The importance of fathers — (A Wounded Promise)

March 4, 2015

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Hope you aren’t sick of me yet! This is Ashavan Doyon coming to you from the Dreamspinner Press Blog. I know, that last post is a bit of a downer. An important one for the story, but still hard to talk about.

I wanted to touch on one last theme before I pick the winners and let you all off to read the story yourselves! One of my favorite characters in the Sam’s Café Romance stories is Justin’s dad, Sam. We see a lot of Sam in The King’s Mate, but in A Wounded Promise we get only glimpses. But the glimpses we get are critical ones.

One of the things I wanted with the character of Sam was a parent who had struggled with his son coming out, but one who came quickly to acceptance. I’ve tried to reach that in a few stories, but I think it’s the Sam’s Café Romances where I succeed the most. This is a parent in whom Justin confides. While we don’t know really what kind of relationship Justin had with his mom, it’s clear his relationship with his dad is one of trust.

In an early scene, Sam and Justin are talking about Justin being frightened. It’s an important scene, because you really get that Sam loves and trusts his son.

“But what do I do now? I ran away.”

Sam slid off the ledge and held out a hand.

“Let’s get you home.”

“I need to get back to Russ,” Justin said. “But I’m still scared.”

“Justin.” Sam was looking at him with a sad sort of smile.

“What is it, Dad?”

“I meant your home, not mine.”

I love you, Dad.

Justin hugged Sam fiercely.

“Don’t think this means I like it.”

Justin grinned. “I didn’t expect it’d be fighting with my lover that got you to admit that I’m living there now.”

“Hard to miss. House is too damn quiet without you.”

 There’s a closeness between the two of them I think I envy a little bit. It’s a relationship I saw sometimes with my brother and my dad, but I never had. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have it that when I write an accepting parent it tends to be the father?

So, this is the last chance to win a copy of the ebook for A Wounded Promise. Tell me about your favorite father figure in a male/male romance. I’ll also be here watching the comments, so feel free to just chat too.

And importantly, that buy link again, in case you don’t win! http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6121

 

Broken — (A Wounded Promise)

March 4, 2015

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This is Ashavan Doyon, back again to talk about A Wounded Promise.

So I wanted to talk a little about trauma, and Justin’s particular feelings. Specifically, the difficulties he has as a survivor of sexual assault.

This is something Justin talks to Russ about relatively early in the fledgling moments of their relationship in The King’s Mate. It’s also at the root of much of Justin’s fear. We see this almost immediately. Sam’s reaction to Justin fleeing the home he’s been working to build with Russ. Sam says as much: (one more edit… block quote is not showing up, so I put the excerpt in italics instead)

“I haven’t seen you like this in a long time.”

“Since Peter.” Justin closed his eyes. It was hard to see, but Sam noticed. After Peter, Sam had learned to notice a lot of things.

“You need to know, Justin, I’ll always believe you. I don’t care if he’s—”

“It wasn’t that.” Justin looked up, and Sam’s heart splintered again. The steel-blue eyes that were the mirror of Sam’s own seemed to almost drown in the red that surrounded them.

“You cried all night?” Sam asked softly.

Justin’s answer was a shy nod and a look away.

“I mean it. I’ll believe you.”

“I know you will. It wasn’t that. I promise it wasn’t.” Justin pulled at the blankets with his toes. After a moment he let out a very long sigh. “We had a fight.”

Sam nodded. “I guessed. He hit you?” Sam braced himself for a yes.

An ongoing theme in the story is Justin’s struggle not to see himself as broken. I didn’t want the idea of Justin being a survivor to just disappear. He absolutely remains affected by his experience, and it’s the unexpected interaction between those triggers and Russ’s drunken anger that leads to Russ waking up alone at the start of the story. It’s important to me that a character being sexually assaulted isn’t some minor plot point. When I included that detail in The King’s Mate, I knew I had to bring it back to the forefront in the sequel. I hope I’ve done that some justice.

