Drunken confessions. Sobering friendship. And two cowboys gambling on love…
The Bar Next Door, Book 1
Could he love me? Malachi has wanted to know the answer since his best friend, Daniel, confessed to being gay. He has never forgotten that long-ago conversation, or the secret hope that another confession would follow: that Daniel is in love with him.
Daniel is—and always has been—in love with Malachi. But how is he supposed to share that information without risking the only friendship that has ever mattered to him? He couldn’t handle it if he were kicked out of Malachi’s life. The best Daniel could do was move home to Texas, buy a little rundown ranch to work outside Austin, and visit the watering hole where Malachi tends bar.
Malachi knows that something heavy is riding his friend and he’s tired of watching Daniel’s downward spiral of too much beer and too many meaningless flings. Enough is enough.
Except, when he gets Daniel home and some strong coffee down his gullet, the truth comes pouring out. A truth that nearly knocks Malachi out of his boots.
Courage like that doesn’t come easy…and Malachi can only pray his answer is enough to turn lifelong friends into forever lovers.
Warning: This little tale tries to contain a gay bar, a lot of beer, a hot cowboy with a pitchfork, another one with a serious addiction to boots and coffee, and a secret yearning between the two for hot blooded, can’t wait to get naked, just leave your boots on sex. Oh, and there are doughnuts…
Last call at The Bar Next Door. In about an hour, Malachi could go home. Cleanup would be handled by Eli. Per their deal, Malachi would open the bar in the afternoon and Eli would lock the door at the end of the night.
Much as he loved the bar, he sometimes loved leaving it just as much. Especially tonight. Danny was here again and almost too drunk to sit steady on the barstool, and way the hell too drunk to stand, walk or drive himself home. All grown up and hotter than fire, tempting every man and woman with his crooked smile, his whipcord frame and his bright green eyes. When he was sober, that is. When he was drunk, though, as he seemed to be more often than not lately, he was all grown up and acting like a teenage kid, full of angst and sadness.
“C’mon. Time for you to go.” Malachi ‘Mal’ Rhalston, part owner of The Bar Next Door and Danny’s best friend, picked up Danny’s half empty glass of whiskey.
“Hey, asshole. I wasn’t done with that,” Danny said, louder than necessary.
Mal held up the glass and swirled the amber-colored liquid against the sides. “This? You weren’t done with this?” Mal looked at it. “It is a bad idea to waste such good whiskey, isn’t it?” He downed it himself in one swallow, feeling the burn all the way to his soul. Danny wasn’t the only one suffering, but he always liked to think he was. Selfish prick.
Danny squinted and though he was trying for menacing, it just came across comical. Mal had to bite his lip to keep from laughing.
“I was right. You are an asshole,” Danny murmured. It was said without heat or rancor, only a weariness that hurt Mal to hear.
Mal smiled his typical bartender smile. It wasn’t one he usually gave Danny, being they were the best of friends and all, but right now, it was all he could muster. “Never said I wasn’t.”
He wiped down the bar in the immediate area of Danny. The man never wore cologne but had a spicy, earthy scent all his own that Mal would be able to pick out anywhere. He didn’t know if anyone else could smell it and it didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was that he could, that he knew Danny so well…
He mentally shook himself and focused his attention once again on Danny, on his face. “So, what had you in here tonight, tyin’ one on?”
“Same shit, different day.”
One thing Mal always admired about Danny was the fact that the man could be stinkin’ drunk and still speak without slurs or ripples in his words. Most men in the bar who got that blasted couldn’t string the syllables of their own names together, much less carry on an actual conversation. To talk to Danny, one wouldn’t know he was fifteen sheets to the wind, aside from the lack of balance and the smell of his breath.
“Which shit would that be? Job shit or man shit?”
Danny was working a place a few miles outside town. It’d been a surprise to Mal when he’d bought it, considering neither of them had ever wanted to run the ranch they’d grown up on.
