“Blue Notes” Release Day Contests!

December 30, 2011

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the release day blog for “Blue Notes!”  All day long, I’ll be taking names for three contests: 1) to win an ebook copy of the book, 2) to win an Amazon gift card for $10.00 to purchase your own music (or whatever), and 3) to win an mp3 download of “My Favorite Brahms,” a fabulous recording of Brahms piano music by Van Cliburn.  All you need to do to enter is post on the DSP blog, on my own blog, or on my Goodreads blog.  Winners will be chosen at random on January 31st from all of those entered.  And if you would like a shot at winning a paperback copy of the book, there’s an ongoing contest on Goodreads you can sign up for (that one is only open to residents of the U.S.).

I’ll be posting excerpts throughout the day, and giving you an idea of what inspired the novel, as well as some of the background for the story.  Since “Blue Notes” is the first in a series of interrelated (spinoff) novels with music themes, I’ll be posting a preview of the next novel in the series, “The Melody Thief.”  And if you have questions or comments, please feel free to ask them – I’ll be checking in regularly.

So don’t forget to sign up for contests and check back from time to time!  Until next time,

Shira

Georgia Girl

August 15, 2011

I was born and raised in Georgia and have lived my whole life here. Other than the occasional day when the entire outdoors is a sauna or the air is so thick with pollen you can’t breathe, I love it. I can’t imagine living anywhere else for very long.

Sand & Water is set primarily on Tybee Island, but John and Bryan spend a rather notable week in Atlanta too, and I use ”local color” from both places, both real and fictionalized: restaurants, the Tybee pier and beach, Sweetwater beer. I like it when the setting of a story is a much a part of things as the plot or the characters. Obviously I have a soft spot for Georgia, but I try to include those kinds of details in every story.

If you’ve been to Georgia, what were your favorite things? Where would you go (or go again) if you had the chance? What kinds of story locations do you enjoy the most?

Giveaways! We’ve got giveaways!

August 15, 2011

So, as promised, I have Things And Stuff to give away. How can you snag one of them? Just comment on any of my posts here today, and your name will go in the bucket. If there’s something in particular you want (or don’t want), tell me in your comment, and if you’re a winner I’ll do my best to match you up with your choice.

Freebies up for grabs:

A personally autographed paperback copy of Sand & Water
A $15 iTunes gift card
A $10 Starbucks gift card
A bag full of local Georgia/Atlanta goodies

Comment away, and good luck! :)

Back! With an excerpt…

August 15, 2011

I’ve made it back with a brief excerpt from John and Bryan’s story. You can actually read the complete first chapter on the purchase pages through the Dreamspinner site, but this is a bit further in. :)

John slept like a log that night and woke up early Saturday morning feeling better rested and more refreshed than he had all week long. Typical, he thought. The one day of the week I could sleep in, and I’m awake at dawn.

Being up so early gave him a chance to do one of his favorite things: go down to the beach and watch the sunrise. Beth wouldn’t be awake for at least another hour, especially since she was still recovering from whatever little bug she’d had the day before. Meghan would be up around eight to head into the restaurant, earlier than during the off-season.

Moving quietly so as not to wake them, John slipped into swim trunks and a T-shirt and pulled on socks and sneakers. Sliding his keys, wallet, and cell phone into his pockets, he headed toward the water under the lightening skies. The clouds from the day before had disappeared, and it promised to be a gorgeous day. Probably hot too, but they’d be in the air-conditioned comfort of the Marine Science Center part of the time. John planned to invite Bryan and Jeremy for a walk out on the pier and maybe along the beach once the kids got tired of the animals. The center was small, but Beth loved the touch tank, where crabs, small rays, and other marine life were available for kids to pet.

Crossing the last street at the edge of the island, John climbed the wooden steps leading across the dunes and onto the beach below. As the water came into sight, he could see two figures standing ankle-deep in the surf, boards under their arms, talking about something. After a few seconds, they both waded out farther, dropping the boards and climbing onto them, stroking out toward the breakers.

