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New! Vasquez Inc #6—A Shot of Courage

A Shot of Courage


Kink and wedding vows can’t stop danger
but love gives a Dom and his sub
courage to fight.

Get it at Changeling Press—15% off, download now!

Or your preferred retailer—preorder now, download 8/7!



After too much time apart from his lover and sub, Brian Harrison is thinking kink, a cowboy hat, and one more marriage proposal. When Jackie Vasquez finally says “yes” to a wedding, he also says, “why wait?” But their vows and the toasts to the happy couple have hardly faded when a phone call reminds them that trouble still awaits.

Despite his best intentions, Brian broke the law in his efforts to stop a powerful criminal from harming those he loves. He could go to prison, or he could risk his life going undercover to help bring one of Europe’s most nefarious citizens to justice. Friends and smart thinking can help him do the right thing. But only love can supply the courage he and Jackie need to prevail against schemes and guns and, if they’re lucky, stay alive to enjoy a honeymoon.



An Exclusive Excerpt:

For Brian, Jackie’s unfaltering love and a quiet session showing him how beautiful he was in ropes had resulted in a settled mind and a good night’s sleep. By the time he sat at the table with his early morning coffee, though, he was worried again. His anxiety had taken a new tone. One good thing: Jackie loved him. Bad things: he was in trouble with the law and on mandatory leave from his job. The worst thing — or so it seemed at the moment: Luki probably didn’t trust him anymore, and he still hadn’t told him everything.

Jackie had gone out already, wanting to check in at school and with Dr. Holland, and maybe see Esi. Brian hadn’t wanted him to go, but Jackie understood the risks, and he was all grown up, and neither love nor Dominance, nor even marriage gave him the right to keep him from making up his own mind. He listened to Brian’s pleas to “be careful, don’t go places alone, and if you see something or someone that seems wrong, call me or the cops, depending.” And then he kissed Brian, said, “I’ll be careful,” and left.

As a result, when Luki arrived in LA and came up to the apartment, Brian was home alone.

He sat down on the couch looking exhausted. Brian felt bad, knowing he was about to lay some more trouble on him, but he was determined. He made coffee, poured two cups, and said. “Luki, there’s more. I meant to tell you all of it, but… well, I’m not sure why, but it just didn’t happen.”

Luki looked at him either forbiddingly or inquiringly — Brian wasn’t sure which.

“I’ve agreed to… work for Vintner.” Tempted to go on and pour out the whole story, Brian swallowed down the flood of words and guilt, and waited for Luki’s initial response.
Luki barely reacted. An eyebrow went up, and clearly gears were turning, but he didn’t ice down, and he didn’t snap. He didn’t even make one of his snarky comments. After a moment, he said, “I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t take that statement at face value.”

“Uh, well, there is more to it, yes.”

“Speak. No wait. I need more coffee. You?” Without waiting for a reply, he stepped into Brian and Jackie’s tiny kitchen retrieved the pot and the sugar bowl and brought them to the table. “Sit down here,” he said, while shoveling sugar. Once he’d taken his seat and fetched a toothpick from his pocket, he said, “Go.”

Brian picked up his cup and sipped, intending to stall and collect the right words but only succeeding in burning his lip, so that all he really said was, “Shit!”

Luki got him ice water.

“I am afraid of Vintner, which I already told you. Last thing I wanted was to end up like Espen, but he managed to blackmail me, I guess. He hired me… I mean, he came in pretending to be a customer — pretending either of us believed that — and wanted me to look into the hot cars he sold that were then stolen from his customers. I said no, but he let me know he could hurt people I loved. And well, I believe him Luki. Ruth and Jade, what happened to Lonny, that’s not coincidence.”

“No. It’s not. And you’re right to be scared of him. So you… agreed. You didn’t think of telling me.”

“It was the first thing I thought of, but that was part of his warning And I half-convinced myself I could just do it, and he’d let us alone. I know that was stupid.”

“Maybe.”

“That’s all there is. Except I went to jail…”

“I know.”

“Not that time. Before.” Brian told him about Jackie’s search for Esi, about the trip into the tunnels with Dr. Holland, and the weird fight with Roscoe Lieb, or Gerald Roscoe. “Whatever his name is. We both got arrested. I got released. Apparently there’s no record of it, because it didn’t turn up in the fingerprint match the other day.”

Luki stayed calm and cool, but there was a strained edge to it, and he said nothing until he’d finished his coffee and started in on the toothpick. “Anything else, Brian? Anything at all?”

