It’s a Halloween Sale! All Treats, no Tricks!

Hey! All my Dreamspinner titles are discounted 31% off for Halloween–now until Nov 1st! How can you resist that?

Fancy a little vampire/werewolf story? Check out Crying for the Moon–Alex Novik has an unusual dilemma–he wants to make a new existence for himself by leaving his vampire past behind. Along the way, he discovers the headaches of home ownership, becomes entangled in the problems of his werewolf friends, and tries to deny his attraction for his new, sexy neighbor next door. Loving Tate will draw him into Alex’s dangerous world, and Alex is torn between finding the relationship he’s always craved and keeping Tate safe. Release date July 22 2011. Winner of the Coffee Times Romance Recommended Read Award. August 2011 Recommended Read by Reviews by Jessewave. First Runner Up in the Love Romances and More’s Golden Rose Awards for Best Paranormal of 2011.

Or maybe FBI guys tangling with mysterious artifacts that convey unbelievable powers is more your thing–you can get the entire Sixth Sense series at a great price! The Sixth Sense series was awarded 2nd place for Best M/M Mystery Series in the 2014 PRG’s Reviewer’s Choice Awards, and third place for Best M/M Paranormal/Urban Fantasy series in the 2015 PRG’s Reviewer’s Choice Awards.

How about a reincarnation story? The Boys of Summer might be just the ticket!

David McIntyre has been enjoying the heck out of his current assignment: touring the Hawaiian Islands in search of the ideal shooting locations for a series of film company projects. What’s not to like? Stunning scenery, great food, sunny beaches…and a secret crush on his hot, ex-Air Force pilot, Rick Sutton.

Everything changes when a tropical storm and engine failure force a crash landing on a deserted atoll with a WWII listening post. Rick’s injuries, and a lack of food and water, make rescue imperative, but it takes an intensely vivid dream about the war to make David see that Rick is more than just a pilot to him. Will David gather his courage to confess his feelings to Rick—before it’s too late?  Finalist in the 2013 Rainbow AwardsNominated Best Historical in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice AwardsSelected as a Best Read in 2013 by Jessewave and a Top Pick Read by The Romance Reviews. Winner of Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards. Release date April 14. 2013.

Dreamspinner can accommodate whatever format you desire, and send titles to your Amazon address too. So grab this spooky deal while you can!

A Boys of Summer Christmas Short Story

A few Christmases ago, I wrote a short epilogue for The Boys of Summer. I ran across it again today, and decided it would be fun to share again this Christmas.

Warning: there are mild spoilers for the novel, so you might want to consider whether or not you want to read more if you haven’t read the story yet! And also, this short story contains a very explicit sex scene (okay, a smoking hot sex scene…). This is an adults only website, but I thought I should point that out.

The Boys of Summer

David McIntyre has been enjoying the heck out of his current assignment: touring the Hawaiian Islands in search of the ideal shooting locations for a series of film company projects. What’s not to like? Stunning scenery, great food, sunny beaches…and a secret crush on his hot, ex-Air Force pilot, Rick Sutton.

Everything changes when a tropical storm and engine failure force a crash landing on a deserted atoll with a WWII listening post. Rick’s injuries, and a lack of food and water, make rescue imperative, but it takes an intensely vivid dream about the war to make David see that Rick is more than just a pilot to him. Will David gather his courage to confess his feelings to Rick—before it’s too late?

Finalist in the 2013 Rainbow AwardsNominated Best Historical in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice AwardsSelected as a Best Read in 2013 by Jessewave and a Top Pick Read by The Romance Reviews. Winner of Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards.

On: AmazonBarnes and NobleDreamspinner Press

So without further ado, here is “All I Want for Christmas”.

christmas tree_stevep2008“What on earth are you doing?”

Em’s voice coming from behind startled David. He yelped at the sudden intrusion of sound and spun with the pan of cookies he’d just taken out of the oven. Cookies threatened to slide off the no-stick surface and he had to juggle them to keep them from falling onto the floor.

“Jeez, Em! You scared the bloody wits out of me!”  Hastily, he set the hot pan down on the stovetop, tucking the potholder under one arm as he glared at her.

“Sorry. I thought you heard me come in.” She didn’t look sorry, however. She smiled widely at him, obviously amused at his expense.

“I couldn’t hear a thing over Bing there.” David indicated the CD player with the oven mitt, where Bing Crosby crooned about a White Christmas. Despite the fact that Emma was standing in his kitchen wearing a navy crop top and white shorts, which just so happened to set off her tanned legs very nicely, Christmas was right around the corner. Less than a week now. David was determined to make it absolutely perfect this year.

“You’re so cute when you get this domestic urge to bake,” Emma commented, flicking a long strand of copper hair back from one shoulder. “It’s particularly funny because you never cook at all the rest of the year if you can help it. I think you’d live on take-out, if you could.”

For the briefest of moments, David saw Rick in his kitchen, peering in his refrigerator with disapproval and volunteering to cook dinner. Standing in the kitchen, drinking a glass of wine, and watching Rick create a delicious meal out of what seemed like nothing at all had been one of his favorite memories to revisit in the four months since Rick had gone back to his home in Hawaii.

Well, one of his favorite G-rated memories, that is. His cock stirred hopefully at the thought of some of his other favorite memories of the month Rick had spent in California last summer.

“I like baking at this time of year. I’ve never heard you complain before, unless it’s about the calories.”

“I’m not complaining. I’m commenting. You’ve baked a lot this season, haven’t you? Tell me you made sausage balls again. No one makes them like you do.”

“The recipe is online. You just have to Google it.”

“I don’t care what you say.” Em shook her head. “No one has quite your touch.”

David couldn’t help but preen a little. “The secret is in the mixing of the ingredients. And the choice of ingredients, too. The right sausage is important, but the right cheese? That’s critical.”

“See?” Emma arched an eyebrow. “No one makes sausage balls that are as good as yours. I’ve never seen you bring home any leftovers from a party, either.”

“Well, I made plenty this time, but they’re all in the freezer right now. No one gets to eat them until Christmas.”

David had a reputation to maintain. He’d made several batches, experimenting with a gluten-free recipe as well. In the past, the sausage balls never made it to the Christmas party because everyone kept eating them before the big day. He’d made extra at Thanksgiving this year, but they were all already gone.

“What kind of cookies are these? They smell fabulous.” She reached around him to pick up one of the cookies cooling on the rack beside the stove.

“One,” he admonished. “Tell me what you think.”

sugar cookies wikipedia commonShe bit the head off of a reindeer dusted with colored sugar. “Mmmm. These are wonderful. Almost like tea biscuits. With just a hint of lemon, right?”

He nodded. “They’re sour cream cookies. One of my favorites. This year I added a little lemon zest. I don’t make them often because they’re such a pain in the ass.” He glanced around the kitchen at the hopeless mess. Over on the CD player, Bing began singing about coming home for Christmas.

Emma laughed. “It looks like you detonated a flour bomb in here. That’s why I wanted to know what you were up to. That and you’re wearing an apron over your gym clothes. You have been to the gym, haven’t you?”

David glanced down at himself. He was wearing a threadbare brown T-shirt with the word “Shiny!” printed on it. Below that, he had on running shorts. He’d exchanged the expensive track shoes for a pair of old flip-flops as soon as he’d gotten home, however. It was just as well—he had flour everywhere, despite the apron. “Well, you know,” he said a bit self-consciously, “I have to look the part of a successful scriptwriter. You know Hollywood.”

She snorted inelegantly. “Bullshit. Most scriptwriters in Hollywood look like they spend all their time playing World of Warcraft in their mothers’ basement. This has more to do with impressing a certain ex-fighter pilot than meeting Hollywood’s standards. What’s the news on that front, anyway?”

David turned to shift the cooled cookies into a container so he could move the ones from the oven onto the cooling rack. When he spoke, he deliberately misunderstood her. “Well, they’ve cast the role of me. Of David Braxton, that is.”

