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Posted in Interviews

A Visit with Whitley Grey

Hello, Readers! Welcome to a series of stories about renewed love and/or love happening during the renewing times: mid-winter or spring. This week’s visitor is Whitley Grey.

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Tell us about Midwinter Night’s Dream and how you came up with this idea.

This is the story of a man who gets lost in a blizzard and the man who saves him. Errol delivers singing telegrams to eke out a living, and takes one last job despite the forecast of heavy snow. Joe is a model and former fireman, returning to his family’s cabin in the woods to deal with the loss of his lover two Christmases ago.

My extended family had a cabin in the woods when I was growing up, and those memories served me in creating the setting.

How much research did you have to do about firemen before you created Joe’s character?

It wasn’t too bad. A couple of firemen answered questions about the types of fire and rescue described in the book. The culture of the firehouse and the pressure of belonging to a family of firemen took addition research.

This story sounds complicated and fun! Two broken men seeking redemption. Is it one character’s story more than the other? Or do they both grow equally? And how do they grow?

I think it’s pretty evenly distributed. I love Errol’s personality—he’s somewhat quirky, and a survivor. Joe’s paramedic background and how he saves Errol resonates with my medical background. They both grow—Errol learns to trust, and Joe learns to let go of the past.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to write romance?

Learn the basics of writing. Online classes are an excellent way to do this. Get the fundamentals mastered and then build from there. Join a critique group—these people can help you see your manuscript’s blind spots. Last, READ. A lot. In whatever subgenre you want to write. I read about 200 M/M books before writing the first one.

BUY: http://www.amazon.com/Midwinter-Nights-Dream-Whitley-Gray-ebook/dp/B00H89ANJO/ref=sr_sp-atf_image_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1392346332&sr=1-1&keywords=whitley+gray

Excerpt:

Heat surrounded Errol’s body. The surface beneath him was soft, and he couldn’t perceive any light through his eyelids. His hands and feet hurt. He was exhausted and achy. Couldn’t open his eyes. A little more rest…

Something ticked out a muted rhythm, and every click made his head throb. During his nap someone had taken a ball-peen hammer to his head, and his tongue had become glued to the roof of his mouth. Felt like the hangover from hell.

Water. Water would be good. A hint of wood smoke filled Errol’s nose, mixed with a spicier smell—evergreen and clove, like Christmas. He must be dreaming.

The featherweight web of sleep persisted, and he rubbed at his eyes and opened them a crack. Wait a minute. Where was he?

Well, first of all, warm and cozy in an enormous bed. Not his; not by a long shot. The thing was heaped with sleeping bags and quilts, making the covers weighty. He squinted and peeked under the covers. Naked. The ache behind his eyes intensified as he absorbed his lack of clothing. Yikes.

A dozen feet away, there was a fireplace made of river rock, flanked by bookcases. Banked embers glowed in the hearth, outlining walls made of logs in faint rosy light. A clock ticked on the mantel, the source of the tapping irritating his ears. A sweep of muted plaid framed the dark windows, and snow hissed against the panes, seeking entry. Okay, naked, in an unfamiliar bed, in an unfamiliar place. What the—

Something rustled next to him, and he rolled over. A tuft of dark curls stuck up from the covers. Nothing else of his bedmate showed. Holy shit, make that naked next to an unfamiliar body.

Oh, no. No, no, no. He couldn’t remember doing the sing-o-gram, but maybe he’d had a holiday drink and ended up sleeping with someone at the client’s house? Judging by the way his head felt, he had the mother of all hangovers, and if alcohol had been involved, who knew? Man, he’d be in such deep shit. Pour Vous had a strict no-sex-with-the-clients policy. If he’d broken the rules, Smitty would roast his chestnuts over an open fire and cut him loose. Without a job, he’d be out on the street in a week. He shivered.

Smitty didn’t have to know.

With a deep sigh, the bedmate rolled over, one arm pushing the covers down to the waist. Errol’s eyes widened. Whoops. Naked, muscular, and male. Dark curly hair, a shadow of beard covering his jaw, and a face like a model. Errol had never really understood the meaning of chiseled features before now, but this met the definition. Yowza.

Wait a minute. Smitty had said the telegram recipient was a blond woman. This was very definitely not her. So who the hell was this guy? Had Errol slept with him? Like wild-monkey-sex slept with him?

This had to be some crazy dream. Must be that convenience-store burrito he’d eaten for lunch. Guys like Errol didn’t wake up with guys like this. Errol pinched himself and blinked. The guy was still there.

Posted in Interviews

New Year’s Eve Chat

Dear Readers,

What follows is a series of conversations that took place when I invited eight characters over for New Year’s Eve.

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New Year’s Eve Chat

Part One: Preparations

Mark Tavery’s POV:

Mark had been stewing for the better part of an hour. Maybe once his husband, Luke, got home things would settle down. Luke always made things—explosions, pending staff get-togethers, argumentative dragon herds—seem less cataclysmic.

Thanks to Emily, he, Luke, and at least six others she called “characters” would attend a cocktail party. How did she expect Mark, a water dragon who loved his magical universe just the way it was, to make small talk with two men from post-World War II America, another two who lived and breathed the modern military life, and two kids?

Luke poofed into the condo he and Mark shared. He stood in the doorway between kitchen and living room.

Golden-haired and muscular, his very presence took Mark’s stress down a notch.

The genie bowed, proffering a bottle. “There are a dozen more where this came from.”

Mark smirked at the well-known label. “I assume you’re also bringing rum and Coke?”

Luke’s eyes twinkled. “To get you drunk? Is that what you want, my Mark?” He tried a severe expression, but it evaporated the moment Mark touched him.

“Maybe that’s a good way to get through the night,” the water dragon told his husband. And maybe everything will go all right. Luke’s a genie; how much can a simple celebration get out of hand? “In any case, we don’t need to worry for another couple of hours.” He put the bottle into the fridge. “We have a little time on our hands. What should we do with it?”

Luke laughed. Then he magicked both his and Mark’s clothes off.

* * * *

Will Jefferson’s POV

Will watched Don take the roaster out of the oven. “How long until we’re expected at this shindig?”

Don set the pan on top of the stove. Using a potholder, he took the top off the roaster and smiled. “This is done finally.”

“We have to bring food?”

Don shrugged. “Maybe it isn’t the custom to bring a dish to pass in whatever year Emily’s staged this party, but here and now, in 1946, we pay our respects.” He glanced at Will and raised an eyebrow. “Or do you have an issue with that, mister Southern hospitality?”

Will shook his head. “You’re never going to stop picking on me about my birthplace, are you?” he asked the white boy.

“Not until you treat everyone like they’re human first and of a different race second.”

He scowled. “Asking if this is a potluck occasion Ms. Emily Carrington has organized isn’t a black/white thing. It’s a politeness thing.”

Don grinned. “I know.”

Will stared. “Then why’d you say—”

“Because having you slightly annoyed makes for good sex.” He wrapped his arms around Will, pulling him into a kiss.

Mmm. Don always kissed like a randy private. Or a sex-starved sailor who’d finally hit dry land. Moaning, Will pulled his lover closer, trying to meld their bodies.

A minute or so later, Don pulled away slightly. “The chicken’s done. Shall we savor a little pre-dinner dessert?”

Will pulled him out of the kitchen, down the hall, and into their bedroom.

 

Part Two: First Encounters

 

Xander Tsoukatos’s POV:

The ride from Washington, DC seemed to take no time at all. Before Xander knew it, he and his husband, John, stood on the front steps of Emily’s house. It was a little place, much like their house on the air force base, but Xander noticed the elegant, well-built porch.

John rang the bell.

It wasn’t Emily who greeted them at the door, but a dark-haired man with intense ocean-blue eyes. He raised an eyebrow at them.

