February 3, 2017
I started writing this book back in 2014. In the first draft, my main character, Wes, was a very different guy, angrier and a lot less likeable. And, ‘Clean Slate’ was a very different story, one I wasn’t sure anyone would want to read. Around that same time, I was going through some medical issues that were getting steadily worse. I had just started a major revision of my novel when I got extremely ill with what at the time was an undiagnosed autoimmune disease, which put a stop to my writing.
During that time, I thought ‘Clean Slate’ would never see the light of day. I’d all but given up finishing the book when I finally got a diagnosis that gave my disease a name. But my road to recovery was just beginning.
When I finally started to feel like myself again, many months later, one of the first things I did was open up my laptop and started to slowly work on my novel. What I’d been through gave me a whole new perspective on Wes, my main character, who in the course of the novel goes through some big changes trying to deal with the trauma of his past. I saw him so much clearer and ‘Clean Slate’ became the book I wanted it to be. This is the book I’m most proud of because of all I had to overcome to finish it. I hope you enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it.
I’m always interested in other people’s stories of triumph over adversity, so tell me, what is the thing in your life you’re most proud to have tackled? It can be big or small, funny or sad. It all shapes who we are.
“This may sound weird, Wes,” Sam slurred.
“Okay…,” I said, waiting for what was about to come.
“Do you think we could cuddle?”
“You wanna cuddle?”
He smiled and looked at the floor.
“Yeah. I’ve never really done it. You know, cuddle on the couch while watching a movie. So what do you say?” Sam asked, his body swaying a bit.
He looked so sweet, I couldn’t think of a reason not to.
“I knew I could count on you, Wes.”
Sam downed the rest of glass of wine before we got comfortable. I settled onto the couch, laying on my side with Sam in front of me, his back pressed tightly to my chest. My eyes were focused on the television, but all I could think about was how nice it felt to be close to him. He pulled my arm over him and put my hand to his chest. I could feel his heart racing, despite his relaxed demeanor. He smelled really good, obviously putting on cologne before his date.
The movie continued, but I wasn’t watching. Every time I got into the plot or let my mind cling to part of the story, Sam would shift in my arms, his ass pushing back against my crotch. I ignored it, as much as I could, but it soon became clear that Sam wanted to do a lot more than cuddle. I didn’t want to be the one to make the first move. Sam had drunk far too much wine to be thinking clearly. Taking advantage wasn’t on my agenda that evening. I was feeling much more sober, and I knew it was time to make my escape.
“Sam, I should really go. It’s late.”
He held my arm tight and shook his head.
“Movie’s not over yet.”
“I’m not really watching.”
Sam turned himself around, until we were face-to-face, his leg slipping between mine.
“Me neither,” he whispered.
His lips brushed against mine, their surface sweet from all the wine he’d drank. Sam soon had me forgetting my best-laid plans, our tongues twining and dancing.
“I mean it. I should go,” I insisted between kisses.
Sam ran his fingertips down my spine, his lips teasing my neck.
“You should stay. I want you to stay.”
I opened my mouth to object, but it died when Sam put his hand on my ass.
“You can’t really want to leave, Wes. Not when you can stay right where you are. Right here with me.”
His eyes met mine, more serious than I’d ever seen them.
“I can’t. We don’t do that.”
“We could. You could. You should.” His words ran together, his altered state showing clearly.
I had to figure a way out without hurting his feelings.
“Sam, you’re drunk. It’s late. Let’s do this some other night.”
He clung tighter to me, trapping me against him and the back of the couch.
“I’m not drunk.”
“Yeah, you are. It’s cute, actually.”
He shook his head, closing his eyes for a few seconds.
“So what if I am? Why does it matter?”
“Trust me, Sam. You think you want me to stay right now, but come morning, you’ll see things differently.”
Sam eased back a fraction, the furrow between his brows deepening.
“If you don’t want to stay, just say so,” he said, a flash of anger in his voice.
I sighed, letting my forehead rest against his for a moment.
“I was only saying it would be better if I go. And you would think so too, if you were your usual, sensible self.”
He tried to move away from me, but as he attempted to get onto his back, he slipped and fell onto the floor. I laughed, but as he rose up to his knees, he looked pissed. Very pissed.
“Maybe I’m tired of being my sensible self. Maybe for tonight, I wanted to be more like, more like….” He trailed off, his butt hitting the carpet.
“Me?” I asked, sitting up on the couch.
He looked at me, his eyes glassy even in the flickering light of the television.
“Would it be so terrible?”
I raised my eyebrows, not sure how to respond.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, would it really be that awful to stay? I’m not even talking about sex. Just to fall asleep next to me? To wake up with me in your arms, would that really be so bad?” he asked, his voice making my heart clench.
Every word out of Sam’s mouth was shocking me. My first instinct was to chalk it up to the alcohol, but there was something else going on. There was something so sincere about what he was saying. I swallowed, hoping what I was feeling wouldn’t show in my voice.
“No. It wouldn’t be terrible at all. I just wanted you to be sure it was what you really wanted,” I reasoned, hoping he bought it.
I held out my hand, which he had a bit of trouble taking.
“Then get back up here. We have a movie to finish,” I said.
He slipped onto the couch next to me, our faces inches apart.
“I don’t care about the movie,” he said before kissing me.
“Good. Me neither.”
Check out Clean Slate today!
Wes Green keeps everyone at arm’s length, either by pushing buttons or simply pushing them away. When that doesn’t work, Wes runs, as far and as fast as he can. This time, bolting from his boyfriend also costs him his professional organizing job. His last resort is to retreat to his brother’s basement and try to pick up the pieces. The only bright spot in his new life is his niece, Kelsey.
One day, while in Kelsey’s school drop-off line, he meets Sam Montgomery, the father of Maya, Kelsey’s best friend. When Wes finds out Sam is gay and interested in some no-strings-attached fun, Wes thinks he’s hit the jackpot. With boundaries firmly in place, keeping Sam at a distance should be easy.
What starts out simple quickly gets complicated when fun turns to feelings between Wes and Sam. But the baggage both men carry threatens to stop things before they start. Can Wes stay put long enough to find real love, or will old habits be too hard to break?
Heidi Champa is a typical last-born child. Snarky, attention-seeking and rebellious, she started to create dirty stories to keep herself out of real trouble. Having tried her hand at a million terrible jobs, she bought herself a laptop and finally started typing up those handwritten tales. After much deliberation, she started to let other people read her work.
In addition to her flare with the written word, she knows every sentence of the movie Clue by heart and bakes a mean Funny Cake. When she is not writing, she can be found reading, hiking or filling her iPod with more music. Her life has taken her all over the world, but a piece of her heart will always be in Australia. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband.
January 26, 2017
As a writer, I normally go into a story knowing exactly how a relationship will develop. I have a roadmap in my head, and most of the time, the characters follow the path they’re supposed to follow. Ironically, Silas and Ben’s magic moment didn’t happen that way. It came in the form of a suggestion from the editors, actually. They wanted to see more scenes between Ben and Silas. They wanted to see the two on page more often, more than casually bumping into each other around Midtown. Then this scene happened, and I couldn’t thank my editors enough. From their suggestion came one of the cutest scenes between the two, and god knew they needed some cute.
As a reader, what is your favorite aha moment for the characters? Do you like the sweet, funny scenes when two men who keep running into each other but don’t slow down enough to experience the spark? Do you prefer love at first sight? Or fireworks and explosive passion right out the gate? What makes the relationship feel more real to you?
The silliest of all silly grins stretched across Silas’s face. It was the booze. Had to be. Silas didn’t do goofy or funny. However, something about Ben drew the giant kid right out of Silas. Almost like being in high school again and working through his first big crush. Silas hadn’t known then if the boy he pined over played for his team, but he knew Ben did. Oh, happy day!
Running into Ben made leaving the house on one of the worst nights of the year worth every minute of this unexpected adventure. Silas had been sitting at home, wishing—as ironic as it was—that he had someone to spend the evening with. He would’ve been happy sitting on the couch, watching the Times Square ball drop with a close friend and a few cocktails. He would’ve been fine with the kind of kissing that led to hot sex at the stroke of midnight. Neither of which was going to happen.
He hadn’t heard from Scott since early December, and though Silas didn’t exactly mourn the death of their relationship, he did—from time to time—miss having someone around to chat with when he got bored, someone to snuggle with when he got lonely. Neither was an issue prior to Scott. Now both were reasons to get up and do something, anything, that didn’t involve being alone.
“I truly am glad I left the house tonight.” Silas spoke softly, more to himself than anyone else. Oh, but Ben heard him. Silas could tell by the pitiful look that devastatingly beautiful cop gave him. Not that what he said deserved any kind of pity. Maybe it’d been the tone of his voice or something in his eyes, or the fact he hadn’t looked at Ben once since he returned to the malaise of his own mind.
“Ten. Nine. Eight….”
The countdown to the New Year pulled Silas out of his ruminating. He turned eyes on Ben, who now watched the DJ count into the mic while half-naked women danced around him.
