Amazing Author book reviews: Lou Harper

Before I start, I have to declare that I beta-read all of these stories so I’m hardly the most objective reviewer. However, I’d never have offered to beta for Lou in the first place if I hadn’t loved her writing. She has a lightness of touch and playful way with language that I love. You won’t find anything saccharine here, but neither will you find bucketloads of angst.

Last Stop

When love drifts into his life, danger isn’t far behind.

Sam Mayne’s life is as dull as the dishwater in his small-town Montana diner, and that’s just how he wants it. Quiet, uneventful, safe from his shadowy past. The breezy young drifter who answers his help-wanted ad makes him uneasy in ways he dare not examine too closely. Except he can’t help but be pulled in by Jay Colby’s spunky attitude, endless stories, and undeniable sex appeal.

Fresh off yet another romantic disaster, Jay doesn’t understand his attraction to the taciturn line cook, but there’s no fighting the chemistry that lands them in bed together. Where Sam’s subtly dominant streak takes command, and Jay delights in discovering the pleasures of his submissive side.

Safe in the assumption their relationship is temporary, neither lover holds back when the heat is on. Until Sam’s deadly past catches up with them with a vengeance, forcing him to drop the life he’s built, pick up his lover, and run. As danger cuts closer to the bone, Sam and Jay are forced to face the truth. About themselves, about the depth of their love—and the newly forged bonds that are about to be tested to the limit.

Product Warnings:

Contains enough sparks to ignite a sexual fire, ably fanned by the judicious use of some interesting props, as well as some butt-warming spanking. Sizzzzle.

Review:

Last Stop is a thrilling road trip complete with mobsters and a smattering of kink, albeit at the lighter end of the spectrum. The story begins with a sense of false calm as young Jay drifts into Sam’s life and bed, but it’s overshadowed by the threatening prologue and the snippets of conversation between mobsters that begin each chapter. When the action does finally kick off it’s explosive and a real pageturner.

I’m a huge fan of cute and slutty twink characters, and Jay fits the bill perfectly. He’s slept his way around a succession of sugar daddies and Sam enjoys hearing his tales of his sexual exploits. However, in the taciturn Sam Jay has finally found his match. You won’t find any soppy emoting in this story, but I loved watching the love grow between the two men, expressing itself in a thousand tiny, blokish ways. This might not be your typical m/m romance, but I think that’s a strength rather than a shortcoming in this case.

PSST! – want to win a copy of Last Stop? Then head on over to Joyfully Jay and leave a comment on the post to be in with a chance!

Academic Pursuits

Jamie Brennan is putting “cad” back into academia!

The son of a well-to-do family and blessed with both dark good looks and buckets of confidence, Jamie lives for the chase. He has a well-deserved reputation around college as a seducer of straight frat boys. No man is off-limits to Jamie—he’s happy to help fellow gay students out of the closet, too. He even has lustful designs on his oblivious English professor, so it’s no surprise that his amorous pursuits often land him in sticky situations.

There’s just one flaw in Jamie’s perfect world—Roger Hunt. The hunky grad student, who dresses more like a lumberjack than the talented artist he is, gives Jamie hostile looks every time their paths cross. Jamie tries to ignore Roger, but they can’t seem to stop running into each other, and Jamie’s beginning to wonder if it’s more than chance that continues to steer them down the same halls…

Review:

This is another story from Lou featuring an adorably and unabashedly slutty character. Jamie makes no apologies for his hobby seducing straight boys, and throughout the story has numerous sexual partners. However, he treats them all well, even gently helping the lovable Butch to understand that he isn’t actually gay, he simply enjoys being pegged.

The one man Jamie can’t seem to charm, however, is the dashingly handsome yet unfuriatingly superior Roger Hunt. The dynamic between them reads like an updated Pride and Prejudice, with Hunt as Darcy. Those reading purely for the romance aspect will probably be disappointed that the two men don’t get more page time together, but if you approach it as a fun and comic erotic tale leading to a romantic happy ending you can’t go far wrong.

Hanging Loose

When you fall in love, it can’t all just be hanging loose…

After graduating from art school Nate left the Midwest for sunny Southern California, not quite sure what he hoped to find. It was almost certainly not falling in love with another man. His whole world and assumptions about himself begin to slowly turn upside down on one hot summer day. Seeking respite from the heat and his loneliness at Venice Beach he has a chance encounter with a handsome blond surfer.

Jez is friendly, easygoing, and just a little bit mysterious. Openly gay, Jez offers cutie Nate a place to stay, and the two men become fast friends. Nate makes new friends, adjusts to his new life, but his unbidden attraction to Jez keeps growing. In their moments of closeness Nate realizes that he wants Jez more than just a friend, but it might be too late. To make Jez his, Nate has to face not only his own fears and insecurities, but his mysterious mate has secrets of his own.

