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Archive for the category “LGBTQ”

My New Year’s resolution means goodies for you!

As I considered my New Year’s resolutions regarding writing, I knew my primary one had to be to put a larger effort into reaching and engaging with readers. I wrote several books in 2016 and was excited to meet (via social media, and occasionally in person at GRL)  loyal fans who enjoyed my m/m romance books.

I created a Facebook group to share fun teasers, ask readers’ opinions about everything from character names to their cover design opinions, and offer exlusive giveaways for their constant encouragement.

What I didn’t do in 2016 was build much of a mailing list. That’s where the goodies for you come in.

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In 2017, my resolution is to grow my newsletter and reach more readers. As an added incentive, I’ll start offering bonus content. No one wants a mailbox cluttered with meaningless sales pitches, so I’ll endeavor to offer giveaways and bonus stories about existing characters and new ones.

mehMy current giveaway is a free novella titled “My Anti-Valentine,” which will be delivered to my subscribers on Feb. 14.

“My Anti-Valentine” is the story of a jaded gray-asexual, Bret, who has given up on romance after two failed relationships in which partners couldn’t handle his sexual limits. He throws an anti-Valentine’s Day party to burn his ex-boyfriends’ belongings and celebrate freedom from a commericalized tradition. There, he meets Harry — a hopeless romantic who’s getting tired of settling for shallow one-night-stands but can’t seem to figure out how to meet “the one.” Harry still believes in romance, and he’s determined to convince the cute hipster, but will he still think love trumps sex when he learns the truth about Bret?

The giveaway is part of a larger Valentine’s group giveaway that includes many authors, and I’ll update my followers with info on that opportunity closer to the date, so they can discover other authors’ work, as well.

I hope to regularly offer valuable content to my mailing list as a thank-you for their loyalty and support as I take the next step as an independent author. I hope you’ll be one of them!

A return to sweet romance …

Heart Trouble by DJ JamisonWhen I released “Hard Press,” I wrote about how the characters pushed me out of my comfort zone. They were a little self-centered, a little vain. Not my usual “sweet guy” schtick.

“Heart Trouble,” releasing Thursday, is a return to the sweet romance I tend to gravitate toward. I like my romances to bring together good guys who just want to find love. Of course, there have to be a few bumps along the way to make it interesting, and this couple have their share.

This book pushed me out of my comfort zone in different ways. It’s my first book venturing from a newspaper setting — with which I have a lot of firsthand experience — to an ER setting with a nurse. The book does still have loose ties to Ashe Sentinel Connections, but it’s less more rooted in journalism than earlier books in the series.

In fact, I’m planning to use it as a launching pad into a spin-off series I’m tentatively calling Bedside Manner, which will focus on some of the secondary characters that surfaced in “Heart Trouble.”

I hope you’ll enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing the story of these two soft-hearted men who have to find a way to trust in each other if they want their happily ever after.

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Heart Trouble book blurb

When Gage Evans gets a look at his hot nurse, he’s smitten immediately. Too bad he’s given the nurse the impression he’s some kind of daredevil. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Gage is a college journalism instructor writing a series of guest columns that require him to jump into new experiences — a fun bucket list, but one that does nothing to convince Ben he’s not an adrenaline junkie.

Fresh off his latest heartbreak, nurse Ben Griggs is wary when one of his patients shows an interest in him — especially when that patient showed up in the ER after a motorcycle accident. Ben’s ex was a biker, a friend with benefits, and he dropped Ben cold when someone more interesting came along. Ben isn’t the kind of guy who can hold the interest of an adrenaline junkie like Gage Evans for long. The last thing he wants is to lose his heart to the wrong man again.

The more Ben gets to know Gage, the harder he is to resist. He can only hold on for the ride and keep his guard up as much as he can. But Ben’s lack of trust seriously gets in the way of building a relationship, and Gage will only be patient so long. Can he trust Gage enough to give him heart, or are they destined to have a fling that goes nowhere?

You can find the book on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited on Thursday. 

‘Hard Press’ is a new kind of novel for me

My latest novel, “Hard Press,” is releasing Aug. 18. And I think there will probably be some readers who will be surprised the same author wrote both “Catching Jaime” and “Hard Press.”

Most of my earlier works, including “Catching Jaime,” tend to be sweet romances. There are varying levels of sex in them — ranging from no sex (Rewriting His Love Life) to your typical, vanilla sex (Source of Protection, Winter Blom) — but none of them would be described as racy or sizzling hot. The stories are more about the romance, and sex is a natural part of the evolution of a relationship.

