Countdown to Bound, Part 2 with SJD Peterson

February 29, 2016

Over the next few weeks, join me as we catch up with old friends from Pup, Tag Team, and Pony, all leading up to the exciting conclusion of the Guards of Folsom series, Bound, coming March 14.

 

From Tag Team: Rig, Bobby, and Mason

IN THE DISTANCE a bolt of lightning cracked, splitting the horizon. The clouds churned, gray swirling billows overtaking the robin’s-egg blue of an otherwise peaceful summer sky. As if even the heavens were manifesting Mason’s anger, bearing witness to Gregory’s defeat and reflecting the sorrow of Charles’s soul trapped in that pine box.

But not today.

Today a brilliant blue sky was above Mason as he kneeled next to the headstone of his late lover, Dom, and friend. The tears of loss and grief were the same, the hole in his heart and soul still present as it would be for the rest of his existence. Yet, as he clutched the box to his chest that contained the remains of his other lover, Dom, and friend, Mason knew this time he’d be able to make it through the agony. Once the tears stopped falling and the grief released its hold on him, he’d be able to stand again. His trembling legs might be weak, but he’d be supported by the two men who had saved him from despair and pulled him away from the edge of the abyss.

Neither Bobby nor Rig said a word as they stood over him like sentries. They couldn’t protect Mason from the painful memories or the agony of loss, but with their strength and love as warm as the afternoon Florida sun, this time Mason knew he’d be okay.

I’m here, Charles, and I brought Gregory. I don’t know if you can hear me. I know you weren’t big on the whole heaven thing or life beyond, but just in case you can hear me, I need you to know there isn’t a day I don’t think about you and Gregory. I miss you both like crazy, but I’m okay now. I still grapple with guilt, you know. Sometimes I hate myself for laughing, smiling, living. But Bobby and Rig are helping me, and each day I’m getting stronger. I even have a few new friends. I know you won’t believe this, but I’m actually a member of a new club and can go there, you know, around people.

Mason smiled through his tears as he thought of Micah and Ty and the rest of the amazing men within the walls of the Guards of Folsom. He turned his attention back to Charles and shrugged.

In small doses anyway. They’re good to me, Charles. Bobby and Rig have immeasurable amounts of patience with me, but I’m scared. I’m still holding back. I want to have with them what we had, but….

Mason choked on a sob, felt the weight of loss crashing down on him, stealing his breath. A hand landed on each of Mason’s shoulders, and then like clouds parting, revealing the sun, the storm passed and he was able to get control of himself once again. Mason blew out a steadying breath.

I realize I’m holding on to the past, that I can’t truly live again, give Bobby and Rig what they need, what they deserve, until I say good-bye and let you and Gregory go. I promise I will love you both always, but I love them too and I want to make them happy, be what they want. But I need to know that’s okay, Charles.

Mason tipped his head back and closed his eyes, Charles’s and Gregory’s smiling faces so vivid it was if they were there with him. Mason wasn’t sure if it was a sign or it was Bobby and Rig, but suddenly he felt as if he’d been wrapped in big, strong arms and a peace settled into him. The tears stopped, the sun drying his damp cheeks, and he breathed deeply and steadily. A gentle breeze began to blow, and Mason knew it was time. One more deep breath and he opened his eyes. He carefully opened the small box and pushed to his feet.

With the loving arms of Bobby and Rig around him, Mason tipped the box slowly. The wind took the ashes, swirled them, some floating to the ground to cover the grave; others swirled and blew out in the direction of the ocean. Gregory would now forever be a part of the water and land he loved so much as well as with his friend and confidant.

Mason, Bobby, and Rig stood together, watching until the last of the ashes floated away. Mason looked up at first Bobby and then Rig with a smile. “I’m ready.”

Bobby placed a soft kiss to Mason’s temple. “So proud of you, baby.”

Rig simply winked at Mason and held him a little tighter. Mason knew this was part of the healing process. Bobby and Rig had been where Mason was standing now. They understood Mason’s grief, had experienced their own when they’d lost their sub. Charles might not have believed in God; Mason couldn’t be sure he did either. However, he had to believe there was a higher power at work. How else could he explain how Bobby and Rig had come to him when he needed them most or that they had been in the same type of relationship he, Charles, and Gregory had and understood. Not only understood, but had lived past their own loss and had been looking for a boy to complete them.

Charles and Gregory were his past, Bobby and Rig his destiny.

The ride back to the house was quiet but not uncomfortable, each in their own thoughts yet silently strengthening each other. Mason had one last task to complete before he could go home.

“You don’t have to do this right now if you’re not ready,” Rig said.

Mason unlocked the door to the house he’d once called home and pushed it open. “I know, but I want to.”

Bobby and Rig hung back while Mason went through each room, making sure everything was clean. He was leaving behind all the furnishings but wanted to make sure he hadn’t forgotten any personal items. He was glad he’d made the trip to the grave first, because as he walked through the house, it was just that, a house. One filled with wonderful memories, but still nothing more than a house. It wasn’t home.

“Mason, he’s here,” Bobby called from the front room.

“Hi, Donavan,” Mason greeted as he stepped out into the living room, extending his hand.

Donavan shook the offered hand. “Good to see you again. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate your generosity.”

Donavan was the director and founder of the local homeless shelter for LGBT kids. He was also the recipient of Mason’s house as well as Charles’s and Gregory’s vehicles.

“It’s my pleasure.” Mason pushed into Bobby’s side, wrapping an arm around his waist. “Did you bring the paperwork?”

“I did.” Donavan held up his briefcase.

“Great, let’s have a seat.”

Rig and Bobby took the chairs on either side of Mason. Mason knew he was doing the right thing, but finalizing it on top of the visit to the graveyard had taken its toll on him. He was mentally exhausted. Rig picked up on Mason’s unease and moved his chair closer and laid a hand on Mason’s thigh. It was no surprise when Bobby too moved his chair closer to Mason, his hand landing on Mason’s other thigh.

“I’d offer you something to drink, but I’m afraid we’ve already cleaned out the fridge,” Bobby apologized.

“That’s quite all right.” Donavan pulled a file from his briefcase and slid it across the table to Mason along with a pen. “I believe you’ll find everything in order. I’ve marked all the places we’ll need your signature.”

Mason signed his name to each place a colorful tab indicated without reading the document. He trusted Donavan would have everything in order and, more importantly, had the best interest of the kids in his care at heart. Mason wasn’t sure how he felt at the moment. On one hand, he knew he was doing the right thing. The kids at the center needed this place. A place where they could get away, have some fun, enjoy the beach, and just be kids. Yet on the other hand, it was tough having to say a final good-bye to the last place that tied him to his lost Doms.

With a trembling hand, Mason pushed the file back across the table.

“Are you okay?” Donavan asked. “Do you need a little more time to think about this?”

Mason shook his head and grabbed hold of Bobby’s and Rig’s hands, entwining their fingers. Instantly, their strength surged through Mason and gave him the confidence he needed.

“No, I don’t need any time to think about it. This is what I need to do. More importantly, what I want to do.”

“Thank you,” Donavan said sincerely. “I hope you’ll come back and visit with us. I know the kids would appreciate it.”

“I’ll try.” Mason wasn’t ready to be around a bunch of kids, especially ones who would all be swarming around to thank him. Perhaps one day.

Donavan returned the file to his briefcase and stood. “I’ve got to get back.”

“I’ll get the keys,” Rig offered.

Mason and Bobby stood as well and walked Donavan to the door.

“Have you given any more thought to the name?” Donavan asked.

Donavan had asked Mason to come up with a name for the house. He’d thought a lot about it, considering the place as a camp, but hadn’t been able to think of anything that seemed appropriate. When he stopped thinking of it as a camp but rather a retreat for a family getaway, the name had come to him easily.

“Charles and Gregory’s Sunshine House.”

Donavan stared down at his feet for a brief moment and then nodded before looking up and meeting Mason’s gaze. “That’s beautiful and fitting.”

“Thank you,” Mason said sincerely.

“Here ya go.” Rig handed Donavan the two sets of keys.

“Thanks, I’ll be in touch again soon.”

Mason, Rig, and Bobby each shook Donavan’s hand and then stood together with their arms around the other and watched him leave. Mason had expected to be filled with grief and regret, at the very least a panic attack, but nothing but calmness surrounded him. He truly was ready to try to start making steps toward his future.

“Do we have enough time to walk on the beach before we have to leave for the airport?” Mason asked.

“Of course we do,” Bobby responded. “Let’s go.”