“John and Xander Tsoukatos,” Xander introduced them.

“Mark. Come on in. The party hasn’t started yet.”

They walked into a room with dark ceiling beams and a fireplace.

French doors led into another room. As John walked through, Xander paused to examine the delicate etching on the doors. Each pane was a scene: forest, mountain, beach. He was arrested by an etching of a tall oak free. He crouched and studied the tree more closely. By the leaves on the ground, it was autumn in that scene.

“I copied that earlier,” someone said behind Xander. “It’ll make a great carving for Aid’.”

Still crouching, Xander turned. He faced a young man—maybe still a teenager—who was even shorter than the man who’d greeted them at the door.

“I’m Mike,” the kid said. “And Aidan’s around here somewhere.”

He got to his feet and shook Mike’s hand. “I’m Xander.” He tilted his head, studying Mike.

The kid raised an eyebrow. “Yes?” He seemed both amused and curious.

Here’s someone who’s never been hurt. “I don’t mean to be rude, but how old are you?”

Mike grinned. “You’re the second person to ask me that. I’m twenty. So’s Aidan, for what it’s worth. We’re probably the youngest here by five years.”

There he went again, mentioning someone named Aidan. Probably his boyfriend. “I’d like to meet Aidan.”

Mike smiled. “I’ll introduce you.” He walked between the doors, and Xander followed.

* * * *

Luke Morrison’s POV:

The boy, Aidan, stood at one counter. He’d come to help Luke in the kitchen. He was competent, if opinionated. He mixed drinks with a practiced hand.

He was also blind.

Luke had never wished for the ability to change another’s nature more than he did when he saw disabled people. It wasn’t within his magical abilities to fix how someone had been born or how they’d become, but his heart went out to them.

“Stop staring at me,” Aidan said. “You have drinks to mix and food to make appear out of thin air.” He shook his head, and his voice was laced with wonder when he added, “Or whatever else genies do.”

Standing a few feet farther along the counter, Luke blinked in surprise. “How did you know I was looking at you?” So far as he knew, his and Mark’s universe was the only one where Emily had introduced elements of magic. And that included telepathy.

Aidan snorted. “Practice.” He felt along the counter to his right.

Luke frowned. “You are blind. But…”

The young man faced him. “But what?” He crossed his muscular arms and stared without staring at Luke.

It was as if, without sight, he could see Luke’s soul. Suddenly Luke craved nothing more than to have Mark backing him up. Protecting him from this self-possessed man who was probably no more than twenty-one.

He hunched his shoulders, aware that he was imitating what Mark did when the dragon felt exposed or uneasy. “You’re happy being who you are. That…” He searched for the right phrase. “That blows my mind.”

Luke expected Aidan to get in his face, but the younger man relaxed, dropping his arms. “How long have you been alive?”

“About a thousand years.”

“And I’m the first blind guy you’ve met? I find that hard to believe.”

“You’re not.” Luke shifted his feet. “But you’re probably the only person with disabilities I’ve actually talked to. Spared more than a moment’s pity for.”

Aidan stepped forward, his mouth thinned to a single line. He stood about two steps from Luke. “Can you put this kitchen back together if it’s messed up?”

Confused, Luke nodded. “I still have my magic.”

Aidan attacked him.

Luke didn’t want to hurt the blind kid by using magic. And got punched for his consideration.

Aidan followed the knuckle sandwich with a blow to the side of Luke’s neck that would have caused damage if Luke wasn’t a genie. Then the kid landed an uppercut in Luke’s side. The chaser was a snap kick as Luke doubled over.

Luke gathered his magic around him into a shield, ready to take the guy on, blindness or not.

But Aidan retreated several steps, bowed slightly, and said, “Don’t pity me. The ones to feel sorry for are the people who don’t have talent, love, good work ethic, and confidence.”

Luke stood straight and advanced, holding out his hand. “Thank you for the lesson.” He smirked as he and Aidan shook hands. “You must be lucky. If you’d tried that with Mark, my husband would have bitten your head off. Literally.”

“Yum,” said a voice from the doorway. “Tastes like chicken.” Mark crossed to join them, slipping an arm around Luke’s waist. He offered a predator’s hungry smile. “You’re not hurt?”

“No,” Luke said.

Aidan bowed again, more deeply. “I’ll keep my hands to myself from now on.”

He’s intimidated by my Mark, Luke thought in amazement.

“Not necessary,” Mark answered, and Luke was surprised to see his lover looking up at him with a touch of admonishment in his eyes. “You taught Luke a lesson he should’ve learned years ago.” He nodded toward the counter. “Do you two need a hand?”

Shaking his head and grinning, Luke tugged his husband in for a kiss.

 

Part Three: Trouble at the Table

 

Mike Delaney’s POV:

He watched Aidan chat with the two men from the magic-filled world as if all three were old friends meeting again after years apart. All three sat at the opposite end of the long table from Mike, but that was okay. Aidan could more than handle himself, and Mike was having too much fun listening to Xander’s stories to be unsettled by so many alpha types being in one room.

“There were fifteen of them,” Xander was saying. “Officers’ wives are sweet, at least in my humble opinion, but they’re also human.” He laughed. Then he scooted his chair closer to Mike’s and whispered, “If I’d never married John, I wouldn’t have met so many supportive women, but I miss my work in the clinic.”

‘What kind of clinic?” Mike asked, lowering his voice in response to Xander’s suddenly secretive behavior.

“The Fairy Clinic—” he smirked, possibly at the name—“deals mostly with AIDS, although they also help with Hepatitis C and a few others. Many of the patients there just need a steady, calm presence while they get their results or wait for appointments. They know me as Mister Chamomile Tea.” He smirked. “Or as the card sharp spotter. I don’t let one group of friends cheat another.”

Mike grinned. “I like it. You’re a guardian angel.”

“More like a pita angel.”

“Pita?” Mike asked, picturing the folded bread-like stuff from a Mexican restaurant.

“Pain in the ass.”

Mike laughed. “Did you come up with that? It’s a great acronym.”

Xander leaned back in his chair. “John’s air force buddies are the kings of acronyms, but that’s not mine or theirs.”

“Why aren’t you working at the clinic anymore?”

Xander closed his eyes. “John’s jealous.”

Mike squirmed. “I know what that’s like. Aid’ and I dealt with my jealousy within the first month of our relationship, but we came close to calling it off right there.”

Xander moved his chair nearer, and he was back to whispering. “What made you jealous? Didn’t you trust your boyfriend?”

“I do.” Mike bit his lip. “I did. But…it was a misunderstanding. I thought I was one of Aidan’s conquests, that he didn’t want a real relationship.”

“Hmm.” Xander scowled. “I wonder if that’s John’s issue.” He shrugged and sat up. “Well, this isn’t the time for talk like that.”

“Talk like what?”

Mike jumped. He stared up at the buff, intimidating man who wore some sort of military dress uniform. Shit. This had to be John. Mike slumped in his seat, hoping the man would ignore him.

Xander rolled his eyes. “With your creeping ability, you should’ve been a Vietnam-era spook,” he told his husband.

John sat down on Xander’s other side. “You can’t talk. You’re flirting right in front of me.” He shot a glance at Mike. “With a kid.”

Mike looked away, seeking help. Where was Emily? Hadn’t she created these guys to be in love? Why hadn’t she stepped in?

Xander shoved his chair back and got up. “Screw you.” He stalked out of the room.

The two men from the 1940s grabbed John’s arms as he stood to follow.

“Come on,” the black guy said. “Let’s find a cooling off place.”

“Or some beer,” his lover added.

