Shifting Views is Here!

shiftingviewsfs_v1A Carlisles novel

Successful fashion model Denver Carlisle is finally living on his own. He’s got a new apartment, a neighbor who has a problem shutting his blinds, and a local bakery with an owner who makes his knees weak. It’s raining men, and Denver hasn’t gotten any in a long time. Going out on a limb, he asks Ethan Monahan out and resorts to a little exhibitionism for his neighbor. Only to be turned down by both. That’s a first.

Ethan Monahan runs his own bakery and has a new neighbor who walks around naked. The latter is a little too distracting. When his naked neighbor turns out to be none other than model Denver Carlisle—and the customer who asked him out—Ethan tries to make amends. In a purely friendly way.

Friendship leads to more, and both men find themselves in over their heads with emotions and compromises. Denver has trust issues that could span the Sahara, and Ethan is a product of the foster system with a chip on his shoulder and a serious wariness of those with money. There’s only one way to reconcile their issues: work together.

Dreamspinner Press / Cover Art by Garrett Leigh / Contemporary / 64k 

“That’s in the past. It didn’t happen because we’re starting over. So shake my damn hand and introduce yourself.”.png

Find it at:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2kumWXe
Dreamspinner: http://bit.ly/2lfMqHV

Checking it Twice – Release Day!

CheckingItTwiceFS_v1.jpgCloseted professional hockey player Eric Belanger is falling hard for an out-and-proud male model. He’s unable to resist Dorian’s charm and pushing personal boundaries he never thought he’d cross. But Dorian is the kind of guy who deserves someone who isn’t afraid to be himself. Eric’s fears about what coming out will do to his career clash with the future he hopes to build with Dorian. He knows he’ll eventually have to make a choice.

Dorian Carlisle knows better than to date a man who wants to keep him a secret, but there’s something about Eric he can’t ignore. So he’ll take the risk, and it’ll be all right, because this isn’t a forever romance. He’s happy to live in the moment. But somehow, at some point, feelings sneak up on him and he’s not okay anymore. At a breaking point, Dorian must also make a decision. Their time together will either be the start of something wonderful or nothing more than a happy memory.

Cover by Reese Dante / 75k words / Contemporary, sports / 3rd in the Carlisles Series

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Somehow Dorian’s name got tossed into the ring for a winter clothing line spread in some sports magazine, and now he’s on a set in downtown New York City with five big, hulking hockey players. A few of whom are pretty damn hot, and the majority of whom aren’t American. He can admit he’s a sucker for an accent, and it’s a little distracting.

Jackson, his brother, flicks his nose. He stops staring at the tall European guy who’s talking to the tall French Canadian, who has his shirt off and an abdomen that Dorian would pay to be able to lick. He scrunches his face up at his brother, mimicking the judgey look being thrown his way. He can’t believe Jackson took this job. Isn’t it bad enough that he has to work with Denver—his twin—more often than not?

“What was that for?” he asks, gaze already trying to return to the guys. He can’t help it. He’s innately wired to appreciate beautiful things.

“I’m trying to do your makeup, and you’re making it difficult. Stop looking at the toys you can’t touch and look at me.” Jackson grabs his chin and tilts his head just so, wielding eyeliner in his other hand like it’s a weapon.

Dorian pouts, sticking his bottom lip way out. “You don’t know. I could touch them.” In my dreams.

Jackson gives him a stern look, which is ridiculous since he’s a year younger. Dorian should be the one giving the parental stare-downs. “Hands to yourself. Professional athletes are never a good idea. Now open your eyes wide and don’t blink.”

It takes a lot of self-control to not sneak glances at the hockey players while they get dressed and their makeup gets done. And well, he just doesn’t have that control. So he manages a peek or two. The whole process is a lot of clothes coming on and off, muscles flexing, watching stylists run their hands through gorgeous hair. It’s like being in a candy shop and getting told you can’t have anything. So not fair.

Dorian can list on the fingers of one hand the things he knows about sports, and all of it mostly has to do with what the balls look like and the overall purpose of them: score goals. It’s not that he’s not interested—well, okay, he is—but he just doesn’t have the attention span for it. He’s done jobs with plenty of athletes, both male and female, and their sports sound interesting enough when they talk to him about them. It just doesn’t translate to him watching it.

