5 Stars, Dreamspinner Press, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Santino Hassell

Release Day Review: Sunset Park by Santino Hassell

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Amazon

Amazon

Title: Sunset Park (A Five Boroughs Story)

Author: Santino Hassell

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Pages/Word Count: 230 Pages

At a Glance: Think Sunset Park can’t possibly live up to the beauty of Sutphin Boulevard? Think again…

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Raymond Rodriguez’s days of shoving responsibility to the wayside are over. His older brother wants to live with his boyfriend, so Raymond has to get his act together and find a place of his own. But when out-and-proud David Butler offers to be his roommate, Raymond agrees for reasons other than needing a place to crash.

David is Raymond’s opposite in almost every way—he’s Connecticut prim and proper while Raymond is a sarcastic longshoreman from Queens—but their friendship is solid. Their closeness surprises everyone as does their not-so-playful flirtation, since Raymond has always kept his bicurious side a secret.

Once they’re under the same roof, flirting turns physical, and soon their easy camaraderie is in danger of being lost to frustrating sexual tension and the stark cultural differences that set them apart. Now Raymond not only has to commit to his new independence—he has to commit to his feelings for David or risk losing him for good.

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Review: Sunset Park is a book that had a lot to live up to. At least, it did for me. Santino Hassell set the bar in this series pretty damn high with Sutphin Boulevard, and I can’t lie: I was worried that Raymond and David would pale in comparison to Mikey and Nunzio. I shouldn’t have worried, though. While “Sunset” does have a different vibe to it (it’s lighter without being fluff), it’s a fantastic opposites attracts story in its own right, and what’s become true to form with this series, now I can’t wait for book three, First and First.

The differences between the two novels in this series begin with not only the fact that Raymond and David are night and day to each other, but that the drama in Sunset Park is different from that in Sutphin Boulevard. It’s also all kinds of good. Where Mikey and Nunzio went through hell apart and together, they went through it on equal footing, their lives so deeply intertwined, and they knew each other so well. But who saw Raymond and David’s friendship coming? Hassell explores some interesting cultural divides in Sunset Park through these two men—David, the privileged white guy; Raymond, the Puerto Rican man from the blue collar neighborhood. Watching their worlds converge and their friendship coalesce was sometimes a study in frustration (I wanted to thump both their melons on more than one occasion), but the emotional and physical affection between these two is off-the-charts. And eventually, as we watch their relationship grow and change, we see this night and day contrast is actually more Yin/Yang—opposites that complement each other—and it’s kinda gorgeous.

There’s a palpable undercurrent of tension that flows between Raymond and David in the way they feel about each other—David’s out, while Raymond isn’t sure of much of anything where his feelings for David are concerned. Ray’s trying to figure out what to do with his attraction to David, and all the while, the friendship and the frisson of UST that’s always right there on the surface is crazy-making and crazy hot when they touch and wrap themselves around each other. And then, when they finally start to resolve some of that tension… holy hell. I don’t talk much about sex in my reviews, but I have to say there aren’t many authors I’ve read who can write a sex scene like Santino Hassell does. Just sayin’.

There’s a lot more to the conflict between Raymond and David than just their attraction to each other, though; it goes way beyond sex and has a lot to do with not knowing how to ask the questions that need to be asked, let alone how to answer one of the biggest: how to deal with exactly what it is they want from each other. Hassell teases these problem out through the entire book, until it comes down to make-or-break time, and they each are forced to figure out how to deal with what’s going on between them. The one thing I can respect about these books is that they’re layered with so much realism. There are family and friendship issues, work issues—this book doesn’t read like an angst for angst’s sake story, it reads like a story about real people with real problems, and what it all comes down to in the end is that Raymond doesn’t want to stop being Raymond, nor does David want him to. Raymond just wants to be a better version of himself—and that better version of himself is the man David already sees. It’s kind of gorgeous in its complicated simplicity, really.

