Backlist Flashback: I Kissed A Boy

Every author has stories lurking in their backlist that they class as personal favourites, and those may not always be the stories that sell the best or get glittering reviews. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be dusted off and enjoyed again, and so I’ve decided to showcase a series of extracts from stories I’ve particularly had fun writing.

i kissed a boy.jpgThe first is The Nine Virgins, from the Ravenous Romance anthology I Kissed A Boy. As the title suggests, this is a compilation of male/male fiction, about first-time encounters, and featuring stories by authors including Ryan Field, Cecilia Tan, Heidi Champa and Jean Roberta among others. It came about because i wanted to write a story with paranormal overtones that didn’t feature the usual suspects – vampires, werewolves and assorted shifters. The Virgins of the title are a group of standing stones on the outskirts of an English country village that are reputed to have special powers. Simon, the narrator, has been invited to a pre-wedding reunion that leaves him feeling the awkward outsider; the one gay man in a group of well-meaning but slightly self-absorbed friends. Things take a distinct turn for the spooky when he excuses himself from the festivities:

Out in the cloudy night air, the throbbing in my head began to ease a little. It was only a five-minute walk back to the bed-and-breakfast, but for some reason I found myself turning in the opposite direction, tracing the route Matt had taken when he had driven us here. I walked past the handful of shops on the main road, closed at this time of night, and the village church with its little graveyard, many of the headstones so old they seemed in danger of toppling over. My feet seemed to have a purpose of their own and I carried on, clambering over a stile and beginning to climb the hill towards the Nine Virgins. In truth, I hadn’t realized that was where I was heading until I found myself in the middle of a circle of jagged, weather-beaten stones, the largest of which was only a little taller than I was.

When the owner of the bed-and-breakfast had described them to me I had been expecting something slightly more impressive, but I could not deny that these stones had an unmistakable, brooding power. There were so many theories as to why these circles had been erected; some experts suggested they were places of worship, others ancient calendars which marked the passing of the year according to where the shadows from the
stones fell. All I knew was that tonight, there was a distinct energy here; I could feel it. It was almost as though the Virgins were waiting for something—or someone. Dark thoughts of human sacrifice flashed through my mind, remnants of a religion older than the one which had built the church below me, and then the clouds parted and the moon
shone down on me, full and pale.

“They say that if you go up there when the moon is full and stand in the middle of the circle, the love of your life will come to you.” I recited the words to myself, understanding now how someone might come up with such a story if they visited the stones on a night like this, but that was all it was—a story.

Then I heard footsteps coming through the grass towards me.

As I watched, a figure emerged from between the stones on the far side of the circle. I could have sworn there was a slight halo around him as he approached, the cold white of moonlight, but my vision often blurred and played tricks on me when I had a migraine attack.

He came closer, and my heart lurched. He must have been around the same age as me, in his late twenties, with dirty-blond hair falling almost to his shoulders and soft brown eyes. His expression was open and friendly, and there was a dimple at the side of his mouth which deepened when he smiled. I felt the same pang of desire I experienced whenever I saw an especially hot man in the street, sharp and urgent.

Now he was so close to me that I could smell his unique aroma, a vaguely floral aftershave mixed with the sweaty musk of a man who does hard manual work for a living. “Who are you?” I asked. “Did you follow me up here?” Sexy as he was, I had the sudden fear that he’d seen me wandering along on my own with no real idea of where I was going and decided to rob me.

He put a finger to my lips. “Don’t ask any questions,” he said. “I know who you are, and I know what you want.”

Are the stones exerting their power, or is this an encounter of a more straightforward kind? Ah, but that would be telling…

You can find out more in I Kissed A Boy – available from Amazon or Ravenous Romance among others. And look out for more blasts from my backlist coming soon.

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Sunday Quickie

It’s back to the Sixties this Sunday, for a slice of menage action set in Swinging London. The story is Snap Decision, from Ravenous Romance’s Once Upon A Threesome anthology, and it’s told from the point of view of top fashion photographer Morgan, who finds potential models in the most happening boutique on Carnaby Street, Medusa. His latest discovery, Fawn, has arrived for a photo shoot – with her boyfriend cum manager, Anton, in tow. Morgan’s a little discomfited by Anton’s presence, but that’s all about to change as the shoot gets under way:

“Let’s take a few more,” he decided, feeling a mood had been created between himself and his model which he needed to make the most of. “I’ve got a few outfits hanging on that rail over there. Why don’t you find something you like and go change in the bathroom?”

