Release Blitz Tour for DJ Jamison’s Yours For The Holiday (excerpt and giveaway)

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 50,000 words approx.
 
Blurb
 

Fresh off a break-up, Remy is in no mood to share a room with his brother’s best friend during a holiday stay at home. Jason Hendricks has always treated him like a little brother to tease and taunt, all the more embarrassing because Remy has secretly crushed on the jerk since puberty. But when Jason confides he’s bisexual, Remy realizes the crush he loves to hate could be the perfect rebound.

Jason has always found Remy appealing. He didn’t handle his attraction well when he was younger, but now Remy’s a grown man and Jason’s no longer afraid of his feelings. Some playful flirtation sounds like a great way to spend Thanksgiving break, but he’s not prepared for Remy’s newfound sex appeal or his decision to make Jason his rebound fling. Jason doesn’t want to risk fallout with a family that’s always been there for him, but he’s not sure he can resist.

When the two part ways, they don’t plan to stay in touch, but soon they’re texting, trading sexy pictures and helping each other cope with family drama. Remy agrees to be his for the holiday, continuing their secret fling over Christmas, but Jason knows that won’t be enough. He’ll have to find the courage to be open and honest with his best friend — and the whole Wells family — if he wants a chance at love in the new year.

This approximately 50,000 word novel is a brother’s best friend, enemies to lovers romance that comes with a satisfying HEA!

Excerpt

“Hey,” Jason said quietly. The bed dipped as he sat down on the edge of the mattress. “You okay?”

“Oh, so you’re done avoiding me?” Remy said, hating the bitter edge to his words. He swallowed hard, trying to gain control over his emotions, so he didn’t make a fool of himself yet again.

“I’m sorry,” Jason said. He sounded sorry. Truly regretful.

Remy pushed up, struggling into a seated position against the headboard. If they were going to have this talk, he wanted to look Jason in the eye.

Swallowing hard, Remy forced out words that had been nagging at him all day. “I’m sorry too. I got carried away. I didn’t mean to pressure you—”

“God no, Remy,” Jason interrupted. “No, no. It wasn’t like that.”

Jason’s hand hovered in the air. Remy watched Jason hesitate before resting his big palm over Remy’s thigh. The blankets formed a barrier between them, but the point of contact burned as if he could feel the warmth spilling from Jason’s hand.

“Then I’m confused,” Remy said.

“I, uh, find you very sexy,” Jason said, voice tinged with embarrassment. It would be charming if it weren’t for the heavy topic of conversation. “But I need the Wells family. I don’t talk about my parents much, but—”

“I know it’s not great,” Remy said. “Dad filled me in on what happened last summer with your mom.”

“Yeah,” Jason said. “So, basically, I’m terrified of fucking everything up. If I go there with you, I might hurt you. And if your parents or Derek find out, I’m not sure what they’d do. It’s just … messy.”

“It doesn’t have to be,” Remy said. “It’s just some fun. No strings needed. And as for going there with me, don’t you think the cat’s already out of the bag? You’ve had your hand on my dick.”

Jason glanced at Remy’s crotch, unable to resist teasing him. “Cat’s out of the bag? And here I thought pussy only referred to—”

Remy slapped his hand over Jason’s mouth. “Don’t say it!”

Jason chuckled, his warm breath gusting over Remy’s palm. Remy shivered as their eyes locked and held. When the wet tip of Jason’s tongue licked a stripe over his hand, he couldn’t hold back a small moan.

“Fuck you, JJ,” he muttered, pulling his hand back. “If you’re going to say no, don’t fucking tease me.”

“I’m not saying no,” Jason said roughly. “I probably should, but I can’t say no to you again. Not one more fucking time.”

Author Bio

DJ Jamison is a contemporary M/M romance author with more than a dozen titles to her name. She writes a variety of queer characters, from gay to bisexual to asexual, with a focus on telling love stories that are more about common ground than lust at first sight. She grew up the literal embodiment of a red-headed stepchild in a working-class family in Kansas. Determined to build a successful career, she earned a degree in journalism and worked in newsrooms for more than ten years before pursuing her dream to write fiction. DJ is married with two sons, two glow-in-the-dark fish, and regrettably, one snake.

