News & New Stuff from Lex

lv_the-pixie-prince-_coverlgSo I have new stuff! Oh, yeah! About time you all say. I agree. It’s been too long. I’ve forgotten how to promo. I’m getting no comments on a blog post at my friend Tara’s to win a copy of my newest release. Has everyone forgotten me? And how do I get them to remember me now that I’m back? If you have any ideas, please do let me know cause I think I’m lost.

Anyway, here’s the news: I signed a total of ELEVEN contracts with Loose Id and mailed them all in this past week. One contract is for Partners, the dystopian I wrote with VJ Summers. The other ten contracts are for the Tales of the Darkworld and related short stories. They will be back, revised and refreshed, and I hope will draw new readers. And yes, I’m sure Treva and Jana at Loose Id will be after me to finish this series.

I got an email September 20 giving me back the rights to the 4 books I have at Ellora’s Cave. This was, of course, before Tina emailed all the EC authors about the closing and offering everyone their rights back by the end of the year if they gave up the royalties owed them. Not sure yet what I will be doing with those books. I also got the rights back to Scrambling from Loose Id. I chose to take them back because I’ve always thought it was overpriced. I will be completing the award winning sequel to Scrambling (it won the Rebecca) but I’m not sure yet what I’m doing with the pair of them. The Christmas Cowboys series has gone to my editor at Decadent. What’s that you say? You didn’t realize I was published by Decadent? Well, I am. But not as Lex Valentine. And no, I’m not giving you the name I’m published under there. 🙂

flyinginthefaceofconvention_200That leaves one book at Liquid Silver and all my MM novellas at MLR Press. Now, you can add one to that list. I haven’t gotten a contract for it, but Kris Jacen did indeed receive a brand new manuscript from me, 23K words called Extraction. That brings me to…

TWO new releases! One is the self pub, Kindle Unlimited release of Flying in the Face of Convention, a 7K story I wrote for the RWA anthology Premiere, edited by the wonderful Sylvia Day! The second release is The Pixie Prince by Loose Id. The Pixie Prince has been sitting in my vault of manuscripts for three years since I got the rights back to it from Cobblestone. I was very happy to send Max to LI and I’m really happy to have him back out in the world.

If you read mostly MM, please check out Flying in the Face of Convention. It’s a great story, short but full of sexy guys and a HEA. You can get Trey and Jordan HERE. And if you read MF paranormal, you’ll want to read The Pixie Prince! MAX IS BACK! YAY! You can get Max HERE.

You can also leave a comment on Tara Lain’s blog for a chance to win a free copy of The Pixie Prince. Click HERE to do that. And finally, if you sign up for my new NEWSLETTER, you could win an audiobook! Sign up HERE. I promise not to spam you! And please do friend me on Facebook as I often tell the world about releases and news there rather than here. But I promise to start blogging more. I promise!  After all, I gotta find all my lost readers don’t I?

Love yas!

LexV_signature_sm

 

The Revival of Sunstroked

Sunstroked_200Several years ago, while my hubs was away and I was lonely, I began the journey to become an author. My signature series Tales of the Darkworld was born during this time. Most of the books in the series were reader favorites and some won awards and recognition. Books are like your kids and while you’re not supposed to have favorites, sometimes one will bend your heart a little more than the others. This post is about one of my favorites.

My plan to match my dour, angry Scottish werewolf Seth Dylan of the McCallan clan with sunny, ever optimistic wildling Corey Green in Sunstroked turned out better than I could ever hope. It also birthed the next book Breath Me In because my editor at MLR Press, the ever observant Kris Jacen, asked me, “But what about Will?” So Suntroked has always been sort of a middle child, the one that people tend to forget because there’s the award winning Fire Season as older brother and the beautiful prose of Breath Me In as younger brother. Sandwiched between those two bestsellers, Sunstroked did manage to thrive, but became, in my heart of hearts, my favorite of the three.

