#1 Welcome to Renae Kaye’s Blog Party

November 28, 2014

G’day, friends!  **waving madly**  It’s Renae Kaye here, coming to you from all the way in Perth, Western Australia.

To celebrate my latest release, Safe In His Arms I’m throwing a Blog Party.   **throws confetti in the air**

confetti2

 

Dreamspinner have kindly loaned me their blog for the day so I can party hard.

I guess it’s kind of like someone lending you their place for your party. No clean up!  I’m sold.  **wink**

But it’s my first blog party with Dreamspinner, so you need to be kind to me and not ask too many hard questions.  I’m going to be hanging around, answering all your questions and having a chat.

So, first things first.  Why am I having a party?

TO CELEBRATE  **throws more confetti**

Celebration

You see today is the release of my new novel, Safe In His Arms.  Not only am I excited to bring this book to you, I have to admit it is finally a relief.  In my house we don’t have “Release Days,” we have “Freak Out Fridays” or “Meltdown Mondays.”  I don’t do good with nerves.

So what is Safe In His Arms about?

 

SafeInHisArms_postcard_front_DSP

 

 

Blurb:

In the late-night quiet of the caravan park shower room, Lon Taylor washes away the filth of the Western Australian mines. He’s not looking for anyone, but when Casey offers, Lon doesn’t turn him down.

Welcoming the young man in his big, hairy arms, Lon provides a safety to Casey that he has never known, and Casey wants to stay forever. Still reeling from the breakup of his family years ago, Lon’s not sure he’s ready for the responsibility of the comfort and security Casey craves.

But perhaps Lon can risk opening his heart again and hoping for a brighter future. Casey has some pretty big skeletons in his past to deal with.  And Lon wonders what Casey will do when he finds out how badly Lon failed at protecting the ones he loved eight years ago.

 

Don’t you love the cover?  OMG!  I had someone tell me they ovulated instantly from looking at the cover.  I wouldn’t have put it quite that way, but I know what they mean.  Hooly Dooly!  It’s a hot cover, and I have to sincerely thank Anna Sikorska for creating it for me.  I am totally getting this one blown up and framed on my wall.

 

For those who don’t know me, a quick summary is that I’m an Aussie, and popular opinion is I’m ready for the mad-house.  Safe In His Arms is my fourth novel to be released this year.  I’ve also released a short story in the anthology, A Taste Of Honey.  I’m known for my humour and my (winks at my editor) Australian spelling.  LOL.  If you see a spelling mistake in my blog, it’s deliberate.  It’s how we do it Down Under (which is my story and I’m sticking to it).

But if you’re interested in picking up any of my previous titles, here are the covers and links to the Dreamspinner site so you can check out the blurbs and **hint hint** buy if you want to.

(Link to Dreamspinner’s store.  Link to Amazon.)

Now, I love to chat, so don’t be shy.  Don’t worry if you’re off topic.  Don’t worry if you think it is a silly question.  Ask away in the comments below, and I’ll be around to answer them.  If I don’t answer straight away, never fear.  I’m probably off making the kids some lunch or something (remember I’m in a totally different time zone to America).

I’ve prepared a series of blog topics to go off every 30 minutes, so have a look below and come and chat with me.

1.  Welcome to the party!
2.  Have a drink and some Aussie food.
3.  Excerpt and one-night stands.
4.  Music and character inspirations.
5.  Finding a life balance – writing and parenting.
6.  Writing myself into a book, with excerpt.
7.  What am I currently writing?
8.  Australian Christmas celebrations.
9.  Writing M/M.
10.  Thanks for attending my party.

 

Now – I have a question for YOU.  How was your Thanksgiving?

We don’t have Thanksgiving in Australia, so I’m really interested in what you did for the day.  So drop me a comment below.  Be sure to watch for my blog about Australian Christmases.

 

I’m offering TWO lucky party-goers a free eBook: reader’s choice of any of my books. 

To enter, you need to follow along on the blog and ANSWER the question given on THREE of the blog posts.  Each post has a question (and there’s 10 blogs – so it will be easy), and just comment after the blog within the next 24 hours, and you could win a copy of any of my books.  Your choice of which one.

 

How to contact Renae:

Email:  renaekaye@iinet.net.au

Website:  www.renaekaye.weebly.com

FB:  www.facebook.com/renae.kaye.9

Twitter:  @renaekkaye

Excerpt from Shifting Gears (#pnr, #amreading) by @petralynn77

November 20, 2014

Here’s an excerpt from my new novella Shifting Gears, available now from Dreamspinner Press!

 

Blurb:
One rainy night, bike-shop owner Kenton Palmer finds an injured dog on the road and takes him to the nearest vet clinic, only to discover he’s actually a wolf. Undeterred, he wants to nurse the injured animal following a necessary surgery. The handsome Dr. Will Barclay’s interest and his own brand of animal attraction overwhelm Kenton, who’s been doubting himself after a failed romance.

Gray Fowler is a wolf-shifter and pack alpha. After Kenton rescues him and takes him home to heal, he’s forced to remain in wolf form. But that doesn’t prevent him from falling hard for Kenton. It begins as jealousy, but Gray soon discovers Will, Kenton’s new admirer, is caught up in something sinister. However, he’s forced to wait until he’s healthy before he can shift and enter Kenton’s life as a man. Then Gray must discover how Will’s shady activities are linked to the men who ran him down and expose the scheme before Kenton gets too involved with Will.