After David had returned from his scouting trip in Hawaii, where he and Rick had crash landed and had to survive under grueling conditions until rescued, he’d sat down to write about his experience there. Not the actual plane wreck or being marooned on a deserted South Pacific island, but about the incredibly vivid dream he’d had while they were there. In his dream, he and Rick had been transformed into two young men during the Battle of Britain—and they’d been both doomed in love and by the war. David had changed their names a little bit for the purposes of the script, but had essentially written the dream as he’d remembered it. He’d feverishly written the screenplay in a matter of weeks, desperately trying to recapture some of the heartbreak of the story that had played out in his dream before he forgot all the details.

The fact that he could remember nearly every element of the dream as though he was watching a movie had been an unexpected blessing. When he was finished, however, he thought he had a hopelessly maudlin tearjerker that no one would ever want to read. Emma had sobbed her way through the script and then begged him to shop The Boys of Summer around. To his surprise, one of the smaller studios he’d worked with in the past had snapped it up, claiming that WW2 stories were back in vogue again.

David now found himself being hailed as a ‘promising’ scriptwriter after years of failed projects. Fortunately, his boss was cool about him needing flexible hours, and things had slowed down due to the holidays anyway. Besides, from a practical standpoint, David’s newfound status wasn’t hurting Pegasus Productions, either. And his boss had offered to invest in the project, too.

“I wasn’t talking about the movie, though I still don’t see why you couldn’t play you. You’re certainly buff enough these days.” She snagged another cookie.

He smacked at her hand, but not very hard. The ‘buff’ compliment was nice to hear. “Yeah, but no amount of makeup or workouts will make me twenty again.” His voice was rueful. “Most of those pilots were hardly more than schoolboys.”

“I thought you made the characters older for the movie.”

“A bit. More than I liked, to be honest.” The studio had balked at finding actors young enough for the script the way it had originally been written. A gay love story set during the Battle of Britain had been a tough enough sell to begin with. The studio had been worried about projecting the wrong image had they gone with lead actors barely out of their teens.

He’d argued for keeping the integrity of the story intact, but it had been Rick who pointed out that maybe it was better to compromise on that point in order to get the story out there for people to see.

“A movie like that might have made a difference to me growing up.” He’d shrugged when he said it, but he’d liked the script. He said so. He’d also given David a funny look after reading it. “That was your dream?” he’d asked.

“More or less.” David had shrugged in turn.

Rick had surprised him with a full body hug, and then had kissed him as though he was trying to put into that kiss all the words he could not say.

It had ended the debate on the age of the actors, as far as David was concerned.

“Well, they’ve got thirty year old actors playing teenagers in high school all the time. I think you could make it work if you wanted. Face it, you just don’t want to be in front of the camera anymore.”

David nodded in agreement. “It’s an unforgiving spotlight, especially in high-def. Besides, I like looking at things through the other side of the lens.” He’d given up acting years ago. He much preferred his job as a locations scout and being general dogsbody to the production teams for various movies and television programs.

Jaunty Irish pipes accompanied “Christmas in Killarney” on the player. David continued to roll out and cut cookies, dusting them with the lemon zest and granulated sugar before transferring them to the baking sheet.

“So, they’ve cast your role. What about Rick’s?”

“Nothing so far. They’re having a hard time casting that part.”

For the movie script, Rick Sutton had become ‘Rick Sheppard’. David had a very specific type in mind to play the role, and he’d made sure to make his wishes known. Everyone knew about the author of some popular vampire stories who’d been vitriolic over the casting of a mega-celebrity to play her main character. The producers for the film had completely shut her out for the rest of the film’s production. The author had later praised the actor’s performance—but that’s not what most people remembered. David didn’t want to end up shut out in the cold because he hated whoever they chose to play Sheppard in his story. But the role of Sheppard was critical. It had to be the right actor.

“So.” Emma dragged the word out playfully, reaching for another cookie but giving in with grace when David threatened her with a spatula. “Why the big push for the holiday spirit this year?”

“I don’t know what you mean.” David bent over the open oven door, positioning the cookies within. Hopefully Em would blame the redness of his face on the heat from the stove. He straightened and set the timer.

“David. The baking, the decorations. You’re kind of going all out with the Spirit of Christmas this year, aren’t you?

He maintained his cool, scattering more flour on the counter and re-working the dough. “I always decorate.”

“You haven’t done more than string some lights on the palm tree out front for years. This time it looks as though you hired Martha Stewart.”

“I told you, the Grinch stole all my decorations last year. He didn’t bring them back until this past week.”

“Uh-huh. Not buying it.”

David sighed and tossed the pot holder down on the counter. “Okay, so Rick hasn’t had much of a Christmas for the past, oh, I dunno, five or six years. This is the first time he’s been to his brother’s for the holidays since he was discharged from the military.” For being gay. Even though he didn’t say it aloud, he knew that both he and Em were thinking it. He often wondered what it was like to love something so much and yet know it was killing you. Rick had given the military everything he had and it had nearly destroyed him. It had taken a desperate man to deliberately use Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to force a discharge from service.

He swallowed hard. “I just want things to be perfect. Heck, if I could import George Bailey running through the village shouting ‘Merry Christmas’ while snow gently fell around him, I would.”

He snapped floury fingers when he realized he could recreate Bedford Falls, if he so desired. He had connections. He could hire a snowmaker and…

“Don’t.” Em put her fists on her hips.

“Don’t what?”

“I know what you’re thinking. Don’t. Rick doesn’t want a Norman Rockwell Christmas. He just wants to be with people who care about him.”

“But—”

“No buts. Trust me on this one. You don’t need to stage a big Hollywood-style scene. Besides, as hot as it is, you’d never get the snow to last.”

Damn, she really could read minds sometimes.

Emma laughed at his expression. “You’re so adorable when you’re in love.”

David stuck his tongue out at her. “When have you ever seen me in love before?”

“Like this? Never. That’s how I know it’s real.”

David certainly hoped it was real. Sometimes he wondered if the emotion was all one-sided—Rick was so guarded with his own.

“When’s he getting in town?”

David started prepping the next batch of cookies. He wasn’t avoiding her eye, really. “In a couple of days, I think.”

“Hmm.” Her tone indicated he wasn’t fooling her with his practiced nonchalance. “I saw his commercial the other day.”

“Did you?” David looked up, all pretense at not caring about Rick’s schedule vaporized. “What did you think?”

“I honestly teared up at his bit, and you know I am not particularly sentimental as a rule. But it was really good.”

The first time David laid eyes on Rick, he’d pictured him in Hollywood, playing a wide variety of tough-guy-with-a-heart-of-gold roles. He’d pulled some strings when Rick was visiting last and had gotten him an audition for a commercial which featured a solider coming home from the war. It had seemed tailor-made for Rick, and David had been right. Rick was perfect in the role.

“It was good, wasn’t it?” David tried to hide his bias but failed. “I mean, he’s more than just a pretty face—he can act too.”

Em nodded. “I thought he was going to cry when the dog came out of the house and it was so excited to see him. But he didn’t. The emotion was there just under the surface, though. Very convincing. “

“It’s getting a lot of hits on YouTube.” David felt this was a personal achievement. Well, in a way, it was. Rick had thought the whole idea of acting silly, and had only gone along with it to prove to David it wouldn’t work. He’d been surprised when he was accepted for the commercial, and staggered by how much he was paid for what he called ‘sixty seconds of work.’ The parent company, which had just been looking for a patriotic, schmaltzy way of tugging at the heartstrings in order to sell diapers, was delighted with the internet response. David had been getting other nibbles along those lines, casting agents looking for someone with Rick’s devastatingly rugged good looks. Unfortunately, all he could do was forward them on to Rick, along with the membership information to join SAG and the other local organizations for actors. He hoped Rick didn’t think he was being a nag or trying to pressure him into relocating to the mainland.

“He hasn’t said anything more along the lines of moving here, though, has he?”

David shook his head. The only thing David wanted for Christmas was to hear that Rick had given up his air charter business in Hawaii and was moving to California. Where they could have a shot at a real relationship. It was a lot to hope for, though. Nothing could have surprised David more than when Rick came to visit last summer. Sure, he was reconnecting with his brother again, but he’d spent a lot of nights over at David’s place, just the same.