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DJís Newsletter: www.tinyurl.com/djandcompany
DJís FB group: www.facebook.com/groups/djandcompany
DJís FB page: www.facebook.com/djjamison
Book Bub: /www.bookbub.com/authors/dj-jamison
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/DJ_Jamison

Giveaway

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An Ali Audiobook Review: ’Tis the Season​ by Alex Jane and Michael Fell (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Aaron has spent the past ten months alone. When he meets a sad, yet strangely familiar man on a cold Halloween night, he impulsively invites him home. But the intimate connection they share lasts only until morning. Aaron wakes up alone—wracked with guilt and devastated to have lost his chance.

Or so he thinks.

Thanksgiving brings Aaron another shot at happiness, but letting go of an old love and accepting a new one isn’t as easy as everyone keeps telling him. And by the time Christmas Eve rolls around, it becomes clear that Aaron’s not the only one struggling to let himself love again.

Christmas miracles are all well and good, but it’s going to take more than the Holiday Spirit for Aaron to get his happy ever after. 

A story of grief, sadness, and letting it go; and finding love when you least expect it. 
This was an emotional and beautiful story. It starts on Halloween when Aaron is walking around at night. He’s lonely and sad and filled with grief over the death of his husband 10 months prior. As he walks he sees a man sitting on the edge of a bridge and he’s afraid he’s planning to jump. He goes over and starts the most awkward exchange ever but the two end up talking to each other. Dylan says he wasn’t planning on jumping but he’s got a ton of personal hurt of his own. The story then follows them through Thanksgiving and into Christmas as they start falling for each other.

I’d never heard of this author until last week and I’ve now read three of her books since then. This story was so beautifully written. Aaron’s grief was so well done it jumped off the page at you. But as he starts caring for Dylan, his hope also jumps off of the page. The romance is a slow burn and unfolds in a way that felt really realistic. Both MC’s seemed like every day people just trying to do the best they can. The epilogue was very emotional and full of feelz. If you’re not touched by it and possibly a bit teary-eyed, then your heart’s made of stone. 
This audiobook was narrated by Michael Fell.  It was the first time I had listened to a book he narrated and I was really impressed.  I thought he did a great job and I will definitely look for more of his work.

This was one of the best holiday books I’ve read this season and one I think you should definitely read asap.
Cover:  I think the cover is average and while it is nice, I do not think it stands out
Sales LinksAmazon | Audible
Audiobook Details:
Audio Book – 2.9 hours
Audiobook, 87 pages
Published October 13th 2017 by Alex Jane (

A MelanieM Review:The Wanderer (The Sin Bin #1) by Dahlia Donovan

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

When life kicks a wanderer in the bollocks, all he can do is fight for his life.

Bad boy BC Brooks screwed up his lifelong dream of being captain of the English national rugby team. Lost and confused, he hides from his failures until an unexpected inheritance forces him to make a change.

Graham Hodson lives for travel, adventure, and one-night stands. Wanderlust rules his life. He never expects a brief encounter with a stranger to haunt his dreams and follow him across the world.

One diagnosis shakes both men to their core.

One journey through the depths of recovery brings two perpetual bachelors into the unknown territory of love.

Through one book (The Royal Marine), I found a new author, a new series, and even a new publishing house.  I consider myself three times lucky indeed for that rarely happens, although yes it was because I stumbled into all three when I was offered the  fourth book in the series to read.  So back I went to start the series from the beginning with The Wanderer.

Turns out I had to figure out what a Sin Bin was to get the gist of the series.  For us Americans, it’s the penalty box.  For rugby or soccer (yes, yes, I know I can you all abroad shouting ‘it’s football’ lol), that area of the the field where players are sent to wait out the allotted penalty time after having being called foul.  The Sin Bin series is about a group of close rugby players, teammates, whose careers are over and now need to figure out the rest of their lives without the game they loved so much.  It then makes sense for them to feel as though they are permanently living in a Sin Bin, lost until they are able to move on.

That’s exactly what BC Brooks is trying to do when he runs into Graham Hodson at Graham’s twin brother’s wedding. A closet quickie, an indelible impression plus an explosive chemistry changes both of their lives forever.

The Wanderer (The Sin Bin #1) by Dahlia Donovan is told from both points of view, necessary as Graham, the wanderer of the title, is often in other parts of the world. For some stories separating the two main characters doesn’t work well for the romance.  Here it does.  Dahlia Donovan is able to make us believe in that absolute weirdest of creatures, that indefinable chemistry that won’t allow you to forget someone.  Here neither man is able to let the other go in their minds or even in lust.  They have an absolute need to reconnect that the readers get.  And no, it’s not instalove.

