Welcome to our second week of celebrations for the amazing
This week's post is all about Guys - the series, that is. We also have five little-known facts about Darien and another chance to win!
First up, Guys On Top
Doug Crandall’s perfect suburban life imploded after his boyfriend’s betrayal and a subsequent lawsuit left him personally and financially devastated. A year later, with a new place in the city and a fresh outlook, he’s back on his feet and ready to start over. Eager to lose his cynicism and heal his battered heart, he immerses himself in the local social scene, which includes a pair of charismatic men engaged in an open relationship.
As Doug finds himself becoming emotionally and sexually entangled in their lives, he’s forced to reevaluate his views on fidelity, betrayal, love, and the often calamitous price of happiness.
Doug was looking forward to going back to work tomorrow, back to the routine, so he could get his mind off of things at home. Shit, he’d only been there a week, and he felt like he’d already created an uncomfortable environment for himself, which was the exact opposite of his intentions when he chose the place. It was supposed to be his sanctuary, his calm home base to regroup. Now it felt like he was living in a soap opera. And he had no one to blame but himself.
He didn’t have to sleep with Stewart. He could have just bid him goodnight, left him on the pullout couch, and gone to his own room. But he’d just wanted him so bad. He recalled the near irresistible pull he’d felt, the overpowering need to touch him. It likely had a bit to do with his extended sexual dry spell. But it had a lot to do with Stewart. His mind kept flashing back to rolling around on the bed with him, their naked flesh mingling. His smell. His taste. The way he looked when he came.
Doug stared down at Stewart’s name on his phone display.
Do not call him.
But even as his conscience gave the warning, his mind was busy thinking up excuses to do just that. He was feeling mellow and romantic after watching movies. He wanted to talk to him, just hear his voice. His laugh.He’s not your boyfriend. He’s someone else’s.
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Book 2, Guys On The Side
In the sequel to Guys on Top, we meet up with the Boston boys several months later. Corey has developed a close friendship with Doug, who’s still living in the apartment downstairs. But Doug plans to leave and move in with Stewart soon, and Corey finds himself feeling lost, since his own new relationship is beginning to implode—Zach’s insecurities over Corey’s promiscuous past turning from slightly annoying to downright irrational.
Corey’s stress increases when a conflict with a massage client’s homophobic family grows hostile, but through this debacle he meets Angelo, a local psychiatrist, who despite being straight, feels like a mirror image of himself. But soon this friendship becomes confusing as Angelo’s affection starts to feel not so platonic anymore. And for the first time in Corey’s life, he finds himself faced with a man who intimidates the hell out of him, and that he has absolutely no idea what to do with.
Angelo nodded. “All right. So this is...settled then?”
Corey took a sip of his beer. “It appears so.”
Angelo’s brow smoothed out as his shoulders relaxed. “I’m glad. Look at that. We worked things out like grownups.”
“And you didn’t even need to pull your switchblade,” Corey said. Chuckling, Angelo looked down into his beer, his demeanor almost shy suddenly. “Okay.” Corey checked his watch. “I should get going.”
Angelo looked up. “Don’t you want to stay and finish your beer?”
“Nah, I’ve got to go see my boyfriend before he goes out, he’s got this fancy private party he’s bartending at tonight.”
“You have a boyfriend?”
Corey did a double take at Angelo. The question—and the slight tone of interest—surprised him. “Um, yes. I do. Zachary.”
“Oh.” Angelo studied Corey, his expression hard to read. For a moment Corey thought he saw disappointment there. “So that guy Doug. He’s not your boyfriend.”
Corey let out a sharp laugh. “No. Doug is not my boyfriend. We’re just friends.”
“I see.” Angelo shifted in the booth seat, and Corey noted a slight blush on his cheeks. “I’m sorry, Corey. Your personal life is none of my business.”
“It’s not a big deal, don’t worry about it.” Confused by Angelo’s sudden bumbling, he decided it must be the subject matter, making him uncomfortable. “You don’t deal with a lot of gay men, do you?”
Angelo’s pale eyes shot up, a flash of something like panic in his expression. “I don’t have a problem with gay men.”
“I didn’t suggest you had a problem. I’m just sensing a...hyperawareness of my homosexuality at the moment.”
Angelo got that look again, like he’d been caught doing something wrong. “I’m not like my cousin Tommy in that regard,” he said. “Why, is that what you think of me? You think I’m a bigot?”
“Well, I don’t have much to go on, other than that good thug, bad thug display with your cousin the other day.”
Angelo smiled slightly. “I am really sorry about that. That’s not who I am.”
