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Friday, December 19, 2014

Blog stop by MJ O'Shea!

Hey there!!

This is Mj O'Shea:) I'm talking about my newest book Corkscrewed, which came out at the beginning of this month. Corkscrewed — and the next two books in this trio — came after me sitting there thinking… you know, it would be fun to write some characters who straddle the line between good and, well, not so good. So I made myself a little list of people I thought it would be fun to write : Con artists, cat burglars, slimy treasure hunters, spies, hackers — the list wasn't short! In the end, I decided on three. For this first book, it was the Con artist. Except, I decided it would be a lot more fun if they both were playing the game.

I started researching classic con jobs — the missing heir, the Spanish prisoner, the fiddle trick, etc. and decided that one of my grifters would be running one trick. And the other would be running a different trick on the same mark:) That game me a fun set up for some lust/hate competition, some fun twists, and even more characters who straddle the line between fun and slightly unsavory. Exactly what I wanted — the anti-hero. Or perhaps a whole book full of them. I kept the book like and banter-driven, built in a few surprises and left lots of room for our two grifters to fall in love, no matter how much they wanted to hate each other. 

Just in case you're curios, the next book Family Jewels will feature my jewel thief/cat burglar and book three X Marks the Spot will be about a rule bending treasure hunter. They won't be sequels, just books with a similar theme and style. I think I've fallen in love with these not so perfect guys. I might have to write more...

Corkscrewed by M.J. O’Shea
Release Date: December 1, 2014
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cary Talbot has found the perfect mark. Marigold Shelley is filthy rich, and her newly found grandson, Isaac Shelley, is poised to inherit her huge estate, complete with a priceless wine collection. Cary concocts a plan to con both of them into selling the crown jewel of that collection to him at a bargain price. Since Isaac is young, single, and gay, part of Cary’s scheme to get close to the Shelleys includes seduction.
But Isaac isn’t the sheep he appears to be. He isn't even the grandson he appears to be. Isaac is, in fact, running quite the con of his own.
These two masters of the confidence game are pitted against each other, and both are after the ultimate prize—a chunk of the huge Shelley fortune. It’s only when a third cunning player comes in and is ready to outwit them both that they must band together and beat their opponent or see all they’ve worked for slip from their grasp one ruby-red drop at a time.