I love Corey Green. I have from the moment he first opened his mouth and spoke such irreverent words to his boss Colin in Hot Water. I stole his name and appearance from a fellow blogger whom I met in San Diego, Gooster SD. My Corey is happy, funny, a little outrageous and obviously gay. His mate turns out to be a very firmly closeted, angry at the world Seth Dylan. What happens between the two when they first meet is deeply sexual, intense and beyond mind-blowing for both. And then Seth runs away from Corey just as Corey realizes they are mates. When Seth leaves, he takes Corey’s sun with him. A heartbroken Corey is as dark and quiet as a happy Corey was outgoing and boisterous.

This story is about being broken and finding your way, realizing that what you’d always thought about yourself might not be completely true and finally seeing the world the way you’re meant to. It’s sexual and heartbreaking. These two characters so deserve their HEA, maybe moreso than any of the other books in the series. At least, that’s my opinion. Reader opinion probably varies widely because it seems that they all love Holden and Garret and Will and Garrick more. And I’m not sure why. Seth and Corey have their fair share of great prose like:

A rain of soft kisses fell all over his back, shoulders and neck, reaching up as far as the
underside of his jaw and behind his ears. The warmth in his body heated to boiling. Corey lay still,
wondering where Seth was going both with his words, his hands, and his mouth.

“I knew it at Gargoyle Lodge but I had a tough time accepting the truth. I love you, Corey.”

The joy Corey had always found in life, the joy that had left him so abruptly when Seth had
walked out all those months before, came rushing back. The darkness retreated as Corey stepped
into the sunlight once more, this time with his mate at his side.

He turned in Seth’s arms, his own arms coming up around his mate. The scent of sage
wrapped itself around him, binding him to the man he loved. With one hand he cupped the side
of Seth’s beard stubbled face.

“I love you, Seth Dylan,” he murmured, his gaze locking with Seth’s. “I saw you beneath
the trees that first day in the cemetery, and your scent drifted toward me. I knew the instant I
scented you that you were mine. I’d never been with a virgin before, never been with a man so
consumed by anger and fear. But I loved you anyway. I took one look into those silver eyes filled
with pain, and I loved you with everything I am. Being without you has been like being without
my soul.”

Seth’s eyes glittered, emotion darkening them to charcoal. “You are without a doubt the most
amazing man I’ve ever met. You were so full of confidence, so joyous and happy. I didn’t think a
man like you could need someone like me.”

Corey pressed his body against Seth’s, rubbing his cloth confined erection against his mate’s.
“Oh, I need you. I will always need you. Without you, I’m lost. No sunshine. No Corey. You are
what brings out the best of me.”

Anyway, the reason I’m talking about Sunstroked today is because the audiobook has just released. The ever so wonderful Chip Wood has voiced this book just as he did Fire Season. I’m very sad that he won’t be able to do Breathe Me In though. If you listen to the audiobook sample at Audible, it is a dinner scene that describes a dessert created by Z.A. Maxfield and I during a drive back from Los Angeles.

Sunstroked_audioYou can get Sunstroked at Audible.com by clicking HERE. Or you can comment on this post for a chance to win a FREE copy! My birthday is coming up on Halloween so I’m giving you all until midnight Pacific time on Halloween to post a comment. If you’ve read Sunstroked, leave a comment about the book. If you haven’t read it, let me know why you’d like to win an audio copy. I’ll give away three free codes, randomly chosen by my hubs, Rott, who never reads my stuff. (He’s all for the rest of us reading MM, but his very straight soul won’t let him read it.) He’ll pick three numbers from the total number of comments left and those people will win a free copy of Sunstroked.

Frankly, anyone who leaves a comment is in good shape to win because I haven’t blogged in so long nor written a new book in so long that no one remembers me any more. But I have something coming. Oh, yes I do. It’s called The Return of Light. I’d like it to be the start of a new series of novellas called Reclaiming Love, but who knows what the future holds. I never would have predicted this long of a dry spell for myself. I’m trying to come back because I have stories bursting to be free from the confines of my head. Joining The Return of Light is The Sun Always Sets in Paradise which is more of a spring-summer story. If anyone knows where I got the title for the second novella, let me know in comments. I’m curious to see who gets it.

