Sunday, May 13, 2018

Week at a Glance: 5/7/18 - 5/13/18

Sunday's Safe Word Shelf: Three Player Game by Jaime Samms

Bluewater Bay #20
Vince’s life has improved immeasurably since he moved to Bluewater Bay two years ago. He’s gone from working for a man he hated, to helping found a company he believes in. And he and boyfriend, Pete, have built a delicate balance of power between them that keeps them both grounded and thriving.

Almost, anyway.

Pete’s job on the set of Wolf’s Landing is demanding. He needs lots of downtime off set, and that’s where Vince’s firm but gentle control isn’t always enough. And for Vince, Pete’s constant high-energy needs are turning out to be more than he can handle alone.

It’s no surprise to either of them, then, that sparks fly when Vince’s coworker Lee enters the picture. Outwardly, Lee is tough and confident, but when a bad back confines him to Pete and Vince’s spare room, the cracks start to show and his desire for connection begins to peek through.

Pete and Vince both like what they see under Lee’s prickly outside, but now the three men must learn that love isn’t about beating the game—it’s about balance, trust, and letting each other in.

* * * * * * * 

The Bluewater Bay stories can be read in any order — jump in wherever you'd like! 

Chapter One
Lee moaned. Cool sheets and a too-soft mattress cushioned him. The constant, low hum of an air conditioner pried its way into his skull, and he rolled over to put a pillow over his head. The movement caused a rather more vocal groan as his back gave a heaving spasm.

“The fuck,” he mumbled, collapsing to a prone position. The heavy, ice-pick ache began mid-back and radiated downward until, his body tried to curl his hips up to relieve the pain, and he couldn’t quite breathe.

Not this again. What did you do this time, asshole? He wished he couldn’t still hear that voice in his head. Maybe it was his own by this time.

“Shhh!” Hasty footsteps approached, but Lee couldn’t bring himself to open his eyes to find out whose. “Don’t move.” A hand settled on his shoulder, holding him still, startling him tense, but the pressure remained firm, not rough.

“Too late,” he muttered, trying to subdue the automatic, defensive tension.

“Here. I got you some pain relief and a glass of water. They’ll make you drowsy, but that will help you stay still, and I’ll be here, so you’ll fine.”

Lee pried one eyelid up as best he could to see the base of a drinking glass with a straw. A well-manicured hand came into view with two little pills. He recognized them and knew they’d knock him out before long, but it was true. That would be a good thing right now. Feeling much like a helpless kitten, Lee opened his mouth. The hand placed the pills carefully on his tongue, then the drinking end of the straw came into view. He sipped and swallowed and closed his eye again.



A nervous silence stretched, underpinned by the continual rumble of the air conditioner wafting a slick of cooler breeze over his bed. Otherwise, the room was unnaturally silent. Like a sound-proofed hotel room. For an instant, he forgot his injury and tried to sit up.

“Nope!” That hand came back to his shoulder and urged him down. Not that he needed the urging. The pain took the last ounce of his strength, and he flopped with a tiny, pathetic mewl.

“The fuck?” he asked again after he’d managed to slow his shallowed breathing.

“You got a little . . . tipsy . . . last night,” his benefactor informed him. “Slipped off the curb coming out of the bar, and I guess wrecked something in your back. Blaire had to fly home this morning, but he paid for the room for another two nights and told me to let you sleep and return with you when you’re ready.”

Lee sighed and opened his eyes. About halfway through that spiel, he’d recognized Vince’s voice, and had started to recall the night before. The three of them, Lee, his office mate Vince, and their boss, Blaire, had flown to Vancouver to meet with some backers about an investment in their new company. The investor had wanted to meet all the players, so they had trouped across the border and sat down to dinner with the woman.

She’d turned out to be an enthusiastic patron of all things cosplay and video gaming, and an especially zealous fan of Wolf’s Landing. The trip had been worth their time. Her backing was going to pay for the additional filming they wanted to do for the Wolf’s Landing video game background, as well as some of the short CGI movies based on the game’s story that Blaire wanted to make for advertising. After their investor had said good night, the three of them had celebrated with a few drinks.

