Restraint (Power Exchange Book 4) or How This Disastrous Election Won’t Stop Me

I think I’m done reeling from the election results. I might have my balance back. Now, I’m rolling up my sleeves and ready to fight. I’m ready to take on those who want to see immigrants and Muslims and People of Color and LGBTQ people shuffled out of their country, into dark corners, or into some other kind of oblivion. President Trump is the dying gasp of a white patriarchy who can’t handle otherness, and while it may feel like a hurricane force wind right now, I’ve got lungs, too, and I plan to scream back. I will be like Lieutenant Dan, on the mast of a small ship riding stormy waves, screaming into the wind and the rain, “Is that all you got! Come on! Bring it!”

I will not go quietly into the closet/dark corners/oblivion like apparently half the voters in this country would like me and other marginalized groups to do. Nope. This is MY country, too and I absolutely refuse to be a doormat because these people have deemed my differences are not differences they can tolerate.

So much for America the melting pot.

I’ve been kicking around an idea for a 4th Power Exchange (this series has taught me to never say never. It keeps coming back so much I might as well make that the tagline). Ben of all people has been whispering to me, saying, “Hey, I have a story, too. Maybe I’m ready to let you tell it.” It has some legs, so I’ve tinkered out a plot and in the last couple weeks have gotten the first scene down amid a wedding, some serious personal strife that knocked me over like Hulk punching Thor, and this ugly, UGLY election. I cannot promise when Restraint will be released other than to say 2017. But it’s my foremost project, and is the one getting my attention. It may not go as fast as Consent did (4 months to write) or it may. The point is that I’m writing it and in the wake of heartbreaking, devastating news, I wanted to share with my people that maybe we still have things to look forward to. I know I still have a voice, and I plan to use it. I’m going to be getting louder. This is my way of saying I will not sit down, I will not shut up, and in fact, I will write about the love of people like me until I take my literal dying gasp. I will never quit.

So, as a promise to you all, I give you the first scene from Restraint, Power Exchange Book 4. I hope you like it and are excited Ben and Gavin have more to say. Click through to read on.

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Excerpt for the New WIP

Yesterday, I amused myself by writing a scene between brothers shortly after the older one, Kyle, comes out to his family that he’s gay and dating Jesse, who they previously thought was just his roommate. This scene is set at Chicago’s Pride parade and the evening after, and with a little liquid courage, his brother, Bobby, has all kinds of questions. (These questions are some of the things—minus what doesn’t exactly work with my physiology—I had people ask when I came out, so it was amusing to have a character be quicker on his feet than I was.) Enjoy.

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Scene Flash: Long Fall of Night, Book 1

“Have you got a phone?” Elliot pulled an iPhone out of his pocket and waved it. “Try to turn it on,” Ash instructed. The screen remained stubbornly black. “It’s fried. A regular power outage doesn’t do that.”

Elliot threw up his hands. “What are you saying? This is a solar flare or something odd that took out the whole country?”

Ash stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, a frisson of fear dragging up his spine like a resurrected zombie shambling for brains. If Elliot wasn’t coming, he needed to ditch the kid before he got to the illegal stuff, and it clearly wasn’t happening until he explained what he knew. He was uncomfortable enough with breaking more than the underage drinking laws. Last thing he wanted was a witness or to get Elliot in trouble. “I don’t know. I have no evidence for anything. All I know is my uncle, who keeps his ear to the ground about foreign stuff and terrorists and shit like that, called me and told me if something unusual happened, to get out of the city. He sent me an email and said to be prepared. I need to get to my sister and nephew before any inmates do. I’m not going to sit around and wait for this place to descend into Lord of the Flies.

Elliot stared at him, confused, eyebrows furrowed, but opening his mouth to ask another question.

Ash lost patience and snapped, “Are you staying here or coming with me?” Elliot’s eyes went wide. Ash got right in his face, their lips an inch apart. “If you’re staying, I’m gonna kiss you goodbye and walk away. Five seconds.” He paused long enough to count down, while at the same time, giving Elliot a thorough eye-fuck for old time’s sake. Elliot’s skin reddened and he demurely dropped his gaze.

“Time,” Ash said softly, then kissed his lab partner for all he was worth, with full body contact, holding his head captive with one hand and pressing his other into the small of Elliot’s back. Delving his tongue into Elliot’s mouth, he groaned when his startled partner got over his surprise and kissed back with equal fervor, the caress of tongues and clash of teeth not usual for them. Hell, the kissing was unusual. Ash was almost instantly hard, regretting there was no time for this, let alone more to explore it. With one last sweep of his tongue between Elliot’s lips, he pulled back and looked into Elliot’s eyes. “Then I guess this is goodbye.” He ignored the pang in his chest, swinging around and striding away.

The Long Fall of Night

Background contaminated industrial town V2How many times a day do you check your phone?

Does your job involve computer work?