John smiled as he settled on the bottom step to watch. Surfing wasn’t common at Tybee, since the waves weren’t anything to write home about, but John knew Kai liked to go out sometimes. He couldn’t tell who the two men were for sure—at least, from here they both seemed to be men—but one of them was about Kai’s height and seemed to have his broad, muscular build. John had no idea who the other man might be but watched as he turned to catch a low wave, rising to his feet, gliding across the water. It wasn’t a long ride or a fancy one, but it was smooth and steady, and he dropped back down to the board with an easy grace as it moved into shallower water. He slipped off the side and stood up, turning back to yell something to Kai before gathering up his board and walking up the beach.

Between the increasing light and the man’s proximity, John could recognize then that it was Bryan. As he watched, transfixed, Bryan shook his head, throwing off droplets of water in all directions, then wiped his face with one hand. He bent to grab a sports bottle that sat in the sand next to a pair of shoes, and John’s mouth went dry as the move stretched Bryan’s swimsuit tight over his ass. Bryan came back up and tilted his head back to pour water into his mouth, and John couldn’t look away.

“Holy hell, he is hot,” John murmured.

Almost as if he’d heard him, even though John knew he was too far away, Bryan froze in place and then turned, catching sight of John where he sat staring. Bryan grinned and waved his free hand, bending to set his water bottle back down and then walking in John’s direction. John fought for composure, but watching Bryan’s muscles flex as he moved, bare chest still glistening with sea water, wasn’t doing much to help him get himself under control.

Sand & Water by Shae Connor

August 15, 2011

Hi all! I’m here to celebrate the release my first novel, Sand & Water, which is now available for purchase in ebook and paperback formats.

Unfortunately, I had a last-minute appointment come up, so I’m going to have to run out for a bit, but when I get back, I’ll have giveaways, excerpts, and some other things to share. So check back in, and be ready to comment to win! (Heck, start by commenting here if you like. They all count!)

THE ATTORNEY by Carolyn LeVine Topol – contest

August 4, 2011

Hello Everyone!  Thanks to those who shared wonderful comments during yesterday’s Release Party.  I’ll draw the winner of a complimentary copy of The Attorney in about an hour.  See you soon. :)

THE ATTORNEY by Carolyn LeVine Topol – excerpt (Adult)

August 3, 2011

Here’s a little treat for you to enjoy as we close for the night, but I’ll be back over the next 24 hours to check on comments.  Happy Reading!  Enjoy the second book in The Male Room trilogy.

Chapter 3

SAM closed the door as soon as they entered his apartment, flipped the deadbolt, and pressed Chris against the door, crashing their lips together. Chris tasted like the perfect blend of green tea, Thai spices, and something more. It didn’t matter what it was. Sam wanted it; he was hungry for him.

Pressing back, Chris explored Sam’s mouth, wrapping his arms around Sam as he pushed his tongue inside. Sam felt a sound escape from his throat, his reaction more intense than he’d expected.

It didn’t matter that Chris was broader and taller; Sam took back control, tugging his date’s shirt out from where it had been neatly tucked into his pants. He immediately started to deftly unbutton the garment, exposing the beautiful, fair skinned six-pack underneath.

Taking a step back, Sam gazed at Chris’ heaving chest, leaning in to lick and suck each nipple, moving from one to the other, over and over, sometimes moving away from one nipple, only to return to it immediately, keeping his date guessing as to which nub he would attack next. Chris moaned, threading his fingers through Sam’s hair as the onslaught continued.

“Look at them—erect, hot, wet, waiting for me.” Sam continued to suck harder on each nub, then nipped at them both.

“Ahhh!”

“You like that, don’t you? You’re waiting for more?” Sam loved Chris’s responsive movements and wanted to experience more.

“Want to touch you,” Chris breathed out.

