LA’s heat holds danger and mystery for a Dom and his sub aiming for love and a new life together.
Anxious to leave London and its horrors behind, Brian Harrison and Jackie Vasquez move to Los Angeles. Brian hopes working for Luki, managing a small Vasquez Security branch, will leave him more time to live, love, and play with sub Jackie. But Los Angeles awakens old trauma for Jackie, and follows that with a brand new hit.
While Jackie struggles back to health after a crippling accident, Brian strives to find his balance as Jackie’s lover and Dom. Meanwhile, the more Brian defies the order not to investigate the disappearance of the previous branch manager, the deeper and darker the mystery gets.
Can the couple fan the lusty flames still burning between them, rekindle romance, and rise together in time to stand against looming dangers just ahead?
Having limited time, wanting to concentrate on making everything perfect for Jackie, and willing to find excuses to avoid driving in Los Angeles, Brian had dispatched Shel Solomon—the second most senior of the full-time agents employed at VSI-LA—to pick up Jackie at the airport. Now, as he set a third huge bouquet of roses—this bunch almost black—in a vase in his brand-new , not yet completely furnished but promising playroom, he glanced at his watch.
“He’s late,” Brian said to himself. He double checked the app on his phone, confirming the flight had landed only two minutes late. A little bolt of worry shot through him, but he quickly quenched it. This was Los Angeles. The delay was probably due to traffic. $Twenty or thirty minutes late means nothing in this town, he thought. “Hell,” he said aloud, “two hours’ delay is pretty much normal around here.”
Ignoring the hollow sound of those words in the mostly bare room, he set about hanging up carefully coiled hanks of colored rope via stick-on hooks, thinking only about the colors he’d use to make Jackie beautiful when he did arrive. He wouldn’t be able that night to use the suspension rig he’d bought—no time to set it up and make sure it was safe—but that didn’t mean they couldn’t have plenty to play with in the meantime.
Fifty minutes later, Brian had checked and fidgeted with each of the rose bouquets scattered around the apartment at least three times, made sure wine and water were chilling along with a tray of fruit and cheese, wiped the counters again, re-dusted the mantel over the built-in and partially locked cabinet, cleaned a smudge off the playroom’s triple-width, full-length mirror, and listened to two sets of phone messages twice.
Marley sauntered into the new playroom and began an inspection, disapproving as big orange cats tend to do, then gave up and sat down to stare at his human. Brian had just that moment arranged—again—the new cock-ring he’d picked up on another impromptu shopping spree, setting it jauntily alongside the vase of Black Baccara roses and the opened box containing the new collar he hoped to put on Jackie soon—maybe even within hours. He’d chosen the collar carefully, after much deliberation purchasing a rich, pliable, black leather adorned with a silver lock and trim and a stylized Triskeli inset with iridescent labradorite. He situated the box just so, sighed, and ran exasperated hands through his hair.
Legitimately, he had no more preparation to accomplish before Jackie’s arrival, but he fidgeted, knowing he wouldn’t succeed if he tried to do anything important and unrelated. He was full of nervous energy—more so the later it got, so he turned his mind to a minor mystery he’d discovered the day he’d moved in. The playroom had a built-in cabinet, something like a bureau, but mostly recessed into the walls, with a narrow counter stretching across the top like a mantel and a mirror above. Brian had opened, inspected, and cleaned seven of the eight small drawers and found nothing.
But he hadn’t been able to open the eighth drawer. The pull was missing, and at first he thought it was fake—just a façade like the double cabinet door in the center. But why only one fake drawer out of eight? And those doors looked to be painted shut, and their front was recessed from the rest of the structure. But the mystery drawer had a thin strip of metal set unobtrusively—almost but not quite invisible—along its side, between it and the neighboring wood. He bent and peered closely at it, shining the flashlight on his phone into the narrow space. A space in the middle of the inch-long strip looked like it called for a key.
Brian had always been driven to solve a mystery, and this one was no different. He stood with hands on his hips, squinting as if that would provide answers. The locked drawer bothered him enough, and it was enough of a welcome distraction from Jackie’s lateness, that he decided to try his hand at lock-picking. He went decisively to the other bedroom closet where he rummaged through a still-packed box and came up with a few paperclips.
He understood the basics of lock-picking, but had never had much call to apply the skill, which might be why he failed miserably. That added to his frustration with the way things were going in general. Already, things had slid downhill from his perfect plan—starting with the fact that Jackie was late. He wasn’t taking “no” as an answer from the $damned drawer. He lined a butter knife up with the lock and gave it three sharp blows with a hammer, successfully knocking the lock through the wood. Brian sighed, left with mixed feelings—tension relieved, gratified, victorious, but angry as hell and disappointed in himself for ruining the perfection of the setting for tonight’s planned scene. The front of the drawer was a splintery mess. He moved the roses, collar, and cock ring to the other end of the shelf for the sake of aesthetics.
Inside the drawer, he found a small notebook and nothing else. About half the pages were filled with what looked to Brian like scribbling. A few repeated things, like a circle around capital B followed by numbers, and certain other letters that seemed to be abbreviations. The arrangement of entries looked haphazard, completely disorganized, and—to his eye—meaningless. Yet… someone had found it necessary to lock it up, all by itself. The someone likely to have done that would be the now-disappeared Espen, as he was the last person to occupy the apartment.
Something seemed deeply troubling about that.
< /hr> Thanks for reading, and as always feel free to leave me your thoughts in a comment. I love hearing from you!
Seattle sparkles with snow that stayed, and Pike Place Market vibrates with color and starry-eyed shoppers. Beck Justice adds music to the mix, but he doesn’t believe in holiday joy—not until Oleg Abramov joins his ethereal voice to the intricate weavings of Beck’s guitar. While Oleg and his large, loving family brighten Beck’s bleak winter mood, Oleg thinks Beck could be the man to fill the void that nevertheless remains in his life. The two men step out on a path toward love, but it proves as slippery as Seattle’s icy streets. Light and harmony are within reach, but only if they choose to believe, risk their hearts, and trust.