What are your favorite stories that deal with some element of survivorship? Comments for my remaining posts tonight count as entries to win a copy of A Wounded Promise in ebook format.

(edit)

Forgot that pesky buy link again. You know you want to… just click buy now when you get to the page! http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6121

All about covers — (A Wounded Promise)

March 4, 2015

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And I’m back… sorry about that, travel time between the day job and home got in the way. For those just joining the party (we’re serving mocktails, people, as no one here seems to be the drinking sort!), this is Ashavan Doyon talking about my new release, A Wounded Promise.

I wanted to spend a few minutes talking about the cover. For The King’s Mate, because it’s a novella in an anthology, I didn’t have any say over the cover. It wasn’t quite long enough to get it’s own, so it has the standard anthology cover of a hot shirtless guy at a baseball field with my title and name below it. That was good (there was no need for trying to maintain consistency) and bad (consistency helps hold a series together). So for A Wounded Promise I was entering with a clean slate. It was exciting to finally try to put a little more imagery to the story.

For covers you fill out a cover request with some details… title, author, subtitle. Preferred styles. What covers did you particularly like. That gets you paired with an artist, who is given a brief synopsis, some physical descriptions of the characters. I try to include pictures, if I can, to give an idea of what I’m looking for.

I have to say, cover artists have a hard job. Unless I started with a picture or model in mind, I can spend hours trying to find something remotely close. For Russ I wanted to get the silver/gray. He’s young for that coloring, so the only pics I could find were older. This is the one I finally sent, with a note that Russ, of course, would be in a suit:

russmodel

Justin was easier and harder at the same time. While drunken anger instigates the drama, a lot of the conflict, most of it, really, is Justin. While Russ has angst, and the drinking is an expression of that, he’s had time and experience — and friends — that helped him cope. Justin has kept his angst bottled in, and I hoped that the artist could find a model that conveyed innocence and vulnerability. Of course searching the internet doesn’t find models the artists can actually use, which means trying to convey an idea, and that can be a struggle. Here was my model for Justin:

justinmodel

I think the artist did a great job coming up with images that fit those molds, and I’m especially happy with the model for Russ, because there is an age difference in the characters, and having a younger graying model here is important, because Russ isn’t so much older that the relationship should squick people, but the gray can make it seem so.

What really impressed me though was that the artist really took those vague images and managed to convey the angsty conflict that is in the novella. I’m really happy with it.

This is the last post to comment for a chance at a copy of The King’s Mate, so I hope you’re still up for some discussion! Do cover images influence how you imagine the characters? Do you prefer the sort of faceless bodies on covers, or do you like to see the whole character? Let me know!

And, of course, don’t forget to buy the book! http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6121

 

 

Building the Cafe — (A Wounded Promise)

March 4, 2015

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Hello! Ashavan Doyon here, still talking about my newest release, A Wounded Promise.

I’ve mentioned that A Wounded Promise is a sequel, and I wanted to talk a little bit about the original story, and how I got to the new one. A Wounded Promise is book two of the Sam’s Café Romances. When I started emailing with Dreamspinner about the sequel, one of the things I had to do is name the series. They give that a fancy name, but really, it means boiling down the essence of the story.

The process drove me nuts. Ok, so I was already there… let’s just pretend for a moment that I’m not a crazy man obsessed with my characters, shall we? This is the sequel to a story titled The King’s Mate — based around a chess competition in a college town café. I’d already gone through agony deciding whether or not to carry through the chess theme in the title, and now I had to name the series? Ultimately I decided the central thing that brought the two lovers together wasn’t a chess match, but rather the café itself, and the significance of the café to both of them. I confess there’s a mercenary bent to this too. If readers are enjoying the café, this gives me room to please both those who want more of our lovers from the story, and those who might want other characters explored. Naming the series for the café gives me a little more freedom. Also, there were some folks who felt chess wasn’t as central to the story in The King’s Mate as they might have preferred, so I wanted to honor that and not have people feeling hoodwinked.

