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Guest Post from EM Lynley for Spaghetti Western (A Delectable Novel #5)

We are pleased to have author EM Lynley at 3 Chicks After Dark and welcome her post on communication and how it applies to Colby and Riley in her new novel, Spaghetti Western.

Cowboys, Crossed Wires and (Mis)Communication by EM Lynley

True confessions time: I love love LOVE to eavesdrop. I’ll sit in Starbucks listening to the people at the next table and taking notes on their conversations. I don’t think there’s a law against it, and since I don’t know them, I don’t think I’ll be going to hell for it. Will I? Crap, I hope not.

Anyway, when you really listen to people talking, real people, not characters in books or films, it’s fascinating to discover that often there are two different conversations going on. People don’t always talk to each other, or listen to what the other person is saying. Take this one for example:

Woman: “I think that waitress isn’t even paying attention to us.”
Man: “Did you mail back the thing back?”
Woman: “The Netflix DVD? Of course I did. Now, look she’s talking to that guy with crazy hair. I’m not leaving a tip.”
Man: “Good. I really want to watch the show with the twins. The one with that woman… I think it’s next.”
Woman: “Orphan Black? They’re clones, not twins.”
“Yeah. That’s what I said.” Man’s phone rings and he picks it up. “Hello?”
Woman: “Waitress! Now she’s pretending she didn’t even see me. Did you see that? You had to see that!”
Man: “They’re clones?” (He turns away from her so he can continue his phone conversation).

It’s a common exercise in writing classes for students to practice writing this type of conversation. Often what people don’t say, or ignore is more telling than what they actually say.

Then add in a layer of interpretation. People who know each other well, like families, or established couples, understand the verbal shorthand (is that a mixed metaphor?) and codes. Two people who don’t know each other well and come from different backgrounds can’t possibly interpret one another correctly. This leads to all sorts of understandable misunderstandings.

In my brand-spanking-new novel, Spaghetti Western, Riley, a chef with Boston’s bluest blood in his veins and Colby, a down-to-earth cowboy, couldn’t possibly come from more disparate backgrounds. When they get together it has nothing to do with talking. It’s hot enough to scorch the pages—if you were reading the print copy. Well, that physical connection is strong enough for them to want a deeper relationship, one that might actually include talking and really communicating.

Now they never actually have problems as bad as the man and woman I eavesdropped on at a coffee shop near where I live, but they aren’t very good at saying what they mean, and it definitely causes some problems!

Riley’s recently been betrayed by a man he thought he had a future with, a man he flew halfway around the world in order to work summer season at a swanky Aspen eatery. When he talks about relationships, he can’t help but bring in all of that baggage, and he’s pretty free with condemning relationships. He doesn’t trust most of what any man tells him anymore, and he honestly doesn’t think Colby’s paying much attention. After Denny, Riley can’t believe anyone would want him for more than some casual fun.

But Colby comes from a world where your word is your bond. On the ranch and with most of the people he does business with, a man’s honesty is integral. Colby says what he means, and he means what he says. He won’t go back on a promise, and he takes people at face value. When Riley says he’s had enough of relationships, Colby has no reason to put those words into context. Riley’s just interested in a summer fling, and Colby has to take it or leave it.

Of course Colby takes it, willing to accept Riley’s terms. But their failure to communicate leads to both of them making grave errors that could derail the real connection growing just beneath the surface in a place where hearts and bodies don’t pay any attention to words.

Can Colby and Riley learn to translate the other’s true meanings before someone else comes on the scene wanting a more permanent connection with Colby?
I guess you’ll have to read it to find out!

Here’s a little taste of Spaghetti Western, from Colby and Riley’s first date—a moonlight trail ride.

Sunset for the trail ride

Excerpt:

Riley watched the stars twinkling above them. “I can’t remember the last time I saw so many stars. The city’s too bright. I used to know the names of the constellations when I was a kid. We had a place on an island that was so dark at night I was afraid at first. My dad bought me a telescope so I’d be able to see the stars and know where I was.”

“Did that help?”

