Welcome to our first week of celebrations for the amazing
In our first post, we'll look at the By Degrees series, and a guest post from Taylor. There's also a chance to win one of her books!
First up, Six Degrees Of Lust
New York City FBI team leader Samuel Shaughnessy lives for his immediate family and his job. After a marriage gone wrong, he sticks to a firm rule when it comes to relationships: he doesn't have them. Sexually active and emotionally unavailable keeps him satisfied, especially now that he is in hot pursuit of a serial killer targeting gay men.
Former firefighter Machlan O'Bannon now manages a successful sports bar in Houston, and after years of waiting, he’s ready to stand up and be the man he always wanted to be: out, proud, and drama-free. His politically aligned family wants to keep him locked in the closet, but Mac just wants to meet the man of his dreams.
One man is as high-strung as the other is laid-back. A chance meeting brings them together, and one night of passion ignites a fire neither can fight. Their lives are not only miles apart, but as different as day and night. They don't want to get involved, but they might not be able to keep apart.
*NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR
Six Degrees of Lust is both an ensemble novel and the first installment in the By Degrees serial. This means there are several point of views and the story will continue. Thanks.
On their way to the terminal to collect their luggage and find Christian, their chauffeur for the day, Mac looked around at all the people coming and going, taking in the faster pace. He was about to comment on how different from Texas everything was when he noticed Braxton talking on his phone a few steps ahead of him. The huge frown on his face caught Mac by surprise, as the guy had been in a good mood only a minute ago.
He’d almost caught up with Braxton when someone rudely bumped into him, knocking his carry-on off his shoulder and to the ground.
“Hey!” Mac said, slightly annoyed. He leaned down to pick up his bag at the same time the other person did, and they damn near bumped heads.
“Sorry, man. I wasn’t looking where I was going.”
Mac felt shivers down his spine at the deep, sultry New York-accented voice. He swallowed hard, picked up his bag, and looked at the guy. Holy fuck, he was a walking, talking orgasm. V-shaped and slightly shorter than Mac, he had broad shoulders, long arms, a narrow waist, and powerful-looking legs. His eyes were blue and intense. His midnight black hair was long enough to allow for a firm grip. Mac, an expert when it came to disguising his interest in other men, couldn’t stop himself from staring at this gorgeous one.
“No problem,” he managed to say. “I was distracted too.” The other man glanced at him with an apologetic smile. He must’ve noticed Mac’s interest, because his smile turned into pure sin and he gave Mac a very obvious, thorough once-over, causing his blood to rush right down to his dick.
Mac sent a silent thank-you to the gods. Last thing he needed was to get his lights punched out, had the dude been straight. But he most definitely wasn’t, and his blatant blue-eyed gaze was doing weird things to Mac. He had been checked out and propositioned many times throughout the years but had never reacted to it the way he was doing now.
“Yeah, happens when you’re in a hurry.” The guy’s deep voice rumbled through Mac like a freight train. “Nice accent, by the way. Texas?”
“Yeah, from Houston… and right back at you.”
“In town for business or pleasure?” The black-haired wet dream’s voice seemed to get deeper on the word “pleasure.”
“Both.” Mac was annoyed that his own voice actually quivered a little. Granted, he had never before in his life had such a strong sexual reaction to a man in public, but this was ridiculous. Clearing his throat, he let his gaze slide over the tall, muscular, suit-covered form before adding, “If we can manage the time, that is.”
The other man was about to say something else when the PA announced the last boarding call for some flight.
“Damn, that’s me.” He looked disappointed. Or was that just wishful thinking on Mac’s part? “How long are you staying?” he asked, not taking his eyes away from Mac’s when he reached back to get his wallet.
“I’ll be here until Saturday afternoon,” Mac answered, not giving a crap Braxton could very well be witnessing this encounter. This guy was gorgeous and Mac wanted a piece of him, caution be damned.
“Saturday… okay….” The guy leaned slightly forward and put what looked like a business card in one of Mac’s front jeans pockets, glancing down at his package before stepping back and taking Mac’s breath away in the process. “I should be back by then. Give me a call, will you? I’d love to show you the goods.” He flashed what was probably the world’s sexiest smile. “You have a good one.”
“You too. Have a safe flight” was all Mac could say, smiling when the guy started walking backward.