“Um… I demanded data from him, info on his customers. Told him I couldn’t do the job without it. I thought maybe we… I… we could use it to… I don’t know. I got it. He sent files.”
Luki’s eyes widened and he nodded, but the silence was deep enough for Brian to count the muffled ticks of the clock on the kitchen stove.

“Just so you know,” Luki finally said, his tone casual, “He’s not blackmailing you.”

“Well –”

“It’s called coercion, not blackmail. Two different beasts. And you realize that by working with Vintner — even superficially — you’ve become at the very least an accomplice in his crimes, if perhaps a case couldn’t be made for conspiracy.”

Brian closed his eyes, part of his struggle to maintain his balance. Bullshit. I am not a criminal! He knew that, and he was convinced that Luki knew it too.

“You could try, as a defense, to point out that you were coerced — feared for your life, even. Unfortunately, while coercion can get you out of a contract, it can’t really get you out of a guilty verdict. So we’ll have to try something else.”

“We?”

“Of course, Brian. Think about it. You are my nephew’s husband. If you get hurt, he’s hurt. And you’re my employee. If you get convicted my business is seriously fucked. And you’re my friend. Someone I care about. Love like family — you are family. I might not be happy with things you’ve done, but I’m not gonna hang you out to dry.”

“Uh, well. Thank you.” In reality, Luki’s kind words did more to undo Brian’s composure than any threat or angry snarl could ever have done. He couldn’t meet Luki’s eyes, so he drank coffee, then wiped an imaginary spill with the heel of his hand. “So then, you have a plan?”

“Yes. I’m going to disappear, at least as far as most eyes are concerned. I’m going to take some important people with me to keep them safe — including Jackie.”

Brian wanted to break down and cry. Everything he was facing was already overwhelming. The last thing he wanted to hear was that he’d be facing it alone, with no help, and no Jackie to claim his attention once he got home — and yes, to find comfort in, even shelter.

“Objection?”

“No,” Brian said, and even though it came out like a poisoned breath, he meant it sincerely. He wanted Jackie safe above all else. And if Jackie was at the apartment behind VSI — or anywhere Vintner could find him easily — safe is what he would not be. After swallowing to try and fix his voice, Brian repeated, “No, Luki. Jackie being safe is the most important thing in the world. Hiding with you seems like a safe place.”

“Good. To be clear, he and Sonny and whoever else close enough to either of us to be in danger — if I can get them to join me — will be ‘hiding’ on vacation. And I’ll have some people around, keeping eyes out. People who know how to deal with bad guys.”

He stopped speaking, and when he caught Brian’s eye, smiled softly, his eyes kind and reassuring in an expression Brian thought wouldn’t have even been in Luki’s repertoire before Sonny, before the cancer.

Brian breathed a little easier, and smiled back, although truthfully it only made the desire to weep a little stronger. He still pushed it back, though. He didn’t want Luki to think he was caught up in self-pity.

“You won’t be alone in whatever’s coming your way. I’ll make sure you have a way to get in touch with Jackie, and possibly more important in the circumstances, me. I’ll help you in any way I can that doesn’t endanger our people more than necessary. I’m going to seem to disappear, but I’ll be around. Does any of that help?”

Brian nodded emphatically, almost knocked the chair down, getting up, and started viciously rinsing out his cup. “Though I’d feel even better if I was one of them.”

“One of who?”

“People who know how to deal with bad guys.”

“You are, Brian. Why do you think Vintner feels a need to make sure you’re handled?”

Luki brought his cup to Brian for a wash, leaned in, and said, “Anyway, I’m glad the measures I’m taking make you feel a bit better. Because, I now need to pull the rug out from under you.”

“What?”

“I’m going to report it all to Jesse Douglas.”

At the word ‘report,’ Brian dropped the cup. Fortunately, nothing broke. “Jesse Douglas — State Department, they’ve already had me charged with a crime.”

“Yeah, well. I think we can stop that before it becomes a trend.”

Thanks for reading! Comments welcome below, and if you are typically do reviews, review copies are still available.

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Filed under just a category, Lou Sylvre Book News, New M/M releases

Now! Download A Shot at Living (Vasquez Inc 3) at your favorite online retailer

I’m happy to report that effective December 27, 2019…

Vasquez Inc book 3, A Shot at Living, is available for download from major online retailers!


New!

