Monthly Archives: January 2020

Vasquez Inc #4—A Shot at Perfect coming 1/24

A Shot at Perfect

Preorder now at retailers!
Download everywhere January 24, 2020—discount at the publisher!

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After a crash left him with new mental and physical scars, Jackie Vasquez has finally regained his focus, flair, and bright outlook. Though he’s letting Brian Harrison’s marriage proposal simmer, it’s not for lack of love. He’s set his sights on putting his life right first — a new job and a fresh start at graduate school. But Los Angeles — the city of devil winds — has new trauma in store for him. Another accident leaves him with the stump of a leg and defeated spirits, adrift despite Brian’s devoted attentions.

While Brian copes with his own emotional trauma, he hopes to break through Jackie’s apathy, but work at Vasquez Security takes more and more of his time and attention. Specifically “the Espen case,” which his boss — Luki Vasquez — has forbidden him to pursue. Help comes on all fronts from friends and family for both Brian and Jackie, but even as it does, danger mounts from outside. Can the two men find their way back to love as well as passion and fulfillment in their D/s roles? Can they survive the confrontation with danger that seems to loom closer and darker every time LA’s hot winds blow?

Excerpt

The morning after their stellar session, when Brian got out of bed, he discovered Jackie was already up. The fortune cookie was no longer on the night table. Brian walked out into the open front rooms of the apartment looking for his boy, eager to kiss Jackie soundly and get his answer to the marriage proposal.

Jackie had left three of four diagonally cut pieces of cinnamon-toast on a plate, two strips of bacon in a pan, and half a pot of coffee still keeping warm, but he was nowhere to be seen. Brian poured himself a cup of hot coffee and grabbed both bacon strips with his fingers. He sat down in his usual spot at the table, wondering if he should feel disappointed, worried, or perhaps unconcerned. Jackie had certainly demonstrated his feelings for Brian the previous night.

But the question Where the hell is he? kept popping up in his mind as he devoured the bacon and chased it down with coffee. Then, as he helped himself to Jackie’s toast leavings, the question evolved into Why the hell would he leave without a word?

Followed closely by Why hasn’t he answered about marrying me?

Shit. “No” would be better than silence…

Wait. No, it wouldn’t. But shit…

After he polished off the toast and talked himself out of putting a shot of J&B in his second cup of coffee, he remembered that phones and text messaging existed. Hopeful, he swallowed most of the coffee down and went to the bedroom to fetch his phone. Aha! A text awaited, and it was from none other…

— Good morning, Bri. I’ll be home soon. Before I forget. What happened to that broken drawer in the playroom? —

It took Brian a number of seconds before he could even make sense of the question, so far was it from what he’d expected — and desperately hoped — to see, but eventually he put it together. Annoyed, but glad Jackie had at least not forgotten him entirely, he texted back.

— It had a lock, no key, and I couldn’t pick it. I broke it. Where are you? —

Brian waited, sitting on the unmade bed in his skivvies, only vaguely aware of Marley head-bumping his arm hoping for a good scratch and not even noticing the sun blazing through the window and baking his left shoulder. He didn’t get an answer. He sighed very deeply, well aware of how piteous it sounded, and then he moaned, “Dammit, Jackie.” Sure the devil boy would be his undoing someday, he gritted his teeth, resolving not to worry until something clearly indicated he should.

He picked up his phone to send another text, but before he could do so, he got a mixed media message. As often proved to be the case with images, it had taken a long time to get to him, having been sent even before the text he’d already responded to. It was a selfie. Jackie looking very fine and dressed for success, wearing a blazer the same color as his eyes and a tie… one of Brian’s, he believed.

He texted back: You look good. Why are you wearing a tie?

He waited. No answer.

He waited some more. No answer.

He started to wait some more, said “Fuck it” out loud, and sent a final text. What did your fortune cookie say? And wherever you are, be careful.

Brian dressed, walked down to the office, and had already situated himself at his desk and powered up his PC when a reply came.

I love you, Brian.

Brian didn’t reply. He was already tired from the strange interaction. He just gathered up his things and, sighing again, turned his attention to work.