“Well, guess what?” Corey said. “I actually kind of like this version of you.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean this.” He pointed at Angelo. “The mild mannered psychiatrist. Being reasonable. No one calling me names or trying to intimidate me.”
Corey frowned at him. Again he sensed disappointment. Or something. He wasn’t sure. But the guy was acting weird all of a sudden. “What did you think I meant?”
“Nothing.” He gave Corey a pointed look. “I’m not homophobic. I think you’re a decent guy.”
“For a gay man,” Corey said.
Angelo fidgeted with his beer glass. “No. For any man.”
“Then why do you look so nervous?” Corey wasn’t sure why he was calling the guy out. He supposed he felt like if Angelo was uncomfortable with gays, he should just admit it. Something had the guy all twitchy and awkward suddenly.
“It’s just you,” Angelo said.
“Not nervous exactly. Just...I don’t know. You have a way about you,” Angelo said.
Corey’s eyebrows shot up. “A way?”
“Yeah.” Angelo nodded.
“Um...” Corey laughed. “What do you mean?”
Angelo gave him an assessing look, then shrugged. “You’re kind of...disarming.”
Angelo smiled. “Glad you like it.”
“But how am I disarming?”
Angelo was silent. He picked up his beer and took a sip, shrugged a shoulder, but said nothing.
“You’re used to being the guy who asks the questions, huh?” Corey said. “Don’t do so well on the other side of things. Don’t like other people asking you questions.”
Smiling, Angelo met his eyes. “No, I come from a big Italian family, I’m used to being barraged with probing questions.”
“So why do you feel like you can’t explain what you meant by disarming?”
Smirking, Angelo said, “I didn’t expect an interrogation about it. You’d make a good shrink.”
“I very nearly was one,” Corey said.
Corey nodded. “Seriously. We have more in common than you think. If we hadn’t met under such appalling circumstances, you and I might have become friends.”
Angelo looked back at him, his expression grim and serious. “I wish we had,” he said. “Met under different circumstances.” It was a simple statement, but Corey was taken aback by the intensity of Angelo’s eyes, the rawness of his tone. And suddenly Corey was the one who felt nervous. Seconds passed in silence as Angelo held his gaze, and he felt something odd pass between them, a crackling of energy. What the hell is this? Corey stood, clearing his throat. “I’ve really gotta run. Thanks for the beer.”
“Sure.” Angelo looked away quickly. “I’ll let you know about Uncle Len.”
“Sounds good,” Corey said. “Later.”
Moving down the sidewalk toward his car, Corey let out a long whistle of breath. Okay, that was weird. He chuckled, shaking his head, deciding he must have imagined it, that strange moment where he thought he saw something in Angelo’s gaze. “You’re kind of...disarming.”
“Oh, man, what the fuck did that mean?” Corey whispered, still slightly shaken as he unlocked his car and climbed in. He must have been imagining it. Must have. Because if not...he was pretty sure the straight guy had been flirting with him.
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And book 3, Guys On The Bottom
Zach has worked long and hard to change his life and restore his dignity after the humiliating breakup with Corey two years ago. But bad luck has forced him to backslide again, and he fears that no matter how hard he struggles, he’ll always be a guy on the bottom. Until he meets Duncan, a much older man who takes a professional interest in Zach, boosting his shaky confidence.
But Zach is wary of Duncan’s motivations, even as he finds himself increasingly drawn in by his intense gaze and whimsical charm. To complicate matters, Duncan has a surprising connection to Zach’s ex-boyfriend Corey, forcing his past and present to collide, and Zach wonders if he’s really heading toward a brighter future, or if he’s once again on the path to self-destruction.
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Five little-known facts:
1) Prefer cloudy days to sunny.
2) Have a degree in journalism and worked on documentary films for a few years.
3) Was a left-handed child but my parents took great pains to force pencils into my right until I finally succumbed. I blame my atrocious handwriting on this.
4) I’m way into all things outer space, alien life, origins of the universe etc. My reader/writer friends likely already know this to a degree, but it’s beyond, I’m obsessed.
5) Was a child model until my dad, who didn’t approve, called my mom a pimp, leading to several smashed dinner plates and the end of my ‘modeling career’.
More about Darien Cox:
Darien lives in New England and enjoys using romantic fiction to explore the intensity, insanity, humor, and chaos that accompanies Cupid’s arrow.
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Thank you for joining us today to celebrate this fabulous author with us. Come back next week for more of Darien's books, a personal story called "In Hindsight", and another chance to win.
Until then, happy reading!