I’m Susan Laine, and I’ll be your ghoulish hostess this autumnal evening. Well, I wouldn’t want to ruin my lip gloss eating... questionable things.
What to tell you about myself? My vices include way too many books for sanity, chocolate and gay porn, and I’m only moderately ashamed of the latter. I live in Finland, I’m an anthropologist, and I’m a right-brained kinda gal who has a thing for cowboys. I’m a strange, unusual sex fiend-eccentric trapped in the body of a quiet, good, meek girl next door.
As it is October, no doubt everyone will be talking about things that evoke dread and give us goose bumps. I will not, however, be recounting snippets from my favorite horror stories (any of the Cthulhu stories, am I right?) or scary movies (I watched It when I was way too young, and the scars still feel fresh). Instead, I will talk about a book of mine.
The book of the day, Love in Plain Sight, is not a horror story. It is a love story. Yes, there is suspense and action, as it is about solving a crime and facing a dangerous foe, but have no fear: No zombies, vampires, or monsters with huge fangs and claws will be after your brains, blood, or delicious flesh. Mmm, brains... *drooling*
At its heart Love in Plain Sight is a mystery. The juxtaposition of the mystery of smuggled paintings and the time-honored mystery of falling in love.
Here’s the story in broad strokes, and there will be an excerpt at the end.
Police volunteer Sebastian Sumner may be deaf, but he’s strong and capable. He’s been involved with Detective Jordan Waters for a year now. Their relationship hasn’t been smooth sailing, but their love is on solid ground. Too bad their work lives are on shakier soil—Jordan’s is, anyway, as he sets out with his partner to investigate Aldous Henley, a shady art dealer suspected of forgery and smuggling. But proving these crimes and bringing the man to justice is more challenging than Jordan expected.
Before long, Henley isn’t just a work problem. The case consumes Jordan’s attention, and he’s struggling to balance his busy professional life and his equally important private life—especially with a significant anniversary approaching. Love may be in plain sight, but that doesn’t mean it should be taken for granted.
As befits the October theme of getting the snot scared out of you—apart from getting killed by horrible curses or monsters clawing their way out from under your bed, of course—the most frightening thing in the world is the idea of losing the people you love. In all honesty, what could be scarier than that? In October we relish getting spooked and pushed to the edges of our seats by swamp gas from Venus. In Love in Plain Sight, a confrontation with an unscrupulous criminal inches closer and closer to the heroes, and that deadly fate suddenly seems terrifyingly real and unavoidable. When faced with sharp violence and imminent threat to the life of one we adore... it is gut-chilling, nauseating, crippling fear that we feel. As this is a romance, however, get ready to feel the warmth of love driving away those ghostly sensations.
I had several reasons for writing this story.
One of them was the story itself. The heinous art smuggler, suave and debonair in his own turf, but a dangerous criminal when backed into a corner. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the story, what the mystery would be, how the action would manifest, and how my guys would respond to the threats to their relationship as well as to their lives. Henley is a smooth professional criminal whose slick appearance gives credence to his apparent civility, yet he is anything but. Our heroes, Jordan and Sebastian, are on the other end of the spectrum, two men in love. And the possibility of losing love is at the heart of many a ghost story.
Another one of my motives was the impulse to write a sequel to Sounds of Love, the first story in the series, because that one was from Jordan’s point of view. This time I wanted Sebastian’s point of view to come to the foreground. The two men are so different that I felt a continuation of their joined sojourn was in order. Where Jordan is brooding and overly analytical, prone to deep ponderings, Sebastian is more carefree and at ease with any and all kinds of situations, impulsive and passionate. They complement each other to a tee.
The main reason for writing the story, however, was that Sebastian spoke to me, and I didn’t have the heart to deny him anything. He’s just too adorable. Yeah, yeah, no man wants to be called that, but dang it, I’m the writer here! You can shudder about my terminology choices on your own time! Anyway... Sebastian may be deaf, but his strength of will surpassed mine, so I caved, and let him tell this wonderful story exactly how he wanted it to come out. I never stood a chance...
Just like he can be sneaky with Jordan—as the scene below will demonstrate—he could be sneaky with me, too :)
Anyway, I hope you have as much fun reading LiPS (my nickname for the story) as I had writing it. Because of Sebastian, the whole thing went like a breeze. And next month I will be talking about the first book in the series, Sounds of Love.
Y’all can find me at my website, and Love in Plain Sight can be found at the publisher’s, Dreamspinner Press, website, as well as retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, etc.
In conclusion, I would like to thank Carson Douglas for having me here tonight, and letting me rant about stuff full of mystery, but has virtually nothing to do with Halloween :)
MY NAME is Sebastian Sumner, and it’s not like I wake up every morning singing “The hills are alive.”
For one, I couldn’t have carried the melody to save my life since I’ve never heard that particular song. Not that I hear much of anything on account of being deaf. I’ve been deaf since I was a kid, losing hearing first in one ear, then the other due to a childhood illness. I can still remember some sounds, but reminiscing is hardly the same as actually experiencing in the here and now.
I have felt the vibrations of Vivaldi’s “Morning Mood” on loud speakers, but honestly that piece, just like all of the ones from The Sound of Music, seems to be at the top of most people’s irritation list. I thought they were okay, but they were far too peppy for Jordan and his ilk.
And besides, bringing up something that already pushes all his wrong buttons at 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday is not the way to go if you want to keep breathing.
Nonetheless, I loved annoying my man.
