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.

Assembling A Dream Date With Lex Chase

February 18, 2016

SAR_Dream_Date

Hello, everyone! I’m Lex Chase and thank you for joining me on this month’s edition of #Dreamer! Today, I’m sharing a special date from my new release with Bru Baker Some Assembly RequiredIf you haven’t heard, it’s a meet-cute about two dead guys haunting a purgatorial affordable home goods store called CASA. Y’know, everyone considers that particular big box store purgatory, but in this case it really is. ;D

So what do you do when you do when you’re trapped for all eternity in the land of particle board and meatballs? You can’t exactly go out on a movie date. So, you have to get a bit (okay a lot) creative. So presenting here is the excerpt from Benji and Patrick’s dream date. Patrick, who hasn’t seen a current movie in decades, doesn’t know what to expect when Benji our “newly deceased” teaches him the meaning of “watch Netflix and chill.”


Some Assembly Required
by Lex Chase and Bru Baker
Excerpt


Benji would have had a hard time figuring out what to screen for Patrick on their movie date, but after an hour agonizing over his choices, he’d settled on The Avengers. It was the perfect mix of comic book geekery, fists meeting faces, and the three-way dilemma of Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, or Tom Hiddleston. Robert Downey Jr. went without saying. But Hemsworth and Hiddleston were always a difficult choice that usually settled in a tie. It was exactly the type of movie he bet Patrick would have lined up to see on opening night.

Benji was going to be kind of devastated if Patrick didn’t love it. Which was ridiculous, all things considered. But he wanted to give Patrick something special, to do something for him that no one else could. He and Patrick were alike in that way. They were both prone to grand gestures. Benji’s were just usually a little better planned out and a lot more well intentioned.

“You’re doing a very nice thing here, Benji,” Karin said, and there was no mistaking the wistful smile on her face. She was definitely a little jealous.

He grinned. “We could make it a weekly thing, you know. Movie night,” he clarified when both Agnes and Karin gave him a confused look. “Not that I wouldn’t like to have a weekly date with Patrick. I would. But we could have a movie night. For everyone, I mean.”

It felt a bit silly now that he’d said it out loud. Could the Impressions even watch a movie? He wasn’t sure. There was still so much he didn’t understand about CASA. But Agnes and Karin definitely could, so it would at least be the four of them. Like a family night, since they were the only family he had now.

“I’d quite like that,” Agnes said after a moment of consideration.

Karin clapped her hands together. “Me too! How many digital movies does this thing have on it?”

Benji smothered a laugh behind his hand, pretending to yawn. “Uh, they’re not on the laptop, exactly. We’re streaming them from a service that has a bunch of movies. Old television shows too.”

If Karin was young enough, there might be an unfinished plotline out there that had been nagging at her for decades. Maybe she’d spent all this time wondering who shot J.R. He had to bite his lips together to keep from laughing at the thought of Karin with Farrah Fawcett hair and bell-bottoms.

Agnes shot the laptop a look of deep mistrust but grudgingly nodded. “Streaming. Laptops. Digital movies. What’s next, cars that drive themselves?”

They all looked up when someone cleared his throat in the doorway. Patrick leaned against the frame, looking reluctantly amused.

“I figured the very vague note you left on my MILAN this morning to meet you here tonight meant you were reconsidering my blow-job offer. I didn’t realize it was a meeting to talk about future cars. I’d have dressed with more care,” he said wryly, gesturing at the stained Despicable Me shirt he’d plucked from Lost and Found a few days ago. Benji hadn’t had the heart to tell him it was a minion and not a Twinkie with a face. Patrick had been absolutely delighted by it.

Agnes made a disgusted sound and wrinkled her nose at him. “If you cared about anything at all, you’d stop raiding that box and start materializing your clothes like the rest of us.”

Patrick’s eyes widened. “What’s that I hear in your voice, Agnes? Concern? So you do like me!”

She fixed him with a withering stare and rolled her eyes. “I’d like you to be gone,” she muttered before disappearing.

Karin shook her head and followed suit, leaving the two of them alone in the conference room.