Anxious to oblige, Sam quickly unfastened the buttons of his own shirt, pulling it off and flinging it off to the side. Chris’ big, smooth hands instantly gripped Sam’s back and then moved to his chest, massaging in circles over every muscle, purposely avoiding his own erect nubs.

“You’re beautiful.” Eyes darkened, Chris stared at Sam as he continued rubbing his hands over his entire upper body. It wasn’t long before he began to search lower. Chris unbuckled Sam’s belt and then his own.

“You want more and I want to give it to you.” This was the moment Sam would find out if he had been right. Would they clash for control and implode before they got any further? Although he knew it bordered on cliché, Sam still wasn’t convinced two tops could handle the compromises that would need to be made.

“Bedroom.” Sam froze, a grin on his face when he heard Chris. “Can we move to your bedroom?” Chris didn’t wait for an answer, kissing Sam once again, wrapping his arms around him. The touch of the now warm hands sent a shiver up Sam’s spine.

Taking Chris by the arm, Sam hastily moved them to his bedroom. He tossed the comforter to the side, revealing the dark, burgundy-colored sheets below.

As Chris began to remove his belt, Sam stilled his hands. “Let me.” He whipped the belt out of the loops and unfastened the pants. No need for those any more. Before lowering them to the floor, Sam pressed his hand against Chris’s hard member still trapped beneath the fabric.

“Oh God.” Chris’s head fell back, his eyes slowly closing.

Inching the pants and briefs down together, Sam got his first look at the prize underneath. “You’re so damn big.” Chris’s cock was incredible; long, thick, and hard, waiting for Sam, responding to Sam’s every touch and word.

While Chris toed off his shoes and socks, then stepped out of his pants, Sam quickly stripped off the rest of his own clothing. “You’re not so bad yourself.” Chris grinned.

Sam knew men loved to suck his cock and practically lined up to get fucked by him, but for some reason he wanted Chris more than any other he’d ever made a play for before.

Jeff had sucked him off in the backroom of the Music Box once. He’d been great, but it was a onetime event. Jeff belonged to Craig, with Craig, and he was off the market now.

“I want to take you.” Sam pressed his lips to Chris’, slowly guiding him to the edge of the bed, hoping with each step forward he wouldn’t meet a wall.

“I know.” Chris pulled back briefly and then pressed their lips together again. The hunger and urgency between them grew until Sam wanted more and more of everything about Chris. He needed to have him sprawled on his bed so he could kiss every inch of that amazing body and then fuck him until he begged for release.

Chris lay on his back rolling his lips inward, clearly out of his comfort zone. Sam hovered over him. It was just how Sam wanted it. He was in charge. This was his show and he would make it a performance neither of them would forget.

Starting at Chris’s lobe, Sam nipped, licked, and kissed his way down the long neck, sucking just enough not to leave a mark. He then moved on to touch, and lavish attention on, the hot, muscular chest, and finally the tight abdomen. The man beneath him began to writhe, gripping the sheets in his clenched fists.

“You are so damn hot.” Kissing, licking, teasing the huge reddened cock, Sam listened to the moans urging him on. Each sound from Chris went right to Sam’s dick. He was harder than he’d been in ages without touching himself. When Chris began to buck under Sam’s ministrations, he stopped, grabbing the lube and a condom from the night table drawer.

“Sam.”

Blinking, as he squirted a large dollop of the gel onto his fingers, Sam looked up. Chris’ eyes were wide. He had that deer in the headlights look. “Are you okay?”

Closing his eyes, Chris turned his head to one side, obviously having second thoughts. Sam worried this would be over before it started.

“Chris?”

“I just, I don’t usually—” Biting his lip, Chris couldn’t seem to finish the sentence.

“I figured. I’ll take it easy.” Sam pressed his lips gently to the matted hair streaked across his forehead. “I’ll take care of you.” Sam wasn’t sure why he offered so much, but it felt right.