“Three. Two. One. Happy New Year!”
“Auld Lang Syne” played over the loudspeakers. People yelled the lyrics—mostly out of key. “Should auld acquaintance be forgot….” Strangers swayed together as old friends. Some random woman hooked her arm around Silas’s, forcing him to move his body too. He didn’t want to. He wanted to watch Ben’s lips as he tried to hide his mumbling the lyrics along with everyone else’s boisterous crooning. He wanted to watch the glisten in Ben’s eyes as the moon poured soft light over the crowd. He even loved the way pieces of confetti stuck in Ben’s short brown hair. God, he was absolutely mesmerized
When Ben caught him staring, Silas immediately turned his gaze away, even though he wanted nothing more than to give Ben a quick New Year’s smooch. He didn’t dare. It wasn’t right. Ben didn’t want that. So instead of lifting up on his toes and reaching for Ben’s cheek, he gave a tight smile, and said, “You stay safe on these wild Memphis streets, Benjamin.”
Silas turned to walk away.
“Wait, Silas.” Ben reached out and grabbed Silas’s upper arm before he could escape. The strength and heat of Ben’s grip sent a shiver down Silas’s spine. “You’re not walking, are you?”
Aww, he’s concerned. “I live right around the corner.” Silas thumbed over his shoulder. “Not literally, but close enough.”
“And there are a lot of drunk people out tonight. You have to cross Union to get home.”
“I learned to look both ways before I learned to spell my name.”
Silas’s cheeky comeback won him another warm smile from Ben. He was so adorable, in that cute boy-next-door kind of way.
“Please let me at least get you an Uber.”
“A what?” Silas frowned.
“Uber. It’s like a taxi.”
“Benjamin, seriously, there’s no need. I appreciate your worry, but—”
“I’m not taking no for an answer,” Ben said with finality, reaching into his pocket for what Silas assumed to be a cell phone. The device fit right in the palm of Ben’s large hand.
Mmm. Large hands. “Don’t. Please.” Silas wrapped his fingers over Ben’s. “I promise I can get home just fine.”
“You’re drunk. Anything could happen.”
“I’m only”—Silas held up his thumb and forefinger, not even a full inch apart—“this drunk now. Wine wears off fast.” Or something.
“Mm-hmm.” Ben pinched his lips and shook his head. “I could give you my number. You could text—”
Silas’s laughter cut off Ben’s offer.
“What’s so funny?”
“I don’t need to have your number. Your significant other will hate me.”
“I don’t think he….” Ben looked left, then right, then back to Silas. “It’ll be okay.”
“How about you give me your number when you’re not as interested in my safety as you are in me?”
Ben nodded. The movement was so slight, so curt and tense, that had Silas not been paying attention, he would’ve missed it.
With a sigh, Silas left the cop formerly known as Officer Hot Body standing on the edge of the road just beneath the balcony at Lafayette’s. The farther Silas walked away, the more invisible Ben became, until he was lost to a sea of drunken bodies.
Silas made a right onto Cooper, heading south toward Peabody, all the while wishing he’d stayed back with Ben until all the booze wore off. He still had enough of a buzz that his lips tingled and walking felt… well, weird. He stopped at the corner of Union and Cooper, watching the blur of cars speeding by. This was the spot where he needed to pay attention, be careful. The last thing that needed to happen was him turning into roadkill for the beautiful Officer Logan and company to scrape off the road. That would be a hell of a way to end a pretty decent night.
Check out Dearly Stalked today!
Writing crime novels catapulted Memphis native Silas Cooper to fame and fortune, but when his words backfire and he becomes trapped in what could be one of his books, he needs a hero of his own.
Silas’s publicist insists he hire a personal assistant, and Silas chooses Scott Kramer. But before Scott starts, he already has a round of steamy phone sex to hold over Silas’s head, and his interest in his boss isn’t decreasing.
Benjamin Logan joined the Army to see the world, and while deployed he read every one of Silas’s books. With his military career over, Ben is back in Memphis working for the police department—and attempting a deeply closeted relationship with fellow cop Morgan Brown.
Over coffee, Silas and Ben become friends who support each other as relationships fall apart, and the attraction between them slowly emerges. When a dangerous stalker threatens Silas, it’s up to Ben to stop him.
If Ben fails, Silas might not live to tell this story… and Ben might not be able to live with himself.
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January 24, 2017
Hello! Thanks so much for having me visit on the release of “Camouflage”. I’m so thrilled with all the help from Dreamspinner Press. As always, the editors were so great and I love the book.
I thought I’d talk about an unusual character with several cameos in Camouflage. Who is this rascal? Food. I’ll admit it, I’m a foodie. More than once my birthday and Christmas gifts have circled around something food related. A new cookbook, the latest kitchen gadget, or trying a new place to eat, any of them are great gifts for me. I’ve always heard our strongest memories are tied to smells. I can believe without any trouble. I love trying new things, but comfort foods are such an important part of my life. Everyone has their way of dealing with problems. A great comfort meal is my way of dealing with the crap life deals out. Yes, sometimes the memories are better than the fact, but I’m always up for a good run at it.
Why the obsession with food? I have no idea, it just is. But it also means my characters enjoy food as much as I do. Some like Peter from “Home Grown” are hard-core foodies always looking for the latest food obsession. Others, like Luke in “Camouflage”, love the comfort food they grew up with. He enjoys the food his grandmother made (I’m sure chicken-fried steak was a favorite!), to local specialties, yes, including fried pickles. Luke is sharing his life with Nash by sharing the foods that gives Luke that warm feeling of place.
I think shared experiences with food are an important part of any relationship. The ritual and sharing of food are important in my stories, whether it’s Luke and Nash arguing about catsup or mustard on corndogs from the fair, to Anan roasting fresh taken daggerhorn in my high fantasy series, food plays an important role.
Check out Camouflage today!
Nash Gallo and Luke Meyers seem like complete opposites on the surface. Nash is a city boy from Atlanta, while Luke is a rancher from rural Oklahoma. Nash is covered in tattoos and piercings, while Luke is self-conscious about his muscular, hairy body. Luke doesn’t have much sexual experience with other men, while Nash has plenty to go around.
But both men are lonely, and neither of them has ever been in love.
They also both have secrets. For Luke, it’s his shame over an affair with a local closeted and married man, something Nash accepts. Will Luke be as tolerant of what Nash is hiding—his job as a prostitute back in Georgia?
A week-long vacation on Luke’s ranch and the idyllic landscapes surrounding it gives both men the chance to relax and explore the attraction growing between them. But can the budding relationship survive secrets and small-town prejudices? As they search for the place where their lives might intersect, Nash and Luke risk far worse than broken hearts.
Jon Keys’ earliest memories revolve around books; with the first ones he can recall reading himself being “The Warlord of Mars” and anything with Tarzan. (The local library wasn’t particularly up to date.) But as puberty set in he started sneaking his mother’s romance magazines and added the world of romance and erotica to his mix of science fiction, fantasy, Native American, westerns and comic books.
A voracious reader for almost half a century, Jon has only recently begun creating his own flights of fiction for the entertainment of others. Born in the Southwest and now living in the Midwest, Jon has worked as a ranch hand, teacher, computer tech, roughneck, designer, retail clerk, welder, artist, and, yes, pool boy; with interests ranging from kayaking and hunting to painting and cooking, he draws from a wide range of life experiences to create written works that draw the reader in and wrap them in a good story.
Nash’s stomach knotted as he stared at Luke while waiting to see what he was going to do. The teasing banter they’d been exchanging made him hope they were becoming more comfortable with each other, but now Luke had been stalling on the bank of the lake for at least fifteen minutes. One thing after another kept him from getting into the water. Nash paddled closer, wondering what was going on.
“Luke, come on. It feels great.”
“Yeah, okay. Give me a sec.” He fiddled with the hem of his T-shirt, pulling it up and letting it drop, unconsciously giving a better tease show than some of the strippers in Atlanta. The glimpse of Luke’s flat stomach was having its effect. Nash moved closer until he sat on a submerged rock a few feet from Luke.
“What’s up? I thought everything was okay.”
Luke pressed his hands down his torso and shrugged, his eyes never meeting Nash’s. “Yeah. It’s all good. But, yeah….”
“What? It can’t be that big of a deal.”
“I’m kinda hairy,” Luke blurted out.
“Yeah, well. Some people don’t like hairy guys. I tried keeping it shaved but it itches like crazy.” His gaze dropped. “Besides, who would see it?”
Nash stood and made his way up the rocky shoreline to Luke, grabbed his shirt, and pulled it over his head with no further ceremony. He tossed the shirt onto the grass and stood admiring Luke’s chest.
“Your fur is fucking hot. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Now stop being a dipshit.” With a light slap on Luke’s stomach, Nash walked back into the lake, submerging to his neck. The sight of Luke without a shirt sent pulses of attraction through Nash. He hoped the cool water would help bring his cock down from the raging erection it was. But instead he only got harder as he watched Luke climb into the water.
