Tag Archives: m/m

Kim Fielding’s *The Sacrifice and Other Stories*—Good Stories for a Good Cause

Cover Image, The Sacrifice and Other Stories

A sickly man seeks recovery in a seaside cottage.

A temple slave tends a man due to be sacrificed.

A soldier releases a genie.

In seven fantasy short stories and novellas, men find passion with other men in the most unexpected places, and even the gravest circumstances may open the door to hope and love.

This anthology includes two brand-new short stories. In “The Sacrifice,” Rylo is a temple slave tasked with comforting a man who is scheduled to be killed in the morning. In “Chasing Away Cold,” Daku builds an ice sculpture of the god Jarli in order to ensure the end of winter. The collection also includes three novellas and two additional short stories, gathered for the first time in a single volume. “Treasure” introduces Jules, a young man who travels to the quirky seaside town of Urchin Cove to regain his health—and finds an unexpected treasure washed up on the beach. Xolani, a soldier in “Three Wishes,” picks up a small glass bottle and unleashes a surprise. Another soldier, Volos in “Guarded,” will risk everything to save Prince Berhanu. In the sequel, “Mato’s Tale,” an unassuming innkeeper gets a chance for adventure. And in “The Downs,” Enitan is unjustly banished and comes to discover that the demons he must face aren’t the ones he expected.

Join Kim Fielding on journeys through imagined worlds where magic is commonplace and romance lies just around the next bend.

All royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontiers.

Available now for preorder from Amazon. Releases November 27.
http://www.amazon.com/Sacrifice-Other-Stories-Kim-Fielding-ebook/dp/B0180W71RY/

Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

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Five shinies for Anne Barwell’s On Wings of Song! (Release day review)

Five luminous stars to Anne Barwell’s On Wings of Song. This novella is not a story of hot love or love at first sight, but rather a tale of the tenacity of a first spark between souls. Here Barwell’s prose style pleases as always, but it’s her ability to ferret out the secrets of the heart that shines above all.

Many of us already know the author has a gift for finding the human truth in historical times and events, and especially for seeing past the walls that veterans of war often—of necessity—build around their hearts. In On Wings of Song, her time-travelling pen (or keyboard, perhaps) takes the reader back to one of the most remarkable verifiable events of modern warfare—the Christmas Truce of 1914. Entrenched soldiers of Germany, France, England, and Scotland (the later three allied) in a number of places along a battlefront that already foretold the later horrors of WWI came together across narrow strips of no-mans-land to celebrate together a few hours of peace.

When German soldier Jochen Weber and Englishman Aiden Foster meet that under that extraordinary circumstance, it isn’t football or cards that help them overcome the initial awkwardness of the exchange, but a mutual love of literature and Aiden’s exceptional musical voice. Before they part, they (like others) exchange uniform buttons as pocket mementos, and each hopes for a someday when in a more lasting peace they may see one another again. The remaining years of war leave both men scarred, and life after war holds new challenges and little time or place for true healing. Both men retreat into the silence in which those who survive years of the worst of human cruelty often cloak their hearts—how can anyone who wasn’t there truly understand? Yet a spark of hope lives Jochen and Aiden’s hearts, sharing space with memory of the “enemy” whom they befriended on dark Christmas on a battlefield.

Barwell’s careful, sparsely adorned prose gives the reader an inside look at the redemption of truly broken hearts when long-sheltered sparks meld into flame. The fire burns painfully until it warms and comforts. This is not a long, arduous read, rather a brief but revealing journey into the heart of these two men, Jochen and Aiden, who come to love despite time, distance, and irreparable loss.

I heartily recommend On Wings of Song to those who love men, who love men who love men, and who treasure stories that paint the darkness with light and life.

Here is the buy link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5869

It’s 25% off at the moment, so now is a good time to snap it up. Or if you feel lucky, Anne will be chatting at the Dreamspinner Goodreads “forum thingy” on 12/28/14 from 4-6 EST, and there will be a giveaway. Win or not, it promises to be a great conversation!

If you want a little more info, here’s the blurb:

Six years after meeting British soldier Aiden Foster during the Christmas Truce of 1914, Jochen Weber still finds himself thinking about Aiden, their shared conversation about literature, and Aiden’s beautiful singing voice. A visit to London gives Jochen the opportunity to search for Aiden, but he’s shocked at what he finds.

The uniform button Jochen gave him is the only thing Aiden has left of the past he’s lost. The war and its aftermath ripped everything away from him, including his family and his music. When Jochen reappears in his life, Aiden enjoys their growing friendship but knows he has nothing to offer. Not anymore.

And here’s Anne’s bio:

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher and a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth.

Visit Anne at her blog: http://anne-barwell.livejournal.com or her website: http://annebarwell.wordpress.com/. You can contact her at anne0@xtra.co.nz.

Happy reading!

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Never Doubt! Vasquez and James Romance Will Live On!

I got to thinking, when I’ve posted about Because of Jade (Vasquez and James novel coming from in May), I share so much about the Luki and Sonny’s relationship with the little girl, Jade, that you may think there’s no romance. On the contrary… Luki always delivers. For instance, here’s a very teensy excerpt that leads up to a long, hot night of spoiling Sonny and loving him senseless.

Red rose and few lighting candles on dark background

logo web (smaller) jpg

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Anne Barwell Interview: The many facets of her romance rainbow

Hello! Today I’m happy to share with you my recent interview with author Anne Barwell. One of the things I most enjoy about Anne’s writing is it’s diversity—she writes series, but they’re all quite different. I made her talk about that sneaky little habit! You can ask her disturbing questions too, if you like, in comments. 🙂
Note: Click any cover for a buy link to that book. For Anne’s bio (and other good stuff), visit her blog

Here’s the interview:

Q: You have, if I’m not mistaken, four different series in process. Please tell us a little bit about each one.
A: Five if you include The Harp and the Sea, which is our joint project… [LS—I’m so pleased to be working on this project with Anne!]

I’m still not sure how I ended up with so many series in progress. I blame demanding characters. Seriously though, one advantage I find with having more than one series in progress is that I have a hardcopy in front of me for the previous book while I’m writing the next one, which is so much easier when hunting for continuity details.

Hidden Places [series] is a contemporary fantasy which crosses through a portal into another world called Naearu. The main characters are Tomas, a writer, and Cathal, who is from Naearu. Part of the action takes place in the English village of Oakwood, part in Naearu. So far I’ve written two books in this series Cat’s Quill and Magic’s Muse. I have two more planned: One Word is Ethan and Donovan’s story and is a side story to Cat’s Quill. Dragon’s Price finishes the series and takes the characters back to Naearu.

Echoes is an historical series set in occupied Europe during WWII. Kristopher Lehrer is a scientist working on a top secret project in Germany. When his illusions are shattered and he discovers what the Nazis plan to do with his work, it isn’t long before he is on the run with both the Gestapo and the Allies after the plans he carries. Shadowboxing is the first book in the series and is set in Berlin in 1943. Winter Duet (which I’ve just submitted to Dreamspinner Press) is set in Germany in early 1944. The last book, Comes a Horseman, is set in France in mid 1944

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Dragons of Astria is a fantasy series set in Astria, a land where dragons are real and magic exists, although it has been outlawed for generations. Aric and Denys are from two very different backgrounds, but their destinies are intertwined in more ways than one. A quest for a magical sword will affect not only their life together, but the future of the kingdom. A Knight to Remember is the first in this series, and there will be two more books: A Mage to Forget and A Sword to Rule.