Benji watched Patrick for a few seconds, sighing softly when he saw Patrick’s easy posture tighten up when it was just the two of them. “Just so you know, cars that drive themselves actually exist. Or at least, the prototypes do. They’ve had several moderately successful tests.”

Patrick gave him a thin-lipped smile. “Time does march on, doesn’t it?”

Benji cleared his throat, uncomfortable with the maudlin turn things had taken. He knew life was moving on out there without him, but he didn’t like to be reminded of it. And there was no better remedy for escaping reality than slipping into someone else’s.

“Would you go to the movies with me?” he blurted, wincing at the abruptness of the subject change.

Patrick’s brow furrowed. “Are you forgetting that pesky business of us not being able to leave the premises?”

There was definitely interest behind the snarky attitude, and Benji gave himself an internal high five. Operation Movie Date was cleared for takeoff.

“Welcome to the CASA Cineplex, sir,” he said, bowing low. “We’ll begin our screening momentarily. Please help yourself to concessions and find a seat.”

Patrick was still looking at him like he was crazy, but his eyes were sparkling, a sure sign that Patrick was enjoying himself.

Benji fiddled with the light switches while Patrick roamed around the table, finally settling on one of the two seats at the end of the table farthest back from the projector.

“So we don’t disturb any of the other customers in our movie theater if we get frisky during the imaginary movie,” Patrick said with a conspiratorial wink. “I was always a back row kind of guy.”

Benji snorted. He had no trouble seeing Patrick in the back row of a theater, though it had probably been to throw popcorn instead of get up to anything lewd. For all his bravado, Patrick was surprisingly prudish. Benji knew he’d been hurt by someone before, which accounted for a lot of his hesitancy to get intimate, but that didn’t explain why Patrick flustered so easily when their hands brushed. It was endearing.

“It’s not an imaginary movie,” he said, pointedly refusing to engage in Patrick’s childish innuendo. He brought up Netflix and logged into Charles’s account.

His hand hovered over the projector button. “I have a really important question for you,” he said, looking over at Patrick.

“Gee, Beaver, I don’t know where babies come from. You’d better ask Pop,” Patrick said, his eyes wide.

Benji’s lips twitched. “Asshole. Seriously, this is life or death.”

“Afterlife or death, you mean?”

Benji drew his hand back and crossed his arms. “Maybe I was wrong about you. I doubt you’d like this anyway. You’re probably all Superman all the time.”

Patrick gave him an offended tsk. “Earth isn’t so badly off that it needs to import aliens as superheroes,” he scoffed. “Marvel all the way.”

Benji grinned and flicked on the projector. The title credits for The Avengers popped up on the large screen. “Right answer.”

Patrick’s mouth dropped open. “No. They did not make my favorite comic ever into a movie. Did they? Did they really make Avengers into a movie? Who played Thor? Val Kilmer, right? Had to be Val Kilmer.”

Benji snorted a chuckle. “What?”

Patrick shrunk down in his seat a little bit. “Nothing.”

Pure happiness bubbled through Benji. For the first time in a long time, he was exactly where he wanted to be. He could count the number of perfect moments he’d had during life on one hand, and he was thrilled beyond belief to realize he’d get to have them in the afterlife too. A lot more of them, too, if he had anything to say about it. He bet he could easily fill both hands and both feet with happy Patrick moments if he really set his mind to it.

“Oh my God, I can’t tell you how happy I am to get to be the one to introduce you to the perfection that is Chris Hemsworth,” he said, delighted.

“But first, we have a score to settle.” Benji would have pulled on his handlebar mustache if he had one. It was the ultimate villain moment. “I believe you promised to teach me how to eat.” He looked pointedly over at the popcorn and candy Agnes had arranged on the table.

“Come on! That could take forever! I’ll teach you after, I promise.” Patrick pouted and rubbed his face when Benji didn’t unpause the movie. “Benji, it’s The Avengers,” he whined.

Benji raised his eyebrows, holding Patrick’s gaze.

