Friday, October 30, 2015

Cover Reveal: Secret of the Manor by Taylin Clavelli

Secret of the Manor Facebook Cover Art


Warren Blake is an accountant at the pinnacle of his career. After accepting a new position he decides to settle in the scenic Cotswold village of Walmsley Hackett. A village with a colourful history of myth, old wives tales and mystery.

One morning during his train ride into work, Warren notices a small quaint church which he becomes enchanted with. Curiousity compels him to find the church and when he finally does, he discovers an unmarked grave in the corner. Feeling sorry for its occupant, Warren becomes a frequent visitor.

Little does he know that the young man inside the coffin needs a champion and Warren is chosen.

What follows involves a ghostly medieval joust, witchcraft, love, and Warren risking his life.

Release date: November 6th, 2015

Secret of the Manor Cover

Pre-order Links

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:
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Amazon DE:


The men were relaxed, almost dozing off as they ambled through a small walled field, when Warren noticed something strange. Despite there being plenty of flowers, a few bushes, and a dozen trees, not a single bird flew within the field’s borders. They occupied the flora outside its walls, but not one feathered animal ventured inside. The sensations invading Warren’s subconscious were not of eerie evil emanating from the dark side. They were ones of respectful space. It was as if someone had kicked the kids out of the house, turned the volume down, placed a glass of wine in one’s hand, and said, “Enjoy the quiet.”

When Warren looked over to Carl, the man had his eyes shut, serenely enjoying the surroundings. Even the horses seemed to tiptoe through the grass. Only bees pollinated the dandelions, daisies, and other meadow flowers. Warren himself could feel his heartbeat laze as if he’d had enough wine to relax but not enough to be tipsy.

“Why is it so quiet in here?” Warren whispered while looking for other signs of life.

Carl took a deep breath, opened his laughter-lined eyes, and pointed to the raised areas of the field. “Those mounds are believed to be Saxon burials.” He chuckled. “We can’t bring that gelding, Dusty, through here. He tries to lie down before we get to the gate at the other end.” Carl spoke like the scene was as natural as walking around the supermarket. Briefly, Warren imagined Carl around Tesco’s. The man wasn’t fat, but he was by no means thin. He enjoyed the comfort of a belly filled with his favourite foods. He’d hang onto the trolley, grumbling and limping his way around on a leg that had been kicked a few times over the years. Then he’d run his hands through the grey hair of his receding hairline that he covered with his flat cap. Warren smiled to himself before he stopped his musings and continued with his enquiries.

“Why don’t you get the Time Team in to find out for sure?”

Carl turned serious. “No. It’s not good to disturb the bones of the dead. It upsets ’em.”

About the author

Taylin Clavelli lives in the United Kingdom, about 15 miles south of Birmingham, and a short journey from the world famous Cadbury’s Chocolate factory. She’s married with children and loves her family with all her heart.

Her love of books has been a long standing affair, with Taylin liking nothing better than to lose herself in an imaginary world.

Until she met Lily Velden, she never considered trying her hand at writing. However, after talking ideas, Lily encouraged her to put pen to paper—or rather, fingers to keyboard. Since, with a few virtual kicks in the right place, she hasn’t stopped. Her confidence eventually led to her writing an original work for submission.

Her first published work was Boys, Toys, and Carpet Fitters, developed for the Dreamspinner Press Anthology – Don’t Try This At Home.

Now she absolutely adores immersing herself into the characters she creates, and transferring the pictures in her brain to paper, finding it liberating, therapeutic, and wonderful.

Outside of writing, her interests include; martial arts (she’s a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Taekwon-do), horse-riding, all of which facilitates her love of a wide variety of movies. Her action heroes include Jet Li and Tony Jaa—finding the dedication these men have for their art combined with their skill both amazing and a privilege to watch. If pressed, she’ll admit to thinking that the screen entrance of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean – Curse of the Black Pearl, and Shadowfax in LOTR, to be the greatest screen entrances ever. Her all-time favorite movies are Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.

The simple things in life that make her day, putting a smile on her face are:

Laughter – especially that of her children.

The smell of lasagna cooking – it makes her mouth salivate.

The dawn chorus – no symphony ever written can beat the waking greetings of the birds.

Social links:


Freebie Friday ...And All Shall Fade To Black (Part 9)

“Ugggg, Stop, stop, just break already. Take fifteen!” Danny hollered.

“Make it twenty,” his stage manager called out with a sigh. He pinched the bridge of his nose and reminded himself that Danny had never been so uptight at the start of production before.

Several feet away, Danny sat front row center, a crumpled coffee cup clutched tight in his fist. First he scowled at the stage, then he glared at the clipboard on his lap before drawing a large, red X through one of the scenes.

“Alright, spill,” Herman demanded as he dropped into the seat beside Danny.
Danny glanced up at his stage manager and longtime friend, then back at the clipboard. “It’s all crap, all of it. I don’t know what the hell I was thinking. This wasn’t ready for casting, it wasn’t even ready for a reading, the whole damn thing needs to be tossed in a shredder and…”

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a second, where the hell is all of this coming from?”

Eyes wide, Danny threw up his hands, the crushed cup sent flying. “Are you watching the same rehearsals as I am!”

“They’re pretty rough right now, but not bad enough to burn the entire play.”


“Burning is more final,” Herman reminded him . “More dramatic too.  We work in a playhouse, we have to do things right. “

“And what if we’re not certain that we know what’s right anymore?”

Herman beamed and got comfortable in the old, cloth seat. “Now it seems like we’re getting somewhere.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means that you’ve been out of sorts all week. One minute you tell people to slow a scene down and a couple run throughs later and you’re telling them to speed it up again. The cast has no clue what you want, hell it doesn’t seem like YOU know what you want, which really isn’t like you Danny. So what’s really going on, because I’m not convinced its issues with the play.”

Danny groaned and ran his fingers through his hair. “I didn’t realize I was being such a pain in the neck.”

“Yeah, well, you were, still are really, so let’s get to the bottom of why so I can stop needing to spike my coffee every morning before I come to work.”

“You’ve always spiked you’re coffee in the morning, you’ve been doing it for as long as I’ve known you.”

“Longer, but I’ve had to up the amount lately and that I attribute to you, not stop avoiding the subject and tell me what’s got your tie in a twist.”

“I kicked Sean out!” Danny blurted. “Had to go down and get a restraining order too.”

“And it’s about time. Please don’t tell me you’ve been a dick all week because you’ve been pining for that jerk and wishing you could take it back, because I swear if that’s the case, I’m going to tie you up in the rigging and leave you to hang there until common sense wins out. Sean was a jerk, he treated you like crap. I say good riddance and move the hell on.”

