Please say hello to Devon Rhodes and
Stranger In Black
Before Christian can end his relationship with a closeted cheater, he needs to see the evidence firsthand. He disguises himself and attends a masquerade ball escorted by a friend, in search of the Stranger in Black. When he finds him, he gets something entirely different—and much more erotic—than he expected.
Wearing a black-and-gold mask, Jarrod is on the hunt for Chris, the “other woman” his best friend’s fiancé is having an affair with. But a sexy vision in a white gown captures his attention and takes his breath away, which is strange, since he’s gay.
One by one, the pieces fall away, exposing their dual deception. After the masks—and the pants—are off, Christian and Jarrod must work together to support a friend… and maybe become something more than strangers.
Thanks for hosting me during my release week for Stranger in Black! I had a lot of fun writing this one, but had to really work at making sure I got across who knows who is who and when. LOL! Throw in a bit of mistaken gender and some masks, and it’s complicated…but in a good way. ☺ I brought along an exclusive excerpt for you, where Christian and Jarrod finally meet face to face—as opposed to mask to mask—but still have one more secret to navigate.
Christian finally had the opportunity to see his stranger’s face without the mask, and he took full advantage. At close range, those light blue eyes had a tinge of green, and combined with the dark lashes and eyebrows, they were mesmerizing. He had strongly defined angles to his face, cheekbones, jawline, and even with his face obviously at rest, his expression still managed to appear intensely focused as he looked down at Christian… expectantly?
He scrambled to try to remember the question he’d been asked. “Um, what?” he finally managed.
Those lips curved into a rueful smile, then parted—probably to respond, but damn if it didn’t look like the prelude to a kiss….
“Our starter and drinks are here.”
David’s voice penetrated into the bubble of isolation as his friend’s presence seemed to crowd the small vestibule. In fact, the three of them had to press out of the way as someone passed them by on the way back to the main area of the restaurant. Time to move. But he was reluctant to leave Jarrod now that he’d found him. He felt as though he had so much to say and talk about, but he could barely get any words out.
“Do you want to join us?” he offered hopefully, watching the smile intensify for a moment before regret supplanted it.
“Sorry, I have Mira waiting for me by the entrance.”
“She’s actually at our table,” David corrected, and they both looked at him fully for the first time. His dark skin had a rosy touch to it, and Christian arched a brow at him.
“Well, she was standing there by herself for a while, so….” David cleared his throat.
Christian, attuned to Jarrod, could tell the moment the penny dropped on David’s attraction to Mira. But his expression didn’t give away anything about his opinion of the news.
A little panicky thought yanked at his brain. “Wait. She doesn’t know I’m a guy.”
“She’s going to have to find out sooner or later,” David ventured.
Christian was already shaking his head. “No way. I’m not telling her in public. I shouldn’t be the one to tell her at all. I mean, she already knows he’s cheating. It’s not my place to out the guy.”
They both looked at Jarrod, who looked almost as panicked as Christian felt. “Crap.” He pressed his lips together, then heaved a sigh, finally saying, “I’m not telling her in a restaurant. But she needs to find out sooner or later.” He looked pleadingly at Christian, who caught his drift and held his hands out in a warding-off gesture.
“No thanks. I already had to go through the leave-my-man-alone discussion in the fucking ladies’ room. In a dress. And I told the guy we’re through, not that he probably believes me. Anyway, I’ve done my part.” And he had. He was so over Carl’s drama, and he didn’t want to cause Mira any more pain.
There was little more to add, standing around blocking traffic in the hallway, and the small group was starting to get pointed looks from the restaurant staff, so they walked back to Christian and David’s booth. The one the other couple had been at had already been cleaned and had a multigenerational family seated there, a testament to how long they’d been lingering.
Mira was munching on their calamari and looked up as the three men got to the table.“You’re still hungry?” Jarrod asked her incredulously. “Where do you put it?”
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Meet the author:
Devon Rhodes is a happily caffeinated former sleepwalker who, over a decade ago, left the business world for the cushy life of motherhood. Two kids later, at around 39 (and holding), she couldn’t take her ponytail and T-shirt life anymore. So she sat down at the laptop to try to do justice to the images burning in her head. A few months later, success! She fended off her identity crisis by morphing from stay-at-home mom into a published erotic romance writer.
She lives in beautiful Oregon with her family, who are (mostly) understanding of all the time she spends on her laptop, aka the black hole. You can find her wherever her two girls are, and you’ll never see her in a scrunchie again. Devon loves to hear from readers—you can email her at this email address.
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