…I’m in South Africa!
Yep, no time to talk, no time to blog.
Right now, I’m back in the country where I lived for 33 years.
I haven’t visited since I immigrated nine and a half years ago.
Coming back here is as nerve wracking as it is thrilling. On the one hand, I’m home again. I’m in my native country. I know this place. I’ve breathed this air, lived this life. I was a part of South Africa, and South Africa is a part of me.
On the other hand? I’m on foreign soil, in a place I don’t recognize. A country that’s changed so much, both in heart and in structure, I can barely find my center.
Give me time to find my balance.
I’ll let you know how it’s going.
In the meantime, forgive me if you don’t hear from me for a while. I’m crazy busy reliving old memories and creating new ones.
Quick. Tell us.
What is your most perfect, fantasy holiday? You know, the one that takes place in your mind. The one no one else knows about.
Where is it? Who is it with? What do you do there?
Well, Lexxie Couper and I would like to make that holiday a reality.
So, if you can’t afford the plane fare, we’re here to help…
See, we’re celebrating the release of Tropical Desires, the print anthology containing three scorching, smoldering, romantic stories all set on the tropical island resort of Bandicoot Cove
And how are we celebrating?
With prizes of course!
We want to give away one copy of the book PLUS ARCs of the THREE NEW (so new they haven’t even released yet) Bandicoot Cove books.
That’s right. One print book and three ebooks!
How do you win this amazing trip to tropical paradise?
Easy. Tell us the following in the comments section of the identical post on the International Heat blog:
1/ If you could go anywhere in the world on a holiday, where would you go?
2/ who would you go with?
Now here’s the twist for this question. Because all the stories in Tropical Desires are ménage books, you have to take TWO people with you on your fantasy trip. That’s right. Two.
Let your mind go wild. Indulge in the fantasy. And then tell us.
Hee hee hee.
If you want to know more about the books we’re offering, don’t be shy. Check them out here:
The contest will run for the next two days.
Please remember to leave your email address in the comments, so we can notify you if you are the winner. Otherwise keep watching the International Heat Blog. We’ll post your name there.
With July fast approaching, I thought I’d share the first chapter of my July release with you.
Colors Of Love is the second book in the Speed trilogy, and the sequel to See You In My Dreams. It’s a red-hot, erotic contemporary romance, with no holds barred on the loving!
Colors Of Love: The Blurb
Their true colors are hidden…until one woman turns everything upside down.
Speed, Book 2
Seth Pace, guitarist of the rock band Speed, is a born dreamer, and nothing stands in his way of making those dreams a reality. Except when it comes to band manager Luke Struthers. He’s everything Seth wants in a partner, but even after five years of perfectly explosive sex, Luke refuses to commit.
After a childhood ravaged by abuse, Luke knows he’s a potential danger to anyone foolish enough to love him. Seth is safer without him, but Luke has no idea how to cut him loose painlessly. Until he spots Seth’s kind of woman—pretty, smart, friendly. The plan: seduce her into a sexy threesome, then leave the two alone to fall in love. Problem solved.
A night of excitement with the two hottest men on the planet? Yeah, baby! Yet Kaz’s inborn ability to read auras tells her something isn’t right. It’s obvious Seth and Luke are madly in love, but subtle clues in Luke’s aura signal he’s up to something. She’s not sure what, but if she doesn’t do something quick, the two men she’s quickly come to adore will wind up without the happily ever after they both deserve.
Product Warnings: One man + one man + one woman = a whole lot of steamy two-way and three-way M/M & M/M/F sex, a hero or two to drool over, and a heroine who recognizes true love when she sees it.
Colors Of Love: The whole darn first chapter
To have it all you’ll need to wait
Until the day that seals your fate
While dreaming big may be your trait
Others may not share your faith.
When all is different then you’ll see
Just how strong your hearts can be
Though his love appears empty
She’ll change it all with colors plenty.
-Edna Pace’s Song for Seth
“One more day,” Kaz Flaherty said into the phone. “Just one more, and then we finally get to see Speed live in concert!”
“I can’t wait. I swear I’ve been marking off the days on my calendar.” Her friend, Tasha, laughed in delight. “And I caved in this morning. I downloaded three more of their songs. Honestly, Kaz, I can’t stop. I can’t get enough of their music.”
“Me neither. And, uh, you’re not the only one who caved. I bought ‘Thunder ’n Rain’ yesterday.”
“How brilliant is that song?”
“Their best to date. For sure.” Tasha chuckled again. “Listen to us. We’re like a couple of teenage girls, mooning over famous rock stars.”
“I feel like a teenager. My stomach’s full of butterflies at the very thought of seeing Jordan Speed live.”
It took Tasha a few seconds before she responded, and when she did her voice had taken on a more serious tone. “You sure it’s Jordan Speed making your stomach flutter?”
“Well, I’ll tell you something, Jamie Speed has never rocked my boat, and neither has Jonah. Although I’d kill for a hug from the guy. You get a look at those shoulders of his?”