Mason left his shoes on the porch and walked down the path, loving the way the warm sand felt between his toes. He liked living in New York with Bobby and Rig, enjoyed his time at the club, and loved the fact that, with Max’s help, he was beginning to venture out and make friends for the first time. Still, he missed the beach and wasn’t a fan of the cold winters. He doubted he’d ever get used to them. But perhaps one day as his confidence grew, he’d be able to take Bobby and Rig up on their offer and start doing some traveling during the colder months, as they were not big fans of the frigid temperatures either.

Mason had barely dipped his toes into the ocean when the shrill ring of Rig’s cell phone sounded.

Rig pulled it from his pocket, a scowl marring his brow as he looked at it. “It’s Blake.” He pushed the On button and put the phone to his ear. “Hello?”

Bobby stopped abruptly. “There must be something wrong. He knows what we are doing here.”

“Yes, we’re coming back today, why?” Rig asked. “What’s up?”

Dread spread through Mason like wildfire, and he instantly sought out Bobby’s comfort. He snuggled into his Dom’s side as Rig listened, his frown deepening. Whatever Blake was saying, it wasn’t good.

“Okay, we’ll be there. See you tonight.” Rig ended the call and returned the phone to his pocket.

“What was that all about?” Bobby asked.

“It’s Jamie. He’s been kidnapped.”

 

Purchase Tag Team

Preorder Bound

BoundLG

 

Blurb:

Tek Cain & Jamie Ryan work at the Guards of Folsom BDSM club. After two years on the run from their old motorcycle club and the Feds, Tek & Jamie are finally able to relax and enjoy their new life in New York City. But the past won’t stay buried, and when the MC resurfaces, it’s Jamie who pays the price. Tek and the rest of the members at the Guards of Folsom must work together to get back one of their own.

In this, the final installment in the Guards of Folsom series, everyone must come together, bound as one in their quest to find Jamie and bring him home once and for all.

sjd-peterson

SJD Peterson, better known as Jo, is a bestselling and award-winning author of gay romance. She lives in Michigan with her Itty Bitty Kitty and Little Man. She does her best writing when under pressure of deadlines and at 3:00 a.m. when the world is quiet. Jo loves to tell stories about real people with real flaws. The happily ever after isn’t guaranteed unless it’s earned through hard work and growth. Oh, but when it’s comes, the rewards are all the better!

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SJD.Peterson

Blog: sjdpeterson.blogspot.com

Twitter: @SJDPeterson

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/4563849.S_J_D_Peterson

E-mail: sjdpeterson@gmail.com

 

Spillin’ the Beans on Men of Falcon Pointe with Thianna Durston

February 27, 2016

Spillin' the Beans

Hi, Dreamspinner readers :)

With the new Men of Falcon Pointe book out, I’ve been asked lately why I wrote these books. At first, I responded with just my normal “Oh, my muse was in the mood.” But as more and more people have asked, I figure I might as well spill the beans.

Have you ever read books that became like family? Every book felt like revisiting home. Even though there were new characters in each one and a new storyline, there was the feeling of returning home again each time you picked up that well-loved book.

For me, there are a few series (book and TV) that meet that concept. Harry Potter by JK Rowling is one of my faves. So are the Corbin’s Bend (multi-author), THIRDS by Charlie Cochet, and Whyborne & Griffin by Jordan L Hawk series.  But when I try to describe my love of secondary characters, I always end up referring to the television show Gilmore Girls. Sure, the two main characters were a woman and her daughter, but it was all the secondary characters that made the show sing. Each one was like a friend and I looked forward to whatever crazy stunt they would pull next.

The Men of Falcon Pointe are the same way. In the first book 959 Brenton Street, I introduced you to some very strong male characters. In this book Finding His Home, we have new characters, but there’s also the joy of finding those friends I got to know in the first book, men who have become family to me. One of those men meets the love of his life.

I’m also pleased to say there are two more Men of Falcon Pointe books coming this summer. Yay! More chances to revisit these wonderful men.

What more is coming up for me? Well, besides Becoming Rafe and His Right Choice, the next two Men of Falcon Pointe novels, I’m thrilled about the book Vespar, which is the first book in a multi-author Action/Suspense Romance series Order of the Black Knights, which will be out fall 2016.

So tell me. What books have characters that are so much like family that you want to revisit them again and again?

Check out Finding His Home today!

FindingHisHomeFS

Blurb: 

Sebastien Cather moves to Falcon Pointe with a dream to live life his way. Offered a room at 959 Brenton Street, he discovers how liberating it can feel to live among accepting people, especially in a household where they practice loving physical discipline. And he quickly gains a boyfriend in Avery, a fellow student. Unfortunately Avery isn’t his first choice. His roommate David is fascinating and good-looking, and Bastien would do anything to have him—but he doesn’t think the attraction is returned.

Tensions rise as his roommates’ wedding is threatened and his present and past lives clash. Outed by the national media, Bastien knows he will never be able to return home again. Just as he’s sure he can’t handle any more stress, David shows his interest. Bastien slowly makes his way forward, trying to find firm footing in the minefield that is his life. But when his landlord makes an announcement about the future of the house, it may change all of his dreams.

 

About the author:

Thianna Durston is a writer by day and supernova by night. Or at least that’s what the faeries tell her. And who is she to deny those pesky *cough* lovely little creatures?

She lives in the Pacific Northwest, though her heart belongs elsewhere. In the meantime, until she can return to the place she calls home, she happily lives in a city that still thinks it’s a small town. Thankfully, it has given her muse lots of amusing places to start a story.

 

Find her at her:

Website – http://mm.thiannad.com/
Blog – http://blog.thiannad.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ThiannaDurstonAuthor
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ThiannaDurston
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ThiannaDurston
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13536433.Thianna_Durston
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/thiannad/

 

Men in Kilts with KC Burn – Post + Giveaway

February 26, 2016

Men in Kilts

Hello! I’m KC Burn, and I’m here to talk about Tartan Candy, my new novel featuring a kilted ex-porn star and a blue collar worker, set in Orlando.

Once upon a time… or six years ago… I attended my first Romance Writers of America National Conference in Orlando. It was supposed to have been in Nashville that year, but they had terrible, terrible flooding that necessitated a change in venue. While I felt awful for the residents of Nashville, the move to my (then) home turf meant I was finally able to attend after years of waiting. I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few RWA national conferences since, along with a number of other incredibly awesome romance conferences.

If you’ve never been to a convention dedicated to romance (either as a writer or a reader), let me tell you, they’re primarily women attendees. Each year, I see more and more men, but that year in Orlando, it was probably around 99% women. The convention hotel even changed the men’s restrooms to women’s for the duration of the conference on the main floors to accommodate – which appears to be common practice from what I’ve seen.

The weird thing about the Orlando conference was that I only saw about 3 men, and they were all wearing kilts (and no… I don’t believe any of them were Damon Suede).  My friend Chudney Thomas and I were having a drink on a patio and discussing the odds of having three men in kilts appearing independently at one event. I hung on to that little writing prompt for years. I’d sort of assumed I’d end up writing a ménage featuring three kilted men, but that many hot men in kilts would probably fry my computer. Or my brain. Either way, it was safer to revise the storyline. But I made sure to give a little nod to that conference in Tartan Candy.

I’ve long been a fan of men in kilts. One of my favourite images is an old Vanity Fair cover of Ewan McGregor from 1998. I must admit, I don’t often read magazines nor do I often use visual prompts, but I picked that magazine up and kept the cover. I still have it in my “inspiration” files to this day. And the chicken just adds a certain flair. So hot. Er… Ewan, not the chicken.

Although I’m hoping Raven will make it into your top ten list of kilted men, have you got any favourites, fictional or otherwise?

One random commenter will win an e-copy of one of my backlist titles from Dreamspinner Press.

TartanCandy200

 

Tartan Candy Blurb:

Finlay McIntyre (aka Raven) is a successful adult film star with a penchant for kilts, until an accident cuts short his stardom and leaves him with reduced sex appeal, lowered self-esteem, and no job. He knew his porn career wouldn’t last forever, but he wasn’t prepared for retirement at twenty-eight. While trying to figure out the rest of his life, Raven attends a high school reunion. That’s when a malfunctioning AC unit in his hotel room changes everything.

Caleb Sanderson, an entrepreneur with his own HVAC business, has no idea what to expect when he steps into Raven’s hotel room to fix his AC unit. They’re attracted to each other, but Caleb, closeted, can’t afford a gay relationship, not with his mom pressuring him to produce grandchildren. If he wants to keep Raven—who no closet could hold—he’ll need to tell his family the truth. But Raven has a few secrets of his own. He refuses to reveal his porn past to Caleb, a past that might be the final obstacle to Caleb and Raven having any kind of relationship.

