I’ve been tagged by Bella Leone :D. According to the rules, you’re supposed to do a search in your work in progress for the word “look” and then paste the surrounding paragraph and tag as many people as possible. Now, I don’t typically do tagging of others, but I’m happy to do the meme and anyone who wants to participate, please do!!
My most recent WIP worked on is Worse Things, which is getting a full face lift right now. Here’s the little bit I found, in Caroline’s POV:
Tour done, lecture on alcohol poisoning lectured, we were all milling around outside of a computer lab at the Union waiting for our turn to register for classes. It was probably one hundred and ten degrees in the shade—no I’m not exaggerating. Kyle and I were fanning ourselves with the paperwork we’d been given. Margie leaned against a cement pylon, somehow looking lovely as ever.
This is her last bit of peace, really, right there in the first chapter. After this, well, things get worse and worse for her.
Man, I’m proud of this story. I hope someday I can get it out of my computer.
In related news: I should definitely do a search of commonly used words in this book. Look came up an awful lot for my taste.
To celebrate, here’s a short excerpt from the story. Remember, it’s about a shy psychologist named Daniel taking a well-deserved vacation. Instead of beaches and margaritas, he’s tossed into an adventure story he did not plan at all:
(material copyright me. Don’t be a dick.)
(Hawk has just bumped into Daniel in a nearly deserted bar. No one is that clumsy…)
(Hawk:) “You know, I’ve been asking myself the same question, and I’ve decided the answer is fate. I think I was supposed to meet you, Daniel.” Hawk set his feet on the ground and leaned toward Daniel, his eyes flashing in the fading light. “I’m glad I did, anyway.” A slow smile spread over his features, lazy enough that even Daniel knew he was being hit on. He had a hard time believing his good luck. Maybe there weren’t that many gay guys on the island. Maybe he should quit worrying about it and let the man do his work.
“Yes, fate. You have a certain look about you. I think you’re interested in a little adventure. Am I right?”
Daniel had come to the other side of the world to escape the drama and pain of a caseload of patients. He’d come to relax. “Depends. What kind of adventure?”
Hawk took another swig of beer and gazed out at the beach behind Daniel’s shoulders. “Oh, you know, the usual. A little danger, a little excitement. Exotic location, unexpected discoveries. Maybe a little romance.”
“So, Indiana Jones then?” Daniel tried to be flirty.
“Maybe. Less car chasing, more treasure hunting. Like Lara Croft.”
Daniel decided to go for broke. “Too bad. She’s not my type at all. I’m more of an Indy guy. Square jaw, crooked smile, sexy hat.”
Hawk laughed, turning his gaze from the beach to Daniel’s eyes. His smile was more genuine, less swagger. Which of course made him even sexier. Damn. “I don’t disagree, Daniel.” He kept using Daniel’s name. Daniel knew the trick, he used it on patients. Using someone’s name implied intimacy, let them feel respected and heard. Knowing that didn’t diminish the effect. He’d certainly like to get more intimate with Hawk. “I do like a little romance,” he said, forcing himself to maintain eye contact. He might not have Hawk’s swagger, but he wasn’t afraid of what he wanted, either.
Unexpectedly, Hawk jumped from the chair and held a hand out to Daniel. “Good, let’s go.”
Welcome to the first stop of the Erotic Romance Scavenger Hunt! This hunt is a blog hop featuring nineteen authors, a ton of exclusive material and fantastic giveaways, and an amazing grand prize for one lucky scavenger hunter.
RULES: Hidden within each post on the hunt will be a single letter that is red. Jot those letters down because they’re part of the following mystery phrase you’ll need to unscramble:
The hunt will only be open for 72 hours so play fast! Entries sent without the correct phrase or without contact information will not be considered. All entries must be received by May 28 at noon Central Time.
On with the hunt!
I am thrilled to be hosting Fae Sutherland, who, along with Marguerite, is one of my favorite m/m authors out there! What a treat for me, you guys. I enjoyed her excerpt very much, and I know you will too!
Fae Sutherland has always dreamed of being a published author, starting her writing career off at age 11 with a series of stories she charged her classmates a dollar to read. She has since progressed to more serious writing, though always keeping that dash of irreverence and fun (and a hell of a lot more heat!). Also, she charges just slightly more than a dollar now.
Fae is perhaps best known for her books co-written with fellow M/M romance aficionado, Marguerite Labbe. Together they are the award-winning, bestselling authors of over a dozen novels, novellas and short stories. Currently, Fae is focusing on solo work and has a multitude of upcoming books in the pipeline.