“Yeah… thanks.” Another smile, another once-over, and he finally turned around and headed toward what Mac assumed was his gate.
Mac subtly adjusted himself. “Jesus…. What the fuck was that?” He closed his fist tightly around the card inside his pocket and squeezed his eyes shut. “He wants me to call him.” Mac swallowed hard. “Yes…. Yes!” He took a moment to get his heartbeat under control, then snapped his eyes open and turned to go catch up with Braxton.
A hysterical chuckle escaped him when he saw Braxton walking toward him.
Had he seen anything?
Then again, did Mac even care anymore if Braxton figured out Mac was gay before he was ready to tell him? Sometimes he thought he didn’t.
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Book 2, Six Degrees Of Separation
FBI team leader Samuel Shaughnessy and bar manager Machlan O’Bannon are exploring a new phase in their nonrelationship. The intention is to take it slowly, but power plays are still their favorite activity, and it isn’t long before lines begin blurring. After ending their friends-with-benefits agreement, no rules are left in place to guide them, and soon the only thing that’s clear is that neither man is fighting hard enough to reestablish the boundaries.
Their situations haven’t improved in the three months since their first encounter. Sam is still focused on his immediate family issues, and everything indicates Mac will have to go to war with his own family before he can reclaim his freedom. The last thing they need is additional complications.
But when the opening of a nightclub brings Mac to New York City and a break in the Leviticus investigation leads Sam to Houston, they discover how closely their worlds have been connected from the beginning. Hiding from the life-altering collision is not an option. They can take the easier road and go their separate ways or come to terms with their pasts and take a chance on each other.
A reluctant smile spread across Sam’s face.
Mac’s thoughtfulness never ceased to amaze him. He was delighted to hear Mac would brave such a long flight even though he hated planes and planned to stick around long enough to take him on this amazing trip the following year.
Mac was talking long-term and scaring the shit out of Sam in the process. They couldn’t do that… right? His mind raced through a list of obstacles, but he also saw possibilities jumping all over the place.
Sam gulped and tried to mentally settle long enough to compile all the reasons why thinking long-term wasn’t a good idea.
He couldn’t come up with anything.
“This is too much,” he blurted. He wasn’t sure if he meant too much money or too much expectation, but years of staying detached compelled him to say something. He just had to make sure it wasn’t anything mean. He’d been doing pretty well lately at not turning into an asshole and hurting his guy every time Mac pushed his boundaries, and he didn’t want that to change. “I can’t pay for half of it,” he added, baffled that he’d brought up his finances. Then again, this was Mac, and they could talk about anything. “Not now with so many people living in my house, and I have the sitter’s salary to cover.”
“The trip’s a present, darlin’,” Mac clarified, as if Sam hadn’t known that. He had. But he’d needed to reach some measure of normalcy in this crazy magical night.
Sam shook his head and turned around in Mac’s arms. “It’s too expensive. I mean, the airfare alone, it’s—”
“But I can afford it,” Mac assured Sam as he pinned him in place with the heated look of his amazing green eyes. “And there’s nothing I wouldn’t give you, Sam. Don’t you know that already? I would’ve bought the real thing for you, if it had been for sale.”
Sam lowered his brows and said, “Don’t go there, please.” His tone was strained, and he flinched when Mac brushed his lips with his thumb, but he didn’t move away.
“I can’t not go there, darlin’,” Mac said without blinking. “Not anymore.”
Sam got lost in Mac’s stare. He absolutely loved those eyes. He had from the very beginning. But he wished he could move out of their hypnotizing way and put some distance between Mac and himself. Close his eyes, at the very least, and cover his ears as well, because based on the tension in Mac’s body and the gravity of his expression, he could tell Mac was gearing up to say something important, and Sam didn’t know if he was ready to hear it.
He put a finger over Mac’s soft lips, only to have it kissed away.
“I know we had an agreement,” Mac said, “and I gave you my word I wouldn’t fa—” Mac’s Adam’s apple bobbed as he tried to swallow his anxiety. “I really tried. I promise you, I did. I thought it’d be easy. You were such an asshole most of the time, and… I thought I could control my feelings, but…. Shit.” Mac’s voice trembled, and his eyes seemed to burn with a mix of eagerness and fear. “Do you understand what I’m saying to you?”
Sam’s stomach twisted in knots.