Danny looked over at his friend and couldn’t help but smile. Herman’s curls looked frazzled, his eyes were animated and he’d gone from slouching in the seat to perched on the edge of it, leg bouncing wildly as if he planned to launch into some crazy scheme. One that would likely leave Danny locked in a prop room or swinging from the rigging just to keep him away from Sean.

“I’m not pining for Sean.” Danny quickly sought to assure him. “You were right about him, you were all right about him and I’m sorry I didn’t listen.”

Herman’s leg stilled and his hands gripped the edge of his seat as he leaned forward intently, staring into Danny’s eyes. “Exactly how much was I right about?”

For a moment, Danny considered not telling him, but the look in Herman’s eyes told him that his friend already knew, he was just waiting for Danny to confirm it.

“All of it, okay. I didn’t get hit in the eye by a stray football while I was walking through the park. I got hit by Sean’s fist and it wasn’t the first time.”

“Son of a bitch! What the hell Danny! Why did you lie! Why did you let him stick around! We could have made him disappear easy! A prop coffin, some chains, no one ever would have heard from him again!”

“And then we’d all be in jail and they’d be making a play about an entire playhouse full of actors and producers gone insane and committing murders.”

“One murder, perfectly justified and it would make for one hell of a dramatic comedy,” Herman grumbled.

The look on Herman’s face was enough to send Danny into a fit of laughter. His friend looked so serious and so ready to commit the acts he’s spoken of that Danny found himself doubled over, laughing so hard his stomach hurt. But it was a good hurt, and he couldn’t remember the last time he’d laughed so hard. Well, he could, but that would mean thinking about Jax. The fit of laughter ended as soon as it started and Danny sat up and wiped the moisture from his eyes.

“Okay, seriously though, Danny, if you could care less about Sean then what’s the issue?”

 Danny sighed, all the good feelings fading away. “The night that I kicked him out, my new neighbor had to come break things up. Wasn’t the best way to meet, but we ended up having dinner the next night, wanted to thank him for helping. It was fun. I think, up until that point, I’d forgotten how nice a good meal and conversation could be. Anyway, long story short, I um, I’m pretty sure I offended him and I’ve been trying to catch up to him to apologize.”

“Only, you can’t,” Herman supplied, shaking his head at Danny like he was the most pathetic person on the planet. “So you’ve been growling at everyone else while you stew over whether you have or have not alienated this neighbor with the amazing conversation skills.”


Herman just shook his head. “You need to get out more. Seriously, Danny, that’s kind of pathetic. I mean, the guy could be working late or have a billion and one other things going on, hell he could be out on a date, which is where you should be instead of holed up in your apartment every night.”

“I have no intention of dating anyone for the foreseeable future, At least a year, maybe two.”

“And your junk will shrivel up and fall off if you neglect it for so long.”

“I don’t need to date for that,” Danny muttered, blushing.

“Yeah, anyway.”

“I just felt like Jax and I really hit it off and thought it would be cool to have a friend in the building for a change. Someone who was actually interested in hearing me talk about the plays I’ve been working on and doesn’t mind hanging out long after most folks have gone to bed.”

“And what am I?”

“The guy who leaves here, changes and rushes to whatever club has caught his fancy this week, all in the hopes of picking up the next Ms. Wasn’t Meant To Be.”

“Ouch, that’s, kinda harsh.”

“Tell me isn’t accurate, though.”

“Okay, it is, but damn, you don’t have to say it so bluntly.”

“I’ll remind you of that the next time you’re lecturing me about my poor relationship choices.”

Herman had the good graces to look sheepish and avert his eyes. “Okay, so maybe we both suck in the relationship department.”

“You can say that again.”

“Look, why don’t we call it a day? I doubt you’re going to be easy to work with until you’ve had a talk with your new friend and I um, did have my eye on a new club tonight. You know the one that opened down on Court Ave?”

“Nope, and before you ask, I have no intention of knowing it either, thank you. I think I will go home, work on the new play and hope I can catch up with Jax. Maybe I’ll throw a pan of lasagna together, see if he’s hungry when he gets home from work. If he gets home from work.”

“There ya go. And if he doesn’t show up, do us all a favor, Danny.”

“What’s that.”

“Call in sick tomorrow.”

Danny laughed at that and stood, stuffing his clipboard back in his backpack and searching around for the accidently launched cup. Once he’s found and properly disposed of it, he was on his way. Hoping that the long walk would untangle the thoughts that had been running through his head all week. It wasn’t like him to become so fixated on someone so fast. So what was it the big tattoo artist that had him all tied up in knots? One thing was for certain, he’d better figure it out quick and get it resolved, before his stage manager staged a mutiny. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Happy Sunday...New Website, Tumbler and Upcoming Book Release announcement

Hi folks, happy Sunday and thanks for dropping in, it's been a busy week for me but only in the most productive way. I am thrilled to announce that my second novel, Broken Prince, Mismatched Eyes, is scheduled for release by Wayward Ink Publishing on November 13. 

Broken Prince, Mismatched eyes, began as a writing prompt 2013. The prompt was something along the lines of: your character has just been informed that they have been betrothed to be married since they were born and in less than an hour, their intended will be arriving to marry them. Never in a million years could I have imagined that prompt to spawn a whole novel, but it did. Thanks in huge part to Mann Ramblings, author of The Luxorian Fugitive, who encouraged me to keep on writing and flesh the story out after my initial prompt response.

At that point, I was very iffy about my ability to write what, in my mind, I could only see as being a romance. Boy was I wrong as I started writing and a ton of political intrigue just started pouring onto the page, giving the book the elements of conflict and danger that I love to have in my stories.

Book Blurb: All of his life, Caden DeMott’s mismatched eyes have made him the target of superstition and scorn. Though he is the son of a nobleman, he’s been allowed to run free over the hills and moors, mostly ignored by his family. No one ever thought to inform him that he had been betrothed since infancy, until the day his fiancĂ©, Prince Rhys Gwyther arrived to marry him.

Rhys is the prince of the small island country of Mauritania, a land rich in gems, rose oil and pearls, but poor in skilled artisans and seeds to grow crops. In order to further cement the trade route to the mainland, he’s been sent to marry a man he’s never met, and bring him back to Mauritania. Unfortunately, an accident years before has left Rhys with a lot of emotional baggage and very little trust in strangers.