 

KENTON BLINKED a few times to stay awake, grateful he had only ten miles left in his journey. He was exhausted after a long day of cycling with his youth group and the drive home. Pouring rain for the last fifty miles made driving even more of a challenge, and he worried he’d doze off if he kept the heat on, so he was shivering slightly.

 

The rain had come early this year to his Northern California town, not far from Eureka and near the Oregon border, home of redwoods, rocky coasts, and plenty of pot farmers—licensed by the state but under fire from the federal government. It kept local politics interesting.

 

Maybe I’ll listen to a ballgame. Kenton fiddled with the dial while trying to keep his gaze on the road. Up ahead wide-set headlights flashed and tires screeched as a large, dark vehicle veered into his lane. Reflexes in action, he swerved onto the muddy shoulder and stopped his SUV to let his nerves calm down from the near miss. The other vehicle stopped behind him, and for a moment he wondered if they’d run him off the road with the intent to rob or carjack him. Glancing back, he had the vague impression that the vehicle was a Hummer from its general outline and placement of the lights. Anyone who could afford that monstrosity certainly didn’t need to carjack a Toyota Highlander Hybrid, unless they were trying to cut down on their gasoline expenditures.

 

Should I go check and see if the other driver is okay? The vehicle stayed on the opposite shoulder, but it was impossible to tell if the driver was injured or not. There hadn’t been an actual collision, so the chance of that was slim, but perhaps the driver was ill and that accounted for the near miss.

 

The rain continued to thud against the roof and windshield, blurring his range of vision. Kenton had only taken one step out of his SUV when the Hummer suddenly peeled out and drove off. What the fuck? Kenton shrugged and climbed back in his vehicle.

 

He was about to drive away when up ahead in the hazy beams of his headlights, Kenton thought he saw someone moving on the surface of the road. Or something. He wasn’t sure if he was still in the county preserve or not, but he thought twice about getting closer to whatever it was. There were plenty of wild animals here, and the local farmers complained loudly if one roamed out of the protected area to feast on cows or sheep. Kenton certainly didn’t want to end up as dinner for any predators, but now he was sure he saw someone—a vague outline of a man—on the surface of the road.

 

Kenton was not about to leave anyone out in this weather, especially someone who might be injured, so he zipped up his jacket and slowly opened his door. Sure enough, even from fifteen or so feet away, he could see something lying in the middle of the road, but it wasn’t a man. It was a dog.

 

Eyes playing tricks on me again. I have to get home to sleep soon. But despite his exhaustion and frustration about the crazy-ass driver who ran him off the road, Kenton didn’t have the heart to leave even a dog on the road tonight. He got out of the car, digging his hands into his pockets against the weather, and headed toward the animal. It had unusually luminous gray-blue eyes—obvious despite the darkness—and it whimpered softly. The rain couldn’t wash away the blood that poured out of a gash on the animal’s hind leg, and from the unnatural angle, Kenton was certain it was broken.

 

“Hey, boy, looks like that crazy Hummer clipped you.” He reached out tentatively, and when the animal didn’t appear threatening, Kenton smoothed the wet fur on his head, barely noticing the rain dripping down his own hair and face and under his jacket. “Let me open up the back and I’ll get you out of the rain in just a minute.”

 

Kenton rushed to the rear of his SUV, opened the cargo area, and pushed his overnight bag and bicycle far enough out of the way so he could clear a space. He found a few towels and spread them out, then returned to the wounded dog, who watched his actions, clearly not afraid of him. He considered moving the vehicle closer but was worried that might frighten the animal, so he steeled himself for the effort.

 

“Damn, you’re heavy!” Kenton grunted as he lifted the dog and carried him to the SUV, then settled him onto the dry towels. The dog looked sad as well as cold, and Kenton found himself rambling a string of comforting words and explanations as he tried to dry the animal. He stared up at him with an expression Kenton could only describe as grateful.

 

“I’ll find a vet and we’ll get you fixed up. We’ll figure out who owns you and get you home. How does that sound?” Kenton realized how ridiculous it was to expect a reply from the dog. He grabbed blankets from the backseat and covered the animal. Then after carefully shutting the cargo-area door, he got back behind the wheel and drove off. This time he turned up the heat, hoping to keep both himself and the injured dog warm until he could find a vet still open at this time of night.

 

Remembering his GPS unit, Kenton punched a few buttons and soon discovered a vet’s office with late emergency service. He followed the robot woman’s directions, and less than ten minutes later, he found himself in front of a white suburban two-story house with VETERINARIAN printed on a large sign in the front yard. He didn’t bother to read the doctor’s name, not wanting to lose any time.

 

“Vet must have his office in his house,” Kenton said, unsure whether he was talking to himself or to the dog. “Let me make sure he’s up, and then I’ll come back and get you.” Kenton glanced over his shoulder, noticing that the dog was staring at him, seemingly intent on his words.

 

Once again, Kenton got out of his SUV, thankful the rain had all but stopped. He rushed up the sidewalk, rang the buzzer near the front door, and waited. The downstairs was dark, but lights were on in a couple of rooms upstairs. Glancing at his watch, Kenton realized it was nearly midnight, but as long as someone was awake, hopefully they’d take care of the dog and he could call the owner.

