Saturday, February 6, 2016

Crashing Blue: Francisco Cabot gives a glimpse into what makes him tick


Today Della Boynton is here with her new release, Crashing Blue. A great character interview, blurb, and excerpt!
What’s your name and your job?
My name’s Francisco Cabot, but I don’t get to use it much.  As an undercover narc for the police, it wouldn’t be smart for anyone to know who I really am.

Is work everything you’d hoped it would be? Why or why not?
Of course I feel deep satisfaction helping put scum in jail, but I’m always aware that there are more out there. I could spend my life going after drug lords and murdering bastards. I have job security. It can depress the hell out of me if I think about it too much.

What is your biggest strength? Your biggest weakness?
My biggest strength is my ability to be a hard core bastard myself. I can slip that personality on like a coat. I can’t infiltrate the worst of the worst if I can’t pretend to be like them myself.  I don’t have any weaknesses. Well, okay, I guess I do have one. I need to keep firmly in mind who I’m trying to save. Living in filth, you can forget what clean is like. Sometimes I look at a little kid playing, some lady walking her dog, or a guy going to work and I think, ‘I kept them safe by taking a drug dealing bastard off the street.’ Makes me feel like Superman, sometimes; a really dark, bad-ass Superman. 

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
You probably mean my hair or my sparkling personality, right? Well, I like myself just fine. If I could change something it would be the way my life went to shit all at once. I was a happy kid up until that time. I might have kept going to school. Maybe I would have gone to college-I sound delusional, don’t I? Actually, I probably would have joined the family trade and sold drugs. You could say I was changed by what happened to them for the better, but I won’t legitimize murder for any reason.

Do you prefer dogs or cats?
I always thought I would get a dog when I finally retired and found a nice hole in the wall apartment all my own, but cats are more practical pets.

What do you look for in a love interest?
Blonde… blue eyes… nice body…

Is there anyone special in your life?
Yeah. He’s blonde, has blue eyes, and a damned nice body. *chuckle* His name’s Christopher Caldwell. He’s more than a great lay, though. He’s a bit na├»ve and a good guy despite his father being a drug lord.  

If you could live anywhere, what location would you choose?
I never really thought about it. I like cities, but I also like a villa with an ocean view. The company I keep is more important to me. 

What’s your favorite meal, and do you fix it yourself or have someone fix it for you?
I remember my mom making baked ziti and fresh bread. Whenever I smell those two things cooking I think of her. Unfortunately I can’t cook and neither can Chris. If I want it I have to order it at a restaurant.

Favorite color?
That color the sun makes in Chris’s hair when he’s on his boat. It’s like hot gold mixed with white.

Coffee or tea?
Coffee.
~*~
Crashing Blue Blurb:
Francisco Cabot is an undercover narc for the police. Having lived his entire life on the underbelly of society, he's the perfect man to infiltrate hardcore gangs, gather bulletproof evidence against them, and make certain their bosses spend a lifetime behind bars. He hides a dark secret, though, that causes him to harbor a ravening hunger for revenge that not even his long list of successes can quench. But a man can only live with revenge and the refuse of humanity for so long, before not even his fantasies of innocents and his ideals are enough to light the growing darkness in his soul.

The last man Cabot expects to save him from that darkness is Christopher Caldwell, the son of the biggest drug king in the city and the man Cabot has been sent to destroy. Falling in love with the enemy was never the plan, but when Christopher begs Cabot to leave everything behind to be with him, Cabot finds himself longing to do just that. His life of violence, gangs, and slums can’t be left behind so easily, though; they'll be lucky to make it out alive.

Excerpt:
Life in the slums was like living in a constant war zone. A person never relaxed completely, never walked the streets without looking around for danger, and never trusted that the person walking toward him wasn’t prepared to kill him to take whatever he had. When you leave and go where that kind of life is as foreign as the surface of the moon, you gain a perspective you never had before. You understand that things could be so much better for you. It makes living in the shithole of society unbearable.

“You look a bit rough around the edges this morning,” Chris said as he checked over his boat.

Calling it a simple boat was inadequate, I thought as I looked over the sleek wooden finish, the white sails, and the stainless tack shining in the sun. It was too big for a boat and too small against the other million-dollar craft around it for the title of yacht. Though it looked like a well-maintained antique, I could see the vast amount of money spent on every detail.

