Sunday, August 31, 2014

Snippet: Stand By You


Since this book that I love so much is coming out in less than two months, I wanted to share a bit with you guys. This scene is the start of chapter five. Brendan has offered to help Romy get into better physical shape, and they're going to Brendan's place for their first workout session.

#*#

Brendan didn’t even have to ring the door buzzer Friday morning. Romy was sitting on the stoop outside waiting for him when he pulled up by the curb, left leg bouncing up and down. He practically leapt off the step, dressed in a too-big wife-beater and baggy gym shorts cinched up as tight as he could get them.
Borrowed clothes. Brendan hadn’t even thought about that when he asked Romy to work out with him—that Romy had nothing except what Ezra and Donner bought for him. Romy’d probably had to ask for another favor.
Crap on a cracker, Brendan had already messed up.
“Hey, Roe,” Brendan said when the passenger door opened up.
“Hey.” Romy slid into the passenger seat. His leg started bouncing again once he buckled his seatbelt. He didn’t look nervous. Kind of curious, maybe. “So where do you live, anyway? I never did ask.”
No reason he should have asked. Brendan pulled back onto the street. “East of 95, near Brandywine.”
“Okay.”
The even response told him nothing. Maybe Romy wasn’t as familiar with Wilmington’s neighborhoods as he should be, or he’d know they weren’t heading to the best area. Affordable, yeah, but every night somebody was out on the streets selling crack, H, meth, and/or sex. No one pestered Brendan. He was sure to make nice with his neighbors, and the one time a dealer didn’t take no for an answer, Brendan broke his nose.
Message received.
“Is it far?” Romy asked.
“Ten minutes, I guess. Depends on traffic.”
“Oh.”
“You don’t know the city good, do you?”
Romy shrugged, attention going everywhere as he took in their route. “I mostly take the bus when I have to go someplace. I’ve never owned a car. Hell, I don’t even have a driver’s license.”
“You don’t? At twenty-two?”
“So?”
“Just askin’. Lotta city folks don’t get a driver’s license, not if you can walk all places or use public trans.”
“Yeah, well, not everyone would call Wilmington a city. Not compared to Philly or New York. Trust me, I’ve lived there.”
The personal information—tidbits he hadn’t previously known—tweaked Brendan’s curiosity. “How’d you get from there to here?”
“Bus tickets.”
Sounded like code for I don’t want to talk about it.
He searched for a less invasive conversation topic. “You done any weight training before?”
Romy snickered. “Hell, no.” He flashed wide black eyes at Brendan. “We’re lifting weights?”
“Sure. Why not?”
“No, I guess I thought working out meant, like, jumping jacks and stuff.”
“Nah, that’s crap exercise. Weights are good for you. You run?”
“Only if I’m being chased.”
The flirty way Romy said that made him chuckle. “Running is good cardio. Good for everything.”
Romy hunched down in his seat. “Are we running today?”
“Nah, not today. Some day when we got more time.”
“Oh joy.” He rolled his eyes.
Brendan smiled. “It’s hard at first. Once your legs get used to it and your lungs are trained, it feels great.”
“Ezra runs. He says it’s one of his favorite things.”
They’d made it five whole minutes without a mention of the bottle-blond object of Romy’s crush. “He ever take you running?”
“No. There’s no time. Since he fell head-first into the cafĂ©, I don’t think he’s managed more than once a week. He likes running out by the Brandywine River.”
“I usually go to the indoor track at my gym. Better in summer. Not so sweaty. Even ground is better on my knee.”
“Right.”
The closer they got to Brendan’s neighborhood, the more jumpy Romy got. His left leg was thumping on the floorboard like crazy, and both hands were twisting around each other in his lap. He was way out of his comfort zone. Maybe this was a bad idea.
Usually a funny text would distract Romy, calm him down. He couldn’t text and drive—even if it wasn’t against the law, he wasn’t good at it, and the last thing he wanted was to crash them both into the guardrail. New plan. Brendan reached out. Squeezed Romy’s left knee with his hand. The movement stopped instantly. Even his hands stilled. He glanced at Romy, who was looking at Brendan’s hand. All dark chocolate on Romy’s pale skin.
How about that? It worked.
“Nothing’s gonna happen out here,” Brendan said. “People know me. They won’t mess with us, okay?”
Romy’s left hand snaked out and landed on top of Brendan’s, a warm weight he really liked. “Thanks, Bren. I’m kind of a basket case most days.”
“Nah. You’re feelin’ your way through, is all. It’ll get better.”
“What will?” Something in Romy’s expression went dark, stormy. “My anxiety? The nightmares? The fact that I’m a big fucking failure in life?”
Those words punched Brendan in the chest. Romy thought he was a failure? No way. Not a chance. And nightmares? Anyone who’d been through what Romy survived would have nightmares, but this long after? Hell. The anger swirling in his gut made him want to beat the shit out of Carlos.
Again.
He pulled his hand off Romy’s knee, because his fingers were itching to make a fist and the last thing he wanted to do was hurt Romy. Not even by accident. He clutched the wheel with both hands and glared at the taillights of the car ahead of him on the road.
Twenty-two. Romy was too damned young to feel so old. To think he’d already failed. Brendan had blown out his knee at twenty, wallowed in misery at twenty-one, and by twenty-two he’d met Jake Street and gotten his first post-injury job as a restaurant dishwasher. Maybe he’d never moved in with a sadistic asshole who beat him every night for fun and sexual thrills, but Brendan could sympathize with hitting bottom and clawing his way back out.
Romy had a lot of life left to live.
“You aren’t a failure.” He turned onto his street. “No way.”
“I’m not?” Romy made a distressed noise. “I can’t even be driven across town without freaking out. I’ve never had a job before that didn’t involve hand or blow, and I have zero idea what I want other than to never, ever fall for a guy who will hurt other people. Not again.”
Brendan’s hands went tight around the wheel, and the leather creaked. Hell. Brendan had been in more fights than he could count. He’d loved tackling another guy to the ground during football, whether game or practice. He had gloried in beating the shit out of Carlos for what he’d done to Romy—a fact he’d never told Romy. Sure, everyone knew that somebody handed the bastard his ass not long after Romy’s rescue, but Carlos had never reported him.
He’d wanted to tell Romy so many times, but he never wanted Romy afraid of him, not for any reason. He would never look at Brendan the same again if he found out.
His mind raced for something else to say. Something positive. “You made the phone call, Roe. You had enough and you called for help. That’s brave.”
“That was desperate. I was scared he—” Romy’s mouth snapped shut. His hands started twisting around each other.
Brendan parked in an empty space near his building, then let the engine idle so they’d have air. Romy hadn’t finished the thought, and Brendan really wanted to know what Carlos had done to push him over the edge. When he, Donner and Ezra had found Romy, he had been dehydrated, underfed, bruised, naked and bleeding from his rectum. Romy had refused to be taken to the hospital, and it had taken every ounce of Brendan’s self-control to not storm back to Carlos’s place and kill him where he stood.
Romy had been so fragile, so desperate for safety and love, that Brendan had stayed until it was necessary to leave. He hadn’t understood what compelled him to want to protect a boy he’d just met—only that Romy needed strength and that he had plenty to spare.
Two days later he’d gone and handed Carlos his ass.
Seemed like a good idea at the time. Now he wasn’t so sure.
“Don’t matter why you did it,” Brendan said. “Only that you did. And now you’re safe, ̓kay?”