The Double M Double D was the name of their childhood home. Danny and his father had lived on one side of the ridge that ran through the middle, while Mal and his father lived on the other. They worked it from the moment they could walk. Their fathers knew the boys didn’t want the place, so when Mal went off to college and Danny to the military, they sold it. The two older men retired to Wyoming and started a dude ranch with half the sale money and split the other half between Mal and Danny. There’d been more than enough to do and buy nearly anything either of them had wanted.
“Man.” Danny spat the word with disgust and Mal wiped the bar again just to be on the safe side. “It’s always about a man.”
“Things not work out with that pretty thing you carted out of here the other night?” The glare Danny leveled at Mal would have frightened a lesser man. Mal wasn’t now nor had he ever been scared of Danny. Their friendship went back too far. They knew everything about one another. Danny, drunk or sober, wouldn’t hurt anyone unless it was to protect someone else and he sure as hell would never strike Mal.
“You should know the answer to that one.” Mal did know, and secretly, whether it was the right thing or not, he was glad. Danny always did do things the hard way.
“Then why do you bother?”
“Can’t have who I really want.” The words were miserably spoken, full of sadness and resignation. Mal understood exactly what it meant and felt like to want someone so much and not be able to have them. He’d been dealing with it most his life, having realized he was both gay and in love with his best friend fairly early on, but hearing those words from Danny… Well, it was the first time the other man had admitted he felt something for someone.
“You mean there is someone? A serious someone?” He desperately wanted to ask who had Danny all fucked in the head and drinking the desire away every night. He wanted to know who had been lucky enough to garner Danny’s romantic interest so he could help the guy get his head out of his ass. Danny was special and deserved someone just as… Mal should know.
Truth be told, he’d always wanted to be the man Danny fell in love with. Unrequited love was a bitch. At the same time, how could he expect anything at all when he’d never come clean about his own feelings?
“Jesus, Mal. Where the hell have you been? Of course there’s a serious someone. You think I like fucking a different ass every other week? I thought you of all people would… Shit. I’m outta here.”
“I’ve been trying to get your ass outta here for ten minutes.” Mal laughed at Danny’s confused look and hoped he’d pulled it off as nothing more than friendly. “Last call, remember?”
Mal didn’t comment, though he wanted to ask if Danny’s words were an offer because he’d sure like to accept. Instead, he went around the side of the bar and helped his friend to stand. “Who is he?”
“Someone,” Danny said softly. The one word sounded so dejected that Mal’s heart ached, and he longed to tell him how he felt, but fear kept the words clogged inside. He knew Danny well enough that if he took the chance now to tell him that there was someone he wanted too, Danny would just think it was to make him feel better and not feel so alone. That would be part of it, but not the ultimate reason. Mal was tired of carrying it around.
“Does he know?” Mal asked, walking Danny toward the door. He looked over his shoulder at Eli to find the other man staring after them. Eli nodded and Mal returned the gesture in silent acknowledgement.
“The boy toy? Yes. I called him the other guy’s name during a blow job.”
Mal winced. “Not good. But I meant the serious man. Does he know how you feel about him?”
“No. Not good to call a twink or anyone else some other guy’s name,” Danny agreed. “They can get vicious. I still have the scratch marks to prove it. And no, Mr. Serious doesn’t know.”
The cab driver had the door open at the curb and Mal helped Danny get settled inside. “How’d you get here tonight?”
“Okay.” Mal knelt on the sidewalk and looked at his friend, doing his best to school his own features into a mask of support. He didn’t know if he was relieved or disappointed that he wouldn’t need to take Danny’s truck out to the ranch. “Maybe you should tell him. At least get it out in the open, Danny.” As soon as the words were out of his mouth, he wanted to bite his tongue. It wasn’t the first time he wondered if he should take his own advice and tell Danny the truth.
