Monday, August 31, 2015

Bobby's Old Man by AC Katt

The Sunset Club #2 
Author: AC Katt
Publisher: MLR Press
Release Date: August 2015
Categories: M/M Contemporary

Keith Anderson is in love with Bobby Michaels. Unfortunately, Keith with their fifteen year age difference thinks he's too old for Bobby. The two start as friends with benefits but Keith dumps Bobby when it turns serious leaving Bobby brokenhearted.

When tragedy strikes and Bobby needs Keith, he steps up to support his lover. But Bobby lacks trust in Keith and everything around him. Can Keith convince Bobby that this time is for real, or will the two lovers never reconcile?

Monday Morning after Independence Day

Bobby Michaels drove down Ocean Avenue to the Sunset Club planning to have a serious conversation with Zach Montgomery. Zach was hanging around Bobby's best friend, Jason Monroe, and Jason didn't need someone who wasn't prepared to be around for longer than a nanosecond.

He pulled into the Sunset Club's parking lot and got out of his five-year-old red Mazda Miata looking around at the building in the daylight. Despite the hordes that showed up every night and spilled outside on line waiting to get into the club with their cigarettes and beer bottles, someone swept and hosed the parking lot, so it appeared pristine. Zach took the time to maintain the club--that said something about him. The Sunset seemed to be closed, but Zach wasn't with Jason, so Bobbie figured he must be here doing paperwork. He walked up a few steps and knocked sharply on the delivery entrance.

A large man with chestnut brown hair and dark brown eyes that appeared almost black opened the door. He wasn't Zach. Bobby's eyes moved up and down his body. He looked ripped, about six-four to Bobby's five-ten, and dressed in cutoffs and a T-shirt with the club's logo. The man met Bobby stare for stare.

"I'm looking for Zach. Is he inside?" Bobby asked impatiently, wanting to get the unpleasant chore of warning Zach off finished.

"I'm Keith Anderson. Zach and I are business partners. Who are you and why do you need to speak to Zach?" Bobby narrowed his eyes.

The man came off as menacing, but Bobby was immune to black looks having received them for most of his life from Jason. Bobby would do what he needed to do to protect his friend despite anyone's lethal gaze including this good-looking asshole's.

"I'm Bobby Michaels, a friend of Jason Monroe's and I'd like to talk to Zach. What I'd like to speak to him about is his and my business." Bobby's foot twitched as he stood on the raised concrete slab used as a loading dock.

Keith peered at Bobby's face scrutinizing it for something--Bobby didn't know what. He seemed to come to some decision because he opened the door and let Bobby inside.

He escorted Bobby into a small office near the kitchen in the back of the building and pointed to the seat in front of the desk. Bobby sat down and waited. Bobby knew how to out wait and intimidate an opponent. Besides being a soccer star, Bobby played an excellent game of chess.

Keith spoke first just as Bobby intended. "Zach isn't here. He had something he had to do for his sister Gloria today. Now it's your turn. What do you want with Zach?"

"I asked for Zach, not for you. Why should I explain myself to you?" Bobby asked as he leaned forward, closing the distance between them. With the line of his body, Bobby told Keith that he didn't scare easily.

Keith seemed to take a deep breath then let it out. He sized up Bobby somewhat belligerently. "You should because I know who you are Bobby Michaels, you're Jason's best friend. Well, I'm Zach's best friend, and I'm wondering what's going on with my Zach and your Jason." Bobby glared back.

"Well, I won't show my cards without seeing some of yours," Bobby watched Keith's eyes roll up toward the ceiling.

Keith let out a huff. Looking back at Bobby he said, "I suggest we pool our information."

Bobby relaxed a bit and leaned back in his chair. This conversation was going to be more interesting than he thought. "That sounds like an excellent idea, you first." Bobby's brown eyes blazed with victory.

"Since you knocked on my door-- you should go first, but I'm getting bored with the pissing contest and would like to get on to the topic at hand." Bobby thought Keith wouldn't give away much, but Bobby would meet him toe-to-toe. A strange expression flitted over Keith's face.

Seeming as if he came to a decision his hard eyes softened a bit. He had gorgeous black eyes especially now that he's not glaring.

Keith offered. "Zach has stopped seeing everyone else." Keith pulled back from the desk as if he needed to put physical distance between Bobby and him, revealing more of his body. Bobby hadn't noticed earlier because he was preoccupied; but Keith possessed a rock-hard body and under Keith's T-shirt Bobby spotted hair peeking over the round band of the collar. He was in instant lust. Bobby loved hairy chests.

Bobby's cock took inventory. He liked what he saw. He pulled his thoughts from traveling in that direction. What did he just say...oh...Bobby's eyes widened. "That's surprising--I assumed Zach was a player. He told Jason he didn't do encores."

Keith examined Bobby's eyes and cocked his head, "Zach Montgomery was more than a player. He was a man whore. Notice the word was in that sentence. To my knowledge, Zach hasn't seen anyone but Jason since the night they met, which makes me suspicious of your Jason. Zach has money, your turn."

"Jason's broke, but he has no idea that Zach has money."

"He owns half the club and has a number of other assets in town." Bobby bristled, and his leg began to twitch.

"Jason assumes he owns a mortgaged nightclub and is solidly middle class. He doesn't know anything about being wealthy, he wouldn't see the signs, besides which Jason has never been to his home. Zach always comes to him."

"Interesting..." Keith sat there staring. Bobby continued to refuse to be intimidated. His smile seemed benign.

"They go to the park and sometimes Zach brings Caroline to play with Kitty. He might even like Kitty, but I don't want to take a chance. Jason and Kitty have more to lose than Zach."

