Excerpt #2 from Awakenings, by Tara Larson

January 6, 2012

SOON Adam’s shift was over. Sean, still a little buzzed but functional, followed Adam through the lobby of the hotel and out of the door that led to the pool and the beach, carrying a to-go cup of water with him.

The hotel grounds were amazing. The sprawling lawn, which the Delano formally called the “Orchard,” was ornately lit up and decorated as a tropical, Alice in Wonderland fairy tale, with odd tables here and there surrounded by mismatched chairs and laden with dripping candelabras and odd lamps, a giant chessboard, and an oversized bed in the middle of the perfectly manicured grass. The sound of rustling palm branches murmured overhead and the pool twinkled in the distance. There were people milling about, drinking exotic-looking cocktails and martinis. The warm night air was thick with the salty scent of the ocean and carried the unmistakable aroma of Cuban cigars on the breeze. People giggled and chatted by the pool, some sitting on half-submerged chairs in the shallow end of the sloping, beach entry-style pool with their feet dangling in the shimmering water. On the distant horizon, heat lightning flashed like a disco strobe light, just like Adam promised. It was an outdoor party and everyone was invited.

A group of gorgeous, bikinied ladies in a pool-side cabana caught sight of Adam and Sean as they strolled by and purred a collective, “Ooooh, look at that!” toward the two hunky men. Sean felt a blush of embarrassment, but Adam, in his calm self-awareness, turned toward the ladies in the cabana and gave them a smooth half smile and cocked his eyebrows in their direction in mutual appreciation.

Sean smiled at Adam’s confidence, admiring him. Here was a guy completely sure of himself, completely comfortable in his own skin. Sean was always much more modest than that. And yet, Adam wasn’t cocky at all. He was a perfectly balanced creature, it seemed: half masculine, half feminine qualities, and immensely appealing to all who came in contact with him, apparently.

Sean felt himself letting go. It was an exhilarating feeling. He wanted more. In fact, he never wanted to stop feeling this way. He followed Adam to a set of beach chaises.

Adam said, while removing his shoes, “Let’s leave these here.” The sand felt remarkably soft under Sean’s feet, and he allowed his toes to dig into the sand as he walked. The moon sparkled on the ocean in a white, reflective pool. “So what do you think?” Adam said curiously.

“It’s amazing,” replied Sean. “I never want to leave. I love the ocean. I’ve been landlocked, in every way possible, it seems, for way too long….”

The soft ocean breeze whipped Adam’s hair, and Sean could smell his scent as their steps in the uneven sand brought them closer together. It was an alluring, sweet, woodsy smell, like sandalwood or amber.

Suddenly something in the scent jolted Sean’s memory. He remembered his recurring dream about the glowing angel guiding him to a safe escape behind the musky, glowing wooden doorway. He gasped a little and turned to look at Adam’s face, trying through the darkness to recognize his features from the dream. There was a resemblance, but Sean wasn’t sure it was, or could be, the same man. Not that he believed in fairy tales or anything, but still. It was just too strange a feeling, too strange a coincidence. Adam didn’t notice Sean’s discerning gaze in the dark.

“You should live here, then,” replied Adam, looking ahead of them down the beach, “Seriously. I mean, if you’re so unhappy where you are. Why stay unhappy?”

Sean reflected on his words for a moment and said, “You know, I would give almost anything to be able to do that—move here and start over.”

Adam smiled and looked down at his feet and then out to the horizon over the ocean. “You only live once. Why wait? I don’t believe in regrets. You should go for it.”

It’s got to be him, Sean thought, slightly bewildered. His heart swelled with this new awareness. It feels the same. But what can that mean?

Heat lightning exploded in a spider-web pattern across the far horizon.

AS THEY passed around a seawall they realized they were alone together in the darkness, shrouded by the high wall. They stopped walking, and Adam turned to face Sean; Sean leaned his back against the seawall and turned his head to face the moon. A current of chemistry was building between them; Sean’s heart pounded with nervous anticipation.

Adam took a small step toward Sean and stopped.

They stood silently together for just a moment, Sean looking out over the ocean and the night sky and Adam looking intently at Sean. Adam was a few years older and just an inch or two taller than Sean, but barefoot in the sand, they seemed equally matched.

“I, ah,” Adam began, and he briefly looked out to the ocean to gather his thoughts for a moment before turning back to Sean. “I… like you, Sean Morgan. You seem really frustrated, though, and I hate to see that. I hope you can get to a place where you’re on better footing. It’s just a shame to see such a promising guy feeling so lost in the world.”