“Oh, fine,” Patrick said. He didn’t bother getting up. Instead, he just teleported over to the table, appearing on it sitting with his legs crossed underneath him. “I hope you choke on it,” he said as he held a piece of popcorn up to Benji’s lips.

“Now who’s forgetting that we don’t need to breathe?” Benji teased, the words muffled by the food.

Patrick’s lips twitched and he withdrew the popcorn. “You don’t get to be the funny one. That job is already taken, by me.”

“I’ll just settle for being the pretty one, then,” Benji said, batting his eyelashes coquettishly.

Patrick choked on the Swedish Fish he’d just tossed into his mouth. “No arguments,” he rasped when he finally managed to swallow it. “Basically, it’s just like everything else here. Mind over matter. Be the change you want to see in the world and all that metaphysical jazz.”

Benji smiled fondly. “That’s a Gandhi quote.”

“Whatever, it still fits. If you want to be able to eat, eat,” Patrick said with a shrug. He ate another Swedish Fish.

“So that’s it? I can eat because I want to eat?”

Patrick saluted him. “Make it so.”

Benji eyed the popcorn with distrust but picked up a piece. It smelled amazing, and he could feel the salt crystals on the surface of the buttery kernel. “So I just go for it, Captain Picard?”

“It’s hard to explain. Why don’t you fall through the floor when you walk? It’s not because you’re corporeal, because you’re not unless you concentrate and will it. But your feet hit the floor and you don’t sink through because you expect to be able to walk on it. It’s never occurred to you that you couldn’t, so you can. Eating is the same basic principle. It takes a fair amount of energy, so we don’t do it often, but some things are worth it, you know?”

Patrick shot him a wicked grin. He grabbed a handful of popcorn and stuffed it into his mouth with a decadent groan.

Benji took a breath and tried to center himself like he did when he was practicing object manipulation with his Yoda figure. He gingerly placed the popcorn kernel on his tongue and focused on the weight of it. He willed his taste buds to engage, but it was like having a piece of cardboard in his mouth. There was no salty zing or smooth, oily roll of butter across his tongue.

He spit it out into his palm with a grimace.

“Do you actually taste things or are you just fucking with me?” he asked, narrowing his eyes at Patrick, who was licking the salt off his fingers with exaggerated bliss.

“Oh, sweetheart, if I was fucking you, you’d know,” he purred. Instead of continuing on with his teasing, though, he straightened up and took one of the chocolates off the pile. “Try this. It’s easier with softer foods at first. Just put it in your mouth and remember what it was like to eat. Think about what you want it to taste like. Think about the feeling of chewing it, or how it feels to swallow.”

Benji snickered at that, and Patrick flushed. Clearly the innuendo had been accidental that time. He really was adorable. Benji leaned forward and let Patrick put the chocolate in his mouth. It was cool on his tongue, and he thought about it melting and spreading sweet, thick chocolate across his taste buds.

He nearly choked when he realized he wasn’t just remembering the taste of chocolate—he was tasting it.

A grin spread across Patrick’s face. “Right? See? You’re doing it, aren’t you? Now chew it and swallow it.”

Benji did, amazed to find his mouth flooded with saliva that definitely hadn’t been there before. Tears pricked at his eyes, and he blinked quickly to dispel them. What a stupid thing to cry over.

He looked away, but Patrick slid his thumb across Benji’s eyelids, gently collecting the unshed tears. “Hey, no. It’s cool. I get it. It’s a lot.”

Benji took a breath and opened his eyes, grinning into Patrick’s. He brought his hand up and caught Patrick’s, twining their fingers together.

“Let’s watch this movie,” he said. He pulled himself up onto the table, settling in next to Patrick.

“Avengers assemble!” Patrick crowed, and Benji laughed, happiness spreading over him like a blanket.

 

 

It was a good thing that Benji had the bowl full of popcorn to keep himself occupied, because otherwise he’d never have made it through the whole thing without cooing over the adorable furrow between Patrick’s eyebrows that appeared while he craned his entire body toward the screen.

