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EXCERPT REVEAL: The Spiral Down (The Fall Up #2) by Aly Martinez

the spiral down excerpt reveal

We’re thrilled to feature Aly Martinez’s The Spiral Down once again on 3 Chicks After Dark! First we helped reveal the awesome cover, and now we’re back to share a fantastic excerpt.  The Spiral Down will be available May 17th. Enjoy!

EXCERPT:

Chapter One
Henry

Rain fell from the sky in sheets. It’d only been drizzling when I’d boarded my private jet not even a half hour earlier.  Now, I could barely see the airport outside my window.

“No, babe, it’s not a big deal. I just would have liked to see you while I was in town. It’s been a while. That’s all,” I said, shifting the phone to my other hand.

Dipping my finger into the empty glass that had once been the home of gin and tonic number three, I stared at the melting ice as I stirred it in a circle.

Her raspy, sleep-filled voice no longer sounded anything like that of the little girl I’d met when she was only five. But, after sixteen years, Robin Clark no longer resembled that child, either.

“I swear I thought the shower was next weekend. I got my dates mixed up. I’m so sorry,” she lied. She did that a lot.

“Don’t worry about it. It’s cool,” I said, pretending to believe her.  I did that a lot.

And it killed us both a little more every time I did.

“I love you, Cookie,” she whispered.

I wasn’t sure if that was a lie or not anymore.

But I knew one thing was true. “I love you too, kid.”

We sat in silence for several seconds, neither of us willing to hang up. However, neither of us knew what else to say.  A million words hung between us, but none of them would solve anything. God knows I’d said them all over the last five years. Still, she’d never heard any of them. Not really.

With my heart physically aching, I swallowed hard and bit the bullet. “Listen, I’m about to take off. I’ll be in L.A. for a show next week. Why don’t you come and we’ll hang out for a few days?” It was an honest invitation.

I didn’t receive an honest response.

“I’ll be there!”

“I’ll have Carter set it up. I’ll come by tomorrow afternoon and give you the details. I can’t stay long, but maybe a quick dinner or something.”

“Perfect.”

We didn’t linger with drawn-out goodbyes. A few seconds later, my phone was off and I was once again gazing out at the pouring rain, wishing I were anywhere but on a plane.

Carter, my head of security, settled in the seat beside me and opened the latest issue of Sports Illustrated magazine.

My stomach clenched when the plane jerked as we backed away from the gate.

“Tell Levee I love her, okay?” I said to Carter without dragging my eyes off the terminal disappearing in the distance.

“Here we go,” he mumbled, closing his magazine and turning his attention my way.  

“Can you do me a huge favor? If I don’t survive, make sure it’s open casket and I’m wearing—”

“Blue. It makes your eyes pop,” he finished for me.

“Right, but—”

“But your eyes will be closed, so you should wear green instead. It looks better with your complexion.”

“Yes, but—”

“But your complexion will be ashy since you’re dead and all. So let’s just go with a sleek, black suit. It’s timeless.” He arched an incredulous eyebrow.

Lifting my glass in the air, I rattled the ice at Susan, my personal flight attendant. She was busy buckling herself in for takeoff, but she flashed me a warm, motherly smile in acknowledgement that she had seen me.

“So maybe we’ve had this conversation before,” I told Carter.

He rolled his eyes. “Every time we fly.”

I huffed but didn’t bother explaining. He knew exactly how terrified of flying I was. He’d been there the day it’d all begun.

You would have thought that, after having traveled the globe for years, a simple two-hour flight wouldn’t have been a problem. My racing heart and sweating palms argued otherwise.

In the eight years since my career had taken off, I’d gone from a somewhat-popular YouTube personality to the king of the music industry when Levee and I’d released our self-produced debut album, Dichotomy. Filled with half of her tracks and half of mine, it had soared to the top of the charts. There hadn’t been a radio station in the country not playing our music. In a matter of weeks, our careers had exploded, which had forced the whole world to take notice.

The following years had been a whirlwind. Grammys, record deals, fame, fortune, security. I could have retired six months after I’d started and never wanted for anything again. Well, that’s not totally true. The one thing I really wanted could never be bought.

I wasn’t even sure it could be earned.

It was something so rare that I feared it didn’t actually exist.

Love. Unconditional. Unwavering. Eternal. Love.

I gave that to exactly two people in my life.

I only received it in return from one.

