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Friday, February 27, 2015

Tara Lain's "Winter's Wolf" Blog Tour

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March 19, 2015

Winter's Wolf 
(Tales of the Harker Pack #3)
By Tara Lain

Winter Thane was raised on the two cardinal rules of werewolf existence: don’t reveal yourself to humans under penalty of death, and there’s no such thing as a gay werewolf. It’s no surprise when his father drags him from his wild life in remote Canada back to Connecticut to meet his old pack in hopes it will persuade Winter to abandon his love of sex with human males. Of course Dad’s hopes are dashed when they come face-to-face with the gay werewolves in the Harker pack.

Winter takes one look at FBI agent, Matt Partridge, and decides bird is his favorite food. Partridge is embroiled in an investigation into drug dealing and the death of a fellow agent. He can’t let himself get distracted by the young, platinum-haired beast, but then Winter proves invaluable in the search for clues, a move that winds them both up in chains and facing imminent death. Winter quickly learns his father’s motives are questionable, the pack alphas are a bunch of pussies, humans aren’t quite what they seem, and nothing in the forests of Connecticut is pure except love. 

Available for purchase at


Paperback from Dreamspinner Press


Walk slowly. Look casual. Matt left the way he’d come—out the back door. When his feet hit dirt, he jogged away from the club and ducked behind the shed that had been built on the edge of the forest.
Going to die. Heart can’t beat this hard and survive.
He leaned against the shed and gasped for breath, but his cock had grown to the size of a monster, stealing all his oxygen. Think. What the fuck are you doing? No reasonable human being could believe that Winter Thane wanted Matt Partridge, so there had to be an ulterior motive. The dude had asked the marshal about him. For all Matt knew, Winter could be involved in the disappearance of the agent. Maybe he wanted to discredit Matt or—maybe he had something to do with the weird wolf stories. Jesus, the only man he’d ever seen who looked more like a wolf than Cole Harker had to be Winter Thane. Those eyes. Even his teeth were sharp. All the better to eat you with. He closed his eyes and banged his head against the metal siding. Those teeth scraping his cock—
“Dreaming of me?”
Matt’s eyes flew open. “Shit! How did you get here?”
He looked over his shoulder. “Like you said. Out the front, around the side.”
“But I didn’t hear you.”
He grinned. Oh yes, those teeth glistened. “I’m sneaky.”
Matt took a breath, pushed away from the shed, and walked a couple of steps toward the trees. Need distance. “Look. I don’t mean to lead you on, but I’m with the FBI and this isn’t a good idea—”
The hand that gripped his shoulder must have been iron. In one move, Winter grabbed him, pulled him against a body so hard and hot it penetrated Matt’s jacket on contact, hauled Matt’s head back, and covered his mouth in a devouring kiss.
Tongue. Teeth. Perfection.
Winter held Matt’s head both hard and gentle, like he wanted to control him but didn’t want to hurt him. Oh God, so nice. He tasted like beer and smelled like—what? Musky and clean at the same time, like Matt’s dog Buster when he was freshly washed. Man, he wanted to bury his nose in Winter’s neck like he did with Buster.

Winter reduced the speed and intensity of the kiss from fast food to a gourmet meal. He licked and nibbled, tasted and savored, his tongue a finely tuned instrument exploring every cranny of Matt’s mouth. He’d never been so completely kissed. So much so that even the screaming pressure of his cock couldn’t make him want Winter to move on. Matt twined his arms around Winter’s neck. Standing only six feet, he couldn’t get his cock to meet Winter’s, but the prod of that big rod against his belly made him want to beg. He pulled his mouth away an inch. “I should arrest you for carrying a lethal weapon.”

Tales of the Harker Pack Series


About the Author

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her best­selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft. 
She lives with her soul­mate husband and her soul­mate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

You can find Tara at



Presented By

Friday, February 20, 2015

Spotlight Blitz: Speak Of The Devil by J.M. Gregoire

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Speak Of The Devil
(Demon Legacy #2)
by J.M. Gregoire

Nearly half a year has passed since Asmodeus opened the gateway allowing an unknown number of demons to spill onto our plane of existence. A fatal standoff has left Dez on her own to hunt the stray demons down and send them back to Hell where they belong. Her life has become a never-ending cycle of violence and bloodshed, further tainted by a deepening depression and a longing for the person she had to leave behind.