“Yeah, I know. It’s true,” Sean said as he turned back to face Adam. He was a little startled by the intensity in Adam’s face. Sean wasn’t afraid of him, he was just surprised. Adam looked seriously hot.

I promised myself I would go with the flow….

“You know,” Sean continued, “I know, I, ah, just met you and all, but… there’s something intriguing and, if you don’t mind me saying so, very magnetic about you. I’ve never, um, well, it’s a little weird for me to say this, but… you make me feel like there’s hope for me, you know?”

Adam smiled in return. “Of course there’s hope for you. Don’t let anyone tell you who you should be or what you should do with your life—no one. That includes me, of course,” he said, chuckling.

Normally Sean would have felt uncomfortable with the closeness between them and would have shifted his weight or stepped away from Adam, signaling his spatial boundary. But he stayed put and just gazed at Adam. He knew this was a silent invitation for something heavier, and he kind of liked it, although he was extremely nervous as well. His heart pounded faster and he held his breath as he waited for Adam to move in. He had no idea what to expect; he had never been like this with a guy before. He was resolved to see where it would lead.

Awakenings by Tara Larson

January 6, 2012

Can Sean’s connection with Adam convince him to leave behind his life of pretense? Awakenings by Tara Larson, available from Dreamspinner Press.

Sean Morgan is wealthy, good-looking, and smart, so the world should be his oyster, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Sean’s the one stuck in the tiny shell his rich, conservative family forced him into. He’d love to break away from law school—and his girlfriend—to pursue life as a maybe-gay photographer, but he doesn’t have the guts… until he meets sexy bartender-slash-artist Adam while on vacation with Lindsey.

His connection with Adam convinces Sean he needs to live a more authentic life, but how does his heart’s desire measure up against his family’s expectations? It isn’t in Sean to rock the boat, but Adam isn’t going to wait around forever. If Sean doesn’t stand up for who he is and what he wants, he’ll miss out on what could be his only shot at a happy ending.

Buy in eBook
Buy in print
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Novel

Awakenings, by Tara Larson, released today!

January 6, 2012

Hi everyone! Today my first book is being released by Dreamspinner Press. I will be posting excerpts throughout the day and will be giving away copies of the book to some lucky readers out there. ;-) I hope you will like it.

Excerpt #1 from Awakenings, by Tara Larson

WHEN Sean walked out of the elevator, he found himself in the bustling,
high-ceilinged lobby that looked like it was ripped right from the pages
of a high-fashion magazine. He remembered seeing a bar when they
checked in and went in search of it. When he found the swanky Cuban-style
lounge, the music was thumping so loud he couldn’t hear himself
think. People were everywhere, and he didn’t think he’d be able to make
it through the crowd up to the bar, much less order a drink. He felt
uncomfortable being there alone, so he turned around and left.

At the other end of the lobby was another bar. The sign above the
doors read “The Rose Bar.” A much milder atmosphere oozed from this
room into the lobby, so he walked in the direction of the soft pink light.
As he entered he instantly felt soothed. The entire room was drenched in
dark-red upholstery, and the lighting was a muted, golden-rose color. A
soft, ambient groove poured into the room from hidden speakers.

He exhaled. Finally, someplace to chill.

In the corner booth, a couple whispered intimately to one another.
Sean started toward the large, espresso-colored, leather-upholstered bar
that had several soft pink miniature chandelier pendants hanging
strategically along the length of it. The bartender looked up at him as he
entered the room, and their eyes met. Time slowed to a crawl as Sean
took in what he saw: a strikingly handsome and exotic-looking man, only
slightly older than him, tall and fit, very tanned skin, with dark, tousled
but cropped hair and sea glass green eyes. He had a chiseled jaw line and
a devilish patch of dark hair that reached from just under his full bottom
lip to his chin. He wore a glossy black button-down shirt that was
unbuttoned just enough to reveal his well-developed chest. He wore two
necklaces that had small silver medallions hanging from them, dangling
on his sternum. Both his ears were pierced, and he wore a small silver
hoop earring in each ear. He’d been cleaning a glass with a rose-colored
cloth and stood frozen in place like a Roman statue, staring back at Sean.