 

Kenton waited nearly five minutes before he heard someone on the other side of the door.

 

“Hayes? We didn’t have anything—” a disembodied voice began speaking with more than a hint of annoyance as the door slowly swung open.

 

“I’ve got an injured dog. Hit by a car. Can you help?” Kenton explained.

 

The door opened completely, and a man of about thirty-five with blond hair and a neatly trimmed ginger beard looked Kenton up and down with piercing gray eyes. Kenton was now acutely aware of the cold rain that had dripped under his jacket and he shuddered involuntarily while small rivulets of water ran down his face. He knew he looked like a mess, and his cheeks warmed with embarrassment as the man, dressed in well-tailored and unwrinkled clothing, continued to stare with what came across as a confused, impatient glare. He’d obviously been expecting someone else.

 

Your dog?” he asked curtly.

 

“No, I found him out on the county road about five miles away. Some asshole sideswiped me and ran me off the road. I noticed the dog while I was trying to calm down.” Kenton wondered why he was explaining in such minute detail, especially as the vet looked just as sour and inconvenienced as he had when he’d opened the door.

 

“Okay, bring him inside.” The man motioned off toward his left. “The clinic’s in there.”

 

“I can clean up all the rainwater—” Kenton started to say. He could tell from the man’s neat appearance that he wasn’t the kind to tolerate much mess in his life, which seemed odd for a veterinarian. I’d love to see that man up to his elbow in a cow, Kenton mused. Probably only treats Yorkies and Chihuahuas and other lap dogs.

 

“No problem. The dog’s more important right now. Don’t worry about the mess.” That was the first trace of concern the vet had shown so far.

 

Kenton nodded and ran back outside to get the dog. By the time he had opened the back of the SUV and was scooping the animal up in his arms, the man appeared behind him with a rolling table, a smaller version of a gurney, and then helped bring the dog inside. Kenton trailed behind as the vet pushed the gurney into the clinic and the exam room.

 

It took a few moments for the overhead lights to turn on completely, while Kenton and the man stood on opposite sides of the exam table staring at each other and the dog in the flickering light.

 

“Hmmm. Two big problems I see right away.”

 

“What’s that?” Kenton’s voice expressed his concern, and he wondered why he cared so much; it wasn’t even his dog. “Can you fix the leg? I’m willing to pay a deposit until we find the owner, if that’s what the problem is.”

 

“Well, that’s part of it. It’s got no tag… no owner. And it’s not a dog. It’s a wolf.”

 

Kenton yanked his hand away from the animal’s thick, damp fur in belated fear.

 

“Oh, it’s harmless enough now. Too weak to do much damage, and I think it knows you’re trying to help.” The vet smoothed the fur at the animal’s shoulder, but Kenton didn’t see much tenderness in the motion.

 

The dog—wolf—tried to raise his head, and he looked around the room, wide-eyed and trembling in terror, as well as from the cold, despite being safe and dry in the clinic. Seeing the animal’s fear, Kenton forgot his own trepidation and reached out to stroke the wolf’s cheek. “Shhh. It’s gonna be all right.”

 

“I wouldn’t put my hand near its mouth, though,” the vet cautioned, but Kenton didn’t stop what he was doing, and almost immediately the animal lay his head back down, relaxing visibly and the shivering abating.

 

“So, he’s wild? Are there a lot of wolves around here? I never really noticed before.”

 

“A small pack over at the preserve—and getting smaller. From what I hear from my colleagues, the local farmers blame them for snacking on calves and new lambs. But this guy is a lot larger than the ones I’ve seen over there. No idea where it came from. If they wander off the preserve, farmers are allowed to shoot them, you know.”

 

“Really? That’s terrible.” Until this moment, Kenton hadn’t thought one way or the other about wolves, but suddenly, after helping this one, the idea of someone shooting a wolf seemed obscene. “What do we do with him?”

 

“I know a place that would take a wolf like this, but first it’s going to need surgery to repair that leg and some serious recuperation. I don’t have the facilities for something like that. It might be more humane to—”

 

As soon as Kenton heard “humane,” he knew what the vet was about to propose. He could have sworn the wolf did too because the animal caught Kenton’s gaze and seemed to plead with him.

 

“Help me, Kenton. Save me.”

 

Kenton blinked, wondering if he was just projecting. He certainly was no Doctor Doolittle. He’d never communicated with animals before, but right now, he felt as though this wolf was actually speaking to him.

 

“Look, I’ll pay for the surgery, and I’ll take him home for the recuperation. That would work wouldn’t it, Doctor…?” Kenton realized he didn’t even remember the vet’s name. He’d only glanced at the sign outside when they’d first pulled up.

 

“Barclay. Will Barclay.” He held out his hand to Kenton.

 

“Kenton Palmer.” The warmth of the doctor’s hand and the matching heat in his gaze startled Kenton. Apparently Will realized and pulled his hand away with a shy glance away from Kenton. It was the first sign Will had shown of not being fully in control of the situation, and Kenton had to admit he liked it, liked seeing that the doctor was human after all. And Kenton couldn’t deny that glimmer of attraction in Will’s eyes had sent his pulse racing faster than he expected. There hadn’t been a man in his life for a long time, and maybe this was the start of something exciting.