Lee hadn’t been that intoxicated. But he had been tired and his body already abused. The day before the trip, he’d finally pulled all his belongings from storage, where they had languished after his dismissal from Caruthers Industries and his eviction from the furnished company apartment eight months ago. His smaller, less glamorous, but more affordable apartment hadn’t even come with a kitchen sink. He’d had to get the plumbing fixed before he signed the lease. Then, he’d procrastinated for months getting the bulk of his things out of the storage unit and up to his place. The only upside was that it was closer to their new offices, but hauling all his boxes up four flights of stairs in one day, then jumping on a plane to Vancouver the next, had wrecked him. Air travel always left him nauseous and uninterested in food.

It did explain why a few drinks had shot him past his limit so much faster than normal. When they’d left the bar for the cab to the hotel, a curb had done him in.

His feet had flown out from under him, and he’d landed—hard—on his ass.

“Fuck me,” he muttered.

The bed dipped and he whimpered again.

“So I called the nurse hotline,” Vince said.

“The whatnow?” Lee covered his eyes with his arm, but lifted it just enough to peer at the younger man’s earnest face.

Vince consulted a pamphlet in his hand. “HealthLink BC, actually. They have a sort of hotline to answer questions and advise you if you need to see a doctor in person. The nurse didn’t seem to think it was crucial until you get home. But he did recommend you ice the muscles in your back to get some of the swelling down. He said it should hurt less once you’d iced it, but if it didn’t, you should go to a clinic.”

“I am not going to any clinic.”

“Well, we’ll see.” Vince pushed his glasses more firmly onto his nose with a thumb at the bridge. “Right now, I need you to roll a bit so I can get the ice pack under you.”

“I’m not moving.”

“You have to. A tiny bit. I can help.”

“I don’t need your fucking help.”

“Lee, this is important. If you want to hurt less, you have to do this.”

“I don’t have to do fuck all. Maybe I like pain.”

“I know you like being a pain. But no one likes to be in agony. So here. Take my hand.” Vince held out a hand to Lee. “Use your stomach and arm as much as you can. Roll toward me, and I’ll slide the ice pack under you.”

Lee glared at him. “I’m not six.”

Vince stared back, lips pursed.

“Go away. Fly home, little mouse.”

Vince’s brows drew together, displacing his glasses a bit, and he tilted his head to one side, but he didn’t lower his arm or rescind the offer of his hand. “Mice don’t fly. What kind of metaphor is that?”

“Bird, then,” Lee snapped. “Fly away home, little fucking bird.”

“You swear a lot, you know. Maybe think about that.” Vince curled his lips to one side and thumbed his glasses.

This time, Lee stared at Vince, scowling as hard as he could. But Vince remained where he was. The stalemate lasted a good two minutes before Lee finally caved.

“Fine.” He pushed himself onto his side, the pain making a gray haze crowd his vision from all sides. Vince hastily stuffed the ice pack under him, and Lee flopped back. Dark spots swam over the room, and he huffed, sweating and panting as the pain tore up and down his back in waves of flame and lava.

“That would have hurt less if you’d let me help.”

“Fuck. Off.”

“And it’s official. You make a lousy patient.”

“Nice bedside manner.”

Vince smiled sweetly. “Kill them with kindness, my mom always said.” He got up and wandered to the table near the window. “We’re supposed to leave the ice for no more than ten minutes, then keep it off for twenty or so. If you aren’t asleep by then, we can reapply.”

“Reapply this,” Lee muttered, tossing Vince a middle-finger salute, then throwing his arm over his eyes. He must have fallen asleep fairly quickly, because he wasn’t aware of Vince removing the ice.

Chapter Two
Vince settled at the table after he’d pulled the ice pack out from under Lee. He was careful not to wake him. The more Lee slept, the less likely he was to overstress the injury. And the less he talked, which was good because Vince only had so much patience.

He knew he’d always been regarded as the office mouse. In his defense, neither Lee nor Blaire had bothered to get to know him outside of work. He wasn’t a mouse at all. He was a nice guy, so he didn’t complain about being the office gofer, but he had other qualities they knew nothing about. He liked to dance and have a good time. He also knew when control was called for. And he didn’t take shit from people. Not when he had a choice, and now that he was out from under Oscar Caruthers’s thumb, he had choices. It was time to break out of that old, mousy mold.

