I had two new releases this week to cheer me up from my sucky ass cold. Both are contemporary and erotic, but that’s where everything diverges. One story is serious. The other is more fun. One is het. The other is gay. Even the publishers are divergent. The oldest, best known epublisher and the premier gay romance publisher. This is what happens when you write across genres!
Now, I give you a taste of Sebastian and Ryder and Sinclair and Gianna…
Our men and women in uniform sacrifice daily to serve our country. But what about the additional, voluntary sacrifice that each gay person in the military makes when they don their uniform? We ask these men and women to not only serve their country but serve in silence and denial, sacrificing not only their physical lives but their emotional ones too by denying them their right to love. Four talented authors weave tales that describe how living a lie pulls at the hearts and souls of good servicemen, whose only desire is to do their duty to their country…honorably. In AFTERBURNER, two fighter pilots let their hearts soar despite regulations. THE LOSS OF INNOCENCE STORE provides a glimpse into the U.S. Army prior to the institutionalization of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. A sniper and infantryman find that love eases the pain of being forsaken in FORSAKE NOT. And STRATEGIC MANUEVERS reveals the intricate steps that can lead to love while in uniform.
Sebastian “Bas” Marchetti has spent his life doing two things, hiding his sexuality and flying. Born into an aerobatic family, Bas learned to fly long before he could drive. After a stellar career in the military that encompassed a turn as a U.S.A.F. Thunderbird and a test pilot, Bas leaves the service when his father dies in order to take over operations of the Flying Marchettis. Fully out of the closet and unwilling to return to it, Bas struggles with the demons of his past military career when he meets test pilot Ryder Beckett. Together, Ryder and Bas find a love that neither is willing to give up. With Ryder living the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, they struggle to have a normal relationship. Bas loves Ryder enough to be his dirty little secret. However, that’s not enough for Ryder who loves his man so much he’ll risk court martial to be with Bas.
“So you’re my replacement.” Bas flashed a smile at the other man before crossing the room toward the door. “They were quick.”
As he spoke, a hand gripped his elbow and spun him around. Surprised, he got a glimpse of dark blue eyes sparkling with excitement before a hard mouth came down on his. A bolt of sheer lust rocked him. As Ryder’s tongue pressed for entrance, Bas opened his mouth, thrilling to the taste of the other man. Minty, smoky, and fueled with high octane arousal. Hard hands swept his back, his shoulders, and finally his buttocks. Involuntarily, Bas thrust against Ryder’s body and through the layers of their clothes he felt the erection that rivaled his own.
And then the kiss ended.
Standing with chest heaving, two full feet between them, Sebastian stared at Ryder Beckett in pure shock. An Air Force officer, a jet pilot, had kissed him. Blatantly. Sexually. Forcefully.
“I figured I should just get that out of the way before we went any further,” Ryder said, his voice deep and husky with arousal.
“What the hell do you mean?” Bas demanded, confused.
Ryder ran a hand through his already ruffled hair. Then he stared hard at Bas. “I could see you were thinking the same thing I was. You’re attracted to me. I’m attracted to you. I just thought I’d show you that your feelings were reciprocated.”
“You’re a pilot. An officer.” Bas stared at Ryder, feeling a little shocked.
The words hung in the hot, musty air between them. Bas felt his heartbeat increase. Air Force officers did not say the word gay. Not to someone they didn’t know and trust. And Bas didn’t know Ryder. Despite being a civilian now, he could not say the word to the man. Twenty years of holding it in, twenty years of repression, twenty years of yearning, held him back.
Anger flickered on Ryder Beckett’s face. “You’re such a die hard,” he muttered, shaking his head. “Somehow, I didn’t expect that. You’re retired, aren’t you? They don’t own you anymore.”
Bas swallowed hard and watched Ryder’s gaze flick over his throat, the color of his eyes deepening to midnight. “Technically, they don’t. But…I don’t…I can’t…” he broke off. He frankly didn’t know what to say to a man who was still in the military but who’d admitted to being gay.
Ryder nodded crisply. “I get it. I know it’s hard to admit to when you’ve lived your life in the Air Force. Everyone expects jet pilots to be macho men who fuck anything in a skirt that comes into range and then suit up and shoot ten MiGs out of the sky.”
“That’s putting it mildly,” Bas muttered, leaning back against the apartment wall as he stared at the pilot. The other man, despite being younger, had much more confidence in himself and his sexuality than Bas ever had.