BC and Graham also have pasts that have precluded them from even wanting relationships…a term that they have fled from along with the actual thing.  These characterizations are so well done that the fumbling towards anything resembling a relationship is so awkward and needlessly full of self made pitfalls that you find yourself sighing and  shaking your head in fond frustration.

Then one of the men receives a diagnosis and again everything changes.  I won’t go into who or what but the story throws enough clues that you have an idea what’s coming.  That doesn’t make what follows any  easier to take.  I wept along with both men,  watched the relationship deepen as the circumstances altered them forever.  And held out hope for their future with them too.

For those readers, this is also a book that shows what happens to a relationship when dealing with a serious illness.  It’s dealt with an authenticity, grit, and sensitivity that makes this story work so well because it shows what can happen when you least expect it.  BC and Graham feel so real, especially after this section of the story.  I’m so happy to know that I will continue to see them in the books that follow.

What a way to start a series!  I noticed the characters in book 4 referenced to here.  So now it’s on to The Caretaker (The Sin Bin, #2) and Freddie Whittle’s story, a man who had a huge part to play here.  I can’t wait.

From just the two books that I’ve read, I can’ tell this is a series not to be missed.  I highly recommend the two that I’ve read.  But unlike me, start here and work your way through the series.

Cover art is ok.  I don’t know what it is about those figures that make me think of teenagers instead of grown men. It just throws me off.

Sales Links:  Hot Tree Publishing | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 191 pages
Published April 29th 2017 by Hot Tree Publishing (first published April 8th 2017)
ISBN139781925448771
Series The Sin Bin #1 setting Cornwall (United Kingdom)

A VVivacious Review: A Sniper’s Devotion (Cuffs, Collars and Love #5) by Christa Tomlinson

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Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5

Miguel has managed to get himself out of an abusive relationship and he is in need of help and who better to provide it then the very guy who protected him on the schoolyard and who Miguel always thinks of as his protector.

Hector and Miguel were close prior to Miguel’s relationship with his now ex-boyfriend. As Hector finds himself in close quarters with Miguel, a lot of those old feelings are coming up along with a whole lot of suppressed desires.

One crazy night opens a whole new can of worms. Is Hector ready to embrace his sexuality? Is Miguel ready for another relationship given how his last one ended? Is their relationship going to take off or is it doomed to fail before it even starts…

Okay, first of all, I just need to get this off my chest. That epilogue is on fire. Oh My God! It has been two days since I finished this book and the first thing that comes to mind when I sit to write this review is that epilogue. On Fire! I tell you. God it just gets me, how confident and secure Miguel is in their relationship like nothing can touch him. It is actually a pretty good indicator of how their relationship turned out and I must say it was one hell of a ride.

Friends-to-Lovers is one of my all-time favourite troops and this book just took it to another level. Miguel and Hector were such amazingly well-written characters and what I loved most about this book was that it let these two characters develop outside of their relationship as well, especially with regards to Miguel.

Miguel has just gotten out of a bad relationship and he needs to stand on his own two feet before he can commit to another relationship and I personally loved the fact that he stood up for himself every time. It was so good to see Miguel find his way back to being self-confident and independent.

I loved Hector and I have no idea why. I never paid much attention to him in the previous books and I had no special interest in Hector’s story as such, it would have been okay for me if the series ended with “An Officer’s Submission” though I will never say no to more Logan and Clay. So reading this book and liking Hector so much was a surprise. Hector is a bad-ass and I loved his character so much. I especially loved all his soul-baring conversations with Clay and Ryan and it was damn good to see the team.

Hector and Miguel always had chemistry, like off the top sizzling chemistry, so, I loved the fact that what they struggle with is not how to get in a relationship or be in it but how to get rid of their own hang-ups before they can commit to each other. Personally, I loved the book and how it plots out each characters’ journey and I especially loved where they end up.

The only reason this book is not a 5-star read is because I am docking half a star for getting me all hot and bothered and not delivering on it.

All in all an amazing book in a very amazing series.

Cover art by Melody Simmons of eBook Indie Covers. I really like the cover, it really fits the aesthetic of the series.