A Shot at Living: https://books2read.com/vasquez-inc-3-Living

From some early 5-star reviews:
“Lou Sylvre outdid herself with this one! … Write faster, Lou!” —Kitty, on Goodreads
“A fine continuation of this series…. I look forward to more.” —Tappy, on Amazon

About the story—

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?

“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 to use the suspension rig he’d bought that night — 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 Triskelia 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 instead of a mantel and a mirror. 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? Those doors looked to be painted shut, their front recessed from the rest of the structure. But the mystery drawer had a thin strip of metal set unobtrusively — almost but not quite invisibly — 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 his 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 have been 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 a 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.

But, mystifying as that was, and as much as he knew he’d have to come back to the mystery at some point, Jackie was a much more present concern, and his mind returned there insistently. With no one else to bounce things off, Brian turned and asked his audience, the former alley tom, “Where’s my boyfriend, Marley?”


Vasquez Inc is a true series, so I’m giving you all the links here. If you haven’t read books 1 and 2, follow the links to start at the beginning. (Book 4, A Shot at Perfect, will be available starting January 24th, and 4 more books are planned in 2020, so this is a great time to catch up on this series, which is jam packed full of sizzling romance as well as spine-tingling suspense!)

#1 A Shot of J&B: https://books2read.com/vasquez-inc-1-J-and-b
#2 A Shot of Fear: https://books2read.com/vasquez-inc-2-fear

Vasquez Inc series is a spin off from the popular Vasquez and James series. If you’re like me and you want to know all about the characters you’ll see Vasquez Inc, check out those stories first. Luki Vasquez loves Sonny James, and vice versa, through six suspenseful novels that culminate in one of the happiest endings ever. Find me on the publisher’s website for links to that series
https://www.changelingpress.com/lou-sylvre-a-211
< /hr>
Lou Sylvre lives and writes on the rainy side of Washington State, penning mostly suspense/romance novels because she can’t resist giving her characters hard times along with their hot sex and good love. Her personal assistant is Boudreau, a large cat who never outgrew his kitten meow, and he makes a point of letting her know when she’s taken a plot tangent too far. When Lou isn’t writing, she’s reading fiction from nearly every genre, romance in all its tints and shades, and the occasional book about history, physics, or police procedure. Not zombies, though—she avoids zombies like the plague unless they have a great sense of humor. She plays guitar (mostly where people can’t hear her) and she loves to sing. She’s most often smiling and laughs too much, some say. Among other things and in no particular order, she loves her family, her friends, the aforementioned Boudreau, his sister George, and their little brother Nibbles, and a chihuahua-terrier mix named Joe. She takes pleasure in coffee, chocolate, sunshine, gardens, wild roses, and every touch of beauty she finds in the world. It makes her day to hear from a reader, so feel free to find her on the web—links follow.

Thanks for checking out the latest news. Follow the blog for news, sign up for my Sylvre Linings newsletter, or follow Author Lou Sylvre on Facebook. You can also find me on Twitter—@sylvre.

I always love to hear from readers and this blog is no exception. Please feel free to comment with your thoughts!

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Filed under just a category, M/M romance, New Release, suspense

Cover Reveal! A Shot at Living by Lou Sylvre—Vasquez Inc #3

A Shot at Living


Lou Sylvre’s Vasquez Inc series #3—a never before published episode in the lives of Brian and Jackie (wherein danger finds them once again after a move to Los Angeles)


Seen here for the first time: the all new cover by Bryan Keller at Changeling Press.


Links—preorder now!

Preorder now at online retailers
First download available date: 12/21 at the publisher
Download everywhere books are sold online 12/28/19

Changeling Press and Universal: https://www.changelingpress.com/a-shot-at-living-vasquez-inc-3-b-2972(Live links to all markets are available here.)
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Shot-Living-Vasquez-Inc-ebook/dp/B082KHRNRL
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-shot-at-living-lou-sylvre/1135447315/1134864037
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-shot-at-living
Apple/iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/a-shot-at-living/id1490952770?ls=1

The story:

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?

An excerpt


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!

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Filed under cover reveal, just a category, Lou Sylvre, M/M romance, New M/M releases, New Release, Upcoming release

Cover Reveal! A Shot of Fear—Lou Sylvre’s Vasquez Inc Series, Book 2

A Shot of Fear


Lou Sylvre’s Vasquez Inc series—the story continues (and the suspense gets deep in London)


Seen here for the first time: the all new cover by Bryan Keller at Changeling Press.