“You’re changing the subject.”
“You’re right. I should just focus on Jordan. Even though he’s a good few years younger than me, he’s the real reason I’m going to the concert—”
Kaz grinned. “Okay, so I’m changing the subject.”
“Are you standing by your window?”
“Yep.” She had been ever since arriving home about thirty minutes ago.
“The trees still talking to you?”
Kaz snorted. “You know, if anyone could hear that question they’d think I was mad. They’d think you were mad too, for asking. Trees don’t talk.”
“You’re avoiding the answer,” Tasha chastised.
Kaz stared at the branches swaying gracefully in the breeze, their leaves rippling together in a slow celebration of nature. “Yeah, the trees are still talking to me.” Even as she watched, they silently conveyed their message, sending pulses of color her way. Rich vibrations of carmine red.
She’d chosen to live here because of the forest bordering the property. The second she’d seen the house, she’d known it was perfect for her. Trees had always helped her feel connected to the earth, always given her a sense of balance in life. She found their green and yellow auras as comforting as others might find a hug from a mother. Here at home, with the trees her constant companions, she felt utterly at peace with herself and her life.
For the last few days, however, the golden glows of the flora had been eclipsed by the red hues. Not threatening hues, not even worrying. Just different from what she was used to.
“You figured out what they’re trying to say?” Tasha asked.
“Nope. And I’ve stopped trying. I’ve just accepted the inevitable.”
“And that is?”
“Change is coming, Tash.”
“Coming?” Tasha gave a half laugh. “You mean the last month of your life hasn’t seen enough change already?”
Kaz shook her head, even though Tasha couldn’t see her. “That change has already happened.” She’d called off a three-year-long relationship that just hadn’t been working for her and quit a job she’d hated. “This one hasn’t occurred yet.”
“So there’s more upheaval on your horizon?”
“There’s upheaval on the horizon, all right,” Kaz answered. “I’m just not sure it’s my horizon that’s going to be affected.”
Seth Pace’s stomach curled in a delicious knot of anticipation. He settled back into the couch, stretched out his legs and crossed his feet, making himself comfortable. Watching Luke Struthers in action turned him on in ways a man should not get turned on while sitting in a room full of people. But he couldn’t help it. When Luke went into professional mode, he commanded an audience. Made people want to listen, want to do whatever he said. The man just had a way about him, and that way was a powerful aphrodisiac to Seth.
Wasn’t any wonder he’d taken one look at Luke all those years ago and known he was the one. Now it was just a matter of getting Luke to accept the inevitable. For a while now Luke had been pretty accepting of part of it. The part that involved long nights and sweaty bodies. What he hadn’t come to terms with was the forever kind of scenario Seth had long dreamed about.
Never mind, that would all change. Soon.
Because Seth was tired of waiting. It was time to show Luke that when Seth dreamed, he dreamed big. And nothing, not even a lifetime of Luke believing he’d never settle down, would interfere with Seth’s dreams now. It might take a while to convince him, but one thing Seth had was time. And he intended to use it to the best of his abilities.
Luke needed to look away. Needed to drag his gaze from the couch and stare anywhere but at that face.
Easier said than done. That face trapped his attention and reeled him in. Held him transfixed—almost to the exclusion of everyone else in the room.
He was stronger than this. He could ignore the attraction that crackled between them, ignore the electricity that snapped across the room, shocking everything in its path.
Yeah, right. He never had been able to ignore anything about Seth Pace, and that was the start, middle and end to every single one of his current problems.
Perhaps it was the eyes that held his focus. The slumberous, sexy appeal of them. While Seth appeared to be half asleep, Luke couldn’t miss the way Seth looked up at him with eyelids at half-mast, those baby blues of his just peeking out from beneath a wealth of thick lashes, the invitation in them clear as day.
Or perhaps it was the fact that for the last five years, since Seth had turned eighteen, Luke had found himself unable to keep his hands off him. The kid had become something of a habit for Luke. More like an addiction, really. But Luke had to kick the habit, break the addiction—for Seth’s sake.
Or more specifically, for Seth’s safety.
Luke forced his thoughts back to the other people strewn across the hotel suite. Lingering jetlag, coupled with an intense five-hour practice session, had left most of the members of Speed bleary eyed. The internationally acclaimed rock sensations were exhausted.
Luke grinned, knowing the information he was about to hand them would deliver a good boost of adrenaline. “And in headline news back in the good old US of A…Nielsen data has rated ‘Thunder ’n Rain’ the most played song in America—again. It’s just spent a third week at number one of the Billboard Top 100.”
Wild hooting and high-fives followed Luke’s announcement. Seth’s sleepy smile turned into a full-blown grin. The song was Seth’s baby, from start to finish. Not only had he worked on the lyrics, but he’d written the music for it too—a job he usually left to his brother, Zachary.
Seth’s grin was directed at Luke, and Luke couldn’t help but grin straight back. Couldn’t help but look deep into those baby blues as they silently celebrated together. This was a victory Seth would be incredibly proud of.