Riley inhaled, trying to recall. “Maybe. At least I had something else to think about. That’s my dad for you, into distraction and bait and switch.”

“You don’t get along?”

“I didn’t turn out like he expected.”

“You mean gay?”

Riley glanced toward Colby, then back at the sky. “He doesn’t care about that. He wanted someone to follow in his footsteps, same college, family business, tradition. His world never interested me.” Riley swallowed. He’d sugar coated the situation. “What about your family? Parents, siblings?”

“I’m an only child.” There was something heavy in Colby’s pause before he continued. “Born and raised on this ranch. Haven’t been all that far from home, except when I went away to college. But that was in Fort Collins, a ways north of Denver. Yeah, I guess I am the traditional type.” Colby’s voice got soft and low.

Riley couldn’t imagine staying in one place his whole life. He got bored, needed to try new things, have new adventures. “Your parents got tired of this place?”

“No.” The word was a raspy whisper. “They died when I was seven. They were on—” He stopped. “There was a car accident. I wasn’t with them.”

Sharp pain skewered Riley’s heart. Shit. He’d come across like a real bastard, bad-mouthing his father when Colby didn’t have a dad around anymore. “I’m really sorry to bring that up.”

“It’s okay. I don’t remember much about them anymore. Except my dad showed me the constellations too. We’d do overnight trail rides and….” He stopped talking, voice creaky around the edges.

Riley rolled onto his side and traced a fingertip along Colby’s arm. “Are we staying here overnight?”

“Wouldn’t you rather be back in a nice warm bed?”

“Your nice warm bed.”

Colby nodded. “I forgot about that. Wouldn’t you rather be in my bed?”

“I like how that sounds, but only if you’re there too.” Riley played with strands of Colby’s hair. “It might be warm, but it wouldn’t be as nice as this.” He leaned forward and kissed the corner of Colby’s mouth.

Colby pulled Riley into his arms and they kissed for a while, slow deep kisses that got Riley dizzy again. When they parted, Colby touched a fingertip to one of Riley’s peaked nipples.

“Cold? You’ve got goose bumps too.”

“I think those are from you. I like how you kiss, Colby.”

“I like how you do everything.” Colby wrapped his arms around Riley again.

 

Spaghetti WesternReleased 17 September 2014

Published by Dreamspinner Press

Copy obtained from author for review.

 Synopsis:

Spaghetti Western: A Novel in the Delectable Series

Cordon-Bleu trained pastry chef Riley Emerson arrives in Aspen, Colorado for a summer season at the best restaurant in town, only to discover his jerk of a boyfriend has dumped him, leaving his heart and his summer plans in tatters. Doubting himself and longing for a change of pace, he takes a low-paying position as chef at a guest ranch, the Rocking Z. The scenery is gorgeous, but he expects that nature up close and personal can’t hold a candle to his exciting Paris lifestyle.

When born-and-bred cattle rancher Colby Zane spots a newcomer letting himself be pawed at by a passel of horny cowboys at Aspen’s Club Rawhide, he doesn’t think twice before rushing in, throwing the guy over his shoulder, and rescuing him from the volatile situation. Sober, Riley Emerson turns out to be sweet and sexy, but not interested in more than a one-night stand with Colby. Initially disdainful of the guest ranch side of the business, Colby’s over the moon when Riley late arrives as the new cook on his family’s ranch

But all’s not well at the Rocking Z. Insurmountable financial problems force them to rely on a cash infusion from an outside investor, Fitz Wellington. Only Fitz is hot for Colby, and he won’t sign on the dotted line without some very personal incentives. The future of the ranch is at stake, and Colby’s just desperate enough to go along, but saving the Z might mean losing Riley.

