Blog Tour: Swift for the Sun by Karen Bovenmyer

Interview with Karen

1.What does your writing process look like?

To make sure writing happens, I need to schedule it, sometimes with friends who are writers and willing to meet me at coffee shops for thirty-minute writing sprints evenings or weekends. I’m a discovery writer, so everything springs from character for me. When I’m trying to find a story, the first thing I do is write from all three different points of view, first, second, third, until I stumble across the voice and appropriate psychic distance for a story. Sometimes I think I’ve found it, but then discover I haven’t, and I have to go back and try again. After I have a pretty good idea of the voice, I complete a seven-point loose outline (see Dan Wells’ Story Structure)—sometimes I don’t figure out the final point, but I get a decent idea of where I’m going. Then I return to my voice and write toward the vague seven points. When the ending suggests itself, I try it on for size and make adjustments. Sometimes it can really help to have in mind the editor I want to send my story to and what they like—it’s not that I’m writing a story to satisfy them, I write to satisfy me, but thinking about entertaining my audience will often suggest a better ending to my creative process. Then I bounce my story off three to five writer friends for critique, and send it in. If it’s rejected, I’ll often revise before submitting again.

2. How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name-choosing resources you recommend?

Names are very important to me. I often change the characters’ names as I discover their voices and stories (this annoys my critique groups to no end, so I try to only give them versions with the names finalized). Most of the time my names have a deeper symbolic meaning. I believe what we are named affects us in life, so I try to select names that may have guided my character down the path they are on. One resource I love to use is Gary Gygax’s Book of Names. It’s out of print now, but it’s full of names from different cultures and time periods. I often use it to make sure fantasy characters from the same region/culture-group all have similar-sounding names.

3. What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?

Making the expansion deadline on SWIFT FOR THE SUN and writing over 40,000 words in just three months was a pretty big accomplishment. But I think my best was writing a 17,500 word epic dark scifi novella in just six weeks to meet a deadline after the editor didn’t like my in-progress submission of a different idea. I’m still quite proud of “Failsafe”–Ellen Datlow gave it an honorable mention for 2013’s Year’s Best Horror. I’ve sold it in reprint a couple of times.

4. Were you already a great writer? Have you always like to write?

I always wanted to write—I loved making up stories—but I struggled with dyslexia as a child. I had trouble reading until I was about ten years old, and my sister used to tease me terribly about my awful spelling so I tore up the stories I made in elementary school. The desire to write was always lurking though, and it expressed itself through vivid play with Star Wars figures and the other little kids in my neighborhood. In fifth grade, I bought a copy of Dungeons and Dragons from a garage sale for ten cents, and it was so enthralling I managed to push myself through reading it. After that, I got hooked on Tolkien and Choose Your Own Adventure books and then my reading improved by leaps and bounds. After that, writing came more naturally and I started writing stories again in high school and have never stopped.

5. What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

First, keep writing. Without developing your skill, nothing else will follow. You don’t have to write as well as everything you’ve read though—don’t let your lack of perfection keep you from sending out your work. Make sure it’s something you’re proud of, the story has real heart and you’ve crafted the best you’re capable of in the moment, then send it out. Something else that was immensely helpful for me was slush reading. I worked for a few magazines and one book company doing volunteer slush pile reading and final copy edit reading. These helped me understand the quality level I was shooting for to submit.

6. If you didn’t like writing books, what would you do for a living?

I have a passion for teaching. Currently, I work full time at a university and write in the evenings and on weekends. I love helping new writers discover a love of creative writing and giving them both craft and career advice. We also have a family Christmas tree farm, and I love nature, but I think I will always seek other writers to help.

7. Are you a plotter or a pantster?

I’m mostly a pantser. I spent many years trying to teach both myself and others how to plot novels chiefly because I think the best way to learn is to teach something to someone else. The novels I have completed outlines for, I haven’t finished, while the ones I wrote just playing around, I have. So I think it’s really important to study your own process and what helps you write and what stops you from writing. I think I’ll continue trying to teach myself to outline, because it saves a lot of revision time, but I haven’t quite learned how to meld my discovery writing style with a sufficiently complex outline.

8. Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?

I was told not to read reviews. However, I haven’t been able to follow through on that advice. I’ve read the Goodreads and Amazon reiews for SWIFT FOR THE SUN and enjoyed them very much. Purely by chance, the first review I read wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t glowing either, and I spent one evening depressed that I’d failed to impress the reviewer. I decided I wasn’t going to read any more reviews because I lost an entire evening’s writing time fretting over it. But then I read more, and they were mostly favorable. After a few, I realized that the reviewers were like my students. A class session one student adored and wanted more of, another student thought was a waste of time. Reviewers were commenting on the same book, but one person’s favorite part was another’s least favorite. After I understood “different strokes for different folks” I was able to calmly read reviews. The only ones I responded to were the ones written by people I’ve met personally, and I sent them my thanks over email. If I get a very bad review, I don’t plan to respond. I’m not sure what the use of me responding would be. The reviews aren’t for me—they’re to help readers understand what kind of a book they’re getting. My advice would be to take bad reviews with a grain of salt and read the good reviews a few more times to cheer up. I do admit to feeling a sense of validation when I read a good review, and I did read some aloud to my mom.

9. What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?

Getting started and getting stuck are my least favorite parts. Sometimes it’ll take me a really long time to find a character’s voice and then I feel unsure about the story until I fall in love with the character and what they’re doing. After I’m in love, the rest of the story seems to flow pretty well—until I don’t know how to resolve a plot problem and get stuck. If too much time passes while I’m stuck, I lose the thread of the story and returning to it is really hard. Before SWIFT FOR THE SUN, I would have reported novel editing was my least favorite part, but honestly I had blast editing this book with Desi Chapman at Dreamspinner. I guess I love editing if I have a great editor giving me excellent feedback to follow.

10. Do you have a favorite conference to attend? What is it?

I absolutely adore the GenCon Writers’ Symposium in Indianapolis. It’s very friendly to new authors and helped me start my career. I highly recommend it to anyone who writes science fiction or fantasy and is new. Being a guest there is really fun too and I look forward to moderating panels and hanging out with other authors each year.

11. What secret talents do you have?

I can sing. I’m that lone voice in the congregation that’s really loud and on tune (most of the time). I sing in the shower and in my car. I guess you might say I polished my “noisy little sister” skills to amazing levels. I can whistle breathing in and out, so I can whistle songs without stopping for breath. Strangers stop me when I’ve visited another church and thank me for sitting behind them. I love to sing! I had a cat that hated it though, and he’d meow at me until I stopped.