Sean had sometimes found other men attractive, but he usually kept
those thoughts to himself. To him it was completely natural to find
another person—male or female—good-looking or attractive. But the
family environment he had grown up in, and the social environment he
was currently living in, in deep-South Charlotte, strongly discouraged
any open displays of appreciation of the same sex, especially a man for
another man. He’d never acted on any previous attractions before, of
course. He wouldn’t even know where to start. His only experience in
courting the affections of another was with women. But this man, he
thought, was a seriously handsome, even sexy, guy. He wondered how he
could talk to him, maybe get to know him a little, without embarrassing
himself, of course. There was just something about him that seemed
intriguing. Little did Sean know that the bartender was also thinking the
same thing about him.

Sean’s appearance often turned heads, though he was rarely aware
of it. He had a casual, down-to-earth style that most people found
irresistibly disarming. A stud in soft jeans and flip-flops, by all accounts,
he was a knockout.

When Sean arrived at the bar, he chose a seat near the far end,
adjacent to the handsome bartender. The bartender greeted him in a
deeply masculine, yet soothing, voice, with just a slight hint of a Latin
accent. His eyes studied Sean carefully as he sat almost immediately in
front of him. He greeted him formally, but seemed to be speaking the
words out of habit while his mind was busy trying to comprehend this
new stranger at his bar on a deeper level.

“Hi. I’m Adam. What can I get for you tonight? Are you waiting
for someone to join you?”

Sean responded a little embarrassingly, “Oh—no, I’m not. I’m by
myself tonight.”

Adam smiled a little, but played it cool. “Okay. How about a beer,
then? We have several on tap and a huge selection of bottles in the
cooler.” Adam gestured toward the beer taps.

“No, I’m not in the mood for a beer,” Sean said. “What else do you
have that’s good? I’m in the mood for something… I don’t know,
different.” As the word slid off his tongue he shifted his gaze to Adam,
only to find him staring at him curiously, with his lips slightly parted and
his glass polishing completely stopped mid-polish. Sean felt a little
anxious, a little excited, and a little daring.

Whoa. What is this? Sean thought. Is he giving me a vibe? He
looked around the room, trying to defuse the suddenly hot feeling in his
face.

There was an electric current of chemistry in the air between the
two men. Adam was curious about this intriguing guy at his bar. He
decided to break the ice. “What’s your name?” Adam asked.

Sean’s gray eyes came back around to Adam, who was still
watching him intently. A little uneasily, he said, “Ah, I’m Sean. Sean
Morgan.”

Adam paused and narrowed his eyes, as if sizing him up. “I think I
know what you need, Sean Morgan,” he said, turning back toward the
mirrored wall of bottles.

“Oh yeah?” Sean said, curiously and somewhat disbelievingly.
“Please tell me it’s not Captain Morgan’s.”

Adam replied with a chuckle, “Ha ha, no, don’t worry. I know
people, it’s my job. You seem tense, like you need to relax, loosen up. I
know the perfect drink for you.”

“What’s it called?” Sean said, interested.

“A ‘caipirinha’—it’s Brazilian. It’s kind of like a margarita, but
better. You’ll see.” Adam began cutting and squeezing limes into a tall,
frosted glass. He moved quickly, professionally.

Sean was thinking that Adam had an exotic look to him and
remembered hearing a slight accent. Sean asked, “How do you say that
drink again? Are you from Brazil?”

Without looking up from his work, Adam said, chuckling, “Me?
No, I’m not Brazilian. I’m Puerto Rican. Well, half-Puerto Rican,
actually. My father was full-blooded Corsican. And the drink is called
‘kai-peer-een-ya’.” He looked up and enunciated the word slowly for
Sean, his full lips expertly forming around the strange word.

Sean’s eyebrows rose up, and Adam continued explaining while he
prepared the cocktail. He had become accustomed to curiosity about his
unusual lineage and had a rehearsed elevator speech about it. “I’ll tell
you the story if you’d like to hear…”

Blue Moon by Rowena Sudbury

January 4, 2012

Will Scott’s secretiveness spell the end of his relationship with Brad? Blue Moon by Rowena Sudbury, available from Dreamspinner Press.

Daredevil wrestler Brad Fraser throws his body around the ring to the cheers of the crowd, but when the lights go dark, he throws it from bed to bed to alleviate the boredom of travel. It all comes crashing down one night at the hands of the resident bad guy, but Brad finds himself rescued by the cool, suave Scott O’Doul, and the two men make a pact based on the illusion of control.

