The talented Lexi Ander is visiting with me today and has graciously agreed to give away a free e-book copy of her latest release Keeping Faith to a lucky commenter.
I want to thank Toni for hosting me on her blog. :-) She was a godsend when life overwhelmed me and I realized that I hadn't made plans for my November release. Thank you for being an angel, Toni!!
Keeping Faith was released on November 28th. It's the sequel to the free story, Playing for Keeps. The Unshakable series started small. I noticed a story prompt at the GoodReads M/M Romance group's annual Don't Write In The Closet event. The author of the picture prompt wanted a story about an established relationship between three young men. The picture was what made me stop and read the request and I really liked the idea.
Most ménage a trios stories are about the beginning of the relationship where the characters meet and fall in love. Awesome… but what happens next? How do they handle life events? What trials do they run into? How is the way they live different than that of a two person relationship? The story may have a happily-ever-after ending, but do they really have sixty years of bliss or do they travel the same bumpy road the rest of us do?
Playing For Keeps, the story of AJ, Trent, and Brock, began two years into their relationship. They were young men in the last year of college. So far they'd hid their relationship but someone was threatening to expose them. What would be the cost if others became aware of their unconventional relationship? It's a sweet novella about the strength of their love and commitment… and I thought when I finished that would be it. No mas.
It's strange how the enthusiasm of readers and comments like "this needs to have a sequel" will spark ideas in me. Why did I think I was finished with the guys? I typically don't write contemporary stories. Fantasy/Sci-Fi is where I'm most comfortable but I couldn't pass up the challenge of the plot because I love polyamorous stories regardless of the setting.
As a reader, I need more to the plot than relationship issues and sexual tension. This is why I don't write contemporary stories. I love puzzles and antiheros and heart-stopping action/adventure and humor. I didn't know if I could write more about AJ, Trent, and Brock. What more did they have to tell me. What issues did they have to face after the end of Playing For Keeps? What was their lives like? *drums fingers on the desk*
In the first book Trent's father, William Harte, makes demands of Trent followed by threats. I only hinted at things that William didn't want to go public. He was tangled up in some nasty, dangerous business that wouldn't have any good consequences. That situation was what I brought over into Keeping Faith. Even though the story is set in the holiday season and the guys are going about their own seasonal traditions, the actions of Trent's father darken their doorway. As my editor put it, "The story was—darker? Edgier?—than I expected…"
But Keeping Faith isn't only about the sins of the father being visited up on the son. I included all my favorite things: puzzles, an antihero, heart-stopping moments, heartache, humor, the excitement of the season, and a view of the life AJ, Trent, and Brock are building together. It's about needing to believe—to keep faith—in something when logic warns that the outcome won't lead to a happy ending.
Happy Holidays and thank you for dropping by! I hope you enjoy the exclusive excerpt.
Side Note: If you haven't read Playing For Keeps, it is a free read that you can find on Fireborn's website or over at All Romance (ARe). I would suggest reading it first before jumping into Keeping Faith.
Today's excerpt is from the prologue which introduces some new characters but also gives you an idea of how much trouble Trent's father is in. If you follow this (very short) blog tour, each day there will be a new excerpt tailored to the blog post.
Trent, Brock, and AJ are excited to spend Christmas together in their new home but secrets and dark dealings by Trent's estranged father interrupt their plans. Brock is kidnapped and Trent and AJ scramble to find a way to get Brock back before it is too late.
Several months after Trent Harte was drafted into the NFL, he, AJ Barnes, and Brock Everette are settling into their new home in Miami. Christmas is approaching and they are excited to share another holiday season with each other. Unbeknownst to them, William Harte, Trent's estranged father double-crossed a deadly adversary and then disappeared. To draw William out of hiding, Trent becomes a target. In a horrible twist of fate, the kidnappers grab Brock instead leaving AJ and Trent scrambling to find a way get Brock back. Detectives believe Trent is responsible, and with each passing hour the likelihood of Brock returning home alive dwindles.