 

You can find me online at:

Website || Facebook || Twitter

About KC

KC Burn has been writing for as long as she can remember and is a sucker for happy endings (of all kinds). After moving from Toronto to Florida for her husband to take a dream job, she discovered a love of gay romance and fulfilled a dream of her own—getting published. After a few years of editing web content by day, and neglecting her supportive, understanding hubby and needy cat at night to write stories about men loving men, she was uprooted yet again and now resides in California. Writing is always fun and rewarding, but writing about her guys is the most fun she’s had in a long time, and she hopes you’ll enjoy them as much as she does.

Political Manifestations with Annie Kaye – Post + Giveaway

February 25, 2016

Political

Hello! My name is Annie Kaye, and I’m honoured to have been invited to introduce my novel Run on the DSP blog.

Amid the tumult of the Iowa Democratic primary, young but brilliant speechwriter Tom McAlindon meets Nathan Harris, the deputy campaign manager for an opposing candidate. Their acquaintance is strictly professional until an impetuous kiss on a cold winter night leads them into a secret romance. As their feelings deepen, both men struggle with the complications of keeping the relationship separate from their jobs and the inner workings of the campaigns.

But in the nation’s most high-stakes political game, no secret is truly safe. When an observer realizes their connection, Tom and Nate discover that striving for the best of both worlds has a much higher cost than they bargained for… and that love can’t survive while Nate is hiding the truth from Tom.

I began writing Run in 2011, before the last U.S election. Writing very slowly, it took me two years to complete the original manuscript. The idea for Run came from an older Canadian folk rock song, called Five Days in July. The song is old enough that I remember it being on the radio in 1994 when I was doing a short, ill-fated stint as a receptionist at a moving company (worst job ever, by the way).

But it was well over fifteen years later when the idea for Run came to me, and it was because of the opening line of that song – “They met in a hurricane”. For some reason it made me think of the old Democratic National Conventions of the 1960s, when the eventual presidential candidate was actually decided there at the convention; delegates camped out on the arena floor under the banner of their state; and the last-minute arrangements and deals that were being made. I envisioned two people – two men – finding each other in the midst of that atmosphere, and eventually leaving it behind, hand in hand, to drive south, choosing each other rather than all the craziness.

Once I committed to the storyline, I had a lot to learn about American politics. My husband is American and quite politically aware, so I likely started off with a greater awareness of the process than the average Canadian would need to. But at times I still struggle to wrap my head around some of the differences between your system and ours – not to mention that the two parties each have their own set of rules about how the candidates are nominated.

Although it was inspired by a song, I don’t tend to listen to music when I’m writing. I like to be really alone when I’m working, and if I can’t have quiet, I have headphones and white noise. I have a nice long rainstorm track that I loop on iTunes, or else this (really letting my freak flag fly, here): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPoqNeR3_UA It’s the NCC-1701-D at idle. For someone who grew up as a huge fan of Star Trek: TNG, it’s the sound of home for me. I especially employ these when I’m writing at work on my lunch. I can sit in my cubicle and be mostly undisturbed.

Last fall I began working on a new story that requires some pretty heavy-duty research, which was put on hold for three months or so as I got into the content editing for Run. I’m looking forward to getting back into the research as it has me making plans to observe some team practices for a particular sport. Although I would call this activity my favourite form of exercise, I know very little about the competitive side of the sport. This manuscript will have two disparate types of athletes intersecting, and will build on a really rewarding volunteer experience I had a few years ago.

Random fact about me: I have IGS – Idealized Grandparent Syndrome. I can’t write grandparents who aren’t warm, loving, accepting people. In every longer story I’ve written, at least one of the characters has a grandparent who has had a profoundly positive influence on them. For me, it’s a way of honouring my grandparents, as well as my husband’s. They were all intelligent, compassionate, lively, and perfectly wonderful characters people; and if I’m fortunate enough to be published again, I promise kind and loving grandparents.

I make no such promises for parents. ;)

What about you? Have you had any older relatives or family friends who’ve had an effect for the better in your life? Tell me about it in the comments, below, before March 3, 2016 at 11:59 pm Eastern. One commenter will be selected to win a free digital copy of Run!

Cheers,

Annie Kaye

Check out Run today!

Blurb: 

Amid the tumult of the Iowa Democratic primary, young but brilliant speechwriter Tom McAlindon meets Nathan Harris, the deputy campaign manager for an opposing candidate. Their acquaintance is strictly professional until an impetuous kiss on a cold winter night leads them into a secret romance. As their feelings deepen, both men struggle with the complications of keeping the relationship separate from their jobs and the inner workings of the campaigns.

But in the nation’s most high-stakes political game, no secret is truly safe. When an observer realizes their connection, Tom and Nate discover that striving for the best of both worlds has a much higher cost than they bargained for… and that love can’t survive while Nate is hiding the truth from Tom.
Bio:

Annie Kaye’s first ‘real’ job was a career in insurance. After fourteen years, the industry had wrung from her everything it could, leaving her desperate for a change that would allow her to flex her long-dormant creativity. She left her job and took several months off, planning to spend them on the couch in her yoga pants. Not six weeks had elapsed before she’d rediscovered a long-lost love: putting words to paper. Since 2009 she has written almost a million words of fiction, each piece bearing a common theme: love and relationships between gay men.

Balancing family, work, creative efforts, and community involvement – and trying to hit the gym once in a while – are all near the top of Annie’s to-do list. At her home in the woods of rural Ontario, Canada, she endeavours to carve out her writing space from amid the joyful noise created by her husband, their two children, one dog, one cat, and the woodpeckers who sharpen their beaks on her windowsills.

Website: www.anniekaye.com
Twitter: @anniekayefic
Facebook: www.facebook.com/anniekayefiction
(More third-party vendor links available on my FB page)

Early Beginnings to the World of Fantasy with Rory Ni Coileain – Post + Giveaway

February 24, 2016

Early beginnings to the world of fantasy

Hi! – my name is Rory Ni Coileain, and today is release day for Wolf, Becoming, my very Russian shape-shifter story.

I’ve been invited to tell you all a little bit about myself and my writing. Which is surprisingly hard! I write what I call “mythic and legendary fantasy” – my logo (shout out to A.J. Corza!) is a blend of urban fantasy on the left, which his piercings and tattoos, and more “traditional” fantasy on the right. And if you’ve ever seen my banner at a convention, you’ve seen my tag line – “The end of the myth is where the story begins.”

GM-500-x-604-WHITE-background

I grew up reading mostly fantasy and science fiction. But even before I found Doctor Doolittle (fourth grade) and Dune (eighth grade), my very first love was mythology. The first book I checked out of my school library in kindergarten (after I convinced the librarian that I’d already read everything in the kiddie section, by reading aloud from a book on meteorology and pronouncing “cumulonimbus” correctly) was Gods and Heroes of the Greeks. I loved Norse mythology, too, and by the time I was seven The Egyptian Book of the Dead was on my birthday list. (I was kind of precocious…) And I’ve been reading them ever since. Devouring them. Chinese, Travelling People, Irish, Native American, Russian. I really need an English translation of those 500 German fairy tales collected by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth…

Myths and legends are an incredibly powerful tool for the storyteller. They’re shortcuts into the subconscious, both collective and individual. If you’re telling a story and a character drops a glass slipper, your reader is instantly going to conjure a whole subtext, atmosphere, perspective. Your story is right there, in that simple phrase.

And then you get to mess with that story. Which is more fun than kittens. (“Well, almost,” she added in response to a glare from Captain Jack Harkness, her one-eyed polydactyl kitten.) You get to say “Why can’t Cinderella be a boy?” or “Maybe the dragon is only using the princess as bait to attract himself a handsome knight!” or “How can it be fair if the only ‘happily ever after’ your society is prepared to allow this character isn’t ‘happy’ at all?”

When you rewrite a myth, or a legend, you’re playing with the archetypes that form the foundation of a society, and of a mind. Which is how real change happens: you get right down to the root and change the primal stories we tell each other and build our culture on. Subversive as hell, really.

(If this sort of thing interests you, I highly recommend the work, both fictional and scholarly, of Jane Yolen. She is, as far as I’m concerned, the Grand Master of my self-defined subgenre. Her Sister Light, Sister Dark is a story told from three perspectives: What Really Happened, a very long time ago; the legend that grew out of what really happened; and the myth that grew out of the legend. And the whole thing is bracketed by the dyspeptic rantings of a “modern-day” academic, complaining that one of his colleagues, who is so ignorant that he actually believes there was a truth underlying the myths, is getting all the popular and academic attention, and people are ignoring his own carefully crafted (and, of course, totally wrong) interpretations. Hysterically funny and well worth a read. I also highly recommend Briar Rose. Highly. And Tam Lin. And…well, just Google Jane Yolen.)

