Graduation and Gifts (Untouchable #8) - Heather Long

Dear Reader,

Thank you for picking up Graduation and Gifts. If you haven’t read the first seven in the Untouchable series, I caution you to go and grab those right now and read them first.

When I first started this series—I wrote the first chapter of the first book in September of 2019—I envisioned a trilogy. That, of course, quickly changed as I got to know Frankie, Jake, Coop, Ian, and Archie. I fell in love with each guy for different reasons. There were things I saw on my side of things that the reader didn’t get to see yet.

Since that first chapter, I’ve written eight books, expanded the series from a trilogy to ten books then ten books to twelve. We’ve begun releasing the series on audio and I can’t even begin to tell you how fantastic it sounds with Maryne Young and Grayson Owens doing the narration. They truly bring these guys to life.

We’ve covered 181 days of their school year, not counting their vacations (hello Colorado, Padre Island, and Massachusetts), celebrated birthdays, watched each relationship she has with the guys flourish and grow. More, we’ve seen the guys grow their own brotherhood (brother boyfriends isn’t going anywhere) and extend their family.

They’ve faced the rumors, the trials, and the neglect. Finally, they’ve faced truths about themselves and their families and through it all, they’ve managed to not only stick together, they’ve kept it together and become so much more than who they were at the beginning of the year.

Frankie, herself, has grown and I couldn’t be more proud of her if I tried.

On the home front, we’ve gone through a pandemic, been crowded together at home, worked on the idea of planning for “after” it was over and, of course, rooting for vaccinations and more. The last thing I expected was to have a herniated disc in my spine hit in February just as so many other challenges hit at once including a winter storm that crippled the whole state and it took me two extra weeks to even see a doctor, having a dear friend face a health crisis while I was too far away to do anything about it, while another faced the rising flood waters around her home.

The pandemic may have isolated us, but I have never felt so far away than I did in those weeks. Writing Graduation and Gifts through all of this turmoil was both a relief and a challenge. I shared their joy and their triumphs while I was worried about so much more.

I talked about letting this story breathe and even when I couldn’t catch my own breath, Frankie and the guys were doing it for me. Their investment in each other reminds me constantly that we build the families and the communities we need. From found families to girl gangs, I am surrounded by a community of amazing individuals and I treasure each and every single one of them.

This series wouldn’t be the same without them, or my family or the readers themselves. Thank you to everyone who gives this series a shot. To those who left reviews. To those who recommend it to their friends. To the narrators who love the characters as much as we do. To the fans who make those amazing TikToks. To my friends who cheer Frankie and the guys on, who tell me it’s okay to take a break, who listen to me complain, who celebrate the highs and catch on the lows.

Thank you will never seem like enough, but right now, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all of you.

And now, as always, the housekeeping notes:

For those of you who have never read a reverse harem before, first let me thank you for picking this up and giving it a shot. Second, a reverse harem means the heroine will not make a choice in this book or any other between the guys in her life. It may take her a while to reach that conclusion, but it’s the journey that drives it. There are many ways to frame this kind of relationship, currently reverse harem fits it very well.

Also, this is the eighth book in a series. If you haven’t read the first seven, I encourage you to pause here and go grab them. While there may be no specific happy endings at the end of each of these books, there will be one to the whole series, that I promise you. Some of these books will have cliffhangers, largely due to the