Sales Links: 

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Kobo | iTunes

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 268 pages
Published November 7th 2017
ASINB076GP7TDK
SeriesCuffs, Collars, and Love #4 settingHouston, Texas (United States)

 

Kim Fielding on Writing, Research, and her latest story Ante Up (guest interview, and giveaway)

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Ante Up by Kim Fielding
Dreamspinner Press

A Dreamspun Beyond Title
Cover Artist:

Available for Purchase from Dreamspinner Press

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Kim Fielding on her tour with Ante Up.  Welcome, Kim, and thank you for sitting down and answering some of our author questions.

 

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write?  Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

I love research. Seriously. My day job is university professor, so research is in my blood. It’s fun to do, but it’s also really important to me to get even small details right. I don’t want readers to be jolted out of a story due to an inaccuracy. Sometimes this means I spend hours trying to figure something out, like when needed to know whether a jollyboat can be lowered from a ship by the people in the jollyboat, or whether it has to be lowered from the bigger ship. Or the time I researched the likely average cost of a healthy male slave in 15th century Bosnia.

Research is just as important for imaginary worlds—maybe more so, actually. Even an imaginary place has to be plausible. For example, my Ennek trilogy takes place in an alternate universe in which the Roman Empire eventually reached the Americas. My city-state of Praesidium is located where our San Francisco sits, and the level of industrialization is roughly equal to the late 19th century. So I had to look stuff up. Was there indoor plumbing back then? (Yes.) What were the native fauna and flora before urban sprawl set in? What kinds of ships were in use? Yes, this brings us back to the jollyboat question (and the answer is yes, it can be lowered from within the jollyboat).

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Absolutely. As a kid, I heavily favored speculative fiction of all kinds—fantasy, sci-fi, horror, etc. Some of my favorite authors included Ursula LeGuin, Madeleine L’Engle, Stephen King, Lloyd Alexander, E.E. Nesbitt, Peter S. Beagle…. I could go on, but you get the idea.

Now I write in a variety of genres. In fact, I write in almost all of them, it seems. But spec fic remains my most common and most comfortable home. I love how it allows me to mix things up. Vampire mobsters in Vegas (Ante Up). Hipster architect werewolves (the Bones series). A noir detective story with paranormal elements (the Bureau series). Looking over my lengthy ideas file, I’d say about 80% of my plot bunnies are spec fic.

Have you ever had to put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it?  You were hurting with the characters or didn’t know how to proceed?

No, mostly because I force myself to finish one story before beginning the next. But I can think of several stories where I experienced true anxiety and distress because of what I was about to put the characters through. The Tin Box is an example of this. So is Motel. Pool. And I once wrote a long fanfic (Spike/Xander *g*) in which one character had to betray another really horribly. That was awful to write. Sometimes, though, stories must include these difficult times, so I just need to soldier through. Sniff. I hope my own emotional turmoil makes the story more resonant for readers.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I don’t think I have a preference. HEA is nice because it’s so satisfying and optimistic. Especially when RL times are difficult, I think we all need some truly happy endings. But I’m also a big fan of the ambiguity HFN can offer. An HFN is more complex and more akin to real life. It leaves more room for speculation and imagination. So yeah. I like both.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I didn’t read them until I began writing them. I think partly that was because I found traditional romances limiting. I didn’t identify well with any of the heroines and was easily frustrated by them. I did, however, occasionally read gothic or horror stories with romance elements. When I was about 14 my friend and I had a wonderful time reading the Flowers in the Attic series—I think we felt very daring for reading them. Ditto with Judy Blume’s Forever. And I’ve always loved Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily.” That’s a romance. Sort of.

Nowadays I read a lot of romances, mainly m/m. There are many talented authors in the genre, which offers a lot more diversity than the books I rejected as a kid.

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

I think ebooks offer a lot of advantages. Portability is a huge one. I travel a lot, and instead of lugging books along, I can just bring my Kindle—or my phone. Ebooks are also a great option for those who are visually impaired, since it’s easy to change font size and audio’s often an option. The instant gratification aspect is great too. I’ve downloaded books in all sorts of places, like on a train outside Barcelona, on a cruise ship, and in airplanes.

On the other hand, I also love the feel of physical books. And I much prefer browsing a bookstore to browsing online. I think a lot of people share these feelings, so although I believe ebooks will continue to grow in popularity, I don’t see the end of print anytime soon.

