Book Blitz & Excerpt: The Role + Giveaway

The Role Banner

The Role, by A.B. Wilson

Word Count: 85,241
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 328

GENRES:

CELEBRITIES
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
FRIENDS TO LOVERS

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Book Description

Thrown together on the set of a failing TV show, Alina and Markus must navigate the spotlight together as a couple or risk cancellation.

Rebuild. That’s Markus’ plan after a disastrous role and explosive public breakup with the girl he thought was The One. The bit part he originally agreed to take on after losing a bet now seems like his last opportunity to pull his career back from the brink. When he walks onto the set, he finds a TV show on the verge of cancellation and the paparazzi circling like vultures watching for what—or who—he’ll try to do next.

When Markus is introduced to the director’s muse and the show’s on-location assistant producer, Alina, sparks start to fly and the two strike up a tentative friendship among the lights and cameras of the gossipy set. The ambitious and hard-working Alina has zero interest in getting sucked into Markus’ celebrity gossip drama, but she may not have a choice as one disaster after another befalls the set.

A chance screen test and some serious groveling by the show’s director leads to Markus and Alina taking on major roles in a desperate attempt to save the show from network cancellation. Now in front of the camera, Markus and Alina are bound together as love interests and the line between private and public starts to blur. As life begins to imitate art, Markus and Alina get ground to dust by the celeb gossip mill seeking the ‘real’ story behind the two of them. If they can come back from this and save the show, they’ll be the next Hollywood power couple.

Reader advisory: This book contains discussion of mental health, specifically anxiety and depression. There is mention of emotional abuse by an ex, cheating, revenge porn, alcohol abuse and major media intrusion.

Excerpt

“Cut! Again, from the top!” Michael Burch’s exasperated demand echoed through the hot, humid Savannah night. Again. In that very specific tone that always led to threats of firing, alligator tears and requests for cold compresses. We weren’t going anywhere until his perfectionist, directorial ass was damn well satisfied. It could be hours.

We’d been on set since five in the morning and it was going on midnight. Cast and crew alike looked like they’d been ridden hard and put away wet. To be fair, we should have known it was going to be a rough one when he’d demanded that we “seize the day and chase the light” as we assembled before sunrise, clutching our coffee cups like zombies.

I glanced around and found everyone staring at me. Humidity-induced split-end halos around everyone’s head and sweat stains for days. Alina, save us. You’re our only hope, they silently implored.

They weren’t wrong. In addition to being one of the underpaid, overworked assistant producers for Southern Gods, Michael had decided that I was his ‘official’ muse of the season and thus responsible for inspiring him. All because I’d given him a small handful of ideas that had played well with the network folks and he’d decided that having a muse meant he was a legitimate artist. It was truly ludicrous, but as one of maybe two people Michael listened to these days, I was probably the only person within a hundred miles who could come close to putting out tonight’s dumpster fire.

The last few weeks on location in Georgia had been brutal with the unrelenting July heat and an unfortunate, possibly sexcapades-based injury that had sidelined our lead actor. With him out, I’d scrambled, shuffled and sweet-talked the senior producers to rush a much-anticipated guest star to the set two weeks early. The crowning jewel for the season—German actor Markus Shellenberg, total A-lister and critics’ darling.

Getting Markus onboard in the first place had been an absolute genius move by Michael. The show was floundering and there were rumors running rampant that the network execs had us on the chopping block. We were hoping that this superstar guest appearance would keep us limping along for another season.

Accompanied by the sighs of relief and muttered prayers for sanity and hope from my fellow crew members, I approached Michael, rubbing my gritty eyes. “Michael, boss man, we’ve got to call it. The level of overtime we’re handing out is going to get us in heaps of trouble with the network, there is zero moonlight for us to work with, and I think we’re all hallucinating.”

He laughed as he laser-stared us all down. “Lazy asses,” he said semi-affectionately. “Fine. I hate overtime and you’re all useless anyways. We’ll pick it back up in a few hours.”

Muted cheers followed. Everyone started to disperse to break down the set before heading to the trailers, rentals and hotel for showers and much-needed sleep.

As the last person filed out, Michael turned to me with a stern look in his eye and a twitching vein in his forehead. “You were right this time, but don’t ever undercut my authority again. We are way fucking behind here, and Markus is showing up tomorrow. Do you have the updated shooting schedule ready for me?”

Inured to his rapid mood swings at this point, I responded, “You’ve got it, boss. Dropped it to your phone. Do you want me to forward it to the rest of the cast once you’ve approved it?”

“No, I’ve got it. Jesus. Go get some sleep. You look like death.”

“Thanks,” I muttered. “See you in a few hours. Five o’clock again?”

“Seize the light, Alina. We’re gonna seize it by the fucking balls, twist ‘em, and make that light our bitch.” He flounced off and I was left shaking my head trying to dislodge the disturbing visual that I knew would be bouncing around my brain like a ping pong ball, keeping me awake.

After another hour tidying up, I checked out Markus’ soon-to-be trailer to make sure it was set up correctly. It looked like his extensive rider had been fulfilled—one of the assistants had even managed to track down the weird German muesli and kefir—and I quickly buzzed security to make sure that protocols were adapted for Markus’ arrival. They confirmed and I considered passing out for the four hours until the morning’s call on the micro-suede couch in the fancy-schmancy trailer. Maybe for a second. God, I’m so fucking tired.

I slumped down and began to work out the knots in my neck with my thumbs. The last two years had been a brutal effort to climb the ladder in a completely new field and build a life in Los Angeles, a city that was equally beguiling and terrifying for this girl from the Windy City. It hadn’t been easy, but I’d clawed my way up from minimum-wage production assistant to assistant producer on Southern Gods in record time thanks to a previous connection to Michael.

