'I love you' is just the beginning of the story.

First Comes Marriage: Cooking up a Classic Category Romance

FirstComeMarriageFSWe’re well into the final week of the First Comes Marriage book tour, with the giveaway wrapping up about a week later on January 31st. The book is now available for download from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, All Romance Ebooks, Barnes & Noble, and other booksellers.If you haven’t already, be sure to comment on this or one of the book tour posts for a chance to win a dozen red roses for you or your sweetheart.

For those readers who may not already know, First Comes Marriage is the second book in the brand new Dreamspun Desires line and is an honest to goodness “category romance.” The term comes from the old tradition of publishing a certain number of books on a monthly basis in a certain category. You remember these. When I was a kid, they were the Harlequin and Silhouette romances that were shipped, 4 books a month, on subscription.

Category romances were sweet, sometimes funny, standalone stories with a yummy happy ending. These were romances that made you feel good. For me, I remember being an angsty teen and reading these books. They made my heart pound, made my arms ache, and gave me that rush of “oh yeah!” at the end of the story that made me want to devour more romances.

When I was working on First Comes Marriage, I did a lot of thinking about what makes a classic category romance make me feel so damn good. I read a few of the old romances, and I really thought about what makes them work for a reader like me. My husband, the scientist, would call that “reverse engineering.” It was a bit like eating a really good piece of cake and figuring out what ingredients went into it because you don’t have the recipe!

So what’s the recipe?

Take two main characters and ratchet up the heat. I’m talking a very slow burn that builds until you are fanning yourself and ready to scream, “Tell him you love him already!” Or at least, “Tell him you want to have sex with him already!” Stir in something that presents a bit of a sticking point for both characters and threatens to keep them apart. Nothing too angsty here, just something they have to overcome separately or, even better, together. Add a secondary character or two who just might derail the budding romance or help it happen for our main characters. Add doubts and stir again. Little niggles or fears. Maybe sprinkle a little misunderstanding in while you’re at it.

Pour all the ingredients into a pan and bake it at high temperature. What do you get? Sexy, sweet, and spicy romance that tastes as good as tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich on a cold day, or maybe some really good mac ‘n cheese. We’re not talking prime rib that you eat with expensive French wine, but the kind of meal that leaves you satisfied and smiling. Simply fun and feel-good fare.
You can buy it First Comes Marriage as a single book, or you can subscribe to the Dreamspun Desires line and get two books a month at a significant discount (ebook and paperback). Read down for an excerpt and don’t forget to enter the giveaway! -Shira

FirstComeMarriage_headerbanner

Their marriage was supposed to be all business….

When struggling novelist Chris Valentine meets Jesse Donovan, he’s interested in a book contract, or possibly a date. The last thing Chris expects is a marriage proposal from New York City’s most eligible bachelor!

Jesse’s in a pinch. To keep control of his company, he has to marry. So he has valid reasons for offering Chris this business deal: in exchange for living in a gorgeous mansion for a year, playing the doting husband, Chris gets all the writing time he wants and walks away with a million-dollar payoff. Surely Chris can handle that. He can handle living with the most handsome and endearing man he’s ever met, a man he immediately knows he wants in the worst way and can’t have. Or can he?

Dreamspinner: Amazon: All Romance: Barnes & Noble
FirstComeMarriage_headerbanner

Excerpt from Chapter Thirteen

That night Chris settled for yet another dinner alone in the Red Room, the smaller of two dining rooms at the estate. The day before, he’d asked Marcie to join him, but she’d flatly refused. “After his grandfather died, I told Mr. Donovan that if I was going to stay on, I wanted him to keep things the way they’d always been.” In spite of this, she’d still ended up chatting with him over coffee after she served him a delicious dinner of freshly caught bass and vegetables she’d grown in the garden on the side of the house.

Tonight, however, after Marcie cleared what was left of Chris’s meal, it was not she who walked into the Red Room ten minutes later but an attractive middle-aged woman with a shoulder-length blonde bob. Dressed in a well-tailored linen pantsuit that wore its myriad wrinkles well, she looked as though she’d just flown in from somewhere tropical. Which, apparently, she had, since Marcie came chasing after her, saying, “Mrs. Donovan, you must be tired from the flight. I’d be happy to serve you some dinner in your rooms, if you’d—”

You’re the wife?” the woman said. Chris knew she had to be Jesse’s stepgrandmother, Wenda.

“Wrong plumbing,” Chris joked, hoping to ease the tension.

“Was that supposed to be a joke?” Wenda countered.

Not much for humor. “Chris Valentine.” Chris stood and offered her his hand. “Husband.”

She didn’t shake his hand but took her measure of him, eyeing him from head to toe. The scrutiny made Chris want to squirm, but he schooled his expression and willed his face not to twitch. “I didn’t know Jesse had any interests outside the usual,” she said. “Then again, you’re far easier on the eyes than the usual.”

Chris chuckled. “Thank you. I think.” So maybe she does have a sense of humor. Dry as the Sahara, but….

She narrowed her eyes and turned to Marcie, whom Chris had nearly forgotten was still standing there. “I’d like some dinner, unless that’s a problem.”

Marcie squeaked, “No, of course not, Mrs. Donovan,” then skittered off to the kitchen.

“Long flight?” Chris asked and pulled a chair out from the table.

Wenda raised a questioning eyebrow, then sat heavily. “Missed my connection in Puerto Rico. I should have taken the company jet.”

“Why didn’t you?”

Her eyes grew wide. Had she expected him to just roll over and play dead? “I… I prefer not to. It’s a waste if it’s only me.”

This doubly surprised Chris, that she’d consider the expense and that she’d admit it. “Sounds reasonable.”

“You’re not what I expected,” she said.

Shira Anthony - Dreamspun Desires 3_FBpost-300x300

About Shira

Shira Anthony is a complete sucker for a happily-ever-after, and rarely reads or writes a story without one. Never a fan of instalove, Shira likes to write stories about real men with real issues making real relationships work.

In her last incarnation, Shira was a professional opera singer, performing roles in such operas as “Tosca,” “i Pagliacci,” and “La Traviata,” among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle.

Shira is married with two children and two insane dogs, and when she’s not writing she is usually in a courtroom trying to make the world safer for children. When she’s not working, she can be found aboard a 36’ catamaran at the Carolina coast with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel.

Interested in hearing Shira sing? Here’s a link to a live performance of Shira singing an aria from Puccini’s “Tosca”: http://www.shiraanthony.com/wp-conten…

You can subscribe to Shira’s monthly newsletter for updates, free fiction, and subscriber-only contests here: http://www.shiraanthony.com/newsletter/

Where to find the author:

 Facebook | Facebook Author Page | Twitter | Pinterest |  Goodreads | Google+
Shira Anthony - First Comes Marriage Cover

Giveaway!

First Comes Marriage is all above love and romance, and the book tour grand prize is a dozen red roses for your sweetheart (or whoever you think deserves it!). First prize is a $10 Dreamspinner Gift Certificate.

(Just click the link below)

Shira Anthony Rafflecopter giveaway!

(Ends 31st January 2015)
Shira Anthony - First Comes Marriage Baner s

Check out the other blogs on the blog tour

Shira Anthony - First Comes Marriage Tour Banner

Release Day & 2 Giveaways for “First Comes Marriage”!

Book Tour

Today is release day for First Comes Marriage! The book is now available for download from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, All Romance Ebooks, Barnes & Noble, and other booksellers.