Blaire Caruthers was a good boss. Fair and honest. Nothing at all like his father, Oscar, who had seemed to hold all the cards of Vince’s career when he’d first started out. He’d been young and inexperienced then, and thought walking away from Oscar’s ultimatums would be the end of his job prospects. He hadn’t counted on Blaire or Bluewater Bay, though. It turned out neither New York nor LA were the be-all and end-all of the industry, and Vince had skills that had nothing to do with corporate ladder-climbing or spying.

Smiling to himself, Vince opened his computer and logged on to the hotel wi-fi. Within five minutes, he had a chat window open and Pete’s little green dot in his sights.

Hey Babe. You really there?

Hey V. Yeah.


Meh. Set is a clusterfuck today. An extra knocked over a light stand. It fell on a PA. Eric is freaking. The. Hell. Out.

PA okay? That was alarming. Normally, Pete complained about how boring it was waiting around on set for things to happen.

Yeah, she’s fine. The light stand, though. Not so much. Eric’s just . . . Eric.


Not your fault. Hey. You back in town? A tiny winky face appeared, and Vince smiled.

Sadly, no. Lee torqued his back. Blaire set us up in a room to wait for him to be mobile again.

Man. Sucks.

I wish.


*sigh* He’s half jackass and half Adonis. I hate him.

That was answered with a dozen winky faces from Pete. We both know that isn’t true, babe. Any idea when you’ll be back?

Few days.

Miss you

Miss you more.

Want me to pick you up at the airport?

Vince sighed, because yes, he’d love that, but Pete had other things to worry about, and Vince wasn’t going to ask him to be on call for whenever Vince managed to get back. Nah. He texted, I’ll cab it. Make sure Lee gets home. You, I want on your back and plugged.

There was a pause in the texting, then, Dude. At work here. You trying to get me fired?


Fuck. I can’t even stand right now.

Wait until I get there. You won’t be walking for days.

Promises promises. Shit. Gotta go. Eric = dick deflator. <3 you

<3 CU

There was no reply to the last text. Not that Vince expected there to be. Once Pete’s boss Eric called, there never was.

Vince chuckled just the same, and glanced to the bed where Lee still slept. Too bad they only had the one double room. Would have been nice to enjoy a beat-off session to the idea of Pete on his back, legs wide, ass plugged and ready for Vince. Better yet, wouldn’t that be a nice view if Lee was between Pete’s legs, sucking him off, and Vince was pounding Lee instead? Or first, then Pete.

“Shit.” This was not a good road to go down. No one had made any rules about fraternizing in the office, but then, there were only the three of them, and Blaire had won his chef. There was little chance either Blaire or Lee figured on a reason to worry about it. It wasn’t like Vince advertised his fantasies. Well. Except to Pete, but then, they shared everything.

“Not getting your work done, Ascott. Get your head out of your pants.”

Still. He spent more than a few minutes watching Lee sleep and wondering how Pete might feel about Vince’s thoughts. Pete had only met Lee a few times in passing, but was theoretically on board with the idea.

“But they have to get to know each other first.” It could only work if Pete was in for his own reasons, and not just to make Vince happy.

Lee’s lashes fluttered, and Vince clamped his mouth shut. Lee’s legs shifted, like he was going to roll, but he only moaned. A line appeared between his brows, then he was still again.

Vince’s attention caught on the slight slant of Lee’s lashes across his cheekbones, and the flop of straight, brown-black hair drifting crosswise over his forehead. In sleep, his prominent bone structure seemed less sharp, and his lips, not pursed into a cross frown, had a plumper curve to them. A very kissable plump curve.

All right. Enough ogling the man while he’s asleep, perv. Vince shook himself and turned to his laptop.

Taking a few minutes to do some breathing, then to make himself a cup of hotel room coffee, Vince managed to get his head back on track and dove into company spreadsheets, redistributing their current assets and incorporating the newly available cash into the most pressing projects.