Links—preorder now!


Changeling Press and Universal: https://www.changelingpress.com/a-shot-of-fear-b-2952(Live links to all markets are available here.)
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081BDX3BZ
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-shot-of-fear-lou-sylvre/1134864037
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-shot-of-fear
Apple/iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/a-shot-of-fear/id1487545012?ls=1

The story:

A Dom learns to love while Scotland Yard claims his time and a sociopath lays a trap for his sub.

Jackie Vasquez knows he needs to submit to a Dom he can trust—just as much as he needs to manage his own life. He found the right Dom in Brian Harrison, and then romance beckoned them both beyond bindings and safewords. They take the first steps toward a life together in London, where Brian is pursuing his dream career at Scotland Yard, and Jackie is working toward a master’s degree. Their private hours deep in the night brim with both heat and beauty as Brian’s artful vision for bondage makes a masterwork out of Jackie, body and soul.

But time together becomes scarce as a series of horrific gaslight crimes keeps Brian at work and out of reach for Jackie much of the time. Though Jackie is faithful, he isn’t the type to sit and wait for his lover’s attentions. His self-assured ways and his geocaching hobby lead him to a dangerous discovery—all is not as it seems at the University. Trapped in the Gaslighter’s web, he’ll need to use every trick he knows to stay calm and buy time. But will Brian unravel the knot of mystery in time to save the man he loves?

Three Excerpts

#1—Jakcie
It wasn’t too many days before Jackie realized his place in the life of Brian the Scotland Yard Detective Constable accurately set the tone for their relationship. He couldn’t say he would have chosen that type of existence, but if it was part of the package to be with Brian, he’d make it work. Once he could move into his apartment, he got busy settling in, and shortly after found himself up to his neck in preliminaries and basics for his graduate study. At that point Brian’s always-on-call status didn’t matter quite so much—Jackie wasn’t available most of the time, anyway.

He had a key to Brian’s apartment, though, and over the next few weeks he went there some nights, climbed into Brian’s bed, and slept until Brian came in. Usually, Brian woke him up with kisses, but this time Jackie woke to the smell of leather and the feel of silky ropes teasing his skin.

He opened his eyes, to find Brian standing by the bed, fully dressed, looking very serious. “Sir,” Jackie said.
“Safewords?”

“Yes, Sir. Red and yellow.”

“Use them if you need to, starting now.”

Jackie had left his long, thick hair loose, and now Brian wrapped it around his fist and pulled Jackie to a sitting position. He tilted Jackie’s head back, then bent to kiss him, hard, tongue and teeth fully involved. “Out of the bed,” he said when the kiss was done, keeping his grip on Jackie’s hair as he complied.

“Kneel, right here, facing away from the bed.”

Jackie did as told, doing his best to assume the perfect position, knees wide, posture proud, head up, but eyes demure. And his cock had already gone more than half-hard.

Brian stepped away and came back with—of all things—Jackie’s hairbrush. When he showed it to his sub, Jackie had all he could do not show his surprise. A frisson of fear snaked through him—his father had beat him with a hairbrush once. But he kept his position and neutral expression and hoped that he wouldn’t end up safewording already.

Then Brian sat behind him on the bed, long legs straddling his back, and began to… yes, brush his hair. It felt good, but Jackie found himself feeling a bit unsettled.

Perhaps Brian heard an odd sound in his breathing or felt his tension somehow, because he asked, “Something to say, baby?”

“Sir, yes please?”

“Go ahead.”

“I… why are you brushing my hair, Sir?”

Brian yanked hard enough on a hank of hair to pull his head back and tilt his face up. “Look at me.”

When Jackie raised his gaze to meet Brian’s eyes, he saw something there he didn’t expect—sadness, perhaps? Brian kissed him, this time slow and sweet, still pulling at his hair enough to hurt if he tried to pull back.

“Because,” Brian said after he ended the kiss, “it’s beautiful. You’re beautiful, and at the moment it pleases me to enjoy your beauty..” He repositioned Jackie’s head, so that Jackie was looking down at the floor beneath his knees, and started working his hair with his hands. “And because I’m going to incorporate your braid into my binding.

#2—Brian
One morning after four hours sleep at home, he headed back to work feeling just as tired as before he closed his eyes, and bummed that even Marley refused to forgive him for his neglect. He was prepared to hate everything about work that day, but then he was sent to investigate a crime scene—Detective-in-Charge for the first time. Senior Inspector Petra Shiells, the small, female, British version of Luki Vasquez, had told him it would be a good place for him to practice fieldwork.