Find Falling Snow on Snow at Amazon. Remember the sale ends on December 20!
The second half of the acclaimed Vasquez and James stories is out today from Changeling Press, following the release of Volume 1 last month. Vasquez and James Volume 2, sporting another brilliant cover, completes the long, flowing, beautiful love story of Luki Vasquez and Sonny James. Stick with them as they face suspenseful episodes, laugh with them as humor rears its marvelous head even in the toughest of moments, and rejoice with them as they come through the hardships stronger and closer than ever, with a happy ending any couple might envy. The sexy romance continues to blaze even while the suspense can chill you to the bone. Maybe that explains why Nadine said the novella Yes was “like some kind of magical incantation,” and the opening sentence of Nickie’s 5-star review of Saving Sonny James on Goodreads:
“What can I say about Lou Sylvre’s book Saving Sonny James? A veritable work of art. I laughed. I cried. I set on the edge of my seat. It was awesome.”
And here’s what Jules, of The Novel Approach review site, said in her review of the series’ final book, Because of Jade:
There is such a beauty about the way Lou Sylvre writes these characters. A pureness. A sort of reverence. If I had my way, there would be new Vasquez & James books until the end of time.
Get Vasquez and James Volume 2 today from Changeling Press and save 15% off an already great price. (And if you prefer buying through Amazon or another online retailer, the links are right there on the publisher’s catalog listing.)
About the books:
Troubles strike, Romance sizzles, Love endures, A family is made.
Saving Sonny James: The events of the last couple of years have begun to catch up with Luki — loving Sonny James and letting Sonny love him back have left gaps in his emotional armor. Sonny says yes to a European tour with Harold Breslin, a dangerously intelligent promoter whose obsessive desire for Sonny is exceeded only by his narcissism. When Harold’s plan for Sonny turns poisonous, Luki must break free of PTSD and get to France, fit and ready in time to save his husband’s life.
Yes (A Vasquez and James novella): Professional badass Luki Vasquez and textile artist Sonny James have been married for five years, and despite the sometimes volatile mix, they’re happy. From their first days together, they stood united against deadly enemies and prevailed. But now the deadly enemy they face is the cancer consuming Luki’s lungs. Sonny tries to control every thread just as he does when he weaves, but still Luki dances with cancer alone—until he gets a startling reminder of the miracle of life.
Because of Jade: Still cancer free after five years, Luki finds out his nephew Josh and wife Ruthie have met a tragic death. Luki and Sonny must help each other learn to parent an unexpected child, Jade, and still nourish the love that has kept them whole for the past ten years. A relative’s claim to Jade threatens the new family, and even if they prevail in court, they could lose their little girl unless they can rescue Jade from evil hands and true peril.
From Saving Sonny James
The cemetery lay quiet in heavy mist, autumn leaves breaking the gray with fiery shades. Sonny picked up some leaves and twirled them one by one in front of him, and Luki knew his mind was busy with ideas of color. They stood together at the foot of Delsyn’s grave, looked at the still new headstone with its simple engraving: a medicine wheel with eagle feathers in each of the four directions, and the name—Delsyn James Bull.
Luki said, “I didn’t know his last name wasn’t James.”
“He preferred James,” Sonny answered, shrugging. “He didn’t like his father.”
“So why is your name James?”
Sonny grinned, “I didn’t like my father either!” Then the smile disappeared but not the good humor, and he added, “And my stepfather, whose name I had on my birth certificate, didn’t mean anything to me. When my mother died and I was living with Melvern, I wanted his name—Melvern’s—and he got it changed for me. I’ve never been sorry. I don’t feel like any other name but James would have been mine.”
“I think you’re right,” Luki said. “You’re definitely Sonny Bly James, the most beautiful thing that ever happened to the world. And I love you.”
Sonny smiled and hugged Luki, then leaned his chin on his husband’s shoulder. “I love you, too, Luki Mililani Vasquez, the hottest badass that ever happened to the world.” He took a deep breath, held on really tight. “Why are you different, Luki?”
Luki’s wrapped his arms tighter around Sonny. He stayed quiet.
“Should I not have asked?”
Finally Luki found some words. “It’s fine that you asked, baby. I just don’t know how to answer…. Do you…. Are you asking why I’m different since I… since that kid—”
“Guard,” Sonny said. “He wasn’t a kid, he was a guard. No, I think I understand that, at least in theory. I’m asking why you’re different today. You’re… good. Have I blown everything by going there? Are you not going to answer?”
“No. You haven’t, and I will. Just not right this second.”
“Okay. Don’t worry, husband. No rush, and besides, I wanted to smudge over Del’s grave…. Damn, I hate saying those two words together.”
“Yeah, that’s hard. I’m sorry, baby.”
Sonny gave Luki a puzzled look, as though he could see something beyond those words that didn’t quite make sense. Luki thought, Please don’t say anything about it, Sonny, and perhaps Sonny was sensitive to that, because he said nothing more about it.
“Husband,” Sonny said, and the way he said it, Luki felt himself blush. He knew that was silly, but when Sonny called him that, in that certain way, it sort of made him tingle. He resisted a stupid grin, and Sonny went on. “Will you help me with the smudge?”
“Sure. What do I need to do?”
“Not a lot, really.” He reached into his backpack, fiddled with some things, and then held out an abalone shell filled with cedar and some other dried plant material Luki didn’t recognize. “Hold this,” Sonny ordered, “This is just sage, with the cedar. And a little sweetgrass.” He held a Bic to the mixture and set it to smoldering, making a plume of sharp but very sweet-smelling smoke.
Luki fought a smile again—almost lost the battle.