**This book also contains recipes mentioned in the story**

Buy Links:  Dreamspinner Press • Amazon • Barnes and Noble • All Romance eBooks

shirtless cowboy ridin a horse

 

Meet the author:

EM at GRL book signingEM Lynley writes gay erotic romance. She loves books where the hero gets the guy and the loving is 11 on a scale of 10. A Rainbow Award winner and EPIC finalist, EM has worked in high finance, high tech, and in the wine industry, though she’d rather be writing hot, romantic man-on-man action. She spent 10 years as an economist and financial analyst, including a year as a White House Staff Economist, but only because all the intern positions were filled. Tired of boring herself and others with dry business reports and articles, her creative muse is back and naughtier than ever. She has lived and worked in London, Tokyo and Washington, D.C., but the San Francisco Bay Area is home for now.

She is the author of Sex, Lies & Wedding Bells, the Precious Gems series from Dreamspinner Press, and the Rewriting History series starring a sexy jewel thief, among others.

Visit her online: WebsiteBlogFacebookTwitterNewsletter

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Review:

RILEY, RILEY. Poor guy walks in on his boyfriend having an affair. Then his job opportunity along with his relationship is gone in an instant. Riley thinks a night at the local gay bar will make he feel better, wanted. It actually puts him in a vicarious position and a nice guy in plaid becomes his savior. A true prince in cowboy boots, Colby couldn’t let the obviously drunk and out of his mind guy be taken advantage of at the bar. He brings Riley to his room and takes care of him until morning. Colby, a true gentleman makes sure nothing happens between him and Riley but come morning, Riley is set to play. Little did they know this would be the beginning of so much more.

Riley’s job situation has him looking for work and it just so happens a ranch is looking for a cook. This is just the change that Riley needs to get over the sting of rejection. Riley ends up coming to work at the ranch Colby and his family own. He’s a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and could be the saving grace the ranch needs. Their in financial woes and are looking to up their Guest Ranch side of the business. A fancy chef could set them apart and bring back repeat customers.

While Riley is running the kitchen and Colby is working the cattle, they both are working on each other! The attraction didn’t wane from that first encounter, if anything it’s grown stronger. They fall into bed at night and enjoy waking together in the early morning hours. They’re comfortable even if they don’t know where their ‘relationship’ is going.

I liked that Colby was out to his family and it wasn’t an issue they had to contend with, but none of the family knew Riley and Colby were together. This was more from both being too afraid to say what they both were feeling and wanting. On one hand they communicated pretty well and worked things out quickly as long as it wasn’t their needs or expectations. Basically, all things not dealing with their relationship status or level of commitment!

Up to this point I was totally enamored with their story. Colby and Riley were sweet and romantic and just perfect for each other. Moonlight horse rides to a private spot, stolen moments in the kitchen, hot nights in Riley’s suite show their building desires.Then a potential investor shows up and everything changes. Colby finds himself being pushed into entertaining this Wellington character far more than he should have, because Wellington was obviously gay and interested in Colby. That leave Riley out in the cold and trying hard not to feel jealous.

Colby’s desire to save the ranch and all the land his family owned for generations was causing Colby to compromise his morals. I mean seriously, I wanted to slap Rachel and Alicia for always making sexual innuendos around Colby, loud enough for Wellington to hear. Practically pushing Wellington in Colby’s lap like it was okay to whore out their cousin. Their behavior  just didn’t sit well with me and I’d have liked for them to have apologized to him when things took the turn they did.

Wellington was a total fink and it was glorious when he was put in his place. It took his pushy, rude complaints and presumptions about what he’d do if he invested in the ranch to finally wake Colby up. He realized Riley really was his saving grace.

Again, Colby and Riley were a truly loveable couple.  They were very sexual but also fun in bed and out. They shared and connected. They got to know each other and took interest in each other’s lives and desires. For the short amount of time the book encompasses, the relationship really had a nice build and didn’t feel quick or forced even though it was quick!

Read this one for the great story and the hot visual images of naked guys wearing only their cowboy boots!

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!

Blog Tour: Rick R. Reed for Husband Hunters

3 Chicks After Dark extends a big, warm welcome to the fabulous Rick R. Reed. He writes, he cooks, he’s all around amazing and today he is sharing two excerpts from his newest release, Husband Hunters!

