S T O P  A N D  S T A R E

A queer novella available exclusively to members of Club Katia!

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Sometimes love is in the last place you look.

Iz Sanchez has looked for love just about everywhere. Granted, life as a gender non-conforming jock at a small coastal university does not exactly present a wealth of opportunity, but that hasn’t stopped Iz from seizing the day.

So far their quest to find Miss Right has only resulted in heartbreak and way too many awkward run-ins with exes at the campus sports bar, but at the end of the day, Iz can always count on their friends, their glorious collection of designer sneakers, and their steadfast belief that love is out there somewhere to get them back in the game.

What they didn’t expect was to have their world turned upside down by a champagne-fueled New Year’s kiss with the girl who’s been their best friend since toddlerhood.

Marina Townsend has always known she and her best friend Iz were made to be more than friends. She’s spent years waiting for the right moment to come along and make Iz see it too.

That moment shows up at the stroke of midnight, but instead of pulling them together, the kiss only seems to push them apart. Now that a lifelong friendship is on the line, Iz can’t stop thinking about the times love has left them burned. They’ll need to figure their heart out—and soon—because Marina is done waiting for Iz to realize what she’s known all along:

Sometimes love comes looking for you.

Stop and Stare is a sapphic NB/F romance from Katia Rose that features a non-binary lead learning to let love in and a strong and sassy heroine ready to show them what that love is worth.

Click to join Club Katia and grab your copy!

E X C E R P T

“What are you smiling about?”

My roommate, Alexis, throws a look at me as she heads through the living room on her way to get a snack in the kitchen. I’ve just put down my phone after ending my weekly call with Iz, and her question makes me realize I’m still grinning at the black screen like Iz’s face is going to popup any second and add in one last joke.

“I was just talking to Iz,” I answer. I move my phone from the couch to the coffee table and pick up the cross-stitch I was working on before the call.

“Of courseeeee,” Alexis drawls around the mouthful of chips she’s just shoved in her face while standing in front of the open cupboard, contemplating her other food options.

She’s clearly settled in for the night, with her famous raggedy bunny slippers on under her sweatpants and an equally raggedy white crop top with the words ‘Band Geek’ printed on it in peeling purple letters.

We’re not exactly a ‘party hard’ kind of house. Most nights, we can be found doing exactly this: me sitting on the couch doing a cross stitch with Netflix on and Alexis wandering out of her room in search of food after a long session of oboe practice. Sometimes we even get really wild and watch an Audrey Hepburn movie together while splitting a bottle of wine.

“You tell them you’re in love with them yet?”

I almost drop my needle in the middle of threading it through the next square in my embroidery hoop. “Alexis!

“What?” She wanders over with the chip bag in hand, the giant pile of brown curls pulled into a messy bun on top of her head bouncing as she plops down on the couch next to me. “You are going to tell them, right?”

Alexis is one of the most direct people I know, which comes in handy sometimes, but also makes sharing secrets with her an extreme risk. I wouldn’t have told her about New Year’s Eve if I had anyone else to tell, but seeing as my go-to sounding board for any kind of confession—AKA Iz—was the reason for that confession, I ended up going into a rambling story about the kiss during one of Alexis and I’s wine and Audrey nights a few weeks ago.

It only took about one sentence from me for her to declare she always knew I was in love with Iz. I didn’t even use the word ‘love’ myself, but she’s been ordering me to march up to Iz and tell them ever since. I had to pry my laptop out of her hands to keep her from buying me a plane ticket that very night.

Hence the extreme risk of telling her any secrets.

“No, Alexis, I’m not going to call up my best friend of almost twenty years and say I’m in love with them with absolutely no warning, especially when I’m not even sure that’s how I feel, and extra especially when I have no idea if that’s how they feel.”

She rolls her eyes and points at the hoop in my hands, coming dangerously close to sprinkling chip dust on the white fabric. “Marina, level with me here. You are literally embroidering a picture of the two of you holding hands. You’re in love, girl.”

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