 

 

 

 

 

FROM THE time he’d been hit by the black Hummer out on the county road, Gray had been unable to sustain one form or the other. The pain destroyed his concentration, and he shifted between wolf and human several times in the cold, driving rain as he lay on the surface of the road. When the black-haired man in the blue jacket came running over from the SUV on the shoulder, Gray happened to be in wolf form, and there was no way he could shift back while in the man’s presence, even if he’d been in full control of his powers.

 

He couldn’t remember exactly how he’d ended up on the road, or why he’d even left the preserve. His leg—probably broken—and scraped skin ached and throbbed, and he wanted nothing more than to lick his wounds or pass out. But the man had carried him into the back of his SUV and driven him to a vet’s office, all the while talking to him, calming and soothing him in a voice filled with deep, smooth, musical tones. Gray forced himself to concentrate on the man’s voice to stay alert and to help him retain his current form. The man had thought he was a dog, which was fine. He wasn’t sure what would happen when he found he had rescued a wolf. Bad as that might be, it would be far worse to have his werewolf identity revealed to a stranger. Gray had to prevent that.

 

Once they were at the vet’s office, Gray sensed something amiss with the doctor. His hands had been rough compared to the other man’s comforting touch. And once the vet recognized that Gray wasn’t a dog, he was far too quick to suggest putting him down rather than mending his broken body. Even for a vet, Barclay seemed to know entirely too much about the wolf population in the area, and that got Gray’s radar up.

 

But the man who had found him—Gray knew now his name was Kenton Palmer—looked into his eyes and saw Gray’s fear. Not only saw it, but felt it too, at least it seemed so from the way he reached down to stroke Gray’s fur and murmur meaningless noises. For some reason, this man wanted to make sure Gray had the necessary treatment for his broken leg and other injuries. The vet appeared surprised at Kenton’s generosity, and just as Gray was succumbing to the effects of the anesthesia, he thought he saw a different kind of look in the vet’s eyes as he gazed at Kenton—animal attraction. Gray only hoped he’d survive the surgery so he could find out what the vet was hiding, and what his sudden interest was in Kenton.

 

Buy your copy now! (please!)

Shifters? Weres? What’s in a Name

November 20, 2014

Gray Fowler, my alpha wolf-shifter is very particular. He is not a werewolf. “There’s too much mythology going on there,” he tells Kenton.

I agree! To me, the word “werewolf” conjures up all sorts of dark (and hairy) images, most of which aren’t at all sexy. I think of the Wolf Man, who’s more Saturday matinee than movie star dream. Over the years, pop culture has given werewolves a pretty bad rap. They do some bad shit. Even the ones we love, like Oz in Buffy.

It’s been only more recently that wolf shifter characters have gotten a little sex appeal going. Though I’m not a fan of the Twilight franchise, I can still enjoy Taylor Lautner, even though his wolf is CGI. Teen Wolf is another departure from the more clichéd examples. When the wolves in human form can get our hearts and sympathy, we can forgive some of the things they do. Actually, I can forgive Alcide in True Blood just about anything. He only kills people who deserve it, but he still kills.

I’m not a fan of gore in my books or films, which is another reason I’ve shied away from many of the classic wolves. The transformation scenes get my skin crawling, though I think they are incredibly important to understand the experience from the shifter’s point of view, and sometimes that’s just yucky (think of the scene in Supernatural when the shapeshifter takes on Dean’s appearance. That scene still makes me need to wash my eyes out!)

 

What about other weres and shifters? Somehow the idea of a wereduck or wereotter sounds cute and cuddly, and they are. I definitely put them in a different category. These characters live in a different world than that of the wolf who is pursued in animal form, whether or not he’s actually done something reprehensible.

I haven’t even had a chance to touch on how to explain yourself to a non-shifter significant other? Or his parents? “Mom, this is my werewolf boyfriend. We promise not to visit during the full moon. Go on, give him a hug!”

So, there are a lot of fun aspects to explore with a shifter, wolf or not. I couldn’t possibly address even a fraction of them here or in Shifting Gears, but doing a little reading and research opens up so many possibilities.

What aspects of a shifter’s life interest you most? Who is your favorite wolf and why?

THE BREAK-IN Release Party: Goodnight Excerpt from Aidee

June 18, 2014

Hi!

Well, it’s been fun, but I’m signing off for the night. I hope you all entered my Rafflecopter giveaway. If not, click here.

To send you off, here’s one more excerpt from my new novella, THE BREAK-IN. I hope you enjoy it.

worth excerpt

 

THE BREAK-IN Release Party: And Now For An Excerpt From The BREAK-IN

June 18, 2014

I thought you might like a short excerpt from my novella, THE BREAK-IN.

gun excerpt

There’s also a Rafflecopter giveaway. Check it out!

 

 

Excerpt from Raven Feathers

May 7, 2014

Here’s a little excerpt from Raven Feathers, Chapter 1:

 

.     Heading for the central plaza, Rourke knew it was too early to get a warm breakfast, but Pleno usually laid out bread and other leftovers for the early risers. He planned to grab a few quick bites before going to the construction workshop.

.     Seeing the mottled-fur-colored figure hunched over one of the picnic tables changed the course of his plans. He called out a soft “Yoiyo” to Antinee as he went to the kitchen area. With some bread and cheese in hand, he took a seat at the table across from him. It was nice to have someone else in the village to practice his English with. He had been working hard on his language skills to impress Evan.

