The Romance Reviews is having a month-long party, with different prizes to win every single day. On July 3rd (the whole 24 hours, EST), a “Q and A” will be available for a chance to win an ebook copy of Delsyn’s Blues. Just one (multiple choice) question and a can’t-miss-it hint; answer the question and you’re in the running, simple as that.
There are a lot more great prizes too (alhtough I like to think Delsyn’s Blues is the best… heh-heh). Here’s the basic facts on the event:
The Sizzling Summer Reads Party starts tomorrow (July 1) at 12:00am EST, with more than 400 participating authors and publishers, and more than 400 prizes up for grabs during the whole month of July. Grand prize is a $100 Gift Certificate!
Important! You’ll need to register and be logged in at TRR before you can play the game. Registration is free and easy.
I write slash romance, and confess I have only very tiny droplets of cloudy knowledge about Manga. I’d like to remedy that, and I am openly soliciting suggestions as to where I should begin. In fact, that is my contest! Leave me a comment with a suggestion for “beginner’s Manga”, and I’ll put your name in the hat for an e-book (your choice of the Vasquez & James series). And speaking of prizes, we cannot forget the blog hop grand prize! The info is here at Hayley B. James blog. Your comments here or on any blog participating in the Manga and Romance blog hop gets you entered, and there’s also scavenger hunt. Check it out, and comment, comment, comment.
I do know one thing about the subject, however, because my good friend Rhys Ford author of Dirty Kiss told me, and she does indeed know quite a bit on the subject. She said Manga was often about yaoi—boy love. And she said the perfect yaoi pairing is a seme, and an uke. Apparently, an assassin (or general badass as is Luki Vasquez), and an Uke, (the sensitive guy, like weaver Sonny James).
I also read a little essay that said people (women in particular) read slash because of the egalitarian dynamics of the love relationships and sexual interaction. Well… I’ve read a lot of romance, slash and otherwise. I find relationship and sex dynamics vary among all types of romances, some are egalitarian, some are not, most are in between, regardless of genders. I suppose Luki and Sonny are among the in-between, and I hope that doesn’t spoil their seme/uke image.
But why tell you how they are together, when I can show you? Here is one of my favorite ever sex scenes between Sonny and Luki. I hope you enjoy it (they do). By the way, this is not published, as it’s from the current WIP, Finding Jackie
Luki turned and looked at Sonny, knowing he had dropped his ice-mask in place, telling himself that at the moment he couldn’t let it melt, not even a little bit, not even for Sonny. Because if he did, he’d evaporate. Nothing would be left of Luki Vasquez but a fog in the wind. But Sonny stood there in the false-gold light of a tiny lamp, in a thin, ribbed muscle shirt and beat up jeans unzipped, silk boxers slipped haphazardly down to the fine hair that nested around his sex. Luki wanted, suddenly and badly, to pull that fabric down and see the beautiful penis—budding erection—that lay hidden there. Instead he raised his eyes to Sonny’s dark chocolate gaze, knowing that against his will he’d already let a tiny flicker of smile kindle deep in his own eyes. Knowing also that Sonny would see it. Because he was Sonny, and Sonny loved him.
Chill nonetheless, voice husky with sex and ice, he said, “Take off your shirt.” Sonny did. “Your jeans.” Watching, striving for cool distance, he commanded his own hands not to reach for the deep red silk under Sonny’s hand, where Sonny’s penis had begun to bloom long and sweet, shapely, just thick enough to be right. He fought down his racing heart, forced his breath to stay slow and steady, but he couldn’t help the sandy growl of his whisper. He locked his gaze again on Sonny’s eyes and pinned him there, forbidding him, without words, to move unless ordered.
The he said, “Your hand. Move your hand.”
Sonny followed the order, but slowly, deliberately, head tilted in coy seduction—his answer to Luki’s icy come-hither. Luki chewed his lip, let go of Sonny’s eyes and dropped them to his swollen sex. The head of Sonny’s penis pushed past the top edge of silk, dark and taut. Even as Luki watched, a drop of crystal clear precum pushed slowly out the slit at the tip. Luki stepped close, brought his lips almost to Sonny’s, but when Sonny went to kiss him he drew back. In answer to the surprised and maybe even angry look on Sonny’s face, Luki winked, leaving all the rest of the mask in place. He waited for Sonny’s faint smile before he continued.