“Hard Press” stands out from the other novels in that regard.

julian quotesWhile there are elements of sweet romance in it, the characters aren’t all that sweet. Julian begins his journey as a “vain brat” (Elliott’s words, not … well, yes, they are mine, but you know what I mean). Elliott, who is stressed to the max due to his family situation, finds Julian’s submissive nature liberating — finally, he can take control of something — and comes off as pushy, and occasionally, like a bit of an asshole.

Somehow, it works for them both. So who was I to question it?

But of course I did.

Power play is not my favorite trope, and actually I debated quite a bit about whether to go that direction with the book, even with only mild themes of submission. It wouldn’t have been my first choice. Because, you see, it pushed me a bit out of my comfort zone.

But the characters were demanding it, from pretty much their first meeting. They weren’t cut out to be a sweet romance, and they weren’t going to let me dictate that.

When I started writing books, I thought it would be a good opportunity to create the stories I crave as a reader. That is maybe a little bit true. But the larger truth is that each book in Ashe Sentinel Connections is different, because the characters are different. And as it turns out, they’re the boss. Not me.

Each book takes on a life of its own, and it’s not entirely within my control.

And that’s how I happened to write a love story about a vain, rather unlikeable man and a stressed-out, aggressive man who both needed something the other had to offer.

In the end, I like to think they helped each other grow into better human beings, too. But I’ll let you be the judge of that.

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About Hard Press

Julian has everything: good looks, flashy cars, a high-end condo. Until his girlfriend dumps him after a disastrous attempt to have a threesome. To top it off, he rear-ends a motorcycle and meets a pissed off biker who calls him on his shit. But there’s something about the man that hits his repressed buttons, and makes him want to finally pull his desires out into the light. But living up to the standards of an edgy but caring man proves a challenge.

Elliott feels like his world has spun off its axis, and if he can just get control of his life, he can breathe again. His parents’ deaths and his autistic brother’s need for a boarding school weigh heavily on him. When Julian hits his bike outside the news office where he works in the press room, he thinks the sultry man is a spoiled brat who knows nothing of real pain. But bringing him under control soothes something in Elliott’s soul — and Julian seems to need a steady hand, too.

Can these two very different men navigate the give-and-take of a relationship unlike any other they’ve experienced? For both of them, it will be a hard press.

Order now
Amazon
All Romance Ebooks
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New book release with a discount!

Catching Jaime, gay romance new adult book by DJ JamisonIt’s release day for “Catching Jaime,” my new adult gay romance! This is my first full-length novel to release in the m/m genre, so I’m pretty excited to see what readers think. It’s also a bit more serious than my Ashe Sentinel Connections series, which have most often been described as cute, sweet romances.
Even better, Catching Jaime is part of a huge summer sale at Smashwords, so I can offers readers a 50% discount right out of the gate!
Buy the book here, and you can get the discount when you enter the code SSW50 at checkout. It’s a site-wide sale, and many other books are discounted besides just mine. You can click here to see the full catalog of books included in the sale.
Here’s the book blurb for Catching Jaime
When Jaime Harris is outed at a party, his quiet life starts to fall apart. His best friend avoids him like the plague, and his younger sister blackmails him in exchange for keeping the truth from their mother. The only bright spot, strangely enough, is Tony Espinoza, who relentlessly pursues his friendship. Why Tony cares at all is a mystery, and as their friendship evolves into something more, it seems too good to be true. Can Jaime trust his heart to the cutest, sweetest straight boy he’s ever met?Tony Espinoza is angry and confused. His brother’s betrayal cuts deep, even after amends have been made, and he’s torn about the direction he should take with his future. In the midst of it all is Jaime Harris. Fixating on Jaime’s problems makes a great diversion, but the more he gets to know Jaime, the more he realizes the guy is more than just a distraction. He’s slowly becoming everything. Now, if only Tony could get him to believe it.

Catching Jaime is available at most online bookstores. Click here to find it on aRe and Amazon.

Happy reading!

Order up! Hard Press available for sale now

hardpressjpegIt’s been a Hard Press for me to finish writing Book 5 of the Ashe Sentinel Series, but it’s up for pre-order now with an August release date!

I originally planned to write this story immediately after Book 3, Rewriting His Love Life, where Julian first appears. In fact, I did write the first few scenes. Then the holiday bug hit me and I stopped to write Winter Blom, a holiday novella and the fourth installment in the series.

Julian will get his say at last in “Hard Press,” with a release date of Aug. 18. You can order it on Amazon here or on aRE here.

