Thursday, December 31, 2015

Never Have I Ever (A Belonging Ficlet)

Happy New Year!

Newsletter subscribers received this treat a while ago, but I wanted to post it here for all to enjoy, since it's a NYE story featuring your favorite Belonging boys. 

Jaime gets his first experience playing "Never Have I Ever" and learns quite a lot about his friends....



Never Have I Ever

A trip out to Pot O Gold usually ended with Jaime Winters having to half-carry his drunk boyfriend, Alessandro Silva, the two block walk to their friends’ apartment. And considering tonight was New Year’s Eve and Alessandro didn’t have to get up early to open the bakery tomorrow, Jaime had expected to need extra hands wrangling Alè home. 

Alessandro had surprised him by only ordering two whiskey sours, then sticking to water until he shared a glass of champagne with Donner Davis at midnight. The fourth side of their quartet and Donner’s partner, Ezra Kelley, had helped himself to two glasses.

It had been months since their foursome had haunted Pot O Gold together. Not since Ezra and Alessandro opened up their coffee shop and bakery, Half-Dozen, back in July. The business was thriving enough for them to toss around words like “expansion” without actually making plans, and Jaime had never been prouder. Alessandro was a business owner, he was happy, and he made Jaime stupidly happy, too.

Life was pretty great for all of them at the moment, so he was a little confused over why his friends hadn’t let loose more at the Pot.

Please, God, don’t tell me we’re all getting old.

Hardly.

Jaime had just turned twenty-four that summer, same age as Ezra now. Alessandro would be twenty-four in February. Only Donner could be honestly teased about being old, since he’d already hit the big 3-0 and was inching closer to 3-1.

“I still can’t believe you wore that shirt,” Donner said, pointing at Jaime’s chest. He was probably the least intoxicated of the three who’d been drinking. Hanging off his arm, Ezra wasn’t exactly drunk but he was definitely extra-happy.

Jaime glanced down at the black sleeveless tee hiding under his open winter coat. The words “Versatile Boys Have More Fun” was printed in blocky white letters. Alessandro had given it to him a few weeks ago to celebrate Jaime finally graduating college, along with a promise to take him out to the Pot as long as he wore it. 

New Year’s Eve had been the perfect excuse. The Pot had been jammed, and the shirt got Jaime the kind of attention he loved. Alessandro had helped him discover and nurture his inner exhibitionist, and while he still wasn’t comfortable with the idea of having full-on anal sex in front of other people, he and Alessandro got pretty damned frisky, both in the club and at Ezra’s apartment.

Once they’d even sucked each other off on one couch while Ezra and Donner did the same on the other.

Good times.

“Verse guys do have more fun,” Ezra said, his voice only slightly slurred. “I’m sure all four of us can agree to that one.”

Alessandro stumbled slightly, his brow creasing. “Wait, when did you start letting guys stick a dick in your ass, Mr. I Only Top?”

Ezra flashed a wicked grin at Donner. “When I met him.”

While the mental image of the slender, totally gorgeous Ezra going to town on Donner was crazy hot, the opposite made Jaime’s stomach wobble in funny ways. Maybe because in the sixteen-ish months they’d all known each other, Ezra had always been about control. The fact that he could give that up to Donner was pretty intense. He loved seeing his friends so happy together.

All of his friends, which included the two who’d begged off for another gig. Romy and Brendan had only been together for a couple of months, and they seemed totally mismatched on the outside, but they also completely complimented each other. And they were busy at a New Year’s party at Brendan’s mother’s house, surrounded by Brendan’s extended family.

Romy was probably nervous as hell around so many people, but he’d put up with it for Brendan’s sake.

The walk back to the apartment never took long. Donner and Ezra shared the renovated second floor of a three-story brownstone. The bathroom was a tiny pain in the ass, but the living area was huge, and it had two bedrooms. 

Jaime planned to make good use of the extra bed tonight.

“Who’s up for Cards Against Humanity?” Ezra asked once they were all inside, shedding coats.

Jaime blinked at all of the snowy, silver Christmas decorations still in place. Ezra had gone all out.

“You lent that to Brandy last week,” Donner said. She worked at the bakery with Ezra and Alessandro.

Ezra’s face dropped. “Fuck. I did, didn’t I?” Then brightened. “How about a drinking game?”

“Jaime can’t drink,” Alessandro said. He came up behind Jaime and slid warm arms around his waist from behind. Pulled Jaime’s ass right into his crotch. While Jaime had lost his wood the moment cold air blasted him the face outside the club, Alessandro was still hard in his jeans. 

Jaime melted into his boyfriend’s arms. “Jaime can drink soda while you guys do booze.”

“Never Have I Ever!” Ezra whooped and darted for the kitchen cabinets. He produced a bottle of Fireball and four Dixie cups. Then a can of soda from the mini-fridge that came with the place.

Jaime let Alessandro manhandle him over to one of the two long couches that took up living room space, hoping his face didn’t away he had no idea what game they were talking about. Okay, so he’d been sheltered growing up. Extremely sheltered, which wasn’t a surprise when he told folks about the heart disease that nearly killed him more than once, or that the only reason he was alive today was because of a heart transplant.

