Get to Know Skylar M. Cates

December 2, 2014

How did you come up with the title for The Guy series?

That’s a funny story. I had a title for the series all planned out. Book one was to be titled Better than Candy, and the series titled the “Better Than” series. Well, right after I submitted book one, my fellow DSP author Lane Hayes came out with a book called Better Than Good.  Yikes!  I had to find something else and fast. Since book one was set in the fictitious town of Glamour, I decided to call it The Guy from GlamourThe Guy series was born from that decision. I think it all worked out for the best!

Do you have a favorite couple that you’ve written?

No, but I do get obsessed with whatever couple I’m focused on most recently. My new series, for example, has the first book releasing in February, and I fell hard for this couple. I never intended to write Cole and Ian’s story at all. It came rushing out like a locomotive. Their story involves sudden tragedy. It gave me all kinds of strong feels to write, and I hope readers will embrace it. It’s called Here for You and will be out in February. What I love about the story is that it’s also a story of friendship. It revolves around five roommates in South Florida and the strong bond they all have for each other. Today it is my favorite, but tomorrow I’ll have a totally different answer.

The truth is I fall in love with different aspects of each MC.

My two December releases have four guys to love. Evan, from The Holiday Hoax, is self-deprecating and sweet— a combination I love—while JD is lonely and shy.   Henry from The Last Guy Breathing has gone through the awful dating scene and needs some love. Locke is flawed yet deeply protective, which is another combination I fall for in a character.

What are some of your favorite books, music and movies?

My kids are watching School of Rock this week, and I adore this movie.  I love many of Robin Williams’s films, especially The World According to Garp. And let’s see… Since it is the holiday season, I would pick A Christmas Story and It’s a Wonderful Life as two favorite holiday flicks.

As for music, I like classic and current rock. Some of my favorites would be The Killers, Aerosmith, and Train.   I enjoy putting on a fun dance band too like the B52s or The Black Eyed Peas. I love dancing, but I do most of my dancing in my living room these days.

Books would be impossible to name only a few favorites. Sorry!  I seriously fall in love with a new book every other month.

Can you briefly share what your writing process is?

Get butt into chair and write, lol. I write as much as possible, but I don’t write daily. My kids, my messy house, and my other responsibilities often steal the time away. I’d love to be one of those Type A writers who charts their progress and counts their daily words, but it never seems to happen for me. As long as I see the novel developing, though, I’m satisfied to follow my own haphazard process.  Once the first draft is complete, I’ll go through several more versions with tough self-edits and beta readers before submitting it. I’m tough on myself and it is hard to let the WIP go.

Cake or pie? Coffee or tea? Chocolate or peanut butter?

Pie  ( I love all kinds)

Coffee (I can never drink enough)

Both (Why pick between chocolate and peanut butter? Reese’s is fine with me)

Happy holidays!

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Skylar M. Cates loves a good romance. She is quite happy to drink some coffee, curl up with a good book, and not move all day. Most days, however, Skylar is chasing after her husband, her kids, and her giant dog, Wasabi. Skylar dreams about spending her days writing her novels, walking along the beach, and making more time for her good friends. On a shoestring budget, Skylar has traveled all over in her early years. Although, lately, the laundry room is the farthest place she has visited, Skylar still loves to chat with people from all around the globe. Visit Skylar on her website.

Harmony Ink New Release: November 6, 2014

November 7, 2014

Unicorns and Rainbow Poop (Vocal Growth: Book Two) by Sam Kadence

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

Together Dane and Bas face Dane’s eating disorder and depression, along with bullying from Bas’s family. Unicorns and Rainbow Poop (Vocal Growth: Book Two) by Sam Kadence, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.

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Vocal Growth: Book Two

Ex-boyband member Dane Karlson is struggling to overcome an eating disorder and a body dismorphic disorder. His fall through a glass table puts him in rehab and on the road to recovery. Then a friend dies. When depression causes him to lose ground, he calls for the only person he trusts—former bandmate Tommy. But Tommy doesn’t know how to help. He begs his friend Sebastian “Bas” Axelrod to aid them through the emotional struggle.

Bas, an openly gay high school student who’s recently lost his grandmother, is trying to survive his last few months of school before escaping to Stanford. Having just lost the only person in his family to care for him, he is victim to the cruelty of the others. His younger brother bullies him, and his parents are suing him for his gran’s inheritance. When Tommy calls, Bas can’t help but run to his side.