The Sleepless City is an urban fantasy series which is a joint project with Elizabeth Noble. The first four books are set in the re-imagined city of Flint, Ohio, and the characters are vampires, werewolves, ghosts—and human. I’ve written the first book, Shades of Sepia, and book 2, Electric Candle, by Elizabeth is coming out on April 4th.

Q: Of your series, do you have one that is easier for you to write? One that is your favorite? If so, please explain your choice?
AEchoes, being an historical series, requires a lot more research than the others, but I was surprised how fast Winter Duet wrote once I got going with it. It’s difficult to pick a favourite, it’s like choosing a favourite child. My favourite tends to be the one I’m working on at the moment and yes I know that’s not helpful. Each of them have aspects I really enjoy, and I love all my guys but it is easier writing fantasy especially as I can build worlds and ‘make stuff up’ rather than worry about whether I’ve got the details of a time and/or place just right. Ben from The Sleepless City, as a Kiwi character, is very easy to write, but the US setting means a bit of research as it’s the little things that I really don’t know. I’m definitely setting my next contemporary series in New Zealand. But not just for that reason as I think there needs to be more M/M set locally.

Q: How do you balance your writing time between the different series? Do you find that your style differs from one to the next? If so, how do you get in the right mind set for the particular series you’re working on?
A: I didn’t intend to have four series on the go at once. My original plan was to have two and alternate them, and once I’ve caught up with finishing what I’ve started that’s what I’ll be doing with maybe a one shot—and yes I know they always turn into series—or two in between. Meantime I’m trying to write in a circle: Hidden Places book 3, </em.Dragons of Astria book 2, Echoes book 3 etc. That way I’m not leaving readers of those readers hanging around too long, or at least that’s the plan. There aren’t enough hours in the day with working full time [outside of writing] so a couple of novels a year is about as much as I can manage.

With the series being different genres, my style does differ between them. No too much so but more in what is needed for the characters and plot. The series tend to have a different feel to them, especially in the narrative/dialogue between historical/contemporary and high fantasy. Aric’s speech in Dragons of Astria is going to be more formal, and have no modern idioms compared to Tomas in Hidden Places, while Cathal from that series being between two worlds in a sense has a mix of both. It also depends on what story a particular book is telling. Magic’s Muse was slower paced but it was filling in a lot of gaps and building relationships which need to be in place for the final book in that series Dragon’s Price which will more of an action/drama.

I get in the mind set when I switch projects by firstly writing an outline, printing it out and scribbling over it, and writing a blurb. Usually I’m thinking through and researching/discussing ideas a couple of projects ahead of what I’m writing so I do tend to multitask a bit I guess especially if I’m working on more than one project at a time like I am now with Echoes and The Harp and the Sea.

Q: Your most recent release is Shades of Sepia, book one in a shared world series, The Sleepless City. How did you and your series partner, Elizabeth Noble, develop this concept? Any hints you can give us about what’s yet to come?
A: Elizabeth and I were chatting on IM one day and found we both had vampire characters we wanted to do something more with. One thing led to another and The Sleepless City was born. The mythos or ‘series bible’ is the product of hours of discussion, which is still ongoing.

The first four books in the series are an ‘arc’ and tell a complete story, and then we’re each writing books set within the universe. An arc seemed to be a good way to start the series and establish it and the characters. Shades of Sepia is Simon and Ben’s story, Electric Candle by Elizabeth which comes out in April is Forge’s. [LS—this book is now available for pre-order on Dreamspinner’s site.] I’m writing Family and Reflection later this year which is Lucas’s, and then Elizabeth will tie up the arc with the last book Checkmate. One thing I’m looking forward to in Family and Reflection, as there’s got to be some fun in amongst all the seriousness of the case they’re working, is that Ben’s friend Ange visits from New Zealand. She doesn’t know who or rather what they all are, so they’re going to try to keep it from her. Good luck with that one.

Q: What can you tell readers in advance about the two main characters in Shades of Sepia, Ben and Simon? (Make us curious, or make them irresistible!)
A: Ben’s a local guy – well local for me – as he comes from Wellington where I live. He’s very laid back but at the same time speaks his mind and doesn’t take any shit. He’s also a bit of a geek and collects comics/graphic novels. His passion is photography and that’s the really ironic thing about his and Simon’s relationship. The one person Ben really wants to photograph he can’t because vampires not show up on film. Well, not usually, there is a way around it but he’ll have to convince Simon first – and you’ll have to read the book to find out what I’m referring to 😉

Simon’s is very different to Ben, it’s one of the reasons they complement each other so well. Simon’s more serious, and carefully considers his actions before he takes them where Ben’s more likely to just decide and do it. Simon’s also got an old fashioned streak a mile high, which isn’t just because he was born in the late nineteenth century. He’s also got a dark side, not unexpected as he’s a vampire! But like Ben he’s fiercely protective of the people he cares about and won’t hesitate to put himself in the line of fire to do just that. As Lucas says, “You can argue over which one of you is going to play protective over the other one’s ass on a given day. Promise me I can watch?”

Q: What’s coming next from Anne Barwell? Anything slated for release in the upcoming months? (Please elaborate!) Also, what’s on the burner for the next year or so?
A: I’m putting the final touches to Winter Duet, which is the sequel to Shadowboxing and the next book in the Echoes series.

Here’s the blurb:

Germany, 1944. With Kristopher finally fit enough to travel, he and Michel begin their journey across Germany toward Switzerland and safety.
Separated in the middle of a warzone, after helping an injured RAF pilot, Kristopher is determined to find Michel again. But how far can he trust the man travelling with him? Whoever he is, he is definitely not the German soldier he appears to be.

Meanwhile Michel mounts a rescue mission. Time is running out. Loyalties are tested and betrayed as the Gestapo close in. Can he reach one of their own before information is revealed that could compromise not only his and Kristopher’s safety, but that of the remaining members of the Allied team?
Or is it already too late for all of them?

And an excerpt:

Kristopher dropped to his knees, and examined the boy. His eyes were glazed over and he flinched when Kristopher touched him. “He must have hit his head when he fell,” Kristopher said. He brought his hand away from the boy’s temple. It was covered in blood. “He needs help, but I can’t do much for him here, just try and stop the bleeding.” He quickly opened his satchel and pulled out a short length of bandage, bundled it into a wad and held it against the wound. It probably wouldn’t be enough to stop it, but it was better than doing nothing. Head wounds tended to bleed, didn’t they? It didn’t mean it was something serious, but it could be.

He let out a quick breath. Damn it. He wished he’d paid more attention when he’d watched Clara at work. Why had he agreed to disguise himself a medic? In this situation when that was exactly what was needed, he was next to useless.

“We can’t stay here,” Michel said. “Can you tie something around the bandage so it keeps the pressure on it when we move him?”