His lack of interest isn’t normally a problem, but athletes are a peculiar lot, and sometimes that makes working with them difficult. They have a hard time understanding the shoot isn’t about them. It’s about the photographer’s vision. The designer’s vision. It’s about serving a purpose. And then there are the times where it’s like they’re speaking a whole other language.

Like now.

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Available at:

Dreamspinner / Kobo / All Romance / Barnes and Noble / Amazon

*Enter to win your choice of Ebook from my backlist*

Follow the guest post tour:

November 21 – MM Good Book Reviews 
November 28 – Dreamspinner Press Blog 
November 29 – Gay Book Reviews 
November 30 – My Fiction Nook 
December 1 – Alpha Book Reviews 
December 2 – Love Bytes

 

 

A Family for Christmas – Review

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This was sweet from start to finish. Rudy is adorably awkward in a way that I’m sure more than a few people can sympathize with, and Zac is his opposite. While on the surface it appears as if Rudy is doing more for Zac (providing him a family environment), Zac is doing just as much for Rudy whose self-esteem is definitely lacking. The two men compliment each other.

A Family For Christmas is a relatively quick feel-good holiday read that leaves a warm feeling in your stomach.

 A Family for Christmas
Author: Jay Northcote
Publisher: Jaybird Press (self published)
Length: 44,000 words approx
Genre: Contemporary m/m romance, feelgood, heartwarming
Cover Artist: Garrett Leigh
Release Date: Friday 18th of November
Series info: This book is a standalone

Blurb

Zac never had a family of his own, but Rudy has enough to share.

Shy, inexperienced Rudy has a crush on Zac from the moment his new colleague walks through the door. On an office night out before Christmas, Rudy finds the courage to make a move, and they form a tentative bond. When he discovers Zac will be alone at Christmas, he invites Zac to come home with him.

Zac prefers to keep people at arm’s length. Yet when Rudy offers him a family Christmas it’s impossible to resist. With no parents of his own, Zac is pleasantly surprised to be welcomed by Rudy’s. The only drawback is that everyone assumes they’re a couple. Unwilling to disappoint Rudy’s mum and make Christmas awkward, they decide not to deny it.

It’s not a chore for Zac to pose as Rudy’s boyfriend, but the pretence makes him want things that scare him—things like a real relationship with Rudy. Zac’s suffered enough rejection in his life already and is afraid to risk his heart. If he can get over his past rejection and let Rudy inside his armour, he might get more for Christmas than he ever imagined.

Available at:
Universal Amazon link: http://mybook.to/AFFC_JayN

Saturday Short – Chandler & Dustin

Part 2:

Despite the protests of Chris and Marc, Dustin goes home with thirty minutes to spare before he needs to head to the arena for the game. He’ll play better if he gets to check on Chandler himself – not that Henrik’s snapchat of Chandler with a deer imposed over his slack face hadn’t been soothing.

Chandler’s still in bed when Dustin peeks his head around the doorframe. He’s a lump under the covers, only his mop of golden hair visible on the pillow. Dustin’s brain says to leave Chandler to his rest, while his heart urges him to crawl into the bed beside him.

“C’mere.” Chandler’s voice is rusty from disuse and slurred with sleep.

Dustin isn’t about to turn him down, though. He climbs in – still wearing his jeans and a shirt – and can’t help the noise of utter relief that leaves him when Chandler rolls, curling against Dustin’s side. He’s heat and firmness, slinging his arm over Dustin’s stomach to hold him in place. He’s buried his nose against Dustin’s neck, and he’s inhaling deeply, exhaling warm puffs of air across Dustin’s skin.

Carefully Dustin wriggles an arm free and gets his hand in Chandler’s hair, beginning to lightly – as gently as he can – massage Chandler’s scalp. It’s the first time he’s touched his head since the accident, terrified he’d somehow hurt him further. But Chandler melts under the touch, body going limp and satisfied rumbles shaking his chest.

“Missed you,” he says, lips grazing Dustin’s skin. Before Dustin can answer, Chandler starts to shake his head and then groans. Dustin resumes rubbing, making helpless shushing noises till Chandler calms again. Chandler’s eyelashes flutter against Dustin’s earlobe. “S’not the same.”

Dustin’s heart flutters quickly in his chest. “Yeah?” What does that even mean?

Chandler’s sigh is gusty. “Mhm.”