12. If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

I’d love to have a British accent. Patrick Stewart’s to be specific.

13. What were you like as a child? Your favorite toy?

I was probably pretty weird for a little girl. I loved snakes and Star Wars and Star Trek. I watched Battlestar Galactica with my dad and begged my mom to read me scary poems about goblins. I loved creepy things—my birthday is Halloween—and yet I was easily scared by movies most people don’t think are scary. Something like Gremlins would affect me for weeks and weeks. I was constantly digging mud pits in the yard and losing my ewoks. The boys across the street and I got into all kinds of trouble with our BB guns and slingshots and ill-conceived “zip lines” we’d try to string from second story bedrooms to promising-looking trees. I loved Indiana Jones and every kind of bug. I had a strong dislike for Barbie, but I loved my Cabbage Patch dolls and My Little Ponies. I refused to read The Bridge to Terabithia because my friends said it was sad. I lived off of Kraft macaroni and cheese and loved my Gilligan’s Island playset. On second thought, maybe I was pretty normal for an 80s kid.

14. Quickly, give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline:

SWIFT FOR THE SUN is a historical romance. The seed story was: Han Solo and Tarzan fall in love and fight pirates.

15. Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

Anyone who likes historical romance, pirates, two people falling in love reasonably quickly and then learning how to help each other, and volcanos. Fans of action and adventure will find a lot to enjoy in my book. Also, there’s cursing in five languages, so who can resist that?

16. How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

SWIFT FOR THE SUN is a play on the principal characters’ names. The main character, Benjamin, is impersonating an infamous smuggler named Captain Swift. When he meets Soli, my Tarzan character, he anglicizes his name to “Sun.” The title is about Benjamin’s journey from interested lover to total devotion and is a play on words for adventure on the high seas.

17. Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

Anna Sikorska did an amazing job on the cover. I picked the initial layout from five she created, and then we refined Benjamin’s look. I’m extremely happy. My book has sex in it but it’s not overly erotic, so I didn’t want a lot of rippling abs. I wanted a quick glance to “read” HISTORICAL and PIRATES and HANDSOME SCOUNDREL. I picked a man in historical costume with a palm tree and pirate ship behind him, looking straight out at the reader, inviting them to go on this adventure with him.

18. Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

This is a really hard question! It’s like picking between my children! I love both Benjamin and Sun, though Benjamin is a bit of an oaf sometimes. Reviewers really love Sun, though he’s the secondary character, and I tried to present a very real, multi-dimensional person when I created him. He’s a quiet man and does not boast about his skills, though he’s a deadly fighter and survivalist—he’s tough and he’s been through hell, but managed to keep his humanity. Even with this toughness, he manages to be innocent about some things and has a childlike sense of play. Showcasing the different sides of his personality was really fun, and Desi really helped me bring them out.

19. How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

Martio, the main villain, is my least favorite character on purpose. I needed someone who was terrifying and who expressed the worst parts of twisted love and possession. He’s the ex-boyfriend from hell, and meant to be. My readers hate him too, as they are meant to.

Swift for the Sun

Author: Karen Bovenmyer
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anna Sikorska
Word Count: 80,000 Words
Page Count: 230

Buy Links
Dreamspinner Press

Blurb:

Benjamin Lector imagines himself a smuggler, a gun runner, and an all-around scoundrel. A preacher’s son turned criminal, first and foremost, he is a survivor.

When Benjamin is shipwrecked on Dread Island, fortune sends an unlikely savior—a blond savage who is everything Benjamin didn’t know he needed. Falling in love with Sun is easy. But pirates have come looking for the remains of Benjamin’s cargo, and they find their former slave, Sun, instead.

Held captive by the pirates, Benjamin learns the depths of Sun’s past and the horrors he endured and was forced to perpetrate. Together, they must not only escape, but prevent a shipment of weapons from making its way to rebellious colonists. Benjamin is determined to save the man he loves and ensure that a peaceful future together is never threatened again. To succeed might require the unthinkable—an altruistic sacrifice.

Author Bio

Karen Bovenmyer was born and raised in Iowa, where she teaches and mentors new writers at Iowa State University. She triple-majored in anthropology, English, and history so she could take college courses about cave people, zombie astronauts, and medieval warfare to prepare for her writing career. After earning her BS, she completed a master’s degree with a double specialization in literature and creative writing with a focus in speculative fiction, also from Iowa State University. Although trained to offer “Paper? Or plastic?” in a variety of pleasant tones, she landed an administrative job at the college shortly after graduation. Working full-time, getting married, setting up a household, and learning how to be an adult with responsibilities (i.e. bills to pay) absorbed her full attentions for nearly a decade during which time she primarily wrote extremely detailed roleplaying character histories and participated in National Novel Writing Month.

However, in 2010, Karen lost a parent.

With that loss, she realized becoming a published author had a nonnegotiable mortal time limit. She was accepted to the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program with a specialization in Popular Fiction and immediately started publishing, selling her first story just before starting the program and three more while in the extremely nurturing environment provided by the Stonecoast community, from which she graduated in 2013. Her science fiction, fantasy, and horror novellas, short stories, and poems now appear in more than forty publications including Abyss & Apex, Crossed Genres, Pseudopod, and Strange Horizons. She is the Horror Writers Association 2016 recipient of the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Scholarship. She serves as the nonfiction editor for Escape Artist’s Mothership Zeta Magazine and narrates stories for Pseudopod, Strange Horizons, Far Fetched Fables, Star Ship Sofa, and the Gallery of Curiosities Podcasts. Her first novel, SWIFT FOR THE SUN, an LGBT pirate romantic adventure set in the 1820s Caribbean, will be published on March 27, 2017.

Social Media Links

https://www.linkedin.com/in/karenbovenmyer
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Blog Tour: Separation by Louise Lyons

Release date: March 31, 2017
Length: 45,000 words
Cover design: Simon Searle

Buy Links
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Blurb

Matthew Langford is told on his twenty-first birthday that he has a twin. After the initial shock, he quickly realizes this is why he always felt part of him was missing. His search takes him 200 miles to Devon, UK, where he meets fraternal twin, Tremaine Wheal.

The pair discover many things in common, and quickly become as close as if they’d never been separated. But when they share a moment in a nightclub, each realizes there is more between them than having shared a womb. Panic sets in and they part. Once again their separation brings loneliness and pain.

Eventually, unable to stay away from each other, they tentatively move forward together as lovers. But secrets don’t stay secret for long, and discovery and questions threaten their happiness.

This is a taboo story featuring twins.

Excerpt

Mum reached for my free hand and slid hers into it.

