Monday, December 17, 2012

Guest Blogger - H.C. Brown - Night Games

First published in 2006, H.C Brown is a multi published, best selling, award winning, author of Historical, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, BDSM, Time Travel, Action Adventure, and Contemporary Romance.
In 2011, she was delighted to receive nominations in three categories in the 2011 CAPA Awards.

H.C writes about strong alpha males in complex settings and all her stories have happy endings.

The Game Play Series was a melding of two minds. David Kentner aka KevaD and I decided after being critique partners for a while, to co-author a series of contemporary romance stories. All the stories are set in Rio and the sexy and sometime hilarious adventures of the people involved in fantasy romantic cruises.

Sea Games, the first book about a shipboard romance let to Night Games, a M/M comedy erotic romance. The third book in the series is Jungle Games.

Strand one stuffy executive and his prize-winning Chihuahua in the Brazilian Jungle. Add a handsome, sexy roughneck and watch the hilarious night games begin.

Buy link :


Excerpt -

Joe Harrison stared down the long, bleached wooden walkway beside the marina, to the graceful man working on the schooner’s deck. A gust of wind tumbled the dark blond hair, streaked from long days at sea. The Rio de Janeiro sun glistened over his sweat-soaked body, tanned to a golden brown. His gaze drifted across the distance to the handsome, chiseled face he knew so well. He visualized the man’s blue, expressive eyes, and the fullness of his lips. He longed to nibble the day-old stubble on his chin and flick his tongue in the corners of his smile.

An ache to sink his fingers into the silky mass falling to the young man’s shoulders overwhelmed Joe. He inhaled. The smell of seaweed mixed with the ocean’s brine drifted through the window. His mind went back to their earlier meeting. Dazz’s preference for expensive French cologne had surprised him. The citrus fragrance had mingled with the man’s natural musk and had driven him crazy with need.

Joe leaned a shoulder against the window frame and watched Dazz secure the rigging with the skill of many years at sea. His cut-off jeans displayed strong thighs and the way the frayed fabric molded to his muscular ass—God! Joe chuckled and swiped at his mouth. The man had become an obsession. Joe gripped the window ledge.

The guy made him hard with one glance of his sapphire eyes. Joe bit his bottom lip. Their lingering handshake earlier  invaded his mind. The warmth of Dazz’s calloused hand and the way his long fingers, burnished by the sun, curled around his palm. Joe groaned. His balls throbbed at the thought of the man’s rough thumb circling his cockhead.

Joe shook his head to clear the image of Dazz stretched out naked on his bed. Did he have a snowflake’s chance in hell with the young guy? Sure, they got on well enough together. How often had he discussed the latest soccer game with Dazz? Okay, so they had sports in common but little else.

With a sigh, Joe contemplated the situation. For a start, Dazz had to be five years his junior. The man of his dreams lived in a different world and had a different class of friends. What chance did he have to fit in Dazz’s “live every day like it’s your last” attitude toward life?

He ran a hand over the small dog tucked under his arm and chewed on his bottom lip. As much as he wanted to run off into the sunset with Dazz, he had a business to run and people who depended on him.

As if the man had read his thoughts, Dazz lifted his head and flashed a brilliant smile in Joe’s direction. Without a second thought, Joe smiled and returned the man’s wave. His face grew hot. Damn, he knows I’ve been watching him.

His idea to become a minor partner in Bowers’ Bountiful Excursions had become a financial windfall. The job had benefits as well. His work marketing the company kept him in contact with Dazz on a regular basis.

Joe pursed his lips. Dazz was a free spirit. He ran with the wind. Tying him down would be like putting an eagle in a cage. The sea was in the young man’s blood.

There had been a buzz between them from the start. Although, to his chagrin, Dazz had remained as elusive as a butterfly—a very sexy butterfly. Joe wet his lips. That gorgeous man is out of my league.

