Guest Author: Heather Long

Love Comes without Warning

Not every couple has a fair chance, for Liam and Brenden, the challenges to being together began and ended with the two of them. Brenden understood what was expected of him, but more than that—he knew what he expected of himself. From a very young age, he wanted to be a Marine, he planned to be a Marine, and he directed his life in such a way to become a Marine.

But being that driven meant that he needed to keep a lid on his interest in his openly gay and very proud best friend, Liam.

For Liam, Brenden represented everything that a man could do right. He stood up for his friends, devoted his life to service, and was a good guy. He kept his crush to himself because he thought Brenden straight and didn’t deserve to be uncomfortable around him.

All of that changes when he gets an invitation to a 1Night Stand.

A Marine and a Gentleman is the first M/M I’ve ever written, but it was a story that needed to be told because this 1Night Stand wasn’t about sex for these two—but about revealing some very personal truths and emotions they both kept locked away. It was reuniting two friends who care and respect each other and opening the door to a possibility neither thought was possible.

Every Marine I write about teaches me something—and in this case—Brenden taught me that being true to yourself sometimes requires being willing to sacrifice personal happiness or at least tabling it for a time. Love shouldn’t come with a warning label and this isn’t a story about regret, far from it, I found it hopeful and inspiring. I hope you do, too.

Discover more about Heather and the Always a Marine series:

Heather Long Website | Facebook | Always a Marine Series Page | Twitter

The ninth installment in the Always a Marine anthology in 1Night Stand (1NS) line for Decadent Publishing. 1Night Stand is the business name of an exclusive online dating service run by Madame Evangeline who provides her clients with a possibility of happily ever after or happily for now.

HL_A marine and a Gentleman_SMA Marine and a Gentleman

Always a Marine #9

All Romance eBooks | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Bookstrand |Decadent Publishing

Lieutenant Brenden Fitzpatrick is a dedicated Marine, loyal son, and devoted uncle but he’s lonely. When he went Marine, the rule was don’t ask, don’t tell. His brothers-in-arms pretty much didn’t ask and didn’t care. Watching so many friends settle into long-term relationships highlighted the absence of someone to come home to in his life. When his unit encourages him to give the 1Night Stand service a try, he asks for the impossible—a night with the one man he almost gave up the Marines for in the first place. A man he called best friend but let time and distance carry away.

Liam Gardiner grew up on the same Boston block as his best friend, Brenden. Unlike Brenden, Liam always accepted that he was gay—a fact he didn’t mind flaunting to all the bullies and naysayers in school. It got his ass kicked more than once but Brenden always had his back, rescuing him time and time again, until the day Brenden left for the Marines. He missed his buddy—the crush he never confessed, lest it cost him the precious friendship—so when Madame Eve’s invitation arrived to meet Brenden, Liam faces uncertainty for the first time.

(M/M)

HL_A marine and a Gentleman_banner

Excerpt:

Liam stepped out of the rental car and handed the keys to the valet. The Dallas night club was not at all what he expected. Heavy wooden doors offered a gothic touch to the façade. A red canopy stretched out to the circular drive matching carpet that led to the doors. A doorman dressed in a nineteenth century double breasted coat, top hat, and tails held out his hand for the card from the mysterious service.

“I think I’m going to wait out here.  It’s a beautiful day.” Sliding the card back into his wallet, he walked along the curb to a quieter spot away from the foot traffic and arrivals—and, unsurprisingly, no departures. It was just after six-thirty in the evening local time. He rented the car at the airport and bypassed his hotel to come straight to the club. He hadn’t decided whether he planned to stay the night or not, no matter what he agreed to with the 1Night Stand service.

Even the name brought a half-smile to his lips. The woman who sent him the three emails offered an uncannily accurate assessment of his situation. At the end of the day, it was the forwarded request from Brenden which prompted him to say yes.  Extracting a cigar case from his inner pocket, he trimmed the end off of one end and lit it. The fragrant tobacco filled the air and calmed his mind. He handled power lunches and dinners every night of the week. As a professional banker, he knew when businessmen tried to bullshit him or when they really had a plan.