When Dez receives an unexpected phone call, she makes her way to the northern Arizona desert to see an old friend. Upon arrival, there is a message waiting for her from beyond the grave, and she realizes before she can go any further, she must face the one thing she’s been dreading for months. To make matters worse, the message is meant to help her mission, but it forces Dez into an impossible choice.

Only Dez can decide which road to take, but will she be able to handle the consequences of her decision? 


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Michael opened his eyes to find himself in the middle of absolute nothingness.  There was no light, no colors, and no sound.  Just a spacious black void.  Although he could feel the solid ground beneath his feet, there was no surface to be seen.  He glanced at his surroundings, searching for something, anything, to give himself a sense of direction and found only more of the same.  He had no idea where he was or how he got there, and more importantly, he had no idea how to get back.  The soft whisper of a familiar voice right at his ear set every nerve in his body at ease.
“Don’t panic.”  He quickly turned and came face-to-face with Deziree, and she was stunning.  When he’d arrived earlier in the evening, he noticed she looked exhausted.  It was prominent enough in her features and in the way she carried herself that it caught his attention, even through his hunger. 
“Really, there’s nothing to worry about,” she assured him.
“What is this?”
“This,” she said, gesturing around them, “is hard to explain.  We are in the ether, but not dead.”  She slowly turned and surveyed the space around them as she continued.  “Coming here is something I believe came along with the progression of my demon abilities.”  She turned back to him.  “Do you remember the first time I met Asmodeus?  In that dream?  That’s what this is.  You and I are still in Arizona, laying in each other’s arms, and by now, you’re probably snoring.”
“I don’t snore.”
“You totally snore,” she scoffed, and then continued.  “It’s a dream state of sorts, but I am able to connect with you through it.  I honestly thought I could only do this with other demons, but here you are.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that you're a supernatural.  I don’t know for sure.  This is all still very new to me.  I haven’t exactly been practicing and it’s not like I have someone to turn to for lessons.”
“You seem to have figured it out well enough,” he replied.  “So, is this what it looked like when you saw Asmodeus?  This whole black hole effect is a strange sensation.” 
“No,” she answered, “this is just here.  I think I might be able to…”  Her words trailed off and she closed her eyes for a moment.  One minute they were standing in the middle of nothing, the next they were standing in front of the familiar plush leather couch, alone, in his living room.
“Better?” she asked, a sly smile on her face. 
“Yes, much better.”
“And we’re completely alone,” she added, the smile turning mischievous.  Michael felt his teeth extend at the suggestion in her words.  He stepped forward, took her hands, and pulled them up around his neck as he tasted her mouth, their tongues dancing in an erotic rhythm.  Their kiss deepened with intensity and a small moan escaped from Dez.  Michael was reminded of the dream he had on New Year’s Eve and hoped this was not another small act of torture, compliments of his subconscious mind.  He pushed the thought back and ran his hands down her arms, down her sides, allowing his thumbs to briefly brush over her nipples before proceeding down to grasp the supple curves of her ass. 
Before his hands could reach their final destination, the sound of someone not-so-quietly clearing their throat startled them both.  Michael spun around to see his brother staring back at him with a smile curling the edge of his lips.  He was so stunned it took him a moment to realize someone else was standing with Lucas.  Michael instantly recognized her as Natalia, the murdered records keeper for the covens.  Had he not been sent to investigate her death and seen pictures of her, he never would have known who she was, as they hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting while she was still alive.

“You two really should get a room,” Lucas said as he took a step toward them.  Michael still stood there, stunned.  It took him a moment to gather himself enough to speak.  

Click on the cover image to be taken to the book's Goodreads page!


burning_ebook72dpi  ebookcover72dpi  Suffering Official Cover 




Bestselling author J.M. Gregoire was born and raised in New Hampshire, USA and despite her abhorrence for any season that dares to drop to a temperature below seventy degrees, she still currently resides there with her two children and her two cats. Always a passionate reader, her love of urban fantasy books eventually morphed into a love of writing them. She is currently working on the Demon Legacy series and has a Demon Legacy spinoff series, the Killer Instinct series, coming soon.