Benji had assumed Patrick would be the kind of guy who talked all the way through a movie, critiquing the acting and special effects or making predictions about what was going to happen next. And maybe he was that kind of guy—Benji would be amazed if he wasn’t, because being a bit of an asshole just seemed to be part of Patrick’s DNA—but Patrick didn’t utter a word through the entire movie.

Patrick gasped when Thanos made his brief appearance in the first end credits, his excitement dancing across his face like a five-year-old at Christmas. He watched with rapt attention, like he was trying to memorize every cast and crew member’s name, and then cracked up when the battle-weary team went for shawarma. He didn’t let Benji speak at all until the entire thing ended and the Netflix menu came up.

“Let’s watch it again.”

That wasn’t exactly what Benji had envisioned Patrick saying to him at the end of their first official date. He’d kind of hoped Patrick would be overcome with emotion and throw himself into Benji’s arms, cursing himself for wasting so much of their time together by running away.

And while any excuse to spend time with Patrick was a good one, even if it didn’t involve Patrick emoting, Benji was dead tired.

Ha. Dead tired. Because he was tired. And dead.

Benji bit back a grin at his unintentional pun. Normally he’d share it with Patrick, but he didn’t want to break up the oddly charged mood with a bad joke.

“Tomorrow, maybe? We could have a movie marathon with the Avengers’ back stories.”

Patrick’s eyes grew comically wide. “There are more Avengers movies?”

Benji rubbed the back of his neck. “Well, yeah. There are a couple Captain America movies, and there’s the Hulk’s movie. Oh, and Thor. And Iron Man, of course. There are a bunch of those.”

Patrick held his hand out imperiously toward the laptop. “Let’s watch them now.”

Benji felt his aura flicker, which he’d learned was the ghostly equivalent of a yawn. He’d expended too much energy setting everything up, plus all the energy he’d used eating the popcorn. As much as he’d like to spend the night watching movies, he needed to sleep.

“I’m glad you liked it, but I’m beat.”

“I can fix that,” Patrick said with a heavy-lidded smirk. He slid across the table, and Benji nearly fell off the edge when Patrick wrapped his arms around him. His nose knocked against Patrick’s collarbone, and he felt a zing of energy rush through him when the soft fabric got pushed aside. Benji couldn’t help but nuzzle in closer, chasing the addictive charge.

Patrick curved around him, pressing open-mouthed kisses against Benji’s neck. “So good like this. I’d forgotten,” he muttered. “Orgasms for everyone, and then we’ll watch more movies.”


Now how about a giveaway for you and your dream date? I’m not giving away one but two $5 USD DSP Gift Certificates! What do you have to do? Tell me about your ideal dream date. Or tell me about the one you had between you and your true love (husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, whatever!) And then nominate someone you’d gift with the second DSP certificate! Spread the love to your valentine!


Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” Now she’s on a mission to make the world a hell of a lot more interesting.

Weaving tales of sweeping cinematic adventure—depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. Her pride is in telling stories of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. If you’re going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.

Lex is a pop culture diva, her DVR is constantly backlogged, and she unapologetically loved the ending of Lost. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LXChase
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Lex_Chase
Tumblr: http://lexiconofkittens.tumblr.com
Instagram: http://instagram.com/lexachase


Bru_Headshot

Bru Baker got her first taste of life as a writer at the tender age of four when she started publishing a weekly newspaper for her family. What they called nosiness she called a nose for news, and no one was surprised when she ended up with degrees in journalism and political science and started a career in journalism.

Bru spent fifteen years writing for newspapers before making the jump to fiction. She now works in reference and readers’ advisory in a Midwestern library, though she still finds it hard to believe someone’s willing to pay her to talk about books all day. Most evenings you can find her curled up with a mug of tea, some fuzzy socks, and a book or her laptop. Whether it’s creating her own characters or getting caught up in someone else’s, there’s no denying that Bru is happiest when she’s engrossed in a story. She and her husband have two children, which means a lot of her books get written from the sidelines of various sports practices.

www.bru-baker.com
Facebook
Twitter


PS: I’m waaaaay behind with naming giveaway winners from previous dreamer posts! No worries! I’ll be picking them out this week! Watch your inboxes! ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

For the Love of Country Music with Remmy Duchene

February 17, 2016

For the Love of Country Music

Hello Everyone!