"Zach wouldn't hurt the little girl, how could you think that...Zach loves kids. If your friend is scheming, a kid is the way to do it." Bobby thought Keith sounded self-righteous.

Bobby was livid at Keith accusation. His face was mottled, and he had to hold onto his leg to keep it from twitching. "Jason doesn't know how to scheme. He's never had the opportunity. Jason has never seen anyone, period."

"Why's that? It seems a bit unusual for a gay guy over eighteen to be that clueless."

"He hasn't had the time to get a clue. He worked as a drudge for his grasping father and stepmother. Just as he escaped their clutches and went to UNM, Ann got pregnant, and they sucked him back in."

"Ann?" Keith asked.

"Ann was Jason's evil stepmother, literally. She and Evan, Jason's father, robbed Jason blind then died driving drunk. Jason doesn't know that."

"How could Jason not know?"

"He was in college in New Mexico on a full soccer scholarship at the time. He had no time to get a handle on the truth. Jason played soccer, studied hard, and worked part-time, not for himself, but to send stuff home to Kitty."

"Why was that?" Keith now exuded curiosity.

"They told him Ann lost her job." Bobby's face was burning. "They died, driving drunk leaving Jason as the guardian and sole provider for his then three-year-old half-sister, he was only twenty, about to turn twenty-one."

"He didn't have to take responsibility. He could have left her to social services," Keith said.

Now he's trying to provoke me. Bobby settled down and continued, "Jason loves his sister. He gave up his scholarship and came back to Kitty, a house that was falling apart, and inadequate insurance. Until recently, besides caring for Kitty, he worked two jobs and was still barely able to keep his head above water. He's had no time to learn to be devious."

"Unlike you" Keith projected amusement.

"Unlike me," Bobby blandly smiled back at him.

In a mercurial change of mood, Keith said, "That's tough about the parents for him and the kid." Keith's face softened. "He's making good money here, and he gets along well with all of the staff even though they're aware Zach's interested in him, and that's unusual."

"Jason is clueless. He's a hard worker and loyal to a fault. He'd never take advantage of anyone. Everyone likes him, but he's prone to having people take advantage of him."

"Yeah, that happens. Gay guys can be the worst bitches. I've seen them in action in too many bars. I don't allow it here."

Bobby raised an eyebrow.

"I hear an occasional complaint from one of the bartenders but other than him no one thinks Jason is getting special treatment, so I pay no attention to the whiner. Jason works harder than anyone in this club. He doesn't try to take advantage of the fact that Zach's hot for him. He's a good worker, and they know it."

"If you know that about Jason, why are you yanking my chain?" Bobby asked, curious.

"Because it's so eminently yankable." Keith smiled blandly.

"Listen, Jason's doing well enough that he could quit his second job. He's happy here. I don't want the new job to be in jeopardy if Zach takes the notion to move on from whatever this is. Jason is finally making enough so that his gut doesn't wrench every time he opens the mail." This time it was Keith with the raised eyebrow. "Finally Reggie and I don't have to bring food to the house under the guise of wanting to eat dinner with him and Kitty. In the last year, he's lost at least ten pounds by doing without."

Keith seemed to be listening intently.

Bobby sized up Keith trying to determine if he could trust him. "I'm his best friend. I can't stand by and let Jason and Kitty get hurt by someone who is doing a drive-by and they would be because Jason is more involved than he knows." Bobby stood and put his hands in the pockets of his cargo shorts.

"Surely he’s not that naive, he must know Zach's interested."

"Jason thinks that Zach comes around for Caroline. He thinks Zach likes him, but only as a friend. He told Jason Caroline was lonely and didn't have anyone to play with her. Jason responded because Kitty is alone too. Jason would do anything for Kitty; even starve himself to get her what he thinks she needs."

Keith leaned back in his chair as if he made up his mind. He looked up at Bobby, "I think Zach's committed to this relationship."

"Committed as in forever committed? I can't let anyone near Jason with intentions of being something less. It wouldn't be fair to either him or Kitty." Bobby's hands came out of his pockets to rest on the back of the chair.

"I'm positive that Zach is all in. I looked at his phone yesterday--he erased all of the numbers for his usual sex-overs. The only places I've seen him go besides Jason's house are here, Gloria's, and his house in Asbury Park. I think I can say that he's in love. He hasn't said it aloud to me yet, but he has all the symptoms."

Bobby raised an eyebrow, "In love?"

"Yes, in love. We need to discuss this over a drink. Follow me out to the bar and we'll talk about what to do to help our friends." Bobby followed Keith down the small corridor that had two doors on the left-hand side. Bobby peered through the glass portal. It looked like a stockroom. He trailed after Keith to the second door that led directly to the largest bar of the five bars in the club.

Keith stepped behind the bar and put two shot glasses on the counter. Bobby pulled up a backless maroon leather and wooden stool and sat down.

Keith said, "Name your poison."

"Jameson, neat." Bobby caught Keith peering at him from the corner of his eye. Bobby took a ten from his wallet and put it on the bar.

"None of that." Keith shoved the money back at him. Bobby shrugged and put it back in his wallet.

Keith poured them a generous shot apiece. After a few minutes of silence with neither man willing to speak first, Keith sighed and began to talk. "I think we have a problem here. Zach won't reveal his feelings for Jason unless he knows there is at least a small chance that they are reciprocated."

"Why would that be? He must know. Jason shows his feelings, his emotions are easily read." Bobby's leg was twitching.

"Zach's been dumped before. Someone he cared about left him when his injury made it apparent he could no longer play pro football. No dollars, no Daniel."