You can find J.M. Gregoire at 

The Blog Lovin' Blitz is hosted and organized by


Ashlyn Kane's & Morgan James's "Winging It" Blog Tour

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Because Two Men Are Better Than One

Winging It
by Ashlyn Kane & Morgan James

Gabe Martin has a simple life plan: get into the NHL and win the Stanley Cup. It doesn’t include being the first out hockey player or, worse, getting involved with one of his teammates. But things change.

Dante Baltierra is Gabe’s polar opposite—careless, reckless… shameless. But his dedication to the sport is impressive, and Gabe can overlook a lot of young-and-stupid in the name of great hockey. And Dante has a superlative ass in a sport filled with superlative asses.

Before Gabe can figure out how to deal, a tabloid throws him out of his comfortable closet into a brand-new world. Amid the emotional turmoil of invasive questions, nasty speculation, and on- and off-ice homophobia, his game suffers.

Surprisingly, it’s Dante who drags him out of it—and then drags him into something else. Nothing good can come of secretly sleeping with a teammate, especially one Gabe has feelings for. But with their captain out with an injury, a rookie in perpetual need of a hug, and the race to make the playoffs for the first time since 1995, Gabe has a lot on his plate.

He can’t be blamed for forgetting that nothing stays secret forever.

Available for purchase at 


Since the whole impending disaster was his idea, Baller insisted on paying for their tickets. Gabe let him, too overwhelmed by sunshine and happy families to do otherwise. Baller forked over the money, ushered Gabe through the stiles, grabbed a couple of maps, and then basically frog-marched Gabe onto the railroad.

“You are really excited about this,” Gabe observed with mounting trepidation.

Baller grinned manically and threw his arm over Gabe’s shoulders. “Disneyland, Gabe,” he said, as if that explained his completely bizarre behavior. Maybe it did, in his world. “We are going to have fun today if it kills us.”

Gabe thought it actually might.
They got off at the first stop, according to Baller’s extremely detailed plan of attack, and Baller just stood there for a moment, beaming, like he couldn’t imagine anywhere he’d rather be than Anaheim, California, in the middle of a losing streak. Gabe gave in to his own sentimentality and snapped a picture with his phone.

“Pirates,” Baller sighed happily, grabbing Gabe’s arm and herding him to the right. “Come on. Maybe they have some poor sucker dressed up as Will for you to ogle.”

Gabe was reasonably sure the people dressed in costumes were for the kids to interact with, but he decided to keep it to himself. Even if today did nothing more than deepen Gabe’s pit of ill-advised feelings for his teammate, Baller still deserved to have a good time.

As it turned out, Gabe did not have to worry about Baller having a good time. The line for the ride was surprisingly short, and Baller spent the whole ten minutes bouncing on his toes, peering around at the scenery and humming “A Pirate’s Life for Me” under his breath like a loser.

“Some days I forget you’re only twenty,” Gabe said with a self-deprecating smile as they reached the front of the line and took their seats on the ride. “Today’s not one of them.”

“Stop being so old for five minutes and relax. I’m trying to cheer us up.”

Gabe raised his hands in surrender. “Okay, okay. You’re in charge. I’m just along for the ride. Rides.”

Once he admitted to Baller (and himself) that he was not in charge of the situation, it made for a pleasant afternoon. At the end of the ride, they emerged into the sunshine again and Baller made a beeline for a cart selling elaborate hats to match the theme. He tossed a tricorne at Gabe, then grabbed something in mauve with an ostrich feather plume and shoved it on his own head. “What do you think?” he asked, running a finger along the brim, his eyes dancing.

Gabe wanted to kiss him, but he distracted himself by trying on his own silly hat. “Well, you’re no Will Turner, but I suppose you’ll do.”

Baller stuck out his tongue and forked over a handful of bills for the hat.

Baller bought them Mickey Mouse-shaped ice cream for lunch, and they ate standing in the shade of a big tree by the Haunted Mansion.

“We going on this one too?” Gabe asked.

“Everyone knows you have to work up to Splash Mountain,” Baller said loftily. He threw his stick away and licked a drip of ice cream off his thumb.

It probably wasn’t purposely pornographic. Probably.

After the Indiana Jones Adventure, Baller tried to buy Gabe a fedora that looked even worse on him than the tricorne.

“Only douche bags wear fedoras.”

Baller smirked and took a picture with his phone. “So, no problem, then.”

Gabe made a face.

“Come on, you said I was in charge,” Baller wheedled.

