Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Gosh, it's been quiet around the blog this holiday season. I hope that means everyone is busy spending time celebrating with loved ones. I've done a bit more celebrating than is good for me, and I fear that 2014 must start with a resolution to stop eating all that crazy holiday food and get back to the gym more often each week. Oof!

If you're looking for a calorie-free way to ring in the new year, check out the year-end sale at Torquere Books. Just use the code "hello2014" to get 20% off EVERYTHING. But hurry! It's only good through WEDNESDAY! I don't have many titles left there, but you can get Rose & Thorn for a little while longer. (I believe it's about to go out of print, and after that you'll have to wait to pick up it whenever I can make the time to re-release it.) And there's also the anthology I Put a Spell on You where you'll find a short-story of mine that you won't find anywhere else. So go shopping and have a sexy New Year!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Print Release and Excerpt

It feels like it's taken all year (and maybe it has, but I sincerely do not want look and find out that I'm right), but at long last Compass Hearts is available in print form. Bring home this sexy winter romance to keep you toasty this December. Here's an excerpt to get you warmed up.

Compass Hearts by Maia Strong

He barely recognized his own voice as he went on. “The human body is...fascinating.” There was a question, an invitation, underlying his statement. He hoped Ash would hear it and understand. Despite this sudden swell of bravery, he knew he couldn’t say that out loud.
A slow smile spread across Ash’s face. Matthew grinned back, guessing his message had gotten through. His guess was confirmed when Ash asked, “Have you ever had a live model?”
“No.” Matthew’s cock strained at his breeches. He yearned to draw Ash, see him stripped and posed. He couldn’t remember ever wanting anything so much or so urgently in his life.
Then reality crashed down on him. His face fell. “My materials are at my apartment.” In the time it took to get there and back, the moment would be beyond lost. And there was no way he was taking Ash back to his flat. He didn’t want him to see it. It was so unbearably grim, lacking in any charm or comfort, especially when compared to Ash’s quirky and inviting room upstairs.
“What do you need?” Ash asked.
“Charcoal pencils, largish paper.”
“I have that.”
“You do?” Matthew perked up at this spark of hope. It was almost too good to believe. “How? Why?”
“Botany class. We do a lot of plant sketching. I not only have charcoal pencils, I have pressed pigment pencils.”
Matthew’s eyes lit up and Ash grinned and grabbed his hand. “Come on.” Ash pulled him to his feet and toward the stairs.
Matthew’s practical side asserted itself and, still clinging to sense, he asked, “What about our books?”
“No one will bother them. Come on!” He practically dragged Matthew from the parlor. By the time their feet hit the stairs, though, Matthew was plenty willing to follow him up.
Inside the cozy comfort of the little attic room, Ash went immediately to the window seat. He opened it and fished around inside, coming up a moment later with a large tablet and a tin box. “Here.” He handed the box to Matthew, who opened it and looked in wonder at the myriad colored pencils within.
“Where did you get these?” he asked, awed and envious.
“Some of them I bought in town. Some of them my dad gave me before I came here.” Ash flipped through the tablet of his botany drawings, Matthew looking over his shoulder. The plants were barely recognizable, and then only because he’d labeled them. “They’re awful, I know,” said Ash. He pulled a disgusted face. “It’s all right to say so.”
“I just have one question,” said Matthew.
“Yes?” Ash turned and looked up at him. “What?”
“Are you actually passing botany?”
Ash burst out laughing. “All right, Master Critical.” He flipped to a blank sheet and shoved the tablet at Matthew. “Let’s see you do better.”
“That much I can guarantee.”
“I’ve never been an artist’s model.” Ash’s eyes shone deep blue in the lantern light and his voice was husky. “Tell me what to do.”
Matthew swallowed hard once. The heat and tightness in his groin were intense, and he was glad for the tablet he held in front of him. What was he thinking? He’d never get through this! Panic began to rise in him, quelling his arousal. No. I want to do this, damn it! Steeling himself and taking control of his fear, he said with as much authority as he could muster, “Strip.”

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Bestseller

It's been a whirlwind since Where the Lovelight Gleams was released a week ago. I'm thrilled that it's become a bestseller on All Romance Ebooks! This morning it moved up to number 11.

This book has exceeded all my expectations and I'm so delighted and grateful for my awesome readers. Can two actors take their romance offscreen this Christmas, or will it be only in their dreams? Find out at:

Loose Id -- save 10% this week!

Make the yuletide gay!

A reminder to check out all the awesome LGBT holiday romance giveaways at my website! All contests are open until December 22, and there are dozens of books up for grabs from bestselling authors including RJ Scott, Neil Plakcy, EM Lynley and more! Enter to win some sexy holiday cheer:


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Happy Sunday, readers. My absence can only be explained by pressure from the day job and a pretty bad sinus infection. All I've done this weekend is sleep, so excuse my ramblings here. I've been dreaming of starting a new novel. I'm caught between firefighters (mm) and teachers. Perhaps combine the two? After all, they both face dangerous situations every day. And I bet the school teacher could show the fireman that standing in front of 30 students every day takes just a little bit more courage than racing into a burning building, ha.

Welcoming any and all thoughts on this!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Amanda Young's Holiday Giveaway


Hi everyone! My holiday contest is up and running! This year I'm giving away a brand new 6" Kindle, a $25 Gift card to either Amazon or ARe (winner's choice), an autographed paperback, and an ebook. Whomever wins the books will be able to choose their title. The giveaway will run until December 30th to give everyone plenty of time to enter. Winner's will be chosen at random and announced on my website blog (amandayoung.org/blog) on New Years Day, so make sure you check to find out whether or not you've won.

To enter, please use the Rafflecopter entry form below. Hopefully you all will see the Rafflecopter widget and have no problem navigating around the entry options. This is my first time using them, so I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping everything goes smoothly. If you have any questions or concerns, you can always email me directly at authoramandayoungATgmail.com.