After next season, for which he’d offered me an assistant director credit in lieu of my current title and muse status, I hoped I could finally cut ties with Michael and get out on my own. I wanted to focus on horror and action films—not genres that women were typically known for—and that A.D. credit would catapult me above my competition for jobs. It was rare to achieve it in as little time as I had, but I’d worked my ass off and refused to feel guilty about maxing out my connections to support my efforts.

Ping! A text from my best friend, Candace, a makeup artist on the show, pulled me completely away from the half-assed neck massage that had almost put me under.

Hey girl, you coming home soon? Wanna warn you that Ethan and Rory are here tonight. Put your earplugs in. 😉

Jealousy, amusement and exhaustion warred within me when I read her message. I loved my roommate and her completely open poly life, but the last thing I wanted to hear that night was anyone having sex. It stood to reason that if I was on a two-year hiatus from dating, everyone else should be too.

Me: Ugh, fine. Don’t they each have large personal suites for y’all to play in?

Candace: Yeah, but our place has better ambiance. Ya kno, nevermind. We’ll go to their place. Sorry for bugging you.

Me: All good. Finishing up with Markus’s trailer. Home soon.

Candace: Oooh. Maybe leave him a naked picture to welcome him? You need to get laid, like yesterday.

Me: Hiatus, remember? Men are untrustworthy assholes, relationships are for the weak. You know it, otherwise you’d be locked down with your two himbos.

Candace: Giiiiirrrrllll…watch it. Me and my himbos can still come to our place. Haha. Get some sleep, see ya in the morning – ily!

After sending her an eyeroll emoji, I pocketed my phone, stood up and stretched until my joints popped and eyes watered. My shirt rode up and I tugged it down self-consciously, not that anyone was around to see the muffin tops that had formed as I ate my way through the heavenly culinary scene in Savannah. I needed to figure out a way to get out for a hike or some climbing on my upcoming morning off, and whipped out my phone again and made a voice memo for one of my eternally updating list-making apps.

With a sigh that could have moved mountains, I reminded myself that everything was going to be fine, that these hiccups and delays, the minor catastrophes of the last week, were about to be resolved. Hopefully. Along with everyone else on set, I had been infected by a weird sense of excitement the minute we’d received confirmation that our guest star was on his way. Markus Shellenberg was a massive deal in the industry and I would have been a total liar if I said I hadn’t at least considered his droolworthy characteristics. I mean, he’d alternated between an outright win and a much-contested second place for People magazine’s Hottest Man in the World for the last five years running—and we all knew those alternating runners-up were just to be nice to the rest of the masculine universe.

I shook my head to dislodge the Shellenberg-induced cobwebs and finally made my way out of the door and into the night. So this was where my life stood—masquerading as a muse to get a step up on the ladder, battling stress pudge and the ever-changing whims of a certified artiste, and an exciting new colleague who was the hall pass for pretty much anyone and everyone attracted to men. Woof.

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About the Author

A.B. Wilson

Amanda (A.B.) Wilson is the pen name for a heat-seeking librarian from the upper Midwest. Long after her sassy five year old and long-suffering husband go to bed, she writes steamy, escapist contemporary romances about celebrities, athletes, and billionaires—with a twist. Amanda loves connecting with readers, so hit her up on her website for newsletter sign-up, blog posts, general contacts, and social media.

You can also follow Amanda on Instagram.

Giveaway

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A.B. Wilson’s The Role Giveaway

ENTER HERE AND GET A FREE EBOOK FROM THE AUTHOR! Notice: This competition ends on 24th August 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

Book Blitz & Excerpt: The Billionaire and the Escort + Giveaway

The Billionaire and the Escort

The Billionaire and the Escort, by Evelyn Mahony

General Release Date: 3rd Aug 2021

Word Count: 81,084
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 283

Genres:

BILLIONAIRE
CELEBRITIES
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
FAKE RELATIONSHIPS
GAY
GLBTQI

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Book Description

 

In the world of high-end escorts, getting personal is never part of the arrangement.

When Josh Roberts became a male escort, there was no room for emotions. They went against the job description. He had a full appointment book and enough clients to pay the bills. There was definitely no time to get attached to an older, extremely successful, incredibly gorgeous man who paid for his services.

But Josh can’t turn down the money that has started rolling in, along with the gifts and the opportunity to live in the lap of luxury as the man flies him around the world to play pretend as his boyfriend. How on earth is he supposed to say no? Especially once he starts falling for his client.

James Barnwell is the successful CEO of Winter Luxury Resorts who stumbled upon Josh Roberts in a dark, high-end bar in midtown Manhattan. The young man was cocky, young, beautiful and offered James exactly what he was looking for—the chance to be with a man who knew the ropes and offered no opportunity to get attached. James had a lucrative business to run and meetings all over the world to attend. Having someone by his side would just weigh him down—or so he thinks, until he finds himself caring deeply for the man he pays for companionship, and it completely changes his world.

Two men are trying to play make believe—until they realize their sham might be closer to reality than they thought.

Excerpt

The bar wasn’t too busy for a Friday night. Soulful jazz filled the air of the midtown Manhattan hot spot that attracted wealthy businessmen and young, single, gold-digging women. Not many people came here unless they were looking to settle a big business deal or celebrate one—or, of course, if they were looking for one of those drunk, happy, successful men to take them home.

Which was why Josh Roberts was here tonight. He didn’t necessarily belong there. He wasn’t on Wall Street, wasn’t a millionaire, wasn’t a CEO or even someone who worked for a CEO. No, he was a college graduate with an art degree…and a booming business as an escort.