This author has such a great voice, which bleeds into his characters feeling raw and real and sweet and sincere, and since “Sunset” is narrated by both Raymond and David, we also get to see the author flexing his writing skills to their best effect by making both characters so completely individual. Some books you read with your head, some you read with your heart. This series is one I can’t seem to help throwing myself into, full immersion, and I can’t recommend it enough. Sutphin Boulevard is simply stellar, and Sunset Park finds its own place to shine just as brightly alongside it.

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You can buy Sunset Park here:

Amazon US

Amazon US

All Romance eBooks

All Romance eBooks

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Giveaways, Santino Hassell

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Sunset Park Blog Tour with Santino Hassell

Sunset Park Banner

Hey, everyone, are you ready to have some fun??? Today we’re so pleased to have author Santino Hassell stopping by on the release day of Sunset Park, book two in The Five Boroughs series. As a special bonus, he’s also brought Raymond Rodriguez and David Butler along to play a little game. Check it out, and then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card.

Good luck!

And now, here’s the host of our show, Santino Hassell!

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The M/M Newlywed Game with Raymond and David

At the start of SUNSET PARK, Raymond and David have known each other for about six months. They met at the end of book 1 of the Five Boroughs series, and became fast friends. But just how well do they know each other? Let’s find out!

Host: I’d like to thank everyone for coming to the first M/M Newlywed Game! Today I’m hosting Raymond Rodriguez and David Butler, the stars of Santino Hassell’s upcoming book SUNSET PARK.

David: We were also in SUTPHIN BOULEVARD!

Raymond: I don’t understand why we’re playing this stupid game.

David: Because it’s fun! And Santino created us, so we have to do what he wants.

Raymond: Yeah, we’ll see about that.

David: *rolls eyes* Just be nice.

Host: Okayyy. So, how long have you been together? Let’s start with that.

Raymond: Together?

David: Oh, we’re not! Sorry, Santino should have explained.  Ray is straight. We’re just friends.

Raymond: Does this mean I don’t have to play?

David: No. We already answered all the questions!

Host: Let me explain how this works to the audience. Traditionally, I ask spouses the same set of questions while the other is out of the room, and matching answers get points. They have to get at least fifty points to “win”. It’s a way to see how well newlyweds know each other. Or in this case how well these two friends know each other.

Raymond: Don’t put weird emphasis on words.

Host: *ignoring Raymond* On this round of the M/M Newlywed Game—

David: Newlyfriended Game.

Host: —we’ll see how well David knows Raymond. We’ll test Raymond on Tuesday, December 15th, at Charlie Cochet’s Purple Rose Teahouse.

Raymond: Holy shit, can you stop pimping Santino’s tour and ask the fucking questions? I have things to do.

David: *kicks Raymond*

Host: Okay David, first question—who is Raymond’s favorite singer?

David: Nooo, that is super hard! Bah. *bites lip and squints at Raymond* Ummm. I’m going to go with Big Pun? I’m probably wrong, but he always gets super excited and turns up the radio whenever a Big Pun or Terror Squad song comes on the radio.

Raymond: *flips up card saying ‘Big Pun/Terror Squad’* You’re lucky. I almost changed it.

David: *fist pumps*

Host: Okay, next up—What is Raymond’s favorite comfort food?

David: Pastelles! He always asks me to bring him some from the restaurant near my job.

Raymond: *flips up card that says ‘pastelles’* They make them good there, and my Boricua food resources are tapped out unless I go to visit my friend’s mother.

Host: What is Raymond’s favorite article of clothing?

David: Pssh. That’s easy. His Yankees cap. It gets all sweaty and gross after he plays handball too.

Raymond: So stop wearing my shit! *holds up card that says ‘fitted Yankees cap’*

Host: You two are adorable.

Raymond: *sneer*

David: You’re right. I am.

Host: Okay David—what’s Raymond’s most used curse word?

David: Fuck.