Good luck guys!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sexy Hollywood Hunks Want to Take their Fling Offscreen

Meet Ryan and Cary, the Hollywood stars of my upcoming Christmas romance Where the Lovelight Gleams


This Christmas, actor Ryan Drake is pining. He may get to kiss gorgeous Cary Holloway on the set of their hit TV show, Space Academy, but he knows it’ll never happen in real life. Charming Cary–the son of Hollywood royalty–is straight, as evidenced by his starlet girlfriend. But Christmas is a time for unexpected gifts, and Cary accepts Ryan’s invitation to leave the palm trees behind and spend the holiday with his family at their cabin in the Great White North.
Amid the snow and mistletoe, Ryan struggles to keep his longing under wraps. Little does he know, Cary wrestles with his own unspoken desires, and his very identity. Surrounded by family and holiday joy, their warm friendship deepens. Will these two co-stars have the courage to brave Hollywood pressures and take their romance offscreen–or will it be only in their dreams?
Find out December 3!

p.s. Check out the Make the Yuletide Gay holiday book giveaway extravaganza starting tomorrow at my site! Comment to win fantastic holiday stories all month long!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Interview Links

The transcript of Kate Davies's interview with Eric Sheffer Stevens is available on her blog. In fact, all four parts are up now! I have to say, it's a blast helping her out with these and I hope it isn't nearly so long before we do it again. And I'm looking forward to seeing Eric on my TV screen again!

Interview with Eric Sheffer Stevens, Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

Monday, November 18, 2013

Not finishing....

I was going through my ebook library the other day. There is so many books I've read and enjoyed. I particularly love series. LOL. I know I have a few of my own I'm writing. As I checked over the titles I found this one that I was meaning to see if it continued because there were a few characters I wanted to read their story. I went and looked on the author's site and didn't see anything about another book in the series. So I emailed the author to ask.

When I got the response I was disappointed. The author didn't plan on doing anymore in the series. I was bummed because I wanted to read more. Know about some of the characters I liked happily ever after. I was curious on why they weren't continued the series but didn't ask. So my curiosity on why the books aren't continued and the characters I liked will go unfulfilled because the series will not be finishing.

Talia Carmichael
Fill Your Cravings

Blog: http://taliacarmichael.com/blog

Buy One Good Man here

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Here Come the Holidays

I love the holiday season. Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza -- you name it, I love it. It's a time of year filled with family, friends and food, which are three of my very favourite things. I love the lights and the pretty wrappings and trees. It's also a time of tradition, and I eat certain treats and watch certain movies that are reserved strictly for December.

Here's another tradition I'm excited about!

Well, I'd like to make it a tradition. :D  I hosted this event a couple of years ago, and I'm bringing it back with a ton of holiday book giveaways! Come by and enter to win awesome LGBT holiday books from bestselling authors.

November 27 to December 22

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Com by Bent Con

Come by Bent Con in Burbank this weekend. ZA Maxifield, Belinda McBride and I will have a table with books and promo at the queerist Fantasy/Sci-fi con in CA.  It runs all weekend at the Burbank airport Marriott.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


I had the pleasure of assisting my friend Kate Davies in interviewing Eric Sheffer Stevens today. This is the second interview she's done with him, and the second time I've gotten to help out and play sound tech for her. If you don't know who he is, well, shame on you! He's very talented and a charming person to boot. He's also one half of the soap opera duo LuRe (that's Luke Snyder and Reid Oliver, for the uninformed) from As the World Turns. Now, the show has been off the air for three years now, but not before Eric and co-star Van Hansis as one of the first (and IMO the best) gay couples on American daytime TV. Well, ATWT is gone, but ESS is still working, I am happy to say. And the full interview will be up as soon as Kate can manage it. I promise to let you know when it's available. In the meantime, just sit back and enjoy the pretty.

As the World Turs - Reid Oliver

Silent House - Peter

Monday, November 4, 2013

Title and Cover Reveal

My thanks to everyone who made suggests for my little work in progress here on the website, Facebook, and Twitter. I've decided to keep the title of my upcoming collection short and sweet. I'm going to call it Trio.

As soon as I chose the name, I ordered a spiffy new cover from the good people over at Goonwrite.com and this is what they made for me ...


Hopefully I'll have this new collection finished and edited soon.

Wish me luck. :D

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Winter Has Arrived

Today, a coworker is running the Manchester City Marathon. Yesterday, when I went for a (much shorter) run, it was 65 degrees, sunny, and beautiful for November in New England. Today – this morning – even my stubborn cat, who wants to go out after breakfast year round, simply stood in front of the door wincing and flattening her ears at the icy, blustery winds whipping past the thermometer that read 35 degrees.

Now running in 35 degree weather isn't as nice as 65, but it's doable. Once warmed up, 35 feels more like 50ish, but that wind takes all the fun, and heat, out of the run. For me, at least. For my coworker, well, she does this stuff a lot more often, and she's trained hard. I'm sure she dressed appropriately, in layers she was willing to drop as needed. One doesn't spend months training for a marathon and then change her mind just because it's a tad windy or the temperature is a bit low. This is New England after all, where we say: Don't like the weather? Blink. It'll change.

It's Sunday in New England, but our Patriots aren't playing until four p.m. I won't be going out in this windy, chilly day to hike, as we'd previously planned, and I'm glad I squeezed in my run yesterday, before this cold blew in on the tail of a rain storm. Today, instead, I'll be writing. I want to say "finally writing" but I won't diminish it. I pounded out a few tequila soaked words last night, and today, with less tequila, I'll work on an M/M friends-to-lovers story I abandoned months ago. With that in mind, maybe it's good it's cold today. Though I will feel a little guilty about that statement tomorrow when I ask my coworker how she weathered the race.

Stay warm this winter, dear readers.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Ready, Set, NaNo

It's this time of the year again - National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It's started as a bit of a fringe movement, but according to the website here, there are more than 210,000 people registered to write their 50,000 words during November. And that's only the ones that are signed up, so the true number will be several times larger.

I've only "won" NaNo once, and it's a drama - as you veer from elation to panic to exhaustion to giddy hysteria. And eventhen I cheated somewhat. I picked up a manuscript I'd started, added 50k, and then it took me three months to "find" the ending. So, strictly speaking, I cheated. I did sell the book to a publisher, though. Since then, NaNo has weirdly always caught me by surprise - despite the fact that it's always in Novem,ber. Usually I was in the process of wrestling a novel across the finishing line, and it's true this year too: I'm still wrapping up Scorpion3 and on't havethe headspace to start a new book. I will try to commit to a symbolic 1,667 words/day goal, though, so I'm doing it by proxy this year. Kind of.

