Welcome to our Grand Finale celebrations for the ultra-talented
aka Lauren Gallagher
aka Ann Gallagher
aka Lori A. Witt
In our final post for May, we'll talk about If The Seas Catch Fire, Changing Plans, and Wireless, plus see Lori's answers to our questions, and give you one more chance to win one of her books.
First up, Wireless:
Skin to skin contact is illegal. Sex? A felony. Insulated suits and gloves keep people from even the most platonic touches. Citizens line up in droves at simhouses for their rationed, prescribed orgasms in virtual reality machines.
Keith Borden has worked in a simhouse for years, and he's never been tempted to break the strict no-contact laws... until Aiden Maxwell comes along. The attractive and dangerously flirtatious patient invites him into the seedy underground where people engage in real, wireless sex.
Though Keith stands to lose his career and his freedom, he's curious and Aiden is irresistible. From the moment he sets foot in the wireless lounge, Keith is in a world of flesh and fantasy. He's hooked. On the sex, on the atmosphere, and most of all, on Aiden.
Years of keeping everyone in his world at arm's length have left Keith craving a human touch, and Aiden offers all the contact-scorching sex, gentle affection, and everything in between-Keith can handle. That is, until an unexpected act of betrayal throws Keith's world into chaos, and he finds himself more alone than he ever imagined possible...
“If you really believed all that bullshit you’ve been fed, you wouldn’t be here with me.”
I tried not to squirm under his amused scrutiny. “I’m curious.”
“Ah, yes. Human curiosity.” Another laugh, quieter this time as he focused ahead of us. “I give it twenty years before they ban that too. Dangerous, you know. Causes things like innovation.”
I rolled my eyes. “And what kind of innovation does wireless sex cause?”
“Does it need to cause any? It’s fun. It feels good. And contrary to what the fucking government goes to such great lengths to insist, it’s healthy.”
“Healthy?” I snorted. “What about all the diseases that damn near wiped out San Angeles?”
“You’re clean, aren’t you?” he asked. “And you know I am. You scan me every goddamned time.”
“We’re not built for this, Keith. For not touching each other. If we were wired to have, well, wired sex, then why the hell does the government have to spend all this time and energy running simhouses so people get enough of a release they don’t kill each other? Why do they have to make sex a felony to keep people from having it?” He inclined his head. “What’s so wrong about it that if we have sex with each other tonight, we should be punished?”
My teeth snapped shut. Not because his logic had won me over, but because of the implication he wasn’t just planning on introducing me to a wireless lounge and the possibility of wireless sex.
If we have sex with each other.
If we have sex. With each other.
And there it was, that knowing look again. And the smirk. Couldn’t possibly skip over the smirk, could he?
This was dangerous on so many levels. Physically. Professionally. Legally. But curiosity was a powerful thing, and I gestured for Aiden to continue. He hesitated, then did so, and I followed.
We took the stairs down two more floors, and we were well underground now. There was noise down here. Nothing I could readily identify, just a…vibrancy to the air that hadn’t been there before.
I paused at the bottom of the stairs. “There’ve been raids recently.”
“Yes, but we’ve kept this place under the radar.”
“How can you be sure?”
“We haven’t been raided yet.”
I rocked from my heels to the balls of my feet. “And if it’s raided? Tonight?”
“If by chance it is, then stay with me, do everything I tell you to do, and don’t ask questions.”
“I’ve made it out of several raids and the cops never got near me. You’ll be fine.”
So you say.
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Second in today's line-up, If The Seas Catch Fire:
Sergei Andronikov was a child when the Mafia wiped out his family, leaving him with nothing but a hunger for revenge. Years later, through ruthless strategy and tireless patience, he’s a contract killer working for the three families ruling Cape Swan… and he’s nearly in position to bring them all down from the inside.
Domenico “Dom” Maisano is Mafia royalty, a made man… and a hitman. He’s caught up in a violent life he can’t escape, struggling to maintain an image he doesn’t want, and suppressing desires he can’t have.
A chance encounter throws the killers into each other’s paths. Though Dom knows he’s playing a dangerous game, he’s intrigued and keeps coming back. Sergei can’t resist him either—Dom is everything he set out to destroy, but he’s also everything he’s ever ached for in a man.
Then Sergei gets the contract he’s been waiting for—the hit that promises to bring the town’s Mafia to its knees.
But when a capo makes an unexpected move, Sergei must choose between dropping the hammer on the families he vowed to annihilate, and protecting the man he swore he wouldn’t love.
And the wrong choice—or even the right one—will destroy them both.
Sergei led Domenico to one of the private booths in the back. Roy the bouncer met his eyes, and Sergei gave him a nod. Code for “Don’t worry, I’ve got this.” He’d stay close enough to intervene if shit went down, but otherwise he’d keep his back turned and watch the other guys giving their dances. Then he’d get a cut of whatever Sergei made from the against-club-policy activities he’d turned a blind eye to. He got fifty bucks for ignoring a blowjob that never happened, and Sergei got a shitload more than that for taking whatever contract was offered to him in hushed tones behind a curtain.
Or maybe, unlike all his other brethren who came in here with wads of cash, Domenico really wanted a lap dance.
Sergei pulled the curtain across, and didn’t quite know why his heart was beating so fast as he turned to face Domenico.
The Italian unbuttoned his jacket and lowered himself into the crimson armchair. Most guys flopped down on the cushion and waited like a drooling dog for the show to get started. Not this guy. Arrogant Mafioso, royalty in name only, he sat like an overlord taking his throne instead of a sleazy asshole panting for dick in a chair where a thousand men before him had blown their loads.