But trust is exactly what Caden and Rhys are going to need if they are to make a life together, and help unravel the mystery of who’s been smuggling valuable gems and pearls off the island. Add in the realization that Caden’s stepmother, Mildred and her island representative, Maxwell, have been importing inferior goods for years, forcing Mauritania to become more dependent on them, and trust becomes even more difficult.

Caden possesses the knowledge to finally allow Rhys’ father to unravel the plot to ruin Mauritania, but only if the king and his son are willing to put their faith in Caden’s loyalty to his new home. Something that is difficult to do after Caden is accused of cheating on his marriage vows to Rhys with his guard, Luc. Will Rhys believe him innocent? Or will their marriage be over before it truly has a chance to begin?

This week I was also able to flesh out my pinterest site even more and really start working on ways to use it to storyboard. It's been slow going, but I love the idea and I've already been able to see the many ways that it can really work for me and save me some time.  A bunch of new pins have been added and in the upcoming week there are still more to come along with a few more Works in Progress I plan to create boards for over there.

Layla's Pinterest:

I've also created a tumbler page. I wanted to have a place, separate from this blog, to kind of focus on inspiration and collect/share things that inspire me. Tumbler looked like it would be a bunch of fun to get into, at lease from what my roomie has said of it, so I decided to give it a shot. I've got a ton left to learn about how to use it but at least I'm set up there now.

Layla's Tumbler:

As mentioned earlier in the week, I designed a brand new Author website for myself, and what fun it was to do. It lets me keep track of my upcoming releases and works in progress all in the same place and share updates on all of them. 

Layla's Website:

In fact, it even has a newsletter. This issue features an interview with Conner, from Guitars and Cages, which proved really fun and insightful to do. 


Also this week, I was able to finish organizing and making notes on my upcoming National Novel Writing Month story Burning Luck. I will be updating my progress on the story nightly using the word tracker to the left. Hopefully, I'll make that 50,000 words again this year. 

Lucky Strike McAllister isn't very lucky. In fact, he isn't much of anything most days, to hear his MC tell it. Since the death of his father two years ago, he's done nothing but find ways to get in trouble. He's talented with an airbrush gun and an amazing artist when he sets his mind to it, but more often than not, the thing Lucky sets his mind to is getting into trouble. 
When Thorn and his partner Cain, are forced to fish Lucky out of the ocean on a chilly, fall night, both men decide he needs a keeper and who better than them to keep Lucky from self destructing. Too bad Lucky can't see that they're trying to help. Bitter and lashing out, he does everything he can to sabotage the only chance he's ever been giving at truly belonging to someone. 

Will Lucky be able to put aside his anger to get to know the two men who have taken such an intense interest in him, or will he run from them, his club and everything he's ever known, and burn the last of his luck in the process?

Friday, October 23, 2015

Freebie Friday...And All Shall Fade to Black (Part 8)

“Leave it to you to show up after all the heavy lifting is through,” Callum laughed as he handed Jax a beer.

“Yup. Figured you guys could use the workout.”

“I don’t know about Callum, but what I could use is about a week to sleep,” Max said as he dropped down onto the couch. “Too bad we’ve got about four days before orientation and all that fun stuff.”

“That’s the price you pay for higher education,” Jax pointed out.

“Funny, I thought that was the tuition check?” Max shot back.

 Jax surveyed both of them and laughed, “Better you two then me.”

“You could do it, if you wanted to,” Callum muttered, giving voice to a half-decade old argument between the three.

“Yeah, but you’re forgetting one major thing, I don’t wanna,” a grinning Jax reminded him.

“Yeah, yeah, so I thought you were supposed to be renting us a nice, quiet place. We weren’t here an hour before the cops were hauling some guy outta here.”

Jax frowned, beer frozen halfway to his lips. “From what floor?”

“Upstairs, man you’ve got some crazy people on your floor. Glad they’re up there. This guy was screaming about coming back and kicking doors down and setting shit on fire.”

“Fuck…” Jax breathed, setting his beer on the table. “I’ll be right back, I’ve gotta go check on someone.”

Before Max or Callum could say a word, Jax bolted from the apartment and up the stairs to beat on Danny’s door.

“G-go away!” Danny stammered from somewhere inside “I mean it Sean, I’ll call the cops again.”

Sean, so that was the big asshole’s name, He must have gotten bailed out today. Jax sighed and knocked lightly.

“It’s not Sean, Danny, It’s Jax. Are you okay?”

Silence. Great. While he tried to figure out what to say next, Jax noticed dark scuff marks about halfway up the door and a long split in the door frame. Frowning, he studied it closer, and noticed chunks of wood on the hallway floor. Holy shit, that fuckin’ bastard had tried to kick the damn door in.

A soft click preceded the door being pulled open and Danny poking his head out.

“Hey,” Jas said, shocked to find himself studying Danny to be sure he didn’t have any new bruises. “Heard you had a visitor today.”

Danny sighed and leaned against the doorway. “Yeah, Sean came back and he didn’t want to listen when I told him he didn’t live here anymore. I had to call the cops on him, now tomorrow I get to spend half my morning getting a restraining order.”

Leaning, Danny noticed two guys standing halfway up the stairs, watching them intently. “Are those your friends?”

Jax glanced behind him to see concerned expressions on his best friends’ faces.

“Everything okay, Jax?” Callum asked warily.

“Yeah, everything’s fine. Why don’t you two stop lurking and come up here and meet Danny.

Danny glanced between the three of them as the two men joined Jax outside his door.

“Hi,” Danny said as he held out his hand. It was almost amusing, now that he could see them clearly. Neither looked like friends he would have expected Jax to have. Guess that was what he deserved for making assumptions.

“Hey Danny, I’m Callum,” the short, sandy haired man said as he shook Danny’s hand. Danny knew he’d gotten the short end of the stick in the height department but this guy was even shorter than him. If he was more than four inches over five feet Danny would have been shocked. Standing next to Jax, didn’t really help any, because his tattooed giant of a neighbor dwarfed him. Not only that but Callum looked more like a professor than a student, even with his shirt untucked and holding a beer.

“And I’m Max.”

Danny shook the second man’s hand, and nearly cringed at his firm grip. He wasn’t as tall as Jax, but he was wider and stockier. Not nearly as defined as Jax either and Danny blushed to find himself actually doing a mental comparison of the way Jax had looked when he’d had his shirt off.  Max might be bigger, but no way in hell would he have looked as good. His hair was longish in front, shorter in the back, coal black and a little matted.  He reminded Danny a little of some of the jocks he’d known back in high school. He just hoped he wasn’t as big a creep as most of them had been.