“Late night,” I replied as I tried to decide how I was supposed to join him on the swaying deck from the relative safety of the dock. He didn’t seem ready to enlighten me. I felt that was for amusement, though, rather than a desire to keep me at a distance. He had a small smile on his lips.

In the sun, Chris’s blond hair had highlights that looked like hot gold. He wore a thin white tank top despite the morning chill in the air. His tan shorts looked molded onto his athletic build. This was his element. I was very sure at that moment that it wasn’t mine.

I finally decided to gather my courage and get on board. Like a nervous alley cat, I eyed the tossing water between me and the railing with trepidation. I stepped across and immediately lost my balance when the deck heaved, Chris’s hand was there to steady me. He laughed, but it was good-natured and I didn’t take offense. I was too busy noticing that he had a wonderful laugh and a strong arm.

He helped me sit on a cushioned seat toward the bow and then stood over me, swaying expertly with the toss of the deck. “How did you find me?”

“Asked around,” I replied, though using my cell phone to troll through police files was more accurate. As a narc for the police I had minimal clearance, but it had been enough. My guess that Christopher Caldwell enjoyed the water had been correct. His expensive craft, the Wastrel, had been listed under his name.

Chris was studying me. I looked completely out of place in my gang clothes. My bruised face and slightly swollen bottom lip attested to my late-night battle with a rival gang. Some of them had gone to the emergency room. One of them had gone to the morgue. My gang had emerged relatively unscathed and high on success, especially after I had handed out the cheaper drugs to them.

“I suppose the next question is, why did you look for me?” Chris said. “I think I made it clear that I wasn’t interested as long as you were employed by my father. Turning a new leaf?”

When he looked at me with his blue eyes and I saw a bit of wistful hope there, I hated replying, “’Fraid not. Your father made it clear that I wasn’t welcome at his home. Since he didn’t give me contact details, I thought asking you to be my go-between this one time would be all right.”

“It’s not,” Chris retorted and then worried a bottom lip between white teeth as he reconsidered his reaction. He said at last, “I suppose I send mixed signals when I benefit from my father’s wealth, but I like to think that not being in the actual business is an acceptable standard.”

How many late nights had I wasted by drawing fine distinctions between what I did and the criminal element I helped the police arrest? “I’m not judging.”

“I’m afraid I can’t be as generous as you are in return.”

I nodded, understanding. “You don’t have to explain. I’m trash. I’ll scrape myself off your boat as soon as you agree to take the money to your father and tell him to contact me.”

“I can’t do that,” Chris replied, “and I don’t really need to. My father will want his money. He’ll contact you.”

Chris cocked his head to one side. The sunlight made his eyes look as clear as glass for a moment before he frowned.

I stood up, thinking it was my signal to get the hell off his boat.

“You must have known that. Why did you really come here?” Chris asked.

I smiled and motioned around us at the tossing waves, the sunlight, and the seagulls drifting by on a breeze. “The scenery is a hell of a lot better than in the slum.” I was staring at Chris as I said that, though, and not at the scenery. His handsome face took on a worried expression. I scrambled to clarify, even though a part of my brain was telling me I had meant exactly what I had implied—I had wanted to see Chris again. “I was used to a life like this before my gang was busted. I want that back.”

“No offense,” Chris replied, “but you don’t look like the kind of man to sip champagne on the deck of a yacht.”

“Ah, insults.” I pretended to be hurt.

“No, just the truth,” Chris replied. “You’re a lone wolf, albeit a handsome one. If I put a tuxedo on you, you will still look like a wolf. It’s your nature.”

I growled and showed him my teeth as I moved to the railing and tried to decide how best to get back onto the dock. “Your father won’t see me directly,” I told him truthfully. “I’m hoping you would mention me.”

“Talk you up to him?” Chris had chuckled at my mock growl, but now he was frowning again.

“Yeah,” I replied. I scrambled awkwardly and managed not to fall face-first as I made it to the dock. “Tell him I’m not a stupid thug and I look like the kind of guy who might do well in his organization.”

“We don’t have actual conversations,” Chris admitted as he came to the railing and leaned on it. “We especially don’t have conversations about his business.” He studied me as if memorizing every line of my face. The part of me used to going undercover was getting nervous.