 “Harrison, are you drooling over Dazz again?” Patrice Bowers slipped her hand through his arm.

Joe patted her long, slim fingers. “Darling, he has me in the palm of his hand. The trouble is I don’t think I’m his type.”

“You don’t work for Daddy now.” She ruffled his hair. “You need to relax, grow your hair, and lose the suit. He likes you. But I know for a fact, Dazz hates society types.”

Turning away from the window, he led Patrice to a chair. He slid his hip on the edge of the office table. “My business is flourishing and I have clients coming out of the woodwork. I have a position in life, Patrice. In fact, I like who I am and what I’ve achieved. Sure, I’m attracted to Dazz, but I’ll find myself a man sooner or later.” He grinned. “Don’t worry about my love life.”

“You can’t fool me.” Patrice eyed him critically. “But far be it for me to intrude.”

Joe laughed. “Ah, well, I can dream.”

“Dazz has worked with Brian for a long time. Please don’t do anything to cause a problem in the company.” Patrice drummed her fingernails on the desk. “You know, a sour love affair isn’t good for business.”

“What and ruin my investment?” Joe ran a hand through his hair. “Not a chance.”

Bowers’ Bountiful Excursions ran a romantic cruise service for couples from Sao Conrado, Rio’s upscale southern district. Joe knew Dazz’s commitment to his partner in the business, Brian Bowers, was one of long standing. Joe believed his luck had changed for the better the day Bowers married socialite, Patrice Lampton.

How many years had Joe cared for Patrice as personal bodyguard and mother confessor? Ten? Life had been normal before Bowers emerged from the sea like Poseidon with a schooner named after Patrice. Joe doubted anyone could resist such a declaration of devotion.

“When are you moving into your new office?” Patrice inclined her head.

“Yesterday.” Joe winked. “My personal assistant is holding down the fort.”

“Oh! And a personal assistant too. What’s he like?” She leaned toward him. “Sexy as hell, I bet.”

“Spectacular, darling. But unfortunately, he has a boyfriend.” Joe glanced out the window. “Although, I think my tastes have moved to the more rugged type of late.”

* * * *

Dazz caught the grin on Brian Bowers’ face. “What?”

“Oh, come on now, you mean you can’t see Harrison giving you the ‘come hither’ stare? His blatant adoration is so hot I’m surprised it hasn’t set fire to the marina.”

“I like him fine, but he’s a suit.” Dazz rubbed a hand over the sweat on his face smearing a line of grime across one cheek. “Although, he is pretty and embraces his feminine side. That’s a plus.”

 “You mean … he’s a transvestite?” Bowers raised a brow. “Nah, I can’t see him in drag. Look at the size of him—he’s too big.”

Biting back a laugh, Dazz regarded his friend with interest. One thing for sure, Bowers was secure in his sexuality. “Hmm, Harrison in drag. Now that’s an intriguing thought. Does Armani make dresses in his size? Do you know, mon ami?” He snorted with laughter. “I don’t think Joe could cope with an off the rack creation from Wal-Mart.”

“Well, what do you mean by embracing his female side?”

Dazz reached for a bottle of water. “Joe can’t go a week without a facial and a girl arrives at his office every morning to buff his nails. He goes to the beauty parlor to have his hair colored and God only knows what waxed.” He indicated the office window with the bottle. “Have you noticed he hasn’t got one wrinkle on his face and … what is he … forty?”

“Yeah, I guess.” Bowers rubbed his chin. “So what are you planning to do besides underwhelm him with your fake French accent? I’d guess Patrice told him by now you were born in Wichita.”
Dazz rubbed his middle finger over the bridge of his nose.

Bowers chuckled and blew a kiss. “You know, I’ve been hoping you’d find somebody since that asshole Rafael cheated on you. Seriously, I think you have an open door with Harrison. The question on the table is:  what are you going to do about it?”
“Well, he told me this morning he purchased a sailboat from somewhere near Santa Vitória do Palmar. He asked me if I’d be interested in going with him to sail it back.” Dazz sipped the water. “As we have a few weeks downtime, I would like to go. That’s if you don’t need me here for a while.” He ran his tongue around his teeth. “I’d like to explore all possibilities, if you get my drift?”

