Sweet Temptations Excerpt

Sweet Temptations released this weekend. A new, never before published LGBTQ romance. I hope you enjoy this excerpt:

“So, you’re Mister Delvaux.” Sounded more like Jack took the declaration on board than questioned the fact. “The mystery purchaser.”

“Yes. And you are?” Not as he wanted more details, but knowing as much about this man as possible might prove useful if Jack became a real problem.

A defensive expression passed over Jack’s face. “Jack…Brewer.” The slight hesitation didn’t pass Brinley by, though he didn’t know what to make of it, or the way Jack scanned the room again. The man still seemed unhappy, and about something more than Brinley skipping out, or leaving him a biscuit. “So, you’re opening a bakery?”

An attempt to change the subject? That suited Brinley. “Of a sort. Selective goods, one might say. All sweet. No savoury. At least, not right away.” Locals might want more variety, but once they tried his sweets, he doubted it. “I don’t intend to compete with any local pasty bakers.”

“Think you’ve picked the right spot? I mean, this is mostly a holiday crowd. They’ll be on the lookout for pasties, sausage rolls, chips. Fudge. They eat their share of cakes and cream teas—”

“No cream teas here,” Brinley declared, the reason he volunteered the information beyond him. “Only cakes. Cookies. Specialties. But trust me, the holiday crowd won’t resist. Neither will those in this parish.”

“So, you’re actually moving in? To work and live.” Gaze flicking over the ceiling, down to the windows, Jack appeared to absorb this information. He peered around, taking everything in. A confusing expression of regret appeared on his face. “I didn’t think the kitchen here would—”

“I’m changing all that. Changing everything.”

Jack took to nodding, slipping his hands into the back pockets of his jeans, hands pressed against the luscious curve of his arse cheeks. An unwanted shiver passed through Brinley.

“Still, it’ll take time. Cost a lot.”

“Jack, what’s truly going on here?”

Colour infused Jack’s face, though Brinley couldn’t tell if the cause was embarrassment or anger. “What do you mean?”

“The fact we’re here is a surprise to us both, but you seem angry with me. I’m sorry if you expected me to stick around to wake you with a kiss…” Though he wouldn’t have minded doing so, he couldn’t take the risk. Romance with the non-Gifted didn’t mix. Brinley gave himself a mental kick, finishing with, “I’m not the sort to pause long enough to lay roses on pillows.”

“No, only cookies on tables.” Jack grinned, but the gesture didn’t stretch to his eyes, his tone a blend of disgust and annoyance. “But why are you here at all? Why wander on in here? Can’t be a coincidence. Either you learned I arrived, though I can’t imagine how, or…” A flash of insight came to him. “You’re interested in the building.”

Jack’s eyes narrowed. He made chewing movements with his jaw. His hands, removed from his pockets, fisted. Long seconds stretched out, calculations speeding through Jack’s eyes, until he apparently settled on being honest. “You beat my bid. I stopped by to check who took the house, which should rightfully be mine.”

“What on earth are you talking about?”

“I bid on this place.”

“As did others.” Scanning the auctions, Brinley had spotted this building in an ideal location. “Anyone might have outbid you.”

“But you did. You’re the one. An anonymous bidder. On the phone.”

“I couldn’t get down here in time. I needed an agent to—”

“I put in the second highest. The most I could afford. You put in a jump no one could outbid. More than the place is worth refurbished.”

Jack sounded accusing and perhaps with reason, but his antagonism struck Brinley as excessive, not merely a pissed local angry with someone from outside coming in and taking over the place. This showed all the signs of something personal.

“It’s not listed as a commercial property,” Jack added. “So how you got by regulations—”

“The building was once a business venture. Many years ago, when first built. Because someone once used the premises for trade, planning gave the okay. How did you not know?”

Jack blinked, a frown and twitches running over his face. “I wanted this house for a home. Maybe to create an annex to rent to help finance the running. Not as…as…”

“As what, Jack? What’s so wrong with a bakery?” Not that his place would be any old bakery. “Once used as an apothecary, this is ideal for my needs.” Out back, a large apothecary cabinet covered one wall, a fine antique Brinley fully intended to utilise for his own supplies, the multiple drawer unit part of the house’s charm.

“You wouldn’t understand.”

“Enlighten me.”

Brinley Delvaux loves to bake tempting treats that can change people’s lives. But when he moves to a quaint seaside town in order to alter his own, the last complication he needs is falling for Jack Brewer, a man whose sudden appearance messes up Brinley’s timetable to renovate the old Holberton place, as well as his plans for a quiet future.

Worse, Jack is a normal human, whereas Brinley is one of the Gifted, with powers most people cannot comprehend and which Brinley isn’t at liberty to share. Spending time with Jack is potentially dangerous for at least one of them, and Brinley’s seeking a quiet future separate from his past with the Gifted community.