“I’ve never hidden who I am, Sebastian,” Ryder admitted in a low voice. “I’ve used caution and exhibited extreme discretion to avoid the witch hunt ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ can be sometimes. Usually, people just assume I’m straight, and I let them. It frees me up to be who I am in private. I’ve never been with a woman. I don’t want to. But I’ve been with quite a few men. You’d be surprised how many of us there are in the service. And you’d be surprised at how many people actually know what your real preferences are, but would never turn you in for being a homosexual.”
After a moment of hard thinking, Bas realized Ryder probably had the right of it. Why he’d never picked up on it, he didn’t know. It had just been ingrained in him to hide his sexuality. Only in the last year had he begun to loosen up a little and not worry so much about others finding out. Only in the last year had he decided he needed something more than his hand, gay porn, and furtive encounters. And his first and only try at a relationship hadn’t been anything to write home about. When it ended badly, he knew he needed to get out of the service and get a real life. Hiding didn’t cut it any longer.
Drawing a breath, he stared into the very dark blue eyes of the man he’d just met and said, “I’m gay too. And yeah, I’m very attracted to you.”
A gorgeous smile broke out on Ryder’s face. “So what are we going to do about that?”
With a short laugh, Bas pushed off from the wall and pulled the door open. “Right now, we’re gonna agree on a price for this apartment. Then I’m going home to make lunch which you are invited to. Unless you’d rather just start moving in.”
Ryder laughed and the sound made Bas’s breath catch in his throat. “I think I’ll give it some soap and water before I bring my stuff over from the motel,” he admitted. “But lunch sounds great.”
Rock star Gia Santora is at the height of her career when a frightening brush with a psychotic stalker changes her life. Three years later, she’s ready for more than a string of one-night stands on the road, but finding a date isn’t easy for a woman with a bodyguard. When she meets her sexy young opening act, he pushes all her buttons, sexually and emotionally.
Sin Carstens is rock’s hottest new guitar god with a body and a voice to match his name. He takes Gia on a wild sexual ride that has them literally rockin’ the tour bus. But Sin’s got priorities other than music and sex. He wants a relationship with the commitment-shy Gia. When the stalker gets loose and their lives are on the line, Gia pushes Sin away. But Sin’s willing to fight Gia’s fears in an effort to win himself the sexiest woman he’s ever known, and prove that he can rock her world.
Fresh from the shower, Sin threaded his way through the groupies that always seemed to fill the backstage area. He slipped away from everyone and headed for the spot he’d found Gia standing in earlier. From that vantage point, he could watch her on stage. He’d somehow sensed her standing there during his set and it had fueled his performance. He played for her, sang for her…rubbed his aching cock against the body of his Strat for her.
The damp strands of his expensively cut hair fell into place automatically as Sin ruffled them with one hand and watched Gia. Dressed in a black leather bustier and matching skintight pants, she had the rock-star look down cold. Her black hair cascaded down her back in loose waves and ringlets like the mane of a show horse. She swiveled her hips and his heart thudded against his rib cage. Sweat trickled down her breastbone and he ached to lick it from her skin. She beckoned to the crowd with long slender fingers tipped with black-lacquered nails and all he could think of was how those fingers would feel wrapped around his cock. The cock that currently strained against the placket of his worn jeans.
From the moment his manager had told him Firewire wanted him to open for them, he’d dreamed of fucking Gia. Of course, he’d dreamed of fucking Gia since he was seventeen years old. Firewire had just burst onto the music scene fronted by the twenty-five-year-old bombshell and his adolescent hormones had done nothing but constantly wonder what she looked like naked. Twelve years later, his thoughts hadn’t changed much but his opportunities had.
Sin watched her undulate in the spotlight, her red lips pursed as if she were about to suck on the microphone attached to her headset. God, how he wanted those lips sucking on his cock. The past few weeks had been torture. He’d seen her in passing numerous times but hadn’t yet had a chance to speak to her alone.
Usually flanked by James Fox and Derek Vanguard in public, Gia otherwise kept to herself. He’d discovered she had no boyfriend, husband or significant other of any kind. Her bandmates–all big men with as much muscle as the group’s bodyguards–closed ranks and protected her from the advances of strangers pretty much 24/7. He understood why. A stalker who’d held her at knifepoint three years ago had taken her straight out of the dating limelight. Her personal life had gone one-hundred-percent underground at that point. If he hadn’t been part of the tour, he wouldn’t have found out she was unattached.