The First Comes Marriage Book Tour is wrapping up its first week with an exclusive post at My Fiction Nook, where you can enter to win a gift certificate for a dozen red roses for you or your sweetheart. First prize is a $10 Dreamspinner Press gift code.

Today, you can also enter a special giveaway contest over at the Dreamspinner Press Blog. I’ve got a special post for Dreamspinner Press readers.

First Comes Marriage is a modern take on the classic “category” romances I used to read as a kid. You remember those Harlequin and Mills & Boon stories that used to ship, 4 to a box, every month? First Comes Marriage takes a few of the classic romance tropes andFirstComeMarriageFS turns them on their head. Marriage of convenience? Check. Billionaire playboy? Check. Conniving stepgrandmother? Check. Two sexy men? Check. Slow burn? Check. HEA? Check.

Jesse Donovan, the billionaire heir to his grandfather’s boat building business, must get married or he’ll lose control of his company under the terms of his grandfather’s will. Chris Valentine is a struggling novelist working as a barista in New York City. When handsome, charming Jesse proposes, Chris thinks it’s a joke! Chris finally gives in and marries Jesse. But the more time they spend together, the more Chris comes to genuinely care for New York’s most eligible “straight” bachelor. But this marriage is just business, isn’t it?

If you love sweet, sexy stories with a happily-ever-after that will leave a smile on your face, you’ll enjoy the Dreamspun Desires line of gay romances from Dreamspinner Press. I love them so much, I have a subscription to the line. I’ll leave you with a taste of First Comes Marriage. Hope you enjoy it. -Shira

FirstComeMarriage_headerbanner

Excerpt from Chapter One:

CHRIS VALENTINE took a deep breath as the crowd applauded his second reading. No seats remained, and at least a dozen people stood at the back of the room as he and the other two featured authors read from their books. Now, as the flock of pissed-off butterflies in his gut gave up the ghost, he thought less about how the reading had gone and more about how incredibly hungry he was.

Chris had lost count of how many times he’d read from his sci-fi/fantasy trilogy at Baker’s Literary Café, but this time he’d been a nervous wreck. His current work-in-progress, Venturing Backward, was entirely different from anything he’d written before. He hadn’t even shared it yet with his roommate, Val. Why he’d decided on the spur of the moment to read a short passage, he couldn’t explain. He’d never been much of a risk taker.

“Loved your reading.” The woman who’d been seated in the front row thrust her hand out to Chris. “Rhonda Wexler.” Her dragon-red curls bobbed as she spoke through black-tinted lips. A small crowd had gathered behind her, waiting patiently to greet him. Chris saw a few new faces amid the usual Tuesday night crowd.

He smiled and shook her hand, the contact helping to dispel the rest of his body’s coiled tension. “Good to meet you, Rhonda.”

“I read the first installment when you had it up as a freebie. Are you going to self-pub the rest, or are you thinking of shopping the trilogy to the New York houses?” Rhonda asked as she shifted from one Dr. Martens–clad foot to the other and handed him her card.

“I’ve tried a few,” he answered, “but so far no luck.” The first book hadn’t done poorly on Amazon. But outside his growing cult following, it hadn’t gotten much traction, and the royalties had barely made a dent in his rent.

“M-Mr. Valentine?” someone said from over Chris’s shoulder. Chris turned and offered the newcomer his hand. “Jesse Donovan.”

A quick glance at Jesse made Chris wonder if he’d come to hear one of the other authors read, or just wandered into the wrong café. A few inches taller than Chris, with reddish brown hair and a hint of shadow on his jaw, Jesse appeared entirely out of place in the sea of goth and steampunk. Dressed in a crisp button-down shirt, sport coat, and a well-fitted pair of jeans, Jesse gazed at him through burgundy-trimmed glasses. His bright blue eyes made Chris’s pulse quicken.

“Good to meet you, Jesse.”

The hint of awkwardness in Jesse’s gaze surprised Chris, but it vanished as Jesse shook his hand with a firm grip. “You did a great job tonight,” Jesse said as he pulled off his glasses and shoved them into his jacket pocket. “I especially liked the new work.”

“You may have been the only one,” Chris quipped. He hadn’t expected the new novel to be a hit with his usual readers, so he hadn’t been too disappointed with the polite applause. Magical realism might be popular among the literary set, but it was hardly the stuff his fantasy readers would get excited about.

Jesse responded enthusiastically, “Don’t get me wrong. I love the Valhron Chronicles, but the new work”—he offered Chris a warm smile—“is something unique. I look forward to reading it when it’s completed.”

Jesse had clearly read his work, a realization that made Chris all the more curious about him. “Thank you.”

Jesse hesitated for a split second before saying, “I’d like to help get your work in the right hands.” He handed Chris his card. “Give me a call. We can meet for coffee, or whatever works best for you.”

“Thank you.” So Jesse was the agent rumored to be attending the reading. Chris would definitely be taking him up on the offer, if only to learn more about how he might break into the New York publishing scene.

Two women dressed in Victorian walking suits erupted through the crowd and collided with Jesse. Chris caught Jesse’s arm in time to keep him from falling forward, the faint scent of bergamot and citrus from Jesse’s cologne tickling Chris’s nose as Jesse grabbed his shoulder to steady himself. Jesse met Chris’s gaze and held it as something like surprise flickered in his eyes. Chris half wished Jesse wasn’t an agent and that the invitation to coffee wasn’t to discuss business.

“Sooorry,” one of the women said, giggling.

“No problem,” Jesse said. He straightened quickly and withdrew his hand from Chris’s arm.

“Carmine was so excited to meet you,” the other woman gushed, “she pushed a little too hard.” Carmine stared at Chris, clearly dumbfounded.

“I’ll leave you to your adoring fans,” Jesse said, the edges of his mouth quirking upward as he spoke. “Give me a call when you have a chance.” He disappeared before Chris could thank him.

TWO BEEFY arms swallowed Chris in a powerful embrace the second he stepped through the doorway to the apartment. “You rocked!” Terry shouted as he squeezed Chris so tightly, Chris had to push away from Terry’s chest to breathe.

“Terry. Man. You know I love you, but—”

“Val loved it too,” Terry said, releasing Chris and smiling at his fiancée, who was setting several pizzas on the kitchen table.

Val smiled at Chris through her too-long bangs and nodded. “You did a wonderful job, Chris. I thought I’d have to restrain Terry,” she said with a half snort, half giggle. “He was so excited when you got to the part about the lost mage, I thought he was going to lose it.”

“I should never have mentioned you were my inspiration for him.” Chris shook his head in mock disgust. “Your head is already too big.”

“Accept it for what it is,” Terry answered, grinning broadly. “Recognition of my immense awesomeness as a roommate.”

“Roommates,” Val corrected.

“Best roommates ever,” Chris agreed. “Especially since you haven’t kicked me out yet.”

“Rumor is that there was a hotshot agent there tonight.” Val snagged a piece of pepperoni pizza.

“There was.” Chris pulled Jesse’s card from his pocket and waved it around.

That was Mr. Tall, Auburn, and Handsome?” Val asked as she snatched the card from his hands. “The gorgeous man I saw you speaking with before the steampunk sisters decided to set up camp?”

“Yep. Said he wanted to put me in touch with someone in—”

“Whoa, whoa. This guy isn’t an agent,” Val said, eyes wide with recognition as she stared at the card.

Chris glanced at Terry, who just shrugged. “What?” Chris took a bite of his pizza and frowned.

This Jesse Donovan is the CEO of Windview Enterprises,” Val said, as if the name might trigger some sort of understanding.