Sonny once again gave him the puzzled look. “This seems all mysterious, you know, but really it’s just a way of being clean. Body, mind, and spirit, so they say. I’ve never smudged all that often, nor did I go to sweat lodge or smokehouse to pray. But Delsyn did. Him and Melvern…. Watch how your holding that shell, Luki, it gets hot on the bottom.”
“Ouch! Shit, burn!”
Sonny took the shell from him, and Luki felt completely foolish. He’d been so distracted by the sweet smell of the smoke and crackle of the cedar, the pretty burn, he hadn’t even noticed the shell heating up. He looked up sheepishly to find Sonny peering at him through narrowed eyes, his lips pursed in a slight, pensive smile.
“You like this smudge, don’t you, Luki? That’s good. Put your hands in the dew.”
“Quick, honey!” Sonny sounded a little annoyed but obviously concerned for Luki’s welfare. “Put your hands in the dew on the grass—wet and cool, for the burns.”
“Oh, well, probably too late now. They’re not that bad, anyway. That was a really good idea, though.”
In answer, Sonny gave him another one of those bemused looks—this time, just out of the corner of his eye. Luki was trying to figure out what those looks meant at this point, but it didn’t appear he was going to be getting that information.
Sonny produced a medium-sized feather from the vest pocket of his leather jacket. “You know what I should do for you, Luki? I should have Jim Standing Bear come up and put you in a sweat with fifty-two rocks and a long-winded leader.” He chuckled. “Either fix you right up or put you in the hospital. Just kidding, of course. But to clean the grave—which sounds stupid but I think Del would like it—we have to be clean first. So I’ll do you and then you do me, okay?” Luki’s eyebrows went up.
“Smudging, Luki. We’re talking about smudging. Get your mind out of my pants!”
“Never, sweetie, but okay. Smudging. What do I do?”
“Just stand there mostly, while I get the smoke all over you…. Okay, lift up one foot… the other. Okay, you’re done. Smoke’s still going good. Do me?”
“Whoa, Sonny! Right here in the graveyard?”
Sonny laughed and smacked Luki’s bicep. “I meant the smudge, Luki. And you know it.”
“Oh, okay.” He knew a smile could be heard in his voice and he let it play there. He started to move the feather, washing Sonny down with the cleansing smoke. This whole thing, this day, this smudging as Sonny called it—it all felt so good. Luki didn’t want it to stop, ever, and he didn’t care if his beloved husband knew that. He hoped Sonny knew. He didn’t think he was well, cured, absolved. He knew he wasn’t, but just for now he felt brand new. He thanked Delsyn in his thoughts—this wasn’t the first time Delsyn had brought him and Sonny closer, or adjusted Luki’s focus. He’d done it more than once while alive, and it didn’t even really surprise Luki that he’d reach from the other side of the veil to wake him up.
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you’ll enjoy this second batch of Luki and Sonny’s adventures! Coming soon, a new series! Vasquez Inc, The J&B Stories, featuring the suspenseful trials, lustful heat, and poignant love story of Jackie Vasquez, Brian Harrison—with plenty of appearances by veteran characters Luki and Sonny! Feel free to comment on the blog—your thoughts are always welcome. Happy reading, everyone.
The Vasquez and James books that got such high praise from reviewers, readers, and fellow authors is back in a brand new format with a brilliant cover, courtesy of Changeling Press. Today, 6/28/19, the first three stories in this blazing romance between two extraordinary men comes out in an ebook box set, Volume 1 of 2, with the remaining 3 stories due out July 27. In each book Luki Vasquez and Sonny James meet danger in a thrilling episode of suspense, and despite it all their love grows a little bit stronger, glows a little bit brighter.
Get Vasquez and James Volume 1 today from Changeling Press and save 15% off an already great price.
Discover why author Kade Boehme said what he did in his Goodreads review of the first edition of book 1: “Luki is infuriating but god I love him. And Sonny… How appropriate is that name. He’s got a bad past hiding in there somewhere but he’s all light and “bubbles”. Just what that hard ass Luki needs. Lou Sylvre’s writing is also phenomenal. What chops. Very eloquent while still maintaining the masculine voices of her characters. Now THAT is talent. I’m smitten.”
About the books:
When badass meets artist, sparks and bullets fly. Blazing romance, chilling suspense, enduring love…
Loving Luki Vasquez: Renowned but reclusive weaver Sonny Bly James masters color, texture, and shape in his tapestries, but when he meets Luki Vasquez, an ex-ATF agent and all-around badass, his heart and desire spin out of control. The heat between them won’t be denied. United by danger, can Sonny and Luki put fear and anger aside, and fight together to save Sonny’s nephew and their own lives?
Delsyn’s Blues: Devastated by loss, Sonny James listens to a voice singing the blues from beyond the grave. Convinced he’s failed in an all-important life task, he tries to shut out Luki Vasquez and love just when he needs him the most. But when Luki finally breaks through Sonny’s fortress of grief, it’s just in time for the newly reunited couple to face a new, violent, escalating danger.
Finding Jackie: When Sonny James asked Luki Vasquez to marry him, Luki’s “yes” was accompanied by a request — a wedding in Hawaii. Months and many trials later, their hilltop island ceremony is poignant and funny, and every bit as beautiful as they’d hoped. The honeymoon is all sex, surfing, and sunshine… until Luki’s sixteen-year-old nephew is kidnapped by a sadistic killer. When it all comes to an ultimate showdown with evil, it’s not only love at stake, but their lives.
Excerpts (Beware of sexy hotness in the one from Finding Jackie):
From Loving Luki Vasquez
Oak Flats, Nebraska, 1982
A MUD-SPATTERED pickup in the front yard of a weathered house. Summer-gold hayfields rolling back farther than the eye could see. In the west, a sinking sun screened by a line of trees—cottonwoods and willows. Under those trees, a band of children just into their teens, whooping and laughing in that way that kids do in the summer when night is just on the edge of the next breath.