The intimate look went on just a second too long, making the breath hitch in Luke’s chest. His balls tightened and blood rushed to his cock.
It happened every damn time he looked at the kid.
Nuh-uh. Not this time. This time he was backing off, moving away. This time he was finally going to do what he’d sworn he’d do at least the last fifteen or twenty times he and Seth had gotten naked: end things between them. Push Seth away.
Luke deliberately checked his watch. “On that final note, meeting is over. It’s midnight. Which means it’s bedtime, people. Go, get some sleep. We’ve got a big day ahead of us. Huge. First live concert in over a year, and I want you rested and ready for it. You’re gonna bring the house down on Sydney tomorrow.”
Luke needed to run through their schedule one last time. He needed to ensure the brothers knew where they needed to be and when, and what interviews he’d scheduled for them. But all that could wait. He’d deliberately left the good news for last, knowing it would motivate the band to give their all tomorrow night. “Morning and lunch are yours, but I want you in this here hotel suite at three thirty sharp. Don’t be late. Now, go.”
Nathan Pace, otherwise known as Jamie Speed, the band’s lead singer and the oldest of the three Pace brothers, was out the door before he’d finished saying goodnight. Not surprisingly, he was the only one who seemed to have even a modicum of energy left. He’d been walking on air ever since meeting his dream girl two days ago.
Tim, the bass guitarist, stumbled to his feet and pulled Bill, the synthesizer whiz kid into a barely conscious standing position. “Later,” Tim said, and Bill lifted his hand in a halfhearted attempt at a wave. Arnie, the saxophonist, trudged after them. They were tired, but they left smiling broadly. Every one of them.
Zachary, the middle Pace brother and Speed’s drummer, Jonah Speed, drained his beer, tossed it in the trash and slapped Luke affectionately on the shoulder. “You’re the man, Struthers. You know we could never hit number one without you?”
Luke grinned at his best buddy since their first year in college. “See you in the morning.” Luke had always thought him the most musically gifted of the three brothers, although Zachary would deny that sentiment with his dying breath. He could play any instrument you put in his hand, even one he’d never seen before. Earlier on today he’d blown a haunting rendition of “Loving Eyes” out from a didgeridoo. Until five minutes before that, he’d never picked up a damn didgeridoo.
Delilah and Devine, the two back-up singers, left with a nod and a sashay of their hips. They may be tired, but the news had given them the va-voom to strut their stuff.
The room emptied, leaving Luke looking at the one place he didn’t want to look, at the one face he couldn’t help staring at. He swallowed a sigh and pursed his lips, mentally bracing himself. “You planning on sleeping on the couch tonight?” Damn, he hoped not. The ways that would test his self-restraint…
The youngest Pace brother, known to the general public as genius guitarist and lyricist, Jordan Speed, looked at him, his sleepy blue gaze still sending out its silent invitation. “Only if you share it with me.”
Ah, hell. Turning Seth away was not going to be easy. “Seth, it’s late. The night before a concert. The first concert of a world tour. You don’t need me, you need sleep.”
“I always need you, Luke. It’s time you realized that.”
Damn idealist, so busy dreaming the impossible he had no idea that most of what he dreamed wasn’t realistic. “Correction. You always need sex, not me. Now go to bed.”
“I like sex. Often. You I need. Always.”
Seth smiled. That sexy, drowsy smile that made Luke think of big beds and rumpled sheets. “Relax, big guy. I just wanna talk about something.”
“You just wanna talk?” Yeah, right. He knew Seth too well to believe that one.
Seth nodded. “I was hoping to run something by you.”
Luke raised an eyebrow. “At midnight?” Not a good idea at all. The only thing Seth liked to run by Luke at midnight was his cock, and Luke needed to stop that practice if he had any hope of keeping Seth at arm’s length.
Seth shrugged. “It’s morning back in New York. My body hasn’t adjusted to Sydney time yet.”
Hard to argue with that one. Luke was also suffering the effects of the time change. He shoved his hands in his pockets and walked back to lean against the wall, deliberately increasing the distance between them. Standing too close to Seth made Luke want to do things to him he had no right doing. He’d never had a right to do them, but he’d never had the willpower to resist.
Hah, as if the three steps made any difference. Seth’s presence alone was enough to get a fire burning in all the right places. “Okay, shoot. What’s on your mind?”
Seth sat up, pulling his feet in close to the couch. Then he leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees and his chin on his hands. “I’ve been working on a song, trying to find the right lyrics, but they’re just not there. I need your help accessing them.”
This could only spell trouble for Luke. He and Seth had worked on songs together. Often. And every time, the work had ended with Luke buried balls-deep inside Seth’s ass.
Luke shook his head. “You know I’m useless with words.” He couldn’t put a sentence together in any kind of lyrical or poetic way. Luke’s skills lay in understanding business and marketing, not in creativity and idealism, like Seth’s did.
“You know that’s never bothered me. Once I find the words, there’s no problem writing them. It’s finding them that I need your help with. Thrashing out ideas.”
