Crossposted from kayberrisford.com
I’m am thrilled to introduce the peerless Belinda McBride, author of a series of smash m/m fantasy hits including sci-fi novels, An Uncommon Whore, and When I Fall (An Uncommon Whore II) and the shapeshifter classic Blaque/Bleu (Arcada 1). The sequel to Blaque/Bleu, Silver/Steel (Arcada 2) is out this week — and Belinda is offering one lucky commenter the chance to WIN a copy of this keenly anticipated read. What more can we ask for? *bounces excitedly*
Over to Belinda!
Silver/Steel was written in response to a call for holiday stories at Loose Id. As usual, there was a little twist to this particular call for submission. It had to begin at one holiday, and end on another. So it could be Thanksgiving and Kwanza or the Day of the Dead and New Year’s. I was already working on an Arcada story that was set in the winter and immediately began wracking my brain for the most fitting holidays for Travis and Dylan.
For some reason, I love the world of Arcada during the winter, and I give these two some of the most romantic elements the season has to offer. They get snowed in together. They make love in an ice maze and then go driving around looking at Christmas lights. Arcada just comes alive in the snow.
Dylan is old world fae. I imagined he’d be most familiar with the calendar based holidays of the Celts. Travis is a thoroughly modern young man and pagan holidays might resonate with him, but he’d be most comfortable with traditional celebrations. Thus, I chose Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Pretty mundane, I agree. But I had a specific reason for choosing these two holidays.
It’s no secret that depression and suicide rates spike during the winter holidays, and not just because of the weather. The holidays are hard on some people. The stress of spending money, elaborate preparations and the constant barrage of merchandising can tear almost anyone down. These are also family oriented holidays. I’ve spent enough holidays alone that I can relate to the isolation some people experience when they have no family or live far from them.
Dylan and Travis first meet in a bar on Thanksgiving. Having been alone for so many years, Dylan just wants to have company. He’s not American, but he moves quietly through the landscape of the US and is acutely aware of being alone. He goes to the Roadhouse simply to surround himself with other people. He is also working a job, but that’s just an excuse to be out on Thanksgiving. He craves companionship.
Travis went to the bar to escape the pressures of his pack and family. He’s a lower ranked wolf in the pack and after a tough week, he ducks out on the family gathering to blow off steam. He wants to get away, seeking to lose himself around strangers.
While one character is a loner, the other feels alone within the confines of his extended family. They’re both at the bar on Thanksgiving, but for utterly different reasons. And yet at the core, their reason for being there is the same. They feel isolated and alone.
There’s little more than a month between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the second holiday is a major contrast from the first. Both men are happy, they’re in love, and their innermost wishes are fulfilled. Dylan is in the heart of a family during the holiday. Because of the fae, Travis finally finds his place in the pack and the security that comes from knowing he’s loved and accepted.
But the story doesn’t end there on Christmas Eve. That night crystalizes the strength of their love, and it also triggers the events that lead to crushing decisions the men face. When they wake up on Christmas day, their lives will be forever changed.
Silver/Steel is available from December 4th from Loose Id.
In the meantime, read on for a sizzling ADULT excerpt from Silver/Steel!
When dream hunter Dylan Ryve spots a beautiful shapeshifter raising hell in a bar, he knows he wants the wild young man. But Travis Feris is more to Dylan than a few hot minutes outside in the snow; he’s the assassin’s ticket into the magical town of Arcada. He didn’t plan to rescue the kid, but when he found the shifter being attacked, the opportunity to play hero was too good to pass up.
Through the solitude of a long winter night, Dylan walks in Travis’s fevered dreams, learning about Arcada and the pack, and showing the shifter the man he’d been so very long ago. When morning comes, both men know their lives will be forever entwined.
From Dylan, Travis learns that he is a strong, valued member of the pack. The dreamwalker sees his own worth reflected back at him in the dark blue eyes of the wolf. Yet when Dylan has the chance to free himself from centuries of enslavement, can he betray the man he has come to love?
The drone of snowplows echoed off in the distance. It’d be hours before his family came to pluck him from the arms of this magical stranger. He looked down and examined Dylan’s fair skin, expecting to see…tattoos? But his skin was unmarked. His wrists were supple, the long fingers of his hands elegant and strong.