“We wanted to tell you before, but it was a condition of the adoption that we wait until now.” Dad rested his elbows on the counter and steepled his fingers together—what he always did when he had something serious to say. “I appreciate this won’t be easy for you.”

“Just tell me.” I leaned away from the bar and folded my arms. What the hell were they going to say? I had some unusual disease and was going to drop dead before my next birthday?

“You have a brother. A twin, actually.” Dad paused and waited for my reaction. My jaw dropped and the rushing sound in my ears drowned whatever Mum said. My heart hammered, each beat vibrating through my chest and stomach like a drum. My upper arms stung where I’d dug my nails into them, and I struggled to breathe. A twin? Twenty-one years and now they told me I had a twin? I couldn’t find the words to express what I felt at that moment. All my life something had been missing; a strange ache inside had told me part of me had been taken away, and I’d never been able to understand it. Now I did. The other part of me was living somewhere, maybe feeling the same sense of disconnect that I did. Perhaps at this precise moment he was being told he had a twin, too.

“Where is he?” I whispered.

“We don’t know.”

“What do you mean, you don’t know? How can you tell me I have a twin, but you don’t know where he is? Do you know anything? Why isn’t he with me?” Temper flared and I leaped off my stool. “What happened? Why aren’t we together?”

“All we know is that your birth mother died shortly after you were both born. Your father didn’t want to give you up, but he couldn’t cope with two babies. He tried for a while and it got too much. So, he gave you up for adoption.” Mum explained in a quiet, sad voice, and I reeled from the information.

“How could he do that? How could he separate us?” I backed away and gripped the edge of the sink, my legs shaking and threatening to pitch me onto the floor. “Who is he? Do you know? Are there records? Why are you only telling me this now?”

“Oh, sweetheart…” Mum rushed to my side and wrapped her arms around me, and it was only then I realized I was crying. Tears dripped from my face onto her blouse.

“How can I find him?” The words came out rough and strangled, and I cleared my throat.

“The adoption agency has records. They won’t tell us where he is, but they’ll register your interest in searching for him and if he contacts them, then—”

“If? If he contacts them?” I wrenched free of her arms and paced the room, wringing my hands. “What if he doesn’t even know I exist? He might never contact them!” The thought that I may go through the rest of my life never getting the chance to meet the brother I’d only just learned about, sucked the breath out of me. I stopped my pacing, my chest heaving with emotion.

Nothing much had affected my life before—nothing that made me really feel. Even when my boyfriend ditched me for someone else, I’d moved on in two days. I supposed I hadn’t really loved him. He’d been high maintenance and we had hardly anything in common. But what my parents had just told me was huge. What kind of father would separate twins, however difficult it was for him to cope?

“Mattie…” Mum moved toward me again. I stepped around her and grabbed the key to my new car.

“Do you even know his name?” I asked.

“No. I’m sorry. We don’t know any more than what we’ve told you.”

“How could this happen?” I left my protesting parents and strode out of the room. Shoving my feet into the first pair of shoes I found in the porch, I burst out of the house. I barely heard Dad shouting after me to be careful, and Mum adding that I probably shouldn’t drive while I was upset. Moments later the Volvo tore out of the drive, leaving deep tracks in the gravel.

Author Bio

Louise Lyons comes from a family of writers. Her mother has a number of poems published in poetry anthologies, her aunt wrote poems for the church, and her grandmother sparked her inspiration with tales of fantasy.

Louise first ventured into writing short stories at the grand old age of eight, mostly about little girls and ponies. She branched into romance in her teens, and MM romance a few years later, but none of her work saw the light of day until she discovered FanFiction in her late twenties. Posting stories based on some of her favourite movies, provoked a surprisingly positive response from readers. This gave Louise the confidence to submit some of her work to publishers, and made her take her writing “hobby” more seriously.

Louise lives in the UK, about an hour north of London, with a mad dog called Casper, and a collection of tropical fish and tarantulas. She works in the insurance industry by day, and spends every spare minute writing. She is a keen horse-rider, and loves to run long-distance. Some of her best writing inspiration comes to her, when her feet are pounding the open road. She often races home afterward, and grabs pen and paper to make notes.

Louise has always been a bit of a tomboy, and one of her other great loves is cars and motorcycles. Her car and bike are her pride and job, and she loves to exhibit the car at shows, and take off for long days out on the bike, with no one for company but herself.

Social Media

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/louiselyonsauthor
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Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/louiselyons013
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/louiselyons013
Blog: http://www.louiselyonsauthor.com
Email: louiselyons013@gmail.com

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Devon fled Wyoming as soon as he turned eighteen, leaving behind his high school love, Levi. After six years in the big city, Devon returns to his hometown. Not much has changed, except that Levi is no longer in the closet. He’s also single and living his dream—managing the local wild horse population. Both of them are very interested in picking up where they left off, but Devon is no more ready to reveal his orientation than he was as a teenager.

No one is going to shove Levi back in the closet—not even Devon. For a relationship to work, they’ll have to put the past behind them and find the courage to face the future as who they really are—a couple in love. But Devon doesn’t know if he’s strong enough. Maybe Levi would be better off without him—and his hang-ups.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

 

Available Now: Barbed Wire Cowboy

To celebrate the release of Barbed Wire Cowboy, you can get my Challenging Fate novella free at Amazon through April 7th!

Get your free copy of Challenging Fate HERE!

Barbed Wire Cowboy
Length: 85,000 Words
Cover Artist: Mann Ramblings

Barbed-Wire-epub.jpgAvailable Now
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Blurb:

After having been kicked off the family ranch by his father, Marc Poulson has made a new home for himself as the foreman of the Double R Ranch. His fellow ranch hands are his family, but he’s still not complete without Casey Morgan, his counterpart at the neighboring Del Rio Ranch. In the middle of a feud with his one-time best friend, Marc struggles to understand why Casey would rather take a swing at him than talk to him. He wants to put the past behind them and rebuild what they once had and make their relationship stronger than ever, but Casey is having none of it.

Casey has his own demons to deal with, and Marc serves as a reminder to things he’d rather forget. Casey can’t see beyond the past and continues to make mistakes that put both him and Marc in harms way. After one close call too many, Casey must decide whether his past is more important than his future, or if he can live with Marc walking out of his life—possibly forever.

Excerpt:

“EARTH TO Marc, come in, Marc.” Rick made a show of waving his hand in front of Marc’s face. He waited until he had Marc’s attention. “Did you hear anything I said?”

“Sorry.” Marc glanced at him, but the lure of Casey Morgan was too strong to ignore. He returned his gaze to linger on the blond who had walked through the doors of the bar a moment earlier. “I was distracted.” Half of the bar separated them, but he knew from experience that the chances of avoiding a confrontation were slim to nil.