He hadn’t always been an escort. It was a fairly new profession he’d taken up by accident. It was a strange story to tell someone he didn’t know, and honestly, the industry was so hush hush that not many asked. But he didn’t mind getting paid for taking people out and sleeping with them. It had been odd at first, but it paid the bills—and beyond—and he was good at it now. He had a pretty full calendar, already booked a month out with regulars who took very good care of him financially. At twenty-four years old, he was well on his way to paying off his school loans and saving for the art gallery he hoped to open one day. And he was able to help pay his mother’s mortgage on the Brooklyn townhouse he’d grown up in. That alone made it worth it.

His mother didn’t know what he did—of course she didn’t. She couldn’t. He wouldn’t allow her to refuse his money. He didn’t live at home anymore, but she was his only family. He couldn’t risk losing or disappointing her. She was beyond supportive and would give him the benefit of any doubt…unless she knew he was being paid for sex. She wouldn’t be able to understand that. And honestly…sometimes he wasn’t sure he did. But it was satisfying his bank account, keeping food on the table, a roof over his head and more—so he kept it up. His art couldn’t pay him the way this could.

As he leaned against the end of the long mahogany bar, he surveyed the men in attendance, sipping his Old Fashioned. He wasn’t too much of a drinker and he needed to keep his wits about him when he was working—especially in a place like this. Class meant everything.

There weren’t many options this particular evening. Josh had a way of seeking out the ones who might be susceptible to his services. He worked with a lot of referrals, but tonight he’d been open and available, so he’d decided to head out and offer his services to someone in need of a good time. So far, that hadn’t been playing out too well for him. Most of the men were older, wearing rings or a little too drunk for Josh’s liking.

His gaze settled on a handsome guy in the middle of the bar who was sitting with a pretty blonde woman to his right. When Josh had first watched them, the man had been engaged as the woman had approached. He’d offered her a smile and invited her to join him.

That had been about an hour ago, however, and now the man looked somewhat tortured. He’d downed three Scotches in that time frame and was asking the bartender for another. A man in a suit stood a few feet behind him, but Josh suspected he was security of some sort, as that man had an earpiece and hadn’t had a drink all night. It made Josh curious as he watched, wondering who the guy was and why he’d need security in a bar like this. And if the man standing behind him was security, how come he wasn’t saving him from the ditz currently droning on and on about some nail polish line?

Josh finished his drink and was about to pay his tab and try his luck elsewhere when the blonde excused herself. He couldn’t hear if she would be gone for a minute or for the night, but he watched the guy’s shoulders sag slightly in what looked like relief as soon as she was a few feet away. Josh had a moment to make up his mind. Give it a shot or head out…?

The man was beautiful, about six feet tall with thick, dark hair that matched his beard. Even in the dim light, Josh could tell his temples were graying. It was a good look on the guy…fitting. Josh could see laugh lines around his eyes, no ring, a royal blue suit with a white shirt underneath and no tie. He was well dressed but not stuffy.

Josh glanced down at his own chocolate-brown three-piece suit. Being so young, he had to overcompensate to fit in. But for the man across the bar, the unbuttoned collar of his white shirt and the playful mid-range blue of his suit gave off the opposite feel, and it worked well for him. Is he into men? Josh couldn’t tell from where he stood. But he was visibly bored of his female companion, so Josh took a chance and headed his way.

“That looked brutal,” he remarked as he stood a barstool’s distance away from the man. The guy peered up at Josh with a raised eyebrow, taking Josh by surprise.

“Was I fakin’ it poorly?” The attractive man—even more attractive up close than he had been from across the bar—winced with a half-smile. Josh glanced up at the woman over his head, watching her gait slow as she returned from the direction of the restroom and saw Josh standing in her place.

“Well, she’s coming back, if that helps you feel any better about your acting skills.” His new companion cursed under his breath and took a long swig from the rocks’ glass.

“Maybe she’ll think we’re talkin’ business and find someone else to talk to?” He looked up at Josh, questioning, and he raked his gaze subtly over Josh’s suit. He wasn’t sizing Josh up. He was actually looking him over. Josh felt a little proud as he pretended not to notice. “Need a drink?”

“Sure.” Josh took the invitation coolly to avoid seeming eager and settled into the seat the woman had occupied before him. Her expression was clearly one of annoyance, but he watched her turn to find another rich man to fawn over. Phew. “Old Fashioned. Rocks. Thanks.”

The man nodded and quickly grabbed the bartender’s attention. Drink ordered, he turned back to Josh, seemingly still curious. “Nice suit.”

“Thank you.” Josh couldn’t stop the flush that heated his cheeks. Compliments always did him in, especially when the man was looking at him with those haunting steel eyes in a way that Josh hardly ever noticed his own clients looking at him.

“I appreciate you saving me,” he began, settling his gaze on Josh’s face. Josh held his look with the smallest of smiles. “Not many men would do that. They’d probably just enjoy watching me be miserable.” He huffed a laugh, and raised one side of his lips in a true half smile. “It’s not that she was a terrible gal or anything. She just…isn’t my type.” The way he said it gave Josh everything he needed to know to push on with his own agenda.

“I couldn’t bear to watch you sit through another monologue about wearing blue nail polish in the fall.” Josh mimicked her slightly, and he was pleased when the attractive man chuckled. He sipped his beverage, thoughtful. “Don’t like small blondes?” Josh then asked, licking his lips and savoring the taste of his new drink. He said it a little teasingly but was surprised when the guy just looked toward him and eyed him up and down slowly.