"What a prick. Jason's not like that at all, but there is a problem. Jason isn't going to admit how he feels about Zach because he doesn't know how to act with a potential lover or even how to let him know he's interested." Bobby grimaced in frustration.

Keith cocked his head; brow creased. "I can see that. Almost every single guy in the bar was eyeing him up when he came in with you. They weren't even on his radar. It was as if he didn't notice. Doesn't he have any idea how attractive he is?"

"Jason has never even dated. He can't seem to wrap his head around the fact that Zach might feel something more for him than friendship. Remember this is his first boyfriend."

Keith sipped at his whiskey.

Bobby continued, "Jason has no vanity. He's self-effacing. I believe that if Zach returns his feelings, Zach will be it for him. However, Zach is going to have to pony up first. Jason doesn't know how." Bobby downed his shot.

"Zach needs a trigger. He loves him and wants to help. He hasn't said anything, but he always makes sure that Jason doesn't get a dead station. Jason is always working the busiest bar in the place."

"Are you sure the other bartenders don't resent that?"

"Everyone here knows about Jason's precarious financial position and sympathizes. The fact that Zach doesn't talk to me about Jason, not even in terms of the job--that's very significant. We discuss all of our employees. We're like family here. However, Zach needs an opening to act." Keith finished his shot.

"What kind of opening and why won't he talk to you about Jason, you're his best friend, right?" Bobby moved his stool further in toward the bar.

"Yes, exactly."

"Exactly? Why doesn't Zach talk about Jason? Is he ashamed of him?" Bobby's leg started tapping out a rhythm.

"I teased Zach about Jason the morning after that first day he accompanied the three of you to the park. He went ballistic."

Bobby chuckled. "That's a good sign, but why."

Keith laughed. "He doesn't want to call too much attention to him. He's afraid I'll make a move to seduce Jason. I won't--but he's still afraid."

"Why not? Jason's attractive."

"It's not that. Of course, he's attractive. I already said so. Frankly, I don't think that even if I was so inclined, to make a move that is, Jason would even look at me. He sees Zach and has stars in his eyes. Zach is just as bad."

"It's gotten that far? I've been at school and soccer practice, so I haven't been around them as much to keep an eye on Jason and Zach. That's one of the reasons I was worried. I need to know what's going on, that Jason and Kitty are safe." Bobby's leg started to tap the polished wooden floor.

"This is the first time that Zach's seen someone for something more than a booty call since Daniel dumped him."

"Why did this Daniel leave him? Zach told Jason he had insurance that paid out the rest of his contract and that was why he believed in good insurance on the job. Besides that he's going to school to get his doctorate in psychology. In fact, there's money in that profession plus prestige and a good paycheck even if he becomes a college professor. It makes no sense that Daniel didn't know Zach had insurance."

"Zach never thought to mention it to him. Zach's parents were dead, and he was mourning them. Money wasn't on his mind. As far as Daniel knew, once Zach's knee went the first week in training camp, he was broke. After that, Zach was toast."

"It's telling that this is the first time he's put any effort in a relationship in so long a period. I still have reservations."

"Yes..." Keith invited him to share.

"What if he gets tired of Jason and now that he's open to a relationship, he decides to dip his wick somewhere else? That would devastate Jason and I'd be the one left who had to pick up the pieces." Bobby shoved his shot glass away.

"I know Zach. He doesn't want to spook Jason. He's afraid to make a move because, he doesn't want to scare him off and not be able to see Jason anymore. He adores the little girl. He talks about her all the time. I know the name of the cat Zach got her and that it rides around in a doll carriage." Keith wiped down the bar in front of them.

Bobby laughed. "That's Eloise. Kitty puts her in a sunbonnet."

"And the cat lets her. I've got to meet Miss Kitty. She sounds like a force of nature. Another?" Keith held up the bottle.

"No thanks, it's barely afternoon and I need to be functional for the rest of the day." Keith put his elbows on the bar placed his body within a hair's breadth of Bobby.

"Are you gay?" Keith waited for an answer, from Bobby. Keith's black eyes sparkled.

"That was a non-sequitur. My sexuality isn't in question here. That's not what we're discussing. I thought we were talking about Jason and Zach. What made you ask me that?" Bobby's face turned red as he tried to deflect the question.

"I watched you the night you first came in with Jason. You didn't keep your eyes to yourself. You feasted, especially when Jason wasn't looking and when I made the remark about bartenders being bitches you knew exactly what I was talking about." Keith gazed at Bobby knowingly

Bobby knew he had to give it up. "I'm bi, but you're the first to notice. My parents are older than most parents of someone my age. They expect grandchildren. Mom and Dad accepted Jason, but I'm not so sure about how they'd feel if I told them I was gay."

Keith pounced. "You said gay, not bi."

Bobby laughed. "You caught now you know my secret. Even Jason doesn't know I'm gay." Bobby frowned. "Are you going to tell the general public now that you're sure? I'd like to tell Jason in my own time." Keith poured Bobby another shot.

"I shouldn't have this, I have to drive."

Keith shrugged. "No, I'm usually not a gossip, except when it affects someone I consider family. As far as your second shot is concerned, there's a furnished apartment upstairs where you can go to sleep it off if sleeping is what you want to do. It would be easier to hang around here, eat something, and then drive home later. We have things to talk about."

Bobby nodded his head. "I agree. I'm convinced. So we need to talk about how we're going to get our two best friends to pull their heads out of their respective asses and admit they love one another."

"There is that and a few other things, like are you available for a bit of fun?" Keith leered at Bobby like a villain from the silent movies.

