Sunday, October 25, 2009
October 25, 2009
Contemporary gay romance
available at Amber Allure
The #2 Best Seller at Amber Allure, October 2009
Austin Michaels accepts his brother’s standing invitation for a Caribbean vacation at his island resort. Some time in the sun is just what he needs to map out a plan for his future. He gets lucky and meets a handsome teacher willing to have a little vacation fling with, as long as they can keep things fun.
Steve Guthrie’s secret longings have haunted him all his life. It’s time to face his questions and find the truth of who he really is beyond a staid college professor. His love of the sea prompts him to take a vacation at a Caribbean hide-a-way for relaxation and reflection. A sexy stranger with a tattoo tempts Steve to abandon his plans, enticing him to share a vacation romp.
Now Steve’s the student in a high stakes class of one, and to pass the course, he has to tame his very own Triton.
* * * * *
INTRO (from Steve's point of view)
“You’re early. I need to get a shower.”
Austin's grin widened. “I’ll come wash your back, Steve.”
I put my hands on my hips and stared him down. “You’ll go get something to open that bottle later. It won’t take me long to get rinsed off.”
He set the bottle on the table, opened a drawer, and held up a corkscrew. “They think of everything at the Southern Cross.”
“I’ve known you six hours, and you’re not climbing in the shower with me, Austin.”
His gaze locked with me, gluing my feet to the floor as he stepped in front of me. “Me thinketh the lad protesteth overmuch.”
My heart stuttered, then beat faster. I wondered if he could hear it. “I’m not protesting. I’m taking a shower.”
His right hand reached out, coming to rest on my shoulder, briefly, before his fingers slid into my hair. The breeze coming through the open window cooled my heated face and brought the light scent of his aftershave to me. No musk for Austin, the fragrance was clean and icy crisp, like snow.
My knees started to shake as he leaned closer to me. His eyelids fluttered closed as his warm breath caressed my cheek. A drumbeat pounded in my ears, deafening me, as his mouth touched mine.
I wrapped my arms around him and held on tight.
* * * * *
There was a soft knock on the door. I didn’t need a rocket scientist to tell me who it was.
What did I want from him? An explanation? Or did I want to tell him to go have a nice life? I opened the door and took in his worried face. Austin stared at me, and his expression shifted to wariness.
“Steve, what’s wrong?”
Men lie to men all the time. Well, not me. I wasn’t sliding into that gutter. Ever.
“I saw you being very cozy with Colby Denton’s boyfriend.”
He flinched at the accusation, at my sharp voice, but his hand snaked out and grabbed my wrist.
“It’s not what you think. Let me come in…”
“Men lie to men--isn’t that what you said? Should I let you in so you can lie to me?”
“Babe, you should let me in so the neighbors on their terrace don’t get a good laugh, or call the front desk and complain.”
I hesitated a half-second too long, and Austin pushed past me into my suite. “Call Colby and tell him what you saw. Go ahead. Let him tell you didn’t see Theron and me sneaking around.”
Austin jumped as I slammed the door shut behind him. I rounded on him. “I fucking saw what I saw, Austin!”
“Yeah? You saw my brother give me a kiss. Is that really a big deal to you?”
The hot rage of his betrayal died in my belly, cooling as if it had never even existed. His brother? He’d mentioned a brother. My knees threatened to give out on me and I plopped down on a dinette chair. Austin took the seat next to mine and held out his hands, palms up.
“Steve, I’m sorry. I’d have gotten around to explaining how I know Theron and Colby tonight. I didn’t think…I mean I didn’t see any reason to tell you my total life story right away. There’s a lot we don’t know about each, and most of it won’t make any difference while we’re having vacation fun.”
I wanted to believe him, I really did. “So tell me about your brother now, and don’t leave anything out.”
That wary look he had teased at his features, a clear indication he had something to hide. If this Theron were his brother, there shouldn’t be any problem, but the trapped look on his face said more than words ever could. Anger licked at my guts again.
“Lie to me, Austin.”
He shook his head. “No. I won’t. Theron is my foster-brother. Let’s walk over to the main building and you can ask him to verify it. Just don’t cross-examine him because you don’t have the right, and his nerves can’t take it.” Austin reached out and took my hand. I yanked away.