Hey, he typed into Pete’s chat window a few hours later. FYI, I think we have the cash for the filming. We can meet your crew’s costs. Think they’re still interested? Ping me when you have time to talk about it.

He didn’t expect an answer now. Pete would be running his ass off for a few hours still. But the prospect of getting a step closer to a product they could actually show people was almost enough to wake Lee for. Almost.

He glanced over at the bed again. Lee continued to sleep, but seemed restless. Probably, the pain was seeping through and he’d be awake soon. Vince shut down his laptop and perused the room service menu.

When Lee did wake, surly and clearly in pain, the soup and sandwiches Vince had ordered for them had arrived.

“Someone’s at the door,” Lee grumbled.

“Lunch. I’ll get it.”

“Not like I’m getting up.”

Vince said nothing. He collected the food, tipped the staff, and closed the door again. “Well,” he said as he wheeled the cart to the space between their beds, “you can’t eat lying on your back.”

“Not hungry.”

“You can’t have any more pain killers until you put some food in your stomach.” Vince stood next to the bed, hands on his hips.

“Fuck off, little mouse.”

“Lee, I am so over your shit. You’re right. When I started working for Blaire, I was the office mouse. I worked under Oscar for the first five years of my career, and he almost broke me.” Vince stepped closer to the bed. “But I didn’t break. I learned. You want to order me around in the office?” He gave a little shrug. “We’ll see. But, right now, I’m not your underling. This isn’t office politics, it’s you and me, and I would appreciate some respect.”

Lee glared at him.

“Is that a problem?”

“Would you look who has a backbone after all.”

Vince curled a lip. “Now, do you want help sitting up, or are you good?”

Lee considered this. “Help,” he said at last, slanting his glare away from Vince.

“Happy to.” Vince exercised the utmost care helping Lee to sit. He set out the lap tray he’d asked for and served a bowl of soup and a plate with a sandwich, pickles, and a cucumber salad onto the tray, then poured Lee water. “Anything else you need?”

Lee stared at the food. “Is this cream of broccoli?”

“It is.”

He peeked under the top slice of multigrain bread at his sandwich innards. “And roast beef?”

“Yes. With Dijon and Havarti cheese.”

Finally, Lee looked up at him. “I never told you what I liked.”

“You didn’t have to.” Vince settled on his own bed and took the dome off his leek and potato soup. “I pay attention.”

It was hard, holding back the urge to tell Lee to eat. But the man was stubborn. Vince had to take his time. Let Lee make up his own mind. He dug into his own meal, and after a few minutes, Lee picked up his spoon.

Vince hid a satisfied twitch of a smile behind his sandwich.

Chapter Three
The set echoed with the soft thwap of Pete’s Dockers on the concrete as he paced. It seemed cavernous now that nearly everyone had gone home. Once the postproduction of the season’s last episode was done in a few weeks, the place would stay empty for the better part of a month. The adrenaline junkie in him mourned the quiet.

He smiled to himself. That junkie was in recovery. Mostly.

“Hey.” Alicia jogged over to him, wiping her hands on her jeans. “Matty said you wanted to see me?” Her pretty eyes took on a troubled expression. “I thought shooting went pretty smoothly today.”

He knew why she was nervous. The light stand fiasco had in no way been her or Matty’s fault. But the director, Eric, was jumpy lately, quick to snap heads off necks, and she had been in the line of fire. Matty had almost lost his job over the light stand, but Pete had stepped in—admittedly, he might have overstepped—to distract attention away from him, and they managed to salvage the rest of the shoot without too much lost time.

“Shooting went great,” he assured her. “And don’t worry about the other day. Shit happens. We finished mostly on schedule, so it’s all good.”

“Are they going to let Matty and me help you guys out?”

“Soon as you’re off the clock on post, your time is your own. The game shoot is tied to Wolf’s Landing now, so my understanding is it’s union. If you want to pick it up as freelance work, and you’re off Wolf’s Landing’s clock, who’s to say no?”

“So you’re still doing it.”

Pete grinned. “You’re seriously asking me that?”

“Well. I mean, you, they could pull back in.”