Warming the lube in his fingers, Sam positioned himself between Chris’ legs, encouraging him to spread them even more. When he responded, Sam’s breath hitched at the sight of this amazing, hulking man lying wanton and needy, waiting for him. “I’ll give you a night you’ll always remember.” He pressed one finger slowly into the waiting hole.

Chris arched his back slightly in response, breathing heavier as Sam pushed another finger in to join the first.

Opening up the tight channel wasn’t easy. Chris had obviously not been doing much bottoming, if any at all.

“More. Another. Please.”

Smiling as he witnessed the building desire, Sam gladly added a third finger, spreading Chris from the inside, opening him up so he’d be ready for the hot, long cock he was about to take. Moving his fingers within, he found the spot he was looking for and nudged it.

“Oh shit!”

“You like that? You want more?”

Chris nodded, licking his lips. Sam captured the seductive tongue between his lips and sucked on it as he dove in for another heated kiss. Chris’s legs fell further to the side as their contact became more urgent, and he began to buck against Sam’s fingers.

Pulling out carefully, so as not to hurt Chris with too sudden a move, Sam looked at the man below. “Are you okay?”

Smiling, Chris laced his fingers in Sam’s hair and pulled him in for another kiss.

That was all the encouragement Sam needed. He couldn’t hold back any longer. Adding to the thrill for Sam was the experience of watching the tight muscles of Chris’ sculpted body heaving as he panted, waiting for Sam to penetrate him. After putting the condom on with one smooth stroke and coating it with the lube remaining on his fingers, Sam slowly pushed his cock inside. “You’re so damn tight.”

A nod was the only response as Chris once again clutched the sheet in his fists.

Continuing to carefully move deeper, Sam pushed into the tight tunnel until he was completely inside. Looking down, he stilled, allowing Chris to signal when he could move again. When he felt the strong legs wrap around his back, Sam knew it was time.

Starting with a slow, steady pace, he thrust in and out, enjoying the warmth. Sam couldn’t tear his eyes away from the man beneath him. He was so open, so trusting. As Chris began to join the rhythmic movements, Sam felt something foreign in his gut. Ignoring it, he continued, changing the angle to make sure to graze Chris’ prostate on every stroke.

“Oh God, Sam!”

Leaning down, Sam crashed their lips together, swallowing Chris’ words and moans, wanting to take all of him at once.

“Ahhh. I’m gonna come. Please.”

When Chris made a move to touch his dick, Sam swatted his hand away. “You’ll come without even touching yourself.”

“Fuck!” Chris bucked beneath him, his reddened member bobbing freely, as Sam’s movements became faster and harder.

Resting his cock against Chris’ prostate, he delivered short thrusts over the delicate spot.

His head thrashing from side to side, Chris grabbed Sam’s shoulders, digging his nails in as he arched his back one last time. “Sam!” Creamy white spurts of liquid shot between them, hitting the full length of Chris’ chest up to his chin.

Feeling the intense pressure around his cock, Sam followed him, filling the condom.

After catching his breath, Sam gently pulled out, removed the condom, tied it off, and tossed it onto the floor.

Before he could say or do anything, Chris wrapped his arms around him, holding him close. This wasn’t what Sam normally did after fucking a trick—it would typically be too intimate—but Sam didn’t mind. Although he might regret his actions later, Sam followed suit, embracing Chris. The two lay, their legs tangled, sticky come drying on their chests.

Although he thought about getting up to wash off, Sam instead reached out with one hand to pull the comforter over them. It was Friday night and there was no need to think about alarm clocks or deadlines for the next day.

Holding one another beneath the blanket now cocooning them, Chris kissed Sam’s neck. “I’m not sure why I let you.”

“Shhh, just go to sleep.”

“No, Sam,” he whispered. “I need to tell you. You’re the first.”

Sam’s eyes shot open for a moment, and then a smile spread across his face. He nibbled at Chris’ lobe and then kissed his neck, cheek, and lips tenderly. “I’m glad it was me. And I’m not sure how, but somehow I knew.”