“Keep pressure on the wound while I look.” Kristopher searched around in his bag, ripped some more of the bandaging material, and tied it quickly. His hands were shaking, but at least there didn’t seem to be any blood seeping through the original cloth he’d put over the wound. “I think that should hold it for now.”

Michel handed Kristopher the flashlight and then lifted the boy into his arms. “What’s your name?” he asked softly when the boy opened his eyes and looked up at him.

“Fritz,” the boy replied, his voice wavering. He put his arms around Michel’s neck and clung to him. Thankfully he seemed more alert than he had a few moments before.

“Hello, Fritz. I’m Michel and this is Paul,” Michel said. “We’re going to keep you safe, I promise.”

“You promise?” Fritz’s earlier confidence was gone. “I didn’t think it was so dark. I know this place. I shouldn’t have tripped.” He glared at the ground. “Stupid thing. Stupid stupid. Everything looks different.” He sniffled loudly, and wiped one dirty hand over his face.

“Do you remember the way to the bunker, Fritz?” Kristopher asked. Michel was watching Fritz carefully, holding the boy close to him. His grip had tightened at the first sign of Fritz’s distress.

“I don’t need to put you down,” Michel reassured Fritz. “You can still guide us while I’m holding you.”

“I don’t want to walk.” Fritz bit his lip. He looked around and then pointed to a street to their left. “If we go down there it’s only about ten minutes away.” They’d never reach the bunker in time before it closed.

“There isn’t one closer?” Michel asked.
“It’s the one I know about,” Fritz said somewhat defensively. “Mutter told me if something happened I should go to it.”

“Where’s your mother now?” Kristopher asked. The light from the flashlight was dying quickly. They had to hurry.

“I don’t know. She went to get my baby sister but she never came downstairs.” Fritz stuck his chin out. “I waited like she said, even when I heard the loud noises and people crying.”

“You live around here?” Kristopher hoped Fritz’s family had survived this. They’d have to try and reunite them or at least find someone who could look after him before they left Stuttgart.

Fritz nodded. Whatever his wound, it seemed as though it was definitely superficial or he wouldn’t be talking as much as he was. “I went looking for her, and I couldn’t find her.”

“You sound much better, Fritz. Do you think you could walk?” Michel asked.

“I don’t want to lose you and Paul too,” Fritz said. He let Michel put him down and then put one small hand into Michel’s.

“You won’t lose us,” Michel promised. “Keep holding my hand and Paul will look after the flashlight. We can work together.”

“Michel’s very good at working together,” Kristopher told Fritz. He shone the flashlight around. The further out into the street they got, the more rubble there was. It wasn’t safe to move too quickly and at this speed they’d never reach the shelter before daylight. He glanced up at the sky. Most of the flashes of light seemed to now be focused toward the city centre. “I’m wondering if it’s safer to stay here, but get as far away from the buildings as we can, and wait for daylight.”

“We don’t know how long this raid is going to last,” Michel said, “but we need to make a decision.” Something creaked and groaned to the side of them. “Move!” Michel yelled. He picked up Fritz and ran back the way they’d come. Kristopher didn’t stop to see what was going on behind him. He followed.

Moments later, more rubble hit the street where they’d just been standing. If they’d stayed there they would have been buried in it.

Kristopher shone the flashlight on it and shivered. “I think finding the shelter is the least of our problems,” he said. “We need to get out into the open. It’s not just more bombings that could kill us, but the buildings that are already damaged.”

“I know a place,” Fritz said after Michel put him down. “I’ll show you.” He took hold of Michel’s hand again. “You and Paul are soldiers.” He pointed to the Red Cross on Kristopher’s arm. “You’ll stay and help look after all the hurt people, won’t you? Vater is a soldier too. He’s fighting at the front. Mutter says he’s very brave.”

“Yes, we’ll stay and help,” Michel said before Kristopher could say anything. He squeezed Fitz’s hand. “We’ll also help you find your mother, or at least someone who can look after you.” He looked over at Kristopher and gave him a questioning look.

“Of course we will,” Kristopher said, wondering why Michel felt he’d even had to ask.

My next project is On Wings of Song which is a WW1 novella which begins in France in 1914. I’ve had the idea for a while, and as this year is the centenary of the beginning of the war, it felt like the right time to write it. And of course The Harp and The Sea.

After that, and book 3 of The Sleepless City, I’m focusing on working on/finishing the series I already have in progress.

Q: To wrap up, please describe for me the single most satisfying thing about being an author. When and how does it happen?
A Seeing my ideas and characters take shape as I write, and having others enjoy my stories. It’s a scary thing putting a bit of myself out there, but even if each book just touches one person it’s worth it. I write the stories I want to read, or otherwise what’s the point?

LS—Your writing has certainly touched me, and I know I’m not alone, so thanks for taking the chance! And thank you, Anne, for being my guest today! Come back soon.

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Gay Romance University: Vasquez and James 101 (intro with excerpts and NquiteSFW pics)

gay couple in bed
Want to get your degree in Gay Romance Lit? Well, why not start by learning from the sweet and hot experts, Luki Vasquez and Sonny James. No, you’re right, the couple to the left is not Luki and Sonny, but they are sweet, and they are romantic, and I think they should have a book written about them. (I’m working on it.) Luki and Sonny are older (especially Luki) and more… well, I’ll get to that later.

As you may know, there are, to date, four installments to the Vasquez and James Suspense/Romance story. (If you wish to purchase the texts for home study, click on the image below. 🙂 )

VJ 4 covers by Monique

There is one more book about the couple, the novella Yes,, and another book in the series entitled Because of Jade,coming in spring 2014. For this introductory bit of GRU’s Vasquez and James course, however, we’ll focus on the first book in the series, Loving Luki Vasquez.

One thing you will note about Luki and Sonny is that although they were certainly always hot (and sort of sweet), they were definitely not always experts in romance. In fact if you’ll turn to page 3 of your text (or just keep reading here), you’ll find an account of the events when they first met, accidentally, on the streets of (fictional) Port Clifton, Washington. To set the scene, Sonny—who lived in the area—was walking down the street in a not very good mood…

Pt T main drag

Then he saw a man.

Which in itself wasn‟t unusual, but this man, an islander, maybe Hawaiian, by the look of him, lounged cool and beautiful in loose summer whites, half-sitting on the fender of an ice-blue Mercedes, a strip of sand beach and the blue straits for a backdrop. Dark chestnut curls shining; straight, white teeth softly teasing a lush, plum-red bottom lip. His eyes, startling pale blue against brown skin, roved all over Sonny; the islander made no effort to pretend otherwise, and besides, Sonny could feel them. Their touch trickled over him like ice water, exciting every nerve he had, even those he‟d never heard from before.

Which scared Sonny, a recluse by choice—and, he knew, because he‟d always managed to be socially… well, clumsy. So, he turned to the weapon that had been his first line of defense since adolescence, when all the reservation had noticed that their star young grass dancer didn‟t mind being gay: a smart mouth.

“What are you looking at?”

Groan with me now, class. Good Lord, Sonny James! Could you be any less romantic?

