Something Like Hope

It’s both nerve wracking and very exciting when I release a book.  Something Like Hope is now out there in the world, and I really hope people like it.  Because I do.  A lot.  😀

There’s a fun little bit of promo over at Thorny’s today, where we did a little interview.  It’s about me, my writing, and the book.  It was fun for me to answer the questions, and made me think too, so I hope you enjoy it!

Aaron and Lucas have wormed their way into my heart, and I adore them.  They’ll be visiting us again for a few flash fics over the next few Fridays, so we can check in with them again and see how things are going. I always love revisiting my boys, and if you’re not quite ready to let them go either, then tune in to see what happens next.

Happy reading!

Release Day!!

Oh guys!  It’s here.  Something Like Hope is out!  Right now you can get it directly from Amber Quill and when other places become available I’ll update with links.

In the meantime, how does an excerpt sound?

I got to the set at three minutes after seven the next morning, and when I saw the Camaro in the parking lot, I moved quickly.  I walked straight to Lucas’ dressing room.  The door was cracked open, and I could hear the soft strains of some 80’s rock ballad.  I didn’t knock, didn’t ask for permission, just walked in the room and shut the door quietly behind me.

            It took him a second to realize I was there.  When he did his face lit up with a grin, before a scowl quickly took its place.

            “I wanted to say thank you.”  I kept my voice soft and calm.  “They’re beautiful, and I really appreciate it.”

            He opened his mouth, and for a second, I knew he was going to deny that he knew what I was talking about.  I could see it all over his face.  But then he deflated and blew out a breath.  “You’re welcome.”

            I waited, but he didn’t say anything else. Okay, then.  It was up to me.  I cleared my throat.  “Look, Lucas, I think we need to talk—”

            “Yes,” he cut me off fast, his gaze darting wildly around the room like the thought there might be someone spying.  “But not here, okay?”

            I nodded slowly.  I didn’t know the source of his nerves, but I didn’t want to spook him.  “Okay.  Not here.  Where?”

            “Um.” He licked his lips, and then his gaze finally settled on a spot somewhere over my left shoulder.  His voice dropped even lower, like he didn’t want to be overheard.  “Come to my place tonight?  I should be done and home by eight.”

            I weighed that for a long moment, really thinking it over.  It had to be a good thing that he was inviting me over.  He must finally be ready to talk, and I took that as a good sign.  As I stood there studying his face, I saw something like hope in his eyes.  He was a terribly confusing individual, and I didn’t understand anything about him or his motivation. But there was only one way to find out.

            “Okay, yeah.  I’ll come by tonight.”  I hadn’t taken my gaze off him, and I did not miss that brief flash of relief that crossed his face.

            “Good.  Okay.  Good.”  He blew out a breath, and he focused on me.  His lips quirked into a tiny smile.  It wasn’t much, but it was nice to see.  “I’ll pick you up on my way through, okay?”

            But I didn’t want to be stuck there if things went south.  I wanted to be able to leave if it got ugly.  I shook my head, but softened it was a smile.  “Just text me the address.  I’ll find it.”

            “Um.  All right.”  Lucas looked disappointed, but he dutifully rattled off his cell number for me to put in my phone.  I quickly shot him a text, a smiley face, so he would have my number as well.  That concluded, we both stood there, awkwardly staring at each other. 

            I broke first, laughing at the situation.  Lucas’ smile was sheepish, and he shook his head.

            “I’ve got to go to makeup,” he murmured.

            “Yeah,” I responded.  Then looked him straight in the eye.  “I don’t have to be here today.  I came to track you down.”

            His nostrils flared as he sucked in a deep breath, and his pupils widened.  “We’ll talk tonight.”

            My gaze didn’t waver.  “I’m looking forward to it.”

med_SomethingLikeHopeTelevision actor Aaron Zeller is thrilled when the character he plays on a popular primetime crime drama begins a gay relationship with one of the main characters on the show. While the cast and crew are mostly supportive, lead actor, Lucas Logan, is not. Aaron feels nothing but inexplicable coldness from the man.