Seth came to him often when he needed help with lyrics. When the words weren’t flowing like they usually did. And every time he came, they’d brainstorm ideas together and find a way past the block.
Seth liked to talk out his concerns. Focus on the parts that weren’t working and get Luke’s advice and thoughts.
Sometimes he just liked to discuss a concept in general. Maybe an idea for the song that he couldn’t see from every angle. What blew Luke away was that when he finally got to hear the end product, there was always a verse featuring his viewpoint. Paraphrased by Seth, of course, so the sentiments came out sounding melodic and profound in a way Luke would never be able to voice them, but they’d be his sentiments nevertheless.
“You know what you need to do?” Luke asked, looking for a solution to Seth’s problem that did not involve himself. “Head on down to the bar, order a drink and find some of those paper napkins you’re so fond of. Remember ‘Sky’s the Limit’?” Seth had jotted down the first two verses of that song while he and Luke had sat around a table in a bar with the other two Pace brothers. He’d written them on red paper napkins. The next day he’d handed the napkins—with the completed song scrawled on them—to Zachary and told him to go compose the music. “A beer and a dim room. That’s all you need. The words will flow.”
Seth’s chuckle echoed through the room. “You think that’s what gets my creative juices flowing? A drink and a bar?”
“The song was a chart topper from day one.”
“It was. So give yourself a pat on the back. You were the motivation behind the lyrics.”
“You don’t remember the topic of conversation when I wrote those words?”
He shook his head.
“You were telling me, Nath and Zachary that we could go anywhere with Speed. Either take it all the way to the top internationally, or keep it focused on American soil. Your exact words were, ‘The sky’s the limit with this venture, and if anyone can reach those limits and push beyond them, it’s us.’”
Luke stared at Seth, dumbfounded. He had no recollection of ever saying that. It was usually Seth who put the big, vague dream on the table, not Luke.
“You’re always the inspiration for my songs. Don’t you know that by now?”
“Aw, kid, hell.” Luke scratched the back of his neck. “Jesus, don’t say things like that.”
“Why not? It’s the truth.”
“Because…” Luke let his words trail off. He’d been about to say because it makes it harder for me to break things off with you.
That would be a damned dumb thing to say now. At the start of a world tour. He needed the band members motivated. Not upset. Or pissed off.
“…Because it makes you underestimate the power of your own abilities. You’re a brilliant lyricist, regardless of your motivations.”
Seth grimaced, looking frustrated. “Then help me be brilliant now. Help me find the words again. This writer’s block is killing me.”
Luke shook his head, disgusted by his lack of willpower. Why did he even bother trying to refuse Seth anything? In the end he always gave in. “Okay. Hit me with the song. We can iron out the creases together.”
Seth’s face lit up. “You mean it?”
“You gonna leave without working on the lyrics?”
“Then I don’t really have a choice, now do I?”
Seth’s lips curved into a smile of delight. Christ, he looked like a damn kid in a candy store.
But then Seth always reminded him of that kid. He was always seeing the delicious possibilities in any given scenario. “Tell me what you’ve got so far.”
Seth frowned. “Er, not very much.”
“That’s okay. Let me broaden the question a bit. Tell me about the theme of the song. Or the title.”
“It’s complicated,” Seth warned.
Luke stood quietly, waiting for Seth to gather his thoughts.
No surprise there. Most of Seth’s songs were personal, relating to an event in his life, or a person. Or a mood.
“Now, forever and always,” Seth said eventually.
Luke raised an eyebrow. “The title?”
“The opening line.”
“See, there’s the problem. I can’t. That’s all I’ve got.”
Luke snorted. “Not very much, is it?”
Seth stared at him drolly. “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.”
Luke bit back his laughter. Seth didn’t need that now, he needed direction. “Okay, so how long have you been playing around with it?”
“A few months now. Maybe longer.” He nodded. “Definitely longer.”
“And what’s it about?”
“The song’s about you.”
Keep it simple. Keep impersonal. “You’re writing about a band manager?”
“No. I’m writing about you in my life. Now, forever and always.”
“Because that’s my dream, Lucas. You in my life. Now, forever and always.”
Impersonal, Struthers! Make sure you remain aloof. “No problem there. As long as Speed exists, I’ll be in your life.” Heck, as long as the Pace family existed, Luke would be in his life. He loved that family like his own.
Correction, he loved that family better than he’d ever loved his own.
Seth shook his head. He eyed Luke intensely, not letting Luke drop his gaze for even a second. And in Seth’s expression he saw every bit of the adulation and adoration the kid had always held for him.
Damn kid. What did he know? Turning Luke into something he wasn’t. Into something he could never be—no matter how much he might want to be that something for Seth.
“This song has got nothing to do with Speed. It’s about us, Lucas. About where we’re going from here.”
Shit. So much for keeping it impersonal. “Maybe that’s why you’re blocked. I’ve told you a thousand times—we’re not going anywhere.” Every time he’d told Seth, Seth had simply disregarded his words, treating them as if they meant nothing. “This, what we have, that’s it.”