“I didn’t think that meant I was going to have to cede control of my wardrobe.”

Baller rolled his eyes. “Grouch.” He tossed a headband with Mickey Mouse ears at Gabe instead.


At least Baller hadn’t invited anyone else along to witness Gabe’s humiliation. He would definitely never hear the end of it if any of these pictures got out. Fifi would chirp him forever, and there’d probably be a whole media circus if they got caught goofing off when they couldn’t win a hockey game for love nor money.

Gabe sighed internally and put on the headband.

Three and a half hours later, when they stumbled out of Buzz Lightyear AstroBlasters for the fourth time, he was smirking. “Another rematch?”

“Screw you, no, you smug bastard.” Baller pouted, but he couldn’t hold it. His grin won out a second later. “Seriously, are you hiding a secret video game addiction?”

“Admit it, I just have better hand-eye coordination than you,” Gabe said, adjusting his ears as he preened. They were starting to hurt his head, but the deal was Baller had to wear the stupid hat as long as Gabe kept the ears on. Gabe wasn’t going to be the first to give in.

“That’s not what the statistics say, buddy.” Baller had pulled ahead in their points race since that game against the Sabres. “In fact, I—” He stopped midsentence and cocked his head at Gabe, an odd smile twisting his lips. He took a step closer and raised a hand to the headband. “Duck your head a little? You’ve got something on your…”

Gabe froze when Baller grabbed his right wrist for balance as he reached up. His hat tipped back precariously, but Gabe couldn’t have made a grab for it if his life depended on it. He was stuck, not breathing, while Baller shuffled closer until Gabe could see his pores. He brushed his fingers over Gabe’s mouse ears.

“I think you walked into a cobweb. You’ve got a leaf…. There.” Baller pulled his right hand away but left the other where it was, clasped around Gabe’s wrist. There was a papery sound as whatever he’d pulled from Gabe’s head hit the asphalt.

Their eyes caught.

For one eternally stupid second, Gabe thought Baller was going to kiss him.

Then the moment passed, and Baller let go and took a step back. He slapped Gabe on the arm. “Much better. Good thing you have me to look after you.”

Gabe forced himself to unfreeze and shake his head in mock disbelief. “Right,” he said as they started walking again, toward Space Mountain this time. “I’m such a handful.”

Baller snorted. “Too easy. You know better than to feed me a line like that. Come on.”

“I’ll feed you something,” Gabe promised jokingly, regaining his equilibrium.

Baller tripped over nothing on the pavement. Gabe grabbed him by the back of his shirt before he could take a dive. Crap. He’d gone too far.

Huffing at himself, Baller righted his hat, then poked Gabe with his elbow. “You know, I was starting to be afraid you were never going to make that kind of chirp again. Good to have you back.”

Sometimes I don’t understand you at all. But for once Gabe let himself be honest. “It’s good to be back.” Then he saw the line for Space Mountain and winced. “Good thing we have Fast Passes.” They only had an hour left before they had to leave the park to be back in time for team dinner.

Gabe had forgotten all about their stupid headgear by the time they returned to the hotel. When they walked into the lobby, Fifi looked over from the concierge desk, a gym towel slung over one of his shoulders, and barked out a laugh. “I guess I don’t have to ask what you got up to today.”

“We went to Disneyland!” Baller said unnecessarily. The feather on his hat flopped from one side to the other in time with his enthusiasm.

“No shit.” Fifi rolled his eyes and reached up to flick Gabe’s ears.

Gabe took them off.

“You’d better have plenty of energy left for the game tomorrow.”

Gabe bristled. “What? I got him home in time for curfew.”

Affecting wide-eyed, earnest innocence, Baller nodded. “Yeah, Dad. He was a total gentleman. Didn’t even try to steal second.”

Fifi smacked the brim of Baller’s hat down over his eyes. “Fine, fine. Hurry up and get ready for dinner or we’re eating without you.”

Somehow Chef snuck into his room and stole the ears while Gabe was showering, and he showed up to dinner wearing them, so of course he and Baller got ragged on. Gabe hoped Chef didn’t put it up on Twitter, but at least Gabe wouldn’t be featured wearing the ears in any pictures. The teasing only got worse when they begged off going out for a drink because they were both too tired to do more than flop on Gabe’s bed and finish watching Pirates.

