Outside of writing and promo, I’ve been immersed in a big project at the day job that’s been both overwhelming and a lot of fun.
However, the combo of day work, promo for Third Time’s the Charm, and writing has run me ragged (I can’t recall ever having worked that hard, sheesh) and I haven’t been diligent about updating here on the blog. Well, I just updated my Guest Posts and added links to posts that were written for both Extra Dirty and Third Time’s the Charm.
I feel like giving myself a gold star for housekeeping 😉
As previously posted, after wrapping up “Wake” and “Calm,” Brigham Vaughn and I decided to write stories featuring characters from the “Tidal” series: Will Martin, Jesse Murtagh, Kyle McKee, and Malcolm Elliott. And so “The Speakeasy” books were born.
Media mogul Jesse Murtagh and bartender Kyle McKee decide to go into business together and open Under, a speakeasy on the upper West Side of Manhattan. The bar, with its secret passphrases and craft liquor cocktails, becomes a sanctuary for Jesse and Kyle’s circle of friends, who gather once a month to catch up with each other and share their experiences.
Under is both hang out and haven for the men who spend time within its walls and their friendships build family ties that are sometimes missing from their own lives.
Each book in The Speakeasy series can be read as a standalone novel.
We are delighted to announce that the first two books in “The Speakeasy” series have been accepted by Totally Entwined Group/Pride Publishing!
Book 1, “With a Twist”, follows Will Martin and David Mori.
Blurb: Getting dumped is never easy. Even though Will Martin Will knows that Carter is the love of Riley’s life, Will is left nursing a broken heart when his relationship with Riley ends. In an attempt to distract himself, Will throws in himself into teaching at NYU and writing. An invite from Riley to a speakeasy called Under helps Will begin to heal, and he finds himself enjoying both the drinks and the company.
Soon after, he’s shaken by news of his father’s cancer diagnosis and Will reluctantly returns to Long Island to see the man who disowned him after he was outed.
Sparks fly when Will meets his father’s mentee, Republican Senator David Mori, who is both mixed race and openly gay. Will is looking for a no-strings-attached fling and David is leery of getting involved with his mentor’s son, so they keep their affair a secret.
As his father’s health worsens, Will elects to remain in Garden City and his relationship with David grows beyond casual sex. Now, both men must decide how to bridge the divide between them.
Book 2, “Extra Dirty”, features Jesse Murtagh and Cam Lewis.
Blurb: Jesse Murtagh loves his life as a wealthy, bisexual businessman dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure. With a circle of friends he trusts implicitly, he enjoys a successful career in his family’s business and as co-owner of Under, an uptown speakeasy with his friend with benefits, Kyle McKee.
Music teacher and part-time DJ Cameron Lewis lives modestly in a DUMBO loft, and isn’t interested in serious relationships. However, he’s always up for some casual fun.
Doing a favor for his friend, Carter Hamilton, Jesse meets Cam, and is immediately charmed. When Jesse discovers Cam’s other life as a DJ, he is further intrigued.
Cam is hesitant to become involved with Jesse but despite his efforts to remain aloof, he’s drawn to Jesse.
Viewing Cam as a challenge, Jesse pulls out all the stops, but his usual methods to avoid serious relationships fail. Though Cam has no intention of becoming attached, he begins to fall for Jesse, unaware Jesse’s feelings are changing.
Both are eager to explore a threesome with Kyle, but after, Cam doubts his place in Jesse’s life. Afraid of heartbreak, Cam pulls away, leaving Jesse bewildered and hurt. They remain friends until a series of misunderstandings widens the rift to a breaking point.
When Cam steps in to help Jesse through a family crisis, they realize they care for each other more than they’ve been willing to admit. While Jesse and Cam don’t want a traditional relationship, they build a future that makes them both happy.
“Extra Dirty” was originally titled “On the Rocks” by the way, but was too similar to an existing title in the TEG catalog. After throwing around some ideas, we settled on “Extra Dirty”, the perfect title for a book about Jesse Murtagh. We’re quite excited about the change!
“With a Twist” will be available for pre-order on August 14, 2018, and general release on September 25, 2018.
“Extra Dirty” will be available for pre-order on February 12, 2019, and general release on March 26, 2019.
At this time, two additional books are planned in the series. “Behind the Stick” will feature Kyle McKee and Luka Clark, and “Straight Up” will follow Malcolm Elliott and Stuart Morgan. We look forward to sharing more about these books with you soon.
Brigham Vaughn and I have been making great progress on a new series of books we’ve dubbed the “Speakeasy” series.
This series explores some of the secondary characters we created in Wake and Calm. Each book in the series can be read as a standalone novel.
The first book is off to Pride Publishing for their consideration. The second is in the hands of our wonderful beta team. And we will begin writing the third this week.
All titles are subject to change of course, but you can visit my Upcoming Projects page for more details (scroll down about halfway to where it says “Speakeasy Series Collaboration with Brigham Vaughn”)
In between co-written projects with Brigham Vaughn, I’ve been working on some solo pieces as well. I’m looking forward to finishing “Third Time’s the Charm,” a contemporary romance, this spring.
“Third Time’s the Charm”
Luke Ryan’s life is too chaotic for romance. When he’s not running a software development firm, his time is devoted to Ella, his nine-year-old niece. With Ella’s father overseas, Luke acts as her guardian, a responsibility that makes his dating life impossible. Luke has mostly come to terms with being single, despite his friends’ assertions that the right man for him is out there.