Review:

Hanging Loose is an original and beautifully written novella with a great cast of characters, narrated by Nate, a young man with a off-beat way of looking at the world. Even reading through the story for the umpteenth time, I was still charmed by his way with words, especially when drunk (Nate that is, not me!). Indeed, it is when under the influence that Nate begins to acknowledge his true feelings for Jez, so these scenes are of vital importance. It might sound like a classic gay for you story, but although it should please readers who enjoy that trope, Nate is most definitely bisexual – he’s just been in denial. Watching him slowly come to realise this is both touching and entertaining, and I loved his tendency to compare Jez to foodstuffs, even before admitting to himself he was attracted to his roommate.

One thing that really impressed me on rereading is how we get a very clear visual on Nate, despite his modest assumption that he is plain and uninteresting. Lou has a great handle on descriptive detail, giving enough to make the setting and characters come alive without it ever getting too much. Indeed, there’s a perfect balance of description and dialogue, with some steamy sex scenes thrown in for good measure, so it should please even the most fussy m/m readers!

The setting of LA is used to great effect, from the bizarre Venice Beach packed with street performers, via the glamour of movie industry parties on Mulholland Drive, to the hippy house in the hills where Jez’s old family friends live. The city feels like a character all of its own, a melting pot of cultures where the influence of Hollywood can be felt throughout. Nate and Jez are both fans of classic Hollywood movies, and their friend, the aging Arthur, was involved in the industry himself. Nate has many happy conversations with him, enjoying his tales of a bygone age (complete with plenty of scandalous tales of his encounters with famous actors – the “dirty old coot”!)

The secondary characters are all well crafted, and while I especially loved Arthur, the spiky Ginny and smooth actor Mark were two other favourites. The Arthur subplot gives the otherwise fairly angst-free story great depth, and I was moved to tears when reading it’s resolution. The themes of taking care of the sick and elderly, and of being trapped by others’ expectations as Jez is, ensure that this otherwise light-hearted story will stick around in your memory long after finishing reading. It’s hard to explain this aspect without giving major spoilers, but Jez’s reason for seeming to just drift through life is unexpected and a moral dilemma I’ve never encountered in an m/m romance before.

In short, highly recommended to anyone who enjoys characterful narrators, a good dose of quirky humour, and a truly original plot. A perfect summer read, in which you can almost taste the sunshine!

And if you want to a free taster of Lou’s writing, Tomfoolery is a delightful short you can download for absolutely nothing!

Goodreads +++ Smashwords +++ All Romance Ebooks +++ Amazon +++ Amazon UK

 

Sweet and Kinky – guest blog by Lou Harper (NSFW!)

Hi, my name is Lou Harper, and I watch gay porn. I call it research, but the truth is, I get off on it. Why? I dunno, but I know I’m not alone. At the same time, I don’t care for het porn. I would be tempted to say the inherent power inequality puts me off, but it’s that very same thing that interests me when it comes to two guys. Twink-on-twink action only mildly excites me, but put that twink with a hairy jock, and I drool.

I like contrast, dark chocolate with sweet vanilla, a taciturn mature man paired with a chatty young drifter, as it happens in Last Stop, probably my sexiest story to date. I didn’t plan it that way, it just happened. This whole book has been a happy accident, inspiration springing seemingly out of nowhere. I just had to go with the flow. Continue reading

Introducing Lou Harper – June’s Amazing Author

Today, for my very last Amazing Author spotlight, I’m excited to introduce my good friend Lou Harper. Lou has only just had her first novel out with Samhain, but she has a few short stories and novellas out there, and more in the pipeline.

I’ve known Lou for years – she was my first true online friend. We bonded over a mutual love of Torchwood, homoeroticism, Monty Python and the English language. It turns out that not only is Lou a major anglophile, but she’s an extremely talented photographer, graphic artist, and writer. She’s designed covers for me, Josh Lanyon, Kari Gregg, Harper Fox, Anne Tenino, Clare London, JL Merrow, and of course, herself. Check out some of her designs here.

Lou is also one of the last remaining Twitter resisters, and she tweets me using the medium of vintage postcards she picks up in LA flea markets. I love her for that. One of these days I’m going to head over to LA and meet her in person for the very first time. Watch it, Lou–you’ll have to be my tour guide and show me around Venice Beach and all those wonderful places you keep telling me about!

Today Lou will be guest blogging at twelve with a thoroughly non worksafe post about kink, and then I’ll be posting a few reviewettes of her stories at 2 (ish). Do say hello to her – she’s lovely :D

About Lou:

Under a prickly, cynical surface Lou Harper is an incorrigible romantic. Her love affair with the written word started at a tender age. There was never a time when stories weren’t romping around in her head. She is currently embroiled in a ruinous romance with adjectives. In her free time Lou stalks deviant words and feral narratives.