Luki ran faster than all the rest, and then looped back to taunt them. Excitement like electricity ran through him. Something about this day, this hour, this prelude to night, was special. “Maria,” he yelled. “I’ll race ya!”
It started a stampede, all seven of the boys and Maria, the one girl who always hung out with them, running as if they could fly, thrashing through brambles and over sticks and stones as if they couldn’t feel them. Out onto the Old Granary Road, onto the bridge, right over the rail and into the river, just as they’d done hundreds of times before.
Luki swam underwater for as long as he could hold his breath, which was longer than anyone, except maybe Maria. When he came up, laughing and spitting, and slicked his hair back out of his eyes, all of the other boys had gathered at the shore, whispering, or maybe arguing. Maria hadn’t even gone in, and now she was worming her way down the steep embankment from the road to the river.
The sun sank under the skyline, and the river turned dark, and Luki felt a chill run through him.
“Hey, Luki, c’mon over here, man.” It was Ronny Jemison, the boy that was a bit taller, a bit rougher, a bit meaner than any of the rest. Maybe the leader, if they had been a gang. “We’ve got something for you. C’mon.”
Ronny scared him when he was like this. Luki had seen the bully push Little Jimmy down the bank, yank Maria’s hair hard enough to put her on her knees, kill birds and frogs and rabbits—anything that lived—just to be killing. But, scared or not, Luki knew he had to choose: go and fight and maybe get hurt, or be deemed a coward and so get picked on—probably for the rest of his life.
So Luki went.
Before he quite made it safely to dry land, Ronny smacked him hard in the face with a balled up fist, and yelled one word, spit it at Luki as if it was made of acid and would flay him.
From Delsyn’s Blues
SONNY knew he should care a lot more about getting arrested for things he no way could have done, about people breaking in, about all of that. But he didn’t want to care. Luki—obviously—was thoroughly busy with the problem. Let him have it. Sonny had other things he wanted and needed to think about. Like Delsyn dying. Like Delsyn living.
Like Delsyn playing the blues.
He didn’t want to rush things, so instead of popping the cassette tapes into an old player, he took them to Port Angeles to a shop where they’d convert them to CDs. In the process, he discovered a 16mm tape he hadn’t noticed before. He had that converted to DVD. He successfully ignored Luki’s investigation for another twenty-four hours, then hopped in the ancient F-150 his uncle Melvern had left him as a legacy. After the key didn’t even crank the engine, he took it out of gear and hopped back out, gave the truck a push downslope, hopped back in and popped the clutch. On his way to P.A. to get the finished product, he didn’t think about Delsyn or various crimes. He thought about replacing the starter.
He drove through Port Clifton, which wasn’t quite on the way home, to stop at the store. He contemplated something alcoholic to help him through the hard parts. God help him, he once again contemplated dope, but he quickly discarded both ideas and settled for Rocky Road ice cream and a great big tin of Scottish shortbread cookies. Because, he freely admitted to the cashier, he was a little crazy. Making a last stop, he had a raspberry latte at Margie’s.
“So, Sonny, why are you driving that rusty bucket?”
“Mustang wouldn’t start,” he said, lying and pretty sure Margie could tell.
“Well, that’s kind of lucky, don’t you think? I mean, your Uncle Mel would have wanted to go along.”
Sonny laughed, and after that Margie found room in her freezer for his Rocky Road and chatted with him—or more accurately, at him—in the old way, not mentioning anything at all about death, murder, jail, dope, Luki, or anything else remotely related except her new PT Cruiser. But then at the end, she gave him another latte, free of charge. “You’re not the only one who misses him, you know. You’re certainly the one who has lost the most, but you’re not the only one who is sad, or hurt, or wondering how to fill up the hole in the world Delsyn left behind.”
“You miss him too.”
“I do, but I wasn’t talking about me. It’s good to see you in here again, by the way. I still wonder why you drink those silly coffees, though. See you soon, dear, and don’t forget to tell Luki I’ve always got a cup of coffee for him, black and sweet.”
Sonny parked the pickup in the yard, refusing the crotchety old thing the right to live in the barn with the Mustang, the Harley, and his auntie’s ridiculous but fragile ’72 Honda Civic. He wasn’t sure why his mood had lightened at least three shades, but he didn’t spend much time thinking about it. He wasn’t really the kind of person to get so very bogged down in misery, and now he had plans. He’d clean up the studio first—the rancid dyes had actually begun to smell up the rest of the house, and his fingers were starting to itch for the touch of silk and wool. Once he had his tools and space in order, he’d know what he wanted to weave. And what a relief.
Then he’d watch the DVD. See Delsyn again, he hoped. Hear his voice. Keep loving him, just as if he was alive. Maybe not, but better than nothing at all.
In the end, though, he didn’t deal with the studio at all. He let the screen door bang behind him as he ducked into the mud porch. Ignoring the strips of bark and thankfully dead but now useless cochineals, thankful that he’d at least dumped the smelly, spoiled dyes, he walked through to the kitchen to put the ice cream away and pried off the lid of the shortbread tin to eat a cookie. He thought about checking to see if it improved his fake Scottish brogue, but it never had before. The coffee pot was on, the coffee hot and smelling fresh, but Luki was nowhere in sight—not in the kitchen, the bathrooms, the bedroom, etcetera. Sonny thought about looking for him outside, or thought maybe he wasn’t there after all; maybe Rona had come to get him to figure out some legal thing that Sonny refused to notice.
But no. His shoulder holster was hanging on the back of the bedroom closet door. He wouldn’t have left it. Without having to think about it anymore, he knew where Luki was. Sonny could move almost silently, and he made it a point to be as quiet as he could on the way back to Delsyn’s room. It wasn’t that he wanted to surprise Luki. He only wanted to see him without the guard he would put up if he knew he was being watched. Maybe not nice, but Sonny didn’t care about that just then.