Danny slowly shook his head. “I’d lose him if he knew,” he said, dropping his head backward and closing his eyes. “Can’t lose him. Can’t lose…”
Other than Mal himself, who could Danny know so well and whose friendship meant so much to him that a confession would tear their friendship apart? Maybe someone from when he was in the Army? Again, Mal wanted to ask but didn’t. He wasn’t sure he wanted the answer if his own name didn’t pass through Danny’s lips.
“How can you lose him if he doesn’t even know how you feel?” Mal stood after a few seconds when Danny had no response.
Malachi closed the door and spoke to the cab driver, paying him in advance and giving him directions out to Danny’s place. He paid a little extra for the driver to make sure Danny got inside safely.
He turned away without watching the taillights disappear. Danny would sober up and everything would be fine. It always was after a binge like this. His friend would be back tomorrow night, all smiles and ready to pick up the next little toy to warm his bed.
Available now at Samhain Publishing (It’ll eventually be available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and All Romance eBooks)
Twisted Up is being released in print. On Tuesday. November 6th.
I’m excited. I’m nervous.
It’s my first print book, that’s all my own. Cowboy Lust is in print and that was a thrill. But this one is mine… I don’t read print much anymore. I’ve become an ebook addict. Almost as much as a coffee addict. 😉 There are many who do love print still. Heck, there are some books, some authors who I desire autographs from… For the most part though, I’m blowing my book budget (insert hardy laugh here) on ebooks because Amazon and Barnes and Noble make it so damn easy. And yes, it is their fault. All of it.
Anyway… What does Twisted Up coming out in print have to do with you? Other than the fact you want the book? Well, we’ve put together a little blog tour. I’m visiting and talking about real characters, musical inspiration, coffee, rope, sex toys… And yes, there are giveaways too. Books, rope, coffee, gift cards…
The way this is going to work, is Brandy and myself will pick winners from all the blog stops. One name at each blog at the end of the tour which will be Thursday, November 8th. Leaving comments on each blog isn’t going to increase your chances, but it will make me happy! My readers, YOU, are awesome and I am more thankful for your support than I can say. It’s because of you that any of the books I’ve written, exist and why I continue to write…
Below are the names and links to the blogs… Stay tuned to my Facebook page and Twitter for updates, or just mark your calendar for all the dates.
November 2: For The Love Of Reading
November 5: All I Want and More… AND Daydreamzz Book Blog
November 6: Romancing Rakes AND RR@H
November 7: Simply Ali
November 8: Here!
So, if you’re at all interested, come visit me and these blogs. We’ll be having a great time and would love for you to be a part of it. The giveaway is International.
One rope. Three days. And two hearts on the line.
Justin has had enough. Ella, the woman who healed his broken heart, has been cancelling on him for two months straight. Sure, she’s busy with her job, which has her traveling far and wide. But that never stopped her from sharing nights of trivia, long conversations and blazing hot sex—until now. Truth to tell, he misses their easy friendship, the way her sighs fill his ear as he fills her body.
What he can’t figure out is, what’s changed?
At work, Ella finds it easy to talk to rooms full of strangers. Once back at her lonely apartment, though, she’s back to her painfully shy self—until Justin. Their chance meeting grew over the months into a year-long affair, but she can’t shake the feeling that rejection and pain are just around the corner. Best thing to do? End it now, before their intimacy digs too deep.
Suddenly he’s at her door with a length of neon-green rope and a naughty proposition, daring her to say no. Just how good could it be? There’s only one way to find out…
Warning: The sheets are tangled, the hat is crumpled, and the jeans are worn low on the hips. The cowboy is hot, determined, and helpless in the face of bunny slippers. Readers may need extra batteries to get this one out of their system.
Whenever I meet someone new and mention I’m a novelist, their first question is often, “Where do you get your ideas?” I’m absolutely shameless and will scavenge for inspiration everywhere. I could be out shopping and overhear an intriguing conversation. While doing research for one book, I’ll find ideas for several more. I love going to the movies, and a minor character might spark my imagination and take me in a completely new direction. I keep a notebook to jot down the ideas flowing around me before they’re forgotten. I also record my dreams.