“Obviously.” Their companion, and coworker, Jason snickered.

“What is it with you and him?” Rick’s gaze danced between the two men. “You two can’t be in the same room together without going for the jugular.”

“It has nothing to do with you.” Marc didn’t want to get into it and was desperate to stop the barrage of questions before they could start. “You concentrate on yourself and let me handle my own problems.”

Marc tracked Casey’s progress through the bar until he sat at a table with two of the hired hands from the Del Rio Ranch. As the foreman for the Del Rio, Casey was the direct counterpart of Marc’s position at the Double R. The owners of the two ranches were close friends, and up until a few months earlier, so were Casey and Marc. It was amazing how one thing could cause friends to become bitter enemies, and it was nothing more than a misunderstanding.

“We lost him again.” Jason needed to wipe the smirk off his face.

“Knock it off.” Marc forced his attention away from Casey and back to Rick and Jason. “What were you asking?”

“Never mind.” Rick shook his head. “Since we have tomorrow off it can wait until Monday. No sense in talking ranch work if we don’t have to.”

“Sounds good to me.” Jason finished off the beer in front of him.

Marc swallowed the last of his own drink and headed toward the bar for the next round. Despite being the sole bar in town, it wasn’t busy, and within a couple of minutes he was turning to head back to his table with three fresh beers. As he turned, his shoulder brushed against a newcomer, and Marc turned to apologize, but the words stuck in his throat when he found himself face-to-face with Casey. If he’d realized Casey had the same idea, he would have stayed in his seat and let one of the other two go.

“Poulson.” Casey’s greeting dripped with hostility.

“Morgan.” Fuck the apology. Marc pushed past him but stopped when Casey mumbled something under his breath. His entire body went stiff, and he struggled to breathe through the anger. He should have ignored it and walked away, but it built inside him until he was seething with every breath he took. “What the hell did you say to me?”

“You heard me.” Casey leaned against the bar and tried to stare him down.

“That’s bullshit and you know it.” Marc took a determined step forward. He had a couple of inches on his former friend and wasn’t above trying to intimidate him. Not anymore.

“It’s not bullshit if it’s the truth.” Instead of backing down, Casey straightened up, anger flashing in his eyes.

“I’ve had it with this crap.” Marc clenched his jaw. He’d tried to keep his cool, but if Casey was itching for a fight that bad, Marc was ready and willing to oblige. He ignored the little voice in his head telling him it was a bad idea. Marc plunked the bottles he was holding onto the bar, flexed his hands at his side, and waited. He wouldn’t throw the first punch, but if Casey did, he wouldn’t walk away. “I wasn’t the only one there, and you damn well know it.”

“You may as well have been.” Casey sneered and grabbed the beer the bartender set down. He tried to shoulder his way past, but Marc refused to move.

Marc reached out and grabbed ahold of Casey’s arm to keep him there. “Oh, I don’t know about that. When are you going to admit you liked it?”

With a wrench of his arm he whirled Casey back around. The bottle clutched in Casey’s grasp slipped free, shattering on the floor, and beer splashed up onto their boots. Their gazes collided, and Marc could see the fury simmering in Casey’s eyes. Determined to use his height advantage, he took a step forward until there were a mere couple of inches separating them, forcing Casey to look up to meet his eyes. When Marc didn’t release his hold on him, Casey knocked his hand away.

“Don’t.” As cliched as it sounded, if looks could kill, Marc would drop dead on the spot. “You have no fucking right to touch me.”

“Like this?” Marc reached out with one hand and shoved Casey’s shoulder.

“Bastard,” Casey replied.

“Point being?” Marc repeated his earlier action, this time putting enough force behind it to cause the infuriating man to stagger into the table behind him.

“Go to hell.” Casey growled and turned toward his table.

“I’ll meet you there.” Marc laughed and moved to grab the beers from the bar. He heard one of the Del Rio hands yell and turned a second too late. Casey’s fist connected with his jaw and sent him stumbling back into the bar.

“Fucker!” Marc launched himself toward Casey and placed a couple of well-aimed blows to Casey’s stomach and ribs. It didn’t bring near the satisfaction he’d expected. Instead, regret trickled through him and was enough to throw off his concentration. Casey didn’t hesitate to take advantage, but Marc managed to deflect the blow with his shoulder. He grunted in pain as the next one connected with his ribs. Thank god Casey hadn’t managed to land a shot to his liver. That would have had him writhing in agony.

Shelving his feelings of remorse to study later, Marc shoved Casey hard enough to send him careening into a nearby chair. Taking advantage of gaining the upper hand, he pressed on and within moments Marc was rolling on the floor with Casey as they each tried to gain domination over the other. Marc managed to land a few more punches, but then someone grabbed his arms and pulled him away. His entire body hurt, but he ignored the pain and struggled to get free.

“Fuckers. Let me go.” The more he fought, the tighter he was held. Despite his attempts, Marc was no match for the men intent on dragging him away. Through the haze of anger he saw two men pull Casey to his feet and resumed his struggles, but there was no freeing himself.

The adrenaline drained out of him, and, as his vision cleared, he recognized the two men holding Casey back as the two hired hands from the Del Rio Ranch. He turned his head to see who had him and met Rick’s gaze. A groan slithered from his throat as he looked on his other side and found Jason regarding him as if he was a snake about to strike.

“You can let me go now.” Marc tried to jerk his arms free.

“Sorry, boss man, can’t do that.” Rick’s grip tightened to the point Marc was sure he’d have bruises. On top of the ones he’d have from Casey.

“You’ll fucking pay for this.” Casey struggled against the two men holding him, blood flowing unimpeded from his nose.

Marc glanced at his hands and winced at the blood coating his split knuckles. With his quarry now out of his reach, he allowed Rick and Jason to lead him toward the exit. He couldn’t believe he’d been goaded into yet another fight. Though, if he was honest, he’d egged Casey on as well. Now he had to figure out how he was going to explain the night’s events to his boss, once word got around, and it would. That should be fun. Rick and Jason almost had him to the door when it opened and revealed the lean body of the sheriff blocking their escape.

Author Bio:

Renee Stevens first started writing in her teens but didn’t get serious about being an author until her mid-twenties. Since then she’s written a number of contemporary stories, as well as delved into the paranormal. When not writing, or spending time in the outdoors, Renee can usually be found working on GayAuthors.org in her capacity of Admin, Blog Coordinator, and Anthology Coordinator.

Renee resides in Wyoming with her wonderfully supportive husband and a menagerie of four-legged critters. Making the most of the nearly constant negative temperatures and mounds of snow, Renee spends much of the winter months in hibernation with her laptop, the voices in her head keeping her company while her husband works.