Other people are much more prolific and take NaNo overall way more seriously. Here's an excellent blog post from my partner in Market Garden, LA Witt: My Not Very Reliably Annual But Still Hopefully Useful Pre-NaNo Pep Talk. NaNo can be life-changer, especially when you're hovering in that weird space between "I should/want to write a book" and "I'm actually writing". Try it. Try it for the fun.

And the old hands - doing NaNo might feel like going back to school. (Let me explain that one: German authorities recently caught a dude who'd done his finals in school AGAIN - only he was already a medical doctor and had done his school finals (the exam that determines whether you can go to uni in Germany) a few decades again. He passed with a C overall and now seems to have got ambitious - he wants to better that "next time".) So, yeah, like going back to school, just with a bit of ambition this time round. Many published authors live and die by their wordcount; I think it could be fun to devote NaNo to the one crazy project that's been lurking in the back of your head - the one "nobody" is interested in but you. That's what my plan was for this month, anyway.

In case you are tempted, but don't have a plot or your "idea" isn't ready yet, I just read a book by esteemed colleague EM Lynley, who wrote a short e-book on the basics of plotting and planning for NaNo: How To Be A NaNoWriMo Winner. It should equip you with everything you need to get enough of a plot skeleton sorted in a couple of days. A little bit of planning does go a long way and saves time in the long run.

But regardless of where in the journey you are, what your goals are, and why you take part: I'm wishing you all the best on that rollercoaster. I might join you once I'm done with my current book (which means I'll start a week late). Hook up with friends who are also doing NaNo. Brag. Whine. It's all part of the journey.

Good luck!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Men in costume

Hello there, Slashers and Burners. I hope your autumn season (in the western hemisphere, that is) is going well. Halloween in the US approaches! Here are a few men in costume that can trick or treat at my house......

Sunday, October 6, 2013

My apologies, dear Readers, for my absence last month. This month isn't going to be much better. Computer time is limited, so please refer to my blog post HERE for an explanation. Hopefully, I'll be back soon. I miss you all, and my stories too.

Happy October!


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Book Recommendation

Ages ago (seriously, it was several years ago now) I posted about Shakespeare's Gay Boys. Technically, they're not Shakespeare's of course. They belong to Ancient Greek mythology. I'm talking about Achilles and Patroclus, in case you don't know. I just finished reading The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller and WOW. There are books that come along once a decade or so that are so profoundly beautiful that you, the reader, can't help but be moved/impacted/bettered by reading them. This is one of those books. And with its addition to my personal version of that list, I can still count them on one hand. They are that rare.

The story is told entirely from Patroclus' point of view in the present tense (which if you know anything about this particular mythology will cause you to wonder how the author made that work--but trust me, she does). While the Trojan War is, of course, an inescapable part of the story, Miller begins with the child Patroclus and builds her world through him. Her prose is gorgeous. Everyone you meet in the story, from the heroes of myth, to the most minor players, to the sea goddess Thetis, reads as rich and real. I will be reading this book again and again, when I need something to keep me company and pull me out of our world for a while. When I need somewhere fantastical yet true to escape to.

Do yourself a favor and read The Song of Achilles. You'll only be sorry if you don't.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Happy Fall! I personally don't mind autumn, mostly because where I live it's not really much different than summer. California doesn't have seasons. We have sunny and mild, sunny and hot, or rainy. Fall can be just as warm as summer, and often is. Fire season extends way into October because of the dryness and heat.

I have friends who are lucky enough to experience real fall weather with all the gorgeous scenery that goes with it. Leaves turning red, fields turning gold, everything beautiful that nature has to offer. I think I'd enjoy the season more if I had that to look at. In any case, I know autumn tends to be the favorite season of a lot of people.

I leave you with a picture of a darling wedding cake that I found when I was searching for fall pictures. What a perfect autumn wedding these two must have had!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Win Free Books!

I'm taking part in TRR’s Fall into Romance Hop! The hop runs through this Friday, September 21, so you have a few more days to hop around for book recs and tons of chances to win terrific prizes.

Check out my post to win a free copy of Love's Nest -- and a chance to win two more just by liking my new author page on Facebook

And here, have a pretty boy. :D 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Stuck in San Bernardino

So, for those that follow me, you know ther was a period where I had no job. Now I do. I'm working for a defense firm, and have been running all over So. Cal. on hearings.

Today I'm hanging out in San Bernardino.  The only reason it is of passing interest is that it has the recent distinction of being named the Worst Food City in the entire US of A.

And, frankly,  I'm not surprised.  The city is bankrupt...not to long ago they couldn't even afford gas for police and fire vehicles.

Hopefully,  once I settle into the new gig, my writing will pick up.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

New release!

I love release day!

Last year, Chris Owen and I teamed up to write a book about puppies, firemen, and hot computer geeks. It was a hit! You can get By the Numbers at Torquere Books.

And then, get the sequel! Adding it Up - By the Numbers II is now available! More firemen, dogs, and computer boys. This time with some added ex-wife tension. Go check out Trey and Deuce and let Chris and me know what you think.

Oh, and All Romance ebooks tells us that it's already a best seller! Can't beat that.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Boys of Summer

I can't believe it's September already! I'm definitely not ready for summer to end. Here are some hot (and sweet) summer guys to enjoy before the fall comes.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Read Precious Ache for free!

precious-ache.jpg In honor of Labor Day, I'm giving away Precious Ache for free over at All Romance Ebooks. If you haven't read Dave and Micah's story, go and get your copy on me for today only!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Print releases

At long last (and I admit to my share of the delay in this), False Dawn is now available for purchase in PAPERBACK! I can't tell you how wonderful it is to hold the real book in my hands. ::sigh::

Relevant linkage:
False Dawn from CreateSpace
False Dawn from Amazon.com

It's the exact same book, whichever link you follow, so order from wherever you want.

On the way next to print is Compass Hearts followed by Client Privileges. And then... and then... something new, mayhaps? We shall see...

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Wow, summer flies by in a blink, doesn't it? I've been vacationing and sunning and sleeping and mentally trying to prepare for the return to work of my day  job. Not easy. We also got a new puppy, so for the first time in my life I have THREE dogs at once. And we're not talking small ones, either. Pit bulls are big. Also awesome, if you were wondering. But three is a lot.