Lucas admits his attraction for Aaron, but he is reluctant to act on his desires because of the potential detriment to his career should his sexuality become public. What they have between them could be sizzling hot, but is it worth the risks?

Love Wins Flash Fic

**In honor of the SCOTUS’s momentous, stupendous, about freaking time decision, a flash fic.  I’ve brought back Jack and Ryan to tell the tale.**

Jack had lost hope years ago.  He was convinced that, despite the way the country as a whole was leaning, the Supreme Court would never rule in favor of same sex marriage.  My cynical, pessimistic boyfriend was utterly certain he wouldn’t see a nationwide mandate for equal protection and rights under federal law in his lifetime.  Jack was sure we would have to fight for the rest of our lives to be recognized for what we were to each other.  That I would always be his significant other, his partner, but never his husband.   And he thought I was a fool for believing, deep down, that things would change.

Today, Jack was proven wrong in the best possible way.

I’d been anticipating the decision, most of me convinced that there be would positive news.  Though I was scared we’d be once again denied, I just couldn’t let go of that shining hope that finally, finally, it would be as it should have always been.  And it wasn’t just about the wedding, about the marriage.  Jack and I were as committed to each other as any straight married couple could be.  We could have left Montana behind and moved to any number of states if it was just about that, and wed one another.  No, it was about being recognized as equal.  As valued as any other human being out there.  Now that we had that, now that we had the legal protection we’d been so long denied, there was no better way I could think to celebrate than with a proposal.

I’d been planning it for a long time.  Because I knew that Jack would never ask.  And while I would have taken the news at any time, that it was the end of June was perfect.  Because that was when we had met, seven years ago.  I’d been up on a ladder, picking pine cones off the trees.  Jack had wandered down the row to check on our progress.   I’d taken one look at him and I had known he would be mine for the rest of my life.  We’d had our bumps, and a necessary separation, but now we were stronger than ever.

I couldn’t wait anymore.  I grabbed the jewelers box from the back of my sock drawer, and headed out the door.

I found Jack among the Scotch pines.  At least a dozen workers were picking pine cones from the trees, and I ran up the row just as Jack was climbing down from a ladder.  He saw me, and his face lit up for just a second before a scowl and concern replaced it.

“Ryan?” Jack’s voice was full of worry.  “Baby, what’s wrong?”

I shook my head, trying desperately to catch my breath.  It took just a minute or two, and then I beamed up at my beautiful man.  “Did you hear?  The Supreme court ruled for equal protection and a fundamental right for all people to marry.  Everywhere and in every state.”

Jack’s smile was soft, and his gaze was fixed solely on me.  I could see a hint of disbelief there, but mostly relief.  He reached out for my hand, and squeezed it tight, not being able to say a word.  He didn’t have to.

I dropped to one knee, and held up the box with the hand he wasn’t holding.  It only took a flick of my finger for the lid to spring open and show off the two gold rings inside.  Jack’s breath caught.

“I love you.  Always have.  Always will.  Even when we were apart, my heart beat for you.  I never want to be parted from you again.  Marry me.”

There was a long beat of silence, and then Jack simply said, “Yes.”

It was all I needed to hear.

Flash Fic Friday

**Oh Ben and Zack, how I love thee.  This week brings our story to a close, and Ben is taking over the narration again.  I’m not saying we’ll never see Ben and Zack again, because you never know where they will pop up, but their coda is complete with this week’s challenge of a moving mishap, questioning commitment and serenity.  Enjoy!**

He was so quiet it was starting to become unnerving.  And the less he spoke, the more nervous and quiet I got in return.  We’d been home—well, back in New York at any rate—for one day, the moving van had arrived with my things, and as we unpacked the boxes and crates, Zack had all but ceased speaking.

I had to wonder if he thought he made the wrong decision.  Now that I’d invaded his home, he may have changed his mind.  He possibly discovered that he wasn’t as committed to this as I was, and he didn’t want to be with me forever.  While I wished he’d figured it out before I moved all the way across the country to be with him, I couldn’t really fault him.  Sometimes, it took something that big to open one’s eyes.  I didn’t doubt Zack’s love for me, I just thought that he felt we were moving too fast.