Raymond: *holds up card without comment*

Host: These are a little more challenging. Who are Raymond’s closest friends?

David: Oh! That’s easy. Chris, Sharky, Tonya, and Stephanie.

Raymond: *smirks and holds up card that says Chris, Sharky, Tonya, Steph, and David*

Host: Ohhhh.

David: Oh, wow I didn’t—

Raymond: Dumbass.

David: *scoots closer to Raymond on the couch until they’re pressed together* I knew you loved me.

Raymond: Oh, shut up.

Host: *grinning* Who would Raymond say takes longer to get ready—you or him.

David: Oh God. Totally him. His hair takes like fifty hours to comb or wash.

Raymond: That is some bullshit. *holds up card saying ‘David’* You and your seventy two pairs of shoes. He be paying like almost five hundred bucks for some ugly ass—

David: Don’t insult my shoes or I’ll get started on your assortment of hoodies and sweats. Who needs that many pairs of sweatpants or hoodies?

Raymond: Again—then don’t wear them when you come over!

David: Your clothes are more comfy.

Host: Riiight. So, David, what is one thing you do that Raymond claims to not like, but you do it anyway?

David: I cuddle him nonstop. And jump tackle hug him. He’s tall, okay? It’s fun.

Raymond: *holds up sign that says ‘stage five clinger hugs’*

David: He likes it. He’s such a liar.

Raymond: Whatever.

Host:  Who would Raymond say is the better catch out of the two of you?

David: He’d say me because he’s ridiculous and judges himself way too harshly.

Raymond: *holds up sign that says ‘David. He has a solid job + better social skills + is prettier’*

David: *blushing* The last one is a lie, and he knows it. When we walk down the street people stop to ogle Raymond. Eyes literally follow him wherever he goes.

Raymond: They fall out of people’s faces?

David: They’re going to fall out of mine if I keep rolling them at you.

Host: What’s the first body part Raymond notices when he’s attracted to someone? 

David: Umm. I don’t know. He never talks about being attracted to anyone! I guess… if I go by the stunningly gorgeous women he’s slept with in the past, I’d say their face?

Raymond: *holds up sign that says ‘smile’*

David: I totally get points for that! I am not missing another question.

Host: Close enough. Let’s hope you get this last question then: What would Raymond say is the moment when he first realized he cared about you? As a friend. 

David: *stares at Raymond and gnaws on lower lip again* I think… the only thing that makes sense is the first time I came over to the house in Queens. It was while his brother was in rehab, after the death of their father, and Raymond was there all alone. He was talking about… having no parents and how it felt to be alone in that house after everything that had happened, and—

Raymond: *puts an arm around David*

David: *presses into his side* Anyway, we um, I hugged him. And he let me. I thought he’d push me away, but he didn’t. After that, we talked to each other every day.

Raymond: *flips up card that says ‘the night we talked about my parents’*

Host: Well done, David!

David: Do we win?

Raymond: What happens if we win? Do I get money?

David: No, we do not get money.

Host: We won’t know if you win until Raymond finishes his round. Tune in next time for round two of the M/M Newlywed Game with Raymond and David!

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SunsetParkFSBlurbSunset Park

A Five Boroughs Story 

Raymond Rodriguez’s days of shoving responsibility to the wayside are over. His older brother wants to live with his boyfriend, so Raymond has to get his act together and find a place of his own. But when out-and-proud David Butler offers to be his roommate, Raymond agrees for reasons other than needing a place to crash.

David is Raymond’s opposite in almost every way—he’s Connecticut prim and proper while Raymond is a sarcastic longshoreman from Queens—but their friendship is solid. Their closeness surprises everyone as does their not-so-playful flirtation, since Raymond has always kept his bicurious side a secret.

Once they’re under the same roof, flirting turns physical, and soon their easy camaraderie is in danger of being lost to frustrating sexual tension and the stark cultural differences that set them apart. Now Raymond not only has to commit to his new independence—he has to commit to his feelings for David or risk losing him for good.