How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

I have personal preferences for cover art—I tend to like strong graphic elements and tend to avoid the naked-floating-torsos-over-a-landscape. But the art also has to reflect the tone and subject of the story and has to be eye-catching. And there are decisions to be made about drawn covers v. photo covers, each of which has its pluses and minuses. I often have a vague general concept for the art, which I describe to the artist. I’ve been lucky to work with some extremely talented cover artists who not only listen to my ideas but often vastly improve on them. Sometimes artists will offer me several alternative versions to choose from, and often the initial design needs a little tweaking. I always get really excited when the cover is completed. I’ve even had a couple of covers—The Pillar and Venetian Masks—made into posters, which I framed and hung on my wall. And honestly? Sometimes I just pet my cover and gloat.

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

Well, I love all of my children, of course, but my favorite depends on my mood. One I’m especially proud of is The Tin Box, because in addition to being a romance story, that book offers a view of the real and shameful history of how we’ve treated both homosexuality and mental illness. A lot of people aren’t aware of that history, and I hope the book opens some eyes while also offering hope for the future.

What’s next for you as an author?

Um… a lot. Ready? My Christmas novella, Dear Ruth, releases December 1, or folks can get it as part of Dreamspinner’s Advent Calendar subscription. Next year, I have contemporary novels releasing in March and April—A Full Plate and The Little Library, respectively—and a suspense thriller called Jaxon Powers in the fall. I’ll also be releasing another novella or two in the paranormal Bureau series. I have some audiobook projects planned with K.C. Kelly and Joel Leslie. I’m looking for a publishing home for a noir private-eye novel in a medieval fantasy setting. Right now I’m working on a contemporary about a lifestyle guru, plus Venona Keyes and I are writing the sequel to Running Blind. I also have some live appearances planned. Life is busy!

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Blurb

Love is a high-stakes game.

A century and a half ago, Ante Novak died on a Croatian battlefield—and rose three days later as a vampire. Now he haunts Las Vegas, stealing blood and money from drunken gamblers and staying on the fringe of the powerful vampire organization known as the Shadows. His existence feels empty and meaningless until he meets beautiful Peter Gehrardi, who can influence others with his thoughts.

An attraction flares instantly, bringing a semblance of life to Ante’s dead heart. But the Shadows want Peter too, and they’re willing to kill to get him. As Ante and Peter flee, they learn more about themselves and each other, and they discover that the world is a stranger place than either of them imagined. With enemies at their heels and old mistakes coming back to exact a price, how can Ante and Peter find sanctuary?

About the Author

Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

Follow Kim:

Website: http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/

Facebook: http://facebook.com/KFieldingWrites

Twitter: @KFieldingWrites

Email: Kim@KFieldingWrites.com

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bau3S9

A complete list of Kim’s books: http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/kim-fieldings-books/

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On Tour with Viki Lyn and her release ‘A Rumored Affair’ (guest blog and excerpt)

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M/M Contemporary Romance
Date Published: October 3, 2017
Publisher: Loose ID
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What Does Viki Lyn’s Writing Space Look Like?

I am a voyeur at heart. I love art studio and home tours. There’s something intriguing about catching a glimpse into a person’s creative space. What does that person choose for inspiration? What knickknacks and personal items on the desk? What does the space tell about that person?

When I moved back to California last year, my husband and I purchased a California-style 1940’s Spanish home. We loved the house, but it had a very different floor plan from the house we had in Arizona. The challenge was choosing my writing space (my art studio won out for the extra bedroom).

One of the rooms has an odd floor plan, but works perfectly for a dual office. Off the living room, the room is long and narrow, with large windows overlooking the backyard garden. Perfect! There is a lot of light from the windows and French door. My husband set up his desk on one end, and I took the other end, with a fireplace in-between. Yeah, we have to share, but he’s way across the room, and a quiet kind of guy.

What I keep on my desk, besides my computer and printer, is personal stuff. I have three framed pictures, two with my husband and one with me and my three sisters on the beach at Santa Cruz. Draped over the frames are prayer beads (a gift from Vina) and a blessed Buddha amulet from Japan. My latest purchase was a Dr. Leonard H. “Bones” McCoy coffee cup (couldn’t resist!). I use it for a pencil and penholder.

Since I’m a neatnik, I keep my files in a file cabinet. Near me, on my desk, I keep my Inspiration Tags, created for a workshop I taught online. On the wall next to my desk, I hung a giant bulletin board. I can put up articles or images related to my stories, but usually it’s a catchall for stuff that I don’t know where to file, but need to have on hand.

