July 17, 2015
“Dangit!” Cyrus winced in pain when a splinter broke the skin on his index finger. Man, don’t be a pussy. It’s just a little—fuck! Knew I should’ve worn gloves! You just gotta be the tough guy, Cy. Cyrus shook his hand and hopped around like his pants were on fire. He only wanted to get the cattle through the gate and onto the fields to begin his chores for the day, and he’d be damned if he allowed a tiny piece of wood to stand in the way of him making some money. After all, this was his only means of paying the bills and keeping food on the table. Cereal graining was honest work even for a not-so-honest bastard like Cyrus Abrams.
Still in pain and grimacing from the discomfort, Cyrus sucked on his finger and continued to work with one hand. He needed to get a move on so he’d be able to have everything ready when the truck arrived to pick up his offerings. If he wasn’t ready, the driver would leave without a second look back. He couldn’t have that happen if he wanted to keep beer in the fridge and the utilities paid for the month.
“Eeeee… eee….” The pigs behind him continued making a fuss to get out of the pen.
“Wait your turn, ya hogs! Those bitches right there are my other prime source of income.” For some ungodly reason, nobody really liked buying pork in Great Falls. Beef, on the other hand, was a huge seller, and Cyrus was more than happy to contribute to the market. Money from cereal grain farming could only go so far. He needed cash for spankovision and the whiskey he liked to drink, as well as wages for his assistant.
Cyrus’s eyes narrowed when he glanced at his watch, knowing young Brian Daystar was late… again.
Where is that sonofabitch, anyway?
If only the kid could be as serious about work instead of bedding everybody, Cyrus knew he’d have a model employee. Once Brian got to work, he was a big help, so instead of complaining, Cyrus cut Brian some slack.
If only he were a little older?
Just thinking about the hot Native American babe with long brown hair and beautiful eyes made him hard as nails. He smirked and gave himself a little tug. Whacking off in his dreams of Brian was as far as things would go for Cyrus. He wasn’t interested in long-term relationships with anyone after losing Danny to a gunshot wound to the head.
Instantly, Cyrus’s thoughts of arousal changed to grief. He sucked in a breath and closed his eyes a moment, reliving the whole ordeal.
I’ll never love again.
Nope, he didn’t need anyone after seeing such a horrific event unfold in front of his eyes, and then, to make things worse, they charged him with the murder and sent him to jail for five years until someone finally wised up and acquitted him.
“Falling in love means hurting, and I’m too old to hurt!” Cyrus slammed the gate closed and stalked to the pen where the pigs were bunching up in front, ready to get out. He slipped on his gloves to protect the nick on his finger and shoved the door wide, allowing them to roam free in their part of the yard.
Watching the hogs, he leaned back against the fence and flicked the tip of his Stetson from over his eyes. Looking up into the skies, he squinted from hot sun bearing down on him. Drops of sweat formed on his brow, but he didn’t bother to wipe any of it off.
A little perspiration never hurt nobody.
Cyrus wrinkled his nose and turned his attention to the mud under his feet. He still couldn’t believe how many years had passed since his lover had been mercilessly taken away from him. Attempting to keep from crying, he sniffed and choked back tears. “Danny, sometimes I get lonely, but I know no one will be able to take your place.” Cyrus plucked a toothpick from his shirt pocket and jammed it between his lips. “No one wants me, anyway. I’m too set in my ways and I need my space. I’m better off alone, taking care of the cows and graining cereal, my man. Besides, nothing’s gonna come close to what I had with you.” And they wouldn’t, knowing how picky he was about the men he wanted to bring home with him. Cyrus knew he held them up to a standard that most likely couldn’t be reached.
Although Cyrus knew this to be a fact, he never stopped any man from keeping him company temporarily, but once he got his fill, Cyrus kicked them out without so much as batting an eyelash. He knew it was wrong as hell to force people out of his life, but again, it was for the best.
Cyrus tossed the toothpick away and headed for the barn. With the pigs playing in the mud and the morning chores started, he’d check on the horses. And since he couldn’t find Brian, he’d even collect eggs, things Brian should’ve been doing for his first duty at eight-thirty.
Cyrus stomped through the mire in the other direction. Just as he began walking, Brian rushed from his car, slamming the door behind him. “Cyrus, shit man, sorry I’m late. Just came from… ah… never mind. I’ll get to work!” Brian stumbled to keep from slipping in the muck. He inhaled deeply, pulled his ponytail from out of his jacket, and slapped the white cowboy hat atop his head. “No need to do anything irrational, Cy. I’ll even stay a little later without pay if you like.”
Cyrus shook his head and smirked. “Naw, man, it’s all right. I know you got a life outside this ranch. Just ’cause I’m miserable don’t mean you have to be.” Cyrus handed him the basket.