Next month is Torquere Press' 10th anniversary! There are going to be lots of contests and prizes and giveaways going on over there. In fact, there will be certain hours on certain days when you can download a book for free. I'll be back before then to let you know when mine is available. In the meantime, keep an eye on their website beginning September 1 for the celebration to begin.

Happy end of August, all! Keep reading.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Bottom's Up

If you haven't read any of my Bottom's Up stories, now is your chance to get them all in one place, at one low price. You'll still be able to buy them separately if you want to, but you'll also have the option of buying all three stories together in one anthology. Instead of paying $1.99 each, you can get all three for $2.99.

Buy Links:
amazon.jpg   are.jpg   smashwords.jpg

    For the first time ever, get all three of Amanda Young’s best selling Bottom’s Up stories in one bundle. Come on in to the bar, where the cocktails are sweet and the men are spicy.
    In A KINKY ORGASM, you’ll meet bar owner Briar Henley, who can’t believe his good fortune when his old high school crush strolls into his little bar and orders the house specialty – a kinky orgasm. Yearning for a little payback of the intimate persuasion, Briar sees nothing wrong with fulfilling an old fantasy and finding out why the most popular jock from high school is suddenly eyeing him like a juicy steak.
   Get to know Caleb and Zaki in TRIPLESEX, where the two discontent lover’s are supposed to meet for a drink and wind up sharing much more than their favorite cocktails.
   SCREWED catches up with Max, whose life is in upheaval after a series of racy photos appeared online. On his last night in town, Max visits his favorite local bar in a last-ditch attempt to reach out to his deeply closeted lover. One way or the other, Max plans to depart in the morning—with or without the love of his life.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Shh... Writer at Play

I'm writing!

In between running four miles, the dreaded groceries, washing a couple of loads of laundry, and giving the demanding cat his daily allotment of scratches and cuddles, I've managed to squeeze in 1500 words today. It's not much, but it's more than I've done in a couple of weeks. I'm about to dive back into that story, let my boys have some real fun, but first I wanted to drop in here before I ran out of time completely.

The only thing currently on my mind is this WiP and a project with a friend, so in lieu of a perspicuously poignant blog post, I'd like to share a couple of Pinterest boards with you. I've been an off-again-on-again user of Pinterest. Mostly on when work is sucking my brain dry and mostly off when I actually have a creative molecule left in my body. It's a huge time suck and a brain-number, so I couldn't have it any other way.

For your viewing (and drooling) pleasure...

Boys, Boys, Boys
Queer. Get Over It.
Beautiful Androgyny

Have a great August, dear Readers!
Pia Veleno

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Confession & Announcement

I have a confession to make.  I still prefer to read print books. I know, I know. I've spent several years now in ebooks, and I just cannot convert my preferences to the electronic. I love the feel of a book in my hands. I love seeing my book mark sticking out of the top, showing me how far I've come and how far I have to go. I love the smell of a brand new book. I love the sound it makes when you flip the pages really fast.

Now with the confession out of the way, I have an announcement. I'm working to publish all my re-released (originally Torquere Press published) ebooks in print form. I am so excited about this that it makes me squee. Just this past weekend I ordered a printer's proof of False Dawn. It should be here by Friday. Friday! *squee!* So keep watching here, or my Facebook page, or just pop over and search me on amazon.com every now and then to find out when my titles go to PRINT.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Wow, it's been at least a month since I showed my virtual face around here! Sorry about that. Summer has a way of slipping through my fingers.

Book update: Chris Owen and I finished the sequel to By the Numbers! It's coming out in September for Torquere Press' 10th Anniversary! Pretty darn excited about that. Torquere will also be offering one of my books for FREE on one day during that month. Will be sure and let you know what day and time, since it's only going to be for a very short period during the day.

Mostly I've been trying to come up with my next project. Not sure in which direction I'd like to go. There are always more firemen to write about, but branching out is good, too! I'll take any and all suggestions.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Get Your Hot Gay Fairy Sex! :D

Check out an excerpt from my new release with Leta Blake -- the third in our erotic m/m fairy tale series, Tempting Tales.

One boat remained.

The man in this boat was as startling to look upon as the rest. He was smaller than the rest of the creatures, his hair short and quite pink, sticking up in all directions as though he’d just woken from sleep, or perhaps never used a comb. He wore a riot of colored feathers woven into a shirt and breeches made of the softest brown leather Mateo had ever seen. Mateo’s own fine woolen trousers and exquisite silk-trimmed tunic seemed almost shabby in comparison to the wild wonder before him.

The man’s lips were the same pink as his hair, and his eyes were blue, fierce—as though they contained a soul stronger than his form. Mateo’s blood coursed. He was as captured by the look of this man as he’d been captivated by the sensual lure of the water. Mateo swallowed hard, hesitating. Did he dare get in? He must to follow his sisters.

Mateo stepped forward and the creature smiled. Frozen in place, Mateo checked that he still wore the cloak. Lámina’s voice echoed in his mind. The one who sees you despite the cloak’s magic is a friend.
“Ópalo!” the man rowing Luz called as distance grew between his boat and the shore. “Next time, perhaps.”

Ópalo, for that must be his name, did not look away, keeping his eyes on Mateo’s own. “One moment more.” He quirked his lips into a small, amused smile and rested his oar against the side of the boat.

Mateo took a step forward and Ópalo’s eyes lit up. He lifted his chin slightly, almost imperceptibly, with a motion that indicated Mateo should come. Mateo lifted his hand in a small wave, and Ópalo nodded his head and smiled. It was a toothy, pretty thing that made Mateo catch his breath and take a step back.

Surely not.

“Come!” Luz’s man called again.

“Patience, Azulejo!” Ópalo answered.

“We must not be late to the dancing.”

“You must not. I can be as late as I wish.”

“Stay then, and yearn for your bride to come. It changes nothing,” Azulejo said before bending himself to the oars, speeding Luz away at an alarming rate.

Seeing Luz’s white nightgown and dark, shining head disappear across the lake broke Mateo from his shocked state, and he quickly clambered into the boat with Ópalo. He ignored the offered hand as he stepped aboard, causing the boat to rock dangerously, nearly toppling them both out. Mateo’s stomach lurched, and there was a spray of cold water against his face as Ópalo steadied the boat with his oar, digging it into the bottom of the lake. Mateo sat down quickly.