I’d been born a gay man. There had never been a moment in my life when I’d been remotely sexually attracted to women. If I had been, I would have married Levee Williams the second I’d laid eyes on her. Because I’d known, just that fast, that she was going to be the best thing that ever happened to me.

And she had been.

Riding the state’s dime to college, I’d branched out on my own at eighteen, armed with nothing more than a guitar and a headful of mediocre lyrics.

In a lot of ways, alone felt better.

In most, it felt worse.

Luckily, within weeks of starting my new adventure, I met Levee at a local bar on amateur night.  She wouldn’t admit it, but she’d been attempting to hit on me when she’d first strutted over after her set. I understood how she’d misinterpreted my intense stare while she’d performed. But, when her kind, brown eyes lit as our gazes met, I knew, straight or gay, I needed to meet that woman. That night, over beers and more laughs than I had ever experienced, we bonded over music. Less than two weeks later, I moved in with her. Part of my heart bound to hers in a way I had never felt before. With no parents, no siblings, not even a foster mother who’d taken a liking to me, I’d spent most of my life searching for the sense of belonging she gave me only minutes after we’d met.

I fiercely loved that crazy woman. And it amplified as the years passed when I realized the feeling was mutual.

Levee was more than my best friend. Outside of Robin, she was the only family I’d ever had.

Which really meant she was the only true family I’d ever had.

I’d heard that God wasn’t exactly stoked about homosexuality, but come on. What kind of a masochist sends a gay man his soul mate with boobs and a vagina?

Especially considering she was now married to Sam Rivers and six months pregnant with his baby girl.

I’d tried dating over the years, but the few men I’d found interesting had found me temporary. I was good for a night of fulfilling their secret fantasies. But that’s where it ended. I guess that’s what I got for having a thing for straight men. I couldn’t stop myself though. It wasn’t the sex. As a celebrity, I had plenty of men vying for my attention. Ass was easy to come by. But the high that came from being with a straight man, knowing he was going against his own genetic coding just for one night with me, made every minute of the pain worth it.

Those forbidden encounters were a drug.

And I was a junkie.

The hunt of finding that perfect blend of brute masculinity and subtle curiosity.

The chase of teasing and taunting, ramping them up until they were unable to get my clothes off fast enough.

The victory as they finally broke, giving in to the one desire they had never considered before they’d landed in my crosshairs.

That was the high.

But it was always followed by the crash.

Including the inevitable spiral down when they realized what they had done.

Some freaked, slinging insults and threats at me as if I had somehow magically cast a spell and charmed their dick into my mouth. Some wore their shame on their faces, gathering their clothes and rushing from the room without a backward glance. Some felt the high too and came back for seconds, desperate for more.

But they all left, one way or another.

Always.

Once I’d accepted that those encounters were nothing more than a fix, it’d stopped gutting me when they walked away.

While I’d had my fair share of partners, I was far from a whore. I didn’t launch my expert skills of seduction on any straight man who crossed my path. That would have been a wasted effort. I was good; don’t doubt that. But men didn’t just fall naked into my bed, begging for me to take their bodies in ways they would never forget. At least, not the men I wanted. It took patience and dedication to achieve my high.

I spent two years working my way into a certain NFL quarterback’s bedroom.

Worth every single second.

Or so I’d told myself as I’d felt another piece of my soul break away when he’d dismissed me from his life the very next day.

Maybe I was a whore after all.

But I’d tried the relationship thing and it just didn’t work.

I’d given my heart to a man once. He’d given it back a month later.

I was devastated when he left. I was ruined when, two months later, I watched him marry a woman I knew he didn’t love.

No. That’s not true. It was me he didn’t love.

That was a common theme in my life and exactly why I was so successful as a singer-songwriter. It was hard to be all “woe is me” with millions of adoring fans acting as if you were a god who’d returned to Earth.

While Levee struggled with the weight of her fame, I flourished under the spotlight. I was alive on stage. And, with no one waiting for me at home, I’d devoted years to touring. The roar of the crowd fueled my happiness to the point I feared the day when I would have to settle down.

And, right then, I was white-knuckle gripping the armrest as the jet accelerated down the runway before lifting into the sky.

“Shit. Shit. Shit,” I mumbled as my stomach dropped when the landing gear loudly locked into place.

“You’re fine,” Carter said absently.

I was absolutely not fine.

“I’m gonna puke,” I groaned.

His eyes never lifted from the pages of his magazine as he shook a vomit bag open and passed it my way.

“Thanks,” I replied, disingenuous.