July 6, 2015
Thanks for hosting me.
I’m Anne Barwell and Family and Reflection is my 9th release with Dreamspinner Press. I live in New Zealand, and in my other job I work in a library. Family and Reflection is also book 3 of The Sleepless City, an urban fantasy series which is a joint project with Elizabeth Noble.
When we started discussing ideas for The Sleepless City we soon realised that it would need more than one book to tell the story. As our writing schedules and styles are quite different, we decided to alternate writing the books. I’ve written book 1, Shades of Sepia, and book 3, Family and Reflection. Elizabeth has written book 2, Electric Candle, and book 4, Shifting Chaos.
One of the reasons I love writing series is that it gives the opportunity to explore characters and their world in much more depth. With each book I learn something new about these characters, and given that several of them are vampires, there’s a lot of history to catch up on. It reminds me in a way of peeling an onion, in which each new layer reveals itself when something triggers a memory or relates the past to the present. Also, with the focus of each book on different characters, although keeping the ensemble feel of the series, it meant that all the characters had the chance to grow as the overall story progressed. Several minor characters also demanded more air time, and turned up with hints of interesting back stories. It’s a good thing we’re both writing spin off series after The Sleepless City arc is finished.
The other reason is that a series lends itself to a much more complicated plot. While each book has closure in regard to the immediate crisis/mystery, strands from earlier books come together with each subsequent part of the story to give a more complete picture. Continuity is really important when the series is an arc rather than stand alone stories set in the same universe, so many of the story elements were plotted out before book 1 was even written. Then, as things happened when we wrote our parts of The Sleepless City, we added to our already extensive series and character notes.
Most of my other books are part of series too… Who am I kidding? They all want sequels or have sneaked into a series by becoming a prequel to something I haven’t written yet. I can’t write a standalone story to save myself, although I like to leave my characters in a good place at the end of each book and tie up the immediate storyline. I also like to include enough information so new readers can read out of order and still follow the plot, although there are references to things that have happened in previous books too.
My current WIP, One Word, is a good example of this. This story is a side novel to my first book Cat’s Quill—it’s Donovan and Ethan’s story as to what happened while Tomas and Cathal were… oops sorry, spoiler for those who haven’t read the series. Anyway, it’s a fun juggling act, so that readers who haven’t read my Hidden Places series can follow this story, but not info dumping to the point that others have to re-read what they already know. One of my beta readers has read all my books, while another is new to this series and deliberately hasn’t read the others so between them they can make sure I’m getting that balance right.
Do you like stories which are told over several books, or do you prefer everything to be tied up in a neat bow at the end of one book? I’d love to know which, and why, and am offering a free ebook from my backlist to someone who comments on this post. DSP will draw the winner after 48 hours.
Family and Reflection
Book 3 of The Sleepless City, Sequel to Electric Candle
For as long as Lucas Coate can remember, werewolves have been taught to mistrust vampires. Lucas is an exception—he has close friends who are vampires. The werewolf pack in Flint—and their leader, Jacob Coate—have made it clear that Lucas’s association with vampires is barely tolerated, and another transgression will be his last. When Lucas finds out about the plague of werewolf deaths in the area, he wants to help even though his own life may already be in danger.
Declan has been away from Flint for ten years, but he isn’t surprised to learn that the internal politics of the Supernatural Council haven’t changed for the better. When a series of burglaries hit close to home soon after he arrives, Declan—a vampire and professional thief—is their prime suspect, although for once, he isn’t responsible. With the council keeping secrets, no one is safe. Time is running out, and for Lucas and Declan, everything is about to change.
“Someone has stolen from the council, Mr. Declan,” Hillary said. “Are you denying you’re responsible?”
“That depends. Are you accusing me?” Declan replied, giving her the incredulous look her comment deserved before continuing. “I’m sorry, Mrs. Lassiter, but if I was a thief, I wouldn’t be stupid enough to steal from the council. My friends work for you, as do I on occasion. We have no argument with you.”
At least they hadn’t lately, Declan added silently. Anyway, just because he could break into the council vault, it didn’t mean he had.
“The items stolen did not belong to the council itself. This is personal.” Hillary stood. She sounded angry. “Someone broke into my home last night and stole something from my bedroom while I slept!”
“Well, it wasn’t me,” Declan said. No wonder the council was upset. Whoever was doing this either had a death wish or was trying to make a point. He shrugged. “You need to read up on vampires. You’re human. I can’t enter your home unless you invite me in.”
“Some of your kind don’t need to follow that rule,” she said.
Jacob cleared his throat. “Declan isn’t old enough, Hillary.” Only a very old vampire could enter a private home uninvited. “There are ways around that rule, however, and we are not sure this burglar is working alone.”