Lou’s favorite animal is the hedgehog. She likes nature, books, movies, photography, and good food. She has a temper and mood swings.

Lou has misspent most of her life in parts of Europe and the US, but is now firmly settled in Los Angeles and worships the sun. However, she thinks the ocean smells funny. Lou is a loner, a misfit, and a happy drunk.

Website: http://louharper.com/

Blog: http://louharper.blogspot.com/

Email: lou_harper@ymail.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4783513.Lou_Harper

Amazing Author book reviews: Clare London

As Clare has written six novels, seven novellas, and more short stories than I care to count right now, this only represents a small fraction of her output. However, I’ve reviewed her three latest shorts, the wonderful novelette she wrote as part of Jordan Castillo Price’s Petit Morts series, and my all time favourite of her novels, Freeman.

The True Colors sequels

 

 

AMBUSH (#1)

Before meeting Zeke Roswell, Miles Winter’s priorities were clear: business, then pleasure. Before Zeke, he wouldn’t have cleared his desk earlier than usual, waiting for his artist lover to share his preparations for his latest gallery exhibit—on bondage. And he certainly wouldn’t have let Zeke try out some of the pieces on him, right there in the middle of his office. If he’d had any choice, that is.

PAYBACK (#2)

Zeke Roswell and Miles Winter met as business enemies, when Miles acquired Zeke’s precious but neglected art gallery. And then things changed. Over time, they were thrown together as mismatched—and very reluctant—partners, until their attraction grew stronger than any argument. Even if Miles did protest the other night when Zeke cuffed him to his office filing cabinet and had his way with him. In fact, Miles promised there’d be payback… and Zeke doesn’t know it yet, but Miles is about to collect.

SWITCH (#3)

Miles wants to be closer than ever to Zeke, as their commitment to each other grows in strength. Specifically, Miles wants to take things a sexual step farther. Versatility isn’t something he’s been ready for before, but he knows how deeply he feels about Zeke. Can he rely on his lover to feel the same, and make it everything they ever wanted?

Review:

Taken together these three shorts have a complete arc, showing the deepening of Miles and Zeke’s relationship after the drama of True Colors has come to an end. However, they are also each a sexy and satisfying erotic short story in their own right.

The first two books are both set in Miles’ office after hours, and feature Zeke and then Miles taking it in turns to dominate the other. There’s a frisson of bondage in the first (although nothing more shocking than a pair of handcuffs), but Miles confines his domination to verbal commands. The action sizzles with passion and a healthy side-order of kink, but that’s not all that you’ll find here. There’s a definite strand of emotional growth and togetherness that runs through both stories, and culminates in the third.

Switch sees the two lovers abandon their working lives to return to Miles flat, as Miles has finally decided he wants Zeke to top him. This time the sexy stuff is shot through with even more loving awareness, and it forms a really satisfying and heart-warming end to the series.

Although these three shorts are probably best read after the novel, Clare doesn’t assume you’ll have read it first, and includes everything you need to know about their prior relationship in the first book. So there’s no excuse not to go and buy them right now, you hear me?!

 

London Eye (Petit Morts #12)

Oliver’s been dumped by his date in the backstreets of London, where his Armani suit and a rich family background don’t count for much.

Des is waiting tables to make ends meet, reconciled to the fact that all he attracts are lame ducks and lost causes.

Two different men, two very different worlds.

Then Des’s cheerful generosity meets Oliver’s lovelorn confusion over a cup of coffee and a bag of sinfully good chocolates…Enter Chance, working at the Cafe Mystique under the looming presence of the London Eye, searching as always for The One, matchmaking with his own brand of sensual, sweet and shocking magic.

What follows is a mix of providence, passion and good old British pounds. After all, everyone should give credit where credit’s due.

Review:

I was so excited to hear that Clare would be joining the Petit Morts team of Jordan Castillo Price, Josh Lanyon and Sean Kennedy – what a fabulous group of talented writers! I was also thrilled to discover she was setting her story in London, the city she knows so intimately.

London Eye does namecheck the giant ferris wheel that dominates the skyline, but the story itself is firmly grounded in the lives of working Londoners. Des and Oliver might come from different class backgrounds, but as soon as they meet their compatibility is obvious, even if only to the reader. However, it takes a sprinkling of Chance’s magic to help Oliver let go of all his preoccupations and his wealth, and just enjoy spending time with Des for the sake of it.

This is a great story for sampling Clare’s masterful dialogue – she writes wonderful banter, that manages to be emotionally nuanced while avoiding mushy sentiment. These two characters are so much fun to sit back and watch interacting.

Again, I don’t think you need to have read the whole Petit Morts series to enjoy this book. The overall story arc concerning Chance is not the focus of this story, so it works well as a standalone. That said, the series is fabulous so why not read them all?

