Breaking the Rules

Contributors: Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga
Series: Triskelion Series #1
Genre: , , , ,
Release Date: September 22, 2020
Pages: 450

Breaking the Rules: The Triskelion Series, Book One

Saul Reynolds manages a busy bicycle shop in downtown Boulder, Colorado. A recent CU graduate, he’s also a Dom, and has many friends his age in the scene. Saul’s an old soul, and even at twenty-five, he’s had enough experience to understand his own desires. He’s had plenty of lovers and he’s played the role of part-time Dom, but he’s never found the perfect combination of lover and sub in one man.

Troy Finch lost his lover in a rodeo accident twenty years ago, moved to Boulder, and has worked as a line cook in his friend Carter’s diner ever since. He’s attended many parties at Carter’s home with couples in the BDSM lifestyle and feels comfortable in a submissive role, but without a Dom of his own, Troy hasn’t explored what that really means to him. He has needs he doesn’t entirely understand and finds his only outlet at the hands of Carter’s husband, Geoff, a tattoo artist who has used Troy’s skin as a canvas for as long as they’ve known each other, covering Troy in colorful, intricate triskelia.

Troy doesn’t know what he was thinking accepting a dinner invitation from a kid half his age, but everything feels right about their evening together, including Saul’s Dominant side. The rules for a twenty-five year old gay cowboy from years ago, though, are totally different than for a twenty-five year old college grad in Boulder now, and despite Saul’s confidence, Troy isn’t sure whether they can make it work.

Saul and Troy manage to bend a good many rules in the name of caring and compromise, but in the name of love, there are some rules they’re just going to have to break.

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Chapter One

 

Saul held the mountain bike like a lover, like it was something precious, babying the new paint job and shiny chrome as he loaded it into the back of the pick-up truck. He wrapped it in a blanket so it would stay spotless on the drive and checked the tires for the third time.

Then he hopped out of the bed and shut the tailgate. All good. That bike was some of his best work. Thank goodness for Emma, he wanted to deliver this one personally and he didn’t have wheels of his own.

You got this.

It was another perfect spring day and downtown Boulder was busy. He drove up Canyon Boulevard and parked near the east end of the Pearl Street Mall, then reversed the process with the bicycle, gingerly lowering it to the ground. He got on it and took a lap of the parking lot, fucking with the gears and brakes. Damn, this was a sweet rebuild.

He walked the bike to Carter Lee’s diner, which of course he’d forgotten the name of, but he knew the one, he’d been there a bunch of times. Best cup of coffee in town, crazy good French toast. Small world, colliding with the man who owned that place.

He’d rebuilt the whole front end, put on new tires, a new chain, a new gear shift, replaced the scuffed-up pedals and the twisted handlebars, and had given the thing a new paint job. It sparkled like new, which was pretty much the least he could do after almost knocking out Carter’s front teeth.

He pulled up outside the diner and peered through the window, trying to see if he could catch Carter’s eye, but the place was hopping, and everyone was busy. He sighed and locked the bike up, making sure it was as far away from other bikes as possible, and headed inside.

“Just one?” The hostess grabbed a menu.

“Oh, I’m just… I was looking for…”

“This way, please.”

He blinked, totally off-guard, and followed her to a small table. “I’m actually just here to see Carter.”

“I’ll let him know you’re looking for him. Coffee?”

“Oh I, uh.” She peered at him expectantly. “Sure. Sounds good.”

“You take cream?” She handed him a menu, sighing as a group of mountain bikers showed up. “Ah, to-go orders. I’ll be right back with your coffee.”

“Yes,” he called after her. He glanced over at the bikers, but he didn’t know any of them. Must not be local. He knew a lot of the real enthusiasts in town from his shop.

He glanced at his watch. It was eleven-thirty and he’d been putting the finishing touches on the bike all morning. He supposed he could eat, but he really didn’t need the menu. He wanted that French toast with the berries and the vanilla-maple syrup. He could almost taste it.

“Troy! Troy, I need seven more turkey sandwiches to go. All chips.”

“On it, honey,” a rough drawl answered her, the John Deere ball cap the only thing visible through the pass-through.

That was one of his favorite things, the way Carter’s cook worked—steady, calm, fast and obviously damn good at his job.

He tried to think how long the guy had been working back there. Had to be forever, and in all that time he’d never heard the cook get ruffled. Just “On it,” or “Yes, ma’am” with that deep tone. He liked the voice, and he was pretty sure he’d have recognized it anywhere.

“Hey, man, how goes it?” Carter came and sat, offering him a smile. “Run anyone over this week?”