Would it look suspicious if Mike went after Xander? Probably, he decided, but nobody else seemed inclined. So as soon as the two 1940s guys took John out of the room, Mike made for the French doors and the room with the fireplace beyond.

That was when Aidan called his name, softly, and urged Mike to sit back down.

“This is still supposedly the season of hope,” Aidan said. “Let’s get a game plan before we try talking sense into those two.”

 

John Tsoukatos’s POV:

“I don’t need any beer.” He jerked away from the hulking men. No slouch himself in the muscles department, he still felt uneasy around two men who’d supposedly gone through the same military training he had. Or at least the equivalents from sixty years ago. “I’ll talk to Xander myself. This just isn’t the time.”

The taller of the two men—white like John, but resembling a blond bear—laughed. “We saw how well you handled it so far. You need a few minutes to calm down. That’s what we’re giving you.”

“You’re so insecure in your love you don’t trust him?” the shorter, more muscular, black man asked.

John scowled. “You’ve never seen Xander in a dress. You’ve never watched people flock to him like he’s their god. It’s not him I don’t trust; it’s them.”

“Can he fight off the adoring throngs?” the blond bear asked quietly.

Given the way Xander had granted a black eye to the last one who’d made an over-aggressive pass at him… “Yeah.” John threw up his hands. “But that doesn’t mean I want him mingling with sex-crazed people on a regular basis.”

“Not everyone’s fuck-focused all the time,” the black guy said.

John opened his mouth, but then closed it. Both men were looking at him as though he had a stick up his ass. Unsure what to say, John grimaced, folded his arms, and ignored them.

 

Xander Tsoukatos’s POV:

Xander knocked on the doorframe that stood between the dining room and the small room where the escorts had taken John. He watched all three turn to face him, and he read their expressions easily: exasperation, confusion, and annoyance. John was the confused one. That might be a good sign. Xander walked in.

Before he could say anything, the room filled up behind him. Emily’s other guests were coming to see this showdown. What kind of “characters” had she invented?

“Jealousy’s natural,” the dragon, Mark, said without preamble or any indication that he was ashamed for intruding.

“We’ve all dealt with it in one form or another,” Luke said.

Aidan snorted. “That’s for damn sure.” He grinned. “And in case you’re wondering, Xander, it wasn’t just Mike.”

“So if the two of you are going to survive as a couple,” Don said, “you’ll have to learn to talk.”

John blushed, which made him look adorable. “Maybe we should.” He stepped forward, taking Xander’s hands. “I know you love me. Please give me another chance to prove I love you.”

“It’s not a question of love,” Xander answered, but he hugged his husband. “It’s not even trust, I don’t think.” He pulled back and met John’s earnest gaze. “It really is that we still don’t know each other well enough.”

“Does that mean I should send you home to get reacquainted?”

Xander turned, blinking when he saw the single woman among them. “Emily?” He cleared his throat, remembering she’d created him. “Ms. Carrington?”

She raised both eyebrows until they disappeared into her bangs. “Emily’s fine. And I definitely need to send you home.” She smirked. “Love and make-up sex fix almost everything.”

 

Peace!

–Emily

Posted in Books

A. E. Lawless: A Collar for Christmas

Dear Readers,

Meet A. E. Lawless and her new book, “A Collar for Christmas.”

1. Tell us all about your exciting new release.

A Collar For Christmas is the story of Liam and Aaron, two friends and costars on a popular TV show whose relationship undergoes dramatic changes. They enter into a non-sexual BDSM relationship for the sole purpose of helping Liam control his panic attacks but the relationship and its boundaries continue to evolve as their feelings for each other grow and change.

I really wanted to play with the concepts of boundaries and re-negotiation as well as exploring the concept of kink without sex. It was fun to explore the questions of whether or not the solutions these characters find are right for them even if they’re working and to see where their constant pushing against each other took them.

2. When did you start writing, and what led you to write erotic romance?

I’m really not sure when I actually started writing anything down. I’ve been creating stories since I could talk, and I’ve putting them to paper as far back as I can remember. For all intents and purposes I’ve been writing since I’ve been physically able to, the subject matter has just changed considerably. 😉

Bottom line, I started writing erotic romance because I wanted to get paid to write. It wasn’t something I’d ever tried before, but there was this porn website that was looking for a few authors to write short stories for them on a regular basis and I thought, why not. Hey, I like sex, I can do this. It’s a paying job right? All it took was the first story to get hooked. I was so fascinated by the concept of writing about why people enjoy the erotic experiences that they do that I threw myself headfirst into the genre and I haven’t looked back since.

3. Since it is the holiday season, please share with us one of your recipes, a funny holiday story, or a holiday-related joke. 🙂

The funniest holiday story I have is actually the story of the first time I officially met my in-laws. My husband and I had known each other for years before we started dating, and I’d been introduced to his parents in passing before so when things got kind of serious with us, we still hadn’t done the “official” meet the parents thing. And then he spontaneously proposed right before Christmas, so it became kinda urgent that we do that. So I decided to invite them over on Christmas Eve and cook dinner for them. Being extremely nervous, I decided to go with a dish I felt pretty confident in and something that was pretty easy so I didn’t stress too bad over the food and could focus all my stressing on what the heck I was going to say to them. I decided to go with a roast—just pop it in the oven and as long as you don’t overcook it you’re good. Or at least, that’s what I thought, but that’s getting ahead of myself.

So, roast is in the oven, the house is spotless, future hubby says I look gorgeous, and the in-laws show up. Everything is going great until the timer on the oven goes off. A little background info is necessary to really understand this next part. Fact one: I’m very short. As in under 5’ tall, 4’10” to be exact. Fact two: I also have really short arms. I’ve never measured them, but my hubby likes to call me t-rex, so that should tell you something. Fact three: at the time this story happened, I lived in a mobile home, so the oven was the kind that was stacked over the microwave, so it was up pretty high for me.

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled comedic interlude. So the timer goes off and I pop up and go to get the roast out of the oven. I open the door, grab my trusty oven mitts, stand on my tip-toes, stretch my arms way overhead and start to slide the pan out of the oven. And the tray tilts down, the roast slides right off the pan, hits the floor, and literally slides across the length of my kitchen.

Everyone was frozen in shock—me, my future hubby, and both of his parents. Of course I’m on the verge of tears at this point and no one has any clue what to do but my future father in law takes one look at my face and bursts into action. He jumped up, grabbed the roast, deposited it back on the tray, took it to the sink, rinsed it off, sliced it and was serving plates before any of the rest of us had even really moved. All of us ate that roast, no one said a word about it hitting the floor, and we laugh about it nearly every year. Good times. 😀

4. How do you tackle the following: waiting for a contract to come in, rewrites, and rejections. And how do you celebrate when the answer is “yes”?

Celebrating is the easy answer—I get a tattoo. For every story I’ve had published, I get a literary themed tattoo. When A Collar For Christmas comes out I’m going to add on to my Edgar Allen Poe chestpiece.

As far as rejections go, they’re never fun but it didn’t hit me as hard as it could. I approached the submissions process from the angle of expecting to get rejected. So it really wasn’t all that disappointing when I was. Not because I didn’t think that I wasn’t good enough to be a published author, but because I knew I wasn’t going to get there until I proved that I was good enough and each rejection was nothing but a reminder that I hadn’t proved anything yet, that I just needed to keep working harder at it.

