My guest today is Londra Laine, talking about her thought-provoking new MM romance novel, Living On The Inside. Londra, it’s great to have you at the Naughty Corner.
Thanks for having me! I’m so thrilled to be featured on the blog and to share a little about my new release Living on the Inside. This is my third self-published book and it marks my one-year authorversary. Here is a little background about what inspired the book.
Adrien and Micah have both spent much of their lives feeling like outsiders and then they meet each other. Micah is formerly incarcerated and out of work. He’s living in his baby mama’s guest house, trying to reconnect with thirteen-year-old son. Adrien is a successful business owner with a traumatic secret he’s been carrying around. Neither of them are looking for a relationship, and at first glance, the two seem like an unlikely pair. Adrien is Micah’s boss, they’ve had different upbringings, and neither of them trusts themselves. But eventually the co-workers become friends, then lovers and there is plenty of tension along the way.
For this book, I didn’t want the central point of tension to be the stereotypical bigoted families or the evil female ex. I wanted to show what I’ve personally experienced and seen with a lot of my own friends and family. Exes with great relationships and friendship, families that love and support their LGBTQ family member, but may have other family tension and problems. Bigotry won’t ever go away and I certainly don’t want to downplay that in any way. But I really wanted to focus on other family dynamics where my characters’ orientation isn’t central to the conflict.
My main characters are also an interracial couple. You should know that I am black, so writing black characters comes naturally to me and I understand the black experience first hand But I will say, the black experience is a human experience. As a kid, I saw more negative portrayals of black people than positive, so it’s important to me to show that black people are just people. We are multidimensional with the same interests, worries, and dreams as everyone else.
The Bright Bean coffee shop, Adrien’s cafe in the book, is inspired by a coffee shop I began frequenting when I was about thirteen, much like Caleb. I did community theater as a teenager and needed a place to do my homework between the end of school and the start of rehearsal, so I’d study at a coffee shop near the theater and rehearsal space. Whenever I go back home, I still visit the coffee shop.
Thanks for reading this guest post and I hope that you take a chance on Micah and Adrien! To learn more about my works in progress you can follow me on Twitter at @LondraLaine or on Facebook at @LondraLaineWrites
Title: Living on the Inside
Author: Londra Laine
Publisher: Independently Published
Release Date: Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Length: About 55,000 words
Genre: Romance, single dad, gay romance, interracial, ex-con, domestic abuse, work romance
Micah Grayson lives in his baby mama’s guesthouse. It’s unconventional and awkward, but he’s happy for a chance to reconnect with his teenage son. He doesn’t have time for other distractions—no matter how sexy, independent, and compassionate that distraction might be. Besides, he’s not good enough for more than a fling—no one would ever take him home to meet their parents.
Adrien Darling has book smarts, but no street savvy—at least that’s what his family says. And after a heart-breaking betrayal by the man meant to love and protect him, Adrien believes them. But then a gorgeous guy with a defeated look in his eyes walks into Adrien’s coffee shop and makes him want to take a chance.
After years of living on the outside as two misfits looking in, both men are afraid to reach for more. But in each other’s arms, Micah and Adrien find out what it’s like to live on the inside. As their tender bond grows and blossoms, old insecurities bubble to the surface. Will their commitment crumble under the pressure? Or will the two find the strength to fight for each other.
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“Is that what we are?” Micah asked quietly. “Friends?”
“Yeah,” Adrien answered. “I hope so.”
Then he was surrounded by Micah’s body. Adrien hesitated for a moment before returning the other man’s embrace, locking his arms around Micah’s torso. A few seconds into the hug all the reasons why he needed to pull away from Micah—now—raced through his mind. But he couldn’t make himself do it.
Adrien had been fighting his attraction, but the man had slipped past Adrien’s defenses. Micah’s earnest joy at making progress with his son. His trust in Adrien as he shared his insecurities. His nonjudgmental attitude. Their growing friendship. All those things made him feel strong and needed. Adrien wanted more of that feeling. He leaned into Micah.
Micah sighed as he squeezed Adrien tighter, and Adrien’s body sagged against him, the fight against his attraction to Micah leaving his body. He tucked his head into the crook of Micah’s shoulder, and gave in to defeat, breathing in the salty sweet scent of Micah’s skin, running his palms up the man’s back.
The scent and feel of Micah was heady, and Adrien’s head swam as he let his eyelids flutter shut, let his lips graze the exposed skin between Micah’s neck and shoulder. Micah tensed against him and his breath hitched, making Adrien wonder if he’d gone too far. But then Micah’s palm slid up Adrien’s neck, cupping his nape, grazing a thumb along his hairline.
Micah moved his other hand lower, resting it right above Adrien’s ass, his fingers lightly grazing the swell below Adrien’s hips.
“Adrien,” Micah grated out. Adrien pulled back, slowly opening his eyes. Micah licked his lips, his eyes skimming Adrien’s mouth, and then he leaned forward.
Adrien met him halfway, their lips connecting in a kiss. The light brush became a firm press then flared, hot and wet, as Adrien ran the tip of his tongue against the seam of Micah’s lips. Micah submitted to Adrien’s silent request, parting his lips to give Adrien access to his tongue and mouth.
Then a loud honk made them jerk apart as a car sped past them, headlights bright and blinding. Their chests heaved, and Adrien took in Micah’s disheveled hair and damp lips and wondered if he looked nearly as enticing to Micah.
Adrien’s gaze skittered away, and he grimaced, embarrassment replacing the intense need he’d felt moments ago. What was he doing? He knew better than this. He’d been down this road before. He couldn’t get involved with an employee again.
Then a terrible thought occurred to him. What if Micah felt like he had to hook up with Adrien? Had Adrien pressured him in some way? Shit. Negative thoughts tumbled through his mind, making him dizzy. He had to nip this in the bud.
“Micah, about what just happened—”
“Our kiss?” Micah moved closer to him.
Adrien’s eyes wandered, unable to meet Micah’s. “Yeah, the kiss. I’m sorry—I didn’t mean to—I’m sorry.” He shook his head and Micah stopped the motion by gripping Adrien’s chin between his forefinger and thumb. He lifted Adrien’s face to his.
“I’m not sorry.” Micah’s voice was quiet in the night.
Meet the Author:
Londra has loved reading since she figured out how to do it. She writes to give her guys the happy ending she wishes everyone––no matter their race, religion, gender, or orientation––could experience in real life.
Londra makes money as a communications manager. She is a former journalist, a runner and a mezzo soprano.
In 2010, she moved from her native California to New York City where she lived in Harlem for nearly eight years. In early 2018 she relocated to Seattle with her spouse.
2/5 Joyfully Jay
2/6 Divine Magazine
Londra is giving away a $25 Amazon voucher to one lucky reader. You can enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here.
This tour was organised by Indigo Marketing & Design