“What if he had already been invited in?” she said, ready to argue the point. “My husband’s family has owned the house for over twenty years. It was robbed fifteen years ago, the day after we’d had a tradesman there to fix the phone. People invite tradesmen in all the time. I checked the council records. Declan was in Flint then too.”
“That still doesn’t mean it was me,” Declan pointed out. He thought back. Lassiter. Lassiter. Oh, right. No wonder her name seemed familiar. That robbery fifteen years ago probably had been him. He’d burgled a few homes in Flint around that time by posing as a tradesman a few days beforehand. Once he’d been invited in, it was forever, or at least while that particular human was still living there.
“It doesn’t mean it wasn’t, either,” Jacob said. He steepled his fingers, his brows creasing in thought.
“Mrs. Lassiter implied this meeting was because I needed your help,” Declan reminded him.
“I don’t. Don’t accuse me of something unless you have proof.”
“Do you have an alibi for last night?” Jacob asked.
“Yes,” Declan said. He took a deep breath and blew it out. Jacob was going to love this one. “Lucas. Your son.”
Jacob didn’t seem surprised at the revelation. Was he keeping an eye on Lucas despite telling his son he wanted nothing more to do with him? Perhaps he still cared. For all their differences, Lucas was family, and that was important to the pack.
“All night?” Jacob asked after everyone else in the room had turned their heads to stare at Declan.
“No,” Declan had to admit. He wasn’t sleeping with Lucas and wasn’t about to imply he was. Lucas had enough family issues without them thinking he was involved with a vampire. Which he wasn’t. “We got home about three this morning.”
Coffee Unicorns: http://coffeeunicorns.wordpress.com/
Dreamspinner Press Author Page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/anne-barwell
June 15, 2015
That’s a Good Question. Ha! See what I did there? I’m closing out my time here at the DSP blog with an excerpt from the novella that started Lonnie and Jamison’s love story.
“Don’t say that,” Jamison said.
Torp looked around for Lincoln and, not seeing him, asked, “Why the fuck not? He is.”
“You don’t know that.”
Torp snorted and then choked, prompting Jamison to slap him hard on the back a couple of times until he’d regained his ability to breathe properly. “Uh-huh, y-yeah I do. I’d have to be blind not to notice that.”
Jamison opened his mouth to argue, but suddenly he noticed the music above them had stopped. Did he hear us? From deep in the house he heard someone running down the stairs. He turned to look over his shoulder and saw the art student stumble into the hallway, pause, and turn their way, spotting them. Shit. Jamison turned back around quickly and sipped his tea, his gaze riveted on the grass.
“Hey, fellas. I’m done for today. Got a late afternoon class. See ya tomorrow.” Jamison felt some tension drain out of him, but then the young man gave an exasperated sigh and a chuckle. “Sorry. Introductions?”
Jamison sensed the man come closer, and to his left Torp leapt up, quickly wiping sandwich crumbs off on his jeans. “I’m Theodore Machado III, but most folks call me Torpedo.”
“Uh… really? O-okay. Good to meet you, Torpedo”—Jamison smirked at how carefully the man repeated his friend’s name, as if trying it out on his tongue—“I’m Lonnie Bellerose. The very pregnant lady of the house is my sister.”
“Good to meet you, Mister—”
“Lonnie. Just call me Lonnie.”
The silence that followed brought some tension back into Jamison’s shoulders as he realized they were waiting on him, probably staring at his back. He began to sweat just as his eyes caught sight of a parade of ants moving across a worn, brown patch in the yard to his right. They looked hell-bent for the grass forest on the other side of their tiny clearing. Take me with you.
“He don’t talk much,” Torp explained, then smacked the back of Jamison’s head. “Jam, introduce yourself, man.”
Jamison took a deep breath and slowly stood, turning to face them as he did. Lonnie’s gaze followed him, his eyes widening as Jamison continued to rise above him. Lonnie’s lips parted slightly, almost gasping when he had to tilt his head back a bit to look Jamison in the eyes.
Green. His eyes are green, Jamison noted. He almost stepped closer, almost revealed the pull he felt, but he stopped himself, fearing the same reaction from Lonnie that he’d gotten since his first growth spurt. When you don’t smile much and you’re big and you’re black and you’re tattooed and you’re silent, people—strangers—all react the same way.
It had served him well growing up, carrying him safely through adolescence in a rough neighborhood and keeping bad influences—and even some good ones—at a distance. But as he looked into Lonnie’s bright green eyes, it suddenly hit Jamison that the last thing he wanted from this man was distance.
A smile slowly spread across Lonnie’s beautiful face—full lips, narrow nose, long dark lashes, and high cheekbones. Yum. He was almost as pretty as a girl, but so very much a man.
“My… you’re… you’re—”
“I’m Jamison Coburn.”