Here's a little bit of the first one, Corkscrewed. 
Cary and Isaac are both trying to set up their cons on Marigold Shelley, but they've already been distracted by each other's presence, even if neither of them have quite figured out what the other is up to —
After a pleasant but somewhat quiet walk through the gardens, Cary left the shy and very pretty Isaac at the door to the main house and ambled across the yard and around the huge tiled pool to his beautiful little guesthouse. He slid the doors shut and made sure nobody was listening before he pulled his phone out of his pocket and dialed his partner. He flopped down on the huge cushy bed and waited for her to answer.
“Hey. What’s up?” she finally said when he thought maybe she’d gone to bed. He’d been just about to hang up when he heard her voice.
“Jules, this is going to be a piece of cake. Like cake with squishy cream cheese frosting.” He grinned up at the high beamed stucco ceiling and tried not to get ahead of himself.
“Good. I’m already tired of this town. It creeps me out. Everything is so perfect. I don’t know what to do with perfect.”
“Yes. Because Portland is so scarred and gritty.”
Jules made a noise in the back of her throat. “You know what I mean. It’s like Touristville here.”
“Well, then let’s get to work. I’m in. I’m so in. I’m supposed to start cataloging the wine collection tomorrow. This job is in the bag.”
“And the plan is we plant the chatter online so it’s ready to find. It'll just take some well-placed articles and blog comments to get them believing the sisters might not be real over the next few days.”
“Yep. Like I said. No problem. I have a feeling Marigold is a tough old cookie, but she has a weakness, and I think I can use it to our advantage.”
“What’s her weakness?” Cary heard wariness in Jules voice. She was right to be wary. She sure as hell wasn’t going to like his solution.
“Easy. Isaac.”
“What? It’s perfect. I think the kid’s got the hots for me, and it’s no hardship for me to get a little closer to him. Marigold even has set it up so he’s going to help me catalog in the morning. He doesn’t know much about the collection, he’s already admitted it. I can sway him. If I get him on my side, it’ll be that much easier to win her over. She’s still so much in love with the idea that she has a grandson. It’ll be a tipping point once he’s on board.”
“You know what? You can keep saying my name, but I still think he’s our best doorway in. I don’t want to discuss it.”
“But nothing. I need you to work on the internet stuff. We’ll need stories of people who researched the sisters and came across collections that were supposed to be real. We need—”
“Jesus Christ, Cary,” Jules snapped. “You’d think I didn’t know how to do my job. Charm the old lady, make out with the grandson, and let me get the real work done.”
Cary knew when Jules was angry with him. She wasn’t very good at hiding it. “Thanks, Jules,” he muttered. Because, yes, she worked for him. To a point. But they both knew how much easier she made his job. He waited for her reply. It didn’t come.
Cary pulled his phone away and saw the home screen staring blankly at him. She’d hung up.
* * * *
Isaac couldn’t stop thinking about dinner the night before. Well, he couldn’t stop thinking about Cary. Cary’s blond hair, his glamorous smile, and the way he’d managed to look at Isaac a lot but still include Marigold and the frosty Kitty in his rather charming conversation. He wondered if Cary had noticed him the same way. Then he got really annoyed with himself for thinking about a guy when he had work to do. Again. Always. Isaac always had work to do.
He yanked on a polo, one of the preppy, well-cut ones Marigold had picked out for him a few days into his stay. He’d had clothes—he and Roman had been doing very well—but Marigold assured him it was one of her ways of showing affection. She’d been missing the opportunity to mother him for ten years, and she wanted to buy him expensive outfits even if he already had everything he needed. Marigold hadn’t wavered. Everything she did, everything she said, told him she thought he was really Isaac Shelley. That he was really her grandson. As far as Isaac was concerned, Marigold was taken care of. He had to deal with the other people in her life, the ones who’d convince her not to file the paperwork, or the ones who would maybe help the papers not pass through. That was a little harder. Complicated multimark cons had always been more Roman’s game. Trial by fire, Isaac supposed. He pulled on trim trousers and a pair of expensive canvas sneakers, and spent more time trying to calm his dark hair than he usually did. It had nothing to do with Cary. Nothing at all.
“Morning, everyone,” he said when he got down to breakfast. The usual spread was out: eggs and sausage, english muffins, fruit, juice and coffee.
Cary was already at the table, talking animatedly to Marigold, hands waving around. He looked up when Isaac walked in and smiled his big charming grin before he went back to Marigold.
“What are you doing today, sweetheart?” Marigold asked him.
“I thought I was going to help Cary catalog the wine bottles. Wasn’t that the plan?” Isaac tried to sound casual about it. After all, Cary wasn’t the actual reason he was here. It helped if he kept telling himself that instead of staring.
Cary smiled at him and raked his sandy blond hair off his face. “Like I said, I’d really appreciate the company,” he replied. “I’ll be doing some paperwork this morning, but I’ll be down there all afternoon if that works for you.”
“Sure,” Isaac said. Relax. You have one job to do. Time to do it. Isaac chose to sit next to Marigold and pour her a refill of orange juice.
“Thank you, darling,” she said. She patted Isaac on the knee.
“Of course.” As usual he tried to ignore Kitty’s death glares. She was constantly around, like he was going to do bodily harm to Marigold if she let her eyes sway for more than a little while. It was bullshit. Isaac wondered if Kitty’s animosity was starting to work in his favor though. Marigold had dismissed Kitty more than she’d listened lately. He must’ve been better at his job than he thought.
He didn’t have much to do after breakfast. Mike had a lot of work to do in his office, Marigold was busy, and Kitty… well he’d like to stay away from her as much as he could, thanks. The best thing he could think of was to go out and enjoy the pool he’d only been in a few times. Isaac went to his room and stripped out of the clothes he’d chosen so carefully earlier. He put on a pair of swim trunks, a T-shirt, and some flip-flops, grabbed a towel and sunscreen, and hit the stairs at a jog.
“Going for a swim, dear?” Marigold asked. She had her laptop open in front of her and was typing away at the keys.
“Yeah, I figured I’d stay out of everyone’s hair.”
“That’s nice, sweetheart. Don’t forget sunscreen.”
“I won’t, Grandmother.”
“I’m sure Cary will enjoy the show.”
Jesus. “I can’t believe you just said that.”
Marigold looked up at him innocently. “What? I’m old, not dead.”
“You don’t even know that he likes men,” Isaac muttered.
“Yeah. No clues at all.” She snorted. “Go swimming, darling. I’ll talk to you in a little bit.”
It was bright out, as always. Isaac stripped down to his shorts and slathered his pale skin with sunscreen. He’d tan eventually but pink was his typical reaction to any type of sun. He knew he wouldn’t last long on a deck lounger without at least a few minutes in the pool first, so he bit the bullet and jumped in.
The water was freezing at first, but then it felt great. He floated on his back and looked up at the huge blue sky. Isaac wasn’t going to lie to himself. Sometimes he was tempted to stay in this huge house and pretend to be Marigold’s grandson forever. He didn’t really miss his loft or San Francisco. He missed Roman, but he wasn’t waiting back in the city. But while it was nice to imagine being Isaac Shelley, vintner and heir, the fear that one day his jig would be up and he’d be back at square one was just a little too big for him to say screw it and jump right in. It was definitely best to stick with the plan. 
That's all for now!! Thanks for having me stop by :)
Giveaway: I am offering an eBook copy at each stop on the tour so just leave a comment with your email address to be entered.
I’m Mj O’Shea:) I grew up, and still live, in sunny Washington state in a little old house. While I love to visit other places, I can’t imagine calling anywhere else home.

I spent my childhood writing stories. Sometime in my early teens, the stories turned to romance. Most of those were about me, my friends, and our favorite movie and pop stars. Hopefully, I’ve come a long way since then!!
When I’m not writing, I love to go to concerts, hang out with my friends, play the  piano (and my other instruments), dance, cook, paint pictures, and of course read! I really, really like coffee and tea, nail polish and glittery sparkly things, headbands, hats, scarves and sunglasses!

I have two little dogs who sit with me when I write. Sometimes they come up with ideas for me too…when they’re not busy napping of course.

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