 

HusbandHuntersFSSM

Husband Hunters by Rick R. Reed

Published by Dreamspinner Press

Released 1 September 2014

Cover Artist: Paul Richmond

Synopsis:

You never know where the love of your life might turn up.

When Matt Connelly suggests to his best buddy Cody Mook that they head to downtown Seattle to audition for the gay reality TV show Husband Hunters, both agree the experience might be a lark and a chance to grab their fifteen minutes of fame. What they don’t know is that the show, modeled after HGTV’s House Hunters, will open doors of longing neither expected. For Matt, the secret love he has long harbored for Cody might be thrust into the spotlight. Cody might realize his search for his perfect-forever-man extends no farther than the man who’s always been at his side.

Husband Hunters promises laughter, tears, and, just maybe, a happy ever after. Will Cody and Matt’s story be one of best-friends-to-lovers—or an outright disaster?

Sales Links:
Dreamspinner • Amazon • ARe

Excerpt:

“You ever heard of a TV show called Husband Hunters?” Matt asked.

Cody let a short bark of a laugh escape. “Dude. It’s House Hunters. On HGTV, like, a thousand times a day.”

“No, no. There’s really a show called Husband Hunters. It’s on the gay channel. Haven’t you even heard of it? It’s the new gay show, even more popular than Drag Race. Where have you been?”

“Husband hunting?” Cody asked.

“Exactly. And how’s that working out for you?”

Cody paced his studio apartment and thought his friend Matt wasn’t as clueless as he had assumed about Cody’s romantic situation. “So far, my wish to be desired by many, won by few has gotten twisted around so it’s ass backwards.”

Matt obviously had to think about that for a moment. When he put it all together, he laughed. Not for the first time Cody thought of how his friend’s laughter too strongly resembled a donkey’s bray.

“Anyway,” Matt went on. “This show is kind of like your House Hunters in that it showcases someone looking for something and gives us three scenarios to watch and help them decide. Except instead of houses, it’s husbands!” Matt shrieked this last with something like delight—or lunacy.

“You’re kidding.” Cody rolled his eyes. He walked over to his kitchenette and began pulling out the makings for his breakfast: a couple of eggs, a loaf of Dave’s Spelt bread. “Is there a reason you brought this up? I can’t imagine anything more horrible. They actually get people to go on this show?” Cody sighed. “Whatever happened to romance?”

“The Internet,” Matt replied without missing a beat. “It’s a new day, as Miss Nina Simone once sang. Men get their manmeat digitally now. Soon Amazon will have drones delivering studs to your front door.”

“Whatever.” Cody was getting tired of the conversation. “You want to go out tonight or what?”

“Cody!” Matt complained. “You didn’t let me tell you the best part! Husband Hunters is right here in Seattle… today! They’re doing a talent search for some Pacific Northwest episodes.”

“And this affects me how?” Cody filled a pan with water, threw in some white vinegar and a little kosher salt, and set it on the stove to come to a simmer for his poached eggs.

“We can try out. Are you dense?” Matt went on, a little breathless with excitement. “What with the snow, there won’t even be as much competition. With your hotness and my wit, we’ll both be shoo-ins.”

Cody laughed. “You’re kidding me, right? What about the school?”

“You think they’d mind? Have you noticed that our principal is a legally wed leather daddy?”

Cody chuckled. “Only in Seattle….” He set two pieces of bread in the toaster and checked the water again for signs of boiling. A watched pot…. “You feel free to trot on down to the auditions, but this is nothing I want any part in. It’s gross.” Cody scratched the top of his head. “What do you have to do to audition, anyway? Kiss guys?”

Matt laughed. “One can hope. Come on, Cody. It’ll be fun. And you never know. It could change your life.”

“So could a car accident.”

Matt blew out a big sigh. “Don’t be a spoilsport. You know you can’t resist my charms. The casting call is being held at the Westin downtown. What time should I pick you up? My four-wheel drive will plow right through this shit.”

“I’m not going. It’s undignified.” Cody cracked the two eggs into separate ramekins.

“Dignity is overrated. What time should I pick you up?” Matt repeated.