Rewrites are an easy thing for me. I have a fantastic editor that I trust completely. I pretty much do what she tells me to with a manuscript because she’s always right. Even when I think she’s not, all it takes is me stepping away and thinking about it for a day or two and then I realize that yep, she was right all along. Sometimes, I feel strongly about certain suggested changes and we talk it out and come to some sort of compromise. But of the two manuscripts we’ve worked on together, one we cut 2 chapters out of and the other we added 3 or 4 I think, and I never batted an eyelash at the suggestion. Both stories are infinitely better off for it. I think it helps though that I’m not really all that emotionally attached to my work in terms of needing it to be the exact way I imagined it. The only emotional investment I have in my stories is the desire for them to be the best versions of themselves that they can be. I’ve never looked at writing and thought of it as an art form, it’s not an expression of my inner self or anything like that. It’s a craft. It’s a skill. Rewrites are just a chance to hone my skills further, just a chance to elevate my craftsmanship to the next level.

Please also send me a buy link, an excerpt of around 750 words, a blurb, and a jpeg of your cover.

Buy Link:

http://www.loose-id.com/genres/bdsm-fetish/a-collar-for-christmas.html

Blurb:

For actor Liam, anxiety and panic attacks are old friends, but they only get worse the more famous he gets. Nothing has ever worked to help him control the anxiety until his costar, Aaron, introduces him to bondage. Too bad Liam develops feelings for Aaron and ruins the only solution he’s ever found for his neuroses.

Aaron only wants to keep history from repeating itself. He’s already had one costar spin out of control, resulting in her tragic death, he can’t just sit idly by and watch another friend and colleague destroy himself from the inside out. He’ll do anything to keep that from happening–even enter into a non-sexual BDSM arrangement with him.

What starts out as a way to control Liam’s anxiety becomes so much more. At least for Liam. So, tired of pretending he doesn’t want Aaron in his life for good, Liam decides to give him the perfect Christmas gift. The kind that will show Aaron exactly what Liam wants from their relationship: the collar he’s been dreaming of Aaron putting on him for months.

Excerpt:

Liam tried to stand, to not look quite so pathetic huddled on the floor and shaking uncontrollably, but he only got as far as lifting his backside off the ground a few inches before the urge to curl up and hide forced him back down again. He wanted to disappear and be invisible for a little while. He knew Aaron already knew about his anxiety, had in fact already demanded that Liam let him help out with it, but Liam was still deeply ashamed of being found this way. No one had ever seen him this bad except his family.

Aaron hurried inside and sat down on the floor directly in front of Liam, knees bent and feet on either side of Liam’s. He assessed Liam from head to toe, clearly taking in everything—the shake in his limbs, the expression on his face, the hands buried in his hair.

Liam looked up at Aaron and tried to speak, tried to say something, anything to explain himself, but all that came out was a distressed little whine. That had always been a part of what was so frustrating for Liam; everyone always wanted to know what was wrong, like they could magically fix it if Liam would just tell them. Liam didn’t know if they could or not; he’d never been able to pinpoint any specific cause for his anxiety, and if had been able to, he certainly wouldn’t have been able to verbalize it. That was just part of how a panic attack worked.

Face crumpling in concern, Aaron made a soft shushing noise and scooted closer to Liam on the floor.

Liam tightened his hands around the fistfuls of his hair in humiliation and anxiety, pulling painfully. More embarrassing little involuntary noises bubbled up in Liam’s throat, and he bit into his lip harshly to hold them in and keep from giving voice to them. He got that Aaron was a nice guy and that he just wanted to help, but Liam was so tired of always being the freak, of always being the one who needed help. Even though he had been in the last season, Liam was still the newest member of the cast, and he just wanted to fit in, not have his costar look at him like he was something broken and in need of a quick patch job before the next take.

Aaron shifted and wiggled forward until they were almost touching, legs on either side of Liam’s hips, bracketing Liam’s body with his own. He shifted his hold on Liam’s hands so that his fingers were encircling Liam’s wrists and drew both their hands down between them.

It was like a physical touch, the way Aaron’s body surrounded Liam’s. Aaron was a big guy. Liam wasn’t short, but Aaron was taller and more muscular and had the longest legs Liam had ever seen; the way he surrounded Liam felt like a buffer between Liam and the rest of the world. Aaron’s skin against his own was like a brand; it burned Liam and lit up his nerve endings in a bizarre combination of pain, physical awareness, and pleasure. The touch and the envelopment cleared more of the fog from Liam’s brain, and he was desperate to let Aaron know that it was working, wanted to urge him to continue. He swallowed a few times and tried to get words out. His lips opened and closed, but the only sound that emerged was his ragged breathing, the harsh pants echoing off the walls of the trailer. Frustrated, he let out a soft growl.

Fingers tightening, Aaron increased the pressure on Liam’s wrists. “It’s okay, Li. You’re safe here. Take your time and tell me what you need.”

The words washed over him like a wave crashing against the beach and rolling back out to sea, carrying tiny granules of gritty anxiety piled on the sandy shore of Liam’s mind when they went. Liam’s eyes slipped shut, and he focused on his breathing; it was easier to force it into a more regulated pattern—even if it was still too rapid and shallow—when he had Aaron’s touch to ground him. The harder Aaron dug in with his fingers, the more tethered to reality Liam felt. “What—” Liam’s words sputtered and died in his throat, so he shook his head and tried again. “What if I do something wrong?”

Aaron smiled and shook his head. His grip on Liam’s wrist eased enough for him to stroke his thumbs back and forth over Liam’s skin. “You won’t do anything wrong. I won’t let you.” His voice was soft and low, intimate and full of conviction.

ACollarForChristmas

 

Posted in Books

Draven St. James with Fire and Mistletoe

Dear Readers,

Meet Draven St. James!

1.) My newest release is Fire and Mistletoe. It is the second book in the Firehouse Six series. The first is Grey’s Hidden Fire. Fire and Mistletoe gives the reader more time with the firemen they love so much!
2.) It is hard to choose a favorite character, but Grey comes pretty close. I really enjoy writing about his strength and how it is actually bolstered by his vulnerability. I have to sneak in that I also really love Simon!  He’s a hilarious to write about. His story is the one I’m working on next for the Firehouse Six guys.
3.) I started writing m/m romance about five years ago. Although I didn’t submit anything for publication until Grey’s Hidden Fire. I was always pretty shy about my writing.
4.) My favorite part about writing is hearing about how readers connect and actually grow attached to the characters I create. When a reader tells me when they got to the end of the book they want more…that makes me feel like I succeeded in drawing them into the story.
5.) I actually don’t mind rewrites. I adore my editor and I feel as though she is there to help me shape my books so that all is left is a true and relatable story. When I rewrite a scene it allows me to see my book in a different light and maybe pick up on areas I could elaborate on. It isn’t just about one aspect of a book, but how a rewrite will enhance the story and it’s readability.
Excerpt!

Fire and Mistletoe

Release Date: December 24th

Author: Draven St. James

 

 

Excerpt

For Mica, there was nothing better than starting the day watching Grey saunter shirtless around the kitchen, preparing him breakfast. Grey’s only clothes were a pair of sweats that hung so low on his hips Mica couldn’t help but be amazed they didn’t slide off. Hell, that was what he anticipated happening.

Such an event would truly be the beginning of a merry Christmas. Mica sat on a stool next to the island at the center of the room to continue his ogling.

“Stop objectifying me,” Grey said before looking over his shoulder and smiling.

“You like it,” Mica teased. The muscles of Grey’s back flexed each time he reached for a spice or stirred the eggs. His hair was wet from his shower and glistened with shades of gold and cinnamon in the overhead lighting.

“I may like it, but you need to eat, and then I have to work. If you’re lucky, when your double shift is over, I’ll entertain those dirty thoughts I know you’re having.”

“Oh, now that’s promising. How about we compromise for the moment? Drop your pants and bring on the food.” Mica leered comically at him. Grey’s face became an adorable shade of pink. He loved that even now Grey had his shy moments. There were so many things Grey did that made his life more complete, both at home and at work, because he was lucky enough to work and play with his lover. He’d met Grey when he’d made the best decision of his life and transferred over to Firehouse Six.