.     “Up early? Or up late?” he  asked the visitor in English.

.     “Up early,” Antinee said with a yawn. “Fell asleep right after dinner. Just woke up a bit ago.”

.     Rourke nodded as he ate a few bites. “Is there something you not want to say in front of Idelle last night?”

.     With a nod, Antinee grimaced. “When I passed by the Houston area four days ago, I still couldn’t find any traces of the tribe. It’s as if they’ve just vanished.”

.     “They like to… wander. Maybe out somewhere?” Rourke offered hopefully.

.     “For almost nine months now? And they usually leave behind notes and maps at their site for where they’re going. Nothing like that in their village now.”

.     “Holy crap,” Rourke said, repeating the curse he’d learned from Evan. “Maybe—it is time for worry.”

.     “Yes,” Antinee said with a nod. “I’d suggest when your tribe gets back from the melon fields, get together a small group, like a hunting party, and take a closer look. Really poke around. I didn’t stay long enough to do a thorough search.”

.     Rourke nodded. “Keep it small, stick with ‘hunting party’ story, and not cause alarm until we get more knowledge.”

.     The men sat a moment in contemplative silence. Antinee took a sip of his tea. “You know, you look more like your father every time I see you.”

.     With a shrug, Rourke shook off the implications. “But I am nothing like him. I am an architect,” he said, remembering the great word Evan had used to describe his job.

.     Antinee seemed to disagree. “No doubt, a good architect. That doesn’t mean you can’t be like him.”

.     “But I’m not,” he said in a colder tone, hinting this line of conversation was over.

.     A few silent moments passed before Antinee took another sip of tea and cleared his throat. “So, this Evan fellow…,” he threw out. “I hear you’ve been spending a lot of time with him.”

.     “What of it?”

.     “Have you learned anything useful from him?”

.     Rourke felt a bit insulted. “It is not at all like that. I’m duanta, in case you forgot,” he said in a bristling tone.

.     “Sorry,” Antinee said as he offered up his palms. “You don’t have to get defensive. I’m not trying to imply you’re using him. But, at least some of the time, you guys must talk….”

.     With a hard look, Rourke replied, “I didn’t ask if you mate with my aunt. Some things should be… quiet.”

.     Antinee frowned. “I’m not trying to pry into your private life. Damn it, Rourke, why are you so defensive this morning?”

.     Rourke just shrugged.

.     “And you know, I could care less about your homosexuality. Nor, do I think, does anybody else. I’m sure I mentioned before, the Chago tribe even has a duanta chief. No one seemed to be bothered by that idea.”

.     “Maybe not,” Rourke said in a softer tone.

.     Antinee paused a moment for another sip of tea. “Not that I’m trying to pry, but Idelle told me he’s living with you. Is this a serious thing?”

.     After hesitating, Rourke finally nodded. “I’m making beads for him. But don’t go talking about that. Need time for tribe to… adjust before telling the news.”

.     “Don’t worry about the tribe. Like I said, nobody cares who you bond with. And I’ll keep it private.”

*end excerpt

 

Thank you for a great release day!

May 2, 2014

It’s a been a wonderful day. I’ll leave you with two things, first a little more Val and Wyatt, this one with some spice:

 

They left the restaurant and walked to Wyatt’s car. Stepping around Val, Wyatt went to the passenger side and unlocked the car door. Val saw Wyatt glance around the parking lot. No one else was around. When Wyatt reached out and slipped one hand through Val’s hair and pulled him gently closer, Val tensed despite his brain screaming at him not to.

 

“Shush. I’m not going to hurt you.” Wyatt tenderly brushed his fingers through Val’s hair. “Though, I’ll be honest, I have hurt people. But they were bad people stealing valuable national treasures and wouldn’t give them back.”

 

Val burst out laughing, and the tension left him. Wyatt smiled in that way that made the corners of his eyes crinkle. When Wyatt leaned in toward Val again, he inched forward.

 

Wyatt’s kiss was light and gentle. He didn’t push, but seemed to wait patiently and coax Val into opening his lips. It was the hottest thing Val ever could imagine, and he moaned, rocking his hips into Wyatt as Wyatt’s tongue slipped over Val’s and skimmed the roof of his mouth.

 

Val slid his arm around Wyatt’s back. At the same time Wyatt wound his free arm around Val’s waist, pulled him closer, and pressed his thigh between Val’s legs, applying steady pressure upward. It was delightful and maddening at the same time. No one had ever affected him in this way or so completely. Val wanted more.

 

Wyatt ran a hand softly up Val’s spine, making him shiver, then moved his hand to Val’s shoulder. He pushed back from Val barely enough to break their kiss and caressed Val’s cheek with his own before saying in a low voice, “I thought I’d burst before I had the chance to kiss you.” Wyatt’s breath was warm against Val’s skin, making him quiver and his breath catch in his throat. Reaching around Val, Wyatt pulled on the car door latch. He nudged Val to the side and opened the door completely, then waved grandly at the inside. “Shall we?”

 

RunfortheRoses_bookmarkH_DSP

 

 

I’m hard at work writing the next installment of Val and Wyatt’s story, the title is A Barlow Lens. There are more mysteries to investigate and Dreamspinner has at least two more races to run after all! There is no horse race without other horses to race against and I need a few name ideas. Got a great idea for a Thoroughbred name  you’d care to share with me? Leave it in the comments below and I’ll enter your name in a drawing to win an eBook copy of Run for the Roses. There is a catch, however. In the United States the official name of a Thoroughbred racehorse can’t be more than 18 letters.