Jordan Waters, a detective in the Financial Crimes and Fraud Unit of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia in Washington D.C., was my man. He was a tall, muscular, tanned guy with tattoos, scars and piercings, platinum-blond wavy hair with lavender-colored streaks, and eyes green like precious emeralds. Yes, at work he had to appear more conservative, downplaying the bad-boy image and hiding his tattoos and scars beneath a suit and tie, not to mention removing the piercings he only wore off-hours anyway. But I had the advantage: I knew the real him beneath the formal business attire. Jordan was my dream man.
All right, I admit it. Initially he hadn’t been, not by a long shot. But sometime during the year we’ve been together, we’ve grown into each other.
Jordan was not a morning person, not without a pot of strong black coffee, preferably Hawaiian blend with tons of sugar. Weekends were the worst. He liked to sleep in—and I didn’t. So I found ways to wake him up to play.
I leaned over him as he lay on his stomach on the deep-blue sheets, his face relaxed on the pillow. “Jordan,” I whispered in his ear. “Wakey wakey. Rise and shine.” Yes, I was fully aware of how badly I was goading him, but the day was wasting away.
He moved his shoulders maybe an inch. I placed my hand between his shoulder blades and gave him a gentle nudge. “Come on, sleepy head. We’ve got plans. I made breakfast.”
He shook his back as he tried to dislodge my hand, and I could feel the vibration of him mumbling something, at this hour most likely profanities, especially any cuss words involving my ancestry, if you get my drift. Last time, he’d called me a son of a bitch and a fucking sadist right after I’d yanked the covers from him and left him shivering all alone in bed in the nude. Ah, our fun Saturdays were just that—fun for the whole family. Well, mainly for me.
This time I shoved him harder. “Jordan, don’t make me go in the bathroom. I’ll come back with something cold and wet, and it’ll be all over you. And I promise it won’t be lube.”
Jordan’s response was clear-cut. Twisting his arm from under the pillow, he brought up his hand—and flipped me off. Well, that wasn’t very nice.
Carefully I moved the cover a bit lower to uncover his ass, namely the dip in the small of his back. I nuzzled there, showering him with open-mouthed kisses and then blowing slowly on the wet spots until his skin turned goose bumpy.
He rumbled something from deep within his chest, but he knew I couldn’t tell what he had said, so I decided the commentary wasn’t meant for me. If he had wanted to push me away from him, he could have done so easily as he was bigger and bulkier than me. I loved his skin. What he sometimes thought of as his flaws and imperfections were to me proof of a life lived. I knew he had a past, and not all of it was nice.
Then again, neither was mine, which was something we had in common.
Setting aside these depressing sentiments, long ago made obsolete in my current life, I shifted my focus to the beautiful masculine body beneath me. And he was all mine. Keeping the touch caressing and soft, I inched my fingers across the lines and curves of his back, from the valley of the small of his back to the hard ridges of muscles in his upper back and to his shoulder blades, tracing the expanse like a wilderness only for me to explore.
If I had loved Jordan more, I think my heart would have burst apart.
Squirming under my tickling touch, Jordan was chuckling, I could tell. I laid my cheek against his back and felt the sound traveling through his joints, muscles, and bones, echoing within me too. I adored his strong, lean back and the wide stretch of his smooth skin, marred visually with a few fight and job related scars and accentuated with tribal-style tattoos of curves, lines, and circles; they were not blemishes as far as I was concerned.
Placing a kiss in the dip and moving lower toward the crease between his ass cheeks, I relished the nearness of him, the very presence of him beneath me, in our bed, in our home and life together. I opened my mouth and licked a little line from the musky scented crevice up to the soft, firm mound of his right ass cheek, and bit into it.
Jordan shivered under me. He was the one with the ass fetish, but I did enjoy turning the tables on him once in a while.
Twisting free and turning around to lie on his back, Jordan stared down at me. This position afforded me the opportunity to lick the frontal groove where his thigh met his groin, and I refamiliarized myself with this delicious part of his anatomy. His natural musky male odor was stronger here, and I inhaled deeply, loving the olfactory sensation. I knew from experience he was sensitive at this junction between limb and torso, and I could tickle him by flicking my tongue down his inner thigh and then up to his soft perineum. I vigorously sucked his balls in my mouth, and he arched his back up from the bed and fisted his hands in the sheets. I couldn’t hear it, but I knew for a fact he was moaning.
Yup, my Jordan was finally awake.
He brushed my nose with his hand, and I looked up, seeing him sign, “Coffee.”
I let go of his balls and saw how he let out a sigh as his chest deflated. Jordan had never turned down morning sex, and certainly not on the weekends when he didn’t have to rush into the shower to get a few precious drops of hot water. We lived in a loft household of four guys—me, Jordan, his brother Jack, and my brother Bro—so there was almost never any hot water left when one really needed it. Still, I wouldn’t have minded sucking him dry and cleaning up whatever mess I’d made with a thorough tongue bath.
“I need coffee,” Jordan signed, flexing his whole body on the bed with litheness akin to a relaxed cat.
“You’ve become a morning bully,” I signed back, torn between wanting to please my man by making him coffee and wanting to please myself by continuing my ministrations—and perhaps going the extra mile for our mutual satisfaction.
Jordan grinned and looked at me, amused, through half-slitted, drowsy eyes. “Nope. A morning woody.” He spoke the words and yawned impressively, scratching his chest with its light coating of fuzz. “Now hop to it, bunny.”
I’d already gotten up, but I did read the taunt off his lips. “I heard that.” I always said that, because he tended to tease me in some fashion every day.
“Liar.” He always said that back, usually signing it too for good measure. Not this morning, though, as he turned to his side and burrowed his way back under the warm, soft covers, like a bear seeking refuge to hibernate.