He knew how to say no.

He always knew when to say yes.

Reading people for a living wasn’t pretty work, but it was lucrative. Another couple arrived, huddled together and dashing up the steps as if it were cold. The forty-five degree temperature and dead still air were hardly cold to his Boston forged blood.

Why Dallas? Liam would’ve preferred to meet Brenden at home, at the Tipperary on the Green, to toss back a pint for old times. But no, Brendon invited him to the cowtown in the middle of the country where big boots, big steaks, and big boobs seemed to be everywhere.

Big hair, too. He eyed the next couple arriving. It looks like the 80s threw up on her. He puffed the cigar and kept his acerbic opinion to himself but the distraction helped. Thirty-two years old and on the ropes over an invitation to drinks.

The drinks aren’t the problem. Come meet the guy I’ve lusted after for over half my life and spend the night with him? Yeah, nothing to be nervous about.

Movies For Inspiration

Sometimes I turn movies on in my office when I’m writing or editing or doing some of the busy work of the business. The movies I choose are often romantic comedies, or romantic drama. I need that bit of flight of fancy in the background. Sometimes the movies are about things I like and that make me happy…writing, books, cooking, coffee, crafts, history. Sometimes they are kick ass movies that I need for the jolt of extra energy in a way I can’t explain.

I like listening to dialogue, looking at scenery, facial expressions, body movement, hearing the soundtrack, see how the characters interact with one another their surroundings.

Today is one such day where I am revising and I need the distraction and that’s good. Music helps provide the same feeling when I’m writing.

My choices for today are:

You’ve Got Mail

No Reservations

The Wedding Date

Something’s Gotta Give

Stranger Than Fiction

Because I Said So

Music and Lyrics

Wonder Boys

Pride and Prejudice

and if there’s time, Notting Hill

When you just need a movie to watch, what do you choose?

~lissa

 

Bring In The New Year with Books and Coffee Time Romance!

All right readers, it’s time for some romance events around the web to start taking place. The first one, at least the first one that I’m involved in is with Coffee Time Romance and More!

From today, January 10th to February 10th, they will be having a variety of authors and publishers taking part in forum chats and giveaways. Come and be part of it! Post with your favorite authors (other than me!) and find some new to you authors (but they aren’t going to be your favorite because you’ve already got one… Me. LOL!)

You can find this banner on the sidebar here of my blog at any time over the next month and by clicking on it, you’ll be taken to the homepage of the event forum. There you can find out all the information you’ll need…

Go on, click on it… I’ll wait!

Back now? Okay. There will also be this little banner. You can find it posted somewhere on my site here… You will let Coffee Time Romance & More know and they will enter you to win prizes, including a Pandigital eReader!

So, now that you have all the info, come join me and some fabulous authors and publishers for a fun-filled month! And if you’re interested, my date of participation is January 15th!

~lissa

Snippet Saturday – Romance

This is what we do, yes. We right romance. Sometimes it’s erotic, sometimes it’s paranormal, sometimes it’s sci-fi, futuristic, fantasy, historical…

Romance means many different things to different people. Candlelight and roses. Chocolate. Curling on the couch together to watch a movie. Long drives through the mountains. Walks on the beach. Cooking together. Long talks about the future.

In the kink world it can mean other things. A hand around the throat for control. Spankings that leave marks. Kneeling and serving in whatever way the dominant wishes. A night strapped to a St. Andrew’s cross and flogged.

Sometimes the most romantic thing is simply someone taking care of you, willing to do whatever is necessarily to make sure you are happy and well looked after.

Our Snippet Saturday theme today is Romance. I have reached out to my gal pal Cecile from All I Want And More… for her assistance, for her recommendation of what she considers the most romantic scene in one of my books. After much deliberation, she has chosen from Arctic Shift.

Artic Shift

Snippet:

“I thought we were going to have breakfast with your family?”