But… maybe it was fate, because minutes later, the heretofore icy-hearted badass Luki Vasquez took a most uncharacteristic chance. You’ll find this bit on page 4 of the text, and Sonny has just witnessed hardcore Luki sweetly pick up a fallen teddy bear and return it to a child.

coffee-love

Sonny, angry with himself for blowing his chance to meet this chill but beautiful stranger—who might be trying to hide a kind heart—pretended he hadn‟t seen. He turned his faux-stoic shoulder and walked away. A little shaky, perhaps; already sorry. Three strides and he heard a voice, unexpectedly scratchy, even hoarse.

“Hey.”

Sonny turned.

The man took a deep, lovely breath, flashed his cold-fire eyes at Sonny, and said, “I have coffee most mornings at Margie’s. In case you’re interested.”

Following that initial flubbed meeting and interesting invitation, Sonny and Luki met a couple of times on purpose and accidentally, with disastrous and somewhat humorous results, and on would think that would have been the end of it. Truth was, however, neither could forget the other. One day, they met by chance—and a kiss happened. Not love at first kiss, no, but a hint at what a romance between them might be. Beginning on page 16 of your book, Luki is disgusted with himself and decides a little tai chi practice on a mostly deserted beach would do him good…
Kiss: Sean Chappin + Juan Valdez / 20100117.7D.02119.P1.L1.SQ.BW

By the time he‟d finished, the sun had risen almost midway. With heat and exertion, he‟d broken into a profuse sweat. He turned his face into the breeze, let it riffle his curls, took his shirt off, and tossed it to hang on one of his targets.

A dot in the distance moving up the beach toward him. A person. Sonny, no flags in sight.

Crap.

Oh well, no problem. If there was anything he knew how to do, it was shut out emotional disturbance. He‟d just continue with his practice, maybe work another form first, as if Sonny weren‟t there. But with Sonny‟s long legs, he covered a lot of distance in a short time, and now he‟d come almost close enough for eye contact. My God, the man is beautiful.

“Hey,” Luki said.

“Hi.”

“Nice out, huh?” Oh, yeah. Great. Talk about the weather.

Sonny ignored the comment.

Thank you, universe.

“It‟s like dancing.”

The conversation seemed like some kind of mirror image of the last time they spoke, when Sonny was checking out colors, which certainly weren‟t all the same, or so Sonny informed him, leaving him to feel foolish. Nice thing was, now they were in his territory. But he had no taste for retaliation.
“It‟s been called that. Tai chi.”

“Oh. Yeah. I‟ve heard of it. Sort of dancing that can kill. Seems exactly right.”

Luki didn‟t know what he meant by that last remark, so he stayed silent.

“It‟s graceful, the way you do it.”

Luki remained at a loss for a response. Was that a compliment?

“I‟ve even thought about trying to learn it. But I could never get away from my studio—or maybe I should say get my studio out of my head—long enough for anything like that.”

Luki still said nothing, but now he subtly eyed Sonny from head to toe—a pleasant undertaking but one with purpose. “You‟re in good enough shape to do it well.”

“I suppose.”

Luki didn‟t know how he could speak and hold his breath at the same time, but it felt that way. “I could teach you a little,” he said, “right now.”

To his surprise and nervous delight, Sonny agreed after only a second’s hesitation. Soon Luki had him barefoot and mastering a perfect opening stance. From there, he taught him some traditional warm-ups—not part of the forms but a good way to get the feel of the art. Though his long, loose limbs gave him some trouble and made Luki want to secretly and fondly laugh, and though Sonny giggled—yes, giggled—at a few of the early warm-ups, he attended well and learned fast.

They‟d reached the last of the warm-up exercises: Pushing Chi. A little more complicated than the ones that came before, it took focused coordination. When Sonny could Push Chi with acceptable grace, Luki decided to introduce him to at least part of the Chen form: First, he revisited the simple but all-important Opening Movement. Then, Pound the Pestle, Lazy Tying Coat, and Six Sealing, Four Closing.

Single Whip led into White Crane Spreads Its Wings, the name of which made Sonny adorably… all right fine, adorably happy. The sequence involved motions that at first felt counterintuitive. Like probably every student in the centuries tai chi had been around, Sonny needed help with it. As he would with any other student, Luki stood behind him, using his own hands to guide Sonny through the move. He wondered if he could get away with teaching him all the rest of the moves in just that way. Perhaps for hours. Every day. For a long time.

As he was teaching and wondering and probably even almost smiling, a wind rose up, splashing spray and sand and whipping Sonny‟s long hair at Luki‟s face and right into his mouth. On the word “open,” appropriately enough.

Sonny spun around, gathering up his luxurious baked-earth red hair. Before Luki had a chance to close his mouth, Sonny kissed him. A passionate, seeking sort of kiss. A kiss that Luki instinctively returned, though kissing wasn‟t a large part of his intimate life, and especially not kissing on the beach.

Well! That is a nice development. After that, some very suspenseful things begin to happen, throwing Luki and Sonny together whether they (profess to) want it or not. One thing of course leads to another, and things heat up, leading to this, on page 48:

bigstock-Cropped-Image-Of-A-Nude-Africa-32140823

After a moment, that not-quite smile of Luki’s that Sonny had come to recognize appeared in his eyes. He laced his strong fingers into Sonny’s hair and rose up to meet Sonny’s lips in a long, soft kiss, keeping possession of his gaze all the while. “Sweet, so sweet,” he whispered. And then, his lips still moving against Sonny’s: “You can have my ass.”

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Filed under Gay Romance University, Lou Sylvre, Loving Luki Vasquez, M/M romance, Vasquez & James

Vasquez and James Road Trip Update! (with links to the strange and wonderful places they’ve been)

'68_Ford_Mustang_Coupe_(Cruisin'_At_The_Boardwalk_'10)Hello readers and fellow travelers! As many of you know, Luki Vasquez and Sonny James have been on a road trip vacation, celebrating their survival after yet another harrowing episode in Saving Sonny James, the fourth book in the suspense series. It’s been crazy fun–the boys have thus far visited across the Atlantic, the eastern seaboard, a future Yukon, the South Seas, and the lone star state. Here follows the precise links to “where they’ve been,” and the list of what’s yet to come. Please feel free to read up and join in. Most of the previous prizes have been awarded, but there will be more prizes to be had between now and the end.
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  • 10/18: Sonny James and Luki Vasquez start their trip home from France, taking the Chunnel train, at The Novel Approach. 1st prize Saving Sonny James signed paperback (or ebook if preferred) and $15 to spend at Dreamspinner Press; 2nd prize Saving Sonny James ebook
  • 10/19: Off the train at Ashford, Kent, England, heading for London, at Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews.
  • 10/20: London! Right here at this sylvre.com blog.
  • 10/21: New Hampshire (yes they will have made it back to the USA!), fittingly at the blog of New Hampshire writer, Jamie Fessenden.
  • 10/25: Uh-oh. On their way to Ohio, to visit at Elizabeth Noble’s blog, Emotion in Motion, when something crazy happens… Todd… Todd Ruger, is that you? Prizes not yet awarded!.
  • 10/28: New Zealand? How the hell do you get to New Zealand in a Mustang? Find out at Anne Barwell’s Drops of Ink.
  • 10/29: Back to the States once again–in Texas! San Antonio, the lovely, romantic Riverwalk, made (even more) famous by the sexy characters of our host, Carol Zampa!
  • 11/2: Chris T. Kat will be our host! Hmmm… what to do, what to do?
  • 11/5: Luki and Sonny will take Rhys Ford’s blog and San Diego, CA by storm. (They will… just wait and see. And I’m pretty sure a prize will be up for grabs, too.)
  • 11/8 through 11/11: Well, I’m going to Bent Con in Burbank (yeah, like Los Angeles and Hollywood, only not…) and since the Vasquez-James boys are my transpo, they’re going, too. I’ll post their odd adventures here, at sylvre.com.
  • 11/13, Recap, and a prize. Here again.