Hence no drinking anything stronger than soda. Ever.

Small price to pay for someone who’s never actually tasted alcohol anyway. 

While Donner found some music on Ezra’s space-age sound system, Ezra arranged the cups and booze on the coffee table, then immediately poured three shots of booze, and a shot of soda for Jaime.

“Have you guys played before?” Ezra asked.

Affirmatives came from Donner and Alessandro, and suddenly all eyes were on Jaime. His face got hot, probably scorching red from his neck to the tips of his ears. 

Ezra made an amused noise. “So that’s a no from Jaime.”

“It’s pretty basic,” Alessandro said. “Someone makes a statement, such as ‘never have I ever been bitten by a snake,’ and if anyone in the room has been bitten by a snake, they drink.”

“Except most of the time the statements are sexual, so it’s the sluts among us that get wasted first.”

Donner poked Ezra in the ribs and gave him what seemed to be a disapproving look.

Huh.

“Damn,” Jaime said. “The list of things I’ve never done, in bed or out of bed, could fill a phone book.”

Alessandro smoothed a warm palm over his chest, across the long surgical scar hidden beneath his birthday shirt. “You had a good reason, babe.”

“Still.”

“Still, nothing,” Ezra said. “The game doesn’t have to be all about sex.” He waggled his eyebrows, the silver brow stud winking in the lights from the Christmas tree. “Most of it, but not all.”

“Fine.” Jaime settled in with a hand on Alessandro’s thigh. “You go first.”

“Hmm…” Ezra glanced around the room as if his question was tacked to the wall somewhere. “Never have I ever…had sex with a stripper.”

The declaration surprised Jaime for some reason, but he was even more surprised when Donner downed a shot.

Ezra squawked. “Story!”

Donner worried his lower lip with his teeth while he refilled his cup. “It was years ago. Jacob and I went to Philly one Saturday to blow off steam, and we hit up some clubs. We were both eyeballing one of the strippers, and after his set, we approached him.”

“Oh my God.” Ezra’s eyes nearly popped out of his skull. “You never told me you had a threesome.”

“You never asked.”

Jaime stared at Donner, impressed by the story. Jacob was his late boyfriend, who’d been killed almost three years ago. And Donner Davis was the quiet, responsible one, so the threesome thing earned him mad respect from Jaime. While Jaime loved playing around and frequently fantasized about a threesome, he wasn’t sure he would, in reality, ever want to have full-on sex with anyone except Alessandro.

Ezra tipped an imaginary hat at his partner. “Fine, you scoundrel you. Your turn.”

Donner tried to a find a comment on the back of his hand. “Um, never have I ever had sex in the woods.”

Jaime and Alessandro reached for their cups at the exact same time. The soda fizzled down his throat. Alessandro pressed a cinnamon-scented kiss to his cheek. The first time Alessandro blew him, it had been in the woods near an unfinished development, Jaime’s back against a tree. He still remembered how that rough bark had felt against his naked skin.

“Phone book my ass,” Ezra said. He still hadn’t touched his shot.

“Never have I ever shaved my balls,” Alessandro said.

Ezra downed a shot.

“Why would you do that?” Jaime asked. “I mean, a razor that close to your junk?”

Ezra shrugged. “The novelty. I was with a guy once who swore his nuts were more sensitive if he shaved them. Personally, I didn’t notice much difference, and it itched like hell when the hair grew back.”

Donner nuzzled Ezra’s neck. “I like your balls just the way they are.”

Jaime picked his question out of genuine curiosity. “Never have I ever smoked weed.”

All three drank.

“Didn’t want to, or never had the opportunity?” Donner asked.

“I guess more I didn’t care, because I was sick all the time, and then I got better and sometimes I’m terrified that anything at all unusual could trigger my body to reject the heart.”

Alessandro slid an arm across his shoulders, and Jaime sank into the warmth of his chest. “If it helps, both times I tried it I didn’t like it.”

“That does help. Thanks.”

“Anytime.”

Ezra switched it up with a benign, “Never have I ever owned a pet.”

No one drank. Donner hesitated in reaching for his cup. Last spring his sister’s dog, Lex Luthor, had to be put down due to old age and terrible seizures. He hadn’t been Donner’s dog, but Jaime and Alessandro had been with Donner and Ezra the night Lex had died, and Donner had been a wreck. Like he’d lost a family member.

Ezra ruffled Donner’s hair. “Sorry, I wasn’t thinking. But he was your dog, as much as theirs.”

Donner nodded, then did the shot. “Never have I ever been handcuffed in bed.”

Alessandro drank.

“What?” Jaime’s entire body lit up like a live wire at that confession. The visual of his Alessandro, naked and handcuffed to a bed, gave him all kinds of dirty ideas. Very, very dirty ideas.

“Uh oh, me thinks he likes the idea,” Ezra said.

“I love the idea.”

Alessandro’s dark eyes glittered, and his smile went almost feral. “Oh yeah?”