“Yeah, well, there’s not much you can do with the Patrice in dry dock.” Bowers pushed a hand through his hair sending the dark sweat-soaked mass in all directions. “Do you think it’s wise, sailing down that part of the coast?”

Dazz stared out over the ocean. No wind rippled the blue-green glass from the shore break to the horizon. “Believe it or not, Harrison mentioned he had guns on board. Look, I don’t know the guy well, but he doesn’t come across as the macho gun-toting type.”

“Harrison? The man whose constant companion is a white Chihuahua with a pink bow? That Harrison?” Bowers grinned. “Macho isn’t his style but Patrice insists he can handle himself.” He glanced over to the office window. “I like Joe but he looks like a puff of wind could knock him over.”

“I’ve often wondered what he actually did for Patrice’s father.”  Dazz scratched his chin. “I’ve tried to find out more about him but he doesn’t talk much about his time as her bodyguard.”

“Bodyguard is stretching the truth. He is Patrice’s best friend. He kept her off drugs, made sure she wasn’t bothered by the paparazzi, and put her to bed when she drank too much. He was more of a companion.” Bowers sighed. “I know he’s a crack shot. I went with him to the practice range last week. I wouldn’t want him to be pointing a loaded gun at me.”

“Ah, mon ami, this is good news because after a week alone with me, the term loaded gun is going to have an entirely new meaning.” Dazz wet his lips. “And that sweet suit is going to be an expert on shooting, Dazz style—n’est-ce pas?”

Buy link:

Leave a comment and go into the drawing for a copy of this new release. Don't forget your email address :-)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Guest Blogger: Kim Fielding's Brute Blog Tour

Hi! I’m Kim Fielding. That’s not my real name. My real name is long and German—and nobody (except people who speak German) ever spells or pronounces it correctly. I publish textbooks under my real name, but I thought about a pen name for fiction for a long time. In fact, I give a lot of thought to names in general.

I have two daughters. My husband and I agonized over possible names for almost the entire duration of my pregnancies. We wanted names that weren’t too common (my daughters know approximately ten million Hannahs and Haileys) but weren’t so weird that nobody with that name could ever become a Supreme Court Justice. Yes, I have modest aspirations for my kids.

I went to high school with a Cinnamon Lane and a Robin Hood. I wonder what those parents were thinking?

It doesn’t take me nine months to choose my characters’ names, but I do choose them with considerable care. Some of them are slight puns, such as in my Hanukkah story, A Great Miracle Happened There, which tells about Jude and Mac. 

Some names tell you about the character’s personality. In February or March, Dreamspinner will release my novel Venetian Masks. The protagonist is named Jeff Dawkins: a sort of boring, everyday name. And Jeff is a sort of boring, everyday guy—an IT guy from Sacramento who wears khakis and reads Rick Steves before setting out on his first international journey. When he arrives in Venice he meets the mysterious Cleve Prieto. It’s a little unclear to Jeff how Cleve got that name, because Cleve’s story keeps changing. I picked that name because of the contradictory meanings of the verb to cleave. It means both to sever and to stick. Will Cleve stick to Jeff or will he take off? 

Names might indicate a career. In my story Tyler Wang Has a Ball, the rancher’s name is Bret Hollister. And lest you think that’s too clichéd, I attended my first rodeo this year. Almost all the cowboys had cowboy names: Cody. Dusty. Cory. Kacey. Colby. Jessy. Ty. Seth. Cort. There was even a Jesse James. I wonder if their parents used rodeo-appropriateness as a name selection criterion.