“No problem. Now, take a deep breath and try to relax. We’ll be there in no time.”

As the plane leveled out, so did my stomach.

Blowing out a loud breath, I dropped my head back against the headrest. “We should’ve taken the bus.”

“There wasn’t time for the bus. Your ass is supposed to be on stage in four hours. What we shouldn’t have done is drive to San Francisco in the first place.”

“We’ve been over this. I wasn’t missing her baby shower.”

He grumbled, adjusting in his seat. “I think Levee and Sam would’ve understood.”

I narrowed my eyes and turned to glare at him. “Don’t even start with me. They would have understood perfectly. But that doesn’t change the fact that I wanted to be there.”

My tour had been scheduled over a year in advance. Tickets had sold out in less than five minutes. But none of that had mattered when I’d found out that Sam’s mom was planning a baby shower for Levee. I had very few priorities in life. However, being there for her was always one of them.

Susan approached my seat. “Can I get you another drink, Mr. Alexander?”

“Thank God. Yes!” I lifted my glass in her direction.

“No problem.” Her eyes nervously shifted to Carter. “A word?”

Carter unbuckled his seat belt and moved past me. They huddled together behind the small bar in the front, but my focus was on the mini bottle of gin she was emptying in my glass. I was well aware that I needed to slow down. Drunk on stage wasn’t exactly a novelty in my business, but slurring my words and stumbling over lyrics was a deal breaker for me.

Just as I was about to tell her to hold off on the drink, the plane suddenly jerked and my nerves skyrocketed all over again. I sucked in a sharp breath, and both sets of their concerned eyes jumped to mine.

Yep. I can sober up later.

Snapping my fingers, I ordered, “Drink.”

Susan smiled compassionately before shooting an impatient glare at Carter. I would have cared what they were whispering about if I hadn’t been about to pull an Incredible Hulk and peel out of my own skin.

“I’ll tell him,” Carter relented with a sigh, tagging the drink from her hand and then moving in my direction.

With shaking hands, I took the glass and tipped it back for a sip, relishing in the distracting burn in my chest.

“Tell me what?” I asked, settling the glass in a cup holder.

He motioned his chin at my drink. “Why don’t you finish that first?”

The clear liquid sloshed as the plane suddenly banked to the left.

“Excellent idea,” I said.

Carter’s gaze once again lifted to Susan’s in a silent conversation.

Her lips thinned.

Throwing the rest of my drink back, I bounced my attention back and forth between the two of them. Susan looked downright nervous, and Carter appeared more than a little annoyed.

“Okay, what the hell is going on with you two?” I demanded.

“The pilot is having some chest pains,” he announced.

Suddenly, there wasn’t enough gin in the world.

Fighting to make my seat belt tighter, I gasped, “Did he pass out? Are we going down?”

Carter’s expression remained impassive.

“Of course not!” Susan cut in.

Her reassurance did little to comfort me, because whatever magical mechanism kept the cabin pressurized suddenly failed. If the pain in my lungs was any indication, there was absolutely no oxygen left on that plane. We were all going to die.

Carter’s heavy paw landed on my back, pushing my torso down so my head was between my knees.

“Calm down and breathe. We aren’t going down. The copilot is taking us back to San Francisco. We’ll be on the ground in no time.”

The vise on my lungs didn’t loosen.

Still hunched over, I nodded, having heard his words but finding no relief in them.

Susan kneeled beside me. “It’s okay, Henry. Co-captain Baez is an amazing pilot. You won’t even know the difference.” She rubbed my back.

Embarrassment mingled with the worthlessness I felt in that moment. But I was helpless to reel it in. My body was out of control. I was left as nothing more than a marionette being held captive by my fear.

Reaching out, I gripped Carter’s thigh desperately searching for a way to ground myself.

The man was a beast. At six-five and well over three hundred pounds, with short, black hair and nearly black eyes, he looked every bit of the scary bodyguard I’d hired him to be. There wasn’t anything soft or gentle about him. However, he’d been with me for almost a decade. He knew how I worked, even if he didn’t like it.

He patted my hand, and then I heard the crinkle of his magazine opening.

“You’ll be fine,” he said.

I wasn’t sure he was right.

 The Spiral Down teaser graphic

ABOUT THE BOOK:

the spiral down coverI was afraid to fly.
He made me soar.

After years of climbing the ladder of success in the music industry, I finally had everything I could want.
Yet I still found myself wandering through life alone.

Captain Evan Roth was the one man I never saw coming.
Tall, dark, mysterious… Straight.