Damn him. “Let’s just go our separate ways, Austin. I can’t trust you.”
Very slowly, he reached for my hand again, wrapping his fingers around mine. This time, something in the earnest way he looked at me, his posture, kept me from pulling back. He took a deep breath.
“I don’t remember my mother. She’s just a name on my birth certificate. I was put into the child welfare system early. So was Theron. We ended up with the same foster family, one that understood gay teens.”
“That’s the real short version, isn’t it?”
To his credit, he didn’t deny it, merely nodded. I had a choice to make. Accept his explanation, or ask him to leave. I knew I didn’t have the right to know every detail of his life story based on our short acquaintance, sex or no sex. The other side of the coin--I’d not told him anything about my life, either. I looked down at our hands. His grip tightened for an instant.
“Okay. So I’m an ass to jump to conclusions and have a little fit.”
Austin’s other hand gripped my knee. “No, you’re not. Theron and I are pretty close. The first time I came for a visit, I thought Colby’s head was going to explode when he caught us…You don’t wanna know yet.”
“The hell I don’t! You’d better spit it out now, Austin.”
“We, um, got a little drunked up. Colby came up to my suite and found us flopped on the bed together, giggling like fools, talking about old times.” Austin flashed me a sheepish look. “Babe, he was not pleased.”
A thought formed, growing stronger as a flush stained his cheeks. I closed my eyes, then opened them slowly. "Jeez, Austin, you and Theron were each other's first, weren't you?"
He didn't attempt to deny it. It wouldn't have worked on me if he had.
"Steve, it was a long time ago. We were two lonely teenagers with the same big secret-we were queers. Somehow the universe gave us to each other to take care of and made us brothers. He and Colby are all the family I have."
I let out a breath I didn’t know I’d been holding. “I get it, Austin. I really do. I’m sor…”
His fingers pressed to my lips. “Don’t say it. Not for this. You don’t know me, so you’re right to question me.”
“For what it’s worth, I just learned a lesson about jumping to conclusions. Never too old, right?”
He leaned forward and kissed me, a tender pressing of his lips to mine. I kissed him back, more relieved than I should be.
This was a vacation thing. I needed to keep it that way.
#6 Best Seller, Amber Allure, Sept. 09
2008 Amber Heat Wave Winner
2008 CAPA Nominee
A TASTE OF VICTORY (PAPERBACK)
GIVE ME ONE NIGHT
NO ONE BUT YOU
Coming soon - POSEIDON'S PLEASURE
Coming soon - TANGO IN THE NIGHT
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Thursday, October 22, 2009
Available now from Loose Id
More information can be had at http://www.rowanmcbride.com/stories/oneshot/
Nick Carlyle understands the intricacies of his job better than anyone. He lives to crunch those numbers and his skills are valued throughout the company. If his personal life might be lacking, he doesn't notice, especially whenever he steals a harmless glance or two at Riley Jameson's tight body. But he's the boss, and that means look but don't touch.
When a universal flu shot is developed, it's hailed as a miracle, and rightly so. But the seemingly harmless side effects begin to change the world, warping the statistics that Nick's always used to guide him through life. Everything he thought he knew is suddenly upside down.
No one changes as much as Riley. Suddenly the young man is bigger, stronger. He's also aggressive in ways Nick isn't prepared for, and for the first time analyzing the numbers does nothing to help the situation.
Now, his numbers only add up when it comes to Riley.
I stared through the flawless floor-to-ceiling glass of my window, contemplating the nightscape stretched out below me. My office lights were off, but the streetlamps reflecting off the snow cast a cool, quiet illumination throughout the room.
It had been a while since I’d taken a moment to watch the city like this. I’d been so busy with work lately that I didn’t have the energy to do anything but go home and crawl into bed as soon as I was done. Truthfully, today had been no different. Especially after giving that seminar.
Lifting my hand, I bit lightly on my thumbnail. I didn’t want to go home and crawl into bed tonight. I wanted to…celebrate or something. Just didn’t have anyone to call.
I considered picking up the phone and dialing Rob’s number, but nixed the idea. Even if he did happen to be awake at this hour, I couldn’t see myself gushing to him about how well my very first class had gone, how the students had practically begged me to add another one.
What was wrong with me? Rob was my friend, wasn’t he? The closest thing I had, anyway.
