Welcome to our third week of celebrations for the fabulous
In today's post, we're going to take a look at the Spencer Cohen series, as well as Blood And Milk. Nic is also going to share how she started writing. Plus, all the way at the bottom, we will have another chance to win one of her books.
First up, Spencer Cohen 1
Spencer Cohen is the guy who gets answers to relationship questions. Playing the role of the new lover, his job is to make his client’s ex realise one of two things: he doesn’t want to break up or he really does. Either way, his client gets answers.
The ex would either apologize and beg, or turn and walk. But in the end, Spencer’s client won. If he wanted his ex back and got him, it was great. If the guy walked away, then as hard it was for the client, he knew it was over. Regardless of the outcome, Spencer’s work was done.
Andrew Landon’s ex left him without so much as an explanation. But his sister can’t stand to see him miserable, so, much to Andrew’s dismay, they hire Spencer to be Andrew’s new boyfriend to get the ex back.
For Spencer, it is never personal. Merely a business transaction. No emotions, no strings, no complications.
Even a blind man could see how this would end.
Then I realised his piano was just sitting there, all neglected and unplayed, and I really wanted to hear what he could do. “Would you play me something on your piano?”
Andrew’s eyes shot to mine, wide and shocked, as though I’d just asked him to have sex with me. “Um…”
“You don’t have to,” I said, giving him an out.
“Are you sure?”
I scoffed. “Of course I’m sure.” Actually, there wasn’t much else I was sure about. But hearing him play the piano was a definite yes.
“What will I play?”
“First thing you think of.”
He blinked a couple of times, still so unsure, and walked over to the piano. He sat down slowly and put his fingers to the keys. And without another word, he took a deep breath and started to play.
Such a sweet song, with patient, perfectly timed finesse. I’d never heard anything like it.
I didn’t know what the song was called, who wrote it, composed it, nothing. But it stole my breath. It wasn’t just the music. It was the man who made angels sing from his piano. He stole my breath, how his hands moved, how he closed his eyes and got lost in the music, how he coerced the sounds from the piano with his whole body. And when his hands fell to his lap and the last note hung in the air, I couldn’t find the words.
Andrew glanced at me, before he looked back at the piano and he exhaled through puffed out cheeks.
I swallowed down the emotions, the butterflies that swarmed my chest. He was waiting for me to respond, so I told him the God’s honest truth. The best I could manage was a whisper. “I’ve never seen anything so beautiful.”
He gave me a coy, embarrassed smile. “Don’t you mean heard?”
“Isn’t that what I said?” I asked, confused. My heart was still pounding, an erratic metronome. I was sure I said heard.
Andrew shook his head and smiled down at his hands. “Better than ‘Hallelujah’ by Jeff Buckley?”
I laughed off my embarrassment at my own reaction to him. “Andrew, that was incredible. What song was it?”
“Just something I wrote.”
I scoffed. “Are you kidding me? You wrote that?”
“Just something I wrote.” I mimicked his voice. “No, a grocery list is just something you write, that—that”—I waved my hand at his piano,—“was, my God, Andrew, that was so… incredible.” There just wasn’t another word for it.
The smile he gave me was pure relief and maybe a dash of pride. “Thank you.”
I had to stop myself from walking over and touching him. From putting my hands to his face and kissing him. From taking his hand and leading him upstairs to bed. I wanted to. Fuck, how I wanted to.
And I knew then that I was in over my head.
Somewhere, somehow, I’d let myself cross the line. And I hadn’t just merely stepped over it. Oh no. I’d crossed that line like Usain freakin’ Bolt. And instead of putting a stop to it, instead of stepping back and doing my actual job, my stupid heart went and spoke before my stupid brain.
“Play it again.”
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Second in the series, Spencer Cohen 2
Finally going from fake-boyfriends to the real thing, Spencer Cohen and Andrew Landon are trying to take things slow. They know what they have could be something special and despite the flammable sexual tension, they don’t want to crash and burn.
Spencer is learning to open up, sharing the secrets of his past with Andrew. Afraid to put his heart on the line, yet seemingly unable to stop it, Spencer knows he’s falling in love with him. Andrew is petrified of leaping in blindly, yet it seems the slower they go, the faster they fall.
As they navigate their new relationship, Spencer worries Andrew will freak out when he takes on a new client. But it’s not a normal case and Spencer soon realises things are not what they seem. When things take a downward turn and they work together to help the client, Spencer and Andrew need to decide if they’re ready for the next step.
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Thirdly, Spencer Cohen 3
Learning to be in a committed relationship has been easy for Spencer. In fact, too easy. Andrew has fit into his life seamlessly. Spencer’s let go of his insecurities and hang-ups, and he and Andrew are enjoying where things are headed.
For the first time in years, Spencer’s life is unbelievably perfect. Andrew overthinks everything. So when Spencer gets a phone call from Australia, he’s certain Spencer will push him away.
But instead of driving them apart, maybe it will solidify what they already have. Maybe Spencer will depend on Andrew more than ever. Maybe the Spencer Cohen story will come full circle, and maybe, just maybe, Spencer will have the happily ever after he never thought possible.
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When Yanni Tomaras is kicked out of his family home, his parents’ final words are religious insults and an order to never return. Homeless and desperate, he’s lured in by Lance—charming on the outside, an evil predator underneath—who abuses Yanni until he finds the courage to leave.
Yanni should feel free. But by the time Spencer Cohen finds him, he’s resigned to being handed back to Lance and once again being caged by fear.