I’m very proud of The King’s Mate. Oh, I got some middling reviews. And I was new, so I did the unthinkable and I READ THOSE REVIEWS. After I was done gouging my eyes out with a spoon and crying for days, I found some better reviews, and some worse ones. And then I got the good advice from a friend: only read the reviews the publisher sends you — they only send you the good ones. And I try to do that (and fail, frequently). But I also got a review that made my heart soar, and that kept me writing. I still go back to that review now and then, when I’m feeling in the dumps. It was from GayList book reviews and said, in part: “This story felt new. Beautiful. All of the men in this story made me ache.”

In writing A Wounded Promise, I’ve tried to keep up to that standard, and I hope Russ still makes readers ache, in that beautiful yearning way that keeps us turning pages. I get criticized sometimes for my characters being angsty. I don’t apologize for that. I like angsty. I think the angst and struggle and desperate wanting is where the best parts of romance is. It’s that stuff, the heartache and despair and surety of pain that make the reward worth it in the end. When I see characters go through hell, whether emotional or physical or traumatic, and see them somehow still come together, it gives me hope.

This is a progression from The King’s Mate — where we see a sweet exploration and a bit of mystery and a hint of pain lingering in the background – to A Wounded Promise where we see that hint suddenly so brutally clear that there is no longer a choice. They have to face it. Because the promises they’ve made to love each other are wounded.

And we’ll talk more about that later. In the meantime, a question, because I still want those comments (and someone still has to win that copy of The King’s Mate!) I based both stories around a café – loosely based around a couple of similar places in the town where I grew up. Is there a similar sort of place where you go to get a coffee? Do homework? Write? What does café mean to you?

You haven’t bought A Wounded Promise? What are you waiting for! http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6121

What’s that? You can’t without buying The King’s Mate too! EXCELLENT (can I do that with a Mr. Burns style tenting of the hands?) Here’s the link for that, just in case! http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3947

 

About the book – (A Wounded Promise)

March 4, 2015

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Ashavan Doyon here again to talk about A Wounded Promise. I’ll start with something obligatory (cover and blurb) and we’ll get to more exciting stuff once that’s done. Don’t forget to comment with your favorite romance sub-genre for a chance to win the giveaway!

AWoundedPromiseMED

A Wounded Promise – Sam’s Café Romances Book 2

Having survived one nightmare of a relationship, Justin Tesh thought
he’d left the worst behind when he put his ex Peter behind bars. But
when his new lover, Russell Pine, explodes in a fit of alcohol-fueled
rage, Justin finds himself frozen with a fear he thought he’d long since
worked through. While older, more experienced Russ is anxious to put
the incident behind them, avoiding personal issues never works, and for
Justin, his fear is an open doorway to demons both he and Russ need to
confront.

Despite their histories of loss and pain, Russ has
faith in the promise of their relationship. But if he can’t heal the
wound he’s inflicted on his lover’s heart, he risks losing Justin
forever to Peter’s legacy of brutality.

***

Ok, so what’s your favorite sub-genre in romance? Are you into contemporaries, historical, paranormal, bdsm/kink, fantasy, sci-fi??? Let me know. My first giveaway winner will be from commenters on the posts made before 5 pm eastern time (US) — an e-book copy of The King’s Mate (to be added to your Dreamspinner Press bookshelf). Comment for the chance to win!

(quick edit)

Also, the buy link (not something I want to forget)! http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6121

 

Release Day Party — A Wounded Promise

March 4, 2015

Hello! This is Ashavan Doyon and I’m here to take over the blog for a chunk of today and talk about my new release: A Wounded Promise.