I’d have to live with Josie until I found a place of my own.  Or went back to California.

“Ben, I need to talk to you.”  Zack’s voice was soft, contrite, and full of worry.  Here it was.  He was going to tell me he’d made a mistake and that we would have to part ways and slow down.

“All right then,” I responded slowly, shoring myself up.

Zack took a deep breath, and then he took my hand, pulling until I followed him upstairs and into his spare bedroom turned office.  The movers had shoved my desk up against the far wall.  Zack’s hand trembled as he reached out and opened the box set on top, and then, with another deep breath, tilted it so I could see the contents.  Inside was the antique hot chocolate pot that had belonged to my father’s grandmother, the one she’d protected on the journey across the ocean.  It now lay in three pieces.

“I’m so sorry,” Zack whispered, and I heard the anguish in his voice.  “I swear I packed it carefully, did everything I could to ensure that it would be safe.  But it wasn’t enough, and I found it hours ago and I didn’t know how to tell you and—”

“Zack,” I said, cutting him off and pulling him into my arms.  We were basically the same height, I only had maybe an inch on him, and I loved that I could look right into his deep blue eyes.  “Is that what’s had you so upset?”

He blinked.  “Well, yeah.  It was a family heirloom and it got busted in the move.  The move you made for me.”

I kissed him, quick and hard, my relief making me giddy.  Later, I would tell him what I’d thought, and I knew he’d get indignant that I’d questioned his commitment to me.  But for now, I was so relieved that his behavior had been over a piece of broken porcelain that I couldn’t help but pour that into the kiss.  Zack responded in kind, and it was only when he needed to breathe that he pulled back.  He lifted his hands from where they were clutching my waist so that he could cup my face and tilt my head until he could look right into my eyes.

“You aren’t mad?” he asked like he couldn’t quite believe it.

“I’m not mad,” I responded honestly.  “I’ll glue it back together and set it in the cabinet.  It’s not like it was ever used, and it has more sentimental value then monetary.  It’s fine, I promise.”

“Oh thank fuck,” Zack breathed.  Then he gave me a wicked grin.  He pushed his body a little bit closer, his hands and hips working in conjunction to position me the way he wanted me, which was trapped between him and the desk.  “We’ve worked long and hard today.  I’d say it’s time for a shower, to wash off all the sweat and grime.  And we should probably call it an early night.”

I shivered at his commanding tone, and nodded eagerly, happy to follow behind when he tugged me out of the room.

***

Later that night, Zack was snoring softly beside me.  Even in sleep, he refused to let me get far.  Every time I moved, he moved to match my new position.  I didn’t mind one bit.  Sated and pleasantly sore, I snuggled closer into his embrace.  This was what it was all about.  The deep seeded contentment, and peace I felt in his arms.  Our beginning was not the easiest, and I was certain we’d have arguments and disagreements in the future.  I didn’t expect smooth sailing, and that was just fine.  Nothing worth having was ever easy, and working at a relationship had never scared me.  Just being with him settled something inside me, and it had been like that from the first.  We would have to put in the work to keep things good between us, but we had a solid foundation.

I sighed happily, and pushed even closer, loving that Zack immediately pulled me in tighter.  As I fit my body to his, a sense of true serenity washed through me.  I savored it, knowing it was the kind of thing that didn’t happen often.  It might have taken me decades to find it, but now that I had it, I was never letting it, or Zack, go.

Story Time

So here’s a story about how I was surfing around publishers websites months ago and looking at submission calls.  It’s something I do.  Because I really like writing to sub calls.  In fact, everything I’ve ever published has been a direct result of a sub call inspiring an idea.  (I need direction, just ask the Admiral).  So I saw this sub call and immediately my brain starting writing the character of Aaron Zeller.  I knew who he was and what his story was, and a quick discussion with the Admiral cemented who his love interest was.  And when I had those two pieces, the story just happened.  I wrote it over a couple of months, and before I was even that far into it, the Admiral planted the idea for a series.  And once that was in my head, there was no stopping it.  It went from one standalone book, to a series of at least five stories.  And  Something Like Hope, the first one, will be released on Sunday, June 28th.  That’s, you know, six days from now.

