I’m off on my holidays tomorrow and wanted to take this chance to say thank you to everyone who has bought Rasputin’s Kiss. The last couple of weeks have been amazing as it reached the #2 spot at All Romance Books, top ten in gay fiction at Amazon and top 5 in the bestseller list at Totally Bound. There are still a couple of days to enter the rafflecopter draw if you haven’t already done that – here’s the link. I’ll be announcing the winners when I get back from Italy 🙂
Aww! A post about cuddly bears… Morticia’s latest release came out on the same day as Rasputin’s Kiss and I, for one, can’t wait to read Guarded Desires.
Bears Need Love Too
There are a lot of stereotypes when writing M/M romance. Two of them are the twink and the bear, and they are polar opposites (har har, couldn’t resist). The small, thin, hairless twink is fairly popular – I personally love a little androgyny thrown in the mix – but not as many bears get attention. I think it has to do with the hair.
A true bear is pretty furry. They can also be imposing and scary. It’s a very specific type – and I know plenty of men and women who are turned off by the blanket of hair on a man’s body. Yet, for others, it is like a red flag to a bull.
When I wrote DEA agent Stephen Morris’ character in Guarded Desires, I wanted him to be a big teddy bear. His personality belies his bulk. He has that sort of ‘He-Man’ look and even though he’s somewhat overwhelming physically, he’s actually sweet, goofy and fun. It just takes the younger guardsman he’s crushing on to realize that even though he was abused by a bear in the past, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Stephen would do the same thing.
In Guarded Desires, Joseph Pirelli is a twenty-two year old Private First Class. He is sent to the border to help the patrol protect the citizens and agents from a vicious Mexican drug cartel. While there, he meets older DEA Special Agent, Stephen Morris. Despite being incredibly attracted to him, he has very real concerns about them becoming involved. Even though it’s obvious that the agent is nothing like his abuser, Joseph is still frightened. Pretty soon, things take a dark turn into real danger and they might not ever be able to find out whether they have a chance together.
In this excerpt, Stephen and Joseph have had to sneak away to be alone together in a seedy motel far out of town. Stephen’s identity has been compromised and there is fear that any people close to the agents could be targeted by the Vasquez drug cartel.
Guarded Desires(Uniform Encounters 4) Excerpt
“You brought a sleeping bag with you?”
Joseph tried to keep from laughing as Stephen dragged the red not-so-neatly rolled bag from the back of the CRV.
“What part of ‘filthy’ did you not understand?”
Joseph grabbed the cooler Stephen had also packed, along with a small tote the agent had asked him to bring in.
“You’re making some pretty brash assumptions, Agent Morris. Did you think I would be getting into that sleeping bag with you?”
“Hey. You’re the one that followed a man out the back door of a dive bar and climbed into his car. I look pretty innocent after all of that.”
Stephen struggled with the key whilst balancing the unruly bed roll and finally managed to turn the knob, kicking the flimsy door open. They stepped into the dank room and set everything down. Stephen gingerly placed the red bag on the table. He shut the door and switched on the light, which barely cast a glow.
“Ah, I see the room has been done in my favourite décor, Early American Disaster.”
Joseph had to agree, it was pretty horrific—the shredded orange and yellow floral bedspread that screamed ‘reject from the seventies’ said it all. When he added in the cigarette smoke-caked tacky prints and the peeling wallpaper with tomahawks and tepees on it, Joseph was sure he’d never seen anything worse. But they were most definitely out in the middle of nowhere. And the clerk who had rented them the room for twenty bucks had seemed unlikely to remember his own name, let alone anything about them.
“Is this carpet making crunching noises?” Joseph lifted his feet up and down several times.
“Don’t take your shoes off. Jesus. Maybe we should go back out to the car. Oh, and just in case you were wondering—yes—I’m all about the romance.”
Joseph snorted laughter. “I don’t care. We’re here together.” He swallowed, a bit embarrassed. He saw what he could best describe as a wistful look cross Stephen’s face.
“Then let’s make this dump our little corner of paradise for the next few hours.”
They carefully arranged the sleeping bag to cover the entire bed and after investigating the rest of the room, found what looked to be clean—albeit ragged—bath towels. They placed those on the floor next to the bed so they could indeed take off their shoes.
As they silently prepared everything, even dragging the cooler within reach of where they would be lying, Joseph had a twinge of insecurity.
He hasn’t even tried to kiss or hug me.
Even as he thought it he remembered how careful the agent had been with him before so as not to startle him. But he had to know it was okay now, didn’t he?
“I…I liked it when you held me. Before, I mean. The other night.”
Stephen straightened up from where he’d been setting a couple cans of soda on the nightstand. His eyebrows were pulled together in what looked like concern and Joseph couldn’t tell what he might be thinking. The large man took tentative steps toward Joseph, as if he were testing what his reaction might be.
“It’s okay. I’m not scared of you. I want you to want me. To touch me. I might just get nervous once in a while. But it’s really okay.”
Stephen edged closer to him, seemingly with more assurance. Moving slowly, he gathered Joseph into his arms, still appearing to be careful. Someday, Joseph hoped they could both let go completely and now allow his past abuse to interfere with their intimacy.
Joseph melted into Stephen’s embrace and inhaled the slightly spicy cologne mixed with the agent’s naturally masculine scent. It was like an aphrodisiac to Joseph. He wanted to give all of himself to the man, but didn’t know if it would be the right time yet. If he could handle it without freaking out.