“Nice to meet you both,” Danny said, crossing his arms over his chest and half expecting them to all go back downstairs now that Jax had seen that he was okay.

“Wanna come down stairs and have a beer with us?” Jax offered.

Danny gave him a polite smile and shook his head, already backing into his apartment. “I’d better not, I’ve got to be up early in the morning and drinking really isn’t my thing. “

“Oh well we’ve got sodas too,” Max offered.

“Yeah, I think I’ll pass, no offense but, I don’t really like hanging out with people while they’ve been drinking either,” Danny said firmly, hands gripping the door. “Talk to you later, Jax.”

Jax scowled as Danny pushed the door shut.

“Goodnight, Danny,” he muttered wondering if the other man had even heard him as he closed the door in Jax’s face.

Callum frowned at the door before glancing over at Jax as Max headed back down the stairs to their apartment. “That was…odd.”

“Yeah, I um…” At a loss for words, Jax just shook his head and followed his friends, relieved to know Danny was okay.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Freebie Friday...And All Shall Fade To Black (Part 7)

“So how’d the dinner go? You did go, right?” Steph asked, as soon as Jax walked through the door the following morning.

He just chuckled at her enthusiasm as he pulled off his jacket and motorcycle helmet, before shaking out his long brown hair.

“Can I at least get through the door, sis?” he asked as he stored his things in the closet.

She pointed at the door, then at him. “Pretty sure you’re already through the door, so spill.”

“Damn, okay. I’d tell you that you didn’t have to be so pushy, or nosy, but I know by now that wouldn’t do me any good.”

“Exactly, so stop stalling and spill.”

“The food was amazing, Danny is an awesome cook. He’s also a playwright and I kinda ended up volunteering to help build sets when he gets his next play off the ground.”

“You…are going to build sets at a theater?”

“Don’t look so skeptical sis. I’ve already warned him that I know nothing about the theater. Apparently I don’t have to know anything other than my way around a saw, a hammer, a blowtorch, nails and a drill.”

“Well, in that case, maybe you’re overqualified,” she laughed.


“So it sounds like you had fun.”

Jax nodded as he set up his station, rearranging some of the body jewelry into a more appealing display. “Yeah, I did, and I think Max and Callum will really hit it off with him when they get here. Max left a message on my phone last night, saying they’d just reached the edge of Colorado and were almost in Nebraska. They were supposed to be getting a hotel, then continuing on in the morning. So they should be there by the time I get home.”

“I hope you left them a key so they could start unloading?”

“Yeah, manager has the keys to their place and mine, so he can let them in. Hope they like pale blue.”

“Knowing them, they’ll just hang a ton of prints all over the place and cover almost every inch of it.”

“True.” Jax laughed. “And argue the entire time about which pieces do and don’t belong together.”

“You’d think they’d have figured it out by now.”

Jax glanced over at his sister, confusion written all over his face. “Huh? What? Where to put everything? I guess, I mean, they’ve been roommates long enough.”

“That too, but what I meant was, their relationship, or lack thereof. They’re perfect for one another. You can’t tell me you’ve never noticed? It didn’t take but a few days with those two to see that they should be dating.”

“Huh? You’re kidding right?”

Steph facepalmed and just shook her head. “You can’t be that blind.”

“Sorry, sis, unlike you, I don't stick my nose places it don't belong."

“Well then it’s a good thing I’m nosy enough for the both of us,” she laughed as she flipped the sign to open. “I think I’ll make it my personal mission to see those two hook up, and while I’m at it, maybe I can meet this Danny of yours. Something tells me you two would get along wonderfully together.”

“Oh no, sis, no, I’m serious, no meddling, not even a little bit. I’m not looking for a boyfriend, or a relationship, or even a hook up right now. All I want is to get my apartment set up, keep those appointment books in order, and get some groceries for the fridge.”

“And after that?”

“Sleep, in a proper bed, and porn, ‘cause it’s been days since I got off and I…”

“TMI, Jax!” She yelled, clasping her hands over her ears. “Seriously bro, TMI!”

He laughed at that, grateful when she retreated across the room and busied herself setting up for her first appointment. The sudden jingle of bells drew both of their attention towards a trio of girls in calf high boots and super tight blue jeans. Too much makeup was his first thought as they made their way towards him, one of the girls shoving the girl in the middle forward as she eyed him up and down and blushed.

“She wants to get her nose pierced,” the girl on the left announced, a little louder than necessary. Her blond hair was streaked with black, and she had so much makeup around her eyes she looked like a demented raccoon. She also looked like she’d put way too much effort in looking older, all of them did, and he crossed his arms as he stared down at all three of them.

“Is that so. Well, then I need to see her ID.” He told them sternly. “Because in this shop, we don’t do piercings for anyone under the age of 18 without a parent's permission.”

The girl in the middle’s face fell, a sure sign that she wasn’t legal. Still, it didn’t stop the loud blond from trying to persuade him to do it.

The blond fixed him with a glare and mimicked his stance, one hip cocked out, arms crossed. “She’s 19, so there, you can do it.”

“Then if that’s the case, she can show me her ID and we can get started,” he said, smirking a bit at her nerve.

The blond sputtered and stomped her foot, clearly unused to anyone denying her anything.

“Come on, Shannon, let’s just go, okay,” the girl in the middle said, yanking on her friends arm. “I told you it was a bad idea. My parents would have gone through the roof, anyway.”

As she ushered her friends out the door, the girl in the middle glanced back and shot him a shy, grateful smile. Poor kid, he had to wonder how many other dumb things her friends were going to push her to do before she found a backbone.

“Good job,” Steph said from where she’d been watching across the room. “I’m sure they’ll find someone to do the piercing before the day is through, which sucks, but, until Iowa mandates an age for piercing the way they have for tattoos, they’ll always be places willing to pierce whoever has the money.”

“She didn’t even want it, not really.”

“Nope. Happens all the time though. Part of the reason I decided on just a blanket eighteen for the shop. Last thing I need is some irate parent coming in here pitching a fit because their kid decided to let his or her friends talk them into doing something stupid.”

She studied him, a sly smile on her face.


Laughing, she put a bowl full of lollipops on her table and dropped into a chair. “I was just thinking of how much they reminded me of someone else I know.”

“Hey, I never did that shit.”

“No, you were the one pushing others into doing it. I will never forget the day Mrs. Ryan came by, yelling at mom because you’d convinced Trace that it would be a good idea to brand his arm with that comic book logo you’d made in welding class.”

“Hey, in my defense, it looked really cool once it healed. Branding was really in back then.”