I’d be interested to know about your personal creative space and what you choose to keep near you for inspiration!

Blurb

Vacationing at a gay resort is risky business for Winter Media’s CEO, Graham Winters. In negotiations for the purchase of an anti-LGBTQ publication, if found out he preferred men, the deal would collapse, along with Winter Media’s bottom line. But take a risk, Graham does. He can’t pass up two weeks where he can be himself.
But when Graham arrives at Secretus, there is no record of his reservation. Never one to take no for an answer, he coerces the owner of Secretus, Chris Katsaros, to let him stay in Chris’s home.
Winter Media owns one of the worst gossip rags in the country, so Chris has no choice but to agree to Graham’s terms. Chris keeps a low profile when it comes to Secretus, securing a safe environment where high profile gays can relax without media hounding their every move. An introvert by nature, Chris has a difficult time letting anyone into his life. As a foster kid, he had never experienced love until adopted by Pete and Bob.
Forced to entertain Graham, Chris finds they have more in common than he ever thought. The attraction between them is real, and Chris’s guarded heart begins to thaw.

Excerpt

A Rumored Affair by Viki Lyn, Excerpt, Copyright © Viki Lyn

Chris Katsaros set down his cell phone after the call from Josh and quickly did an Internet search on Graham Winter’s name. Holy shit. The guy’s company owned Gossipy!—the worst of the worst rumor-mill rags in the country.

Shit. Shit. Shit.

Maybe he should call Josh to sit in on the meeting. Tact was not one of Chris’s strong points, and he’d need backup in dealing with Winter.

All thirty cabins were rented until five days from now. Thankfully Josh had had the foresight to call the Coastal Pines and reserve a room. In all the years he’d been running Secretus, he’d never had this problem. Now he had to contend with an angry guest who was huffing and puffing toward his office. This major clusterfuck should never have happened. He’d have to call Honda Bergen as soon as he finished with Graham Winter. Good thing Chris’s best friend gave him 24-7 on-call tech service.

Before the bull came storming in, Chris clicked on the images, his brows knitting as pictures of Winter came into view. Good-looking in a GQ sort of way, Graham Winter wore his brown hair slightly longer than the usual short-cropped business style. A few of the photos showed him at society events with his mother?

Other pictures had him coupled with beautiful women. One caption read “America’s most eligible bachelor.” So this eligible bachelor was a closeted fuck?

Chris detested successful gay men who didn’t have the balls to be themselves in public. His dads fought for gay rights and instilled in Chris the need to speak out against injustices. Not hide behind fake girlfriends and one’s mother.

Chris’s head snapped toward the door when Graham Winter strode in, the screen door slamming behind him. Heat spiked in Chris’s chest. Fucking Jesus. Good-looking was not enough of an adjective to describe the man. The chiseled jawline and intense green eyes made Chris’s mouth dry. Not a hair out of place, an expensive-looking watch on his right wrist… The man’s image screamed wealthy, arrogant SOB.

Those shapely lips thinned when he glared at Chris.

Sweet lips. And fuck, stop. This man would eat Chris for breakfast if he weren’t careful.

At least Mr. Winter kept his gaze steady even when he took in Chris’s scarred face down to his scarred hands.

Got to give the guy a gold star for not flinching.

Running his hand along his stubble, Chris felt like one of the homeless who hitched rides along the coast highway. He slipped into his worn sandals. When he brushed back his hair, his fingernail caught in one of his curls, and he winced. Grim amusement glittered in the man’s eyes.

Why did those judgmental eyes have to be such an awesome green?

Chris cleared his throat and motioned toward the only chair in his office not covered by files. “Mr. Winter, please have a seat.”

Mr. Winter took in the room in one glance. When he met Chris’s gaze, his expression soured further. “You’re the owner?”

The disbelief in his grave voice made Chris’s hair rise on his nape. His heartbeat pumped a tad too fast from the anger roiling in his stomach. So what if he dressed in shorts and a T-shirt? His private office was not some corporate boardroom. He forced a smile. Josh had taught him a few tricks in dealing with irritable guests, but Chris never mastered the fake smile.

Mr. Winter sat in a chair, his back mimicking the straight backrest. “Call me Graham. My father was Mr. Winter. Now, do you have room for me or not?”