“I think I prefer them…bigger.” He didn’t sound so sure as he responded, and Josh had to wonder what that meant. Josh was, of course, blond, but he couldn’t be referring to him… Could he?

“You think?” Josh pressed, tilting his head as he regarded the man.

“Well, they’re usually her size, but I’m thinking of trying something new these days…”

Oh. Well, that was an interesting development. Josh hadn’t expected this to go so well.

The guy toyed with his rocks’ glass, spinning it in his fingers before turning completely to look at Josh, his body now sideways. Josh leaned against the bar, facing the man the same way. “Josh Roberts.” He extended his hand with a slight smile, roaming his eyes around the man’s gorgeous face.

The guy took Josh’s hand in a firm shake with zero hesitation. “James Barnwell… A pleasure to meet you, Josh.” He gave Josh a half smile of his own, and Josh couldn’t get past how beautiful the man was—one of his more handsome endeavors, for sure.

“So you’re looking to try something new?” Josh decided not to beat around the bush now. He’d go right in for the kill. James nodded with a lick to his sinful bottom lip. Josh wouldn’t mind kissing it. He definitely wouldn’t mind.

“I’ve uh… I don’t have any experience, but it’s been on my mind for a while.” James seemed slightly nervous now, but Josh wanted to reassure him there was no need. He gave Josh a look that was almost adorably unsure. Josh couldn’t help his own confident grin.

“Well, as it happens, I’m very well versed in such activities.” He nibbled on his bottom lip, tilting his chin down and looking up at Barnwell through his lashes. He wanted this sale, wanted to show this man a good time—especially now, knowing he’d never been with another man before. It became a challenge that spoke to Josh’s competitive soul.

James’ eyes widened a fraction and he seemed to consider the statement. Then he laughed, throwing Josh off a little. “You must think I’m some fuckin’… I’ve gotta be at least ten years older than you, and I’ve never experimented like that. I mean I have…with my—you know—but I’ve never actually been with a man. You’ve gotta be getting a kick out of this.”

Josh didn’t know which part he should be getting a kick out of—the fact he’d never been with a man, the age difference or the fact that James was insinuating that he’d played with himself. Josh was eating it all up, if he were to be honest. He’d never taken a man’s virginity, but he was up for the adventure and knew he was a safe bet as the man’s first. He knew just how to do it right and gentle, make it worth James’ time. “Well, if you think I’m judging you, you’re wrong. I’m in the wrong business to judge anyone.” Josh kept his voice low so he didn’t make a spectacle of their conversation. “It doesn’t matter how old you are or what you’ve done or not done. If you want an experience, you wanna try a taste, I can give you one. I’m happy to do it.”

Josh wasn’t one to play games. He was straightforward and as honest as they came. He pulled one of his sleek matte cards from his pocket and slipped it across the bar to James, who picked it up and looked it over, a look of surprise and a flush covering his high cheekbones as he seemed to read the word printed under Josh’s name on the card—Escort.

James cleared his throat, biting his bottom lip as he set the card back down. Josh noticed that he kept it close and he took that as a good sign. “And here I thought you were just picking me up.” James laughed a little and Josh liked the sound.

“In a way I was. You’re a handsome man. I couldn’t tell from afar whether you’d be interested in men or not, but I took my chance anyway.” Josh offered him a gentle grin.

“Do I look like I need to pay someone for sex?” James cocked his head to the side and regarded Josh through squinted, guarded eyes. He might have even been slightly offended. Josh held his ground, undeterred.

“You look like you wanna sleep with a man—but you haven’t yet and don’t know how. I’m sure you have women dying to sit on your cock. But that’s not what I’m here for.”

“And if I wanna sit on your cock, is that what you’re here for?” Hearing the word fall from James’ lips made Josh want to squirm a little. He definitely wanted that. It was always a bonus when he was physically attracted to his clients and that they had chemistry. It was often not the case.

“You can sit on anything you want, Mr. Barnwell. That is, in fact, what I’m here for.”

James grew silent at that, dropping his gaze to his glass. Apprehension bloomed in Josh’s chest, but he sipped his drink and watched the man mentally battle over whatever waged inside his mind. He took the moment to let his eyes roam the broad shoulders, the peek of chest hair, the gray on his temples. This man had to look exquisite naked, judging by the way that suit jacket pulled in all the right places.

James lifted his gaze back to Josh’s, and Josh could feel the heat and question that lingered in those blue-grays. “I’m not familiar with…your business. What’s it you want? How much do you get paid? Do you do weekends in exchange for money, gifts?”

Josh couldn’t help but chuckle…amused. “I mean, I don’t have an ad saying ‘sugar daddy wanted’ on my back, but if you’re offering…” Confusion then amusement dawned on James’ features. “Money is how I’m usually paid. I can be booked for any length of time. I can be a date to an event, a party or a companion on a trip. It’s really whatever the client wants. Whatever they want.” He stressed the word because he catered to any and all whims. He had a few hard limits but had experienced a lot. And at this point, he’d say yes to anything with James out of pure curiosity.

“Whatever they want? Give me an example, please.” He spoke quietly as he asked, as if unsure if he should. Josh was an open book. He never gave names, but he’d absolutely give examples.