There’ll be links and stuff once they become available, but until then, the unofficial blurb:

Television actor Aaron Zeller is thrilled when the character he plays on a popular primetime crime drama begins a gay relationship with onemed_SomethingLikeHope of the main characters on the show. While the cast and crew are mostly supportive, lead actor, Lucas Logan, is not. Aaron feels nothing but inexplicable coldness from the man.

Lucas admits his attraction for Aaron, but he is reluctant to act on his desires because of the potential detriment to his career should his sexuality become public. What they have between them could be sizzling hot, but is it worth the risks?

Flash Fic Friday

**What to say about this week’s fic?  What the Admiral demands, is what you get.  So more Ben and Zack, as they navigate their relationship.  And also, NSFW.  Enjoy!**

Ben had joined the ranks at Marley, Leonard and Smith seventeen years ago, and had been a junior partner for the last five.  So I wasn’t surprised the firm was throwing my boyfriend a farewell party.  I just hadn’t expected it to be so lavish.  Gourmet food and an open bar combined with tailored suits and cocktail dresses had me feeling completely out of place.  The last time I’d dressed up was when I had to chaperone the senior ball last spring.  I was so far outside of my element, it was all I could do to keep from constantly fidgeting.

But despite the pretentious atmosphere of the restaurant, Ben’s colleagues were pleasant and cheerful.  I got the feeling that they would genuinely miss him, but that they were glad for him at the same time.  I appreciated how much they cared for Ben, and I liked them all.

Well, all except that bitch Clarissa Deveraux.  She was staring at my man like she wanted to unhinge her jaw and swallow him whole.  And then take his office.  I kept an eye on her, just in case.

The party, though lively, wasn’t anywhere close to what could be described as raucous.  It was pleasant, and fun.  But I was more than ready to go home.  I didn’t know any of these people, and though I’d been visiting for five weeks, I’d only been to Ben’s office a handful of times.  I’d met his secretary, Riley, and one of the file clerks, whose name escaped me but that was it.  But I tried to keep my weariness inside.  This was about Ben, who was changing his life for me, and I would not begrudge him his need to reminisce and celebrate with his colleagues.

Two hours later, things finally would down.  As the guest of honor, Ben was among the last to leave.  He was smiling uncontrollably, and his cheeks were bright red.  He let out a contented sigh and leaned heavily against me.  I had to smile.

“My baby is a little bit drunk, huh?” I said softly, guiding him toward the car.  I suspected I’d be the one driving home when he’d returned from the bar with his second glass of wine.  Glass number three confirmed it, and the fourth was just a bonus.

“Not drunk,” he said with a warm, delicious sounding laugh.  “Just tipsy.”

I was sure he was right and glad to hear it.  I pointed the car toward home, and had to concentrate on navigating LA traffic.  The restaurant wasn’t terribly far from Ben’s condo, but everything in LA was a drive and it took us nearly forty-five minutes to get home again.  When Ben didn’t pass out during the drive, I knew he wasn’t lying when he said he wasn’t drunk.

Ten or so minutes from home, he put his hand on my knee, then slowly slid it higher up.  His fingers curled around my thigh, and then devilishly brushed toward my groin.  I sucked in a breath and adjusted my position in the seat, spreading my legs just a bit more.

Ben’s laugh was wicked.

“You know I love you.”  It wasn’t a question.  Ben’s statement was soft but firm, and I spared him a glance to see his brown eyes just glowing.  The man looked hungry

“I should hope so,” I responded even as I tilted my hips to better feel his fingers.  “You’re moving across the country to be with me.”

“Yes.  I am.”  Ben breathed the words like a vow, even as his tone was filled with heat and want.

I barely bit back a groan, and I grabbed his hand and placed it firmly on my dick, curling his fingers around the bulge.  As always, Ben took direction exceedingly well, and he squeezed with exactly the right pressure.  I almost missed the turn onto his street, but I made it just in time.  I literally sped to his driveway, whipping his sedan into its spot with little finesse. I threw the car into park, and then twisted so I could grab his head and bring his lips to mine.