“Pardon me!”

Ópalo grinned, his blue eyes—blue as a summer sky—twinkling, and his lips spread again into that beautiful smile. “No need to be so formal.”

Mateo wasn’t sure what to make of the casual tone, but there was nothing customary about the situation. He’d traveled with his sisters into a magical realm while hidden beneath a cloak that rendered him invisible, and which had apparently determined in some unfathomable way that this man, of all men, was to be Mateo’s friend. He knew he should find more comfort in that, but he felt quite the opposite. It was hard to concentrate over the ceaseless thrumming in his veins.

Ópalo went on. “I’m so glad you came. I’ve waited for you. You have no idea how long.”

Up close, Mateo could see that Ópalo seemed made of the shifting light from the diamond forest, his skin a mottle of beautiful colors that glowed breathtakingly in the moonlight. His eyebrows and eyelashes were pink, like the hair on his head, except that none of it was hair. Instead he had feathers, longer and thicker on his head, but short and fine around his eyes. His eyelashes appeared to be the daintiest feathers that Mateo had ever seen. And Mateo, out of either the arrogance of royalty or the shock of the moment, reached out a hand to feel them, only pulling back from touching the beautiful oddness at the last moment.

“I apologize.”

Ópalo shook his head, and then reached out to grab Mateo’s hand with a strong grip. He leaned forward, offering his eyebrows and hair up to Mateo’s touch.

Mateo pulled back without making contact, a belated terror pumping through him. “Who? What?”

“Shh,” Ópalo said softly. “They can hear. Sound carries over the water. You’re hiding for a reason?”

Mateo swallowed, nodded his head, and realized he was shaking.

Buy Love's Nest today from:

Ellora's Cave   Amazon   All Romance Ebooks

Monday, July 15, 2013

Days of summer…

Summer has been fun. Yay! I was hot already for a month before summer actually started and it’s been even hotter since it has. This is shaping up to be a long summer. I’ve been getting out and having some fun in the sun. A few of the things I’ve done for summer is go to the park, sitting on a blanket and reading a bit then getting some ice cream. Also went for long walks and enjoying the day. I meet the most interesting people when I’ve done either of my summer fun things. This leads to great conversations. Also there has been many movies this summer that I have seen and even more I plan to see. I love summer! Summer is here and it’s time for fun.

Talia Carmichael
Fill Your Cravings

Blog: http://taliacarmichael.com/blog

Buy Magnetism here

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

New Release! Erotic M/M Fairy Tale

Delighted to share that the third book in my Tempting Tales erotic fairy tale series with the fab Leta Blake is being released July 17! More details at my website!

Love's Nest by Leta Blake and Keira Andrews

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Giveaway, WiPs, and a Cause

Finally, a writing update. It seems like it's been forever since I told myself it was time to refocus on a new story. Usually, the day job slows down before July, and here we are with July well on its way, and I've still not seen that free time at the office.

But that's neither here nor there. I've managed to leave work at work more often lately, and have news of two new works in progress. Yay!

First, I'm working on a new light and fun contemporary M/M. I'm not ready to reveal more, because these two men are being stubborn and making me work hard to drag a story out of them.

The second project is a deviation from my norm. At the encouragement of the lovely Dorothy Shaw, I've been writing a M/F paranormal story with her. Dorothy's first M/F erotic romance is due out in August, and can be pre-ordered HERE for only 99 cents.

To celebrate finally rediscovering my muse, I'm giving away a copy of my last book, Hounded By Love from Loose Id. You can sign up at my blog HERE.

And speaking of books, please take a moment to check out an auction to raise money to protect children from abuse. The Shut the Book on Child Abuse auction will happen online starting July 15th. So if you don't win on my blog, you'll have a chance to bid on a signed paperback of Hounded, and many other books, while also helping two good causes. Check it out HERE.

Happy July, dear Readers!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Free Read -- Synchronicity by Keira Andrews

This year I took part in the Goodreads M/M Romance Group's Love Has No Boundaries event, featuring a summer of free stories written by authors in response to reader prompts and accompanying photos. This was my prompt and photo:
I could look at him all day. But sometimes, when he thinks I’m not looking, he seems so sad…
Goodreads prompt
Pensive, pretty, and not wearing pants.
Some readers discussed that he looks like a swimmer or gymnast, and my imagination took off from there and I created Synchronicity. I'm a sucker for sports romances!
Synchronicity by Keira Andrews
It's the opportunity of a lifetime for Tyler Bourne to compete in Olympic synchronized diving with veteran Aiden Oxford. The last thing he expects is to fall head over heels for his gorgeous partner. Friendly but distant, Aiden keeps him at arm's length, and Tyler knows his feelings are hopelessly one-sided. But as the Games begin, Tyler learns nothing is certain until the final dive.
The story is now available for everyone as a FREE download. It was a really fun story to write, and I hope you enjoy it. Thanks so much to Kate for the prompt!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Parades and Pride

Around here, June is made for parades! (Ignore those clouds, that rain, the encroaching marine layer...) From naked cyclists at the Solstice Parade to every color of the rainbow at Pride, it's a month to be outside celebrating! It's gonna be a big Pride Fest here, this year, too, methinks. What with us legalizing marriage equality and all that last November. Definitely a reason to celebrate extra hard! I admit that I'm kind of a wuss when it comes to big crowds, though, so I tend to live vicariously through my friends who go to the events and then post pics on Facebook. I'm a little lame that way.

How about you? Will you be marching/cheering/partying at your local Pride Festival?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Men and Cats

A year ago, my husband consented to allowing me to bring home two shelter kittens. I say "consented" because for years he lived with my two geriatric cats and it was not always a happy relationship. Let's just say he's a dog man.

However, I told him that kittens are MUCH different than old, grouchy, adult cats. He soon learned that I was right. This means I caught him snuggling and playing with the two little ones when he thought I wasn't looking. Today the kitties are 16 months old and I feel it's safe to say that my husband definitely enjoys them. (I won't go so far as to say he loves them, but he sure does pet them a lot.)

This brings me to one of my most favorite Tumblrs in the world......

