New Release Giveaway!
Blowing It series By Kate Aaron
1 Lucky Winner – Will receive a digital copy of any book in the Blowing It series
**Giveaway Eligible Internationally**
Writing a YA bestseller was the worst thing to ever happen to Owen Barnes. Out and proud for years, he suddenly finds himself back in the closet. Building surveyor Magnus Cassidy is the first man to catch Owen’s interest in almost two years, and he’s not going to allow his agent to erase Magnus from is life. Can Owen find a way to reconcile his public and private lives, or has he already blown it?
Blowing It excerpt:
I hadn’t wanted to be famous. Honestly. There I was, scribbling away in my little garret, the walls papered with rejection slips, a forty-year-old typewriter on my desk because I cared more about appearance than substance, and somehow my cheap and cheerful little laptop didn’t set the right tone. I was a writer: I might never be rich or even far from the breadline, but I was an artist, goddammit. I had a rep to protect.
So I’d sit long into the night, admittedly working by the light of a 60-watt bulb rather than a guttering candle, but I drank the coffee and smoked the cigarettes and dreamed of ending my days lounging, louche and indolent, sipping metallic red wine in a dark and dingy cafe on the banks of the Seine, surrounded by those who understood my artistic temperament and calling; those who asked no more of me than I strike the correct pose.
Saying I got bored of living off baked beans and freeze-dried noodles and sold out shatters the illusion, but that’s what I did. I went from being a skinny twenty-six, living in a poky flat on the cheap side of London, to being a skinny twenty-eight-year-old with a nice apartment and healthy bank balance.
I know, I know, I’m disappointed in me too—but fuck if I didn’t love it.
I can’t say that word now. Fuck. Can’t swear, can’t drink, can’t smoke. At least, I can’t be seen doing any of those things. Not in public. You think image management is limited to actors and tweeny pop stars? You’re wrong.
I was going to write the Next Great Novel, win the Booker Prize. I was going to be the Alan Hollinghurst of the noughties. People were going to speak my name in hushed tones, and the reviewers at the Times Literary Supplement were going to wank over my words.
It didn’t happen. I sold out. I wrote a fucking children’s book, and it sold a bazillion copies.
It ruined my life.
Owen Barnes’s life is finally going the way he wants it, so when he finds a lump, he buries his head in the sand. He has a hundred excuses to delay the inevitable and hide one simple fact: he’s scared. Eventually, boyfriend Magnus drags him to the doctor, and the news isn’t good. Can Owen cope with the unexpected turn events have taken, or is his perfect life about to go balls up?
Balls Up excerpt:
“Owen….” He swallowed, and it finally dawned on me the mood had shifted. Releasing his hair, I sat up.
“What?” I asked again, softer this time, a thread of anxiety coiling in my gut.
“I think I felt a lump,” he said, stroking my calf.
I had five seconds in which to decide how to react. My mind raced through a myriad of emotions—fear, shame, relief, disappointment, fear again—before settling on brazen. “I know,” I admitted.
“What do you mean, you know?” he snapped. “How long has it been there?”
“A couple of weeks, maybe.”
“A couple of weeks? Owen!”
“What?” I asked defensively.
“Please tell me you’ve had it checked out.”
“It’s probably nothing.”
The blood drained from Magnus’s face. “What do you mean, ‘probably’?”
“Well, I looked on Google and—”
“For the love of god, you need to see a doctor. Not google it! Google can’t tell you anything.”
“Most lumps are benign,” I protested. “It’s probably a swollen blood vessel. They’re really common. Like, there’s a ninety-five percent chance that’s all it is.”
“And what about the other five percent?” he asked grimly.
I drew up my legs and crossed them before me, removing my testicles and their lump from sight. “It’s nothing,” I said firmly.
“Owen, I didn’t feel nothing. No lump is nothing!” Magnus protested, a stricken look crossing his face. He rested his hands either side of my hips and softened his tone. “Please get it looked at. Please.”
“If it gets any bigger—”
“Owen, no. You need to have this checked now.”
“When have I got time?” I countered. “I’m supposed to be working, and you know how difficult it is to get a doctor’s appointment, and what’s the point when he’s only going to tell me I’m overreacting anyway?”
“No doctor is going to say you’re overreacting,” he said firmly. “Not about something like this. You’re probably right, it’s probably nothing, but at least get it looked at so we can be sure.” He rubbed my leg in a way that was probably supposed to be consoling.
I flinched. “I’ll deal with it, all right? Don’t treat me like a child.”
“Then don’t act like one,” he growled. “Owen, this could be really serious.”
“It isn’t!” I protested. “I’m fine, Magnus. I promise.”
“You can’t promise that.”
“I just did.” I got off the bed and stalked across the room with as much dignity as I could muster, snatched up my underwear from the floor, and pulled them on. “Are you going to shut up about it, or shall I leave now?”
Magnus turned to me, his face a portrait of misery. “Don’t take this out on me,” he warned. “All I want is to make sure you’re okay.”