“Hey, Banksy?”

“Hmm,” Gabe said. His eyes wouldn’t quite focus on the laptop screen.

“Just… thanks.”

Blinking gritty eyes, Gabe managed, “For what?”

He heard Baller answer, but the words got lost on his tired ears as he finally fell asleep.

About the Authors

 Morgan James started writing fiction before she could spell it. It was in high school that she started writing her first novel about a gay character, and she thanks the Internet for helping her realize that didn't make her crazy. Coincidentally, she also thanks the Internet for the role it plays in her long distance friendship with Ashlyn Kane. Geek, artist, archer, and fangirl, Morgan tends to while away free hours with imaginary worlds and people on pages and screens—it's an addiction. She lives in Ontario with her family and is the personal slave of three cats and a poodle (who isn't named Ringo, but who does like to poke).

You can find Morgan at 


Ashlyn Kane is a Canadian former expat who is now happy to be reunited with televised hockey at acceptable waking hours. She has reached the age of “twentysomething,” which she will be for at least the next fifteen years.

She has a bad habit of staying up too late, a husband who likes to go to bed early, and a baby brother called Miracle Whip. She is allergic to cleaning, unless you mean cleaning up manuscripts, in which case she gets a little obsessive. Feel free to drop her a line—she’s probably in front of her computer right now, since she’s attached to it at the eyeballs.

 You can find Ashlyn at 



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Cover Reveal Blitz: Dance Off by Ariel Tachna & Nessa L. Warin

Dance Off
by Ariel Tachna & Nessa L. Warin

On the reality show Dance Off, pro rugby player Olivier Gautier and Olympic swimmer JC Webster each have one goal in mind: to stay on the show as long as possible to earn his charity of choice maximum exposure and a larger donation. As the competition heats up, their goals expand to catching each other's interest, but Olivier is firmly in the closet and plans to stay there. JC is willing to be discreet, but not to hide forever.

Starting a romance with another man is challenge enough for any celebrity, but doing it under the microscope of reality TV—and one majorly intolerant costar—is even harder. Add in meddling dance pros, JC’s overbearing family, and the need to play up chemistry with dance partners to win America’s hearts, and JC and Olivier’s time together is looking more and more like a recipe for disaster.

As the pressure to stay in the competition mounts, JC and Olivier must face their inevitable separation at the end of the show as well as decide whether a relationship as complicated as theirs can survive in the real world, outside the bubble of the set and practice studios.

Release Date: 