Buy Links: Dreamspinner Press || Amazon || Barnes & Noble || All Romance eBooks

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Santino Hassell imageAbout the Author: Santino is a writer of queer romance heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Find Santino: Website || Facebook || Newsletter || Twitter || Goodreads || Amazon

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THE GIVEAWAY

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*Some residency restrictions may apply
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified
*Void where prohibited by law

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Cover Reveal, Giveaways, Lane Hayes

Cover Reveal and Giveaway: A Kind of Truth by Lane Hayes

A Kind of Truth

Title: A Kind of Truth
Author: Lane Hayes
Series: A Kind Of
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Word Count: 82k words
Categories: Bisexual, Contemporary Romance, Humor
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Release Date: January 8, 2016
Pre-Order Links: E-book || Paperback
Blurb: Rand O’Malley dreams of superstardom. He hopes to one day sing the blues like a rock god. Moving to New York City and hiring a new manager are steps to make his dreams a reality. But nothing moves as fast as Rand would like, and everyone has opinions, which include he keep certain pieces of himself quiet if he plans on making it in the Big Apple. Like his bisexuality.

Will Sanders is a gifted musician who dazzles Rand with his ability to coax gorgeous notes from an electric guitar one moment and play the piano like a professional the next. He’s a geek, but Rand isn’t concerned about Will’s pressed exterior clashing with his tattoos. His focus is music. Yet there’s something about Will that makes Rand think there’s much more to the quiet college student than he lets on. As Rand’s dreams begin to materialize, he’s forced to reconsider his priorities and find his own kind of truth. One that might include Will.

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Excerpt: Watching Will’s face turn pink then red was extraordinarily entertaining. I nudged his elbow playfully and tried to gain control of my smile before it threatened to take over my entire face.  When I couldn’t take the building pressure of emotion, I winked at the girls then leaned in and kissed his lips, loving that I took him by surprise.  The elevator doors slid open a moment later.  Will stepped into the empty corridor and gave me a wide-eyed incredulous stare.

“I cannot believe you just did that.”

“What? Kissed you on an elevator?  It’s not like farting, ya know.”

Will huffed a sigh that clearly said he thought I was hopeless before turning to walk down the hall.  “I was talking about the underwear comment but yeah, the kissing part was awkward too.  No one wants to watch two people going at in a confined space.  And besides, we’re supposed to be playing this strictly straight while we’re in public.”

He stopped to unlock the door to the classroom then pushed it open, pausing to give me a perturbed look before he moved inside ahead of me. I barked a quick laugh as I set my guitar on the back table and shrugged my jacket off.

“First of all, that was hardly going at it.  It was a peck. You were the one advertising I left my clothes at your place in front of a couple cute girls.  And who said anything about playing straight?”

“Were we not in the same room two mornings ago talking about this?”

“We were.  In fact, we were naked in your bed.  Decidedly un-straight. But the way I remember it, I was one who was holding back the gay while you were the one going for it.  But let’s go back to the elevator. I think you purposefully blew my cover back there with those girls.  Were you jealous?”

He snorted and rolled his eyes.  “You’re unbelievable.”

“Thanks.”

“It wasn’t a compliment,” he quipped as he made his way to the piano.

“Well, the next time you announce you’re holding my underwear hostage in a crowd, all bets are off, baby.” I gave him a lascivious once-over and waggled my eyebrows before tightening the strap on my guitar.

Will chuckled.  “I’ll keep that in mind. But I’m pretty sure your tighty-whities never came up. My comment was perfectly innocent. There’s a big difference between hats and underwear.”

“I’m on to you, Will.  You wanted those girls to know something’s going on between us.  They’re probably talking right now.  Bet they’re wondering if we’re in here having sex.  Hell, they could be outside that door listening.  Maybe we should give ‘em something to talk about.” I made a show of unbuckling my belt and the top button on my 501s.  “Is there a camera in this room?”