“Never heard of him.”

“Seriously? He was on the cover of New York View last year. You know, their annual Most Eligible Bachelor issue? It was all over the newsstands.”

Chris burst out laughing. “Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I snag every trash magazine that has good-looking men on the cover, you know.”

Val blushed fuchsia. “I didn’t mean… I mean… it isn’t because—”

Terry snorted and high-fived Chris. “He’s gay, Val. That doesn’t mean he wants to tape photos of hot men on his wall.” He grinned at Val and added, “Although you know, Val, I seem to remember you had a poster of Chris Pine over your bed in coll—”

“Shut up.” Val pushed Terry, who fell sideways onto the couch and laughed until he coughed.

“Admit it,” Terry said between wheezes. “This guy’s totally your type.”

Terry had a point. Jesse was exactly the kind of man Chris dated: tall and athletic, confident, but not overly so. Not that Chris was interested in anything but a quick hookup. The country might be marriage-crazy, but he had no interest in a white picket fence and a passel of kids.

“And totally straight,” Val put in with a shake of her head. “He’s been all over the gossip pages recently with some heiress. I’ve got a couple friends at school who have a pool going. They say he’s going to marry her.” She snorted, then added, “I’ve got $100 that he stays single.”

Terry rolled his eyes, garnering another glare from Val.

“What does Windview Enterprises do?” Chris asked, more curious than he cared to admit. He didn’t care what Jesse Donovan’s claim to fame might be, but he’d still follow up on the lead.

“Yachts,” she said. “Really big ones. You know, the ones they show movie stars cavorting around on with the itsy-bitsy bikinis?”

Figures.

“And hotel properties,” Val continued. “High-end resorts in the Caribbean, that sort of thing. Oh, and they have a commercial group that builds supertankers.”

“How do you know all that?” Chris asked.

People magazine.” Val’s cheeks flushed, and Terry shot her an inquisitive look. “Well, I have to read something when I’m on the subway.”

“Not your typical fare for a doctoral candidate in nineteenth century literature,” Chris said.

“You gonna call him?” Terry asked with a yawn.

“Why not? Even if he’s not an agent, he might be able to put me in touch with one.” Chris took back the card from Val and flipped it around in his fingers. For the first time, he noticed the handwritten number on the back and the scribbled notation there: personal cell.

“Want another slice?” Val asked.

Chris shook his head. “I’m beat. And I’m supposed to work the afternoon shift tomorrow.” He gathered the plates and headed for the kitchen.

“You’re going to tell me all about it, aren’t you?” Val asked as she helped him wash the dishes.

“Sure.” Chris laughed. “He’s probably a jerk.”

“Even better,” she said, grinning now. “I’m gonna hold you to it!”

 

FirstComeMarriage_headerbanner

You can purchase First Comes Marriage at Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7302

You can subscribe to the Dreamspun Desires line at Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7224&cPath=1583

 

 

 

First Comes Marriage Book Tour & Giveaway!

Book Tour

Today is the first stop on the First Comes Marriage book tour! This Friday, January 15th, is release day. You can preorder your individual copy  from Dreamspinner Press or you can sign up for the subscription service and receive 2 Dreamspun Desires category romance novels monthly in ebook or paperback for a significant discount over the individual book price.

Grand prize for the book tour giveaway is a gift certificate for a dozen red roses for your sweetheart. First prize is a $10 Dreamspinner Press gift code. You can enter the giveaway at any of the tour stops by commenting, tweeting, etc.

First Comes Marriage, takes a few of the classic romance tropes andFirstComeMarriageFS turns them on their head. Marriage of convenience? Check. Billionaire playboy? Conniving stepgrandmother? Check.

Jesse Donovan, the billionaire heir to his grandfather’s boat building business, must get married or he’ll lose control of his company under the terms of his grandfather’s will. Chris Valentine is a struggling novelist working as a barista in New York City. When handsome, charming Jesse proposes, Chris thinks it’s a joke! Chris finally gives in and marries Jesse. But the more time they spend together, the more Chris comes to genuinely care for New York’s most eligible “straight” bachelor. But this marriage is just business, isn’t it?

I hope you’ll find these stories as appealing as I have. I’ll leave you with a taste of First Comes Marriage. Hope you enjoy it. -Shira

FirstComeMarriage_headerbanner

Excerpt from Chapter Six:

Now, standing in the conference room of Windview Enterprises’ corporate headquarters near South Ferry in Manhattan, one of the matching platinum bands Jesse had bought for them in his pants pocket, Chris wondered if he’d wake up from the dream. The floor-to-ceiling windows looked out over Wall Street and the East River through the forest of high-rise buildings.

“Do you, Jesse Chase Donovan, take Christopher James Valentine to be your husband, in love and in friendship, until you are parted by death?” the judge asked.

“I do.” As Jesse slipped the ring on Chris’s finger, he met Chris’s gaze with such intensity that for an instant, Chris could almost forget the entire ceremony was a ruse to ensure the future of Windview remained firmly in Jesse’s control. Damn the man for being so attractive. Damn him for being a nice guy, because that was the worst part of it. And the part that had you agreeing.

“And do you, Christopher James Valentine, take Jesse Chase Donovan to be your husband, in love and in friendship, until you are parted by death?”

Chris swallowed hard and prayed he didn’t look as incredibly nervous as he felt. “I do.” His hand shook as he took Jesse’s hand and put the ring on his finger.

“Congratulations, Chris and Jesse,” the judge said.

Chris caught Val’s eye for a split second, and he half expected her to urge him to kiss Jesse. But it was Jesse who took charge and blindsided Chris with a kiss.

It started sweetly enough, just Jesse’s lips against his, but instead of releasing Chris, Jesse pulled him tighter against him and pressed his tongue into his mouth. Jesse tasted fucking amazing. Chris didn’t hesitate—their tongues tangled and danced. This close, Jesse smelled good and felt even better. Chris was barely aware of slipping his hands around Jesse’s back before resting them on lean hips. He didn’t think twice as his body and Jesse’s responded in kind.

Someone giggled—Chris recognized Val’s voice—and Jesse pulled abruptly away. Their eyes met for a split second, and Chris thought he saw a mixture of desire and surprise in Jesse’s deep blue eyes. The next thing Chris knew, Val had thrown her arms around him and only his racing heart and tingling lips told him he hadn’t imagined the entire thing.

“Oh, Chris,” Val cooed. “You really did it!”

“Yeah” was the only response Chris could manage. He was still thinking about Jesse’s mouth.

“I guess I was wrong about him being straight,” she whispered mischievously.

Chris was thrilled when Terry grabbed him in a bear hug, because he had no idea how to respond to Val’s comment. He also wasn’t sure if he should be pissed off with Jesse for the show. He supposed if this was going to work, Jesse needed to make the marriage look real. Still, how difficult would it have been to warn Chris that he had that up his sleeve?

FirstComeMarriage_headerbanner

You can purchase First Comes Marriage at Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7302

You can subscribe to the Dreamspun Desires line at Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7224&cPath=1583

 

 

 

#SALE – 99 Cent Weekend Reads at Dreamspinner Press!

1468685_1676703969265086_9164553691356592038_nI’m thrilled to be Dreamspinner Press’s Weekend Reads author this weekend! You can pick up copies of books 1 and 2 in my Blood vampire series, Blood and Rain and Blood and Ghosts, for 99 cents each this weekend only! The final Blood Series book, Blood and Eternity, will be coming out in 2016. Blood Series books are sequels and must be read in order.