March 20, 2015

Available for pre-order at 


Olivier Gautier looked around the staging area of the American talk show where the names of this season’s competitors were first announced and sized up his competition. Most of the names and faces were unfamiliar to him, the disadvantage of not being American or living here long enough to be steeped in the culture. Two years spent playing rugby almost constantly had not given him a lot of leisure time. The musician, Freddy, was older and overweight. Olivier had heard tales of people losing twenty or thirty pounds while on the show, but at least at first, Freddy would be at a disadvantage. He dismissed Eugene out of hand. He might be clueless about American culture, but he recognized a bigot when he saw one. Eugene was entitled to his opinions, but Olivier was equally entitled to avoid him. He suspected he’d take enough flak from Eugene for being French. If Eugene knew the rest of his secrets, he’d never hear the end of it. Troy was a competitor but not an athlete. He spent all of his time in his car. His mental toughness couldn’t be discounted, but he didn’t have the body of an athlete. The two other male stars, though, would bear watching. Kevan was a singer, not an athlete, but even looking at him in a conservative shirt and pants, Olivier could see the muscle beneath. The man worked out and kept himself in shape. And then there was JC. An Olympic swimmer with four medals to his name. If anyone in the competition had the physical stamina to compete with Olivier, it would be JC.
JC Webster was about to lean in and say something to Chelsea to break the ice when he saw the rugby player watching him and decided to go say hello. He touched Chelsea lightly on the arm, not wanting to leave her behind, and crossed the stage, taking the long way to get to Olivier so he could avoid walking too close to Eugene. He’d almost missed both Amber and Olivier being introduced, he’d been so busy glaring daggers at Eugene’s back, and he didn’t intend to spend even a second more than he absolutely had to in the man’s presence. Olivier, on the other hand, looked exactly like the kind of person he’d like to know better, and he put on his brightest smile—the one he used at PR events—as he sauntered up, Chelsea right behind him. “Hey. I’m JC.”
“’Ello,” Olivier said. “Olivier Gautier.” He offered his hand. “I watched you swim last year. You are fast.” He winced at the inanity of his comment, but he hated small talk, and living in the US for two years hadn’t made doing it in English any easier.
JC laughed, ducking his head at the compliment even as he took Olivier’s offered hand. He knew he was fast—he wouldn’t have made the US Olympic Team if he wasn’t—but it never stopped embarrassing him to have it so casually mentioned. “Thanks. I’ve never seen you play. Sorry.” He hated that he had to say that, especially since he’d seen all the other contestants in something, but the little time he spent sitting around watching sports was dedicated to American football with his father or cheering the Olympic teammates he’d befriended during the 2012 London Games.
“Rugby is not a well-known sport here,” Olivier said with a shrug. “I knew that when I came to play, but it has been worth it. I don’t know these people, even by name. Only what the host says in the introduction. Who will be competition for us?”
“Deborah, probably. She used to be a gymnast and figure skater, so she’s got some talent in the right area. It looks like she’s stayed in shape too. Other than her….” JC shrugged, mentally sizing up the rest of the stars. “Rini, maybe, or Kevan. They’re not athletes, but they’re in shape, and they’re young enough that the hours won’t be too hard on them.”
“I’d guess either Amber or Makayla too,” Chelsea said, nodding a greeting at Tricia and Olivier. “They’re young and in shape.”
“And a little more interested in how they look than how they dance.” JC knew what his mother and grandmother thought of both women and shared their views.
Chelsea grinned, looking around the stage at the other stars and their partners. “You might be surprised.”
“And Tyler and Joel are fierce competitors,” Tricia, Olivier’s partner, added. “They aren’t afraid to push the boundaries. Not that any of us got here by being lazy or conservative in our dancing, but those two are always the ones to beat, even with partners you wouldn’t expect to do well.”
“And my partner?” Olivier asked with a flirtatious smile. He might prefer to sleep with men, but that didn’t keep him from appreciating a beautiful woman when he saw one. “Is she one to beat as well?”
“With a man like you to lead me around the floor? Hell, yeah.”
JC laughed at the flirting and let his gaze roam over both Olivier and Tricia, hoping Eugene wasn’t watching. He wasn’t ashamed of being bisexual, but he really didn’t want to deal with comments from Eugene tonight. That would be two strikes against him. “I don’t know,” he said, winking at Tricia and slinging his arm around Chelsea’s shoulders. “I think Chelsea got the better end of the deal.” Chelsea laughed and patted his chest. “Of course I did. But I wouldn’t mind trading for Olivier, if you get bored with him, Tricia.”
Olivier would trade with Chelsea too, especially since he knew JC was bisexual. That didn’t mean he was automatically interested in Olivier, but it meant he might be open to persuasion. He’d wait until he knew his partner a little better before saying that where she could hear him, though. They had to work as a team, and if she distanced herself from him because he was gay, they would start the season with a handicap.
“Maybe we’ll get lucky and end up on one of the team dances together,” Tricia said. “If we get that far, of course.”
Olivier looked around the room at the other celebrities again. “We will get that far.”
“Absolutely.” JC flashed a grin, glad he’d found a kindred competitive spirit in Olivier. “Even if we’re all right and everyone we mentioned is competition, that’s still seven, including us. Isn’t that when they start the team dances?”
“Usually. But they like to mix it up sometimes too.” Chelsea glanced over to where Elizabeth, the Dance Off host, was talking to Christine. “Elizabeth might know, but sometimes the producers don’t even tell her until a few weeks ahead of time.”
“It is not worth asking now,” Olivier said. “We have other dances to learn first. Do we have our first assignment?”
“We have a cha-cha,” Tricia said. “What did you get, Chelsea?”
“Fox-trot.” Chelsea rubbed her hand over JC’s chest. “I get to have this one all dressed up in a nice suit.”
JC laughed. “I’m not sure I clean up all that well.” Mostly he felt like a little kid wearing his grandfather’s clothes when he wore a suit, his long limbs always making it hard to find shirts and jackets that fit both in the arms and the torso, and he’d yet to wear one that didn’t feel awkward from the moment he put it on. “I guess we’ll see, though. Do we get to watch the other dancers this year?” He was looking forward to seeing Olivier and Tricia in the revealing outfits that usually accompanied the Latin dances.
“I’m sure you do,” Tricia said, saving Olivier from trying to find a way to say the same thing. “In the meantime, I get to take off Olivier’s shirt.” She ran her fingers down the line of buttons holding Olivier’s dress shirt closed.