Together Dane and Bas find a middle ground, supporting each other through the lows, dancing together during the highs. They build friendships and plan for the prom and graduation, thinking positively as long as they are together.

Length: Novel (260p.) | Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: November 6, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-63216-418-6) | Buy as a Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-63216-418-6)

“If This Were a Movie” Free Read by Kate McMurray

November 5, 2014

Kyle’s life flashed before his eyes as the huge bear of a dog galloped toward him with alarming speed. The beast was all brown fur and teeth and slobber, and it was barreling toward Kyle so quickly, he couldn’t manage to move his feet.

“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god….”

Kyle didn’t understand at first that the breathless invocation of a deity was coming not from him but from the lips of the man running at top speed behind the dog.

Was this a stampede?

Then Kyle was on his back, the heavy weight of this bear on top of him, with a face full of tongue.

Dirt flew as the guy chasing the dog caught up and skittered to a stop.

“Tiny, no. No, Tiny. Get off the nice man.”

The dog seemed immovable.

Kyle gathered his faculties enough to swat at the dog’s tongue with his hands, not connecting as the dog lifted his head away but otherwise settled on top of Kyle’s body as if Kyle were a large velvet pillow and this giant dog were a dainty princess. Kyle sighed and let his head fall back to the grass. He looked up.

Well, hello. The owner of the bear was a tall, dark-haired, slightly scruffy guy with a gym-sculpted body. His muscles flexed as he tugged on the dog’s leash, though the dog seemed determined not to go anywhere.

“Come on, Tiny,” the guy said.

If the weight of the dog hadn’t been crushing his lungs, Kyle might have found the fact that this freakishly large dog was named Tiny funny enough to laugh about, but as it was, Kyle worried his sternum was about to cave in.

“I’m so sorry about this,” the guy said. “He’s not usually like this. I don’t know what’s gotten into—”

Just as quickly as Kyle had been flattened into a pancake on the grass, Tiny the Bear lost interest, stood up and walked away.

Kyle pulled in a deep breath.

“Uh, you need help?”

Kyle looked up and saw the cute guy who owned the bear reaching down with his hand. Kyle briefly indulged in a fantasy wherein the sun shown directly behind this man’s head like a halo, and the clouds parted, and the angels sang. None of those things actually happened, but the man was quite lovely. Kyle reached up and allowed himself to be helped to his feet.

“So, um…” Kyle tried, struck speechless by the handsome man. Who smiled. Lord, he had a gorgeous smile.

“I’m Chris,” the guy said. “And this is Tiny, but you probably got that already.”

“The most logical name for a bear on a leash is Tiny.”

Chris smiled. “That’s what I thought. He’s a chow, actually. Aren’t you, boy?” Chris reached over and scratched Tiny between the ears. “And I think he likes you.”

“I guess.” Kyle looked at the dog, feeling puzzled, not understanding what just happened.

“So. Do you live around here?” asked Chris.

“Yeah, I was just cutting through the park to get home from work. You?”

“Yep, Tiny and I just moved here. A few blocks west.”

Kyle was at a loss for what to say. He was still rattled from getting knocked over by a dog, but Chris was so handsome that Kyle wasn’t ready to let him go just yet. Chris pet his dog and smiled and had that nice line of stubble on his chin and the slightly disheveled hair, and he really looked yummy. Kyle tried not to stare.

“I really am sorry,” Chris said. “I’ve never seen him do that before.”

“I seem to be okay.” Kyle dusted off his butt and the back of his thighs. He tugged on his shirt to get any residual dirt and grass to fall off. He smiled at Chris. Who smiled back.

Their eyes met for a moment.

“You know,” Kyle said after he let the moment pay out. “If this were a cheesy romantic comedy, this would be the scene in which the couple meets cute. Sure, there will be a big misunderstanding or something that will separate the pair down the line, but they’ll end up together in the end. The dog knew all along that they were meant to be, after all.”

Chris laughed, which was good. Kyle didn’t know if he was gay—he suspected, based on how snug Chris’s tee-shirt was, but that was hardly an accurate indicator of anything—but he’d made the joke without thinking. He blamed getting jumped by a dog.

A dog who sat obediently at Chris’s feet now and waved his tail while his mouth hung open. Kyle didn’t think dogs smiled, but this one seemed to be.