“Good.”

The two remained entwined as they fell into a sated sleep.

SAM didn’t feel or hear anything until he awoke to the light streaming into the bedroom. He rolled over, frowning when he discovered he was alone. His reaction set off an internal alarm, which he chose to set aside for the moment.

Then he spotted a small note on the nightstand.

Thank you for last night. You’re right, I’ll always remember it. It’s your move now, since your friend fixed us up. Here’s my phone number. I hope you use it. Chris

Damn! Now Sam had to really think about how he felt. He had been in his element the night before. In the light of day, out of bed, could he make a relationship work?

THE ATTORNEY by Carolyn LeVine Topol – sequels vs. series

August 3, 2011

I never expected to ever write a sequel, until I was encouraged to write a continuation to Healthy Obsession.  A Risk Worth Taking became a natural continuation of that story.

It was a far bigger surprise to find The Male Room sparking so many thoughts of different love stories Jeff and Craig’s online dating service could inspire.  I’ve always thought of myself as a one story, close the book type of person — but I guess an imagination is both unpredictable and can take a person to wonderful places he/she never imagined.

In a few minutes I’ll share another excerpt… maybe with a bit more heat. *winks*

**Remember: Every time you comment, I’ll add your name an additional time for the drawing for a free copy of The Attorney!

THE ATTORNEY by Carolyn LeVine Topol – Excerpt

August 3, 2011

Welcome to our second post of the day of celebrating the bumpy road to love in The Attorney.   Today I’m going to make it easy to win a copy of this new novella… everyone who comments will get entered into a drawing to win!  Here’s the “catch” — I will enter your name for each Virtual Party post you comment on.  You can only be entered once per post.  So join the fun, grab a virtual cocktail (or a real one) and sit down and enjoy the beginning of The Attorney, and getting our party underway.

Chapter 1

WALKING into his large corner office, Sam took a seat at his oversized desk. He had several active cases he was working on, but instead of diving into them as he typically did each morning, his curiosity won out. Sam pulled his laptop out of its carrying case and set it front and center on the smooth glass surface.

After logging on, he immediately searched out his newest bookmarked site, The Male Room. He snorted, still not believing he’d actually done it—Sam Solomon had filled in a profile at an online dating service. Five years ago, the only way he would have ever done anything like this would have been in response to a dare when he was too drunk to think clearly. Now that he was living alone and wishing for more than just a good fuck at the end of the day, Sam had decided instead to try the newest trend in dating.

He remembered the day his friends, Craig and Jeff, had sat in his office signing the documents necessary to start their online business. His two friends had really done their research, and the commitment they’d made to take the risk with a new business was certainly paying off. It had been less than two months since The Male Room had opened its virtual doors, and they already had one of the three most lucrative gay online dating sites on the east coast of the United States.

Having received a free profile for all the legal work he’d helped them with during their start-up period, Sam had given it a try. He wasn’t sure what he was hoping for, but knew that going to the Music Box three to five nights a week to get his dick sucked or find a good ass to fuck was becoming less and less appealing. He envied his friends, remembering how, as they’d started their new business, they had also discovered the love that had been looming just beneath the surface for years.

Now Sam wanted a shot at something longer-lasting, but he was picky. He’d already accepted several dates from his online prospective pairings, but none actually had gone beyond a couple of brief encounters. One or two first dates had become second dates, but after a hot fuck and a good dinner, he didn’t have much desire to develop any of the matches into relationships.

When he looked at the home page for The Male Room, he noticed there were ten couples, captured in smiling pictures, listed as success stories. That was what Sam wanted. He wanted to be a success story, and not just in his professional or sexual world, but in his personal life. Hell, he wanted to have a personal life.

Exploring his profile’s “Connection” location, he noticed three new hits. All the men were good looking, but he’d learned through many years of gathering evidence for court cases, digitally enhanced pictures could go a long way to improving appearance. Now his search for the ideal date supported the same theory. Many of the pictures posted on the profiles were far less than honest representations.

