Jack weighed Mike’s future anger against Eben’s current knee in his spine and opted for delayed retribution.
Jack weighed Mike’s future anger against Eben’s current knee in his spine and opted for delayed retribution.
Please join me in welcoming Anna Zabo, who's here to tell us about her new release, Slow Waltz, a sequel to her best-selling m/m paranormal, Close Quarter. Hi Anna! Take it away!
Welcome to the itty bitty Slow Waltz Blog Tour! Slow Waltz is a Spring Fling short story that continues the adventures of Rhys and Silas from my novel Close Quarter.
From May 7th until May 12th, Slow Waltz is available for FREE from Loose Id! You can download it in your favorite e-reader format here:
After May 12th, it’ll be 0.99, so still pretty inexpensive.
But also from the May 7th through 12th, you can purchase Close Quarter from the Loose Id website for two dollars off the cover price (again, available in all your favorite e-reader formats):
I’m also giving away a $10 gift card from your choice of All Romance Ebooks, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble. More on that at the end of the post.
So what’s Slow Waltz about?
All of three days had passed in the story. That’s pretty quick to fall in love.
A typical transatlantic cruise is six or seven days, so I got to thinking, “What happens during those days after Close Quarter, when there’s nothing trying to kill them?” I mean, part of the reason they ended up together is because being hunted down by vampires is a bit of a bonding experience. And now there’s no danger.
For Silas, that’s easy. He’s happy enough to live in the moment and simply enjoy the carefree time with Rhys. He knows there will be trouble in New York, but that’s days away. No use worrying about it.
Rhys, on the other hand, comes out of the daze of love worrying about everything. He’s still mourning his mother, still aware that he has no idea who his real father is, there’s still a bunch of “friends” back in New York who want the money he’s inherited. And now, he’s been pretty damn open about being gay since he and Silas have been together. He’s not even sure how the heck you make a relationship work when the love of your live isn’t even human.
And that’s what I explore in Slow Waltz. Love at first sight, and the work required to make the happy ever after. Even between magical beings.
I’m a sucker for love stories, especially the ones where two people look across the room at each other and they just know that this is the person with whom they’re going to spend the rest of their life. It is, as anyone will tell you, a horrible cliché in writing.
It also happens in real life. And some of those relationships do end up becoming happy ever after romances. Granted, it’s because the people involved work on the relationship and build a deeper love after that first blush of instant recognition. And that’s the heart of love, there—two people with the willingness to go the distance for the other person, even when they want to smack the other person up-side the head.
And that’s Rhys and Silas. Even if Rhys doesn’t know it yet.
Here’s the blurb:
New lovers Rhys Matherton and Silas Quint finally have a chance to breath easy and enjoy a well-earned respite on board a transatlantic cruise to New York City. But the lack of danger gives Rhys too much time to think about the enormity of falling in love with a man who isn’t human. He’s not sure love at first sight can last, especially when your lover is fae. Sure, the sex is fantastic, but that’s not enough to hang the rest of your potentially immortal life upon.
To distract himself, Rhys suggests he and Silas take a set of lessons to learn to waltz. The plan backfires when they are paired with two older women—one of whom reminds Rhys of his recently deceased mother. Instead of being able to ignore thinking about his future with Silas, he’s actively questioned about his lover. And it seems the whole boat knows who he’s sleeping with.
As Rhys learns the steps of waltz, he has to decide if he’ll continue to dance around what he feels for Silas or if he’ll finally learn to trust in his partner’s love for him.
Thank you to Jessica for having me on her blog again!
Now about that drawing! Please comment here and let me know if you believe in love at first sight!
If you comment here (please leave your email address) or at any of the two other stops on my itty bitty blog tour, you’ll be entered in a random drawing to win a gift card. (One entry per blog stop! So if you comment on all three blogs, that’s three entries.)
I’ll be drawing the winner on my blog, AnnaZabo.com on May 13th.
Those dates again:
On Tuesday, May 7th, I’ll be over at Jessica Freely’s blog (That’s here!)