Want to try a Blue Notes Series book? Prelude, co-written with the lovely Venona Keyes is also on sale for 99 cents! Blue Notes books are standalone stories and can be read in any order.

While you’re over at Dreamspinner, you may want to check out the brand new Dreamspun Desires line of romances and my offering, First Comes Marriage! I’m so excited about these tropey, sweet, romance front and center stories reminiscent of the old Harlequin romances I grew up reading.

Happy 2016 everyone! I hope it’s a great year! -Shira

 

“First Comes Marriage” is Now Available for Preorder!

DreamspunDesires_FirstComesMarriageFS4First Comes Marriage is now available for preorder from Dreamspinner Press! Or you can sign up for the subscription service and receive 2 Dreamspun Desires category romance novels monthly in ebook or paperback for a significant discount over the individual book price.

What is a “category romance”? Honestly, I didn’t know this myself until a few years ago, but a “category romance” is also sometimes called a “series romance.” The term comes from the old tradition of publishing a certain number of books on a monthly basis in a certain category. You remember these. When I was a kid, they were the Harlequin and Silhouette romances that were shipped, 4 books a month, on subscription.

Category romances were sweet, funny, standalone stories with a feel-good happy ending. Full of romance tropes (millionaires, exotic locations, mistaken identity, arranged marriages, you name it), these babies were shorter than the average novel, all the covers looked alike, and some were numbered like magazines. They became a genre unto themselves.

Fast forward to the Romantic Times (RT) conference in Dallas of this year, by far the biggest general romance conference in the world. I was having something to eat with Poppy Dennison, Dreamspinner Press’s PR guru, and a number of other Dreamspinner writers. I was complaining about how writing angsty romances (Blue Notes Series, anyone?) takes a lot out of me. I said I wished I could write a warm, fuzzy romance like the ones I used to read as a kid. Poppy asked, “Why don’t you?” She then proceeded to tell me about an idea she had to create a line of gay category romances for DreamspunDesires1_DSPsiteDreamspinner. Fast forward a bit more than six months, and Dreamspun Desires is already at the top of the Dreamspinner bestseller list with its subscription option (available in ebook and paperback).

My book, First Comes Marriage, takes a few tropes and turns them on their head. Marriage of convenience? Check. Billionaire playboy? Conniving stepgrandmother? Check.

Jesse Donovan, the billionaire heir to his grandfather’s boat building business, must get married or he’ll lose control of his company under the terms of his grandfather’s will. Chris Valentine is a struggling novelist working as a barista in New York City. When handsome, charming Jesse proposes, Chris thinks it’s a joke! Chris finally gives in and marries Jesse. But the more time they spend together, the more Chris comes to genuinely care for New York’s most eligible “straight” bachelor. But this marriage is just business, isn’t it?

I hope you’ll find these stories as appealing as I have. I liked writing First Comes Marriage so much, I’m working on another tropey romance! I’ll leave you with a  taste of First Comes Marriage. Hope you enjoy it.

See you in 2016. Happy New Year and happy holidays, everyone! -Shira

******

Excerpt from Chapter Six:

Now, standing in the conference room of Windview Enterprises’ corporate headquarters near South Ferry in Manhattan, one of the matching platinum bands Jesse had bought for them in his pants pocket, Chris wondered if he’d wake up from the dream. The floor-to-ceiling windows looked out over Wall Street and the East River through the forest of high-rise buildings.

“Do you, Jesse Chase Donovan, take Christopher James Valentine to be your husband, in love and in friendship, until you are parted by death?” the judge asked.

“I do.” As Jesse slipped the ring on Chris’s finger, he met Chris’s gaze with such intensity that for an instant, Chris could almost forget the entire ceremony was a ruse to ensure the future of Windview remained firmly in Jesse’s control. Damn the man for being so attractive. Damn him for being a nice guy, because that was the worst part of it. And the part that had you agreeing.

“And do you, Christopher James Valentine, take Jesse Chase Donovan to be your husband, in love and in friendship, until you are parted by death?”

Chris swallowed hard and prayed he didn’t look as incredibly nervous as he felt. “I do.” His hand shook as he took Jesse’s hand and put the ring on his finger.

“Congratulations, Chris and Jesse,” the judge said.

Chris caught Val’s eye for a split second, and he half expected her to urge him to kiss Jesse. But it was Jesse who took charge and blindsided Chris with a kiss.

It started sweetly enough, just Jesse’s lips against his, but instead of releasing Chris, Jesse pulled him tighter against him and pressed his tongue into his mouth. Jesse tasted fucking amazing. Chris didn’t hesitate—their tongues tangled and danced. This close, Jesse smelled good and felt even better. Chris was barely aware of slipping his hands around Jesse’s back before resting them on lean hips. He didn’t think twice as his body and Jesse’s responded in kind.

Someone giggled—Chris recognized Val’s voice—and Jesse pulled abruptly away. Their eyes met for a split second, and Chris thought he saw a mixture of desire and surprise in Jesse’s deep blue eyes. The next thing Chris knew, Val had thrown her arms around him and only his racing heart and tingling lips told him he hadn’t imagined the entire thing.

“Oh, Chris,” Val cooed. “You really did it!”

“Yeah” was the only response Chris could manage. He was still thinking about Jesse’s mouth.

“I guess I was wrong about him being straight,” she whispered mischievously.

Chris was thrilled when Terry grabbed him in a bear hug, because he had no idea how to respond to Val’s comment. He also wasn’t sure if he should be pissed off with Jesse for the show. He supposed if this was going to work, Jesse needed to make the marriage look real. Still, how difficult would it have been to warn Chris that he had that up his sleeve?

******

You can purchase First Comes Marriage at Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7302

You can subscribe to the Dreamspun Desires line at Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7224&cPath=1583

 

 

 

Tempeste O’Riley’s “Signs of Desire” Blog Tour is Here!

Signs of Desire Blog Tour Banner_zpsufirmue1Welcome Tempeste and congratulations on your new release! Tempeste has a great answer about writing characters to share with us today.

Don’t forget to read down to the bottom of the post for an excerpt from Signs of Desire and a cool giveaway! Take it away, Tempeste! -Shira

Do characters and stories just pop into your head, or do you take your time thinking about them? And how do you make your characters believable?

For the most part, they just show up in my head one day. They move in, without my say so, and often without my knowledge until they’re just “there” :/ LOL It’s sort of annoying, honestly. You’re going about your business or sleeping or whatever and suddenly this ‘person’ and their story invades your life, insisting on having you writing instead of whatever you were doing. Mind you, I love writing, but with my health, interrupting my sleep is never appreciated!

As for making the characters believable… that comes from the fact they are just people. Yes, I ‘make’ them up and all, but really, they are just like the guy down the street or your neighbour or your professor or… … …. I try to make sure that even when my characters are paranormal, they are still rooted in the real and normal enough that you could meet them on the street and it not be odd. I want you to read the story and see you within (and find hope, love, joy, etc. as well).

I do take a lot of time working on character development, but honestly, I find out a lot about them as I write the stories. Often I don’t have a clue what’s going to happen or what they will do until it happens and I’ve typed the scene. They take me on the ride just as the story takes you along. 😀

When a night out turns into a matchmaking scheme, they thought communication would be their biggest challenge to their happily ever after….