More and more he found he accomplished the tasks of management easily. He whipped through the morning’s e-mails before Livvy showed up, made a pot of coffee, assigned Lonny to manage a personal security situation for Korean corporate officers in Los Angeles for a wedding, and reviewed the latest financial reports with Ahmad. After a break, during which he tried unsuccessfully to reach Jackie by phone and then spent fifteen minutes crocheting with Livvy while she talked about her nephew’s latest musical triumphs, he worked on a plan he’d been putting together to point VSI-LA in a profitable direction over the next couple of years.

LA was rife with security companies, a good number of them with high level capabilities. It was why Luki had never concentrated his energies here — a big market with an even bigger pool of competition, and as successful and respected as Vasquez Security was, it remained a small- to- medium-sized fish in the large pond. That made it difficult to compete with the likes of Security Group International, and SGI’s office in LA was more than triple the size of Brian’s little group.

But he thought the office could do better than it had. The key was targeting the right niche. He’d researched, and he’d found two of the least monopolized areas to be security for transient high level corporate officials — like the Koreans in town this week — and event security for small to medium-sized posh gatherings. VSI was set up well to grow in those market areas, and his report included the necessary facts and figures for Luki to make a decision as to whether to invest in the additional personnel, training, equipment, and advertising to accomplish it.

Now he set his mind to propose one additional area of investment, one he wasn’t at all sure Luki would approve. For one thing, it involved privately dealing with things that technically should be the domain of law enforcement agencies. For another, it involved putting someone in the middle of very dangerous situations — negotiating with kidnappers and dealing with blackmailers — and nobody on staff at present in Los Angeles was qualified. But Brian knew Luki had done that type of work, and he had other agents in Chicago who could do it. Luki could do the training, and Brian really wanted to be trained and to do the work. He wasn’t sure why he wanted to do something so patently risky, except that he hadn’t studied what he’d studied and gone on staff with the London Metropolitan Police in order to spend all his time at a desk.

Whatever the reason, his brain got ridiculously excited at the idea. He’d need a partner, and he thought Amy might be a good choice. If not, they could hire someone. With Luki’s connections in the business, Brian had no doubt they’d pick up jobs if word got out VSI-LA was equipped to deal with them.

Interestingly, he’d found a file indicating Espen had been looking into the same field of operations a few weeks before his disappearance, but he hadn’t compiled any reports except a list of other security companies that offered the same services.

As that thought passed casually through his thoughts, a realization jolted him — as if lightning had struck and revealed Espen’s secrets. Two entries in the notebook had been different than all the others. Both had the letters RL, a date, and what was surely an amount of money. Only one had been crossed out.

Espen was a gambler, possibly an addict. Espen had been deep in debt to someone represented by the initials RL. He’d paid RL once, but not the second time. Around the same time, he’d compiled that list.

It clicked. He hadn’t been thinking of the business, he’d gone looking for help with a blackmailer.

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Cover Reveal! Sunset at Pencarrow Sylvre and Barwell, out 1/25 from JMS Books

cover reveal graphic by Lou Sylvre, Sunset at Pencarrow

Sunset at Pencarrow

Lou Sylvre and Anne Barwell’s New Zealand romance (in which two sweet, hot, lonely men try their damnedest not to fall in love) has a new home with JMS Books. It will go wide with retailers soon, but for now you can pre-order from the publisher (at a nice discount)… and read it on release day, January 25, 2020.

We have a lovely cover from Written Ink Designs, and we’re anxious to share it. With no further ado—


It’s beautiful, right? And so are our lovers, Rusty and Nate, as is their story. (Spoiler: happy ending!)

Find it here

The story:

Fog at Wellington’s airport leads two men to an impromptu road trip. Destination? Could be love!

Kiwi Nathaniel Dunn is in a fighting mood, but how does a man fight Wellington’s famous fog? In the last year, Nate’s lost his longtime lover to boredom and his ten-year job to the economy. Now he’s found a golden opportunity for employment where he can even use his artistic talent, but to get the job, he has to get to Christchurch today. Heavy fog means no flight, and the ticket agent is ignoring him to fawn over a beautiful but annoying, overly polite American man.

Rusty Beaumont can deal with a canceled flight, but the pushy Kiwi at the ticket counter is making it difficult for him to stay cool. The guy rubs him all the wrong ways despite his sexy working-man look, which Rusty notices even though he’s not looking for a man to replace the fiancé who died two years ago. Yet when they’re forced to share a table at the crowded airport café, Nate reveals the kind heart behind his grumpy façade. An earthquake, sex in the bush, and visits from Nate’s belligerent ex turn a day of sightseeing into a slippery slope that just might land them in love.