Names can tell you something about someone’s role, like Angel in my Christmas story, Joys R Us. It’s Angel’s job to help overly-practical Reece find a little holiday happiness.

And a name can even tell you something about a character’s psyche, about the progressions he goes through as a story enfolds. That happens in my new novel Brute.  One character’s name isn’t what it seems, and then there’s Gray Leynham, whose personality is quite a cipher at first. You’ll have to read the novel to find out what I mean.

Brute by Kim Fielding

Brute leads a lonely life in a world where magic is commonplace. He is seven and a half feet of ugly, and of disreputable descent. No one, including Brute, expects him to be more than a laborer. But heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and when he is maimed while rescuing a prince, Brute’s life changes abruptly. He is summoned to serve at the palace in Tellomer as a guard for a single prisoner. It sounds easy but turns out to be the challenge of his life.

Rumors say the prisoner, Gray Leynham, is a witch and a traitor. What is certain is that he has spent years in misery: blind, chained, and rendered nearly mute by an extreme stutter. And he dreams of people’s deaths—dreams that come true.

As Brute becomes accustomed to palace life and gets to know Gray, he discovers his own worth, first as a friend and a man and then as a lover. But Brute also learns heroes sometimes face difficult choices and that doing what is right can bring danger of its own.

Buy links at Dreamspinner Press:

As part of the Brute Blog Tour, Kim Fielding is running a contest. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this entry, stating one of your favorite—or least favorite—names. Please leave your email address in your comment. You can comment at multiple blog tour entries for multiple chances to win! Click here for the full list of tour stops. Winners will be chosen on December 25. One person will receive a paperback copy of Brute and another person will receive an e-book copy of Brute.

Excerpt from Brute:

Time passed achingly slowly. Sometimes someone would pop out from one of the little doors and take one or more of the waiting people back in with them, but nobody ever came for Brute. New people came through the large entry doors, did a double take when they saw him, and sat far away. They were eventually escorted through doorways too. His ass grew sore from sitting on the hard bench, his stomach gurgled and growled, and worst of all, his bladder began to complain quite insistently. He knew it was impossible for the giant with the ugly face to have been forgotten, and yet none of the people who worked there even glanced his way. Maybe they thought he was a new and especially unbecoming statue.

Just as he was about to give in to desperation and ask where he might find a place to relieve himself, a round woman with a feathered hat and the widest skirts he’d ever seen appeared from the far left door and sailed in his direction. “This way,” she commanded.

His hips and legs had cramped a little as he sat, and he limped very badly as he followed her.

The far left door led to an office smelling of tea and crammed with books and papers. The woman went away and shut the door behind her, leaving Brute alone with a man who was a few years older than him. The man was dressed in rather plain clothes and was tiny—barely five feet tall and probably one-third Brute’s weight—but he managed to project an aura of such powerful authority that he was almost terrifying. He stood several feet away and looked Brute up and down slowly. “You have a letter?” he finally said.

“Um, yes sir.” Brute produced the paper from the folds of his cloak and held it out, but the man didn’t take it.

“You will address me as Lord Maudit. You may call me milord or Your Excellency as well, for variety’s sake.”

“Yes, Lord Maudit.”

Lord Maudit rolled his eyes and snatched the paper out of Brute’s hand. He tore open the seal without ceremony and scanned the contents. When he was finished, he considered Brute again, this time appraisingly. It reminded Brute of the way Darius would look over a mule he was considering buying. “So you’re a hero?” he said at last.

“I—no. I mean, the prince, he—”

“Needed to be rescued from his own foolishness. Again. And rather dramatically, I understand.”

Brute didn’t know how to answer that. He licked his lips nervously and fought the urge to shift his feet. His bladder was full to bursting, and the glimpses of the sea he could catch through Lord Maudit’s window weren’t helping.

“Not very chatty, are you?” the lord said. “Good.” He folded the paper and slapped it against his thigh before tossing it onto his desk. “Wait here.”