The door to Del’s room was open, the blue walls strangely aglow in the light that poured around the edges of the plywood he’d used to cover the broken window. The small lamp in the corner by Del’s bed had been switched on, and in the circle of light it cast, Luki sat in a T-shirt and striped pajamas, chewing his bottom lip and stroking the wood of Del’s old, now broken, guitar, tracing the scratches and scars on its surface as if reading it like Braille.
Of course, Luki became aware of Sonny instantly, and put the instrument down. It took him a minute to look up, and when he did, the look on his face gave away Luki’s feelings—a rare event in itself. Luki grieved. Sonny couldn’t understand now why he hadn’t seen that, expected it, even. The two of them had grown close—Luki and Del. Sonny had been happy for that at the time.
“He loved you,” Sonny said.
“You sent me away.”
“I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it.” Sonny thought of how lame that must sound, but he had no solution and just then he felt overwhelmed with all the things he’d done wrong—even if you just counted the last few days. But he tried to explain. “Luki, it was like… it hurt, but the pain was all I had of him toward the end. Stupid, I know, but I couldn’t share it.” He didn’t know what else to say, so after a moment’s silence, he added, “But I love you. And… will you watch Delsyn’s DVD with me? Want some Rocky Road?”
Luki sent him an almost-smile, nodded. “Sure. But hamburgers first. I’ll make ’em. You have to have something solid in your stomach before the shortbread.”
“You and your hamburgers,” Sonny said. “And I didn’t say anything about shortbread.”
“I need hamburgers to keep my strength up. You’ve got crumbs in your beard.”
“I don’t have a beard.”
“I know, but if you did, there would be shortbread crumbs in it
From Finding Jackie
LUKI and Sonny had checked into their hotel room before they went to the market, but they’d only had their bags placed inside the room; they’d never even gone in. They had decided to stay this time at a different hotel altogether, thinking the Fairmont was beautiful but the memories of their previous stay mostly not so good. At the Monaco, they’d been offered the Ambassador Suite, but Sonny had insisted the purple furniture would prevent him from sleeping, so they ended up with the Monte Carlo suite. They walked back to the hotel after their business and pleasure at the market was done, and Sonny sighed.
Luki said, “What?”
“Nothing,” Sonny said, sounding like a martyr. “It’s just… interesting wallpaper.”
“Baby,” Luki said, not understanding at all but willing to go to any lengths to please his man, “If you hate it—”
“No, no, I don’t. I mean, it’s not bad—it’s probably even good. I just need to get used to it. The colors in here are gorgeous, truthfully. And you know what?”
Luki’s eyes followed his husband, who paced from side to side, peeked around curtains and walls, opened doors. He made a sound, something like “Mm,” knowing Sonny wasn’t really looking for a response, but would appreciate knowing Luki was paying attention. He also smiled. Something about the quirky way Sonny settled himself into a space was too sweet for words.
“You know what I need to do, honey?”
Luki noted with glee that Sonny had begun to strip. This time, when he said, “Mm,” he didn’t have to feign interest.
“I need to get in that bathtub—do you see that thing? It’s like a swimming pool. I need to get in there and soak, all nice and relaxed, and take in that wallpaper until it seems normal to me.”
The man is fucking crazy, Luki thought, both disappointed and surprised. Sonny was already in the bathroom, fine-tuning the water temperature. Luki put his hands in his pockets—not a characteristic posture at all, but he was at a loss. He literally jumped when Sonny whooped and yelled.
“Yes! There’s bubble bath in here!”
Now, Luki was so nonplussed that he sat down on the couch, rather hard. When he tried to think of something he might be doing the only two things that came to mind were jerking off—which he dismissed immediately—and eating a hamburger. He considered the hamburger carefully, decided against, and got up to wander into the strangely wall-papered, thoroughly lavender-scented bathroom.
“This is a big tub, Luki.”
Luki stepped closer to Sonny and pushed a long strand of dark hair off his chest, letting it join its fellows falling down Sonny’s back.
Sonny grabbed Luki’s belt at the buckle and made as if to undo it. “Get in, Luki. There’s room. Look.” He lifted a foot out of the water. “See, my feet don’t even reach all the way to the other side. Not crowded at all.”
Luki stood silent, chewing his lip. He wasn’t one for shower play, which Sonny knew. It just reminded him too much of lonelier days. He never took baths, especially bubble baths. And, he really, really didn’t want to smell like flowers. But he loved his husband so much, and there the man was, asking for this simple, little thing.
“Luki, take a bath with me. Come on.”
Luki started to strip, tossing his clothes back out onto the chair in the bedroom. He was, of course, hard by the time he was naked, which was something Sonny certainly didn’t fail to notice, even though he said nothing. Luki stood there, feeling confused, never before having realized that deciding how to get into a bathtub and situate oneself was so difficult.
“Luki, you can just sit on that side, facing me so I can look at your eyes and we can talk. Okay? That way you won’t feel so awkward.”
“I’m pretty sure there’s something in that statement I should scold you for, Sonny Bly, I just haven’t figured out what it is,” Luki said while climbing in and turning around and sitting down as instructed. But once he settled, his hands found Sonny’s legs, and he couldn’t help but rub them. And then Sonny found his foot, and as Sonny well knew, Luki’s toes were really sensitive. And Sonny played with them. All the while they looked each other in the eyes.
“Luki,” Sonny said, finally, “you don’t play in the shower.”
“No. What’s your point?”
For answer, Sonny took Luki’s foot and laid it along his own erection, which was one of the sexiest things that had ever happened to Luki. Then Sonny took his size a-very-large-number foot, with its long, nearly prehensile toes, and not too gently stroked it up and down Luki’s cock, and Luki spent a few seconds catching his breath.
“This isn’t a shower,” Sonny said.
Luki nodded. “Right.”