So far as Nash was concerned, Luke’s chest was about as perfect as possible. The dusting of hair across his pecs darkened to a line down his stomach, which disappeared into the cutoff jeans he wore. His broad shoulders tapered to a waist that had a thick Adonis belt coming from both sides. Whoever had Luke worried that he didn’t look hot was a twisted son of a bitch.
Luke started into the water, following Nash. When he reached knee deep, he stepped off a rock shelf and instantly submerged to midchest. Nash chuckled at his gasp.
“Man! It’s kinda cold.”
“Nah, you’re being a pussy. Or are you worried about shrinkage?”
Luke snorted and splashed Nash. “Not me. Shrinkage isn’t a problem.”
Nash shot a rooster tail of water at Luke and drenched him.
“You fucker! I’m gonna get your ass.” Luke launched himself at Nash while the taller man took off swimming. But Luke was a strong swimmer and caught him in a few strokes. He grabbed Nash’s shoulders and shoved him under.
Nash came up sputtering and flipped his head to get the wet hair off his face. “Oh, you want to play that way.”
He grabbed as Luke yelped and dodged. They dove and wrestled until they both gasped for air. They’d moved farther into the lake until the water was over Luke’s head. To keep from being pushed under again, he wrapped his legs around Nash. But now with his crotch pressed against Nash’s stomach Luke’s erection was obvious. Their gazes met. Luke blushed and released the leg lock. “Sorry, didn’t—”
Nash wrapped his arms around Luke and pulled him tight. The kiss he planted went on for several minutes and left them both winded.
“Stop apologizing. You’re not doing anything I’m not enjoying,” Nash said.
Muscular legs wrapped around Nash’s midsection and in an instant they were tight against each other. Luke slipped his work-toughened fingers through Nash’s wet hair and pulled them into a snug embrace. Their lips met again. A slow kiss this time, but the fire it ignited in Nash was like nothing he’d felt before. As the kiss faded away, Luke nibbled at his ear and soon had Nash moaning in response.
Luke released his leg lock, but it seemed to be a reluctant gesture. “I think we better stop while we can.”
November 29, 2016
Hello, all! I’m CJane Elliott and it’s my privilege to be on the Dreamspinner Blog today to talk about my new release, All the Way to Shore. One of the elements in the story I most enjoyed writing is the journal that Marco keeps.
I’ve kept a journal for most of my life. I still have my first diary, started in the 4th grade, in which I talk mostly about food, a preoccupation that continues to this day! Journaling has always been a form of therapy for me—a way to pour out whatever’s bothering me, muse about the previous day’s events, and center myself for the day ahead. It clears my mind and gets me in touch with my heart. I often work out story ideas too! If you’ve never tried journaling, I recommend giving it a try.
In All the Way to Shore, Marco’s journal entries are included throughout the story and show a side of Marco that most of the world never sees, because on the surface he’s a hard-charging CEO. No one would suspect he loves his cat and his Mama and his little sister, and actually has a tender heart. I’ve never written journal entries into a story before, but I think it worked really well. It was a way to get a first-person point of view of Marco without having to write the whole story that way. We’re able to see right into Marco’s mind as he talks to himself about everything that’s happening. I include an example below. By this time in the story, Marco has met “Jonah” (the name Jonathan is going by) on the cruise and things are already going way beyond expectations:
A fling, I said. A hot shipboard affair. Blowing off some steam was my plan. Not falling for some sweetheart of a guy. But why not? What am I protecting myself from? The days of strategic relationships are over. I torpedoed that game when I broke it off with Ashley. But having a serious relationship—like something real—wasn’t on the table. Was it?
All I can say is I’ve never talked to anyone but Sophia as much or as freely as I talked to Jonah today. He feels so comfortable—like a comfy pair of slippers or my ratty red sweater I wear at home. Home. That’s the word. He feels like home.
But how can that be? I don’t know the guy. I’ve talked to him for a sum total of six hours. I think—no, I know—he was disappointed when I didn’t pursue something physical tonight. But damn. It’s already gone beyond a quick fuck. I don’t need that kind of action, no matter what I was thinking before I got on the ship. I’ve got Hank, the masseur with the happy endings, for that. And I don’t want to hurt the guy. Jonah. I don’t want to hurt Jonah. There’s something kind of naïve, almost innocent, about him, despite how hot he is. He doesn’t seem very experienced, in sex or relationships. I have to step carefully or this could end up being an unholy mess.
Enough whining, Pellegrini. What’s the game plan? 1. Spend more time with Jonah and get to know him better. 2. ???
Hmm. I’m rarely at such a loss. But maybe that’s what this trip is really about—venturing into unknown territory in more ways than one. Tomorrow we reach the first port of call. I want to take Jonah onto the island and wander the streets. Maybe find a little church. Spending time with him has me wanting to reconnect to my spirituality.
Gratitude: Being in the middle of the ocean. Jonah’s blue eyes. Sophia the magical sister having so much fun. Rest. Renewal. A sweet man to spend time with. It’s enough.
Check out All the Way to Shore today!
Jonathan Vallen has never felt good enough. A gentle musician who loves to garden, he’s woefully unsuited to running Vallen Industries, the family business. When his father hires a hotshot executive, Marco Pellegrini, to save the company, Jonathan moves away and leaves his humiliation behind. A year later and forty pounds lighter, Jonathan runs into Marco on an LGBT cruise. Marco doesn’t recognize him, the sparks fly, and Jonathan pretends to be someone else for the week—Jonah Rutledge—someone good enough to be loved.
Marco Pellegrini has always been driven. He rose from poverty to the pinnacle of business success, and he’ll do anything to protect his reputation—including hiding his bisexuality. Having saved Vallen Industries, he’s weary of the rat race and ready for a more meaningful life. When Marco meets his soul mate for that new life—Jonah Rutledge—on an LGBT cruise, he prepares to stop hiding and start living.
Back on land, the romance crashes when Marco discovers his perfect man is not only a lie but the son of his boss, Frederick Vallen. Jonathan resolves to win Marco back, but Frederick takes vengeful action. Jonathan and Marco must battle their own fears as well as Frederick’s challenge to get to the future that awaits them on the horizon.
For a chance to win an ebook of your choice from my backlist, please comment. Here’s a question or two for you: Have you ever kept a journal? If so, did it help you? If not, do you think you might try?
Thanks, everyone! I look forward to hearing from you and I hope you all enjoy reading All the Way to Shore as much as I enjoyed writing it.
After years of hearing characters chatting away in her head, CJane Elliott finally decided to put them on paper and hasn’t looked back since. A psychotherapist by training, CJane enjoys writing sexy, passionate stories that also explore the human psyche. CJane has traveled all over North America for work and her characters are travelers, too, traveling down into their own depths to find what they need to get to the happy ending.
CJane is an ardent supporter of LGBTQ equality and is particularly fond of coming out stories.
In her spare time, CJane can be found dancing, listening to music, or watching old movies. Her husband and son support her writing habit by staying out of the way when they see her hunched over, staring intensely at her laptop.
November 9, 2016
Release day is always exciting! Today is November 9th and the release of my newest novella You Belong With Me. There are some of you who may know me from my first novel from Dreamspinner Press, Touch Me Gently, but for those who don’t, I’m J.R. Loveless, and I have been writing gay romance for a little over ten years now. Dreamspinner gave me a chance in 2010 and I have been publishing with them ever since. My long term dream is to be able to spend my days writing, but until then, I work in an office as a manager of a System Support department while dreaming up countless stories I hope to bring to you all someday.
Many of us have experienced, or are experiencing right now, the most painful of all type of loves – unrequited. There is nothing more heartbreaking than watching from afar as the person we want to be with showers their affection and attention on someone else. Except when they’re your best friend and they don’t even realize you’re in love with them. Because then it’s an up close and personal view that you wish you never had to witness.
In You Belong With Me, Scott is in love with his best friend Craig and has been for some time. He’s been there to experience the heartache of Craig falling for someone for the first time and then having to listen as Craig tells him everything about the relationship, including the night Craig lost his virginity. The story is told from the POVs of Scott, Craig, and Scott’s twin sister Karen, giving you the perspective of an outsider who cares very deeply for Scott and would love nothing more than to knock some sense into Craig. Maybe some will be able to relate with Scott and some may even be able to relate with Craig, but hopefully by the end of the story you’ll be cheering for them both. Just don’t hate on either too much because without communication misunderstandings happen and yes, Craig does do something which some may find unforgivable, but you’ll have to read the story to find out!
Keep reading for an excerpt to whet your taste buds and give you a glimpse of what is to come in You Belong With Me.
Want to win a free e-book copy of You Belong With Me or have your choice of one of my backlog if you’ve already pre-ordered or purchased YBWM? Then post a comment answering this question: What is the one thing you’ve wanted more than anything in the world and did you get it? A random winner will be chosen from the commentators! Please include your email address so I know how to contact you.
Check out You Belong With Me today!