He watched Firewire’s entire set, his gaze glued to Gia’s writhing body. At thirty-seven, she looked spectacular. Maybe not quite as hot as she’d been a dozen years ago, but she’d aged well. Her hips might be rounder, her body not as angular, and crow’s feet and laugh lines adorned her face now, but Sin didn’t care. She sent his temperature soaring.
The lights came down at the end of the last song, but within five seconds, a backlight came on, outlining Derek Vanguard’s drum set. A roadie poured water over him as he drank from another water bottle. A low, driving backbeat from his bass drum rumbled through the auditorium. The lights began to pulse with the beat.
Sin blinked in surprise as Gia suddenly appeared in front of him, sweaty, breathless and wide-eyed. Her roadie unzipped the leather bustier and stripped it from her, swiftly pulling a white tank top over her head. For the space of a few heartbeats, Sin saw her naked breasts, the stiff pink nipples thrusting toward him. The roadie stepped behind Gia to pull her hair into a ponytail. Gia drank down a bottle of water, her gaze locked with his.
Fire licked at his groin as he stared at her. He didn’t notice the black smears of her eyeliner or the way she couldn’t seem to catch her breath. He did notice that her eyes watched him with undisguised lust. Sin took a step closer. Anticipation rushed over him. He grasped her chin and slanted his mouth over hers, smearing her lipstick. She tasted like cherries and he twined his tongue with hers, pressing his throbbing cock to her belly. She rubbed her tongue against his, her eyes wide open, watching him cautiously.
Hands pushed him and he stepped back, breaking the kiss. Gia’s roadie hissed angrily at him but he ignored her, keeping his eyes on the woman whose taste still lingered on his mouth.
“Break a leg, baby,” he said, touching her bare shoulders in a swift caress.
For an instant they just stared at each other, then the roadie hissed again and Gia took a step backward. As she spun toward the stage she glanced back at him, one eyelid dropping in a wink. Sin’s heart stumbled, then began to beat faster. Fuckin’ A. He’d kissed Gianna Santora. And she’d winked at him. He felt seventeen again.
Sin took a few steps forward, watching intently as Gia began to sing the band’s signature song, a ballad that had every cigarette lighter in the arena lit like ten thousand candles in the night.
Lay with me
Close to my heart
Breathe my air
Let my love start
To heal your wounds
Our love unfurled
You hold me tight
And just rock my world
He held his breath, noting that at least twice she glanced toward him and both times her voice soared, the smoky, sexy tones washing over him, making him ache. He watched and listened as she segued from the ballad into their final encore of the night, a rousing, foot-stomping, fist-raising anthem of pure rock.
By the time she flung her arms around her bandmates and took a bow, the sweat-soaked white tank top had become transparent, outlining her round breasts with their tight nipples. She jogged off-stage, her face incandescent with performance high. She headed straight for him, slamming her whole body into him, crushing her breasts against his chest. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she ground her pussy against his thigh and moaned.
Electrified by her touch, Sin kissed her hard. Just as he thrust his tongue into her mouth she pulled back, her violet eyes wide, her gaze intense.
“I’m not a cheater and I don’t share,” she growled, her voice raspy from sixty minutes of singing and screaming.
Heart hammering, Sin thrust his hands into her damp hair, dislodging the ponytail holder. “Me either. I broke up with Shanna two months ago. She couldn’t handle me yelling your name every time I came,” he admitted.
His palms absorbed the shock that rippled through her. She grasped his hand.
“Let’s get out of here.”
The next few minutes passed in a haze of lust and anticipation. Gia pulled him through the throngs of people toward an exit. Vaguely he realized she’d muttered something to her roadie and to Fox as they passed. Derek smacked him on the ass and Ray-Ray hooted. Next thing Sin knew, they were sprawled in a limo, lips locked and bodies rubbing urgently together as the car sped toward their hotel. He palmed her breasts through the damp tank top.
“Oh God, I’ve dreamed of this since I was seventeen years old,” he mumbled against her mouth.
Gia froze, her lithe body pinning him to the leather seat. She stared at him with emotion-dark eyes for several seconds. Then, with a visible swallow, she thrust herself away from him, sitting up.
Sin levered himself upright, his stomach lurching. Damn his stupid mouth. He wasn’t a kid anymore but excitement at being with her made him feel and react like one. It had been years since he’d been so gauche with a woman. He looked into her stony face and his stomach fell. Shit. It would take some fancy footwork to get back to the point where they were sucking face and humping on the limo seat again. Sin figured he’d better start dancing.