Ignoring the photos, giving them no more than a passing glance, Sam looked at each new prospective match’s profile.

Two intrigued him immediately; the third seemed too much like him to be worth a second look. Sam didn’t think he could handle a coffee, let alone a dinner, with someone who was as much a control freak as himself. The thought crossed his mind that maybe he’d be better to stick to the old adage about opposites attracting each other.

Before he could think about it any further, the intercom on his phone buzzed. “Mr. Solomon, Jeff is on line two for you. Would you like to take his call or should I send it to your voice mail?”

“I’ll take the call, Donna. Please put it through.”

“Hello, Jeff. How are you and Craig enjoying your success?”

“At the bank or in the bedroom?”

“Touché! You two really have got it all.”

“It only took him ten years to figure out something I already knew when we were in high school.”

Sam chuckled. Although Jeff had started out as a trick who could have won a contest for best cock-sucker in Boston as far as Sam was concerned, he had since become a good friend and confidant, something Sam didn’t have many of. Lots of hot men wanted to be his trick, but very few took it further than that.

“Are you still there?”

“Oh, sorry. My mind wandered.”

“Well, honey, has it wandered over to your profile this glorious morning? There are some new prospects I think you should most definitely explore.”

“Are you a mind reader? I was just looking at them. I have to admit, I’m beginning to lose hope. I may be your first truly unsuccessful client.”

“Nonsense! You just don’t know how to pick ’em.” Jeff paused and Sam could hear some beeping and chiming noises in the background. “There. I just opened your profile.”

“Isn’t it cheating to have one of the owners of The Male Room act as my personal consultant?”

Jeff snickered. “It’s not normally offered as part of the service, but I’m more than willing to make an exception for you, especially since you clearly can’t tell a good match from a mediocre one.”

“So none of the matches are just bad, are they?” Sam smirked, looking forward to hearing Jeff’s comeback.

“There is a good match for everyone; sometimes at The Male Room you just have to sift through the less-than-perfect to find the diamonds in the rough.”

“I think you’re twisting your metaphors.”

“Maybe so, but I see the perfect match for you.”

“Which one? There’re three new additions who’ve shown interest on my profile page.”

“I tell you what, Sam. Let me act for you and set up a meeting tonight at the Thai place near the Boston Aquarium. Do you know the restaurant I’m talking about?”

“Yes. I’ve eaten there a number of times. They’ll probably recognize me when I arrive.”

“You’ve eaten there or done take-out?”

“I’m not answering your question on the grounds it might incriminate me.”

“You lawyers are all the same.” Sam heard Jeff clicking away at his computer. “Okay, you’re all set for tonight. I’ll contact the restaurant; you just be there at eight.”

“So, who am I meeting?”

“You’ll know him when you see him. It’s the man who was meant for you.”

“I’ll go along with this one time, but if you’re wrong, I think it may be time for me to take a break. Maybe I’m just not cut out to find someone. Not all of us can be as lucky as you and Craig… and all the men on the home page.”

“There’s a soul mate for you. I’m sure of it. And I think I’ve found him.”

“We’ll see.”

“How about a friendly wager?”

“What?”

“A bet. Let’s bet on it.”

“You want to bet on whether you’ve found the right man for me?”

“Exactly. I have that much faith in myself.”

“I could just throw the date to win the bet.”

“You won’t want to if you give it half a chance. I trust my instincts, and I think it’s finally your time.”

Hating to admit it, Sam hoped Jeff was right. He was nearly thirty-five and alone. Friends were great, fucks were temporarily satisfying, but Sam wanted to come home each night and know someone cared whether he’d be there or not. “Okay. It’s a bet. What do you want if you win?”

“That’s easy. I want to put you and your partner’s picture on the home page and get a few quotes for the caption. A respected lawyer in Boston is fabulous free advertising.”

“Sounds fair to me. And what if I win?”