 

Freeman

Freeman’s return to the city is quiet, without fuss — the way he likes things. But, he’s missed by more people than he thought: his ex-wife, his ex-lover, and his ex-business partner. One wants friendship, another one intimacy. The third just wants him the hell gone again.

Freeman — private, controlled — hasn’t time or appetite for trouble. But, when he strikes up an unusual, ill-advised friendship with young, lively, amoral Kit, it seems trouble’s come looking for both men, ready to expose secrets that can destroy the fragile trust they’ve built. Freeman’s more ready for the challenge than anyone realizes when the choice comes down to peace or Kit’s life.

Review:

A deliciously gritty mystery tale with a terse and unreliable narrator, this novel hooked me in and didn’t let go. It’s not an easy read, but the tour through the sordid criminal underbelly of a large city had a tense atmosphere and plenty of mystery to keep me intrigued.

Perhaps the most enigmatic thing about the whole novel is Freeman himself, our narrator. Considering how little he tells us about his past and his motives, it’s amazing how sympathetic a character he remains. This is partly down to his wry humour and acceptance of his faults, but also because of his relationship to Kit. Despite the vulnerable young man throwing himself at Freeman, he maintains a respectful distance until he realises just how hard he’s fallen for him.

Kit is another great character. Voluble and charming, he’s been sucked into a life of near-prostitution to a criminal businessman with the naive hope of bettering himself. Freeman doesn’t lecture him about his lifestyle choices, but is the friend Kit can go to when things get difficult and he needs time to just relax. Their love grows slowly throughout the novel, but there are major barriers to it caused by Freeman finally revealing what his true mission has always been, both to Kit and the reader. It was a case of “I really didn’t see that one coming”, and I was amazed at how well Clare London had hidden this plot twist considering the story is narrated by Freeman himself.

Interviewing Zeke and Miles – a guest post by Clare London

The first thing I notice is that he’s on time for the interview. There’s a polite smile and a firm handshake, then he unbuttons his jacket and settles in one of the armchairs opposite me. He looks both alert and relaxed. It’s an exclusive club and I’ve only been allowed in today as his guest. But he doesn’t seem to show the blatant arrogance I’ve come to expect from the captains of industry I’ve met on previous assignments, nor any of the diva displays I’ve suffered from the celebrities. Whoever said a journalist’s life was all glamour? Most of my time’s spent simpering or cajoling or even bullying.

With Miles Winter, it doesn’t look like I’ll need any of those strategies.

That’s not to say I’d underestimate him. He’s still relatively young and unfairly handsome, with those intense eyes and full lips. Could be one of those designer models for Armani suits. But I know his credentials. He’s one of the best investment brokers around, he’s made more money than even my imagination can put a figure to, and he’s a tough negotiator. And of course, he’s experienced in meeting the press.

“You look nervous,” he says. “Didn’t you say this was just a feature article for the review pages?” His voice is calm, his lips twisted in what I hope is a sympathetic smile.

That’d better not be a blush creeping up my neck. “Yes, of course. Just a few paragraphs in the magazine, nothing too stressful I hope, Mr Winter. But …” A glance around finds the lounge all but deserted this time of day, only the two of us and a discreet waiter passing through with the coffee. “Is Mr Roswell here?”

Miles smiles, a little tightly, a little ruefully. “Not yet. I understand that he’s probably the more fascinating subject.”

“No,” I say, too quickly. Miles’ eyebrows rise. “I mean, of course I want to meet him – to interview you both together – but I’m especially interested in you.” My tongue feels thick in my mouth: it’s been a while since I was sent to meet someone I genuinely admire. “I’ve followed your career for a long time. I was with the Financial Times for a period.”

He nods, his expression softer. “Good. Do you want to start with a few warm-up questions while we wait?”

“Yes, thanks.” I glance through the list of his business interests. He’s brought plenty of properties to his investment clients, but nowadays there’s a more significant proportion in art than in financial services. “You’ve diversified over the last few years, I believe.” Why does he suddenly flush? His business deals are common knowledge. “Our readers would dearly like to know if that’s mainly because of your involvement with Zeke Roswell?”

As if on cue, the lounge door slams open and Zeke Roswell bursts in. I imagine there’s always a burst of something when he arrives. I recognise the good looks, the lean, graceful body, the bright, fierce eyes. He’s been in the news a lot over the last year. But the effect is much more vivid in real life. I feel that blush creep over my face again. He nods at me and mutters a rueful apology for being late, says he misjudged the time. Not that he’s wearing a watch. Then he glances over at Miles.

The atmosphere suddenly changes in the room. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t been right here. The air tightens: I feel warmer. Zeke’s gaze is concentrated on Miles, his lips twisted in a smile. His expression is eager; hungry. Like he hasn’t seen Miles for days, despite the fact they’re living together. That’s common knowledge, too, surely?