On Thursday, May 9th, I’ll be over at Kay Berrisford’s blog. [http://kayberrisford.com/]
On Friday, May 10th, I'll be over at Attention is Arbitrary. [attentionisarbitrary.blogspot.com]
On Saturday, May 11th, I’ll be over at MC Hana’s blog. [http://www.cranehanabooks.com/blog/]
I've been interviewed over on Long and Short Reviews. Hop on over there to read all about the weirdest thing I've ever done in the name of researach, and the scariest moment of my life. (They're not the same. LOL) And be sure to leave a comment because I'll be giving a free book from my backlist to one lucky reader!
Today is my turn and I decided to offer one of my personal favorites from my list, Broken. Here's Elisa's post. Just comment to enter.
And just for fun, here's a little excerpt from the book:
It was Saturday night and Club 7 was packed with people in fancy clothes, dancing, partying, and shouting at one another over the pounding music.
This was so not Eben's scene. But Nicky loved it here. Eben waded through the crowd of girls in skimpy dresses and guys in expensive suits. The mingled scents of cologne, perfume, and alcohol made his head swim.
Finally Eben made it to the roped off VIP section where Nicky held court. His brother sat on a leather couch with Jimmy and Paul Shawnessy. Rhonda, Tabitha, Goldy, and Chevonne were all over them.
Paul looked uncomfortable, but Nicky and Jimmy were enjoying themselves, feeling the girls up and sipping champagne.
"And here's the guest of honor!" said Nicky, spotting Eben. He rose, holding a bottle of champagne aloft. "What took you so long? Come on. Let's get this party started!"
Nicky drew Eben over to the couch. "Everybody, my little brother is twenty-one today."
A cheer went up. Over by the VIP bar sat Bill William, Big Pete, and Sean Hoolihan. Their wives were there too, clustered around someone dressed in a tuxedo that Eben couldn't quite make out.
Until Brenda Hoolihan bent to pick up her purse.
Xiu looked right at Eben. Their gazes locked.
All of Eben's breath left him at once.
Xiu wore a black tuxedo that skimmed the lines of his slender frame perfectly. His hair was neatly combed, glossy in the dim light of the club. He held a glass of champagne in one hand.
He looked like James Bond.
"Here you go, bro." Nicky handed Eben a glass of champagne.
Xiu lifted his glass to him and drank.
Eben downed his in one long gulp.
"That's my boy!" said Nicky, pulling Eben down onto the couch. Eben lost sight of Xiu in the crowd. Just as well. His face was burning. At least he had the alcohol to blame it on.
"Got a special night planned for you, little bro," said Nicky.
Over his shoulder Jimmy grinned.
Eben suppressed a shudder. Special usually meant fucking. "You shouldn't go to no trouble for me."
Rhonda, looking glamorous with her blonde hair swept up and a red mini-dress clinging to her curves, leaned over, pressing her breasts against his arm as she whispered in his ear. "Don't worry, baby. Me and the girls got your back." She sat back, patting him on the cheek.
Eben relaxed. Rhonda knew about him. She'd put two and two together a long time ago, but she never blew his cover. In fact, she made sure all the girls covered for him too. They even spread stories about him. The kinds of stories guys wanted girls to tell about them: how big he was, how he fucked like a machine.
As long as Rhonda was in on whatever big surprise Nicky had planned, Eben didn't have to worry
"You want another drink, baby?" asked Rhonda, standing up.
"Can I have a beer?"
Nicky laughed and wrapped an arm around Eben's neck. He pulled him close and ran his knuckles over Eben's skull. But not hard. He was just playing. "That's what I love about this guy. We got thousand-dollar Crystal Magnums for his birthday, and he wants a beer."
Nicky released Eben and leaned over the coffee table where a mirror with lines of blow sat. He picked up the mirror, did a line, and handed it to Jimmy. "Anyway, Paul, I'll fill you in on the rest when I have more specifics, in a week or two. But get ready. This thing is going to be big."