“Don’t you get it, sweetie? You and I will both win if I win the bet. Focus on that… for me, better yet, for you.”

Biting his lip, Sam was glad no one could see him. Jeff was right. He really wanted his friend to win the bet, even if it meant an embarrassingly sweet picture of him would be plastered on the site’s home page. “Thanks, Jeff. I do hope you win.”

“Talk to you later, honey. Remember, eight o’clock at the—”

“Thai restaurant. I’ll be there, just make sure my date is too. I’m not in the mood for take-out this time.” Hanging up the phone, Sam refocused on his profile.

Studying the three faces, Sam searched each of the viewing profiles of the two likely candidates. He re-examined them as if he was preparing for a case. Each man had good qualities, and it seemed like he could spend a comfortable evening with either one of them.

Scrutinizing the two profiles, Sam hoped Jeff had picked the bartender. If anything, he should have some great stories to tell of people he’d witnessed while working. Besides, bartenders were supposed to be great conversationalists.

Enough! He was wasting too much time on this. It was in Jeff’s hands now. While Sam wasn’t counting on much, he was hoping his friend had better luck selecting the perfect match than he had. Clearly Sam only knew how to find the hottest fucks. It was too bad he wanted more.

Blinking himself back to reality, Sam pressed the intercom button on his phone. “Donna, bring me the files I requested you pull yesterday. I have to be prepared for court on Monday morning.”

“I’ll be right there, Mr. Solomon. Do you mean the files about the school purchasing computers for disabled kids?”

“That’s the one. And good news for both of us, the district is actually paying for my services. This one isn’t even pro bono.”

Donna laughed. “We both know you’d help them just as diligently even if it was.”

“Just bring me the files. I have a job to do, and so do you, if you want to get paid next week.”

“Be right there.”

Lifting his finger from the intercom, Sam prepared himself to re-examine every detail of information regarding the case of a local special education school fighting against a large computer distributor that had sent them systems that didn’t meet their specified needs, or the needs of their students.

He would be the first person to admit he enjoyed having enough money to spend as he chose, but one thing Sam couldn’t stand was robbing from those in need. He also couldn’t stand losing a case. Sam had no intention of losing this one; the case was too important and was beginning to receive more attention than he would have desired in the news.

Rarer Than Rubies, Excerpt 2 (PG)

July 29, 2011

Here’s another little taste to tempt you to check out Rarer Than Rubies! Hope you enjoy it!

****


“Are you following me around?” Trent put his backpack on again, this time putting both arms through the straps. Obviously he wasn’t taking any more chances. Reed knew he wouldn’t get another chance to get into the pack, but where could the map be? Had Trent found it in his pack and knowing it wasn’t his, already thrown it away? Or was he working for a competitor and had already passed it off. Reed hadn’t let him out of his sight for very long, but there might have been someone waiting in his room at the Pink Tiger.

But this guy appeared too clueless to be part of any underworld organization. No one was that good an actor. The only explanation was Trent somehow realized the map was valuable and hidden it hoping to sell it to someone who would pay big money for the information.

“No, man. Bangkok’s really kind of a small place for farangs, you know? I run into the same people all the time. I’m Reed Acton, by the way.” He started to put a hand out but Trent didn’t look to be in a trusting, hand-shaking mood yet. He also didn’t volunteer an introduction.

Farangs?” Trent rolled the word around on his tongue and squinted in puzzlement.

“Foreigners…Westerners. It’s kind of an insult, but if you spend enough time here you get used to it.”

“But you speak Thai. You said you live here?”