“And all I want is to have a peaceful weekend.” My anger died as I looked at him, and I padded back to his side. Cupping his jaw, I raised his head. “Don’t worry,” I said gently. “I’m not going anywhere.”
He threw his arms around my legs, almost knocking me off balance. I rested a hand on his shoulder and petted his head as he buried his face in my hip. He sniffed loudly, and I felt a warm trickle run down my leg. Finally, I broke.
Falling to the floor beside him, I wrapped my arms around him and squeezed as hard as I was able, wanting to squeeze out the fear which gripped me, the panic which threatened to rise and take a stranglehold around my throat, choking, throttling the breath from my lungs as my heart hammered beats which might already be numbered. Common sense told me Magnus was right, but a deeper, primeval fear paralysed me. Either the lump was nothing and it would go away, or it wasn’t, and if that was the case, I didn’t want to know. We all lived on borrowed time. I couldn’t face knowing how much I had left.
When a one-night stand makes Ryan Jessop a casual offer to introduce him to BDSM, he discovers in Jim a skilled Dominant. Sameer Farouk is the right guy at the wrong time, and as far as Ryan can tell, not kinky. Torn between them, Ryan must decide if he’s prepared to gamble everything on one man, or if he’d be better off with a vanilla boyfriend and a Dom on the side.
Dom on the Side excerpt:
What had I done? Why had I signed up for this? I must be mad; there must be something wrong with me. If Owen could see me now, what would he say? Would he still want to be my friend?
Doubts assailed me, and I couldn’t bring myself to comply when Jim urged me to move. He lifted my arm and removed the leather cuff: the buckle was fiddly and he accidentally pinched my wrist. I scowled darkly and didn’t even try to hide the shiver of revulsion that ran through me when he started massaging my arm, trying to rub life into a senseless limb.
I wanted out. I wanted Jim gone, wanted to forget I’d ever come here.
I was cold. My teeth started to chatter and the mattress vibrated beneath my trembling body. I wrenched my arm out of Jim’s grasp and curled up, hands tucked under my chin, shivering violently. I sensed him moving and cringed at the thought of him touching me, but when the sound of bare footsteps came closer, all I felt was the warm, comforting softness of a fluffy blanket.
Jim laid it gently over me, keeping my face and neck clear of the covers so I didn’t feel suffocated or hemmed in. I clutched a corner with a clawed fist and held on, gulping for breath. If he touched me, I’d fall apart; shatter into a million pieces until nobody could ever hope to put me back together.
I felt so vulnerable, full of feelings I didn’t know what to do with or how to process. I was choked full of them, clogged up. They filled my lungs and blocked my arteries, crawling up the back of my neck until my head was full of doubt and despair, and still I trembled, afraid to let it all out. Afraid if I did, those feelings would never go back in, and I’d be changed forever.
Jim rounded the bed and stood in front of me. He’d put his boxers back on, and I was grateful he wasn’t naked. He squatted on his haunches, and his smile said everything was going to be okay. “Eat this,” he urged, holding out a piece of chocolate snapped from a bar.
I parted my lips, accepting the bite. It was plain Dairy Milk, my favourite, and I let it rest on my tongue, slowly dissolving. I was still crying, but the overwhelming sense of panic started to recede as I lay on the bed and looked into Jim’s liquid brown eyes. The rich chocolate stuck to my teeth as it melted, and I swallowed, savouring the familiar, comforting taste.
The roaring, rushing sound of blood started to fade, and my mind quit screaming long enough for me to regain a semblance of control. The vulnerability had been terrifying; I’d never felt more helpless or alone. I blinked away a tear and met Jim’s eyes, giving him a small smile he instantly returned. His hand was on the bed, close to mine but not touching, and I wanted so badly to breach the chasm between us and take it, but I was paralysed by fear. What if he rejected me? What if my freak-out had put him off? What if he wanted nothing more to do with me; wanted me to get out and never darken his door again?
A fresh sob lodged in my throat at the new fear, but I’d barely given it voice before he touched me, covering my hand with his and holding tight. “I’m here, lad,” he said, his voice barely above a whisper.
I whimpered, so grateful for the little he’d given and so badly needing more. My trembling resumed, and Jim crawled onto the bed, curling up beside me and resting his forehead against mine.
I clutched his hand and took comfort from his proximity: his warm breath on my face, our elbows bumping, his knees against my knees, and his toes at my shins. Calm radiated from all our points of contact and the dead, leaden feeling faded away. I lifted the blanket and spread it awkwardly across him, and Jim helped me get it in place so it covered us both. Snuggling closer, I closed my eyes and soaked up his body heat.
He slipped his arm under my head and cradled me against him. I pushed my leg between his thighs to get more contact, braiding us together. I still couldn’t speak, but I calmed as he scraped his fingers through the short hairs at my nape and breathed slow, even breaths.
“I’ve got you,” he promised, and I believed him.
About the Author:
Born in Liverpool, Kate Aaron is a bestselling author of the #1 LGBT romances What He Wants, Ace, The Slave, and other works.
Kate swapped the North West for the Midwest in October 2015 and married award-winning author AJ Rose. Together they plan to take over the world.