Catching Jaime, gay romance new adult book by DJ JamisonI wrote a large part of the novel while participating in an April NaNoWriMo camp, but I had to finish edits on “Catching Jaime,” a m/m new adult novel releasing July 1, before I could fill in the plotholes and cement “Hard Press” enough to set a date.

You see, I’m one of those authors who’s always juggling multiple works-in-progress at one time. I’ve never been able to figure out if that’s a good thing, but it does mean I tend to finish and release books in bursts.

In July, you get “Catching Jaime.” In August, you get “Hard Press.” And in October, you get to see me at the GRL conference. Beyond that, I can make no promises.

I truly hope you enjoy my latest writing endeavors. Thanks for reading!

 

New release and excerpt!

I’ve been behind in my blogging, but have you ever written/edited two books at once, while writing author guest blogs and business blogs by day? I’m exhausted! Also, I’m a procrastinator, so there’s that.

Enough with my excuses.

I’m excited to say that “Catching Jaime” officially releases July 1. It’s available for pre-order now at various online bookstores. Recently, I wrote a guest blog on Joyfully Jay, offering an excerpt from the book. The giveaway contest has ended, but if you want a sneak peek inside the book, you can find it there.

Catching Jaime is my first full-length m/m romance. It’s the sequel in a series (Espinoza Brothers) that begins with a m/f romance, but it can stand on its own.

Story blurb for Catching Jaime

Catching Jaime, gay romance new adult book by DJ JamisonWhen Jaime Harris is outed at a party, his quiet life starts to fall apart. His best friend avoids him like the plague, and his younger sister blackmails him in exchange for keeping the truth from their mother. The only bright spot, strangely enough, is Tony Espinoza, who relentlessly pursues his friendship. Why Tony cares at all is a mystery, and as their friendship evolves into something more, it seems too good to be true. Can Jaime trust his heart to the cutest, sweetest straight boy he’s ever met?

Tony Espinoza is angry and confused. His brother’s betrayal cuts deep, even after amends have been made, and he’s torn about the direction he should take with his future. In the midst of it all is Jaime Harris. Fixating on Jaime’s problems makes a great diversion, but the more he gets to know Jaime, the more he realizes the guy is more than just a distraction. He’s slowly becoming everything. Now, if only Tony could get him to believe it.

Find Catching Jaime at a variety of online bookstores:

Amazon
aRe
iBooks
Barnes & Noble

Free short story: Hunters’ Sacrifice

I wrote the story below as a flash fiction prompt in the YA LGBT Books group on Goodreads.
It was a beautiful sunset.
Large swaths of burnt orange and amethyst swept across the sky, and all I could think was: I hope it’s not our last.
Kevin faltered to a stop, breathing hard. His normally pale complexion was flushed a deep red from exertion and his long limbs trembled with exhaustion.
“I don’t know if I can keep going,” he said.
I wanted to tell him he could rest. I wanted to pull him close, and let him lean on me until his heart calmed and his breathing slowed. I wanted a of things, but I couldn’t have them.
Not if we wanted to survive.
“You want to be the their dinner?” I asked in a harsh tone. He flinched, and I hardened my heart against those wide blue eyes so full of fear. “They won’t stop, so neither can we.”
“But, I don’t hear anything. Just for a few minutes? Please?”
“No.”
I adjusted the pack on my back, attempting to ease the ache of straps digging into my flesh and the weight of supplies that grew heavier with every step. Without checking on Kevin, I started trudging down the mountainside.
He would follow. He’d follow, or he’d die.
Sometimes, it seemed as if I’d loved Kevin forever. Surely longer than our 17 years of life. Longer than the decades of hunts. Longer even than the war that prompted desperate villages to agree to sacrifice two adolescents every year to the Hunters who dwelled in the woods in exchange for peace.
The Hunters that were half fact and half myth and entirely a mystery.
Some said they were primitive men and women, raised in the woods as survivalists and trained in the art of hunting and tracking their prey, be it animal or human. Others said they were beasts, wild animals that hungered for flesh and could be appeased only by a sacrifice of fresh meat.
The most frightening rumor, though, was that they were a blend of man and beast, with the appetite of an animal and the intellect of a human.
Whatever they were, no sacrifice had ever returned to our village, or any of the others, as far as I’d heard.
But I wasn’t hopeless.
If we survived this, we would never return, either. I’d take Kevin far away, and I’d protect him from the people who forfeited our lives.
He’d never love me back. I’d come to terms with that a long time ago, even before I started pushing him ruthlessly, berating him cruelly if it would yield just one more step.
“We’re gonna die anyway,” he muttered behind me, as we stumbled our way through the trees.
I whirled on him and clutched his arms. “Shut up! You’re going to freaking live if it kills me, Kev. Just. Keep. Going.”
“I can’t!” he wailed, sagging in my grip. I had to release him or fall to the ground, too.
He collapsed in the dirt, between limbs covered in prickly pine needles that itched like the devil. He leaned back into a low-hanging bough and closed his eyes.
“Just leave me. You can make it, Aidan. You’re tough. I’m … not. Never will be.”
“Well, toughen up!” I demanded. “I’m not leaving, Kev. If you stay, I stay. If you die, I die.”
He groaned. “Why? You hate me, so … why?”
It shouldn’t have surprised me he believed that, yet it did. I loved him so hard I lived in terror he would see it shining out of my eyes, even as I said cutting, mean things to him to hide my feelings.
“I don’t hate you.”
He scoffed. “You told everyone I wet my pants in fear of the Hunters.”
His voice broke on the last word, and I winced. I’d had no idea he’d be facing the Hunters when I made that taunt years ago.
“We were just kids. I was a brat,” I said.
“You avoid me,” he pointed out. “When I walk into a room, you cross to the other side.”
I sighed. “What it does it matter now?”
“Because!” He shouted, working up a good fit of anger. “You make my life miserable!”
It was a relief to see his temper. The anger would pump adrenaline into his veins, and he’d find new stores of energy.
He lurched to his feet, adjusted his pack awkwardly and stomped past me. Smiling, I moved to follow, and he threw out his arm, nearly clothes-lining me.
“You go your way, and I’ll go mine.”
“Kev–”
“Don’t Kev me,” he growled. “Leave me the hell alone. I’ll either live or die on my own. I don’t need my last minutes to be with someone who can’t stand me.”
He pushed ahead, walking too fast. The sun had set while we argued, and this dense section of woods blocked out the few rays of light still fading in the sky.
“I don’t hate you,” I called. “Will you slow down?”
He stumbled over a fallen log, his hands flailed at his sides, and then he was gone.
My breath caught in my chest. “Kevin?” I called.
I strained to hear his voice, or some sign of his movement, as I hurried forward. The normally peaceful chirp of birds and the sighing of wind through tree limbs was anything but soothing now.
“Kevin!” I shouted again, even as my heart sank in my chest.
Ahead of me was the log that tripped him, and just beyond that, the crevice in the earth that had swallowed him.
I dropped to my knees at the edge, and peered down. It was darker than night at the bottom.
“Kev?” I called again. “Are you okay?”
I held my breath, praying to hear his voice once more, vowing to the Gods I’d tell him the truth about why I’d treated him so harshly, if only I got the chance. If only he lived.
“Ow. Oh Gods,” he groaned. Then a moment later, a loud shout: “Aidan? Are you out there? Aidan! I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Gods, I’m so sorry. Help me!”
“Kevin! I’m here! Are you hurt?”
He shuffled around, cursing and making pained noises.
“It’s too deep to climb out, but only by about a foot or so. So, um … 7 or 8 feet deep, I guess? I’m bruised, but fine. Do you have rope?”
No, I didn’t. But I wouldn’t leave him there. If I could get to the bottom, I could boost him to the top, and then hope I could figure out some handholds to climb out myself.