“Sure. Most women want to be dominated in some way, but most men want to dominate me. I’ve gone to Hawaii on a business trip with a woman who only needed me to pretend I was her fiancé. I’ve been collared and expected to crawl on my knees like a dog. I had a woman who would pay me for one weekend a month of as much sex as she could handle. I have another woman who just wants me to sit in my briefs and rub her feet. I’ve had a few men who prefer roleplay, and I’m decent at it.” He shrugged lightly. “The ‘usual’ is I show up to the client’s place and we have sex, I fulfill whatever their fantasy or need is and I’m out of the door afterward. But like I said, it’s the dealer’s choice. Whatever the client feels like, needs or wants from me, I give. I haven’t had a single complaint.” Josh felt more than confident in his track record and his services. Sure, when he’d started, he’d had some catching up to do, had to learn his ways around certain kinks and scenes, but now he had zero issues. He felt at ease behind closed doors.

James was intrigued, if nothing else. It was written all over his suddenly expressive face. “So…kinks? Toys? Trips? Everything is on the table?”

Josh nodded. “I draw the line at violence, degrading play and extreme, potentially harmful things. Marks are fine, spanking is fine, but you can’t hit me—and I won’t hit you. You can call me names, but you can’t shove my face in a carpet or make me lick your shoes. Luckily, no one I’ve been with has tried to punch me or worse.” Josh smiled ruefully. James looked a little disturbed by that.

“Well, at least you’re taking care of yourself,” he replied with a concern that surprised Josh.

“I get tested monthly. I’m careful. It’s my job to deliver a safe and fun experience.” He wanted to make sure James knew all the details and his intentions. This business relationship had to be based on trust.

“What do you cost? Is it by the service or…?”

Josh pulled out his phone, opening the app he used to take payment. He set it down on the bar for James to see. He had no secrets. “I don’t do it by the service. I do by the hour. You can have whatever you want in the time frame you pay me for—and there’s fifty percent off your first experience, no matter the length. If a person comes back, which I can usually guarantee they will, it’s full price after that.”

James whistled low at what he saw on the screen. “You certainly are looking for that sugar daddy, aren’t ya, pal?”

Josh blushed at the term but laughed too. “I think it’s a fair trade. Good money for great sex.” He shrugged. James eyed him.

“You think you’re that good, huh?”

Josh simply smiled, nodding once. “Yes, sir. I’m that good.”

James glanced back at the security guard a few feet away then to the bartender. Josh, for a brief moment, wondered if he was about to be physically removed from James Barnwell’s presence. Then James was laying down crisp cash from his wallet on the bar and standing.

Josh followed his every move, his hopes deflating. He’d really enjoyed their banter. It had been a long time since he’d been shot down—and by someone like Mr. Barnwell…

“I’ve got a car out front. We’ll go back to my place. That’s how it works, right? My call? My place?” Josh stood before James could finish his questions.

“Absolutely, sir. Your call. Everything is your call.”

“Good. We’ll go back to my place, I’ll pour us a drink then I want you to take over. Understood?”

Josh was surprised by the expectation, but it was nothing he couldn’t handle. In fact, he looked forward to blowing this man’s mind…and hopefully more. “Yes, sir.”

Buy Links

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First For Romance

About the Author

Evelyn Mahony

Evelyn has been writing since middle school, constantly getting lost in creating a whole other world (usually loosely based on a fandom of some kind) and falling in love with those characters. An avid reader, she never leaves home without a well-worn book and a notepad for thoughts. She writes almost entirely on her phone, because it’s small and easy to pull out at a moment’s notice, when the idea for a scene hits. As the wife of a busy husband and as the mother of a young daughter, two big dogs, and a horse, there’s not always designated writing time. Writing is her passion and whenever she finds a window of free time, that’s what she’s doing!

Check out Evelyn’s website and follow her on Instagram.

Giveaway

Enter to win a fabulous gift package and get a First For Romance Gift Card!

Evelyn Mahony The Billionaire and the Escort Giveaway

EVELYN MAHONY IS GIVING AWAY THIS FABULOUS PRIZE TO ONE LUCKY WINNER. ENTER HERE FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A LOVELY GIFT PACKAGE AND GET A FIRST FOR ROMANCE GIFT CARD! Notice: This competition ends on 17th August 2021 at 5pm GMT. Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

Book Blitz & Excerpt: The Drumbeat of His Heart + Giveaway

The Drumbeat of his Heart Banner

The Drumbeat of His Heart, by M.C. Roth

General Release Date: 20th July 2021

Word Count:  69,584
Book Length: NOVEL
Pages: 246

Genres:

CELEBRITIES
CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
GAY
GLBTQI

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Book Description

A brush with death delivers Ian into Trent’s life, but there’s more to Ian than he shares—a hidden life, a hidden career and secrets that may tear them apart.

When Trent is almost hit by a swerving Corvette, he has no idea that the driver will change his life forever.

Freezing cold and soaked, Trent pulls the strikingly attractive Ian from the wreckage. Ian is everything Trent has been looking for in a man—beautiful, sexy—and he needs a place to stay for the weekend.

Trent is out and proud, and he prays he can keep his hands to himself with the gorgeous man under his roof. But Ian is the one who follows Trent into the shower, shows him things that Trent never imagined and takes the final thread of Trent’s virginity.

After a weekend of passion, Trent finds himself falling for Ian, even though they live a country apart. But there is more to Ian than what he says. A hidden life, a hidden career and more lies than Trent can imagine.

Ian’s secrets may tear their hearts to pieces—or transform their desires into something more.

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes involving drug use and homophobia. There are references to an alcohol problem, public sex and voyeurism.

Excerpt

Rain splattered against the slim fabric hood that was pulled over his head. The water leaked through the flimsy fabric and pressed into his hair, making the strands clump and drip down the back of his shirt. The sky was the colour of dusty ash left too long in the fireplace and the air was thick with ozone.