“What?” I finally asked.

He seemed a little embarrassed as he replied, “It’s nice that you didn’t come here to try and get family secrets out of me.”

“Has that happened?”

Chris shrugged as if it didn’t matter, but I could see it did. He replied, “It’s happened a few times. They think a son who isn’t committed to either the business or his father might be willing to give them damaging information.” I had a feeling that people had used him badly in that respect.

“Are we talking about the police?”

“Yes, for the most part.” Chris straightened and reached for some ropes. “I know exactly how long I would live if dear ole dad ever caught me giving information to anyone about his business.”

“This was a wasted trip, then?” I asked. He was startled at my honesty. He had handed me the perfect opportunity to lie. I hadn’t taken it.

Chris gave me a very long appraising look. “You’re different,” he said finally. “I’m not sure who you really are or what you really want, but everything you’ve said about yourself has been a lie.”

I felt a chill of dread at his obvious confidence. I’d never worn my disguise so thinly before. It was as if the man I had created was losing to the real me, to a dual attraction to an ideal—Snow—and this man—Chris—who, by his clearly stated standards, wasn’t interested in me as long as I remained a drug-dealing gang leader.

Chris was suddenly very intense as he leaned over the rail and held out a hand. “Come with me,” he begged. “Leave it all behind. I don’t know what there is about you, but I find I can’t stay uninvolved. I need you to be a different man, though. I need you to get out of my father’s business.”

His hand was tanned and strong. I could see his tension and his need for me to say yes. How could he decide to want me so quickly? I didn’t know, but I wanted to reach out to him. I wanted desperately to take his hand. It was insane, wasn’t it?

It was hard to step back and put my hands in my jacket pockets. Alley cats didn’t belong on mini yachts and certainly didn’t get to develop relationships with someone like Chris. “I can’t. I’m sorry. I can’t explain, but…”

He frowned. I thought he was either going to show disgust for me or at least anger. Instead, I saw frustration and then resignation. His hand lowered. “If you want to meet with my father where he won’t shoot you on sight, be at 122 Martin Street, Tuesday at nine p.m. That’s when he’ll show his appreciation to some of his contacts where the public eye won’t see.”

That information might cost him dearly. I didn’t know why he was taking such a risk for me when I had just admitted that I had intended to use him. My “Thank you” seemed inadequate.

“Don’t thank me,” he said as he turned his back on me and began casting off from the dock. “You have your information, and you’ve made your decision. Now that you don’t need me, I doubt you’ll want to see me again. I find that preferable.”

That unexpectedly stung. As the boat slipped away from the dock and Chris started the engine, I realized why. I didn’t want it to be over between us. I wanted to see Chris again.

Copyright ©

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Thomas Grant Bruso and Winter's Light


Today I have a special guest Thomas Grant Bruso. He’s given a peek into his life and brought along a blurb and excerpt from his new release Winter’s Light.
Hello, my name is Thomas Grant Bruso. I write fiction and M/M romance. I also review books for my local newspaper, The Press Republican. Being a writer is everything I hoped it would be. It is challenging, rewarding, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I take pride in my disciplined work ethic. I’ve always wanted to write genre fiction. I love reading and writing mystery and crime stories. At the moment I am writing M/M romance for publication. My latest work of fiction, a novella titled “Winter’s Light,” is the sequel to my 2014 short story, “A Light in the Dark.” Both stories are published by JMS Books, LLC.

My biggest strength is my loyalty and love toward people and animals. My biggest weakness: I am a workaholic.

I am luckily married to a wonderful man named Paul.

I am all-around animal lover. If I had more free time, I’d enjoy volunteering my services to animal causes.

If I could live anywhere, I’d live somewhere in Maine.

My favorite meal is anything with tofu. I enjoy cooking. It is relaxing, especially after a long day at work.

My favorite color is any shade of blue.

I prefer coffee to tea. Strong coffee, black, unless it is a hot cup of loose-leaf jasmine green tea. Then all bets are off.

~*~

Thomas has brought along the blurb and excerpt from his new release, Winter’s Light.