“Our troublesome string of crimes doesn’t involve murder,” she said. “Not yet, at least, so they’re not quite as critical as some others on our roster. The press hasn’t caught wind, so the cases aren’t high profile either. Besides, we’re spread thin right now. All that means I can’t assign my tried and proven officers out there. I’ll have to send you, but I think you’ve given me reason to hope for the best.” She handed him a stack of thin file folders. “Simple enough scene. Call just came in so everything and everybody is still there—except the criminal, of course. Upton, Green Street, Pakistani immigrants found something that scared them in a transit shelter. Hocus-pocus, or the like.”

Inspector Shiells looked him in the eye for the first time and said. “The only reason we have a call on this incident is that it resembles the other Gaslighter crimes. You know from the data end of things that means it seems to have no purpose but to scare people. I question that—I think there’s more going on than meets the eye. In my experience, people who like to scare others usually like to harm others, too. As good as this gaslighting arse is at knowing just what will scare his targets the most, we’d best make our catch before it escalates. So, listen to me, detective….”

She paused, staring him down, and Brian was pretty sure her purpose was to make him feel like he was about a foot shorter than her, instead of the other way around. It was all he could do to keep his gaze steady in return.

When she finally spoke, she added only four words. “Don’t screw this up.”

#3—The Professor
The professor slowly went through her office, ferreting things that she wanted to be sure and keep with her in her summer travels. She went each year to the Netherlands, where she’d been bred and born, and endured the entire first seventeen years of her life. She thoroughly loathed her elder brother, who totally deserved his paralyzed, weak body, as she saw it. She’d had a little something to do with putting him in that wheelchair, and she did not regret it.

She admitted, however, that it was largely to him that she owed her interest in the human psyche, especially in the element of fear. She had endured for years, reluctant to rise in the morning for fear of what new torture he’d arranged for her. To her everlasting shame she’d been so cowed at one time that she would piss her bed rather than get out of it and have him confront her. But one glorious day, cold hatred had arisen in her, replacing both mindless anger and fear, freeing her mind. In an instant she’d seen how precariously he leaned on the bannister. The wooden posts had been just as rotten as the rest of the rundown house their parents had abandoned them to. It had taken one quick shove with her ill-clad foot to break it and topple him.

At the time, she’d been disappointed that he hadn’t died, but she soon realized that his helplessness rendered her revenge even sweeter than his death would have. She provided for him now, hired a nurse and a housekeeper, and kept him in that same, horrid building. Two months out of each year, in the heat of summer, she went “home.” She paid the help vacation pay and thanked them profusely for taking such good care of him. She sincerely did feel grateful, for if they hadn’t kept him alive and built up his health through the ten months they tended to him, she would not have been able to pursue her research, using brother dear as her favorite guinea pig.

Oh, how beautifully he cries!

And don’t forget where Jackie and Brian’s story began: A Shot of J&B: https://www.changelingpress.com/a-shot-of-j-b-vasquez-inc-1-b-2946?series_id=576

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An excerpt from A Shot of J&B (Sonny James’ timely advice to Brian!) And a contest…

rope spider 7b93b2305e712e8ea61a8ecbe732fc88Oh, hello. I just remembered I have a blog here…
Not really of course, but I’ve neglected it for far too long. So to celebrate my return I’m offering an excerpt from my book coming out on March 16th, A Shot of J&B, and a chance to win something a little strange. I’ll tell you about that at the end.

For now, let’s start with this: You can preorder the book at Dreamspinner, and save 20%, simply by keying in this discount code: ASHOTOFJB. You can get there by clicking this link: http://goo.gl/K6Dj2d. This book starts a new series, Vasquez Security, the Next Generation, and as you might have guessed I’ve spun it off the Vasquez and James series. The main sweeties in this one? Jackie and Brian (J&B).

You may have already seen the fabulous cover Reese Dante created for this book, but if you haven’t here it is! Cover, A Shot of J&B artist Reese Dante, author Lou Sylvre

And, also in case you haven’t seen it yet, the Blurb:

Six years ago, Brian Harrison helped save the life of Jackie Vasquez, and he’s never really forgotten him. After the rescue, Brian ended his employment with Jackie’s uncle Luki and left the US for England, aiming to distance himself from the confused feelings—not lust, but not brotherly—that then sixteen-year-old Jackie engendered. Now Jackie has become a man, and when they meet again by chance, lust with a dose of D/s rope kink is definitely on the list of possibilities. As they get to know each other, though, lust shows every sign of growing into love, deep and true.