Fawn quickly rifled through the hangers and selected a couple of items. As Morgan bent over to pick a fresh roll of film from his bag, he had the strangest sensation, as though Anton was staring at his arse. He glanced over his shoulder to see the other man smiling at him. Was it possible he swung both ways? The establishment might frown on such couplings—indeed, gay sex had been illegal until very recently, and men had gone to prison for daring to indulge their passions—but everyone knew they took place. So what if Anton was into men as well as women? If he was honest, he quite liked the idea of being an object of admiration for this louche stranger. With his auburn head of corkscrew curls, sleepy brown eyes and androgynous good looks, it shouldn’t surprise him if guys found him just as attractive as girls did. A sudden strut in his step, he slotted the film into his camera and waited for Fawn to reappear.

So what happens when the shoot recommences, with Fawn wearing the most revealing item on Morgan’s rack of costumes? Find out by getting hold of Once Upon A Threesome, available from the revamped and ravishing Ravenous site, which features stories encompassing everything from an alternative take on the story of Barabbas to double dealings in the French Resistance to a free love encounter at the Woodstock festival. Studying history was never so entertaining!

Taking Something Off!

Well, Ravenous Romance are, to be more precise, and it’s good news for anyone in the market for a good hot read. From today until March 31st, they’re running a special promotion with All Romance E-books, offering 25 per cent off the price of all Ravenous titles.

So if you want to get your hands on the BDSM-themed anthology Wicked Pleasures, the DILF-tastic Hot Dads collection, the feast of all-male encounters that is I Kissed A Boy or even my ‘woman meets hot elf in armour’ short story, At The Bottom Of My Garden (my favourite out of all the stories I’ve had published by Ravenous, hence the massive plug), now’s a great time to do it. Find out more by visiting All Romance and typing the keyword ‘ravenous’ in their publisher search feature.

Santa’s Coming!

Are you one of those readers who likes stories of hot romance – and even hotter sex – between hunky men? (Go on, you can admit it to me; I’ll just welcome you into the club…) Does it add an extra frisson if one – or both – of those men is a delicious DILF, combining the responsibilities of being a good father with his commitment to his partner? And might you get just a teensy bit more excited if these stories featured the fun of the Christmas season, Santa costumes and all? In which case, you might want to take a look at the Ravenous Romance anthology, I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus. It actually came out last Christmas Eve, but it might have passed you by in the excitement of wrapping your presents and stuffing your turkey, so I thought I’d draw it to your attention now.

Each of the six stories here deals with the idea of someone playing Santa (though the man himself makes a cameo appearance in one of the tales). Up first is Christmas Morning by Derek Clendening. Steve was left to bring up his son, Noah, on his own when his wife died, but his relationship with Trent might finally be able to provide a solid family background for the boy. Steve has promised that on Christmas morning he’ll explain to Noah that he and Trent are more than just good friends, but first he has to deal with the erotic distraction Trent provides by dressing up as a very sexy Santa…

Dennis, in Ryan Field’s I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus, has been with his partner, Mario, for long enough that sex has become routine and predictable. He doesn’t want to be unfaithful to Mario, but the camp perfume salesman in Macy’s who helps him with his Christmas shopping provides fuel for his kinkiest fantasies. Can something as simple as a bottle of nail polish help the couple rediscover the naughty spark in their relationship?

Told from the point of nine-year-old Mira, Clancy Nacht’s The Best Christmas Ever is low on erotic content but supremely heartwarming. Mira has never been able to work out why she’s never seen her father’s partner, Brad, on Christmas Eve, the night Santa makes his annual appearance. She knows Daddy and Brad love each other very much, so how will she react when she sees her father kissing Santa under the mistletoe?

In J.L. Merrow’s Just Like Santa, nursery worker Jason has got the job of playing Santa at the children’s Christmas party. If that’s not embarrassing enough, his humiliation appears to be complete when the costume rips, revealing his underwear to everyone in the place – including Alec, the dad he’s been hoping to impress. Luckily, there’s Christmas magic in the air, and the incident only results in bringing the two men as close as Jason could have wished…

My own contribution, Christmas Post Boy, adds a little BDSM spice to the mix. Wayne thinks he’s going to have a miserable Christmas, having learned that his ex, Tim, is taking his two sons to Lapland for the holidays – a trip Wayne had always planned to share with Tim. Before he can get too maudlin, he received a visit from Cameron, the company’s cute post boy, who’s playing Santa this year. And when Wayne learns just how little Cameron is wearing beneath the costume, he can’t resist the opportunity to put the lad through his submissive paces…

Finally, Adrian Harper’s Santa Claus Is Coming returns to a cosy domestic scene. Evan is doing everything to make sure his daughter will have a Christmas to remember, but he’s out of favour with Santa, better known as his other half . Indeed, it turns out he’s on the ‘naughty’ list. What he doesn’t realise is that you have so much more fun if you’ve been naughty than if you’ve been nice.