The twang of a ukulele accompanied “Mele Kalikimaka” on the CD player, and David made a mental note to remember how to pronounce that phrase. It might come in handy over the next couple of weeks.

“No, but we email each other all the time.” Well, David emailed Rick. He sent chatty emails about his day, and photos that he’d taken that week. He’d written long emails from his hotel room late at night, when he was bored and just a little bit lonely, working on some out-of-town job for Pegasus Productions. Rick, on the other hand, leaned toward one word responses. Sometimes he sent links to interesting articles, which David took as a hopeful sign that they were still in a relationship, but a grand epistolary romance, it was not. On some level David wondered if it would have been different if they were still writing old-fashioned snail mail letters to each other. If maybe the very fact that the letters took so long to arrive would lend some poignancy and strength to the communication. He doubted it though. He suspected only the convenience of email made Rick communicate at all.

Something of his thoughts must have showed on his face.

Em came forward and squeezed his arm. “I just don’t want to see you getting your hopes up or anything.”

“I’m not,” David lied. He forced a smile. “I’m just happy he’s coming into town for Christmas, that’s all. Best gift ever.”

“Uh-huh.” Em touched his arm again. “Well, you know where to find me if you need me. I’ll see you at your party if I don’t catch up with you before then.” She glanced at her watch. “I’m going to be late for yoga class if I don’t leave now.”

“You shouldn’t have eaten those cookies, then. I thought you were supposed to do yoga on an empty stomach.”

Emma wrinkled her nose at him. “Oh-ho, listen to the expert here. Why don’t you come by and sit in on a class sometime? I think it would do you a world of good.”

“Maybe after the New Year.” David smiled and gave her a quick kiss on the cheek. “Be an angel and restart Bing on your way out, will you? I’m all covered in flour.” He waggled sticky fingers at her. The CD player had fallen silent. “Set it on replay while you’re at it, okay?”

“Sure. See you later!” She waved on her way toward the door, pausing to start the CD player again. The opening bars of “Silent Night” filled the room. David smiled as he went back to the baking. He tried one of the gluten-free cookies he’d made earlier. Adding butterscotch chips to the recipe had been a good idea. They didn’t taste like traditional Toll-House cookies, but they didn’t taste like they were full of sand, either. Still, they weren’t the same as the ‘real thing’. They didn’t bake the same, nor did they have the right consistency. There was nothing he loved better than a crispy on the outside, slightly chewy in the middle Christmas cookie. He couldn’t deny, however, that he felt better since making an effort to go gluten-free. Once the holidays were over, he’d go back to being strict again. For now, “but it’s Christmas” was his excuse for cheating.

The impression of movement behind him caught his attention.

“What did you forget this time, Em?” he asked without turning around.

“I didn’t forget anything. Just admiring the view.”

David dropped the cookie cutter with a clatter and whipped around. Rick leaned negligently in the door frame, arms crossed over his chest, his eyes hidden behind dark aviator sunglasses. David stared in disbelief for several seconds, drinking in the long, lean form of his body, memorizing details to take out late at night and review like a miser counting his gold. The way Rick’s black T-shirt stretched taut over muscles that were impressive without being ridiculous in the extreme. The half-smile on his face, as though he weren’t quite certain of his welcome. His dark hair sticking up in wild disarray, as if he’d run a careless hand through it without notice of the results. The suggestion of a rapidly approaching five o’clock shadow on his jaw line.

“Rick!” David was conscious of equal parts delight and dismay. Great. He’d meant to look his best when Rick arrived—hell, he’d offered to meet Rick at the airport and had been turned down, so it had been in his mind to look his absolute hottest when Rick finally came over. Happy as he was to see Rick now—two days early hadn’t been in his plans. “What the hell are you doing here?”

It might have been his imagination, but he thought Rick’s features froze just a little.

“Not that I’m not glad to see you,” he added hastily, looking around for something to wipe his hands on and giving up to smear flour all over his shirt when he couldn’t find a dish towel. “But I thought you weren’t coming in for at least another couple of days. This place is a wreck.”

A curious expression passed over Rick’s face; there and gone so fast that David only had time to register that something wasn’t quite right.

There’s something he doesn’t want to tell me. David’s heart began to batter its way against the walls of his chest like a wild bird looking for its way out of a building.

“I was able to trade my ticket for a few extra days.” Rick removed his sunglasses and tucked them into the collar of his shirt. David was tried to decide if he should give in to his joy in seeing Rick again or play it cool and act as though it was no big deal.

Rick took the decision out of his hands, peeling himself off the doorjamb with an easy grace. David found himself meeting Rick halfway, and then they were kissing as only two people who hadn’t seen each other in months could do. As though their very lives depended on the breath of the other. David tried keeping his floury fingers to himself, but Rick had his hands in David’s hair, turning his head so that their lips could lock. David couldn’t help it; he wound his hands into Rick’s T-shirt.

Even when they parted for air, Rick continued to gently nip and peck at David’s lips, displaying a desire for contact quite unlike him. All of David’s apprehensions vanished under Rick’s touch. Instead, he was filled with a need to growl and mark territory—to lay claim to this man and make sure the world knew who he belonged to.

Embarrassment at his feelings made him push Rick back reluctantly. “Crap. I got flour all over your shirt.” He brushed ineffectually at the black cotton—making things worse as he spread flour and remnants of cookie dough.

“I don’t care.” Rick moved in to kiss him again. This time, David could feel the hard length of Rick’s cock pressing against the denim of his jeans. For one glorious moment, David pictured the two of them sweeping the counter clean of the baking, snagging a bottle of olive oil from the cabinet, and going at it like rabbits right there in the kitchen. Hell, they wouldn’t even need to take their clothes off. David thought he might come right now just from rubbing up against Rick, from the very scent of him, from the feel of Rick’s arms around his body. Just a little more friction, a little more rutting, and he’d be there.

Instead, the timer went off for the next batch of cookies.

“Sorry.” David let the regret leach into his voice. “I gotta get these.”

Rick stepped back and watched with that small smile in place as David got the batch of cookies out of the oven.

He raised an eyebrow when David turned the oven off. “Don’t you have more cookies to bake?” He indicated the remaining mound of dough on the counter.

“Screw the cookies.” David did growl this time.

“I’d rather screw you.” Rick gave David his sexy smile now, the one that should be registered as a lethal weapon.

“Perfect. Exactly what I had in mind.” David grabbed Rick by the arm and dragged him, laughing, toward his bedroom.

It didn’t matter that Rick was hiding something from him. It didn’t matter that David wasn’t looking his best. He pushed Rick into his bedroom and hurried down the hall to the bathroom to wash his hands, hastily glancing in the mirror as he did so. Okay, so he was still grubby from his workout. But he recognized the raw need on the face staring back at him in the glass. Fuck or be fucked, he didn’t care. All he knew was that he needed Rick, right now, in his bed.

He fumbled with the nail file, making sure he got all the dough out from under his fingernails, digging furiously in his haste. He shucked off his T-shirt, too, and ran dampened hands through his hair in an effort to look a bit more presentable before returning to the bedroom.

Rick was waiting for him, standing with his back to the room, looking out the window.

Completely naked.

“God, what you do to me,” David said, causing Rick to turn. His cock stood up from the thatch of dark hair at his groin, begging for attention. David loved everything about Rick’s body, but most especially the aerodynamic perfection of his cock and the way Rick’s body hair seemed to do everything in its power to point to that lovely, wonderful organ.

He stalked across his bedroom, clashing with Rick in what was almost a grapple, mouths fighting for domination while their hands groped and clutched.

“Four months, three days, six hours.” Rick’s voice in David’s ear was electrifying. He was keeping track. By God, he was keeping track. Hope surged like a tidal wave and David engulfed Rick’s mouth, inhaling him deeply as their tongues met and fucked.

God, he was so close. It wouldn’t take much more—in fact, this whole thing was about to become very embarrassing if he wasn’t careful. Through his jogging shorts, he took hold of his cock, squeezing it off at the base to avoid coming too soon. He broke off the kiss with a mewl of frustration. “I need you to fuck me.”