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Somewhere someone is opening A Wounded Promise, and stumbling into Russell Pine waking with a hangover. The room begins to spin (or maybe it never stopped) and Russell tries in the haze of his hangover to make sense of vague recollections from the night before. Drinking vodka right from the bottle. Anger welling up. He’s woken up alone, his lover gone, and he can’t even remember what happened.

I like Russell, and I’ll admit putting him in that place was hard for me. I’ve never had a drunken night, or a hangover in the morning (I’m not and have never been a drinker). I relied a lot on waking up with a migraine to frame the descriptions of how he feels and what that’s like, and I hope it comes across well.

As a character, I love Russ. I write a lot of early college age romances, and while his lover fits that bill well, Russ is older, in his mid-late thirties. He’s a returning character, as this is book two of the Sam’s Café Romances. While I try to make it possible to read the book as a standalone, it goes without saying that it will help enormously to have read The King’s Mate first.

So, next post I’ll do the standard cover and blurb thing, but I’d like to start with a question: What was your most memorable drunken night (or morning after)?

Yes, there will be some giveaways for commenters. Also don’t forget to BUY THE BOOK… you know you want to!

Buy link is here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6121

(want to read The King’s Mate first? Link is here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3947)

 

 

Mary Calmes Top 5 Places to Visit in Chicago

March 4, 2015

 

Mary Calmes, Chicago, Chinatown

Mary Calmes gives us her favorite places to visit in Chicago

I have very few favorite cities but one of them is certainly Chicago where many of my books are set. I think the reason I love it so much is the fact that yes, it’s a huge metropolitan city and holy cow it’s cold there in the winter, but there are endless things to do with options for every budget. Here are some of my favorite places to go whenever I visit and where my characters have of course gone as well.

The Chicago Field Museum: You can’t go wrong going in there, dinosaur bones, the man-eaters of Tsavo, and there’s so much to see just please, don’t eat there.

Haymarket Pub & Brewery: It’s down on Randolph Street, the Mathias Imperial I.P.A. is amazing when they have it and the sweet potato tater tots are to die for.

The Lincoln Park Zoo: People will say, go to the Brookfield Zoo, but Lincoln Park is better. It’s prettier, stop and check out the South Pond Pavilion if you love architecture, and the baby animals are adorable. Plus, it’s free.

Chinatown: I used to make a day of this with my hubby. We’d get up early and go have dim-sum, then walk around to the jewelry stores, I have a really pretty pair of amber earrings I’ve had for 10+ years at this point now, then to the market for veggies, and then walk around some more. I love it there.

The Girl & Goat: I love this restaurant, I want to live there. It’s so good…I’m salivating just typing. Just go. The wood oven roasted pig face…I know what you’re thinking, but it’s to die for. And the oysters.

Chicago is a huge place with endless opportunities, I hope you have a wonderful time visiting.

 

Bio:

Mary Calmes lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and two children and loves all the seasons except summer. She graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. Due to the fact that it is English lit and not English grammar, do not ask her to point out a clause for you, as it will so not happen. She loves writing, becoming immersed in the process, and falling into the work. She can even tell you what her characters smell like. She loves buying books and going to conventions to meet her fans.

Find our more about Mary’s books here.

 

New Releases: March 4th, 2015

March 4, 2015

The Chauffeur by Serena Yates

 

Chauffeur-slash-exotic dancer Kyle and forklift operator Nick connect, but family pressure and unemployment might ruin everything.

2nd Edition

 

A Workplace Encounters Book

 

Scarred former model Kyle Anderson leads a double life. By day, he works as a chauffeur for his uncle’s limousine rental company. Since his wages are too low for him to become financially independent, he works nights as an exotic dancer, donning a mask to hide his identity and the facial scars that got him rejected by his parents. Kyle catches the attention of Nick Giddings, a forklift driver who visits the club to let off steam. Nick is stuck in a low-skilled dead-end job after being kicked out of school for a prank he didn’t commit. The two men immediately connect, but when Nick is laid off and Kyle’s uncle pushes him to date a woman, everything comes crashing down.