Trent shivered and pulled the hoodie closer as he tried to keep some semblance of warmth against his skin. The forecast had predicted a beautiful, sunny spring day with a temperature of twenty degrees centigrade. The sun had lasted until he’d stepped out of the office to go home after a nine-hour shift trapped behind a dusty window. He’d touched the pavement and the clouds had loomed in as a virtual monsoon opened above his head.

Walking to work was as much of a blessing as it was a curse. He had no car payments, but he was stuck walking through any storm that decided to roll in. Clouds had a habit of waiting until he left the safety of the building before they unleashed their wrath.

The cracked sidewalks were stained dark with pools of water gathering in every dip and cranny. The few buildings around him were lit up bright against the grey sky, and their signs beckoned anyone who happened to be passing by. Their brick was antique, with lines of grout that had crumbled over time. It gave them more character than the new-builds in an actual city. Their bleached Christmas lights, that were meant to be spring decorations, were charming and the most modern thing about them besides the updated espresso machine in the café.

A burst of yellow swerved along the slim street, and its tyres splashed through the puddle of a blocked storm drain. Water burst up like the landing of a flume ride and smacked against Trent. Gravel and bits of sodden leaves struck him, sticking and clinging to every light hair on his naked shins. A trail of sand curled down his forehead and dripped into his eye.

“Dammit,” he spluttered as thick mud trailed down into his mouth. The taste of tainted water and decomposition made him gag and he spat into the swirling mass around his feet that was searching for a way through the cracked sidewalk. He stopped to watch as the yellow Corvette straightened and swerved back away from the kerb where it had struck the puddle that had completely drenched him. It was a manoeuvre he might expect out of a teenager who might deliberately try to soak unsuspecting pedestrians.

Instead of pulling straight along the thin road, the Corvette kept turning as it lost control on the plane of water. It looped back to the other side of the street and directly into oncoming traffic. There was no squealing of tyres or frantic running as doom approached, only the patter of rain on his soaked hood.

A rusty feed truck, tracking towards the light in the opposite lane, cleared the Corvette by a few centimetres, blaring its horn as the car crossed its path. The yellow machine swerved again, its tyres finally catching and squealing as they threw off bits of black rubber. Trent could just make out the frantic movements of the driver through the dark, tinted windows. His stomach clenched and the hairs raised on the back of his neck as he watched the scene unfold.

Sounds gurgled together as metal struck metal. The pop of tyres burst against his eardrums, accompanied by the squeal of aluminium and the snapping of glass. The muffled thud of airbags joined the fray a second later, then a shout as the bumper of the Corvette crumpled into a parked suburban van.

Trent was moving before he’d fully registered the crash. The mud and leaves were forgotten as his hood fell back and the rain pounded against his face. One of his sandals, slick with slimy water, slipped from his foot, nearly sending him down in the middle of the road. He managed to recover, running lopsided with one foot aching as it slapped against rough pavement.

The vibrant yellow handle was slick beneath his hand as he pried at the passenger door. The cracked window blurred his view so that he could only make out the shape of a person pressed between a white air bag and a black seat. There was no movement inside, not even the frantic flailing he’d seen just before the car had crashed. The handle was locked tight, resisting every pull that he made.

Trent leapt over the hood of the car, neatly avoiding where the two vehicles were entwined in an angry embrace. The adrenalin coursing through his veins gave him the boost to make it almost all the way across before his naked calf snagged on the car’s wet surface. He fell over, narrowly managing to keep from falling to the pavement on the other side.

Despite the terrible noise that the crash had made, the hood of the Corvette had hardly any damage, except a pressed curve along one headlight that folded both the fender and the hood. Shattered glass was strewn along the road, hidden beneath the murky puddles. The suburban had been crushed where it had been struck along its broadside. It was one of the only weak points in the gas-guzzling tank.

Trent stumbled as he found his balance on the other side of the car. There was a coffee shop only a few feet away, and people were gathering at the window and pressing their curious faces against the glass. A handful of customers made it outside, shouting questions over the din of pouring rain. Phones were up, hopefully calling the police and not taking a video of his failed leap.

The pounding of his heart washed away any more sounds of the gathering crowd and their calls from behind the window. The handle of the driver’s side was slippery under his hand and it took two pulls to realize that it too was locked tight. Luckily, the window on this side was broken and scattered like a thousand glistening waterdrops. Rain poured through the gap and onto the driver, spreading across the seat and floor of the vehicle.

Trent’s gaze flickered back and forth as his senses pulled in every detail in a quick assessment. Sleek black leather was polished to a perfect finish, and the smell of sweet, smoky cologne mixed with just a hint of copper. A song was humming on the radio, dark and thick with the promise of love. In the seat was someone who made his staggered breathing come to a halt.

The man looked nearly crushed beneath the wide, white airbag that was pressed to his chest. His eyes were closed, with his head tilted back to reveal a split lip that was quickly swelling. A drop of blood smeared down his lips to a sharp chin that was shaved clean except for a few stray hairs just under his lower lip. His head was as smooth as his chin, with the dark outline of ink against his skull.

The driver fluttered open his blue eyes, dazed and staring as he gazed slowly around the inflated interior. They settled on Trent before going wide with panic.

“Are you okay?” the stranger asked him, his voice strained with his chest still tight to the airbag that was slowly starting to deflate.

“You’re asking me if I’m okay?” asked Trent. “Buddy, you were just in a car accident. Is anything broken?” There was blood on the man’s forehead, but just a small smear. He could just be concussed and confused.

The man paled until he was almost the same white as the airbags. “I lost control and almost hit you,” he said as he looked around the interior of the ruined car, apparently taking in the pierced leather and damp veneer. “I swerved, then I don’t know what happened.” He pushed at the airbag and it sprang back like a child’s bouncy castle at the local fair.