Dustin wants to demand Chandler explain himself, but Chandler’s breathing is already sliding into soft snores.

 

 

Welcome Laura Lascarso!

Laura’s here today to talk about her new release, Andre In Flight!

When up-and-coming Miami painter Martin Fonseca encounters youthful pretty boy Andre Bellamy washing dishes in the kitchen of La Candela, he swears he’s known him before, intimately. But Andre only arrived in Miami weeks ago, after running away from small-town AAndreInFlightFS_v1.jpglabama and his abusive father. When Martin discovers Andre trading sexual favors for a place to stay, he offers him a room in his studio apartment. As roommates only.

What starts as a playful friendship turns into something more as Andre begins posing for Martin, whose true passion is painting fantastical portraits. Martin’s obsession with Andre grows until they are sharing more than just flirtatious conversation. But when an eccentric art collector buys one of Martin’s paintings, Martin’s past jealousies resurface and threaten to destroy what he and Andre have so lovingly built.
DSP buy link http://bit.ly/2ePzPsG
Amazon buy link http://amzn.to/2f32CJl
Barnes & Noble buy link http://bit.ly/2f0rKBH
Goodreads http://bit.ly/2eYCL6T
Publisher Dreamspinner Press: November 16, 2016

Laura Lascarso lives in North Florida with her darling husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals. Her debut novel, Counting Backwards (Simon & Schuster 2012) won the Florida Book Award gold medal for young adult literature. She aims to inspire more questions than answers in her fiction and believes in the power of stories to heal and transform a society.

For social critiques, writer puns, and Parks and Rec gifs, follow her on Twitter @lauralascarso

Facebook /lascarso
Website http://lauralascarso.com
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Andre in Flight: An Excerpt

The Dishwasher

I had a problem with the dishwasher: I couldn’t take my eyes off him.

His hair was tied up in a blue bandana, and he had a tattoo of an arrow on his arm, shooting out the sleeve of his white T-shirt. His skin was the color of caramelized sugar, right before it burns, like God was tending the syrup closely when he was made. It was one of the colors I was still trying to master, difficult because of the way light plays on the surface of skin and brings out the yellow and bronze undertones.

The spray from the dishes kicked back up onto his T-shirt, but he seemed unaware. A secret smile played on his lips, as if there were some private joke running through his mind. I wanted in on it.

“Pay me five bucks, Martin, and I’ll tell him to take his shirt off,” Fang muttered, not even glancing up from where he was dissecting a salmon into ten perfect pink rectangles.

Fang, our head chef, was a big balding white guy in his late thirties with a substantial gut and a pettiness that I found infuriating. He always said the worst thing possible, to expose or ridicule you. He was one of those people who delighted in other people’s discomfort. He’d hit on me my first week on the job. Ever since I’d rejected him, he’d made my life as a server a living hell in small ways. Like not announcing it when my food was up, or using too much pepper in the soup, or cooking the fish ten seconds too long. Melissa told me it was because he wasn’t the food god everyone thought him to be, but somehow, I knew it was personal.

“The woman at table six said your gazpacho was tart,” I said without adding that she also liked its tartness.

“I got something tart for her.” He thrust his pelvis at the stainless steel counter while his expensive Japanese knife sliced through the salmon’s flesh with the precision of a surgeon.

“No fighting,” Melissa said, piling her tray with the rolled silverware I’d just deposited on the counter. As if feeling a new presence among us, she glanced to the back corner of the kitchen where the new guy was up to his elbows in sudsy water. His muscle tone was remarkable, objectively speaking.

“Who’s that?” she asked crossly, as if his presence were a personal affront. I found that odd. The dishwashers came and went. Their pay was shit, and they were usually illegal immigrants whom our manager, Hector, hired and paid under the table. But this kid was black, long and lean, so tall that he had to stoop a little when he reached down into the sink.

Regardless of their ethnicity, Melissa had not said one word to the dishwashers in the three years I’d worked with her, so the mere fact that she’d noticed him and then also thought to inquire about him was unusual.

“That’s Andre,” Fang said. “Fell off the turnip truck on his way from Alabama. Lucky bastard.”

“He looks about sixteen years old,” Melissa complained.

Fang shrugged. “At least he’s legal.” Out of the corner of his eye, he spied me and grinned like a creep. “In one way.”