And yes, I do plan to continue in the Darkworld, the Out In the NFL, and Souls in Bondage series. I don’t know what the fate of Shadows and Kink is. I guess I’d like to continue it on my own, but I don’t know.  I have thought about my Flying in the Face of Convention law enforcement guys though.  I’ve toyed with the idea of doing a series of short mysteries with them called Unconventional. Who knows at this point? Stay tuned though. Maybe I can pull a rabbit out of my hat and start turning out 20,000 word Sundays again. 😉

Don’t forget to leave a comment so you can get a shot a free audiobook copy of Sunstroked!

Happy reading,

Lex_Sig

Trading Opinions

I know I haven’t been around in a long while. I’ve been busy and well, tired. Really tired. But stuff has happened since the last time I took to my own personal forum here. To catch you up quickly, here’s a rundown.

BitterBonds_200New sequel to Broken Bonds released. Bitter Bonds was #1 on ARe and top ten gay romance on Amazon. Entangled was #1 free gay rom on Amazon, now still top ten. Got a contract for the revamped Insolent. It’s in edits now. Working on Out of the Pocket (sequel to Scrambling), Fire Storm (next Tales book), and Subs for Lunch (short story in the Souls in Bondage world.) Have five books now in production for audiobooks, Unbreak Me (narrated by Rebecca Roberts) and the first four Tales of the Darkworld (Shifting Winds and Hot Water by female narrator Jenny Urban, Fire Season narrated by Chip Wood, and Ride the Lightning narrated by Sarah Pamero.) In particular, Fire Season sounds soooo exciting! There’s news on the health front (perimenopause still kicking my ass) and the family front – my kid went to stay with her dad after he hadn’t spoken to her in about 5 years and my MIL has been in the hospital since the 4th of July. My hubs’ stepdad with Alzheimer’s has to go into a home now since my MIL can no longer care for him.

What can I say? Life is busy and ever changing.

EROTIC - Reviewed by LASRSo you’re probably wondering about the title of this post. Now that I’ve gotten past the what’s new with me crap, I’ll get to the subject of today’s rant. Well, maybe rant is too a strong word. Definitely, I have something to say and since I’m on my blog, I guess I think you all have the right to hear my opinion! LOL And that’s what I want to talk about…opinions.

Reviews have become a hot button these days. Giving away books in trade for an honest review. Paying for reviews. Not getting reviews unless you practically twist someone’s arm to give you one. Review places springing up everywhere. Review places only reviewing books from authors who pay for ads on their site. Review places only reviewing authors who are friends of theirs. Goodreads snark reviews. Amazon reviews of books not even read. Misinformation in reviews. Authors trading reviews.

Rated 5 cherryThe list of subjects related to reviews is a lot longer than my little list. Books I have with publishers are always sent out to the publisher’s list of sanctioned review sites. A lot of publishers carefully weed out review sites that have trashed their authors’ books and send only to those sites that seem to offer honest, positive reviews of their books. I rarely seek reviews from review sites for books I have with publishers. I don’t want to duplicate efforts. Instead, I focus my promo elsewhere.

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Now, for my self-published books, I have actively sent them out for review and lately, I’ve joined some Facebook groups where people will accept a copy of your book in exchange for an honest review or where authors trade books for review. The trade for honest reviews has been slow, but that’s okay. I don’t want or need to be one of those authors blasting across Facebook that I have 150 five star reviews. (At one time, Rainbow Award Finalist and Jessewave Top Ten Book of 2009 Fire Season had over a dozen 4.5 and 5 star reviews, but 150? Not even counting Goodreads and Amazon did it hit 150.) Frankly, I don’t believe the veracity of those claims or at least, I don’t believe all of them. I have the evil sense that they went to Fiverr and paid $5 for a bunch of 5 star reviews from people who never read the book.

