The Novel Approach welcomes author Maris Black today on the KAGE blog tour. Enjoy the excerpt Maris has offered to tease you with a bit, then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below for the chance to win a $20 Gift Card to the E-tailer of your choice.
My name is Jamie Atwood, and I’m an addict. I never thought I’d say such a thing. Never had a problem being overly-attached to anything in my life. I came from a perfectly middle-class family, made good grades, and had a hot cheerleader girlfriend. But the truth is, nothing ever really moved me. So how did a guy like me become an addict?
I met Michael Kage.
Kage is an MMA fighter. A famous one. I like to think I helped him get that way.
He’s charming as hell, with looks to rival any movie star and talent to back it up. So why did he need to hire me as an intern Publicist? Simple. He has a darkness in him– like a black hole so deep it could swallow him, and me, and everyone we know– and that’s not good for business.
The first time I met him, I felt the pull. I think the addiction began at that very moment. And even if I’d known then what I know now, I would have fallen for him. How could I not?
For me, Kage is everything.
Excerpt: Mark clapped me on the back. “Hey, we’ll have to take you out after work on your birthday and buy you some drinks. It’s not every day a guy becomes legal in Sin City! Don’t plan anything for the night of the twenty-ninth. I’ll handle everything.”
Mark, who looked the part of the quintessential office stud, sounded altogether too excited about introducing me to the debauchery of Vegas. Like he would take great personal pleasure in escorting me through the gates of Hell. My mind conjured up an image of me snorting mounds of cocaine off of a roulette table as Mark Gladstone cackled maniacally, surrounded by mobsters, carnies, and hookers… and one really awkward-looking donkey.
“Sounds nice,” I told him, pushing the disturbing image out of my head.
“You’ll have to get in line, Mark,” said a voice from behind me— a voice smooth and deep like dark chocolate. It was surprising that I recognized the voice without turning around. Except for the noisy video on my phone, I hadn’t heard Michael Kage speak since the night we met. But now he sounded familiar, as if we’d only paused for a moment in conversation.
I whirled around, feeling the smile take over my face. He was dressed in running shorts and sneakers. Sweat had seeped through almost every inch of his t-shirt, causing it to cling to the curves of his muscles. Muscles that were only hinted at in the suit he’d worn the night of the event but were now on audacious display here in this professional setting. Somehow the incongruity of his style of dress and the locale made it almost obscene— like a shirtless guy in a restaurant.
Kage ran a hand through his unruly dark hair, pushing sweaty tendrils away from his face. A few strands still clung to his temples. “I think it’s only right that I should be the one to take Jamie out on his birthday, since he belongs to me.” Both Cathy and Mark seemed to do subtle double-takes at his comment. “I hired him as my publicist, so he’s working for me.”
“Ahhh…” Cathy breathed. “That explains it. We were trying to figure out where the little whippersnapper belonged. Now we know.” She glanced pointedly at Mark. “You got here just in the nick of time. I’m afraid Mr. Gladstone was about to change his sexual affiliation just so he could pull a Bill Clinton.”
“Uh-huh.” Kage narrowed his eyes at Mark. “Get your own intern. This one’s mine.”
In college, I majored in English and discovered the joys of creative writing and literary interpretation. After honing my skills discovering hidden meanings authors probably never intended, I collected my near-worthless English degree and got a job at a newspaper making minimum wage. But I soon had to admit that small town reporting was not going to pay the bills, so I went back to school and joined the medical field. Logical progression, right? But no matter what I did, my school notebooks and journals would not stop filling up with fiction. I was constantly plotting, constantly jotting prose, constantly casting the people I met as characters in the secret novels in my head.
Yep. I can blame my creative mother for that one!
When I finally started writing fiction for a living, I surprised myself with my choice of genre. I’d always known I wanted to write romance, but the first story that popped out was about a couple of guys finding love during a threesome with a woman. Then I wrote about more guys, and more guys, and more guys. I was never a reader of gay fiction, and I’d never planned to write it. The only excuse I have for myself is: Hey, it’s just what comes out!