“But with dudes,” Chris said.

“Huh?”

“If we starred in a romantic comedy in which my dog orchestrated the meet cute, which I’m pretty sure is what just happened, it would be a romantic comedy with two dudes.”

“Who cares?” asked Kyle, still feeling dazed.

“Well, I don’t. You’re cute. You want to go get a cup of coffee with me?”

Years later, when poor Tiny had arthritis, Kyle spent a good ten minutes trying to get a little pouch affixed to the dog’s collar.

“Hold still, boy. I just need you to…”

“Babe?” called Chris, rapping on the door. “Are you ditching me?”

“No. Still trying to get this…”

Tiny huffed out a breath and sank to the floor, pushing his paws out in front of him. Of course. Kyle finished the task and stood up.

He opened the door to a concerned-looking Chris.

“Not sure we’re supposed to see each other,” Kyle said.

“Don’t care. What are you doing?”

“Getting the ring bear fixed up.”

Tiny trotted over and whuffed at Chris.

“Ring bearer?”

“Nope, bear. I was right the first time.”

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Kate McMurray is an award-winning romance author and fan. When she’s not writing, she works as a nonfiction editor, dabbles in various crafts, and is maybe a tiny bit obsessed with baseball. She is active in RWA and has served as president of Rainbow Romance Writers and on the board of RWANYC. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Harmony Ink New Release: October 23, 2014

October 24, 2014

Wild Summer by Suki Fleet

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

Christopher saved Summer’s life, but Summer pushed him away. For either to be happy, they must find each other and right past wrongs. Wild Summer by Suki Fleet, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.

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A novella from the Love Story Universe

At fifteen, Christopher falls in love with a boy whose life he saves. But things go wrong and four years later, he wishes he’d acted differently. His conscience begins to haunt him, and he knows he must find Summer again.

At seventeen, Summer pushes away the boy who saved him. Four years later, he is stuck in an abusive, damaging relationship. When he sees Christopher again, it’s a sign he can’t go on living like he is, but he can’t begin to see a way out.

For either boy to stand a chance at happiness, they must find each other and obliterate the wrongs of their shared past.

Length: Novella (138p.) | Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: October 23, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-63216-496-4)

Last First Kiss by Cardeno C.

September 28, 2014

I stumbled into the kitchen and rubbed my bleary eyes. Caffeine. I needed my fix. The coffee machine was my first stop, but when I knocked over the carafe and dropped the grounds, I was forced to concede defeat. Apparently, I wasn’t awake enough to brew a pot. No worries. I was prepared for these types of emergencies. I pulled the refrigerator door open and fumbled inside until I had a bottle of Diet Coke in my grasp.

I had the bottle tipped all the way back and the last of the caramel-colored elixir flowing into my throat when I heard a voice.

“It’s nice to know some things don’t change.”

Seeing as how I lived alone, I found the question disconcerting. Particularly because I recognized that voice: Preston Shultz, the man who had disappeared from my life ten years earlier. Was I still asleep?

I reluctantly lowered the bottle and blinked until I could see clearly. Yup, that was Preston. Older, a bit less hair on top, a bit more hair on his face, but the crystal-blue eyes were just as bright, the crooked smile just as warm.

“Uh,” I grunted.

He put his arm around my shoulder, led me to the table, and pulled out a chair. “Sit,” he said as he deposited me on the wooden surface. Then he walked over to the coffee maker, picked up the carafe, and started pouring water and measuring grounds. “I’m assuming you still take it strong enough to wake the dead?”

He didn’t wait for my answer. Good idea because the only thing I seemed capable of saying was, “uh.”

Eventually, he came to the table holding a giant mug. I instinctively reached for it and he smiled at me, the sides of his eyes crinkling. I’m pretty sure I stopped breathing.

First my brain, now my lungs — I was down two major organs.

As I took a sip, Preston sat next to me and pulled his chair so close that his knees touched mine. I moaned. Strong and sweet, just how I liked my coffee. And my men.

“Good?” he asked.

I nodded. “What …” It was a step up from “uh” but still not coherent. I raised the mug back up to my lips. By the time I finished the coffee, some memories from the night before had started surfacing.

Preston knocking on my door, saying he missed me, asking me to take him back. Me yelling, and then crying, and then collapsing in his arms.