Lonnie slowly extended his hand, and Jamison took it. “I’m… I’m….”
Jamison allowed himself to grin. “You’re… Lonnie Bellerose.”
Lonnie barked in laughter, snorted, and smacked himself in the forehead. “Ha! Yeah, yeah, I’m Lonnie. Sorry.” He shook his head, his curls bouncing. “Spaced out a bit there. Nice to m-meet you, Jamison.”
“And you, Lonnie,” Jamison said softly. “Enjoy your class.”
“Right,” Lonnie almost whispered, nodding, staring, grinning. “Thank you.”
They stared at each other for several more heartbeats, and then Lonnie turned on his sockless but sneakered feet, juggled his drawing pad and art bag, and walked right into the closed half of the French doors. He stumbled backward, but Jamison grabbed him and steadied him by the shoulders, aiming him properly at the open door.
Lonnie looked back at him and laughed again. “Thanks f-for that.”
Jamison simply nodded and pointed at the doorway, silently urging him to watch his step. He watched Lonnie walk through the kitchen, all the way down that long hall to the front door, heard Lonnie’s noisy VW grind to life, and caught a flash of purple as he drove away.
“You can’t see that?” Torp asked, shaking his head and shooing a fly from the remainder of his sandwich before taking another bite.
I saw it, all right, Jamison thought, smiling.
I hope that was fun. Setting it up for this post made me smile again.
Thank you all for joining me today, and if you take a chance on my novel The Answer Is, I hope it’s an entertaining read for you.
Remember, you have until 11 a.m. EST, Wednesday, June 17, to leave a comment on the giveaway posts in this release party for chances to win.
Take care and have a great week, people!
June 2, 2015
The large case he’d set up as a wall between the front and the back of the store was broken as well, but from what he could see, the movie props he’d placed there were intact, although he couldn’t say the same for the enormous papier-mâché griffin he’d found at a Harryhausen tribute auction. Peppered with bullet holes, its body and head were marred with crumbling white holes, a scatter pattern large enough to make Rook’s stomach turn.
“Shit, they were trying to kill me.” He leaned back, trying to do a visual count on how many bullets pierced through the window and into the shop while he’d been plastered to the floor to avoid being shot.
“Go in but do not touch.” Rook echoed what his grandfather’s lawyers told him, trying to absorb the destruction. “I can’t even move without touching something. And how the hell am I going to document the damage? What isn’t damaged? Fricking lawyers.”
“Are these the same lawyers that told you to return to the scene of the crime and screw up any residuals that might be here?” Montoya’s deep voice rumbled out of the darkened doorway leading from the storefront to the elevator up to Rook’s apartment. “If they wanted you to be thrown into jail, they could have just left you there instead of this catch-and-release program we’ve got going.”
Montoya looked… good. Again. Too good. Too ruffled, too scruffy hot, with broad shoulders and his burned burned-honey eyes fringed with thick, long lashes. A hint of a dimple threatened to spread when his mouth quirked to the side, and Rook had to swallow around a lump in his throat when Montoya shoved his hands into his jeans pockets, sliding his black leather jacket back with his elbows to expose his gun harness.
Even from a few feet away, the man was a tall, dangerous complication in Rook’s life. One he wanted as badly as he didn’t want him around. Rook wasn’t sure what was worse—being accused of murder or being tailed by a man he’d gladly bend over for but who wanted him in handcuffs instead.
“What are you doing here, Stevens?” Montoya’s rumble tickled Rook’s belly, licking hot flames down his crotch and over his ass. “You shouldn’t even be here. What were you thinking?”
Rook had just the smartass answer to throw back at the detective. A burning slap of a sting mingled with a bit of a flirtation hot enough to make the man blush. It would have been an epic moment. One to balance out the unbearable want Montoya seemed to rake up inside of him and caustic enough to push the man’s buttons while pushing him away.
Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.
Rhys admits to sharing the house with three cats of varying degrees of black fur, a black Pomeranian puffball and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and a purple Bella coffee maker.
May 29, 2015
Hello again. It’s Robert P. Rowe taking over the Dreamspinner Press blog to tell you about my novel Second-Story Man. You can find my book here:
But you can read an excerpt here and now:
A hot August night is always good for an open window or two, and I’d spotted one on a deserted street. It looked like an easy climb. From the entrance stair it was a short hop onto the balustrade, an arm’s reach to the segmental pediment, and one last stretch across the brownstone wall. By the time I reached the second-story window, I figured out the climb wasn’t as easy as the construction-site scaffolds I was used to. Biker boots aren’t made for climbing. A tank top was great for showing off my brown-skinned muscles, but for climbing up a building it was stupid—I was all scratched up. If I’d planned this, I’d’ve worn a heavier shirt, with long sleeves.