“Open, maybe,” Olivier said. “Not off.” He had recovered physically from the car accident that had benched him for a season, but he still bore the scars on his back and left shoulder. He had no plans to go on national TV without them covered.
“Start with open,” JC suggested, his eyes twinkling. “Then if you make it far enough in the season, you can take it off. You don’t want to give the viewers everything the first week.” He’d regret saying that if the first week was Olivier’s only week and he never got the opportunity to see Olivier shirtless, but he’d take open for now.
“You can use it to convince them to vote for you,” Chelsea said with a grin. “Just so long as you don’t take our votes.”
Olivier laughed as he knew they expected him to, but he also knew where his comfort level lay. “We will see, but you will have votes to spare. Everyone knows JC Webster after the Olympics. Me, I’m just an unknown rugby player from France. The judges will have to save me, not the voters.”
“Oh, I think you’ll get plenty of votes on your own, especially if you show your chest.” JC laughed, letting his gaze roam over Olivier again. “Look at the competition.” Troy wasn’t bad-looking—a little scruffy and rugged, perhaps, but not ugly. Kevan and Freddy had a certain appeal in their own way, Kevan with his very boyish looks and Freddy with the kind of face that made people want to like him, but their appeal was limited. Eugene might appeal to the older crowd, though JC thought his personality nullified his classic looks, but none of them could match Olivier for sheer mass appeal. Even JC, with his classic Hispanic looks, couldn’t quite match him, though he wasn’t being arrogant when he thought that he was probably second in line as far as mass appeal went.
Olivier studied the men. “Perhaps, but the men will all vote for Amber or Makayla, and many women may as well because they wish to be like them.”
“That’s probably true,” Tricia agreed, “but there’s nothing like the appeal of a good-looking man, and most of ourviewers are female. We’ll look at what our options are and what you’re comfortable with, but don’t discount plain old sex appeal when it comes to winning votes.”
“Just don’t count on it to replace dancing, either,” Chelsea added. “It might get you through a week or two if your dancing isn’t what it should be, but eventually people will vote for the person who can dance over the eye candy.” She glanced up at JC. “That goes for you too.”
JC held up his hands and took a step back. “I’m planning to work hard!” The idea of doing anything less would never occur to him. He was here because it was good publicity now that the Olympics were more than a year in the past and because his mama loved the show and had been thrilled at the idea, but he wasn’t the kind of person who did anything halfway. He’d committed, and he was going to do everything he could to win. Besides, the Trevor Project needed all the funding it could get, and it was something he really did believe in. If he could get that top prize, it would help so many kids.
And probably piss Eugene and his cronies off a lot too.
That was just a bonus, though, not the goal. As his gaze drifted over to Eugene, drawn by the thought, he noticed Carmen, Eugene’s partner, standing off to the side, and he rolled his eyes. “I’ll work with you too,” he added, glaring at Eugene for a moment before turning back to his partner. “I can’t promise I’ll get all the dances, but I’ll do my best to learn.”
That was the attitude that had made JC a champion. Olivier turned to Tricia and asked, “How soon do they let us start?”
“Tomorrow morning at eight o’clock,” Tricia said. “We can hang out and talk all we want tonight when we get to the house you’ll all be staying in, but we can’t start actually training until tomorrow morning. Now, if you decided you wanted to go study videos of previous seasons’ cha-chas, that wouldn’t technically be considered training.”
Olivier laughed. “But perhaps it would still be considered starting too soon. We will start in the morning like everyone else. I am not afraid of long hours of rehearsal. It cannot be harder than long hours of running drills on the rugby pitch.”
“Or long hours in the pool,” JC added with a grin. It would use different muscles, he knew, and he was sure he’d be sore by the end of the day, but the hours wouldn’t be a problem. “If we can’t start until eight, it’ll feel like I get to sleep in.”
Chelsea smirked. “It won’t for long. I promise, you’ll hate mornings within a week.”
JC slung his arm over her shoulders. “Impossible.”
“Tomorrow is the only day with a start time,” Tricia explained. “After tomorrow, you can start as early and work as long as you and your partner can stand each other, but remember that you have fourteen weeks of rehearsal if you make it to the finals. You don’t want to wear yourself out too soon.”
“Part of being an athlete is knowing how to pace yourself so you peak at the right time,” Olivier said. “JC knows this too.”
“Exactly. I know my body, and I’m sure Olivier does too. Just like you do,” he added, squeezing Chelsea’s shoulder.
“Hey, now!” Joel came up on Chelsea’s other side and slipped an arm around her waist. “Are you hitting on my girl?”
“Your girl?” JC raised an eyebrow and took a step back, pulling his arm free of Chelsea’s shoulder.
“Just because she’s your dance partner doesn’t mean she has to give up the rest of her life,” Joel said.
“Joel,” Chelsea scolded. “Quit acting like a jealous boyfriend. We’ve been over this. We hug and kiss and flirt with our partners for the cameras and go home to each other when it’s over.”
“Doesn’t mean I can’t give him a hard time.” Joel stepped free of Chelsea and held his hand out to JC, then Olivier. “It’s nice to meet you both. Just ignore me. I say all sorts of stuff I don’t mean. I have to psych you two out so Makayla can win.” He pulled his partner close, slipping his arm around her waist.
Makayla giggled as she wrapped her arm around Joel, leaning in possessively. Chelsea might get to go home with Joel for now, but it looked like Makayla was going to take advantage of every minute she got to be the one wrapped around him. “That’s right. We’re going to kick your asses. Joel here is the best.”
“It is hard to argue with a record like his,” Olivier agreed before turning to Tricia. “And should I be worried about a jealous lover appearing to steal you away as well?”
“Only a feline one,” Tricia said with a laugh. “She gets pissy if I don’t come home and feed her in the evenings, but she’s the only demand on my time.”
Olivier grinned at her before turning to the other two couples. “And this is why we will win this season. No distractions.”
JC gave Olivier a once-over and curled his lips into a smirk. “Oh, I don’t know. I bet we could come up with one for you.”
Chelsea smacked him lightly on the arm. “Focus! Joel and I are pros at this. Our relationship won’t interfere with us winning.”
“You mean uswinning,” Joel corrected.
Olivier left them to their bickering, far more intrigued by JC’s unabashed perusal. Some of the swimmer’s other comments and glances could have been open to interpretation, but there was no missing the frank appraisal in that one. Perhaps this method of filling the off-season would be less tedious than he had imagined.