 
Thank you for stopping by today and happy reading!

Elizabeth Noble

 

Now, for the hot men portion of the day….Val and Wyatt

May 2, 2014

I promised horses AND hot men. Time to move onto the hot men. All men are hot and everyone has different tastes. Sometimes you don’t even know what those tastes are until they sort of smack you in the face.

This is Val Mihalic. He’s an IT guy, nice and he has a penchant for picking the wrong men. That has led him to decide relationships aren’t for him. He lives a quiet life with his dogs and his horse and keeps to himself. He’s got one really good friend, Janelle. They have known each other for years and look out for one another like good friends do.

val

 Then, very unexpectedly Janelle’s father Wyatt comes into town. Val and Janelle are roughly the same age, which makes Wyatt old enough to be Val’s father. Wyatt has been all over the world, he knows about things like ancient art and fine wine. While Val thinks he’s interesting and attractive, he’s sure Wyatt wouldn’t return that interest. Wyatt has returned to help his daughter and reconnect with her, not find a date. Val is surprised and a little apprehensive at first when Wyatt most certain does take an interest in him. They don’t have simply an age difference between them, but as they get to know one another they discover those differences aren’t so great after all.

PERSON OF INTEREST

 

Here’s their first meeting:

 

Wyatt glanced down and grinned at the same time. He was nice looking when he smiled. Obviously he’d heard that more than once. “Janelle is adopted. And yes, she knows.” He put his hands in his pants pockets and sighed. “Do we have to do this through the door?”

 

“I… uh… don’t really….”

 

“I’m an investigator, and I work in antiquities. I’m not a mob hit man.”

 

“You do sort of look like one,” Val said.

 

Wyatt chuckled. “Nah, they spend much more on their clothes.”

 

Val unlocked the door and stepped back so Wyatt could enter. He was impressed that Wyatt wasn’t bothered by three big dogs dancing around at his feet. Instead he put one hand out for them to sniff and walked between them.

 

Wyatt held out his hand and smiled. “Let’s try again. I’m Janelle’s father, Wyatt Harig. You and your entourage are…?”

 

Val shook the offered hand. Wyatt’s hand was strong, his handshake firm. His hand was as warm as his smile. “Vladimir Mihalic. Val. They’re Cooper, Bear, and Titan.” He pointed to each dog as he said their name.

 

“Good-looking crew you have. Trained to kill on command?” Wyatt asked.

 

“Y-yes.”

 

“Uh-huh.” Wyatt tilted his head to one side and leaned down far enough to pat the dogs.

 

“Not buying it, huh?”

 

“Not in the least,” Wyatt said. “I can tell they’re incredibly vicious.”

 

“I guess the hand licking blew their cover.” Val glanced at the floor for a second and scratched at his forearm.

 

Wendy at Hearts on Fire Reviews was very kind and wrote a pre-release review for the first week of the blog tour for Run for the Roses. You can read her complete review HERE.

Shamrock Green, the music

April 2, 2014

As I mentioned in the previous comments, Darren O’Connell and his sister Anne are both part of a band called ‘Celtic Cantrips’, so music is an important part of the story.

I got to have a bit of fun with modern and old music. For part of the climax, I wrote some new lyrics for the old tune “Greensleeves” for Hank to sing:

 

“Go back, go back, to the Eire of old,

where the shamrock blooms on earth so cold,

Go back, go back, to the Eire of old,

to the isle your heart does hold.”

 
“Dance, dance, feet bare in June,

under the shining silver moon,

Sing, sing, with a raptured tune,

in the isle your heart will swoon.”

 
“Sing and dance in the Eire of old,

where the faeries’ tales are often told,

Sing and dance in the Eire of old,

for your heart, love’s magic does hold.”

 

Shamrock Green, another excerpt

April 2, 2014

For the next excerpt, let’s fast forward a bit to chapter 2, and I’ll post the little tidbit that I’ll be reading at Rainbow*Con. :) Can’t believe the convention is only 2 weeks away now. I’m excited to meet and mingle.

 

Anyway, here’s the excerpt:

——–

Shamrock Green, Chapter 2, Scene 1

Wrapping the towel tighter around his waist, Hank entered the steam room on the second floor. Heavy vapors swirled in the dimly lit space, making it nearly impossible for him to see. The room’s only source of light seemed to be the frosted glass door that had closed behind him. He took two steps into the clouded dusk and stood unobtrusively near the wall.

When his eyes adjusted to the foggy dim, Hank could see two figures sitting on a bench that flanked the opposite wall, but he couldn’t make out any details. One vague figure was a thin guy leaning forward with his elbows resting on his knees in a closed posture. The other shape was much bulkier, more of a bear. He leaned back and spread open the gap in the towel wrapped around his waist, fondling himself. As the bear stroked his hand under the towel, he spread his legs wider apart to signal an invitation.

Hank didn’t find either figure very appealing, but at least the room was warm. His entire week in Ireland had been marred with clouds and a spitting drizzle that rarely found enough gumption to turn into real rain. The afternoons barely made it to seventy degrees, or twenty-one degrees Celsius as advertised by the little clock display of the tour van, quite a far cry from the ninety-eight-degree heat of June Hank had left behind in Texas.