The way Rick’s pupils darkened his entire eye was gratifying, to say the least.

Somehow they made it to the edge of the bed. Rick peeled off David’s running shorts, pausing to mouth his dick appreciatively until David pulled him up with a groan. Silently communicating to each other with only their eyes, they tumbled into bed. David reached for the beside drawer where he kept lube and condoms, but Rick beat him to it with a laugh. David rolled onto his back, clasping his knees with his hands and spreading his legs apart as Rick found what he needed. Yeah, he was begging for it. So what?

He cried out at Rick’s first touch, his cock bouncing up in anticipation. The shudder that ripped through his body was exquisite. More. He needed more. He spread his legs even wider, tucking his pelvis up for easy access. Take me. He didn’t care what he looked like. Just fucking take me.

And more he got. Rick lavished attention on his body like a man starved for water finding an oasis in the desert. The backs of his thighs, the curve of his hipbone, the soft skin of his balls. Every time David thought he couldn’t take it anymore, that he was going to blow his wad any second, Rick would somehow settle him down by changing gears and devoting his efforts to another part of David’s body. His nipples were teased and pinched just the way he liked them, sending an electric current straight to his dick. Rick mapped every inch of David’s skin with his mouth, his lovely, oh-so-talented mouth. David writhed and basked under the pleasure of Rick’s touch, again and again coming to the edge of orgasm without crossing over.

David almost sobbed with relief when Rick finally brushed his hole. He arched up into the touch, his thighs quivering with tension. “Oh God, yes. Yes!”

Lubed fingers entered his body, pumping and thrusting in a way that had him rocking back against Rick’s hand.

“Look at you.”

The sound of Rick’s voice, so unusual during their lovemaking, made David open his eyes.

“You want this so bad. You—” Rick was obviously at a loss for words. “You abandon yourself. “

“Less talk, more fucking,” David ground out.

Rick laughed, as he knew Rick would. Rick withdrew his fingers from David’s ass. The loss was keen, but momentary. He watched in fascinated anticipation as Rick rolled on a condom and lined himself up. The pressure of Rick’s cock against his asshole was exquisite torture. David forced himself to relax, even as his entire body wanted to arch up into the pressure entering it.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck.” David turned his head from side to side as Rick folded him up and began to thrust. He felt the powerful contact of Rick’s thighs against the back of his own, and the indescribable fullness that came from having Rick’s cock fully up his ass. The urge to push back against him was powerful but David held still, maintaining his position so that Rick could pound him freely.

A groan tore its way out of Rick’s throat and David smiled to himself at the knowledge of his power. It was a brief triumph, however. Rick caught the edge of his prostate, and David saw sparks behind closed lids. He slid over the edge into his orgasm. Rick continued to pound him, triggering shudder after shudder long after he thought he was done.

Rick suddenly stiffened, and David felt Rick’s thighs tighten as he released himself into the condom, the warmth filling David from within. He hooked his legs around Rick and rested, panting a little with the weight of Rick on top of him.

“Now, that’s what I call a Merry Christmas,” David said, in the quiet that followed.

He felt Rick’s laughter against his chest.

****

“No, you can’t have any sausage balls. They’re for Christmas.”

“I’m starving.”

“Well, if I’d known you were coming into town early, I’d have made sure there was plenty of food for feeding time at the zoo.” The morning sun streamed through the kitchen window, as golden and glorious as David’s mood. He hummed “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” as he filled two mugs with steaming coffee.

“But you have enough to feed an army!” Rick protested. He was looking gorgeous, as usual, shirtless and wearing nothing but sweat pants. David was tempted to give him anything he wanted but felt he had to put up a token fight.

“You’re welcome to as many gluten-free sausage balls as you can eat.” David smiled sweetly.

“Um, thanks but no thanks.” Rick groused a little bit more but then began fixing the two of them omelets with chopped spinach and green peppers.

David cradled his coffee mug in his hands and asked the questions he’d been avoiding since yesterday afternoon.

“So why did you come to the mainland early? Does your brother know you’re here?”

Rick froze momentarily as he stood at the stove, his back an expressive line of unwillingness to talk, and then he forced himself to relax. David had to give him credit; his level of self-control was amazing.

He tended to the omelets as though nothing had happened. “I got an audition for your script. For the part of Rick Sheppard. I came over early to test for the part. I didn’t want to say anything until I knew for sure, but they offered me the role.”

He expertly scooped the omelets out of the frying pan and turned, plates in hand, to face David. His expression was one of hopeful anxiety.

Elation and concern warred within David. He didn’t know what to say.

Rick’s shoulders sagged. “You’re not happy. I can turn the part down, you know.”

“What makes you think I’m not happy?” David forced a beaming smile. Okay, he’d pictured Rick in the role as he’d written the screenplay, but he never thought Rick would actually get it–he was too new to the business. Then too, there was the fact Rick would be acting out love scenes with some hot, young actor, and David wouldn’t be human if a part of him wasn’t slightly jealous. “This is fantastic! I mean, I never thought you’d be offered the part, but you are perfect for it.”

I wrote it with you in mind, after all.

Sure, the part had been written for a younger version of Rick, but it was Rick just the same. There was a kind of beautiful symmetry in Rick playing the character in the dream that had made David bold enough to declare his feelings for Rick in the first place.

The tension in Rick’s shoulders visibly eased. “Really? You’re okay with this? I wasn’t going to accept the part until I knew how you felt about it.”

“Are you kidding? You’ll be awesome.” David moved in closer and kissed him. He suddenly pushed Rick back so he could stare at him. “Wait, does this mean you’re relocating to California?”

Red-faced, Rick set the plates on the table. “I got an offer for the charter service. That, plus the insurance money on the wrecked plane gives me a little cushion to see if this acting thing is going to work. I’m not giving up the house in Hawaii just yet,” he was quick to add, “but I can lease that for now. I figure I’ll give the acting thing a shot and see what happens.”

David thought he was happy before, but now he wanted to burst into song like a character from a cheesy musical. “Well, you know you can hang out here until you find a place of your own, if you want.” He made an effort to sound nonchalant, and caught Rick grinning knowingly at him. Oh well.

“Sam doesn’t know I came over early,” Rick confessed when they were cleaning up after breakfast. “I didn’t want to say anything until I knew for sure what was happening.”

“Don’t get your hopes up,” David warned. “I’ve seen more than one pilot or movie fold for lack of investors or poor market testing. Just because you’ve been offered the part doesn’t mean it’s a sure thing.”

“I know.” Rick was quiet when he answered. After a beat, he said, “Sam invited you to join us for Christmas. I guess he figures they’ll get to see more of me if you’re in the same house too.”

homecooked dinner flickr commonsImages of himself by Rick’s side suddenly flooded his mind—the two of them holding hands at the table, taking a post-prandial walk after they’d stuffed themselves with holiday goodies, his sausage balls being the hit of the gathering. “Cool. I’d like that.”

Rick’s smile was like someone had turned on a spotlight. It dimmed a little as a small frown creased his forehead. “You’re sure you’re okay with the movie thing?”

Rick’s uncertainly was endearing.

“Yes.” David reinforced his affirmation with a kiss. “I was just surprised, that’s all. I hadn’t heard anything at all, and well, you’re brand new at this.” He frowned. “You didn’t agree to a ridiculously low salary, did you?”

Rick snorted. “Don’t worry. Remember, Sam’s a lawyer. He won’t let me sign anything unless he looks it over first.”

“Well, that goes ditto for me too. I know the difference between a good contract and a bad one, so let me take a look at it as well.”

Later that evening, he pulled out his duffle bag with the intent on packing a few things to take with him to Sam’s house. It was the same bag he’d taken with him on their ill-fated flight that had resulted in a crash landing on a deserted island. Sometimes David dreamed of the crash, only in his nightmares he’d turned Rick over in the pilot’s seat to discover sightless eyes staring off into eternity. He always woke from those dreams with a startled gasp. Just being able to reach out and touch Rick was a wondrous thing now.