Signs of Desire
by Tempeste O’Riley
Desires Entwined, #4
M/M Erotic Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Release Date: November 30, 2014 (ebook/print)
Length: Novel / 200 pages

 

Order:

Dreamspinner Press All Romance Amazon

Add to: Goodreads

 

Description:

Simon Tyler knows his job as a gay romance author makes his lack of faith in love more than a little ironic, but he’s tired of being used for his wallet. When a night out turns into a matchmaking scheme orchestrated by his best friends—though he’s not the target—Simon’s not thrilled, but since he’s sworn off happily-ever-after anyway, he goes along with it… until he meets the object of their efforts, Adrian, and finds perhaps he hasn’t given up on love after all.

Professor Adrian Keys has tried to date hearing men before, but being deaf himself, he’s never had any success at making a connection. After his friends con him into going out and Adrian realizes it’s all an elaborate plan to set him up, he braces for yet another failure, only to discover there is a spark—except it’s not with the man his friends had in mind, but with Simon Tyler instead.

Not all their friends have found a way past their romantic failures, but Simon and Adrian might be on the path to happily-ever-after.

Resource Links:

 

They all debated what to eat and chatted for a little, Adrian mostly staying quiet and watching the others. He noticed one of the other men seemed just as out of it as he was, the one Chase had called Grayson. He was handsome, tall, and powerful like Rhys, but he had long black hair, deeply tanned skin, and light brown eyes that were almost amber. He was a little thinner than Chase’s partner, though just as intimidating a presence.

The other man who caught his attention was named Simon. Adrian knew a little more about him because Chase spoke of his closest friends often, and Adrian loved meeting Chase’s friends even if the outing was nerve-racking. Simon had light brown hair, big puppy brown eyes, and a slender body. The longer Adrian looked, the more he wondered how Simon would look when dressed in something a little less bulky.

A tap to his shoulder pulled Adrian out of his musings. He turned and realized the server was back with their dinners and blushed at how entranced he’d been. He didn’t usually stare, hating when others did that to him. “Sorry.”

“No sorrys.” Chase hugged Adrian, then dug into his bowl of chicken and dumplings.

Simon waved to get Adrian’s attention and smiled when he looked up from his country-fried steak and mashed potatoes with white gravy. “Chase said you were his teacher before and are now a friend.” Adrian nodded. “How’d he convince you to go out with his skinny butt?”

Heat infused Adrian’s face as he laughed. “Chase was very sweet and asked nicely.”

“I love your laugh, by the way. It’s deep like your voice, kind of carefree.” Simon looked slightly sad. Adrian knew he’d had a hard time lately. Chase said he’d been cheated on a year ago and had refused to date since. Adrian knew the feeling, though he pushed the thought away, hoping not to dwell on why he was alone.

He ducked his head slightly. “Thanks? I don’t know how anyone sounds, even myself, so it’s always weird to get comments like that.”

“I said the same when we went out,” Chase commented. “But don’t let him fool you. He’s an excellent teacher and speaks in all his classes. He knows his voice is good.”

“No, I know it’s clear enough for you to understand. That’s something I work hard to make true, but I have never heard my voice, so I have no idea how I sound. And well…. Chase was the first person to ever say something like that.”

He worked regularly with various computer programs to improve and maintain his speech, knowing if he didn’t it could cost him his position at the college. He had always struggled to make sure he spoke well for Hearing people, considering his family’s opinion of his Deafness. His dad knew sign

language, but his mom refused to learn, insisting he learn to be “normal.” Adrian had always thought that was extremely unfair, especially as a child. Considering his hatred of being dependent on others for his communication, he was thankful he could read lips and speak as well as he did.

“Then you know the wrong people, ’cause he’s right.” Simon nodded to emphasize his point, confusing Adrian more. Why would he be so determined with his compliments?

Shrugging off his curiosity, Adrian tried to push past the topic. “What do you do?”

Simon’s eyes tightened at the edges slightly, his shoulders drooping a little more. “I’m a writer.”

“He’s a romance author, and a damn good one,” Jamie, or James as he knew the guy’s actual name was, said. Chase talked about his best friend often, though this was the first they’d met. “Don’t let him talk down about what he does.”

“James, hush. He’s not interested in what kind of writing I do.”

“Yes, I am. I love to read. Would I know any of your work?” Adrian didn’t have a large collection of romances, but he had read some. He couldn’t think of any authors named Simon, though.

“You’re an author?” Grayson asked, turning to join their conversation.

The nod seemed reluctant, but the smile on Simon’s face, while small, looked genuine. “Yeah, I write under the name Tyler Jacobs, a pseudonym, but I have a few books out. But, um, I thought we were trying to get to know Adrian and Grayson, not more about boring ol’ me.”

Praise:

“I found it a beautiful tale of unhappiness changed to romance and then love with a happy ending.”

—Rainbow Book Reviews, on “Designs of Desire”

Designs of Desire is a tough realistic book that is touched by violence countered by the growing love between the two heroes.”

—Sensual Reads, on “Designs of Desire”

“It’s a great book to fall into and enjoy some really good characters.”

—Love Bytes, on “Desires’ Guardian”

“This is my favorite in this series so far. I love seeing how these characters are growing, all of them. As individuals, as couples, as friends, and as a family.”

—MM Good Book Reviews, on “Desires’ Guardian”

“The writer did an excellent job with the characters, they are likable and perfect. Not perfect in the way that they have no flaws, but in a way that they grab you and complement each other.”

—Love Bytes Reviews, on “Temptations of Desire”

 

Other Works by Author:

Designs of DesireSimple Desires*+ – Bound by Desire* – Desires’ GuardianTemptations of DesireTruth in Lace* – Desires’ Pride*

Micah’s Medicine+ – Caged SanctuaryWhiskers of a Chance

*shorts in series +shorts in anthologies

 

About the Author:

Tempeste O’Riley is an out and proud pansexual genderfluid whose best friend growing up had the courage to do what they couldn’t—defy the hate and come out. He has been their hero ever since.

Tempe is a hopeless romantic who loves strong relationships and happily-ever-afters. Though new to writing M/M, they has done many things in their life, yet writing has always drawn them back—no matter what else life has thrown their way. They counts her friends, family, and Muse as their greatest blessings in life. They lives in Wisconsin with their children, reading, writing, and enjoying life.

Tempe is also a proud PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, WisRWA, and Rainbow Romance Writers. Tempe’s preferred pronouns are they/them/their/theirs/themselves. To learn more about Tempeste and their writing, visit http://tempesteoriley.com.

Website Goodreads Twitter Facebook Google + DSP Blog

Tempeste’s Temptations

**********
Giveaway
**********

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rebecca Cohen’s “He’s Behind You” (Because nothing says “Christmas” like leopard print underwear!)

He’s Behind You by Rebecca Cohen

Head over to UK Gay Romance for a giveaway of He’s Behind You.

Buylink: Dreamspinner | All Romance | Amazon

Blurb: A Treading the Boards Novella

It’s panto season for the Sarky Players, an amateur dramatics society based in Greenwich, South London. With the traditional Christmas play around the corner, it’s time to get ready for more larger than life performances—on and off stage.

While Craig Rosen is happy with his quiet life playing Warhammer and working in a university lab, a new colleague thinks he needs more excitement and drags Craig along to an audition for the Christmas pantomime, Aladdin.

Corporate lawyer Jason Carter accepted he’s gay a little later in life than most, but now divorced and in his late thirties, he’s ready to embrace who he really is. He can’t believe his luck when he runs into Craig at the audition and the cute younger man agrees to help him navigate his new life. There’s no doubting the attraction between Craig and Jason, but with Craig’s insecurities and Jason still finding his way, they’ll need to make sure they don’t veer off script.