If all that hasn’t got you itching to sample the festive frolics, maybe this extract from Christmas Post Boy will:

He hit “send” and watched the e-mail disappear from his screen. When he looked up from his monitor again, Santa was standing by the desk. He had thrown back the hood of his robe to reveal thick, dark hair and was in the process of unhooking his beard from behind his ears. With the disguise removed, Wayne realized he was looking at Cameron, who worked in the post room and couldn’t be older than twenty. Cheerful Cameron, who whistled as he pushed his cart through the building and would always stop for a chat with Wayne about the weekend’s football results.

“Nice outfit, Cameron,” he said. “Compliments of the season and all that. But aren’t you a little young to be playing Santa?”

“Oh, Dave should have done it.” Dave was the company’s maintenance man, close to retirement age and eminently more suited to the part. “But he had to go home with the flu, so I stepped in instead.”

“Well, I hope he feels better soon. Now, let’s go. I’m dying for a drink.”

“That’s okay, Mr. Griffin, I have one here.” The lad fished in the folds of his robe, and brought out a half bottle of Jack Daniel’s, along with a couple of plastic cups he’d filched from the water cooler down the corridor. As Wayne rose to take one of the cups from Cameron, he noticed the heavy, buckled boots the lad was wearing as part of his costume. They seemed more suited to riding a motorbike than playing Santa, but Wayne couldn’t help admiring them. Cute boys in biker boots were one of his favorite fantasies, and it couldn’t be denied that Cameron was cute, with hair that fell untidily into his eyes and full lips that almost demanded to be kissed until they were bruised.

Wayne swiftly downed his whiskey, wondering what had come over him. So he was feeling sorry for himself—and more than a little horny, as the warm bite of the alcohol made itself felt—but that was no reason to start eyeing up the junior members of staff.

Then Cameron moved to refill his cup, and he caught a glimpse of what appeared to be bare flesh above the tops of the post boy’s boots.

“Cameron, just what are you wearing under that thing?” he asked. As a flush rose to Cameron’s cheeks, he snapped, “Come on, show me.”

The dominant tone was one he almost never adopted, but it had clearly done the trick, as the lad began to fumble with the fastening of his robe. So he got off on being told what to do, did he? Wayne felt his cock stir as he weighed up the possibilities of the situation and discovered just how much he liked them.

Get in the Santa-kissing mood over at the Ravenous site or on Amazon – and don’t forget to leave sherry and mince pies for when he comes down your chimney…

A Tale Of Two Covers

Lovely images have been popping into my inbox recently, reminding me not only that a couple of exciting books are on their way, but that the end of the year is already on its way (and a big hello to everyone who celebrated the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge, which was once memorably described by a friend of mine on being driven past it for the first time as ‘just some rocks’. Wiccans and pagans, if I knew where he was at the moment, I’d point you in his direction…).

First on its way, and keeping in the mood of all things unholy,  is the print version of the Ravenous zombie romance anthology, Hungry For Your Love. It’s been picked up, as I might have already mentioned, by St Martin’s Press, and will be out in time for Hallowe’en looking very much like this:

If that’s a little too scary for you, then let’s turn from naughty to nice, as it were. I’ve just had a short story picked up by a new Canadian e-publisher, MuseItHot, the erotic arm of genre publishers MuseItUp, who offer more mainstream romance novels, along with(among other) sci-fi, mystery and an imprint called Muse Divaz, featuring novels about what, in erotic terms, would be defined as a BBW (Big Beautiful Woman).

Anyway, my story tells what happens when a student finds herself working in Santa’s Grotto alongside a very hot DILF, and it’s behind this beautifully snowy cover, designed by Delilah K Stephens:

Yes, the title of the story is a rather bad pun on one of my favourite Journey songs, Be Good To Yourself, but it simply had to be done. (And NB to all those people who now like Don’t Stop Believin’ because of Glee, Journey aren’t cool. Journey never were cool. Just move along and leave them to those of us who were dancing round our university hall of residence rooms to Escape twenty-ahem years ago.) Right, better go and work on some line edits before I get the urge to listen to Open Arms

Away With The Fairies

One of the implements I often have to hand when I’m writing is my fairy swatter. It’s ideal for when one of the cats decides to trot over my keyboard and turn my beautifully crafted prose into something reading ggggggggggggghhhhhhhjjjjjjjj. It was bought for me as a joke Christmas present, and is essentially a star-shaped fly swatter which comes complete with some squashed fairy stickers to attach to your windows, fridge or wherever takes your fancy. Not that I’d actually use it on a real fairy, oh, no. As the stories in Circlet’s anthology of urban fairies, Like Butterflies In Iron, proves, the fae folk can be tricky and malicious creatures, and very likely to swat you back if you tried it.