“Get back. I’m coming down.”
“Aidan, wait–”
I swung over the edge, extending my full length so I could drop only the couple of feet left to the bottom. The soil pulled loose in my hands, and I fell into the darkness.
It should have taken only seconds to hit the bottom, but it didn’t happen. I fell, and fell.
When I hit bottom, a sharp pain shot through my ankle and I collapsed with a shout of pain.
“Aidan?”His voice floated to me in the darkness.
It was damp and cool in the chasm — and so dark I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face.
A touch whispered over my arm, and I flinched from it before I realized it was Kevin’s hand.
“You okay?” He asked.
“Seven or 8 feet? Really?” I asked in a sharp tone, before I remembered my resolve to tell Kevin the truth. To be kinder.
He sucked in a breath. “Sorry. I tried to tell you before you jumped that it was a blind guess. I’m such a screw-up. No wonder you hate me.”
“I don’t hate you.”
He laughed humorlessly. “I’ve basically gotten us both killed. Of course, you do.”
Exasperated, I reached out a hand blindly, fumbling it over his face until I felt the shape of his cheek under my palm.
“Why do you think I wouldn’t leave you, Kevin?” I said.
“I don’t know.” He sounded confused. “That’s what I can’t understand.”
I sucked in a breath to tell him, but the words lodged in my throat. I had to tell him, though. I’d vowed to the Gods I would, and everyone knew a broken vow brought only the worst misfortune.
Of course, in our present situation, misfortune seemed a given.
I wasn’t sure I could handle Kevin’s rejection as my last memory of him before death. I wanted to remember him as I’d seen him every day of our childhood: a golden-haired, blue-eyed, vibrant angel.
He was slender and a little gangly, yet somehow still graceful in his movements, and though he thought he was weak, I’d watched him long enough to know he was resilient.
I admired him, though I worked hard every day not to show it.
“Aidan?”
Laughter rang above our heads, and twigs and pine needles crunched under feet.
I clapped a hand over his mouth, as I strained to listen. I hoped they’d pass us by, but I suspected this chasm was a trap meant to deliver us into their hands … or paws.
This was my fault. Had I honored my vow, we might have yet escaped.
A lamp swung out over the chasm, and light filtered down between the rocks to shine in my eyes.
“Hello, boys! Nice of you to join us!” a deep voice bellowed.
So, they weren’t beasts. It was yet to be seen if they were entirely men.
Quickly, frantically, I turned to Kevin. If I wanted us to survive the night, I had to honor my promise to the Gods and pray they took mercy on me.
“I love you,” I blurted. “I was a brat because I didn’t want you to know.”
And then, unable to face the horrified expression that would cross his face any second, I pressed my lips to his in a brief kiss.
My heart raced and my palms sweat and it wasn’t at all what I’d dreamt when I’d imagined kissing Kevin.
There was too much fear and shock in me. I barely registered the sensation of his lips against mine.
“Climb the rope,” the voice from above called, and a moment later thickly braided rope thumped against the wall at our sides.
I turned to inspect it, finding that it had a large loop at the end for raising a rider. Good. I didn’t think my arms, or Kev’s, could handle a tough climb.
Grabbing it, I turned to him. “You first. Climb in.”
He leaned on me as he raised first one leg, then the other and slid into the makeshift seat.
“Aidan …”
I shook my head. “Not now,” I said. “I only told you because I made a vow and I had to honor it.”
Tugging on the rope, I called up to the men. “He’s ready!”
Kevin slowly ascended the wall, and then the rope was tossed back down to me. I wasn’t sure we’d made the right choice to put ourselves into these men’s hands. We could have died naturally, together, of starvation or thirst. It might have been better than what was in store. But it wasn’t in me to give up so easily.
I adjusted the rope under me, and began the ascent.
Minutes later, I was on firm ground beside Kevin. I couldn’t look him in the eye, and my ankle throbbed with every step, but we weren’t dead yet.
“What will you do with us?” Kevin asked in a shaky voice.
“Same as always, kid. Don’t look so frightened. You’ll thank us when it’s over.”
“Are you going to eat us?” he blurted.
I turned stunned eyes on Kevin as he stared down the huge man before us. He was a brute, I saw now that I was free of the darkness. He was tall, at least 7 feet, with broad shoulders and muscled arms. His hair was curly and wild, sticking up in all directions, and a thick beard covered his face.
A feral smile split his face, and my hopes sank in my stomach like a stone. There was a beastliness to this man that couldn’t be coincidence.
“You hear that, Hart,” he said, with a deep laugh. His eyes sparkled over his sharp grin as he turned to another hulked-out man beside him. “They’re telling them we eat them for dinner now.”
“So, you don’t?”
“Gods no, boy.”
“So, you kill us then,” Kevin said flatly, and it hurt my heart to hear the acceptance in his tone.
Unable to help myself, I grabbed his hand and squeezed it tight. He didn’t look at me, but he didn’t pull away.
“Relax, boys,” Hart said, his tones more civilized than his partner’s. “We’re not going to harm you. Come, we’ll tell you everything once get back to camp. You two look like you could use a meal and a rest.”
We had no choice but to follow. Thankfully, the camp wasn’t far, but it was still agony on my sore ankle. Kevin fell back to one side, wrapping an arm around my waist to lend support, and Hart yanked me gracelessly to my feet whenever I tripped and fell.
“What could they want?” He asked quietly.
“I don’t know.”
“They don’t need to lie. They’ve already won.”