“Keep your pants on. I’ve got two months left till graduation and I’d prefer not to get kicked out of school, please,” Will said primly, smacking my hand away.

“You won’t get kicked out.  I doubt we’d be the first anyway.”

I rezipped my jeans and started to back up, but at the last second, I reached out to cup his chin between my thumb and forefinger.  I traced his jaw and let my thumb roam higher to caress his cheekbone just under his glasses. His eyes fluttered shut.  I loved the contrast of his fair skin and darker lashes and eyebrows.  He was so damn pretty.  And those lips.  They were sensuous.  That was the word. I leaned in and brushed my nose against his.  I could feel his breath on my lips.  The urge to plunge my tongue inside and take what I was very sure we both wanted was strong, but I waited for his permission.

When he didn’t respond, I let my hand fall to my side and started to pull back.  Maybe he really was serious about propriety in the classroom. I wasn’t used to curbing my impulses to suit someone’s else’s sensibilities. I’d spent twenty-five years doing only what I wanted.  Screw anyone else.  Now here I was, attempting to hide my gay side publicly while trying to follow Will’s lead in private. It felt strange, I thought, just as Will launched himself at me.

I grunted in surprise when he wrapped his arms around my neck and crashed his mouth over mine. He softened the connection and tilted his head as he raked his fingers through my hair.  I responded but let him control the tempo. Until he tentatively licked my lips. Fuck, he tasted sweeter than I remembered. Like peppermint candy or hot chocolate.  I pulled him flush against my chest and slid my tongue alongside his, twisting and colliding in a passionate fusion.  When he gasped for air I pulled back only to have him grind his hips into mine and lick my jaw. He swayed into me with a moan and lost his footing.

“Steady there.”

Will was sexier than he knew, which spelled potential danger for me.  It was better to let the music take over for now.

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Author BioAbout the Author: Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time!  It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel.  An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters.  These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men.  Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked.  Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions in the 2014 and 2015 Rainbow Awards.  She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband and the coolest yellow Lab ever in an almost empty nest.

Where to find the author: Facebook || Facebook Author Page || Twitter: @LaneHayes3 || Goodreads Link

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THE GIVEAWAY

Enter for the chance to win a $10 Gift Card to the e-tailer of the winner’s choice

Rafflecopter Giveaway

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Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, BFD Book Blog, The Hat Party, Dawn’s Reading Nook, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue, Words, Boys on the Brink Reviews, Bayou Book Junkie, A.M. Leibowitz, Jessie G. Books, Divine Magazine, Open Skye Book Reviews, Louise Lyons, Happily Ever Chapter, Unquietly Me, MM Good Book Reviews, Alpha Book Club, KathyMac Reviews, Gay Book Reviews, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Carly’s Book Reviews, My Fiction Nook, Velvet Panic, Cheekypee Reads and Reviews, The Novel Approach

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The Fine Print:

*Entrants must be 18 years or older to qualify
*Some residency restrictions may apply
*All comments must be relevant to the author’s prompt to be eligible (when applicable)
*The Novel Approach will not be held liable for prize delivery unless otherwise specified
*Void where prohibited by law

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Giveaways, Heartspell Media, Ines Johnson

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Loyal Steed: Part One (The Pleasure Hound Series) by Ines Johnson

Banner Ines Johnson

The Novel Approach welcomes author Ines Johnson today to introduce her newest novel The Loyal Steed: Part One and to talk about Men of Devotion. Ines is also giving the chance for one reader to win an e-copy of the book, so be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for the chance to win.

Good luck!

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Men of Devotion
If you read my books, you may have noticed a theme. Between the covers of many of my stories you’ll find a man of the cloth, who struggles with his feelings for a woman, and ultimately succumbs to the glories of romantic love.