"Whoa, don't go there. I told you I'm not out and don't plan to be for the foreseeable future." Bobby's lips thinned.

He is attractive. Keith kept pushing. "You don't have to be out to fool around. Do you have any experience?" Keith asked obviously not accepting the fact that Bobby wouldn't respond. He has as much as I to lose as I do if he gossiped. I don't have a fuck buddy right now. He's gorgeous; I better stay on topic if I want to get out of here whole.

"That's none of your business. As I said before, I came to talk about Jason and Zach. However, for the record, yes, I do. I don't spend all my time with Jason and Kitty." Bobby bristled.

"Why not Jason? What's wrong with him?" Keith asked his face, serious.

"Nothing's wrong with Jason but ewwww...I've known Jason since I was seven. That would be like fucking my brother." Bobby sat up, straightened his back and downed his second shot. I'm apparently not planning on driving.

"Do you think Jason has a crush on you or any of the other guys on your Ocean Township Champion Soccer Team of 2010?" Bobby was startled and not amused. Except for Jason and me, all the guys from 2010 are straight.

"You were listening to us the night we came to the club." He tried to stare Keith down.

Keith shrugged. "It's my joint. You had eleven guys at the table. I always watch large groups. I don't want my place busted up. Answer the question."

"No, he doesn't. All the other guys are straight." I'd swear to that. "Besides, like I said, Jason had no time to date."

Keith leaned back on his barstool and laughed. "I wouldn't be so sure..."

"About what?" Bobby was incredulous.

"About your so-called straight friends."

"You're kidding, who--never mind, I don't want to know." Bobby knew he sounded indignant, but he couldn't even conceive how this might be true.

"There are other people besides you who aren't out for various reasons." Bobby watched as Keith nonchalantly sipped at his drink after dropping that bombshell.

"Who then?" Bobby peered at Keith daring him to name names.

"The kid with the limousine. I've seen him here more than once trying to chat someone up."

"'ve got to be kidding." Bobby was flabbergasted.

"Yes, he's the one. He keeps trying to hit on one of my bartenders. I think it's Mark. Mark shot him down because he thinks Reggie is a rich college boy just looking for a good time and has more money than sense. Mark wants a relationship not a guy who thinks he's slumming."

"Reggie's not like that. He's a good guy and has been a good friend to Jason. He's pulled Jason out of a hole more than once. He wouldn't hurt anyone. If Reggie made a pass after hiding all these years, he's serious."

"Maybe he's sweet on Jason," Keith mused as he poured himself another shot.

"I don't think so. Isn't that a bit too much for the middle of the day?" Bobby raised an eyebrow and looked pointedly at the open bottle.

"Are you my mother?" Keith asked with belligerence.

"No, but I don't want to see you fall into a bottle because you're lonely," Bobby said with a sigh.

"How do you know I'm lonely?" Keith's lips pursed.

"Because maybe like me, your best friend has found someone else to hang out with." Bobby knowingly gazed into Keith's eyes. "Maybe you had a crush on Zach."

"No, not Zach, never Zach, we're too much alike." Keith protested as he capped the bottle and put it back on the top shelf. "You could always keep me company," Keith teased, lips forming a smirk.

"Keep it in your pants. I came over here for Jason and Kitty's sake." If that were the case, I could have left after the first drink once he reassured me Zach was serious; I damn well better get out of here now. This man is too attractive and, therefore, dangerous to a continued stay in the closet. Bobby pushed his stool away from the bar and stood about to leave.

Keith put his hand on Bobby's arm. "Stay, I always revert to a tease when I'm uncomfortable. You hit too close to home. Zach is the brother I never had, and I miss hanging out. Besides, I'm way too old for you."

"You don't look that old to me. You look damn fine. Just how much of an old man are you?" Bobby laughed. "You don't look like you have one foot in the grave yet." Bobby took a cocktail napkin from the pile on the bar and began to shred it.

"I'm um... thirty-six." Keith hedged.

"I'm twenty-three," Bobby told him, "not too bad of an age difference. Dad is thirteen years older than Mom."

Keith's eyes widened, evidently surprised. "You appear and speak as if you're older than you are."

"Old enough to make you want to run around the table to fuck me from the way you're leering, but right now I have to play nice; you're Jason's beau's best friend. The sounding older thing--I think it comes from having elderly parents and being an only child. No one ever talked down to me, so I had to learn to keep up. As far as my appearance is concerned, as Popeye said, ‘I am what I am.'"

"Don't get me wrong, I think you look damn delectable, but I won't go there, you're too young." Keith shook his head as if that bothered him.

Doesn't seem to bother him that I'm still here bantering. Bobby lifted an eyebrow, having come to a decision. "Too young even for a little bit of fun? I'm only too young if you plan to get serious if you don't..." Bobby shrugged his shoulders. "I'm open to suggestions."

Monday, August 17, 2015

Strange Bedfellows by Cardeno C

Title: Strange Bedfellows
Author: Cardeno C
Genre: Gay Fiction, Contemporary
Release Date: 06/15/2015  

Can the billionaire son of a Democratic president build a family with the congressman son of a Republican senator? Forget politics, love makes strange bedfellows.

As the sole offspring of the Democratic United States president and his political operative wife, Trevor Moga was raised in an environment driven by the election cycle. During childhood, he fantasized about living in a made-for-television family, and as an adult, he rejected all things politics and built a highly successful career as far from his parents as possible.

Newly elected congressman Ford Hollingsworth is Republican royalty. The grandson of a revered governor and son of a respected senator, he was bred to value faith, family, and the goal of seeing a Hollingsworth in the White House.