Dylan groaned, tightened his grip on Travis, and then relaxed once again. Acutely aware of their contact, Travis’s body tightened; his cock ached, and he felt the trickle of fluid at the tip. It made him shiver.
He could continue to deny his attraction to the other man, or he could try it—just this once—with Dylan. The fae was an outsider and so very beautiful. So strong. No, it wasn’t physical strength that drew Travis to him, but magnetism. Charisma.
He could finally get it out of his system, and then he’d know what it felt like to have sex with another man.
Tentatively he pulled Dylan’s hand over to cup his erection. Travis stifled both a groan and a grin and then snuggled back a little, enjoying the feel of the other man along his entire body.
His entire naked body. Damn. A flush of warmth ran through him, and his belly flopped a couple of times. Travis had been horny his entire life—he’d probably been born with a stiffy—but never in his life had arousal extended through his body, from his toes to his fingertips and all parts beyond. His heartbeat accelerated, and when Dylan’s fingers flexed over his cock, Travis felt his eyes roll behind his closed lids.
The fae was awake.
The pressure on his shaft increased, and a finger looped around his balls, then squeezed them tightly. His heart slammed in his chest. Arousal burned through his veins like fire. But then panic snaked through him, and Travis lurched, afraid of the powerful emotions that rose within. He wasn’t supposed to feel. Not that way!
Dylan growled softly in his ear, pulling Travis tight against his body.
“So are you just some fucking little prick-tease, or is there something you want from me?” Dylan’s voice was as cold as ice yet as smooth as silk, and it frightened Travis even more. He shuddered as the fae stroked his cock to a full, throbbing erection. His other hand came up, and he buried his fingers deep in Travis’s hair. “Answer me.”
“I… No… I mean…sorry…” Words failed him. He hadn’t intended this to be a prank—not really. He wanted to know. To really know. But Dylan wasn’t the man to experiment with; Travis saw that now.
God…where had that come from?
Dylan let him loose, then rolled Travis to his back and straddled his hips. He was strong, maybe stronger than Travis. Looking up at the fae, he saw dark, stormy eyes and cruel lips. His face was etched with anger and want. Belatedly Travis remembered Dylan’s aversion to being touched. Had he gone too far? As usual, he’d blindly rushed into something without thought. A delicious spin of fear and excitement ran through Travis, and he knew damn well this whole scene needed to stop. Now. He was a wolf…the son of the alpha. To beg was shameful.
“Please? Are you begging me to stop or to go?” Dark glittering eyes seared right into his soul, and Travis formed the words to make him stop, to apologize, to promise to never invade Dylan’s space again.
“Please. Don’t stop!” He almost screamed in frustration. Who the hell was hijacking his words? He watched in fascination as the fae leaned forward, one hand pinning both of Travis’s wrists. The other clasped his jaw and held him in place. Dylan came down, and Travis caught the cold, snowy scent of him, the fragrance of pine and oak and the perfume of apple. He captured Travis’s lip in his teeth and pulled at the tender skin. Travis held his breath, tears springing to his eyes at the stinging pain. Dylan didn’t kiss; he tugged steadily, his gaze never leaving Travis’s face.
When he let go, Dylan didn’t retreat. Instead he trailed his tongue along the seam of Travis’s lips, teasing, tasting, and finally urging him to open, to submit to his kiss. He tackled Travis, the caress both brutal and carnal, and held him down till they both fought to breathe. When Travis broke away, Dylan glared down at him, his face flushed and taut.
“You’re going to suck my cock, little wolf.”
Travis felt his eyes widen a bit. “I’ve never—”
“I know. It’s time to learn.”
If you would like to WIN a copy of Silver/Steel (Arcada 2), you need to hop over to Belinda’s website and decide which of her new page backgrounds is your fave :) Please leave your choice of color/pattern in the comments here with your email (spelling the latter out e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org would be katy2222 at gmail dot com.)
Alternatively, email me at email@example.com, with “Belinda Contest” in the title line and you will be entered. No emails will be retained for any other purpose, and the winner will be chosen by random selection software and announced on kayberrisford.com on 7th December.