My raw hands throbbed, but at least I made it. I peered inside. The room was dark, but the streetlight showed me enough. Just what I was looking for: a laptop on the dresser. I’d seen ’em at the pawnshop going for five or six hundred—that’s all the money I needed. Across from the dresser was a bed with some white guy—sleeping like a baby. His blanket was pushed down. The guy was half-naked because of the heat, and leaner than me. If I had to, I could take him.
I climbed in without a stir from the bed and headed straight for the computer. Shit! What was that? My own reflection in the dresser mirror made me jump. Suck it up, Carlos—you can do this. Still, my nerves were on edge. How did that gringo not hear my heart pounding? My sweaty hands were shaking as I struggled to unplug the laptop. Suddenly, something caught my eye. The reflection was big and looming up behind me—
Everything went dark. Sound was muffled. I was suffocating.
Gasping, I struggled against a fabric trap, clawing to free myself until I felt a full body blow take me down to the hard floor. The wind was knocked out of me, and the gringo was on top of me. Then I felt an excruciating whack across my forehead, and my world spun out of control.
Oh, man. What happened?
My head was whirling. I wasn’t sure I could open my eyes.
I took a deep breath, then forced one eye open. Too bright. Blurry. I think I was still in the same room. I opened the other eye, tilted my head. Man, did it hurt. A table lamp was glowing and I must’ve been in the bed. Hey, where’s my shirt? I looked around and there’s that gringo, sitting in the chair next to the bed. How’d that guy manage to get the jump on me? He was still half-naked, wearing some boxers, and he was holding—a bat!
“What the… I’m gettin’ the hell outta here.” I started to get up, but my head was spinning and— “Where’re my pants, ya faggot?” I was naked in this guy’s bed. “What’d ya do to me?”
“Me? I didn’t do anything. I picked you up at the bar. On the way home you got gay-bashed. I brought you up here because I think you might have a concussion. You’ll need to get some sleep.”
“Hey, man, I’m no faggot,” I yelled, making my head hurt all the more.
“Really? Then why are you naked in my bed?” Man, he was right. This really didn’t look good. “Whacking you with a bat could get me into trouble. Climbing in my window could get you into trouble. Nobody will bother to investigate some random gay-bashing.”
“So what now?” I felt trapped, but I defiantly dared him to answer. “Ya wanna fuck me?”
“Don’t flatter yourself. I don’t waste my time with straight guys—too much drama.”
This is a very unusual way to meet and it sure doesn’t seem like these guys are off to a very good start. But stranger things have happened. In fact I’m hoping that you’ll tell me some strange way that you’ve met someone special in your life.
I’m running a contest to give away an ebook copy of Second-Story Man. All that you have to do is have the best answer to this question:
“What’s the most interesting accidental way that you have met someone special in your life?”
Post your answer in the comments and I’ll be choosing a winner just before 11AM Eastern Time. Feel free to post any other questions or comments that you may have too. I’ll be here answering questions for another hour.
Here are links to my website and my blog:
If you missed this Release Party contact me through my Contact page on my website. I’m always interested in your comments.
May 16, 2015
Now I have a question for you….
What is your favorite era in American history to read about?
The Wild West? Revolutionary War? Civil War?
I’m a huge American history fan, so I like all the eras because it feels like my history. J
If you don’t know the setting for WRECKED, here is a quick peek at the blurb:
Blurb from WRECKED:
Off the Key West coast, Rief Lawson works as a wrecker, salvaging ships and their cargo. Exiled to the outskirts of society because of his mysterious gift of sight, Rief’s only respite from his loneliness is painting an unknown blond man. When a merchant ship wrecks during a violent storm, Rief rescues a drowning victim and comes face-to-face with his destiny.
It is the man from his art!
Heir to an English barony, Mathew Weston entered the merchant trade with his greedy father and soon-to-be father-in-law. Dominated by his father and smothered by the people around him—including his sweet but tiresome fianceé—Mathew is terrified to follow his true desires. Marriage and obedience seem safer than a life of secrecy and possible prison.
After the daring rescue, a fire ignites between the two men. Powerless to resist his desire, Mathew learns what it means to be a man in Rief’s arms. With this newfound confidence, Mathew teaches Rief through gentle touch that he deserves the affection he’s long been denied. Yet their affair is doomed from the start. Two desperate men, wrecked in heart and mind, must find a way to salvage the chance at love fate has given them.
Now would you like a quick, naughty excerpt? Please leave a comment about what era in American history is your favorite for a romance novel and then check out the naughty excerpt from WRECKED! I mean, if any of you read EASY RYDER or A CUPID’S WAGER, you know that I like to write some steamy stuff!! And don’t forget to enter to win your own copy WRECKED!
EXCERPT for WRECKED:
With a soft moan, Rief clung to him for a moment. Then he rolled over. “Take me again before you go.”