Finn Thomason is a trauma surgeon who has recently relocated to Boston. He has wonderful friends and loves his job, but his intense focus on med school and post-graduate work have left him feeling disconnected from his personal life. As Finn gets to know his new city, he makes the decision to find a better work-life balance in hopes he’ll also find a relationship that sticks.
On his way to a restaurant one summer evening, Luke is caught in a rainstorm without an umbrella. He seeks shelter under a sidewalk awning, and is pleasantly surprised when a handsome stranger named Finn strikes up a conversation. Finn offers to walk Luke to the restaurant under the cover of his oversized umbrella, and during the course of the journey, the two agree to meet for coffee.
Their first date turns into a second, then a third, and the two men quickly grow close. But as the summer comes to an end, Luke and Finn’s fragile relationship falters under the weight of Luke’s responsibilities to Ella. While Luke struggles to keep his connection with Finn strong, Finn finds himself falling for a man who can’t devote his full attention to the relationship. As both men scramble to find the right balance between responsibility and personal happiness, each is unaware there is more than enough room in their hearts for both.
Here’s a teaser for you on this fine Tuesday under the cut:
Jesse licked his lips, appearing to consider his words before speaking. “I know you agreed to meet me here tonight—I mean, you messaged me back, which I took as a sign that you were willing to spend some time with me.”
It was Carter’s turn to frown. “I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t.”
“Are you sure?” Jesse asked gently. “Because I can’t help feeling I’m making you incredibly uncomfortable.”
Carter’s chest ached at Jesse’s earnest words. God, he was so fucked up.
“It’s not you.” He paused, then laughed with relief when Jesse grinned and broke the awkwardness between them at last. “I’m sorry. It’s a bit early to be spouting relationship clichés, especially when we hardly know each other.”
“Hey, I’m just glad you don’t look like you’re about to bolt,” Jesse told him, head cocked as sat back in his seat.
“I’m not,” Carter assured, “and you’re right. I wouldn’t have messaged you back if I didn’t want to see you again. I’m just out of practice with dating.”
“What makes you think this is a date?” Jesse’s eyes twinkled and he picked up his menu.
“Honestly, nothing. I’m a bit hopeless in social situations lately.”
Jesse dropped one corner of the menu to reach across the table and lay a hand on Carter’s.
“Relax. I asked you to dinner because I enjoyed spending time with you last week. I thought there was something between us worth exploring. But whatever happens depends on you, too. Tonight isn’t about business and I don’t want you to feel as though you’re being forced to be here.”
“I don’t.” Carter struggled to smile through his lingering guilt. “I meant what I said before—I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to be.”
Jesse’s megawatt smile lit his face once more. “Then let me buy you dinner.”
Things between them were easier from there. Carter and Jesse fell naturally into conversation, ranging through various topics rather than focusing on any one thing. They shared oysters on the half shell and tuna tartare to start, then moved on to NY strip steaks for the main course, with another bottle of wine.
Carter relaxed as they ate and talked, even while his attraction to Jesse increased. The idea of acting on the impulse appealed, but it worried Carter too. He was out of his depth when it came to fooling around with men. He’d been dating, but hadn’t gone beyond a few kisses with any of the men he’d seen. Jesse, so confident and assertive, was on a whole other plane from any of them, even when Carter included Riley in the mix.
Then again, he didn’t really know Riley anymore, did he? When it came down to it, Riley had more in common with Jesse now than he did with Carter. Maybe that has always been the case, Carter thought, and his stomach dropped with the realization.
I’ve got another teaser on this fine Tuesday, just under the cut:
The restaurant door flew open. Startled, he straightened and turned to see a scowling Will Martin.
“What the hell, Riley?” his date snarled. “I thought you were going to be right back. You missed my best man speech, cutting the cake and their first dance. I had planned to ask you to dance, but you’ve been out here talking to Carter. Or ignoring me, I’m not sure which.”
“Shit. I feel terrible, Will, I didn’t mean to take so long…”
“This is getting ridiculous. I’ve done my best to be understanding about your relationship with him. You’re good friends and I respect that. Hell, I respect that you still have some lingering romantic feelings for him. But this has got to stop.”
“Will…” Riley said weakly, hating that he’d hurt someone who had been so good to him, but unable to deny that he didn’t really know where things stood with Carter. “I never meant…”
“I know you didn’t, but it doesn’t change the fact that I feel like I have to compete with your best friend for your affection. Not to mention your attention.”
“I told Carter that I know I need to focus more on my relationship with you. That I need to make it more of a priority.”
“It shouldn’t be so damn hard to want to spend time with me.” Will smiled sadly. “You left me, at one of my closest friend’s weddings, to talk to him. I need you to make a decision about your priorities. Because right now, I feel like I rate pretty low.”
“I am honestly, sincerely sorry. I made a mistake and I want to fix it.” Riley stepped closer. “Please, let me make it up to you.”
But Will shook his head and stepped back. “I need some space. Spend a couple of days figuring your shit out with Carter. Then we’ll talk.” He reached for the door to the restaurant and Riley went to stop him, then hesitated. Although he wanted to chase after Will and apologize again, Will had a point. Riley wasn’t sure about his feelings for Carter and maybe he needed to make that decision before he did anything else.
Long after Will had disappeared, Riley stood and stared at the door of the restaurant, deep in thought.