“Nope. I’ve booked my time off already.” And part of that time would definitely be spent helping the fledgling Three Player Game Productions get their game off the ground. If he had to put up with Vince being out of town for going on a week now, he would damn well make sure the flagship project of the company keeping him away was successful.

“You okay, Mr. Doyle?”

Pete blinked at her. He never got used to people calling him Mr. anything. “Pete. Please. Mr. Doyle is my dad. Or my uncle.” Bosses. He was just Pete. Or Little Pete when he went home to the LA suburb where he’d grown up. But not Mr. Doyle.

Alicia scrutinized him. “You look . . . tired, I guess.”

He’d thought she was going to say piqued, or ragged, or at the end of his last fucking tether. He rubbed at the back of his neck and stuck his other hand in his pocket. The warm, heavy weight of the danburite crystal in his pocket let him breathe out, reminded him Vince was just a text away. Everything was fine. He was fine. Not squirrely around the edges at all.

“Yeah,” he agreed. “I am tired.”

“When’s Vince coming back? Frederic’s been dancing on clouds since Blaire came home.”

“Tomorrow, I think. Depends on Lee.” And how that rankled. It shouldn’t. He didn’t mind Vince’s interest in Lee. He shared it, even. But he missed his lover more than he liked to admit. Vince had a way of filing away the sharp points that herding a bunch of temperamental artist types chiseled into his soul on a daily basis.

“Well. You should meditate tonight. Clear your head a bit.” Alicia smiled at him. “You know what Fjóla says. Meditation ma—”

“Makes your day. Yeah.” He smiled at her as they finished the catch phrase together. “I know. And I will. Promise.” He enjoyed the yoga classes Fjóla held at her tiny studio on Main, and though they rarely spoke outside of work, he’d often seen Alicia there.

“Good. Because tired bosses make for grumpy bosses, and while you might not be my boss, the set is a teensy-tiny little place some days.”

Pete nodded. “It spreads,” he agreed, thinking of Eric’s vibes trickling down to him through the chain-of-command runoff.

She was halfway to the door when he remembered why he’d wanted to talk to her in the first place. “Oh, hey. Alicia?”

“Yeah?” She turned, but kept walking backward. He didn’t blame her. He wanted out of there too.

“Mind if I snag your number from the files so I can text about the Three Player job?”

“Be my guest. I’m not going anywhere. Matty either. He told me to tell you. Just, you know, we sort of come as a matched set these days. He’s gotten good at reading my mind and all that.”

“Perfect. Thanks.”

She waved and was out the door in another second. Pete didn’t have to wait long for the stragglers to make their getaways. It was nice to tell the security company they could lock up, then head home himself.

Once there, it was another matter, though. His little house was tidy, as he liked it, but empty. Normally, he liked the quiet neighborhood. It was a perfect contrast to his hectic job, and better for him than living in downtown LA had ever been. He needed to turn off sometimes. The quiet street; tidy, minimalist house; and Vince all helped him do that.

Only now, the street was too quiet. The house too bare. And Vince too far away.

Follow routine. Routine always made him feel better, so Pete checked his phone for a message one last time, then got himself a glass of milk and a slice of bologna from the fridge. He left a handful of precooked shrimp in a bowl in the sink to defrost for later, and rinsed his glass. He tried texting Vince, but wasn’t surprised when the text went unanswered. He might still be jazzed from work, but it was close to midnight. Vince and Lee were probably asleep.

Together? Lee was hot. Pete wouldn’t deny that. But Vince wouldn’t. Not without talking to Pete first. Would he?

“I need to get out of my head.”

What would Vince have him do?

“Shower first.” Always shower first, rinse the day off. Clean himself, inside and out, even if Vince wasn’t there to use the inside. Act as though he were, and there would never be any surprises.

Pete took his time in the shower, washing from head to toe methodically, letting the gentle spray of the rain shower lull him. When he was done, soft and warm, he wrapped himself in a robe and headed for his meditation space. It was just a tiny spare bedroom, but in the far corner he had set it up with a yoga mat, some candles, and a cabinet to house his various meditation aids. A tall screen shielded his quiet corner from the rest of the room.