Sonny let a little water out, added some hot to adjust the temperature. “We could fuck here, if we so desired, which I do.” Sonny actually looked hopeful, as if he was a little afraid Luki would say no, or maybe scoff.
Luki wasn’t about to do either one. Sonny was the most beautiful, lovable, eminently fuckable person on the planet, and Luki wasn’t about to fail him. As he’d explained to Sonny just the other day, fucking Sonny happy was his personal joy. He licked his lips. “Come here, baby.”
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you’ll enjoy Luki and Sonny’s adventures!
I’ve decided to go on record in a public way about the Dreamspinner situation—if you don’t know what I’m talking about, just do a web or Facebook search. I’m speaking up in response to some harsh words I’ve recently heard about the company and about authors still with them trying to go about the regular business of promoting books published by them. Dreamspinner once made my dream come true. I’m grateful, and I still believe Dreamspinner is basically honest, not a conniving corporation out to bilk authors or anyone else. They made some poor business decisions, and they took too long to admit that they’d made mistakes (but they did admit it). In addition, my personal belief is that they’ve made some poor editorial decisions. I admit I could be biased by the way a rejection was handled by one individual whom I won’t name because despite my pain I can’t know that the hurt was intentional. That person’s perspective on it is obviously different from mine. (I occasionally try to be an adult.) But that aside, I believe, as an observer with a limited field of vision, that it may have been a mistake for Dreamspinner to concentrate so completely on current reader trends and on certain authors to the exclusion of others who might work at a more traditional pace, possibly on books with a more evergreen style.
In addition, I want to go on record saying I believe that despite mistakes, Elizabeth is an honorable person, along with at least many of, if not all of, the people who work with/for her, like Anne Regan and many others. Perhaps Elizabeth was too hands off with the day to day business—like editorial decisions, like managing royalty payments. Perhaps, I say because I am in no position to know what happens behind the scenes. But certainly if she was not an honorable person, once she learned what a debacle the current royalty payment mess was, she would not have undertaken to go through over a thousand accounts one-by-one herself in order to make sure things got fixed. And, she’s made a wise and probably caring business decision to go to SBA rather than a bankruptcy lawyer.
Most of the rights that are reverted to me are mine because—before any of this—Dreamspinner opted not to renew my contracts, which broke my heart. (I cried for days and still cry about it sometimes even though the books were immediately swept up by another publisher.) But I think it was a business decision made with the best information available at the time, and I can accept that (more or less, lol). Asking for my rights back on the one title I now have with Dreamspinner Press as a sole author would not be worth the trouble at this time. And the series I have in progress with Harmony Ink—well, it’s in progress!
So I’m sticking, for now, and I honestly expect not to regret that. Would I sub another title to Dreamspinner? If I wrote the right book, probably yes. I won’t ever make them the sole basket for my eggs again, but that was foolish for me to begin with. It might not be foolish for someone else, but it was in my case. The same is true for other authors choosing to pull their titles—they’re doing what’s right for them and I support them.
I am still waiting for first quarter royalties. It’s an inconvenience, but I’d be just as broke right now if I had them as I am without them (though another bill might be paid). I fully believe I’ll get paid what I’m due.
I also believe Dreamspinner will pull through, and with a course correction, be a strong and thriving force again in the world of MM Romance and LGBTQ+ publishing, as well as in the community of people who stand for equality in the right for all individual to pursue happiness and full, rich lives.
Could I be wrong about all this? I suppose, but I’m pretty sure I’m not. If I am, more fool me. Thank you, anybody taking the time to read this.
Chenu stood while six Superior Commons heard his probation report.
“Replicator, male, 863. Bioengineered 2813, born 2814. Training 2829 – 2833, Polity Specials Institute.”
He withheld a smirk while the virtual voice summarized his education: behavior “poor”—meaning I dared have sex with Common men; training missions “excellent”—meaning I survived.
He listened to his distilled life while memories assaulted him. At auction, High-Corporate hadn’t cared about transgressions, only proven ability to traverse the Shatterwall…
It’s hard to believe the above snippet is just about a quarter of the whole story, but “Shatter” is the shortest piece I’ve ever written for publication—only 300 words! Small as the story is, it’s a feather in my cap. Not only did it receive an honorable mention, but it was given the special honor of being chosen as one of six judges’ picks out of over 100 stories included in QSF’s Impact anthology. If that wasn’t enough to put a smile on my face, here’s a little of what judge Carole Cummings said:
“… You built a full, vivid world in just 300 words, communicated its oppressiveness and questionable humanity, and compelled the reader to observe it, analyze it, and outwit it right along with Chenu. … The characterization was pretty damned adept. You managed to show the reader that Chenu isn’t much for exhibiting feelings—indeed, that Chenu is best off not having any—and yet at the same time, exposed him in a brilliant subtle fashion as someone who *does* feel and deeply, who deserves better, and man oh man, I for one was so glad he was going for it. The story was engaging, intelligent, and written beautifully. … Altogether, this story is quite an accomplishment… and I hope you take pride in it.”
(Thank you Carol, and yes, I do.)
And in more good news, the anthology is now available for preorder in paperback and ebook! Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732307520/
I’m looking forward to getting my copy and indulging in a lot of quick but excellent reads. Let’s see… I could read one while my coffee warms up in the micro… while I’m waiting for a science video to load… while I’m waiting for my phone to buzz announcing a Pokémon… while I’m in the checkout line… while I’m on the john… What? It’s the perfect place for a little ‘little’ sci-fi.
Upcoming. Seriously, I love that word. Its dictionary meaning—stuff that’s going to happen—has a connotation of anticipation rather than anxiety. But in my mind it also signals an expectation of things getting better—up coming, coming up, like climbing a ladder, like your star being on the rise, like ascending, maybe even like transcending.