My name is Remmy Duchene. For those of you who have no clue who I am – here’s a brief rundown. I have an evil day job and by night I dawn a cape and fight crime in Gotham City…wait…no, that’s Batman—sorry about that.  Okay, here goes. I am a Jamaican living in the cold white north who enjoys writing romance and erotica that is infused with a rather healthy dose of cultures. It is true, I do have a day job, but when I can steal time, I love working on stories that entertain me.  Today, I’m here to speak with you about Country Soul, 2nd edition.

In Jamaica, country music was unheard of. I mean sure, we know how Garth Brooks is and a few of us have kind of an idea about Reba McEntire but on a whole, we do Reggae, Michael Jackson, Michael Bolton, some hip-hop, maybe a few Latin singers but that’s about it. Then I moved to Canada in the winter time and since I was terrified of the snow (which my mother wanted me to go outside and play in—the nerve of that woman lol), I stayed indoors for the first few days of my move to the new country just flipping through the television channels.

I crashed into CMT (Country Music Televison) to Alannah Myles’ Black Velvet. What a day that was. I went crazy dancing around my living room. To me, this song wasn’t really country—it didn’t fall under the same sound I was used to hearing from Garth Brooks when I was in Jamaica. Still, I fell in love with the sound of Ms. Myles voice so I kept the channel playing all day. From Shania Twain, to Brooks and Dunn and the list went on and on.

As I grew and matured in this new place, country music took on a whole new life. I began listening to it more than I did Reggae. In college I met one of my best friends (I call her Aster) and she is from a place so deep in Ontario, I thought didn’t exist at first. She drives a truck and LOVES country music.  With her by my side, that love of a music so foreign to me, grew into something a little more real and almost obsessive.

It always weirds people out when I’m in let’s say, a Walmart and a country song comes on, and I start singing while strutting up and down the aisles while doing a little dance. Why? It must look super strange watching a black woman, singing something like Conway Twitty.

But I digress—years I was watching Lost In You by Chris Gaines (Garth Brook’s alter ego) on Youtube (thank goodness for Youtube) –and I remember sitting there watching the video over and over because a story idea was forming and each time I watch it, the idea became clearer and clearer. I’m not sure how many times I watched it so the plot bunnies could work but Country Soul formed in that day.

After the first publisher to take Country Soul went under, it almost broke my heart. You see, as writers we pen these tales and even though we love all the stuff we write (to a point) some we adore more than others.  Country Soul is one of those for me. It came from a place of pure sadness—if you listen to this song you will see what I mean.

 

I would like to thank DSP for giving me a second chance to expose this tale to new readers. I really hope you enjoy reading about these two men as much as I enjoyed writing them.

 

Before I go, quick question – for me, my inspiration behind this story was Chris Gaines’ Lost in You.  We all have these songs –you know the ones that rip your heart out and show it to you?  I’m being dramatic but you know what I mean. What song does that for you that you think I MUST listen to? Please comment below.

 

Thanks again for stopping by! Have a lovely day!

Hugs,

Remmy Duchene

Website: http://remmyduchene.wix.com/remmyduchene

Twitter: www.twitter.com/remmyduchene

Blog: http://remmyduchene.blogspot.ca

Check out Country Soul today!

COUNTRY

Blurb: 

When Jackson Rawlings comes out of the closet, he loses everything: from his record label to the self-confidence he needs to perform on stage. Jackson feels as if the world is out to get him. Broken and afraid, he escapes to Hallesford and the ranch he calls home. All he wants is to live out the rest of his life peacefully and out of the spotlight.

But the fates just love interfering in his life.

Marques Lopez is the owner of Phoenix Records, and not only does he hate what happened to Jackson, he feels Jackson Rawlings has plenty more to contribute to the music industry. He ventures into small-town USA to find the singer and when he does, Jackson is a mere fragment of the man he used to be. To make matters worse, Marques’s body and heart step in to present him with a choice between business and pleasure—unless he could have his cake and eat it too….

