Hello, I’m Chris T. Kat, visiting The Novel Approach again. :) I’m here to talk about my new release, Swordplay (A Jeff Woods Mystery). Swordplay is the third and last book in the Jeff Woods Mysteries series, and was published by Dreamspinner Press on December 22nd. The release was like an early Christmas gift. :)
In Swordplay, readers will become reacquainted with Jeff Woods, the main character, and his younger boyfriend Alex again. There’s also Sean, Alex’s seven-year old, disabled brother. Jeff, Alex, and Sean have become a family—even though Jeff never set out to build family of his own—and to their extended family also belong Parker, Jeff’s ex-partner on the force, and Parker’s boyfriend, David.
In Attachment Strings, Jeff lived in Atlantic City and worked as a police detective. In Sacrifices, he still lived in Atlantic City, but had exchanged his dream occupation for becoming a radio talk show host. Now, in the third book, he’s changed work again. He’s now a private investigator and lives in Washington DC.
I knew right from the beginning that I wanted this series to consist of three books, and that Jeff and Alex would have to go through some major life changes. I love reading these kinds of stories because they feel real to me. Most of us have gone through some sort of change, or we’ve made the best plans but had to adjust to whatever happened in our life. That’s what happened to Jeff too. Sure, he didn’t seek out a family, but he’s happy that he found Alex and Sean nonetheless.
Alex and Sean have undergone their own changes. Alex had to learn to trust Jeff, and while it’s still difficult for him to be open about his insecurities, he’s gotten better at it. Part of this is due to the events in Sacrifices. Sean is still the most important person in Alex’s life, and no matter what gets thrown in his way, he’ll always be happy as long as Alex and Jeff are there for him.
All the characters have grown on me, and it feels strange not to write another story about them, but their journey feels complete to me, which is why I ended the series with Swordplay. I admit that I love long series to pieces. One of my favorite series is the Nightrunner series by Lynn Flewelling, and I had a meltdown (short, but still I had one) when I found out she wouldn’t continue with the series.
How do you feel about book series? Do you want a series to go on forever or do you prefer a certain number of books in a series? Feel free to tell me what’s your favorite series ever, maybe I haven’t read it yet. :)
After leaving his dream job as an Atlantic City detective, Jeff Woods has moved to Washington DC with his life partner Alex Fisher and Alex’s disabled little brother Sean. Parker Trenkins, Jeff’s ex-partner on the force, has made the move as well, along with his significant other David. Jeff and Parker partner up once again, but in a new way, as owners of their own detective agency.
Life is difficult at the best of times. Sean loses sight in one of his eyes, a direct result of being pushed into the Atlantic by a homicidal maniac a year ago. In his struggle to deal with everything, a restless Alex enrolls in Tai Chi classes at a nearby school.
As it happens, a murder case Jeff and Parker take involves the head of that very Tai Chi School, Charles Cooper. Cooper is a suspect in the murder of a financial corporation official. He appears to have motive. Jeff and Parker’s investigation arouses the real killer’s interest, and if they don’t uncover his identity soon, it may be too late for them.
Excerpt from Chapter Eight:
“We’re coming!” Alex shouted back. He rose to his feet in a graceful, fluid movement. For a moment, the bulging muscles above his knees distracted me and I simply stared. Alex broke the spell when he said, “I’ll get Sean’s stuff.”
“Wouldn’t it be easier for us to eat here?”
I rose to my feet much less gracefully. In my defense, I had Sean in my arms. He leaned his head on my shoulder, and I cupped one hand around the back of it. By now, we’d perfected the art of me carrying him without either of us hurting important body parts.
“It’s just the cutlery, the bib, and his sippy cup. Parker already got his chair up earlier.”
Alex reappeared from the kitchen, grinning. “Don’t worry, you’ll be allowed to carry his chair downstairs after dinner.”
Sean giggled and saliva dribbled through my shirt. Another one for the laundry.
Alex snatched the keys from a hook in the tiny hallway and opened the door for Sean and me. We passed him and went ahead, climbing the small staircase with careful, measured steps. I really didn’t need to stumble and crash up or down the stairs with Sean in my arms.
David was carrying bowls to the table when I placed Sean in his chair. My stomach growled.
“Hungry?” David’s mustache quivered.
“What about you, Sean?” he asked. David always addressed Sean, unlike other people, who seemed to excel at ignoring him. A year ago I’d been one of them. It still irked me at times how skewed my perceptions had been.
Sean told David something in a lengthy string of garbled noises to which David nodded in understanding. I, of course, had no clue what he’d just said. When I glanced up from my task of strapping Sean into his chair, I caught Parker looking from David to Sean with open bewilderment. He became aware of me staring at him and mouthed, “What did he say?”
I shrugged and heeled out a chair for myself. Before I had a chance to take my place, Alex sat down on it. Without sparing me a second look, he said, “I’m feeding Sean so you can eat in peace. This is not up for discussion, but if you’d rather make a ruckus about it, get it out right away so the food won’t get cold.”
I opened my mouth, but no words left it. I clicked it shut, watching Alex bind a bib around Sean’s neck and pull his chair closer to the table.
Neither David nor Parker moved. Actually they seemed frozen in place, David bent over the table with a dipper poised above a bowl of steaming stew and Parker clutching the back of a chair.
Alex glanced over his shoulder and winked at me. “No argument? Great. Now sit down.”
He patted the chair next to him, and my body cooperated without my conscious consent. Alex gave me a quick kiss, but before he could withdraw completely, I clasped a hand around his neck and held him close. “Pushy today, aren’t we?”
“I’m just being reasonable.”
Parker laughed. “Yes, and you brought up your reasons in a very… distinctive way.”
Alex grinned. “I just cut the impending argument short.”
I couldn’t prevent the smile on my own face either. “You’re all crazy.”
Sean protested with a loud trill, and David clucked his tongue. I amended, “Okay, maybe not all of you.”
Chris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of many years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there’s any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks or does cross stitch.
THIS CONTEST IS CLOSED
Here’s the list of participants:
December 23rd: The Novel Approach
December 27th: Love Byte Reviews
December 30th: The Blogger Girls
December 31st: Joyfully Jay
Chris will pick the winner on January 3rd and contact the winner via e-mail. Winner has 48 hours to respond. Good luck!