RR-cir-125Now, the authors exchanging reviews thing is a little different. As a published author, and as a person with very little time to read, I don’t waste my time on books that are not my specific reading genre. So if an author of a self-help book solicits a review from me in exchange for reviewing my book, I’m going to turn him down. I don’t read self help books much and I don’t feel it would be right of me to read something I don’t really want to read. And I’m sure I don’t want to force my gay rom on a straight arrow author. I can just imagine the fiasco that review would be!

reviewertoppick2

But you know, I see all those requests for trading reviews (trading opinions really) from the self published authors on those review groups on Facebook. Once in awhile I’ll click on the link to the person’s book to see if it’s something I might want to read. Usually, it’s not. Today, however, there was one.

I clicked the link which took me to Smashwords, thinking maybe I could trade reviews with this author. I clicked the sample function to check out the book. Guess what I found? A prologue that was an info dump. A first chapter poorly written and punctuated with more info dump and a plethora of passive voice. I don’t believe it was edited. And if it was edited, the author wasted the money she paid for the edit. It was not a book I would have contracted back when I was an acquisitions editor. The author needs to hone her craft better because what she put out was entirely sub-standard.

ReviewedAtCTR

So how can I justify doing a trade of reviews with her? Yes, her book is in the genre that I read. Yes, I could give her an honest review, but that review would be hard pressed to make two stars. And if I reviewed her book and honestly said I didn’t like it and noted all the stuff I said above about the lack of quality in the writing, editing and content, would that author then be angry enough to trash my book in review? It would be her honest opinion after all except that it would be biased based on her anger at my review of her book.

And that brings me back to the whole conundrum of whether or not to participate in these review swaps. I guess I need to read the samples first before I decide to do a swap and read the other author’s reviews of other people’s books too. After all, if I can clearly see in the sample that an author needs to go back to the classroom, that’s not a book I want to be involved with even in terms of a review. And if I can see from an author’s other reviews of books that he/she is snarky and/or mean or doesn’t write an honest review where you can see that they read the book, then I don’t want that person reviewing me. I’d rather do without, thank you very much.

fourjunkiesratingsA trade of opinions, er reviews, is only good if it benefits both people. If you’re going to trade reviews, make sure you’re willing to give the book and the author a fair shake. Only do reviews of books you would normally read. Check the book sample out first so you aren’t stuck reviewing something substandard or something you can’t say anything positive about. Check out the other author first and make sure your book is something they would probably enjoy reading.

Don’t set yourself up for failure! Asking someone who is straight and doesn’t read romance to review a gay rom is asking for trouble. It’s like subbing a sexually explicit BDSM book to a Christian inspirational publisher. You’re doomed to be disappointed.

FARLogo_FiveAngel

Thus far, I haven’t engaged in any trading of reviews. The stuff I’ve been interested in is either written by someone who doesn’t read my genre or, like the book I mentioned above, has been so poorly written I know I couldn’t give it a positive review. And I won’t review something I can’t say something positive about.

So I guess my little rant about trading opinions is that you need to use caution doing this because the old saying really is true. Opinions (aka reviews) are like assholes. Everyone has one and occasionally it stinks…to someone.

Happy Saturday everyone!

winter-lex

 

PS: Yes, the graphics used in this post were all earned by my books. If you’re interested in seeing how my latest releases are doing at review sites, here’s some info:

For Bitter Bonds, 5 paddles from BDSM Book Reviews and 4.5 stars from Joyfully Jay!

4 Sweet Peas from Mrs. Condit Reads Books for Mixed Tape Vol 2 which has Save Your Love in it.

4 stars from Smile Somebody Loves You for Save Your Love and 2.5 stars from MM Good Book Reviews. (It was a positive review but the book was too sweet for the reviewer!)

Day 21 – 30 Days of Christmas

The giveaway today may only be one little book, but it’s a special book for me. Today is the release date for Breath of Heaven, my Christmas story featuring the characters from Afterburner. It’s also the release day for Cupid Christmas, my other gay rom Christmas story, but I’ll be giving away Cupid Christmas on Christmas Eve. Breath of Heaven is the poignant story of how tragedy changes the lives of my flyboys from Afterburner. It’s also a tale of two very different families. One family is accepting while the other couldn’t be more opposite. The extended Marchetti family’s unconditional acceptance of Bas, his husband Ryder and Ryder’s brother’s family will warm your heart.  On the flip side of the coin, Ryder has to come to terms with how his father turned his back on him when he came out. The tragedy that befalls Ryder’s brother stirs unhappy memories for Ryder who must finally lay to rest the ghost of his father’s rejection.