 

1st Edition published by Silver Publishing, 2011.

 

Length: Novella (119p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: March 4, 2015

Buy as eBook ($4.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-836-8)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moment of Truth by Karen Stivali

 

Collin and Tanner can finally be out as boyfriends, but it comes with new challenges, and they must face the truth or risk losing it all.

Moments in Time: Book Two

 

Collin expected to spend another summer fixing cars and working at the college pizzeria. Instead, he’s living in a beach house on Fire Island, waiting tables at a hip seaside restaurant and, for the first time since he and Tanner got together, they can publicly be known as boyfriends.  Being “out” takes some getting used to, but with the help of new and old friends, Collin is happier than he ever imagined. And more in love. But newfound freedom brings unexpected challenges, and when friends get flirty, old insecurities arise. Moments of doubt and jealousy threaten their happiness, and Collin and Tanner must confront the truth or risk losing it all.

 

 

 

 

Length: Novella (113p.) | Genre: New Adult, Contemporary | Release Date: March 4, 2015

Buy as eBook ($4.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-650-0)

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Wounded Promise by Ashavan Doyon

 

Despite their histories of loss and pain, can Russ and Justin find faith in the promise of their relationship?

Sam’s Cafe Romances: Book Two

 

Having survived one nightmare of a relationship, Justin Tesh thought he’d left the worst behind when he put his ex Peter behind bars. But when his new lover, Russell Pine, explodes in a fit of alcohol-fueled rage, Justin finds himself frozen with a fear he thought he’d long since worked through. While older, more experienced Russ is anxious to put the incident behind them, avoiding personal issues never works, and for Justin, his fear is an open doorway to demons both he and Russ need to confront.

 

Despite their histories of loss and pain, Russ has faith in the promise of their relationship. But if he can’t heal the wound he’s inflicted on his lover’s heart, he risks losing Justin forever to Peter’s legacy of brutality.

 

Length: Novella (99p.) | Genre: Erotic Romance, Contemporary | Release Date: March 4, 2015

Buy as eBook ($4.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-562-6)

 

Get to Know Renae Kaye

March 3, 2015

DSP: What is your dream vacation?

Relaxation.  Relaxation.  Relaxation.

I’m one of these weird people who has no huge desire to travel overseas, and I’m happy to stay in Australia and explore our lovely land.  I don’t mind the heat, but I’ve only ever seen snow once in my life – so I can’t picture cold vacations with snow, just hot ones with swimming.

My dream vacation would involve a house/cabin to stay in, not a hotel.  The cabin would be set on the edge of a beach, or in the middle of a forest, and would be surrounded by nature.  There would be lots and lots bushwalking nearby, swimming (either in an ocean or a natural pool in the tropical forest), maybe a bit of fishing, but it would be close enough to civilisation that I could get in the car and drive to a nice restaurant for dinner.

The point of the vacation would be to do nothing.  I could sit and read if I wanted, or stroll through the bush, or jump in the ocean.  Re.Lax.A.Tion.

DSP: Do you have a favorite character you’ve written so far?

**cringes with shame that she doesn’t love all her guys equally**

Yes.  I’m sorry to say to my other characters, but I adore Jay from Loving Jay the most.  He’s one of these characters you just cannot help but love.  There’s not a single sliver of hate or malice in his body.  He’s an open book to what he’s feeling, because he just opens his mouth and it all comes tumbling out.

He gets upset about animal testing for makeup. He takes over an hour to get dressed.  His restaurant order is so complicated that you just want to shout at him.  But gosh, you have to love him too.  If Liam hadn’t snapped him up, I would be rushing over there and taking him home with me.  Because most of all, Jay makes me happy.  He’s such a sweet, over-the-top, joyful, zany, loving guy, that he makes everyone around him happy too.