It also didn’t hurt that the man was a fantastic cook. He pivoted to stir the scrambled eggs, and Mica moved to stand behind him. With a deep inhale he breathed in the intoxicating, spicy scent that always clung to Grey, and nuzzled his face against Grey’s neck. He wrapped his arms around him, tracing his fingers along Grey’s abdomen before pulling Grey fully back against him.

“Are you sure you can’t fit me in before breakfast?” Mica whispered and nipped his ear playfully.

The vibrations from Grey’s moan resulted in an answering hardening of Mica’s cock.

“You are the worst tease,” Grey admonished.

“And you’re so damn practical.”

Grey shifted around in Mica’s arms and grinned. “That is one of the many things that you love about me.” He ran his fingers through the damp strands of Mica’s hair. “As it is, because of our shower time, I’m already going to be late.”

Mica trapped Grey against the counter and gave in to the temptation of Grey’s soft lips. Grey’s hands tightened in his hair and drew him away.

“Before you, I was always on time.”

“I exist to create fun chaos in your life.” Mica wiggled his eyebrows.

“I see evidence of the chaos,” Grey murmured with a pointed look. “Not just in my life either.”

“No, we settled this.” Mica framed Grey’s face with his hands. “You always work over the holidays. This year you’re mine.”

Grey sighed and looked to be gearing up for another long dialogue about how the guys depended on him to cover their shifts and how the holidays would be ruined if he didn’t.

Mica pressed his fingertip to Grey’s lips. “I want you with me for the holidays. My family will love you, and you’ll have fun.”

“Mica, I haven’t really enjoyed doing—”

“Babe, we discussed this, and I know it isn’t your first choice of Christmas options, but we will still be back to do all the volunteer activities. I promise.” Mica brushed his thumb over Grey’s lips before leaning in for a soft kiss. “Besides, if you’re good and do this for me, then maybe I’ll do something fun for you.”

“Is that right?”

“Of course, I don’t know how it will compare to the little surprises you have in store. I saw the bag this morning.” He pulled back to meet Grey’s twinkling amber gaze.

Grey shrugged. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he replied, his eyes wide with mock innocence. Any trace of annoyance seemed to vanish, and Mica hoped that was the last of it. Grey turned to finish scrambling the eggs that had begun to burn.

“I call bullshit. I saw what was in that bag. Looked like something from that adult store down the road,” Mica confessed. The store sold all things erotic, from videos to sex toys.

“Maybe it isn’t for you?” Grey countered.

“It had better be for me.” Mica jokingly glared at Grey.

“Have a smidgen of patience. Christmas is right around the corner.”

And here’s the amazing cover!
dsj_fire and mistletoe_coverlg
Peace!
–Emily
Posted in Blog, Books, Interviews

Tell Me I’m Home: first conversation with a potential fan!

Dear Readers,

For your amusement, this is a post I made on FB and the resulting conversation.

 

Putting this up where some gay men (or those who like to read about gay men) might see it. “Like” this post and have a chance to win a box of dark chocolate sea salt caramels.

December 21
The officers’ wives had invited him for tea. Not for a rousing game of basketball, tennis, or even chess. For tea. What was he supposed to do in a parlor, surrounded by delicate cups, tinkling laughter, and doilies?
Xander shuddered. “Doilies, John. You can’t be sending me into a battlefield that includes doilies.”
His husband of two weeks smirked at him from where he stood in front of the dresser. BDUs on halfway, John Tsoukatos masqueraded as a partial god, partial GI Joe standee. “I thought being part of the military community sounded like ‘all sorts of fun.’ Isn’t that what you said when you agreed to take up with me?”
Xander cast through his shirts, seeking one that wouldn’t look too “out there” according to the assumed military standards. Assumed by me, but confirmed by everything I’ve ever heard about the military. “I don’t regret making our relationship official”—never in life would he regret it—“but I didn’t realize all the required frills that would come with saying ‘I do.’”
“The officers’ wives aren’t harpies,” John said. Fully decked out in his everyday uniform at last, he sat down on the end of their bed to tie his boots. “They’re women. Good women, for the most part. Major Cassock’s wife is a gem. And the others will fall right in line today because this meeting’s organized by the Colonel’s wife, Nora, and she’s a piece.”
“A piece of what?” Xander asked, pulling his head out of the closet.
“A peach.” John smiled. “Relax, Xander. You’ll love them.” He grinned. “And look at it this way: with your long hair, you’ll fit right in. Keiko Armstrong’s hair isn’t even as long as yours, and she’s the queen of understated fashion.”
Xander didn’t respond. John was trying to be helpful, but beyond that Xander heard the familiar note of “I’m being patient in spite of your madness” tone creeping into his husband’s voice. Any further questions and John might snap.
Not that John’s testiness was bad on a day-to-day basis. It normally led to some pretty hot make-up sex. Or some plain old “rough for the sake of being rough” lovemaking that left Xander craving full-out BDSM.
Either floated Xander’s boat just fine.
John stood. “You can come home whenever you want.” He crossed to Xander, turned him gently, and kissed him. “Try? For me?” He laughed. “Besides, after six years of our long-distance loving and you moving whenever I thought I’d be staying in one place for more than six months, meeting a few women—and seeing their doilies—can’t be that bad.”
Xander nodded. “I know.” He swept his hair behind his right ear so it wouldn’t get in the way and resumed their kiss. Mmm. John tasted of coffee and something fruity. “What did you eat this morning?”
“Toast. With homemade raspberry jam.”
The jam Xander had made before their wedding.
John’s next words squashed the warm feeling in Xander’s chest. “I’ll eat a real breakfast at the chow hall.”
With all your buddies I haven’t gotten to meet yet. Xander shoved that thought to the back of his mind. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell had been repealed for less than a year. He and John had been married for barely two weeks. There simply hadn’t been time for more than John going to work and Xander staying in the house they didn’t own, longing to paint the walls and redesign the landscaping in the front yard but knowing he wasn’t allowed to make any significant changes. Bases on the East Coast might be more accepting as a rule, but conformity was still strongly encouraged.
“You taste good,” Xander said, drawing on the raspberry-jam comment. He closed the distance again, grinning when he found John smiling into the lip-lock. “Yes?” he asked, pulling away half an inch.
John’s milk-chocolate eyes sparkled with humor. “I love you. Don’t worry so much.” He stepped back. “If the officers’ wives don’t love you, they’re crazy. I bet they’ll start a contest to see who can French braid your hair the most elegantly.”
“Oh God. Not that.” Xander grinned. “I’d better get going. They wanted everyone to bring a dish to pass for brunch, and I haven’t even started my famous sausage-and-peppers casserole.” Why had he been worrying about what shirt to wear in the first place? He should cook in an apron but without a shirt. As much as he enjoyed being in the kitchen, his fastidious nature wouldn’t allow for oil stains on his clothes. “Go on. You don’t want to be late. The chief will make you give him fifty.”
“That’s drop and give him fifty. Chief Ringgold’s not the BJ type .”
“Lucky for me. And ‘drop and give him fifty’ sounds wrong in the right context.”
“You’re only thinking that because your ‘erotica on the moon’ is due in three weeks and you just finished the outline.”
Xander blushed. “It’s only a short story. I’ll be done in plenty of time for the deadline.”
John pinched Xander’s cheek. “Don’t spend too much time trying to impress the ladies. You’re handsome just the way you are.”
“So are you, GI John.” Bare-chested and wishing he could drag his husband back to bed, Xander nevertheless shoved John toward the door. “Get going. Whether it’s push-ups the traditional way or the new, more creative variety, I don’t want you having to do more than necessary. Unless you’re practicing them on me, of course.”