I hope that those of you who don’t win this story will consider picking up a copy. If you ever wanted your family to just love you for who you are, you should read this story. So it’s happy release day to me and one lucky winner will reap the rewards of that! Here’s some information on Breath of Heaven.

Breath of Heaven

MLR Press

M/M erotic contemporary romance

BUY LINK

Blurb:

Sebastian Marchetti and his husband Ryder Beckett are flying high since their retirement from the Air Force. They’re still young, still hot for each other and enjoying life as a married couple and members of the Flying Marchettis aerobatic team. When tragedy strikes their extended family, the couple become parents overnight and the demons of Ryder’s past return with a vengeance. With the Marchettis and the entire town of Forza pitching in to help, Bas and Ryder strive to make Christmas unforgettable for a special little boy and his newborn brother while laying to rest past and present pain.

Excerpt:

Ryder pushed the shovel into the dirt with more force than necessary to loosen the sandy soil. He could have used the small backhoe that Sebastian had borrowed from his brothers-in-law who owned Todd Brothers Construction, but he needed the physical activity to help slow the spinning of his brain. He worked for the better part of three hours until his muscles burned and protested. He ignored everything except the staked out areas that needed to be dug. The rain had let up for a few hours but storm clouds gathered darkly once more. Ryder never noticed. When the sky began to pelt him with huge drops of water, he ignored it. Not until hard hands closed over his biceps did he jerk himself free of the stupor he’d been in.

“You’re soaked.”

Sebastian’s flat tones alerted Ryder to his husband’s concern. Bas very obviously held himself in check, keeping his emotions to himself in what Ryder knew was an attempt to be supportive and not add to the turmoil of the situation.

“Yeah. We should probably go inside.” Ryder turned his head toward the house, staring unseeingly at the windows that spilled golden light into the deepening gloom.

“There’s no lightning. No danger,” Sebastian said quietly, rubbing his hands down Ryder’s arms in a soothing manner.

Heaving a sigh, Ryder pushed the shovel deep into the ground in front of him and let go of the handle. The tool stood like a lone beacon in the rain soaked night, a symbol of Ryder’s confusion and pain.

“I can’t imagine what Ryan is going through,” he murmured. “If I lost you, I would be done. I don’t know how he picked up the phone and called me. After his first few words, when he practically screamed that Kat was dead, he sounded so calm, so unemotional, so…together.”

Hard arms came around him as Sebastian drew him back against his body, the rain pouring over them, drenching them through their t-shirts and jeans.

“Everyone deals with grief differently, Ryder. Your brother seems to feel the need to put his house in order, to take care of things,” Sebastian said in Ryder’s ear. “Maybe being busy and focusing on what needs to be done helps him to channel his grief into productive outlets. Maybe he’s hanging by a thread and he’s just waiting until he gets here to let go and lose it. Maybe he needs your support and your love to help him deal with his grief. After all, he called you, not your mother and father.”

Ryder closed his eyes on a stab of pain. “My father wouldn’t tolerate any show of emotion. He’s an Army man after all, a Ranger. And my mother would make up for his lack of emotion by an overabundance of it.” He shook his head. “No, Ryan wouldn’t call them first. They would only make him feel worse.”

Sebastian brushed a kiss to Ryder’s ear. “Well then, your brother called the only person he trusted to help him deal with this devastating blow. You.”

A rush of emotion swept over Ryder and his legs gave out, dropping him to the ground. Caught off balance, Sebastian was pulled with him and the two of them tumbled into the hole Ryder had dug which was fast becoming a mud pit in the downpour. Ryder twisted around, pressing his body against Sebastian’s, ignoring the mud that caked them both.

“Ryan’s loss made me realize what you went through when my plane went down,” he said hoarsely, tears forming in his eyes and trickling out to mingle with the rain on his face.

