The Characters are Boss
By Kimber Vale
As an author, I sometimes like to think I’m in the driver’s seat when it comes to stories I write. The fact is—and it’s one that took me some time to figure out—the characters are in control, not me. They come to me, sometimes as an image, often as a strong sense of who they are deep down, and they evolve from there. Before I ever get them on a page, they are fully formed.
And then they change. That’s what a good character should do. No one wants to read a story where the MC doesn’t learn a lesson or grow in some way. So, I can figure out who a character is, and I can sketch an outline about what his story will be, and I can start writing…but then all hell breaks loose.
Often, the tale I end up penning deviates from my initial outline in significant ways. Often, those sneaky characters decide they don’t like what I’ve planned for them. They want to do it their way.
In the end, I let them have the reins. I’m glad they’ve come to share their story with me, and I figure it’s theirs, so they must know it better than I do.
Gio Savale, my rock star from my newest release, Double Takes, was prodding me for a story of his own from the minute he took the stage in my first Shooting Stars book, Forever is Now. Yeah, I let him know things weren’t going to be easy for him, but he insisted on finding his own way to a happy ending.
I’m glad I let him handle things, because I think it turned out pretty damn good.
Ah, the life of a rock star. Everyone thinks it’s nothing but sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
Not for Giovanni Savale.
For the lead singer of Three Deaf Mice, a band that reached its pinnacle in the late nineties, it’s nothing but an ugly divorce with a custody battle, money trouble, and now the nightmare exposure of starring in a reality television show. When his producer decides to cash in on an infamous interview Gio did years ago, and give the self-confessed bisexual rocker an onscreen boyfriend, things really hit the fan. Gio is certain his sexual experimentation back in his drug-abusing days meant nothing — after all he’s been married for nine years, clean and sober for nearly as long, and he has a son. And Gio is not remotely attracted to Kyrie, the funny, flamboyant actor they choose for his love interest. Of course, Lance Garrett, the mysterious and sexy owner of the local antique shop, Double Takes, is a whole different story. The guy has Gio planning out a future he never imagined. With the threat of losing all custody of his ten-year-old son, ghosts from the past returning for revenge, and the cameras rolling, can Gio keep his head above water and his heart from getting broken?
Find Double Takes:
Lance’s hand on top of his stopped Gio from silencing the irritating voice.
Gio sat down heavily next to Lance, one hand still burdened by his dinner plate and the other sandwiched between Lance’s palm and the remote. He didn’t dare pull it away, and Lance apparently wanted to see the entire commercial because he kept Gio trapped there until it finished.
“What was that all about?” Lance’s warm fingers slid from Gio’s, leaving his hand cold.
“Ah, it’s dumb. The world’s most degrading way to make a paycheck.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure.” Lance stared at something past Gio’s shoulder.
“The producers took some stupid poll and found out the viewers want to see me…” Gio paused in search of the right word. What the hell did people want to see? “They wanna see me squirm. They want to see a supposedly bisexual man drowning in the same-sex dating pool. It’s all bullshit—just for ratings.”
“So, you’re not really dating that guy?”
“No! Well, yeah, I have to for the show. But not really. It’s just a publicity stunt, you know?”
“So, you aren’t bi, then?” Lance cocked his head and skewered Gio with those intense hazel eyes.
“Yeah! No! I mean … it’s not like I…” What the fuck was he even trying to say? You’ve screwed around with guys before, ass munch.
The confused squint of the eyes staring back at him—moss-green with spikes of brown radiating from his pupils—told Gio his answer didn’t exactly make sense to Lance, either.
“I always wondered if those rumors were true before you got married.” Lance made it sound like a question.
“Well, you know how it is … when you’re young, and you party too much. Sometimes you do shit you wouldn’t normally do if you weren’t fucked up, right?” Gio gave a weak laugh.
Lance’s face was introspective and finally he shook his head. “When I was young and I partied too much, I never ended up in bed with a woman, so no … I don’t know.”
Hold the fucking phone. Something skipped inside Gio’s chest. It was nauseating and exhilarating all at once. Like a rollercoaster when it crests the top of a hill. He knew he was about to drop, he craved the intoxicating free fall, but was scared shitless at the same time.
Lance placed his dinner on the coffee table and turned to Gio.
What is going on? How do I even respond to that?
“So…?” Gio began, but then Lance’s right hand wrapped around his neck and pulled him closer to those amazing eyes, his mouth closer to Lance’s flawless one.
Lips, soft yet firm and unbelievably full, pressed to Gio’s and his eyelids dropped like they were weighted. Fingers carded the hair at the back of his head and lured him to kiss back. Or maybe it was the faint spicy smell Gio now associated with Lance that made his lips pucker and nibble against the other guy’s delicious mouth. Gio detected a hint of lemon poppy seed dressing as he sucked a voluptuous bottom lip between his own.
Lance’s tongue darted out to lick Gio’s closed mouth, and Gio opened to suck in a surprised breath. Gio’s tongue had a will of its own. It touched Lance’s wet tip and they swirled together, exploring each other’s taste, marking new territory in the other’s domain.
A low rumble came from somewhere; Gio wasn’t sure if it was he or Lance who groaned. He wanted to grab the man sitting next to him, wanted to slide his hand up the inseam of his jeans and stroke his dick into dripping hardness. Gio’s own cock was filling, twitching against the constraints of his pants with each meeting of their tongues.
Oh my God, what the hell am I doing? Nothing about this kiss—hot slippery tongues meshing and soft bristles tickling his cheeks—nothing about it was like his memories of other men. Those were hazy and unreal and this was vibrant—electric. His conscience had long ago associated those fleeting, drugged sexual acts with perversion. He had swept them under the carpets of history along with his ancient addictions. But this kiss didn’t make him think of sinfulness and mistakes. It felt right, like nothing before ever had. It flooded his senses and his prick and had him aching for more, everything Lance had.
Gio pulled away from his thoughts and from Lance’s lips. His breath came in shallow gasps that exposed him as much as the bulge in his pants did. Lance slid his warm hand off Gio’s neck and took a shaky inhalation. Gio swallowed hard as he swiped his hair back with trembling fingers. His plate was still in the other hand, tilting precariously but fortunately not dumped all over the floor. He set it down on the table just as a cheer went up on the television.
The Red Sox had scored a home run. I only got to first base, but man I was close to dropping to my knees and knocking this one out of the park. What the fuck?
Lance took a long pull off his water. Gio watched him out of the corner of his eye while he pretended to be enraptured by Big Papi jogging the bases. He had no clue what he should do or say. I’m not really into guys didn’t seem at all right anymore. Lance made it easy for him.
“Hey, sorry about that. I didn’t mean to freak you out. Just wanted to give you something to think about and you can get back to me on it.” He gave a half smile that was sexy as hell.
Kimber Vale writes romance of all stripes, from hot hetero stories to mouthwatering men falling in love (under the name K. Vale). Keep up with Kimber’s news and follow all her tour stops on her blog: http://www.kimbervale.me and friend/follow her on Facebook and Twitter @KimberVale. Come for the sex. Stay for the story. http://www.authorkimbervale.com
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