Though their relationship begins as an arrangement of pleasure rather than commitment, over the course of a year on and off the road, Brad finds himself trusting Scott more and more. But Scott plays things close to the chest, and Brad isn’t sure where he stands—until the night Scott nearly pushes him too far.

Buy in eBook
Genre: BDSM/Kink
Length: Novella

Fire Play by Dany Sirene

January 4, 2012

Will Jesse and Lau survive the attempt to destroy their love—and their lives? Fire Play by Dany Sirene, available from Dreamspinner Press.

Fire demiurge Lau had it made until the Mother Goddess banished him for his cruel treatment of humans. Now he’s stuck in a mortal life, trying to cope without his powers—mainly by partying hard and seducing anything with a heartbeat.

Then he meets Jesse Warner.

College student Jesse is new to Montreal. Out from under his parents’ thumbs for the first time, he can’t wait to begin to discover who he really is. He has no idea what’s really at stake when he falls in love with the former demiurge… until a powerful being with a grudge shows up, ready to destroy them both.

Buy in eBook
Genre: Fantasy/Paranormal
Length: Novella

Feeling Neighborly by Ellis Carrington

January 4, 2012

Feeling Neighborly by Ellis Carrington

Teagan Matthews is thrilled to discover his new townhouse comes complete with a sexy new neighbor, but plans go south when Teagan realizes that Matt has a child. While that’s normally a dealbreaker for Teagan, his conviction wavers when he and Matt have a run-in that turns hot and steamy. After a sweaty one-night stand, Teagan and Matt agree to be just friends…with benefits. Over time, hanging out turns into occasional dinners that kind of seem like dates, and soon friends-with-benefits is starting to feel an awful lot like… a relationship.

Buy in eBook
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short story

Quick Final Note: The contests end… And a few sentences of not-quite-sex from Delsyn’s Blues

January 2, 2012

… three days from today, which will be Thursday 1/5. So if you haven’t entered, there’s time, and if you have, please be patient.

As long as I’m here, a teeny little titilating excerpt from Delsyn’s Blues:

Sonny looked at him and he got warm. More than a little. Sonny’s hair, wet and dark, sending rivulets meandering down his just-cut-enough belly, pooling in his navel and in the hollows inside his hip bones, then soaking into the rough white towel he’d wrapped around and tucked at the waist. Luki’s breath went a little ragged, and he raised his eyes from the spectacle to find Sonny watching him back.

Sonny’s eyes had that look. The one that said “take me, you’re in charge,” but conveyed clearly that he knew Luki was twisted right around his finger. Or his dick. Didn’t so much matter which. Luki didn’t really care who had whom by the balls, so to speak, and he could play too. He licked his fat lips, knowing quite well what that did to Sonny. “Come here,” he said, not so much a request as an offer.

Sonny rolled his eyes, but it didn’t mask the heat rising up his neck. “What, again?”
***

Whatever books you’re spending time with now, folks, happy reading. Au Revoir!

Final blog post: how to find out if you won, how to get a signed copy of Delsyn’s Blues, how we can stay in touch (please), and thank you for coming!

January 2, 2012

I’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to share some bits of Delsyn’s Blues. I certainly hope you enjoyed the reading, and want to read more. If you do, and if you enjoy reading paperback rather than ebook the first 20 paperbacks purchased at Dreamspinner will be signed by me. In addition, if you won a paperback today, I’ll sign your copy, too.

I’ll contact contest winners via the email left here on the comment, or the email you sent your entry with if you sent it directly to me. You can check back here, or check at my Goodreads author blog: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4873260.Lou_Sylvre/blog. That’s also the best place to keep in touch, and I hope you will. Comments and questions are always welcome on the blog or my “chat group” at Goodreads, and I post about my own writing—including what’s coming up for Sonny and Luki—there, more than anywhere else. And, I didn’t get a chance to blog about a couple of things that I wanted to get to today, so that will be coming up on Goodreads, mostly for fun. ;)

Thank you so much for being here today, and huge thanks to Dreamspinner Press genies for hooking me up with this opportunity to blog.

Excerpt—Vasquez and James in Seattle

January 2, 2012

The famous and unique Rachel the Pig returns to Pike Street Market after being treated for injuries sustained ina pig vs car accident

*

LUKI had miraculously woken up only fifteen minutes after Sonny. It would be a busy day, he thought, so as soon as he had crept out on the balcony for a cigarette and had a second cup of coffee in his hand, he joined his lover… his partner… his fiancé, for God’s sake, for morning ablutions. The hotel had a big bathroom, surprisingly practical rather than luxurious, and while Luki stood at the sink brushing his very white, very perfect teeth, Sonny sat on the edge of the tub clipping his toenails. It made Luki smile inside; it meant Sonny planned on sex, which hadn’t seemed appropriate the previous night. And about which Luki had doubts with the stitches in his thigh still feeling like they were going to rip out every time he turned his leg or put weight on it.