Scott has been in love with his best friend Craig for years, but watching Craig with his manipulative boyfriend has worn Scott down, and he knows he needs a break from the pain and maybe a change of scenery and perspective. His twin sister, Karen, convinces him to spend a summer in Paris.
Karen is sick and tired of seeing Scott suffer, and she’s not going to stand for it anymore. She confronts Craig and tells him what he’s been missing by spurning Scott’s affection in favor of a jerk who mistreats him.
When Craig unknowingly breaks Scott’s heart, Craig opens his eyes—and his own heart—to the possibility of a future with Scott. He plans to use the time while Scott’s abroad to orchestrate a romantic surprise that will show Scott they belong together. But when he sees Scott with another man at the airport, Craig fears he’s too late.
Anger and hurt simmered beneath the surface as Scott slammed the door behind him. He was glad the house was empty, because he didn’t want to talk to anyone. The fact that for the first time in four years Craig wasn’t there at lunch and didn’t even text him made him so angry, but the anger paled in comparison to the pain he felt. As the lunch hour had ticked by and he came to the realization Craig wasn’t coming, it had felt like a sharp knife in his stomach. A hollow feeling had swamped him on his way home. His best friend had forgotten him.
Scott’s eyes stung but he gritted his teeth and refused to let the tears fall. He wouldn’t allow Derek to do this to him. He wouldn’t cry. He tossed himself across his bed and buried his face in the pillow. Somehow Derek had guessed his feelings toward Craig and, whenever he could, went out of his way to make Craig hurt Scott without realizing it. The bastard was so coldhearted he made the devil seem nice.
Scott had gotten each and every one of Craig’s texts, but he knew if he responded, Craig would get the brunt of his pain and anger. Before he spoke to him, he needed to get control of his emotions. If he didn’t, he’d wind up blurting out something he shouldn’t. More than likely it would be about Derek being an asshole, and it might cause a rift between them too wide to repair. He’d lose Craig for sure.
Scott allowed his mind to drift as he lay there. The internship to France being offered by Emerson was starting to look better and better every day. Maybe some time away would be a good thing. If he could get over the way he felt about Craig, his emotions could even out and he wouldn’t constantly have to worry about destroying their friendship. Closing his eyes, he concentrated on breathing in and out slowly. Eventually he started to fall asleep. Only there was no peace, even in his dreams. Immediately he started dreaming of Craig.
Craig kissed his way down Scott’s spine, lips traveling over each vertebrae slowly. He smoothed his calloused hands over Scott’s arms and shoulders with calculating accuracy. Scott moaned when he felt Craig’s hot breath on his lower back, just above his pale rear end. The moan grew louder as Craig slid the tip of his wet tongue along the beginning of the crease leading to Scott’s tight entrance. Sweat built along his skin in a fine sheen at the roar of pleasure that rushed through him. Craig tenderly spread Scott’s cheeks open with his strong hands, baring the puckered channel dying to feel him inside. A small cry rattled in Scott’s throat when his tongue came into contact with Scott’s hole. Quick lapping motions against him made Scott’s cock throb painfully against the sheets. But when Craig probed into his body, Scott heard himself shamelessly begging, “Please.”
He felt Craig smile. “Please what?” Craig asked huskily.
“Craig,” Scott whimpered.
“I want you inside of me,” he growled in frustration.
Craig laughed softly and rose up to press the full length of his body over Scott’s. Scott could feel Craig’s hard prick rubbing into the crease of his ass. “Do you, Scott?”
“God yes,” he hissed.
The blunt tip of Craig’s dick nudged the entrance to his hole. Scott reached back with one hand to grip at his hip to try to pull him inside. He shuddered when he felt Craig drop a kiss on the nape of his neck. His firm lips grazed Scott’s ear as he whispered, “I love you, Scott.”
Just when he started to enter him, Scott heard his name again from a distance. Then someone was shaking him. “Scott, wake up.”
Find Me Here:
November 3, 2016
Today my book Romancing the Wrong Twin is released at Dreamspinner Press. This is maybe the most fun I’ve had writing a book for years! The inspiration for this story of identity swap came from the romantic comedies I’ve watched and read over the years – and I hope the readers get that feeling too.
The Dreamspun Desires line is an initiative at Dreamspinner to re-tell the popular Harlequin/Mills and Boon romance stories from a male/male point of view. It’s a chance to embrace the tropes we all know but still bring a fresh perspective. Many people think romance tropes, i.e. clichés, must be stale and tired after being reiterated time and again over the years. But as readers, we all know how a type of book can attract us, don’t we? We always want good writing, sympathetic and sexy characters, a plausible and often exciting plot. But we also have personal preferences, for example, a theme of ‘friends to lovers’ , ‘opposites attract’, ‘rich man/poor man’, or ‘mistaken identity’. Those stories will never grow old in our hearts, and every author brings their own special style to the telling.
So I hope you enjoy the series – and especially my own contributions, starting with Romancing the Wrong Twin. It was written for your entertainment, and shared by me as well!
Check out Romancing the Wrong Twin today!
How tangled can a romantic web get?
When gruff mountaineer Dominic Hartington-George seeks sponsorship for his latest expedition, his London PA insists on a more media-friendly profile—like dating celebrity supermodel Zeb Z.
Zeb can’t make the date, so he asks his identical twin, Aidan, to stand in for just one evening. Aidan, a struggling playwright, shuns the limelight to the extent people don’t even know Zeb has a sibling, but he reluctantly agrees.
When the deception has to continue beyond the first date, Aidan fights to keep up the pretense. Dominic likes his sassy, intelligent companion, and Aidan starts falling for the forthright explorer. But how long can Aidan’s conscience cope as confusion abounds? Will coming clean as “the other twin” destroy the trust they’ve built?
Clare London took her pen name from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant.
She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic, and sexy characters.
Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter three stage and plenty of other projects in mind… she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.
Clare loves to hear from readers, and you can contact her here:
Google+ : https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ClareLondon/posts
“I know you didn’t want to do this,” Aidan murmured.
The music was louder than when they’d arrived. Maxima was more club than restaurant and someone had upped the volume, but Aidan had no problem hearing Dominic over the background music.
“Go on this date. Be with me.” Aidan felt the devil rise up in him. “You said it yourself: we’re not much of a match. I expect your usual partners are far more impressed with your credentials.”
“My… what the hell?” Dominic looked genuinely surprised. “I don’t know what you’re on about, but I don’t set out looking for someone to impress. I want someone who’s good company, a strong character. Who’ll give as good as he gets.”
Aidan couldn’t help the wash of pleasure he felt at the indirect compliment. “No. I meant… well, you probably date bears like yourself, usually.”
Shit. Aidan knew he’d slid onto thin ice, but his stupid tongue wouldn’t stop blabbing. “Sorry. I just meant tough guys like yourself. Big. Burly.” Could he sink any further into the pit he was digging?
But it seemed to have broken Dominic’s introspective mood. He started to laugh uproariously. “Burly? Does that mean you think I’m hairy too?”
H-G. No! Dominic! Aidan gulped. What was he meant to say to that after he’d been sitting there, peeking at the dark hairs curling over the neckline of Dominic’s shirt, wondering how far down the rest of it went? Whether Dominic’s legs were as deliciously furred, whether there’d be a decent treasure trail down to his groin that a man could tangle his fingers and nuzzle his nose into, to smell the sweet warmth of male skin….
Hairy skin. Strong arms. Warm, muscular thighs. Oh fuck.
The goose bumps ran over every inch of Aidan’s skin.
“I am hairy, can’t deny it. You like that idea?” Dominic’s voice was low and growly. He couldn’t have failed to notice Aidan’s sucked-in breath, the tensing of his stomach muscles. “Do you want to check out my hairy credentials?”
Aidan stared at him. Was that a joke? Was Dominic really attracted to him? Aidan had never found his build much of an advantage. Yes, he and Zeb were blessed with excellent bone structure, and in Zeb’s case the grace of a dancer, but out in the bars and clubs Aidan always seemed to blend into the background.
Ah, but he was meant to be Zeb now, wasn’t he?
“I think you’ve misjudged me, Zeb.” Dominic’s voice was very close to Aidan’s ear now. He’d placed his hand over Aidan’s, pressing Aidan’s palm onto Dominic’s thigh.
“I—what do you mean?”
“I wouldn’t have thought you were my type, I admit. But there’s a spark between us, isn’t there?”
Oh God, yes. But Aidan couldn’t admit that, could he? He gulped, wishing he’d eaten three pies, if only to soak up the effect of the champagne. The warm, heady excitement from his newfound courage wasn’t as robust as he’d thought.
Dominic smelled really good: a mix of vanilla aftershave, or maybe just soap, and a breath of tannin from the wine. Aidan couldn’t help it; his lips opened slightly and his tongue slipped out to moisten them.
“Dear Christ in heaven,” Dominic said on a ragged sigh. “You’re really gorgeous.” He sounded shocked. Aidan remembered him saying it when they met at Dominic’s house, but now there was an extra rumble underlying his voice. “Say my name again. I like it. Most people call me Dom.”