“Unfortunately our system double booked your cabin. It won’t be available for a few days. My manager called the Coastal Pines, and they can set you up in their penthouse suite. It’s a five-star hotel, and of course, we’ll pay for all the room charges and your meals while you stay there.”

That should satisfy the asshole.

“I’m not going to be shuffled back and forth like a piece of luggage. I like it here. If I wanted to spend time in a pretentious hotel, I’d have stayed in New York.” Graham drummed his fingernails on his thigh. He eyed the doorway leading to the hall. “Do you live here alone?”

Chris’s jaw twitched. “I don’t see how that relates to the situation.”

“This must place must be what, three, four bedrooms?”

“Three, but I—”

“You married? Boyfriend living with you?”

Chris clutched the papers on his desk, crumpling the edges. “That’s none of your business.”

“Just as I thought. You live alone. Then I’ll stay here until a room opens. Perfect solution.”

Chris’s mouth opened, but he was too stunned to speak. Already his head was buzzing. The last thing he wanted was a stranger lodging in his home. Not that he’d ever be interested in this guest. The man had the power of the media to bully people. Most likely Graham abused this kind of power to get what he desired.

Chris cleared his throat. “No resort in Big Sur is stuffy. You’ll be comfortable at Coastal Pines.”

Graham smiled.

Chris’s ire rose at the shark-like expression. Graham reminded him of the boys who used to bully him in school. Taunts of faggot, pretty boy, echoed in his memories. Buffering against the predator smile, Chris repeated, “As I’ve said, we’ll pick up the tab for your stay. It will only be for a few days. We’ll make sure the transition is seamless. You will not be inconvenienced.”

“I already am.”

“If you don’t like the arrangements I’ve made, then I’m sorry, but this is my home. I don’t open it up to guests. We’ll arrange for your airfare back home or a hotel if you decide to stay in the area. That’s my final offer.”

Graham sat forward, his hands casually in his lap. “I won’t be inconvenienced if you let me stay here until a room opens up. You said it’d only be a few days. Keep in mind that bad press is not always better than no press.”

Shit. Just as he’d thought, the guy used his power of media over him. Chris ran his hand through his hair. He licked his lips, tasting the big NO. If Gossipy! got a hold of this fiasco, they’d have a field day at the expense of Secretus’s reputation, not to mention blowing the anonymity that he coveted. The social-media sharks would pick up the story and twist the facts with fake news.

Better to take it on the chin.

“Well, what’s your decision, Mr. Katsaros? Do I stay or go?”

Chris could hide out in his office. They wouldn’t have to see much of each other. His most experienced concierge could serve as Graham’s private valet. Henri was one of the more mature staff and would be able to handle this asshole. Yeah. It’d be cool. Chris could do this without disturbing his routine.

Counting under this breath to ten, he squashed his pride. “You can stay through the weekend, and then you’ll need to either move to another room or a hotel if a cabin doesn’t become available.”

“Okay. That’s fair.”

“I’ll have your luggage delivered to your room.” Chris stood. “Come with me.”

Chris ignored Graham’s triumphant smile as he led him down the hallway. As Graham passed, Chris caught a whiff of cologne. The scent smelled a warm vanilla with a hint of sandalwood. Chris once had a crush on a guy who wore the same brand.

Avoiding eye contact, Chris stared ahead. He’d put Graham in the second bedroom overlooking the ocean. It was next to his room, but the third bedroom back of the hall would not be a wise decision. Freshly painted, the room stood empty. Not only that, but it was one of the darkest rooms in the house, positioned on the side of the forest. A sly grin rose as he pictured stuffing Graham into that postage-stamp bedroom and locking him inside. Oh, yeah, that would be sweet justice.

Chris opened the door to the bedroom and stepped inside. The room was furnished with a nightstand and dresser, the king-size bed made up and ready for guests. Not that many visitors stayed overnight. He never brought home a guy, preferring a bed where he could be the one to leave before morning.

Graham walked the perimeter and took in the high ceiling, ran his hand over the curved redwood wall, and then beelined to the glass sliding doors and stepped onto the balcony. He whistled through his teeth while taking in the panoramic ocean view.

A sense of pride swelled in Chris. This home was all his, built to his specifications. The sea shimmered in the sunlight. The air carried the scent of pines and saltwater. The coastal view and fresh air were Chris’s meditation. He couldn’t imagine living anyplace else, and that was why he never moved far from home.

“Now this is a million-dollar view.”