"Okay. Yeah." Paul glanced around at all the expensive clothes, the lush surroundings. "Now unless there's something else you need to talk about tonight, I'll be going."
"What? It's Eben's birthday."
Paul nodded. "Happy Birthday, Eben."
"Thanks Paul." Eben didn't mind Paul much. He was older. He'd been Da's advisor and he'd kept the Flannery family operating until Nicky came of age. No fuss about handing over the reigns at that point either. 'Course anyone could see Nicky was born to take over the family business. Paul was a smart guy, and no meaner than he had to be.
But that didn't mean he was immune to pissing Nicky off. "What the fuck? You disrespecting my brother's birthday?" A dangerous edge came into Nicky's voice.
Paul raised his hands. "Not at all. I have the utmost respect for your brother, his birthday, and for you. But" -- Paul gestured to Tabitha and Goldy, who were making out while a bunch of the guys watched, and to Jimmy, who'd brought the blow to the bar and was sharing it with Bill, Pete, and Sean -- "I'm old school. This ain't my scene. In your da's day, we met at the Shillelagh, and it was either business, or serious drinking. Never both. And not all of this other stuff. The drugs, the girls. Throwing your money around like some kinda rap star."
"You object to the girls?" said Nicky. "What, you a fag or something?"
"I'm gonna let that pass 'cause I know you don't mean it. But that's another thing. This new whore you brung over. It's a dude. What are folks gonna say?"
"What are folks gonna say? They're gonna say, 'Look at all that money Nicky Flannery's making off the fags. He's one smart motherfucker.’ That's what they're gonna say."
Paul shook his head.
"Trouble with you old timers is you're stuck in the past. This is the twenty-first fucking century. You want a make a killing these days, you gotta think outside the box. Get it? Think outside the box?"
Everyone laughed, including Paul.
"'Sides, the ladies like him too. Check it out." Nicky nodded to where Brenda, Sally, and Colleen hovered around Xiu like honeybees. Brenda had a hand on his shoulder. Sally tossed her hair. "They're nuts about him."
"But he's a queer."
"Yeah. Go figure. Chicks are weird."
Rhonda came back with Eben's beer and someone brought out a cake. Paul stuck around to eat a slice, then departed. By then Nicky was too busy sticking his face in Tabitha's cleavage to notice.
Eben drank beers and tried not to get caught staring at Xiu. He was on his sixth Heineken and slowly sinking ever deeper into the couch when "Happy Birthday" started playing.
Everyone gathered around. "Time for your birthday present, little bro." Nicky placed a box wrapped in gold paper on the table in front of him.
Eben heaved himself upright. "You got me a present? That sure was nice of you."
"Open it. Open it," said Nicky.
The box was heavy. Eben peeled off the paper to reveal a stainless steel case. As he put it down on the coffee table, the weight of it seemed to settle on his heart. He knew what came in cases like this. He unfastened the latches and opened it to reveal a chrome-plated 10mm Glock automatic. Its polished surface gleamed in the soft light of the club. "Wow."
Bill whistled. "That's a beautiful piece."
"Time my little brother had one of his own." Nicky hugged him.
Shit. Eben forced a smile and hugged him back. "What a wonderful birthday present. Thanks!" He didn't want it. Didn't even want to pick it up, but he had to. Everyone was watching. Eben lifted the gun out of its case and hefted it. He checked the action and held it out as if to shoot with it. Can I put it back in its case now? He turned back to Nicky, trying to look delighted. Thank the Holy Mother of God I'm drunk.
"Wait, there's more," said Nicky.
Fuck. What now? Another box wrapped in gold foil appeared before Eben, which at least gave him an excuse to put the gun back in its case. He opened box number two to find a shoulder holster. "Awesome."
"Try it on, try it on," said Nicky, bouncing up and down like a kid on Christmas morning.
Eben hoisted himself up off the couch, swayed a little and then slid the holster on over his shirt. Rhonda helped him adjust the straps. Nicky took the gun from the case, snapped the cartridge in place, and slid it into the holster. It bulged under Eben's arm like a tumor.