“Didn’t you hear me? I’m not doing it!” Cody pushed the bread down in the toaster.

“Look. You may not think I’ve noticed, but I know you want to find that special someone, that soul mate character. I’ve seen how you moon over Pete at school.”

Pete was a biology teacher who bore an amazing resemblance to Colin Farrell. He had just married his sweetheart of eleven years, Johan. The couple was seldom apart. It was sickening. Except it wasn’t. It was sweet and gave Cody a glimmer of hope that somehow, somewhere, someday there was a man out there for him. Cody’s heart gave a little lurch. He knew it was true. He wanted what Pete and Johan had.

Matt went on, “So why not just try this? The truth is neither of us will probably make the cut. But it’ll be fun to go to the tryouts, see who else turns up. And who knows? The man of your dreams may be twitchin’ down at the Westin, looking for the same thing you are.”

Cody had to begrudgingly admit Matt had a point. “Okay,” he said, defeated. “But after? We go to Terra Plata for appetizers and lots of Bloody Marys. And you’re buying.”

“Deal. If it’ll get you there.”

“Is that it, then?”

“Yeah, yeah. I’ll pick you up at one. The casting call starts at two.”

“Okay, good-bye. My water’s boiling.”

“Your water broke?”

“Oh, shut up!” Cody was about to hang up when Matt shouted into the phone.

Excerpt:

Cody couldn’t believe the man sitting across the small bar-height table from him was actually his date. Sure, Cody was a good-looking guy, but this guy, man, this guy was so out of his league that Cody didn’t even feel a twinge of shame in thinking it. This god belonged with some pro athlete or a model or movie star. He was that hot.

And that familiar.

When Cody was introduced to Diesel Hunter, he remembered him right away from the auditions. Diesel was probably the man he had admired the most that day that now seemed so long ago. He was the one who looked like the actor Jesse Williams from Grey’s Anatomy. Cody, almost breathless from Diesel’s good looks, thought the actor was more of a pale imitation of this guy than the other way around. Jesse Williams, one might say, was actually a poor man’s Diesel Hunter.

Even his name was sexy! It sounded like a porn star.

Cody could not believe his good fortune as he hopped up on the chair opposite Diesel. “Hi,” he said shyly.

Diesel was warm, though, reaching across the table to grab his hand, squeeze it, and hold it tightly for longer than the usual handshake. While they shook hands, Cody peered into Diesel’s eyes. They were so pale, standing out in contrast to his caramel-colored skin. They looked even more remarkable since Diesel had shaved his head since Cody had last seen him. The lack of hair made his eyes somehow stand out even more, which Cody wouldn’t have believed possible. What color were those eyes? Gray? Blue? They fell somewhere in between. They were like icy water. They were cold and mesmerizing all at once.

“Excuse me for staring.” Cody pulled his hand away reluctantly, forgetting the cameras all around, the boom microphone over his head, the extra lighting the crew had brought in. “But your eyes.”

Diesel smiled. “I know. They’re weird. Spooky.”

“Not at all! They’re gorgeous.”

Cody could see a blush rise to Diesel’s cheeks even under his dark complexion. He’s modest too? Should I just propose now? Cody grinned.

Diesel waved his hand to brush the compliment away. “Some people think they’re too intense.”

Diesel cast his gaze around the room, and Cody realized the guy was nervous. Of course he was. Cody was fawning over him like a little schoolgirl over a puppy. But he wanted to fuck this puppy, so bad. For the first time since he was maybe thirteen, he had a champion boner that he doubted would go down anytime soon. He shook his head and laughed out loud.

“What?” Diesel asked.

“Just a funny thought.”

“Not gonna share?” Diesel stuck out a pouting lower lip fetchingly.

“Not right now.” A change of subject was definitely in order. With a trembling hand, Cody snatched up the menu before him. “What looks good?” He began furiously scanning the type, which suddenly seemed to be hieroglyphics. He hoped his shaking hand was not visible in the camera’s lens.