“Dom… Dominic.” Aidan heard the words but barely registered speaking them aloud. He was fixated on Dominic’s mouth, not his own.
Their lips touched.
Aidan gasped. It was the lightest of touches, but like the heaviest bolt from the blue. It was as if Dominic had breathed a flame into him through his mouth. His whole body shivered with excitement: a trickle of pure, heated delight on his skin compared to the sweaty air of the club. Dominic rested his hand lightly on Aidan’s shoulder, at the junction with his neck. He slid his fingers to the front of Aidan’s throat and stroked the hollow under his Adam’s apple.
It’s not enough! Aidan wanted Dominic to slide his hand down under the T-shirts—remind him why he was wearing so many, none of which actually fitted properly?—and touch his skin. Properly, firmly, with need.
With a soft moan of pleasure, Dominic leaned in to take the kiss deeper.
Aidan responded very, very willingly. He slid his outer arm around Dominic’s waist and pulled them closer together. Dominic lifted his other hand away from Aidan’s and rested it on Aidan’s knee. Their lower halves were hidden by the table, and Dominic’s knee pressed very tightly against Aidan’s. His large hand squeezed gently, and then slowly, teasingly slid up between Aidan’s thighs. He nudged harder, trying to push Aidan’s legs farther apart.
Aidan’s head was swimming from the kisses. Dominic’s mouth was still on his, his surprisingly soft beard rubbing along Aidan’s jawline, his breath quickening. When Aidan twisted to get even closer, he felt the heat from Dominic’s groin and Dominic’s solid erection against his hip. He wanted to climb onto his date’s lap, however ridiculous or rash that seemed. Instead he ran his free hand behind Dominic’s neck and leaned in, excited despite himself at making out in a semipublic club. Dominic had cupped Aidan’s cock and balls, trapped inside Zeb’s skintight jeans. Now Aidan was aroused too; the seam of the jeans was pressing against his flesh, causing a strange, awkward, intoxicating pain. He half closed his eyes, relaxing into the embrace, enjoying Dominic’s firm caresses under cover of the table. It had been a long time since Aidan did anything like this, a long time since he’d wanted to do it, in fact.
He wanted more, needed more. Ached for more—
And that was the exact moment a camera flash went off in his face.
May 12, 2016
Welcome to the Dreamers’ Destiny Blog Tour. I want to begin with special thanks to Dreamspinner Press Blog for welcoming me today. I hope you’ll follow the entire tour. There are plenty of chances to win a signed paperback copy from my backlist, $25 at Dreamspinner Press, an audiobook of either Designs of Desire or Caged Sanctuary, and more!
Each tour stop will feature an excerpt along with some question that relates to the post. Check the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to enter your answer to the question. A few stops will have special (additional) giveaways as well, so make sure you check out the whole post!
Today stop is actually the third along out tour (click HERE to find the full tour listing). Now, let’s see what our guys are up to today….
People don’t just materialize into reality simply because you want them to so desperately that waking up breaks your heart.
This isn’t only the tagline for Dreamers’ Destiny, but it pretty much sums up the whole of Liam’s reality at the start of the story. As you can see from the blurb (so nope, it’s not a spoiler, lol), each man believes the other to be just a dream construct. A dream lover and nothing more. HA! Silly boys!
How would you go about dealing with having a dream lover that it’s not the EDJ (evil day job) that makes you want to do vile and probably illegal things to your alarm clock over, but the fact that your lover will poof into wherever he goes when you wake. Oh, and you never know if he’ll be there again that night or if it might not be m o n t h s before you “see” him again.
Liam is about at his wits end with this—especially given how long he’s had/not had Cameron. But when he thinks he sees Cam in the waking world, how can he reconcile that? How would you? How would you deal with someone you knew only existed in your dreams walking right past you, or up to you? I’m not so sure I’d take that too well, LOL.
Cam doesn’t do so well either, as you can see below….
Liam walked beside Cam, noting every nuance of the man he’d been with most of his life, even if they’d never met while awake before. He was entranced with how Cam moved. He thought of the way Cam had spoken using his hands to emphasize and punctuate his voice when they were inside the tattoo shop, and even the little sidestep to separate them didn’t surprise or bother Liam any. Liam had expected it, truthfully, but he’d needed to feel Cam, to know he wasn’t imagining all this, either—that fleeting touch in the tattoo shop hadn’t been nearly enough.
Working with Nosha the last couple of weeks had been interesting, and he’d started to believe Cam might be real. However, seeing and touching Cam was very different from trying to willfully take control of his dreams or debating Cameron’s possible existence. And touching him? Liam suppressed a shiver as he opened the door for Cam to enter the little coffee shop.
“Thanks,” Cam murmured. “You always do things like this in the dreams too,” he added so softly Liam almost missed it.
Liam smiled, hoping Cam could adjust to this new knowledge and glad he’d noticed how Liam acted both in their dreams and now.
Thankfully, it wasn’t busy right then, so they got their coffees and were seated at the farthest table from the other patrons in a few minutes. Liam waited, watching Cam as he fidgeted with his cup, steadfastly refusing to meet Liam’s eyes.
Liam cleared his throat and asked, “Will you look at me, please?”
Cam raised his head slowly before finally meeting his gaze. “I don’t understand how you’re here. You’re supposed to only exist in my head. Well, in my dreams, anyway.”
Liam chuckled, thinking of how he’d made the same argument with Di and Nosha not that long ago about his seeing Cam at the club. “I’m still not entirely certain how all this works, but I’m quite real. As are you, it seems.”
The silver eyes before him flashed a moment before Cam snorted softly, then smiled, almost. “Why don’t you seem more, I don’t know, upset? I mean, this should be just as much of a shock for you as it is for me. Or do you go around invading people’s dreams and doing all those things with others you do with me all the time?”
He blinked hard as he thought about what to say and which questions to even answer.
by Tempeste O’Riley
M/M Erotic Contemporary, Occult/Paranormal, Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Release Date: May 13, 2016 (ebook/print)
Length: Novel / 200 pages
Add to: Goodreads
Liam Grady is the owner of the Feathered Quill, a quirky little bookstore in Asheville, and—though he doesn’t realize it yet—a dream walker. His last relationship failed almost a year ago, and he’s not had the interest or nerve to pursue anyone he’s met since.
Cameron Danu is a tattoo artist from rural Georgia. Cameron is left without a job after his boss, Jose, is forced to close the shop after a heart attack. When Cameron learns Jose has set up an interview for him at a small tattoo parlor in Asheville, he hopes for a fresh start in a new town.
Fate brings Cameron and Liam together, and they realize they’ve met before—in their dreams. A chance encounter and a winged tattoo might lead them to their destiny—if fear doesn’t turn their dreams into a nightmare.
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!
Other Works by Author:
Designs of Desire – Simple Desires*+ – Bound by Desire* – Desires’ Guardian –
Temptations of Desire – Truth in Lace* – Desires’ Pride* – Signs of Desire
Micah’s Medicine+ – Caged Sanctuary – Whiskers of a Chance
*shorts in series +shorts in anthologies
(click HERE to find the full tour listing)
About the Author:
Tempeste O’Riley is an out and proud pansexual genderfluid whose best friend growing up had the courage to do what they couldn’t—defy the hate and come out. He has been their hero ever since.
Tempe is a hopeless romantic who loves strong relationships and happily-ever-afters. They has done many things in their life, yet writing has always drawn them back—no matter what else life has thrown their way. They counts her friends, family, and Muse as their greatest blessings in life. They lives in Wisconsin with their children, reading, writing, and enjoying life—especially now that they have joined the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence® (as Novice Sister Eroti-Quill… can’t imagine where that name came from).
Tempe is also a proud PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, WisRWA, and Rainbow Romance Writers. Tempe’s preferred pronouns are they/them/their/theirs/themselves. To learn more about Tempeste and their writing, visit http://tempesteoriley.com.
April 29, 2016
Hi all! Charley Descoteaux here, to celebrate the release of the third book in my Buchanan House series, Tiny House! You might have read the first book, Buchanan House, and if so you’ve already met the heroes: Nathan and Paulie. If not, I’m giving away a free download of the audiobook so you can meet them! Stick around for the excerpt and find out how to enter.
One of the fun parts about writing a series is that I already know some of the characters, of not all of them. I’ve had the chance to hang out with them and get to know them during the writing process. Bringing a supporting character into a starring role and giving him his own HEA is like playing matchmaker for an old friend!
When I started Tiny House I knew Nathan fairly well but didn’t really know Paulie at all. Getting to know him was a lot of fun. At first I only saw him through Nathan and Eric’s eyes. They’ve all been friends for a long time, so that worked out well. But I don’t really get to know a character until I’ve written with their voice in my head so Paulie kept surprising me. Until one paragraph in Nathan’s POV.