Lord Maudit was nearly to the door when Brute blurted out his plea. The little man turned, eyebrow raised. “Yes?”

“I need to—is there an outhouse? Milord,” Brute added hastily.

“Garderobe’s through there,” the lord said, waving at a narrow door in the corner. Brute made what he hoped was a dignified dash for it while the other man left through the main door.

To reach the garderobe he had to climb a set of very narrow, winding stairs. The stairs dead-ended in a rounded little chamber with tiny slits for windows. The room contained a wooden seat with a hole in it and a small table bearing an earthen pitcher of water. Fumbling his laces open one-handed seemed to take forever, but eventually he managed to get his trousers undone. He emptied himself with a long groan of relief. At least he hadn’t lost his good hand, he reminded himself for the thousandth time. The gods only knew how he would have managed to get himself undressed then.

Lacing back up again was even more troublesome, but at least his need was no longer quite so urgent. He just wished he could have managed to find a way to pour the water in the pitcher over his hand to cleanse it.

Lord Maudit’s office was empty when Brute descended the stairs. Brute resisted the temptation to poke around—he had an eerie feeling that the man would somehow know—and instead admired the view from the windows and then a large painting of a hunting party chasing a stag.

“Hideous painting, isn’t it?”

Brute jumped at the voice and whirled around. Lord Maudit had returned, but it was his companion who had spoken: Prince Aldfrid, attired in riding clothes and smiling broadly. The prince showed no sign of limping as he crossed the room. “I’m glad you’ve recovered enough to make the journey,” he said to Brute. “How are you managing?” He seemed genuinely concerned.

Brute pulled his stump out of his cloak pocket, which made Lord Maudit’s eyes widen. Apparently the prince’s letter hadn’t mentioned that Brute was maimed. “Your Highness, are you certain—” the lord began.

“Yes,” the prince interrupted sharply. “Completely. He’s the man for the job.”

“The job, Your Highness?” Brute asked.

“That’s why you’re here, isn’t it? I could just give you a sack of gold and send you on your way—you’ve earned it—but I’m guessing you’re not that kind of man. You want to be… useful.” His laugh sounded a little sad. “More useful than a king’s fourth son.”

Brute took a moment to consider the prince’s words. A sack of gold. He’d never have to worry about his livelihood again. He could buy a little cottage somewhere, have some clothing made that actually fit. He could eat decent food every day. And then… what? Sit by himself and wait to grow old and die? “I would like to be useful,” he confirmed. “But I don’t know what I can do for you, sir, not like this. I’m sorry.”

“Have you any skills at all?” Lord Maudit asked. “I suppose it’s too much to ask that you know how to write.”

Brute hung his head, ashamed. “I wanted to. Had no money to pay the schoolmaster.” After his parents were dead, when his great-uncle would send him scurrying around the village to fetch this and carry that, Brute used to pass the little schoolhouse now and then, and he’d pause long enough to gaze at it enviously. Once he’d even dared to ask his great-uncle to send him—Brute had promised to work twice as much to pay for it—but his great-uncle had cuffed him hard enough to send him sprawling, then growled that Brute was too stupid to learn.

“Doesn’t matter,” said Prince Aldfrid, pulling Brute out of the bad memory. “I have something perfect for you.”

“Aldfrid, you’re taking an enormous risk.” Lord Maudit sounded irritated with the prince, but in a resigned sort of way, as if he were used to conversations like this.

“He’s the one, Maud.”

“But the king—”

“My father, if he notices at all, will see that a very large and not especially bright man—sorry, Brute; I know you’re no idiot—has been put in place. That’s all.”

Brute stood there mutely, slightly surprised at the obvious familiarity between the men and not having the vaguest clue what they were talking about. But then the prince clapped him on the arm and grinned. “It’ll all work out. You won’t be seeing much of me, Brute, but if you need anything, just get word to Maud here and he’ll take care of it.” He smirked at Lord Maudit and sped out of the room.