“Yeah, for work.” Fuck. This conversation was getting into dangerous territory for Reed. But he didn’t want to just walk off on his own and suddenly it had nothing to do with the map. He wanted to get closer to Trent Dallas and breathe in the beautiful scent of him—probably courtesy of that fancy body wash Reed had watched him apply earlier—and lick along the curve of his jaw, and then maybe rip off that shirt Trent was wearing and trace around every muscle on his chest and abs. Reed had seen what was under there and this time he wanted more than to look. He wanted to touch, and taste and…

“Well, thanks for getting my bag back. Do you want a reward or something?” Trent’s voice jolted Reed back to reality and with difficulty he pulled his mind out of Trent’s pants. Which was too bad, because he was just starting to plan out what he wanted to do with that ass.

“No, no.” Reed shook his head. “I don’t want money. If that’s what you’re thinking, that I’m trying to scam you or something, you’re dead wrong.”

“Well…” Trent looked at Reed out of the corner of his eye and Reed knew he wasn’t convinced Reed was harmless.

“Look, let’s sit down for a few minutes and grab something to drink. The heat is getting to me.” Reed wiped the back of his hand across his sweaty brow and smiled up at Trent, getting another suspicious look in return. But Trent looked hot and sweaty, too—though it just made him look even sexier—and let Reed lead him to table set up under a canvas canopy near half a dozen street vendors.

Reed ordered cool coconut drinks for them. Trent eyed the drink warily at first, but when he saw Reed slurp down half the glass in one long pull he cautiously sipped and smiled in delighted surprise. The coconut drinks were one of Reed’s favorites, though some vendors made them too sweet. He loved the soft fresh coconut flesh that floated in the glass and he’d usually save a few pieces to suck on and savor the taste after he’d drained the liquid contents. From the look on Trent’s face he seemed to be relaxing and Reed decided to take a time out here and put him at ease.

“I admit I saw you in the airport and thought it might be fun to hang out. I know a lot of places to go in the city, if this is your first time here …” Reed smiled hoping Trent would trust him, no matter how suspicious Reed’s behavior might have been up till now. He wished he could forget about the map and enjoy a few fun-filled days with Trent Dallas—preferably in a bed in Reed’s air-conditioned apartment where they ordered in food and didn’t get dressed the entire time.

“How do I know I can trust you? I mean, what were you doing in the airport anyway?” Trent repeatedly poked his straw at the pieces of coconut at the bottom of his glass.

“I had to pick up a package for my boss.” Thankfully Reed could tell the truth. “It got misdirected so I have to get it from a different location later today.” He paused for a moment. “You can eat that. It’scoconut flesh.” Reed took a bite from a piece he pulled from his own glass, to demonstrate it was safe.

“Really? I’ve never seen it so soft.”

“It’s from young coconuts. I guess they don’t leave them on the trees long enough to get really hard. They’re much easier to open when they’re young, too.”

Trent fished a piece out and took a tiny bite. He quickly ate the rest of it. “Mmm.”

“See? You can trust me.” Reed laughed. He enjoyed watching Trent consume the rest of the coconut pieces, picking each up and licking it to catch the last drops of the drink before sucking it into his mouth with a tiny slurp.

“Eating coconut and going somewhere with you are two entirely different things.” Trent tilted his head slightly then licked his lips and Reed had to keep from jumping across the table and kissing him. Did Trent know how he was torturing Reed as he imagined what else those lips and tongue could be doing. The smile on Trent’s face led Reed to believe that maybe he did. Damn tease! But Reed was enjoying the game. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt a spark like this for anyone.

“Fair enough.”

They chatted casually for another ten minutes, where Reed kept the conversation mainly about Thai food–deftly avoiding personal topics–until Trent seemed to have relaxed and become less suspicious. Reed noticed Trent’s appraising glances and grinned, hoping his dimples might be extra convincing. God, he hated doing it this way but he was on a short timetable and he didn’t have the luxury of being smooth about it.

“Have you decided you can lower the threat level on me to blue or green?”

Trent laughed and Reed’s spirits picked up. He liked the sound of Trent’s laugh.

“Well, I might go as low yellow, with an option for blue.”

****

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2430

EM Lynley
http://www.emlynley.comhttp://emlynley.livejournal.comhttp://facebook.com/emlynley