I’m about to say something, and I hope it’s not a controversial subject. If it is, you need to examine why you think it is and then ask yourself if you’d be okay with it happening to you.
To close out 2018, I want to talk about—or maybe introduce you to—one of my favorite authors.
Her name is K.C. Wells, author of the Collars & Cuffs series, the Learning to Love series, the Material World series, the Personal series (which features Will Parkinson as a male escort!)
There are many reasons to love KC. She’s my sister from another mister, and she gives some of the best hugs. She’s always personable, open, and friendly. She writes some of the hottest sex scenes, and the most beautiful love stories.
I first met KC when I was introduced to Leo and Alex, the main characters from the first Collars & Cuffs book, An Unlocked Heart. I was mesmerized by the intricacies of not only the two men in the story, but also the supporting cast, especially Thomas Williams, who would go on to star in book two with his sub to be, Peter.
The book drew me in immediately, and I found the love that grew between the two men to be organic and natural, not forced in the least. And each man had something in his history that molded them into what they were going to become. Leo lost his sub and never recovered. Alex had a crappy home life, especially as he was the target of harassment from his brother, Rob (keep Rob in mind, okay?) K.C. showed the strength of not only Leo, but the budding realization for Alex that he wasn’t weak in the least.
From there I was hooked. I reached out to KC and found her to be a true joy. She was sweet and I found that I very much enjoyed talking with her. When she told me she was going to be working on a book for Thomas, and asked if I wanted to hear some of it, I said yes. (To be honest, I would have begged to hear it as it was being written.) When she told me what she’d done, I offered a few suggestions, and she liked them. Then she asked me if I’d be willing to help beta read the book. Of course, I said yes.
Once Thomas and Peter found their happy ever after, KC asked if I would ever consider writing something with her. I said no. When she asked why, I told her that my writing standards weren’t up to hers, and with her being in England and me in the US, I didn’t think we could make it work out. I got to the hotel one night (I was working third shift at the time), and as I was doing my tour of the buildings, her question came back to me, and I started having a think about a young American man and the English Dom who would come to keep him. When I talked with KC next, I floated the idea to her, and from there came our very first collaboration, Someone to Keep Me.
Working with KC was a learning experience. I tried to absorb everything she taught me, and put it to use in my own writing. Once again, she was kind and patient, and I was grateful to have her as a friend.
Fast forward many years and many books later and we get to my very favorite book by KC. BFF is an unrealistic plot: two straight men realize they’re in love with one another. Except it wasn’t unrealistic at all. In fact, the plot bunny was based on the real life story of Mike and Garrett (https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14997/im-an-otherwise-straight-man-who-fell-in-love-with-his-best-friend.html) which she fell in love with and wanted to tell the story. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve read it. I even own the paperback, which I rarely do. But this story has everything that I love, especially an amazing happy ever after.
And that’s what K.C. is all about. Making people happy. It might take time, it will definitely take work, but they’re going to get there. They’re going to find love, friendship, family. No, not just that, they’re going to find life.
That’s where she excels, bringing men together, and finding a way to make their imperfect worlds perfect together.
And that is why K.C. Wells is one of my favorites.
We’re starting something new today. Every so often, I’m going to tell you about why an author is one of my favorites. This will take some time, seeing as how I have so many. But today we’re going to talk about the inimitable Mary Calmes, author of Again, Frog, the Warder series, the Marshals series, and so many more.
Why they’re my favorite…
Today’s author: Mary Calmes
I honestly cannot recall my first book by Mary. They all blend together in one amazingly complex world, where even things you don’t think are connected just might be.
I think, but don’t quote me, my first was Sam & Jory. I fell for Sam hard, because he’s exactly the kind of book hero I like. Big, bold, strong. And then I got to the end of the first book and then read the second. I’m going to admit something here. I kind of hated Sam for a while. But, because he got his head out of his butt and saw what was in front of him, became the man that his family needed, I grew to love him again.
Many of Mary’s characters have an intrinsic flaw, something that you’re going to see as a chink in their armor. I don’t look at it that way, though. I see it not as a defect, but as a personality trait. Sam’s was he was bigger than life, and I did something foolish. I had expectations of him. Where Mary Calmes is concerned, that’s never a wise idea, because she doesn’t just write outside the box, she obliterates it.
Whether it be shifters, vampires, federal marshals, warders, or broken down cowboys, her men are alive, breathing, and altogether human.
My favorite book by her is Again. It’s the story of Dante and Noah who, through machinations in the background, are separated for years. When they come together again, and Dante learns the truth, he pursues Noah, certain he’s the best thing for his former husband. He’s not perfect. He’s flawed. But he loves with his whole heart.