I devoured him.

When I finally pulled back it was only so I could breathe.  Ben’s lips were swollen and red, his entire face flushed with arousal.  I wanted him, right then and there.  But I had enough decorum not to fuck my boyfriend in his car.  Instead, I pulled back farther, unlatched both our seatbelts, and pointed toward the house.

“Get inside,” I commanded, my voice low.  “Now.”

Ben moved quickly. He was always eager, and he loved it when I took charge.  That worked well for us because I loved being in command. I was only seconds behind him and I caught him just as he crossed over the threshold.  I barely took the time to shut the door behind me before I was pressing his body against the entryway wall.

With one hand, I pushed his chin up so I could bite and suck on his neck; with the other, I unhooked and unzipped his pants.  They fell to his knees the instant I had them open, and I felt his cock straining at the fabric of his underwear, wanting to be free.  I would let it out in just a minute.

“Get out of those pants,” I growled, stepping back just far enough to open my own pants and shove them and my boxers down to my thighs.  I kept my gaze fixed on Ben as he struggled to kick out of his shoes.  As soon as he got one leg free, I trapped him again, yanking is underwear down.  Finally, I had it over his socked foot, the rest still hanging off his other leg.  I didn’t care.  I pressed in with my hips, and reached down to grab the back of his thighs.

Ben understood what I wanted immediately, and he wrapped his legs around my waist.  I braced my feet and slid my hand up the back of his thigh and to his ass.

“You still loose?” I asked softly, right in his ear.  He shuddered when I licked the lobe, and arched into me when I bit down.  At the same time, I worked a finger into his ass.  He was still slick, and though not stretched, his muscles gave easily under my touch. “It’s only been a few hours.  Want me back in here?  Want me to fuck you hard up against his wall, baby?”

“Yessss,” he hissed out, rolling his hips so his cock left a wet smear on my shirt.

It was ridiculous.  We were grown men, nearly fully dressed, and unable to control ourselves, ready to fuck in the hallway.  I might have cared if I didn’t want him so damn bad.  If I didn’t know he wanted me just as fiercely.  With a little maneuvering, I was bracing Ben’s weight and had enough leverage to thrust up.  Only when I was ready, did I make sure I had his full attention.

Ben’s eyes burned bright with lust, and I kept my gaze fixed on his ensuring he couldn’t look away as I slid inside his body.  It had only been three days since we dispensed with the condoms, and the feeling of going bare was still new and novel enough to make my eyes roll back.

I set a hard and fast rhythm, knowing it was what we both wanted. What we craved.  Ben’s grip on my shoulders was tight, and I saw the strain in his shoulders as he tried to find leverage enough to meet my thrusts.  Neither one of us wanted to last that long though, so I pounded hard, angling my thrusts until I hit his spot and made him howl.  The relentless pressure inside him made him go over the edge, his entire body tensing as he came.

He pulled me over with him, and I thrust hard into his ass, pushing him into the wall, as I came hard and long.

By the time we finally untangled, Ben could barely stand.  The combination of two orgasms in six hours, four glasses of wine, and a belly full of good food had him lethargic and sleepy.  I loved that look on his face, and the way he leaned against me, trusting me to hold him up.

I loved him too much to ever let him fall.

Something Like Plots

The Admiral and I were talking the other night (as we often do) and the conversation turned toward my writing (as it often does). I had to remind him of something I plan for the future, which I don’t expect him to remember, and it devolved into this whole other thing where he wanted titles, plots, and characters for the upcoming books. 

So I gave it to him. 

See, in my head I knew the titles and could recite a plot summary paragraph. And I already have the book I’m working on and the next book roughly plotted. But the two after that were just nebulous plot summaries in my head. 

Yes. 2. Caught that, did you?  

The Something Like series has grown. Right now, it stands at 5 stories. And I intend for them all to make it to the page. Eventually. 

Could there be more?  Maybe. We shall see. Right now I’m working on Something Like Trust and I need to take things one step at a time. But knowing what comes next? That helps me get what I’m writing now right. So I’m glad to have my plot summary sheet to guide me.