The bag proved to still have some sand, leaf litter, and bits of paper in the bottom of it, and he took it into the bathroom to shake it over the trash can. Ticket stubs to a luau, markers for a snorkeling trip, and receipts from the hotel fluttered over the can, some spilling onto the floor as well. He picked up the receipts—he’d need those at tax time. In fact, he should have turned them in to his boss for reimbursement long ago. Obviously, those normal post-trip details had slipped his mind in the aftermath of a near-death experience. He gave the bag a final thump and something pinged off the can and landed on the tile.

Frowning, he bent over to pick it up. It appeared to be a small disc of some sort. He thought it was cardboard at first, but then he realized it was some type of compressed fabric.  It was smooth to the touch when touched it. Something about it made him want to rub his fingers over it. When he did, he felt the worn edges of stamped lettering. He flipped the disc over, noting the how thin and frayed the material was around the hole meant for a chain to be threaded through. He couldn’t make out the words at first—he had to tip the disc toward the light.

To his surprise, he realized he was looking at a dog tag. A very old dog tag. He smoothed his thumb over the depressed letters in the material, his hand shaking a bit as he read them.

Sheppard, Richard J

It was followed by a string of numbers and the designation “RAF”.

It couldn’t be. It was impossible. He hadn’t even known that the RAF used compressed fabric for ID tags during WW2—he’d assumed they were metal, the way dog tags were in the military today.

How had it gotten in his bag?

Like a flash, the memory came to him of Rick holding the rotting leather journal they’d discovered in the abandoned base on the island. He knew Rick had tucked it in David’s backpack, which had later been stuffed in the duffle on the trip home.

The tag must have fallen out of the journal. What had happened to the journal?

Clutching the tag in his hand, he rushed to the desk in his bedroom, pushing aside papers and opening drawers until he found what he was looking for: the old journal. The book was in poor condition. He’d only tried to read it once; the ink was faded and the pages wanted to disintegrate when he handled them. He’d put it away, hoping it might dry out. But he’d forgotten all about it. Carefully, he opened the cover. On the flyleaf, in rusty brown lettering, he read the name of the journal’s owner.

David Braxton.

Okay. This was a problem. Names that he thought he’d made up obviously belonged to real people. The very first thing he needed to do was contact the production company and request a name change for the characters.

But that begged the question: how had he come up with the names in the first place? Perhaps he unconsciously picked the name Braxton after having seen it in the journal, though he didn’t remember doing so. But the dog tag? He’d never seen it before today.

Sitting at his desk, the journal in his lap, he opened his palm and looked at the tag lying there. What if his dream wasn’t just a dream? If it was real, then the David in his dream somehow ended up in the South Pacific during the war—and carrying his Rick’s tag.

Goosebumps raised on his arms.

“Hey. You okay?”

He looked up to see Rick leaning in the doorway, as though he’d been leaning in David’s doorways his entire life.

David smiled, tucking the tag into his pocket. He closed the journal, placing it on the desk as he stood up. “Yeah.” His voice was a little shaky. “Just got distracted by some research.”

“That from the island?” Rick indicated the book.

David nodded, joining Rick at the door.

“Something tells me there’s another story there.”

“Yeah.” David took Rick’s hand in his own, marveling at the feel of the warm flesh against his skin. “But that can keep for another day.”

“Hey.” Rick looked down at their joined hands, his voice suddenly soft. “Things have been a bit crazy lately. I’m afraid I haven’t gotten you anything for Christmas yet. What do you want?”

He raised his clear blue eyes to lock gazes with David, giving his hand a little squeeze.

“You’re here,” David said simply. “What more could I want?”

The disc felt like it was burning a hole in his pocket.

~the end~

 

 

Love is in the Air: Valentine’s Day Sale at Dreamspinner Press!

I don’t know about you, but I hated Valentine’s Day growing up.

I hated all the emphasis on being ‘chosen’ to be someone’s Valentine, and how the whole day was an exercise in humiliation for a introverted, homely child.

As a young adult, it felt like a comment on my attractiveness and desirability that I didn’t have someone special in my life to take me out to dinner or bring me flowers. And yet I still wanted those things very much. I wanted that tangible proof that not only was I loved, I was deemed worthy of love.

The first couple of times I was in a relationship as Valentine’s Day rolled around, I went all out: the romantic dinner, the fancy restaurant, the expensive (and sexy) dress. Chocolates, wine, flowers, and cards. The whole nine yards.

Now after having been in a committed relationship for nearly a decade, I can appreciate it not the day that matters, or the meal, or the bling. It’s the person who is sitting across the table from you. It’s the person holding your hand, or the friends taking you out for Galentine’s Day, or the cat in your lap and the dog at your feet. I love that people are taking what has always been for me a problematic celebration of ‘love’ and making it their own–redefining it for their needs.

 

 

 

As part of that celebration, Dreamspinner Press is having a store-wide sale: 25% off all titles until Feb 18th, and a flash sale of new releases today only! That means you can pre-order the newly revised version of Unspeakable Words at the sale price (release date March 10, 2017)–or perhaps you’d like a story of love, loss, and re-connection with The Boys of Summer.  Or maybe werewolves and vampires are your thing–in which case, check out the award-winning Crying for the Moon! Plenty to choose from, and not just my titles. Entering the DSP store is like opening the Potter family vault at Gringott’s. 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Dear Women’s Fashion: Size 12 is not XL

Okay, fair warning. I have my Ranty McRant pants on again.

This time the subject that’s been weighing on my mind recently is the ridiculous–and unfair–standards when it comes to women’s clothing. My musings on the subject began a while back when everyone was sharing a post written by Kallie Provencher for Rantchic.com called “24 Things Women Over 30 Should Stop Wearing.” No, I’m not going to share the link here because the post is pure clickbait. My reaction to it when everyone was talking about it was to tweet “The one thing women over 30 should stop wearing is the censure of random strangers on the internet.” Suffice to say, there was a lot of eye-rolling. I feel bad for the author, actually. If she’s lucky, she’s going to spend more time over thirty than under it, and according to her, life is over at twenty-nine and counting.

A beautiful rebuttal was written here, however. WarningCurvesAhead posted a brilliant collection of classy, sassy women wearing whatever pleased them–and looking smashing while doing so. I want to be these women when I grow up. I wish I had a fraction of their sense of style and their confidence in carrying off what looks great on them.

But one of the things Kallie Provencher frowned upon women over thirty wearing was graphic t-shirts. Which brings me to today’s subject: sizing of women’s clothing. Now, I’m a sci-fi geek. You can pretty much ask me about any sci-fi universe and if I can’t whip your butt playing Trivial Pursuit, I will at least have heard of it and am familiar with it. And I love my fandoms; Doctor Who, Firefly, Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate… I love mashups and crossovers. I love fanfic, fanart, and fan vids. My friends know the way to make me squeal in the ultrasonic range, so high I can only be heard by dogs, is to surprise me with something from one of my favorite shows. Just this evening, the BF surprised me with a CD of ambient engine noise from ST:TNG. Just think, now I can hear the murmur of the Enterprise’s engines lulling me to sleep on an endless loop instead of the usual white noise machine.

One of the things I love doing is sharing my fandom pride with graphic tees.

About the same time these previously mentioned posts circulated, another post caught my eye: Man Tries on Girlfriend’s “XL” Clothing and Gets Pissed About Double Standards.

Yeah, because my friends and I have been talking about this, too.

Now, for the record, let me state I am a solid size 12. There was a period of time when I was closer to a 10–there are days when I’m closer to a 14, but 90% of the time, I’m a hard 12. I wear a 36 C sized bra. Now I know in these pictures, I might look ginormous, but remember, the camera adds ten pounds. (I know what you’re thinking here, but trust me, only ONE camera is pointed at me in these photos…)

Let’s start out with a T-shirt I bought a few years ago. It’s a medium, but unisex. This is important, as you’ll see later on. NOT a men’s shirt, not a women’s shirt, unisex.

Medium UnisexYou can’t see it clearly, but it’s a “Hello, My Name is” shirt, with “Inigo Montoya–you killed my father, prepare to die” penned in. It’s also autographed. That’s neither here nor there. What’s important is the size.