The warm steam brought blessed relief after the eight nights of damp chill that seemed to settle into his joints and stiffen his journey-weary muscles. Leaning back into the wall, Hank let out a grateful sigh as he relaxed against the tiles. He could feel the first signs of a glistening sweat as the heat enveloping him warmed his skin and penetrated deeper into his tissues. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other. His arches were still tired after the brisk walk through the Temple Bar district. More aggravation on top of eight previous days of much walking and hiking around the sights and towns where his tour bus stopped.

The room’s illumination suddenly increased when someone pulled open the door and stepped inside. Hank scanned the faces of the guys on the bench in front of him. The thin guy was definitely a twink, barely twenty-one, and the bear was probably pushing sixty. He felt no desire whatsoever for either man.

Before the door closed, he turned to glance at the new occupant. This nicely shaped silhouette was in his midthirties and not too tall, maybe five-ten — someone much more within Hank’s range of appeal. Hank flashed him a smile as the door slipped closed and the dusky dark returned.

Thirtyish-guy took a tentative step forward as his eyes acclimated. He took another step forward as Hank shifted his weight to the other foot. Hank looked up at the man’s face, but the thick mist obscured any details. While taking another step closer, the guy reached out his hand and lightly touched Hank’s left shoulder.

Hank leaned toward the hand in silent supplication. The man’s fingers lightly stroked the top of his shoulder and up the side of Hank’s neck. An involuntary sigh escaped from Hank as the gentle touching aroused him. The thin towel wrapped kilt-like around Hank’s waist offered no resistance to his swelling erection.

Stepping around, the guy stood facing Hank and put his other hand on Hank’s right shoulder. With both hands, he lightly kneaded at the bulge of knotted muscles on the sides of Hank’s neck resulting from the long week of carrying a heavy duffel bag.

Hank pushed himself from the wall to stand at his full height, short though he was, and reached his hand up to gently grasp and squeeze the shapely bicep of the man’s right arm. As Hank reached for the man’s clavicle with his other hand, thirtyish-guy removed his hands and pulled back, moving along the wall toward the room’s corner. He hesitated a brief moment at the back wall, then disappeared.

Hank walked to the corner and soon realized the wall he had been leaning against was merely a divider and at the corner, a gap opened into another room behind him. Trying to move nonchalantly, he followed the guy through the opening. He paused just inside the doorway. This room captured even less light, making it nearly pitch black. After a moment of visual acclimation, Hank could barely see the vaguest of shapes in front of him.

He walked to a bench discernable in the darkness. As he moved, a hand brushed against his butt while something else, maybe a hip, grazed his lower arm. When he neared the bench, a hand gently closed around his wrist and pulled him forward. Hank sat on the edge of the bench next to the shadowy figure turned sideways and reclining in the corner.

Another hand reached out and joined the hand around his wrist, slowly gliding and squeezing as it measured upward along Hank’s arm until it reached his armpit. A deep, masculine voice whispered, “Tá tú fear bideach.”

“Uh, ’scuse me?” Hank replied.

The hand stroking his arm paused. With a strong Irish accent, the voice asked, “No Gaelic?”

“No,” Hank drawled in his Texas tongue. “I don’t know any Gaelic. What did ya say?”

The man released his grip on Hank’s arm and slid his fingers along the shoulder to Hank’s neck. Hank felt hardened calluses on the thumb and fingers of the stranger’s hand, and he quickly realized this wasn’t the smooth hand of thirtyish-guy.

Gently cupping Hank’s head, the hand pulled Hank forward. Hank turned sideways on the bench to face the mysterious man in the corner, then scooted closer, until his hip rested against the shadowy figure’s hip.

Near Hank’s ear, the Irish voice whispered, “I said, you are such a tiny man.”

The lyrical sounds of the Irish voice whispering so near sent a slight shiver of pleasure through Hank. “Not tiny, I’m five-foot-four. Don’t ask me how many centimeters, coz I shur[A1]  don’t know that.”

Hank felt the bursts of breath near his ear as the man quietly chuckled. “We usually measure height in meters,” the voice whispered back. “I would guess one-point-six, or 160 centimeters, if a bigger number makes you feel better.” The hand slid from Hank’s neck and around to the front, slowly sliding down to Hank’s chest. “Where are you from?”

The combination of the man’s touch and exotic accent sent a stronger shiver through Hank. “The U.S.,” Hank drawled in a shaky voice. “Texas, out in the boonies.”

The hand on his chest paused. “Are you afraid, Tex?” the strong Irish voice whispered in question.

As the lyrical words sent another shiver through Hank, he realized the contradiction hidden in the voice. It seemed so deep and strong, like it was used to bellowing with the calls of an army drill sergeant, but the lowered whisper tempered it with a softer gentleness. Hank reached into the darkness and found a stubbly chin. “No,” he replied firmly, as he stroked the firm prickly jaw with his fingers.

“Then, why does your voice tremble?”

Hank shrugged, but of course his new friend wouldn’t be able to see it in the misty dark. “Excitement. Anticipation, I guess.”

“Enough excitement to tremble?” the Irish voice asked. “How old are you, Tex?”