What is the oddest place Shawn and Harley have sex in Shawn’s Law, your forthcoming novel?

Oh, ha ha ha.  I’m not sure about it being an odd place, but one of my favourite scenes in this book is when Harley persuades Shawn to sneak off into the vegetation while at a beach.  To me, sex is about having fun, not just pleasure.  And Shawn’s Law has a lot of fun sex scenes.

In this scene, Harley and Shawn are visiting a local island off Perth for the day called Rottnest Island.  It was originally named “Rats Nest Island” because the early European explorers thought it was infested with large rats.  In fact, these animals are small marsupials called quokkas.  (Think miniature kangaroos).

So Shawn and Harley are getting funky when:

Suddenly he stopped, completely freezing in my arms and giving me a frightened look.

“What is it?” I questioned urgently. Had he heard something? Was someone coming?

“Harley? Where are your hands?”

I frowned. My hands? I was more worried about his hand around our dicks to think about my own hands. I flexed my fingers on each hand and found one on his shoulder and one threaded through his black hair. “Here and here. Why?”

“If your hands are there, then what’s touching me on my bum?”

We stared at each other for endless seconds before I raised my head and stretched my neck to peer over his body. Two black eyes stared back, unblinking. The creature wiggled its nose at me, then took a funny little hop forward, touching his whiskers to Shawn’s naked flesh.

“Harley? Please tell me that it’s not a snake?”

I bit back my smile. Shawn got all embarrassed when I laughed at his calamities. “No. Not a snake. Just a quokka,” I informed him.

He jumped a mile, scrambling over my body so that he was scrunched in the bushes on the opposite side from the little marsupial.

“Argh!”

I laughed. “Hey, buddy,” I crooned to the animal. “What are you doing here?”

“Touching my bum,” Shawn shrieked. “How dare he?”

I laughed harder. “He was just wondering what we were doing,” I soothed Shawn. “He wasn’t going to nibble your nuts or anything.”

“That’s what you think,” Shawn cried. “How do you know it’s a boy? Maybe he’s a queer quokka. Maybe he was coming over to join in?”

Poor Shawn – the wildlife are really out to get him in this book.

DSP: What is your writing space like? (if you wouldn’t mind sharing a picture we’d love that!)

My writing space is a white desk in what is known to my family as “The Craft Room.”

Several years back, we extended our house and everyone got an extra space to call their own.  My husband got a theatre room where he has the biggest, shiniest, (and most expensive) home theatre system going, complete with speakers and fancy do-dahs, that’s also hooked up to PS3 and Wii. My kids received a huge multi-purpose room that houses their toys, their drawings, their craft activities, their TV, their DVDs, etc.  This is where they spend their time if they’re not at school or outside playing.

And off to the side of this huge room is The Craft Room for me.

In this room I’m surrounded by “my” stuff – my paperback books, my craft magazines, my craft projects I’ve completed, my pictures for inspiration, my half-finished projects, my one-day-I’ll-finish-this projects, Christmas cards from dear friends, toys kept from my childhood, and framed pictures of my book covers.  It’s very junkie, its window has a view of the fence and the neighbour’s air-conditioning system (yay), but it’s home and comfort for me.

And most importantly?  I have clear sight of the kids in their space so I can keep an eye on them.

Renae Kaye's Writing Room

Renae Kaye’s Writing Room

DSP: Coffee or tea?  

Coffee, coffee, coffee all the way.

DSP: Chocolate or peanut butter?  

Chocolate. Especially white chocolate with something gooey in the center.

DSP: Print books or ebooks?

Both.  My budget says eBooks.  Portability says eBooks.  But you can’t help loving print books.  It’s so much easier to browse a bookshelf, than scroll through lists and try to remember the name of the book.

DSP: Wine or beer? 

Um.  Neither.  I actually don’t drink alcohol.  I tried it when I was 18, but I didn’t like it, so I prefer cola when I go out.  Did you need a designated driver?