“Oh yeah.” Jaime’s dick started waking up again, taking note of his super hot boyfriend and all of the sex talk. “This is happening in the very near future.” Jaime nearly hauled Alessandro into the spare room so they could get down to business, but the more his friends drank, the more interesting things he learned about them.

Plus, handcuffs.

“Your turn, babe.” He poked Alessandro in the ribs, which made him laugh.

“Um, never have I ever done karaoke.”

Ezra polished off his third shot, and Donner his fourth.

Ezra had a little trouble pouring the next round, and Alessandro had that rosy-cheeked thing going on that said he was tipping past the point of drunk and maybe two more shots away from wasted. Donner had a pretty good poker face when he drank, but he’d downed the most since they got back.

He was also the biggest guy in the room in terms of body mass. Ezra was taller, but super thin.

Maybe it was the fact that all three of them were on the road to serious Drunk Brain and less likely to take his next statement seriously, but Jaime still blushed hotly when he said, “Never have I ever had sex with Ezra.”

He squirmed under the intensity of the three wide-eyed stares directed at him. Donner and Alessandro did the shot, and Jaime felt new tension in Alessandro.

“Does masturbation mean I had sex with myself?” Ezra asked.

“Sure,” Jaime replied, because booze.

Ezra drank, then said the most obvious thing in the universe. “Never have I ever had sex with Jaime. But I did feel him up once.”

Alessandro drank with a slightly slurred, “Felt him up plenty of times too.”

The comment was kind of funny, but no one laughed. Jaime felt the intensity of Ezra’s stare but couldn’t make himself meet it. He couldn’t lift his gaze higher than the liquor bottle on the coffee table.

Alessandro nuzzled his ear with his nose. “Does it bother you? That I slept with Ezra once?”

“No.” It didn’t. Not really. Except Jaime’s mind frequently circled back to the night they first met Ezra and Romy at the Pot. The way they’d all danced, grinding and feeling each other up, and having an amazing time. An amazing time that kept going all the way back to Ezra’s apartment, and to the fraction of a moment the next morning when Jaime wouldn’t have said no to a threesome with Ezra.

Except now that was impossible. Jaime had Alè and Ezra had Donner, and even though Donner seemed to enjoy watching Ezra dance with other men at the Pot, there was a huge gap between dancing and fucking.

“Then why bring it up, sugar?” Ezra this time, all curiosity and no accusation. Still sharp despite the amount of alcohol he’d consumed.

“I don’t know.” The words had escaped Jaime’s lips before he could think them through. “It’s true, though. That’s the game, right? We say stuff we haven’t done.” And maybe deep down, if he was really honest with himself, it bothered him that Jaime was still the least experienced person in the group. His list of sexual partners stopped with Alessandro. “I’ve never even kissed anyone else.”

Crap, why did I say that out loud? I’m not even drunk.

Alessandro dragged his lips from Jaime’s ear to his Adam’s apple, and good grief, that felt good. “You want to kiss Ezra, babe?”

Jaime wanted those teasing lips around his cock as soon as possible, but he had three drunk people staring at him, waiting for an answer. The idea of walking to the other couch, straddling Ezra’s lap, and sliding his tongue into Ezra’s mouth held a lot of appeal. The fact that both Ezra and his boyfriend were two shots from completely wasted kept Jaime rooted firmly next to his boyfriend.

He didn’t want to say or do anything they’d all regret in the morning. He wasn’t that guy.

“Sometines I do,” Jaime replied. “But not tonight.”

“Why not?” Ezra asked, practically pouting.

“Stretch your right hand out, then bend it at the elbow and touch your nose.”

Ezra managed to poke himself in the eye.

“That’s why.”

“Don’t think so hard about the people you never got to fuck around with,” Donner said. “You lucked into something a lot of guys wait years, maybe decades to find. You skipped all the frogs and found the prince.”

“Aww.” Ezra planted a sloppy kiss on Donner’s mouth. “That was super romantic, you know. I’m done kissing frogs, too.”

“Won’t kissing frogs give you mouth warts or something,” Alessandro asked.

Jaime patted his knee. “Not literal frogs, babe.”

“I’ve never heard of those.”

“What?”

“Literal frogs. Do they live in the rainforest?”

Ezra started cackling. Drunk Alessandro was hilarious Alessandro, and that was probably Jaime’s cue to suggest everyone go to separate beds.

Donner leaned over and started whispering in Ezra’s ear, and whatever he said made Ezra’s eyes light up. Purple contact lens-covered eyes latched onto Jaime’s, and the seduction in them made Jaime’s stomach wobble. Ezra slunk off the sofa and plunked himself right onto Jaime’s lap. While Ezra was taller than him, he was also super-thin so he wasn’t very heavy.

“What—?” Jaime’s question was cut off by a finger against his lips.

Ezra’s finger. “My boyfriend seems to think we could alleviate some tension between our little quartet if I went ahead and kissed you.”

“Really?” Damn, his voice squeaked high. Jaime glanced over at Alessandro, who was watching them with wide eyes and very keen interest. His gaze swung to Donner, who didn’t appear drunk in the least, despite Jaime knowing better. Donner gave him a mock salute that didn’t do anything to soothe Jaime’s buzzing nerves.