Men and Cats

Enjoy. Make your Sunday a little purrier.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Compass Hearts now available

My New Adult novel, Compass Hearts, is back online! It's currently only available from amazon.com, but if you're an Amazon Prime member, apparently you can borrow it from their lending library. Of course, if you do and you decide you like it, you can still buy a copy to keep. ;-)

Compass Hearts by Maia Strong
NA, m/m, fantasy, erotic romance

As the fourth son of merchant parents, Matthew Morgan has always been superfluous. The only guidance he ever received was to behave himself and stay out of the way. Now, at a new university half a world away from home, he must discover who he is and what he wants. The only trouble is, he's never made a decision in his life.

When Ash Thearon meets Matthew -- the handsome fellow student he's been ogling all quarter -- he finds him sweet, sexy, and more than a little puzzling. To solve that puzzle, he must first collect all the pieces -- something more easily said than done.

The new friends quickly become lovers, but Matthew's sheltered life has taught him only how to follow another's lead. Ash wants more than that; he wants the give and take of an equal. Matthew's tendency to try too hard to please others leaves Ash wondering how to teach him independence without losing him.

(When did New Adult become a category? I am so bad a keeping up with trends!)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Windfall - A brand new M/M romance from Amanda Young

Landon and Daniel have been best friends since grade school. Through thick and thin, they’ve always been able to rely on each other. So it only seems natural for Landon to step in and offer assistance when Daniel has a run of bad luck.

Moving in together and splitting the bills seems like a simple solution to Daniel’s financial problems. However, sharing close quarters makes it difficult to keep less than platonic feelings on the down low.

The line between friends and lovers blurs during a late night moment of weakness fueled by alcohol, leaving both men on uneven ground. Just when they think they have things worked out and might have a shot at something more than friendship, a sudden shared windfall provokes all new complications that could end more than the new physical side of their relationship.