“For about a minute,” Steph laughed. “I just hope Patricia McAdams is as big of a fan as he is, ‘cause I heard those two actually got married. I know if it was me, I wouldn’t want to look at that on my husband’s arm every day.”

“Trace got married? Shit. That’s messed up.”


“The guy was a fuckin’ genius, kinda figured he’d have gotten out of that place and gone off to college.”

She just shrugged.

“Don’t ask me, that’s just what I heard. You should write him, I’m sure he’d love to hear from you. Bet some of your others friends would too. Leaving home didn’t have to mean leaving behind everyone you used to know.”

“Yeah, well, guess maybe it was easier that way.”

“For who,” She muttered, but whatever she might have added was cut off by the arrival of her client. For the rest of the afternoon, it was all work, hard rock music, and little conversation.  

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Current Works in Progress

I try to be organized, I do, I try really hard not to start one project before the other is finished too, but that so very rarely works out for me. Happily, I’ve learned that I am far from the only author with this problem, so it’s awesome to know I’m in good company. At this point in time, I’ve found myself with seven projects in various stages of completion, and one complete work that’s in need of some chapter breaks before it’s submitted to my publisher. The plan for that one is to submit it sometime in December to give me time to read over it a few more times and just be certain that I’m happy with the way it turned out.

I experienced quite the sense of accomplishment today when I actually managed to go through and give each of the projects a working title as well as getting a word tracker for them set up and added to the blog. At least this way, I have this glaring, rainbow line of counters reminding me to focus and sit down and write. I also managed to get my project for this year’s National Novel Writing Month organized, a working cover made, and even added a quote from some of the hand written notes I’ve been making to sort of inspire me once November starts.

Until then, I have a few short stories for anthology submissions I plan to work on too, should the characters actually decide to crawl out from underneath their rocks or out of the ocean to decide to talk to me.

As for Guitars and Cages 2, its about 6 chapters away from completion. My goal at the moment is to have it completed before Christmas. Not sure why those six chapters and I are having such issues, maybe because Asher is still afraid of opening up that last little bit and saying those all-important words that Conner needs to hear. Or maybe it’s just that he’s waiting for the perfect moment. Of course it could also be that the ending to the book and I have been having a bit of a debate about how it should go, I know what I want to accomplish, it’s just the matter of getting there. Funny, but as I sat here typing this I had an idea…yey plot bunnies!

The next story on my work in progress list is titled Ice and Steel. It was written as a novella about 3 years ago, and since then I’ve toyed with the idea of fleshing it out more and turning it into a full length novel. It’s a bitter/sweet romance between Rick, a shy and self-conscious artist, and Josh, a gruff bartender who is older than him by about 15 years. They never quite got the HEA I planned for them in the novella and I think they deserve to have it, not to mention there is an art theft ring to break up and some serious suspense to add in thanks to a crooked gallery owner named Hideaki.

So the third work in progress is a piece that I abandoned about a year and a half ago. It was probably the very last piece of writing that I ever plotted out completely, which is also why it’s been so hard to get back into the flow of working with the story. Well, that and the fact that my character decided that not only was he going to hang out Beneath the Mountain, but he was going to barricade himself in the damned thing and refuse to come out. So I’ve been letting him simmer while I’ve been getting a bit of a dynamite charge ready, and soon, very, very soon, I plan on blasting a hole in his precious rock and dragging him out into the sunshine again. Beneath the Mountain is a story filled with shapeshifters and ancient beings, semi-immortals who have been living in recluse for centuries. There is a menagerie of mystical creatures being nurtured and protected there, and wouldn’t you know it, a bit of a love story brewing too.

Drawing a New Life, the forth work in progress on my ‘to finish’ list, has also been sitting in mothballs for a little over a year. Outlined slightly before Beneath the Mountain, the story was abandoned more out of frustration than anything else. It was a project that I was in love with when I started it, but I made the mistake of allowing outside forces to take my joy of working on it away. I’ve vowed since then to never put myself in a situation where that can happen because not only did it make working on this story impossible, but it made me not want to write at all for a little while. This is a story of switching places with the self that exists on another astral plane, learning about forgiveness, and a disillusioned warrior finding something very important to fight for…with just a sprinkling of romance added in because, well, LOVE!

Serpent’s Kiss was born from a writing prompt, and I have every intention of finishing it in time for Valentine’s Day, and what a perfect Valentine present it will be, especially for the two snake shifters who are finding their way towards love in between political scandal and attempts on royals lives. In this story, I’ve got a somewhat stuffy and proper member of the upper class of serpentine shifters trying to reconcile himself with the fact that his mate, the last pure blooded seer of their entire race, is a bounty hunter who prefers to live among humans, and even worse, doesn’t even realize who and what he is.  

Stalking the Music is my rock star romance and this one has been a lot of fun to start pulling together. Complete with a bodyguard and a stalker, there are suspenseful elements as well as some very dramatic ones in this one.  Jesse Winters isn’t your typical rock star. He isn’t a showoff, he doesn’t have much of an ego, he’s never been one for the long series of one night stands and he prefers the quiet coast of Maine to city life. All in all, if it wasn’t for the time he spends in the spotlight, he’d be just the guy next door, which is why it was so easy for the one person he’d decided to trust to take advantage of him. So when his best friend and bandmate suggests that they need a change in band security, the last thing Jesse ever expected, was to find himself falling for the prickly ex-marine who happens to be in charge of their new bodyguard detail.

Burning Luck is just a series of notes in a notebook at the moment, but it is going to be my National Novel Writing Month project for this year. The original idea popped into my head while I was on the train heading down to South Carolina and I haven’t been able to stop making notes on the characters, the settings and their various issues, since. Currently this one is planned to be a threesome, but we’ll see where it’s truly ends up. This is Lucky’s story, and I actually put together a little blurb and cover for it for NaNoWriMo.

I hope you’ll pop in from time to time to see how each of the works is progressing. I will be continuing to update my Freebie Friday story …And All Shall Fade To Black as well. I have no idea how long the story is going to go, right now I’m just playing it by ear and allowing the characters to dictate the pace of things.