Wolf, Becoming is taken from several Russian folk tale archetypes. Russian tales often involve a third son of a king or a rich merchant, usually named Ivan (I used Ilya as an homage to Illya Kuryakin, from Man from U.N.C.L.E., my first crush); the third son is usually portrayed as “simple,” but is usually just less ruthless than his older brothers. In my story, that’s a good description of Ilya, but Ilya is also gay – which, in modern Russian society, is all too often a very dangerous thing to be. This is an archetype just begging to be messed with…

And in Russian folk tales, there’s a tradition of shapeshifters, but it’s quite different from the Western tradition. In Russian legends, shapeshifters are animals, first and foremost; they only become human for a limited time, under very restrictive conditions. It was interesting writing a romance under those restrictions – challenging, to make the characters real as wolves, yet human enough for their romance to be believable.

I’d like to give away a copy of Wolf, Becoming – if you’d like a chance to win, comment below with a favorite folk or fairy tale. And if you have some ideas about how you’d like to see it changed, feel free to include that in the comment, too!

Check out Wolf, Becoming today!

WolfBecoming

Blurb:

Volyk learns very young that he has to hide what he is—oboroten’, shape-shifter—after his father is killed and skinned by a hunter, and the pack that takes in his pregnant mother is hostile to his kind. When Volyk is ordered to fight the pack’s beta to prove his fitness, but instead obeys his hormones and tries to mount him, he’s declared an abomination and forced to flee.

Ilya, too, hides a secret. Being young and gay in modern Russia is dangerous, and he knows it. But the truth eventually gets out, and his brothers lure him into the forest to kill him. They’re stopped by Volyk, who hides the mortally wounded Ilya in his den. The only way to heal the human is to turn him into an oboroten’.

Unfortunately, Ilya’s gentle nature is ill-suited to the life of a wolf. But when Volyk’s old pack returns, seeking to take away Volyk’s magickal den, Ilya will have to embrace—truly become—the wolf Volyk made him to save both his mate’s life and his own.

Rory Ni Coileain:

www. rorynicoileain.com

www.facebook.com/Soulshares/

Twitter: @RoryNi

 

Food-to-Table and Gourmet Meals with Pat Henshaw

February 24, 2016

Food-to-table and gourmet meals

Hello, Dreamreaders! I’m Pat Henshaw, the author of the Foothills Pride contemporary gay romance series: What’s in a Name?, Redesigning Max, Behr Facts, and When Adam Fell. The series is set in a small fictional town in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California.

When housing costs went sky high in the San Francisco Bay Area, many people moved east to the Sierra foothills and commuted. Among those who relocated were gays into small towns that were originally frontier settlements and whose residents weren’t ready for the influx of people who challenged their worldview.

In What’s in a Name?, viewpoint character Jimmy Patterson is taken to dinner by his love interest Guy Stone at the gourmet restaurant run by celebrity chef, Adam de Leon.

Since the viewpoint character of When Adam Fell is the somewhat arrogant Adam, I knew going into the story that the book needed to be filled with food terms. And since Adam, the chef, was opening a new restaurant as part of the plot, he’d have to decide what kind of food he’d be serving in the former frontier town of Stone Acres.

So I dove into the Internet to research foods, starting with the current trend of the fresh food movement and moving into the realm of gourmet meals, stopping midway to find out what restaurant workers face when dealing with the public.

Finding tons of sites dealing with these subjects, I’ve culled the list for Dreamspinner blog readers. These three sites help me fill in the gaps of my knowledge of current cuisine and restaurant workers. While none of my research appeared specifically in the book, many of my food choices and server situations are reflections on what I read in these sites:

Hank Shaw’s Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook website takes the fresh food movement from step one—gathering the ingredients—to the meal itself. Not only does Hank’s site talk about the various ingredients and what to do with them in the raw, but he also interviews experts who share their secrets and insider info to the mix. It doesn’t hurt that Hank adds tasty recipes too.

On the other side of cooking is David Lebovitz, an American chef now living in Paris. His recipes from cocktails to desserts include a mix of ingredients that may shock or even surprise American home cooks while tickling their taste buds.

Finally, the website for the most fun is Jezebel’s Behind Closed Doors on the Kitchenette pages. Want inside gossip? Curious to hear the horror stories the wait staff have? Well, this feature was a real hoot. Be sure to read The Best Restaurant Stories of 2015 if nothing else.

So what are your favorite cooking/recipe websites or podcasts? Are you a fan of stalwarts like Epicurious or do you favor the new like Saveur?

Check out When Adam Fell today!

 WhenAdamFell

Blurb: 

When his lover Jason’s drug addiction spiraled out of control, TV celebrity chef and cookbook author Adam de Leon walked away from him. Adam also abandoned his renowned restaurant in San Francisco to start a small bistro in the Sierra Foothills.

Five years later Adam is battling the conservative leaders of Stone Acres, California, to open a new restaurant in historic Old Town when Jason turns up on his doorstep—a recovered Jason, now going by the name David and claiming he’s overcome his addictions. What’s more, he begs Adam to take him back and says he’s ready for their happily ever after.

Adam has enough on his plate with problems plaguing the opening of his restaurant. And now he’s having a hard time deciding which to follow—his head or his heart.

 About Pat Henshaw:

Pat Henshaw, author of the Foothills Pride Stories, was born and raised in Nebraska where she  promptly left the cold and snow after college, living at various times in Texas, Colorado, Northern Virginia, and Northern California.  Pat enjoys travel, having visited Mexico, Canada, Europe, Nicaragua, Thailand, and Egypt, and Europe, including a cruise down the Danube.

Now retired, Pat has spent her life surrounded by words:  Teaching English composition at the junior college level; writing book reviews for newspapers, magazines, and websites; helping students find information as a librarian; and promoting PBS television programs.

Her triumphs are raising two incredible daughters who daily amaze her with their power and compassion.  Fortunately, her incredibly supportive husband keeps her grounded in reality when she threatens to drift away while writing fiction.

Author media links:

Website: http://patbooked.blogspot.com

Series website: http://foothillspride.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pat.henshaw.10

Twitter: https://twitter.com/phenshaw

 

The Real World of Fairy Tales with R. Cooper

February 23, 2016

The Real World of Fairy Tales

Hello, I’m R. Cooper, mostly known for the Being(s) In Love series, although today I’m talking about a different version of fairy tales than my fairies and werewolves and trolls in the modern world. The Winter Prince is decidedly not modern. It’s the kind of story you’d expect when you hear the term ‘fairy tale’—if your ideal fairy tale includes gay romance, and why wouldn’t it? This is a prince under a curse, and the clever wizard determined to save him, and beasts and dragons and the magical interference of a powerful and mysterious creature.

I kind of have a thing for fairy tales, as you might have noticed if you’ve read the Beings stories. Even when I’m not trying to write fairy tales, I end up writing them. My novella, Dancing Lessons, which is entirely contemporary and non-magical, contains a fairy tale I made up to be the basis of a ballet. Well, to be honest, that entire novella has references to fairy tales in it, from magic mirrors to a red hoodie to big bad wolves. Why? Because the main character, Chico, doesn’t think he could have a fairy tale romance. But of course he can, and his prince is right in front of him. Silly Chico.

A lot of the time, people, like Chico, use the term “fairy tale” as short hand for romance. Which always makes me think of the A Softer World comic, which sort of darkly comments on asking for a fairy tale romance without having read any actual fairy tales. Real fairy tales don’t always end happily, and some are rather grisly. But fairy tales, and fantastical stories from around the world, are so much more than that. And the heroes aren’t always handsome princes—although those are nice.

They aren’t especially rich in detail on their character’s personal struggles. They can range from somewhat risqué early versions of Red Riding Hood with Red stripteasing for the crossdressing wolf in her grandma’s bed (no, really), to dark and cannibalistic tales of starving peasants and murdering stepmothers, to folklore of girls who married lions (or beasts, or Bluebeards), to the melancholy stories of Hans Christian Anderson. Some are clearly allegorical, some are meant to impart a lesson, and some are just fun stories. They get reimagined all the time, and I bet there are countless grad students out there writing papers on them.

Like many people, I grew up with them. Disney gets everyone sooner or later, but it’s when you crack open a volume by the Brothers Grimm that things really start to get interesting. Then again, I devoured the bloodiest of Greek myths as a kid too. Any collection of fantastical stories was a book of fairy tales to me. Including this really, really, really censored version of the Arabian Nights for kids that I still own, and a book of Shakespeare plays with these fascinating illustrations of Titania and a fiercely frowning Oberon, and spooky European folklore full of tricky magical beings who live in shadowy places and may or may not intend to harm you, and poems about jealous, vengeful fairy queens intent on trapping beautiful humans in their courts. I read them all like the nerd that I am. Stories where peasants can marry princes, and kings can be heartless monsters. Where wolves talk and hunt humans, but are also sometimes kind princes in disguise.