He was back. We were back.

I darted my gaze over to his still-handsome face. “You didn’t kiss me last night.”

He leaned in and cupped my cheek. “You were so tired. I wanted to make sure you’d remember our first kiss.”

“We’ve kissed lots of times,” I corrected him.

“Not like this.” His voice was barely a whisper. “This will be our last first kiss.”

His lips met mine and my heart stuttered. That was three organs down. I needed more caffeine.
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Cardeno C.—CC to friends—is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few “awwws” into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset.

Harmony Ink New Release: September 25, 2014

September 26, 2014

Ben Raphael’s All-Star Virgins by K.Z. Snow

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

Jake and his friends become Ben Raphael’s All-Star Virgin Order. It takes a tragedy to make the BRAVO boys realize what’s important in life. Ben Raphael’s All-Star Virgins by K.Z. Snow, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.

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Sixteen-year-old Jake McCullough and his friends Rider, Brody, Carlton, and Tim are the invisible boys of Ben Raphael Academy, an exclusive coed prep school. Brody decides they need “mystique” to garner attention. “Nobody has more mystique than a desirable virgin,” he declares. Thus is born Ben Raphael’s All-Star Virgin Order or BRAVO.

The boys polish their appearances. Brody launches a subtle but canny publicity campaign. Soon, the boys are being noticed. But they’re emotionally fragile. Two have succumbed to a seductive female teacher. Jake and Rider, roommates and best friends who are attracted to one another, fear the stigma of being gay.

It takes an unspeakable tragedy to make the BRAVO boys realize what’s important in life, and that “virginity” has more than one meaning.

Length: Novella (124p.) | Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: September 25, 2014, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-63216-257-1)

Harmony Ink New Release: September 18, 2014

September 18, 2014

Wet Paint (Transitions: Book Two) by Will Parkinson

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

When Addy’s past intrudes, it’s going to take everything Benny can muster to show that no matter what they face, they belong together. Wet Paint (Transitions: Book Two) by Will Parkinson, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.

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Transitions: Book Two
Although Addy’s heart and body bear the scars from his life before he was adopted by the Deans, he’s ached for something he thought he would never find. Until he met Benny. He isn’t sure how anyone can care for someone as broken as he is, even though he wants it desperately.

High school senior Benny Peters has his whole life planned out for him, until a chaste kiss at summer camp opens a new world of possibilities. Determined to erase Addy’s insecurities, Benny works to take away his boyfriend’s pain and replace it with love.

When Addy’s past intrudes on their future, it’s going to take everything Benny can muster to show that no matter what–or who–they face, they belong together.

Length: Novel (214p.) | Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: September 18, 2014, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-63216-251-9) | Buy as a Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-63216-249-6)

A Matter of When – Giveaway

September 15, 2014

I’ve spent the day chatting about A Matter of When, now let’s get to the fun part, shall we?  How about a giveaway of an e-book copy?

But first, let’s talk about the little things that make life sweeter.

Rocker Henri can afford the finer things in life, but is won over by Sebastian’s kindness, highlighted in one simple gesture: a tuna fish sandwich unlike any he’s had before, because “anything worth doing is worth doing well.”

The sandwich reminds Henri of the when he was younger and his mother used to show affection with food. Sometimes we overlook the simplicity of the love baked into our favorite cookies, or a loved one making us soup when we don’t feel well.

Instead of simply entering a comment and telling me you like to enter the contest, why not name one comfort food that brings back good memories? You don’t have to, mind you, but I’d love to hear your stories.

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Ebook from Dreamspinner Press

Print from Dreamspinner Press

Amazon

All Romance eBooks

A Matter of When – Excerpt 2

September 15, 2014

In A Matter of When, lead singer Henri suffers a meltdown in which he fears joining the “Twenty-seven Club, after which he must rebuild his life:

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THE ENCORE, the reporter gauntlet, the picture taking and autograph signing went by in a blur. Then Henri took the limo ride from hell.

“What’s got into you tonight, Henri? You seem a little down. Or should I be asking, ‘What hasn’t gotten into you?’” Ricky snickered. “Oh, maybe you want to go down.”

“Did you notice that big-titted chick down front?” Giles chimed in. “Oh, wait, of course you didn’t.” He lowered his voice so only Henri could hear. “You would if she had a dick.” He paused long enough to suck up a line of coke off a tray he’d found in the limo’s bar.