When Fae’s not working on new stories to make her readers sweat, she loves website design, spending too much time on Twitter, and watching oodles of Food Network with her beloved life partner. If there’s any time left over, it’s spent snuggling the cat.
“There is no such thing as a guide to being gay. The fact that you don’t know this worries me.”
Skye McCord’s best friend’s voice rang in his head as he sat and stared at the hotel room door, glancing anxiously at his watch every so often. Lindy meant well, but what did a girl know about being gay? About as much as Skye did. But that was about to change.
If his male escort ever showed up, that is.
He pushed his glasses up on the bridge of his nose, annoyed to find that he was sweating a little and they kept slipping down. It was foolish to be nervous. He was paying this man for his time, he was in charge, he didn’t have to impress anyone. He just kept telling himself that… maybe the nerves would listen eventually.
Finally, an entire ten minutes past the agreed-upon 9 o’clock, there was a knock on the door and Skye’s pulse went from zero to sixty. Suddenly he was beginning to wonder if Lindy might have been right after all.
Too late now, the guy was here and Skye couldn’t just ignore him. So he put on his best ‘You do not intimidate me’ face and went to open the door. Halfway there he wondered if he ought to have chosen a different outfit. It wasn’t as if he’d ever met a sex worker before. Was there a dress code, for goodness’ sake? Finally, he shook his head, shoving aside all the mundane nonsense thoughts and took a deep breath before opening the door.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
The man standing in front of him wasn’t at all what he’d expected. Instead of some kind of muscle-bound Greek god, he got lean, rugged and whipcord strong. Instead of chiseled features and hard lips, he got warm hazel eyes and a sexy smirk that made his stomach flip. And instead of cookie-cutter, porn-star material, he got real-world good looks and a dangerous level of sex appeal.
Skye was suddenly very, very glad he hadn’t gotten what he’d expected, because this was so much better.
“I’m Liam. I’m here for our date.”
Skye blinked, then shook his head, stepping back and gesturing. “Come in. And please, don’t call it that. I prefer honesty, not code words.”
Liam smiled – and lord that was a pretty smile, flashing white teeth – and stepped inside, one brow lifting as Skye shut the door behind them. “Okay. What should I call it, then?”
Skye shoved his hands into the pockets of his hoodie, shrugging. “Business?”
The other man chuckled. “Business. Cool.” He shrugged out of the leather coat he wore, draping it over one of the stools at the breakfast nook. Amused hazel-green eyes met Skye’s. “Well, if we’re going to talk business, it’d be good to know your name. I’m Liam and you are…?”
Skye cringed, sticking out his hand. “Sorry. Skye.” Liam took his hand and maybe it was a cliché, but there really was a sizzle, like he’d shocked himself in his stocking feet or something. Odd. He pulled his hand away and rubbed it against his thigh. “Did you want something to drink?”
Liam shook his head, glancing around as he moved further into the suite. “No thanks. Hazard of the job, you know.” He met Skye’s gaze and smiled. “So, Skye. What can I do for you?”
The way he said it was shockingly suggestive. How did he manage that when he hadn’t even changed his tone much? Just a slight lowering of his voice, a faint narrowing of his eyes. The scientific part of Skye’s brain was fascinated by the subtle ability. Oh, he was very good. Skye felt much more confident now.
“You can teach me how to do that.” That second-nature sexy thing. It couldn’t be purely natural talent. It had to be at least partially learned. And if it was something that could be learned, then Skye could master it. He’d mastered everything else he’d ever set his mind to and being gay was no different.
Liam’s brows knit and the seductive façade dimmed. “Do what?”
Skye waved one hand in his general direction. “Well, not that, specifically – the smolder thing, I mean – but that in general.”
Liam looked thoroughly confused. “You want me to…teach you how to smolder?”
Skye smiled nervously, running a hand through his hair and then immediately regretting it because now he was sure it was sticking up all over like it tended to do, when he’d spent a good ten minutes trying to get it to lay flat earlier. “Sorry, I’m not being clear. Here, come sit down. I’m going to have a drink, are you sure you don’t want anything? There’s bottles of all kinds in the mini-fridge, unopened if that’s the concern.” How unpleasant that Liam had to concern himself with such things.
The other man sat down on the couch, glancing up. “Maybe a beer, if there’s any in there. I have a feeling I’m going to need it.”
Skye nodded and went to grab a beer and an energy drink for himself. Handing the beer to Liam, Skye sat beside him, though not too close. His appeal was incredibly potent and would distract Skye from the plan he’d worked out well in advance. “I have a personal question, if you don’t mind.”