Nathan drew his hand down Paulie’s arm and wove their fingers together. “Regardless of how it might look, your friends know you. I know you. So I know I don’t have to worry. I know you’re loyal to a fault. I know you say you love dance mixes, but your MP3 player is full of nineties music like Dave Matthews and Incubus. I know everyone called you PJ until your brother started calling you Paulie when you and his son were both little boys of seven, and I know the noises you make when you come.”
Part of my process when getting to know new characters is to find their music. I’d been searching for a soundtrack for Tiny House, music I could play to get in the right mood to write this story. I thought that would sound like the songs I’d danced to at the beginning of the 21 Century, but somehow it just didn’t feel right. As soon as Nathan told me what music Paulie really listened to, going back and filling in Paulie’s sections became much easier.
Here is my playlist for Tiny House, because it never would have come together without Paulie’s input.
Incubus Make Yourself
“When it Comes”
“I Miss You”
“Out From Under”
Dave Matthews Band Crash and Under the Table and Dreaming
I listened to these songs, in this order, over and over and over for the four months I lived in Nathan and Paulie’s heads. Which made it so easy to get into the right frame of mind for edits, or writing blog posts!
My mp3 player is filled with an eclectic mix of music (or maybe it only looks like it belongs to more than one person). I listen to Alice in Chains, Led Zeppelin, Vince Guaraldi, Metallica, Peter Frampton, Beethoven, Pearl Jam, Slipknot, and I have a list with my favorite jazz standards to soothe jangled nerves after an especially difficult day at work.
What music is on your iPod or mp3 player that would surprise your friends?
Spill, and you could win a free copy of the audiobook version of Buchanan House, the first book in this series!
While you’re thinking about how honest to be about your musical guilty pleasures, check out this excerpt from Tiny House. It’s not from the scene above because that’s too spoilery to share, but this one isn’t. This post was about Paulie so it seems fitting that the excerpt be from his point of view. He’s just finished helping Eric in the kitchen for a celebration at Buchanan House, and is ready for desert…
By the time Eric and Paulie finished the last of the evening’s work, Paulie had a nice buzz going. His thoughts had strayed to his own father whenever he’d had a free second, something which usually led to at least a drink or two. Paul Senior had been gone for nearly twenty years, but Paulie still missed him almost every day. He missed his kind and gentle nature and his quiet confidence as much as the way he’d seemed to have the answer to every question.
As he cleaned up, he smiled as a thought of his parents together came to the front of his mind. His father would enter the kitchen when Mom was working, wrap both arms around her waist, and ask if she’d been nipping into the cooking sherry. As far as Paulie knew, they’d never had any alcohol in the kitchen, so he eventually figured out that must’ve been some kind of code.
The lack of such codes in his own life weighted his shoulders, despite his overall good mood.
A sound startled Paulie from his memories, and he looked up to see Nathan, who was also nearing half drunk but still looked ravishing in his sixties-inspired outfit—orange pants with a subtle paisley print, topped with a simple blue silk shirt. Sometime during the evening he’d abandoned his shoes, and Paulie ached to run his foot alongside Nathan’s sand-smoothed arch.
“Have I told you lately how fabulous you are?” Nathan glided close to Paulie’s side and hugged him.
Paulie’s hands were wet, so he leaned into Nathan’s warmth for a moment.
Nathan held him out at arm’s length and grinned. His skin glowed with tan and with his buzz. Paulie knew the look in his eyes, even if he hadn’t seen it for a while. It made his heart race. “Tonight couldn’t have gone better. Everyone loved your mini s’mores desserts.”
“I’m glad. It was a fun party.”
Nathan’s flush crept from his cheeks, down his neck, and onto his chest.
Almost like when he’s coming.
“Let’s get out of here for a while.” Nathan grabbed his hand. They made it almost to the side door before he stopped. “Oh. Can you? I mean…. Can you?”
Paulie blinked. Between his fatigue (which didn’t bother him nearly as much as it had moments before) and Nathan’s special look aimed right at him….
“Or have you promised—”
“No. I can.”
Nathan’s posture relaxed immediately. He looked even more delicious than he had a moment before, and downright slinky as he cozied up to Paulie’s side. Nathan slipped an arm around his waist and applied gentle pressure to his lower back.
The door opened, and Paulie could only guess Nathan had opened it, because he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the triangle of bronze skin at Nathan’s throat, framed perfectly by the rich blue silk of his shirt. Paulie’s head practically spun with thoughts of the boathouse. Eric and Nathan hadn’t done anything with it yet—they’d been too busy to finalize a plan, let alone to turn Tim loose on it. As they slipped out the side door, Paulie remembered clearing a corner of the workbench so he could bend Nathan over it. Fucking Nathan while surrounded by the strangely charming scene of canoes, oars, and colorful antique glass floats hanging just below the ceiling, flashing colors around the dusty room, was one of his most revisited memories of the previous summer. It had been a long time ago, but the boathouse had seen enough action to become one of Paulie’s favorite places at the camp.
They’d only made it two steps across the porch when Paulie heard footsteps coming from the parking lot. The porch wrapped all the way around Buchanan House, but guests didn’t usually venture around the kitchen side. No reason for them to. There wasn’t really anything there, but the entire way around was well lit just in case. The crash of heavy footsteps came around the corner seconds before Paulie saw the men attached to it.
Nathan squealed in surprise and grabbed Paulie tighter.
The men didn’t notice them at first. They only had eyes for each other and seemed to be laughing about being lost. The pair stopped and pulled back a step when they first saw Nathan and Paulie, as though they expected trouble of some kind. Thankfully, they relaxed quickly. All four of them.
“Sorry, we’re looking for the beach. Where did it get off to?” The men leaned against each other and laughed.
Nathan kissed Paulie’s cheek and took a step away from him. His little smile held a big dose of regret, and Paulie nodded to accept his completely unneeded apology. “Let me show you.” Nathan waved them along. When Paulie turned to go back inside, Nathan took his hand and squeezed.
Paulie followed as Nathan led the couple around the building, down the wheelchair ramp, and through the backyard. Paulie hadn’t noticed the brick border separating the lawn from the flowerbed had been transformed into a path. He grinned, thinking about how little Nathan liked to wear shoes, despite the fact that he owned several dozen pairs. Paulie made a mental note to check out the new brick path in the light; in the dark backyard, lit with fairy lights and a few strategically placed solar yard lights, it made him think of a brick road a la The Wizard of Oz.
They’d almost reached the beach by then, and Nathan had started his story. The story he always told tipsy guests who wanted to go out to the beach. Especially at night. Nathan would remain with them until they came back off the beach, encouraging them to stay well away from the water. Nathan had told the story of how Eric had almost drowned to many guests with a daredevil bent. Since he left out the part about Tim saving him and the two of them falling madly in love, the story usually worked to keep drunken guests safe from the briny deep.
Thank you for reading!
If you’d like to read the whole story you can get your copy of Tiny House, Book #3 in the Buchanan House series, here:
Be sure and grab your free copy of Book #2 “Pride Weekend” here.
I have to keep the folks at the Evil Day Job happy but will be in and out as much as I can today, and throughout the weekend, to chat.
Random.org will choose a winner of the audiobook code for Buchanan House on Sunday evening (US Pacific Time). Have a great weekend!
Tiny House Blurb:
Pride weekend is over, but for Nathan Lucas, the summer is just heating up. He appears to have it all. He’s tall and blond, ripped and handsome, and half owner of Buchanan House, a successful gay retreat on Oregon’s beautiful central coast. But his joie de vivre hides a fear of abandonment. When he was twelve, his mother had triplets, and instead of the cherished only child, Nathan became a scapegoat for his exhausted parents, and he has never truly dealt with that pain.
Portland chef Paulie Nesbitt is head over heels in love with Nathan. They’ve been drinking buddies with benefits for years, while Paulie has not-so-secretly yearned for more. Paulie’s extra pounds and self-doubt have kept him from acting on his feelings. Their friends know they would make the perfect couple, but Nathan and Paulie will have to let go of past insecurities if they want a future together.
April 22, 2016
“Knobs” by Scotty Cade
Two cadets from very different worlds. One forbidden love.
Scotty Cade here. First I’d like to thank Hayley at the Dreamspinner Press Blog for allowing me to tell you a little bit about “Knobs,” my newest release and let you meet Gus and Sam and get a glimpse into their daily life at the Citadel. Later in the posts you can read an excerpt and I will be telling you how you can win a book from my backlist.
So when I was asked to write these blog spots, I posted on Facebook and asked my fans what in particular they would like to know about Knobs, besides the premise of course. The answers came in fast and furious and included a history of the Citadel and what all this “Hell Week” stuff is all about, The inspiration for the book, Character interviews with each main character, as well as a little about cadet life. I have six blog posts to do so I can cover all these requests with one or two to spare. So here goes. I hope you enjoy.
Before we get started, here is the blurb for Knobs.