There’s only one answer… to use his powers to solve the problem of Jack. Aside from some personal trauma, what could possibly go wrong?

Available now directly from JMS Books for those in the US (please buy direct from publishers where possible), and from reputable publishers everywhere else. Currently in ebook. Print to follow.

The Next Big Thing

I had no idea what to blog this morning, and then in the process of clearing out old files I came across this. As my m/m romance book, Hounding the Beat, saw a second edition release recently, this seemed a good time for re-posting this. (Note: I know of at least one reader who is begging for a third installment. It is on my to-do list although it may not happen for some time for several reasons. I won’t go into that here as the timing is wrong, and that’s more appropriate on my romance site.):

Firstly, a big thank to Adera Orfanelli  for asking me to take part in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. As I didn’t have a new WIP, I chose Mistletoe and Whine for my subject and decided to make this a page post as the questions may interest the readers of both Hounding the Beat, and Mistletoe and Whine.

What is the working title of your book?

This question is easy. I knew from the outset I was going to call this Mistletoe and Whine, (a play on words from the Christmas song). Sometimes I struggle with titles but not this one, although it may give the impression it’s a lighthearted story, which it isn’t. These characters are a lot of fun and are perfect for some hysterical puns. There is fun in this story, but it has a darker edge than the first book.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

It’s a sequel to Hounding the Beat, but can be enjoyed as a standalone read without picking up the first book. I wrote a follow-up because the characters remained vibrant and I discovered a couple of my readers were equally eager to hear from them again. I’d left a loose thread dangling from the first book — partly intentionally, partly because that’s how the story worked out — that I could pick up, and it just felt natural to do so. So the basic idea already existed. The title then popped into my head and filled in the gaps.

What genre does your book fall under?

Shape-shifting paranormal erotic menage romance, I guess, if that’s one genre all by itself. I tend to blend subjects.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

I seldom visualise characters that distinctly, but at a push, I think Amanda Righetti (Grace from The Mentalist) would be a decent match for Chantelle. Although her features aren’t quite right (as beautiful as she is) she has the right body shape, the red hair, the essential feisty spark the character would need. The most difficult to cast would be Sam. I’m thinking, Sam Trammell (Sam Merlotte in True Blood) but he’s not quite right either. He’s got a similar gaze — I know that sounds strange, but it’s true, and I can see my Sam’s ruffled hair. My Sam has been called ‘sour puss’ though, so whoever played him would need to portray a certain ‘moodiness’ along with a fierce sense of loyalty. And oddly enough Joe Manganiello (Alcide/True Blood) could possibly be Bobby when wearing a suit as in this PHOTO, but he’d have to be a little more clean-shaven with tidier hair because of Bobby’s profession. He’s too tall, really, at 6’5” (I don’t visualise quite that amount of height discrepancy).

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When the peace and quiet of Bobby, Chantelle, and Sam’s lives come under threat, they have more to whine about than plastic mistletoe.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

It’s being published by Changeling Press.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I usually aim for about 2000 words a day, five days a week when writing. As Changeling only take shorts I can usually draft a story for them within two weeks. Then there are edits, of course — my own before I sub and after acceptance — but fortunately neither Hounding the Beat nor Mistletoe and Whine required much editing. The story came to me as a clean copy.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Obviously, Hounding the Beat. I don’t think it does compare to anything else. My stories at Changeling are all very different. I’ve written about a marooned astronaut, the fae, vampires, and a feel-good alternative history featuring a knight. I guess although this is paranormal it does have a similar feel to the contemporary stories as it has a modern setting. The only other menage I have out right now is Cosmic, available from Loose-Id, but that’s science fiction.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

I was looking to write for the Protect and Serve series at Changeling — the series created by the wonderful Lena Austin, which meant *gulp* whatever I came up with had to please Lena as well as the usual suspects. I liked the series and wanted to be part of it. I first chose police as my topic — being able to put a spin on that in the form of the British ‘Bobbie’. Then I had to choose what kind of shape-shifter to use. I’ve wanted to write shape-shifting huskies for a while, and so Bobby Pooch and Chantelle Shepherd were born (what did I say about the puns *grin*). And then there’s Sam Sanders, who’s human. Really both books are largely Sam’s story, though I didn’t even realise it at the time.

What else about your book might interest the reader?

That this one may require a box of tissues, and I mean for the odd sniffle if not outright cry. Funny how a good old sob can be cleansing, especially when one is left with a reason to smile. The best books affect readers’ emotions, after all. Not sure I always succeed in that as much as I like, but with this one I know I did. That is to say, I made those who went through the process with me have a lip tremble or two, including me and my editor.