Welcome to our Grand Finale Celebrations for the amazing
In today's post, we'll take a look at Heart Of Stone, Finding Forgiveness, and A Taste Of Honey. We also have our Q&A with the authors, and one more chance to win!
First up, Heart Of Stone
Stone Harrison never knew he had an aunt; he certainly never expected her to bequeath him one of the largest spreads in central Nevada. But something about Copper Lake Ranch and its foreman, Luke Reynolds, speaks to him, offering a chance for the home he's never really had.
Luke wants Stone to succeed as a rancher and put the legacy of his shiftless father behind him, but he'd also like Stone to share his bed. Unfortunately, Stone is convinced that the world is a harsh place that will never accept two men sharing their lives. Much to Luke's dismay, he refuses to risk Luke's life despite the intense attraction they share.
The tension between them escalates when a series of calamities strikes Copper Lake. An unexpected and unwelcome visit from Stone's dandified cousin, James, only makes things worse. Stone's ability to run the ranch comes into question, but the threat of losing it means less to Stone than the threat to Luke's life. Stone will do anything it takes to protect the man he loves-even if it makes him a murderer.
“You’re goin’ to have a lot of people lookin’ to you now.” Luke hoped he wasn’t making the situation sound too dire. “But as long as you’re fair and carry your weight, ain’t no one goin’ to complain.” He smiled, deciding it was time to lighten the mood. “Ownin’ a big, prosperous spread like this ain’t all bad, and it ain’t all work all the time. You’re goin’ to have a lot of the local gals real interested in you now, that’s for sure. You could have your pick.”
Suddenly Stone reined his horse to a stop, and he looked at Luke with a frown of consternation. “Gals? You mean the ones you don’t seem to think are very interestin’?”
Luke stopped as well, uncharacteristically flustered as he tried to figure out how to answer the question without revealing the truth. This ranch was his home now, and he didn’t want to be kicked out and lose his job and this place all at once because his new boss wasn’t happy about having a foreman who fancied men instead of women.
“Well, just because they don’t interest me none don’t mean one of them might not strike your fancy,” he said at last.
Stone’s expression didn’t change, but Luke noticed a flush had risen under his tan. “Doubt it. Don’t have time for it anyways, if I’m goin’ to learn how to run this place.”
“Well, one day, you’ll have it all figured out, and then you might want to cast your eye around,” Luke pointed out, hoping he wasn’t inadvertently squelching Stone’s social life with all his talk about how busy the ranch would keep them. “I won’t even ask you to take your courtin’ to one of the outbuildings[A1] ,” he added with a mischievous grin.
For some reason, Stone only turned redder. “You ain’t goin’ to have to worry about that,” he growled, and then he tapped Raider with his heels, spurring the horse into a fast walk.
The reaction puzzled Luke. He wondered if Stone was shy around women or if there was something else going on. A man as handsome as Stone ought to be plenty experienced, not blushing at the mere mention of courting. Unless….
He signaled Mist to speed up as well and caught up to Stone, studying him in silence. Was it possible Stone didn’t fancy women either? He wasn’t sure, and he couldn’t ask outright unless he wanted to risk being punched in the face on top of being fired, but maybe he could find out somehow.
“I guess that means it’ll be real quiet around the big house.” He kept his tone casual. “Just a couple of bachelors sittin’ around together every night.”
Stone gave him a sideways glance. “Sounds fine to me. I’m not much for bein’ social. Don’t need dancin’ and drinkin’ like some cowboys who don’t have no sense.”
“You don’t have to drink and dance to be social,” Luke pointed out. “You can take a lady out for a fancy dinner, a buggy ride, or a picnic.” He was fishing, but hopefully not too obviously.
That earned him a flat out scowl, and Stone’s jaw clenched. “Maybe I could. If I ever wanted to.” His eyes narrowed. “You ain’t got a sister you’re thinkin’ about throwin’ at me, do you? I don’t hold with fightin’, but I just might have to punch you if you try somethin’ like that.”
Luke’s eyebrows climbed almost to his hairline at that, and his suspicions grew even stronger at Stone’s unusually forceful objections to the idea of courting a woman. This had to be more than mere shyness or lack of experience with women!
“Nothin’ like that,” he replied easily, deciding it was time to be a little more direct. “I ain’t got no family that wants to claim me, if you want the truth. See, they found out I ain’t exactly fond of courtin’ the ladies either.” He fixed Stone with a steady, direct look. “My momma caught me behind the barn with my pants around my ankles, and it weren’t no young lady I was with at the time, if you take my meanin’.”