I’ve also been playing around with Pinterest creating storyboards in order to collect different images and notes that might help me get a better visual on my character’s interests, since this was one project suggested at the writing workshop I just attended. It’s actually been a great deal of fun beginning to gather images, tutorials and instructional bits of research to better help flesh out my stories. My writing journey has been filled with so many new and interesting things, it’s always exciting to see what the next day brings.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Writer's Retreat at the Blue Belle Inn: What a Beautiful Weekend

What a beautiful weekend. It’s a very rare opportunity to have the chance to attend a Writing Retreat less than 20 minutes from my front door, but this past Friday and Saturday, that was exactly what I had the opportunity to do. The Writer’s Retreat held at the fabulous Blue Belle Inn Bed and Breakfast in St. Ansgar, Iowa (, started on Friday night at 5:30 in the evening, with a round of introductions and some very, very tasty treats.

While seated around beautifully decorated tables enjoying chocolate dipped fruits, garlic toast, hummus, Swedish meatballs, queso dip and an assortment of veggies, the attendees had the opportunity to begin getting to know one another. We came together from three states, Iowa, Nebraska, and Wisconsin; and an even wider variety of genres, but each individual brought something special to the retreat. We had authors who were unpublished, authors who were just beginning their publishing careers, like me, and we had other authors who had 8, 10, even 20 books to their names, all willing to offer valuable insight and advice.

After the coffee and light refreshments we all adjourned to the sitting room to discuss our current works in progress and participate in a round of informal critiques. I must say, I was more than a little bit nervous, reading my opening chapter out loud to a room full of such accomplished men and women. The story I brought that night was one that has been sitting on my shelf for nearly a year, stalled out at about 6 chapters, which was why I carried it with me, hoping to get some ideas that would lead to working with it again.

That’s exactly what happened. Not only did they find the characters and their abilities fascinating, but they were able to give advice on how to more smoothly start off the book. I was left with renewed energy to tackle that project once my current works in progress have been polished up, some great comments and feedback that let me know that the direction I’ve been heading in was a positive one, and far more confidence for having sat there and actually read my story to the rest of the room, even if I did hide behind it the entire time.

Sitting and listening to the other stories was a huge learning opportunity as well. Listening to the way that they constructed their stories, and the feedback that they were given, made me realize some things that were lacking in my current WIP, and I quickly made notes to go back and fix those things. In fact, I left the conference with a ton of notes on things to work on to help refine the story I have currently been working on.

The first night of the conference ended at around 9:30 PM when the critiquing was finished, but we met back up at around 8:30 the following morning, for some relaxed conversation about the writing process and organizing works in progress, before we sat down to an amazing breakfast and tons of delicious coffee. Breakfast consisted of a fruit kabob, baked ham and eggs with a wonderful sauce, and a slice of pumpkin-pecan bread that I will certainly be baking at him. 

After the morning meal, the seminars began, and I must say, the refresher in character archetypes really left me thinking about ideas for future projects, as well as current works and how I would go about characterizing the characters I am currently working with.

Other interesting talks included one on how to use Pinterest to keep track of character interests and as a storyboarding tool. By the time I got home Saturday evening I was excited to set up my own Pinterest account with my character interests and begin stockpiling images, ideas, and instructions that I know will be useful on revisions of current works.

Fell free to add me, follow me, however it all works at Pinterest, as I will be updating each folder once a week and soon getting to work adding some storyboard elements to. Please click here for Layla's Pinterest 

I loved the talk on cover design, and there was an extremely helpful talk on finding the center of your book and working outward from the moment your character is supposed to take a good, hard look at themselves and what they are doing and decide how they want to move forward. It also talked about the conflict that the character had to face to get to that point in the book and how that point in the book was supposed to move towards the end of the book and the ultimate change/transformation that the character should have undergone. Again I found myself making notes as they would pertain to the current story I’ve been working on, and I found myself better able to flesh out the direction that I have slowly been moving this new story in.

We had a wonderful lunch, I opted for the chicken and mashed potatoes, which had a lovely sauce of mixed cheeses, and a salad and roll on the side. 

Later, we were served an amazing desert, so amazing that we dug in before we could even think to take pictures of the cherry and chocolate bomb we were served. In between meals there was a ton of conversation, trading of information, questions asked and answered, funny stories, books given away, book suggestions made, laughter and learning. Though the conference is only held every other year, I know it is one that I will return to time and time again. The atmosphere was so warm and welcoming and filled with opportunities for learning that there was really never a dull moment. I could have sat with those folks for seminars for another five days and never gotten tired of learning things.

Friday, October 9, 2015

...And All Shall Fade to Black (Part 6)

Jax looked up from his plate to realize they had both settled into comfortable silence as they ate, which was great, but he was curious to know more about Danny.

“Did you go to school to be a writer?” Jax finally asked. “My buddy Max, one of the ones moving here, he’s enrolled in that big writing course at the university, and Callum was excepted into Drake University to major in studio arts. His main focus is on sculpting, but I guess there are a ton of painting and drawing classes too.”

“Yes, there are, I have a few friends who went to Drake and I know exactly what course you’re talking about over at the university. I got my MFA from the Playwrights Workshop there; it’s one of the best in the country. “

“That’s pretty cool. I’ve got to admit, I’ve never seen a play.”

Danny’s eyes went a little wide. “Never, not even a high school production or something?”

Jax just grinned and shook his head. “Nope. Sorry. Never was into sports either, or much of anything, really. I’m good with my hands, I can fix stuff when I need to, but until I got into doing piercings, there was nothing I was really passionate about.”

Danny studied the four piercings Jax had in each eyebrow, the two in his nose, three in the left corner of his lip, the one in his chin and the trail of them running up each ear. When he spoke, Danny could see a barbell through his tongue, and mentally shuddered at how many needles that must have involved. “Did you do your own?”

“Nope, my mentor, the guy who ran the place I used to work at back in Seattle, he did them,” Jax explained. “And several of my tattoos too.”

“How many do you have?”

“Twenty-one,” Jax explained. “The biggest is on my back.”

For a moment, Danny simply sat, remembering the ones he’d seen on Jax’s chest earlier that morning, along with all of the water that had been running down it. It certainly had seemed like an impressive amount of work.

“Didn’t they hurt?” Danny asked, noticing Jax sopping up some of the gravy with a biscuit, letting nothing go to waste.

“The ones on my ribs were the worse,” Jax said once he’d swallowed. “There’s one on my ankle that comes around onto my shin that hurt a lot too, and this one on my hand. Otherwise, no, not really. I take it you don’t have any ink.”

“Not a chance,” Danny laughed and poured them both some more tea. “Too afraid of needles.”

Jax just chuckled at that. “To each their own. If you ever change your mind, let me know. I’ll be happy to hook you up.”

“Umm, thanks,” Danny said, knowing that was one offer he would never take Jax up on. But thinking about piercings did make him curious about something. “Are the ones in your face the only ones you have?”