At the core, that’s what Mary’s books are about. Giving your heart to that person who will always keep it safe, never betray your trust in them, and will always—always—be there for you when you need them.
And that’s why Mary Calmes is one of my favorites.
Okay, let me get you caught up on what’s going on for me.
#1: Lincoln’s Park, the first book in the ‘Links in the Chain’ series is coming out October 13th. Here’s the cover and an excerpt.
#2: I wrote a ghost story! Believe it or not, I’m trying something new. The Spirit Key is due out in January or February. I don’t have a cover yet, but here’s the blurb:
When he was eight years old, Scott Walsh died. Paramedics revived him, but he came back changed. Ghosts and spirits tormented Scott for over a decade until, thinking he was going mad, he did the only thing he could. He ran—leaving behind his best friend, Tim Jennessee.
Scott’s had five normal, ghost-free years in Chicago, when the spirit of Tim’s mother comes to him and begs him to go home because Tim’s in trouble and needs Scott.
He isn’t prepared for what he finds when he goes home—a taller and sexier Tim, but a Tim who hasn’t forgiven Scott for abandoning him… a Tim whose body is no longer his own. The ghost of a serial murderer has attached itself to Tim, and it’s whispering dark and evil things. It wants Tim to kill, and it’s becoming harder for Tim to resist. To free the man who has always meant so much to him, Scott must unravel the mystery of the destiny he shares with Tim.
#3: Yesterday I got a contract for Galen’s Redemption, book two in the ‘Links in the Chain’ series! This one doesn’t have a cover or blurb, but this is what I sent with the submission:
Galen Merriweather loved the power that came with being the son of the man who owns Primal Imports. Brokering deals was his life’s blood, and he always thought he was damn good at it. The day his father tried to pay his brother’s lover to leave him left him cold, and for the first time, Galen wondered at what he was doing. The biggest blow came when his father insisted Galen retrieve a check for a quarter million dollars that had been given to a charity.
Robert Kotke has been serving the homeless community since he was a child. He doesn’t understand how people can ignore their plight. When he’s given a check that would solve many of his problems, he knows someone will come for it, so he puts it away. When Galen shows up, Robert gives him back the money.
The two meet again in a bar, and Galen is terrified Robert is going to out him. But Robert does something even stranger. He invites Galen out for chili. Galen’s beliefs are thrown into turmoil, and he’s not sure which way is up. When the time comes for Galen to make a decision between Robert and the job he’s always dreamed of, which will Galen choose?
#4: I’m currently working on the third and final book of the Links in the Chain series. This one doesn’t have a title yet, but here’s a rough idea of what you can expect.
Tom Kotke met Brian Chen twenty-five years ago, and Brian stole his heart. The two married, and had plans for a long life together. That came to a crashing stop when Brian got the diagnosis of terminal cancer. Given less than a year to live, Brian surprised everyone by hanging on for five years. But no force of will can hold back the inevitable forever, and one night, in Tom’s arms, Brian passes away.
Unknown to Tom, Brian left instructions with the family that accepted him, telling them that Tom needed to get out there and fine love again. Though Tom protests, he’s dragged out of his shell and forced back into the world. One day, while sitting in Lincoln’s diner, he meets Aiden, a friend of Noel’s. Something about the young man calls to Tom in a way no one since Brian has.
Aiden Dawson struggles to be independent. With his screwed up legs, he’s always had to depend on things and people. When his parents kicked him out, Aiden’s sister steps up and raises him. And he loves her, really, but he wants a chance to experience life. He knows that no one is ever going to look twice at him, though. They’ll only see his wheelchair. But the day he meets Tom, that changes. Tom doesn’t even look twice at the chair.
A man who swore he’d never love again, and another who thought he’d never find love come together and bond. Is it possible to find love after loss?
#5: In November I’ll be once again working with K.C. Wells on book four of the Secrets series. This one doesn’t have a title yet, but the men meet in a bookstore! I’m looking forward to working on this one. Now, I don’t have a lot of details, but I can give you a totally unedited excerpt. Remember, this might change or may even end up on the cutting room floor, so don’t fall too much in love just yet.
Heath Snow walked to the large wooden door with the glass that held the etched glass logo of Wordsmith Books. He turned the sign to ‘Closed’, then slumped against the heavy wooden frame. If the receipts were right, and they always were, It had been a decent day. Nothing to write home about, of course, but still, he’d made enough money to pay the rent and do some grocery shopping this month. He chuckled to himself. He’d come a long way in the last sixteen months. From reading stories to owning a bookshop. He checked the time. Almost nine. There hadn’t been a customer in over an hour, but he’d decided to stay open, just in case someone decided they needed a last minute read.