On the door side of the screen was a single bed on which he always had clean sheets. A second cabinet held other kinds of relaxation paraphernalia, but those things he didn’t use without Vince there to supervise. As he passed the cabinet, he paused. Vince had locked it with a thin chain and tiny padlock, but he had given Pete the key.

In case you ever need something. You can take it out and put it on the bed. I’ll know you need it. The idea was that having to physically unlock the cabinet made it a conscious thought process, but the simple act of leaving what he longed for on the bed was a freedom of sorts. The actual decision on when and how they would play could be left up to Vince.

Now, Pete stooped, unlocked the cabinet, and perused the contents. There wasn’t anything terribly hard-core. A soft flogger, various sizes of plugs and dildos, a blindfold, a ball gag, silk ties for restraint. He removed a silicone dildo and the flogger, placed them neatly, side by side, on the foot of the bed, then locked up the cabinet and proceeded to his meditation area.

A white taper candle, a crystal bowl with water, and his danburite crystal set out on a plank of cedar wood helped him focus. It took a long time, but for a little while, he managed to quiet the endless list-making monster in his head.

It took him even longer to get to sleep. He couldn’t stop thinking about the various scenarios that might ensue when Vince finally got back. His imagination combined the flogger, dildo, and Vince’s promised plug with too many variations to list, not a few of which included Lee and his pretty, angular features and lean body, and Pete ended up having to beat off to get some relief.

On the plus side, the exertion helped to exhaust his brain enough to let him sleep.

* * * * * * *

The door slamming woke Pete, and he all but vaulted from the bed, not bothering with clothes or glasses as he rushed out of the bedroom toward the front of the house.

“Well.” Not Vince’s voice. “That’s a view and a half.” A fuzzy Lee leered at him from the threshold.

“Fuck!” Pete whirled and dashed back to the bedroom, slamming the door in his wake.

“Kitchen, Lee. Now.” Vince issued the order from just inside the kitchen door, but Pete wasn’t looking back to find out if Lee followed it. He didn’t seem the type.

Humiliated, Pete sank to the bed and stared at the spot of carpet between his feet. He heard voices and footsteps, but didn’t bother trying to sort out what was going on. Had Vince texted him to say he’d be home tonight? He was sure he hadn’t. He’d been checking obsessively all day. His phone was in the kitchen, though, so he couldn’t check now. At least, he thought it was. He remembered checking for messages before getting himself a glass of milk when he’d made it home.

A soft knock sounded on the bedroom door.

Pete ignored it.

“I’m coming in, Pete.” The edge to Vince’s voice brooked no argument, so Pete remained where he was and said nothing.

The door latch clicked, the hinges creaked, and the floorboard right inside the threshold squawked as Vince stepped into the room. More creaking of the hinges, then the door latch snicked closed.

“Hey.” Vince sat next to him. “That was something.” He held out Pete’s phone to him. “This was in the fridge.”

“Really?” Pete glared at the phone. It had been a while since he’d done something quite that airheaded.

“A little distracted, were you?” Vince retrieved Pete’s glasses for him from the bedstand and handed them over.

“Must have been.” He settled his glasses on his face, then took the device and unlocked it. A string of texts greeted him.

Leaving for airport now. Flight to Victoria, Ferry to PortA.

Landed. Lee’s in pain and feeling green around the gills. Ferry in 1/2 hr. travel sucks :(

Blaire sent car to meet us. Don’t want to leave Lee alone, so bringing him with. Home soon. He’s bitchy, so brace yourself.

Just got to town. CU in 10

The texts had started around seven that morning, and continued while he’d been laying awake for so long, fantasizing then masturbating, and then—eventually—sleeping. It had been light out when he’d finally dozed off.

“Sorry.” Pete glanced at the time. Almost one in the afternoon. “Overslept I guess.”


“Lee must think—”

“Hey.” Vince swiveled around to face him better. “Don’t worry about what Lee thinks. Are you okay?”

“Besides being humiliated?”

Vince slid a hand under his chin and lifted his face. “Hey. Nothing to be embarrassed about. If he says anything, I’ll shut him up. Don’t worry.”