When she needs a break from writing, Renee takes to the sewing machine to design, and make, beautiful quilts. When the snow finally disappears, usually around May or June, Renee can be found in the great-outdoors. She spends her time on the mountain, at the lake, and just anywhere that she can do some camping, take some photos, and ride the four-wheelers with her hubby. Once back at home, it’s back to writing.

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Available for Pre-Order: Barbed Wire Cowboy

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Blurb:

After having been kicked off the family ranch by his father, Marc Poulson has made a new home for himself as the foreman of the Double R Ranch. His fellow ranch hands are his family, but he’s still not complete without Casey Morgan, his counterpart at the neighboring Del Rio Ranch. In the middle of a feud with his one-time best friend, Marc struggles to understand why Casey would rather take a swing at him than talk to him. He wants to put the past behind them and rebuild what they once had and make their relationship stronger than ever, but Casey is having none of it.

Casey has his own demons to deal with, and Marc serves as a reminder to things he’d rather forget. Casey can’t see beyond the past and continues to make mistakes that put both him and Marc in harms way. After one close call too many, Casey must decide whether his past is more important than his future, or if he can live with Marc walking out of his life—possibly forever.

Excerpt:

“EARTH TO Marc, come in, Marc.” Rick made a show of waving his hand in front of Marc’s face. He waited until he had Marc’s attention. “Did you hear anything I said?”

“Sorry.” Marc glanced at him, but the lure of Casey Morgan was too strong to ignore. He returned his gaze to linger on the blond who had walked through the doors of the bar a moment earlier. “I was distracted.” Half of the bar separated them, but he knew from experience that the chances of avoiding a confrontation were slim to nil.

“Obviously.” Their companion, and coworker, Jason snickered.

“What is it with you and him?” Rick’s gaze danced between the two men. “You two can’t be in the same room together without going for the jugular.”

“It has nothing to do with you.” Marc didn’t want to get into it and was desperate to stop the barrage of questions before they could start. “You concentrate on yourself and let me handle my own problems.”

Marc tracked Casey’s progress through the bar until he sat at a table with two of the hired hands from the Del Rio Ranch. As the foreman for the Del Rio, Casey was the direct counterpart of Marc’s position at the Double R. The owners of the two ranches were close friends, and up until a few months earlier, so were Casey and Marc. It was amazing how one thing could cause friends to become bitter enemies, and it was nothing more than a misunderstanding.

“We lost him again.” Jason needed to wipe the smirk off his face.

“Knock it off.” Marc forced his attention away from Casey and back to Rick and Jason. “What were you asking?”

“Never mind.” Rick shook his head. “Since we have tomorrow off it can wait until Monday. No sense in talking ranch work if we don’t have to.”

“Sounds good to me.” Jason finished off the beer in front of him.

Marc swallowed the last of his own drink and headed toward the bar for the next round. Despite being the sole bar in town, it wasn’t busy, and within a couple of minutes he was turning to head back to his table with three fresh beers. As he turned, his shoulder brushed against a newcomer, and Marc turned to apologize, but the words stuck in his throat when he found himself face-to-face with Casey. If he’d realized Casey had the same idea, he would have stayed in his seat and let one of the other two go.

“Poulson.” Casey’s greeting dripped with hostility.

“Morgan.” Fuck the apology. Marc pushed past him but stopped when Casey mumbled something under his breath. His entire body went stiff, and he struggled to breathe through the anger. He should have ignored it and walked away, but it built inside him until he was seething with every breath he took. “What the hell did you say to me?”

“You heard me.” Casey leaned against the bar and tried to stare him down.

“That’s bullshit and you know it.” Marc took a determined step forward. He had a couple of inches on his former friend and wasn’t above trying to intimidate him. Not anymore.

“It’s not bullshit if it’s the truth.” Instead of backing down, Casey straightened up, anger flashing in his eyes.

“I’ve had it with this crap.” Marc clenched his jaw. He’d tried to keep his cool, but if Casey was itching for a fight that bad, Marc was ready and willing to oblige. He ignored the little voice in his head telling him it was a bad idea. Marc plunked the bottles he was holding onto the bar, flexed his hands at his side, and waited. He wouldn’t throw the first punch, but if Casey did, he wouldn’t walk away. “I wasn’t the only one there, and you damn well know it.”

“You may as well have been.” Casey sneered and grabbed the beer the bartender set down. He tried to shoulder his way past, but Marc refused to move.

Marc reached out and grabbed ahold of Casey’s arm to keep him there. “Oh, I don’t know about that. When are you going to admit you liked it?”

With a wrench of his arm he whirled Casey back around. The bottle clutched in Casey’s grasp slipped free, shattering on the floor, and beer splashed up onto their boots. Their gazes collided, and Marc could see the fury simmering in Casey’s eyes. Determined to use his height advantage, he took a step forward until there were a mere couple of inches separating them, forcing Casey to look up to meet his eyes. When Marc didn’t release his hold on him, Casey knocked his hand away.

“Don’t.” As cliched as it sounded, if looks could kill, Marc would drop dead on the spot. “You have no fucking right to touch me.”

“Like this?” Marc reached out with one hand and shoved Casey’s shoulder.

“Bastard,” Casey replied.

“Point being?” Marc repeated his earlier action, this time putting enough force behind it to cause the infuriating man to stagger into the table behind him.

“Go to hell.” Casey growled and turned toward his table.

“I’ll meet you there.” Marc laughed and moved to grab the beers from the bar. He heard one of the Del Rio hands yell and turned a second too late. Casey’s fist connected with his jaw and sent him stumbling back into the bar.

“Fucker!” Marc launched himself toward Casey and placed a couple of well-aimed blows to Casey’s stomach and ribs. It didn’t bring near the satisfaction he’d expected. Instead, regret trickled through him and was enough to throw off his concentration. Casey didn’t hesitate to take advantage, but Marc managed to deflect the blow with his shoulder. He grunted in pain as the next one connected with his ribs. Thank god Casey hadn’t managed to land a shot to his liver. That would have had him writhing in agony.

Shelving his feelings of remorse to study later, Marc shoved Casey hard enough to send him careening into a nearby chair. Taking advantage of gaining the upper hand, he pressed on and within moments Marc was rolling on the floor with Casey as they each tried to gain domination over the other. Marc managed to land a few more punches, but then someone grabbed his arms and pulled him away. His entire body hurt, but he ignored the pain and struggled to get free.

