Cover Reveal: Full Circle by Riley Hart


I’m very excited to present the next upcoming release from my buddy Riley Hart, the sequel to her awesome emotional menage story, Broken Pieces. Full Circle is coming out in September 2014! Add it to your Goodreads TBR, now!

FULL CIRCLE Cover

Cover Photo by Jackson Photografix

 

About Full Circle:

Nothing in life is ever easy, and no one is more painfully aware of that than Josiah Evans, Mateo Sanchez, and Tristan Croft. They know what they want—each other—but with three people as broken as they are, all those pieces aren’t so easily mended.Josiah is their glue. All he wants is to give his men what they need.Mateo wants to absolve himself of his sins. To be worthy of love and to protect it.

Tristan must let go of his past, must learn how to need, and what it really means to take care of someone.

To keep the balance intact, they all have their roles to play. But what happens if the balance shifts? What happens when someone doesn’t play the right part? If one of them falters, they all feel the strain.

The only way to complete their full circle is for all their pieces, despite the curves and rough edges, to fit together perfectly. To do that, Josiah, Mateo, and Tristan must learn to get over the pasts that have defined who they are. And when an old enemy returns and threatens the foundation of their new life, decisions will be made, and boundaries will be tested that could change their lives forever.

Excerpt:
Unedited and subject to change.
CHAPTER ONE
Josiah
 
Josiah stood in the middle of the building that would soon be his coffee house. In the two weeks since they’d gotten Rhonda back, and Tristan had come home to Josiah and Teo, things hadn’t stopped moving. They hadn’t had much time for anything between Tristan being busy at work, getting Rhonda settled back into her apartment, and now this. This being his dream—the one thing Tristan and Teo had both insisted they made time to get done, sooner rather than later.
            In so many ways, Josiah owed Teo his life. Teo had physically saved him more than once and now he owed Tristan his dream—the only thing beside the two men standing next to him that he felt could complete him, in a way. Because they did complete Josiah.
            Josiah turned to Tristan in his perfect suit, and studied the sharp cut of his jaw. Leaning over, Josiah kissed him there. “I can’t believe you did this for me.” Though he really could believe it. Tristan was like Teo in that he didn’t realize how big his heart was—at least when it came to Josiah.
            “It’s nothing.” Tristan shook his head, uncomfortable with praise, as always. That was something they needed to work on. Both his guys did.
            “Think of it as a business investment. I don’t waste money on things that I don’t feel are important—on things where I don’t see a profit.”
            Josiah rolled his eyes. Tristan could play this off however he wanted. Josiah knew the truth. As did Mateo and Tristan himself. He’d done this because he loved Josiah. Josiah didn’t doubt that, even if Tristan hadn’t said it again since the one time the words left his lips two weeks before.
            There had never been a second he believed everything would get magically fixed in that one night but they were on the right path. They’d get there, and things were better.
            “We shoulda’ brought beer. Aren’t you supposed to drink somethin’ to celebrate shit like this?” Mateo stepped around them, fingering one of the earrings in his ear.
            Josiah watched him, wondering how this happened. How he not only fell in love with an ex-gang member and a state prosecutor, but how they were all three lucky enough to fall in love with each other.
            “Wine. You drink wine on occasions like this. Or champagne, actually. I promise, I’ll convert you one day.” Tristan stopped beside Teo, a half-smile on his lips.
            “Nope. Never gonna happen. That shit’s too stuffy for me. It’s for rich, white guys.”
            Tristan stepped closer to Mateo and Josiah just watched. He loved watching his men interact with each other—thrived on the light moments they had where they could laugh and tease because they were too few and far between.
            Tristan held Teo’s chin between his thumb and first finger. “And yet I’m sure you never saw yourself enjoying a rich, white man. That changed, as will the rest.”
            Teo jerked out of Tristan’s grasp but there was a small grin on his lips. “White boys are my downfall. Come ‘ere, Jay.”
            Little jolts of electricity fired beneath Josiah’s skin, at the deep, husky sound of Teo’s voice. Both of these men could do that to him, turn him on, turn him inside out with just a word. With just a look.
            Josiah moved forward, stopping in front of Teo, who leaned against the counter. Tristan stood next to them both, facing them. This time, it was Teo who grabbed Josiah’s chin, except he only tilted it up as he leaned forward. His mouth covered Josiah’s gently…always so tender when he touched Josiah. It was different than the way he handled Tristan, than the way Tristan handled either of them, with wild hunger.