“Touch nothing,” he said, and pushed Sonny’s hands out away from their bodies. “Nothing at all.” He grazed his lips over Sonny’s, barely touching, and that had the unexpected but delightful consequence of tightening Sonny’s nipples—which Luki discovered as he looked down to the beautiful, shining glans of his erection. He spared thumbs for those ultra-sensitive nubs before moving them to the heat emanating from Sonny’s sex. He bent down close and took in the unsurpassable scent of Sonny’s arousal. Flicking out his tongue, he collected that drop of crystal, natural lube, repeating the process when the first drop was replaced immediately by another.
Sonny, grabbed his hair—not unpleasant, but Luki raised his face to meet his lover’s eyes once more: “Touch nothing. Or I’ll stop.” Sonny looked so desperate that Luki knew it was like torture, but he hoped it was sweet torture, beautiful torture, rapture, instead. When Sonny unwound his hands from Luki’s curls, Luki pushed them out again, away from their bodies. He straightened so that he was face to face with Sonny, chewing his lip again while he let his thumb fall on the glans and circle. He brought his other hand to the shaft, snuck that thumb past the opening in the red silk and stroked up and down—slowly, so slowly that a shaky moan escaped Sonny’s lips. Luki shut it up with a hard kiss, raising both hands at once to Sonny’s shoulders and roughly drawing him up against his own, still-clothed chest.
“You have to be quiet, Sonny,” he said, still devouring his lips—unable to stop now that he’d started. “We have to be quiet in this place, and … and not too,” he chuckled, which wasn’t good for the icy action, but that was starting not to matter so much. “Not too exuberant—”
“Exuberant?” Sonny’s quip came breathless, but he quipped nonetheless.
Luki pushed his tongue past the half smile that went with Sonny’s words, sparred and played with Sonny’s, then pulled back. “Yes,” he said, trying to return to straight-faced Sonny-torture. “Yes, exuberant. I went to college.” Sonny’s laugh bubbled, and there went the whole charade. “I hate you, Sonny,” Luki said, but he was laughing, too, which he never would have thought possible five minutes earlier.
“Yeah, me too, Luki. But it’s no reason to cancel your plans. I think you were stroking my hard cock?”
How could such a conversation be taken seriously? Especially when the whole thing was whispered, and Sonny was standing naked but for his red silk boxers, and Luki had all his clothes on, including his gun. But now Luki followed instructions, reaching his whole hand down inside the heated silk to slide it along the smooth skin of Sonny’s penis. What a wonderful thing. Then Sonny was rubbing his long-fingered hand hard over the thick denim of Luki’s jeans and after a minute Luki felt ready to bust the seams. Their lips locked together until Sonny wrapped his free hand in Luki’s curls and tilted his head back.
“The gun, Luki. Lose the gun.” He added “please,” but to Luki that felt like a bow to convention.
And though he’d never in his life allowed anyone else to tell him to put his weapon away, he did as Sonny said, this time. Then he started pulling at his shirt. Sonny said, “Yes,” and lent his hand to the task.
Soon Luki stood naked, and he stripped Sonny’s boxers while dragging him down to the bed. They’re lips and tongues warred with each other in what seemed way more than a kiss. They both broke out in moans and whimpers, and had to part, each putting a hand over the other’s mouth. “Ssh,” Luki said.
“Quiet,” Sonny said at the same time.
They would have laughed, but they were way too hungry for each other by that time. Luki rolled Sonny under him, trying to move as little as possible while grinding their hips together. He put his lips right up against Sonny’s ear. “God you feel good, baby.” Then, after listening to Sonny’s breath come harder, “What do you want, Sonny?”
“No more teasing, Luki.” It sounded a little bit angry, a little bit like pleading.
“No, baby. No teasing. Just tell me. Do you want to fuck me? Or do you want me to fuck you? Or what?”