When Trevor and Ford meet, sparks fly and a strong friendship is formed. But can the billionaire son of a Democratic president build a family with the congressman son of a Republican senator? Forget politics, love makes strange bedfellows.

Short Excerpt
“Where’s your bedroom?” asked Ford Hollingsworth as he tipped his head back to make room for the man licking a path down his neck.

The handsome stranger shoved Ford’s coat to the floor, slammed him against the wall, and wedged his thigh between Ford’s legs, rubbing up against his balls.

“Oh. Oh.” Ford bucked. “Your bedroom?”

Despite being mostly clothed, Ford was seconds away from coming in his pants. The inner voice he’d spent most of his life ignoring piped up to remind him that he’d never been this aroused with any woman and never would be. But acknowledging that voice meant walking away from his family and his aspirations, so Ford tried ignoring it, something that had gotten increasingly difficult with every passing year and was now impossible.

About Cardeno C
Cardeno C. - CC to friends - is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few "awwws" into a reader's day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno's stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset.

Cardeno's Home, Family, and Mates series have received awards from Love Romances and More Golden Roses, Rainbow Awards, the Goodreads M/M Romance Group, and various reviewers. But even more special to CC are heartfelt reactions from readers, like, "You bring joy and love and make it part of the every day."



Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Submission by Robert Cage and Kathryn Sparrow

TITLE: Submission
SERIES TITLE AND NUMBER: Submit for Redemption Book 1
PUBLISHER:  Storm Moon Press
RELEASE DATE:  April 17, 2015
GENRE:  BDSM Romance
TAGS: Gay, BDSM, Contemporary, LGBT, M/M, Military, Romance 

When Army Ranger Captain Everett Palmer enters gay BDSM club Cuffed Links, he is seeking brutal punishment for what he perceives to be an unforgivable failure: allowing an entire squad of men under his command to die while he worked to defuse a bomb at his base. Everett initially wants only pure pain, which professional interrogator and jaded British aristocrat Colonel Phineas Bainbridge is more than prepared to give. Their meeting, however, is not at all by chance.

Phineas has been contracted to coerce a false confession from Everett, implicating the captain in planting the bomb. Phineas has tortured many men in the past, but there is something different about Everett Palmer, a man whose sheer purity of soul causes the colonel to question his every selfish, devious act and legion of war crimes.

In Submit for Redemption: Book One – Submission, erotic romance and spiritual redemption come from the most unexpected places – from the seedy extremes of a smoke-laden, neon-drenched bondage den to the tropical, hedonistic pleasures of Phineas’ private Greek island.

On this unbidden psychosexual odyssey, Everett and Phineas find exactly what they don’t expect: a chance to redeem their troubled souls and fulfil their every romantic ideal. But the clock is ticking. The deeper Phineas falls in love with Everett, the harder it becomes to finish his assigned task. If he succeeds, the consequences may be far more explosive than he ever anticipated.

Ev watched Finny assume a fencing stance, legs bent, feet at a ninety-degree angle, weapon in hand. He did the same, telling himself he was studying his opponent, looking for weaknesses in his defenses, but he knew he was lying—he was gazing at Finny for the sheer pleasure of admiring the compelling lines of the imposing man’s body.

He’s like some kind of great cat, lithe and elegant, but with an underlying menace beneath the cool confidence—it just flips my switch. The sword seemed another extension of Finny’s hand, just like his whips and cigarette holders. Ev’s heart began pounding.

This could more than hurt. He could cause permanent damage, especially to my eyes.
“Uh, shouldn’t we have protective gear?” he asked.

Finny’s lips rose at the corners in a feral smile, and desire washed over Ev.

“My dear captain, are you not up to the challenge? Well, perhaps masks would be prudent.”
Finny strolled to the wall, pausing to admire himself briefly in his tailored white pants and matching light-weight jacket. He took a moment to remove his blazer, revealing a black silk shirt and white ascot tied artfully at the neck. The black reminded Ev of a jaguar, but that seemed too small to represent Finny. A lion would be closer, with its larger size and regal bearing, but somehow a lion seemed too average.

No, Finny would be something exotic. Then Ev saw it—the pocket square in Finny’s tossed jacket was black and white-striped. Yes, the man was a royal white tiger—a large, exotic predator that moved with deadly splendor.

Finny plucked down two fencing masks and tossed him one. Ev was so taken watching the black silk ripple and shimmer along Finny’s large biceps that he fumbled the mask before catching it.

When Finny approached him, Ev imagined he was being hunted by a wild animal. Goose bumps covered Ev, but he wouldn’t flee. He was eager to engage his tiger and regretted that even though their grappling would be at a distance. Ev raised his weapon in a proper salute.

Finny’s lips curved up as he returned the gesture in an exaggerated fashion. His blade made a whooshing sound as it whipped through the air.

He remembered a line from something he had once read: the beast roars its defiance with supreme confidence. Ev was coming to expect nothing less from the mighty man.

They donned their masks, assuming the En Garde position. Ev looked at a pixelated Finny through the crisscross pattern of the mask and noticed their weapons were on the same side. Finny was fighting left-handed. Ev wanted to laugh—just another way that Finny was part of the advantaged few. Why is this man giving me the time of day again?

 “What, Finny? Not going to start with your right hand and then make some clever remark about being left-handed, like in The Princess Bride?”

Ev could just make out the puzzled expression on Finny’s face through the mesh of the mask. “Princess Bride? There are no princesses here, my dear captain. Surely, you’ve realized that by now—fence!” Finny immediately started advancing on Everett’s position.
Ev retreated a few steps, watching Finny’s torso to judge his movements. He found himself almost too distracted by the broad expanse.