Treading the Boards Series

Overly Dramatic

Summer Season

Bio and Links:

Rebecca Cohen is a Brit abroad. Having swapped the Thames for the Rhine, she has left London behind and now lives with her husband and baby son in Basel, Switzerland. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and a cup of Darjeeling in the other.

Blog: http://rebeccacohenwrites.wordpress.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/R_Cohen_writes

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.cohen.710

DSP author page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_462

Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Rebecca-Cohen/e/B007UEFIXS/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Excerpt:Chapter One

THE LAB door banged open. Craig flinched and failed to maintain a grip on the bottle of buffer he was holding. He swore loudly as it hit the floor, smashed, and sent glass flying everywhere.

“Oh shit. Sorry, Craig,” said Stuart, the new postdoc who’d burst into the lab. “I’ll help you clear it up.”

Craig grabbed a roll of blue paper towels. “There’s a dustpan and brush under the sink.”

Stuart trotted off, and Craig removed his samples from the benchtop centrifuge and returned them to the fridge. The accident sorted his dilemma of whether he’d run one more gel before the weekend.

Stuart collected up the glass, and Craig mopped up the liquid. “Make sure you use the right bin or Kevin will kill you,” Craig said.

“Kevin?”

“Our research assistant. He’s on holiday this week, but you’ll meet him Monday, and trust me, you don’t want to risk Kevin’s ire by slightly disturbing his extraordinarily complicated system.”

Stuart threw away the last of the glass. “You ready? You’re still coming out, right?”

“Yeah, give me a minute to sort out my bench, and I’m good to go.”

Craig wiped down his bench and tidied away his pipettes, liking to leave everything just right to put him in the best frame of mind on Monday morning.

He’d originally hoped to use his experiment as an excuse not to go to the impromptu evening out Stuart had suggested, but now he had no reason or inclination to remain at work. Friday night in Central London was something he usually avoided, preferring to wind down from the week by playing one of the online games he followed or going somewhere a little farther out of the city center, somewhere the clientele were less likely to be of the rich-suited-knob variety.

Several other members of the lab stood chatting in the corridor as Craig and Stuart emerged. Craig zipped up his light jacket, looped his messenger bag across his chest, and awaited instructions. The lab often went out for drinks, but Trish, another of the experienced postdocs, had given up on trying to get Craig out on a regular basis. Unfortunately Stuart had been more insistent, and his gaydar was much better tuned than most.

“Where we going?”

“We thought Jerusalem,” Stuart said, herding their colleagues in the general direction of the exit.

“Which one’s that?”

“I’d think that working here you’d have known the local area better.”

Considering Craig had worked at the Medical Research Centre labs in Bloomsbury for over four years, Stuart had a point. “I studied in a different bit of London. But working for University College doesn’t make me want to rub shoulders with the undergrads during term time. Some of them don’t have an off switch.”

Stuart nudged him with his shoulder. “Well, aren’t you the gregarious one. Cheer up, Craig. It’s just a few beers. I’ve not asked for your firstborn or your Warhammer 40,000: Collector’s Edition Mini Rulebook.”

“Ha-bloody-ha. I’m perfectly happy, thank you.” Typical that Stuart was one of the cool geeks. He had picked up on Craig’s throwaway comments about Star Trek that had gone over everyone else’s head, and had already worked out Craig’s favorite places in Nerd-dom. “I just don’t know this bit of town.”

They headed down a set of steps to an underground bar called Jerusalem, which Craig supposed could’ve been a lot worse—it only vaguely reminded him of a bomb shelter. Stuart clapped him on the back. “My round.”

“No, let me. You won’t have been paid yet, and I know what it’s like to survive the gap between PhD and postdoc.”

Stuart shook his head. “No, I’m good. My partner’s not exactly short of cash, and he’s already at the bar.”

Craig looked at the bar. Stuart pointed out a blond guy, and Craig thought he was more than gorgeous, beautiful even. Stuart wasn’t exactly bad on the eye, and the two of them together would be striking. Craig blinked away the image of Stuart and his partner entwined. He really needed a boyfriend if his overactive imagination was providing him with flashes of his colleagues. “Oh, well, I’ll have a lager. Whatever’s on tap is fine.”

Trish grabbed Craig’s arm as Stuart went off to the bar. “We’ve got a table, but we’re short a seat. You’ll need to find a stool.”

She must have reapplied her perfume before leaving, because the strong waft that assaulted Craig made his eyes water. “Will do.”

Her ponytail swinging behind her, Trish dragged Katy, the newish PhD student, away with her to where the rest of the lab had bagged a table. Despite the bar being busy, Craig spotted a free stool a few tables away. A group of four had a spare seat, although they were using it as a bag stand. Craig pointed to it. “Would you mind if I took this?”

A young red-haired woman grabbed her bag and smiled. The guy sitting opposite her smirked, looked Craig up and down, and licked his lips. “Oh, for someone as adorable as you, I think we can allow it. It might cost you, though.”

“Si, stop teasing,” said the redhead with a sigh. “Sorry about him. One too many margaritas,” she said to Craig. “Please take it.”

Si winked at him, and Craig thought it best to avoid him for the rest of the evening. The guy had a cocky manner. He was attractive and knew it, with his shiny black hair and chiseled chin. The way he presented himself—designer suit and expensive haircut—made Craig think he wasn’t used to taking no for an answer. The sooner Craig legged it, the better.

“Thanks.”

Craig hurried away, but not before he heard the redhead say, “Si, can’t you behave for once? You don’t even know he’s gay.”

“Of course he is, Di. Geeky and gay. My favorite for a bit of fun—always so desperate.”

Craig tried not to let the words hurt, but it was hard to ignore the truth. He carried the stool over to the table, refusing to dwell on his pathetic love life. Even the geeks he’d dated had moved on to someone better, to guys who weren’t as socially awkward or boring as Craig, once the shine of his Warhammer status waned.

Stuart had arrived at the table with his boyfriend, who he introduced as Ryan, and Craig squeezed into the gap left between Trish and Stuart toward the end of the table.

Small talk was not one of his best skills, but he forced himself to make an effort. “So you’ve survived the first week. No plans to run screaming for the hills?”

“Can I reserve judgment until the end of the month? It’s taken most of the week to get access to the university computer systems and get my staff pass.”

“You’re doing well,” said Trish. “But you should double-check with Senate House that they’ve got your bank details right. They messed up mine, and I nearly couldn’t pay my rent that first month.”

Ryan laughed and nudged Stuart. “You’ll have to be extra nice to your landlord if that happens.”

“I told you I had a nonmonetary payment scheme worked out for emergencies, but you weren’t interested.” Stuart blew a raspberry at Ryan. “Apart from being rich, attractive, and normally a nice guy, I have no idea why I put up with you.”

Craig couldn’t help but be envious. Stuart had mentioned they hadn’t been together long, but a whirlwind romance had escalated into more. They made a lovely couple, and Craig wished he had someone waiting for him at home after a long day in the lab.

Before he knew it, they were ready for the fourth round. Stuart and Ryan were great company, so for once Craig wasn’t itching to go home. Ryan had even somehow managed to convince him to come along to an open audition at the amateur dramatics group they belonged to. Once Ryan learned Craig lived in Deptford, only a couple of stops away on the Docklands Light Railway, he wouldn’t let Craig refuse. Maybe it would be good for him to have a social life outside his computer and gaming meetups. He got to his feet at the call for the next round. “My turn.”

“You need a hand?” asked Trish.

“Nah, I’ll get a tray.”