“Oh. Oh, it all sounds so good” Sonny’s laugh broke through for just a beat or two. “But mostly I want you in me. Yeah?”
Instead of answering Luki rolled almost on to his back, curling up the lowest knee and pulling Sonny up onto him, resting his lover’s back against his broad chest. The he remembered.
Sonny giggled, “Top drawer on your right.”
“You think of everything, huh?”
“Just the important stuff—Ah!” That last was in response to Luki pushing the head of his penis just inside the newly lubricated opening.
“Sh-sh! I’m serious, baby. We have to be quiet here.”
“I know, I’m sorry. You’re fault.”
Luki chuckled into Sonny’s ear. “I’ll be more careful. If it’s going to feel really good, I’ll warn you.”
Sonny groaned—quietly. “How did this really sexy thing turn into a B comedy?”
“Okay. No more jokes. Back to triple X.” Making good on that, he slid his penis in deeper, all the way, and began to stroke—not rough, but not too gently. Slow, not rocking the bed, nothing to tell the tale outside. He kept up the excruciatingly even rhythm until Sonny’s breath started to catch, close to climax.
“Luki,” he said, “God, Luki?”
“Yes, baby.” Luki wiggled his left arm under Sonny and put his hand near Sonny’s mouth, rewarded with Sonny’s sweet suck pulling all his fingers in to be lapped and teased with his tongue. That would work. More than one way to keep a lover quiet. His right hand he ran down over Sonny’s chest, teased the nipples on the way by but in too much of a hurry, driven by the sweet burn in his own sex, to stay and play. On down over the flat, hard belly, and straight down to the hot testes. Then up, grasping the long shaft of Sonny’s perfect erection, to stroke, stroke. Sonny’s left arm braced them both against the bed, and now he reached around with his right and took hold of Luki’s ass, pulling him in at the speed and rhythm he wanted. “Oh, Christ, Sonny,” Luki rasped. “It’s too close, baby. I can’t hold back. Come, Sonny. Come with me!”
In answer, Sonny buried his mouth in Luki’s hand and moaned, orgasm taking him completely.
Luki, too. He clamped his mouth over the hard muscle of Sonny’s shoulder, and came, the sweet spasm of every muscle and nerve jerking him into broken rhythm. His groin and belly pounding against Sonny’s ass, he rode the last long wave. Sonny clenched and pulsed around Luki’s penis, milking it, and his hot, salty semen poured into Luki’s hand.
On a particularly busy Sunday in EC West, we joined our friends from Cardeno C.’s Home series for brunch. In between mimosas and food, we caught up with Noah and Clark (from Home Again), Micah and Ben (from Just What the Truth Is), Jake and Nate (from Where He Ends and I Begin), Jonathan and David (from Love at First Sight), Zach and Aaron (from He Completes Me), and TJ and Finn (from the free series of shorts posted at www.cardenoc.com). We’re grateful to Amanda, Anita, Wilbert, Monique, and Jonathan for sharing what they learned with us.
Zach, are you still having to visit the craft room when you visit Aaron’s family or is Mimi a little easier to take now?
Zach picked up his glass and swallowed down his mimosa before answering.
“Oh, shit yeah. Mimi’s nice and she dotes on Aaron, which is cute as hell. But when we go visit we’re usually there for a whole week and it’s fuckin’ chaos the entire time.” He rolled his eyes. “Hanging out in the craft room with the other in-laws is the only break I get.” Then he set his glass down and leaned forward, whispering conspiratorially. “Just don’t tell Aaron about that, okay? It’s top secret classified blah blah blah.”
We didn’t realize Aaron had walked up behind us until he we heard his voice.
“What if I already know?” he said.
Zach flew up from his chair and turned around. Aaron smiled at him and took his seat, then he pulled Zach down onto his lap and kissed his cheek. “Don’t worry about it, babe. I realize those trips to see my family can be a lot and you’re amazing the whole time. Besides, I think it’s nice that you and Jane and Cliff spend time together.” Aaron, you said next time you wouldn’t be so weird about being topped by Zack, so was there a next time? If so were you ever relaxed enough to really enjoy it?