Brock traded his safety to ensure his lovers were out of harm's way. He would do it again even knowing he'd end up captured and restrained in a part of town that no one in their right mind would willingly go. The kidnappers are terrifying, but Brock is a fighter, holding onto hope with both hands. He must decide to either wait to be rescued or find a way to escape. Stuck between the wills of a ruthless assassin and an insane mob thug, something needs to happen soon or he'll never see Trent and AJ again.
Paul held out a manicured hand to her. Sammy forced her feet to move, loathing to touch him, even if only briefly.
Once her palm slid against his, he pulled her down into his lap. "I already explained last night it wasn't your fault. William Harte will pay for what he made me do." He ran a knuckle under the covered bruise on her cheek.
His cell phone rang and after glancing at the name on the screen he answered. "Your status?"
Sammy wanted to move from his lap but his firm grip on her hip told her to stay. He would tell her when he wanted her to get up.
"What do you mean he hasn't touched his accounts? Harte is a pampered elitist. He doesn't know the meaning of going without. He must have other accounts you haven't discovered. Dig deeper, I want the man found!"
She scanned the desk. A silver five by seven framed photo of Paul's elegant wife, Patricia, sat next to the computer monitor. At first Sammy had been guilt ridden when she discovered Paul was married, until she met Paul's wife. Patricia came from an influential family in Europe. For two weeks every year, Patricia came to the States to visit with Paul. On one such visit, Patricia had walked into Sammy's suite of rooms in a flourish of expensive silk and designer accessories. She appraised Sammy as if she were an item up for auction. "You're a pert one, aren't you? As always, Paul, your taste is impeccable." With a pat on the cheek, Patricia accepted Paul's proffered elbow, the two leaving Sammy standing in the middle of the room in stunned silence.
Paul hung up the phone with an angry growl.
"Sweetheart, I'm going to miss my plane."
Sammy refrained from trying to wiggle away. Patience was the key when dealing with Paul.
"I won't be joining you in Miami with this unfinished business with Harte. You will cut your trip short and be back here on Christmas Eve." Paul stroked her thigh, his fingers stopping at the edge of the dress's hem.
"Of course," she replied as if it were already a given.
Paul patted her leg, the signal for her to rise. Dutifully she leaned forward to give him a kiss. He caught her chin. "Not now, you're wearing lipstick and I'll never get all of it off." He grasped her chin and turned her head where he pecked her on the cheek. "Now, go."
Sammy moved from his lap and adjusted her skirt so it fell properly. "I'll call you when I arrive," she promised. Not that she would be returning.
Paul grunted in acknowledgement. He had already mentally dismissed her, the manila folder opened once more. Before she could cross the room again, the oak door opened and a man only known as The Gentleman, Gent for short, entered the room. He paused upon seeing Sammy. Her steps faltered. Of all the people to run into before leaving.
She was one of a handful of people who knew Gent's name and his relationship to Paul. Sammy never ever let on she knew their secret for it was something they closely guarded. She doubted she'd live long if they suspected she knew Paul's personal assassin was his sister's only child, Aldrich.
Sammy's heart pounded in her chest. Even knowing what she did, she couldn't bring herself to dislike him too much. Aldrich had always been kind and courteous. She'd heard the rumors he was dangerous, bits of conversation here and there hinting at the viciousness of Paul's "dog". Maybe she'd spent too much time living in this world of ambiguous morals, black deeds, and cutthroat business. When she looked at Aldrich she didn't see the monster others claimed him to be. She guessed him to be around her age of twenty-seven but she couldn't be sure. She found she'd miss seeing him even if he sometimes scared the hell out of her. Not because of what people said about him but because of everyone who associated with Paul, Aldrich was the only one who could possibly discover her true identity and why she had become Paul's mistress.
"Samantha, I'm glad I caught you before you left."