“What?” Stone stopped Raider in his tracks again, and the horse gave a whinny of protest at the sudden pull of reins. He stared at Luke, dark eyes wide in a way that would have been funny if the subject hadn’t been so serious. He had apparently forgotten how to speak, too, since his mouth opened and closed, but no sound came out. A few moments later, Stone shook himself like a man who’d felt something walk over his grave and cleared his throat.
“I sure hope you was with another man,” he said finally, his tone as dry as desert sand.
“Because if it was a cow or a horse or some other critter, I think we might have us a problem.”
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Second in today's line-up, Finding Forgiveness
Boston in 1888 is quite urbane, but unfortunately for Gil Porter, that isn’t the same thing as being understanding. When his sexuality is exposed by the scandalous suicide of his lover, Gil is exiled to the small town of Mercy, Texas, by his domineering father, George, who believes life on Vernon Porter's ranch will cure Gil of his “unnatural” desires. Grieving and ashamed, Gil is determined to keep his distance from everyone until he can return home.
To his surprise, he finds acceptance at Bent Oak Ranch, especially from Matt Grayson, the handsome son of the ranch foreman. Knowing he must fight his attraction to Matt, Gil courts a local girl, but an unexpected encounter with Matt leads to his discovery of Matt’s feelings for him. Torn between Matt and his desire to be “normal," between returning to his old life and building a new one in Texas, Gil is faced with a choice—appeasing his father or becoming the man Matt knows he can be.
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And last, but not least, A Taste Of Honey
Boone Phillips needs a girlfriend-now! If he shows up to the family reunion alone, his mother will throw every woman in sight at him. But the only "woman" Boone trusts enough to ask is Honey, the drag queen alter ego of his best friend, Rob. It's a crazy idea, but Boone is desperate.
Boone wins Rob over to the idea after first going on a "date" with him as Honey, but everything feels different once the plan is set in motion. Between nosy relatives, illegal moonshine, and the sight of Rob in white lace panties, Boone starts to wonder if he's as straight as he thought. When an earth-shattering kiss sends Rob running, however, Boone learns some surprising things about both his family and himself.
Now he needs to convince Rob to give him another chance, or his first taste of Honey might also be his last.
First Edition published by Torquere Press, 2016.
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Our Q&A with the authors:
1. What inspires you? What gets you writing?
We have a list of plot bunnies over 100 long that we’ve built up over the years. We often go to it for inspiration of we’re answering a publisher’s call, or if we want something to write that we’ve already given a bit of thought. Sometimes we’re inspired by books, or movies, or tv shows… or even actors. There are lots of things that spark our creativity, and we’re glad for each and every one of them.
2. What's your writing process? Seat of your pants, lots of sticky notes, complex spreadsheets?
We’re basically pantsers, though for things that require a logical progression rather than an organic development, we work out a general plot as a sort of guideline. But we are always open to change, because some of the best things we’ve ever wrote (in our opinion, at least!) are ones that come to us on the spur of the moment and spring fully to life pretty much all by themselves.
Ari answering this: My favorite (in part because he’s the loudest persistent voice in my head) is Daryl Greer from Bloody But Unbowed. He’s brash and uncouth, but he’s a lot of fun.
4. Which character is your least favorite, and why?
Ari again: Elizabeth Bathory from Blood Bathory. She’s the villain for the series, and she’s evil, and I felt positively icky every time I wrote her.
5. If you could go back into one of your books and change one thing, what would that be? And why?
Ari: Strangely enough, we actually HAVE gotten to change the one thing that bothered me most about one of our books. When we got the rights back for Fortune’s Slings and Cupid’s Arrows, we rewrote it almost completely. It will be released soon by Dreamspinner, and we’re much happier with the story this time.
6. What's next for you? What amazing book are you working on?
We are working on a set of three novels that are a sort of a modern day Robin Hood set in New Orleans. We don’t want to say too much, but we’re very excited about them! We also have a historical western novel coming from Dreamspinner titled “The Quality of Mercy”, and a Dreamspun Beyond, “Out of the Ashes”. Our next publication, which is the first week of May, is the rerelease of “A Taste of Honey”, and then at the beginning of June our second Dreamspun Desires novel, “Breaking Bonds”.
7. Anything else you'd like to share with your readers?
We would like to thank all our readers for their support over the last fourteen years. We have people who read our fanfic who have followed us to this point, and we love them for it, and we also love our new readers! We appreciate everyone who has bought our books, those who have reviewed them, and the bloggers who have been so encouraging and supportive. We pour out our hearts and souls on every page we write, and there is nothing more rewarding than to have someone tell us “I really liked that!” So thank you, everyone, for letting us into your lives, and if you ever want to contact us, please do! We love hearing from you!!!!
More about the authors:
Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.
Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.
McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.
Thanks for celebrating these fantastic authors with us all month long. We hope you found a few new books to add to your TBR.
Until next time, happy reading!!