This is a medium WOMEN’S T-shirt. I love Agent Carter, and this was sent to me by a friend. A friend who knows what I look like, and assumed I would wear a medium T-shirt.

Medium Women FittedOkay. I got into it, though I look a sausage encased in Saran Wrap. That’s what it felt like, too. And believe me, getting out of it was interesting. I seriously thought about using a pair of scissors… I was very disappointed, needless to say. I love this character, the show, and this sentiment. I should point out as well, that many of the graphic T-shirts I would order, like this one, do not come in a men’s or unisex option.

Right, then obviously, a medium is too small. So, when I ordered a T-shirt for myself (a lovely mashup of Frozen and Doctor Who), I ordered a large.

Large Womens Fitted

Um, I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t look all that much bigger than the medium to me. Okay, so maybe the material isn’t cutting off my circulation, but it is still sucking down to my skin like it was painted on. At this point, I *finally* took a good look at the sizing chart. That’s when I saw that a size 12 is an XL on most sizing charts for the graphic T-shirts I like.

Excuse me, WTF? 12 is considered XL? Since when? Since when does the size of the average woman in the U.S.–which is 12-14 by a Google search–considered extra-large? It brings me back to the pissed off boyfriend and the double standards of the clothing industry.

Okay. Deep breath. Order the XL. You like the shirt and you want to be comfortable. And you don’t want your arms to go numb when you’re wearing it. Exchange the large for an XL.

Here’s the XL:

XL Womens FittedNo, I am not kidding. This is the XL. It is microscopically different from the large, but honestly, it looks so much like the large I had to look at the time stamps to make sure I wasn’t posting the same picture twice. AND, I would like to point out, the shirt only comes one size larger–the XXL. That is insane. No, I’m sorry. It’s just wrong. What kind of message are we sending to young women (because obviously women over 30 shouldn’t be wearing graphic tees, right?) when 12 is considered XL? When there is so little difference between sizes that someone has to get the very largest size a product comes in just to be comfortable?

I honestly don’t know which is worse: vanity sizing, in which clothing companies mislabel clothing as being a smaller size than it is so women will feel good about buying it, or this. It  feels like a slap in the face either way.

BoysofSummer[The]FSOkay, rant over. In other news, Dreamspinner Press is continuing the Lazy Days of Summer sale until June 24th, which means you can get a copy of my award-winning The Boys of Summer for only a dollar! It’s the perfect beach read at the perfect price–but it won’t last long!

On Dreamspinner/Amazon/AllRomance

 

 

 

Fool'sGold-400x600And coming up next month, I’ll be releasing Fool’s Gold, a story about Olympic level eventing–just in time for the 2016 Games!

 

The Boys of Summer on sale!

The Boys of Summer400x600Oh! I just discovered The Boys of Summer is on sale right now as part of Dreamspinners Lazy Days of Summer!

That means for a limited time, you can purchase this award-winning story from either Dreamspinner directly or Amazon for only $1–today through June 24th!

I confess, this story is a personal favorite of mine–from the stunning cover art by Reese Dante, to the story of two men trying to survive against all odds–and discovering that life is more than mere survival.

This is the best sale price ever–so grab a copy while you can!

Dreamspinner Press/Amazon

Blurb: David McIntyre has been enjoying the heck out of his current assignment: touring the Hawaiian Islands in search of the ideal shooting locations for a series of film company projects. What’s not to like? Stunning scenery, great food, sunny beaches…and a secret crush on his hot, ex-Air Force pilot, Rick Sutton.

Everything changes when a tropical storm and engine failure force a crash landing on a deserted atoll with a WWII listening post. Rick’s injuries, and a lack of food and water, make rescue imperative, but it takes an intensely vivid dream about the war to make David see that Rick is more than just a pilot to him. Will David gather his courage to confess his feelings to Rick—before it’s too late?

Finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards. Nominated Best Historical in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards. Selected as a Best Read in 2013 by Jessewave and a Top Pick Read by The Romance Reviews. Winner of Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards. Re-released by Dreamspinner Press Dec, 21, 2015.

Excerpt (Rated R for language)

“Hey! Hey! Don’t pass out on me,” David warned, reaching under Sutton’s jacket and around his body to take hold of his torso. “I’ll never get you out of here if you pass out, and I can’t reach whatever’s bleeding from here. I need to stop the bleeding, okay? You’re going to have to help me.”

Sutton nodded silently. His lack of heroic banter worried David. He tightened his grip around Sutton’s chest, locking wrists that were slick with far too much blood. Where the hell was it coming from? He braced his feet against Sutton’s chair and pulled.

At first, it seemed like nothing was happening, as though he was attempting to lift a two ton gold brick. Then slowly, he felt Sutton coming with him, oozing out of the seat like a man being pulled out of quicksand. Sutton wasn’t helping him much, a fact that scared the crap out of him. He’d slung one arm around David’s shoulder, but he was pretty much dead weight as David tugged on him. Nonetheless, things were progressing steadily, with David gradually pulling Sutton up out of the crumpled mess that was the pilot’s seat, when suddenly they stopped moving.

David grunted and tugged some more, but to no avail. He slithered around, trying to get a different grip on Sutton but nothing worked.

“Hang on,” Sutton said, his breath coming in short, warm bursts near David’s ear. “I think I’m caught on something.”

“What, again?” David asked, and was rewarded with a faint chuckle. It was odd to think he could so easily turn his head and his lips would be on Sutton’s. They were practically embracing now. As it was, Sutton shifted, trying to move his injured side, to reach around behind him. His actions caused him to arch his back slightly, pushing up against David’s chest. The rain had soaked through Sutton’s shirt, leaving no questions as to his physical fitness. They could have been skin to skin, the contact was so close.

“Fuck, that hurts.” Sutton slumped against him. “Sorry.” His words were little more than exhaled breath. “I can’t reach it.”

“I don’t know what’s wrong with you,” David huffed, pulling Sutton closer into his body and then fishing around blindly behind him to see what he was caught on. He found the offending piece of cloth, hung on part of the console. When he couldn’t unsnag it, he tore it instead. He collected Sutton into his grip once more. “Most heroes could get impaled in the belly at least once every other episode, and still manage to fight off the bad guys and get the girl in the end. You’re supposed to say, ‘I’m fine, I have at least two kidneys’ and keep moving, mister.”

A laugh so soft it only stirred the hair near his ear sent a ripple of undefined emotion through David. He was so afraid Sutton would die. He needed Sutton not to die.

 

Pounds of mud on my shoes: overcoming self-doubt as a writer

best-good-enoughI haven’t been in a good place lately. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been stuck at the house for too many weeks now, just me and the animals. Normally, I’m good with this, being the kind of person perfectly capable of entertaining myself and enjoying my own company, but with the frequent storms, I haven’t been as active and I’ve had a little too much time to brood. I’ve been indulging in too much comfort food and I’m seeing a number on the scale I’ve never seen before.

I suspect too, it’s the time of year. We’ve had our pretty snows and our bitter temperatures. Now we’re sliding–literally–into the Season of Mud. For the next month or so, everything will be ankle deep in mud here. It’s so thick, deep, and clinging that it can suck the boots right off your feet. It cakes everything: your shoes, your car, the dogs, the carpets… Walking with several pounds of mud attached to your feet is a chore, and it feels like it will never get any easier.

I believe self-doubt is like that. It’s not that it prevents me from writing, but it does make everything slower and harder. I’ve actually written 22.8 K words this month, and yet it is all like ashes to me because I think what I’ve written is utter crap. With the frame of mind I’m in right now, if I read something amazingly good, I am discouraged because I will never write anything that fantastic. If I read something appallingly bad, I’m discouraged because that book has is out there making money, and people seem to love it, and what does that say about the industry–and my place in it–as a whole? At the moment, I am quite discouraged about my writing. I’m not convinced I know how to tell a decent story. Worse, I’m afraid I’ll never get any better at this. Like I said, not in a good headspace.

fraud moneyI’ve never been one of those people good with the concept of ‘act as if’ or ‘fake it til you make it.’ I understand the concept. It’s not outside my capabilities: I’ve done a lot of theater in my time. The problem for me always lay in that if I didn’t believe in said ‘fact’, I couldn’t sustain an attitude of belief. I can’t act sexy, or confident, or successful if deep down I don’t believe I’m any of these things. If I think someone is going to come up behind me and whisper, “Fraud.”