“Fuckers. Let me go.” The more he fought, the tighter he was held. Despite his attempts, Marc was no match for the men intent on dragging him away. Through the haze of anger he saw two men pull Casey to his feet and resumed his struggles, but there was no freeing himself.
The adrenaline drained out of him, and, as his vision cleared, he recognized the two men holding Casey back as the two hired hands from the Del Rio Ranch. He turned his head to see who had him and met Rick’s gaze. A groan slithered from his throat as he looked on his other side and found Jason regarding him as if he was a snake about to strike.

“You can let me go now.” Marc tried to jerk his arms free.

“Sorry, boss man, can’t do that.” Rick’s grip tightened to the point Marc was sure he’d have bruises. On top of the ones he’d have from Casey.

“You’ll fucking pay for this.” Casey struggled against the two men holding him, blood flowing unimpeded from his nose.

Marc glanced at his hands and winced at the blood coating his split knuckles. With his quarry now out of his reach, he allowed Rick and Jason to lead him toward the exit. He couldn’t believe he’d been goaded into yet another fight. Though, if he was honest, he’d egged Casey on as well. Now he had to figure out how he was going to explain the night’s events to his boss, once word got around, and it would. That should be fun. Rick and Jason almost had him to the door when it opened and revealed the lean body of the sheriff blocking their escape.

Barbed Wire Cowboy: Progress + Excerpt

Just a couple of days ago I got Barbed Wire Cowboy back from the first beta read. I’ve been making changes and have three chapters left to revise, but the first half is already in the hands of the second beta/editor!!!

After having been kicked off the family ranch by his father, Marc has made a new home for himself as the foreman of the Double R Ranch. His fellow ranch hands are his family, but he’s still not complete without Casey, his counterpart at the neighboring Del Rio Ranch. In the middle of a feud with his one-time best friend, Marc struggles to understand why Casey would rather take a swing at him than talk to him. He wants to put the past behind them and rebuild what they once had and make their relationship stronger than ever, but Casey is having none of it.

Casey has his own demons to deal with, and Marc serves as a reminder to things he’d rather forget. Casey can’t see beyond the past and continues to make mistakes that put both him and Marc in harms way. After one close call too many, Casey must decide whether his past is more important than his future, or if he can live with Marc walking out of his life—possibly forever.

Excerpt

“Earth to Marc, come in, Marc.” Rick made a show of waving his hand in front of Marc’s face. He waited until he had Marc’s attention. “Did you hear anything I said?”

“Sorry.” Marc glanced at him, but the lure of Casey Morgan was too strong to ignore. He returned his gaze to linger on the blond that had walked through the doors of the bar a moment earlier. “I was distracted.” Half of the bar separated them, but he knew from experience that the chances of avoiding a confrontation were slim to nil.

“Obviously.” Their companion, and coworker, Jason snickered.

“What is it with you and him?” Rick’s gaze danced between the two men. “You two can’t be in the same room together without going for the jugular.”

“It has nothing to do with you.” Marc didn’t want to get into it and was desperate to stop the barrage of questions before they could start. “You concentrate on yourself and let me handle my own problems.”

Marc tracked Casey’s progress through the bar until he sat at a table with two of the hired hands from the Del Rio Ranch. As the foreman for the Del Rio, Casey was the direct counterpart of Marc’s position at the Double R. The owners of the two ranches were close friends, and up until a few months earlier, so were Casey and Marc. It was amazing how one thing could cause friends to become bitter enemies, and it was nothing more than a misunderstanding.

“We lost him again.” Jason needed to wipe the smirk off his face.

“Knock it off.” Marc forced his attention away from Casey and back to Rick and Jason. “What were you asking?”

“Never mind.” Rick shook his head. “Since we have tomorrow off it can wait until Monday. No sense in talking ranch work if we don’t have to.”

“Sounds good to me.” Jason finished off the beer in front of him.

Marc swallowed the last of his own drink and headed toward the bar for the next round. Despite being the sole bar in town, it wasn’t busy and within a couple of minutes he was turning to head back to his table with three fresh beers. As he turned, his shoulder brushed against a newcomer and Marc turned to apologize, but the words stuck in his throat when he found himself face to face with Casey. Had he realized Casey had the same idea he would have stayed in his seat and let one of the other two go.

“Poulson.” Casey’s greeting dripped with hostility.

“Morgan.” Fuck the apology. Marc pushed past him but stopped when Casey mumbled something under his breath. His entire body went stiff and he struggled to breathe through the anger. He should ignore it and walk away, but it built inside him until he was seething with every breath he took. “What the hell did you say to me?”

“You heard me.” Casey leaned against the bar and tried to stare him down.

“That’s bullshit and you know it.” Marc took a determined step forward. He had a couple of inches on his former friend and wasn’t above trying to intimidate him. Not anymore.

“It’s not bullshit if it’s the truth.” Instead of backing down, Casey straightened up, anger flashing in his eyes.

“I’ve had it with this crap.” Marc clenched his jaw. He’d tried to keep his cool, but if Casey was itching for a fight that bad, Marc was ready and willing to oblige. He ignored the little voice in his head telling him it was a bad idea. Marc plunked the bottles he was holding onto the bar. He flexed his hands at his side and waited. He wouldn’t throw the first punch, but if Casey did, he wouldn’t walk away. “I wasn’t the only one there and you damn well know it.”

“You may as well have been.” Casey sneered and grabbed the beer the bartender set down. He tried to shoulder his way past, but Marc refused to move.

“Oh, I don’t know about that. When are you going to admit you liked it?” Marc reached out and grabbed hold of Casey’s arm before the man made it past him. With a wrench of his arm he whirled Casey back around. The bottle clutched in Casey’s grasp slipped free, shattering on the floor, and beer splashed up onto their boots. Their gazes collided and Marc could see the fury simmering underneath the surface. Determined to use his height advantage, he took a step forward until there were a mere couple of inches separating them, forcing Casey to look up to meet his eyes. When Marc didn’t release his hold on him, Casey knocked his hand away.

“Don’t.” As cliched as it sounded, if looks could kill, Marc would drop dead on the spot. “You have no fucking right to touch me.”
“Like this?” Marc reached out with one hand and shoved against Casey’s shoulder.

“Bastard,” Casey replied.

“Point being?” Marc repeated his earlier action, this time putting enough force behind it to cause the other man to stagger into the table behind him.

“Go to hell.” Casey growled and turned toward his table.

Marc laughed and moved to grab the beers from the bar. He heard one of the Del Rio hands yell and turned a second too late. Casey’s fist connected with his jaw and sent him stumbling back into the bar.