Starting school and a part-time job, Yanni begins to reclaim his life. But a love for silent films leads him to Peter Hannikov, a man with a kind heart but who’s twice his age. An unlikely friendship between them blooms into so much more. Neither man knows what he wants, at first. Finding out exactly what he needs is Yanni’s story.
Trigger Warning: Descriptions of violence, suicide, and sexual assault. Reader discretion advised.
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Blood And Milk
Heath Crowley is an Australian man, born with two different coloured eyes and the gift—or curse—of having premonition dreams. He also has nothing left to live for. Twelve months after having his life upended, his dreams tell him where he needs to be. So with nothing―and no one―to keep him in Sydney, he simply boards a plane for Tanzania. Not caring if he lives or dies, Heath walks into a tribe of Maasai and asks to stay. Granted permission, he leaves behind the name and heartbreak of Heath and starts over with the new Maasai name of Alé.
From the day of his birth, Damu has always been an outcast. The son of the chief and brother to the great warrior leader, Damu is reminded constantly that he’s not good enough to be considered a man in the eyes of his people. Ordered to take responsibility for Alé, Damu shares with him the ways of the Maasai, just as Alé shares with Damu the world outside the acacia thorn fence. But it’s more than just a cultural exchange. It’s about trust and acceptance, finding themselves, and a true sense of purpose.
Under the African sky on the plains of the Serengeti, Heath finds more than just a reason to live. He finds a man like no other, and a reason to love.
We approached the river, and given the women and children were long gone, Damu sat on the bank and took off his shoes. Then he proceeded to unwrap his shuka and let the red cloth fall on the rocks. He stood, wearing only a small wrap that was more a codpiece than underwear.
I tried not to ogle, but I couldn’t look away. He was tall, lean, his movements fluid and graceful. I’d used the word “striking” to describe him before, but he was more than that. He was stunning.
Then he dropped the codpiece and stepped into the water.
I looked away to give him some privacy, but not before I saw him completely naked. He was, well, to put it politely, he was in proportion. His flaccid cock hung, long and thin. Just like the rest of him, tall, dark, and beautiful.
He immersed himself in the water, finally surfacing with a deep breath and a smile. He began to bathe himself.
I wondered if I could do the same, because the water sure looked inviting... I stripped down too, completely naked and not caring for modesty, and dived into the water. It was cool and fresh and felt heavenly against my skin. I didn’t realise how gritty I’d become. Sure, I’d dived into the water a few times in my time here but never fully naked.
It was sublime.
Underwater, I raked my hands through my hair letting the water sluice through the strands to remove any grit and sand. Daily face washes, shaving, and teeth brushing served its purpose, but a proper bath was unbeatable.
I’d forgotten what a shower felt like. And as amazing as the water felt, I didn’t miss running water. I didn’t miss electricity. I didn’t miss anything.
I broke the surface, gasping for air. As usual, the memory of Jarrod squeezed my heart and crippled my lungs.
Damu laughed at me, oblivious to my struggle to breathe. And strangely enough, his laughter, his smiling face, calmed me. I exhaled with a rush and laid back, allowing myself to float, feeling my lungs expand and contract with every inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, until my panic attack passed.
Damu floated beside me and without a word between us, with a peace that soothed me, we floated naked in the water under the Tanzanian sky.
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How I started writing
I’d always loved English at school, and was always kind of good at it. I corrected my Year 10 English teacher, twice, while studying Merchant of Venice. And in my trial HSC exams (our end of school exams in Year 12), we had to write a creative piece and the grading teacher asked if she could keep mine.
Though I never really grasped I had a knack for expressive writing until many years later.
Life was busy; I had two small kids and was running a large business. I worked a lot, and with kids on top of that, I didn’t read for a lot of years.
I never had a moment to spare.
But with a change of work and as life settled down, I found my love of books again. To be more specific, I found Twilight. I know, right? Love it or hate it, you can’t deny those books got a lot of people reading again. Well, that and Harry Potter. But something nagged at me about Twilight—a missing scene. What exactly did Edward endure while Bella was transitioning into a vampire? It nagged me so much, I took a notepad and pen, and I wrote it.
I had no clue what fanfiction was. I’d never even heard of it.
But a few months later, I was reading some online comments about something completely unrelated and some random person said, “oh, my favourite fanfiction is…”
And I was like “What the hell is fanfiction?”
One Google search later and I fell through a rabbit hole that changed my life.
I read everything I could get my hands on. My mind was blown at the quality of some of the writing, and not long after that I saw someone post a comment like “Oh, I wish we saw Bella’s change from Edward’s POV.”
And I remembered my little handwritten story. So I posted it, without any clue what I was doing. Without getting it beta-read or edited, I just typed it in and hit ‘post’.
And to my utter surprise, people read it. And even better than that, people liked it. A lot of people liked it.
So I wrote some more. I wrote a lot more. Then people started saying, “You should write original fiction!”
And I wondered… Could I?
Again, with no clue what I was doing, I put pen to paper and Point of No Return was born. Without a beta-reader, without anyone’s input, I sent it to a publisher. I remember exactly where I was when I got the email saying it had been accepted. I was grocery shopping and for some strange reason I decided to check my emails. I couldn’t believe it! And to be honest, some days I still can’t.
Writing’s a crazy game. Even on the very worst days, I still love it. I’m extremely grateful for my readers being with me all these years. I have no clue where this road will take me, but I know, through every hard-fought word that’s made it to paper, it’s been worth it.
More about the author:
N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn't have it any other way.
She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don't let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.
She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things...but likes it even more when they fall in love.
She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.
She's been writing ever since...
Thanks for celebrating with us. Come back next week for more of N.R. Walker's books and our author interview. We'll also have one more chance to win one of her books.
Until then, happy reading!