Fucking assholes. Thank God their manager wasn’t here. Henri could better handle their homophobic slurs than their kissing up to Marguerite and laughing behind his back when she treated Henri like a four-year-old. Lord knew she babied her moneymaker, even if her hovering did cock block him. He had to play the straight boy for the fans.

“Fuck off,” he told his band. Hell, at least they hadn’t invited groupies along for the ride this time. The last thing he needed was Giles pounding into some half-naked woman right next to him.

But if they dared use the n-word, by God, he’d have to kill somebody.

He stared out the window. Buildings seemed to merge together as the limo whizzed by, their features further blurred by darkness and window tint. The car slowed to a stop at a red light. What if he simply jumped out and ran? Never stopped running, never looked back? Found a place to hide where no one could ever find him?

Oh yeah. Think of all the people depending on you, he heard in his manager’s voice. Stop being selfish. One cancelled show cuts into a lot of paychecks. Roadies, vendors, the band…. Not to mention herself.

He squeezed his eyes shut. A hamster on a wheel. A damned moneymaking hamster. No one gave a shit about him, just the money. One more concert, one more town. C’mon, Henri, get up on that stage. Think of your fans, Henri. Think of your family, Henri. Think of the band, Henri.

The next time the car stopped, the band crawled out into chaos. More fans, more grasping hands. A security guard guided him into the hotel, through a crowded atrium, and into a private, invitation-only party. At least his tormenters scattered, finding better amusements than “bash the closeted lead singer.”

In the background, Henri’s recorded voice wailed through the playback of tonight’s show, jacked up high to compete with the revelry of a crowded club. Wasn’t anyone tired of hearing him yet? “Great show, man,” a fan gushed, pumping his hand and grinning into his face.

“If you say so,” he replied once they’d left.

His bandmates took full advantage of their A-list reputations, Ricky throwing a quick wave to the crowd before departing, a blonde clinging to his arm. Giles tossed back his and someone else’s share of drinks from the open bar, occasionally rubbing his nose. Yeah, probably pretty damned numb by now. Vince held court at one end of the room, yet Henri, trained singing automaton, kept to the shadows. Maybe folks would forget him, letting him quietly sneak away. Margo, no, “Marguerite” trained eagle eyes on him. The rest of the band was free to do as they pleased, but the lead singer, the star in her eyes, had damned well better stay until she said otherwise, for once he left, the party would end, as would her evening’s networking.

“Buy you a drink?”

Henri spun around. A handsome man offered a glass. “No, thanks.” The pounding behind his eyes didn’t need any alcohol-fueled assistance to split his brain in two, and his anxiety meds hadn’t kicked in. The driving music and gyrating bodies surrounding him certainly didn’t help. After parties sucked, big-time.

“Aww… c’mon. Have a drink with me.”

A beguiling smile lured him in. Normally, he’d arrange a discreet meeting later in his hotel room, but something about the fan’s creepy smile said, Leave this one alone. He had “I kiss and tell” written all over him. Henri didn’t need another leaked sex tape. It had taken a lot of spin-doctoring and a look-alike claiming responsibility—for a price—to clean up the mess the last time he’d chosen the wrong bed partner.

He gave what he hoped passed for an apologetic smile. “No, really. I can’t.” Where was his manager when he needed her to chase off the undesirables who couldn’t forward his career, or at least dispel the latest bout of gay rumors?

Tall, Dark, and Won’t Leave replied, “I came all the way from New Jersey to see you. The least you can do is drink with me.”

All the way from New Jersey? Where the hell were they now? Oh. Right. Anaheim. Or was Anaheim last night? They were still in California, weren’t they?

Liquid swirled in a glass a few inches from Henri’s nose. “It’s your favorite,” the guy crooned. “Jack and Ginger.”

Oh, how Henri regretted letting slip such a factoid in an interview—about five years ago, when he actually had liked Jack and Ginger. Hell, to get rid of the moron, he’d pay any price at this point, then go back to his brooding. Floor-to-ceiling windows afforded a breathtaking view of the city—whatever its name was—his scowling manager reflected in the dark glass. Would everyone go the fuck away and leave him alone? If she wouldn’t come run this asshole off, Henri would do it himself. “Fine!” He grabbed the glass and swallowed half the contents. Anything to get this fuckwad gone.

