Tenderness is a short story by Xan West.

Book .5 in the Kink & Showtunes series

out 3/24/20


cover design by Clarissa C. S. Ryan: Website     Twitter

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When Judith gets dumped by her girlfriend, she feels like her world has imploded. It will take the love and care of her queer chosen family, and the support of her best friend Shiloh in particular, to help her cope with the havoc that this break up has wreaked on her life. This chosen family love story illuminates the ways we can find hope amidst devastating change, if we are supported by folks who understand and care for us as we really are.

This chosen family love story is 6,000 words and contains Jewish, bisexual, fat, autistic, non-binary, and chronic pain representation. It is a prequel to Their Troublesome Crush and includes many of the same characters. It was previously published in the anthology Queerly Loving, Volume 2. This will be a stand-alone version of my story only. This story takes place in the Kink & Showtunes universe, prior to the events of Their Troublesome Crush, and involves many of the same characters.

Early praise for Tenderness:

“So poignant and sad but uplifting at the same time. I love seeing a queer found family coming together to comfort one of their own.” –Small Queer, Big Opinions

“Engulfing and warm, ‘Tenderness’ is a thoroughly enjoyable read, and was gloriously inclusive…watching Judith become more herself was the truest gift of this story.” –Dena Celeste

“Made me feel safe, accepted, and loved. I will be treasuring this story for the rest of my life.” –BookDeviant

“Gorgeous, gentle, and hopeful in exactly the ways I needed.” –Mo

“This is just such a feel good story, despite how it starts. Being able to see a character comes back into their own and really take themselves as a priority when they have been hiding who they are for so long just warmed my heart.” —Isaiah at MIBookReviews

“This book reminded me it’s okay to stim and wear things I like and to hold onto my found family. It was what I needed on a hard, shattery feeling day.” —Ash

Content Warnings

  • The autistic MCs girlfriend didn’t treat her well and normed her around passing as neurotypical. The story is all about the immediate aftermath of a break up with her girlfriend, which includes a meltdown and migraine flare.
  • There is no sex included.
  • There are brief references to pain play, and brief references to D/s. Neither is depicted on the page.