Romy swallowed hard, his black eyes a little too shiny. “Okay.”

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cover Art: Stand By You (Belonging #3)

And we have cover art for STAND BY YOU (formerly referred to as Follow You Home), which is the third book in the Belonging series. Yes, for those who were hoping, this is Romy and Brendan's story. I can't wait for October, so you can see these two find their way to each other.


Three months after his rescue from an abusive boyfriend, twenty-two-year-old Romy Myers has landed his first legitimate job—bussing tables at his friend's new coffee shop. The job has brought him some stability after years of abuse have left him feeling damaged and broken. He's working hard on his panic and social anxiety, and those things are often tempered by the big, burly presence of Brendan Walker.

From the moment ex-football player Brendan helped rescue Romy from his ex's abuse, he's wanted to protect him. And he does, from a distance, with joking text messages, a new gym routine to toughen him up and a genuine friendship. So far it's been easy—but Brendan's feelings aren't just friendly anymore…

When an argument spirals out of control, a hot and heavy make-out session causes Romy's friendship with supposedly straight Brendan to reach a new level. The last thing Romy wants is to fall for another guy who could potentially shatter him, but Brendan also wakes up a part of him he thought had been destroyed by violence—his heart.

And it's available to reviewers on Netgalley!

You can also pre-order on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Release Day: Maybe This Time (Belonging #2)

The Big Book 'O Angst is finally available for download!


MAYBE THIS TIME (Belonging #2)

As a regular at gay hotspot Pot O Gold, Ezra Kelley avoids his tangled emotions with the simplicity of one-night stands and attachment-free hookups. Until the night bartender Donner Davis picks him up off the floor after a misunderstanding and too much tequila. Ezra can’t remember the last time someone was . . . nice. It’s more than he deserves.

 Witnessing his lover's death two years ago has Donner trapped in a holding pattern—living in his sister's basement, working at the Pot and flirting with the customers. He’s not above spending a night with the gorgeous Ezra, but love is not in the cards. That’s more than he’s ready for.

 A passionate night leads to a connection that neither man expects, and they take the first steps to something that looks like a real relationship. But Ezra’s been running from himself so long he doesn’t know how to live any other way. And Donner can’t risk his heart just to lose everything again. They’ll both need the strength to let go of the past if they want to get it right this time.

I can't wait for y'all to meet and fall in love with Ezra and Donner!

Carina Press
All Romance Ebooks
Amazon
Barnes & Noble 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Understanding Jeremy Release Date and Pre-Order Link

UNDERSTANDING JEREMY (the sequel to UNEARTHING COLE) is finally available for pre-order from Dreamspinner Press! It releases July 23, so less than a month before you can catch up with Cole and Jeremy.