When you have downtime, do you download a book to an ereader? Do you watch TV? Listen to music on an iPod?

Do you drink a cup of coffee in the morning before starting your day?

What would happen if all the power went out? I don’t just mean your house. I mean all the power.

Everywhere.

Could you cope? Do you have a good relationship with your neighbors, or would they look at your pantry and think, “They’ve got more food than me, and the grocery stores are ransacked,” so you’d better lock your doors?

Are door locks enough? For how long would you need a stockpile of supplies? Do you have a weapon to protect yourself or your family?

Welcome to The Long Fall of Night (excerpt after the jump)

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News, Giveaways, and a Sneak Peek

With the new book release in the coming weeks, I’ve decided to get organized, get serious about keeping you up to date with information, and maybe give people a little something in return for your loyalty.

I’m building a newsletter, and for those who sign up, before March 1st, I will choose two subscribers to receive a free ebook copy of The Anatomy of Perception when it’s released the second week of March. So please, click here to sign up and your name goes in the hat! I’m also going to make this newsletter a place for exclusive snippets of upcoming works, contests, and content regarding my books not available anywhere else on the internet. Don’t miss out!

By way of thanks, I offer you an (unedited) excerpt from The Anatomy of Perception, after the jump.

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Crazy Busy Life and An Excerpt

This place got quiet. *blows dust off* I know, I know, but I’ll tell you why. I couldn’t talk about my plans over the holidays because one of them, the biggest one, was a secret.

See, Kate’s family wanted to surprise her for her 30th birthday. So they talked to me without Kate knowing, and behind the scenes, we arranged a trip for me to visit. So after I spent a week plus with my parents over Christmas and New Year’s, I came home for two days, did a flurry of errands, and jumped on another plane to the motherland.

About a day later, after long layovers, and time changes and such, I followed her sister into her house and gave her stunned face a kiss. Even two days later, she still looked at me and crowed, “You’re here!”

Her parents rented us a flat near one of her good friends, and we spent the week eating out, having wicked cool drinks, playing in London, going to the clubs of our people, starting new books, and making business deals.

Yeah, we never stop working, even when we’ve had a few drinks and the bouncer of a club starts talking to us about his true work, which lo and behold, I might have a very specific use for. When that’s a little more fleshed out, I’ll spill those beans.

In the meantime, yes, Kate and I started a book on which we’ve been plotting for a little over six months now, and let me tell you, the conversation about it had us both excited and possibly freaking out a cab driver.

As a reward for your patience, I give you a scene flash from my next release, hopefully out sometime in March, titled Anatomy of Perception. This is first person from the MC’s point of view, a scene flash when Dane sees Craig for the first time. Hope you like.

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I didn’t stop to watch the hot street artist because I thought he would change my life. I was simply fascinated by his quick hands, his obvious skill, and the swell of his ass. He had a really nice one, in paint-splattered jeans that hugged him well, and a t-shirt with a pug on it. The fall air was warm enough to not need a jacket, and when I wasn’t staring at his delectable backside, I strangely found myself drawn to his forearms. They flexed with each fluid movement of his brush hand while he quickly painted a profile portrait of a woman who stood closer to him than the rest of the crowd. She watched him work, and every few seconds, exclaimed at how wonderful he was.

I agree, I thought, taking another long look at his ass, for once not caring who saw me looking. That was the beautiful thing about New York City: no one noticed me, so they didn’t have a reason to give a damn if I liked guys. I could easily hide in plain sight, checking guys out to my heart’s content—with some care. If the guy being checked out noticed and was a dick, I could get my ass kicked. But in the four years since leaving home, I’d perfected the discreet eye-fuck. Less risky that way.

I had to keep moving, though. I was going to be late for class. I’d worked way too hard to get where I was to chance being late, and failure was not an option. I couldn’t go back home. I wasn’t teacher material, and I didn’t bother to look into what else my biology degree might allow me to do. It was MD or nothing.

Apparently, my feet didn’t get the memo. I stood there as the artist finished, signing the painting with a flourish as a smattering of applause rippled through the crowd. The woman eagerly paid and took her portrait with her, staring at it as she walked and forcing other sidewalk patrons out of her path. A few bills landed in an open, battered portfolio case at the foot of the guy’s easel, and I found myself wishing I had even a dollar to spare. But I didn’t. I watched my pennies religiously. There was no way I’d let myself be too broke to pay my third of the rent.

The artist scanned the dispersing crowd for his next mark, and I quickly looked away when his eyes landed on me. I really had to go anyway. I moved, trying to escape.

“Hey, hold up.”

A hand on my elbow slowed me and I turned to face the warmest brown eyes I’d ever seen.

“Let me paint you.”

I shook my head. “I can’t. I have class and I’m already late.” At least it was true. Lack of money wasn’t my only excuse.

“If you’re already late, you should skip and let me paint you. I didn’t know eyes that color existed outside a computer. Are those contacts?”