“Yeah,” I agreed. “But let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth, huh? We’re still alive.”
He nodded, and we fell into silence.
We were hustled to the fireside, and situated on a fallen log. Bowls of soup were pressed into our hands, followed by cups of water that we gulped greedily, dehydrated after our panicked flight through the forest during the heat of the late afternoon.
There were a handful of people in the camp, women and men. Not all of them were so intimidating as the two Hunters who’d caught us, but there was a sort of wildness to them.
“Hart tells me you’ve been misled about your fate,” a young woman with dark hair and intense eyes said.
“There are a lot of rumors,” I said carefully. “About who you are and what you do with the sacrifices.”
“They would call it a sacrifice,” she scoffed. “We call it a gift.”
Kevin stirred beside me. “A gift?”
A note of hope crept into his voice, and I hoped it wouldn’t be shattered before the night’s end. I was glad to hear some emotion from him. That flat, numb tone had torn me to pieces.
“Let me tell you a story,” she said.
I noticed the other Hunters gathering around and settling in with bowls of soup, as if she were about to tell stories by the campfire for their enjoyment and not share with us our fate, whatever it might be.
Kevin’s hand crept into mind, and I held it tight, bracing for the truth at last.
“A century ago, there were hundreds of our kind in this forest. We kept to ourselves, mostly. The woods provided what we needed to survive, and we were happy enough. Then the Hunters came–”
“What? But you’re the Hunters!” Kevin blurted.
The woman’s eyes widened in surprise, and one of the men cursed loudly, angrily. My hand tightened on Kev’s in fear, but no one made a move to hurt us.
“They call us the Hunters?” She said, sounding astonished, then let loose a sharp laugh. “That just figures, doesn’t it?”
It was a rhetorical question, obviously, and she continued to the tale.
“The Hunters came, and they started killing us. No doubt you’ve heard enough about us to know that we aren’t like most humans. We can call our beasts from within, and change into beautiful creatures that thrive in the woods, hunting and playing. The Hunters started killing us, mostly for our furs, but sometimes just for sport. It went on for years, decades. We tried to hide, we tried to relocate deeper within the forest, but the damage was done. We had to fight back for our own survival.”
“The war started,” I said.
She nodded. “Yes. And, it went on for ages. We had a tactical advantage. Our beasts are excellent trackers–”
“And hunters,” Kevin injected.
Did he want them to rip him to shreds?
I tensed beside him and cast him a look that conveyed my wish for him to shut up.
“Yes, I suppose so,” she said. “In that way, perhaps their name for us makes sense. We began to hunt them. But we were disadvantaged by our dwindling numbers, and so the war went on year after year, decade after decade. Finally, we’d all had enough, and a truce was made.”
“Each village sacrifices two adolescents to a tribe of Hunters each year,” I said.
“Each village gives up two adolescents, yes. To join us,” she clarified. “We neared extinction during the war, and we’ve been trying to rebuild our population ever since. Once we reach a stable number, the villages will no longer contribute to our pool.”
I stared, stunned. In all of my speculations, I’d never considered that the village sacrifices might be joining the Hunters.
“You mean we’ll become like you?” Kevin asked.
“Yes.”
This time, I blurted the question. “But how?”
She waved a hand. “That is a long story, and it is quite late. You two need to rest. The transformation doesn’t come without a great deal of effort. Come, I’ll get you settled for the night.”
She stood and led us to a tent, complete with sleeping bags inside. At my astonished look, she cracked a grin.
“We’re not entirely animals, you know. This is just a temporary camp. We could sleep in our beast forms, and some of us will, but the rest of us want shelter from the elements.”
I nodded. “Thank you.”
Kevin and I crawled into our sleeping bags, close together in the small tent. I could hear his heavy sigh as we fully relaxed for the first time in nearly 12 hours.
“So, we’re not going to die,” Kevin murmured, mostly to himself.
“Looks that way.”
He cast a look my way. “Bet you’re regretting that confession right about now. Gonna go back to making my life miserable?”
I bristled. “I honored my vow, and we’re not dead,” I said shortly. “Hard to regret that.”
His hand landed on my shoulder and squeezed. “Aidan, I’m teasing.”
“It’s not a joke to me,” I said reluctantly.
He was right in a way. I hated that he knew my feelings, that he could use them against me. It felt like a weakness.
“Of course not. It’s just hard to believe,” he said.
I cleared my throat. “We don’t ever have to talk about this again, but I have to ask just once. Do you … I mean, do you want to–”
“No.”
“Oh.”
“I mean, not right now,” he clarified. “Right now, I still think you’re a jerk. And I’m still coming to terms with the whole not dying thing. Eventually, who knows? You did keep me alive, you and your vow to the Gods.”
He was teasing me again. I could hear it in his tone. He didn’t believe my vow had anything to do with our situation, and maybe he was right. But at least I wouldn’t have to face the idea that my cowardice had been our doom.
Kevin didn’t love me, didn’t want me. It was what I’d expected, and yet, he’d given me hope. Maybe, eventually he’d forgive the way I’d treated him while we were children. Maybe he’d come to love me in our new lives.
As men.
As Beasts.
As Hunters, giving new life to the packs that roamed these woods for centuries until our people came along to decimate them.
It was a sacrifice I was willing to make, especially with Kevin by my side.