The queue for the bar was several people deep, and Craig checked his phone while waiting to be served. He had a few game notifications and an offer from his credit card company, but nothing of any consequence. At least reading his e-mail meant he didn’t accidently make eye contact with anyone.

Once he’d been served, he realized he didn’t have room for all the drinks on the tray and would have to come back for his pint.

“I’ll keep an eye on it for you,” offered the guy standing next to him, who, Craig realized too late, was Si from the table where he’d got his stool. Si grinned.

Craig had a sudden thought that he should be wearing a red riding hood. “Er, thanks.”

“My pleasure.” Si winked at him.

Craig scurried away with the tray of drinks, intending to come back to grab his pint and return to the table again as fast as possible.

The bar had cleared a bit by the time he went to retrieve his pint. He hoped Si would have collected his own drink and pissed off back to his friends, but no such luck.

“There you are. I was beginning to think you weren’t coming back.”

Craig reached out to pick up his pint, but Si took hold of his arm. “I hope you aren’t rushing off.”

“I need to get back to my friends.”

“I’m sure they can cope for a little while without you.”

Craig tried to shrug off Si’s hand. “I need to go.”

“Oh, come on, we can have a little fun. What do you say to me letting you suck my cock?”

“What?” He aimed for outraged, but it came out more like a deranged squawk.

“You’re gagging for it. I can smell the desperation. I bet you can’t even remember the last time you got laid. Here I am, offering you a simply wonderful opportunity.”

Craig could tell Si was the wrong side of sober, and he tried to dislodge Si’s hand. “Let go of me.”

“Feisty!” Si swayed a little and grabbed Craig’s arm harder.

“Look, Dick For Brains, the guy’s not interested, so fuck off to whatever sewer you crawled out of.” A hand reached from behind Craig and pulled Si’s hand away. “Piss off and leave him alone.”

Craig turned to see a man—at best guess, in his late thirties with dark brown hair and a square jaw. He was dashing in a knight-in-shining-armor way, although dressed in a suit with his shirt collar open, rather than chain mail. Craig supposed he should be incensed another man thought he needed rescuing, but he was far too relieved to be upset.

Si scowled. “Who the fuck are you?”

“Someone with a black belt in judo who doesn’t like arseholes picking on people in bars.”

Si snorted. “Fancy a piece yourself, I bet. You can have the dorky thing. No loss.”

Craig watched Si stagger off before turning back to his savior. “Thanks.”

“Sorry. I wouldn’t normally butt in, but you looked like you needed a bit of support.”

“I’m not very good with conflict.” Craig reached out and claimed his pint. “He’d have got bored eventually, most people do, but I’m glad you helped.”

“I’m pretty sure he’ll find a willing body if he can stay standing long enough. He’s lucky he didn’t try it on with someone who’d take offense.”

“I am a bit offended. Strange men don’t usually assume I’ll suck their cock on demand.”

“I didn’t mean that. I mean some guys wouldn’t like being hit on by another man. They’d have punched him into next week.”

Craig didn’t think he’d have the balls to hit someone, but it wasn’t Si’s sex that had been the issue. “Being hit on was a problem, not him being a guy.”

“You are gay, then?”

Craig thought it an odd question to ask someone you didn’t know. He took a sip of his pint before answering. “Yes….”

“Sorry, you must think me a complete twat. I’m new to all this.”

“All this?”

The man chuckled and rubbed the back of his neck, an impossibly endearing action that had Craig’s imagination running away with itself. “Yeah. Let’s say I’m late to the game and still figuring out the rules.”

“I’m not sure I know the rules any better. In fact, you could say I’m pretty rubbish at most games that aren’t coded in C++.”

“Eh?”

“That was a bit geeky. It’s computer code. Well, one of them, and of course it depends on the game and the platform.”

“Right.”

A wave of awkwardness swept through him as Craig realized he’d geeked out in front of a rather sexy older man. Still, the encounter would keep his right hand busy for a while, as long as he left before he could embarrass himself further. “I should get back to my friends.”

“Yeah, I’d better go myself. I needed a beer after the day I’ve had.”

“Least it’s the weekend.” Craig gave him a quirky little smile that was meant to say good-bye but probably made him look like a worried poodle. “Thanks again for your help.”

“Anytime.”

Grace Duncan: Beautiful boy

BeautifulBoyFSToday, it’s my pleasure to welcome a wonderful writer whom I’m lucky to count as a dear friend. Grace Duncan has a brand new release, Beautiful boy, from Dreamspinner Press! She’s sharing an exclusive excerpt today, part 2 of a series of excerpts you can find on her blog tour (see the bottom of the post for the tour listing).

Reading BDSM is a guilty pleasure of mine, so I’m really looking forward to reading this! Congratulations, Grace, on your new release and welcome! -Shira

******

Please note: This is part 2 of a series of excerpts. Be sure to check back on previous tour stops to get all of them!

Kyle

My time with Master Nash had been nice but frustrating. While he used orgasm control and denial quite a bit to help guide me in learning what it meant to be submissive, my release had only ever come from my own hand. And though I had certainly been used to that—not many other options for a closely closeted gay man—it made for a very trying year.

I shook the thoughts off and looked out over the audience while keeping my head down. The auctioneer introduced me and mentioned my offer and preference, which made me blush. The Dom was still standing near my cage, and he didn’t even hesitate when the auctioneer started the bidding at two hundred dollars. I wondered if I’d get as much as the girl before me. I hoped so. The money was going for a good cause—this year, the local animal shelter—and I wanted to earn as much for it as I could.

The bid went up to three hundred, thanks to a guy toward the back. I couldn’t see who he was from where I stood, but the other guy countered right away. A third guy tried to outbid my Dom—named so because I wanted to belong to him badly—but he countered the third guy too. The three of them competed in fifty-dollar increments for some time, until my Dom raised the bid some two hundred dollars to eight hundred, sparking hoots from the audience.

“Eight hundred, going once!”

“Nine hundred!” the guy in the back called.

My Dom shook his head and raised his hand. “A thousand.”

The auctioneer glanced at me as if trying to figure out if I was worth a thousand dollars or not. I certainly didn’t believe I was. I stared wide-eyed at my Dom, forgetting all about protocol.

“A thousand, going once!” He glanced over at the other guy, then back to my Dom again. “Going twice!” Another few seconds pause, then: “Sold!”

BeautifulBoy_headerbanner

If Kyle can get past his fears, he could see what his beloved Master Mal does: a beautiful boy that deserves his collar–and heart.

Blurb: Malcolm Tate hung up his flogger when his submissive sought out another Dom and landed in the hands of a serial killer. Convinced his lack of dominance sent his sub away, Mal has spent two years blaming himself for what happened. But when his best friend finally convinces him to go back to the local dungeon, Mal’s grateful. Especially when he wins beautiful, submissive, firmly-closeted Kyle Bingham in a charity slave auction.

College grad Kyle hasn’t earned enough to move out of the loft his conservative, homophobic parents bought, much less to buy any of the other things still in their name. When he’s won at auction by the hot, amazing Mal, he’s shocked that anyone would want him. No one else seemed to—not his parents, his former Doms, or any of his disastrous dates.

But Mal does want him and Kyle lets his guard down, only to be outed to his parents. With his world crashing down, he must find a way to trust Mal—and their developing relationship—or risk losing everything.