Last night I had a vivid dream that would make a great scene in a thriller. It was at the seashore on a cold and windy day. A woman was standing on a rocky ledge shouting to a man in the water who appeared to be holding a child. He could have been rescuing her, or threatening to drown her. The noise of the surf made it impossible to hear the shouts between them. Suddenly, the man let go of the child and swam away. The woman dove into the freezing water and grabbed what she thought was her beloved child, but it was only a crudely made doll with features inked on a pale cotton face. She’d been fooled by the doll’s long black hair floating on the water and been cruelly tricked.
I woke up then and while I thought I’d recall the dream in the morning, I got up and made some notes just to be certain. It was such a good scene, sharp, emotional, possibly tragic, and I could create a story of a kidnapping, or custody dispute with an unbalanced spouse. The point is, I didn’t just roll over and think I’d recall it in the morning. I caught it while it was hot.
When great ideas fall into your lap, as in a dream, or from your own experience, add them to your great idea file and keep them. Whenever I hear someone say they can’t think of anything to write, I always wonder why they don’t have a file or notebook full of ideas to spark their imagination.
History is filled with conflict and a rich source for ideas. I had the pleasure of touring Scandinavia and fell in love with Viking culture. There are wonderful museums with beautiful thousand-year-old artifacts that provide excellent detail to make a story come alive. There is a museum in Oslo with the Oseberg ship found in a burial mound. It’s complete down to the intricate carvings and is a marvelous thing to see. There’s another Viking ship museum in Roskilde, Denmark. In approximately 1070, the five ships were sunk in the harbor to protect the city from invasion. They were excavated in 1962 and are displayed in a stark modern building on the coast. Standing beside them I felt an eerie sensation, as though the ships were haunted by the men who’d sailed them.
My October Retro Release from Samhain is BY LOVE ENSLAVED, a Viking tale with a young woman charged with the responsibility of taming a Celtic slave. He promises to follow her every command, if she’ll take him for her lover.
First published in 1989, it’s long been a fan favorite, and I’m thrilled to have it available as an ebook.
I’ll send a pdf copy to someone who comments. Do you ever have dreams, or experiences you could turn into books? Have you done so? Make sure you leave a valid contact email.
Please come to my website, www.phoebeconn.com for details about my latest releases.
After a new acquaintance recently asked what I did for fun, my mind went blank. Fun? What’s that?
I gave him a ridiculous answer (that I drink). When he stopped laughing I asked him the same question. He had a laundry list of fun things he enjoys. Playing cards. Movies. Music. The most recent fun thing I could think of that I’d done was drink wine while making dinner and watching the news.
Truth is I have no hobbies, unless you count reading. If you’re asked what do you do for fun and your answer is “I read” the other person is probably thinking B-o-r-i-n-g! My brown thumb means I can’t garden. I can no longer bake because I evidently passed whatever talent I ever had for that on to my daughter. I don’t like to cook. I enjoy bicycling but it’s hardly a hobby. Is “fun” the same as what you like to do in your free time? I play Bejeweled Blitz on Facebook. Alot. I’m not proud of it. I’m not even good at it. I do it when I’m too tired to do anything else or when I just want to let my mind wander. Which is the same reason I bicycle or walk. But do those activities count as fun?
What I like to do is write. I don’t think I ever enjoyed anything as much as when I first started writing novel-length romantic fiction. I wrote and wrote and wrote and never cared about publishing. I had so many ideas. I was so excited about what I was creating. It was fun! I still enjoy the creative process of writing, but the real world too often intrudes on the fun.
What if I’m boring? Maybe I forgot how to have fun. The things I enjoy might sound depressingly dull to someone else. Reading and writing. Should I add arithmetic to my list of fun activities?