“Cut! Cut! Cut!” Martha’s gravelly voice sounded from behind the lights. She appeared suddenly at Cody’s side, smelling of Chanel N° 5 and, already, vodka. “What’s wrong with you?”

“What?” Cody asked.

“You’re acting like a nutcase. All jittery.” She looked off to her left. “Someone get this boy a drink. Bring him one of those Moscow Mules. The copper mug will look good on camera.”

Immediately, a frosted copper mug was set before him by the waiter. He was an adorable boy, something of a twink, with a shock of black hair that fell over one eye, Cupid’s bow lips, and a tall, lanky frame. Cody wondered if he was hired for the shoot for set decoration or if he actually worked at the restaurant.

“What’s in it?” he asked the waiter, looking up into his dark eyes. He noticed the boy wore a little mascara.

“Vodka, lime, and ginger beer.”

Cody took a sip. It was delicious, making him think of diving into a cool lake on a hot summer’s day.

“Drink up,” Martha commanded. “Bring him another.”

“But—” Cody said.

“Down it,” Martha said.

And Cody did.

The waiter brought him another one. Cody looked up at Martha. “Can I go slower on this one?”
“Sure.” She walked away, muttering what sounded like, “Lightweight.”

Cody, relaxed a bit by the vodka coursing through him—it was, after all, early morning, and he was, after all, a lightweight—turned back to Diesel, who wore a smirk on his perfectly chiseled face.

“Oh come on!” Cody cried. “You can’t blame me for being nervous. Aren’t you scared?”

Martha called from the sidelines, “Guys, let’s not talk about the show, okay? You’re on a date. People generally don’t discuss stage fright on a date.”

Cody thought this was going to be harder than than he’d anticpated. This would be the first time he had ever been on a date with a camera crew recording his every move.

He drew in a deep breath and tried to center himself. He smiled. Diesel smiled back. “So, Diesel, what’s your story?”

Meet the author:

Husband Hunters RickRick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Raining Men and Caregiver have both won the Rainbow Award for gay fiction. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

Connect with the author:

Web: http://www.rickrreed.com
Blog: http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RickRReedBooks
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RickRReed
E-mail: jimmyfels@gmail.com

Rafflecopter Prize: A signed copy of Hungry for Love or Chaser

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GUEST POST: “Why I Write M/M” by Heather Boyd

Since Kristy & I started reading m/m romance in 2012, one thing we’ve discovered is how much we enjoy m/m historical romances. Me, I’ve always read a lot of historical romance, so it wasn’t really a surprise that I’d enjoy them, but Kristy tends to read more contemporaries.  When she mentioned really enjoying a couple m/m historicals, we began discussing what makes them different.  The threat of discovery, the danger and the cheeky ways of the Ton are a few of the reasons we came up with. After that we started to track down all the m/m historical romances we could find and discovered there just aren’t that many of them. Why?  M/M is a relatively new, expanding genre to begin with, and it seems most of the offerings are contemporary.  With so many potential stories and issues to explore, it makes sense to set them in present day, but every once in a while it’s nice to lose yourself in a time long ago.

I recently had the pleasure of reading and reviewing the book Just a Dream by Heather Boyd. (Check out my review HERE.) As soon as I saw it was an m/m historical I knew I had to read it, and I’m so glad I did.  I absolutely loved the story!  When the opportunity arose to invite Heather Boyd to guest post on our blog, I jumped at the chance. We’re thrilled she accepted, and we’ve asked her to discuss why she writes m/m, and specifically m/m historical.  Welcome, Heather!

Why I Write M/M

I started creating gay romances early in my writing career because in my opinion everyone deserves happy ever after – even fictional characters. Writing m/m is a lot of fun. I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of crafting romances and when you have two men involved, and set the story in an era like regency England, there are so many possibilities. There’s not a lot of gay romances set in the regency – I wish there were more published actually because I do love to read them too.

To be gay in the regency meant it wasn’t just your reputation at risk but your whole family could be socially ruined too. A man, especially a lord, had to marry well and ensure that the family money and lands continued for the next generation. The pressure to conform to societies expectations, at the expense of your own dreams, must have been incredible.