Miles’s gaze is fixed just as carefully on Zeke. I’m beginning to feel like that third wheel they talk about.

I clear my throat and they both turn to me. Zeke grins, as if the spell is broken, and drops into the chair beside Miles. “So what do you wanna know?” he drawls. “If your comic’s looking for something outrageous from us….”

“Like at your exhibition, “Connections”?” I’d been lucky enough to catch that event, getting entry on a journalist friend’s spare ticket. Apart from being a provocative and exciting exhibition, it had been the press’s first chance to see the two men as a public couple. Their kiss in full view of the whole gallery had been … both startling and very sexy.

Miles smiles, his eyes on me as if he can see what’s in my mind. “I think you’ll find we’re rather more boring nowadays.”

“Right,” Zeke murmurs. “Of course we are.” He’s smirking, but meets my gaze openly. “So, ask away. What’s your angle? Money? That’s Miles’s department. The gallery? That’d be me. I do some drawing.”

Miles rolls his eyes. I take that as my chance to wrest back this interview from the disorientating effect of their combined charisma. “I think it’s more than just drawing, Mr Roswell.”

“Zeke.”

“Okay, Zeke. Your last exhibition…” I don’t need to look down at my notes, but it’s a welcome break from his dancing, amused gaze. “… called “Bondage” was a huge hit. Outrageous, ingenious, an assault on all senses, the reviews said. Its run was extended for several months. And your paintings are in fierce demand again.”

“Yeah.” He glances at Miles again. “It pays the bills.”

Miles laughs, a very pleasant and rather startling sound. I’m excited – I don’t remember anyone ever including laughter in a piece about Miles Winter. “I was just talking to Mr Winter –”

“You mean Miles?”

“Yes, I mean, Mr W- Miles. I was talking about his recent diversification.”

“You were? Really?” Zeke looks like he wants to laugh, too. What the hell have I said that’s so amusing to them both?

Miles takes pity on me, reaching over to lay a hand on Zeke’s arm. “She means that I’ve enjoyed owning a gallery or two. Sponsoring art. Even though you’ve purchased back the Roswell Gallery, I’ve decided to stay in the field.”

“You’re nothing if not versatile,” Zeke says. This time they both laugh, and Miles flushes again.

I cough, rather snappily now. No one likes being left out of a private joke, do they? “I believe Red de Vere is your partner in some of these ventures.”

Miles nods. “Yes. Red and I have been friends for many years, and we’re both businessmen, even though we haven’t often worked together in the same sector.”

“He’s always popular with our readers.” Like most people, I know Red de Vere’s reputation as a playboy, with plenty of investment in the entertainment industry, even if it’s more often as a consumer. “Though he hasn’t featured in the magazine recently.”

Zeke snorts, and mutters something under his breath about “wings being clipped”.

My fingers itch at the thought of a scoop. “He’s been seen with a friend of yours, Zeke, hasn’t he? With Carter Davison. Is there anything to the rumour…?”

“I doubt it,” Mile answers firmly, even before I have a chance to ask.

“Carter’s very private, not a fan of the limelight like me,” Zeke says, and shrugs. “What can you do?” There’s mischief in his eyes, though, so maybe there’s more to come on that story, another day.

“So, our readers would like to know what your plans are for the year ahead. In your work,” I look at them both, very deliberately, “and privately. Socially. As a couple.”

“The human interest angle,” Zeke says, grinning again, while Miles grimaces. Zeke pulls his chair closer to Miles’s and mock punches Miles’s shoulder. “I’m gonna draw some more. I have some ideas for another exhibition in the summer. Miles is gonna make a few more millions and keep me in the style to which I’d like to become accustomed.”

“Zeke.” Miles frowns, but his eyes are twinkling.

“We’re going to spend more time together. Gonna handle this work-life balance thing better. We’re planning a holiday…”

“We are?” Miles looks startled.

“…somewhere with a white sand beach and cocktails in the pool and no need for beach shorts, so I can take shameless advantage of his cute, firm, very successful as-”

“Enough!” Miles laughs, obviously seeing that now I’m the one who’s flushed. He stands, holding out a hand to help me up out of the plush chair. “I’m sorry, I think we’ll have to leave the interview for today. It’s my fault.” He glances at Zeke. “Our fault. I remember I have another appointment…”

Zeke snorts again.

This hasn’t really gone to plan, but I don’t seem to be able to get angry with either of them. They’re standing very close to each other, not exactly embracing, but keeping so obviously in touch, as if they can’t resist. Zeke’s restless hand trails around Miles’s hip. Miles’s lids look heavier than before, as if he’s sleepy. The affection and desire between them is both enchanting and sensual, even when only hinted at. Far more than friends, but still maintaining some propriety in this sophisticated club. “What about a couple of photos of you together?” I ask, weakly.