Andre seemed oblivious to our speculation. The din of the kitchen and the water spray drowned out our conversation. I was thankful for that.

Melissa’s gaze veered in my direction and the effect was as if she’d snapped her fingers in front of my face. “You’ve been sat, Martin. Table seventeen.”

I should have felt the urgency of the moment, but my gaze drifted past Melissa to where Andre stacked silverware into the sterilizer. There was something familiar about him. He caught my eye and smiled bashfully, like he’d been seen doing something silly. He had dimples. I’d seen those dimples before.

“I know him,” I whispered.

“Customers are waiting,” Melissa said again. Her knifelike eyes focused on mine. I always knew with Melissa what she wanted me to do next. Like when she demanded I move away from landscape and still life paintings and start drawing people. It was a difficult move because people can’t be studied as closely as you would a flower or a fruit, and they expire after a few hours. But Melissa’s will was indomitable.

“A banana is a banana no matter how big or yellow you paint it,” she’d said to me not long after we’d met. “Your paintings need movement. People. Animals. People on animals. You’re too afraid of the human body. You were meant to paint portraits, Martin. Please, trust me on this.”

So I began painting people—muscles, lips, noses, eyes, hands, skin, hair, teeth, all the delicate and intimate folds of the human body—which stepped up my game dramatically. Still, it was daunting. There were like, a million shades of skin, and I’d only nailed about two dozen. In any case Melissa was right so often that I’d come to rely on her instincts.

“Ten bucks and I’ll get you his picture,” Fang said.

“Fuck you, Fang.” It was my standard response to him.

“Anytime, Martin,” he said with a sneer.

The restaurant quickly filled up, and I didn’t get another chance to spy on Andre until after the front shut down, but it was useless because Fang was there, bossing people around, talking about some stupid movie he’d watched, banging pots, and throwing his weight around lest we forget that the kitchen was his domain, and we were the mere underlings who presented his creations to the customers starting at thirty dollars a plate.

I wanted to know where Andre had come from, how he’d landed in the kitchen of La Candela, and what was the source of my compulsion to follow his every move. I wanted to know every single thing about him, and I wanted to know it immediately.

“We’re going to Wine Bar tonight for drinks,” Melissa said, hanging up her black apron on the hook under where she’d Sharpied her name on masking tape. “You coming?”

I didn’t answer. I was watching Andre stack clean dishes into plastic crates. I could watch him for hours.

“Do we know him?” I asked.

“No, we do not,” she said with absolute certainty. “You coming or not?”

“Yeah, I’ll meet you there.”

I took my time with closing, trying to find an opening when Fang wasn’t lording over the kitchen. But he didn’t leave once, not even to take a piss. It was as if he were deliberately obstructing me. I wanted to shove him out of my way.

Finally, I gave up, drove to my studio apartment to shower and change, then met up with Melissa at Wine Bar, which was owned by a friend of ours we used to work with. He’d saved up his tip money to open it, and we threw him whatever business we could. High-end restaurants were a dime a dozen in the Grove and the competition was fierce, so even though his wines were overpriced, we went.

“You’re awfully quiet tonight, Martian,” Melissa said. It was the name she used for me when I was off in my own world, which was pretty often. “Still mad about table twenty-two?”

Table twenty-two stiffed me. One of them was the bassist from some washed-up rock band from the nineties. I didn’t know their music, even though he insisted they were famous. He was definitely a cokehead. Him and his entourage drank Patron like it was Perrier, racked up a $500 bill, and left me 5 percent. Classy.

“Yeah, that was shitty.” She wouldn’t want to hear that I was really thinking about the dishwasher, the seemingly underage dishwasher, and the sense that I’d known him before, intimately.

“You’re still the hottest piece of Cuban ass east of Dixie,” she said and rubbed my back. Sometimes when customers stiffed me, I took it personally, like maybe I hadn’t performed well enough, or my appearance wasn’t pleasing. Melissa was always building me up. For whatever reason she indulged my vanity. “Speaking of which….” She arched one eyebrow, an invitation to come back to her place. Melissa and I hooked up from time to time, whenever one of us was lonely. I didn’t normally go for women, but she intrigued me. I’d painted her many times, but she was like a phantom. The light wouldn’t stick to her.