Aaron’s neck and cheek turned bright red and Zach started laughing hysterically. “Fuck, Aaron, it’s not a secret that we’re screwing, why’re you so embarrassed about it?” Zach shook his head. “The man’s hopeless. Don’t worry, though, it freaks him out to talk about sex, but he’s got no problem with actual execution.” He patted Aaron’s arm. “Are you going to answer the nice lady’s question?”
Aaron opened his mouth but no words came out. He looked so panicked, that Zach stepped in. “I got this, big guy. Yes, we tried it again, because he wanted to. And it was better than last time. But the reality is, bottoming isn’t his thing and topping isn’t mine. Soooo, let’s just say, that’s never going to become a regular item on the menu.”
Do you guys see marriage in the future at any point? And given how much Aaron loves kids, any more thought on kids?
“Absolutely,” Aaron answered.
Zach’s eyes widened. “Seriously?” he asked Aaron. “When did you decide this?”
Aaron furrowed his brow. “Umm, probably about thirty seconds after you walked into Kimmy’s kitchen and I felt my heart race. You know that, babe, I’d love to be able to marry you. The day it’s legal, I’ll be down on one knee.” “Oh,” Zach sighed in relief. “You were answering the marriage question.”
Aaron started laughing. “Course I was. I haven’t changed my mind about kids, and even if I did, I wouldn’t spring that on you at brunch.” “I would, you know,” Zach nuzzled Aaron’s neck and spoke quietly into his ear. “If you want kids, I’ll do it, big guy.”
Aaron cupped Zach’s cheek. “I know. But I want you all to myself, so it isn’t an issue.”
Noah, Clark, what about the two of you? Do you think you’ll ever have kids? And how are things with Noah’s folks now that his big brother, Ben, has the twins? “Lilah and Raphi are the best,” Clark answered. “We love being uncles.”
Noah nodded. “They’re cute as hell and I think they’ll be even more fun when they get older. Sometimes I think about what it’d be like to have our own, but family is …” He let the thought trail off and shrugged.
Clark curled his hand around the back of Noah’s neck and stroked his tattoo with this thumb. “Things are getting better with Noah’s parents,” Clark said. Noah snorted. “But there’s still a ways to go,” Clark continued, calmly. “It might help speed things up if we spent as much time with them as Ben and Micah.” “Right,” Noah scoffed. “Because when we have down time, I want to go hang out with my parents so they can look at us like we’re circus freaks. No thank you. Ben’s doing fine, he doesn’t need me there, so why bother?” “They don’t think we’re circus freaks, sweetheart,” Clark replied. “It’s just that this is still hard for them and they’re not used to it. But at least they’re trying now. You know, they’re never going to get comfortable around us if we’re not there.” “It’s not my job to make my parents comfortable. They need to get over their issues. Or they don’t. I don’t give a shit either way,” Noah said in an angry tone. “I know you don’t, Noah. But Ben does. Your brother cares a lot. You know how much it means to him to get your family reconnected.”
Noah gazed into Clark’s eyes for several long seconds. “Ben, Micah, and the kids are coming over for dinner next weekend, right?” he said quietly. “I’ll call my parents to see if they want to come over too.”
So, Noah, you’re spending time with your brother now. When you were kids, did you miss not having a good relationship with Ben? Do you ever regret pushing him away? “Honestly?” Noah asked and shook his head. “Nope. You have to understand, I didn’t know what Ben was going through back then. He seemed like Mister Shiny Happy to me. We lived in two different worlds as far as I was concerned, and I was too pissed off to think about wanting a good relationship with him. And as far as regrets …” Noah shrugged. “Why bother, you know? Shit happened, it’s over, and we’re all good now.” He brushed his hands together. “Done and done.”
Noah, you used to want Clark to be more dominant in the bedroom and now he is. But how would you feel if Clark wanted you to be the dominant one in the bedroom for a while? “Thankfully, he doesn’t want that. I’d give Clark anything, but …” Noah shook his head. “He’s my angel, you know? I wouldn’t ever want to hurt him. I know that sounds weird, ‘cause of what I like him to do to me, but …” Noah shrugged. “It is what it is. What we’re doing works for both of us.”
