Ari of Ari McKay on Fortune’s Slings and Cupid’s Arrows (Lawyers in Love #2) (guest post and exclusive excerpt)


Fortune’s Slings and Cupid’s Arrows (Lawyers in Love #2) by Ari McKay
Dreamspinner Press
Cover art by Bree Archer

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press Amazon  | Barnes & Noble

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Ari of Ari McKay here today talking about their latest release Fortune’s Slings and Cupid’s Arrows.  Welcome, Ari.



Hello everybody! Ari here, of Ari McKay. I’m very grateful to the folks at Scattered Thoughts for having me on the blog today, and to you for reading it!

I’m here to talk about our latest released from Dreamspinner Press, Fortune’s Slings and Cupid’s Arrows. This is a re-release of an older story, and one that we have substantially rewritten from the original. So if you read the first edition of the story, you might be surprised at how much has changed!

The story concerns Dane Coulter, a lawyer who is intelligent, handsome, charismatic… and also under the thumb of his overbearing father, who owns the law firm where Dane works. Dane’s father is one of those nightmare parents that I hope no one reading this has had to deal with. My mother was such a parent, and believe me, it’s not easy to break away when you’ve been raised your entire life to feel that you are subject to the whims of a parent. Dane has been repressed to the point that he denies his own sexuality, and feels that he has little choice when his father pushes him toward marriage in order to provide an heir for the Coulter dynasty.

The one bright point in Dane’s life is his friendship with Cal Monroe. Cal is out, proud, head of a rival law firm and an avowed enemy of Randolph Coulter. Cal is also in love with Dane, though Dane doesn’t know it. Cal has kept his feelings to himself, not wanting to add to Dane’s problems by making Dane feel he’s being pressured into a relationship in order to retain Cal’s friendship and support.

Things come to a head, however, when Cal reads Dane’s engagement announcement in the New York Times. Cal reveals his feelings to Dane, and now Dane finds himself caught between two strong men. The decision Dane reaches about his future and what he does about it… well, that’s what we want to give you a chance to find out!

And now, here is an exclusive excerpt from the story. We hope you enjoy it!

Exclusive Excerpt

Cal spoke briefly to his secretary, then made his way to the elevator lobby. When the car arrived, he was surprised to see Dane inside. He entered quickly, wondering if fate was somehow smiling on his plan. It was one thing for him to confront Randolph, but even better for Dane to be able to see it.

They were alone in the car, and Cal made a sudden decision. He reached past Dane and flipped the toggle that set the car from “run” to “stop”. The elevator abruptly ceased its downward motion.

He regarded Dane for a moment, noting the lines of strain on Dane’s face. Of course Dane often looked stressed, which was another bit of Randolph’s doing. Offering Dane a smile, he stepped closer. “Hey. How are you doing?”

Dane’s answering smile was sweet and shy as he glanced sidelong at Cal. “I’m okay. How about you?” he asked, a hint of worry creeping into his voice.

It was all Cal could do not to drop his briefcase and pull Dane into his arms. Now that he’d told Dane how he felt, he didn’t want to maintain the careful distance he’d kept for the last two years. He wanted to hold Dane and soothe the line from between his eyes, to kiss him and tell him everything was going to be all right. But he told himself that now wasn’t the time; Dane didn’t need another man making demands on him that he wasn’t ready for and might not welcome.

“I’m fine. Preparing for battle,” he said, his smile turning hard. “I’m actually on my way to take on your father. Since you’re here, too, I wanted to warn you, so that you can step back and maintain plausible deniability.”

Dane’s eyes widened in alarm, and he touched Cal’s arm lightly. “Are you sure you want to go through with this? I don’t want you or your career to suffer because of me.”

Cal reached up to cover Dane’s hand with his own, giving his fingers a gentle squeeze. “I absolutely want to go through with it. I’ve not changed my mind, Dane. I love you, and I’m going to fight for you. I’m going to show you that your father can be beaten.”

Dane lowered his gaze and gnawed on his bottom lip. “I hope you’re right,” he said softly. “I’m not sure I could live with myself if something happened to you. It would be my fault.”

“No, it wouldn’t.” Cal moved his hand, running his fingers over Dane’s cheek in a brief, gentle caress. “I’m making this decision, right? You aren’t forcing me, you didn’t even ask me to do anything. By rights, you could even be angry at me for butting into your life. I really hope you aren’t, but either way, nothing that happens is your fault. I meant what I said, Dane. The only thing your rat bastard of a father can do to hurt me is to hurt you.”

Dane looked up at Cal, and although he didn’t seem entirely convinced, he nodded. “I’m not angry. I’m worried. But I know better than to argue when you’re wearing your war plaid,” he said, smoothing his fingertips along the length of Cal’s tie.

“Girdin’ meself for battle, laddie,” Cal replied in an exaggerated brogue. He chuckled. “Don’t worry. I’ve been taking on men worse than your father for years. Speaking of which…” He reached out, and flipped the elevator back to “run”. “He’s on his way back to the office now, and I don’t want to miss him. I just didn’t want you caught in a crossfire between he and I.”

“Should I pretend to ignore you or try not to let Father spot me in the area?” Dane asked.

Cal considered for a moment. “Just ignore me. I’m not your friend anymore, right? I’ll act frosty to you and you can return the favor. All the better to let him see we’re at odds, rather than just having your word for it.”

“He’d definitely want proof,” Dane said, a hint of bitterness in his voice. “He wouldn’t take my word for it.”

“Yeah,” Cal smiled mirthlessly, then glanced up at the floor indicator, which slid from 4 to 3 to 2. “Showtime. I’m hoping I timed this right. He’ll probably have his normal retinue, so there should be plenty of witnesses.”

With a last smile at Dane, Cal turned to the door, then assumed a hard expression, as though he were angry. As the elevator doors slid open he strode out quickly, moving brusquely past people who were waiting enter the car. He didn’t look back to see what Dane was doing, because to his immense satisfaction he spotted Randolph Coulter standing in the lobby, holding court with a small cluster of young men from his firm who seemed to be hanging on his every word. His timing had been just about perfect.



Successful attorneys Dane Coulter and Cal Monroe are rivals in the courtroom and friends behind the scenes. But can they be more?


Cal’s always carried a torch for Dane, but Dane is so deep in the closet, he can’t even admit that he might be gay. His father, a raging homophobe who rules the family with an iron fist, forces Dane into an engagement—to a woman. Dane goes along with it to keep the peace and protect his mother, but for Cal, it’s the last straw.


He can’t let Dane make a mistake that could ruin the rest of his life, and he only knows one surefire way to make Dane admit what’s in his heart. But confessing his feelings to his friend could backfire, driving a wedge between them. And even then, the choice must be Dane’s—to live the life his father wants, or to give up everything he has for a chance at happiness in Cal’s arms.

About the Authors

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.



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