Pete searched his eyes. “Welcome home,” he offered with a little shrug.

Vince smiled his crooked half a smile at him. Instantly, everything else fell away.

“Come here.” Using the grip on his chin, Vince pulled at him until their lips met.

Pete let his eyes drift closed and Vince’s warmth steal over him. Despite being naked, the shivers melted under Vince’s teasing touches.

Pete lifted a hand to Vince’s face. Slight stubble greeted his fingertips, dancing a spray of delight down his synapses. Vince’s soft lips caressed his, his hand on Pete’s chin held him steady, but not tight. Calm washed over him.

“Better,” Vince said. He wasn’t asking.

Pete dipped his chin. “Yeah.”

“Good.” Vince pulled his robe over Pete’s shoulders, stood, and held out a hand. “Come on.”

“Out there.”

“Out there. We have a house guest.”

Pete nodded and got to his feet. He was being silly. Sex didn’t faze him. It never had, really. He’d just been caught off guard, and he’d been a bit on edge already, and Lee was Vince’s work colleague, not someone to be showing off his morning wood to. Not that it matters, Doyle. Get over yourself.

“Okay.” Pete smiled. “Big boy shorts.”

They walked out hand in hand.

Author Bio:
With most of the hours in the day taken up by a part time job and the full time occupation of raising and schooling two kids, writing is somewhat of an indulgence, but it's the indulgences that keep us sane, right? When not otherwise occupied, like most writers, reading is my relaxation method of choice, and you can find my reviews at Kuriousity and Dark Diva Reviews to let you know what I liked (and occasionally, what I didn't). And just in case there are an extra few minutes in the day, I also help out the admin team abelong to a writer's critique group: Dreaming in Ink. After all, idle hands and all that.



Promo Tour: The Emergent Threat by JF Cain

Title: The Emergent Threat
Author: JF Cain
Series: War Eternal #2
Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Adventure
Release Date: April 8, 2018
Alex risked his soul to reunite with Aranes, the angel he’s in love with, forcing her to make the ultimate sacrifice to save him. Having lost her supernatural powers, Guardians and Exorcists fight tooth and nail to protect her, but they cannot keep the dark forces that are after her away for long.

Aranes’ relationship with Alex also puts him in the crosshairs of Lucifer, who wants the angel for himself and plans to destroy his rival, even if he doesn’t believe that the man is the incarnation of the high-ranking Celestial, Abaddon.

Alex must push himself beyond his limits and use all his wits to thwart Lucifer’s plans. He may be just an ordinary man, but he won't give up his partner without a fight. He’s willing to pay any price, any price except for losing her.

Alex struggled to find some fragments of self-control inside himself that would help him stop kissing her. Pulling back, he lifted his cup and took a sip of coffee in an effort to lessen the sexual tension. He then put a slice of bread on his plate, scooped a knob of butter with his knife and started to spread it on the slice with jerky motions. Right now it was better if he kept his hands busy, otherwise he’d lay them on her again, and this time there would be no power strong enough to rip them off of her.

“I hope the changes you were talking about will be pleasant ones,” he said in a relatively calm voice, resuming the discussion. He spread some honey on his slice and started to chew, feigning indifference.

“In the end, yes,” Aranes replied, preparing him for what she expected would happen.

“What do you mean, exactly?” Alex asked warily.

“You know that everything has a price. You didn’t get where you are now without making any sacrifices,” she reminded him.

Alex practically flung the slice of bread onto his plate and turned to look at her. An ominous shadow had darkened his gaze.

“I’m prepared to do anything. The only sacrifice I won’t make is to lose you again,” he stated categorically.

Aranes rested her hand on his naked biceps.

“I will always be with you,” she assured him, her expression showing that she intended to keep her word.

Her steady gaze and the determination in her voice calmed Alex somewhat.

“Are you sure?” he asked more gently. “Because if that means that you’ll be with me in the way you were before, then you haven’t understood what I mean.” The thought of being without her again wounded him deeply. Not even he knew what he would do if that happened.