“Photos? Sounds good,” Zeke says, enthusiastically. “Especially of his cute, firm –”

Miles steps firmly in front of him, and Zeke’s sentence trails off into a chuckle. Miles takes my hand. “Please come to dinner on Friday at the town house. We’ll allow some photos then, and hopefully a more relaxed setting for your feature.”

“Really?” This is a real coup for the magazine. And – I’m amazed to realise – something I’ll look forward to personally.

“Do you have any food preferences?” Miles looks thoughtful and almost excited – for a brief moment, just like any other sociable young man planning an evening’s entertaining at home. “I’ll cook something Italian…”

Zeke’s chin rests momentarily on Miles’s shoulder. “See? I told you he’s nothing if not versatile.” Miles jerks slightly and his eyes open suddenly, widely, almost as if Zeke had just patted him on the buttocks. Zeke winks at me.

I judge it time to leave. They have other things on their minds.

***

Find out more about Zeke and Miles in True Colors, Ambush, Payback and Switch, all available from Dreamspinner Press.

The True Colors series by Clare London

As Clare will soon be here with an exclusive interview with Zeke and Miles, the two heroes from True Colors, I thought I’d better post the blurbs so those of your unfamiliar with the series can get the basics, and the rest of us can be reminded of an old favourite!

TRUE COLORS

From the very first, Zeke Roswell and Miles Winter are like oil and water. After a tragic fire claimed his brother’s life, Zeke’s personal and professional life spiraled out of control, and now he has no choice but to sell his gallery to cover his debts. Enter successful entrepreneur Miles, who buys it and plans to make a commercial success out of Zeke’s failure.

Their initial hostility stands no chance against the strong passion that ambushes them. Zeke’s talent and lust for life intoxicate Miles, and Zeke finds Miles’s self-assurance and determination equally fascinating. But it’s not until an unsolved mystery of violence and stolen sketches threatens to sabotage any chance at happiness that Miles and Zeke realize they have a chance at all.

 

 

 

 

AMBUSH (#1)

Before meeting Zeke Roswell, Miles Winter’s priorities were clear: business, then pleasure. Before Zeke, he wouldn’t have cleared his desk earlier than usual, waiting for his artist lover to share his preparations for his latest gallery exhibit—on bondage. And he certainly wouldn’t have let Zeke try out some of the pieces on him, right there in the middle of his office. If he’d had any choice, that is.

PAYBACK (#2)

Zeke Roswell and Miles Winter met as business enemies, when Miles acquired Zeke’s precious but neglected art gallery. And then things changed. Over time, they were thrown together as mismatched—and very reluctant—partners, until their attraction grew stronger than any argument. Even if Miles did protest the other night when Zeke cuffed him to his office filing cabinet and had his way with him. In fact, Miles promised there’d be payback… and Zeke doesn’t know it yet, but Miles is about to collect.

SWITCH (#3)

Miles wants to be closer than ever to Zeke, as their commitment to each other grows in strength. Specifically, Miles wants to take things a sexual step farther. Versatility isn’t something he’s been ready for before, but he knows how deeply he feels about Zeke. Can he rely on his lover to feel the same, and make it everything they ever wanted?

All books available from Dreamspinner Press and Amazon.com, among others.

Introducing Clare London – May’s Amazing Author

I remember reading my very first Clare London short story in the Dreamspinner Sindustry anthology back when I first started reading m/m fiction. I was charmed by her lively prose, likable characters and great banter, and put her down on my list of authors to read again. I then met Clare in person—almost two years ago—at the very first UK Meet in Ely library. She struck me at the time as being an incredibly warm, friendly and helpful person, with a great sense of humour. She also gave me a lovely hug after signing a book for me, which I’ll always remember.

Since then we’ve met up numerous times, and I’ve stayed the night at her place after an evening out in Soho. We’ve worked together on the UK Meet anthologies, the Winter Warmers anthology and organising this year’s UK Meet. You wouldn’t believe how hard this talented woman works, and somehow manages to stay cheerful :D

I’m now happy to include Clare in the list of people I consider friends in real life, not just online. She’s the only other author I know to have called round for a cup of tea at my house, and she’s an absolutely terrible gossip on the phone! Oh, okay then, a good gossip ;)

I can’t say I’ve managed to read all of Clare’s books just yet – her backlist is long, as befits someone who’s been writing in this genre since the early days. However, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the books I have read, and I still believe she gives the best hugs ever!

Coming up today will be a guest post from Clare at midday, and my reviews of a few of her stories at 2pm. I’ll also be posting the blurbs for her latest trilogy of short stories in a moment. Clare will be popping by to respond to comments, so do come along and say hello :D

About Clare:

Clare London took her pen name from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with the weekly wash, waiting for the far distant day when she can afford to give up her day job as an accountant. She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters.

Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.

All the details and free fiction are available at her website. Visit her today and say hello!

Website: http://www.clarelondon.co.uk

Blog: http://clarelondon.livejournal.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/clarelondon

MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/clarelondon

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/clare_london

Good Reads: http://www.goodreads.com/clarelondon

GLBT Wiki: http://bookworld.editme.com/clarelondonbooks

 

Excerpt: Ambush by Clare London

I was meant to have Clare guest blogging over here yesterday, but what with one thing and another, we’ve decided to move her day to 23rd May. However, in the meantime, here’s a peek at Clare’s latest release – a follow up story to the fabulous and sexy True Colors.

Ambush by Clare London

Sequel to True Colors

BLURB: Before meeting Zeke Roswell, Miles Winter’s priorities were clear: business, then pleasure. Before Zeke, he wouldn’t have cleared his desk earlier than usual, waiting for his artist lover to share his preparations for his latest gallery exhibit—on bondage. And he certainly wouldn’t have let Zeke try out some of the pieces on him, right there in the middle of his office. If he’d had any choice, that is.

Available now from Dreamspinner Press

Payback coming on April 25th, and  Switch on May 23rd

EXCERPT:

“Which exhibit do you like, Miles? Which one appeals to you? Tell me.” He waved a hand at the stuff on the floor. “I want to know which one cries promise.”

Miles cleared his throat. “Later.” Hadn’t he said that already? He seemed to be having some trouble speaking. Under his white silk shirt, his chest was heaving.

Zeke just stood there. He held his hands behind his back, as if nervous of his approach, but his eyes sparkled with amusement and hunger. “So. You want to deal with my inappropriateness?”

“I don’t….”

“You don’t?” Zeke swayed slightly on the balls of his feet. His vest was just a little too short and a little too tight, clinging to his abs and riding up over his waistband at one side. As always.

“I mean….” Miles wondered what the hell he did mean, but instinct took over. “Yes, I want to deal with you. Just somewhere more private. More comfortable.”

“You think?”

“I think.” He reached out for Zeke’s arm and pulled him closer. Zeke’s eyes widened, as if Miles had used more force than strictly necessary. Miles could smell Zeke’s skin, sweet and sweaty from rushing through town to the office. He could feel Zeke’s pulse and see the challenge in his eyes. He could feel his own heartbeat thudding, speeding the blood through his veins, throbbing at his throat and making him slightly dizzy. This happened too often for him to control: too rarely for him ever to tire of it. “Kiss me.”

Zeke stepped the final half step closer, his hip bumping Miles’s thigh, his gaze lingering on Miles’s mouth. “This place is just too damned big,” he growled. “Too much floor space between us. A guy could get lost in here, you know? Could park your limo in here, play football, stage a Greek orgy, for fuck’s sake.”

“So let’s make that a smaller event, just for us. Come here.” Miles slid his arm around Zeke’s waist and pulled him in tightly against his chest. Miles’s senses wallowed happily in the kiss. Taste of heaven. His tongue darted into Zeke’s mouth, their panting breath mingling, his fingers tightening on Zeke’s hip. He was still propped against his desk, but now the edge of it was cutting into the back of his thighs. The clinch with Zeke had pushed him to its corner, with a tall wooden filing cabinet at his right side and only the spectacular picture window beyond that. An occasional arc of light from a large vehicle glittered against the glass of the window; the blare of a horn echoed in the distance, muffled by the heavy glazing.

Zeke’s boot knocked against the cabinet as his knee nudged in between Miles’s legs, spreading them apart. The desk shook, and the papers on the pile behind him rustled.

“We should get back home,” he gasped.

Zeke’s tongue slipped out of Miles’s mouth, and he started licking at Miles’s neck instead. “Yeah.” Zeke’s murmur didn’t sound much like he was paying proper attention. “Soon.”

Miles slid his hands down Zeke’s arms, feeling the muscles, relishing the strength. He reached behind Zeke’s back to grasp the other man’s hands and clasp them in his, but at the last moment, Zeke twisted his arm and pulled his left hand free. Without warning, he curled his fingers around Miles’s wrist and gripped it tight.

“Zeke?”

“We’ll get home,” Zeke whispered against Miles’s neck. “But after.”

***

Clare London, Author
Writing… Man to Man 

http://www.clarelondon.co.uk
http://www.facebook.com/clarelondon
http://clarelondon.livejournal.com/

Zahra Owens writes: a Fran and Jay flashfic

This is the last of Zahra’s promtfics from when she was blogging here last week. I hope you’ll all join me in saying a big thank you to her for being such a wonderful sport and writing all this for you :D

Now over to Zahra:

Katherine Halle asked for: a jealous possessive man staking his claim on his lover

She didn’t give me any characters, so I chose them for her. Fran and Jay are my characters from
and
(that first one is written for charity. $1.20 for every copy sold will go to It Gets Better)

A little back story: In You Can’t Choose Your Family, Jay and Fran are pushing forty, in You Can Choose Your friends, they’re eighteen. This snippet they’re that age too.