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The Saving Sonny James Road Trip Blog Tour Calendar: Do your planning here, prizes to be had!

SavingSonnyJames_bookmarkV_DSP Saving Sonny James is out now and available at Dreamspinner, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and more. To celebrate their new happy ending, the guys have decided on a a road trip vacation. I insisted they take me along to turn it into a blog tour so all of you can go, too. (I have to ride in the backseat of the Mustang…)

This isn’t just any road trip though, because they cross the Atlantic, visit the Southern Hemisphere, and land accidentally in a strange, post-apolcalyptic world. In order to make it easier to keep up and enter all the drawings for prizes, I thought you might like a calendar itinerary. Here it is, but precise links and prizes will be updated as we proceed!

  • 10/18: Sonny James and Luki Vasquez start their trip home from France, taking the Chunnel train, at The Novel Approach. 1st prize Saving Sonny James signed paperback (or ebook if preferred) and $15 to spend at Dreamspinner Press; 2nd prize Saving Sonny James ebook
  • 10/19: Off the train at Ashford, Kent, England, heading for London, at Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews. 1st Prize $15 to spend at Dreamspinner; 2nd Prize Saving Sonny James ebook.
  • Also Meet the Author (that’s me) Goodreads chat, on Dreamspinner Group discussions! Here’s the precise link, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM Pacific Time, 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM Eastern. Excerpts, discussion, prize! (Dreamspinner discussion board)

  • 10/20: London! Right here at this sylvre.com blog. For prize info see the Rafflecopter post.
  • 10/21: New Hampshire (yes they will have made it back to the USA!), fittingly at the blog of New Hampshire writer, Jamie Fessenden.
  • 10/22: We take a hiatus from travel for a release party at The Dreamspinner Blog–here be contests, excerpts, history, pictures, and a chance for enjoyable discussion. Please come!
  • 10/25: Uh-oh. On their way to Ohio, to visit at Elizabeth Noble’s blog, Emotion in Motion, when something crazy happens… Todd… Todd Ruger, is that you? Yes, prizes will be had.
  • 10/26: A spot of simple promo at Cafe Risque, hosted by Cardeno C!
  • 10/27: New Zealand? How the hell do you get to New Zealand in a Mustang? Find out at Anne Barwell’s Drops of Ink.
  • Back to the States once again–in Texas! San Antonio, the lovely, romantic Riverwalk, made (even more) famous by the sexy characters of our host, Carol Zampa!
  • 10/30: Visiting at Charlie Cotchet’s blog–agenda, etc to be announced!
  • 11/2: Chris T. Kat will be our host! Hmmm… what to do, what to do?
  • 11/5: Luki and Sonny will take Rhys Ford’s blog and San Diego, CA by storm. (They will… just wait and see. And I’m pretty sure a prize will be up for grabs, too.)
  • 11/8 through 11/11: Well, I’m going to Bent Con in Burbank (yeah, like Los Angeles and Hollywood, only not…) and since the Vasquez-James boys are my transpo, they’re going, too. I’ll post their odd adventures here, at sylvre.com.
  • 11/13, Recap, and a prize. Here again.

Hope to see you all along the way, here, there, wherever!

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Filed under Contests, Lou Sylvre, New M/M releases, Saving Sonny James, Vasquez & James

Just Eight Days until Saving Sonny James is officially released by Dreamspinner Press (Yes that’s a buy link, and it’s already available on pre-order… jus’ sayin’). Between now and then, I’ll put together a calendar of related events, which should include some fun stuff including giveaways, and character shenanigans. I’ll be posting information here, facebook, Goodreads, The Romance Reviews, and possibly elsewhere, too. Keep an eye peeled, because I truly hope you’ll join me for some good times. Meanwhile: beautiful cover! (Again)

Vasquez and James Suspense Series #4

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Filed under Dreamspinner Press, Lou Sylvre, New M/M releases, Saving Sonny James, Vasquez & James

$25 prize 5-minutes-in-heaven part 2: select an excerpt to enter

Well, I’m behind… who is surprised? I was supposed to put this part two up yesterday. But (insert credible excuse here) so I’m racing to try to catch up. The $25 prize is still up for grabs. If you offered an excerpt to be considered for my five-minutes-in-heaven reading (9/14, Seattle, happy hour following GRNW), then your name is in the bucket once. But now vote, and you enter again. If you didn’t offer a selection, you can still enter by voting! There are seven selections, please vote twice. The entries are here, I’ve linked here from facebook, twitter, and goodreads. You can vote at any one of the sites (whatevers easiest for you). Voting is open for one week, through 8/7/13. on 8/8, I’ll announce a winner and which excerpt I’ll read.

#1 (Lou’s own selection) On the Hilltop Before the Wedding, in Finding Jackie 823 words)

Finding Jackie by Lou Sylvre art by Reese Dante THE Hawaiian sky stretched wide, exactly the hue of Delsyn’s Blue #3, which would make it all that much easier for Sonny James to eventually weave a tapestry commemorating the day of his marriage to Luki Vasquez. The lava at Sonny’s feet seemed peculiarly lumpy; he studied its color as he stepped across the nearly flat-topped hill where they would be wed. Splashes of dark red lay almost hidden in the surface. From a distance, one would never guess they were there. If Sonny had encountered that coloring a year ago, he would have woven it with judicious touches of Sonny’s Red, a dye that had long been his trademark. But once he’d been forced to stand and watch his nephew’s precious, red blood drip into white porcelain, Sonny’s Red was dead and gone, and even scarlet and carmine no longer held a prominent place in his art.

“No,” he said, forcing the horrors from his mind. “Happier things today.” He half turned just as Luki—his lover, fiancé, groom, and at the moment the most breathtaking part of the scenery—stepped near. Thinking “groom” made Sonny smile, and when Luki held out his big, capable hand, Sonny recognized the invitation and held out his own, letting Luki twine their fingers together.

“Hey, sweetie,” Luki said, his scratchy voice nevertheless deep and musical.
“Hey,” Sonny answered, feeling suddenly shy under Luki’s gaze—an inexplicable reaction, though not unusual. Their eyes met as they leaned toward each other for a kiss, and even though the sight was far from new, Luki’s pale blue irises, bright eyes surrounded with black lashes and dark skin, startled Sonny, and he caught his breath in surprise. Sometimes those eyes were like ice. Used to be that way more often than not, but lately the irises were nearly always dark-centered, wide open with love when they looked at Sonny, and the corners of Luki’s eyes often crinkled with a smile that didn’t quite reach his lips. He smiled like that now, in that very moment on the lava hill, and his eyes danced, reflecting blue sky, blue ocean, sunlight. The grooms shared their kiss, chaste but full of promise. Then, Luki pulled Sonny’s hand to his lips and kissed the finger that bore the fire opal engagement ring. Sonny’s mouth went dry.