No one in Jeremy Collins's life ever stays. His parents, sister, and wife are all dead. Now he has taken Cole Alston into his home to help him recover from years of abuse at the hands of his ex. Jeremy hopes Cole, who he loves, will stick around, but after eight years of Cole not being allowed to make his own choices, Jeremy doesn't think he has the right to ask. As Jeremy keeps his concerns and desires to himself, his best friend Bethann calls on him for a huge favor—claim he's the father of her baby so she isn't ostracized in their small town for sleeping with a married man. However doing so would be tantamount to denying his relationship with Cole. Rumors fly before Jeremy can explain to Cole that he said no, and suddenly the whole town is in his business. Rather than reassure Cole, Jeremy's explanations have the opposite effect. Something is going on in Cole's mind that Jeremy doesn't know about, and in order to get Cole to talk, Jeremy will need to confront his own deepest fear.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Friday, June 6, 2014

Two Cover Reveals, A Blurb, and New Books Contracted!

All kinds of exciting things have been happening these last few weeks.

First, Joyfully Jay was wonderful enough to host a cover reveal for FOUNDATION OF TRUST (Cost of Repairs #5). You can see the cover and read the blurb here. I'm sure of you have been eager to find out who David's hero is going to be. This one releases October 21st from Samhain!

I also have book news! I've been sitting on this one for a while, but now that the contracts are back I can make it official. I've sold two more books to my editor at Carina Press. The first book (Title is To Be Determined) is the third book in my current New Adult series (NO SUCH THING, MAYBE THIS TIME) and will likely end that series as a trilogy. This one is Romy's book, and if ever a character of mine deserved an HEA, it's Romy. This book will release from Carina (wait for it) on October 20 (I'll have a very busy October with books releasing back to back).

The second book is the start of new trilogy that is a spin-off of the first. Some characters and locations will overlap a bit, but it will star a pretty brand-new cast and skew slightly older in terms of character ages. This one is also untitled and will probably release sometime early 2015. More news as it develops.

And last, but not least, I have a cover for UNDERSTANDING JEREMY, which is the sequel to last year's UNEARTHING COLE. It's told from Jeremy's POV this time and....well, I'll just let you see the cover and read the blurb. I love that they used the same model for Jeremy from the first cover!


No one in Jeremy Collins's life ever stays. His parents, sister, and wife are all dead. Now he has taken Cole Alston into his home to help him recover from years of abuse at the hands of his ex. Jeremy hopes Cole, who he loves, will stick around, but after eight years of Cole not being allowed to make his own choices, Jeremy doesn't think he has the right to ask. As Jeremy keeps his concerns and desires to himself, his best friend Bethann calls on him for a huge favor—claim he's the father of her baby so she isn't ostracized in their small town for sleeping with a married man. However doing so would be tantamount to denying his relationship with Cole. Rumors fly before Jeremy can explain to Cole that he said no, and suddenly the whole town is in his business. Rather than reassure Cole, Jeremy's explanations have the opposite effect. Something is going on in Cole's mind that Jeremy doesn't know about, and in order to get Cole to talk, Jeremy will need to confront his own deepest fear.

UNDERSTANDING JEREMY releases in July from Dreamspinner Press. (And I apologize for the highlighted background on the blurb. Blogger is being stupid and keeps insisting on a white background for only half of the text, so I instead of beating my head on the keyboard I went with this.)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Snippet: Maybe This Time

I can't believe I can finally say MAYBE THIS TIME comes out next month! I've been saying it for a while, but I really do love this book and I can't wait for Donner and Ezra to get their chance to shine. So I'm posting a little snippet to tide you over until July 21.

@*@*@

Donner tried to pay attention to too many things at once—two drink orders, three other bartenders and the conversation happening between Ezra and Tag. The sight of Tag approaching Ezra had sent a buzz of something through his bloodstream. Annoyance, maybe, or protectiveness. He wasn’t sure. His nerves didn’t settle until Tag moved away, leaving Ezra alone with his drink. Ezra didn’t look upset, so Donner pushed the whole encounter aside and concentrated on his job.
He couldn’t explain his overt interest in Ezra, beyond physical attraction and an itch that hadn’t been scratched in too long. Donner usually went for older tops when he wanted to be fucked well, but Ezra had a good reputation among his conquests. Maybe a change of pace would do him good.
If Ezra stayed unattached until closing time, which wasn’t likely given the glances being thrown his way.
Donner ignored a slight pang of jealousy and reached for a clean shaker to make another round of Cosmos.
The second time Ezra came to the bar, he ordered only one drink. “So do you ever take a break?”
“Yeah, I get one.” Donner poured tequila, unable to explain why he liked that Ezra wasn’t also buying a drink for someone else.
“When?”
He glanced at the clock behind the bar. He’d been on shift for about three hours. “Anytime.”
“We’re going to grab a booth and order some loaded nachos in a bit. Join us.” Ezra phrased it as a gentle order, not a question.
Donner grinned. “I may do that.”

“Oh, sugar, that wasn’t a request.”