An Old Testament
My fascination with priests began with the television movie, The Thornbirds. Richard Chamberlain in robes -nuff said. It’s not just priests I’m fascinated with. It was an illuminating experience for me watching the Jedi of Star Wars. I even found Yoda hot! And then there was that string of movies about fallen angels where Christopher Walken was a badass angel and Elias Koteas was a former priest. Yummy. But the priest to end all priests? Matthew McConaughey in Contact!

Why am I attracted to priests, monks, angels, and even cone-headed, Buddha-like aliens? Because these men of devotion have a lot of qualities that women look for in their partners. They’re disciplined, full of grace, devoted, and they understand sacrifice.

A Beautiful Mind
Spiritual men are smart. Monks spend their lives studying ancient texts. Priests have to get a degree from college or seminary school, which can take anywhere from four to eight years. Jedi are taken as children, younglings, into the order. Other than Luke Skywalker, we know they spend all of their formative years training in the mental and physical art of the force.

Hopelessly Devoted
Speaking of Skywalkers, Padme didn’t fall for cute and cuddly Anakin. No, she fell for the grown Jedi who began to tug at the rules of his order as he pursued her affections. We all like a rebel, a bad boy, to some degree. The man of cloth might not be the bad boy, but their situation is definitely a naughty and forbidden one. He’s pledged his loyalty and devotion to another: namely god, a goddess, or some higher power.

The Sexy Priest trope is the perfect love triangle. You have the sexy priest, the first leg of the triangle. The priest is devoted to his vows, the second leg of the triangle. And then in walks another set of legs, the heroine. Admit it: we all want to be the chosen one in a love triangle. And if you can emerge the victor over a god-figure…

I already recognize that I’m going to hell. But that’s okay, because that’s where all of the sexy, fallen priests will be!

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91gwceJNgkL._SL1500_Blurb: Jaspir has been in love with Lady Merlyn since they were children, but she has always been out of his reach. Trained as a Pleasure Hound and now surviving by selling his body to rich women, his heart has always remained loyal to his true love.

Liam was promised to Merlyn in their youth, but he’s always known that he’s not the man in her heart. With their betrothal approaching, Liam seeks out Jaspir for help. Eager to ensure the happiness of the woman they both love, Jaspir agrees to train Liam in the pleasure arts.

What starts as rivals in an uneasy truce, soon turns carnal when Merlyn learns of their secret lessons. In a society where men are second class citizens, Merlyn is torn between the attentions of two men who would do anything to rule her heart.

Buy Link: Amazon: The Loyal Steed: Part One | Amazon: The Loyal Steed: Part Two | Amazon: The Loyal Steed: Part Three | Amazon: The Loyal Steed: The Complete Serial

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Excerpt: Lesson One: Jaspir regarded his longtime foe. Set in Liam’s pale face was green eyes with thick lashes, a strong jaw and a mouth with a thin upper lip, but full lower lip. Jaspir had hated this pale face for many years. He blocked out Liam’s face and focused on the man’s lips. As he did with his more unattractive clients, Jaspir pictured Merlyn in his head, narrowing his world to what these lips would do for her.

Jaspir grazed his fingers along the lips before him. They were thinner than his own. His lessons would have to account for that. “Lesson number one,” he said. “The bedroom is the only place where a man can truly rule a woman.”

Jaspir clasped the chin that belonged to the lips, eliciting another gasp.

“You need to take charge,” he said. “Be in control.”

Jaspir’s fingers curled about the neck and the lips parted as he did so.

“Merlyn thinks too much. Her head rules her entire body. If you have control of her head…”

His fingers went into the red hairs at the nape of the neck that belonged to the lips. With a firm tug, the head went back exposing the neck. “…you have control of her.”

Jaspir let his focus extend from the lips to the exposed neck. His tongue struck out and he licked. He felt the body trembling in his grasp.

“Lesson number two, never do what’s expected.” Jaspir bit lightly at the chin. “Merlyn will anticipate your every move. She can’t help it. She remembers the sequence of things. If you are repetitive, you will lose her. Do you understand?”