So far, Stephen had been incredibly patient and loving with him. There hadn’t been any indication from the one night they’d spent together that Stephen would pressure him into anything. God, he had even been willing to stop when things had become heated, and Joseph knew that must have taken a lot of willpower and concern for Joseph’s well-being. But someday, Stephen would want to top him. Joseph was sure of it.
“Do you want to talk about anything?”
Joseph heard the deep rumble of Stephen’s voice from where he had his ear pressed against the man’s chest.
Stephen stepped back and took Joseph’s hand. He allowed Stephen to lead him to the bed. Stephen sat down, pulling lightly on Joseph to come sit next to him.
“What is it, babe? Remember, anything you want to say.”
Joseph nodded. “That means a lot, really.”
He looked around as if something in the decay of the room would help him to find the words that wouldn’t make him sound too pathetic or weird. Stephen held his hand in between both of his very large ones, and it felt safe. Comforting. Stephen stroked and caressed them. Joseph closed his eyes to concentrate for a moment on the sensation. It was so different, so kind. His eyes flew open. So would everything else be that Stephen would do with him.
I have to trust at some point. But maybe a little at a time.
“Are you a top?”
Stephen froze, his movements coming to a halt.
Why do I always say the dumbest things?
“Usually. But it depends on how drunk I am. At that point I can be talked into a lot of things.”
Joseph raised his eyebrows.
Joseph shook his head. “No. Not if it’s the truth.”
Stephen scrunched his face up a little. “If we’re doing true confessions, it’s been the truth in the past.”
“How far in the past?”
Stephen raised Joseph’s hand that he still clutched to his lips and kissed the knuckles. He brought their hands back down so they rested on his knee.
“At the risk of sounding like a man-whore, it was up until the last relationship I was in, which essentially ended two years ago when I moved here.”
“Well, I thought we were going to continue having a relationship and he didn’t. Communication is a bitch.”
Joseph chuckled. “How long were you guys together?”
“A little over a year.”
“And you moved here but he didn’t come with you?”
“I wanted him to. And I was willing to keep the relationship going long distance, but he wasn’t.”
“Really?” Joseph considered that. It added an interesting spin to things. “Do you mind me asking all these questions?”
“It’s reassuring. I was afraid you were only using me for my hot body.”
Joseph snorted. “How old are you?”
Stephen sighed dramatically. “Ancient is the first thing that comes to mind, but seriously, I’m thirty-six.”
Joseph had figured he was mid-thirties, so it was hardly a surprise. “I’m twenty-two. Does that bother you?”
“Hell yes it does. I only date men who are collecting their Social Security benefits. That way there’s always an income to fall back on. I just assumed you had a really amazing plastic surgeon.”
Joseph laughed a little harder. “So it really doesn’t bother you?”
“I’d be an idiot to let your age bother me. You have an intelligence and maturity about you that I find very attractive. And it’s not something I’ve been able to find most of the time, even in men much older.” Stephen’s light-heartedness returned. “Me, for instance. I’m an excellent example of rampant immaturity. Ask Rigo, he’d be more than happy to vouch for me. He’d probably even be willing to state that I’m not the brightest thing he’s ever met either.”
Still laughing, Joseph tried to bring the topic back to his original question. “Um, but you do prefer to top?”
Stephen massaged and caressed the hand that he still had a hold of. “Are you worried about that?”
Joseph shrugged, afraid that Stephen might not want to take things any further. “Kinda. Although, I’ve always bottomed. It was what I always liked until…well, until I didn’t. I know it would be different with you, even better than before. I’d like to try it again, but maybe not yet?”
“Do you want me to bottom for you?”
That made Joseph pause. “I’m not sure. I’ve never done it before. I don’t want you to do it if it’s just for me.”
Stephen pulled Joseph closer, still appearing to be careful not to be too abrupt. He let go of Joseph’s hands and stroked his arms up and down, keeping his touch light.
“I would love to feel you inside of me.”
To get your copy of Guarded Desires (Uniform Encounters 4) from Totally Bound: https://www.totallybound.com/guarded-desires
Find Morticia here:
@morticiaknight on twitter
That’s the subject of my blog post today as I visit the gorgeous Victoria Blisse. Click here if you’d like to read more 🙂
My blog stop today is with the wonderful Morticia Knight, who was also my release day buddy last Friday with her latest Uniform Encounters story Guarded Desires. Here’s the link.
You may recall both the authors I am blogging with today as they have both been visitors here too. My first stop is with L M Brown (remember My Boyfriend’s an Alien?) where you can find out what kind of animal shifter I’d like to be and what magical power I would choose to have! Click here for the interview.
I’m also visiting with the charming Jorja Lovett where you can read a “list a few of the devices which no self-respecting detective story writer will now avail himself of” written in 1928. I don’t think the author of the list had MM romance in his mind when he wrote it! Here’s the link.
Wow, it feels like this has been a long time coming, but the day has arrived. I’ll post the buy links as soon as I check that everything is live. In the meantime, you’ll find me answering questions on a couple of blogs today. I’ve been interviewed by Kay Berrisford, (author of the brilliant Greenwood series) where you’ll find out which of my characters I’d like to help me organise a nature ramble (!). Click here to read more. I’ve also been grilled by Caitlin Ricci where you can find out what movie I would like to see redone today 🙂 Here’s the link.