“Fucker!” Marc launched himself toward the smaller man and placed a couple of well-aimed blows to Casey’s stomach and side. It didn’t bring near the satisfaction he’d expected. Instead, regret trickled through him and was enough to throw off his concentration. Casey didn’t hesitate to take advantage but Marc managed to deflect the blow with his shoulder. He grunted in pain as the next one connected with his side. Thank god Casey hadn’t managed a kidney shot that would have had him writhing in agony.

Coming Soon: Barbed Wire Cowboy


After having been kicked off the family ranch by his father, Marc has made a new home for himself as the foreman of the Double R Ranch. His fellow ranch hands are his family, but he’s still not complete without Casey, his counterpart at the neighboring Del Rio Ranch. In the middle of a feud with his one-time best friend, Marc struggles to understand why Casey would rather take a swing at him than talk to him. He wants to put the past behind them and rebuild what they once had and make their relationship stronger than ever, but Casey is having none of it.

Casey has his own demons to deal with, and Marc serves as a reminder to things he’d rather forget. Casey can’t see beyond the past and continues to make mistakes that put both him and Marc in harms way. After one close call too many, Casey must decide whether his past is more important than his future, or if he can live with Marc walking out of his life—possibly forever.

Blog Tour: Dating in Retrospect by Lila Leigh Hunter

Title: Dating in Retrospect (States of Love)
Author: Lila Leigh Hunter
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 15, 2017
Category: Romance
Genre: Contemporary
Sex Content: Explicit
Pairing: MM
Orientation: Bisexual
Identity: Cisgender
Length: Novella
Words: 38,800
Pages: 101

Buy Links
Dreamspinner | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Nook | Kobo

Blurb

Giving the commencement speech at his alma mater doesn’t fit Clay Keller’s meticulous schedule. As Chief Executive Officer of Travel Mogul—the largest travel connoisseur company on the West Coast—he has no time to get back in touch with his country roots. He left fifteen years ago without a second look, but a medical scare makes him change his mind about the speech and brings him face-to-face with his only regret.

Time always moves slower in Southeastern Iowa, and Aaron Grant loves it. He’s added solar farms to the Grant Lanes portfolio and has been teaching at the local university for a decade. The last thing he needs is to have his tenure application compromised by the return of his ex-boyfriend. If he had known who the commencement speaker would be, he would never have volunteered to be the administration liaison.

A proposal—to date for a year—will help them discover that time changes a person, even when everything else stays the same.

Excerpt
©2017 Lila Leigh Hunter
All Rights Reserved

Clay—May ’15

Back to the future and all of that were Clay’s first thoughts as he stepped out of the car. The campus looked the same—Midwest Americana at its best. Redbrick buildings and perfectly pruned trees surrounded him, but as if the last fifteen years hadn’t happened, Clay’s world narrowed to the man waiting at the top of the portico stairs. The only thing time had changed? Them.

“Here’s your receipt, Mr. Keller,” the valet said, interrupting Clay’s musings. He didn’t remember being as young as the valet. Mr. Keller was his father, but Clay didn’t feel like correcting the man’s error.

“Thank you.”

“Not a problem. The man in the light gray suit is Professor Grant. He will be your escort today.”

“Perfect,” Clay responded, smiling at the mention of having an escort at his service, especially one whose body he knew well. With a nod and a tip, Clay left the valet behind, turning his attention back to Professor Grant. Professor. Aaron had done it after all. Clay had never doubted it, even after Aaron decided to stay and work at his family’s farm instead of moving with him to LA. Now he needed to find out if he had a chance with Aaron. At least having him there, waiting for him, had to be a good sign. Today was his lucky day indeed. True, he hadn’t expected to see Aaron so soon. He had planned to stop by the farm after the commencement, but he was ready either way. Life had been rough lately, but having the opportunity to see Aaron again was worth coming back to the middle of Nowhere, Iowa.

He walked casually toward the man he’d left behind many summers ago—a man standing like a prizefighter, waiting for Clay to reach him. With only a couple of feet between them, Clay’s step faltered. Aaron didn’t seem happy to see him, more like he was ready to bolt before Clay got to him. Shaking his head and keeping his eyes on his prey, he closed the distance and extended his hand in greeting.

“Professor Grant, I believe you’re expecting me?” He hoped his smile would ease Aaron’s frown.

“That I am, Mr. Keller. As the university liaison, it is my pleasure to welcome you back to your alma mater and to convey the president’s and the board of trustees’ deepest regards.”

“How long did it take you to memorize that spiel? As far as I remember, you weren’t fond of formalities.” Neither of them let go of the other’s hand. Aaron’s touch, familiar and foreign, branded him in seconds.

“Ass.”

Aaron didn’t expect the hug that followed. As soon as their bodies touched, Aaron tensed, but Clay held him tighter.

“Relax, sunshine. It’s been a while.” Clay let Aaron go, but not before he rubbed his trimmed beard against Aaron’s clean-shaven face as he moved back.

Rafflecopter Giveaway
(February 9th to February 28th – Winner to be contacted March 1st)

Dating in Retrospect Giveaway

Meet the Author

Lila Leigh Hunter is the pen name of a Puerto Rican author with a hyphenated surname. Born and raised on the island, Lila grew up making up stories her siblings pretended to like. But no matter what they say, as the youngest of six, she’s still their mom’s favorite. According to the dusty diplomas on her wall, she’s an architectural designer living in Southern Texas with her husband and four military brats.

She spends most of her free time writing homoerotic romances about middle-aged men finding happiness and the rest hiding from pesky house chores. When outside of her cave, she likes to observe people and try to guess their stories. Sometimes she wishes the voices in her head were real; going out with the boys in her books sounds like a plan made in heaven.

Social Media

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/ctHk41
Author’s Page: http://www.facebook.com/HunterRomances
Lila’s Cabana on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/LilasBooks/
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/LilaLeighHunter
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Hunter_Romances
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Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/Hunter_Romances/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/HunterRomances
Website: http://lilaleighhunter.wordpress.com
Email: llhunter.romance@gmail.com

Dreamspinner Press – 25% Off Sale

Looking to add to your eBook collection? Now is the perfect time! The entire Dreamspinner Press store is 25% off through February 18, 2017!!! Of course, this includes all of my stories, including those in the various Love Wins anthologies.

Love Wins Anthology – $5.24
One Pulse Anthology – $5.24
Wide Open Spaces – $3.74
No More Hiding – $5.24

Links



Blog Tour: Jaeger by Evelise Archer

Order of the Black Knights

Every century has seen its knights. But there are those who are never seen. They do what must be done, what has to be done—when nobody wants to get their hands dirty. They are called the Black Knights. First created in the 1100s by the wizard Moriel, these men seem cold and hard, and it is said that some have no soul. But for each knight, there is one who can bring out the man who waits inside. The question is whether or not he will kill the individual before he figures it out.