She held out both of her hands, a ritual since she’d first met him four years ago. A head taller than her, he bent at the waist slightly to kiss the backs of both of her hands. A lock of wiry dark brown hair fell to cover one of his crystal blue eyes as the soft hair of his close-cropped beard brushed her knuckles. She held her breath as his thumb brushed the cuff of her sleeve, barely revealing a purple bruise. He stared for a second before his lips brushed the discolored skin, his thumb covering up the blemish as he straightened. Whereas Paul wore a dark blue pinstripe three-piece suit, Aldrich wore a tan Gucci jacket and vest, with a plaid button-up shirt and a blue and red striped tie. His white trousers were rolled up at the ankle to reveal he wore no socks with his two-tone brown and white wingtips. Paul detested his nephew's choice of clothing and she suspected Aldrich dressed this way to annoy Paul.
Those light blue eyes pinned her when he pressed a small slip of paper into her palm. "This place won't be the same without you around. You do bring a ray of sunshine to this tomb."
"Quit flirting with Samantha, she needs to catch a plane and doesn't have time to dawdle with you." Paul sighed in exasperation.
Aldrich squinted slightly as the back of his knuckles grazed her sore cheek under the hidden bruise. For a breath, his eyes turned to ice and just as quickly the look disappeared. She couldn't stop the shiver crawling up her spine.
"I won't keep you. Have a safe trip." His low voice held a hint of warmth Sammy dared not analyze.
"It was nice seeing you," she replied before leaving the room. The butler stood in the foyer and opened the door for her. The Mercedes waited at the bottom of the steps, with her bodyguard holding open the rear door. Gracefully she slid onto the buttery soft leather seat. She didn't dare glance at the note until she sat on the plane.
"Don't come back" was written in an elegant hand along with a bank name and an account number. She tucked the slip of paper into her purse, swallowing down the nausea that threatened her suddenly delicate stomach.
Publisher: Firborn Publishing, LLC
Tentative Release Date: November 28th, 2014
Genre: Action/Adventure, ADVISORY- Contains moderate violence, Category Length Novel, Comedy/Humor, Contemporary, Family Drama, Happy Ending, HEAT, Holiday-Winter, Male/Male, Ménage, Mystery/Suspense, Part of Series, Romance
Heat Level: 3 Flames
Barns & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/keeping-faith-lexi-ander/1120832891?ean=2940150073036
Are (All Romance): https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-keepingfaith-1689373-145.html
Playing For Keeps Blurb:
College running back, Trent Harte, has been living with his lovers, AJ Barnes and Brock Everett, for two years. Caught in a compromising position, rumors abound. It's hard enough to be an openly gay football player, but gossip and snide comments only add to his stress. Threats against his partners causes Trent to wonder if he should step back from the relationship.
AJ and Brock know there is something wrong when Trent begins to pull away. A call from Trent's father only adds to his distress. AJ and Brock refuse to let him shoulder the responsibility alone and they call for help. Will Trent find the strength to withstand the pressure and hold on to those he loves? Or will AJ and Brock be too late to convince Trent that they are playing for keeps?
The (very short) Tour Schedule:
12/1 – Toni Griffin's blog (http://www.tonigriffin.net/blog)
12/2 – Hearts On Fire Reviews (http://heartsonfirereviews.com/)
12/3 – Angel Martinez's blog (http://angelmartinezauthor.weebly.com/)
12/4 – World of Diversity Fiction (http://www.wodfreview.com/)
12/5 – Lexi Ander's blog (I know, this is like cheating!) (http://lexiander.blogspot.com/)
Lexi has always been an avid reader, and at a young age started reading (secretly) her mother’s romances (the ones she was told not to touch). She was the only teenager she knew of who would be grounded from reading. Later, with a pencil and a note book, she wrote her own stories and shared them with friends because she loved to see their reactions. A Texas transplant, Lexi now kicks her boots up in the Midwest with her Yankee husband and her eighty-pound puppies named after vacuum cleaners.
Web site: http://www.lexiander.com
Toni Griffin lives in Darwin, the smallest of Australia's capital cities. Born