He dug his fingers into Sebastian’s hard shoulders, holding him tightly with a frantic sense of their mortality fueling his strength and urgency. Their bodies cleaved together and they rocked into each other’s hips, mud coating every inch of them as they rolled in the flower bed. Seeking Sebastian’s mouth, Ryder kissed him hard, pushing his tongue between his lover’s lips, demanding a response. He slipped his hands beneath Bas’s t-shirt, spreading slick mud over the hard muscles he loved to touch.

Muffled moans of pleasure came from Bas as he returned the caress, his fingers finding the curve of Ryder’s ass and digging into the muscle through the layers of denim and mud. Ryder ground his crotch against Bas’s, uncaring that they were out in the open lying in a growing pool of mud in the middle of a December rainstorm. He needed Bas. Needed to feel Bas around him, in him, loving him, sexing him. He needed to feel alive so that the specter of his brother’s loss would go away. So that death would go away. So that the fragility of life was held at bay by the love he felt for Bas and that Bas felt for him. Ryan’s wife might be dead but Ryder’s husband wasn’t and Ryder needed Bas as he had never needed him before. Right there in the mud of their yard.

He pulled at Bas’s clothes, popping open the buttons of his lover’s jeans. Bas murmured a weak protest and Ryder kissed it from his lips. He brushed his fingers over Bas’s cheek, streaking it with mud. Then he smiled sadly.

“I knew how hard it was for you when my plane went down and you had no right to even ask how I was or what happened,” he whispered, his gaze holding Bas’s. “I knew, but I didn’t understand. Hearing Ryan tell me that his wife had been killed gave me that understanding.  For the past few hours I’ve thought of nothing but what my life would be like if something happened to you. If tragedy can strike the golden boy Ryan Beckett then where does that leave me?”

“It leaves you with me. In my arms, safe in my love,” Sebastian said promptly, hugging Ryder tightly despite the squish of the mud between and beneath them. “No one, not even death can take that love from us, Ryder. Life holds no guarantees. You know this. You’ve been to Afghanistan. You’ve punched out of a disintegrating jet. And so have I. Either of us could have been killed by that. I could have died in Iraq, but I didn’t. We survived war zones, we survived the stupid ass policies of our government about being gay. Our love has transcended so much that I can’t imagine death would take it from us.”

More tears squeezed from Ryder’s eyes at Bas’s words and he nuzzled his husband’s throat, trying to burrow into his warmth. “Don’t leave me,” he moaned, shivering with emotion. “Don’t ever leave me, Bas.”

Tenderly, Sebastian kissed him, staring at him with solemn eyes. “I won’t. My love will always be with you, Ryder.”

With a deep, shuddering sigh, Ryder eased his grip on Bas. “Maybe we should take this into the house.”

Bas chuckled. “Why? I was enjoying the slipperiness of the mud, weren’t you?” He cocked a brow at Ryder as a wicked grin began to turn up the corners of his mouth.

Ryder slipped one hand between their bodies, snaking his fingers into the open fly of Bas’s soaked jeans. “I’m a dirty boy. I always have been.” His hand closed around hot, hard flesh. “God, you better be dirty too, Bas cause I won’t be responsible for corrupting you.”

A full-blown laugh filled with love and lust and amusement escaped Sebastian as he snaked his hands into Ryder’s jeans seeking Ryder’s hard flesh. His dark eyes held more emotion than Ryder could ever remember seeing in them, even when they first confessed their love or when they’d gotten married. In the face of tragedy, their love blossomed, he thought with savage satisfaction, his hand stroking Bas’s cock in time with Bas’s strokes of Ryder’s cock. He smiled as lust swamped his senses. Their love triumphed even when covered in a thick coat of mud.

For a chance to win a copy of Breath of Heaven, leave a comment on this post by midnight Pacific time tonight. Happy Holidays!

 

Back to Back

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…

Honorable Silence

MLR Press

BUY LINK

BLURB:

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.

Afterburner Blurb:

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.

EXCERPT:

“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.

“I’m gay.”

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 My World

Ellora’s Cave

BUY LINK

BLURB:

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.

EXCERPT:

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.