Mathew groaned when that ass brushed against his cock. Already pretty stiff from being so close, his groin throbbed at the sight of such submissive posturing.
Sideling up to him, he brushed Rief’s mussed hair off his face before cupping it possessively and kissing him. An intensity of emotions roared inside him knowing Rief trusted him enough to share his secrets. It made Mathew want to protect Rief’s heart while bringing every pleasure to his body he had ever been denied. He would give anything to this man, anything to make him heal and to prove, more than any drawing, Mathew would give Rief peace. Their time together would surpass any joy Rief experienced while painting him.
He would be immortalized, not on a canvas, but upon Rief’s very soul.
Drawing back, he asked in a pant, “Where is the oil?”
Rief found it and poured some in his hand, passing it to Mathew to coat his cock. He stared, enthralled at the indecent pleasure on Rief’s face as he plunged his own fingers into his ass with expert precision.
“Please,” Rief begged, lying on his side and raising one leg.
Never before had Mathew heard a more rousing word, nor seen such an erotic sight. He’d first believed buggering was something done to a woman or someone less than a man. Perhaps doled out as a punishment.
How foolish he had been!
This morning, he saw everything so differently.
To all outward appearance, Rief was the heartier of the two. Big and masculine. Yet pleading for a cock inside him did not make him less of a man, nor did it render him weak or feminine. His need to release all control, to be vulnerable before Mathew, made him incredibly enticing. Mathew had been living in fear most of his life, but when they were in this bed, he was empowered. Bold and courageous, just as Rief painted him.
There was no greater or lesser between them. Being connected this way made them both whole.
May 6, 2015
The Moments In Time series features a couple in their early 20s and in the course of the three books one of the things they had to do several times was move—from their dorm to their summer residence on Fire Island, from Fire Island to one of the character’s brother’s house because their dorm room wasn’t ready, from the brother’s house to the dorm, from the dorm to an apartment. It’s been many years since my college days and until I wrote this book I’d forgotten how many times I moved house in my late teens and early 20s.
Moving is stressful. Putting your whole life in boxes. Remembering what you packed where. Physically packing, moving and unpacking. Waking up those first few nights exhausted and not entirely sure where you are. I don’t miss that! I’ve lived in my current house in New Hampshire for over a decade and that’s the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere. I don’t miss moving at all!
Now the closest I get to having to pack up a zillion belongings is conference time. Right now I’m packing to attend the RT Convention in Dallas next week. (If any of you are going, please find me and say hello—I love meeting readers in person!)
In addition to the stress that moving puts on Collin and Tanner, several of the places they live in the beginning of MOMENT OF CLARITY are not places where they have any privacy. Collin’s brother has three young children, the friend they crash with has a roommate who’s up till all hours partying—they are both longing for time alone together.
Here’s an excerpt from the time that they’re living with Collin’s brother…
Between classes, my work at Gino’s, Tanner’s shifts at the bookstore, and commuting back and forth to Sean’s house, Tanner and I were busier than we’d ever been. I always knew it was more convenient to live on campus, but I had no idea what a hassle it was to make the added drive daily. By the time we got to Sean’s, had dinner, spent time with the girls, and did some studying, we were exhausted.
I hadn’t touched Tanner for yet another week, and I didn’t think I’d last the day without changing that. Tanner must have felt the same. I’d seen the looks he’d been throwing me, particularly the night before while we were watching a movie together, but I wasn’t about to do anything with Sean and the kids in the house. I didn’t care that the doors locked. It didn’t feel right. And I didn’t trust either of us to be quiet enough. Especially since it had been so long.
Sean handed me the last dirty dish to load into the dishwasher while Tanner put the juice and milk in the fridge.
“I’m gonna run to the grocery store while the kids are at preschool. Any requests?” Sean asked, grabbing his wallet off the counter and shoving it in his pocket.
“If you get a can of crushed tomatoes and some spaghetti, I’ll cook.”
“Thanks. The kids loved that the other night. Anything else?”
I tried to think but couldn’t. All that registered in my brain was that Sean was going out. Tanner and I would be alone in the house. My entire body was totally onboard with this thought.
“I think that’ll do it. Tanner, you need anything?”
Tanner looked up from wiping off the kitchen tables. His pupils were huge. I knew that look. I loved that look. He was thinking the same thing I was. I twitched with anticipation.
“I’m good,” Tanner said, tossing the rag on the counter.
“Okay, then.” Sean headed for the door. “It’s my turn to drive carpool home, so I’ll probably take the kids to Mickey D’s for happy meals. Lock up if you both leave, okay?”
“Sure.” My heart raced as I watched Sean trot down the back porch steps. I held my breath, listening as the car door slammed, the engine revved, and the tires crunched down the gravel driveway.