Which raises the question, how do you tell a good wolf from a bad wolf? And does that matter in a world where your own parents might lead you into the woods to die, proving that humans can be as wonderful, or as vicious, as anything magical? The fairy tale world is as uncertain as our world, but with magic as a real, tangible thing.

I suspect that’s where the Beings came from. At first the Beings stories were just a fun, silly story written to amuse my friends. Then they became a little more, once I really thought about what it might mean to be a werewolf in a world that teaches us that werewolves lie in wait to mindlessly devour victims, or how it would feel to be a fairy when most depictions of fairies are hardly flattering. In fact, exploring how the stereotype about fairies is that they are beautiful but empty-headed and slutty is part of the next Beings story, involving Tulip the fairy. I love that. Fairy tales in the real world. Or is that, the real world in the fairy tales?

Maybe there was a foolish prince who met a firebird, but what did the firebird think about it? If there was a princess who sewed stinging nettles to save her brothers and kept silent for seven years, I bet she had some things to say when it was all over. Anyone could become a rich and powerful sultan if they stumbled into the right cave of treasures, or find themselves penniless and desperate for angering the wrong pari. The creatures themselves manage to operate under otherworldly rules and yet still have human foibles. Perhaps if the humans who told those stories weren’t so self-centered, those magical beings might even have been the heroes of their own tales.

Of course, The Winter Prince is not a story about the Beings. It’s a fairy tale. A handsome and noble prince falls under a curse—or so the world thinks—and must go on a quest. But it’s also not a fairy tale, because Kişin is more than just a prince in a storybook. He’s stubborn, and entirely too devoted to duty, and sort of blind to something that should be really obvious, but as the story goes on you begin to see why he is the way he is. And that was what was really interesting to me. How does it feel to be the person in the tale? What are the real reasons a fairy tale character would choose to do these incredible things? To be the prince who, if it was just a story, would be “handsome and noble” and nothing more, while literally having no heart in his chest?

The story was born a night on my Tumblr, when I decided I wanted to write a tale with all these fairy tale tropes and elements that I love. What if we had a prince without a heart, a prince who gave away his heart? Symbolic, yes, because it’s a fairy tale and that’s how they work. But then I wondered, what does that mean in the real world, if your real world has magic? A prince with no heart would be unable to feel anything, not love, but also not fear, or rage, or passion. Can he survive like that?

The answer is no, he can’t. Without a heart to warm him, he is slowly freezing to death and will not survive another winter. Without a heart to make him care, he is willing for that to happen. The only thing he does feel is terror at the idea of his heart being returned. To Kişin, a heart means pain. Fairy gifts—and curses—always have such specific meanings and I love it. He’s kind of… stupidly stubborn about not wanting his heart back, in fact, as well ridiculously self-sacrificing, which is what you’d expected from someone raised to be an ideal prince.

Thank goodness there is someone a little less noble around to give him the proverbial kick in the rear. Someone like a crafty and clever wizard. He’s not the sort you’d expect in a fairy tale, except maybe to give advice or cause trouble, and Razin is fully aware that he has no place in the story of a prince looking for his heart—but he isn’t going to let something like that stop him from saving Kişin’s life.

So the two of them go on a quest for Kişin’s missing heart. The best thing about quests is, the object you’re looking for is always with you the whole time. But of course, people on the quest don’t know that. Where would be the fun in that? So they argue and worry and fret and slowly reveal how they got to this place, as the days grow colder and the stakes get higher and the tension between them rises. They are characters in a fairy tale, acting decidedly un-fairytalelike.

I fully admit to loving that. Tension between two characters, and pining, and magic are some of my favorite things. Throw in an actual fairy—or a pari, as the case may be, and I am in nerdy romance heaven.

What’s your nerdy romance heaven? Let’s talk books of stories and fables and wondrous tales. Let’s pretend we are sitting in a dragon’s carefully curated library and all those amazing titles are on display. Any fairy tales you’ve always wondered about? Have you ever wanted to see, or found, a version of a beloved story that you adored beyond all reason?

Check out The Winter Prince!

WinterPrince[The]

 

Blurb:

His heart stolen by a powerful pari’s magic, a young prince’s veins slowly fill with ice. That is what the stories say. Three years have passed since, and all efforts to save Kisin have failed. He won’t survive another winter. To save the prince’s life, Razin, the court wizard and Kisin’s childhood friend, plans to seek out the pari. But unbeknownst to Razin, Kisin’s heart was never stolen; he gave it freely to escape the pain of impossible love—his love for Razin.

Razin won’t accept Kisin’s fate, for reasons obvious to anyone who knows anything of love. Kisin agrees to the desperate quest, out of duty and a need to protect Razin. But it isn’t long before Razin realizes saving his prince will require more than simply retrieving his heart. Razin will have to convince him to want it.

 

About R. Cooper:

R. Cooper lives among the redwoods of Northern California in a tiny house she refers to as her Writer’s Retreat. She has two cats, overthinks almost everything, and has more books than bookshelves. Someone once said her stories stick up for the damaged ones, and that is the greatest compliment she’s ever gotten. She loves mutual pining, fairy tales, and slightly broken everyday heroes with lonely hearts. If you want to contact her or to merely observe a shy nerd in her natural habitat, feel free to visit her Livejournal or Tumblr.
E-mail: RisCoops@gmail.com
Website: r-cooper.livejournal.com
Tumblr: sweetfirebird.tumblr.com

 

Countdown to Bound with SJD Peterson

February 22, 2016

Over the next few weeks, join me as we catch up with old friends from Pup, Tag Team, and Pony, all leading up to the exciting conclusion of the Guards of Folsom series, Bound, coming March 14.

 

From Pup: Micah and Tackett

MICAH STOOD naked before the full-length mirror, lovingly running a finger over the soft leather of his collar—Tackett’s collar—with a broad smile on his face. It hadn’t been all that long since he’d forced himself into Tackett’s home and heart. Yet, Micah barely remembered a life before Tackett. That’s not to say he’d blocked out his past, far from it. The difference being, he’d lived his life fluttering from one thing to another, his mind on rapid fire and rarely landing long enough to truly take joy in anything.

Tackett changed that.

Micah cocked his head and really studied his reflection. He looked the same and yet felt worlds away from who he had been. He’d grown, matured, learned under Tackett’s loving hands. He attempted to smooth down his hair, an impossible feat, and tugged at a wayward curl. Perhaps it was time for a haircut; present a more grown-up Micah to the world, less of a tease.

“You look beautiful, pup.”

Startled, Micah’s heart leapt and he jerked his head to the side to see Tackett leaning against the door with a broad smile.

“Thank you, Sir,” Micah responded, returning the smile.

“You looked deep in thought. Care to share what you were thinking about?”

Micah turned back to his reflection. “I was thinking, maybe it’s time for a new look, a grown-up look.” He tugged another curl, watching it bounce back. “Manlier.”

Tackett crossed the room in three long strides and grabbed Micah’s wrist, pulling his hand away from his hair. “You are all man, pup, and if you dare cut a single curl from your head, I will deny you the right to come until they grow back.”

Micah looked up at Tackett from under his long lashes, his body heating from Tackett’s nearness. “Will you spank me, Sir?”

Tackett released Micah’s wrist and ran his hand gently along Micah’s hair, running his fingers through it. “Only if you spare the curls.”

Micah slid his arm around Tackett’s waist, pushing up close and nuzzling Tackett’s neck. “They make me look like a kid.” He brushed his lips softly over the warm skin.

“I assure you, I have never thought of you as a kid.”

Micah pulled his head back and gave Tackett a disbelieving look. Tackett laughed and pecked him on the nose. “Okay, I might have referred to you as a kid when we first met.”

“I do believe you asked me if I was old enough to shave, Sir.” Micah started to giggle when he remembered his response. Only my balls.

“Yeah, well, that’s because I’m an old man. I promise you, I’ve never thought of you as a child.” He moved his hand from Micah’s hair, running it along his back to his ass and squeezed. “I’ve always known you’re all man, even when you’re my boy.”

“I like being your boy.” Micah went back to nuzzling Tackett’s neck, pushing up close and finding a little friction for his hardening cock along the soft cotton of Tackett’s pants.

“Good, and my boy will have a head full of curls. Is that understood?”

“Yes, Sir, but—” He yelped when a hard slap landed on his ass.

Tackett rubbed the abused flesh. “There is no but except this one. Now, I do believe you were supposed to be in here getting dressed.”

