keep living?

But how long can he keep lying to her?

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Love Your Frenemies

Yes, Universe, Kimmy Domingo knows that you hate her. But she’s a nice person, she really is — as long as you ignore the stories of people she’s bullied, manipulated, and annoyed in the past. She totally gets that you’ve gotten back at her by having her fiance’ dump her a week before their wedding. Soon after, she quit her job, hopped on a plane, and just hid from everyone who knew her.

A year later and she’s back in Manila to be maid of honor at a wedding she can’t miss. She’s home because she’s ready to start over, but she also knows that some people at that wedding were responsible for the mess her life turned out to be. The first step to recovery? Cutting off the ones who caused her troubles to begin with: her best friend and her first love.

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Better at Weddings Than You

Daphne Cardenas is the best wedding planner around, and everyone knows it. That’s why her friend Greg hired her as an emergency replacement one month before his wedding—because he fears his fiancée Helen is falling for the guy they first hired for the job.

Aaron Trinidad is new to the wedding industry but years of conference planning and loads of charm make him good at it. Really good at it. Planning the wedding of his friend Helen should be easy, and it is. To be unceremoniously fired isn’t good for his new career, but the chance to learn from the best might be the silver lining.

Aaron and Daphne have chemistry, but there’s history with Helen that at least one other person considers a threat. Who’s the planner who can fix this impending disaster?

(Part of the Chic Manila series, but can be read as a standalone.)

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