“Yeah, you know, I thought about that. Thought about the number of times you’d said as much, and how every time you said it, you made it sound like the gospel truth.”
Luke raised an eyebrow. That was more than Seth had ever acknowledged about Luke’s attempts to disillusion him.
“I even tried to write your sentiments into the first verse.”
Seth nodded and began to hum a tune Luke had never heard before. His fingers curled into position around an imaginary guitar, and he plucked out silent chords. Before Luke knew it, Seth was singing.
“Now, forever and always, we’re going nowhere.
“Quit dreaming, ’cause we’re already there.
“This is it, this will be all.
“If you think there’s more, you’re the fool.”
The words trailed off, leaving only silence.
Seth dropped his hands into his lap.
Luke stared at him, unsure what to say.
Seth shrugged. “It didn’t work. Still doesn’t. I need a different follow-on after the first four words.”
Luke began to sweat.
In the darkest hours of the night, when he lay awake with nothing but his thoughts for company, he’d admit the truth to himself. Then, and only then, when there was no one around to witness his deepest desires, he’d admit that if life had been different and if his legacy had been inherited from anyone other than his father, he and Seth could have had everything together. Could have gone anywhere together. Now, forever and always.
But now was not one of those private times. Now Seth was here, and Luke’s deepest wishes had to remain buried. For Seth’s sake. Now, as much as Seth wanted to change the lyrics, change the direction of the song, he couldn’t. Luke couldn’t let him.
“Actually, kid, I think the song has incredible potential.” Luke did think that. He wasn’t bullshitting Seth. He just knew Seth didn’t agree. “The tune’s good. It’s simple, catchy.” Zachary would improve on it. “And the start, well, it sets a tone. Tells me this isn’t going to be just another ballad or just another song of hope and love. And that will make it stand out from every other song out there.”
Seth remained expressionless. He didn’t laugh, didn’t smile, didn’t frown and didn’t sneer. “So you think I should carry on working with it? Add words to a concept I hate?”
“You could make a good song out of it. A great song. Hell, kid, you could write a great song about a stained coffee cup. You’re that good. Give it a go. Think of the next verse. Or if that’s too complicated, just the next line.”
Seth looked at him for a long time without responding. A very long time.
It wasn’t the lengthy silence that bothered Luke. Seth often got lost in his thoughts, especially when he was working out lyrics. But when Seth was immersed in a song, in figuring out what word to use when and what tune to play it to, his fingers always worked too, like they had just a moment ago. They played the chords of an imaginary guitar, strumming away to music only Seth could hear.
Luke had always found it sexy as hell. Always loved to watch as those fingers moved with an intuitive ease that came from a lifetime of playing. He always wished those fingers were playing him and not some imaginary stringed instrument.
Seth’s hands remained motionless now. His fingers didn’t even beat a rhythm on his legs as they sometimes did.
“Talk to me. Tell me what you’re thinking.”
Seth shrugged. “It’s not there.”
“What’s not there?”
“The song. The words. They’re all gone.” He shook his head. “I’ve got nothing.”
“It’s okay. Take your time. It’ll come back.”
Seth’s laugh was hollow. “Ya think?” He shook his head again. “The words only come when the song wants to be written. This song doesn’t want to be written.”
“You sound like your grandmother, making the song a real live being. It’s not, kid. It’s just a song.”
“My grandmother was right. The songs are alive. They live in my head, growing and developing all the time. But when circumstances beyond my control stop them from growing, they freeze. This particular song is frozen. It’s not going anywhere, because you won’t let it.”
“Don’t make this about me.”
“It’s always about you, Luke. It has been since I was fifteen years old.” Seth stood with a feline grace, his lean legs closing the distance between them in six loping strides, and poked Luke in the chest. “You’ve been my dream since the Christmas you came home from school with Zachary.”
Shit, the kid and his dreams. They might have been the birth of all things Speed, but for sure, they’d be the death of Luke. Seth spent his days lost in thought, lost in all the wonderful, magical possibilities of what could be. He imagined the ideal and then set about making it a reality. It was Seth who’d sat him, Nathan and Zachary down one evening and told them it was time to stop fucking around. Time to start dreaming big. To reach for the stars. Seth who’d described his vision for Speed and looked to his brothers and Luke to make it happen.
Luke pushed his hand away firmly, conscious that his chest tingled where Seth had poked it. “I was never your dream, kid. I was just a childhood fantasy. Your big brother’s friend. The one who understood you, appreciated your unique needs. The one you could identify with. That’s all.”
“Bullshit.” Seth’s hand was back on his chest, this time holding a handful of Luke’s shirt. “Fantasies aren’t real, but dreams can always be realized, no matter how big they are. And you were my biggest dream of all. You still are.”
He’d stepped closer, and the lemony tang of his aftershave slipped into Luke’s consciousness. Seth was barely old enough to shave. No reason he should be wearing the damn stuff. Especially not when the scent made Luke hard as a rock.