 

No Smoke Without Fire with Kay Ellis

February 17, 2016

No Smoke Without Fire

In the words of the song – whoa oh, my sex is on fire. Literally, in this case!

Hi, I’m Kay Ellis and I’m here to talk about my latest release, The Fire King. This is the third book in the Evolin series and continues Sully and Tylan’s story. Mostly Sully’s as Tylan is conspicuously absent, assumed to be dead, for most of the book, and Sully’s head is turned by a handsome newcomer.

It first became clear that the fire had its own personality during The Fallen, when Tylan said he thought the fire was in love with Sully. Now, their roles are reversed. Tylan is trapped inside the mind of the fire and the fire is flesh and blood and out to claim Sully for its own.

The evolvement of the fire seemed a natural progression and I liked the idea of giving it human traits and a personality. I’m a great admirer of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, in particular, the character Death. One of my favourite Pratchett books is when Death takes a holiday because he wants to know what it means to be human. I love the part where he gets bored of being drunk so he stops and goes home. Death wants to understand why life is so precious; people will do anything to hold onto it.

In The Fire King, Okhela (aka the fire) wants Sully to teach him to be man. I guess it would be unsettling to any of us to know that our most human traits, mannerisms and odd little habits, are not yours at all, but belong to someone else. Personally, I think I have some habits nobody else would want to lay claim too. I’m rather OCD about a lot of things from not touching the car after I’ve locked it to only using even numbers!

Writing is such a great release for me. It’s good to lose myself in my little fantasy worlds. Right now, I’m working on a piece that is probably half contemporary and half fantasy. It’s a bit of a change for me because it involves an alien invasion!

If we ever were invaded, I would definitely want to hide behind Daryl Dixon and his crossbow. So let’s throw it out there. In the case of an alien invasion, who would you want protecting you and why? Where would you go to escape? My favourite answer will win a copy of either Fireheart or The Fallen, the first books in the Evolin series

Check out Kay Ellis on Facebook!

Get “The Fire King” today!

FireKing[The]

Blurb: 

Sully is summoned back to Maestraad by the entity who took control of Tylan’s body when Tylan perished. This Fire King—now calling himself Okhela—offers Sully a bargain he cannot refuse: if, after six months, Sully fails to fall in love with him, Okhela will return Tylan. The trouble is, as much as Sully wants to hate Okhela, the Fire King rules with wisdom and generosity… and Sully cannot resist the attraction he feels toward the handsome king. Though his heart will always belong to Tylan, Sully gives in to his body’s demands.

But can Sully trust Okhela to keep his word? With assassins on the loose, can Sully keep the Fire King alive long enough to find out? With the future of the kingdom—as well as his heart—at stake, Sully must call upon old friends and new to protect the Fire King, who might hold the keys to both.

 

Embracing the Spark with Nicole Godfrey and A.J. Marcus – Post + Giveaway

February 12, 2016

embracing

Hello! My name is Nicole Godfrey and I’m one half of the author duo who wrote Hoofbeats.

From the beginning this was a story that spoke to my heart. I’ve read a few books with an American Indian as the lead character, and they always left me wanting to write my own. Hoofbeats was not my first, but the concept of a Horse Shifter/Horse Whisperer romance couldn’t be ignored once it took root. Not that I’ve ever been one to ignore a good story idea.

Passing the story back and forth between chapters proved a challenge, but through combined efforts we managed to find a way to tell a story that shows how wild horses are still being destroyed. That became the awareness we wanted to create, intertwined with American Indian mythology, and what could happen if horse shifters originated from one of the Native lines of North America.

The idea came along after I’d done a beta read for A.J. Marcus, my co-author. He wrote a book with three shifters, two big cats and an owl. The owl was a law man of the shifter world, and I thought the concept would be fun to connect several stories in the same universe. The characters have the potential to overlap in the future, but the stories stand on their own. For that reason A.J. and I have plans to writer several more novels with bird shifter enforcers. We are currently working on the second of these novels, starring a pair of golden eagle shifters. Well, in addition to our own solo projects, that is.