When Jackie moves to London for graduate studies in criminal psychology, he and Brian hope they’ll be able to enjoy each other’s frequent company. But they haven’t factored in the claim Brian’s police job with Scotland Yard will make on his time, especially when the “Gaslighter crimes” sap investigative resources. An abandoned aide dog named Soldier leads to a breakthrough clue, and a chain of discoveries fall like dominoes. As Brian rushes to beat the criminal’s game before it escalates to true terror, he comes to an undeniable conclusion: Jackie Vasquez, the man he loves, is in mortal danger.

Now, the excerpt. A little scene setting, it’s December 26th, and Brian is visiting Luki and Sonny while in the States for the holidays, and just by chance, Jackie is there. (They haven’t seen each other for close to six years.)

Their meal finished, they all bussed dishes, then Brian helped Sonny stow leftovers.-Follow_the_Oldtimers_Advice.-_-_NARA_-_514272

“Don’t think I don’t see what’s going on,” Sonny said, with no preamble.
Brian actually felt himself start to blush, but he clamped down on his emotions and played it cool. He hoped. “What?”

“He’s a wonderful guy. And he’s all grown-up, now.”
Brian said nothing, wrestling with some unruly plastic wrap more viciously than necessary.

“Jackie, I mean,” Sonny clarified, though he obviously was aware Brian knew.

After stowing the covered dish in the fridge, Brian stepped back, put his hands in his pockets, and decided not to even try to be coy. “I know, Sonny. And you’re right—I can’t help but be conscious of him when I’m in the same room. It’s the same feeling I had when we first met, that we have some connection we don’t know about. Only now, he’s obviously… an adult. So there’s another… dimension to it. I… I don’t know,” he finished, aware that it sounded lame.

“I don’t know, either, Brian,” Sonny said, wearing an easygoing, practical look that Brian recognized. “But that’s just it. You never know. I know you have your club, and that meets your needs for now. But maybe keep an open mind?”

Brian worked up the nerve to ask his question—one he really needed the answer to, but was afraid of what it might be. “Um. Well, Sonny. My kink.”man in ropes d8e0a1031980e0c32cc36016182755db

When Brian paused, Sonny inserted, “Yes, control. Domination. On the lighter side, though, if I’m not mistaken. Ropes, maybe?”

Brian chuckled. “Damn, Sonny! How do you do that? Yes, that’s it exactly.”

“And you’re worried.”

“Yeah!” Brian huffed out a somewhat frustrated breath. “I mean, I know Jackie… I remember what he wrote in his e-mails, and things. And…. Well, frankly, I have enough experience to know a sub when I see one, usually. But….” He stopped, trying to compose his thoughts, so he could speak them clearly. “He’s been hurt, right?”

He waited, but this time Sonny didn’t rescue him from the need to express himself, only glanced at him, gave him a quick nod, then returned to wiping down the counter.

Brian sighed, then struck out into dangerous territory. “He interests me, and honestly I think I interest him. But I’m afraid that if we were to get together, it wouldn’t be good for him—he might be hurt. I don’t want to be part of that.”

“I’m glad to hear that, Brian.” Sonny hung up the dishtowel, then leaned back on the counter.

“But not surprised. You’re a good man, I think. Do you want advice?”

“Please,” Brian answered.

Sonny scratched at his chin thoughtfully. “I’m not really in the habit of giving it, but okay. First, don’t put the cart before the horse. Foresight is good, but why worry about something that doesn’t quite look to be happening yet?”

“Right,” Brian said, feeling a bit foolish.

“There’s no reason to feel foolish—it’s good that you care enough to think about these things. I’ll give you a little information: Jackie has come a long way since sixteen. He’s worked very hard to understand himself and put the things that happened to him in some kind of context. He’s strong and bright, and yes—adult. Anything more is for him to tell you, if he wants. So I suggest you talk to him, and maybe listen to him. If something develops between you, trust him to know what he wants, and trust yourself, too.”

Brian smiled. “Thanks,” he said quietly, because he knew what Sonny said was not only right, but should have been obvious.

Sonny slapped him on the shoulder in a friendly manner, and said, “I hear Luki calling the dog for his walk. We should all go, get outside while it’s not raining.”