My husband and I recently dug out our ancient tennis rackets and made fools of ourselves trying to play. We discovered the tape on our racket handles was disintegrating. My hand turned black and his turned red. We chased more balls than we got across the net, but the truth is, it was fun! We teased each other about our bad shots and told ourselves retrieving balls is good exercise.
A boyfriend once said to me, “Life just isn’t exciting.” I’m glad I didn’t marry someone who thought that way, but I keep thinking about those words in the context of whether or not I still know how to have fun. It depends on what you consider fun and/or exciting, doesn’t it?
Fun is defined in my dictionary as enjoyment or pleasure. I no longer quilt. I’m not a movie buff or a particularly good dancer. I’ve decided the key to having fun is embracing your unique interests and finding all the enjoyment you can each and every day.
A Forever Kind of Guy
Is he the real deal, or just another regret waiting to happen?
The Braddock Brotherhood, Book 2
First on Hayley Christopher’s list to get her train-wreck life back on track: stay away from men. Especially the ones who cause a ripple effect of bad decisions.
Still reeling from a high-profile divorce, the college dropout and former pro cheerleader is stumbling through yet another challenge—temporary custody of her nephew, Fletcher. No one knows better than Hayley that she’s not mother material. When she opens the door to her new landlord and old flame, she wonders just how many more past mistakes she is destined to pay for.
After the death of his wife, Ray Braddock is still putting the pieces back together. Hayley—and the silent little boy at her side—both bristle with emotional barriers so high, it appears no one but him can see that together, three broken people just might make a whole family.
As she watches Fletcher respond to Ray’s patient care, Hayley’s determination to hold on to her heart begins to soften. But just when she begins to think that Ray is one opportunity she shouldn’t let slip by, Fletcher’s gang-connected father threatens to make her pay for the one good choice she ever made…
Touches on issues of death, child abandonment, neglectful parenting. Sensuous love scenes.
About Barb – In Her Own Words…
When not writing fiction, Dr. Seuss-like poetry or song lyrics, I masquerade behind a green apron at the local Starbucks where I pick up story ideas in exchange for serving up lattes.
As a native of Southwest Missouri I grew up in the Midwest, but my transplant to Southwest Florida proved successful. My hobbies include tormenting my long-suffering husband and interfering in the lives of my grown children. I also like to sneak into nearby gated communities to walk my almost perfect dog, Pepper. For exercise and meditation, I plug in my MP3 earpods and take long bicycle rides and beach walks.
I wish I could recall which book it was (not that I’d tell you) I finished reading, threw across the room and declared, “I can write better than that.” I know I’m not the only romance author who started her career this way.
My web site is http://www.barbmeyers.com/
Samhain buy link is
I’m on Twitter @barbmeyers
It’s been a very long month. I know it’s only the 15th but I’m telling y’all, it has been a very long, hell of a month.
I have done multiple rounds of edits on both Malachi’s Word and Double Up. I’ve written half of the holiday book for Loose Id, More Than This. I have several more days to write the second half. I also have 2 other stories I’m working on. One is being written, the other is a chapter by chapter edit and revision with the help of a reader/blogger/friend who recently sent me an email about the characters in my books and how she relates to them. It was inspiring to say the least…
I’ve been up late, way outside of my usual routine. I’m to the point of exhaustion and…wait for it…even coffee isn’t helping. I know. I know. But it’ll get better and coffee will be working its magic again soon.
In the meantime, y’all will notice over the next couple months that this here blog will have a lot more activity though not all from me. Brandy, with a little help from me, has scheduled guests to come visit. And while she’s been doing that, she’s also scheduled be to go forth and blog elsewhere in several small blog tours. One in October to celebrate the release of Double Up and one in November to celebrate the print release of Twisted Up.
For now, that’s all I’ve got. I need to get to work… Several thousand words to add to the WIP before kick-off at noon of my Florida State Seminoles.
Y’all have a good one.