He stepped behind the counter, picked up his copy of A Gentlemen’s Agreement, then walked up the stairs to his flat. It was nice not having to go far to get home after work. He chuckled to himself, a little giddy after too little sleep last night. And he’d need to get up early in the morning in order to restock the shelves, place an order, clean up the little messes in the common area. All that stuff he hated to do, but damn, did he love the way the store shone when he did it.
After putting a pie in the oven, he took a seat so he could continue where he’d left off. Master Byerly was just getting ready to put his submissive, the cute, pug-nosed Malcolm, through his paces. Heath’s chest heaved as he read about Byerly paddling his boy’s ass, turning it a brilliant shade of red, not unlike a glass of merlot. Deep, rich, and so ready to be sampled. God, Heath loved Byerly and Malcolm together. They tore up the scenery with every encounter. This was their third book, and Heath found himself ordering one to read after the shop closed, when he could sit up in his room and fantasize.
“You’ll take it, because I require it, boy. Do you understand?”
Malcolm drew in a breath. “Yes, my lord.”
Byerly greased his prod, then spread Malcolm’s cheeks. He groaned loudly as he entered his boy, the tightness gripping him like a velvet fist.
Heath reached down to adjust himself. It had been a long time since he’d gone home with anyone, and that didn’t even qualify as a one-night stand. More like a half an hour of some guy grunting while he took Heath, who grew bored after the first few minutes and began putting together his todo list for the morning. The man had no style or technique. It was obvious he only wanted somewhere warm to stick his cock, and since the bar had announced last call, and Heath had needed to get off, he’d accepted the invite from the portly gentleman with the three wisps of gray hair the hung over his forehead. Well, Heath hadn’t been needy again after that. Slipping into a book, pretending he was Malcolm, with Byerly mounting him from behind, taking what he wanted. Fuck yes. Better than most of the sex he’d had in his twenty-six years.
His erection was starting to ache, so Heath unbuttoned his trousers, and slid a hand down them. He gripped his shaft, which strained at the fabric. He glanced over at the timer on the oven. The pie still had thirty minutes to go, so he could definitely make good use of the time.
“Do I please you, my lord?”
Swat. An open hand came down on Malcolm’s arse, causing him to squawk.
“You know better than to talk,” Byerly grunted, thrusting into Malcolm in one swift stroke. “You speak when your Master wishes it, not before. Do you understand?”
Before Malcolm could reply, another hard swat found its target.
“Yes, my Lord.”
Byerly shoved his turgid length into Malcolm over and over, each time causing his stableboy to grunt or moan. Whether it was with pain or pleasure didn’t matter. All that Byerly cared for is his own needs. If—when—Malcolm satisfied those, then Byerly would see to his boy’s.
Fuck, Heath loved this book. Hes tightened the grip around his shaft. He moved his hand up and down, slowly stroking himself as he imagined his lord, Byerly, using Heath for his pleasure.
“Yes, my Lord,” Heath gasped. He stood on the edge of the precipice, waiting for Byerley to tell him he could step off, and plunge into ecstasy. So close. So fucking—
KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK
“Shit. What the hell?” Heath scowled as he looked at the time. Almost nine-thirty. Who would be knocking at his door at this hour?”
He shoved his straining shaft back into his pants, straightened his glasses, pulled the pie from the oven and put it on the counter, and then grabbed his book before he tromped downstairs, ready to give whoever it was a piece of his mind.
The knocking continued, annoying Heath even more. He could see the silhouette of a man standing huddled in the doorway. Heath put his book down at the register, then went and yanked the door open. As soon as he did, the man turned in his direction, and all words fled Heath. Standing there was an insanely sexy man, with a sheepish grin. If Heath would have described Byerly, it would be the man before him. Dark hair, not quite as long as he thought Byerly would have, and intense blue eyes. Though he couldn’t be certain with the jacket the man wore, he imagined he had a good build. Not too muscled, but not overly soft either.
Heath swallowed hard. “Can I…help you…uh…sir?”
So there you have it! What’s shaping up here for the future. Thank you for stopping by to read all about it.
Okay, so! Lincoln’s Park got accepted by Dreamspinner Press. We’ll start edits in March, but I thought I’d introduce you to the characters so you know what to expect. (Please keep in mind this is completely unedited.) OH! And the incredible Reese Dante will be doing the cover. 🙂