Goddamn it. He was no good for Seth. No good at all. Couldn’t Seth sense that about him? Luke would taint his dreams and sour his fantasies. He’d take all that was good about him and blacken it with his dark heart, his volatile moods and his rotten genes.
He had to let go, had to push Seth away before he hurt him emotionally and physically—just like his father had hurt his mother. And him.
“Step back, Seth. We’re not doing this now.”
Seth looked at him with heavy-lidded eyes. Eyes that brimmed with desire. “Not doing what, exactly?”
“Not doing the getting-naked thing. We’re talking song lyrics, that’s it.” It would help a whole hell of a lot if he actually believed what he’d just said. But he’d never stood a chance against that look of Seth’s.
He was far too pretty for his own good. With his perpetual unshaven cheeks and low-slung jeans—which covered a prime, male ass—he was, quite simply put, beautiful. And when the beautiful kid looked at Luke with his eyes at half-mast and his face an open book of intent, Luke knew he was in big trouble.
His cock stiffened, making him squirm in discomfort.
Seth read his reactions all too easily. His gaze dropped to Luke’s groin, and he smiled.
Fuck. “Okay, so apparently we’re not talking lyrics anymore.” Luke sighed. “Go to bed, Seth. It’s way past your bedtime, and you have a concert in less than…” He glanced over at the clock on the DVD player. “Eighteen hours.”
Seth’s hand dropped to Luke’s waist. He gripped his belt. “Go to bed with me, Lucas. We can realize my dreams together. We can write a whole new set of lyrics together.”
Luke tried to regulate his breathing, tried to steel himself against his persistent craving for Seth. He shook his head. “I can’t help you change the words. I can’t give you what you need. You know that.”
“That’s what you always say, and then you kiss me, and suddenly I have everything I’ve ever needed, ever wanted, pressed against my lips.” Seth looked so deeply into Luke’s eyes, it took a second for Luke to realize his fingers had moved again. Now both of his hands were on Luke’s stomach, exploring beneath his T-shirt, making their way upwards, finding his nipples.
Luke tried to keep his distance. Tried not to give in to Seth’s words or his scent or his proximity. Holy fuck, he tried. But…Jesus, Seth knew how sensitive his nipples were.
Shivers tore up his spine.
Maybe aggression would work better. It always had for his old man. A good backhand across the cheek or a fast jab to the stomach and his father got whatever he wanted. “Seth—”
Fuck! Not so easy to speak between gritted teeth. He gave up trying and shoved Seth instead. Shoved him hard.
Or he attempted to, anyway. But the second his hands found Seth, instead of shoving, they grabbed, tightening around his shoulders and hauling him closer.
Seth groaned. “You’re all I’ve ever wanted, Lucas.” And with that, not in the least bit intimidated by Luke’s intended roughness, he raised his head, parted his lips and melded his mouth to Luke’s.
Or you can wait for release day, and get your copy on the 24th of July.
Just a week ago we revealed the stunning covers for the new Bandicoot Cove Anthology: The Wedding. Now we thought we’d tease you a little more, with a new cover…and a peak at the blurbs of the three novellas.
Yep, we have a print book coming next year, an anthology of the three stories: Afternoon Rhapsody, Sunset Heat and Moonlight Mirage.
Read on for your introduction to the tropical haze on Bilby Island.
TROPICAL HAZE: The Blurb
Steamy days, sultry nights, sinful fantasies. Welcome to Bandicoot Cove.
Afternoon Rhapsody by Jess Dee
As Bianca puts her pending divorce aside to enjoy her brother’s wedding, she unexpectedly falls in lust with Brody, a gorgeous man who’s also getting a divorce. However, personal revelations change what they thought they knew about their troubled pasts. And suddenly they wonder if it’s possible to move on.
Sunset Heat by Lexxie Couper
Kennedy never thought she’d be standing in front of Luke again. Naked, thanks to her butterfly phobia. He not only still lights her fire, so does his self-professed rake of a cousin.
Luke fell for Kennedy four months ago, yet he can’t stop thinking about sharing her with Addison. And Addison is shocked that he wants to know Kennedy on all levels. But can desire bring three people together? Or will it destroy any hope of happiness?
Moonlight Mirage by Sami Lee
At her friend’s wedding, Hayley is forced to face the former boss whose rejection sent her packing. Mitch makes her burn as hot as ever. Trouble is, she hasn’t come to the wedding alone.
Mitch knows he made a mistake by pushing his one-time intern away. Hayley’s “plus one”is an unexpected obstacle, but luckily Mitch has never shied away from a little competition…
If you’d like to read the full blurbs of each story, check out Lex and Sami’s personal blogs:
or read on for Afternoon Rhapsody…
Afternoon Rhapsody, The full blurb
A second chance at love is worth fighting for.
Bandicoot Cove: The Wedding, Book 1
Bianca Rogers is one signature away from finalizing her divorce. And she will finalize it just as soon as she gets home. But for this weekend, she’s putting her troubles aside and enjoying the gorgeous, sunlit luxury of Bandicoot Cove, the resort where her brother is getting married. The last thing she expects is to be knocked off her feet—literally—by gorgeous Brody Evans.