Shit, that was a depressing thought. I liked Rob and everything, but I hadn’t realized he was my entire social calendar. The company had moved me here three years ago, and I’d been stellar at my job. Tonight, though, I wondered if maybe I should have been aiming for something more.
I spun, my eyes rounding when I saw Riley standing just inside my door. “What are you doing here?”
He glanced around the dim office before letting his gaze settle on me. “Came to see you.”
A tremor of unease went through me. Even in this light I could see those bright eyes.
And they were predatory.
“I-It’s after midnight. How did you know I’d be here?”
He shrugged. “Wasn’t hard to figure out. Year’s about to close—only one place you’d be.”
At work. Always at work. “Right,” I said, running a hand through my hair. “How can I help you, Riley?”
Hands in his pockets, he approached, his stride easy, relaxed. “Great class today.”
It was a struggle to hold my ground—I wanted to make a break for it. “Oh?”
He stopped a few feet away. “Everybody was talking about you today. What a good teacher you are. How smart you are. How confident. They couldn’t stop.”
My foot edged back as I pressed myself against the window behind me. My gaze darted to his broad shoulders, his chest, his long, long legs. “What was your question, Riley?”
“I didn’t say I had a question. I said I came to see you.”
My head shot up. “Why did you come to see me?” I asked cautiously.
His mouth crooked as he began to move toward me again. “Still not afraid of being molested here late at night?”
Riley’s huge body loomed before mine, sending off waves of heat. His sheer size actually made my knees quake, but I forced my voice brave. “Of course not.”
Those big hands left his pockets, braced themselves against the window on each side of me. He lowered his head, his eyes focused, his voice husky. “Maybe you should be.”
Monday, October 19, 2009
This is the second book in my IT HAPPENED IN LAS VEGAS series, and the first in a 3-book series about Lee and Reno and what happens when Reno figures his past has finally caught up with him.
Reincarnation by Christiane France
http://www.amberquill.com/AmberAllure/Reincarnation.htmlISBN-13: 978-1-60272-585-0 (Electronic)
When past and present collide, it’s difficult to know what’s real and what’s not...
When Lee Stanger and Reno Jackson meet in a Las Vegas bar, they feel an instant and mutual attraction, plus the feeling they’ve met somewhere before. But they couldn’t have met previously, since Lee has never been to the west coast, and Reno has never been farther east than Denver. And both men have good reason not to go digging up the past in the hope of figuring it out.
Over the course of the evening, however, Lee has a series of fragmented and puzzling flashbacks about an event from his past that includes a man who looks like Reno. Or could he be confusing two unrelated incidents, and if so, are they connected in some way?
Until now, Lee has chosen to ignore medical advice and allow an unpleasant experience that happened eight years ago to remain a blank in his mind. But with details starting to resurface and a burning need to remember exactly what happened, he can no longer afford to suppress the memories, no matter how painful or traumatic. Whether he wants to or not, he knows it’s time to fill in the blanks...
NOTE: Don’t miss the exciting sequel, On The Run, available soon.
…“Anything in mind for later?” Reno asked after the waiter had taken their orders and departed. “Another bar, or a club maybe?”
“Sure, whatever.” Lee knew Reno was respecting his stated wish to go slow, and he appreciated the other man’s sensitivity. He’d never cared for the mindless, get it anywhere you can, mechanical, another notch on the bedpost type of sex that some people thought gay men liked. He’d known guys who actually preferred it that way, but it wasn’t for him. He liked his loving to have a little emotion and a lot of magic and that was the real reason why he never closed his eyes and jumped. If it meant losing out the odd time, it was no big deal.
But he didn’t plan to lose out this time.
Lee gave a small sigh of satisfaction that he’d finally met someone who also liked to stop and smell the flowers. Except his lifetime habit of being careful was becoming more difficult to remember with each passing second. He could so easily have taken up Reno’s offer back at the bar to see if a room was available. The thought of Reno’s hands touching and caressing his ass, then his dick…
He reined in his thoughts and gazed at his new friend through half-closed eyes, taking in his short dark hair, and the sexy trace of five o’clock shadow. The dude had good looks to spare—dark, intelligent eyes that held more than a hint of heat, high cheekbones and a wide mouth with mobile lips he just knew could take him to paradise and beyond. Instinct told him their feelings had been mutual—right from the moment he’d caught sight of Reno standing by the bar with that “come-and-get-me” look in his eyes. The silent message had been sent and received the instant their gazes locked, making actual words unnecessary.