Ebook - $2.99

Dusk found Daniel sitting in his living room surrounded by dented empty cans of brew, two collapsed bags of the best greasy potato chips money could buy, and the lotto tickets he’d purchased on a whim at the convenience store around the corner. He needn’t have bothered—it wasn’t as if he’d ever win—but old habits die hard. Buying the tickets and then watching to see if they’d won was something he and his mom had shared for years, before the cancer had ravaged her body and stolen her will to go on. Even though she’d passed away the previous spring, Daniel still had moments when he expected to see her sitting on the sofa in the living room and waiting for him to walk through the door.Damn, he missed her. She would have known how to put a positive spin on being laid off and dumped in the same day. No one could find the silver lining in a situation or cheer him up like his mom. Daniel chugged what remained of the beer in his hand and swallowed repeatedly until the only thing left in his mouth was a bittersweet aftertaste and the hope of imminent oblivion. His only plan for the night was drowning his sorrows with alcohol. He ran a hand through his snarled hair and sighed in disgust. It wasn’t as if he needed to get up early for work in the morning. He belched, crushed the can, and set it on the table with the rest. Looked like a trip to the kitchen was in order—his bladder protested, reminding him of something else he’d neglected to do—right after he paid a visit to the can.
He stood and padded barefoot to the bathroom down the hall. His head spun as he bent at the waist and lifted the toilet seat. Ignoring the head rush, he took aim and let it fly, watching with detachment as the water in the bowl turned yellow. The stream went on and on, with no end in sight. Why did it always seem like more beer came out than went in? Finally things slowed to a trickle and stopped. Daniel shook off and tucked himself away. He flushed and watched as piss went down the drain, just like his life.
After washing his hands, Daniel made his way into the kitchen and grabbed another beer out of the fridge. He popped it open and took a long swig while standing in front of the open door. Cold air wafted across his overheated body, sending a parade of goose bumps up and down his arms.
The front door opened and slammed shut. A familiar voice called out. “Honey, I’m home.”
Daniel snorted at his best friend’s standard greeting. There was no wonder Perry hated Landon. Not that Daniel would have to worry about that now. He grabbed an extra beer and a jar of pickles to munch on, then headed back into the living room, where he found his best friend kicked back in the recliner by the sofa. He reclaimed his spot on the couch before pitching the spare can at Landon.
Landon caught the can with ease. “Thanks, man. I could use a drink.” He popped the tab and took a drink. “So, what’s the deal? I thought you had a date with the douche bag tonight, but I drove by and saw your truck in the driveway.”
“I did. Things didn’t work out.”
“I can tell that much on my own. You look like shit.”
“Gee. Thanks.” Daniel leaned back and propped his feet up on the coffee table. “You know, you’re not so pretty yourself.” If he were made of wood, Daniel figured his nose would be growing for telling that whopper. There was nothing ugly about Landon.
At approximately five and a half feet tall and thin as a reed, Landon had always been a little on the light end of masculinity. He overcompensated for his delicate features by being tougher than men twice his size and having an attitude big enough to match. You wouldn’t know it by looking at him, though. The man moved with the boneless gait of a dancer. Kohl-rimmed peridot eyes that were as quick to narrow as they were to warm. A gold stud dotted the right side of his narrow nose and graduating hoops lined both ears from top to bottom. He wore his midnight-black hair sheered close on the sides and spiky on top. Daniel knew for a fact that the gunk Landon used to make his hair stay in place smelled like ripe, succulent berries at the height of summer.
Unlike Landon, no one would ever accuse Daniel of being graceful. Well over six feet tall and weighing in at close to two hundred pounds, he was more akin to the proverbial ox in a china shop. One too many growth spurts had him reaching six feet before he turned fourteen. By the time he hit sixteen he’d shot up another four inches and was as clumsy as a newborn colt. A healthy appetite and channeling all his teenage hormones into working out had helped put some meat on his bones, but control over his muscles didn’t make him any less prone to stumbling over his own feet.
“What are you doing here, anyway?” Daniel asked. Landon worked Thursday through Sunday as a bartender at a local club. “Shouldn’t you be at work?”
“One of the other boys needs Monday off. I promised to cover his shift if he worked for me tonight.”
“Why not?” Landon shrugged, pulling the black fabric of his T-shirt taut across his chest and shoulders for a fraction of a second. “Can’t I be nice?”
“No.” Daniel loved Landon. They were as close as two men who weren’t fucking could be. But Landon was the king of ulterior motives. “You have a hot date tonight?”
“Come on, Danny boy. Don’t be so cranky. All I want to do tonight is relax. It’s just my good luck that you’re home and can do it with me. Unless the jackass formerly known as Perry is coming by later. If that’s the case, then I’ll just head on home.”
Daniel snorted. “Not likely.”
“That doesn’t sound good.” Landon sat forward and rested his elbows on his knees. “You want to elaborate?”
No. He didn’t. However, Daniel didn’t figure he had much choice. Landon would find out sooner or later. “You won’t have to worry about Perry anymore. He dumped me today.”
“Oh, man. I’m sor—”
“Just save it.” Daniel glanced over at Landon and found the corner of his friend’s lips curling and uncurling like he had an uncontrollable twitch. The jerk was fighting back a smile. “I know you hated him.”
“What’s to like? The man’s a douche bag. Actually, a douche has more personality than Perry. You’re better off without him.”
“Easy for you to say,” Daniel mumbled into his beer. Landon had no problem finding men. All he had to do was snap his fingers. Daniel, on the other hand, couldn’t afford to be so choosy. Someone big, brawny, and blue collar wasn’t exactly a hot commodity in the gay community—unless you were into bears. Sadly, Daniel couldn’t even say he fit into that demographic. His chest was as smooth as a baby’s bottom.
“Shit. I’m sorry. Do you want to…I don’t know…talk about it or something?”
“Hell no.” What was the use in blabbing about a failed relationship? It wouldn’t change anything.
“You’re really upset about this, aren’t you?”
“I’m damn well not happy about it.” Why would he be? Sure, he and Perry had their problems, but they got along all right most of the time and the sex was good. Now all he had to look forward to was a cold bed and his right hand.
The recliner squeaked as Landon got up and moved over to sit beside Daniel on the sofa. He bumped their shoulders. “Want me to go kick his ass?”
Daniel snorted. “As tempting as that idea is, I think I’ll pass.”
Landon leaned back and rested his head on Daniel’s shoulder. “If you change your mind…”
“I won’t.” Daniel settled in against Landon, taking minor comfort in the weight of his friend’s body pressing against his own, and tried to think of a good way to say he’d lost his job without sounding any more pathetic. He wasn’t looking forward to sharing the news. Granted, Landon wouldn’t respond with the antipathy Perry had shown, but Landon had his own shit to deal with. He didn’t need Daniel dumping all over him.
Feeling out of sorts sucked. It was like he’d been cast into a part that didn’t fit. Usually it was Landon coming to Daniel with his problems, not the other way around. Daniel was the more responsible one out of the two of them. That was just the way it had always been—ever since Daniel had stopped the school bully from stealing Landon’s lunch on the first day of kindergarten. Afterward, he and Landon had sat together and Landon had shared his cookies while cracking jokes about the size of Stephen Lester’s big doody-head. They’d been fast friends from then onward, through thick and thin.
Landon leaned forward and sat his beer can on the table. “So, I know you said you didn’t want to talk about it, and believe me, I don’t want to get into any touchy-feely crap, but what happened?”
That was as good an opening to tell Landon what had happened at work as Daniel figured he would get. “I don’t want you to worry, but—”
“Oh Lord,” Landon blurted out. “Here we go with the protect Landon routine. I’m a big boy, Danny. Nothing you have to say is going to give me the vapors.”
“Let me finish, will you?”
“Sorry.” Landon waved his hand in the air. “Go ahead.”
Daniel met Landon’s gaze. “I lost my job today.”
Landon frowned. “Were you fired? Shit. What happened?”
“No, I got laid off. So did a bunch of other people.” Daniel chugged his beer, letting the yeasty brew comfort his wounded pride. He belched and wiped his lips on the back of his hand. “Apparently Perry doesn’t want to date an unemployed bum.”
“That sanctimonious fucker! I really don’t know what you ever saw in him.”
Daniel shrugged. “He had his good qualities.”
“When are you going to learn that being able to suck the chrome off a bumper doesn’t make someone good dating material?”
“Yeah, well…” Daniel didn’t have anything to say to that. He was as guilty of thinking with his dick as the next guy. “It isn’t like you have a lot of room to talk.”
“I don’t date.”
“That’s my point. All you do is fuck and run, so you don’t know what to look for in a good boyfriend any more than I do.”
Landon scowled. “I know exactly what I want.”
“Which is…?” Daniel elbowed Landon in the side. “Come on, ol’ wise one. Spill the beans. Tell me what to look for in the perfect man.”
“It isn’t important.”
“Uh-huh. Sounds like you’re full of shit to me.”
“Believe what you like.” Landon grabbed his beer off the table and took a drink. “And anyway, we aren’t discussing me now. We were talking about you.”
“Subtle way to change the subject.”
“Subtlety is overrated.”
“So says you.”
“So says everyone.”
“Whatever.” Daniel rolled his eyes and gave up. Sometimes Landon could be a stubborn little shit.
“Have you given any thought to where you’d like to apply for another job?”
“No.” Hell, it had only been a couple of hours since he was gainfully employed. It wasn’t as if he could just snap his fingers and come up with something better right away.
“I wouldn’t worry about it. I’m sure you’ll find something else soon.” Landon patted Daniel’s knee. “In the meantime, you can file for employment, and if you need more help than that, I could move in for a while and help with the bills.”
Daniel stared at his friend. “I can’t ask you to do that.”
Landon seemed really interested in the top of his beer can. “You didn’t ask. I offered.”
“But still…” What was Landon thinking? They couldn’t move in together. They’d lived together for a while back in school after Landon’s lousy parents had given him the boot during senior year, but that was different. They were kids then.
“Come on, Danny. It’ll be fun, like when we were kids, only this time around we can get drunk and watch porn without having to worry about your mom busting in during the good parts.”
“Or catching us beating off. OhmyGod. Do you remember that time you stole that girlie magazine from the store and your mom walked in on us looking at it? I thought I was going to die and I didn’t even get a thrill from staring at all the naked women. I thought something was wrong with me.”
“Hell yes.” Landon laughed and smacked his thigh. “I about shit my pants. She grounded me for a week for that.”
“Yeah, me too, since she called my mom and ratted me out.”
“It’s no wonder they were both shocked when we came out.”
“Mmm-hmm. Although I don’t think Mom was as surprised as she pretended. No straight woman could possibly give that kind of lecture on the risks of gay sex unless she’d prepared a little before hand.”
“You might be right. Be thankful all you got was an embarrassing lecture.”
“Fuck, I’m sorry, Landon. Your parents don’t deserve you. What kind of douche-bags turn their back on their own kid just because he likes dick?”
“Mine, apparently.”
“It’s their loss.” Daniel leaned in and brushed his shoulder against Landon’s in support.
“Fuck ’em.” Landon took a swig of his brew. “Hey, I know something you could do. Larry down at the bar has been talking about hiring some new go-go dancers.”
“Oh fuck you, man. No one wants to see me shaking my big, hairy ass at them.”
Landon glanced at the television. “I wouldn’t say that.”
Daniel glanced at the TV, absently noted a commercial for laundry detergent that was anything but fascinating, and returned his attention to Landon. “What do you mean by that?”
“I—” Landon tilted his head back and to the side and stared at Daniel for a long, pregnant moment, his expression ripe with uncertainly. He opened his mouth to speak, paused, then shook his head and smiled. “Nothing. You just don’t give yourself enough credit. You’re a good-looking guy.”
“Bullshit.” Daniel felt sure that wasn’t what Landon had intended to say, but he let it go. If there was something else Landon wanted to share, then he would…eventually. If there was one thing Daniel knew, it was that there was no point trying to rush his best bud. Landon did everything in his own sweet time. “You have to say that. You’re my best friend.”
“No.” Landon licked his lips. He lowered his voice to barely above a whisper. “I probably shouldn’t say that…because I’m only your friend.”