Blurb:  
(Sequel to A Light in the Dark)
 
During the past year, author Christian Rivers has sold his house and moved in with the love of his life, Milestone County’s chief of police, Sheriff Philip Erickson. Things couldn't be better for them and their dog, Darth Vader.  

The week before Christmas is a busy one for Christian, who is on the road for a book tour to promote his newest novel. Also, both of their families are arriving soon to visit for the holiday. This will be the first time since Philip and Christian announced their relationship that the two sets of parents will meet each other.

Whatever Christian expects Christmas to be like, he doesn’t anticipate running into his ex-boyfriend Russ. He also doesn’t expect his sister Paula to arrive with his parents. And he most certainly doesn’t expect to hear that his beloved father is very ill.

With so many curve balls thrown at them all at once, can Christian and Philip manage to have a joyful Christmas after all? Will they start the New Year with an even deeper commitment to one another, or end up on the rocks after the holidays? Where so much love abounds, anything is possible.
 

Excerpt:

“I’m getting too old for sex,” Philip says to me ten minutes later when we are propped up in bed, listening to the wind thrashing the holly bushes outside the bedside window.

He sips his whiskey.

I turn to him, grinning. “Too old?”

“As old as time,” he whispers, leaning into my mouth with his boozy breath and kissing me.

I place my hands on his cheek. “Age is just a number. You’ll always be my silver fox.”

He slides a hand over mine, grinning. “I’m the luckiest fellow in the world to have someone as special as you.” He takes the last gulp of booze, swallows back noisily, and sets the glass down on the bedside coaster.

I curl up next to him. “I think you have that backwards.” I stare over at my handsome man.

“I just never thought --” The words trail off and then he says, “So, how was your day?”

I turn to him. “What were you going to say?”
 
He closes his eyes and his head falls in front of him, as if the alcohol has already taken effect. A few minutes later, he looks up at me and manages a weak smile. “I just don’t know what I would do without you. You make me happy to come home every night.”

I slip my fingers through his thick mane of greying hair. “I am the lucky one.”

His head falls across my shoulder, and his warm body curled up against mine is comforting.

“Life is good,” he says, pulling the comforter around us.

The buttery glow of the lamplight spills across the room and envelops us in its homey warmth. The rich cherry wood walls enclose us. I hear the wind pick up and rattle chimes on the back porch.

“Thanks again for lunch today,” Philip says. “It hit the spot.”

“Anytime.”

After a long pause, Philip says, “I apologize for what happened this afternoon with Deputy Samson. It won’t happen again.”

“I’ve known Mark for years. Growing up in a narrow-minded family is never easy. I think we can both relate to some degree.”

“It doesn’t excuse his behavior on the job. He was out of control. He stepped over a line he should not have crossed.”

I cannot help but smile at Philip’s compassion. “Mark had a rough childhood.”

“It’s inexcusable in the workplace. We all need to take responsibility for our own actions. Deputy Samson chose not to exercise those rights today.”

“You’re sexy when you get riled.”

He gazes at me. “Does it really turn you on?”

I nod. “Very much.”

Our lively laughter jolts Darth awake at the foot of the bed. Sleepy-eyed, he pops his head up at us.

In the next ten minutes, we settle down. We listen to each other’s deep breathing. I think Philip is asleep when he doesn’t answer me. “Philip, hon, is something the matter?”

He shifts under the comforter. “Huh? I’m sorry. I’m just tired. Long day.”

“What’s wrong?”

Sucking in a breath, he groans, pulling me under his arm. “I don’t know what’s happening to our nice little town.” 

Tucking my face in the crook of his arm, I rake my fingers through his chest hair. “What happened?”

“In the last few days I can’t tell you how many traffic stops have netted a handful of heroin and cocaine arrests. These are twenty-something year old kids, mostly boys, who are dealing drugs. Really potent stuff.” He pauses. “The drugs are being smuggled in through the Canadian border.” He shakes his head. “It’s a shame that these young people will be spending their lives behind bars.” 

“I didn’t realize things were so dismal.”

“There’s no silver lining. I don’t see it getting better.”

Pause.

I say, “Not to change the subject, but --”

“Please do. I don’t want to talk about work anymore.”

“I’m afraid my news is just as grim.”

There is a hint of amusement in his voice. “Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse.”

~*~
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