In my latest gay regency release, Just a Dream, James is tormented by how his desires could affect everyone around him. Rafe, his best friend, accepted his differences as normal long ago but has never dared reveal his closely guarded secret. Best friends since childhood, they’ve kept this one last secret from each other.

About Just a Dream:
Just a Dream CoverOn the surface, Raphael has everything he needs: good friends, a title, and membership to the decadent Hunt Club where forbidden pleasure can be had at a moments notice. Pretending is not what he wants. Expectations by family and friends keep his feelings for Lord Claymore at bay. When his best friend returns to London in a black mood, Rafe sets out to cheer him up and make Claymore’s upcoming birthday an event to remember.

Shaken and uneasy of his growing attraction to men, James has reached an uncomfortable crossroads in his well-ordered, respectable life. Plans to end his torment on his birthday are mere days away. However, his intention to explore forbidden passion just once comes unstuck. Can James follow through with his well-reasoned, sensible decision when a man who knows what he wants, needs him too?

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Giveaway:
Heather Boyd has generously offered two digital copies of Just a Dream to be given away to two lucky readers. Be sure to enter below for your chance to win!
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About Heather Boyd:
Bestselling historical author Heather Boyd believes every character she creates deserves their own happily-ever-after, no matter how much trouble she puts them through. With that goal in mind, she writes sizzling regency romance stories that skirt the boundaries of propriety to keep readers enthralled until the wee hours of the morning. Heather has published 21 novels and shorter works. Catch her latest news www.heather-boyd.com. She lives north of Sydney, Australia, and does her best to wrangle her testosterone-fuelled family (including cat Morpheus) into submission.

Connect with Heather:

FACEBOOK / TWITTER / GOOGLE+ / PINTEREST / LINKEDIN / WEBSITE

 

BLOG TOUR: Guest Post & Giveaway – Double Blind by Heidi Cullinan

When I first read Heidi Cullinan’s Special Delivery series, there was one character that affected me like none of the others. First I hated him, then was frustrated by him before eventually falling completely in love with him. I even dedicated my overview of the first two books to him. (You can see it here.) I’ve got it BAD.

That man is Randy Jansen.

Texas Hold ‘Em plays a pretty big role in the Special Delivery series, since it’s Randy’s main game in Vegas.  I owe pretty much everything I know about Texas Hold ‘Em to Randy Jansen, so I thought who better to invite to the blog for a little Texas Hold ‘Em 101? We are absolutely THRILLED to share with you Randy’s take on how to play this fast paced, high stakes game. Thanks, Randy!

How To Play Texas Hold ‘Em
By Randy Jansen

First of all, this topic can’t be covered in a blog post, so let’s get that out of the way first thing. I’ll be giving you the most basic of basics, concepts, and tips. If you’re looking for a straightforward how-to, Poker for Dummies isn’t bad. If you’re looking for an excellent book about poker and people, you want Ace on the River.

If you feel like a quick one-off about how I play poker, you’re in the right place.

Texas Hold ‘Em is the king of poker games for good reason: luck is only a minor factor, and expertise will send you home a winner more often than it doesn’t. Texas Hold ‘Em is a game of people more than it is cards. It’s how people play, how they bet, how they hold back. It’s a table full of people, some of them liars, some of them snakes, some of them sweet innocents who believe in things like Lady Luck. Yes, there are some cards as props, but those people, they’re your real aces.

The basic gist of the game is everybody gets two cards face down, then two cards are dealt face up in the center of the table. The two cards on the table are communal, the ones in your hand your own. You have to make the best hand out of the community cards and the two of your own. Eventually three more cards will be laid down for you to work off of, but first you’ll bet (or decide you shouldn’t bet) based on the two communal cards and the two in your hand. You won’t get any additional cards of your own, and you can’t swap anything out. You have to make your hand with the ones you share with everyone else—and yours has to be better than everyone else’s.