I have found that going to a coffee shop, staking out a corner with a tasty beverage, and writing for hours really helps me crank out the word count. The ear buds go in and I listen to a mix of all the different kinds of music I like on Pandora. Being at home generally leads to distractions, even when I’m alone. Coffee shops offer a small amount of social interaction, the opportunity to have writer friends come join me and do work, as well as getting to support local businesses. A well made cup of Joe can be quite inviting, and a change of scenery is never a bad thing either.

Overall, I guess you could say the right set of circumstances can lead you to the spark of an idea, which in turn can lead you to writing stories from your heart. A.J. asked me if I’d like to write a book with him, asked me to come up with ideas for shifters, and that was all it took to push the gears into motion. Generating ideas is my favorite part of writing, which A.J. knew, and shifters have always been a source of fascination for me. I attribute that passion to watching werewolf movies as a kid, specifically American Werewolf in London.

What kinds of movies inspire you? Like A.J. and I, do you have a passion for spreading awareness when it comes to the treatment of wild animals? Or do you have a special source of mythology that tickles your ideas into bold brilliance? Leave your answer in the comments below and we’ll randomly select one to get an e-copy of your choice from A.J.’s back list.

We’d love to hear about it, and how these things influence your choices for reading fiction. Leave a comment and we’ll do our best to address each one. Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoy Hoofbeats!

HoofbeatsFS

 

Blurb:

After a run of bad luck, gifted horse trainer Cole Frasier thinks he’s lost his touch. When he’s offered three times his normal rate to gentle a stallion, he needs the money badly enough he jumps at the opportunity, even if his boss is of questionable morality.

Once he meets Midnight Blood, he knows there’s something special about the horse, but he doesn’t know how special until he begins sharing dreams with the magnificent steed.

Derek Dancing Hawk is a horse shifter trapped in his horse form due to guilt over losing the wild herd he was guarding. When he meets Cole, as Midnight Blood, he wants to find a way to be human again. During a fight between Cole and the ranch foreman, he manages to shift and save Cole, but his transformation from horse to human is captured on camera. This not only gives Cole’s boss blackmail material, but also creates the need to warn the horse shifter council of the threat to their anonymity. The existence of shifters is a closely guarded secret, one they will go to great lengths to keep.

Check out Hoofbeats today!

Author Bios:

A.J. has been writing to pass the time since high school. The stories he wrote helped him deal with life. A few years ago, he started sharing those stories with friends who enjoyed them and he has started sending his works out into the world to share with other people. He lives in the mountains with his extremely supportive husband. They have a lot of critters, including dogs, cats, birds, horses, and rabbits. When not writing, A.J. spends a lot of time hiking, trail riding or just driving in the mountains. Nature provides a lot of inspiration for his work and keeps him writing. He is also an avid photographer and falconer. Don’t get him started talking about his birds, because he won’t stop for a while.

Web Contact Info:

Website: www.ajmarcus.com
Email: andy@ajmarcus.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/aj_marcus
Facebook: http:// www.facebook.com/authorajmarcus

 

Nicole Godfrey is a writer who calls the beautiful city of Colorado Springs home, along with her fury children. She was born in Omaha, NE. and has lived in Florida and Tennessee. Her writing career started with poetry at a young age, leading to her first publication at the age of twelve. Poetry eventually evolved into the love of storytelling, and any good story, no matter the genre, is open to her creative mind. She has two short stories published through Colorado Springs Fiction Writers Group; A Page Lost in An Uncommon Collection, and The Power of the Word in Remnants and Resolutions: Tales of Survival.
When she’s not writing, Nicole actively participates in Amtgard and loves to play table-top RPG’s. Art has also been a part of her life since a young age, so she spends as much time as possible playing with different mediums.

https://www.facebook.com/authornicolegodfrey1983/?ref=br_rs
authornicolegodfrey@gmail.com
@NicoleGodfrey

My Hometown & the Setting for Mute Witness

February 12, 2016

Mute_Witness_Final

If any of my family or anyone I grew up with reads Mute Witness (published by Dreamspinner’s sister house, DSP Publications and out on February 3, 2016), they’ll know I based the town in the book, Summitville, PA, on my own hometown of East Liverpool, OH.