An Excerpt

About that time, Rusty followed Nate onto an even narrower track that took off to the right—the sign marking it as Browns Track. He had to pay attention to his footing now. The trail was truly steep—muddy and slippery in places.

Immediately on thinking those words, slippery in places, he felt like it was about something besides the muddy ground of the Orongorongo forest. He associated the phrase with his own intentions, coming out here with a man who—okay, I’ll admit he pulls at me like sex on toast. If he wasn’t so sure he didn’t want anybody, he’d think he wanted Nate. And yes, he knew he was skirting the truth.

Is that a rock in my shoe? Hard to think about anything else, really, with that irritant. He needed to do something about it. “Nate, hold up. I have a—”

A rolling blast of thunder cut his words short. In his mind’s eye, he saw explosions all around him in a cornfield around a sleepy, dusty town in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. But he’d come a long way since leaving that year of his life behind, and he knew almost instantly that he wasn’t there; the sound he heard wasn’t war.

“Fuck! Earthquake,” Nate said.

That made perfect sense—especially as the ground suddenly lurched beneath Rusty’s feet, knocking him off-balance. He fell forward, and gravity carried him downslope against Nate, who went down under him. Instinctively, he tried to shield Nate’s head from hitting the hard ground, cradling it against his chest with his hands. The packs on their backs weren’t bulky, but were enough of a lump to keep them from rolling far. Instead they slid, and by the time they came to a stop, they’d nearly reached the river.

Rusty lay still, concentrating on steadying his breath, but when he realized his body lay spread over Nate’s like butter on bread, his heart took off racing all over again. Trying to rein in his senses—ignore the feel of the man, the scent of him, the rush of his own blood heating his veins — he pushed up onto his elbows.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

“Yeah. Dandy.”

The breathy sound of Nate’s voice seemed to belie his words, and Rusty turned sharply to meet Nate’s gaze. He looked pissed again, and Rusty couldn’t blame him. He pushed up farther, intending to rise and then help Nate to his feet. But from that slightly higher perspective, Rusty suddenly saw he’d been reading Nate all wrong.

Yeah, maybe there was anger in that smoldering gaze, but it wasn’t anger at Rusty. The man’s as hungry for me as I am for him! Rusty knew that without a doubt. Of all the incongruous things, he could even smell Nate’s arousal mingling with his own. It smelled damn good.

And fucking dangerous.

He told himself his arousal was just a reaction to the shock of the quake, or it was from being thrust into proximity with Nate for the last twenty-four hours, or maybe he was hypersensitive, having gone so long without a man. He steeled himself to pull away from the man—the damned desirable man—who lay beneath him. But before he could put the intention to the test, Nate clutched the front of Rusty’s shirt in one strong hand and brought the other one up under his jaw, either holding his head or caressing his face. God, it was a sexy move.

Nate spoke, his glorious green eyes widening as if he shocked himself with what he said. “It won’t mean anything, right? It won’t… change anything. It will just be sex.”

How could the word “sex” harden Rusty’s cock to the point of pain? But he knew the word was coincidental; it was Nate unleashing possibility that made him fall headfirst into the desire he’d been trying to hold at bay.

He glanced around. They’d ended up some yards from the trail behind a tall rock formation and some brush, which screened them from the path and the river—and from anyone who might pass by. It seemed as if the earth had deliberately shaken things up, conspiring with fate to land them there. They were alone.

Nate let out a rush of heated breath, and seemingly the last of his inhibition flew away with it. He sat up long enough to strip the pack off his back and toss it aside, and Rusty did the same. Without any further warning or delay, Nate pulled him down and kissed him hard, smeared their lips together, licked across Rusty’s mouth, plunged his tongue deep.

Rusty felt on fire, flame burning away every emotion but want. He vaguely realized he didn’t usually want quite this hard, that the extremity of desire might have something to do with the nature and identity of the man he grappled with, but that was nothing more than a rumor behind the yearning that loomed huge, front and center.


Thanks for reading, and as always feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment. Anne and I would love to hear from you!

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