Graham’s genuine smile caused Chris’s heart to take a flying leap off the balcony. He had no idea that such an arrogant guy could look so boyish.

Not sure if he should stay or go, Chris stuttered, “Ah…lunch. You missed it.”

“I caught a bite on the road.”

“Dial star-twelve for room service if you get hungry. Dinner is served from five thirty to ten thirty. Do you have a car?”

“Yeah.”

“You can park at the back of the house. Josh will let you know about our services, and he’ll have your luggage sent to your room.”

Graham flopped on the bed and bounced a few times. “Ah, great mattress. This day is looking up.”

Chris momentarily lost his train of thought as he stared at Graham sprawled on the bed. His skin flushed as he pictured Graham naked. Muscles bulged under the man’s dress shirt. Chris steeled his mind to stay focused on the situation.

Graham lifted up on his elbows. “Please make dinner reservations for seven thirty. I’ll expect you to join me for dinner.”

Did Graham just ask him out? The agreement had been for Chris to give Graham a room, but that didn’t include being a dinner companion.

“I rarely dine out,” he mumbled while struggling to get his head around being asked out. As a rule, he only dated gay men who were out. Being the president of Equality Acceptance Now, he had a reputation to maintain. Another black check against Graham was that he was a guest.

Graham’s gaze swept over Chris, and he licked his lips.

Was that interest in those green eyes? Graham’s gaze seemed softer, more human and less like a man-eating shark’s. Having this conversation in the bedroom with those sexy eyes peering at Chris didn’t help his treacherous thoughts.

Nah. Don’t even think it. This is a fucking closet case.

“Graham.” Chris tried the name out and found it easily rolled off his tongue. “Like I said, I don’t go out for dinner.”

“Then it’ll be a treat for both of us.” Graham’s tone brooked no argument. “Since you’re the only man I know here, you’ll do.”

Chris’s stomach tightened at the backhanded compliment. “Now look here—”

“Hey, you agreed to my terms. And I read in your brochure that each guest has a personal valet. To see to your guest’s needs? I don’t like to dine alone.”

“I’ll assign you a valet.”

“You’ll do.”

Chris gritted his teeth. Who the fuck would want to date this guy?

“I don’t run an escort service. If you want companionship, you should go back to San Francisco, where there’s plenty of action.”

“I’m not asking to fuck you. Just dinner.”

Chris’s cock jumped at the mere suggestion, invoking an image of Graham fucking him in the ass. Chris’s visualization of this scenario made the situation even more treacherous.

Resigned to babysitting this guy, he sighed. “I’ll make the arrangements.”

Graham bounced from the bed and strode up to Chris with a big grin. “Great.”

Chris stepped back. The sheer magnetism oozing off Graham bothered him. Their gazes locked. Chris was tall, but he had to look up at Graham. He should have looked away, but the warmth in Graham’s eyes zapped his resolve to remain indifferent.

Beautiful color. Warm.

Graham swept his bangs off his forehead, and then his hair fell back into its proper place. “I’ll see you around quarter after seven, then. Meet in the living room?”

“Yeah. Sure.” Chris looked away first. “I need to get back to work.”

As he steadied his gait, going for nonchalance, he headed out, hearing Graham call out thanks. The guy could say thank-you. What a surprise.

Once inside his office, Chris locked the door and leaned against it, catching his breath. Winter was arrogant and pushy. Chris wiped his brow. His shorts were uncomfortably tight. The moment he’d laid eyes on Graham, his knees went weak and his groin got that achy, pleasant sensation.

The back door to the garden was still open, and he locked that too. No matter that he hid in his bolt hole, he sensed Graham in the bedroom doing fuck knew what, and well, shit, Chris tried to stay focused on his tasks.

 

Copyright © Viki Lyn

About the Author
Multi-published and award winner, Viki Lyn is a successful writer of gay paranormal and contemporary romance. After reading and collecting whatever she could get her hands on, she wrote her first male/male romance. And that was ‘it’ for her. She never looked back. Viki travels the world in search of inspiration. She considers herself blessed to have traveled to many of the mystical sites she had dreamed about as a child. Her travel experiences have been influential in creating her paranormal worlds. When she needs to relax, she calls a friend to meet at their favorite coffee house. When the chattering in her head goes off the charts, she plays one of her favorite RPGs on her PS4 and immerses herself in the world of dragons and magic.
You can email Viki at viki.lyn.romance@gmail.com.
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