Pull it together Palmer. Where is that famous single-minded focus? He retreated a step and breathed deeply, centering himself, then extended his arm and tapped Finny’s blade in a beat, testing.

Finny didn’t react to such a heavy-handed jab—he only continued to advance.
Aggressive S.O.B. Ev grinned.

With stunning speed, Finny stepped in, beat Ev's blade, feinted, and then lunged, deftly scoring a hit on his torso.

“Halt,” Finny called.

The sting of the point striking through his unprotected workout clothes sent a buzz of desire through Ev as he straightened from his fencing crouch. “You got me, Finny. I guess that’s another bruise for my collection.” Ev wanted to rub the spot where the man had marked him, and he wasn’t sure whether it was from discomfort or pleasure.

Finny chuckled. “I do so like adding to your collection. En Garde.”

They took up starting positions and then Finny gave him “Pret, allez.”

This time Everett was better prepared. He might enjoy Finny marking him, but he was going to make His Excellency work for it. They had several exchanges of beats and parries before Ev scored his first touché on Finny’s sword arm. 

“Off target,” Finny snapped.

“What? Now we’re following the rules?”

“Yes—my rules.”

Finny assumed his stance and started toward Ev without waiting, smashing his blade in a strong beat to the outside, thrusting, and lunging to score on the center of Ev’s torso. Before Ev had time to register the delicious, stinging pain, Finny recovered from the lunge almost immediately and prepared to attack again.

We really are playing by Finny’s rules. Or he’s playing me, more like.

This time when Finny came at him, Ev defended himself by circling his blade around his opponent’s in a winding motion, tangling them together. Ev snapped his wrist, pulling the weapon from Finny’s hand and tossing it across the room.


Ev extended his blade toward Finny’s neck. “You were saying?” Ev couldn’t help the satisfaction that laced his tone.

Finny’s eyebrows rose.

“Yes, as I was saying, my rules.”

Finny reached up, grabbed Ev’s blade and tugged, pulling him in close. The heat radiating off of Finny’s body made Ev dizzy with want. Then, when he was off balance, Finny swiped a leg around his, knocking him to the ground and landing on top of him. Finny still had Ev’s blade in both his hands, now neatly across Ev’s neck like a garrote.

Ev struggled to catch his racing breath, his face inches from Finny’s, but blocked by the mask. The weight of Finny on him, dominating him, made his cock hard. Finny lifted his own mask slowly, and then removed Everett’s. The big man leaned in, pressing their lips together.

Hi everybody! I’m Robert Cage, one of the co-authors (along with Kathryn Sparrow) of Submission: Submit for Redemption, Book One. Thanks for hosting us today.

For me, music is an essential part of my daily life, especially as a writer. Music can lift my mood, calm me when I’m feeling stressed, and yes, even provide creative inspiration. It’s actually become an essential tool in my creative arsenal.

I’m a sensory writer. I have to have a clear picture in my head of a scene, not just for logistical and continuity reasons, but to bring it to three-dimensional life. Precisely defining how your characters look dictates many times how they should behave and what they should say in certain situations. I watch scads of movies and TV, in addition to reading, and I often “cast” actors in my head when writing (that’s another whole blog in itself).

At the same time, I ask myself what music (either score or source music) would be used if my book was a film or TV show. What music would add meaning to the scene without overwhelming it? Which musical cues would heighten suspense and drive the action? Which musical artists have sensibilities similar to my characters?

When writing our novel Submit for Redemption, I was faithful to this process, and by the time I was finished, I had over 40 songs in my head for various scenes in both Book One and Book Two.

In this blog, I’ll list just some of the tracks that inspired me during the writing of Book One (with links to them, so you can listen to or buy them) and offer some explanations as to why they fit specific scenes.

·         Out of My League from More than just a Dream (by Fitz and the Tantrums) — If SfR were a film, I’d probably start it off with something ominous. I picture a jeep driven by two men, dropping off a dazed and half-conscious Everett near his Kabul Army base. Dark and stormy night, right? Ev’s eyes begin to flutter and the Tantrums track starts up, almost in his head (“More than just a dream….”). As the first verse plays, you can still see the two men who dropped Ev off in the background, engaging in a violent argument, likely debating their own actions. After the first verse, right before the chorus, there’s what sounds like a huge thunderclap and in that space we go into Ev’s head completely—the memory of his first night at Cuffed Links, meeting Finny. We see Ev half-plastered at Cuffed Links, staring into the bar mirror, wondering what the hell he’s doing there, while behind him a wall of half-naked men dance and shimmy amidst cascading glitter and pink smoke. The chorus says what Ev might be thinking in flashback, about Finny: “You were out of my league/All the things I believed/You were just the right kind/Yeah, you were more than just a dream.”

·         Lonely Boy from El Camino (by the Black Keys) — This one’s especially vivid for me, and follows the above track. In another part of Cuffed Links, we see a large, masked leathered man wielding a huge bullwhip against a bound naked sub who’s cuffed to a metal pole in one of the corners of the club. His strokes are becoming more violent and his sub (who’s paying to be flogged) keeps egging his punisher on, as do the growing crowd of onlookers. Into this fray, enters Hector, Finny’s co-conspirator, housemate, and owner of the club. Hector raises his voice, attempting to get the Dom’s attention, saying something like “He’s here…now!” The leathered man turns right to the camera and removes his black hood, revealing Finny, panting, bathed in sweat, his expression that of a rabid animal. The four-bar guitar break in the Black Keys’ driving track is the moment I can see Finny revealing himself, making his onscreen entrance.