Jaspir watched as the lips tried to form words, but the trembling thwarted them. In the end, Jaspir was given a nod of acquiescence.

“Good.”

Jaspir focused on the lips once more. He nipped at them. He nipped at the bottom lip, which was plumper than the top. He nipped at the corner, flicking his tongue out. He continued this random pattern as the lips tried to anticipate his next move, each time failing to predict it.

“Lesson three, make her chase you. Once you—”

The lips cut him off. The lips Jaspir had thought so small covered his own and tried to devour him. For unpracticed lips they were warm and wanton. Perhaps Liam could please Merlyn after all. But first, he had to pay attention.

Jaspir used the hand still at the nape of Liam’s neck to yank him away. Liam groaned at the loss, his chest panting, his eyes hooded.

“Are you listening, Liam?”

Liam blinked once, twice. By the third blink, he’d recovered himself and yanked away from Jaspir’s hold, embarrassment clear on his face. “All right,” Liam said. “You’ve made your point.”

“I don’t think I have.”

Liam clenched his jaw.

“Show me what you’ve learned.”

Liam’s eyes whipped to Jaspir’s. Jaspir placed his hands in his lap and waited.

Slowly Liam raised his hands. They grazed Jaspir’s chin. The soft, un-callused fingers reminding Jaspir of a woman’s gentle touch. Before Jaspir could process the softness, Liam’s fingers tangled in his hair and wrenched Jaspir’s head back.

Jaspir barely held back his moan of pleasure. He liked it rough from time to time, but that would not do for Lady Merlyn. “Not that firm. She’s more delicate than I am. Just enough to let her know that you’re in control.”

Liam loosened his grip a fraction. He looked to Jaspir for approval. Jaspir recognized the spark of need in the other male’s eyes. How this man lived ten years under Merlyn’s roof and never stole a single kiss was a true mystery to Jaspir.

“Good,” Jaspir nodded.

The spark in Liam’s eyes ignited into the smallest of flames before he dipped his head and put his mouth to Jaspir’s throat. Liam’s movements were unpracticed and hesitant, but the heat of his mouth sent a message to Jaspir’s dick. Jaspir focused on his breaths instead of the heat climbing across his hips.

There was no way he’d be turned on by this soft-hand, unpracticed, First, virgin.

Liam nibbled at Jaspir’s lip now, his hunger making up for his lack of skill. Jaspir knew desire. He understood wanting something that he thought was off limits to him. Jaspir softened and turned his head into the kiss.

For a moment, Jaspir allowed Liam to claim him. Allowed him to taste that thing that he could never possess. To pretend for just a moment that it could be this way; that they could be together always. That they could live on a land away from society and everything tearing them apart. To live in a small cottage surrounded by impossible flowers of red, purple and green.

The kiss turned brutal as both men fought to stake their claim. Until finally, Jaspir gave a tug of Liam’s hair, pulling them apart. Both men stared at the other, panting, eyes clear, realization dawning that neither held the object of their desire.

“That’ll be all for today’s lessons.”

It took a moment, but finally Liam rose. “When do I—” He stopped and cleared his throat.

“When do I come back for our second appointment?”

Jaspir turned to him, his face a mask of unconcern. “Pick any day you’d like. I’ve cleared my entire schedule just for you.”

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Ines JohnsonAbout the Author: Ines writes books for strong women who suck at love. If you rocked out to the twisted triangle of Jem, Jericha, and Rio as a girl; if you were slayed by vampires with souls alongside Buffy; if you need your scandalous fix from Olivia Pope each week, then you’ll love her books!

Aside from being a writer, professional reader, and teacher, Ines is a very bad Buddhist. She sits in sangha each week, and while others are meditating and getting their zen on, she’s contemplating how to use the teachings to strengthen her plots and character motivations.
Ines lives outside Washington, DC with her two little sidekicks who are growing up way too fast.

Connect With Ines At: Facebook | Twitter | Website

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