He understood what Mac was saying, all right. He just didn’t think it would be a good idea to acknowledge it. Things would change if he did. His old-fashioned ways would take over, and Mac would hate him. He couldn’t risk losing Mac… and he couldn’t stand watching him in so much distress either, especially if he was the cause.
Mac looked like a man facing a firing squad. His jaw was clenched, and he was hyperventilating, but he never broke eye contact with Sam. He didn’t try to pretend his heart wasn’t on the line. He didn’t try to hide his wariness and fear.
Sam chewed the inside of his cheek as he mentally repeated what Mac hadn’t quite said.
He’s in love with me… he’s in love with me….
A deep sense of elation spread through him. His heart drummed in his chest, and warmth radiated through his body. Then he finally identified that thing that kept shifting inside him whenever he was around Mac—it was the fucking knowledge that deep down Sam had hoped for this outcome since they first met.
He’s in love with me.
Sam had never felt so aware of anything in his life, or wanted anything as much he wanted that love. It was like he’d just been awakened from one hundred years of slumber, and he was feeling everything at once. Need, commitment, happiness… he felt love, too. There was no escaping that.
“Do you understand what I’m saying to you?” Mac asked again in a hoarse voice.
Sam nodded. “You love me.”
“I’m in love with you,” Mac confirmed, tightening his arms around Sam.
Sam dropped the papers on the plush spread, straddled Mac’s lap, and pressed himself flush against his chest. Mac’s arms were around Sam in a heartbeat, and they clung to one another tightly.
“Calm down,” Sam whispered, rubbing circles between Mac’s tense shoulder blades. Taking time to reassure his guy and letting his own tumultuous feelings and thoughts go the fuck away. “There’s no reason to get so worked up, I promise you.”
Now he had to follow his own advice, and everything would be just fine.
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Hello everyone! My name’s Taylor and I’m an author of gay romantic fiction and suspense. Today I’m here to talk about writing, my hiatus, getting back on the saddle, and upcoming releases that I’m ecstatic about. Thanks a bunch to My Fiction Nook for having me over this month! ☺
Those of you who recognize my name know I haven’t been active in the past…five years I believe. I did attempt to release ‘Heavy Hitters’ well over two years ago, but that was a mess of epic proportions with Amazon. In the end, I took everything that went wrong as a sign that the book wasn’t meant to come out yet. I’m Puerto Rican, what can I say? ;-) Long story short, I pulled the book and sat on it, then I decided to work on it some more. And then I started writing something else. That took months and months…but here I am.
Now, you might be wondering about my other series. Am I ever going to finish ‘By Degrees’? And what about the second instalment in the ‘Bylaws’ series? Yes, ‘Six Degrees of Agony’ will be released through my publisher when it suits their schedule. In the meantime I’ll be releasing titles through my very own press.
The truth is, my Caribbean Tales series became top priority for several reasons. First and foremost, it is set in my hometown of Puerto Rico, and writing Puerto Rican guys doing things Boricua style in settings I love had my creative muscles flexing like crazy. Secondly, I am passionate about these guys. They motivate me, and that means the world to someone who suffered from writer’s block for a long time. I honestly can’t wait for you all to meet Saúl and Orlando from ‘Forces of Nature,’ and Damián and Gael from ‘Living on the Edge.’ The former is a short story inspired by the upcoming anniversary of Hurricane María. The latter is a saga that spans several years, and it’ll be your introduction to Puerto Rican culture, traditions, food, to our way of doing things…to the good and the bad, to what it is like being gay in a bicultural country heavily influenced by the United States but extremely attached to its traditional values… Can you tell how excited I am? :-D Damián and Gael will also pave the way for Santi and Luca, as Heavy Hitters will be released (finally!!!!!) shortly thereafter. Seriously, guys—I. Can’t. Wait. ☺
Thank you for hanging out with me this month. Hope to hear from you all.
More about Taylor and where to find her:
Taylor V. Donovan is a compulsive reader and author of gay romance and suspense. She is optimistically cynical about humanity and a lover of history, museums, and all things 80s. She shamelessly indulges in mind-numbing reality television, is crazy about fashion, and passionate about civil rights and equality for all.
Thank you for celebrating this fabulous author with us. Come back next week for more of Taylor's book, 20 fun factoids, plus another chance to win!
Until then, happy reading!