“Why not?” Ezra traced a light touch across his cheek. “We’ve gotten pretty damned close a few times, but you always turned away.”

“I didn’t want to.”

Ezra leaned in close enough for Jaime to smell the whiskey on his breath. “Why not?”

“Because that’s only for Alessandro.”

A deft hand caressed his collarbone, then spent a moment outlining his pecs. “Is that right?”

“Yes.”

“You’ve really never kissed another man?”

“No.” Jaime stared at Ezra’s pink lips, torn between loyalty to his boyfriend and curiosity over what it would feel like to kiss someone else. Grinding on a dance floor was one thing. Getting felt up still another. Somehow, in Jaime’s mind, kissing had become the one line he didn’t want to cross. The one thing, other than fucking, that was only for him and Alessandro.

“Do you want to?” Ezra scraped light nails across his throat, waking up his nerves. “Because I’m right here, and I think it could be a lot of fun.”

“You’re drunk.”

“I can’t touch my nose with my finger but my mind is clear enough. I’ve wanted to kiss your pretty red lips since that very first night at the Pot. When you were so green you attracted every dominant guy in the bar. You were magic that night.”

Jaime had never forgotten the joy he’d felt from dancing and being watched, being wanted by so many other guys. He’d only had eyes for Alessandro, despite the advances from various men, including Ezra. Sometimes he regretted settling down with the first guy to show him any real sexual interest, but that rarely lasted longer than a few seconds.

His relationship with Alessandro was everything.

He looked past Ezra, at Donner. “If I ever kiss Ezra, it’s because you’re all sober and we’re not doing it because Drunk Brain thinks it’s a good idea.”

Donner gave a slow not. Ezra pouted.

Alessandro relaxed completely next to him, and yeah, right call.

Ezra planted a wet kiss on the middle of Jaime’s forehead, then climbed off his lap and re-deposited himself onto Donner’s. The pair immediately started making out. Alessandro wrestled Jaime around until Jaime lay on his back on the couch, Alessandro draped all over him from above. His eyes were bleary, and yeah, he was past the point of great decision making. Good thing Jaime didn’t drink.

“Would have been hot,” Alessandro whispered. He left a trail of soft kisses along his jaw. “But glad you didn’t.”

“Me too.” He bit at Alessandro’s lower lip. “I don’t mind that I never had to kiss a frog.”

Alessandro lifted his head, eyebrows knitted together. “What is the obsession with frogs tonight?”

Jaime laughed. “I’ll explain in the morning.” Right now he had his very hot boyfriend to take care of. "Happy New Year, babe."

"Happy New Year."

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Out With 2015, In With 2016

Since everyone else seems to be doing a look back at 2015/look forward to 2016 post, I decided to be one of the cool kids and do one too. 

2015 was an amazing year for me. Probably the best of my career so far, as an m/m romance author, and I couldn't be happier. I am so grateful for my publishers, my blogger friends, and my readers. More than I can properly express with words, and since I can never get .gifs to work for some reason, here's a photo:



2015 was a pretty busy year for me. I finally started up a newsletter (sign up link in the sidebar), opened a CafePress store (sidebar), and had five books published with two presses.

I released another complete trilogy with Carina Press this year with Restoration. I loved watching readers discover and fall in love with James, Boxer and Elliott, and their patchwork family as they each found true love in Getting It Right, Finding Their Way, and Taking A Chance. 

Full disclosure: Finding Their Way was the most frustrating book I've written so far, and it went through the biggest editing round of my life. It brought me to tears and drove me to drink, but in the end? WORTH IT. I adore this book now, and all of the stress was worthwhile in the end, because it made Boxer and Riley's journey the very best story it could be.

This year also brought you guys Tristan Lavelle. 

You first noticed him in The Truth As He Knows It back in February, when the first Perspectives book released with Samhain. And I was already hard at work giving Tristan his HEA when fans started asking when he'd get one.


During my blog tour this past fall for The World As He Sees It (Perspectives #2), I was frequently faced with the question of "how did you come up with Tristan's character?" And I never had a good answer. Tristan is one of those rare characters who blew into Noel's back story and kind of...well, he took over. He dominated every single scene he was in during TTAHKI. He broke my heart, and he kept breaking it until the final pages of TWAHSI, when I knew he and Gabe would be okay.

They'll also be back, in some form or another, because Perspectives isn't over. After all, Jon "Boomer" Buchanan is the hero of book three, and he's Gabe's best friend. Expect cameos.

I also recently found out that the first three Perspectives books will be released in audio format through Tantor books! 

2015 also brought me an amazing first: an editor at St. Martin's Press contacted me about doing a series together for their new digital-first imprint, and I swooned. I've never had an editor at a Big Five house reach out and ask to work with me! Thus, Off Beat was born, and these books will be rocking their way onto your digital readers in 2016! 

Everything about this year has given me the chance to ring in the New Year as a brand-new full-time author! Saturday is my last day as a full-time retail employee, and while it's terrifying, it's also thrilling. And I couldn't have done it without each and every reader out there who bought, reviewed, and spread the word about my books.

THANK YOU!!!!