The fireworks are instantaneous. Brody is just her type: sexy, warm, friendly, and in the same boat as her: in the process of getting a divorce.
Spending time together is a mutual no-brainer. Attraction quickly grows to full-blown lust. But flying sparks come with increasingly personal conversations, and soon neither of them can ignore their past mistakes or the circumstances that have led them to the island.
Now it’s time to determine whether old hurts and sudden doubts will prevent love from leading them to a whole new happily ever after.
Warning: If you don’t believe in second chances, never thought it was possible to fall in love again and aren’t interested in scrumptious, hot love scenes, then this story probably isn’t for you. You’d be missing out – big time – but yeah…it’s probably not for you.
Bandicoot Cove: The Wedding releases in e-format at Samhain on the 2cnd of August.
Afternoon Rhapsody is already up for pre-order from Amazon. Click here, if you’re interested.
There’s a wedding taking place at Bandicoot Cove.
On the 4th of September, 2012.
SAVE THE DATE
Keep watching the blog for more info about this special event. If you can’t wait to find out more pop on over to the Bandicoot Cove site and look around.
In case you hadn’t noticed the last couple of blogs…I’m thrilled to announce Three Of A Kind is now available.
Since you know I’m gonna be posting this at the Down Under Divas in a few hours, what I thought I’d do is share an excerpt from Raising The Stakes here, and one from Full House over at the Divas.
Three Of A Kind: By Jess Dee
Know when to hold ’em…
Raising the Stakes
Des could kick himself for introducing his best friend Megan to his poker buddy, Alex. The perfect woman was by his side all this time! Her innocent prodding about why he’s suddenly so distant only increases his hunger for her. Then she gets one step too close—and his self-restraint snaps.
Megan had given up waiting for Des to notice she loves him. Now, God help her, she wants both him and Alex. It may sound greedy, but she has a wildly sexy proposition for her two men…and she hopes they agree to play by her rules.
It took a six-week business trip to make Max realize he’s ready to take the next step with his lover. Except when he gets to Trev’s place, there’s someone living in the spare room. A woman with the face of an angel.
Trev wants more than a standing Friday-night “date” with Max. He also knows he’s falling hard for Grace. But Grace is poised to run. While Trev is vibrating with lust for the delicious possibilities, he has his hands full trying to hold the two loves of his life together…before they both slip through his fingers.
Product Warnings: If you’re looking for a cool game of poker, you won’t find it here. There’s sex. Lots of sex. Hot sex, sweaty sex, gay sex, straight sex, ménage sex. Oh, and romantic sex. Lots of romantic sex. Hot romantic sex, sweaty romantic sex…you getting the picture?
Raising The Stakes: An Excerpt
“Desmond? Where are you?”
“Go back inside, Megan.” His voice came from behind the blue gum.
Megan? Des never called her by her full name.
She walked over to him, making out the profile of his body below the canopy of branches. “Enjoying your cigarette?”
He didn’t answer.
“You don’t smoke.” What a bullshit excuse.
“I don’t want company either.”
Crikey, what crawled up his ass? “I don’t care.” She strode over and planted herself in front of him. “What’s going on with you?”
“Nothing you need to worry about.” He didn’t move, just leaned on the tree, one foot resting against the trunk.
“Listen up, mate.” She poked a finger at his chest. “I’m getting sick of you pushing me away. You got a problem, tell me about it.”
“I’m not in the mood for talking.”
She bristled at his tone. “Yeah? Well I’m not in the mood for leaving you out here to brood. It’s not your style, and it freaks me out. So why not cut the crap and spill your guts?”
He shook his head. “Go away, Meg. I need to be alone.”
“Or else what?” Yes, she goaded him, but she had no choice. If she walked away now, she’d never get through to him. He’d just carry on shutting her out, and she’d have no chance to help him. Rather push him until he cracked. Get whatever troubled him out in the open. She couldn’t bear seeing him like this. So tense and so edgy she hardly recognized him.
“Or else someone is going to get hurt.”
She snorted. “Did you just threaten me?” The idea of Des getting violent was laughable.
He glared at her.
“Oooh, now I’m scared. The big, bad Desmond wants to hit me.”
“I’m not going to hit you. You’re being ridiculous.”
“Oh, really? Then why do you look as if you want to smash your fist into something?”
“Megan!” Her name was a warning.
“Will hitting me make you feel better? Will it help get your frustration and anger out?” He needed to get it out. Whatever else he had bottled up inside needed releasing too. He was wound so tight he could snap any minute.
She opened her arms wide, turning herself into a standing target. “Go ahead, take your best shot.” As if he could ever lay a hand on her.
His arms remained at his sides. “Don’t be an idiot.”
“Me?” She laughed out loud. “The only one being an idiot is you. Now, I’m going to count slowly to three, and when I reach the magic number, you’re going to tell me exactly what’s going on in that head of yours.”