Already, Lee could imagine Reno undressing him, and already he could feel the touch of Reno’s mouth and tongue, and the slide of his beautiful, long-fingered hands moving leisurely over his body, upping the tension while he concentrated on giving him the kind of total satisfaction he craved.
Lee swallowed a sigh. Yeah, man. And he wanted to give back every bit as good as what he got. He wanted Reno in a way he hadn’t wanted any other man for a very long time. Not since---
They’d stayed under the shower for what felt like hours, the hot water and the violet-scented soap soothing his battered body while the man’s clever hands kneaded and massaged away the knots and the pain with the kind of tenderness and caring and--
The waiter came back, put the bottle of wine they’d ordered on the table along with a basket of bread and managed to derail Lee’s thoughts in the process. After pouring them each a glass of wine, the man turned away, and Lee tried to pick up the thread, but it was useless. Whatever track his mind had been on had disappeared along with the waiter.
He took a piece of the bread and put it on his plate. The brief memory flashes were starting to bother him for the simple reason they made no sense. He didn’t know if they were scrambled, disjointed fragments resurfacing from that long ago attack in his hometown, prompted by the trip down memory lane—he’d been told that could happen when the victim buried a traumatic incident rather than face it head on. Or if it had to do with someone from his past who’d borne more than a passing resemblance to the man sitting across from him. While no one came to mind, he couldn’t swear a Reno look alike hadn’t crossed his path at some point. Annoying as it was, this wasn’t the first time Lee had seen someone he thought he recognized. Sometimes the answer came within a minute or so, and sometimes it never did.
Mute Witness is a special book to me because, although it's a thriller with paranormal elements, it grew out of a very personal trauma: the fear of losing my son during my divorce several years ago simply because I was gay.
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Here's what Mute Witness is about:
Sean and Austin have the perfect life. Their new relationship is only made more joyous by weekend visits from Sean’s eight-year-old son, Jason.
And then their perfect world shatters.
Jason is missing.
When the boy turns up days later, he has been horribly abused and has lost the power to speak. Small town minds turn to the boy’s gay father and his lover as the likely culprits.
Sean and Austin struggle to maintain their relationship amid the innuendo and the very real threat that Sean will, at the very least, lose the son he loves. Meanwhile, the real villain is much closer to home, intent on ensuring the boy’s muteness is permanent.
To whet your interest, here's the first few pages:
It was one of their rare lazy evenings. Summer, and the evening air was fresh and clean after an afternoon thunderstorm, with just a hint of a breeze. Normally, Sean and Austin were so busy that if they weren’t trying to change something about the little Cape Cod on the Ohio River they had bought a year before (adding a deck, putting in a new kitchen, stripping away years of white paint from the woodwork downstairs), they were too tired to do anything but crawl into bed and pass out, usually before eleven o’clock. Lovemaking, since they had bought the money- and time-sucking house, had become relegated to weekend afternoons and the occasional early morning.
But today, Thursday, had been an easy one. Austin had called into work, the Benson Pottery, where he was a caster and taken a mental health day. Things had just been too damn busy lately and he needed the break. Waiting until Saturday was out of the question. Sunday seemed farther away than the next millennium.
Sean, a reporter for The Evening View, the local thrice-weekly compilation of ads sandwiched in with a little editorial, had had the day off. The couple had spent the day in Pittsburgh, at the Andy Warhol museum, then had an early dinner at The Grand Concourse (the best Paella on the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers), beat the brutal thunderstorm home, made love (acrobatically, in the kitchen, atop a Butcher’s block), and now the two were curled up in front of the TV. Sean had rented Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and, after a bowl of Jamaican and a couple of vodka and tonics, the two were teary-eyed with laughter.