Maudit briefly closed his eyes, as if he were in pain. “Scrambled your brains a bit more on those rocks, didn’t you, Friddy?” he muttered. Then he glared at Brute. “Follow me.”

It seemed that everyone was saying that to him today. But Brute shrugged and did as he was told.

He was led through another dizzying arrangement of corridors and stairways. Once he caught a glimpse of an enormous room—by far the largest he had ever seen—with a polished marble floor, gilded pillars, and a ceiling fresco considerably more elaborate than the one he’d been admiring while he waited. But he didn’t get a chance to enjoy it, because Maudit dragged him along at a pace surprising for a man with such short legs. Guards saluted when Lord Maudit passed, and various well-dressed functionaries and servants all tried to look more industrious. Maudit ignored them.

They eventually left the building—through a different door than the one by which Brute and the guard had entered—crossed an oblong grassy area where several women in colorful gowns sat and embroidered, and entered a narrow passageway between two buildings. The passageway dead-ended at a grim little building of dirty stone. The windows in the building were simply narrow vertical slits, and even those were covered by iron bars. The door was iron as well—arched and sporting a heavy bolt—with a bored-looking guard stationed outside. The guard snapped to attention when he saw them coming.

“Has everything been readied?” Lord Maudit snapped.

The guard nodded sharply. “Yes, milord. The maids just left.”

“Good. This is… well, Brute. Obviously. You’ve been told of his duties?”

“Yes, milord.”

“If he needs anything, make sure he gets it. I’ll be checking on him.”

The guard looked slightly horrified at the prospect but nodded again. Then he unlocked the door and waited for Maudit and Brute to enter.

This time, Brute found himself in a small hallway with a ceiling so low he almost had to stoop his head. The walls were rough plaster, dirty and cracked, interrupted now and then by doors made of thick dark timbers. The building smelled of damp and age, with a faint sickly sweet undertone, as if something had rotted long ago.

“What—” Brute began.

“In here.” Lord Maudit pressed the latch on one of the doors; the hinges squealed in protest. Brute stepped inside and saw, to his astonishment, a somewhat dim but comfortable-looking apartment. The ceiling was higher than that of the hallway, although he could still have brushed it with his fingertips. The room contained an oversized bed piled with quilts, a chest of drawers with an actual mirror on top, a solid table with two equally solid chairs, and a matching wardrobe and bookshelf. The window was tiny, of course, but the walls were hung with colorful tapestries that depicted scenes of beasts in the forest and creatures under the sea. A small stove with dark green tiles was tucked in one corner, but not lit today because the weather was far too warm.

And in one wall, over near another corner, was a door constructed of heavy iron bars, with only darkness visible behind it.

“Welcome to your new home,” said Lord Maudit from the doorway.

“But… what?”

“His Highness has decided that you will be a very specialized sort of guard, with only a single prisoner to watch over.”

“Prisoner?” Brute’s eyes strayed back to the barred door.

Maudit twitched one shoulder. “See for yourself.”

With some degree of trepidation, Brute crossed the room.

The bars separated the apartment from a small cell. He had to squint to see inside—there was no window slit in the prisoner’s space—but there wasn’t much to see. Bare walls, bare floor, and in the corner, a dirty pile of rags. But as Brute stared, the rags shifted slightly and chains clanked, and a matted mass of hair appeared from under the edge of the fabric. A man, Brute realized. He was looking at a man huddled under a blanket. Chains sounded again, and Brute noted the metal collar around the man’s neck, manacles on his wrists, and shackled ankles fastened by chains to bolts in the floor. It was impossible to make out any details of the man past his rat’s nest of hair and tangled beard until the prisoner lifted his head slightly. Brute gasped at the man’s obvious blindness: eyelids closed over sunken, empty sockets.

Lord Maudit sighed. He still hadn’t actually entered the room. “Brute, meet Gray Leynham.”