“I can’t tonight.” I dropped a few bills onto the table and said good night to our company, the servers of some of the other swanky restaurants in the Grove. You’d think after working all night long in a restaurant, we wouldn’t want to blow all our money on expensive drinks in yet another restaurant, but it’s what we did. I kissed Melissa’s cheek.

“Sleep well, Martian,” she said.

“I’ll try.”

But I rarely did.

 

Saturday Short – Chandler and Dustin (To Arizona)

Part 1:

There’s something not quite right about being on the ice without Chandler during practice or warmups. Knowing that when he plays tonight, Chandler won’t be in the building or even watching at home. It feels like Dustin’s off balance. He keeps turning to chirp Chandler or to seek praise for a drill well done.

But Chandler’s not there. Concussions suck.

Chandler hasn’t left the house – has barely left their bed – in the week and a half since his hard head had done the unthinkable and betrayed him. He can’t handle lights or noise, and their conversations are relegated to low whispers of Dustin begging Chandler to eat, shower, and take his meds. When Chandler’s not sleeping, he’s a ball of misery. Dustin feels bad, really he does, but he’s at wits end. He’s doing everything he can, when he can, and it’s not enough.

Marc whacks him with his stick as Dustin skates by the goal. “Hey, come over and hang out after practice, yeah?”

Dustin skates back around and shakes his head, the straps of his helmet bouncing off his neck.  He wants to, but…. “I can’t.” Someone needs to check on Chandler and make sure he’s alive.

“You can,” says Marc, stubborn to his core. “Henrik or one of the other guys can go keep Chandler company.” He pokes Dustin. “You look like shit. Consider this your intervention.”

“I don’t need an intervention.” He needs Chandler to magically become healthy overnight.

Chris skates up then, spraying ice over the two of them like the obnoxious otter he is. “Someone said intervention. We talking about turning that frown upside down, buttercup?” He slaps the palm of his glove to Dustin’s helmet and shakes him.

Dustin flails a little, trying to get away when Chris follows. He scrunches up his nose, warmed by their actions  but not wanting to show it. He can’t encourage their being nosy, interfering shifters. He’d never have peace again. “I’m fine.”

“That’s something someone who wasn’t fine would say,” says Marc. “If you don’t want to consider that this is for you, look at it as us saying we miss you. Come give us attention.” He tries to hug Dustin, his catching glove glancing off Dustin’s shoulder and clipping the side of his head.

“You guys are awful,” says Dustin, really meaning that they’re the best in the world. “I’ll come over so you’ll shut up.”

Chris slaps his 200.gifback. “Sweet. We’ll swim and barbecue. Steaks for all.” He frowns. “Unless you want fish. Today is about you. And pregame naps! We’ll do a cuddle pile.”

Dustin is definitely not choking up thinking about how lucky he is to have these two guys in his life. His eyes are watering cause he’s tired. That’s all. He’s been sleeping in a separate room from Chandler so he doesn’t disturb him, and it’s led to tossing and turning and not much sleeping.

He blinks quickly, trying to clear his vision and maintain his dignity. “Steak’s good.” His voice doesn’t crack. Not at all.

 

Saturday Short

Bastien wraps his arms around James’s waist, notching his chin against his shoulder. When James leans back, Bastien widens his stance and takes his weight. James’s hands rest over his, cradling them to his stomach.

“It’s gorgeous,” says James, the words almost swallowed by the noise of the crowd around them, the awe almost concealed.

img_6987They’re looking at the Eiffel tower from their position on the bridge, standing steady in a sea of people all going somewhere. The merry-go-round spins, children and adults riding the ceramic animals in dizzying circles, the music spilling out into the night. It’s two minutes to eleven, and they’re waiting for the hour. The tower is going to brighten, lights sparkling and tap-dancing across the structure. Bastien has promised James that once he sees it, they’ll take a spin on the carousel.

Bastien tightens his arms, ducking his face to press a kiss to the cool skin of James’s neck. He smells like fresh air and a hint of salt, sweat from spending the last fourteen hours trekking the streets of Paris. “Je t’aime,” he says, lips grazing flesh. Three years they’ve been together now, and he never tires of letting James know.

James shivers beneath his touch, and his chest rises and falls with a low sigh. “Je t’aime mon cheri,” he returns, voice husky, twisting to press a kiss to Bastien’s cheek. His lips linger, warming Bastien.

The Eiffel Tower comes to life, splashing flashing lights across the dark sky.