“I don’t know what will happen in the future,” Aranes replied. “What I can promise you is that I’ll do everything in my power so that we don’t ever part.”

Troubled, Alex turned to gaze at the ocean stretching out in front of the mansion. He believed that the Power that had allowed her to leave would someday claim her again. You didn’t need to be especially clever to realize that there was an important reason behind such a critical decision. And it definitely didn’t concern his soul. In theory, countless souls were lost every day. What was so special about his that It would send the most valuable Angel to save him from Lucifer’s grasp?

Aranes didn’t need to hear his thoughts, his expression said it all.

“Worry and negativity won’t help,” she said, her tender gaze caressing his darkened expression. “Remember that nothing is impossible for those who truly love. No matter what it is they love.”

“There’s no doubt about that,” Alex agreed, knowing that there was nothing he wouldn’t do to keep her by his side.

“Then why are you afraid?” she asked.

His sense of pride rebelled.

“The only thing I’m afraid of is losing you. Absolutely nothing else,” he declared, his gaze filled with intensity.

“It is the same for me,” Aranes replied calmly.

Her statement was a welcome surprise to Alex. Her loving him was different than her also having the same fear of losing him. If she didn’t want it, then no power would be able to take her from him. No one would separate them. One possibility suddenly popped into his mind. That the Angel he loved had forced the Source to let her leave, which is why It had taken away her powers. It had likely resented Aranes’ behavior and the wounds on her back were the biggest proof of it. This explained things better, and the sacrifice that the celestial being gazing at him with love had made now increased in value.

What Others Are Saying:
✯✯✯✯✯ -- Ray Simmons at Readers’ Favorite
The writing and the metaphysical considerations, as well as the biblical tone of this book, kept me reading and enthralled. The concepts of good and evil, and the balance that must be maintained between them, is portrayed with an expert touch. The way the universe is put together is very well thought out, and the plot and subplots are written with the deft pen of a master. J.F. Cain should be very proud of this novel and I hope the series goes on for a long time. 

✯✯✯✯✯ -- Publishers Daily Reviews
Just as in the first book, Cain thoroughly imbues her well-defined characters with style and immense believability. From epic Biblical battle scenes to steamy, yet restrained, sexual interludes, this book once again measures up mightily to expectations, giving readers still more of everything a fan of this genre might expect -- and then some.
Five-plus stars to this sensational sequel. While many long-awaited sequels fall short of expectations, The Emergent Threat proves to be more than equal to the task. It's a triumph in storytelling that should move author J.F. Cain to the forefront of her genre. 

Angels' Whispers #1
Alex Meyers, a dynamic, global entrepreneur, has an advantage that no other human has ever had: he is protected by Aranes, the Superior of the Angels. While he is skiing, he dies in an avalanche, but his all-powerful protector breaks one of the ethereal world’s most important Rules and brings him back to life. Alex falls head over heels in love with the beautiful Angel, who appears to him in human form. But she disappears just as suddenly as she had appeared.

While he searches for Aranes, Alex discovers her true identity and that he actually might be the high-ranking Celestial Abaddon, who is mentioned in the Revelations prophecy as the one who will defeat Lucifer.

The man who fate has thrust among the world’s superpowers is now living a nightmare. He wants to evade Lucifer’s pursuit, find out who he truly is and once again see the only being he has ever loved. And the only way to do it is to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Angels' Whispers is the beginning of an epic tale set in modern times. The eternal war between Light and Darkness is at a critical turning point: Angels and Demons, invisible to mortal beings, battle for dominance in the physical world, while Guardians, vampires and werewolves, who live among the humans, find themselves on opposing sides in a deadly power game.

J.F. CainAuthor Bio:
J. F. Cain is a writer with a restless mind who spent years of her life reading and traveling. But of all the places she has been to, her favorite is a house in the mountains where she can focus on her writing.

She is a seeker of knowledge who transcribes the results of her studies in her books. Her favorite pastime –other than reading and writing– is scouring libraries.

However, she has lately convinced herself that she enjoys shopping just as much, as well as spending time with family and friends – the few that can still tolerate her frequent and extended periods of absence.

The Emergent Threat #2

Angels' Whispers #1

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