We were both damaged beyond repair and searching for something so elusive we weren’t sure it even existed.

But, when two broken souls collide in midair, falling is a given.

I just never expected to crave the spiral down.

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the spiral down coming soon

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

aly martinez author picBorn and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Aly Martinez is a stay-at-home mom to four crazy kids under the age of five, including a set of twins. Currently living in South Carolina, she passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a glass of wine at her side.

After some encouragement from her friends, Aly decided to add “Author” to her ever-growing list of job titles. Five books later, she shows no signs of slowing. So grab a glass of Chardonnay, or a bottle if you’re hanging out with Aly, and join her aboard the crazy train she calls life.

CONNECT WITH ALY:

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

 The Spiral Down Teaser 2

SPOTLIGHT: Succumbing to His Fear by River Mitchell

Succumbingt hisFear-CustomDesign-jayAheer2015-banner2

ALFIE
One phone call changed his life.
&
One chance meeting changed his heart.
Then
One connection changed his world.

Nothing could’ve prepared him for what happened, everything was out of his control. The only thing that he could do was hold on tight, but he would soon find out that there were worst things than succumbing to his fear.

FEAR
One chance meeting proved he was capable of love.
&
One night together proved they were meant to be.
Then
One evil and twisted mind proved that he could lose it all.

Always feeling as if a part of him was missing he was unprepared for when he found it. Complications and devastating events try their best to destroy his chance of happiness. Little did they know nothing would stop him from protecting what was his because nothing could take on Fear and walk away unscathed! Will love be strong enough when one of them has never felt it before and the other has never spoken the words?

teaser: Succumbing to His Faer

BLURB:

After a life changing event makes Alfie the legal guardian of his estranged step-siblings, as well as a chance meeting one drunken night, he finds his world turned upside down when he discovers that everything he thought he knew about himself was catastrophically wrong.

Before meeting Alfie and his family, Fear was content with his casual hookups and one-night stands, purposefully keeping everyone at an arm’s length. As Alfie comes into his burgeoning feelings, a curveball shakes the two men, threatening to destroy Fear and his new found chance at happiness with Alfie.

With everything thrown into turmoil, Fear decides to fight for those he loves, Alfie and his family included. Will they be able to survive the collateral damage around them, or will they lose everything?

Kindle Edition, 185 pages
Expected publication: February 26th 2016 by Via Star Wings Books

Succumbingt hisFear-CustomDesign-jayAheer2015-smallpreview

Amazon  •  Smashwords  •  All Romance eBooks 

AUTHOR BIO:

I have always been a lover of anything that allows my imagination to fly. Movies, music, art and of course books of all genres. The opportunity to slip away to another world and live out all sorts of fantasies was the perfect happy place I needed at times, my great escape.

It didn’t take long for my love of reading to transform into a desire to write a book of my very own. But being severely dyslexic I never thought that would be a possibility. Enter my guardian angel with her un-fleeting encouragement and I started out on a rollercoaster journey to make my dream come true.

When I am not writing I can often be found listening to rock music while delving into the life of a gorgeous Alpha male, drawing and painting or trying to teach my cats, Boo fishcakes and Edward Elton to play fetch. (Don’t ask they think they’re dogs and I am not going to squash their dream).

My biggest wish is that people could find their happy place in the words that I write, and hope that I can inspire others to know that if I can do it they can share their amazing worlds and imaginations too.

Email: AuthorRiverMitchell@outlook.com

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BOOK BLAST: Life is a Stevie Wonder Song by V.L. Locey

BannerTemplate-Life is a Stevie Wonder Song

Life is a Stevie Wonder Song by V.L. Locey
Release Date: December 30, 2015
Pages or Words: 24,600 words
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: Kris Norris
Categories: Contemporary, M/M Romance, Gay For You, May/December

Blurb:

Authors know that their muse is a fickle creature. Best-selling spy novelist Stephen Ramsey has been in a hate-hate relationship with his inspiration for months. Stephen’s publisher lays a legal ultimatum upon him, with a rapidly approaching deadline, he knows he must do something to kick-start his creativity or face the unemployment line. His daughter comes up with a possible answer: a summer camp for the creative soul. With nothing to lose, Stephen packs up his laptop, phonograph and beloved record albums and heads from Manhattan to the Catskill Mountains.