Liam took a drink of his beer, still frowning. “Depends. What?”
“Are you gay?” He rushed on, before Liam could answer. “It’s very important that you are and not just – what’s it called? Gay for pay? I fully respect the need to make a living and doing what one has to do, but for my purposes, I require a gay man, unequivocally gay.”
Liam snorted, giving him an incredulous but amused look. The amused part gave Skye hope that Liam wasn’t going to just leave because clearly his new client was insane. “Yes, I’m gay. Unequivocally.”
Skye let out a sigh of relief. “Oh good.”
“Okay, now you’re going to tell me what’s going on, because frankly I’m getting the feeling I’m not here for the usual fuck and suck and while I don’t have a problem with kink scenes, you really should have notified the agency in advance if you wanted something special or…unusual.”
Skye shifted, nerves rising. The only other person he’d told his plan to – Lindy – had thought he was out of his mind, so he was a little anxious repeating it to a virtual stranger. He reminded himself, though, that Liam was being paid very handsomely just to sit there and listen to him, so there was no reason to be nervous. He wasn’t looking to impress the man, just hire him.
“I recently graduated with my master’s in engineering with a minor in applied mathematics. That’s irrelevant, actually, I’m sorry. The point is I’ve recently come out.”
Liam’s brows lifted. “Of college?”
Skye blinked, then shook his head. “No, no. Out of the closet. Are you paying attention?”
Liam pressed his lips together and Skye got the impression he was trying not to laugh. “Sorry. I am. Paying attention completely.”
Skye narrowed his eyes briefly, then decided he was telling the truth. “Good. Alright, so you can see my dilemma, then.”
Liam did laugh then, lips twitching irrepressibly. “I can’t say that I do, no. What dilemma is that, exactly?”
Skye sighed. Was there something wrong with the man? He didn’t appear stupid. “I just spent 7 years acquiring the skills and knowledge to be a…well, a rocket scientist, basically. I’ve hardly had time to date or focus on my sexuality. Now that I’ve graduated and have time before my new position begins next month, I’d like to put the time to use and that’s where you come in.”
Finally, it seemed a lightbulb went off in Liam’s head and he straightened a bit. Well, good, it was about time. Skye was beginning to wonder.
“You want to lose your virginity.”
Never had the word facepalm been so appropriate.
“That is the least of what I want to hire you for, Liam, believe me. Sex I can get, I’m sure. What I can’t get is a guarantee of someone who knows what they’re doing in the bed and out. That is where you come in.” It appeared he would have to spell this out in very small words. “I don’t believe in going into any situation unprepared. That includes being a gay man, dating, and yes, sex.”
Liam smiled, then, and leaned back against the couch. “Got it. I think. You want a tutor. Right?”
Skye nodded, then lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “Of sorts, yes. That’s the most accurate way of putting it, I suppose.” He finished off his energy drink and set the can aside. “I realize it’s an unusual request, but I’ve heard enough horror stories of dating and first times and all the times after that and I’d really rather skip that part.”
“And just get right to the brass tacks, huh?” Liam’s lips kept twitching and Skye was beginning to think he was being mocked.
“If you find this ridiculous or joke-worthy, then we’re done here.”
Liam frowned, leaning forward a bit. “Not at all. Unusual, sure, but I’ve been asked to do stranger things. Being a ‘tour guide to being a gay man’ sounds kind of interesting, actually.” He tilted his head. “So what are you thinking, exactly? Dates? Sex? More than that?”
Skye swallowed. So they were negotiating now. This is where his plan would make or break. “I’m here for a month. Considering the amount of time I anticipate this requiring, I’d want to negotiate some sort of…bulk rate?”
Liam snorted. “A discount? Now, do I look like a discount sort of man, professor?”
Skye’s gaze wandered over the other man and his temperature rose a dozen degrees, it seemed. “No.” He swallowed. “But I’m sure you’ll agree that, say, three sessions with me every week for an entire month is steady money and, more importantly I think, safe work. You wouldn’t even take a drink from me a few minutes ago because it’s a hazard in your line of work. I’m not made of money, I’m afraid. I received a very nice signing bonus with my new employer, but there is a bottom to that well.”
Liam gave him a long, considering look. Several moments passed during which Skye metaphorically held his breath. “Be specific. My rate starts at five hundred an hour. What are you offering?”
It was very surreal, sitting there discussing how much he was willing to pay a man to sleep with him. And…other things.
“Three times a week, three hours each, one thousand each session.”
Liam gave him a sultry grin. “Three hours each session? Optimistic, I see.” He chuckled, then pursed his lips and finally nodded. “Alright. That’s not unreasonable. And I admit, I’m curious.” He smiled again – and god he had an amazing smile – and held out his hand. “Deal.”