DSP: Cats or dogs? 

Cats.  I have three.  All of them are sitting less than a meter from me.  It’s their dinner time and they think I may forget.
__________________________

Renae Kaye is a lover and hoarder of books who thinks libraries are devilish places because they make you give the books back.  She consumed her first adult romance book at the tender age of thirteen and hasn’t stopped since.  After years – and thousands of stories! – of not having book characters do what she wants, she decided she would write her own novel and found the characters still didn’t do what she wanted.  It hasn’t stopped her though.  She believes that maybe one day the world will create a perfect couple – and it will be the most boring story ever.  So until then she is stuck with quirky, snarky and imperfect characters who just want their story told.

Renae lives in Perth, Western Australia and writes in five minute snatches between the demands of two kids, a forbearing husband, too many pets, too much housework and her beloved veggie garden.  She is a survivor of being the youngest in a large family and believes that laughter (and a good book) can cure anything.

Siesta by Ariel Tachna

March 3, 2015

He stirred on the bed, not quite awake, not completely asleep, the sensation of warm air moving over his skin odd enough to rouse him from his sleep.  Prying open sleep-glazed eyes, he blinked slowly, waiting for his vision to clear.  It took longer now than it once had, though he refused to acknowledge that side of his age.  He’d turned forty last month, and some days he felt it.  Memories filtered through the haze of sleep as he stared at the expanse of white sand and blue water.  Campoverde.  Vacation.  Private villa.  He’d stretched out on the canopy bed on their terrace, enjoying the sight of Tom playing in the surf with their dog.  He must have fallen asleep because the shadows had all but disappeared since morning.  Sitting up, he looked around for his absent lover, wondering where Tom had disappeared to.  A cold drink pressed against his sweaty back answered his question.

“Here, love,” Tom’s voice murmured in his ear.  “Have something to drink.  You wouldn’t want to get dehydrated.”

Jake took the glass and drained it in one long gulp, the crisp flavor of fresh orange juice incredibly refreshing against the heat of the afternoon.  He glanced down toward the water and saw the beach was deserted.  “It looks like everyone’s gone inside for their siestas,” he observed huskily.  “I seem to have taken mine early.”

Tom’s grin widened.  “Then we’ll just have to think of something else to do while it’s too hot to go out.  Let’s go inside.”

“Why?” Jake asked.  “We have a perfectly suitable bed right here and there’s no one to see.  They’re all tucked away in their own beds.”

“Exhibitionist,” Tom teased automatically even as he stripped the T-shirt over his head, revealing skin darkened from their week here and muscles toned from the exercises that had become part of his routine as he recovered from his shoulder surgery.  He’d expanded that workout over the years as his strength and flexibility increased, but he never missed a day.  His body suffered too much when he did.

“You’re one to talk,” Jake retorted, reaching up to pull Tom down next to him, pressing their bare chests together.  He ran callused fingers over the smooth skin of his lover’s side, firmly enough not to tickle, but still lightly.  It was too hot to rush.  Besides, they were on vacation.  He wanted to linger over every inch of Tom’s body, to take his time and reaffirm the bonds that ran to the very depths of their beings.  He fingered the charms that still hung around Tom’s neck, lingering on the newest addition, a half heart whose mate lay on a chain in the bedroom with Jake’s wallet and watch.  He bent his head and kissed the muddled array of trinkets quickly before lifting the lanyard over Tom’s head, tenderly untangling it from the disheveled curls.  He wanted nothing between their bodies, not even an expression of their love.

Tom smiled and nuzzled the strong hand, welcoming Jake’s attentions as always.  Deciding his lover had the right idea, he reached for the shorts Jake wore and pushed them out of the way, leaving the blond deliciously naked.  He hoped he looked half as good when he was forty.  He ran his hand up one solid thigh toward the shaft that had jumped to attention the minute Tom joined Jake on the bed.  “Glad to see me?” he teased, fingers dancing up and down the awakening cock.