Tell Me I’m Home: Blue Ticket and Adeste Fideles comes out from Loose Id on December 17.

Elizabeth   I’m not a gay man but can I like it just for candy?

Emily Carrington I suppose, Elizabeth  , but you might like the story too. (Assuming you’re not opposed to two stories where hot men get it on over the Christmas holidays.

Emily Carrington Thanks, Nicholas Rivituso!

Elizabeth   I have never read such a thing, but I like men and I like hot men, so. My husband might question my motives, but if I just tell him I’m secretly a gay man and married him for his hot bod, he will leave me alone. XD

Emily Carrington I have two gay friends, a couple, and they read my first book, Dragon Food, for two different reasons. Jeff read it for literary value. Allen read it for the sex. Considering they went at it after reading, I can only assume it’s…inspiring.

Elizabeth   So 50 Shades of Grey for gay people. I can dig it. XDDDD

Emily Carrington Ummmm. Fifty Shades with a plot. Where the sex is secondary to the story.

Elizabeth   (I didn’t read FSOG)

Elizabeth   In fact, I haven’t read anything not a textbook in a very long, long time.

Emily Carrington I tried. It was full of bad grammar and cardboard characters. Drove me up a wall.

Elizabeth   So Twilight but with S&M?

Elizabeth   and Sans Glitter?

Emily Carrington Tell Me I’m Home will be good for you then. Each story is about twenty pages.

Emily Carrington Yes! No glitter. Although Xander (from Adeste Fideles, the second story in the book) is prone to long, flowing dresses.

Emily Carrington Do you mind if I post this conversation on my website? It makes me smile. I can black out your name if you want.

Elizabeth   I like dresses. I approve.

Elizabeth   Nope, not at all. If you could black out my last name, I’d appreciate it. <_< My MIL is one of the top rottweiler breeders in the country and I’ve found that the rest of us are easy to track down through her (creepilyyyyyy).

Emily Carrington Oooo! Puppies!

Emily Carrington (My guide dog is a Labrador.)

Elizabeth   Yeah our last name…isn’t…really…common?

Emily Carrington Makes sense. I’m lucky I’m using a pen name. Of course, Pepper and Nick know who I am. I started writing shortly after meeting Pepper.

Emily Carrington There are more of us than people think. You can find my stuff on Amazon too.

Emily Carrington I need to go to bed now. Erotic romance novelists turn in early. (Or something like that…) Peace, Elizabeth!

Peace all, and good night!

–Emily

Posted in Books

Midwinter Night’s Dream: Whitley Grey

Dear Readers,

Meet Whitley Grey!

WhitleyGray_MidwinterNightsDream_coverlg

  1. Please tell us about your latest release.

At Christmas, fame-weary ex-fireman and model Joe shares his cabin with half-frozen actor and telegram singer Errol during a blizzard. Heat turns to fireworks as Errol wants the very thing Joe wants to escape.

 

  1. There are so many kinds of erotic romance–suspense, contemporary, historical and more. What type do you like to write and why?

Contemporary and suspense. I like characters in the here and now. I find I relate to them better. In M/M, I like to explore characters who are out. In historical, these characters are always closeted. I do love suspense, and have written contemporary romantic suspense.

 

  1. How long have you been writing romance? Have you written other genres in the past? What drew you to erotic romance?

I started about five years ago with romance. I read a great book and discovered it was classified as “romance.” That led to devouring romance, and then I discovered M/M romance and knew I was home.

Prior to that I did a lot of technical writing. Years and years of it.

 

  1. What is your favorite thing about the heroes from your latest book? Is there anything about them that drives you absolutely crazy?

Joe is in pain, still in love with a ghost, and finally gets a chance to heal. Errol has the courage of his convictions, and has stuck with a difficult career (and life) path.

Please also send me: a) a blurb for your new book

BLURB:

 

Two years ago, Joe Blake lost his secret lover, firefighter Bryce Marshall. Grieving, Joe left his job as a fireman and paramedic to become the spokesmodel for undergarment company Escalade. They lured him into the limelight and drove him deeper into the closet. Modeling doesn’t provide fulfillment; Joe wants privacy and to feel useful again. A holiday at his mountain cabin outside Denver is the perfect escape. The last thing he anticipated, or wanted, was sharing his retreat with another man.

Last Christmas, actor Errol Lockhart discovered boyfriend Carson had stolen a play. Carson accused Errol and then blackballed him in the theater community. Some Christmas that was. Now Errol has to take whatever work he can to survive. Delivering a singing telegram during a blizzard isn’t wise, but it pays double and rent is overdue. He’s got dreams, not of a white Christmas, but of getting a shot at Hollywood. He’s determined to make it, if he survives this storm.

As Joe and Errol ride out the blizzard, more than marshmallows get toasty in front of the fire. When Errol discovers Joe’s identity, he’s sure he’s found his way in, his big break. But Joe won’t sacrifice Errol to the Hollywood sharks. Unless they can forge a compromise, they’re going to wake from their midwinter night’s dream to lumps of coal in their stockings.

 

b) an excerpt of no more than 750 words

EXCERPT:

 

Heat surrounded Errol’s body. The surface beneath him was soft, and he couldn’t perceive any light through his eyelids. His hands and feet hurt. He was exhausted and achy. Couldn’t open his eyes. A little more rest…

Something ticked out a muted rhythm, and every click made his head throb. During his nap someone had taken a ball-peen hammer to his head, and his tongue had become glued to the roof of his mouth. Felt like the hangover from hell.

Water. Water would be good. A hint of wood smoke filled Errol’s nose, mixed with a spicier smell—evergreen and clove, like Christmas. He must be dreaming.

The featherweight web of sleep persisted, and he rubbed at his eyes and opened them a crack. Wait a minute. Where was he?

Well, first of all, warm and cozy in an enormous bed. Not his; not by a long shot. The thing was heaped with sleeping bags and quilts, making the covers weighty. He squinted and peeked under the covers. Naked. The ache behind his eyes intensified as he absorbed his lack of clothing. Yikes.

A dozen feet away, there was a fireplace made of river rock, flanked by bookcases. Banked embers glowed in the hearth, outlining walls made of logs in faint rosy light. A clock ticked on the mantel, the source of the tapping irritating his ears. A sweep of muted plaid framed the dark windows, and snow hissed against the panes, seeking entry. Okay, naked, in an unfamiliar bed, in an unfamiliar place. What the—

Something rustled next to him, and he rolled over. A tuft of dark curls stuck up from the covers. Nothing else of his bedmate showed. Holy shit, make that naked next to an unfamiliar body.

Oh, no. No, no, no. He couldn’t remember doing the sing-o-gram, but maybe he’d had a holiday drink and ended up sleeping with someone at the client’s house? Judging by the way his head felt, he had the mother of all hangovers, and if alcohol had been involved, who knew? Man, he’d be in such deep shit. Pour Vous had a strict no-sex-with-the-clients policy. If he’d broken the rules, Smitty would roast his chestnuts over an open fire and cut him loose. Without a job, he’d be out on the street in a week. He shivered.

Smitty didn’t have to know.

With a deep sigh, the bedmate rolled over, one arm pushing the covers down to the waist. Errol’s eyes widened. Whoops. Naked, muscular, and male. Dark curly hair, a shadow of beard covering his jaw, and a face like a model. Errol had never really understood the meaning of chiseled features before now, but this met the definition. Yowza.

Wait a minute. Smitty had said the telegram recipient was a blond woman. This was very definitely not her. So who the hell was this guy? Had Errol slept with him? Like wild-monkey-sex slept with him?

This had to be some crazy dream. Must be that convenience-store burrito he’d eaten for lunch. Guys like Errol didn’t wake up with guys like this. Errol pinched himself and blinked. The guy was still there.