“Don’t worry,” Sonny said, “I’ll do all the work.”

He reads my mind. Not fair. Still, watching Sonny out of the corner of his eye, the sleek stretches of hard muscle and long hair falling over his shoulders, his own sex responded with a quick leap.

“Not now, though.”

Luki rolled his eyes, sure Sonny couldn’t see him.

“Don’t roll your eyes, Luki—”

What, he heard me roll my eyes?

“We have to leave, and you know it.”

“I guess we should go see Kaholo and….” Luki choked his next words back and very deliberately started heating his razor under hot water. He’d been just about to say “and the ’phews,” which was how he and Sonny had jokingly referred to the boys when there were still three and Delsyn had been one of them. He started again, “I guess we should go see Kaholo and Jackie and Josh. Once again, he felt he was missing some piece of the puzzle about what was going on. Something he should have his finger on, but didn’t. Still, ever since Ladd suggested Nebraska as a destination, it seemed more and more like a good idea. He missed Kaholo, and he missed the boys too—and he hadn’t really had a chance yet to get to know them.

“Yeah,” Sonny said, looking vaguely surprised. “I already made our travel arrangements.”

“You didn’t even know I was considering the idea! You got the plane tickets?”

“No, not plane tickets. I knew about the idea because Ladd suggested it—he told me. And it seemed like a good plan. Though I have to say, again, there’s something not quite right about him.”

“Sonny, we talked about that. You don’t have to like Ladd, that’s your business, but I’ve known him for twenty years. He had my back, and vice versa, in a lot of very dicey situations. When you work with a guy in a job like that day after day, it’s like you’re family. I’d trust him with my life. I’d trust him with your life.” He picked up the can of shave cream and squirted probably too much into his hand, balancing mostly on one leg and watching Sonny in the mirror. Sonny stared back at him, silent and relaxed, his gaze warm but telling. Sonny’s stare meant he would say more about Ladd if he thought Luki would listen. And there was a bit of irony in the mix. Luki got the message, though he wouldn’t have been able to explain how. Maybe he just knew Sonny that well now. “No, Sonny. Stop right there. There’s no comparison between the way I trust Ladd and the way I trust you, so you can’t measure one against the other. He’s my friend. You’re my life.” In usual Sonny fashion, he didn’t respond to that at all. Luki hated that, but he admired it as well. It was a rare skill, letting things go unsaid. And he used to think he had a corner on that market.

“I didn’t get plane tickets,” Sonny repeated. “I reserved an RV.”

“Excuse me?” He stopped with the mountain of shave cream lifted halfway to his face.
“An RV.”

“I heard you.” He waited, but clearly Sonny wasn’t going to say more unless he asked directly, so he voiced the most logical question. “Are you crazy?”

“Some people think so. Really, I’m just a weaver with a doctorate and a colorful history.”

“Sonny—”

“And it’ll be like a vacation.”

“C’mon—”

“It’s a really nice one.”

“What the fuck are you talking about?”

“And on the way, we could listen to Delsyn’s blues.”

The big red dog—or how readers helped write Delsyn’s Blues, part 2 (Oh yeah, and another contest)

January 2, 2012

Back on June 20, 2011, on this very blog, a release party was in progress for book 1, Loving Luki Vasquez. In introduced my assistant, Boudreau. Here’s one of his pics, for those who haven’t yet met him:

Several readers/party attendees commented on the subject of cats and dogs in general, and I mentioned that I thought Vasquez and James might acquire a dog in Delsyn’s Blues. That led to “name that dog” contest at my Goodreads author blog. Now, Bear is a chow-mix totally devoted to Luki, despite Luki’s best efforts to discourage him. Here’s the picture readers used to name the new, bulky, four-legged character:

And another contest!

My last post was an excerpt. Tell me the name of the boat Sonny was driving, and their destination, and your in the running for ebook copy of Delsyn’s Blues. (If you entered the other contest, you can enter this one, too, but you can only win once, okay?)
Like before, answer in a comment here, or email me direct at lou(dot)sylvre(at)gmail(dot)com. Please enter! I love contests!