A slow grin crossed Jax’s face. “Nope.”

For a moment, it was a standoff. Jax silently watching Danny, wondering if he’d have the guts to ask, while Danny stared at Jax trying to imagine where he had those other piercings.

“Umm, how about some dessert,” Danny asked as he stood to grab a severing spoon from the kitchen.

“I’d love some, thanks.” Jax said with a grin. “Not gonna ask where they’re at, are you?”

“I umm, didn’t want to seem rude,” Danny said, blushing a little as he dished out some warm peach cobbler over Vanilla Bean ice cream.


The knowing smirk on Jax’s face was like a challenge Danny couldn’t back down from. He set the bowl and spoon down in front of Jax, then put his hands on his hips.

“Fine. Where are your other piercings?”

“Covered by my shirt and jeans,” Jax said mischievously.

“I kinda figured that,” Danny grumbled before sitting down with his own bowl.

“Tell me more about your plays?”

Danny grinned, grateful for the change in subject. “The one I’m currently working on is centered around a circus and a string of bad luck they’ve been having. All of them are superstitious in some way, and the comedy part of the play comes when they each try different things in an attempt to lift the ‘curse’ they believe they’re under. Of course, it turns out that there isn’t a curse, one of the performers has been sabotaging the circus and amusing herself watching everyone else freaking out about hexes, curses and old rumors.”

Jax cocked his head to the side, enjoying the cobbler and thinking about the storyline.

“Why?” he finally asked when his mouth was empty.

“Why what?”

“Why is she sabotaging the circus? I mean, it’s her job too, so why would she do that?”

Danny sighed and tapped the edge of his spoon against the place mat. “That’s the problem. I haven’t figured out a really viable reason for the things she does.”

“I’m sure it will come to you,” Jax said before taking another bite.

The look of bliss on his face thrilled Danny, and he realized his dessert was melting as he watched Jax eat.

“Man, this is good, whatever it is, holy shit, peach and a ton of flavor, wow,”

Danny beamed. “Thank you. It’s peach cobbler, it’s one of my favorite fall desserts.”

“Never had it before, but, I sure as hell wouldn’t turn down the chance to have it again, I love peaches. Plums too."

“I love peaches too, and strawberries, and you should see what you can do when you mix peaches with raspberries, especially as a topping over ice cream.”

“Just the idea of that sounds really good, though I’m not sure I’ll think that when I’m getting up early in the morning to hit the gym. Speaking of which, you wouldn’t know of a good one in the area that doesn’t cost and arm and a leg for membership.”

Danny shook his head. “No, sorry, never really been much, for umm, weights and all that.”

“Ech, I do as much cardio as I do lifting. I just like being in shape. Plus I like being able to show off my tattoos. Not sure I’d want to go shirtless if I wasn’t rocking a six pack.”

Danny nodded at that, having never had a six pack in his life, or the desire to spend hours in the gym trying to get one. Besides, he’d hated gym in school, he’d never been the fastest or the strongest, though at least he’d had some good friends who’d made sure he was never picked last. Still, he’d always been self-conscious trying to play most of the sports they’d been assigned.

“That was an amazing meal, thank you. If I’d had to cook tonight it would have been sloppy joes and a beer before falling asleep in front of the TV.”

“Sloppy joes have their place, just not sure where,” Danny teased, shocked when Jax got up and helped him to clear the table.

“Let me help with the dishes, it’s the least I can do and you can tell me more about the play? It sounds kind of interesting.”

“Thanks,” Danny replied, grinning like an idiot all the way to the kitchen. He was too thrilled to care, though. Imagine that. Jax found his play interesting. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Blog Tour: Blind Redemption- Book Promo, Excerpt, and Giveaway

Today I have the wonderful opportunity to be a stop on the Blog Tour of fellow Wayward Ink authors Denise Dearth and Amy Gillen who are promoting their new release Blind Redemption.

Blind Redemption Tour Banner
Title: Blind Redemption
Authors: Denise Dearth and Amy Gillen
Length: Novel
Genre: Mystery, Detective, Paranormal Mystery, Lesbian, F/F, LGBT
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
A woman is missing, paths are misleading. Can Psychic Detective Jackie Vaughn see through the veil of lies to find her?


Kidnapped and sold into the Chinese slave trade the survival of Annette Freder, the wife of University Chancellor, Charles Freder, depends on struggling psychic detective, Jackie Vaughn.
Crippled by grief over the unexpected death of her wife, Jackie deals with her anguish through pills and booze. While these coping mechanisms numb her pain, the growing addiction hampers her abilities, and places her health and livelihood in jeopardy.  The missing person’s case of Annette Freder shifts Jackie’s focus, challenging her psychic abilities.
Blind Redemption Cover
While on the job in China, Jackie finds herself with limited access to medication, resulting in bouts of withdrawal and depression. But that is just one of the many hurdles hindering Jackie in her quest to find Annette and return her to safety. Will corrupt police, maxed out credit cards, an ousted Greek intelligence officer assassin, and a revelation from an unexpected source prove too much for her?
Entangled deceit and unravelling lies Blind Redemption captures the essence of the human spirit and the power of redemption.


A scrawny Asian man with bushy eyebrows and straight tousled black hair stepped in front of her, a small handgun concealed inside a black leather jacket, and he waved toward the door. Desperate to make eye contact with someone in the lobby, Jackie moved slowly. Ignored, she stepped outside and walked to the curb. A dark compact car covered with splotches of dried mud awaited. With a jab to the side, Jackie opened the back passenger door.
 “Who are you and what is it you want?” Jackie asked.
The driver’s dark brown eyes shifted to look in the rear view mirror. He tugged at the bill of a blue baseball cap, pulling the hat down as far is it would go. The vehicle accelerated and swerved into traffic. Jackie studied the man next to her. He sat quietly, holding the gun steadily at her mid-section. She controlled her breath, slowing it down, calming her mind, closing her eyes, and tuning out the traffic. Annette’s face flashed in her consciousness, along with two hidden faces exchanging money. She focused on those blurry faces. A Caucasian man she didn’t know had something to do with Annette and this situation. She sensed a street stoplight approaching, and intuition demanded she stay alert and on the lookout for a speeding white coupe.
They drove in silence for several blocks. The car turned left onto a congested street. Bright lights and neon signs identified various establishments. Men of all ages composed the majority of patrons, who entered and exited small shops along the strip. Sidewalks laden with litter led to a lightless alley.