There, among a horde of college students attending for extra credits, is Declan Pomeroy, a photographer of fey creatures who is twenty years younger than Stephen. The woods are a magical place, and he quickly finds himself falling under the spell of the free-spirited photographer. Confusion wars with desire inside Stephen as he succumbs to the feelings welling up inside. But, sadly, summer camp always has to end. Can a man who has just found himself really leave the person that makes his heart sing?

lifeisasteviewondersong1400

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Excerpt:

Then he appeared from the tree line, a lithe, pale creature of the Finnish goddess Mielikki’s woods if ever I had seen one. Yay for that semester of world mythology back in college finally paying off. Declan wore nothing but a scrap of linen tied around his lean waist and a camera around his neck. I swallowed and stepped down off the porch, anxious to get closer to him. He waited patiently for me. As I drew closer, I could hear him humming. A smile tweaked my lips. It was Stevie Wonder’s Signed, Sealed, Delivered.

“You look like you have too much on,” Declan announced when I stood in front of him. I glanced down at my attire. Gym shorts, a T-shirt, and sneakers sans socks. “How would you feel about doing this nude?” My sight knifed back from my clothes to my guide into the Twilight Zone.

“You’re not naked,” I pointed out once I could speak around the knot of desire clogging my throat.

“I usually am, but I figured you’d be far too uptight to not have clothes on, so, I fashioned a makeshift chiton to cover my goodies.”

“Okay. Yes, I’m not comfortable with our goodies hanging out.” He glanced up at the fat moon over our heads, then sighed dramatically. “I can do no shirt and no shoes, however.”

Declan’s gaze returned to me from Madame Luna. He made a sort of cooing sound then rose to his tiny toes to press his lips to mine. It was a soft peck, our mouths touching for a mere second, but it did things to my perceptions of who Steven Ramsey is that I still cannot fully explain.

“I think I’d like to see you without a shirt,” he whispered over my lips.

“What are you doing?” I croaked. He shrugged a shoulder, then dropped back down to stand flat-footed. “Stop it, okay? I’m old enough to be your father.”

He smiled then spun around, his bare back gleaming pure white. I wanted to touch his skin, trace the knobs of his spine with my tongue. This whole thing was pure insanity, yet I hurried to strip off my old T-shirt and kick off my sneakers. Declan glanced over his shoulder, smiled again, and then rushed off into the night, the coquette. I followed because what else could I do? Not traipsing after the kid was impossible. The grass was cool and wet under my bare soles. The high whine of a mosquito zipped past my ear. I would be nothing but a massive bug bite in the morning. I walked behind Declan, swatting at the air, hoping I didn’t step on something that would require stitches or a tetanus shot. We stepped into the woods. I debated going back for my shoes.

“We have to be as silent as possible,” Declan, standing on my right, whispered.

“Shoes are quiet,” I replied, my hand resting on the scraggy bark of an old pine.

“Shoes don’t allow you to touch the earth.”

“They also don’t allow thorns to penetrate your flesh,” I parried. My guide grunted in consternation then set off once again. A million questions bounced around my head as I tenderly placed one foot down then the other. What kind of camera did he use? Was there a special ethereal film for capturing fey? Did I need therapy? Did I just step on a slug?

We walked deeper into the woods. The farther we traveled, the more I wanted to speak up or at least scoff. I was working on a good zinger when I ran into Declan’s bare back. He threw up a hand to silence me. My body tightened from a weird combination of fear and desire. The kid felt wonderful pressed against my chest, his clammy skin resting against mine. I peered over his head, my hand coming to rest on his left hip. Declan leaned back into me just the slightest bit. My cock began to swell. My eyelids drifted down as he wiggled enticingly closer still.

“Look at the hazy ring around the moon,” Declan whispered. My fingers dug into his bony hip. I opened my eyes and looked up. We were on the edge of a small glen. He lifted up his camera and snapped several images as I stared at the milky white fingers of magic tickling the moon. “Now look at the ground.” I did. There, in the center of the small glen, was a small, perfectly circular ring of mushrooms perhaps ten feet wide. “That’s known as a fairy ring.”

“Huh,” I grunted, my body trying desperately to take over the show. Declan had to feel my erection resting against his pert ass. He seemed perfectly as ease with a hard dick between his buttocks. I, on the other hand, was slowly going mad. I longed to lower my mouth to his neck and lick the sweat from his skin. I also wanted to run away screaming to the world that I was not a faggot, but was I? It certainly looked it. Declan lowered his camera and took a few shots of the white mushrooms.