“I got distracted, Sir.” Micah rolled his hips, rutting just a little. “Wouldn’t you rather stay home tonight? I can make us a quick dinner.”

“We have reservations.”

“I know.” Micah pouted. So much for the maturity thingy, but he was willing to use what he had.

Emboldened by the fact that Tackett wasn’t releasing him but rather massaging both his ass cheeks, Micah stepped up his game. He pulled Tackett’s shirt from the waistband of his pants and slid his hands beneath the material, running them along the taut muscles of Tackett’s back.

“Would they be horribly upset if we were late?”

“Yes. It’s a very exclusive restaurant, pup. It took weeks to get in.”

Micah nipped at the exposed skin at the vee of Tackett’s dress shirt and inhaled the appealing scent of Tackett’s warm skin. “A quick appetizer, then?”

Tackett didn’t respond, allowing Micah to rub and rut against him for a few moments until Micah was achingly hard and needing.

“What are you supposed to be doing?”

“Taking your clothes off, Sir?” He reached for Tackett’s belt.

Tackett grabbed his hand, halting his movement. “Are you turned on?”

“God, yes.” Micah tried to pull free of Tackett’s grasp.

“Needing?” Tackett’s voice was deep, husky, and seductive, sending a zing of arousal straight to Micah’s balls.

“Yes,” Micah huffed out. He continued to struggle, needing to free himself and get the offending pants off his man.

The hold on Micah’s wrist tightened to a viselike grip, painful, but it was the snap in Tackett’s voice when he said “pup” that caused Micah to go still. He knew that tone, couldn’t not respond to it.

Tackett took a step back. “Display, boy.”

Micah was trembling with the force of his arousal, but he locked down on his muscles, complying with his Dom’s order, although not without great difficulty.

“Good boy,” Tackett praised. He ran the tip of one finger along Micah’s straining erection. “Very pretty.”

“Thank you, Sir.” He gritted his teeth, fighting the urge to thrust. Fuck, he wanted to get off so goddamn bad.

“It’s a shame the restaurant requires clothes.”

“We can always stay home, Sir,” Micah suggested once again, silently praying Tackett would agree.

“Aww, pup, you hurt my feelings. I’ve been looking forward to tonight.”

“Sorry, Sir,” Micah responded, really not feeling all that apologetic, although the guilt did make his belly flip-flop.

“Now be a good boy and finish dressing for dinner.” With that, Tackett turned on his heel and left the room, the very final click of the door engaging leaving no question as to whether Micah was done begging.

Tackett could ask him to do anything and he’d do it without question, trusting, knowing in his heart his Dom would never ask him to do anything that would harm him. Tackett rarely asked him to do much. Well, much other than to always think of Tackett’s needs before his own. Something that was—most of the time—as easy as breathing. When he pleased his Dom, his own rewards were always beyond simple pleasure, they were increased tenfold.

Micah knew his place; having his day set out for him—what he wore, what he cooked, his chores, a full schedule—had done a world of good for his state of mind. Most outsiders wouldn’t understand his need. Many could never imagine giving up complete control to such a degree, but Micah didn’t care what others would or wouldn’t do, or what they thought of him. For the first time in his life, he felt at peace. His mind was no longer the enemy. That wasn’t to say he still didn’t struggle with hyperactivity and an overactive mind—he looked down at his raging hard-on and sighed—or that it wasn’t difficult to give up such control at times. But what he did know was he was a very happy pup and he was completely and unconditionally loved by the most amazing man in the world. Still, life was a lot more fun being naughty sometimes—like now.

Micah stood staring once again at his refection. His body was flush with arousal, hard cock ruddy and straining upward, unfulfilled. He briefly thought about relieving a little pressure. It would only take one or two hard pulls. Instead, he huffed out a frustrated breath, turned away from his image, and grabbed his pants from the pile of clothes Tackett had laid out for him. He stepped into them and winced as the soft cotton material slid across his erection, and tucking himself within the cotton, buttoning, and zipping up was torturous. Even the light touches were nearly enough to send him over the edge. He struggled to find a calm mindset, tried to push down his overwhelming need to come, focus on anything other than his body’s needs.

“Fancy dinner, bah.” He pulled on his shirt.

He didn’t understand Tackett’s need to occasionally hobnob with the well-to-do. Living in Tackett’s home, Micah had grown to appreciate the finer things in life. He truly was blessed. But still, where Tackett’s idea of a special night in celebration included restrictive clothing, proper manners, and bubbly, Micah’s ideal evening for any occasion was a pair of comfy sweats—or better yet, being naked—curled up on the couch, popcorn, a good movie, and Tackett’s warmth surrounding him.

Micah finished dressing and let out a heavy sigh. “A few hours and he’ll be all yours again,” Micah reminded himself. He really was being quite the selfish pup.

“Let’s go, boy,” Tackett yelled from the hall, followed by a quick rap on the door.

Micah slid into his loafers and ran his fingers through his curls in a futile attempted to smooth them down. He walked woodenly—appropriate with the wood in his slacks—and joined Tackett in the front room. He was just about to complain again, or perhaps beg, when he spotted Tackett buttoning up his suit coat. He snapped his mouth shut. He smiled broadly. One thing about fancy dinners was his man looked damn good all dressed up.

Micah whistled. “Looking sexy, Sir.”

Tackett turned to look at Micah over his shoulder with a sly grin. “That’s why I endure the stuffy clothes, to have you look at me like that.”

“Apparently you haven’t been paying attention to the looks I give you when you’re naked. You’re far more impressive with nothing at all on.”

“It won’t work,” Tackett reprimanded. He pecked Micah on the forehead before stepping away. “Now behave, pup. We’re still going out.”

“I wasn’t even thinking that.” Hoping—yes. Confident—no. “I was being honest. You really are the sexiest when you don’t hide your impressive body.”

“I’m an old man,” Tackett sniffed and held out Micah’s coat.

Micah shrugged into his jacket with Tackett’s help, then grabbed Tackett’s arm before he could move away, meeting Tackett’s questioning gaze with a serious one of his own. “I wish you would stop saying that. You are not old, only slightly seasoned and in the best possible way, I assure you.”

Tackett was far from old. He had a body most twenty-year-olds would die to have. But it was the knowledge and wisdom that was only obtained through life experience and etched in each beautiful line on his face that made him all the more appealing to Micah. The laugh lines around Tackett’s hazel eyes were particular favorites of Micah’s.

WALKING THROUGH the door of Grand Spectacle, a contemporary French restaurant, Micah stood slightly behind Tackett, a position of comfort. While Tackett spoke to the maître d’, Micah did his best not to pull at the restrictive clothes. The paradox was not lost on him. He loved to be bound, but this was different. While it was still for Tackett’s pleasure and he wouldn’t deny his Dom anything, in this fancy-pants world, Micah simply couldn’t stop worrying that he’d somehow embarrass himself or worse, Tackett.

Grand Spectacle was opulent. White linen covered the tables, crystal wineglasses and candleholders on each. Men sat stiffly in tailored suits. Women were in dresses and dripping with diamond jewelry, an air of affluence swirling around them. Everything about the place was out of Micah’s league and beyond his comfort level, but Tackett was always pushing him to expand his experiences. It wasn’t just that he felt out of place in such a fancy restaurant, but that he never understood paying the high fees for such decadence. However, he trusted there was a method to Tackett’s madness even if at the moment he didn’t understand it.

“Right this way, Mr. Austin,” the maître d’ said.

Tackett laid his hand at the small of Micah’s back, leading him into the restaurant. Once at the table, Tackett pulled out a chair for Micah and waited for him to sit before taking the chair next to him.

“Carlos will be right with you,” the maître d’ informed them. He handed them each a heavy leather-bound menu before leaving them alone.

Micah opened the menu and scanned the pages quickly before closing it and setting it aside. “I can’t read French. Do they have burgers and fries?”

“No, I don’t believe they do,” Tackett chuckled. He put his hand on Micah’s thigh, teasing his fingers along the inseam of Micah’s pants. “What are you in the mood for?”

Micah looked down at the hand on his thigh and then looked up at Tackett from beneath his lashes. “It’s not on the menu.”

“Behave, pup. That’s for dessert.”

Oh yeah, he was so ready for dessert. Forcing his thoughts away from his hardening dick, he did his best to focus on getting through dinner—quickly. “I don’t have a preference. How about you surprise me and order me something yummy?”

“I can do that.”

The waiter came over and introduced himself as Carlos. Micah sat enthralled as Tackett spoke fluent French. There was still so much he didn’t know about his Dom and lover. Carlos poured them each a glass of red wine before excusing himself.

Micah leaned over and whispered, “That was so damn sexy, Sir.”