***

In public, Fran was always in control of himself, always calm, always even and level. He’d learned that the hard way, having to sit in his father’s church while he endured hearing his father preach against homosexuals. Fran had learned not to react while his father was sowing hatred against his own son, and people like his son, but this was different. This had nothing to do with hatred and everything with love.

Jay had taken him to a party that was a little unusual for them. Normally they went to frat parties full of scantily clad cheerleaders and sports jocks, where beer was funneled into throats and the party-goers couldn’t get drunk fast enough. This party was only men. Gay men. And Fran had never felt so out of place. In his mind he knew he was a part of this community, and that he should feel safe and appreciated, but after trying not to belong for so long, this took some getting used to.

Jay certainly felt at home. He was smiling and flirting with the guys who gravitated toward him like a magnet, just like everyone else who came into contact with them. But some of those guys were tall, muscled college guys like Jay, and all Fran could think about was that they fit Jay better than he did.

Fran had never understood what Jay saw in him. Yes, they were going to move in together in a room in Jay’s brothers’ flat and yes, they spent every free moment together. The sex, frankly, was mind-boggling, even if they had to sneak around roommates, and Fran couldn’t wait for them to have their own room, but he was still waiting for the realization to set in with Jay that Fran was just a repressed runt who wasn’t worth Jay’s adoration.
Fran stood on the sidelines, watching as Jay returned from the bar carrying two glasses of beer. He wasn’t getting far. He had to snake between hordes of guys, and most of them turned around and started chatting him up. Jay seemed to enjoy the attention, and Fran felt a knot starting to form in his stomach. On more than one occasion, he wanted to walk over and deck the guy trying to get his hands on Jay, but he knew he’d never win the fight and besides, he didn’t have the nerve to claim Jay. All he could hope for was that Jay would return to him quickly.
In the meantime he clenched his fists, feeling his nails dig into his flesh, even though he liked keeping them neat and short. His throat was dry and his vision blurred. He wanted to run, but couldn’t. He wanted the wall to swallow him, but knew it wouldn’t.
It felt like it took forever for Jay to reach him and once he did, Fran grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and turned him around before pushing him against back the wall.

“Hey, easy, loverboy,” Jay shouted out over the dance music, holding up the two glasses as he tried not to spill too much beer.

“I thought those guys would never stop.”

“What guys?”

“All the college kids, and the dirty old men trying to get their hands on you.”

“They’re just guys trying to have a good time, Frannie. They can flirt here, which they can’t do at the other parties we go to.”

“Horny men. Eyeing your butt.”

Jay giggled. “You’re jealous.”

“No, I’m not.”

“Yes, you are.” Jay was laughing. “I see the green-eyed monster.”

“I just…,” Fran let go of Jay and took a step back, but Jay put his beers down and pulled him closer again.

“You just what?”

Fran shook his head, his shoulders low.

“Frannie, you know I love you. You’re the man for me.”

“I’m not much of a man,” Fran sulked.

“You’re plenty man for me.”

“But they’re all so buff and blond and so much more like you than me.” Fran wasn’t whining, but he came close.

Jay gave him a compassionate look. “I don’t want guys that look like me. I want guys that look like you. One guy in particular.”

Fran wasn’t convinced.

“I haven’t even as much as looked at another guy since I met you, Fran. I don’t need to. I can’t wait to go home and spend time with you, and I’m counting the days until we can move into the apartment.”

Fran didn’t know how to channel his feelings. He looked into Jay’s eyes and saw nothing but love. And it was all directed to him. So he grabbed Jay again, pushed him against the wall, and kissed him until they were both starved for oxygen. For the first time in his life, he dared to do this with other people present. Jay was right. It was allowed here. And as he felt Jay rubbing up against him, he knew they’d do this again, just to be able to feel this free.

Zahra Owens writes to order: a Trust flashfic

Lillian Francis said: I really enjoyed Trust and would really like to see a snippet out of the boys’ future. I don’t think life will be easy for them.

A little back story: Matt is an ex-Marine turned deep undercover FBI agent, who has been living with a New York mafia family for six years. One night he is picked up off the street by a man who moves in the higher ranks of the Family. Nick Castro stands out since he’s heavily tattooed and likes wearing ostentatious jewelry. Nick seduced Matt into switching jobs to work for the second in command of the Family and Matt is let in on a secret. Nick is even deeper undercover than him, and for the same outfit. Together they bring down the Family and against all odds, are enrolled into the Witness Protection Program together.

Continue reading