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Be Loud

It’s a new month again. Already. Wasn’t I just here?

My Day Job has been keeping me so busy I’ve hardly had a chance to think, let alone write. I did, however, carve out a small bit of time to write a post for the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

While the Day Job has been keeping me too busy to read every post or even comment on those I’ve squeezed in during this Hop, I have been thinking a lot about what we can do to support our gay and trans brothers and sisters. Sure, blog hops are a fun way to encourage support and education, it doesn’t feel like enough. Personally I default to giving to charities. Throwing money at a problem doesn’t make it go away. It helps those that can and will assist do so, yet it still doesn’t feel like it is truly enough.

I don’t have any easy answers, and I’ll continue to dwell on what else I can do until I find a solution I can be happy with. Until then, I ask each of you to not forget the posts you’ve read during this hop, and keep in your hearts and minds that friends and strangers alike need the strength of the entire world to stand against the hate of the closed-minded fools.

Love trumps hate, but only if we show it by standing up against those that would oppress us with their close-minded views. Love is louder. Be loud, cari miei.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


In case you missed it when it was free, the lovely Chris at Stumbling Over Chaos is hosting a giveaway of The Argentine Seduction!

Contest closes at 7 p.m. CDT on May 30. May the odds be ever in your favour. ;)

Friday, May 24, 2013

I Dont' Often

throw my views into the fray...but. as am atheist partnered with a former Mormon turned agnostic...finally a little of us on the news: I think it's one of the reasons Joe resonates across the boards. I don't belittle people who "believe" but I don't use the books to "preach." I think that's where most "inspirational books fall down. You have to be objective about the religion, whatever form it takes.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

New cover art + excerpt

I've finalized the new cover for my re-release of Compass Hearts. Whaddaya think?

I'm super pleased with it!

My friend and critique partner is playing FLE for me on this manuscript. Making sure the small changes I made work and that I haven't missed any typos. (Serious fingers crossed there. I was not happy about the number of typos that were in there even after I, my editor, and the original FLE went over it. We're only human, but geez!)

Look for the re-release in the next week or so! In the meantime, here's an excerpt:

He barely recognized his own voice as he went on. "The human body is... fascinating." There was a question, an invitation, underlying his statement. He hoped Ash would hear it and understand. Despite this sudden swell of bravery, he knew he couldn't say that out loud.
A slow smile spread across Ash's face. Matthew grinned back, guessing his message had gotten through. His guess was confirmed when Ash asked, "Have you ever had a live model?"
"No." Matthew's cock strained at his breeches. He yearned to draw Ash, see him stripped and posed. He couldn't remember ever wanting anything so much or so urgently in his life.
Then reality crashed down on him. His face fell. "My materials are at my apartment." In the time it took to get there and back, the moment would be beyond lost. And there was no way he was taking Ash back to his flat. He didn't want Ash to see it. It was so unbearably grim, lacking in any charm or comfort, especially when compared to Ash's quirky and inviting room upstairs.
"What do you need?" Ash asked.
"Charcoal pencils, largish paper."
"I have that."
"You do?" Matthew perked up at this spark of hope. It was almost too good to believe. "How? Why?"
"Botany class. We do a lot of plant sketching. I not only have charcoal pencils, I have pressed pigment pencils."
Matthew's eyes lit up and Ash grinned and grabbed his hand. "Come on." Ash pulled him to his feet and toward the stairs.
Matthew's practical side asserted itself and, still clinging to sense, he asked, "What about our books?"
"No one will bother them. Come on!" He practically dragged Matthew from the parlor. By the time their feet hit the stairs, though, Matthew was plenty willing to follow him up.
Inside the cozy comfort of the little attic room, Ash went immediately to the window seat. He opened it and fished around inside, coming up a moment later with a large tablet and a tin box. "Here." He handed the box to Matthew who opened it and looked in wonder at the myriad colored pencils within.
"Where did you get these?" he asked, awed and envious.
"Some of them I bought in town. Some of them my dad gave me before I came here." Ash flipped through the tablet of his botany drawings, Matthew looking over his shoulder. The plants were barely recognizable, and then only because he'd labeled them. "They're awful, I know," said Ash. He pulled a disgusted face. "It's all right to say so."
"I just have one question," said Matthew.
"Yes?" Ash turned and looked up at him. "What?"
"Are you actually passing botany?"
Ash burst out laughing. "All right, Master Critical." He flipped to a blank sheet and shoved the tablet at Matthew. "Let's see you do better."
"That much I can guarantee."
"I've never been an artist's model." Ash's eyes shone deep blue in the lantern light and his voice was husky. "Tell me what to do."
Matthew swallowed hard once. The heat and tightness in his groin were intense, and he was glad for the tablet he held in front of him. What was he thinking? He'd never get through this! Panic began to rise in him, quelling his arousal. No. I want to do this, damn it! Steeling himself and taking control of his fear, he said with as much authority as he could muster, "Strip."
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