The first rule in poker is always people, but the second one is never hesitate to fold. Only fish think each hand is sacred and should be won at all costs. Experts want to end each night ahead, but they’re more interested in making each month and year ahead. Think of your time at the table as a chess game where the individual hands you win or lose are the pieces you play with. If you want to go home with the king in your pocket, you’ll be losing some pawns and maybe sometimes a bishop.

When you play Texas Hold ‘Em, you must think about the people playing, but also the odds of the cards in your hand making anything worth going home about. This is where being good at math is your friend, because you need to think about what the odds are that the two 2s in your hand and the one in the flop will beat the Ace sitting next to it and whatever else somebody can make of the rest of the deal. You need to memorize what hands are good at what position and which ones suck. You need to learn when and how to bet so you don’t give away your edge. You have to be able to read the reactions of your fellow players, not just their facial tics but the way they raise (or don’t) to make predictions about what they have in their hand. It all ends up as a vortex in your head, which isn’t something everyone enjoys. Me, it’s how I breathe best.

Perhaps the best advice I can give you is to think about what poker isn’t. Poker isn’t easy money. Poker isn’t tossing dice onto a table or spinning a wheel and hoping your dead grandmother nudges you into big money because she’s looking out for you now. It isn’t counting cards or smoking people out or sitting down for one hand and having a Hollywood ending. It isn’t something you’ll do well if you only do it once a year on vacation. Even once a month with poker club likely isn’t enough to truly keep yourself sharp.

Poker is skill and subtlety and practice. Poker is where you show a table full of players and anyone watching along the rail what you’re made of, and most days learning for the first time yourself.

If you’re ever in Las Vegas, come over to Herod’s Casino and find me at my table. I’ll be happy to give you a lesson and lighten your wallet with a few hands.

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About the Book

DoubleBlind300Book Two in the Special Delivery Series
Know when to show your hand…and when to hedge your bets.

Randy Jansen can’t stand to just sit by and watch as a mysterious man throws money away on the roulette wheel, especially since Randy’s got his own bet going as to the reason this guy is making every play like it’s his last day on earth. The man’s dark desperation hits Randy right in the gut. Half of him warns that getting involved is a sucker’s bet, and the other half scrambles for a reason—any reason—to save the man’s soul.

Ethan Ellison has no idea what he’s going to do with himself once his last dollar is gone—until Randy whirls into his life with a heart-stealing smile and a poker player’s gaze that sees too much.

Randy draws Ethan into a series of wagers that leads to a scorching kiss by midnight, but he isn’t the only one with an interest in Ethan’s vulnerability. Soon they’re both taking risks that not only play fast and loose with the law, but with the biggest prize of all: their hearts.

Warning: This story contains high-stakes poker, gangsters with a weakness for kittens, foursomes, and kinky consensual sex.

Available from Samhain Publishing and wherever books are sold. This book has been previously published and has been revised from its original release.

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Still want more? Check out this excerpt on Heidi’s website.

About the Series
Special Delivery was first published in February 2010 by Dreamspinner Press, Double Blind in April of that same year. In 2013 they were re-sold to Samhain Publishing in package with a new third book in the series, Tough Love.

Special Delivery and Double Blind have been edited for their second edition, though no significant new content has been added.

Special Delivery won several awards in the 2010 Elisa Rolle Rainbow Awards, including Best Gay Contemporary, Best Character, Best Writing Style, and Best Overall Gay Fiction. It was aDear Author pick for Best of 2010 and a finalist in the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books-Dear Author DABWAHA contest in 2011.

Double Blind was also a Dear Author pick for Best of 2010 and a finalist in the Smart Bitches, Trashy Books-Dear Author DABWAHA contest in 2011.

About the Author
Heidi Cullinan head shotHeidi Cullinan has always loved a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. She enjoys writing across many genres but loves above all to write happy, romantic endings for LGBT characters because there just aren’t enough of those stories out there. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, knitting, listening to music, and watching television with her husband and ten-year-old daughter. Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and is proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality. Find out more about Heidi, including her social networks, at www.heidicullinan.com.