Sean looked over at his younger boyfriend and thought how lucky he was to have found Austin, especially in a town the size of Summitville, where the population hovered just above ten thousand. Even better, Austin was his fantasy man, with a broad, beefy body that his mother and her friends would have called strapping, sandy blond hair, and the bluest eyes he had ever seen. When Sean had first met him, he thought Austin’s eyes had to be fake: enhanced by those tinted contacts that never looked real. But he found quickly that the young man was simply blessed with arresting eyes to go along with his broad shoulders, dimpled chin, and infectious smile. He wore that smile right now, coming down from a fit of inappropriate laughter after hearing Elizabeth Taylor tell Richard Burton, “I’d divorce you if I thought you were alive.”
A sick sense of humor was yet another thing the pair had in common.
It was what they both would have agreed was a perfect day. Well, Sean might have had one more item to add to the “perfection” list. Having his son, Jason, around for at least part of the time would have been all it would have taken to make the day ideal, but these days, Jason was for the weekends only.
In any case, this was close enough to nirvana. He closed his eyes and let his head loll back on Austin’s shoulder.
Sean was just thinking about slowly undressing Austin and then leading him into the bedroom for round two when the phone rang. Its chirp startled both of them out of the cocoon of warmth that had surrounded them, a cocoon built from good sex, supreme relaxation, and the afore-mentioned Jamaican weed.
Austin: sleepily from under Sean’s arm on the couch, “Don’t get it. Please don’t get it. Just let the machine pick up. I don’t want to talk to anyone. And I don’t want you to, neither.” Sean eyed the little answering machine next to the cordless, wondering when they would enter the 21st century and use voice mail like everyone else. But, unlike voice mail, the machine did allow them to screen calls and for two men who appreciated their privacy, this feature had voice mail beat all to hell.
Sean let the phone ring its customary four rings, although his tendency would have been to answer it. But if this would make Austin happy, then he was willing to do it. Especially since he had things in mind for Austin that did not involve the telephone. Things that would erase their fatigue and perhaps keep them up the better part of the night. Sean grinned.
On the fourth ring, Sean pressed the pause button on the remote control and sat up straighter to listen.
“Whatever it is, it can wait,” Austin whispered in Sean’s ear, flicking his earlobe with his tongue and giving his crotch a playful squeeze.
And then the moment shattered.
Shelley’s voice, almost unfamiliar under the veneer of tension that made it higher, quicker, came through. Shelley and Sean had been married once upon a time and their union had produced Jason, the best little boy in the world. As soon as Sean heard Shelley’s voice he thought of his son, who shared his dark hair, green eyes, wiry frame, and his fascination with stories.
“Sean? Sean, I hope you’re there. This is important. Please pick up.” There was a slight pause. “It’s about Jason. He...”
Before she could say anything else, Sean sprinted for the phone in the entryway. “Shelley? Sorry, I was...”
“Jason is missing.”
And then Sean heard her begin to sob and the relaxation in all of his muscles vanished, replaced by a tightness that felt like steel bands snapping taut across his muscles. Blood rushed in his ears; his heart began to pound. A queasy nausea rose up in his gut.
“Jason never came home tonight,” Shelley sobbed. “I don’t know where he is. Please say he’s with you.”
Sean sat down on the little oak chair in front of the desk. Well, collapsed into the chair was more like it. “Shelley, I’m sorry, but he’s not here. Don’t you think I would have called if he had come here? How long’s he been gone?” Sean rubbed the back of his neck, his mouth curiously dry. He glanced out the window at the complete darkness. “I went to work at six and he wasn’t home yet.” She blew out a sigh. “But, you know, we just thought he was horsing around in the woods or something and lost track of time. Then I called Paul and...”
“Wait a minute, Shelley. It’s a quarter ‘til eleven.”
“I know. I know.”
“Why didn’t you call sooner? You mean to tell me you’re just starting to look? Christ, he’s eight years old.”
“I thought he would’ve come home while I was on my shift. Paul was here and he fell asleep and...”
“Paul. Great.” Sean rubbed his sweaty palms against his thighs.
“Please Sean, it’s not the time. I fucked up. Okay? Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I need some help finding our son.”
She was right. In spite of the thoughts running through his head, most of them centering around how he and Austin would have been better parents, but the courts couldn’t see that, all they could see was a little boy growing up under the wings of two queers, Sean knew she was right.
This was an emergency.
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Sunday, October 18, 2009
Reviewer T.E. Lyons said, "Reed is an established brand — perhaps the most reliable contemporary author for thrillers that cross over between the gay fiction market and speculative fiction..."
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