Through the ages, they’ve conquered and ruled and taken what they wanted. And they have adapted to modern times. Instead of being bullies for hire, they have taken their skills further—the Internet, the CIA, government infiltration, hacking, special ops, assassination, but each one of them has a need they don’t understand—to squash, kill, or destroy.

If the Knight pardons an enemy, he will no longer be cursed. If not, he will continue to live the same life again and again, and each life will make him harder and more unyielding. And each life will make it is less likely that he can be saved.

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon

Jaeger Blurb

US Marshal Jaeger Tripp is assigned to the Federal Witness Protection Program. The hurt and destruction he’s seen—along with protecting criminals who are only cooperating with the authorities to keep themselves out of jail—have left him with a bleak and jaded view of both life and people. His current assignment is Wren O’Riley, a computer wizard who witnessed a high-profile cartel hit.

To Jaeger, Wren is the same as any other job. He must protect him long enough to get him to testify at trial, and his personal feelings have no place in his work and must be set aside. But that’s easier said than done. On the run and fighting for their lives, Jaeger and Wren can’t help but grow closer. And Jaeger can’t help seeing beyond Wren’s nerdy exterior to a man who might be just what Jaeger needs to settle his soul and capture his heart—if they survive long enough to get that chance.

Excerpt

Wren looked out the dusty front window and admired the view from what would be his home for a while. He wasn’t just thinking about the studly marshal. The log cabin appeared to be modern-rustic—if that was a style. The sturdy log structure had a wide wraparound porch and sported three rockers made of rough wood.

Wren loved the to-and-fro motion of a rocking chair—something he learned from his mother on the countless days they spent together on the family property in New Mexico, whiling the hours away. He had fond memories of his mother, and even some of his family members during those days—before he started to work for his uncle and realized exactly what the family business was. He longed for those languid days again, and if Jaeger permitted him some respite, he’d take it on the front porch, rocking.

“Home for the next month.” Wren’s daydreaming was interrupted by the deep soulful voice of his watcher.

“There’s no place for you to go, so I’ll have those handcuffs now. You’re up shit creek if you have the balls to wander in the High Peaks on your own.” Wren lifted his cuffed hands from his lap and allowed Jaeger to remove the restraints.

“I’ll get our bags.” Wren rubbed his wrists as he extricated himself from the front passenger seat. The lock mechanism on the hatch of the SUV released, and Wren opened the door and pulled out the two suitcases. He also noticed the cooler and a few other bags. Provisions.

Dragging their luggage across the gravel and dirt clearing proved more difficult than expected. His arms were a little numb from being in cuffs for so long. Wren made it to the bottom of the steps and maneuvered each bag up onto the porch and then waited for Jaeger to unlock the door.

Jaeger grabbed his small bag from the backseat of the driver’s side and strode to the door as Wren carefully scrutinized him. The marshal definitely had a chip on his shoulder.

“Is there a problem with the accommodations, Mr. O’Riley?” Wren couldn’t miss the disdain in Jaeger’s voice.

“No, there isn’t. Actually I was thinking how beautiful it is here and how this would make a nice vacation home,” Wren replied.

“Well, don’t get too comfortable. We’re not here for a fucking vacation.”

Wren nodded and accepted Jaeger’s attitude and waited patiently as he punched a code into the panel and unlocked the door. Jaeger brusquely entered before him and offered no help with the bags.

Wren plopped them on the ceramic-tiled floor at the entrance and then did a three-sixty of the large, open room. The cabin truly was beautiful. Under other circumstances Wren could picture himself being fucked by the marshal in front of the large stone fireplace. Jaeger Tripp was just his type—bad-boy attitude, soulful voice, and a strong chiseled jaw. His legs went on forever, and Wren imagined himself wrapped around Jaeger’s tapered waist. They might be the same height, but Marshal Jaeger Tripp had a good fifty pounds on Wren’s slenderer body. He looked as if he could lift a small car.

“Marshal, should I put the bags someplace specific or leave them here on the floor?” Wren moved farther into the room where the ceramic tile turned to dark, notched-wood floors. Besides the large fireplace, the living space had two striped sofas in reds, blues, and tans, with accenting pillows and a large braided rug. The kitchen, although it appeared slightly older, was clean and contained a small table and two wooden chairs. The one thing Wren noticed right away was the coffee pot on the counter. What he wouldn’t do for a cup of coffee, but he dared not ask.

“There’s two bedrooms down the hall, last two doors. Toss my bag in the last room and yours in the second.” Jaeger motioned with his head as he made for the front door. “I need to get the cooler and rest of the bags. I’ll be right back.”

With that, Jaeger walked out the front door into the dusk. Wren strode down the hall, passed a bathroom on the left and a closed door on the right, and then came to what would be his room. He left his bag in front of the door and proceeded to move to the last door, open it, and enter with the marshal’s bag. The room was decorated in a country motif, and the focal point was a large, heavy wooden bed. Wren wondered if the marshal slept in the buff. A man could dream. The door to a separate bathroom was open, and Wren could see a large claw-foot tub. Nice.

Wren wondered if the government bought the cabin already made or if they had it built to suit their needs—secluded enough to attract no attention, yet within some distance of civilization.

Wren opened the door to what would be his new sleeping quarters and placed his bag on the quilt-covered bed. The room looked very much like the other bedroom, just a tad smaller and minus its own bathroom. He’d have to use the one in the hall.

He made quick work of unpacking his meager belongings, placed them in the chest of drawers, and stowed the bag in the closet. He heard movement outside his door but tried to keep his mind off the marshal. He grabbed his toiletries, stored them in the extra bathroom, and stopped in front of the third door in the hall, which was open—the door closest to the living space.

Wren’s pants tightened when he saw Jaeger’s taut, jean-clad ass. Jaeger was leaning over a chair, banging away on a keyboard. The temporary distraction gave Wren pause. He shouldn’t be lusting after the man who was assigned to protect him, especially when he held Wren in such disdain.

About the Author

Evelise Archer is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She is a new-found lover of tea, and don’t look in her office because what you find may astound you. She currently has twenty tins of tea leaves just waiting to be brewed for her drinking pleasure. She is bilingual, lives in one of the original thirteen colonies, and is a lover of the cold weather and snow. It’s a safe bet that you may find her on the beach in the autumn and winter, but rarely in the summer. She’s been married for over thirty years to a loving man who puts up with her obsession to clean—she currently owns three vacuum cleaners—, read, and spin a tale when the voices speak to her. When she’s not in front of the computer, search her out in the local gym.

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