From the open side of the room, Hank felt another hand reach out from the dark and touch his knee, then that hand wrapped around and squeezed at his calf almost hard enough to hurt. Hank reached down and slapped at the hand, pushing it away. The hand returned again, this time on his thigh, but it gently sat without the squeeze. Hank turned back to the corner and answered, “I’m forty-one.”

The hand on his thigh quickly disappeared. The stranger’s hand on his chest didn’t hesitate; it continued exploring the tuft of hair over his sternum and moved toward one of Hank’s nipples.

“I see,” the strong voice replied, sounding almost amused. “And does Tex have a wife waiting for him in the States?”

“No, I’m queer as a three-dollar bill. Why would you think that?”

The shadowy figure chuckled and shifted before lips brushed against his ear. The intimate touch caused a quiver all over Hank’s spine.

In a very gentle whisper, the Irish voice replied, “I’m still a bit puzzled. A man over forty shouldn’t find sex quite so exciting anymore.” The hand moved from his chest up to the back of Hank’s head and followed his skull up to the top, feeling Hank’s short hair that curled slightly in the high humidity. “Is your boyfriend here? Or husband maybe?”

“Don’t have one.”

“But you seem so attractive. You’re not throwing blarney at me, I hope.”

“No,” Hank argued. “I did kiss the Blarney Stone yesterday, but it’s the truth.” He moved his hand across his new friend’s ear and around to the back of his neck, feeling the same short stubble he had felt on the jaw. He brought his hand up and over, finding the same buzzed stubble all over the stranger’s head.

“You were in Cork yesterday?” the Irish man asked from the darkness.

“Yes,” Hank answered as the shadowy figure shifted again. The lips gently brushed against his ear, then kissed it lightly before a warm, moist tongue lightly explored the ridges and valleys of cartilage. “Oh,” Hank said with a sighing tone as a jolting quiver raced down his spine and swelled his cock almost instantly.

Hank pulled his brain back into gear as the mouth explored his earlobe, then suckled lightly at his jaw. What was it about this man? He’d never in his life felt anything like this. With just a few whispered words or a gentle touch, this shadowy figure had the power to reduce him to quivering gelatin.

“Why?” the man asked in his ear.

“Why what?”

“How come you are still single?” the whispery voice inquired.

“I just am.”

“Aye Jeust ahm,” the man replied with a teasing tone, trying to match Hank’s Texas drawl.

“Hush,” Hank scolded, reaching out and swatting the shadowy figure somewhere on the upper arm. “Yer not bein’ nice.”

The man chuckled warmly. “You are so bloody cute.” He reached up and stroked at Hank’s cheek. “I think you’re blushing, aren’t you.”

“Hush,” Hank hissed as his cheeks warmed and tightened with what he knew was indeed, a blush.

He chuckled again. “You didn’t really answer my question, love.”

“Just too selective, I guess,” Hank said as he reached out and found the man’s hand in the darkness. “I live in a smaller town, not much to pick from there.”

“Certainly there are other gay men in Texas, other places to find them,” the Irish man pointed out from the dark.

“Oh sure, I could drive to Dallas or Austin, or even Houston, if I just wanted to get off, but what’s the point? All that expense and road time just for a few seconds of pleasure?” Hank moved his grasp to the tips of the man’s fingers, feeling the hardened calluses that marred each finger.

“I see.” The hand on Hank’s cheek slid down and cradled his jaw. “Yet, here you are, Tex, in a bathhouse. Why?”

“It’s not such a big deal, dude,” Hank replied in a tone bordering on defensive.

“Dude,” the man repeated with another amused chuckle. “Maybe not, or maybe it is. It’s quite a puzzle, don’t you think?”

“Call it an act of desperation, then. The dinner show ran long tonight, and by the time I made it out to the bars, they were closing. Who ever heard of shutting down a bar at midnight? On a Saturday night even?”

“What time do the bars close in Texas?” The Irish man asked as the hand gently stroked Hank’s smooth jaw, moving forward to his chin.

“Close at 2:00 a.m., and that’s prob’ly only because they’re required to by law. They’d prob’ly stay open all night if they could.”

A thumb stretched up and stroked at Hank’s lip as the Irish man gently asked, “Why desperation?”

Someone groped at his foot in the dark. Hank pulled up his knees and scooted his back against the wall. “I wasn’t about to leave Ireland without touching at least one Irish pecker.”

The man chuckled as the shadowy figure adjusted position. “I see. And how many peckers have you touched tonight?”

“None, yet,” Hank admitted.

“Don’t try to blarney me. Even Texas guys don’t go to a bathhouse just to look,” the man said, sounding a little miffed.

“It’s the truth,” Hank reassured. “This is the closest I’ve gotten so far tonight.”

“And why?” the man asked in a whisper.

“I’m not exactly a gay dreamboat. I don’t fit the tall-dark-handsome or the hairy-bear molds, so I don’t generate much interest.”

“I see,” he replied.

Hank reached up and took the man’s other hand away from his jaw, examining the fingers and finding calluses on this hand as well. “What kinda work do you do?”

“Boring work,” the man dismissed flatly as the figure leaned further forward. Hank soon felt a warm breath on his ear, followed quickly by the exploring tongue. He sighed as he collapsed against the wall, feeling jolts with every flick and caress of the soft tongue as it moved over his ear ridges. Hank stroked the man’s buzzed head, rubbing the stubbly hairs and trying not to moan too loudly.

——–