And 2016 looks to be plenty busy with releases:

The Heart As He Hears It (Perspectives #3, Samhain) April 19, 2016
Come What May (All Saints #1, Carina Press) May 16, 2016
Body Rocks (Off Beat #1, SMP Swerve) June 2016
Fractured Hymns (Samhain) September 2016
Steady Stroke (Off Beat #2, SMP Swerve) October 2016

Say It Right (All Saints #2, Carina Press) doesn't have a release date yet, but expect it in the Fall 2016.


In the works right now:

With four contracted books due this year, I'm currently nearing completion on Steady Stroke. Then I get to jump back into my Wilmington world for Say It Right, which has about a chapter and a half finished.

I've also been blessed with an opening/story idea for the next Cole/Jeremy book, so I hope to be able to work on Discovering Me #3 sometime this winter/spring. 

I still plan on reissuing both Prodigal and Frozen, as well as a third paranormal book in that world. This is going to be fit in around other stuff, but it will happen, I promise! There will also be at least two more Perspectives books coming down the pike at some point. I finally worked one of the kinks out of the plot of #4, so that definitely helps.


Next year I also hope to read more. I didn't read nearly as many books as I wanted to this year, and my Nook is crammed full. So are my physical bookshelves. I need to tackle both.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: Body Rocks (Off Beat #1) Snippet

For this week's Teaser Tuesday, I'm offering up a snippet from chapter two of my upcoming book Body Rocks, the first in a new series with SMP Swerve. This is my first rock star romance, featuring heroes Dominic Bounds and Trey "Coop" Cooper. 

I had a lot of fun writing these two and their friends, and I'm having twice as much fun writing book two, Steady Stroke.

In this scene, Dom and Coop have only recently met and are hanging out doing guy stuff, like racing go karts around a track. And flirting. Lots of flirting.

#######

“So you play bass and keyboard, and you have an amazing voice,” Dom said. “Anything else I don’t know about?”

“I have a pretty cute ass, too.”

The flirty remark made Dom’s dick twitch with interest. “Is that your personal opinion, or is this coming from a secondary source?”

“Both.” Coop’s lazy smile combined with his very open appraisal of Dom’s body kind of made Dom want to skip the go karts and find a private place so he could nail Coop’s cute ass. “You want to find out for yourself?”

“Oh, I am definitely finding out for myself.”

Coop’s gentle laughter sent excited shivers down Dom’s spine. 

The go kart track was on the west side of town, tucked in behind a bunch of chain stores. Bright lights all around the perimeter and in various places inside of the fenced in area made it practically daylight. Half a dozen karts were racing around the far side of the track. The humid air had lost the scent of the ocean, replaced by burnt rubber and gasoline.

Coop took the lead, man-hugging a guy their age that he introduced as Gray. Gray set them both up with helmets and karts, then showed Dom how to run the thing. Seemed simple enough. He got it going and followed Coop out onto the main track. It seemed pretty crash-proof, with bumpers on both the kart and the edges of the track. Wide enough for three karts at a time. 

“Ready, set, go!” Coop said, then hit the gas.

He shot off. Dom jammed his own gas. The kart surprised him with the power of the initial lurch, and he belted out a sound that was half-fear and half-laughter. Once he figured out how to apply pressure, he started to enjoy himself. Coop slowed down so Dom could catch up, and they began a high-speed dance around each other. Dom would lead, then Coop would take over. Every time he caught a glimpse of Coop’s face, Coop was grinning like a fool.

Dom was having a blast, too. They were probably supposed to have a time limit, but they raced around the track for what felt like hours. Dom lost himself in the chase, until Coop signaled that they pull over. Coop’s eyes were bright, his cheeks flushed, and Dom had never seen someone so completely alive from something as simple as go kart racing.

Dom pulled off his helmet, grateful to get the heavy thing off and some air on his face. 

“So what did you think?” Coop asked. He bounced on his feet like an excited puppy.

“It’s killer, man, I loved it.”

“Sad you waited so long to try it?”

“Nah. Then you wouldn’t have been able to pop my cherry.”

Coop’s eyes widened briefly, then he laughed. “Happy to help.”

On their way back to the car, Dom asked, “Anything else you want to do?”

Coop leered at him. “Anything  you want to do?”

Blood started going south, and Dom was glad they’d reached the car because he didn’t want to be walking through a parking lot with a boner. “Dude, your ass better be ready to cash the check your mouth is writing.”

“Oh it’s more than ready.”

Dom unlocked his side, climbed in, then reached across to unlock the other door. “You know a place we can go?”

Coop glanced at Dom’s lap, then licked his lips. “Up the highway there’s an old, overgrown drive-in. Great place for parking.”

“Yeah? Been there a few times?”

“No, but one of my roommates has. She told me about it.”

Dom kind of wanted to call bullshit, but Coop had no reason to lie to him. And who cared if Coop was a total slut or pickier than a vegan in a steakhouse. Dom was getting fucking laid tonight, and he was very, very eager to judge Coop’s cute ass for himself.