He grinned and felt his cheeks burn, totally embarrassed. “Nope. I’m finding you a tough act to follow. I think I’ve hit a dry spell. You?”

“Busy as a one-armed paperhanger.” Carter smiled for him, and, okay, he was totally glad he hadn’t knocked those teeth out.

“I see that. I have to say I’m sorry again. Hopefully your bike will make up for the bruises. It’s all done, I parked it outside. If you have any problems, you just let me know, I’ll get it right for you.” He smiled back, going for charming but not flirty. Carter was a handsome but married man.

“You rock, man. I mean it. Let me grab you a cup of coffee and…you’re the French toast, right?”

“My favorite. Thanks so much.” Carter was the coolest cat on the planet. He wasn’t sure if he could be that chill if someone barreled into his path out of nowhere, sent him flying and mangled his handlebars. He’d like to think he could, he tried to be level-headed, and shit happens, right?

“Right on.” Carter stood and went to pour his coffee. “Troy, I need a French toast with berries and a side of bacon on the fly.”

“On it, boss.”

On it, boss. Saul smiled and leaned back in his chair. That drawl was something. He thanked Carter again for the coffee and his stomach growled as he picked it up to take a sip. Yeah, he could eat.

He drank his coffee and checked his phone while he waited. He answered an email from Emma about the supply order he’d placed the day before. Thank goodness Emma was as much of a workaholic as he was. The shop was demanding and busy.

He also made a cocktail hour appointment with Khloe, who said she needed a hand. He wasn’t her Dom, but she didn’t have one at the moment and she was a friend. If she needed him, he’d be there.

“Excuse me. You’re the French toast?” Shocking green eyes stared at him. They seemed huge when paired with that bald head.

He stared right back and smiled, stunned by the handsome face that went with the drawl. “Actually, I’m Saul. But I’m having the French toast.”

“Good deal.” He got a smile, a nod as the plate was put in front of him. “Enjoy your breakfast, sir.”

“I always do. You make amazing French toast.” He boldly reached out and touched a triskelion tattoo on the cook’s wrist with curious fingers, keeping the man there another second. “Great ink. What’s your name?”

“Finch. Troy Finch. Pleased to meet you.”

As his gaze traveled up, he discovered the triskelions climbing up Troy Finch’s arm, some delicate and lacy, some violent and sharp-edged. It was fascinating, and he had all kinds of questions.

“I think the pleasure is really mine, Troy.” As much as he wanted to keep this lovely man talking, he lifted his fingers away. “I know you’re busy back there. Thank you for taking the time to run this out to me.”

“You’re welcome, sir. Boss is bad about letting his orders die in the window.”

“Get your ass in the kitchen. I hear you, telling lies about me.” Carter was barely holding his laughter back.

Troy snorted, but dropped him a wink. “Yes, sir. No smoke break for me?”

“Nope. Kitchen.”

“Thanks again, Troy.” Saul watched the guy take a few strolling steps toward the kitchen and then head back to work. He glanced up at Carter. “Interesting guy. Lots of pretty specific ink. Nice work.” He picked up the little glass jug of syrup and covered his plate in it.

“It is. My husband, Geoff? He did all the work.”

“Yeah? He must be pretty creative.” Who knew there were so many different ways to draw a triskelion? He’d seen at least ten or twelve and he figured there had to be more going up that arm. He started in on his French toast. “Mm. So good.” Like foodgasm good.

“Enjoy, huh? It’s on the house.” Carter grinned at him, dark eyes wrinkling with the power of his smile. “The bike looks great, man. Thank you.”

“You’re welcome. I’m glad you’re happy with it. I thought it came out pretty sweet.” Yeah, he could maybe be more humble. But he knew what his strengths were, and custom bikes was one of them. He was good at what he did. He smiled right back at Carter. “Try not to get in my way again, huh?”

“Yeah, yeah. Pay attention, and I’ll do my best.” The wink he got was pure mischief.

He laughed. “You’re on. Listen, what are you doing Sunday? You want to ride? We could have a rematch.”

“Sure. Sunday’s my day off. Let me check with Geoff, but he’ll be asleep. He works late on Saturdays.”

“Perfect.” He swallowed the big bite he had in his mouth. “Don’t let me keep you, I get that it’s busy. Thank you so much for the lunch.”

“You’re welcome. I’ll text you.” Then poof, Carter was off and running, greeting customers and bussing tables.

He knew Carter was going to like how he’d fixed up the bike. He knew it. Just like he was sure Troy’s stunning green eyes had gotten a good look at his ring, the one bearing the symbol that matched the carpet of amazing ink on the cook’s arm.

He finished his food and left a great big tip. Then he pulled out one of his business cards from the shop, flipped it over and wrote a quick note on the back before handing it to the hostess.