I rolled the eyes in question, but something about his ease while talking to strangers kept me from walking off. I got compliments on my eyes all the time. They were such a light blue they were almost silver. Many a girl had used my eye color as a platform for flirting, not realizing I was and always would be immune to their feminine charms. But the guy before me, he was right up my alley. So, while I rolled my eyes at his obvious line, I also smiled regretfully.

“I’m sorry. I really can’t. Maybe I’ll see you around though.”

“Me or my ass?” he asked, dropping his volume and giving me a wink. So he’d seen me checking out the goods.

Heat surged into my cheeks, but instead of stammering and running away, I gave him a very obvious and thorough once-over.

“Both.” It was the best parting line I’d ever had, so I took advantage, chuckling as I walked away.

“Wait!” he called. “What’s your name? How do I find you again?”

I waved over my shoulder, mortification creeping in. Had I really flirted so openly with a guy I wasn’t positive was also gay? In public? Jesus. I had never done that before. I only ever involved with guys at gay clubs who wouldn’t be there for any other reason.

“Please?” he yelled after me. I ignored him as I descended into the bowels of the subway system. Nice ass or not, at that point, I hoped I’d never see him again. How could I have been so dumb?

Safely on the train speeding me the last several blocks to my class, I allowed myself a grin, which was swallowed by a grimace. Random art wasn’t the only thing I couldn’t afford. Calling attention to myself was another. Distractions could also cost me way more than money. I needed to keep my focus on my goal, not get sidetracked by tanned forearms and dimples beneath molten brown eyes. I tried to put him out of my head and think about the lymph system, recalling the salient points of my reading homework from the night before. I had thought that would be my one and only encounter with the hot, charming street artist.

I was wrong.

Quick Update and a Tease

The holidays are a busy time of the year for everyone, so this will be fast (I hope. I’m a wordy mothahfuckah). The voting has begun over on the M/M Romance Group Member’s Choice Awards on GoodReads. If you haven’t gotten a chance, here’s the linkFrom what I understand, you have to have been a member before November this year to be able to vote in the polls. Lots and lots of good authors and books in those lists. It’s very, very difficult to pick.

So, there’s some travel coming up for me, and I predict being pretty scarce (though I will try not to be). I’m working hard at the moment, though life seems to be getting me in the teeth lately. The paperwork to bring Kate to my side permanently hit a snafu (because people keep mistaking me for an adult, which duh, no) and I am seriously missing her, especially through the holidays. Forget the car trouble, the medical bills, the fucking up my back (again! JEEZ) and Amazon paying royalties late (first time in the three years I’ve been doing this, and their timing couldn’t have sucked more). That is just annoying. Her absence is what hurts late at night, when the house is dark, the glow of other people’s Christmas lights slat through the blinds in painfully cheerful blinking patterns, and the only heartbeat I hear is mine. If I’m cold, I have furbabies to snuggle with, but they have paws that have sharp things on the end. They’re not Kate’s soft embrace, or her warmth, and while I’m an open kind of girl, Kate doesn’t tend to lick me on the face. Furbabies aren’t the same.

I have also been diagnosed with severe sleep apnea, on top of the asthma, and wow, this year can go fuck itself gently with a chainsaw. I know a couple other people whose hands would fly into the air if I asked who else thinks 2014 can suck a live wire. So if you’re having a difficult time of things? You’re not alone. But hang in there. There is good out there. Like this:

I promised to donate a portion of sales of my last release, Consent, to Lost n Found Youth in Atlanta, GA, a shelter and homeless youth center for LGBT kids, and because of the generosity and awesomeness of my readers, we’re getting close to $1,500 on that check. I’m extending the period of sales for the donation tally until December 10th to coincide with a giveaway that will run beginning December 4th for a week. Keep an eye out for the link on Thursday.

To thank you all for your general awesomeness and to say happy holidays, I’m giving you an early Christmas gift, albeit a rough draft of one. Someone in Ben and Gavin’s world has been whispering in my ear, and while this is not another Power Exchange book, I’ve begun a story in which Ben and Gavin play a part, albeit a small one. You all remember McKnight, right? The pimp from Consent?

McKnight needed his own book.

Merry Christmas!

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Tease

No kissing, I remembered from the lust-filled echo in my head of Ben’s first admission of wanting to tempt a third to play with us. When the guy tried to lower his lips to mine, I turned to the side, and his mouth landed on the curve of my jaw. A breath puffed against my sweat-prickled skin as Blond Guy chuckled, then mouthed down my neck. My cock perked up more, and when a hand landed on it, I didn’t know if it was Ben’s or our new friend’s. Ben’s tongue traced the other side of my neck, and I became the beat of the music, the slide of skin against skin, the heat of lust. Fingers played up and down my length while the three of us moved as one, and the song became less lyrics, more raw fucking beat.