I turned to look at Tanner, but before I could even focus my eyes, he was on me. Hands on either side of my face, body pressed up against mine, lips prying mine open, tongue—oh, God, I’d missed that tongue—swirling in circles with mine.
Groaning, I grabbed him and tugged him closer. I needed to feel as much of him as possible. All of him. Immediately, if not sooner.
For another chance to win an ebook from me, tell me how many times you’ve moved in your life or the longest you’ve lived in any one place. I’ll announce winners in the comment section of each post at midnight tonight (EDT).
May 1, 2015
Whenever I read a book and the author mentions that the characters are having a meal (or even a snack), I always, always, always want to know what they’re having. If the author just tells me that the characters just had dinner and gives no details, I’m disappointed. “But what did they eat?” I whine, before flinging the book at the wall.
So when I write a story, I never leave out that important detail. Why? Because what we eat matters. Eating and loving are probably two of the most significant, life-affirming, and joyous activities we can engage in as human beings.
So why on earth wouldn’t you want to know what our couple-about-to-fall-in-love had to eat on their first date?
In my latest, Dinner at Fiorello’s, it’s all about passion—whether that passion is for cooking, for eating, or for someone else, it’s the kind of universal stuff we can all identify with. In the book, I meld my main character, Henry’s, passion for food with him falling in love for the first time.
Through the lens of food and wanting to do something meaningful with his life, he discovers his first real, true love—Vito, the quiet chef with a secret who works at Fiorello’s. Henry aspires to being a chef just like Vito, yet he also comes to fall in love with him. But while he’s falling in love with Vito’s technique in the kitchen and the magical food he makes, Henry is also falling in love with the man. They’re inextricably linked.
There’s a certain alchemy that goes on when one makes good food. It becomes more than the sum of its parts. The same is true of two people in love. That’s what I tried to bring together in my new book. I hope that, just like when you take a bite of something delicious and you sigh and have the instinctive reaction of joy, you’ll have the same experience when you read about Henry and Vito’s torturous but ultimately rewarding path to love. Because, whether you’re cooking or falling in love (or even writing a book), to do it well, you have to do it with your heart.
In closing, I’d like to share with you a little taste from Dinner at Fiorello’s, this taken from when Henry interviews for his job working in the kitchen of Fiorello’s. You can see even at the tender age of eighteen, Henry Appleby understands what makes food—and love—good (here he talks about his family’s housekeeper and cook, Maxine):
“Well, she sees it as more than a means to an end, which is why I love her so much. She sees food as something that isn’t just about filling your belly, but filling your heart. She didn’t just feed me growing up, she nurtured me. She showed me that making food for someone can be a way of showing them you love them.” He looked at Rosalie, trying to make sure she was taking in, understanding what he was saying. “When I understood that, I knew that food can actually be a very powerful thing. I don’t know if I knew it right away on a conscious level, but I knew it. When I was about ten, I began asking her if I could help her make meals. My parents didn’t know what had gotten into me. My father said that I shouldn’t be helping her, because that’s what he paid her for. But I wanted to learn what she did to make her food not only good, but good for the soul.”
Henry Appleby has an appetite for life. As a recent high school graduate and the son of a wealthy family in one of Chicago’s affluent North Shore suburbs, his life is laid out for him. Unfortunately, though, he’s being forced to follow in the footsteps of his successful attorney father instead of living his dream of being a chef. When an opportunity comes his way to work in a real kitchen the summer after graduation, at a little Italian joint called Fiorello’s, Henry jumps at the chance, putting his future in jeopardy.
Years ago, life was a plentiful buffet for Vito Carelli. But a tragic turn of events now keeps the young chef at Fiorello’s quiet and secretive, preferring to let his amazing Italian peasant cuisine do his talking. When the two cooks meet over an open flame, sparks fly. Both need a taste of something more—something real, something true—to separate the good from the bad and find the love—and the hope—that just might be their salvation.
Share your most romantic meal, either eating or being served, in the comments below for a chance to win an ebook copy of my other romance that revolves around food, Dinner at Home!
Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Raining Men and Caregiver have both won the Rainbow Award for gay fiction. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”
Dreamspinner ebook: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6333
Dreamspinner paperback: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6334
Amazon (to come)
AllRomance Ebooks (to come)
April 22, 2015
A spicy taste!
Then he felt it. Donovan’s hand slowly slid up his thigh to his waist. Donovan rose above him. He could hear the audience murmuring as he was slowly stripped before their very eyes. He could hear Jasmine with her pretend moans,
and Henry with his loud growls as the two mimicked sex. Yet his attention was focused on the hands roaming over his naked flesh.