Emotion radiated off Des in waves. Anger, aggravation and a million other things she couldn’t identify.
“You ready?” She paused, waiting for him speak.
He didn’t say a thing.
Nothing. No confession forthcoming.
Des shifted against the tree, the stilted action a clear sign of his agitation.
“Two and half…”
“Megan,” he growled.
“You wanna say something?”
“Two and three-quarters.”
“Do not say three.” His words rang clear through the dark night.
“Because you’ll regret it,” was his gruff promise. “We both will.”
“Is there something you want to say before I finish counting?”
“No!” His breath sounded heavy. Labored.
“Okay. Fine.” She shrugged, glared at him then smiled. “Three.”
Des snapped. “Jesus fucking Christ. You just don’t get it, do you?”
“Get the fucking reason I cannot talk to you, cannot be with you.”
“How can I get it?” she snapped right back, matching his tone and aggression. “You won’t fucking tell me.”
“That’s because it’s you,” he snarled.
Oh, well that cleared up everything, didn’t it? “What’s me?”
“You’re my fucking problem!”
She froze. “Me?”
“Yes, you!” He punched the tree. “I can’t get bloody far enough away from you.”
His answer hit her like a giant breaker, throwing her off balance and tumbling her, ragdoll style, through the sea. “Wh-what do you mean?”
“I mean back off. Do not come any closer.”
She shook her head, instantly denying his response. He hadn’t said that. He couldn’t have. Not Des. “Why not?”
“Because you’re driving me fucking crazy.” Each word was clearly enunciated, as though he forced them out one at a time.
Spots danced in front of her face, blinding her. Oh, God. He had said it. All of it. To her. She stepped forward, waving an arm in front of her, seeking something to hold on to before she fell. A branch, anything. She found nothing.
“I said stay away,” he hissed.
Tears rushed her eyes as shock gave way to reality.
Desmond’s issue was her. She was the problem.
Dear God, how could she have been so dense as to not realize it before? He hadn’t stayed away because of some abstract crisis that had nothing to do with her. He’d stayed away because he didn’t want to see her. It was that simple.
A lump the size of China settled in her throat. She couldn’t swallow it down; couldn’t breathe over it. A sob gurgled in her chest and burst out her mouth.
Des hated her.
“Meggy!” Her name was a soft cry of pain. “Christ, please don’t cry.”
What else did he expect her to do? For all intents and purposes she’d just lost her best friend. “You hate me.” The fact burned her throat.
He emitted a sound like a wounded animal. “I could never hate you.”
Semantics. “You don’t want me anywhere near you.” In her mind it meant the same thing.
“You just told me to stay the fuck away.” The muscle in her cheek ticked furiously.
His shoulders sagged as though he’d lost the will to fight. “Only because I don’t have the strength to stay away from you anymore.”
“I don’t understand,” she told him helplessly. “You’re talking in circles.”
Des said nothing.
She had no idea what she’d done to deserve his ire, couldn’t fathom where their friendship had gone so wrong. All she knew was she couldn’t stand here any longer. Not when her best friend hated her and her heart was breaking in a million pieces.
She held up her hands in defeat and took a step backwards. Tears ran down her cheeks, spilling into her mouth. Her hurt was too deep to fathom, too endless to comprehend.
Alex. She needed Alex.
She backed away with another step. Alex would make her feel better. “So you can find another way to tell me to get out of your life?” She shook her head, confounded. “I don’t think so. Have a happy future, Des. I, uh…” The cheek muscle ticked. “I enjoyed being your friend.”
He let out a fierce snarl. “Damn it, I told you you’d regret this.”
Des moved so fast she had no time to register his actions. One second she was edging towards the house, the next her back was flattened against the tree and his arms were around her, holding her so tight she could hardly breathe.
There was no time to think, no time to object. His mouth crashed down on hers, claiming her lips with savage intent. He kissed her like a man starved for a woman, ravenous for a taste of that which had been denied him forever. It was a feverish kiss that went on eternally, scalding her lips and blowing every one of her defenses out of the water.
She whimpered beneath the assault, stunned not just by Des’s action—so at odds with his words—but by his intensity and demand.
Her thoughts tumbled together in confusion. How could someone who hated her, someone who couldn’t get far enough away from her, kiss her like this?
Ah, I love that scene.
If you wanna finish reading the book, you can purchase your copy of Three Of A Kind at:
- Aspen Mountain Press
- Aussie authors
- Australian Romance
- Bandicoot Cove
- Barnes & Noble
- Coming Soon
- Cover art
- Currently loving
- Down Under Divas
- Eye candy
- First page of book
- Free read
- Guest bloggers
- Guest promo
- Heat Wave
- international heat
- Just for fun
- Life in general
- Musa Publishing
- new contracts
- New Releases
- Press release
- Print books
- Prize winner
- Romance Writers Australia
- Samhain new releases
- Samhain Publishing
- Self publishing
- Thursday Thirteen
- Writer friends