 

Author Link:

www.whitleygray.com

 

Buy link:

http://www.loose-id.com/newest/coming-soon/midwinter-night-s-dream.html#product_tabs_description

Thank you for visiting!

Peace,

–Emily

Posted in Books, Teasers

Strings Attached by Cassandra Gold

Dear Readers,

Please say hello to Cassandra Gold.CG_Strings Attached_coverin

1. Tell us about your new release.

Strings Attached is a holiday-themed gay romance set in Hawaii. My husband and I visited Hawaii years ago and loved it. When I get tired of the cold Midwest winters, I often joke that we should go to Hawaii for Christmas. The basis for Strings Attached came from that thought, and a what-if question that popped into my head randomly: What if a straitlaced guy won a dream vacation, and ended up traveling with his total opposite?

2. How long have you been writing gay erotic romance?

My first story was published in October 2006. I started writing it on a whim that summer, after seeing an advertisement for a writing contest. The prize was publication. I never could have dreamed my story (then called Batboy and the Wolfman) would be selected as one of the winners. I actually thought my husband was playing a joke on me when he woke me up to tell me about the acceptance phone call.

 

That publisher is long gone now, but my love for writing gay romance continues.

 

 

3. What types of books do you like to read?

I like to read a little of everything. Of course, I love gay romance in pretty much any genre. I’ll read paranormal, contemporary, historical, fantasy, you name it. As a teacher, I read a lot of young adult literature. Right now I’m reading Insurgent, the second book in a popular YA series. I’m also part of a book club whose members have eclectic (mostly non-romance) tastes ranging from thrillers and mysteries to historical fiction.

 

 

4. Many writers draw inspiration from areas like music, books, and life in general. So here’s the traditional question: where do you get your ideas?

I get ideas from everywhere. Sometimes I am inspired by songs. Sometimes I see people in real life and wonder what their stories might be. Usually, though, it’s random ideas and questions that pop into my head, seemingly from nowhere.

Blurb:

James Hastings is having a bad week. All he wants to do is buy a six-pack and spend an evening moping. Instead, he wins a weeklong trip to Hawaii, thanks to a young man at the liquor store. Tattoo and piercing artist Travis Barton is surprised when the cute guy he helped out wins a trip and invites him to come along. Still, he’s not about to pass up a free trip to Hawaii. Travis’s idea of a no-strings fling goes against James’s nature, but it seems like a great way to make the trip even better. Then their hot, uninhibited nights together start to blur into something more, and James starts to imagine Christmas ever after — Travis, with strings attached.

 

Excerpt:
“I left my wallet in the car. Can you hold on to this for a second, and I’ll go get it?”
“Here, take this.”
A ten-dollar bill appeared on the counter. He turned to see the same guy from the beer case. “Thanks. I’ll pay you back in a minute.”
The young man shrugged, not seeming too worried about it. “It’s almost Christmas. This can be one of my good deeds to get off Santa’s naughty list.”
The guy really was cute—and nice enough to help a total stranger. James felt a little frisson of attraction. He tried to think of something clever to say.
Before he could think of anything, a man approached, holding a microphone. “You’ve just won a weeklong holiday getaway to Hawaii, courtesy of 103.1 The Edge, Fantasies Resorts, and Lancaster’s Liquor and Spirits.”
His mouth dropped open. “What?”
“You bought the winning beer, dude.” The man with the microphone gestured toward James’s beer. Following the man’s motion, he noticed a large 103.1 The Edge sticker on the side of the six-pack.
James looked from the sticker to the man and back again. “I won a trip to Hawaii?” He frowned. “Is this a joke?”
The man laughed. “Nope, and you’re on the air right now. I’m D.C., a DJ at The Edge. What’s your name?”
“James.” Peering around the large front area of the store, he noticed a big table with sound equipment emblazoned with the radio station’s logo. Apparently this wasn’t a joke.
“Well, James, come on over to my table, and I’ll get you set up for your trip. But first, what radio station gives the best prizes?” D.C. held the microphone under his mouth.
“Um, 103.1 The Edge?” The guy who’d given him money snickered behind him. As D.C. drew him toward the radio station’s table, James threw a glance over his shoulder and met the guy’s too-blue gaze. He suddenly didn’t want to let the young man get away without talking to him again. “Hey, wait a minute, okay?”
James didn’t really expect the guy to wait, but he did want to pay him back at least. The odds of anything else happening were pretty slim, especially with the week he was having.
By the time he finished talking to D.C. and his sound girl at the table, signed some forms, and took the paperwork they gave him, he figured the young man in the peacoat would be long gone. A quick glance around the store showed the man was no longer there, so he headed for the door.
Just outside the doorway, the guy fell into step with him. “Hey.”
He found himself grinning, though he wasn’t sure why. “You waited.”
A shrug and a smile greeted his statement. “You asked me to.”
James looked down at the beer and paperwork he clutched in his right hand. “I want to pay you back. You should have won the trip, not me. We were both going for the same six-pack, and you gave me the money to buy it.” He frowned. “Besides, the trip is for two. I just got dumped today. I don’t even have anyone to take.”
The young man stopped on the sidewalk and turned to James. “It’s cool. I wouldn’t have anyone to take either. I’ve been single for a couple of months now.” He grinned again, wider this time. “A trip to Hawaii would have been awesome, though. Maybe you should take me with you.”
From his grin and tone of voice, James could tell the man wasn’t serious. The idea was crazy. He opened his mouth to make a joke, but what came out was, “Okay.” He froze, astonished. Had he just invited a total stranger to go to Hawaii with him for a week?
Pierced eyebrow raised, the other man stared at him. “You’re kidding. Right?”
Was he kidding? He considered and then shook his head. “No, I’m serious. This trip is just as much yours as it is mine. If I’d been a few seconds later, you would have won.”
The guy stuck out a long, slender hand. “Travis Barton.”
He shook Travis’s hand. “Nice to meet you, Travis. I’m James Hastings.”
One corner of Travis’s mouth turned up, revealing a dimple in his cheek. “Okay, James. When do we leave?”

Copyright © Cassandra Gold

Visit Cassandra at www.cassandragold.com

 

Posted in Books

Home For the Holidays

Dear Readers,

to the second installment of holiday-related m/m and/or BDSM interviews. Today, Lori Toland is with us.

Her new release is Home for the Holidays: Replacement Guitarist 2.

Home for the Holidays400x600Home For The Holidays Blurb:

Jason Stockton and Blaze Shinozuka are looking forward to escaping their hectic rock and roll lifestyle for a relaxing holiday. Their plan seems promising, and the passion between them burns hotter than ever as they keep each other warm despite the icy temperatures.

When a surprise Stockton family get-together threatens to reveal what Jason would rather keep hidden, their budding relationship is put to the test and an impromptu trip to Hawaii makes the differences between them more obvious than ever.

Thanks to two chaotic family holidays and a lot of painful secrets, Christmas could end up being more than their new found love can endure.

And *NEW* The Journey Onward…

Getting back from paradise and being alone is exactly what Jason and Blaze need to build their relationship and break down the barriers between them but nothing is ever that simple. Being in LA means back to work for Jason and Blaze gets a sample of what life will be like as Jason’s partner.

Can loving each other be enough to keep them together? Blaze is finding out how much work goes into keeping a relationship alive and in their darkest hour, they will have to stand united as partners to weather a storm that could devastate their future.

Author Bio: CEO by day, erotic romance writer by night, Lori Toland lives in Orlando where the summers are hot but the romance between her characters is even hotter. Writing since the tender age of 13, Lori somehow finds time to play video games and watch movies while taking care of her beloved cats and a husband who will forever be her hero.