I’ve always wondered what the secret was. How some people could walk forward exuding confidence or sex appeal, when to the initial glance, they appear rather ordinary. How anyone could simply have that kind of utter belief in themselves that they weren’t shaken not only by self-doubt, but the put-downs and negative comments of others. It was always so chicken-and-egg to me. How do you take as your own what you don’t have?

Earlier this morning a meme was circulating Facebook that was posted by Meryl Streep, in which she related how, on being turned down for a movie role, she was told she was too ‘ugly’ for the part. She said she could have let that shatter her dreams of being an actress, but instead it forced her to believe in herself. She told the casting director, “I’m sorry you think I’m too ugly for your film, but you’re just one opinion in a sea of thousands, and I am off to find a kinder tide.” She’s won eighteen Academy Awards. Eighteen! (I had no idea!)

So I guess the answer is you don’t wait until you feel sexy or smart or accomplished. You simply decide you are these things. And act accordingly.

So tell me, what is holding you back and how do you plan to overcome it? Has anyone ever told you that you were wasting your time trying for something? That you had no talent or ability. That your best wasn’t good enough? How did you deal with that? I want to hear your stories!

From now until Wed Feb 24th, if you leave a comment, someone will be picked at random to win their choice of any of my available books. You don’t have to enter the giveaway to leave a comment though! I want to hear your stories of perseverance in spite of doubt.

The Boys of Summer400x600My latest release is The Boys of Summer, now available from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and All Romance ebooks.

 

Fixer Upper by Meg Harding: Interview and Excerpt!

IMG_8243Hey everyone! Today as part of The Boys of Summer book tour, I’m being interviewed by Louise Lyons on her site, so be sure to drop in over there and see what’s going on, as well as enter to win an e-copy of The Boys of Summer!

Today on my site, I’m welcoming Meg Harding, who’s latest release, Fixer Upper, is available from Dreamspinner Press today!

Fixer-Upper
Meg Harding
22, 585 words
Contemporary Romance
Published by DreamSpinner
Cover by AngstyG
Buy links: Dreamspinner / All Romance / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Hello, Meg! Welcome to my blog and thank you for answering my nosy discerning questions! First, please tell us a little about yourself and the kinds of stories you like to write. Would you say there is an underlying theme behind your stories?

I’m a massive geek, so I tend to like to include a fair bit of that in all of books. You’ll find mentions of Sherlock, Marvel, LOTR/The Hobbit…. They’re things I love, and I like to work them in in passing at least. Most of my books all tend to have some kind of pet in them, because I love animals, and it feels natural for me to include them. I wouldn’t say there’s an underlying theme, though. I write whatever happens to come to my mind at the time. I like happy endings and the right amount of angst to get them there. A lot of the time I definitely veer toward the sweet side, though that’s something that’s changing a little in some of my upcoming works.

The Good ShepherdHah! That’s interesting! I’m a huge geek too, as well as an animal-lover, so it sounds like your stories would be right up my alley! What gave you the courage to submit your first story to a publisher?

Fanfiction. I read a lot of fanfiction, and it encouraged me to get back into writing and to fix up and finish some of my work. I even first published on a fanfiction site in order to receive feedback before I sent things off to a publisher.

Oh wow, your backstory could be very similar to mine! I found my way back to writing after a long hiatus through discovering fanfiction as well! I see you write M/M fiction. Would you characterize your stories as M/M romance, erotica, or something in between?

I would say M/M romance. A lot of my stories aren’t heavy on the sex scenes (though some of them are), but the focus is more on the romance either way.

City Girl or Country Mouse—and why?

City girl through and through. I like being close to all of my interests. I like that if I want to do something or see something it’s right there, and I don’t have to travel hours to get to it.

Whew, for a moment there, I was beginning to think we might have been twins separated at birth, but I’m a Country Mouse all the way! 🙂 Do you see your writing as a hobby or is it your goal to be a full time writer at some point in the future?

It’s definitely my goal to be a full time writer eventually. I think that’s probably a long way off at this stage, but I’m working on it.

Research: love it or hate it?

I’m a bit of an anomaly. I don’t like research. I’ll do it when the story requires it, but it feels like pulling teeth. I like being able to write from my head and just spit it out without having to switch to a google tab every five seconds to check my facts.

Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, do you find what you listen to influences the story at all?

I listen to movie soundtracks while I write. I can’t focus with words, but the upbeat bits of the tracks and the big swells of the orchestras tend to help me when I’m writing more charged, exciting moments.

Thank you for stopping by and sharing a bit about yourself and your new story, Meg! Congratulations on your new release!

Blurb:
Ex-business owner and soon to be ex-husband Jake has had some rotten luck of late. His world is tumbling down around him, but it’s time to dust himself off and move on. Buying and fixing up the most dilapidated home he can find might be just the thing to get him back on track. But Jake gets more than he bargained for when he meets former lawyer turned landscaper Dakota. Dakota is smart and ridiculously sexy—and Jake doesn’t have a clue how to act around him. After several gardening mishaps, Jake is sure Dakota thinks he’s completely inept. Turns out Dakota is thinking something else entirely. And as Dakota gives Jake advice, an ear to listen, and helps him work through his issues, Jake realizes flowers aren’t the only thing blooming between them.

Excerpt:

There was a truck already parked out front when he got there, the back of it loaded down with equipment. He parked, and as he stepped from the car, a short blond man rounded the corner.

“Hello,” called the man, striding quickly over. “I’m Jasper, your landscaper. I’ve just been checking the place out.” He shook Jake’s hand. He had a steady grip. “Quite the fixer-upper you’ve got here. My partner and I will really have some fun with this.”

“Your partner?” asked Jake, looking behind Jasper.

“He should be getting here any minute now. He’s bringing the trailer.”

“Oh,” said Jake, and then, remembering his manners, said, “I’m Jake. Nice to meet you.”

Jasper smiled at him, revealing a crooked incisor. “Nice to meet you too.”

A truck pulled up, and another after that, and still another. Jasper walked off, and Jake turned to greet the construction crew as they piled out of their trucks. There were so many of them, and Jake knew he’d have a time of keeping their names down.

The head of the crew was a tall man named Lincoln, who had a thick beard and not one strand of hair on the top of his head. Lincoln had Jake walk him through the house and explain in detail what he wanted done. He looked at him like he was a bit insane, but he didn’t say anything, just nodded and asked questions when he had them.

“Who’s your carpenter?” Lincoln asked at the end of the tour.

Jake blinked. “I haven’t got one yet. I was going to wait till you were done.”

Lincoln shook his head, pulling out a pad and pen from his back pocket and starting to scribble. “Get someone now. Walk them through and explain what you want. It’ll take time to build the stuff, but most of it will be ready by the time we’re done. More efficient that way.” He ripped the first page off the pad and handed it over. “Here’s a number for a guy I know. God’s gift to man when it comes to woodworking. Give him a call.”

The handwriting on the paper was almost illegible, but Jake nodded. “I will.” He’d look him up when he went home.

“I’d get the roofers in right away as well, if you haven’t already got them.”

Jake pocketed the number. “The roofers are starting tomorrow.” They’d had to finish up another job first.

“You really picked a wreck,” noted Lincoln as they walked out into the front yard.

“I know.” A wreck it may have been, but the inspectors hadn’t said it needed to be torn down. Jake had been unable to contain the small surge of pride when they’d declared it to be of sound build.

The painters came over, and Lincoln walked off. Jake took them over the outside of the house and briefly talked about some of his ideas for the inside—which would have to be done once everything else was finished.

“I’ve got someone coming to fix the eaves and whatnot later this week. Will you be good to start with them like this?” he asked.

