Have you ever read a book and wanted to just hug the main characters? When I wrote Scrambling, that is how I felt about both my heroes.
So when you read, do you laugh and cry and get angry along with the characters? If you do, the author has truly done their job. The book that leaves you going “Meh” is a book I don’t want to write. I want to engage the reader even if it’s just to piss them off. Granted, there’s always a percentage of books you read that turn out not to be your cup of tea which is why you go “Meh.” But then there are others that definitely are a story you could love if only the author had gone the extra mile to imbue the story with enough emotion to capture your attention and your heart.
I love books that make cry when the main character achieve their HEA or when their heartbreak breaks my heart too. Those are the books I end up reading again and again. Those are the authors I tend to gravitate toward when it comes time to buy a new book.
As an author I sincerely strive to give my readers the sort of book they would want to read again and again and the characters that make them want more. When a reader emails me and asks for a sequel, I know I’ve done my job. When a reader emails me and says I made them laugh and cry and spit nails in anger, I know I’ve done my job. Oftentimes I want to write sequels because the characters call to my heart too. It’s hard to let them go…
I hope that if you read Scrambling or any of my books that you will love the characters and want more of them. I encourage my readers to email me or speak to me on Facebook because I love talking about my books and characters. I’ve just started a new thing on my Facebook author fan page where I post snippets of my characters, bits that weren’t in the book or bits of WIPs. Come on by and see what my people are up to! It’s meant to be a fun interactive thing and it’s a brand new thing for me to do.
Many thanks to Whitley for the chance to guest blog here today. Below is a bit of Scrambling and I hope you like Evan and Reed as much as I do!
Evan McAdam has two constants in his life--football and his friendship with Reed Matthews. From the age of six, Evan's played football alongside Reed. In his teens, he realized he was gay and loved Reed, but fear kept him from confiding his deepest emotions to his best friend.
When he and Reed are drafted to the L.A. Stars, Evan decides to come out. His decision impacts Reed who's been in the closet too. The two men struggle with secrets of unrequited love while facing the world as the first two openly gay NFL players.
When injury forces Evan to retire, the love he bears Reed can no longer be hidden. But will Reed be able to reciprocate, or will Evan lose both football and the man he's always loved?
Reed held his breath and watched the play of emotion across Evan’s face. He probably shouldn’t have been so blatant about what he needed, but he couldn’t stop himself. All he could think about was that Len lay dying and it could so easily have been him had he ever given in to Len’s whining about his use of condoms. Right now, he needed Evan to make him feel alive, to chase away the specter of death and disease. He needed to feel whole, and only Evan could give that to him.
“You’re overwrought. You don’t know what you’re asking.”
Evan’s voice quivered a little, and Reed could feel the tension in his friend’s body. He could also sense an underlying current of fear in Evan’s voice although he had no idea what Evan could fear.
“Yes, I do. I want you to make love to me.”
There. He’d said it aloud. All his hopes and dreams since he was fifteen years old, laid out for Evan in words of one syllable. No mistaking them for anything except what they were, a blatant invitation for Evan to fuck him. He opened his mouth and made the invitation even more clear, the words driven by the emotion he’d held so long inside.
“I want you. I need to feel you touch me, taste me. I need to be with you. I want your arms around me, your cock inside me. I need to be with someone who cares about me. For sixteen years, it’s been you and me. Even Len and Bryce haven’t come between us. It’s always been you and me.”
Reed poked Evan’s chest with a finger when he said you and his own when he said me. Evan blinked and shook his head as if he were dazed. “I-I don’t understand. Where is this coming from?” he asked with a frown.
“It’s coming from deep inside me, Ev. Whenever something is wrong, you’re there for me and vice versa, although God knows it’s usually me with problems not you,” he said with a tinge of bitterness at the life destiny had given him. “This time, I need more than just hand-holding. Will you give it to me?”
He stared at the man he’d loved since they were kids. The man he’d shared everything with. The one he couldn’t imagine his life without. And he willed Evan to say yes.
A long, soft breath escaped Evan, tension leaving his big body. “Yes. You know I love you. I could never say no to anything you ever asked of me.”
Reed pushed himself against Evan’s chest, his hands coming up to frame the handsome, beloved face of his best friend. “Then just love me. Death is cold. I need to be warm.” He pressed his mouth to Evan’s, and a pleasure like none he’d ever experienced exploded inside him.
Evan’s lips were soft and warm, gentle in a way Reed hadn’t known men could be. He took control of the kiss, took control of Reed, his hands and his mouth leading Reed to ecstasy. Their tongues slid together, tentative in the way of new lovers but without urgency or fear, just a growing awareness and heat. Evan’s hands slipped over Reed’s shoulders and down his back, causing a slow burn in Reed’s veins.
The limo turned a corner, and they rocked, swaying with the movement of the car. Reed pulled his mouth from Evan’s, and they stared at each other, breathing hard.
“Are you sure? I don’t want to push you into something you don’t want,” he asked as pain threatened. He needed Evan, but he could walk away if Evan didn’t want him.
The big man pushed a trembling hand through his sandy hair. “I want it,” he replied, reaching for Reed’s hand. He pulled it toward him and pressed it into his lap.
Beneath his fingers, Reed could feel the hard ridge of Evan’s erection, and his heart sang in triumph. The evidence of Evan’s desire was enough for him tonight. He didn’t need to own Evan’s heart although he yearned to.