Jake growled and rolled Tom beneath him.  “Imp,” he scolded, grinding down against Tom’s groin.

Tom just laughed and pushed Jake off.  “Uh-uh,” he scolded.  “You lost the bet, which means I get to top the rest of the week if I want to, and I definitely want to.”

Jake sighed in mock resignation, his legs parting without conscious thought, just the idea of Tom inside him enough to make him achingly aware of the emptiness that nothing but his lover could fill.  “Tell me you remembered to bring out supplies.”

“Of course I remembered,” Tom sniffed, “but I can think of more enjoyable ways to open you up for me.”  He stripped his own shorts off, straddling Jake’s shoulders, carefully feeding his cock into his lover’s mouth.  Jake swallowed him down immediately, drawing a deep groan from Tom’s chest as he bent to lick a long stripe down Jake’s erection on his way to his ultimate goal.  Jake spread his legs wide, lifting his knees to give Tom better access to his ass.  Grinning, Tom ran his tongue over hairy balls and farther down into the musky cleft of Jake’s ass, tasting sweat and desire.

The moan that escaped Jake’s chest vibrated around the head of Tom’s cock, convincing him to hurry his preparations.  He curled his tongue and stabbed the tip into the clenching portal that guarded the deepest recesses of Jake’s body.  It would open for him momentarily, no part of his lover off-limits to him, just as he would hold no part of himself back from Jake.  His thumbs massaged the exterior muscle as his tongue worked its way inside, stretching the always tight sheath.  It didn’t matter how many times they did this.  Jake always hugged him snugly when they made love.

Jake bucked up against his mouth, driving him even deeper, making Tom smile.  His lover was such a greedy slut of a bottom when he gave in and let Tom take him.  Adding a long finger next to his tongue, he probed deeper, widening the channel so that their joining would bring only pleasure.  He deliberately avoided Jake’s prostate, not wanting this to be over too soon.

He half expected Jake to finger-fuck him given their position, but his lover’s hands stayed above his waist, twiddling with his nipples, tugging occasionally on the hair under his arms.  He added a second finger, Jake’s talented mouth making it difficult to take things as slowly as he’d planned.  When his digits could slide easily in and out of the stretching hole, Tom pulled away, grabbed the lube, and squirted some on his cock quickly as he turned around.  “Ready?” he asked, the head of his erection seeking entrance.

“Always ready for you, lover,” Jake replied instantly, tilting his hips eagerly.

Tom smiled and slid home, mating their bodies as they had mated their lives, two halves of one unbreakable whole.  They groaned in unison, their lips meeting blindly, each tasting himself in the other’s mouth, the mingled flavors only adding to their desire.

Tom’s hips thrust of their own volition until Jake caught them, holding his lover still against him.  “Slowly,” he urged.  “Slow and deep until we come just from being together this way.”

Tom nodded and rocked against Jake slowly, never withdrawing, just stirring his erection inside his lover until the sense of connection was so strong Tom wondered why he couldn’t see the ties binding them together.  The emotion, the desire built and built and built until neither of them could hold back any longer, their release spooling out of them in long, slow waves.

They lay together panting, foreheads pressed together as their heartbeats settled.  Jake lifted one arm over his head to find Tom’s, twining their fingers together, eyes drifting shut again as satiation sapped what little energy the heat had not already stolen.  Smiling, Tom dropped the mosquito netting on the bed to provide them with a modicum of privacy should anyone pass by before they awoke.  Then he stretched out next to his lover and joined him in dreams.

 

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Ariel Tachna lives outside of Houston with her husband, her daughter and son, and their two dogs. Before moving there, she traveled all over the world, having fallen in love with both France, where she found her husband, and India, where she dreams of retiring some day. She’s bilingual with snippets of four other languages to her credit, and is as in love with languages as she is with writing.