‘Gentleman’s Position’ adds to KJ’s impressive position in genre

gentlemanKJ Charles has positioned herself to earn more fans in historic gay romance with the upcoming release of  “A Gentleman’s Position.”

As I waded into the third novel in the Society of Gentleman series, I was a bit like the blind test in a study. By that I mean I had no idea what I’d be getting into. I’d heard of KJ Charles, of course. I knew she was a well-loved author. But I’d never read any of her books, not even the earlier books in the series.

Admittedly, I played a bit of catch up in the first few page as references were made to a variety of characters I would have known if I’d read the earlier novels. But I read on, and once I got past the first few pages, it didn’t matter — because the two protagonists in this book captivated me.

KJ Charles brought Lord Richard Vane and his valet David Cyprian to life with amazing skill, drawing on an interesting contrast of principles and prejudices of the time period. The conflicts in the story line very much reflected the characters’ inner beliefs. Unlike some poorly developed romances, where you want to throttle the characters and tell them to just talk to each other and every problem will be solved, the conflicts between Vane and Cyprian were more complex.

Lord Richard Vane is an aristocrat who believes in his principles to the exclusion of everything else, even his own heart. The man wrestles with his desires, and ingrained prejudices, as he falls for his valet. David Cyprian, on the other hand, rose from very low prospects to become the most admired valet in Society, and he uses a combination of cleverness and manipulation — sometimes quite illegal manipulation — to fulfill all of Vane’s wishes. Still, he very much has his own set of principles that guide his actions throughout the novel.

David Cyprian is really the star of this novel. He’s an amazingly smart, strong character. While he’s first seen as a servant who only wishes to please his lord, he evolves over the course of the story to reveal a cunning, resilient young man who is very much his own master.

Through it all, KJ Charles sets a pace that keeps you turning the page, alternatively hopeful and pained by the push and pull of their romance.

“A Gentleman’s Position” has everything you’d want out of historical romance: impressive interweaving of historical themes and language; a heart-wrenching love story; and powerful, passionate love scenes that make you desperate to see these two men get their happy ending.

KJ Charles has definitely positioned herself to gain more fans with this beautifully written novel, starting with me.

You can pre-order the book from Amazon here

Note: I was given a free advance copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

 

Flash Fiction: Rooftop Rendezvous

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The sunset was gorgeous from the rooftop where Liam spread out refreshments on a blanket. The last rays gilded his auburn hair and lit up the golden flecks in his hazel eyes.

Harry couldn’t think of a more romantic setting to celebrate their lives together.

“Hungry?” Liam asked, looking up with a grin. “We’ve got gourmet selections once again.”

“Yum, count me in!”

Harry joined him, watching as Liam slathered peanut butter on soda crackers. It was a far cry from the exquisite duck confit Liam once prepared as the head chef of his own restaurant. But his hands still moved with the sureness of a man meant for the culinary arts.

Harry used to spend every spare minute of his shift at the restaurant watching Liam’s long fingers manipulate knives with astounding speed and skill. He came to life in the kitchen in a way that could not be replicated anywhere else, except perhaps when making love. His hands were very skilled there, too.

Harry never expected to experience the latter. As a busboy, he had been far beneath a head chef’s notice. But one night he’d turned, intent on sneaking a peek of the gorgeous chef, to find Liam watching him.

That moment changed his life.

They’d been together ever since, 11 years as of tonight.

Liam poured the last of the wine and raised his glass. “To us. Happy anniversary.”

Harry lifted his own. “Till death do us part. I wonder how many people bet we’d never keep that vow.”

Liam laughed, his eyes lighting up. “I love your sense of humor. Even now.” His voice faltered. “Especially now.”

Harry forced a smile. “Well, my looks wouldn’t have carried us 11 years.”

“Don’t be ridiculous! You’re still gorgeous. You’ll always be beautiful now.”