Angus Conrad (Gus) McRae is a privileged Charlestonian following family tradition and attending the Citadel, harboring big dreams of a military career. With the infamous hell week behind him, he quickly realizes being a Knob (a freshman cadet) is just as tough—especially for a man like Gus who must keep his sexuality a secret. Then a sudden dorm reassignment places him in a room with one of the football team’s top players: working-class jock Stewart Adam (Sam) Morley—and life gets increasingly complicated.
Gus can’t imagine a man like Sam as gay, yet there’s something between them—exchanged glances, the occasional innuendo. Sexual tensions rise, leaving them more than friends but less than lovers. Gus and Sam know there’s too much to lose and they must keep their attraction hidden. If they fail, they risk destroying their hopes and dreams for a prosperous future in a military world that’s not yet ready to accommodate masculine gay men.
Sam sitting comfortably on his bunk in his dorm room waiting for Gus, looking a little nervous.
Q- While we wait for Gus why don’t you tell us about yourself Sam. And remember this is off the record. Nothing you say here can ever be used against you. I want the real story.
Sam sighed and seemed to relax just a bit.
A – Hey ya’ll. Sam teases drawing out the word like the Southerners do with much amusement.
I am Cadet Stewart Adam Morley and I am a freshman or a Knob at The Citadel, a conservative military academy located in Charleston, South Carolina. A ‘Knob’ is a freshman and during our first year attending the Citadel, we are pushed to our mental and physical limits day in and day out. So next time you’re feeling down, rejected, insulted, made fun of, or generally upset, just remember: it could be worse. You could be a Knob.
Each time I see an upperclassman, I have to tuck in my chin and shaved head until it becomes one with my neck, push out my hips, and arch my back with my hands at my sides. I must always know my next three meals by heart, and can be interrupted at any time in the non-existent privacy of our tiny rooms in the barracks. A room I share with Gus. I mean Cadet Angus Conrad McRae III. A mouthful huh? And speaking of, Sam looks at his watch. I have no idea where he is. He was supposed to be here five minutes ago. He is normally very prompt. We all are. We have to be.
Life as a ‘Knob,’ makes me realize I am not as tough as I thought I was, but that I can do better, more than I ever thought I could.”
Q – Give us a little more about your personal life.
A – A little more about me? Well, I hail from Southfield, Michigan, just outside of Detroit and it wasn’t always what I’d call comfortable. While some of the areas were nice, the block I grew up on wasn’t the safest. But I knew the streets, knew what areas to avoid, and once I was behind the multiple locks on my front door, I always enjoyed a sense of security only home could provide.
When I’d finally decided to accept the football scholarship I was offered to the Citadel, the anxiety over leaving home wasn’t the only thing weighing heavily on me. I mean…I was twenty, and it was time, but the thought of my mom having to care for my younger siblings and herself without me around was daunting. I was the man of the house. I’d taken on that role at twelve when my stepdad had followed in the shoes of my real dad and split. No note, no forwarding address, just gone. Well, back then we hadn’t needed the lazy bastard. My mom and siblings had me. But now I was also leaving. Not like my father and stepdad had, but I was leaving all the same. It didn’t matter how many times Mom had tried to convince me otherwise, I’d felt like I was abandoning my family, my responsibilities, and it sucked.
When I left for the Citadel, I’d never been away from home. I knew nothing about Charleston, South Carolina. The people were all strangers, the streets unfamiliar. Yet it was going to be my home for the next four years.
I thought I was prepared, but that’s what I get for thinking so highly of myself. The entire Citadel system is designed to strip us of our individuality, ‘Knob year’ aims to make me a seamless part of the greater group. I must know the name of every upperclassman, or risk punishments, which includes running around the perimeter of the four story fortress in my underwear, so inside the barracks and outside the confines of my room, a word from me is rarely heard.
I’ve had the door to my room kicked open at all hours of the night, been berated for a single article of clothing out of place and then had all my articles of clothing pulled from my drawers and locker and tossed onto the floor. Once I was able to complete the pushups I was forced to do, again in my underwear, I might add, then and only then was I able to go back to my room and put everything away and prepare for another inspection.
Duty. Honor. Respect. Is my motto. And for the next four years I will eat, sleep, breathe and live it. Along with Sam of course. I can do anything if Sam is by my side.
The door opens and a handsome cadet walks in.
There you are. Sam says. Finally, this is my roommate Gus.
Gus is out of breath. Sorry. My class ran a little late.
No problem. Sam said. I covered the Knob stuff.
Q – He did. So just start by telling a little about yourself Gus.
A – Okay. Well, I guess I’ll start by telling you I come from what southerners might call a fine Charleston Family. Other non Charlestonian’s might simply call it a privileged upbringing, but either way I’m grateful for everything I had growing and everything I have now,” Gus says looking at Sam and winking.
Sam beams with pride. He leans over and squeezes Gus’ knee playfully.
Let’s see. My father is a Charleston attorney and he along with my grandfather are both graduates of the Citadel. It was a given that I would attend the Citadel, but what I was to major in? Now that was a different story. Since I was young, I always wanted a career in the military, but my family wants me to join the family law practice and this has been a very touchy subject and the source of many arguments between us since I was fifteen years old.”
Q – Were you groomed for the Citadel from a young age and were you prepared when you arrived?
A – Let’s just say I was groomed. In fact, by the time I was twelve, I had every book about the Citadel ever written and had even memorized the The Guidon.”
Q – The Guidon?
A – It’s the Knob bible, so to speak.
Q – I see.
A – So was I prepared? I thought I was. Or at least acted like I was. But let’s just say, the day before I was to report, in the solitude of my bedroom, with no prying eyes and no pretenses to keep up, I lowered my defenses and allowed myself a rare moment to doubt that I could really pull this off.
I mean…I stared at my bed and looked at the few things I was allowed to bring. And I thought. This stuff is going to be my life for the next four years. But that wasn’t completely true. The stuff on my bed along with grueling physical training and an impossible academics schedule—that was going to be my life. I think I’d just been determined to be strong. But then I remember thinking about Hell Week and breaking into a cold sweat, my stomach starting to churn. I had to get through hell week or nothing else mattered.
So outwardly, yeah I thought I was prepared. But to be honest, even my worst nightmares didn’t compare to the real thing.
But everything changed when I saw Sam across a room on matriculation day. He’d already been through Hell Week because the Corps Squad, I mean the athletes, have matriculation day one week ahead of the rest of the Knobs. We locked eyes and although we hadn’t met, I felt a connection to him. And right then and there I knew if he could do it, so could I. And I did.
Q – Is that when you two met?
A – Not really. No.
Q – Then when?”
A – On second day of hell week, my roommate quit and I was left without a roommate. And then Sam came through the door carrying his duffle bags. That the first time we officially met.
We’d locked eyes across a couple crowded rooms but we’d never even said hello. The funny thing is that when we did meet, we didn’t really hit it off.
Q – You didn’t?
A – No. Sam thought I was a privileged asshole, and maybe I was a little, but I tried not to be.
Q – Its obvious you two care about each other now. When did that happen?
A – Care doesn’t begin to capture what we have.
Q- Okay sorry. So how do you maintain a relationship with so many restrictions?
A – Let’s just say we make do.
Gus and Sam both looked at the back of their dorm room door.
A – We spend a lot of time there.
Q – At the back of the door?
A – Yep. It’s the only place we can be intimate. And by intimate, I mean steal a kiss every now and then.
Q – Just a kiss? No sex?
A – No sex. We could get expelled for that, but we manage. I can wait for this man as long as it takes. But I don’t want to sacrifice our educations for something that we can wait for.
Q – Okay Cadets. I think I get the idea. Thanks for you time.
A – Our pleasure.
In closing, I hope this gives you a good understanding of the discipline required to attend the Citadel and just a sneak peak into Gus and Sam’s world. The fact that they were able to find unexpected love in such a demanding environment and make it work shows the depth of their commitment. If you’ve ever been pushed to your limits, I’d like to hear about it. Please posts and each entry will be eligible for a free copy of “The Royal Street Heist.” Book one in the Bissonet & Cruz Investigations series.
Check out Knobs today!
Here’s where you can find me and “Knobs”, as well as my other stories.
Scotty Cade left Corporate America and twenty-five years of Marketing and Public Relations behind to buy an Inn & Restaurant on the island of Martha’s Vineyard with his partner of over twenty years. He started writing stories as soon as he could read, but just five years ago for publication. When not at the Inn, you can find him on the bow of his boat writing gay romance novels with his Shetland sheepdog Mavis at his side. Being from the south and a lover of commitment and fidelity, most of his characters find their way to long healthy relationships, however long it takes them to get there. He believes that in the end, the boy should always get the boy.
“Are you gonna come in and close the door behind you?” Gus asked sarcastically. “Or are all the cadets going to get to see me in my underwear?”
Sam was sort of standing there more for effect than anything, but his eyes were glued to Gus’s body. His stomach was ripped, and the muscles in his thighs were visible through the legs of his boxer briefs.
“Okay,” Sam said. “If I close the door, will you at least talk to me?”
Gus shook his head. “I really don’t think you want to hear what I have to say right now.”