David and Jonathan, What did y’all end up doing with the “Will Dragon” disk? “Uh,” David pursed his lips and racked his memory. “I don’t remember seeing it at all after that first day I had it. I have no idea where it is.” “I broke it into a million pieces with a hammer and then trashed it,” Jonathan supplied helpfully. “You did?” David asked in surprise. “Mmm, hmm. I mean, I didn’t want to take the chance on Sam somehow stumbling onto it. I sure don’t have any interest in seeing it. And you said you didn’t need to watch. So I figured, why keep it, you know?”
David draped one arm around Jonathan’s neck and the other around his waist. “Hey,” he whispered. “I’m sorry I didn’t think about Sam seeing it or about what you’d want to do with it. I guess I just—” “Going on five years and you didn’t think about it at all. It didn’t matter to you. I know,” Jonathan said and kissed David softly. “And I love that about you.”
I decided it was my lucky day when Aaron got a call from his cousin, Jake, during brunch and I got to ask a question that had been on my mind. Jake, you told Mama C that you could handle the guilt of what happened the night of the accident. And I know you feel that you are protecting Nate by not telling him, but do you ever feel guilty about not being honest with him about that night when you are honest in all other aspects of y’all’s relationship? “Fuck no. Nothing good can come to Nate from knowing about that. Honesty is one thing. Hurting him to make myself feel better is something else entirely. I try not to remember my parents in the context of that one crappy moment. We had years of great times and I focus on those. But I’d be lying if I told you that I could keep it out of my head all the time. I remember the way my mom was hunched in the car. I remember the look in my dad’s eyes. And I remember knowing that I’d never see them again. If Nate had been awake, he’d have probably figured out a way to save them, but I don’t have his brilliant mind.” A pause and a loud sigh came over the phone. <strong.“Do I feel guilty?” Jake asked, his voice rough. “Yeah, but not about keeping that awful shit from Nate. And not about choosing him. I just wish I had been able to save them too.”
Micah and Ben, how often does Micah’s mom come to visit the twins? And does she make you nuts while she’s there? “My mom comes in about one weekend every month and we try to get out there every few months,” Micah answered. “She spends a lot of time with Raphi and Lilah, she cooks up a storm and fills our freezer with meals that last a couple of weeks, and she’s really good to Ben.” “Don’t you love how he answered your question without actually answering it?” Ben laughed. “Deborah’s the best, but she does make Micah nuts sometimes.” He looked at Micah and winked. “Either that or it’s a coincidence that when she’s here you often remember a really critical project at the office that requires you to go in unexpectedly.”
Speaking of family, Ben, how is your relationship with Noah? Is it still somewhat tense? “Tense? No, definitely not. Tense was most of our childhood when Noah was pissed off at our family and sometimes the world and I was hiding and pretending everything was okay. Things between us now are better than they’ve ever been, which is amazing considering …” Ben dragged his hands through his chestnut hair and sighed dejectedly. “I messed up so many times. The things I said to Noah, the way I treated Clark, I … I know I don’t deserve their forgiveness but—”
Micah put his hand on Ben’s bicep and squeezed lightly. “Come one, honey, don’t be so hard on yourself. You made mistakes. That makes you human. Your brother and Clark realize that and they’ve forgiven you. Maybe it’s time you forgave yourself.”
Micah, would you have been as forgiving to Ben as you were if he was a commitment-phobe as opposed to someone who ended up being severely repressed? “I was frustrated with Ben because I didn’t understand why he kept pulling back and, frankly, freaking out. Once he explained what he’d been going through, a lot of his actions made sense. But the most important thing to me was that Ben was committing to put himself in the relationship. I wasn’t interested in chasing someone that wasn’t ready to settle down or wasn’t interested in me. With those issues resolved, there was no keeping me away from Ben. I mean, have you met my guy? He’s incredibly sweet, has a giving heart and a sharp mind, he’s fun to be around, and he is seriously hot.”