“It’s well beyond breakfast time at their place.” He winked at her and she felt the heat creep up her neck.

“Right.”

Bacon sizzled and pancakes bubbled on the griddle. Carson flipped a spatula in his hand waiting patiently to flip the pancakes. If she stayed up here with him, lived with him, she’d be putting on a lot more weight given the way he cooked. There was no Special K in his cupboards. There was no cold cereal or convenience food period. Everything had to be made and often from scratch. She was still marveling at him in the kitchen, long and lean, tall and well defined, but moved in a kitchen as if he’d been born to it.

“It’s been ages since I had pancakes and bacon.” Ruby sat on a stool at the kitchen island.

“What do you normally eat for breakfast?”

“You know, cereal, Pop Tarts, frozen waffles, instant oatmeal.”

“Sounds exciting. I’ve never had a Pop Tart or instant oatmeal.”

“Never?”

“Nope. No need to. I can make anything I want. And homemade is always better.”

“I can’t live without my Lucky Charms and my frosted cherry Pop Tarts.” And she couldn’t. She often took one or the other or both with her when she traveled. She hadn’t this time though and while she might have missed them had she not met Carson, she certainly didn’t miss them now that she had.

“Okay, well, I’m sure we can get some. If Fairbanks doesn’t have them, we can send James looking for them next time he goes down to Anchorage. Otherwise, there’s always Amazon.”

Carson flipped the pancakes and drained the bacon on a paper-towel-lined plate. “You can get Amazon stuff delivered up here?”

“You make it sound like we’re on another planet. Of course we can get deliveries. We sometimes have to drive to Fairbanks for packages, but for the most part, we do very well. We have satellite TV and Internet. We are our own entity up here, but we are also well connected and have access to anything we need or may want. You will not be deprived here, Ruby. I promise you.”

Ruby shook her head. “I’m not worried about any of that. You told me last night you’d get me anything I needed and I believe you. I just… I guess living in the city, I don’t think of such remote areas as being well supplied and often imagine… I don’t know. It’s just so different.”

He set the plate of pancakes on the island along with the bacon. It all smelled good, and she was glad she could only feel her stomach growling and not hear it. Talk about embarrassing. “Dig in.”

He filled his plate, slathered his pancakes with butter, and drowned them in syrup. After a few rather large bites, he looked over at her. She was still buttering her own small stack of two pancakes. “You okay this morning?”

She glanced in his direction, confused. “Yes, why?”

“I was kind of rough with you last night and wasn’t much better the second or third time around either.[SM1] [L2] Just want to make sure you’re all right.”

He took another big bite, and she ducked her head, more heat filling her cheeks at the memories, especially earlier in the shower. He’d soaped her up, washed her down, then knelt on the floor of the shower stall and pulled her toward his mouth. He ate at her pussy and wasn’t satisfied until he’d made her scream. He’d gotten her out then and bent her over against the window and taken her from behind while she looked out at the Alaskan morning.

Someone would have to clean the glass where her hand, mouth and cheek prints were surely marring it. Now that they’d had sex, it just didn’t seem to be enough, for either of them. They both went at each other equally fierce and hungry.

“Oh. Yeah, I’m good. A little sore, but, good.” She couldn’t believe he’d brought it up over breakfast.

“Excellent.”

Tension simmered between them as they finished eating, and she couldn’t help wondering…

“You keep looking at me like that, Ruby, and we’ll be going at it again right here.”

“Oh. Sorry.” She looked down at her plate, for some reason surprised to find it empty.

“Don’t be.” He winked. “I’m not.” He kissed the top of her head and began clearing the dishes when the doorbell rang. Carson looked over his shoulder and grinned at her. “Saved by the bell, huh?”

End Snippet

Check out the following blogs for other ideas on the theme of Romance”

Leah Braemel
Mari Carr
McKenna Jeffries
Taige Crenshaw
Eliza Gayle
HelenKay Dimon
Lauren Dane
Delilah Devlin

~lissa