He would have totally overshot the entrance to the drive-in if Coop hadn’t pointed out the rusty old sign half-covered by bushes and wisteria vines. There wasn’t really a road anymore, mostly narrow tracks through thick underbrush, as if someone had taken a Hummer and plowed through it all to make a path. Dom kept as much of his attention on the non-road as he could, but Coop decided to distract him by rubbing himself through his shorts. That simple image got Dom’s own dick straining against his already tight jeans. He cranked up the air conditioning, because things were about to get steamy.

The forest finally gave way to a moderately open space that had been mostly overtaken by nature. The remains of a small shack was off to the right, and the remnants of a movie screen were straight ahead, full of holes where it had fallen apart over time. The place had a slasher movie vibe to it that was at once creepy and exciting.

Dom shifted into park, but left the car idling for the air. The last thing he wanted to do was open the windows and end up with mosquito bites all over his ass.

Coop wasted no time curling strong fingers around the back of his neck and hauling him into a kiss. Dom’s surprise fled the instant their mouths clashed. Something electric surged between them, so strong he actually gasped. Coop licked at his parted lips, then slipped his tongue into Dom’s mouth. He tasted like lime and spice and everything nice, and goddamn he knew how to kiss. Dom cupped both sides of Coop’s neck, as much to keep him there as for balance because kissing Coop was a little like falling.

He could have sat there and kissed Coop all night.

Coop pulled away first, his cheeks red and eyes glistening. “Backseat.”

“Yeah.”

Dom was tall and the space between the seats wasn’t huge, so climbing over it had both of them laughing by the time they collapsed on the backseat. Coop tugged his shirt off, revealing a slightly tanned torso, a nice little happy trail, and a tattoo of a Gerbera daisy on his left pec. Defined abs, but not super-cut, which appealed to Dom a lot. Meant Coop wasn’t a gym rat. And he loved that Coop had ink.

Coop tugged at Dom’s shirt, and he let Coop pull it off. Coop’s bright smile was worth the reveal. Dom was crazy proud of the tattoo that spanned across his abdomen. Coop traced a finger over it, and the touch sent goose bumps across Dom’s shoulders. “What’s it represent?” Coop asked.

“An artist friend created it for me. It’s a combination of the national emblem of Italy and the Philippine eagle. My birth mother was from the Philippines, my birth father from Italy.”

“Birth mother?”

Dom nearly slapped himself. “I’m adopted. All of my siblings were adopted by our parents.”

“Oh wow. Have you ever met your birth parents?”

“Nope. No desire to, either. I know and embrace my heritage, yeah, but I also know who my parents are, and they’re the people who raised me.” Dom touched the daisy tattoo on Coop’s chest. “How about this? Special meaning?”

Coop’s smile dimmed. “Someone I loved who died too young.”

“Sorry.”

“It was years ago.” He surprised Dom by swinging his leg over and straddling his lap. 

A hard cock ground into his. Dom tugged Coop into another kiss, his body aware and sparking everywhere they touched—mouths, hands, legs, groins. So good. Dom shoved both hands into Coop’s shorts, past the elastic of his briefs to clasp warm skin. Coop gasped into his mouth. Dom squeezed and kneaded, urging Coop to rock into him. Coop pulled off to lick and nibble his neck.

“Shit,” Dom said when Coop found a sensitive spot. “Can’t wait to fuck you.”

Coop straightened, his green eyes so intense in the near-dark. “Tell me you brought stuff.”

“I brought stuff.”

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Coming in 2016

Newsletter subscribers got the lowdown last month, but seeing as 2015 is quickly drawing to a close, it's time to let everyone in on what's coming in 2016 and early 2017 (and I think you'll be pleased).


Samhain Publishing

I've got two books coming out with Samhain next year. First up is The Heart As He Hears It (Perspectives #3).


Love can slip through the smallest crack in the door.

While most of his friends have moved on to "real" careers, Jon Buchanan is content skating through life as a part-time waiter and gay porn star. Firmly single thanks to a previous relationship disaster, he focuses his spare time on Henry, a dear friend dying of cancer.

And with Henry's happiness paramount, Jon is on a mission to help Henry meet his recently discovered grandson.

Isaac Gregory hasn't set foot outside for the last year. He has everything he needs delivered, and his remaining family knows better than to visit. When a complete stranger shows up claiming to be his grandfather--with a distractingly handsome younger man in tow--his carefully structured routines are shaken.

Despite his instant attraction, Jon senses Isaac is too fragile for a relationship. Yet tentative friendship grows into genuine companionship. And when Henry's health begins to fail, they realize Fate brought them together for a reason.

Warning: Product contains a neurotic porn star with body image issues, a virgin hero with severe agoraphobia, and a fluffy ball of gray cuteness you'll want to take home and cuddle. Also contains references to past abuse some readers may find disturbing.

The Heart As He Hears It releases April 19th, 2016!


Also coming from Samhain in September 2016 is Fractured Hymns. This is a standalone novel featuring Ethaniel Shockley, who was introduced to readers in Foundation of Trust (Cost of Repairs #5). He intrigued me enough that eventually he earned his own story and HEA (and he definitely earned it, considering this book took me over two years to write). It's certainly the most spiritual book I've ever written, and it deals a lot with personal faith and understanding what that means to you as an individual.