As the car slowed for a traffic light, Jackie smacked her captor’s gun hand to the side. Yelling, he lost his grip on the weapon. She opened the car door and jumped, falling to the curb. A white car sped through the changing stop light. Jackie hopped up and ran, evading squealing tires and blaring car horns. 

Video Trailer

Buy Links

Amazon US:
Amazon UK:
Amazon AU:
Amazon DE:


Prize: $6.99 WIP Gift Card
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the authors

DENISE DEARTH is a novelist and songwriter.  Blind Redemption is the first novel in the compelling Jackie Vaughn detective series. She is a member of Broadcast Music Incorporated, a music performing right organization, and the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981. When’s she’s not writing she may be seen riding a two-toned, sky blue and white Victory Vegas Steel horse into the Midwestern sunset.
AMY GILLEN is a co-creator of the Jackie Vaughn detective series.  She earned a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Indiana University.  She is a poet, photographer, and entrepreneur with a passion for kayaking and travel.
Denise Dearth and Amy Gillen can be found at:

Friday, October 2, 2015

...And All Shall Fade to Black (Part 5)

The day had been a long one, but fun and filled with interesting people. He’d done seven piercings, consulted with potential clients about four more, two of which already scheduled their appointments. In between his own work he’d answered the phone, taken messages, accepted an application and set up for the artist to interview with his sister later in the week. He’d picked them up some Thai food that they’d barely had time to eat but it was awesome working with Steph. He hadn’t realized how much the weight of the miles between them had weighed on him until he found himself sitting in a free moment and just watching her work.

He’d always admired her talent, but the truth was, he admired her strength and determination more.  She’d taken a shitty situation and turned it into something remarkable. It made him proud that he could help her out with even a small part of it.

He was halfway up the stairs when his stomach grumbled. A quick check of his watch showed that he was about fifteen minutes early, but he hoped Danny wouldn’t mind. If he went to his apartment and dropped in a chair, he feared he’d fall asleep and miss dinner. 

Danny greeted him with a smile, as did an amazing aroma drifting from the kitchen. His mouth started watering and he was afraid he’d embarrass himself entirely by drooling all over the place.

“Hey,” Danny greeted as he stepped back to usher Jax inside. “How was work? What ummm, I never did get the chance to ask what you do for work?”

Jack chuckled as he stepped inside, his eyes sweeping around the warm tones of the brightly lit living room.

“I work at my sister’s tattoo parlor, I do body piercings,” Jax replied. “Man, you’re place is pretty awesome. I love the colors, the whole room reminds me of fall.”

“Thanks, I can’t take any credit for it though, it was like that when I moved in. I love the browns and tans though, and it worked well with my furniture. I got lucky, really, I looked at two other units, one was shades of green and the other this pale, washed out blue.”

Jax scrunched up his nose. “I saw the blue one, that’s why I opted for the gray, most of my stuff is black or gray anyway, and I can’t wait until it gets here, ‘cause all I’m using right now is the stuff left over in the apartment.”

“When is your stuff supposed to arrive?” Danny asked as he carried a pan to the table and set it in the center alongside a pitcher of sweet tea and a plate of biscuits.

Jax practically bounded over to the table, eyes going wide when he saw the spread. “Holy shit is that pot roast?”

Danny couldn’t help but grin, pleased at Jax’s enthusiasm. “Yup, I take it you approve?”

“Man, I love pot roast, haven’t had it in a very long time though. Last time was at my sister’s place, but that was before her husband died.”

“Wow, that’s umm,” Danny stammered, feeling himself flush a little, death always threw him, he never dealt with it well. “I’m umm sorry to hear that.”

“Thanks,” Jax muttered softly, clearly in no mood to talk about it either.

Danny rushed to change the subject, hoping to lighten things up for the both of them. “So umm, how long have you been doing piercings?”

“About three years,” Jax explained as he took a seat. “I got certified in Seattle and started working in a shop up there, but for the last year, my sis has been bugging me to move here to Des Moines, so I finally relented. Wasn’t a hard choice, really, I missed her and she needed me. Was a simple matter of organizing a move and getting a few buddies to drive the truck for me.”

“Wow, what did you have to promise them to get them to do that?” Danny asked as he brought over a bowl of roasted carrots and potatoes.

“Not a lot, actually, they’re relocating too, actually, so I agreed to pay for the truck and they agreed to drive it. They gave me cash to put a deposit down on a place for them, so guess who will be moving into the blue unit downstairs,” Jax chuckled.

Danny couldn’t help but laugh at that. “I guess coming out here first has its perks.”

“In this case, yeah, it really does. They’ll be here in a few days, as long as they don’t fight over the map. I can just see them ending up in the wrong state, though.”

“I have a few friends like that,” Danny chuckled. “Go ahead, dig in.”

“Thanks man, this smells amazing, I can’t wait to taste it,” Jax said as he filled his plate. He waited for Danny to fill his before he started eating though, was just something he’d learned young that had always stuck with him.

The first bite was like heaven, the meat tender and practically falling apart, in a flavorful gravy that left him wanting to close his eyes and savor it.

“Mmmm this is amazing,” Jax moaned after he’d swallowed the first bite. The blissed out expression on his face made Danny practically choke on his food, and he had to take a sip of tea just to wash it down properly. Jax’s eyes were half-lidded and he’d titled his head back a little, exposing his neck and the intricate tattoo that wove around his throat. Danny found himself wishing he could study it more closely, even as Jax sighed contently, and took another bite.

“Thank you, I’m glad you like it,” Danny said proudly.

“Like? Naa man, I love it,” Jax said when he’d finished chewing. “You’re an awesome cook. You don’t do it for a living, do you, ‘cause that would be pretty cool.”

“Nope. I’ve taken a bunch of classes though, because I really hate eating the same things over and over. I’m a playwright, actually. I’ve had several pieces performed around the city and all over the state too. We even took the last one up to Minneapolis and St. Paul and it did extremely well, I’m pleased to say.”

Watching Danny talk about his work and the animated look of joy that crossed his face, made Jax curious about these plays. Not like he’d ever really been into the theater, but he appreciated a well done movie and figured that couldn’t be too different. Maybe he’d have to check one of them out. At the very least, Max and Callum would love to go. They loved all things art related and if there was anything he didn’t get, at least they’d be able to explain it to him.

Jax took another bite of the delicious meal, happy to take his time and enjoy it and the conversation. Danny seemed like a very nice guy, despite his poor choices in boyfriends. Maybe somewhere down the line, Jax could teach him a few things about fighting, then he wouldn’t need to be rescued from the next bad situation he found himself in. And something told him that Danny was really good about getting himself into bad situations.