Well, that’s all spiffy, but it isn’t what this post is about. This post is about what’s coming up for me—Lou Sylvre—and for sylvre.com. This year of 2018, which I’ll venture to call new even though a couple weeks have flown since it’s birth, seems for me to be about renewal, refreshment, re-energizing, and I hope that’s going to show in my writing and my blogging.
On the writing horizon, I’m excited about a few things, preliminary though they may be:
I’ve got the series starring Jackie Vasquez and Brian Harrison out to a publisher for consideration. Two of those books are written, one underway, and another one planned. Fingers presently crossed, but one way or another, I hope to get these stories—stories quite a few readers have asked for—out there and available.
Each of the three nights that had passed since Brian left for LA, lying in bed alone looking out at the Nebraska winter, Jackie missed Brian so much it hurt. Missed the smell of him, missed his weight creating a dent in the mattress next to him that Jackie couldn’t help but roll into, so that regardless of how far apart they started when they said good night, in the darkest hour he always found himself right up against Brian, usually ensconced in his arms. Safe.
He’d learned enough to know that he couldn’t entrust his safety to another, not really. He was his own responsibility—and he knew himself to be capable of meeting it. Still, in Brian’s arms was his favorite place to be, especially around two a.m. So when he woke deep in the darkness alone half a continent away from Brian, he ached for the man.
Writing partner Anne Barwell and I have finally got down to brass tacks with our Scottish historical fantasy romance, The Harp and the Sea. We’re on target to finish the writing in the first half of 2018, and (drops voice to a whisper) one top-notch publisher has already expressed interest.
“Ian, please. You see, before, always when I got into this boat, I did so because I wanted… needed to get away. And always I woke up many years later, many miles distant.” He forced his voice into what surely must seem like anger, but it was no more than determination. “Sir, I do not want to wake up away in the future, I want to wake with you. I am so afraid to climb in that boat that I cannot make my limbs move.”
A couple of brand new characters introduced themselves to me and demanded their story! It turns out to be a holiday story. I’m calling it The Holiday Home Hotel. I’ve got a publisher interested (though again, it’s preliminary) for a possible 2019 debut. Yes, 2018 would be better, but I’m happy with the encouraging “maybe” I already have. Meanwhile, I’m loving the characters and enjoying the writing.
As he walked back to the table where his friends sat waiting, with applause for his performance echoing in his ears, Daren felt power coursing through his veins. He was high on it as he’d never been before, and the feeling so far surpassed the booze that Gunny had tried to get him drunk on that he didn’t even want to sit back down. He needed to move.
“Let’s go,” he said, looking at Jimmy but oh-so-aware of Gunny’s hungry look. Daren didn’t know what that look really meant, but he liked it, and he thought he might have just made a discovery about himself that had been a long time coming.
Or maybe several discoveries, all because he liked that look. A lot. He liked knowing he’d affected Gunny by his drag Karaoke—by his look and his voice and his walk, all of which were different from, but somehow part of, everyday Daren. He liked that it made him want to get up next to Gunny and move, and he loved the feeling—the certainty—that Gunny would want that too.
I have a few other things queued up, and I’m hoping I can get some things out for readers this year, but in case I don’t, as Lou Sylvre, I do have something coming up in YA from Harmony Ink under my alternate pen name, Lou Hoffmann. Here’s a bit from Ciarrah’s Light, book 3 of The Sun Child Chronicles, which is destined for release in October.
“How’s your leg, Uncle?”
“It hurts,” Han said after swallowing a mouthful. “But it’s better, and I’m not feverish. You did a good job, Luccan.”
Lucky’s heart lightened a little, both with the news and the praise, although it made him feel a little awkward. In an effort to get past that, he chewed attentively for a moment, noticing the meat was either surprisingly flavorful or well-seasoned by hunger. He swallowed, took a sip of water, and returned his mind to practical matters. “You think it’ll be okay until we get back to the Sisterhold?”
Han took a deep breath. “With Behl’s help, yes.”
Lucky pushed his hair back and scratched at the back of his head to help him think. After a quiet moment, he spoke up to share what was on his mind. “Han? Uh, you know…. K’ormahk is magic, right?”
“Well, yes, in a way. I mean, the winged horses are a natural species, but like dragons—some dragons—they have a magic of their own. What are you thinking?”
“You know when we were on the ridge? I called him somehow, and there he was. All the way from Morrow’s lands—which isn’t even part of Ethra, really, from what Morrow said. So, if K’ormahk could do that, maybe if I asked him to he could just, um, transfer us to the Sisterhold. What do you think?”
“Makes sense,” Han said, his warm, dark amber eyes crinkling with his smile. “Worth a try!”
K’ormahk proved even more magical than Lucky had suspected. After they loaded up, before Lucky even had a chance to put his request into word or thought, the huge black horse turned his head back to flash a suspiciously twinkling eye at Lucky, and they were off.
The time they flew certainly was no more than minutes, but the flight was so breathtaking Lucky felt it was worth an eternity. They rode straight through stars clustered in colorful nebulae—Lucky was sure that was true, though he would have been at a loss to explain how they could do that and never even have trouble breathing. Stars were born all around them like the greatest ever fireworks display in slow motion. Lucky even heard a kind of music, a wavering and weaving discord like battling electric guitars but eerie and enchanting.
But things are coming for this blog, too. Some of you who’ve been around for a while may remember the author features I used to post a couple times per month. If you’re not familir or don’t remember, maybe check out the archives. Sylvre.com featured such authors as Andrew Grey, Ariel Tachna, Sjd Peterson, Tj Klune, Rhys Ford, and many more. At some point, life kicked me out of pocket and those posts and other good things slowed to a crawl and all but stopped. This year, the features will be back—I’m hoping for one per month. Next week on January 23rd, I’ve got Grace R. Duncan slated, and then in February, J. Scott Coatsworth. Exciting times for me, and I hope you’ll ‘tune in.’