TJ, Finn mentioned a man at your office that gives you strange looks? Is it Ben Forman? “Oh, God!” TJ cringed. “If I have any hope of making partner, I better pray word of that little comment I made doesn’t get out. Micah would surely find some way to make me wish I was dead or something if he thought I was bad-talking Ben.” “Oh, please,” Finn rolled his eyes. “Ben all but apologized to you for all that. He knows he used to act weird. I’m sure it’s not a secret to Micah. Besides, it’s all in the past, right?” “Course. Ben’s been great for awhile now.” TJ furrowed his brow. “Actually, he’s been better since around the time he and Micah got together. I guess true love ‘ll do that to you.” “Either that or great sex.” Finn shrugged.
TJ nodded thoughtfully. “True,” he said. “Speaking of which, are you ready to go home?”
You can learn more about these characters and find information about Cardeno C.’s Home series at www.cardenoc.com.
Bear with me. There is a point to this. It’s not really about writing (or reading) slash. It’s about writing (and reading) fiction, and loving it.
Sonny Bly James, one of the main characters in my Vasquez and James series, is a wild man behind the wheel. Here’s how Luki Vasquez, Sonny’s badass lover (and yes, husband) thinks of it during an iffy moment in the work-in-progress third suspense/romance starring the pair. Finding Jackie. Sonny, an artist, usually soft-spoken and gentle, has responded to an emergency with a promise to get them where they have to go quickly. And he’s driving a huge motor home. And as he hit the highway, he said, “hang on.” (Uh-oh.)
“This worried Luki. By now he was quite used to Sonny’s driving which often seemed wild, but rarely was, because he knew just what he was doing. The vehicle might spin, slide, or skid, but Sonny had control. It was crazy and it made Luki’s stomach do flips, but it didn’t really scare him—it kind of turned him on. But Sonny didn’t usually say, “hang on.” Luki wondered if perhaps he should have used the bathroom while he could.
His knuckles stayed white for the next half hour, until he acclimated himself to the faint squeal of tires, almost rhythmic on the winding road, the whoosh of cars and trucks as The Monster pushed past them, the rising pitch of the engine’s whine as they picked up speed on every downhill. Finally, he started to believe he was safe in Sonny’s hands even in the oversized vehicle, and he started to believe he would make it through without smoking, and he let hands relax in his lap.”
As I said, Sonny is generally a gentle man. He’s a weaver with a deep affinity for beauty and color. He cries when his emotions warrant it and he doesn’t hide his tears, or his fears, or his love. But he also cuts his own firewood and gets good and greasy wrenching on his cars, and—as we have seen—he doesn’t mind driving like a bat out of hell. In fact he loves it.
This is contrary behavior.
When I first learned this about Sonny, it surprised me. And yes I use that language advisedly. He surprised me, even though I supposedly made him up, being the author and all. Not only was I surprised, I was a little pissed off. This behavior was not in my plan for Mr. James. I even tried to undo it, to bend him to my will, to reconstruct Sonny the way he was, dammitalltohell, supposed to be.
Didn’t work. Not at all.
This is what’s wonderful about fiction. Even in a simple romance, the characters get behind the wheel and take the story off-road, and pretty soon the reader (and yes, the author) can do nothing but buckle up and hang on. And as a reader, and as a writer, I am very glad it happens that way. Kind of like life. Seriously–everyone I’ve ever gotten to know, gay, lesbian, trans, bi, or any variety of strait–none have ever turned out to be who I first thought they were. There’s just so much more to a person than you can tell by their looks or their labels.
Still, when I write, I’m the boss! Er… no. They are in charge—the Sonny’s, the Luki’s, the sweet, bad, strong, pliant, ever-surprising men (and maybe women) in my stories who love each other.
Donations to date: $500 to Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center!Thank you, readers! I hope Yes touched your hearts. I know our donation will touch peoples lives--in a small way perhaps, but every little bit helps.
This blog is not pornography, however it will from time to time include material suitable for adults. If you are not of legal age in the country where you live, please leave the site. Thank you. Others, proceed at your own discretion, and please enjoy!