·         Super Bass from Pink Friday (by Nikki Minaj) — The minute Finny and Ev’s eyes lock at the bar—Finny in his white suit, Ev still handcuffed (from a near-assault by another patron that Finny averted), the chorus of Minaj’s dance-rap anthem soars euphorically: “You got my heartbeat running away/Beating like a drum and it’s comin’ your way….” Both men have no idea who or what they’re looking at, but they can’t stop looking. Whatever it is, it’s something somehow right, yet they can’t define it any further.

·         Can’t Feel My Face from Beauty Behind the Madness (by The Weeknd) — OK, I’m cheating here. I originally had a somewhat slinky seductive Jerry Harrison track (“AKA Love”) in the montage where Finny and Hector lead Ev on a somewhat wild goose chase back to Finny’s compound, Ev trying to keep pace with Finny’s Mercedes. But if I could do it over today, this scene would have to be set to the hip-shaking rhythms of the Weeknd’s phenomenal track about dark, inexplicable attraction.

·         Monster from The Fame Monster (by Lady Gaga) — Speaking of montages, I couldn’t think of anything better than Gaga’s over-the-top glam anthem. Face it, if Finny were a diva, he’d BE Lady Gaga! The scene in Book One where Finny whisks Ev from his compound (via helicopter) to a private plane bound for his Greek island is tailor-made for this track’s vigorous tempo as well as its slightly ominous lyrics (Finny really is something of a monster, devouring anything and everything in his path, as readers should know, at this point in the story at least). At the song’s bridge, I see Finny turning to the camera before entering the jet, waving to the Stratham doms and subs that are still on the tarmac. He’s got his sunglasses on amidst the Klieg lights, looking like a rock star.

·         Angeles from Either/Or (by Elliott Smith) — The late Elliott Smith’s derisive paean to the city of Los Angeles came to mind for the scene where Finny watches Ev frolic in the waves on their first morning on the Greek isle of Phineas. You can see all the conflicting emotions wash over Finny’s face (delight, lust, regret, fear, disgust for himself and what he must eventually do to Ev) as Smith’s lyrics neatly mirror both the pleasurable and the painful reasons behind Finny bringing Everett on this journey: “I could make you satisfied in everything you do/All your secret wishes could right now be coming true/Be forever/With my poison arms/Around you….” I can imagine the waves in which Ev is swimming turning to bright red, as seen through Finny’s eyes. Always gives me chills.

·         Heartbeats from Deep Cuts (by The Knife) — Lots of people have used this seminal track by Swedish alt-dance-pop duo The Knife to good effect, for good reason. It’s an addictive, elastic track with insightful, simply killer lyrics. I see it used in the fencing sequence (excerpted above) between Finny and Everett simply because of its mad parrying ping-pong rhtyhm. And the lyrics couldn’t be more apt, especially the bridge: “And you/You knew the hand of a devil/And you/Kept us awake with wolves teeth/Sharing different heartbeats/In one night.” Jose Gonzalez’s acoustic version is even more haunting.

·         Crew Cut from Max Baker (by the Tijuana Panthers) — For the longest time, I visualized some country hoe-down chestnut playing over the Blair and Clark stage sex show, but this Tex-Mex track from Long Beach CA rockers Tijuana Panthers more cooly fits the bill. I imagine a nice tall metal pole for Blair to straddle and swing around, greased and g-stringed, of course. Yee-haw is right.

I’ll probably be posting a complete list on my own blog soon, but for now, thanks for joining us.

Contact either Kathryn or myself on Twitter or by email. We live to hear from readers!

Robert: @robertcage2 on Twitter or
Kathryn: @KSparrowAuthor on Twitter or  

GIVEAWAY:  $25.00 Amazon Gift Card

Monday, August 3, 2015

Mad Delights by Beth D. Carter


From Conception to The End

As any writer knows, or anyone who has ever tried to write a novel, the hard part of any story is continuing until The End.  An idea is easy, the plot manageable, but keeping with the story, having the characters come alive with depth and personality…that, my friends, is the tricky part. 

The little details in a novel can be the make or break of a story and can often be the catalyst that forces the writer to take a direction that hadn’t been thought of before.  Some writers are plotters, they conceptualize from beginning to end and outline the entire book.  While some of us, myself included, are pantsers, meaning we write by the seat of our pants.  While this can be frustrating sometimes and surprising other times, I enjoy opening my mind and letting my imagination take over.  If I can envision a story from beginning to end, then I know it’s one I will finish writing.  The question is, where will the story take me?

To make the one dimensional hero or heroine into a breathing entity, a life must be created.  A background, feelings, hopes, wishes…it’s not unlike giving birth, only this time around it’s a fully grown made-up individual with a past, present and future already mapped out.  Filler is needed to plump out a story, but not in a way that feels unnatural.  The more organic, the more believable.

Although I am very guilty of this on several occasions, one of the hardest things to do is not create insta-love, where the two characters meet and instantly fall in love.  The old adage “It’s the journey not the destination” should always be forefront in mind.  A writer has to put themselves in the shoes of the character and think “How would I handle this situation?”  Would I jump in with both feet or would I be hesitant?  And speaking of putting yourself into your character’s mind set, the dialogue has to be believable from which point of view is being explored.  I tend to write cruder when I’m writing from a male POV.

It is very easy to stay within the confines of what is comfortable and normal in your set boundaries.  But erotic romance writers have the double-edged sword of writing not only quality stories, but writing sex scenes that sizzle. Stepping outside whatever box makes you feel safe is a way of exploring a part of yourself you may have been afraid to face, whether as a reader or writer.  I constantly push my own boundaries because I never want my stories to become stagnant; to fall into the trap where I substitute character names but have the same plot and the same expectations. 