“I’ve heard tales of the fey blessing those who stand in a fairy ring under a full moon. Would you like to go stand in the ring, Steven?” he asked. I nodded. He slid out of my grasp and reached back to find my hand. His fingers were thinner than mine. He pulled me into the glen. I glanced up, then back. “Are you afraid that someone will see us cuddling in the fairy ring?”

“At the moment,” I stepped carefully over several large mushrooms,” I’m afraid of everything, mostly you.”

Buy the book:

http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=200

Meet the author:

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, belly laughs, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, two dogs, two cats, a flock of assorted domestic fowl, and three Jersey steers.

When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in hand. She can also be found online on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and GoodReads.

Where to find the author:

Website-http://vlloceyauthor.com/

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/pages/VL-Locey/124405447678452

Twitter- https://twitter.com/vllocey

Pinterest-http://www.pinterest.com/vllocey/

Goodreads- http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5807700.V_L_Locey

My blog- http://thoughtsfromayodelinggoatherder.blogspot.com/

tsú – https://www.tsu.co/vllocey

Tour Date & Stops:

December 29, 2015

Parker Williams, The Hat Party, Bayou Book Junkie, Havan Fellows, Just Love Romance, Happily Ever Chapter, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, BFD Book Blog, The Jena Wade, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, 3 Chicks After Dark, Three Books Over The Rainbow, Elisa – My Reviews and Ramblings, MM Good Book Reviews, Inked Rainbow Reads, Velvet Panic
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The Last Nights of The Frangipani Hotel (The Actor’s Circle #2) by Bey Deckard

The Last Nights of the Frangipani HotelReleased 12 September 2015

Published by Bey Deckard

Cover design by Bey Deckard

Cover photo by Strangeland Photography

Categories: Gay for you/out for you, Contemporary, Romance, Erotica

Blurb:

All James wanted was a little solitude at his favourite resort: bright sunshine overhead, soft, white sand underfoot, and a hammock to read in while the warm breeze rustles through the coconut palms and almond trees. However, when an old acquaintance shows up, and James is obliged to share “his” beach, a profound exchange over a bottle of rum leads to a lust-fuelled encounter in the dark.

Reeling from the intensity of the drunken tryst, James decides to cut his vacation short rather than face what he’s kept hidden under mountains of denial.

However, his escape is thwarted when Rudie, handsome and plainspoken, calls him out on his behaviour and makes him see that life needn’t be spent running away from his desires.

Set at a rundown old resort on a small Caribbean island, The Last Nights of The Frangipani Hotel is a story about letting go of fear and learning that passion and love can be found in the most unexpected of places.

Sales link: Amazon

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Our thoughts:

The synopsis for this novella it perfection. It captures the plot and feel of Bey Deckard’s work perfectly. Because of this, I will try not to recap or give away too much more information. I will say this, read The Actor’s Circle novellas! The first novella in the series, The Complications of T has a little tie-in that is revealed towards the end of The Last Nights of The Frangipani Hotel. I was delighted when the link stumbled upon the pages as I read. I love little surprises like that.

The Last Nights of The Frangipani Hotel has a nice casual pace. James Talbot is at a secluded vacation resort so the atmosphere is relaxed and easy. Of course, that doesn’t last long when Rudie Brauer bursts through his solitude and causes a stir. A stir in environment and in James’ pants!

James is so far into the folds of denial that even after he has an encounter (or two) with Rudie, he doesn’t accept that he might be bisexual or even (GASP!) gay. There’s one part in the book when James starts to reveal prior trysts and they’re all with men, yet he still is in denial about his sexuality! Kudos to Rudie for his patience and understanding. Everyone must accept themselves at their our pace, in their own way. Since Rudie likes his lovers to be a bit rough and use him, he’s perfectly content to let James feel his way around the situation. If it becomes more, great. If it is just a one-off, Rudie will deal and move on.

The awkwardness between James and Rudie post sex quickly becomes more comfortable and affectionate. They seem more at ease with each other, their situation and their potential future. The last days spent at The Hotel Frangipani are definitely life changing and eye-opening for James. He becomes aware of his sexuality, embraces it and tackles his career implications all in one swoop. Now he can finally breathe and be himself. No more hiding or shame.

The novella ends on a hopeful note. An open ending but a satisfying one. I’m not sure how many more novellas will be in this series, but they are truly gems from Bey Deckard, master of pirates, mènage and BDSM. Now, master of the contemporary novella!

RATING: BAD ASS (SAND IN THE) BOOTS!