“Kaholo’s on his way up the mountain,” Luki reported. “We’ll be saying our vows in just minutes, baby.” His voice held an edge of excitement that Sonny would have bottled if he could. Miracles like that thrill in Luki’s words, like that flush over his dusky skin, were not things that happened every day—even now, even after Luki had learned how to love. Sonny breathed deep in an effort to slow his thoughts enough to savor that and everything beautiful about the day. And Sonny was honest enough, and artist enough, to admit that he was part of the beauty—he and Luki both.

Both men wore white. Luki’s suit fit loosely, almost blousy, giving him plenty of room for his muscled chest and shoulders, yet at the same time it had been tailored so perfectly that, while it only showed off some of Luki’s curves and planes, it eloquently promised the rest. He wore a tie of barely blue silk, woven by Sonny with a subtle, obscured pattern of lauburu—the Basque Cross. They’d gotten legally married at home in Washington State, but they were both thinking of this Hawaiian ceremony as their real wedding. Luki had asked for that, in honor of his Hawaiian ancestors. But Sonny had thought it proper to have something to honor Luki’s Basque heritage too, and when he found the lauburu, a simple, ancient, pagan symbol of prosperity, he took some joy in weaving it into the tie.

Sonny wore white silk, an Italian cut customized for his height and slightly broader shoulders, following closely the slim lines of his elegant frame. He wore a white ribbon shirt, with the remaining three sacred colors in the ribbons—narrow strips of a blue so deep it was almost black, golden yellow, and dark red. They crossed his chest and climbed his shoulders, then hung from his shoulder blades in the back, hidden now under his jacket. The two silk-covered buttons of Sonny’s light-weight, summer wool jacket had been set with diamonds at the center. A silk scarf woven—like the ribbons on his shirt—of the four sacred colors from his tribal heritage, fluttered at his chest in the slight breeze. Sonny had created both Luki’s tie and his own scarf, and they carried meaning—almost as much as the rings they would exchange.
Reality check, Sonny thought. Nothing meant nearly as much to him as Luki himself, as he was just then, awaiting their wedding—his eyes excited, his smile nervous, his touch warm on Sonny’s hand.

#2 The Wedding Ceremony suggested by Traci from Finding Jackie 597 Words

Finding Jackie by Lou Sylvre art by Reese Dante The ceremony involved simple words, panic, laughter, and tears.

First, Kaholo led them through some traditional vows. To have and to hold, to love and to cherish, and so forth. Luki stopped himself from thinking, yada, yada.

Then it was Luki’s turn to wing it. He’d rehearsed only a little and never really planned the words. He was surprised how easy they came, how good they felt. “Sonny, I promise to love you, never to try to change you, to trust you with my heart and with everything I have, and always to remember how precious, how fine, how beautiful you are to me. And I’ll keep you safe, Sonny. I’ll always keep you safe.”

Panic entered the picture when it came time for Sonny to respond—which he couldn’t seem to do, really. “I… I… Luki, I… oh.” Tears started, and Luki had no idea what to do until Josh nudged him and mouthed the word handkerchief.

“Oh!” Luki said. “Yeah. Here, baby.” He held the snowy-white square out as if he was going to wipe his groom’s nose, but Sonny snatched it away, swiped it down his face, and then grabbed hold of Luki’s shoulders, bending slightly to bury his face in Luki’s neck. Luki reached up and put his two big hands over Sonny’s slender ones—Sonny’s trembling hands that seemed so vulnerable. “Shh, sweetie. It’s okay. You don’t have to say anyth—”

“Shut up, Luki, of course I have to say something.”

Those words left Luki slack-jawed again, but the need to decide what to say or do was swept away from him as Sonny stood away once more, grabbing both of Luki’s hands and holding them to his chest, where the many-colored scarf buffeted against them in the breeze, tickling. Luki met his lover’s dark, dark eyes, and found them smoldering despite the rim of moisture, smoldering with such intense sincerity or need that Luki wondered absently if a spark would ignite them like oil on water.
“Yes, Luki. I have to say things. I have to tell you that I… will love you and no other, body and soul… will honor your strength and cherish it. And, Luki, I promise to give you what I am. Every day I want to show you beauty—the beauty I see in the world. That vision is the best I have to give, the best of what I am. And….” His voice trailed to a whisper. “Thank you, Luki, for loving me so much.”

“The rings,” Kaholo said, somehow managing to put an audial eye roll in the words. Josh passed one to Luki, and Jackie passed one to Sonny, and chuckling with their guests they pushed them past knuckles that seemed to have recently grown too large.

“Kiss, then,” Kaholo ordered, and pronounced them a pair of husbands.

Everyone had survived. The boys began to help the guests line up for congratulations. Neither of the men had wanted a receiving line, but Kaholo and Leilani insisted. Both of the men looked a little shell-shocked, but a worried look suddenly flashed across Luki’s face. “Wait!

All eyes turned Luki’s way as he dropped Sonny’s hand and reached into his vest pocket. “I forgot something important. Sonny, this is a wedding present. I know it isn’t all glamorous or anything, but… I hope you’re happy with it.” He held out a hand to Kaholo, a hand holding a half-smoked pack of cigarettes and his dad’s USS Vincent/Dennis the Menace vintage lighter. “Uncle, please take these. I’m quitting. As of right now, I don’t smoke.”

#3 from Bluesimplicity First Meeting from Loving Luki Vasquez 557 words

LovingLukiVasquezLg cover Reese Dante BRIGHT clothes, sunburns. Summer had arrived, and Port Clifton was awash in tourists. Since Juan de Fuca Boulevard constituted most of the town, they had nowhere else to go. They chattered and milled about, and Sonny Bly James wasn‟t in the mood for chatter or milling because he was worried about his nephew, Delsyn, who always stayed gone for days, but who should have come home by now. Sonny quickened his long-legged strides and slid through the crush, trying to disturb the air as little as possible on the way to his truck.

Then he saw a man.

Which in itself wasn‟t unusual, but this man, an islander, maybe Hawaiian, by the look of him, lounged cool and beautiful in loose summer whites, half-sitting on the fender of an ice-blue Mercedes, a strip of sand beach and the blue straits for a backdrop. Dark chestnut curls shining; straight, white teeth softly teasing a lush, plum-red bottom lip. His eyes, startling pale blue against brown skin, roved all over Sonny; the islander made no effort to pretend otherwise, and besides, Sonny could feel them. Their touch trickled over him like ice water, exciting every nerve he had, even those he‟d never heard from before.

Which scared Sonny, a recluse by choice—and, he knew, because he‟d always managed to be socially… well, clumsy. So, he turned to the weapon that had been his first line of defense since adolescence, when all the reservation had noticed that their star young grass dancer didn‟t mind being gay: a smart mouth.

“What are you looking at?”