“Yeah, it’ll be fine,” answered Josh, the head painter.

“Perfect,” said Jake. “If you need an extra hand, I’d be more than happy to help with the painting.”

Josh side-eyed him. “Sure,” he said. “I’ll let you know.”

Jake watched him walk away with the feeling he wasn’t going to be asked to aid in the painting at any point in time. Stuffing his hands in his pockets, he surveyed the crumbling house and the overgrown yard, all the people milling about preparing themselves for work.
He needed to be doing something. It was an ache in his bones, an itching in his skin. His gaze drifted, searching… searching…. There. Two riding mowers sat side by side on the sidewalk. He could do that. He was perfectly capable of mowing the lawn. With a quick stride, he made his way over to the mowers. He didn’t know where Jasper had gotten to, but he figured he’d be back eventually.

He’d never actually mown a lawn before, but he didn’t think it could be that hard. Circling the mowers, he examined them with a close eye.

“Can I help you?” asked a deep, husky voice.

Author Bio:
Meg Harding is a graduate of UCF, and is completing a masters program for Publishing in the UK. For as long as she can remember, writing has always been her passion, but she had an inability to ever actually finish anything. She’s immensely happy that her inability has fled and looks forward to where her mind will take her next. She’s a sucker for happy endings, the beach, and superheroes. In her dream life she owns a wildlife conservation and is surrounded by puppies. She’s a film buff, voracious reader, and a massive geek.

Find me at:

WordPress / Twitter / Facebook / DreamSpinner / Amazon / Google + / Goodreads

The Boys of Summer Book Tour and Giveaway!

BoysofSummer[The]FSI don’t know about you this morning, but I really wasn’t looking forward to going back to work. You know how it is, the harness chafes a bit once you’ve had a chance to take it off. I forced myself out of my warm bed today, grumbling bitterly about the cold, dragging myself into the kitchen to start a pot of tea, when I noticed that I didn’t receive a calendar alert about my schedule this morning. That’s when I checked and discovered I’d made a mistake and I didn’t have to work at ALL.

Hush! Don’t tell anyone!

I’ve spent the last few days writing blog posts like mad and answering interview questions for The Boys of Summer book tour, which starts today! I haven’t even had a chance to post about the tour until now, so yay for schedule screw ups! Hey, if I had to make a mistake, at least it’s finding out I don’t have to work when I thought I did!

I’m so very happy about this re-release too. I have a soft spot for this story–I feel as thought it’s one of the best things I’ve written–but when I self-published it in 2013, I made a number of newbie errors that I believe prevented it from getting the recognition it deserved. I was delighted when Dreamspinner Press contracted it for revision and re-release. I do hope you’ll check out the new version and join us on the book tour! Today, I’m at The Novel Approach and later this morning, at Gay Media Reviews. Here’s the full schedule:

 

Tour Dates and Stops:

The Boys of Summer: Available again Monday Dec 21!

BoysofSummer[The]FSI’m very pleased to announce that the award-winning M/M romance, The Boys of Summer, will be re-released on Monday, December 21st, 2015!

This story, without a doubt a personal favorite of mine, also has the deepest emotional meaning for me. It’s the best story I’ve ever written, and yet it is also the one that probably the fewest people have heard of because it was my very first self-publishing effort, and I made a lot of mistakes along the way. Therefore it is with great pleasure that I can say this revised version is a work I can truly be proud of.

 

I’ll be doing blog posts and giveaways in various places over the next couple of weeks, including a Twitter Takeover of the Dreamspinner Twitter account Tues, Dec 22 from 7-9 EST. Be sure to join me for some lighthearted chat about books, movies, heroes, and what makes us love them so much! I’ll be taking part in Divine Magazine.net’s 12 Days of Christmas celebration on Dec 18th (my post is here–be sure to stop in for my famous sausage ball recipe, as well as the giveaway!) and K-lee Klein’s marvelous 31 Days of Gratitude posts and giveaways and Aisling Mancy’s site on Dec 21st, as well as stopping by to visit with my good friend Anna Butler. So come join the fun and enter to win in one of the many on-going giveaways!

You can pre-order The Boys of Summer now from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance ebooks and many other third party vendors.

The Boys of Summer (novel) :

David McIntyre has been enjoying the heck out of his current assignment: touring the Hawaiian Islands in search of the ideal shooting locations for a series of film company projects. What’s not to like? Stunning scenery, great food, sunny beaches…and a secret crush on his hot, ex-Air Force pilot, Rick Sutton.

Everything changes when a tropical storm and engine failure force a crash landing on a deserted atoll with a WWII listening post. Rick’s injuries, and a lack of food and water, make rescue imperative, but it takes an intensely vivid dream about the war to make David see that Rick is more than just a pilot to him. Will David gather his courage to confess his feelings to Rick—before it’s too late? Finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards. Nominated Best Historical in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards. Selected as a Best Read in 2013 by Jessewave and a Top Pick Read by The Romance Reviews. Winner of Best M/M Romance in the 2013 PRG Reviewer’s Choice Awards.

On: Amazon. Barnes and Noble. All Romance e-books.

The Romance ReviewFinalistSMHonorableMentionSMBest_Historical.N (1)1st place

Walk a Mile is a finalist in the Rainbow Awards–and on sale!

WalkAMileGreat Scott! You could have knocked me over with a feather this morning when I received the email that Walk a Mile (Sixth Sense series Book 2) was a finalist in the 2015 Rainbow Awards! Believe me, I was tickled when it received an Honorable Mention, but I didn’t think it would progress any further in the awards than that. I almost didn’t even enter the awards this year because I wasn’t certain I had a worthy contender that qualified. I decided to enter in the end because all the proceeds go to charity, which just goes to show that we aren’t necessarily the best judge of our own material. 🙂

 

The awards are being announced tonight, and though I have no real hopes of winning–this is one of those situations in which it truly is an honor to be on the same list with such great stories–I can’t help but keep refreshing the page. However, the moderator is taking a break for a couple of hours and I’ve decided to just go to bed and see what the results are in the morning. 🙂 My congratulations go out to all the winners named thus far and the ones that will be announced shortly. Update: Walk a Mile came in 7th in the gay paranormal romance division–a delightful achievement–my thanks to everyone involved in the Rainbow Awards, and congratulations to the winners! A special thanks to the organizers of the awards, and the volunteers who helped make it possible. This year over $17,000 was raised for charity, donating to GLBTQ organizations!

The Boys of Summer400x600I’m also looking forward to the re-release of The Boys of Summer through Dreamspinner Press two weeks from today! This story is very dear to my heart and I hope that many new readers will discover it through DSP. There will be a book tour in January, with a chance to win an e-copy of this combination contemporary/WW2 historical story.

As part of K-lee Klein‘s 31 Days of Gratitude, I’ll be sharing with you a post about my own experimentation in practicing gratitude on a daily basis–and giving you another chance to win an e-copy of The Boys of Summer, as my post will go live Dec 21.

I’ll also be doing a Twitter Takeover of the Dreamspinner Twitter account on Dec 22, from 7-9 pm EST, so if you want to join me and chat about the upcoming Star Wars and Marvel Universe movies, hot pilots and the men who love them, what I’m working on next and where you might be able to meet up with me in person in 2016, then come join in the fun! There will be links to free stories, pics of hot heroes, and a good time will be had by all.

It’s not too late to go vote for your favorite author and stories in the 2015 Divine Magazine Awards. You might find my name there in a few places… *cough-cough* 🙂 I’ll also be taking part in Divine Magazine’s 12 Days of Christmas event, in which guest authors will be posting about what Christmas means to them, as well as offering terrific prizes in a Rafflecopter. Be sure to check it out! Among other things, I’ll be giving out the recipe for my ‘famous’ sausage balls. 🙂

UndertheMistletoe_DSPsiteAnd before I sign off the for the night, I must tell you that Dreamspinner Press is holding a 25% off sale on the entire story from Dec 8-11–which means you can grab any of my stories for a great price! Do check it out!

What are you waiting for? Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or whatever holiday you celebrate at this time! 🙂