I can't wait for you guys to meet Angel. 


Carina Press

I've signed on for another trilogy from Carina, and I couldn't be happier. Still set in my fictional version of Wilmington, DE, that is featured in both Belonging and Restoration, All Saints shifts back into a younger, New Adult set of characters.

Book one, Come What May, releases May 16th. No cover yet, but I do have a blurb!

Jonas needs Tate. He just doesn’t know it yet.

Or at least, he doesn't want to admit it. Because there is no way Jonas Ashcroft is gay. He’s a straight, care-free frat boy player, just like any good son of a conservative state senator. If only his struggle to convince everyone—especially himself—didn’t leave him so miserable. No matter how many girls or bottles he drowns himself in, Jonas can neither escape nor accept who he is.

Enter Tate. He’s smart, confident, and instantly sees right through Jonas’s surly exterior. Sure, he’s done things in life he’s not proud of, but he knows who he is and what he wants. And what he wants is Jonas. As their easy friendship intensifies into something more, Tate introduces Jonas to a life he’s never known. One filled with acceptance and sex and a love that terrifies and excites them both.

But some inner demons refuse to be shaken off so easily. When Jonas’s old life barges in he faces a shattering choice, one that could destroy everything he and Tate have fought so hard for. Sometimes love just isn’t enough—and sometimes it’s exactly what you need.

***
Jonas is one of those lost characters that you just want to wrap up in a big hug until it all gets better for him. I also enjoyed revisiting the boys at Half-Dozen, and a few other familiar faces make brief appearances throughout. 

Book two, Say It Right, will release in the fall of 2016, with book three releasing in 2017. As is pretty typical of my series, all books will feature a different pair of heroes, with characters overlapping. 


SMP Swerve

St. Martin's Press has recently announced the launch of a new digital-first romance imprint, Swerve, and I was very lucky to have been approached by one of their editors to write for them! So I stepped out of my small-town comfort zone to write some rock star romances, and thus the Off Beat series was born!

I've contracted three titles: Body Rocks (June 2016), Steady Stroke (October 2016), and Hot Licks (March 2017).

Body Rocks has a cover (which I've been swore to secrecy about for now) and no official blurb, but if you follow me on Twitter you probably saw me tweeting about Dominic and Trey back in early summer. Chance meeting + insane chemistry = amazing sex and strong attraction. Too bad they are in rival bands that are both competing for top prize at a summer music festival--and Trey is still in the closet. 

This book also has one of my favorite sex scenes I've ever written.


So yeah. That's....*counts*....six new books coming from me next year, with two already scheduled into 2017. 

::confetti::


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Release Day: The World As He Sees It (Perspectives #2)

IT'S FINALLY HERE YOU GUYS!!!

I might be almost as excited by this book's release as my readers. It's been more than eight months since The Truth As He Knows It came out and y'all were first introduced to Tristan and Gabe, and their HEA has been a long time coming. Tristan was such a fun and unique character to write, and I had such a great time getting him out of his depression and funk in this book, and Gabe was the perfect guy to help Tristan live again. 


Samhain
Kindle
Nook
Kobo

Today also kicks off a month-long blog tour with Pride Promotions. Working with Will is always a joy. He is way more organized than I ever could be. I'll be all over the blog-o-sphere for the next few weeks doing interviews, blogging and pimping this book. There's also a fantastic giveaway attached to the tour. A goodie basket containing signed paperbacks of both Truth and World, plus all sorts of assorted notepads, sticky notes, and pens!



Two character interviews are going on right now. Gabe is chatting it up over at The Novel Approach Reviews, and both Gabe and Tristan have a few things to say at Love Bytes Reviews. Then I'm yacking it up at Hearts On Fire Reviews. All of the links give you a chance to enter the giveaway!

HAPPY READING!!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Cover Reveal and Teaser: The Heart As He Hears It

Newsletter subscribers have already seen the beauty that is the cover for The Heart As He Hears It (Perspectives #3), and now it's your turn. Lyn Taylor continues to give me the best covers!

I'm not going to post the blurb, because apparently what I sent subscribers isn't the final copy, and this time I'm waiting to make sure the right one goes out to the world.

Instead, I'll post a teaser from the book, so you guys can still get to know Jon, Isaac, and a fluffy gray kitten named Bear.

Enjoy!


Once Isaac had finished his snack and washed his dishes, Jon asked, “Do you want to feed Bear a little more?”

He turned in the process of drying the plate. “You said three times a day.”

“Going forward. We don’t when she’s eaten last, so a few more times today can’t hurt. And the vet might tell you something different.”

Isaac fumbled the plate, catching it before it could fall. “The vet.” Jon had never actually seen someone go pale until that moment. “Right.”

“Hey, it’s okay.” Jon scooped Bear up as he stood. “If you want, I can find a vet and take her in for a checkup. I’m not going to force you to leave the house, Isaac, I promise.”

His skin didn’t pink up any, but Isaac looked less likely to vomit at any moment.

Way to go, asshole.

Jon stopped an arm’s reach away, Bear cuddled to his chest. “I’m sorry I keep saying things like that.”