The guy’s grin widened. “I’m your biggest fan.”

I bet you say that to all the rockers.

“You have millions of fans, but no one understands you like I do.”

Where had Henri heard that before? Oh yeah, Sacramento, LA, Portland, Seattle…. Name a town and someone there had spoken those same words.

His manager approached. Finally! “Henri, this is Lisa. Lisa, Henri.” Marguerite pushed a buxom brunette his way. “Lisa here is your biggest fan.”

Henri read between the lines: You need to be seen with a woman if you ever hope to dispel those nasty rumors. No way to dispel the truth, though.

The woman was pretty, but her maniacal grin didn’t bode well for protecting Henri’s privacy either. She could be the sister of the admirer he was currently attempting to fend off.

“Go away, bitch. I got here first,” the would-be suitor snarled. Okay, no relation, or possibly a highly dysfunctional, competitive sibling rivalry.

The woman snapped an angry retort. Marguerite waded into the fray. Henri beat a hasty retreat. Damn but his head pounded double-time now. The world fuzzed around the edges of his vision, and whatever he’d eaten before the show threatened to reappear.

Bodies blocked his way, but he lowered his head and soldiered on. Puking in front of two hundred witnesses wouldn’t win him any support from his manager. Hell, he couldn’t fucking belch without making headlines.

“Sir, are you okay?”

Henri glanced up at a broad chest, the word “Security” stamped across a tightly stretched T-shirt. No use lying. “I don’t feel too good.” Nice, broad arms. The guy who’d broken his fall earlier. I owe him a car or his own island or something.

“Would you like me to escort you to your room?” Nothing sinister or even suggestive peeked out of the man’s eyes. Just concern. Henri hadn’t gotten concern from anyone in a long time. Too tired to come up with a smartassed retort, he merely nodded. Maybe he could fall again and earn himself another inadvertent cuddle.

The security guard tapped his earpiece, spoke a few garbled words, and wrapped a hand around Henri’s biceps. “Not now, please,” the man said to anyone who stepped into their path. He hustled Henri to the exit.

Henri’s chest filled with lead. Why the fuck couldn’t he breathe? Too many people. The air cleared a bit near the elevator. His knees buckled. What the fuck? “I’m not drunk, I swear.” He grabbed at the wall and missed.

The guard steadied him. “I’m not judging, but maybe you’d better let me hold your drink.”

What? Henri was still holding the damned thing?

Without realizing quite how he got there, Henri leaned back against elevator walls. The coolness felt good against his skin. “Room 1216.” It was 1216, wasn’t it? Or 1218?

“May I have your key, sir?” The guard released Henri’s arm and held out his hand.

Shuffling, being pulled, the snick of the key in the door, followed by the sweet relief of his room. Hey! Room 1216! Got it in one.

Standing by the window of his penthouse suite, Henri stared out at the night. A string of red taillights marked a mass exodus from the arena down the block. His stomach rolled. Did anyone at the party downstairs miss him yet? Thank God his manager wasn’t hovering over him like some overzealous fruit fly claiming dibs on a piece of rotted apple. Henri snorted. My, how well the description fit him. Something within had died long ago, leaving emptiness within.

He took his glass from the guard, raised it in silent toast to his reflection, and tossed back a mouthful, a bitter brew to kill his pain. Haunted eyes blinked back at him. Tired, so tired. Concerts wiped his energy, and every song came from his heart, taking a piece of him that never regrew. A shriveled prune of a thing, his soul must be now. He needed his pills. The ones the doctor prescribed for emergencies. He hadn’t already taken one yet, had he? His head pounded.

He fumbled his way to the stereo and pushed the play button. Trent Reznor moaned about hurt. “I know exactly what you mean, man.”

“Would you like me to stay?” Arms folded across a well-formed chest. Bulging biceps. Blond buzz cut. Huh? Oh, yeah. Security guard. Asking to stay. But no invitation lurked in his eyes. Mild alarm, maybe.

“Would you? I mean, for a little while?” Henri staggered away, the need to sleep bearing down on him, an oppressive hand forcing him toward the turned-down bed. Slowly he peeled his T-shirt off, wincing at the stench of sweat. Maybe he should have taken a shower first. Too late now.