            How could he love something that was basically the opposite in both of them? Loved the way Teo was always so careful with him, treasuring Josiah as though he had to protect him, even in something like a kiss; while at the same time, loving that Tristan knew he didn’t have to be. Or maybe he didn’t know how to be. He felt the passion in them both—one gentle and the other fierce but each equally strong. Funny, that it was the man who’d seen death, who had delivered death that had the need for the softness.
            Teo’s tongue dipped into Josiah’s mouth, owning it the same way Tristan did when he kissed Josiah. Teo was the first man he’d had his mouth on, and he knew it as well as he knew his own. Knew the feel of Teo’s tender press of lips, knew the difference between his facial hair rubbing against Josiah’s compared to the texture of Tristan’s.
Josiah stepped between his legs, their bodies touching.
Too soon, Teo pulled back, before turning his head Tristan’s direction. His other lover gave a short, almost curt looking nod. When he did, Teo leaned Tristan’s way this time.
            Josiah still stood between Mateo’s legs as he took in the sight of his lovers kissing, and eased Tristan’s fingers away from his pulse as Tristan let Mateo lead the kiss. Tristan’s hand tightened around Josiah, as though Josiah was giving him something in this moment too.
            Maybe others wouldn’t understand it. Josiah had no doubt they wouldn’t but he knew he gave Tristan as much as Mateo did as they kissed. Knew the three men all gave each other something they needed.
            When Mateo pulled away from Tristan, Tristan spoke. “I seem to remember the two of you planning to get dirty for me in here.”
            “We will,” Mateo promised him.
            “You have to get dirty with us, though.” Josiah still held Tristan’s hand. He placed his other on Teo’s abdomen.
            Another nod from Tristan. “I will.” And then he let go of Josiah’s hand and cupped his face. “You deserve this place. It…” He closed his eyes, let out a breath, and then opened them again. “It’s important for me to be able to do this for you. I need to do this for you.”
            Josiah’s heart started going wild the way only these two men could do to him. He knew Tristan felt like he let people down in his life, that he tried to make up for it the only way he could. Helping Josiah get his coffee house was another way for him to do that, and Josiah loved him for it. Turning slightly, he kissed Tristan’s hand. “No, you don’t. Having you is enough, but thank you. This means the world to me.”
            Tristan stepped back and glanced at the door as though someone walked in, as though someone could see them through the closed blinds. “Mateo is right. We should celebrate.”
            The three of them had never had much to celebrate in their lives. They were three broken men, three broken pieces, that only worked when they were together.
            “Yeah, Jay and I will be bustin’ our asses on this place soon. We should celebrate while we can,” Teo said.
            “We can grab some dinner on the way home—”
            “No.” Josiah interrupted Tristan’s reply. “I’ll cook.” He loved making meals for his men.
            “How did I know you’d say that?” Tristan smirked.
            “Because you’re a smart guy. Be smarter and don’t argue with him. I like his cookin’.” Teo winked, and then the three men walked out of what would be Josiah’s coffee house, and headed home. Together.
Bio:
Riley Hart is the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s a hopeless romantic. A lover of sexy stories, passionate men, and writing about all the trouble they can get into together. If she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her reading. Riley lives in California with her awesome family, who she is thankful for everyday.

Guest Blog: Breaking Rules by Kathryn Scannell


Many thanks to Kathryn for her thought-provoking guest blog! I LOVE exploring the concept of non-monogamous relationships, and we would love to get some feedback on what you readers think! 

I’m also going to remind the viewing audience at this time that this is an over-18 blog. There’s a very adult excerpt at the end!

Breaking Rules

Every genre has its rules, its convention, and breaking them is risky. Romance has more than many other genres, and some are so unbreakable that if you violate them your story ceases to be romance, and becomes something else in most people’s eyes. The ending is one of these – if you don’t provide a happily ever after, a happy for now, or at least the promise of one, you should call your story something else.

Heterosexual romance in its most traditional form has even more iron-clad conventions. The dashing, roguish alpha hero is virtually a requirement, as is the heroine whose life he completes. In the romances of thirty years ago (and even today in some subgenres) your heroine must be a virgin, and stay that way until just after you type “The end”. Personally I always thought it was appropriate that one of my grandmother’s insomniac friends used those as sleep aids, but that’s a matter of taste. I mean no offense to any readers who like that genre.