Isaac shook his head side to side. “It’s not your fault I can’t act like a normal person. I can’t even take the trash down to the curb without having a panic attack. Sometimes I wish I was different, but since I’ve lived alone, this is all I know.”

Hope dangled on the end of that final statement, and Jon latched on to it. “I’m the first person to say fuck normal. There’s no such thing. All we have is reality, and sometimes reality really, really sucks. And sometimes it’s really, really scary. But we don’t have to accept limitations. It’s okay to push against them and try to be happy.”

“But pushing means getting hurt.”

“Sometimes it does. Human beings are amazingly resilient creatures, especially when we’re fighting for something we want.”

Isaac’s eyes glittered, damp with tears. “What do you fight for, Jon?”

Jon’s heart beat harder. Something thick settled in his throat, and he had to swallow hard several times to dislodge it.

He excelled at donning the persona of Boomer Black and dazzling his fans, whether on film or social media. He even found that persona bleeding into his private life, giving him the courage to say and do certain things. Like picking on Gabe for having what Jon had stopped dreaming of—a loving relationship with a genuinely kind, gentle man who’d rather die than hurt him. Jon had enough issues to sink a battleship, and he had a feeling Isaac’s could sink a dozen more. But Jon also trusted that he could be honest with Isaac and not fear being made fun of for his words.

Even if they were kind of cheesy.

“I fight for the hope that today will be better than yesterday,” Jon said. “And I fight for the hope that tomorrow will be better than today.”

“I don’t know how to hope for those things.” Isaac sounded so small, so lost.

Jon mentally flailed, going for instinct and hoping he didn’t fuck it up. “It’s not as hard if you have someone to help you. Let me help you.”

Isaac’s dark gaze flickered down to Bear, then back up to meet Jon’s. The raw emotion in Isaac’s wet eyes made Jon’s insides somersault. Instinct said to hug him, hold him until it got better, but any movement like that could scare Isaac away. Jon didn’t ever want to scare him. He wanted, more than anything in his life, to see Isaac break away from the fear holding him prisoner inside of his own home. He wanted to see Isaac outside, smiling into the sunshine.

He wanted Isaac to be free.

“I’m so scared all the time,” Isaac said in a fractured voice so soft Jon almost missed it.

“You don’t have to be.”

“I want to believe you.”

“And that’s a good start. You have to want to try. When I was at my lowest point, I got better because I wanted to. I didn’t want the person who hurt me to win. Getting my life back meant he lost.”
Isaac rubbed the heels of his palms into his eyes. It left them damp and red, but somehow more clear. He reached for Bear, and Jon handed her over. Their fingers brushed together for an instant, and the connection slammed into Jon’s balls. Isaac glanced up, openly startled. He cradled Bear in his hands. She nosed his thumb, then licked it.

“I don’t want my father to win,” Isaac said.

Jon’s heart kicked. “He doesn’t have to. You don’t have to let him win.”

Determination burned in Isaac’s gaze. He stood straighter, shoulders back, jaw set. The change made him look years older, in charge. Nobody’s victim. “I’m still terrified.”

“That’s okay. We can work on that. Baby steps, all right? No rush.”

“All right.” He wilted a bit. “But no more today. I can’t handle anything else.”

Jon smiled. “It’s cool. Like I said, baby steps. I think Bear is enough adventure for anyone.” His shredded hands agreed with him. “I’ll find her a vet, and I’ll message you when I’ll stop by and get her for her appointment.”

“Thank you, Jon.”

“It’s what friends are for.”

Isaac tilted his head to one side. “I haven’t had a friend in a long time.”


“You have one now.”

Monday, October 5, 2015

Awesome $.99 Deal!

To celebrate and help promote the release of The World As He Sees It (Perspectives #2), in only TWO MORE WEES, the lovely folks at Samhain have put The Truth As He Knows it (Perspectives #1) on sale!

Only 99 cents! At that price, if you already have it, gift it to a friend. Tell them all about the angst, the drama, and Tristan (can't forget him)!

And spread the word!



Lies are the chains that keep you weighed down at rock bottom. 

Officer Noel Carlson isn’t out to anyone in small-town Stratton, Pennsylvania, only to distant friends and family, so a relationship is out of the question. That doesn’t stop him from wanting one, though.

When a night-shift call brings him face to thonged butt with a hired stripper whose girl-party gig went terribly wrong, Noel takes pity on the guy and lets him go. But he can’t get the encounter out of his mind.

Shane has big-time debts to repay, especially to the brother who sacrificed nearly everything for him. His two jobs, in a deli and as a stripper, leave him no time for a social life. But a non-date of hot sex and takeout food with Noel? He can squeeze that in.

The bond they form is stronger than either expected or wanted. Especially since the step Shane’s about to take to put his brother—and his soul—back in the black isn’t quite legal. And he never calculated just how much his determination to make things right will cost him in the end.

Warning: This book contains a closeted cop who's looking for love, an indebted stripper who doesn't believe he’s worthy, and a tasteful abundance of dirty guy sex. Also contains references to past physical abuse some readers may find disturbing.