The guard’s eyes widened, likely taking in the skinny torso and the ink decorating what many viewed as a rock god. Henri was merely himself. If only this man didn’t know who he was and saw Henry, not Henri, the product of an imaginative manager. Ah, I’ve grown maudlin in my old age. Old at twenty-seven. Ancient.

An idea crawled to the surface of his muddled thoughts. “Sleep with me.” Had Henri actually spoken those words out loud?

“Fraternization with clients goes against policy. Besides, I’m straight.” No anger. Just business as usual. How many rock gods had propositioned the man?

Henri giggled. “So am I, if you ask my manager. No, I don’t want sex.” He didn’t. Really. “Hold me.”

“You want me to hold you?”

“I feel swimmy-headed. Need an anchor.” Nice line. He should use it again for something. Oh yeah. Maybe put it in a song.

“I could lose my job.”

“No, you can’t. I’m the boss, no matter what my manager says.”

The crisp sheets felt cool against his heated flesh, and if his bedmate noticed his slightly sweat-ripe scent, he gave no clue. The fully clothed guard arranged himself beside Henri, the image of adorable confusion when Henri didn’t attack. Henri had been fucked enough for the time being, and fucked over once too often. Tonight he’d lie in the arms of a stranger, Henri Lafontaine, a publicist’s creation. Tomorrow, he’d take his fucking life back, gold record be damned.

He cuddled into the stranger’s too-limp embrace. “Once I’m out, you can go.”

“You really don’t look too good. Is there someone I should call?”

Henri barked a humorless laugh. “No one gives a shit. Trust me.”

The man grabbed Henri’s wrist and raised his other arm to his face to better see his watch.

“What are you, a doctor?”

“I’m studying nursing. And your pulse is slow. Your breathing is shallow too. I think I should call somebody.”

“No, really. I’m fine.” Henri snuggled more firmly into his human pillow. Hell, physical contact was physical contact. He would take what he could get.

Something loosened in his chest, and he closed his eyes, imagining a lover’s attention, someone who cared about Henry the man, and not Henri, the rich rock star. He conjured up his own bedtime story: they’d met at a party, fallen in love, shared a house, a life. They’d gone out to dinner, made love, and were now settling in for the night. In the morning they’d…. Well, there wouldn’t be a morning for him and Nameless Guy, would there? Nameless Guy would be gone; Henri would wake alone, like he did every morning, even those mornings when he woke to find his bed filled to capacity with naked bodies.

A tear slipped beneath his eyelid, blazing a hot trail down his cheek. The aching inside flared anew, his heart bursting into a million crystalline shards.

The guard lay stiffly on the bed and wrapped an arm around Henri. Fingers stroked his forehead, brushing hair out of his face. Well, he’d be damned. One lucky woman had landed this guy.

But holy hell was it hot in here or what? His stomach rolled. Oh shit. How much had he drunk again? He glanced around the room. Where the hell was he? On the third try he managed to hoist himself out of bed. Where was the bathroom?

“Sir, are you all right?” came from behind him.

Sir? Who the fuck had he brought home? Henri’s stomach lurched again. Why wouldn’t his damned legs hold him? “Oh fuck!” The floor rose up to meet him.

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After a really horrible night, Henri retreats to the Colorado Rockies to regroup, and place I adore. If you could go anywhere in the world to relax, where would you choose?

Summer Fever: The Giveaway

September 10, 2014

TT Kove here, back with a giveaway for my recently released novella Summer Fever! You like those, right? Yeah, I thought so. 3 is a number I like, so I’m thinking there’ll be three winners who each get their own copy of the ebook. I will draw the winners tomorrow, once this release day party is over.

SummerFever

Basking in the long summer days, Axel hikes away from his worries through Norway’s idyllic mountain passes. He’s so at ease that he slips off his clothes and bathes in the cool lake water with no fear of being called out for his bright red hair or body full of freckles. Life is grand. 

Peace and quiet doesn’t come easy for mystery writer Folke. When he stumbles across his copper-haired muse naked in a mountain oasis, plans for his future novel are long forgotten in favor of love. Nature takes a bite out of the serenity the two find, and the real world encroaches, making the happy couple wonder if they didn’t just suffer a summer fever.
All you have to answer to be a part of the giveaway is this: a summer fever is the urge to have new experiences, like for instance to party, to mate, to have no cares at all and just have fun! Have you ever experienced a summer fever? 

 

TT Kove

www.ttkove.com