"You should see yourself," said Nicky. "You look totally badass."
Eben scanned the gathering. Everyone was smiling and nodding in approval. It's already decided. This is who I am. But then he caught sight of Xiu, over by the bar.
Xiu tilted his head and gave him a crooked smile and a little shrug. Of everyone there, it seemed like he alone understood how Eben really felt, though of course, there was nothing to be done about it.
Someone handed Eben another glass of champagne and he downed it.
Suddenly the music got louder. All the girls clustered around him.
"Time for your birthday lap dance, Eben," said Nicky.
Rhonda winked at him as she pushed him back down onto the couch. Eben was very aware of the loaded gun nestled at his side as the girls writhed all over him. At least he was safe in the knowledge that none of them would mention it was the only thing that was hard. He sank deeper into the cushions of the couch.
Eventually the girls finished and everybody was clapping and laughing. Then suddenly the crowd parted and Xiu stood before Eben. He swayed ever so slightly and his cheeks were pink, but he carried himself like he owned the place, and Eben too. How much had he been drinking? He undid his tie and fixed Eben with a smoldering look. "Happy Birthday, to you."
Somewhere behind him Eben heard Nicky laughing, louder than ever. Everyone else joined in. Big joke.
Xiu threw his tie in Eben's face. He peeled off his black tuxedo jacket. He started unbuttoning the shirt beneath.
Eben tried to keep from getting hard. It was impossible, even with Nicky and everyone else standing around watching and giggling.
"Happy Birthday, to you." Xiu took off his shirt and tossed it in Eben's lap.
Xiu climbed onto Eben's lap, straddling his thighs. He rested his hands on Eben's shoulders and swayed from side to side. "Happy Birthday, Eben Flannery."
Smells of champagne, cologne, and sweat wafted over Eben. He felt dizzy -- probably all the blood rushing to his cock.
"Hey Nicky, you gonna let this go on?" said Sean. "Eben's too drunk to stop him."
"I'd do something about it, but I can't stop laughing."
Laughter surrounded Eben and Xiu like a shield. They stared at each other as Xiu gyrated on Eben's lap. Eben could see the outline of Xiu's erection. Eben's own cock felt like it was made of steel.
Xiu leaned closer, his breath warm on Eben's face. "Happy Birthday, to you." He ran a hand down Eben's chest, toward his jeans.
Eben opened his mouth, to say 'stop,' 'more,' or to kiss Xiu, he wasn't certain which.
Suddenly a hand clamped down on Xiu's shoulder. "Okay, Schoolboy, enough. You've had your fun. You've got a date tonight, remember?" It was Jimmy.
The invisible shield surrounding Eben and Xiu dissolved. The laughter of the rest of the party seemed louder than it had been a moment ago. It crashed in upon them like ice water, dousing Eben's arousal.
Xiu seemed to wilt under Jimmy's hand. Shoulders slumped, he got up off Eben's lap, taking his shirt with him.
Rhonda took Xiu's place, straddling Eben's thighs. She grabbed his hands and pressed them to her breasts. "Here honey, I got what you're looking for."
Eben's smile was one of gratitude, not excitement, but nobody else had to know that. Over Rhonda's shoulder, he watched Xiu walk away with Jimmy.
Jimmy kept his hand on Xiu's shoulder, pushing him toward the door. Just as they reached the red velvet rope that marked off the VIP section, Xiu looked over his shoulder at Eben.
Eben couldn't decipher the look on Xiu's face in that moment, but it haunted him for the rest of the night.
Alex is over at Fiction with Friction today and we're playing the third and final round of Sex Club Clue -- the gay romance game where you decide who does what to who! Pop on over for the details and enjoy an excerpt from my new gay erotic romance, Alex in Wonderland, while you're there.
Then you can come back here and post your Sex Club Clue entry in the comments to this post. The contest closes at 11:59 pm EST on April 28. One lucky winner gets a free ebook from my backlist!