“There’s the silver lining,” Harry said softly, leaning in to kiss Liam. “We’ll be together to the end. Having a romantic night every night until …”

Liam nodded, his eyes misty. “Until.”

“I do miss your delicious dishes, though.”

 “That reminds me. I have a surprise for you.”

Liam skipped across the roof gracefully to snatch up his backpack.

Harry watched nervously as he neared the edge of the building. There was only ever going to be one way for their rooftop rendezvous to end, but it wasn’t time yet.

“I’ve got soup!” Liam exclaimed. “I’ve been saving it for a special occasion.”

He pulled out a can of stew, and then rummaged until he found a can opener. He lifted it to show Harry, and it slipped from his fingers.

“No!”

Liam leaned forward, and Harry’s heart lodged in his throat.

“Careful!”

He rushed across the roof, clutching Liam close though he was in no danger of falling.

Liam stared mournfully over the side of the building, where the can opener had disappeared.

The streets teemed with bodies in various stages of decomposition. They milled around buildings, scratching at the walls, seeking out entry. Soon, a window would break or a door would give, and then there’d be no putting it off any longer.

“You know, gay people might have been immune to the virus that created those things, but I’m still not sure we’re not the ones who are damned.”

Harry pulled him back from the ugly sight. “Come away, darling.”

“We’re out of food,” Liam said faintly.

“Then make love to me, Liam. Let’s have one more night,” Harry urged.

They sank down on the blanket, each touch saturated in both love and sorrow.

“Till death do us part,” Liam whispered, before Harry silenced him with a kiss.

Tonight, they would make love. And tomorrow …

If tomorrow came, they’d face it together.


Written by DJ Jamison. Read more flash fiction from other authors here.

Flash Fiction Fun: Cheeky Morning

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Only Muggle knew my secret.

Every morning, I got out of bed, went to the kitchen and cooked breakfast. Totally normal, right? Except …

I liked to do it bare-assed.

I wore a shirt because it was nippy in the morning, but this was my one small act of rebellion. My tiny, unseen wild streak in my mundane life. 

I didn’t live alone, but Katy was a night owl. I hadn’t seen her rise before 10 a.m. in the year we’d lived together, so it was a safe, if neurotic, habit.

A whimper sounded by my feet. My overweight pug begged for scraps. “No way, Muggle. The chicks won’t dig you with all that extra padding.”

“Looks like you could use some padding,” a deep voice said.

I whirled, spatula in hand. “What the fff–”

Oh shit.

A guy. A guy stood in the kitchen, lips smirking and eyes pointed nowhere near my face.

I spun back to face the stove. Glancing around wildly for cover, I grabbed a pot holder from the counter and thrust it behind my ass. Thank God, I was a skinny fucker.

“Sorry,” he said. He didn’t sound sorry. He sounded amused.

“Who are you?” I said to the eggs.

“I’m Tyler. Katy let me crash on the couch.”

No. Not Tyler, as in Katy’s hot gay brother. Not Tyler, as in, “he’s moving to town and you should meet him, Josh, because you two would be so awesome together.” Just no.

He laughed.

It started out as muffled chuckles, as if he were trying to resist, but before long he was belly-laughing.

“So,” he wheezed. “Is there a reason for this, like you spilled juice on your only pair of boxers or absolutely every pair of pants you own are in the laundry? Or is this a thing?”

My face blazed, and I could feel the blush spreading to every inch of skin. Just what I needed: a full-on ass blush.

“This is a nightmare. I’ll wake up, and Katy’s hot gay brother won’t be standing behind me.”

He moved closer, and his chest pressed against my back. My breath caught.

“Hot, huh?” he murmured. With a flick of his wrist, he turned off one burner. Then another. “You’re burning the eggs.”

Cool air rushed in as he stepped back.

“Right. I should put on pants.”

He chuckled. “Yep.”

“Are you going to leave?”

“Nope. Katy’s hot gay brother enjoys a good show as much as the next guy.”

“Muggle,” I said. “Sick him.”

“Cute pug, but he’s shit for guarding.” His voice turned playful. “I’ll happily guard your ass on our date, though.”

Our date?”

“Who am I to turn down a guy with an ass hot enough to fry eggs?”

His laughter followed as I dashed for my bedroom. My cheeks — all of them — blushed, but a smile crossed my face. I had a date with hot Tyler, so what the hell? If you can’t hide your neurosis, own it, right?

Muggle agreed.

 

Written by DJ Jamison. Please visit the flash fic group on Facebook and check out the links to the other authors’ flash fics! 

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