Buy links:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7068
http://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-boy-Grace-R-Duncan-ebook/dp/B017OGYVK2/
https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-beautifulboy-1916336-147.html
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/beautiful-boy-grace-r-duncan/1122918967?ean=9781634764070
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/beautiful-boy/id1054695006?mt=11
https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/beautiful-boy-2

Rafflecopter giveaway

BeautifulBoy_headerbanner

Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination.  She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble.  Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.

A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States.  She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.

As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics.  She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.

Find Grace here:

Website  ◊ FacebookTwitterYoutubeGoodreads

Bbtour

Dreamspun Desires: First Comes Marriage is Coming Soon!

DreamspunDesires_FBbanner2 It’s here!!! The brand-new Dreamspun Desires line from Dreamspinner Press is now available for preorder on subscription!

When I was a college student, I had a subscription to Harlequin’s Silhouette Desires line of DreamspunDesires3_FBpostromances. And while I have to admit part of the reason I started writing my own romance novels was that I wasn’t 100% thrilled with the happily-ever-afters in those books (my biggest aspiration in life wasn’t getting married like the heroines in those books), I loved the way the books made me feel.

You probably remember the feeling if you read category romance. The anticipation, the meet cute, the rising sexual tension (and depending on the heat level of the story, the SEX!), the BIG misunderstanding or the BIG problem, the reconciliation. I would tear into the monthly package of books and read until early morning (and wobble into class half-asleep!).

Dreamspun Desire novels are all about the missed cues, misunderstandings, sweaty palms, seemingly insurmountable obstacles, and a million other romantic tropes we know and love. Easy on the angst and all about the romance. Sexy, but not all about the sex. These are books that will make you giggle. Stories that will make you smile. Love conquers all. All about the DreamspunDesires_FirstComesMarriageFS4romance and the happily ever after.

Subscription you say? Two books each month for the price of one. You can choose from the ebook or paperback options. The paperbacks are smaller and reminiscent of the old Harlequins and Mills & Boon books. The covers are stylized, with a tag line and a photograph unique to each story.

My offering, First Comes Marriage, is 2nd up and releases on January 15th. It’s a marriage of convenience story. Chris Valentine’s a struggling novelist. When he meets sexy billionaire Jesse Donovan after a reading at a New York City cafe, the last thing Chris expects is a marriage proposal! But Jesse’s not joking. If he doesn’t get married, and quickly, Jesse will lose control of his family’s company to his stepgrandmother.

******

Excerpt from Chapter Six:

Now, standing in the conference room of Windview Enterprises’ corporate headquarters near South Ferry in Manhattan, one of the matching platinum bands Jesse had bought for them in his pants pocket, Chris wondered if he’d wake up from the dream. The floor-to-ceiling windows looked out over Wall Street and the East River through the forest of high-rise buildings.

“Do you, Jesse Chase Donovan, take Christopher James Valentine to be your husband, in love and in friendship, until you are parted by death?” the judge asked.

“I do.” As Jesse slipped the ring on Chris’s finger, he met Chris’s gaze with such intensity that for an instant, Chris could almost forget the entire ceremony was a ruse to ensure the future of Windview remained firmly in Jesse’s control. Damn the man for being so attractive. Damn him for being a nice guy, because that was the worst part of it. And the part that had you agreeing.

“And do you, Christopher James Valentine, take Jesse Chase Donovan to be your husband, in love and in friendship, until you are parted by death?”

Chris swallowed hard and prayed he didn’t look as incredibly nervous as he felt. “I do.” His hand shook as he took Jesse’s hand and put the ring on his finger.

“Congratulations, Chris and Jesse,” the judge said.

Chris caught Val’s eye for a split second, and he half expected her to urge him to kiss Jesse. But it was Jesse who took charge and blindsided Chris with a kiss.

It started sweetly enough, just Jesse’s lips against his, but instead of releasing Chris, Jesse pulled him tighter against him and pressed his tongue into his mouth. Jesse tasted fucking amazing. Chris didn’t hesitate—their tongues tangled and danced. This close, Jesse smelled good and felt even better. Chris was barely aware of slipping his hands around Jesse’s back before resting them on lean hips. He didn’t think twice as his body and Jesse’s responded in kind.

Someone giggled—Chris recognized Val’s voice—and Jesse pulled abruptly away. Their eyes met for a split second, and Chris thought he saw a mixture of desire and surprise in Jesse’s deep blue eyes. The next thing Chris knew, Val had thrown her arms around him and only his racing heart and tingling lips told him he hadn’t imagined the entire thing.

“Oh, Chris,” Val cooed. “You really did it!”

“Yeah” was the only response Chris could manage. He was still thinking about Jesse’s mouth.

“I guess I was wrong about him being straight,” she whispered mischievously.

Chris was thrilled when Terry grabbed him in a bear hug, because he had no idea how to respond to Val’s comment. He also wasn’t sure if he should be pissed off with Jesse for the show. He supposed if this was going to work, Jesse needed to make the marriage look real. Still, how difficult would it have been to warn Chris that he had that up his sleeve?

******

You can subscribe to the Dreamspun Desires line at Dreamspinner Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7224&cPath=1583

 

 

 

On Being Thankful

Happy-Thanksgiving-HeaderThanksgiving is just a few days away. Tomorrow, I’m headed north to my old hometown, Cleveland, to spend the holiday with family and see good friends. I’m hoping we won’t get snow on our drive, but let’s face it, it almost always snows when we drive to Ohio!

Picture 235

Sunset aboard Land’s Zen

Thankfulness #1: I’m thankful I live in the South, where winters are mild (sailing in January, anyone?), and the few times it snows each year is actually fun!

family shot

Jacob’s high school graduation

2015 is almost over, and it’s been a great year for my family. My daughter is halfway through her last year of college, and my son is halfway through his first. And although neither are living at home anymore, I’m thankful that I have such great kids. It’s wonderful to watch them as adults, making their way in the adult world. We’ll be selling the big house and moving downtown and into an apartment, and I can’t wait!

Thankfulness #2: I’m thankful for a wonderful husband with whom to share the next part of my life who pushes me to explore and challenge myself and supports me every step of the way.

2015 has been an amazing year for writing. I finished my first fantasy series, the Mermen of Ea trilogy, the first two books are now in audiobook format, and a French translation of Stealing the Wind (Sous le vent) will beMermeanofEa2 released on November 27th. A Solitary Man, my co-write with the fabulous  Aisling Mancy was just released by Dreamspinner Press, and the reviews are truly amazing. First Comes Marriage is coming out on January 15th as part of the new Dreamspun Desires line from SolitaryMan[A]FSDreamspinner Press, and I can’t wait to share it with the world. Writing First Comes was a challenge to myself to see if I could write a sweet, tropey, low-angst romance. I’m really pleased with the result and I hope readers will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Thankfulness #3: My readers are the BEST!

There are so many other things I have to be thankful for. My health, the sweet old dog who is still around to give me kisses, friends, old and new, a RL job I love and

Martin Brodour

Martin Brodour

that gives me great satisfaction, a terrific publisher that believes in me, an editor who is as patient as a saint (and kicks ass!), the ability to travel for pleasure and for my writing. And so many more things.

And yes, there have been moments of terrible sadness and grief in the loss of relatives and one very special writing friend. I will miss them something fierce. All the more reason to find things to be thankful for, if only to remember how thankful I am to have had them in my life.

Thankfulness #4: In grief and loss, there is reason to give thanks.

So this Thanksgiving, I’ll be hugging my loved ones and telling them how lucky I am. And I am. Truly. Thankful. -Shira

 

 

On November 23, 2015 in Uncategorized
Page 1 of 3212345...102030...Last »