Trent reached through the broken window, trying to avoid the prickling glass that stuck up from the ruined frame. He grasped the door lock from the inside and opened it with a quick jerk.

“Can you stand? We should get you out of there,” said Trent as he pulled the door open. There was no smell of gasoline, only ozone and fresh rain, but he still expected that the car might explode at any moment. The airbag now hung like a shrivelled grape, revealing that the man was still buckled into his seat. His legs were folded, even with the spacious legroom, and his body was thick, filling every bit of available space.

“I think so.” The guy took in the gathering crowd as he finally managed to get free from the airbag. He reached for the seatbelt buckle, but his shaking hands skimmed uselessly off the button.

“Here… Let me.” Trent moved in close and hooked his hand around the belt, sliding down until he met the buckle. The scent of cologne and something else masculine filled his nose as he pressed close enough to feel the heat of the driver through his sodden clothing. His stomach flipped and his face flushed hot as he looked away from blue eyes. He felt for the little red button on the buckle and pushed hard. It was stiff in his trembling fingers and resisted his thumb.

He took a deep breath and couldn’t suppress the shudder that made its way up his spine. The man smelled so good that it was going straight to his groin and shutting down what was left of his thoughts. His body responded against his will and he became aware of the press of his peaked nipples against sodden fabric, so sensitive and ready.

A second shiver wound up through his shoulders. His hand slipped from the buckle to touch the smooth fabric of the man’s pants. It was soft and sturdy under his fingertips and looked more expensive than his entire soaked ensemble.

“You okay?” the stranger asked into his ear, so soft that it made his hair stand on end. He met blue eyes, watery and streaked with red, along with the strain of fear. It was the fear he saw that gave him the strength he was missing from his fingers.

“Just soaking wet and freezing. Sorry.” He finally found the clasp again and the man was free with a persistent push. Trent drew himself out of the car and back into the beating rain. The heat left him as he pulled back, and he shivered in earnest this time.

“Yeah, sorry about that.” The stranger grimaced and leaned forward as he grasped the yellow roof to pull himself out.

The car must’ve been sitting lower on the road than Trent had first realized. The man was absolutely massive. Trent was just under six foot himself, but he was still half a head shorter than the hulking figure. The stranger wasn’t skinny either, but thick and broad like a football player who still had his pads on. Trent couldn’t believe he’d managed to fit into such a fancy vehicle at all.

“I called the cops. They should be here soon,” called one of the onlookers who had managed to wiggle in closer. Trent turned to the voice, giving her a nod of thanks when he recognized her as a local.

The stranger cursed as he looked back at his car. “This is why I shouldn’t get new cars,” he said with a shake of his head. He smoothed his hand over the hood, down to the crinkled corner that now looked more like an accordion than a fender. There was nothing of the headlight left except for a shell of plastic lined with metal and a shattered bulb.

“I really don’t know anything about cars, but it doesn’t look as bad as it sounded,” said Trent as he followed him to look at the damage. Bits of glass dug into his bare foot as he made his way around. He glanced down to find his sandal floating just a few meters away, slowly making its way down the road in the streaming puddles. After he scooped it up, he slid it back onto his bruised foot.

“You’re really lucky, though. I thought that feed truck was going to cream you,” said Trent. Other than the dented corner, broken windows and smashed headlight, the car was in good condition. The SUV looked okay too, with just a hefty chunk out of the side.

“Is that what that was?” the stranger asked as he looked back along the road. The feed truck had pulled over to idle on the side of the road just before the light. The driver was already making their way back towards the Corvette.

“Shit.” The stranger glared at the approaching driver. The man was short and round with a coat that was much too thick for the weather. The colour of his jacket ran dark from the rain.

“Everybody okay? I can’t stop that quick with that old truck. New brakes, but the tyres are shit.” The driver stepped closer. There was the underlying scent of wet cigarettes clinging to his clothes and his meagre hair was flecked with bits of unidentifiable soggy fluff.

“We’re all good,” said Trent. He looked at the Corvette driver, expecting a reply, but the man was silent. His hands were clenched into fists behind his back and he had drawn up to his full towering height.

“Okay, well, I’ll take off then if everyone is fine. I’m already behind as it is.” The driver took a step back as he looked between the two. Trent offered a weak smile before taking a half-step towards the group of gathering people.

“Yep, no problem. Thanks for stopping,” said Trent as the driver turned away. He looked up to the man who was still bristling beside him. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

The stranger deflated and turned to Trent with a grimace. “Yeah. I was expecting a fight.”

“What? Why would he want to fight?” Trent looked around in confusion, then back to the retreating truck driver. He hadn’t seemed threatening in the least. The stranger shrugged.

“Some of the places I’ve been, there’s usually a fight when something like this goes down.” He smoothed his hand back down the car and frowned again at the crushed light. He was completely drenched now, with every inch of black fabric clinging to his chest and biceps as if he were wearing nothing at all. Trent forced his eyes away from the clinging cloth.

“You aren’t from around here then, I guess. Small town folks don’t really care much for a fight unless they’re getting paid for it.” Trent looked to the license plate, noticing the strange image and lettering for the first time. “Wow, you really aren’t from around here. Did you drive the whole way?”

“Three of the best days of my life,” the man said with a smile. “Name’s Ian. Thanks for your help, man. I appreciate it.”

“Trent,” he replied as he grasped the outstretched palm. Ian’s hand felt so warm against Trent’s, which was slippery from a mix of rain and a sheen of sweat. He was sure that his face was beaming red, hopefully hidden by the downpour.