Even though the islander had responded by looking away, Sonny knew he hadn‟t—couldn‟t have—intimidated him. The stranger might have been a few inches shorter than him, but judging by his physique, and despite his laid-back manner, Sonny guessed the man could have dropped him with a cold look and a slap. It would have been less of a blow if he had. Instead, he freed his lower lip from his teeth and spoke.

“I beg your pardon.”

Sonny wanted to let a whole raft of words spill out, starting with “I didn‟t mean it,” and ending with “so kiss me, now.” But the man‟s attention had turned away. A baby in a stroller dropped a floppy brown bear at his feet. The young mother looked frazzled, at her wit‟s end, carrying another child and trying to keep a third from making a dash down the boulevard. The islander squatted down—a graceful move—and picked up the bear. Right before Sonny‟s eyes, his icy exterior melted, and though he didn‟t smile and couldn‟t pass for cheerful, he somehow seemed kind. He handed the stuffed creature back to the baby, who seemed to like him. She expressed her gratitude by spouting a number of syllables that all sounded a lot like “da.”

Sonny, angry with himself for blowing his chance to meet this chill but beautiful stranger—who might be trying to hide a kind heart—pretended he hadn‟t seen. He turned his faux-stoic shoulder and walked away. A little shaky, perhaps; already sorry. Three strides and he heard a voice, unexpectedly scratchy, even hoarse.

“Hey.”

Sonny turned.

The man took a deep, lovely breath, flashed his cold-fire eyes at Sonny, and said, “I have coffee most mornings at Margie‟s. In case you‟re interested.”

#4 Suggested by Juliana The Tucking-in Scene at the Hotel from Loving Luki Vasquez 418 words

LovingLukiVasquezLg cover Reese Dante After a while Sonny‟s breathing calmed. Luki flared his nostrils to draw in the smell of Sonny‟s sex, like saving it up, and rose to his knees.

Sonny looked spent. Not necessarily in a bad way, but Luki hoped he hadn‟t overtaxed him, what with his injury and all. He moved up next to him, handed him the water glass, and propped him up to drink from it. Not at all sure what to make of his own feelings, Luki nevertheless curled up around Sonny, cradled his head and kissed the top of it.

Sonny said, “You?”

“No. Another time. This was for you, Sonny.”

Sonny pulled his head away to look at him. After a time he whispered, half asleep, “You‟re smiling.”

“I guess I am. I‟ll probably have to rectify that.”

“Punctures the tough-guy image.”

“Almost irreparably. Are you hurting, now that you‟re awake and not being driven into a sexual frenzy? Do you want some more pain meds?”

Sonny hesitated. “Yeah, I think so.”

Luki extracted himself from his cozy situation reluctantly, then resisted the instinct to rush after

Sonny, who had rolled off the bed and set off for the bathroom.

Damn, Sonny, what if you fall! Damn, Luki, give it a rest!

Sonny made it back in one piece and, breathing again, Luki brought him his pill and plumped his pillows and helped him lay down without straining his injured muscle and pulled the blanket up and….

“What are you doing, Luki?”

“I‟m tucking you in.”

“Tucking me in?”

“Yes.” He hoped he was managing a cold and intimidating expression. “You have some sort of problem with that?”

Sonny laughed hard enough that Luki worried about his stitches—what the hell is going on with me—and kept laughing when Luki turned the lights out and stepped to the balcony to smoke, flopping on a cushioned wicker chair with one leg draped loosely over the arm.

Sonny fell silent, and a moment later his drowsy advice floated out to the balcony. “You should quit.”

“News,” Luki said. He found the night air, the lights on the water, the faint noises of traffic a lot more satisfying than would usually have been the case. He suspected he was still smiling, even though it wasn‟t stretching his scar.

Sonny‟s low, buttery voice came again, softly, from the edge of sleep. “Luki?”

“Mmm.”

“Uh… thank you?”

Luki smiled some more, which should have alarmed him but didn‟t. “You‟re welcome, sweetie,” he said. “You‟re more than welcome.”

#5 Suggested by Kat The Ambulance Ride (Neck Collar) Loving Luki Vasquez 473 words

LovingLukiVasquezLg cover Reese Dante The EMT had already checked Luki over, catalogued cuts and bruises and—mostly on his hands—relayed information about body temperature, pulse, and respiration to the ER. He moved on, and Luki tried to catch glimpses of Sonny as the EMT moved up and down the narrow aisle between them. He saw bloody patches on his clothes, gashes on his arms, one place on his left shoulder where both shirt and skin had been peeled away. A cotton pad had been laid under his back, and blood oozed into it, blooming along the edge near Luki.

Just when Luki felt despair looming over him, Sonny inhaled sharply, cleared his throat.

“Mr. James,” the EMT said. “Glad to see you‟re with us.”

Sonny said nothing. His breathing sounded ragged.

The EMT moved into Sonny‟s line of sight, which meant Luki could see Sonny too. Alive. Awake. Relief struck so fast and hard it hurt. Luki thought that, though he‟d survived everything else, this just might stop his heart.

“Mr. James, can you hear me? Do you know where you are?”

Which is when Luki realized that his own hearing had returned. Though a bit muffled, it was acute enough to hear Sonny rasp his answers.

“Can hear. I‟m in hell. Delsyn? Luki?”

“You know damn well you‟re not in hell, Mr. James.”

“Sonny.”

“Okay, Sonny. Delsyn was airlifted about three minutes before the blast; they got away clean and will be at Nebraska Hospital in about ten, I‟d say—”

“Factor?”

“Yeah, that turned out well. Mr. Vasquez‟s folks had the stuff in spades. Not quite sure how they got it, but I imagine that little breach of legal etiquette will be overlooked in light of the outcome. He‟s getting factor and red cells, and they‟ll transfuse him as soon as they arrive at the hospital. I can call and see if I can get an update, if you like, as soon as we clear this mockery of a road and reach the highway.”

“Luki?”

“He‟s right here, to your left—that‟s the side that probably hurts the most—and he won‟t stop staring at you. Not sure what that‟s about….”

It looked like an effort, but Sonny turned his head. Luki crinkled his brow, thinking they should have had a neck collar on him. What’s wrong with these people? But when Sonny locked his soft brown eyes on him, Luki forgot about his complaints. It felt like forever that they stared at each other. To him, it seemed they floated in a vacuum; nothing else existed but his lover and the small part of him that was good enough to let Sonny love him back. Finally, the ride smoothed out as the aid van pulled onto the highway, and the two of them spoke at once.

“What,” they said, “are you looking at?”

#6 The Blood Bowl Loving Luki Vasquez suggested by Cynthia 712 words

LovingLukiVasquezLg cover Reese Dante The ATF experts confirmed that, indeed, there were explosives in the van. They confirmed that the hardwired device did appear to be a detonator. They were a little surprised, and alarmed, at the ingenuity Royce had used in rigging the heat-sensitive switch. Maybe it wasn‟t a first, but this bunch hadn‟t seen that twist before.

“We don‟t have any way to be sure about the remote detonator because we could set it off while trying to find the closed signal. Cell phone controlled detonators are pretty common, easily done, and it seems he‟s got the know-how, so I think we‟d best assume it‟s real. As far as that heat-activated switch, we‟ve got a solution.”