Tackett picked up his glass and brought it to his nose, sniffing it before swirling the dark liquid and taking a small sip. “Ordering dinner is sexy?”

“Jesus, that was sexy too. But yeah, ordering dinner is sexy when it’s you doing it. Add in a little French and I could come in my pants.”

“Don’t you dare. It will ruin our dessert plans, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to deny me the pleasure of my after-dinner treats.”

With the long linen tablecloth obstructing the view, Micah grabbed the hand Tackett had on his thigh and pulled it up to the hard bulge in his slacks. “I’d never deny you anything,” he whispered. He pushed into Tackett’s touch.

Tackett curled his fingers around Micah’s cock, squeezing and causing Micah to take in a sharp breath. “You are hell-bent on driving me nuts tonight, aren’t you, pup?”

“It’s seems only fair, Sir.” Micah bit his lip to keep back the moan Tackett’s touch elicited.

Tackett squeezed Micah’s dick one more time, then pulled away. “Drink your wine, boy.”

“Yes, Sir.” Micah pouted.

Tackett sat back in his chair, sipping his wine as he looked around the restaurant. “I told you that pout wasn’t going to work on me tonight.”

Micah glanced down to Tackett’s lap and noticed the tent growing in his trousers and smirked. “Not even a little bit?”

“Nope. This is a nice place, isn’t it?”

“It is,” Micah agreed, but his gaze never left Tackett. Nothing or no one could hold Micah’s focus like Tackett. It had been that way since he’d first laid eyes on the man. Sure, he’d struggled with his hyperactive brain, still did at times, probably always would. But with Tackett’s help, Micah was able to control it a lot better than he used to, and every day with Tackett was a pure joy.

Carlos returned to the table and set a plate down in front of Micah. The scents of garlic, butter, and grilled steak wafted up and caused his belly to growl. “Wow, this looks and smells amazing.” Micah laid his napkin across his lap before grabbing his silverware.

“Filet mignon stuffed with seasoned goat cheese,” Tackett commented.

“Oh, you do know me too well.”

“I simply know what you like.”

Micah’s mouth watered, but he held back, waiting until Tackett picked up his fork and took a bite of his pasta before digging in to his own meal. He moaned his pleasure around the first bite.

Neither Micah nor Tackett said much during the meal. The food, the setting, the company was comfortable, easy, and soon Micah was no longer feeling out of his element nor did the clothes bother him—too much.

Micah dropped his fork on his empty plate and pushed it away. “I am stuffed. I can’t believe I ate all of it, but it was sooooo good,” he purred.

“Did you leave room for dessert?” Tackett asked, waving over the waiter.

“Only the kind that burns calories rather than packs them on.” Micah patted his belly.

“What a shame.” Tackett gestured for the arriving waiter to lean down. He whispered something to Carlos, but Micah wasn’t able to make out what they were saying.

“Very good, sir,” Carlos said with a smile. He leaned back and picked up the dirty plates.

“What was that about?” Micah asked as soon as Carlos was out of earshot.

“Just sending a compliment to the chef.”

“Uh-huh. That’s a deep secret, huh?”

“That it is,” Tackett said curtly.

He was up to something, Micah could tell from the smug smile on Tackett’s face and the way he kept his eyes averted. It was driving him nuts. He wanted to ask what the hell but knew better. It would be futile. Tackett didn’t do anything until he was ready and only on his terms, something Micah both loved and disliked about his Dom.

A few minutes passed and Micah began to shift uncomfortably in his chair when Carlos didn’t return and Tackett continued to focus on everything within the restaurant but Micah. “Is he bringing the check soon?” Micah asked. He shifted again.

“Yes.”

Micah wiped his mouth and set his napkin aside, picked up his empty wine glass and set it back down. He fiddled and shifted, began bouncing his leg. “Will he be here soon?”

“It’s only been a couple of minutes, pup. Give the man a chance.”

A couple of minutes? Damn, it felt like hours. “Really?”

“Yes, really.” Tackett laid his hand back on Micah’s thigh, massaging. “Take a deep breath and relax. We’re in no hurry. Have nowhere to be at any set time.”

“Hard to do that.” Micah continued to shift and bounce his knee, scanning frantically for Carlos. “Talks of dessert and pleasure and secrets and your smug smile and—”

“My smug smile?”

Micah arched a brow at him. “Don’t play coy, Sir. It doesn’t work for you.”

“Here we are,” Carlos announced. He sat down two mugs, one a steaming cup of black coffee in front of Tackett and one that smelled like chocolate, heaping high with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. But it wasn’t the amazing smelling drink that had Micah’s jaw dropping, but the small blue bow tied around the teaspoon, attaching a gold ring to it.

“Is…?” Micah swallowed hard, his heart hammering. “Is that what I think it is?”

Tackett nonchalantly picked up his cup, blew the steam away, and took a small sip. “I don’t know. What do you think it is?”

Micah pulled the ribbon and released the ring, picking it up and running his fingertip over the cool metal. “Well, it’s either the fanciest presentation of hot chocolate or….” Micah’s eyes grew wide and he gaped at Tackett. “Oh my God. Are you asking me to marry you?”

To Micah’s utter surprise, Tackett took the ring from him and dropped to one knee next to Micah’s chair. “You’ve already accepted my collar and made me a very happy and proud Dom.” Tackett took Micah’s hand in his. “Micah Slayde, will you now make me the happiest and proudest man by becoming my husband too?”

“Yes. Oh. My. God. Yes!” Micah squealed. He launched himself at Tackett, wrapping his arms around his neck and peppering his man’s face with kisses.

Micah was scarcely aware of the applause or gasps and congrats. He only had eyes for Tackett. He swore if he loved the man any more, his damn heart would explode.

Micah thought maybe he’d drunk his hot chocolate but wasn’t sure as he floated out of the restaurant. The only thing tethering him and keeping him from flying away was the firm hand holding his. Married? I’m going to get married. To Tackett!

“When? Should we have a big wedding, a small one, in between? Do you think we should have it in a church, justice of the peace? What about the reception? You do want to have a reception, don’t you? Maybe at the club? Oh wait, maybe you’d rather have it somewhere else like a banquet hall, keep the two events separate. Oh shit, I gotta call Phillip, he’s wonderful with planning events like this. He actually—”

Tackett’s warm mouth covering his cut off Micah’s words. His mind still reeled, flipping through one idea after another like a blinking neon sign, but then Tackett’s tongue was pushing deep, swirling with his. The flavor, the feel of Tackett’s slick, wet mouth sent a jolt straight to Micah’s cock, and then nothing else mattered other than getting more of his man. Micah slid his hands around Tackett’s waist, pulling their groins together, letting Tackett feel what he was doing to him, and moaning into the kiss when their hard cocks came in contact.

“That’s better.” Tackett nipped at Micah’s bottom lip.

“Better than what, Sir?” Micah groaned, still trying his best to rut against Tackett.

“That I, rather than wedding plans, have your full attention.”

“Wedding plans…. Oh right. Yay! I’m getting married. I—”

Tackett laid a finger over Micah’s lips. “Don’t you dare. We have plenty of time for that later. Now I just want to go home and have some dessert.”

“Mmm, is this my dessert?” Micah thrust against Tackett.

“No, it’s mine,” Tackett chuckled. “But I might be inclined to share.”

“Sharing is good between married folks, ya know,” Micah pointed out.

“Yes, it is. Now let’s go home.”

Micah had to control his steps, struggled to keep them in pace with Tackett’s when what he really wanted to do was break out into a run. The sooner they got home, the sooner he—they could celebrate.

The sound of “Like a Boss” playing informed Micah that Blake was calling Tackett.

Tackett pulled out his cell, looked at the display, and then arched a brow at Micah.

“What?” he responded, trying his best to sound innocent.

Tackett shook his head and answered the call. “Hey, Blake. How are you?” After a slight pause, Tackett stopped dead in his tracks. “That’s horrible. What can we do to help?”

“What is it?”

Tackett held up one finger to shush him.

Micah pushed close, trying to hear what Blake was saying that would put such a concerned look on Tackett’s face, but he could only hear jumbled words that made no sense. He shifted nervously from foot to foot, squeezing Tackett’s hand as his dread increased. Something was very wrong.

“We’ll be there within the hour.” Tackett returned his cell to his pocket.

“What’s going on? Be where in an hour?”

Tackett laid a hand against Micah’s cheek. “We’re going to have to postpone our dessert. Someone has kidnapped Jamie. We’ve gotta go to the club. Tek needs us.”

“Poor Jamie. Oh God, poor Tek. Of course we’ll be there. Let’s go.” Micah yanked on Tackett’s hand to get him moving. There was no question. Micah could be a bit selfish at times but not when it came to his friends. He’d do, and knew Tackett would too, whatever they could to help.