Skye reached out and took the offered hand. That odd little spark shot through him again and he shivered inwardly. Outwardly, he did his best to seem unaffected. “Deal.”
Silence reigned for a handful of minutes, before finally, Skye gave him an impatient, exasperated look. “Well?”
Liam snorted. “Well? Oh, is it up to me to come up with a lesson plan?” He grinned and leaned forward, reaching out to snag Skye’s hand again. “Lesson number one, then. You’re too far away for any of this kind of learning to happen.”
He tugged and Skye tensed. Oh dear. Theory was one thing, now it was time to put that theory into action. It was always the scariest moment, honestly. But he took a deep breath and shifted closer. When he would have pulled his hand away, Liam held onto it. The power in that move made Sky’s stomach flip.
“Lesson number two.” Liam smiled slowly, looking amused again as he leaned forward. Skye leaned back almost instinctively. “Have you ever been kissed?”
Skye made a scoffing sound. “That’s ridiculous, of course I have.” He’d kissed his mother plenty of times and Lindy was forever giving him smacking kisses on the cheek and there’d been one girl in high sch –
“I mean a kiss not from a relative or a friend. Preferably not from a girl, either. A real kiss, Skye.”
Oh. Skye’s eyes narrowed and he finally shrugged once. “Not exactly. I was busy with…”
“School, yeah. I know. Well, you’re not busy right now, and I’m not busy, so how about that’s next on the lesson plan? A proper kiss for Skye.”
A proper kiss. Skye had to admit he was very much looking forward to this part. Kissing had always looked like a lot of fun.
Their lips brushed, and Liam slid his other hand around to rest on Skye’s back, holding him in place. Skye trembled, but didn’t jerk away like his instincts said to. It was very intimate, the way Liam’s mouth rubbed against his own, the way his hand splayed on Skye’s back to keep him from pulling away.
“Relax,” Liam whispered against his mouth, then pulled Skye a little closer.
His whole world tilted a bit when Liam deepened the kiss, kissing him more firmly, with purpose. It was delicious and intriguing and Skye found himself, as usual, taking notes and measures and memorizing everything about the kiss, Liam’s lips, and anything else he found relevant. He hoped the other man didn’t mind being scrutinized, because putting things under a microscope was kind of the way Skye worked and how he learned best.
He hadn’t been prepared for the riot of feelings and sensations and, yes, emotions, though. He was having trouble quantifying the whole process in the moment.
Then Liam’s mouth opened and his tongue – rough and damp and sort of slick – stroked over Skye’s lips and, well…he forgot what the word quantifying even meant. It felt incredibly decadent, the slide and rasp of the other man’s tongue against his mouth, the way Liam sort of sucked Skye’s lip against his tongue and nipped. Oh wow.
A few seconds later, the kiss half-broke and Liam smiled against his mouth. “Open, Skye. Let me in.”
Ohh. Oh jeez. He felt stupid, having been sitting there just enjoying the rub and stroke of the other man’s tongue. He nodded, lips parting. It wasn’t his fault, Liam was making it very difficult to concentrate. His free hand was fisted in his lap, the string of his hoodie wrapped around it, but then Liam took that hand too and brought both up around his neck, letting go. Skye took the hint and leaned a little closer, hands now clutching the other man’s broad shoulders.
Goodness, he was very muscular under his shirt, more so than Skye had imagined. Immediately his mind was flooded with images of Liam shirtless and the knowledge that it would happen was intoxicating. Yet another result he hadn’t been fully prepared for, which was the speed at which the roller coaster he’d set in motion was now barreling down the tracks.
Thank goodness he’d hired a professional conductor or this might well be the most terrifying experience of his life.
Ready to move on? The next stop on the Erotic Romance Scavenger Hunt is… Z.A. Maxfield!
Well, erotic stories, anyway.
All month long, Lisabet Sarai is hosting authors from the various Coming Together anthologies. They’ll be posting about why they believe in the project, steamy excerpts and prizes. LOTS of prizes.
Alessia Brio (the tireless editor who puts together most of these anthologies) is giving away a Kindle Fire, for example.
Never heard of the Coming Together series? Check out the blog. Coming Together is a series of books, short stories, anthologies, podcasts and other projects. The authors and editors work for free, and the proceeds are donated to various charities. It’s a wonderful project. I’m very proud to have been a part of it.
My day on the blog is February 16th. I’m giving away a free book. Please feel free to come over and leave a comment there!