He smiled slowly, leaving it up to JC to decide how to interpret his reaction. “We will see who the winner is,” he agreed. In more ways than one.

About the Authors

Ariel Tachna lives outside of Houston with her husband, her daughter and son, and their two dogs.  Before moving there, she traveled all over the world, having fallen in love with France, where she met her husband, and India, where she hopes to retire some day.  She’s bilingual with snippets of four other languages to her credit and is as in love with languages as she is with writing.

You can find Ariel at 


Nessa L. Warin lives in a fantasy world that’s mostly inside her head, though her physical address is in southwestern Ohio. Her two cats kindly play along with her fantasies and graciously let her pay all the bills, but they do require her to provide pampering on a regular basis. Nessa enjoys exploring the wonders of this world through travel—something her cats strongly disapprove of as it cuts into their pampering time—and can find whimsy in the most mundane places. When the real world becomes too much, Nessa enjoys dressing in costume and going to Renaissance Festivals and fantasy conventions. A short trip to either does wonders for her state of mind, so she makes sure to attend at least one of each a year. These trips help Nessa add to her collection of faerie and dragon art, and she swears she will frame and hang all the prints she’s collected some time soon.

When she’s not living in a fantasy world, Nessa enjoys tasting and learning about wine, particularly since it’s one of the few things she and the rest of her family agree on. She’s a regular at the wine tastings held by her local wine shop, and considers it a sin for her wine rack to have more empty spots than full ones. She’d prefer her wine rack to be filled with Pinot Noir, Malbec, and Syrah, but one of her favorite things about wine is the way it can always surprise her. More than once she’s been taken aback by which wine she likes best at a tasting, and she loves the way her wine rack illustrates the joys of trying new things.

You can find Nessa at 


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