Janine helped him pull a cut-off, dark green, insulated ATF vest over his head, which covered the face of the lens but missed the various wires. “There,” she said, in a voice like everybody‟s kid sister. “Now we‟re all a notch safer and you‟re more stylish into the bargain.”

Sonny actually smiled at that, which he found unbelievable. But it did feel good, like it untied one of the numerous knots in his belly.

“Hey, Sonny,” Duff said. “We‟ve got some of Luki‟s people here—employees, we call them. We‟re kind of snooty so we don‟t call them agents even though they‟re damn good ones. And our folks are calling in from Kaholo‟s. I‟m supposed to be the boss, so I need to hear everything. I‟m going to leave Janine here for company. She likes to gossip, so just tell her to button up if she‟s bothering you. And, Sonny, calm is the word. If it helps, I‟ve done this job for twenty-two years, done dozens of situations, and I can tell you the odds are on our side.”

Sonny nodded as the fiftyish man walked away. It surprised him how much calmer he did feel, just having the agents there. Have faith. Luki was right of course. There would be a way out, even if it hadn‟t come into view. He looked into the windows at Delsyn‟s blood. Still dripping. Still a steady rhythm. He reminded himself that, though it seemed a lifetime, not much time had passed. Del would be alright as long as they could get him out of that van alive.

He saw a black speck in the left hand blood bowl. It moved.

(Passage of time)

A fly.

SONNY could see nothing but the black fly in the bowl of blood. It had subverted every cell capable of forming thoughts. It didn‟t move, and Sonny wondered if flies drown. But, still as it was, he soon forgot that it was a fly at all. Just a dot of black on a field of red. Red that didn‟t quite match Sonny‟s red, the dye no one could copy, but almost. Whoever made this red, he thought, should be proud. He wanted that red, wanted to weave it through weft of the same hue….

“Mr. James… Mr. James!”

For a split instant, Sonny wondered why the young woman was bothering him, couldn‟t she see he was working? He lifted his eyes from the porcelain bowl in order to scold her. On the way to do that he saw Delsyn, then the van, then remembered the monstrous device strapped to his belly, and he came back.
He breathed a deep and quivering sigh, licked dry lips, and focused on Janine. “Sorry,” he croaked.

“Mr. James, did you hear the explosion?”

He realized that he had, though he‟d shut it away.

The sergeant, Duff, trotted toward them. “Are you holding up okay, Sonny?”

“The explosion?”

“Yeah, that‟s what I want to talk about. We got a radio call from the agents who went upstream, following the trail Vasquez left, presumably for us. An old powerhouse on the river is what blew.” He slicked his hair back, as if stalling. As if he didn‟t want to say more. “It‟s pretty clear that the bomber was in there. Since the remote detonator signal, apparently, did not come, we‟re operating on the assumption that the bomber went down with the building.

“Luki.”

“We don‟t know. We haven‟t found him, but he‟s always been crafty. And strong. There‟s hope.”

“Faith.”

“Pardon.”

“He told me to have faith. In him. In chances.”

#7 First Reunion Love Scene Beginning Delsyn’s Blues (Lou’s own selection) 607 words

delsynsbluesfs1.jpg An hour later, Luki stepped outside to smoke, no jacket against the cold, dry wind, nothing between his eyes and the stars. Dry, cold, and clear—a rare March night here on the Olympic Peninsula. He walked out to sit on the drift log halfway between Sonny’s house and the water. A square of artificial daylight lay on the sandy grass to his left, bursting out through the window of Sonny’s studio, where he was probably hard at work.

“I’m going to my studio,” he’d said a short while ago. “See if I can clean it up some.”

“Want help?”

One word answer, “No.” And he walked away.

Luki refused to wonder if now, inside his studio, something bad was happening to Sonny—emotions, memories, dope, whatever. He told himself for the hundredth time it was about trust. Soon, his cigarette had come to its predestined seven-minute end, and he was starting to feel the bite of the cold. But instead of going in, he walked down to the edge of the water, dark as it was, with stars sprinkled in the quiet waves. At the edge of his vision, he noticed the studio light disappear from the ground, and moments later he felt, more than heard, Sonny coming out of the house, walking toward him. He didn’t turn
around, but when Sonny reached an arm over his shoulder, Luki took Sonny’s hand and kissed it, not surprised at all, and led him back to the driftwood seat.

Sonny straddled the log next to Luki and leaned in to kiss Luki’s neck. Which tickled in a most seductive way. Sonny’s long legs grabbed hold of him like pincers, and he dragged his lean fingers over Luki’s chest, leaving heat trails on Luki’s night-chilled skin. The whole event felt like a stroke of better-than-luck to Luki because, though he refused to jump to conclusions, he was pretty sure Sonny was making sexual advances. And it had been a couple or a hundred months since any such thing occurred or even was hinted at. So if his response was a little too enthusiastic, a little too heated, he hoped Sonny would forgive him for that.

Better than forgiving, Sonny matched him flame for flame, and pretty soon hands were inside clothes and doing some exquisite touching, tickling, rubbing. But it wasn’t all that comfortable—cold and clothed—so Luki breathed, “Bed, sweetie.”

“Yeah,” Sonny answered, but he didn’t stop what he was doing, and Luki didn’t really want him to.

It made it all the more difficult to insist. “Come on, baby, let’s go.” He took Sonny’s hand out of his clothing and they both jogged, holding hands and holding up their unzipped pants with their free hands, moving about as gracefully as contestants in a three-legged race. Which made Sonny guffaw. He did it from time to time and it always delighted Luki—made him sort of laugh too.

When they reached the house, Luki slammed the door behind them with a foot and rushed to catch up with Sonny, who was already shirtless and dropping his jeans and a step away from the bed. All Luki could think about was skin, Sonny’s skin: bare, sweet, brown skin over legs and ass and chest and shoulders and toes and fingers and yes, penis. Perhaps the sweetest skin of all, that. He wanted so badly to taste it.

When Sonny’s jeans came off and he stood bare and enflamed, molded by lamplight, Luki’s entire being—every sense, every belief, and everything he knew in all the world—was about Sonny, the beautiful, breathtaking, heart-stealing man standing naked before him.

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Filed under Contests, Dreamspinner Press, Lou Sylvre, Vasquez & James

Win a $25 prize! 5 Minutes in Heaven Contest (and author rescue)

GRNW_Sylvre_Ad copy by Reece Wedschilde

It’s simple, really. I’ll be reading my work at the Gay Rom NW meet-up happy hour on 9/14 in Seattle, and I can’t decide what to read! 5 minutes, 550 to 700 words, on the theme 5 minutes in heaven. That means the readings have to be sweet stuff, happy, sexy, poignant perhaps but not angsty or scary, etc. 2 part contest, double-down by playing both parts. PART ONE (starts now!): nominate a favorite passage from any Vasquez and James book! Make your nominations here in comments. Every nomination get’s your name in the hat! PART TWO (starts Tuesday 7/28) I’ll post a link to all possible passages nominated or selected separately by me, and you vote. Your vote gets your name in the hat again. Summary–play either part or both, help me out (save my butt), and maybe win a bunch of book money!

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Filed under Contests, Dreamspinner Press, Lou Sylvre, M/M romance, Vasquez & James