A lot of those rules are bending or being broken now. Erotic romance is probably outselling the old sweet romances which had no sex in them. And then there are the ménage romances. But they tend to cling to the active hero – passive heroine model in many cases. That one is harder to shake than the virginity trope.

One of the things that I enjoy about writing M/M romance is the fact that a lot of these rules and conventions just don’t apply. Readers in this genre are open to a romance where the people involved are partners, not an alpha and a supporter. You can certainly write a story with a dominant partner and one who falls into the more passive, supportive role, which roughly maps to the traditional alpha male and heroine model, but you don’t have to. Or you can have them swap roles – perhaps one is more dominant in public matters like managing the household and submissive when they get into the bedroom. The key point is that you can move outside the box and people don’t throw the book down in horror. That leaves a lot more territory to play with.

There are still some conventions though. If you’re writing romance, there needs to be a relationship, and as a general rule, people tend to assume that means monogamy, or possibly a threesome. The notion of a committed relationship in which you stop having relationships with others besides the other people in the relationship with you is the default in modern American society.

But just because something is the default shouldn’t make other options out of the question. It merely makes them a bit exotic. I submit that it’s quite possible to have multiple romantic relationships as long as two fundamental requirements are met:

  • You have to be absolutely honest about what’s going on with anyone you’re in a relationship with.
  • A new relationship you undertake can’t be something which hurts the person or persons you’ve already made commitments with

These kinds of relationships are tricky, particularly in our culture where they’re looked at oddly, and have no standards to model themselves on. You have to work out the mechanics among the involved parties. That involves more talking than most couple do about their relationships. By which I mean being honest about needs and desires, not just saying “I love you”, although saying that early and often is a good idea too, as long as it’s true.

I’ve seen these kinds of relationships in real life fail spectacularly, but I’ve also seen them succeed. Two friends of mine became even more sappily romantic with each other after they decided to be poly, and she got another boyfriend. It was a revelation to watch.

It’s more likely to work in a culture where it’s considered normal. My new novel, Embracing the Dragon, involves just such a culture. Both Elves and Tengri are very long lived, and have astonishingly high sex drives. Trying to limit yourself to a single partner for a lifetime that spans thousands of years would try the fidelity and patience of a saint. They don’t even consider it. They do marry, but it’s as much about property and politics as about love and sex.

Despite that, the interpersonal issues come up. How do you deal with it when you love two people who can’t stand each other? Even in a culture where it’s expected that you’ll have romantic relationships with multiple people, often overlapping in time, that’s a hard question to answer. And hard questions lead to interesting stories. This one led eventually to Embracing the Dragon.

Email: Kathryn.scannell@gmail.com

Website: http://www.kathrynscannell.com

Blog: http://kathryn-scannell.dreamwidth.org

—-

Embracing the Dragon is available in various electronic formats from Torquere Press:

http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=3116

Blurb:

Danny O’Riordan’s life was complicated before he had the vision of a past life that forced him to admit to himself that he was bisexual. There’s a war going on, and being Liegeman to Aran, the Elven King of Avalon puts Danny squarely in the middle of the politics of two worlds, Earth and Avalon. Adding a romantic relationship to the mix could be explosive.

His lover from that previous life has been reborn as Mordellir, the ruler of the Tengri Empire. The Dragon of Heaven is the most powerful person in his world. Will he want Danny back once he knows he’s been reborn? If he does, how far will he go to get his way?

Danny knows it isn’t smart to get involved with the Dragon of Heaven. Aran hates the Tengri. Following his heart and renewing that old relationship with Mordellir will leave him torn between his commitment to Aran and those old feelings which are still frighteningly strong. If he yields to tempation, can he balance his love for both men?

Email: Kathryn.scannell <at> gmail.com

Website: http://www.kathrynscannell.com

Blog: http://kathryn-scannell.dreamwidth.org

In this excerpt from Embracing the Dragon, Danny O’Riordan is attempting to come to terms with the possibility that he may be interested in men as well as women. He’s approached his good friend and liege lord, Aran, to help him explore the issue.  Danny is an empath, which adds an extra level of interaction to the scene.