“I’ll stick around until the cops show up, just in case they ask any questions,” said Trent. He leaned back against the side of the suburban and winced as his freezing shirt pressed against the only remaining warm spot on his back.

“Do you know any place I can get this baby fixed up?” asked Ian. “She’s a custom, so I usually wouldn’t let just anybody work on her, but I’m a bit out of my area here.” Blue eyes glanced around and his lips pulled into a frown at the sight of the meagre buildings, looking from the cracked grout to the crumbling brick.

“There is an auto shop about one block that way.” Trent pointed to the other side of the street. “It’s after six o’clock now, though, and I don’t think they’re open again until tomorrow.”

“Shit.” Ian cursed and kicked the thin rubber tyre. “Any hotels then? I don’t exactly know anyone around here either.”

“Uh no, no hotels. No taxis either,” Trent added. He crossed his arms and stuck his freezing hands under his armpits.

“I could just call a ride share.” Ian reached back into the car to withdraw his phone from where it was stashed in the centre console. Trent risked a quick peek—just a peek—as the man bent over from the waist. His pants had started to cling as they soaked through as well, and they left very little to the imagination. Trent bit back the noise that tried to escape and forced his gaze away.

“Yeah, good luck with that,” said Trent after quietly clearing his throat. “Welcome to the middle of nowhere. This coffee shop”—he pointed at the glass window that had mostly emptied of its patrons since the bustle had died down—“is the best one for fifty kilometres. I can say that because it’s the only one within fifty kilometres.”

Ian groaned and sank down along the side of the car until he was hunched on the kerb. “I think I took a wrong turn about two hours ago. I was supposed to be checking into the Marriott tonight.”

Trent couldn’t honestly think of the closest hotel that wasn’t a small operation instead of a chain. Even they were few and far between. Most were closed until the summer began to ramp up.

Ian looked utterly defeated, and it was pulling at Trent’s heart strings uncomfortably. His car was trashed, his body was bruised and his lip was still dribbling slow drops of blood. Ian’s eyes closed and he leaned back against the car, thunking his head into the side.

Trent shifted from foot to foot before shoving his hands deep into his pockets. He could hear his mother’s voice in his ear, telling him to make the situation right.

“You can stay with me for the night if you want,” said Trent with a shrug as he tried to downplay how much he liked the idea. The eye candy alone could last him for a decade. Christ, he would have to give Ian some of his pyjamas. That ass inside of a pair of too-small track pants would be drool-worthy.

Trent shook his head and tried to clear the image from his mind before it could spiral out of control. “I’m just a few blocks away. It’s only a one bedroom, but I can pull out the old air mattress.” He would happily sleep on the air mattress and give up his bed to Ian. Christ.

“You don’t have to do that. I mean, I almost hit you with my car,” said Ian as he stared at Trent like he had sprouted a few extra limbs.

“But you didn’t, and it’s kind of my fault that you hit the suburban.” Oh God, he sounded eager…way too fucking eager.

“That’s a bit of a stretch,” said Ian. His eyebrows couldn’t get any higher at this point, and he had started to lean back with a touch of caution.

Trent shrugged, glancing away and trying to play it off as much as possible. “It’s up to you.” He sighed as he had the strangest craving for a cigarette. Stress and excitement did strange things to him, especially brief grazes with his mortality. He hadn’t smoked since a one-week stint as a teenager. Every once in a while the need struck when the situation called for it.

“You know what? Sure. I’ll take you up on that.” Ian nodded.

Trent couldn’t stop the smile that went wider as Ian smiled back. That simple gesture made the man’s face light up in a way that went straight to his eyes. What was Trent thinking? A sexy hunk of a man in his house for the night? He’d never be able to keep his hands to himself. Well, he would, because consent was sexy, but it would be the hardest night of his life…literally.

“I’m gay though,” said Trent. He blushed as soon as the words left his mouth. “If that’s a problem, no big deal. I just don’t want you to feel awkward.”

Trent saw the sudden blanch, even as Ian tried to hide it, and it made his gut clench. Trent was out and proud of it, but every so often someone had a reaction to the news. Most people didn’t care, but a select few did. Those few always managed to get under his skin and keep him awake at night.

“You don’t have to stay with me. I’m sure you can find other arrangements,” said Trent, backpedalling quickly to avoid any sort of awkward confrontation.

“No, sorry… I didn’t mean…” Ian trailed off as he pushed himself off the kerb. “You just surprised me, that’s all. Most places, you don’t really say that to a stranger.”

Trent opened his mouth, not really sure what he was going to say. Where the hell had this guy been where he fought random truckers and people had to hide six feet into the closet? He couldn’t judge too harshly, though. The population of his tiny town was miniscule, and there were four churches smashed into it. Up until twenty years ago, no one would’ve announced it here either.

His thoughts were cut off by a piercing flash of lights as a police cruiser came around the corner and headed their way. He held out his hand to help Ian the rest of the way to his feet. The contact sent a wave of heat up his arm and under his jacket.

He bit back a sigh and turned to greet the officer.

I am so screwed.

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About the Author

M.C. Roth

M.C. Roth lives in Canada and loves every season, even the dreaded Canadian winter. She graduated with honours from the Associate Diploma Program in Veterinary Technology at the University of Guelph before choosing a different career path.

Between caring for her young son, spending time with her husband, and feeding treats to her menagerie of animals, she still spends every spare second devoted to her passion for writing.

She loves growing peppers that are hot enough to make grown men cry, but she doesn’t like spicy food herself. Her favourite thing, other than writing of course, is to find a quiet place in the wilderness and listen to the birds while dreaming about the gorgeous men in her head.

Find out more about M.C. Roth at her website.

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