Think about it: erotica you can feel totally guilt-free buying! Win win! Head over to Lisabet’s blog and check it out all month long.
Otherwise known as the excerpt from the WIP. Writing is hard. Why didn’t someone warn me about this?
Anyway, here is an excerpt from the NaNo, which is going strong at nearly 30K. I’m on the other side of the hill now, in both NaNo word count and in the book itself. I’ve got a middle and an end planned out, the rest is just details. Difficult, fussy details. But I digress. This is mostly unedited. Theoretically, everything is spelled correctly. I do not think this is a final draft, but I think it’s a fun little piece of my raw writer’s delusional mind. Or something like that.
The man stood on the far end of the parking lot, illuminated under a single halogen lamp. He wore no clothes but for a length of cloth tied around his waist and covering his genitals. Light flashed in the Weir’s eyes, and his white teeth gleamed in the dark. The man was grinning a sick, mental grin. Intel hadn’t been bad—the man was covered in tattoos. No skin remained untouched apart from a small frame around his facial features and presumably the genitals although Iain wondered. His skin was a riot of color, bright and faded. The rough ground of the asphalt must have been grinding into his bare feet but he didn’t seem to register anything but Iain and the Lord arguing across the way. Tattoos of koi and samurais writhed in the yellowed light. They danced and bulged and twisted all over his skin like they could fly right off and become real. Iain realized with a start that the man had already summoned a demon.
He shouted to the Lord, he remembered that much, but then he ran. He ran as far and as fast as his body allowed. He was a servant then, still in training in a compound outside of Dublin, and in the best shape of his life. He ran without looking back. The pressure in the air changed—what had been a damp London fog became a hot, dry desert as he ran. His ears popped as the creature emerged from the Weir*. Still he ran, lungs burning and muscles screaming for oxygen.
He had no idea how far he ran. When he finally collapsed in an undignified heap on the pavement, people stepped around him. He’d run toward the city center, it appeared, which bustled with people. He dared to look behind him, and the convention center was long out of sight. The Lord was also nowhere to be seen. Perhaps he’d run a different direction. Cautiously, he made his way back, always looking for the demon sign—a smell of sulfur or a brightly colored smoke but none made themselves visible. He got nearly back to the convention center before he saw it.
From a long way off, he saw a smear of orange passing under halogen after halogen, disappearing in the dark in between. The Weir, an even smaller smear from this far away, seemed to be standing exactly where he had been. As Iain watched, the demon floated around lazily. His training told him the creature had consumed everything it would, sent all life around it to the Great Void for his fellow demons to feed on, and now simply waited to die. No demon could live long in the world, they were compelled to die once through. The Lord, of course, was gone. Iain held out a brief flicker of hope that the idiot might have run away, but his sinking gut told him the truth. The man was dead, consumed by the demon. Shit.
*Weir: a person who can open a gate with their body to summon demons from the Great Void.
Back to the salt mines! How are your NaNovels going?
The plan, thus far unrealized, is to do some editing on an old manuscript and some writing on a new one five days a week. Hour of this, hour of that. Seems doable. Further, the plan is to treat writing like a job. Somehow. In between the other job I have, and also raising kids and magically staying married. Yeah. It’s a good thing I don’t really care much about housework, and also that my awesome husband tends to pick up my slack.
World’s tiniest violin, I know. Good relationships, I will not take them for granted.
To that end I was mad tired and worn out today but I dragged myself to the coffee shop with a pair of headphones and the goal of digging into some edits on Waking Kiara. I’ve discovered that I both love and hate the manuscript, but the best news I got today was that I really hate the beginning, and really love the end. This I can handle. Reading the beginning is like tearing my own eyebrows out one hair at a time, but the end is fun, interesting, fast paced and honestly, I like reading it.
Cue my massive relief. I had been thinking I would have to scrap the whole thing and start over.
As is the wont of self-loving writers everywhere, I’m going to post a little quote from what I found in the well today. It made me snicker:
Combat boots crunching on the desert gravel, John coughed into his hanky* before walking away from the car. The desert air dried his throat. In Cairo, at least, there was the river cutting the city in half, with green growing things on the banks. Soft sand dunes graced the boundaries of the city and echoed into the distance like the curves of a woman’s body. The Sonoran desert, as far as he could tell, was entirely comprised of sharps–cactus, rocks, mountains. Why anyone would live in this hell hole, he couldn’t imagine.
Tucson in August isn’t the nicest place. I might have been channeling that feeling when I wrote this passage. Now–back to the hole.
*oh yeah, he carries a hanky. THAT’S HOW HE ROLLS, YO.