“Well, then, let’s focus on more immediate issues,” Aran grinned. “I have a handsome young human here, waiting to be introduced to the wonders of ancient Elven sex secrets. That’s much more fun.”

“Ancient Elven sex secrets?” Danny choked on his drink. “Where did you get that line?”

“Gareth assures me it works quite well on the ladies,” Aran replied cheerfully. “Well, if you’re not going to buy it, we’ll just have to settle for doing things the ordinary way.” Aran leaned forward and brushed his lips with a kiss, so quickly that Danny hardly registered it before it was done.

“You’ve never had a chance to explore a man’s body, have you?” Aran asked gently.

Danny shook his head. His feelings were very mixed. He was enjoying Aran’s nearness, but his fear of what he might discover held him still.

“Let’s start with that. I have too many clothes on for you to do it properly. I could use some help with that.” Aran prodded him gently. “If you want this to happen you have to take a little of the initiative. I want it, but you have to contribute, too.”

“All right,” Danny said a little shakily. He reached out and began unbuttoning Aran’s tunic. Some of the old memories surfaced again. He’d done this with Demeth, and he’d enjoyed it. Danny paused in his unbuttoning to slide a hand inside the half open tunic and stroke the bare chest beneath, passing gently over the sensitive nipples. He felt Aran’s pleasure in it, and smiled. “You’re right. I do need to take some initiative.” He finished unbuttoning the silk tunic and let it slide off. He ran his hands over Aran’s bare chest and shoulders, giving Aran little shivers of delight.

As he did, he let himself look at Aran from this new perspective. Aran was lightly built, but his muscles were clearly defined, the product of years of practical exercise riding, fencing, and shooting a bow. Danny’s hands, tanned by wind and sun, and callused from knife and sword hilts, were dark by comparison as he ran them over Aran’s chest. Aran’s skin felt like silk. Like most Elves he had little body hair. They rarely even grew beards or moustaches until they were well past adulthood. Aran had no hint of one yet. He looked young, not a teenager any longer, but not far past it. Danny knew better though. Elves lived a long time, and grew up slowly. Aran was more than 1500 years old. Still he looked and often acted eighteen, and it was easy to forget how much older he was, until he referred casually to having seen some event that Danny knew only from history books.

Aran reached out and slid the dressing gown off Danny’s shoulders. Danny slid his arms out of the sleeves, then turned his attention back to his own explorations. After a few minutes, Aran drew him into an embrace. Danny stroked Aran’s back, hands moving slowly down toward the waist of his pants. Aran looked down to gaze into Danny’s eyes, and Danny felt Aran’s desire. His own stirred in response. Aran leaned down to begin a kiss. It might have been meant to be another quick brush, but this time Danny was ready, and responded. It grew deeper, and Danny slid his tongue into Aran’s mouth, exploring it. Aran’s own tongue met his, and they moved together in a sort of dance. Danny’s cock swelled, as he felt Aran’s interest rising. They were lost in each other for long moments, until Danny finally broke off to breathe.

The dressing gown had fallen entirely unheeded onto the couch, leaving Danny naked. He let his hands continue traveling down Aran, exploring. After a moment he found the waist of Aran’s pants, and unbuttoned them. Aran rose gracefully from the couch to let the pants slip off, kicking off his soft indoor shoes as he did so. Danny slid to his knees in front of Aran, continuing to explore Aran’s body with his hands. Aran moaned softly in pleasure as Danny ran his hands down Aran’s bare ass, then forward to converge on his erect cock. Danny stared at it in fascination. He’d never really looked at one before. He knew his own well, but that was from the inside, or by touch. He stroked it, feeling it quiver in response. Gently he slid the foreskin back, watching the shaft swell as he touched it. He wasn’t really thinking about what he was doing anymore. Aran’s pleasure and arousal wrapped around him like a fog, and his own rose to match it.

As it did, Aran grasped his shoulder to steady himself, and moaned again. Then his back arched as he came, releasing a jet of semen which Danny barely dodged. He collapsed back onto the couch, panting.

“Oh, Danny. I wasn’t expecting that yet,” Aran grinned broadly. “Come back up here with me. I want to enjoy you, too.”

Danny joined him on the couch. Now that the moment had passed he felt awkward again. Had the interest and pleasure Aran was broadcasting carried him along, or did he have instincts that he’d never let himself see? He still wasn’t sure.