Always, once I’ve typed the words “The End”, I’m slightly shocked that I created something that a publisher considers worthy of being in print.  Every writer is his or her own worst critic and I am truly blessed with the ability to string a bunch of words together into a cohesive story, even if I’m not quite sure how I did it.

-Beth D. Carter
Blurb for Mad Delights:
When violence sweeps through their town, the Men of Hell must figure out who’s after their club.
Someone is watching Romeo Barrigan’s every move. Chloe Matsumoto’s favorite pastime is studying the Men of Hell Motorcycle Club’s president. Ever since he helped rescue her deaf cousin from the hands of a human-trafficking ring, Chloe has become fascinated with him and now wonders how she can repay him.
Daxton Squire is the enforcer of the Men of Hell. He’s filled with self-loathing after failing to recognize the threat from the former club president. When he spots someone tailing Romeo, he vows to protect him at any cost. Only Dax didn’t expect to be so attracted to the little stalker.
Violence sweeps through Bair, Nebraska, threatening the town and the club. Romeo has a lot on his plate. Not only does he have to figure out who’s after his club, he also has to determine how the hell he ended up in a ménage relationship—and keep those he loves safe from the menace.
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of ménage and anal sex, scenes of violence, physical abuse, murder, prostitution, and hints of drug use. There is a scene of dubious consent and some racist language.  
Publisher's Note: This book is the prequel to Madness Ends and is best read in sequence.
Publisher's Note: This book is linked to the Red Wolves Motorcycle Club series.

Excerpt from Mad Delights:

Dax followed the car at a distance, but after the second turn, whoever was driving caught on that they were being followed. The expensive little car sped up, trying to lose him, but Dax was persistent. Down Cedar Road, onto Grant, until the driver managed to get onto the rural county road that led out of town. Dax shifted the bike into full throttle and easily caught up with the speeding car. He couldn’t see inside, but he gestured to the driver to pull over. The Mercedes braked and fishtailed a little, but eventually it pulled to a stop.

Dax rolled in front of the car and hit out his kickstand. Then he stomped over to the driver’s window and knocked.

It took a moment for the driver to respond. The door opened and he waited, his hand loose and ready to grab his gun if he needed it. However, the first thing he saw was legs. Long, shapely legs, followed by a small waist, breasts and a gorgeous face frowning at him as she exited the car. The petite woman glared at him with eyes so dark they glowed with black fire. Horns stuck up on either side of her head and he blinked in confusion until he realized her hair was in some weird updo, emphasizing her Asian heritage. Interest stirred, and he tried hard to remember that she’d spent the better part of a week stalking the club.

“Who are you?” he demanded.

The delicate little chin went up a notch. “Shouldn’t I be asking you that? You were chasing me for some reason.”

He put his hands on his hips. “You deny you’ve been spying on us?”

“Yes.” She crossed her arms, which thrust her tits out nicely. Her hip jutted to one side and he couldn’t help but think she looked badass in her tight black jeans and high-heeled boots. And he tended to like badass chicks.


Anger darkened her features. “How dare you? You don’t even know me!”

“You’re right,” he replied smoothly and walked around her to the open car door.

“What are you doing?” she demanded.

She punched his arm with her little fists, which amounted to a fly hitting him. She’s really cute when she’s mad.


Title:  Mad Delights
Author:  Beth D. Carter
Publisher:  Totally Bound
Publisher URL:
ISBN/BIN:  9781784306540
Genre:  {M/F/M}, Ménage, Crime and Mystery, Series
Rating:  4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer:  Amazon Nymph

Chloe is stalking Romeo, because he rescued her cousin and becomes obsessed with him.  She meets Dax when he confronts her about stalking Romeo.  Chloe finds she is attracted to both men, but what happens when she offers to help them in exchange for themselves?

The first book in the Men of Hell series, Mad Delights, is aptly named as most of those around Chloe, including her family, thinks she has a screw loose.  Her actions would seem to bear that out.  I did have to laugh at some of her antics.  Chloe is an interesting character, and the reasons why she behaves the way she does is explained in detail, along with her family ties.  I loved the way Chloe bargained with her grandfather. 

Romeo never thought he would end up in a ménage relationship, though his brother is in one, and decides he will call his brother for advice.  Dax figures it will happen since Chloe has made it clear she wants both men.  The chemistry between the three is hot.

The Men of Hell end up under attack, and several things happen that put all the men and their families in danger.  The club has lost several members, and it is playing havoc with moral. There are a some twists that cause a few tense moments with rivals. As the reason why becomes clear, things get resolved, except for one major thread which hopefully will get resolved in the next book. 

I am looking forward to reading more about the Men of Hell.

Reader Advisory:  There is a scene of dubious consent and some racist language. 

Like the sound of Mad Delights? Buy it here

I like writing about the very ordinary girl thrust into extraordinary circumstances, so my heroines will probably never be lawyers, doctors or corporate high rollers. I try to write characters who aren't cookie cutters and push myself to write complicated situations that I have no idea how to resolve, forcing me to think outside the box. I love writing characters who are real, complex and full of flaws, heroes and heroines who find redemption through love.

I’ve been pretty fortunate in life to experience some amazing things. I’ve lived in France, traveled throughout Europe, Australia and New Zealand. I am a mom to an amazing little boy. I’m surrounded by friends and family. And although I love holding a book in my hand, I absolutely adore my eReader, which I’ve named Ruby. I love to hear from readers so I’ve made it really easy to find me on the web.

Enter Totally Bound’s August blog tour competition for the chance to win an eBook of your choice, not including boxsets or anthologies.