 

Purchase Pup

 

Preorder Bound

 

BoundLG

Blurb:

Tek Cain & Jamie Ryan work at the Guards of Folsom BDSM club. After two years on the run from their old motorcycle club and the Feds, Tek & Jamie are finally able to relax and enjoy their new life in New York City. But the past won’t stay buried, and when the MC resurfaces, it’s Jamie who pays the price. Tek and the rest of the members at the Guards of Folsom must work together to get back one of their own.

In this, the final installment in the Guards of Folsom series, everyone must come together, bound as one in their quest to find Jamie and bring him home once and for all.

sjd-peterson

SJD Peterson, better known as Jo, is a bestselling and award-winning author of gay romance. She lives in Michigan with her Itty Bitty Kitty and Little Man. She does her best writing when under pressure of deadlines and at 3:00 a.m. when the world is quiet. Jo loves to tell stories about real people with real flaws. The happily ever after isn’t guaranteed unless it’s earned through hard work and growth. Oh, but when it’s comes, the rewards are all the better!

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SJD.Peterson
Blog: sjdpeterson.blogspot.com
Twitter: @SJDPeterson
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/4563849.S_J_D_Peterson
E-mail: sjdpeterson@gmail.com

 

Sci Fi in the Making with Caitlin Ricci

February 19, 2016

Sci Fi in the Making

I’m Caitlin Ricci and my newest sci fi novel, Fantasy for a Gentleman, comes out on February 19th from Dreamspinner Press and I’d love to tell you a bit about my sci fi influences.

I love the sci fi genre as a whole because of all the wonderful things that you can do with it, and that the masters of this genre have done.

In high school I had a teacher who loved to give us short stories to read. It made sense since we could read something in the beginning of the week then come back and discuss it by the end. One of the stories that really stuck with me is The Lake by Ray Bradbury, who also wrote another short story, A Sound of Thunder, where we all learned not to step on butterflies while going back in time or else we’ll ruin everything.

But in The Lake, Bradbury gives us an entirely different look at life as half of a sand castle is being built and footprints come out of the lake, presumably those of a child who disappeared on the lake but whose body was never found. It’s a chilling short story, enough that it stuck with me all these years.

After reading his books I then moved into the books by Anne McCaffrey. I loved her Pern books but it was the Acorna series that I fell hard for.

Then, of course, there’s Firefly. I’ve met very few people who didn’t absolutely love Firefly and many of my more recent sci fi influences have come from watching that show repeatedly. Shindig is such a great episode.

The two characters in Firefly that are most like Corbin and Emmanuel from Fantasy for a Gentleman would have to be Inara and Zoe.

Corbin and Inara are similar, and not just for their profession, because they are both adaptable and they love to please whoever they’re with without losing sight of who they really are. They’re strong characters who are formidable while also being able to be gentle.

Zoe and Emmanuel, on the other hand, are far more ruthless in their own ways. I would not want to be up against either of them. The parts of them both that come through most for me are their sense of duty and honor. They follow orders and their own strict codes, which Emmanuel adheres to absolutely until Corbin decides to turn his world upside down by resisting when Emmanuel was trying to kill him. Being a bounty hunter isn’t easy, but it’s made even less so by a sexy aspacian intent on not dying.

Thank you for spending some time with me today. I hope you get a chance to check out my new novel, Fantasy for a Gentleman.

What sci fi world would you most want to live in?

~Caitlin Ricci

FantasyForAGentlemanLG

Bio

Caitlin was fortunate growing up to be surrounded by family and teachers that encouraged her love of reading. She has always been a voracious reader and that love of the written word easily morphed into a passion for writing. She comes from a military family and the men and women of the armed forces are close to her heart. She also enjoys gardening and horseback riding in the Colorado Rockies where she calls home with her wonderful husband and their two dogs. Her belief that there is no one true path to happily ever after runs deeply through all of her stories.

Website

Email: authorcaitlinricci@gmail.com

 

Blurb:

For two decades Corbin Leroux has worked on the planet Wish as a high-priced companion. He loves his life where physical pleasure is encouraged and has no intention of quitting it. Corbin sees his clients almost as part of his family. Not even when bounty hunter Emmanuel Leoniste comes to kill him will Corbin roll over and give up his lifestyle.

Despite being a hired killer, Emmanuel lives by a strict moral code. Killing whores is acceptable, and easy. Or it was until he met up with Corbin. Worn down by the pesky Corbin’s resolve, Emmanuel accepts Corbin’s bribe and calls off the hit. But the truce might not last. Emmanuel’s mounting desires for Corbin cause problems. He refuses to allow anyone close enough to become intimate with him, especially someone like Corbin. Yet with each smile and soft kiss, Emmanuel’s emotional shield is dismantled piece by piece.

 

Get your copy of Fantasy for a Gentleman today!

Longtime Obsessions with Louise Blaydon – Post + Giveaway

February 18, 2016

Longtime Obsessions

Hello, ladies and gentlemen of the blog!

I’m not entirely sure how to begin this post. I suspect this might be evident in my wavering introduction. I’ve been a Dreamspinner author since 2010, but this is actually the first time I’ve written a post here. I have a blog of my own which I update periodically (come and find me at http://louiseblaydon.wordpress.com!) but I’m pretty new to the world of book tours and guest posts.

I’m grateful to DSP for giving me this platform to talk a little bit about my latest novella, In Balance With This Life, which comes out February 17th. In many ways, this is my favourite of all the stories I’ve written, because writing it allowed me to wallow for months in a world that’s intrigued me since I was a little girl. In Balance With This Life owes a lot to the obsession with the Royal Air Force and World War II flying that hit me when I was about eight and has never really abated. It’s a story about a very motley crew of RAF pilots from all over the world who’ve come together to fly in the Battle of Britain in 1940. It was very important to me that this novella have an ensemble cast. The RAF was a very multinational organisation during WW2. The lead character in my novella, Jeff, is Northern Irish, but among the cast there are Poles, Americans, Russians, and various others, from all walks of life, representative of the way the service really was then. I was always interested in the stories of those who’d been “other” all their lives, but who found a home in the wartime RAF. When I was younger, I read memoirs by Poles and Indian pilots. Then, more recently, I read the stories of the gay men who had fought the war in the air.

I am British – I’m originally from the Scottish borders, and now I live in southern England with a lot of cats – but this is the first DSP publication of mine with a British setting. I’ve travelled a lot, particularly in the southwestern USA, and have made use of that experience in my other stories, but here I got to write about the wet and windy weather of my homeland, and I really enjoyed that. Another thing I liked about writing this book, though, was getting to focus on more characters than just the two major components of the romance. There are several romances at play in In Balance With This Life. It’s an M/M story, and a little bit of an M/M/M story, and I’ve left my boys in a place that leaves room for new dynamics to develop in the future. Most of all, though, the romance in In Balance With This Life is between the boys and their squadron as a whole. It’s a story about how war makes strange bedfellows, and how people pull together in intense situations. I’m very proud of it. I hope you’ll like it too.

A lot of you may be unfamiliar with my writing, so I’d like to offer an opportunity for commenters to win a book of your choice from my backlist. To enter this giveaway contest, please indulge me in answering a couple of questions:

  1. The wartime RAF is the novel setting that I’ve had in my mind since childhood. What’s yours? What longtime obsession would you love to turn into a story backdrop?

  2. The guys in this story start off in England, but they end up flung around as Higher Command dictates. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

You can follow me on Twitter @louiseblaydon, and on Facebook here (https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010531029395&fref=ts) I’d love to keep in touch with you!

InBalanceWithThisLife

Get a copy of In Balance With This Life today!

Blurb: 

Irishman Jeff Riley left the Royal Flying Corps in 1918, hardened by war. He survived those harsh years with the help of his quick-witted English friend, Sean McClean, although Jeff would never want to admit it. When the Battle of Britain erupts in 1939, he’s once again drafted and forced to leave his flourishing commercial pilot career and join a new squadron. Although another war disrupts his life, he’s not disappointed to find himself reunited with Sean.

Jeff is attracted to many of the men in his new squadron of misfits. Never before has he seen such a diverse group assembled for a single cause, including Jimmy Dupont, a handsome, strong Texan who joined the Royal Air Force to help the war effort, and his constant companion Filip, a young and talented Polish airman. It’s evident from the beginning that there’s something special about the connection between Filip and Jimmy, but as time goes on, Jeff feels himself not alienated by it but drawn into it.

Jeff tries to focus on staying alive, but he’s only human, and there’s more to life than survival. There’s also loving, and Jeff can’t get by without it, especially when any day could be his last.