In other news, I’m hopeful that the Authors Speak Newsletter will kick off within a couple of months, and then we’ll be quarterly after that. Just like on the Authors Speak blog (now cocooned to transform into a newsletter), we’ll have thoughtful articles from various authors and maybe readers, too, as well as book and event announcements and more. I’ll announce it here when it’s out, but if you want to be sure to get a copy of the first addition, register with your email at the Authors Speak blog page
You can still catch my monthly blogs at Love Bytes—I love blogging there, and frequently have great discussion with readers in comments. Starting something new, too—I’ll be honored to appear with a quarterly post on the Queer Romance Ink blog.
I’m adding a couple of new fixtures here on sylvre.com: A page that will list links to all my blogs, and a front page widget that gives the reading order for all my books in a series.
I sound busy, don’t I? I’ve got more percolating, so time will just have to stretch for me. No problem, right?
Thanks for reading. I look forward to seeing you a lot more often in the months to come. In case you don’t know it, I love comments! Sometimes I even bribe readers with a contest for them, but this time, I’ll just say, hey, I’d love to hear your thoughts about anything in this post, or about your plans for 2018. Otherwise, I’ll see you soon.
Co-author Anne Barwell and I are delighted with the scheduled publication date June 7, 2017 for our novella, Sunset at Pencarrow, which will represent New Zealand in the Dreamspinner Press World of Love collection. For a look at the stories already released, go here. We have had a sneak peak at our cover image, made by exceptional artist Reese Dante—stay tuned for the big reveal, most likely on May 9th. Meanwhile, how about the blurb and a couple of images that helped us with inspiration as we wrote this story of international romance.
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.
(NZ photo one: By Phillip Capper from Wellington, New Zealand – Misty suburbs and the Orongorongos, Wellington, New Zealand, 1 July 2006, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17726972)
(NZ photo two: By Phillip Capper from Wellington, New Zealand – Pencarrow Head, Wellington, New Zealand from ‘Santa Regina’, 24 Feb. 2007, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2893263)
Hello everybody. Stopping by the home blog to post the schedule for my blog tour for Falling Snow on Snow, a holiday novella releasing on 12/23 from Dreamspinner Press. I’m excited about this book, a contemporary romance with characters who made me fall in love with them while writing. (I hate/love it when that happens.) Falling Snow on Snow is up for preorder now and I’m on tour. Links are below, and a rafflecopter giveaway, with a couple of chances to win the book, and more.
Hello, and welcome to my post for the style: color;maroon>Happy Holidays Blog Hop! I decided to keep it simple, and post a short list of short (holiday-flavored) lists. That’s coming right up. I’ve also got a little Lou Sylvre news and info, and a prize drawing and teensy swag offer for Holiday Hoppers. For more holiday-style goodness, check out the other bloggers in the hop, listed right here at this link to the blog of our host, Nikki J. Markus..
Now to the lists!
My three favorite things about the holiday season (not counting being with people I love, because that goes without saying):
(The first list.)
Lights! Or perhaps I should say “light,” because winter is soooooo dark. It would be different if I lived in the southern hemisphere, I suppose, and I don’t’ think I felt this way growing up in Southern California, where it never gets quite as dark in December as it is here, a mere thousand miles north in Washington. Our daylight hours here are pathetically short for the months bracketing the solstice, and the low-angled sunlight often hides behind cloudy skies. Holiday lights and candle flames truly “make the season bright,” and it’s a life-saver.
Pajamas. No seriously. It’s a family tradition to gather on the day of our celebration for breakfast. The rule is pajamas. No one is allowed to be dressed in actual street clothes, even if driving many miles to get to the gathering. This is my rule, and since I’m the grandma, well, it goes. I’d make allowance for guests, but generally speaking, those outside our immediate family who have chosen to join us are perfectly willing to get into the spirit, and they wear pajamas too. In fact, they often wear the silliest pair.
BreakfastWe have lots of food. I no longer have to cook it all. We all manage to squeeze in at the round table . Those are all good things. But my favorite part about the day is German pancakes—that’s what we call them, and they’re reasonably close to what I’ve seen called a German pancake in the few restaurants that have them on the menu. But this is a family recipe. Interestingly, my mother, who was from Germany and came to the US as my father’s bride when he was stationed in Frankfurt in the late 1940s, had never seen such a pancake in her homeland. She learned the recipe from her mother-in-law, whose heritage was a mix of Native and French Canadian. Regardless of whether they’re German, they’re darn good eating, a hefty version of a large crepe, which can be eaten with maple syrup, or rolled up with jam (or whatever) inside. They were always a treat when I was growing up, and now the big treat for me is to see not only my children, but my grandchildren devour them.
(The second list)
Three lists of holiday books (a list of lists in a list of lists):
That’s it for my holiday bloghop entry. Comment by 12/21 with a tiny winter list of your own and enter win a $10 GC for the Dreamspinner Press catalog.
Some Lou Sylvre news: Falling Snow on Snowreleases 12/23 from Dreamspinner, available for preorder now, and I’m on a blog tour! Start here at MM Good Book Reviews blog for day one (yesterday), and get all the links for preorder and for the rest of the tour. While you’re there enter the blog tour giveaway, too! Here’s a review by Mt Snow on Rainbow Gold Reviews.
One last special thing. I’m giving away a litte, itsy-bitsy holiday Vasquez and James Universe vignette, available online at Love Bytes blog, or get a printed and signed copy. If you trust me with your mailing address (I won’t abuse it), write me at email@example.com, and I’ll mail you a copy.
Vasquez Inc #4—A Shot at Perfect (Click to preorder)
Vasquez Inc #5 A Shot of Trust—Cick to Buy
Vasquez Inc #6 A Shot of Courage—Click to Buy!
Vasquez Inc #7 A Shot in Darkness—Click to buy!
Vasquez and James Vol. 1—Click the cover to buy!
Vasquez and James Vol. 2—Click the cover to buy!
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