And the contest: comment on this blog post, and you’re in the running. What’s the prize? Heh. I’ll name a character after you, or put your dog, cat, or bird in my next book in this series (Your choice.) Any takers?

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Filed under A Shot of J&B, Contests, M/M romance, Vasquez Security TNG

Gay Romance University 103: Charley Descoteaux’s *A Curious Sustenance*—Best Methods for Moving On if Your Ex is an Ass

Welcome back to Gay Romance University. The lessons in this course are drawn from the experiences of Ross and a man who, for now, we’ll just call Shaggy. Their tale is well-told in our text, Curious Sustenance, by talented author Charley Descoteaux. Thanks go out to Charley, Ross, and Shaggy for putting themselves at the mercy of Gay Romance U.

A little background: Ross’ former boyfriend Brad behaved like an ass, presenting the newly svelte Ross with chocolate. Okay, I see the shocked looks on your faces. How can a beautiful, rich, triple-layer chocolate cake adorned with a liberal covering of chocolate shavings be bad? Chocolate Cake Close UpTake my word for it, Brad’s so-called gift, was underhanded sabotage. For details, read the early pages of the text. For the course, our interest in the cake is that it leads to the first lesson, which is actually the one Ross had to learn after he discovered what a (fill in the blank) Brad was, and had always been. It’s really Ross’s best friend, Janet who provides us with this insight. On page 15, we are privy to a snippet of Janet’s wisdom, in a nutshell:

“Let him clean that up.”

“But—”

“I swear, if you start cleaning that up, I’m leaving.”

“He’ll be gone two weeks.”

“Tough shit for him, then. He should’ve thought of that before he acted like an idiot prick.”

Class, repeat after me: Say it, sister! Seriously, Janet is testifying, here, people. This first point in the lesson is one we should all take with us into a relationship: if the guy is an idiot prick, let him wallow in whatever is left behind when you hit the road.

Now, of course, if the lesson ended there, we could assume that life in general is kind of a sad affair. But there’s always another step, and if you’re like Ross, you take that step in the right direction. Of course before you can take a step in the right direction, you have to understand where you are. In the following passage, on page 17, Ross realizes that he is now in a ‘place’ he’s never before been, and while it’s not a particularly pleasant spot, it isn’t all bad.

Being dumped was exhausting. This came as quite a shock to the guy who’d watched romantic relationships from a distance most of his life. He didn’t want to admit it felt obscenely satisfying. Not only was he part of it in a whole new way, but the people he’d been jealous of all his life might not have had it as easy as he thought after all.

So where does a man go from there? If you’re Ross, you get yourself looking real good, like this, from page 19:

…he emerged in black silk from top to bottom. The buttons on his long-sleeved shirt gleamed silver, matching the small buckles on his black leather demi-boots. He felt almost as though he wore someone else’s clothes, but that was only because they were new. He’d worn the slacks the last time Brad had taken him out to the Heathman Hotel for drinks, but they’d been too tight. Now they hugged his ass perfectly…

Once you’ve donned clothes that make you look luscious, you go somewhere brand new. In this passage, beginning farther along on page 19, we join Ross as he steps out into a new chapter in his life. Oh, and we can also learn from this that it’s okay to be nervous. You look delicious anyway.

His stomach fluttered as he walked with Janet, about a half a block in the other direction, and then she opened a door Ross never would’ve noticed because it had no sign to attract attention. […]

“Where are we going?” Ross tried to hide his nerves, but after the last surprise, he wasn’t sure he wanted any more.

“It’s a private club. Don’t worry, I’m a member, and you’re my guest.” They stopped on the landing, in a little alcove. A red door stood at the end of a short hallway to his left. The street sounded very far away. “Tonight, you’ll be Hunter.”

“Pardon me?”

“You can stay anonymous. And since you have those luscious green eyes, you’ll be hiding behind the name Hunter.” Janet smiled and gently pulled his top button open before taking Ross by the hand and heading for the door.

On the other side of the red door was a foyer lined with red velvet curtains. Janet passed her coat and purse to a pretty young man on the other side of a counter. It was as if they’d stepped onto the set of an old porn flick. Brad had been on an oldies kick not long ago, and the fake potted palm in the corner, muted lighting, and shirtless boy behind the counter wearing a red bow tie the exact color of the curtains reminded him of one of those flicks. He backed toward the door.