When I received the call for submissions from Cecilia at Circlet, I couldn’t resist putting something together. The result was A Fairytale Of New Cross, in which Ivar, accustomed to going unnoticed on the streets of South-east London, meets and falls in love with Casey, a feisty barmaid with the second sight. She can not only see fairies, she is more than curious to take part in their revels, on the night when the cellar of her pub becomes a place of feasting, dancing and orgiastic sex.

The other stories in the collection deal with human/fairy interaction in very different ways, depending on the perception each writer has of how fairies behave, both in the old world and the modern one. Some are tricky, anxious to take mortals into their own realm and keep them prisoner there, while others are more benevolent, or just plain horny. In Franees Selkirk’s The Beauty Of Broken Glass, Susan accidentally stumbles into a fairy ring on her way home from a club. She meets by a foxy, feral lover, but will she remember enough fairy lore to evade his wickedest intentions and enable her to return home when their lovemaking is over? C.A. Young’s Equinox is the sweet tale of shy Ryan’s seduction at the hands of faerie Alder, who takes nothing more from his human partner than his much-hated freckles. Elgin, in Beryl Falls’ Fairy In The Garden, has much darker intentions. He introduces Ari to her submissive side with his cruel games of pain and pleasure, but he is the kind of fairy you can’t trust – or offer your heart to. Michael M. Jones’ inventive Doppelganger details the meeting between Holly, who was snatched by faeries at the age of seven, and the changeling who was left as her replacement. Both were expected to perish, but survived through determination and force of will, and now they can offer each other a very loving kind of consolations for the hurts which have been done to them. Loel, in Essemoh Teepee’s Loel’s Choice, is a fairy princess who works as a stripper and prefers mortal men because the sex is better. Her father and (wicked, naturally) stepmother are keen to see her breed with one of her own kind, but she has designs on redhead Conlan, who she is keeping in her thrall with the aid of a magic apple. Meanwhile, Monique Poirier’s A Goblin In Hand sees human mage Elias rescuing goblin Tarn, who has been kept in a blood-bond by a child-trafficking sidhe. Being owned goes from a bad thing for Tarn to a very good one, as Elias has always been kinky for goblins…

All the stories here manage to immerse the reader in a world where it’s perfectly plausible that humans and fairies are living side by side. No matter how far they stray from a human look – Tarn is four foot tall and has a whippy little tail, while lithe, coffee-skinned Loel and the fox-featured fairy in The Beauty Of Broken Glass both have visibly pointed ears peeking up out of their hair – they are all objects of desire, and the lust and love they inspire in humans is visibly described. I think my fairies are the only ones who are mentioned as having wings, but that’s simply how I like them – my ideal male fairy is a big, strapping thing with wings and armour (I suspect I’ve somehow developed a fetish for greaves), and no, I wouldn’t dare swat one of those.

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about fairies. One of the stories I’m fondest of is At The Bottom Of My Garden, which is available from Ravenous Romance. In that, down on her luck rock musician Stevie seizes on the chance to get away from a broken relationship by house-sitting her sister’s cottage in the Yorkshire Dales. What she doesn’t realise is that the garden belongs to the fairies, and one, Adril, is her special guardian, there to offer her love and protection from harm.

If things with wings (or tails) appeal to you, or you’re keen to see how fairies really would make their way in the modern world, Like Butterflies In Iron is available from a number of stockists including Smashwords.com and Circlet’s own site once their shopping cart is fixed. Maybe it needs a spot of fairy dust to get it working again!

Horn Of The Dead

Moody vampires are sooooo over (the cute one from The Vampire Diaries who used to be in Lost notwithstanding…). The hot new studs on the paranormal erotica block are zombies. And if you don’t believe there’s love, lust, laughs and even pathos to be wrung from the concept of humans dating zombies, zombies dating zombies and zombie-killers sleeping with the hottest chick left on earth, you haven’t read Hungry For Your Love.

I’m proud to be a part of Ravenous Romance’s most outrageously inventive anthology with my story Everyone I Love Is Dead (and Brownie points to anyone who knows where I got the title from!), and with St Martin’s Press in the US bringing out a print edition in time for next Hallowe’en, my fellow authors and I are rising up to talk about it. If you pop over to Lois Gresh’s blog at http://loisgresh.blogspot.com/2010/03/zombie-love-fest.html, you’ll find more information on all the authors, who range from romance specialists to out-and-out horror buffs, as well as seeing some charmingly zombiefied photos of us all. The one of me is taken in my favourite bar in Amsterdam, where I was going for an attempt at the Courtney Love look, though now it turns out I was just undead all the time… Enjoy!