 

Excerpt:

When Blaze reached the street, a horse drawn carriage like the ones he’d seen in Central Park was parked in front of the restaurant. Jason gestured for him to get in and he cocked his eyebrow. “A horse-drawn carriage. Really?”

Jason grinned. “I’ve always wanted to go on one but I’ve never had the chance to.”

You’re kidding, right? A hot guy like you couldn’t rope a date into going with you?” Blaze teased.

Jason ducked his head. “There wasn’t anyone I wanted to take with me before you.”

Blaze grinned, honored by the gesture. “Really? Well, then I feel special.”

Jason got in and offered his hand to Blaze to help him into the carriage. Blaze smiled, getting in and settling down onto the leather seats. “Are you sure it’s okay for us to do this?”

Jason frowned. “Why wouldn’t it be?”

Blaze shrugged as Jason settled into the seat next to him. The driver gave her order to the horses and they set off. Once the carriage rolling smoothly, she glanced over her shoulder at them. “There are some wool blankets if you need them. It’s supposed to snow tonight.”

Jason reached for them but Blaze caught his hand. “I’m allergic to wool, Jase. Besides, I don’t think I need it. My coat is lined.”

Jason leaned over and whispered, “I think she told us that so we could snuggle under the blanket.”

“Oh… well, in that case….” Blaze grinned, and when Jason pulled back and returned the smile, a thrill of happiness ran through him. Jason threaded their fingers together, and tucked the blanket around their bodies, being careful so it didn’t touch Blaze’s bare skin.

Blaze looked around at the buildings as they made their way toward Central Park, the hoofbeat of the horses creating a rhythm of its own. Jason squeezed his hand through his lined gloves, and he looked over at his lover. “Having fun?”

Blaze nodded. “Are you?”

Jason reached up with his other hand and cupped Blaze’s cheek. “Yeah.”

He smiled as Jason leaned in. Their lips met in a gentle, unhurried kiss and when he pulled back, Jason trailed his gloved thumb over Blaze’s cheek. He leaned in again, and this time he slid his tongue in to meet Jason’s, and he moved closer to his partner.

Blaze felt something against his cheek, and he reached up to brush it away with his finger. Nothing could distract him right now, not when Jason sucked on his bottom lip gently. Blaze sighed softly, and reached beneath the thick material of Jason’s jacket to pull him close.

Something else brushed against his cheek. It must have been his hair and he tried to make a mental note to get a haircut, though Jason drove away the thought with another kiss. He felt the sensation again, and he pulled away from his boyfriend to brush the strands out of his face.

Jason opened his eyes a fraction but Blaze barely noticed. Snowflakes stood stark white against Jason’s dark curls before they melted. He grinned. “Jase, look! It’s snowing.”

Jason looked toward the sky and his smile took Blaze’s breath away. When Jason looked back, his eyes were shining as the snowflakes melted along his impossibly long eyelashes. “Perfect,” Jason said softly.

 

1. Tell us about Home for the Holidays. Who are Jason and Blaze, and why doesn’t Blaze want to reveal his new relationship?
Blaze is a guitarist for one of Jason’s artists, which is how they met. Right off the bat, they had instant chemistry but being work colleagues, they tried to resist the attraction. Finally, they gave in and started to fall for each other. Blaze was a virgin when he met Jason and while he knew he had bisexual tendencies, he hadn’t come out to his family. When he came home to Hawaii on vacation, he came out to his parents and it blew up in his face. They tried to change him, which backfired horribly and injured their relationship. In Home For The Holidays, Blaze doesn’t want to rock the boat with his beloved grandmother plus he doesn’t want to break the news over the phone. When he is forced to go to Hawaii, Blaze has to face the music.

There are parts that are funny and a few that almost crush your heart. It’s the next part of their journey and they’re determined to make it together. I hope you enjoy it.
2. Home for the Holidays looks fascinating. But sometimes it’s hard for readers to start in the middle of a series. What do we need to know from Replacement Guitarist 1 to make the second installment even better?

Well, I’ve heard from readers to get the maximum enjoyment from the series, you have to read the first book. Picking up mid-series is daunting so I tried to include what was the basic gist of their first story: they fell madly in love. But the great part is that I’ve put it on sale for 99c for the rest of November so you can start at the beginning for cheap! 🙂

3. How kinky does this story get? I’ll admit, the title sounds tame…but we know you better, Lori! How sexually exciting is this one?

Well, the kink factor is very low in this series. Sorry! No whips and handcuffs here. Spanking is about as far as they get but their chemistry is blazing hot, especially since they are fighting and doubting their newfound love. Blaze may seem really mature but he is young, still just 23 and barely out of college. He’s hungry to learn it all and Jason is more than happy to teach Blaze what he knows.

4. What led you to a writing career?

I had stories to tell — lots of them! I tried to break into the publishing world back in 99 but with bisexual heroes, it was a hard sell. The marketplace has changed. I never really stopped writing during that time, but I wrote less as I concentrated on starting my own business, until 2009 when I attended a writing conference. I was like OMG! People want to buy and read gay romance. YAY!

5. How many more Jason/Blaze books are there going to be?

At least one more. I’ll keep writing them as long as they stick around and give me more interesting stuff to write. I have quite a bit written of the third book in the Replacement Guitarist series, Into The Fire but I don’t know. Stefan from the Dangerous Affairs series is demanding his book. I might listen to him. He has a cane and knows how to use it. We will have to see. I get the most mail from readers for Jason and Blaze.

6. You noted that many writers use playlists while they write particular novels. What helps you decide what kind of music you’ll write to for a particular story?

Sometimes I’ll hear a song and just instant inspiration. For The Replacement Guitarist series, it’s Kevin Rudolf’s Let It Rock, which is Blaze’s song. It was huge hit in 2009 so when I would turn on the radio, I would hear Blaze’s song. It sorta fueled the first book. It’s just a feeling when I hear a song and it goes along with a scene in a book. There was a song for Dangerous Submission that I heard while watching an ice skating show, which became the song for Drake/Stefan/Judas/Robbie. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know which scene I’m talking about and it’s not a sex scene. You never know when inspiration is going to strike.
chesterandmilly

7. I love the idea of Caturday, where you post pictures of your cat on your website each Saturday)! Has your cat ever inspired your writing, or any decisions you’ve made in your life?

My cats rule the house so basically all decisions revolve around them. I’m sure if you’ve seen anything about me, you’ll know I love my two cats. Hubby and I dote on them like crazy! 🙂 They are our furbabies!

Another book I’m re-releasing is The Furry Matchmaker and it’s about a guy who finds a kitten on a highway and saves her. She’s injured so he takes her to a vet and the vet is hot. Yum! It’s cute and slightly based on a true story.

My husband and I found a tiny kitten on an overpass concrete guardrail over I-4 (my heart skips a beat when I think of what might have happened if we hadn’t caught her) and we took her to the pound. Oh my goodness, she couldn’t have been more than 12 weeks. She was precious and scared and when we carried her inside, she broke free and ran around the place. They had to get a net to catch her.

After they caught her, we left. Hubby took a few steps outside and turned white. Now he’s six-foot-three, about 200 pounds and he’s heavy when he goes into a faint. The last time he did this was when Milly came in with a scratch on her nose. When he saw her blood, that was it. I had to drop her to catch him. So anyway, I had to catch him in the parking lot of the Animal Shelter. Luckily he came to pretty quickly and we left before they called an ambulance. He gets embarrassed about it.

Btw, if you’re wondering about the kitten, she got adopted out after she healed from her injuries and I got an excellent story out of it! 🙂

Thanks Emily for having me by!

Tori’s Website: http://www.loritoland.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/loritoland

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If you’d like to win a copy of Lori’s new release, please leave a comment below.

Peace,

–Emily