“I think you’re wrong about that,” Sam said, stepping in and allowing the door to close behind him.
Sam removed his cover and tossed it onto his bunk. He was tired of this cat-and-mouse game. Instead of untying his shoes, he brought his left foot up and tugged at his shoe until it came off. He tossed the shoe into the bottom of his locker, making quite the thud, and removed the right one much the same way.
He turned and rested his hands on his hips. “Are you gonna talk to me now?”
Gus didn’t respond. He went to his closet, removed his toiletries bag, and headed for the door. Sam took two steps forward, put both hands on Gus’s shoulders, spun him around, and backed him up against the door.
Their faces were so close Sam could feel Gus’s warm breath against his cheek.
Sam slammed one hand against the back of the door while leaving the other one on Gus’s shoulder. “Fuck, Gus! Yell at me. Curse me out. Do something. Don’t just give me the silent treatment. You’re not leaving this room until you talk to me.”
Gus smiled incredulously. “So, what? You’re gonna hold me hostage now?”
“If that’s what it takes,” Sam said.
“Fine! You want me to talk? Here goes. You are the most selfish bastard I’ve ever met. You’ve treated me like shit since the first day we met, and I’m not going to be your punching bag anymore. Please go to the Academic Officer and ask for a transfer. Tell him we’re incompatible. I’ll back you up on that one.”
“I don’t want a transfer,” Sam said, his lips now inches away from Gus’s.
“Why not?” Gus said quietly through clenched teeth, just in case there were any stray cadets roaming around in the hall. “You’ve done everything possible to offend me and my family. Why not move on to another cadet? Go ahead, man, share the charms of Stewart Adam Morley with the entire Citadel, one cadet at a time.”
Gus glared at him, the normal bright silver-gray of his eyes now a dark, gloomy gray. “Furthermore, you can fuck with me all you want, but leave my crazy family out—”
Sam had heard enough. Before Gus could finish his sentence, Sam covered Gus’s lips in a crushing kiss.
April 22, 2016
Hi all! Charley Descoteaux here, to celebrate the release of my first free short with Dreamspinner! It’s also my first ever “Book #2” so I’m super excited! “Pride Weekend” is the second book in my Buchanan House series and is like an appetizer, a sexy little hors d’oeuvre to whet your appetite for next week’s release of Book #3, the full length novel Tiny House!
If you enjoy audiobooks stick around, I’m giving away a code for the audiobook version of Buchanan House, the first book in the series, to one random commenter on this post.
I’m always curious about how the stories I love came to be written so I thought I’d talk about what inspired me to write “Pride Weekend”. I’ve always been in awe of people with talent in the visual arts. How cool must it be to imagine something, create it physically, and have it look like your original vision—or better?! I’ve experienced this with knitting and crocheting, but it’s just not the same with writing.
When it came time to design a cover for Buchanan House I asked for L.C. Chase because I love her style and it fit well with the stories. I’m a huge fangirl and hope for the chance to work with all of my favorite cover artists! I told her the book was an angst-lite beach read and she came up with three different covers that were all wonderful—including the one that eventually became the cover for “Pride Weekend”. As soon as I saw it a story popped into my head fully-formed. I love it when that happens!
While I was planning out the Buchanan House series, I thought it would be fun to have a short or two about guests at the camp. A guest visiting for a long weekend would have a very different perspective on the camp, and the people who run it, than just about everyone in the first book. “Pride Weekend” is, of course, focused on the main characters Adam and Silas, but the camp doesn’t run itself. ☺ I hope you’ll enjoy seeing Nathan through the eyes of these two guests.
Here’s an excerpt where Adam arrives at the camp and gets an eyeful!
Getting dating advice from an aggregate news site didn’t seem like something to be proud of, but as I sat in my car, getting my first look at Buchanan House, I couldn’t find it in me to be embarrassed. I’ve never been much of joiner, nor had I any interest in the club scene. Or in downloading an app to my phone, where my nosy but well-meaning sister could accidentally-on-purpose find it. I’d considered forums before, but every other time had found a “reason” not to create an account. In short, circumstances had controlled the abysmal state of my love life almost since high school. When I came across the article disseminating the results of an online dating survey, including the URLs of a few sites I hadn’t heard of, it seemed particularly serendipitous.
Hoping “Polysemous24”—Silas—would show up eventually, I forced myself to stop acting like a creeper in the parking lot and go up to the house. My suitcase had wheels, but it wouldn’t be rolling on the gravel. Glad I’d packed light—because how many changes of clothes does one man need for three days, even if it is Pride weekend—I carried my things to Buchanan House. Clever. I’d liked the sound of it even before I read the article that practically said it was a gay, landlocked version of The Love Boat.
It didn’t seem grander in person, which was a little surprising considering the pictures online had been almost unassuming. Rustic and homey was more like it—a long, low building with only two floors, surrounded by trees, trees, and more trees. I like the outdoors as much as the next guy, but it was a relief to hear Madonna over the sounds of the ocean when I got close to the open front doors.
Okay, the only thing I like about the outdoors is…. Okay, I don’t like the outdoors.
But I was there, and this had been my idea in the first place, so I climbed the porch steps. The inside of the lobby looked like an old movie set from a time when travel had been treated as an event. I was warming to the whole plan even before the most gorgeous man I’d ever seen glided up to me and smiled as he looked me over. Compared to everyone else in view, I was seriously overdressed in my khakis and salmon polo.
“Hello, sweetheart,” he said and extended a hand. His grip was surprisingly firm for a man wearing purple pants, a pink feather boa, and nothing else. “I’m Nathan Lucas, your hostess with the mostest. And who might you be?”
“Adam. Adam Byron. I—I mean, we have a reservation.”
“Hello, Mr. Byron.” He winked and swished back behind the counter. He pulled an old-fashioned guestbook from behind the desk and put two keys with oval brass holders on top of it as he spoke. “Welcome to Buchanan House. You’re in room seven—that’s top of the stairs and to your left. Once you get settled in, come down and join the party. At least until your friend shows up.” He winked again and moved the book toward me an inch or two.
I had to remind myself what to do—he was so tall, tanned, and blond, my brain just stopped functioning for a few seconds. I signed my name where he indicated and read the name below: Silas Grant.
Mr. Lucas asked if I wanted to take both keys with me.
“Um, no thanks. I might take a walk on the beach before Pol—Silas gets here.” My ears felt like they’d burn off my head because I’d almost called Silas by his online handle instead of his name. Not that I thought I was the only gay man to ever meet someone online… but I might be the only one who was meeting that someone for the first time at a gay retreat three hours from home.
Nathan pressed the key into my hand and closed my fingers around it. I hadn’t noticed him coming back around the counter, but he practically floated instead of walked, so I let myself off the hook for that one. “If you want to have a drink first, we’re having appletinis and rainbow Jell-O shots. Don’t be shy. If there’s anything I can do for you, Adam, let me know.” He looked me over and might have even nodded before turning and sashaying away in the direction of the music. A smattering of cheers and applause greeted him as he passed into the next room.
After I’d made the reservation, I’d received an e-mail outlining all the festivities planned for Pride weekend—both at Buchanan House and in Lincoln City. I’d missed the kick-off party on Thursday and almost hoped I would be too busy to attend the indie film screening scheduled for Sunday evening. Apparently, the “Come as You Are” party was in full swing. The open floor plan allowed a view of a dozen or so scantily clad men, most with drinks and small plates in their hands, or dancing. Every last one of them was worth at least a second look.
I felt a little winded from the whole exchange and was suddenly glad the room was only one floor up. It surprised me by turning out to be even more beautiful than the pictures, with a stone fireplace, large bed, and a daybed. The colorful garden beyond the back window and the place where the river met the ocean appeared inviting enough, but I wasn’t there to appreciate the flora. I was counting on the fauna downstairs to make the weekend memorable.
If I could work up the courage to go back down.
First I unpacked and changed into shorts and a red T-shirt. And then I changed into a green tank top. I was about to pull it off and try another style and color when someone knocked on the door. As I crossed the room, my heart pounded fast in my throat, then felt like it stopped when I pulled the door open.
Thanks for reading! “Pride Weekend” is free so don’t forget to grab your copy—just click here.
If you’d like a chance to win a copy of the audiobook version of the first book in the series, Buchanan House, leave me a comment and leave an answer to this question: What color is your feather boa?
Mine would be purple, shot through with tinsel!
I’ll be back again next Friday to celebrate the release of Tiny House, with another audiobook code to give away. Hope to see you there!
I’ll be back throughout the weekend to chat, and on Sunday evening (US Pacific Time) to choose a winner from the comments.
Speaking of free fiction, I’d like to invite you to my group on Facebook. It’s called Rainbow Snippets, and every Saturday morning (Pacific Time in the US) I pin a post for writers, authors, and bloggers of LGBTQ+ fiction to leave links to their 6-sentence snippets. You can see a sample on my blog here, and if it sounds like something you’d be interested in we’d love to have you join us. The more the merrier!