As Donovan kissed his way down Arik’s chest, Arik arched in pleasure. His moan was real. He couldn’t have stopped it, even though he’d wanted to. Arik didn’t want Donovan to know how much his touch affected him. Yet there
was no hiding his reaction. Then he was being rolled onto his stomach. He closed his eyes as Donovan covered him. The upper halves of their bodies were clear of the bower foliage. They rocked together, mimicking an act they had done one incredible night. Arik couldn’t stop himself from wishing Donovan would actually slide inside him. He couldn’t help but want Donovan to take him to that place again.
“Why does this seem so familiar?” Donovan whispered quietly in Arik’s ear as he rocked against him in a feigned dance of love.
“We’ve only been rehearsing it for weeks,” Arik panted as he dropped his head to his forearms.
“Then why do I know exactly what you’d feel like if I took you right now?” he demanded. “How do I know that if I bite you right here, you’ll scream with pleasure?”
April 18, 2015
Hi! I thought everyone might want another small peek into the book.
I don’t know why I was so nervous about Duncan meeting Xavier. I mean, I know why I was, but Duncan seems to like him a lot. Hell, he seems to like him better than half our friends from our pagan group, and we’ve been friends with those people for years. And we promised Ger and Linda we’d help them move tomorrow. Ugh. Damn it. I probably shouldn’t actually drink too much tonight.
“So, Duke, what do you think?” I ask, sliding my arms around my boyfriend. He’s warm and fits comfortably in my arms. I can bitch all I want that he won’t go running with me, but I love the way he feels when I’m pressed against his back. He’s the perfect height to be the inside spoon. He’s busy mixing something in a bowl already. I have no idea how he gets things together so fast.
“He’s great! He seems a bit off, but most of the best people are. I vote yes for new friend.” He looks over his shoulder at me before going back to what he was doing.
“Yeah.” I kiss his neck and run my lips along his cheek. He’s so warm and comfortable. Having him in my arms is always grounding for me. I give him an extrahard squeeze and realize we haven’t actually had any sexy alone time together all week.
“And he’s easy on the eyes too,” he says on a laugh, moving out of my arms to the fridge for something.
“I know.” I stand there peeking into the bowl and it looks like gloop to me. If I didn’t know to have absolute faith in his abilities, I would be worried. I look up and he’s watching me. I can see the speculation there. My gut twists with guilt. Glasses. Wine. I came in here for booze. I move to the red wine on the counter and meticulously peel the foil away from the cork. I screw the simple pull corkscrew in and hold my breath.
“He reminds me a bit of you, actually. I think you guys could be really close,” Duncan says quietly while I struggle with the cork. The merlot hates me, I decide, giving the cork one more vicious yank. It pops and I spill some on the counter.
“Damn it. Yeah, me too,” I reply quickly, trying to mop up the wine and keep it from running onto the floor.
“We need more people like that in our life.” He’s quiet and serious. I turn to look at him, but he’s busy and I have wine dripping down my hand off the sopping-wet dish towel. I dash to the sink and rinse the cloth out.
“Yeah. I thought so too.” I pour three glasses and leave one next to Duncan on the counter near his work. He proceeds to douse the counter with flour and a white cloud puffs up around him. I back away and pick up the other two glasses.
“I’ll yell when I want some help. I’m going to get everything working first. You two do the salad?” He doesn’t stop to look at me, kneading dough and doing his version of dancing along to the radio. It mostly involves moving his shoulders around to the beat.
“Okay.” I nod even though he can’t see me.
“Give me a few minutes. Go chat. Maybe we can watch a movie after dinner?”
“I’ll ask him what he thinks about that. I love you.” I hesitate. My guilt is demanding that I should go back and kiss and grovel for even eyeing up the demigod in our living room, and more importantly, having the audacity to bring him here to eat Duncan’s food.
“I know. I love you too,” he answers with a smile. I’m almost into the dining room when he calls my name.
“Yeah?” I answer and move back to stand near him. He tosses the dough out onto the floured counter and begins to divide it up into smaller portions.
“I’m not going to be angry about it, just so you know.” I hold my breath and he stares through me in that annoying way he’s been able to pull off since we first met.
“About what?” Should I play dumb and hope for the best? What does he think he knows?
He doesn’t answer, just keeps giving me “the look” and a half smile.
“I don’t know what you’re….” I fumble my words and can’t get my tongue to work properly.
“I love you, and that isn’t changing.” He stops looking at me and goes back to his work, hands moving almost in a blur as he massages the dough out into a long length. My eyes are stuck for a moment, but my feet know enough to back away toward the living room.
“I’m not… I haven’t… I wouldn’t….” But I want to. I wouldn’t, but I want to. I swallow. Are we about to have a huge fight? We don’t have them often, but I don’t want one now.
How close am I to fucking up the only relationship I’ve ever wanted? Before now.