Yes, it’s okay to be nervous, but don’t leave! Good things are bound to happen. After encountering a few surprising sights, Ross arrives at the right conclusion:

Artistic abstract pattern of rope twists on dark red background“This is a sex club.” Ross hissed into Janet’s ear. “You brought me to a sex club?”
She pulled him the last few steps to the bar and found them two empty stools. The stools were freestanding and a few didn’t match. It was like being in someone’s living room while they were having a theme party. Before Janet had time to answer, his eyes grew wide and he leaned in even closer.

“You’re in a sex club?”

Now, like many of us, Ross is not always terribly brave and ready to face the unknown. (Forgive me for saying that, Ross, but you know it’s true.) So, once he realized he was in a sex club, and furthermore, a mostly heterosexual-seeming sex club, he wants to leave—ASAP (Brad’s term). Fortunately, before he got a chance to make a getaway, he’s taken to Amethyst’s rooms, where he expects to watch a scene. But, oh, my. Lucky Ross, he sees something, or I should say someone, entirely different. Beginning on page 22:

The room looked like anyone’s living room. Anyone like Elvira or maybe Bela Lugosi. The couches and chairs were all covered in dark velvet that may’ve been purple, and the muted lighting made the candlesticks grouped in the corners gleam like old silver. Janet’s friend turned a dimmer switch and some of the candles brightened. She was speaking, but Ross couldn’t hear. His mind stopped processing everything except the man striding in his direction. He had to be six three, and when he got closer, Ross thought he probably had a Japanese grandfather. He was gorgeous, with his long black hair, simple black suit, and smoky gaze.jackie rope bondage shibari goo ftuos

“May I have a word?”

The man’s voice was even smokier than his gaze, and Ross already felt as though he were a heartbeat away from bursting into flame. He nodded, and a firm hand on his lower back guided him off to the side of the room. The man stopped in the center of an ornate oriental rug and looked Ross over appreciatively.

“I practice Shibari. You have heard of it?”

Ross nodded. He’d seen pictures of pretty young men bound with intricate knots on the Internet but hadn’t been tempted to approach Brad to try it.

“I am called Shaggy, and I would like to work with you.” The man palmed his shoulder, and his whole body warmed to the touch. “You are Scarlett’s friend?”

Ross nodded again, trying but failing to speak with his mind so full of the hand resting on his shoulder.

“Do you like pain?”

Ross gasped softly and shook his head.

“I will do nothing meant to cause pain. What is your safe word?”

The question woke Ross up enough to speak. He felt as though he’d stepped into a movie—the atmosphere, this gorgeous man’s extremely careful speech pattern, and his own shocking desire.

“My….” was all he could get out, but it was something.

Shaggy held his eyes for a long moment. The man was an excellent showman; he had the mysterious magician-vibe down. Ross felt himself falling into those dark eyes.

“We will use the traffic-signal colors.” Slowly but without hesitation, the man’s fingers began to unbutton Ross’s shirt. “If you feel any discomfort, use them. Yellow and I will slow down. Red and I stop immediately and cut the ropes. Do you understand?”

Ross nodded, and his shirt was unbuttoned. It wasn’t cold in the room, but he shivered as Shaggy’s fingers touched the bare skin of his chest. Shaggy walked around behind Ross and spoke in his ear as he drew the soft shirt away from his shoulders and down his arms.

“I want to hear you say the words.”

“Yellow is slow down. Red is stop.”

The man, who Ross found impossible to call Shaggy even in his head, smiled, and Ross worried he wouldn’t be able to remain standing much longer. Nobody had ever looked at him like that, as though he were beautiful and special and quite possibly delicious. The man draped his shirt over a small velvet chair and turned back to him.

“Yes,” he said softly, so only Ross could hear. He ran his palm slowly across Ross’s chest, from his left shoulder to just below his right nipple. “This will be beautiful.”

Mm-hmm. “Special and quite possibly delicious.” Sound promising? The rest of this passage is so much worth reading. I recommend it for additional study. Of course things go on from there, as they do in life and romance, but this is where we end today’s lesson.

I hope this GRU course has been enjoyable and informative, and I hope you can put Ross’s life lessons to use, or encourage a friend to do so, perhaps.

If you haven’t picked up the text yet and want to do so, click the cover image for the buy link. If you’d like to know more about Charley Descoteaux, try her website, CharleyDescoteauxwrites, or find her on twitter @CharlieDescote, or on her facebook author page.

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