In the book, I describe Summitville like this:

As Sean drove through the streets of Summitville, with their curves and rises as the concrete mapped out a destination on the hills, he couldn’t help but think what a contrast the little city presented: the beauty of the hills, rising up above the town, tree-covered, the Ohio River twisting through its valley, all scarred by the evidence of human habitation. The houses perched, clinging to the hillsides, most of them in need of paint or repair, the rusting carcasses of cars littering many of the driveways. People, too poor to afford air conditioning, sat on front porch stoops fanning themselves, staring dumbly at the traffic passing their homes. Sean wondered why he even bothered to live there. He was a good, if not great, writer, passable enough to maybe not write the great American novel as he had once dreamed of doing, but adequate enough to at least work at a larger newspaper in someplace like Pittsburgh or maybe even Chicago. But he knew the reason he stayed. And it wasn’t because his roots were here. Nor was it because of Austin, whom he had once figured would be happy to pull up stakes and follow him anywhere. Nor was it because of his job, which valued his writing ability at the majestic sum of $32,000 per year.

No, he stayed because of Jason. To be near his little boy. The only child he would ever have. He wanted to watch his son grow up, to shepherd him to adulthood, to make sure he grew up compassionate….

An article on rustwire.com “East Liverpool and the Unforgiving Economy of Rural Appalachia”, (from 2014) describes East Liverpool today sadly, yet accurately. Just a disclaimer—this little town is where my roots and most of my family and some dear old friends are, so I don’t mean to disparage, but only to illuminate my inspiration for the fictional town of Summitville. I think it’s interesting to see how a kind of grim story arose from these grim surroundings.

But, like the fictional town and the real one, and the book and real life, where hope lives, redemption can arise. Read for yourself and see.

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“About 100 miles Southeast of Cleveland, nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, along the Ohio River sits the small city of East Liverpool, Ohio. Once known as the pottery capitol of the world, many of the China and glassware factories have closed, as have the steel mills where many East Liverpool residents once worked. In its heyday during World War II, almost 50,000 people lived in East Liverpool. Today the city’s population tops off at just above 10,000.

“Nearly 30 percent of all residents live below the poverty level. The per capita income is just more than $16,000. The unemployment rate is 13 percent. It’s a city where almost every second or third house seems to be abandoned, and not just abandoned. Some are burnt out. Some are falling down. The locals talk about the incessant and merciless drug traffic. They say dealers have come up to the city from the east coast – having found a robust market for heroin and other opiates. The drug trade wreaks constant havoc on the streets. In late September, five people were shot there in a single night.”

BLURB

The abuse of a little boy turns a community against a loving gay couple, and nobody comes out of it unscathed.

Sean and Austin have the perfect life: new love, a riverfront home, security. Their love for one another is only multiplied when Sean’s eight-year-old son, Jason, visits on the weekends.

And then their perfect world shatters.

Jason goes missing.

When the boy turns up days later, he’s been so horribly abused he’s lost the power to speak. Immediately small town minds turn to the boy’s gay father and his lover as the likely culprits. What was a warm, welcoming community becomes a lynching party out for blood.

As Sean and Austin struggle to stay together amidst innuendo, the very real threat of Sean losing the son he loves emerges. Yet the true villain is much closer to home, intent on ensuring the boy’s muteness is permanent.

 BUY
DSP Publications ebook: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/mute-witness-by-rick-r-reed-206-b
DSP Publications paperback: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/mute-witness-by-rick-r-reed-207-b

Note: When you buy the paperback from DSP Publications, you get the ebook for FREE.

NOH8Rick

RICK R. REED is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). He is also a Rainbow Award Winner for both Caregiver and Raining Men. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.”

Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

FIND RICK:

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks
Twitter: www.twitter.com/rickrreed
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+RickReedWRITER
Blog: http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/
Website: www.rickrreed.com
Email: jimmyfels@gmail.com