We're playing another round of Sex Club Clue today! It's the game where you decide who does what with who. Join us on Cup of Porn for all new people, positions, and places! Your entry in the game gives you a shot at a free ebook and I'll be sharing an excerpt from Alex in Wonderland too!
They say Tuesday is the most productive day of the work week. Let's prove them wrong, shall we?
Having a pretty awesome Monday after a less than spectacular weekend. Alex in Wonderland is up to #3 in romantic comedies at ARe, and after dropping out of the top 100 entirely on Amazon, has now climbed up to #67 in gay romance on the kindle and #69 in gay and lesbian romance fiction in books. Happy dance!
In other news, I'm talking about how I got the idea for Alex and sharing an excerpt from the book in my blog post on Dirty Birdies today. Scoot on over there to find out all about Alex's dance with "Zorro." :)
And here's a blurb and excerpt to celebrate.
What can go wrong in a sex club? Plenty.
Fresh out of a sexless relationship with a manipulative, two-timing boyfriend, Alex enters the notorious sex club, Wonderland, looking for action. But between the dungeon of dubious Doms, the malfunctioning steam room, and the “alien” go-go boy with glow-in-the-dark everything, it’s beginning to look like Alex will never get laid again. Then a mysterious masked man gives Alex the dance of his life—and more—only to disappear without a trace.
Try as he might, Alex can’t find the man who swept him off his feet. But when the night is through, and the masks are cast aside, Alex makes a startling discovery. What he’s been looking for all night, and maybe all his life, might be the biggest and best surprise of the night.
Crap. Why did he have to think of Brian? The scene he’d discovered four hours ago flooded in on him in all its heartbreak and horror. Was that ringing sound the music or just the memory of Brian’s piercings jingling as he fucked Dr. Toland from behind? And to think Brian had the gall to be pissed at Alex for coming home early and walking in on them doing it like a couple of dogs in the middle of Alex and Brian’s bed.
In that moment Alex had realized what an utter douche Brian was and how lucky he was that he had walked in on their little therapy session. Otherwise he might have spent the rest of his life under the hypnotic spell of Brian’s bullshit. Nothing he ever did was right. Brian needed money so Alex worked extra hours, but then Brian was lonely and the soy bacon Alex bought was the wrong brand and his leather briefcase had to be left outside in the car because Brian couldn’t stand to have corpses in the house…
Alex had been on a treadwheel, trying to make Brian happy. What a sap he’d been. But at least he’d stepped off the wheel now. Alex took a deep breath and let his shoulders drop. A drink sounded good. He waded into the crowd at the bar.
A slender young man wearing nothing but the hair gel in his spiked, blond locks put a hand on Alex’s chest. His eyes were about level with Alex’s nipples.
“Ooh.” He trailed his fingers across Alex’s skin. “I bet you fuck like a stallion.” He looked up and licked his lips.
The whisper-light touches and the shine on that plump, pink mouth revived Alex’s cock. It twitched, but… “Actually, I catch.”
Blondie pouted. “Big guy like you? No fair.”
“No problem. Takes all kinds, and there’s plenty here for everyone. That’s the beauty of Wonderland. I’m Ryan.” He swept a hand up alongside his face and then extended it, palm downward, to Alex.
Alex took Ryan’s hand in his but then hesitated. What was he supposed to do with it? Kiss it? Shake it? He wound up giving Ryan an awkward squeeze and then releasing him. “I’m Alex.”
“This your first time?”
“How can you tell?”
“Please, girlfriend. You scream noob. Come on. Let’s get some drinks, and I’ll fill you in on a few things. Ha! Get it?”
-- Daisiemae, Night Owl Reviews, 5 stars, top pick
-- Paulette, Bean & Leaf Books
-- Nannette, Joyfully Reviewed
-- NeNe, Fallen Angel Reviews, 5 Angels
-- Val Kovalin, All Romance eBooks Wildfire Newsletter
-- Literary Nymphs Reviews, 4 Nymphs
-- April, Fallen Angel Reviews. 5 Angels, Recommended Read