The music came on.
Sergei assumed his usual provocative stance, standing close enough to fuck with his mind and pulse while he ran his hands up and down his own sides. Here’s the goods. You like what you see?
“So.” Sergei gazed down at him. “You want more information, I assume.”
“Not this time.” Domenico met his eyes, and he grinned, knowingly and dangerously. “This time I want a dance.”
That was… unexpected. This was the moment when his contacts usually started speaking in code, and “a dance” wasn’t part of that code.
Sergei ran the tip of his tongue across his lip. “Just a dance?”
“Yes.” The long, lingering down-up Domenico gave him, his breath hitching here and there, raised goose bumps on Sergei’s mostly exposed flesh. When their eyes met again, Domenico spoke just loud enough for Sergei to hear him over the music, “I suspect with you involved, there’s no such thing as just a dance.”
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And in the third spot today, Changing Plans:
From EPIC Award winning author and two-time Lambda Finalist L.A. Witt comes the re-release of three hot contemporary novellas -- Getting off the Ground, Infinity Pools, and On The List.
After being stood up at the altar, compulsive over-planner Elliott Chandler decides to turn his honeymoon on Oahu into a vacation for one. Fate puts a hitch in his plans, however, when the airport is snowed in and his flight is delayed. In the terminal, the jilted groom catches the eye of another stranded traveler: the laidback and very sexy Derek Windsor.
Derek breaks the ice and strikes up a conversation, and as the temperature drops outside, the heat between them rises. Pity they're both going to different islands, but if their flight doesn't get off the ground fast, Mr. Calm-and-Cool may just tempt Mr. Play-It-Safe into doing something reckless. And that plane isn't going anywhere any time soon...
This is just what I need.
White sand beaches. Palm trees. Two weeks, give or take a day, in paradise with gorgeous, available men wearing more suntan lotion than clothing.
I put down the travel brochure and glared at the motionless aircraft just beyond the window. Not that I could see it very well; its white fuselage was nearly camouflaged behind the snow that tumbled out of the gray sky and spun and swirled in the heavy wind.
A freak snowstorm when I was trying to get the hell out of here. Yeah, that was what I needed.
The other passengers milled around the gate, waiting with knitted eyebrows and folded arms. Anytime one of the staff members went near the microphone to make an announcement or call for a specific passenger, everyone stiffened and craned their necks, waiting for updates. Worried phone calls were made, tense breaths were taken and released, and the floor vibrated with the faint percussion of pacing feet.
A narrow aisle divided my row of stiff, faux leather chairs from a facing row. The woman sitting across from me between two bored-looking kids leaned forward.
“Do you think our flight will be delayed again?” she asked.
I glanced out the window once more. I hadn’t seen anything take off in at least two hours, and it didn’t look like that was changing any time soon. Nodding, I faced her again. “Yeah, they’ll probably delay it again.”
She pursed her lips. “Well, hopefully we won’t be stuck here too much longer.” She sat back, staring out the same window and folding her hands in her lap.
“Guess we’ll see,” I muttered.
A few seats over from her, a good-looking guy with sandy blond hair and five o’clock shadow looked up from his laptop. He glanced at her, then me, and a vague look of amusement tried to curl the corner of his mouth before he turned his attention back to the screen.I wondered how the hell he was so relaxed when everyone else walked the fine line between concern and panic. Unlike those of us who wouldn’t truly be on vacation until we landed in Honolulu, he was dressed like his vacation had already begun. He didn’t look at all like someone stranded in Seattle during a surprise blizzard.
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Our Q&A with Lori:
1. What inspires you? What gets you writing?
Anything and everything. I’ve had plot bunnies come from conversations, billboards, fever dreams… you name it. I write so I can get the stories out of my head and sleep!
2. What's your writing process? Seat of your pants, lots of sticky notes, complex spreadsheets?
I outline using an Excel spreadsheet, and modify the outline as I go. My rule is if the characters and outline disagree, the characters always win, so I end up tweaking the outline a lot as I go. Plus I write out of sequence because I’m weird like that. When I co-write, there isn’t much of an outline and we always write sequentially (I’m pretty sure writing out of sequence with a co-author would drive us both insane).
3. Which character from your books is your favorite, and why?
I have a few, but I’ve always had a soft spot for Anthony Hunter from Where There’s Smoke. He was ridiculously fun to write because he takes crap from no one. But then there’s Sergei from If The Seas Catch Fire, Alex from Static, Darren from Covet Thy Neighbor, Colton from Lead Me Not… it’s really hard to pick one!
4. Which character is your least favorite, and why?
Let’s just say I have a few characters who are loosely (and not so loosely) based on real people from my life, and I’m not fond of them on paper or in the flesh.
5. What's next for you? What amazing book are you working on?
As always, I have a million things in the offing. I’m starting a new contemporary military series, and the first book, Just Drive, will be available from Riptide in September, followed by Grounded toward the end of the year.
There’s a ton of collaborative stuff going on too. Aleksandr Voinov and I have a number of projects in the works (I am seriously finishing Dark Soul VI this year!). K.A. Merikan and I just finished a threeway co-write, a crazy ménage called Werewolves of Chernobyl, which will be out this spring.
And one thing I’m really excited about is a film project I’m working on with a musician/filmmaker, but we’re not quite ready to post details about that one yet!
About the author:
L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn't lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies.
She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don't tell Lauren. And definitely don't tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut...
Visit her website at http://www.gallagherwitt.com/.
Thanks for joining us all month to celebrate this fabulous author. We hope to see you again soon.
Until then, happy reading!!