“Excuse me. Troy might need to reach me, so can you make sure he gets this?” He held the card out to her.

“Yeah, sure. Have a good day.”

“Thanks much. You too.” As he was leaving, he heard her calling back to Troy for more sandwiches to go.

 

 

Title: Breaking the Rules, The Triskelion Series, Book One
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B08HL47PTT
ISBN13: 978-1-7330076-2-7

 

 

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Just Dex, A Les’s Bar Novel

Contributors: Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga
Series: Les's Bar #1
Genre: , , , ,
Release Date: January 19, 2021
Pages: 570

When Dexter Appleton’s best friend Huck commits suicide, it damn near kills Dex too. Huck was a bull rider with a crazy life, and leaves behind a big house, and a ton of unanswered questions. But Dex is just a simple guy, just a Texas redneck trying to scrape together a life, and he can’t handle much more before he breaks.

 

Cyrus Hughes is a professional Dom. He’s shocked to learn that Huck is gone, he’s met with Huck twice a month for years, and didn’t expected to miss a client so much. When he heads to Texas to pay his respects, he instinctively feels protective of Huck’s anxious and unlikely best friend, Dexter.

 

The attraction between them grows, even long distance, until Cyrus insists he needs Dex with him in New York. Clinging to his last bit of hope, Dex takes a leap of faith and moves what little he still owns in with Cyrus, hoping to find his place is in the world, and learn how to love a lifestyle Dom.

 

Their path is full of trial and error, adjusting expectations and discovering how they fit together. Cyrus and Dex try to smooth out the rough edges and create their own family, one where Cyrus hopes to convince Dex that he’s not “just” anything.

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Excerpt:

Dex let himself into Huck’s house, his hand shaking so bad that he missed the lock twice.

Twice.

Huh, you’d think he was a drunk on a three-day binge.

Maybe he would be soon. Who knew? Maybe he’d run away from Salado, drive down to Galveston, up to Beaver’s Bend, away. Maybe he’d just go home and have a long nap. Maybe he’d head to Sixth Street and play with the college kids.

Maybe.

He could hear the alarm deal when he opened the door, distantly, and he wandered to the keypad, turned it off. Huck could do it from his phone—got a kick out of turning it on when he was house sitting, in fact.

Dex stood there in the foyer, the sun pouring into the house, lighting all the wood up, the dust making patterns in the air.

There was an alligator.

A tulip.

A longhorn.

A leaf.

A noose.

His knees buckled and he hit the floor, hands slapping down so hard it hurt.

Suddenly it was like he was Huck, hanging from his bullrope in a hotel bathroom, throat closed, body going heavy and swollen, nasty with gas and bacteria and flies and…

“No.”

The scream that wanted out was just a tiny squeak, but it proved he was here. Here in Huck’s house. Here, waiting for somebody—anybody—to tell him what the fuck to do.

His best friend in all the world—the face he’d known from the nursery at First Baptist, the first guy he’d ever kissed, the person who quit the baseball team when he got thrown out. Huck.

Huck was dead.

Jesus Christ, Huck McNamara was dead, and Dexter was…not.

 

***

 

Tuesdays were quiet enough that Cyrus could sit at the bar. He hauled himself through the front door out of the rain and stomped the water off his boots, shivering for a second as the air conditioning hit him. His iPad was stuffed under his jacket to stay dry and had been tucked against his side so hard he thought maybe he’d bruised something.

Ironic. He’d managed not to pick up any new bruises all day despite his client being particularly needy.

The bartender gave him a wave, and he waved back before hanging up his coat on the pegs by the door.

Tuesdays should be Greg behind the bar, but Greg finally got cast in some new off-Broadway show Cyrus couldn’t remember the name of and might be at rehearsal.

He set his iPad down on the bar at his usual spot with a good view of both the TV and the door.

“Mr. Hughes. Always good to see you.” A mug of hot coffee landed on the bar along with a bowl of pretzels.

Not Greg. Good for him. “Oh, perfect. Thanks, Perry.”

“It’s a fresh pot. I’m mainlining it tonight. I pulled a double yesterday and picked up Greg’s shift tonight. I’m toast.” Perry leaned against the bar, blue eyes shining in the lights. Such a lovely young man.

“Well, I won’t bother you much. I have a little work to do.”

“Bother me when you’re ready for a break. This place is dead with the weather.” Perry winked at him.

“Okay.” Sounded like Perry wanted some company. He’d just get the pressing stuff done, then he could chat awhile.

He took a sip of his coffee and hummed as the warmth chased the last of the damp summer rain away. Then opened up his iPad. His calendar was full. He’d had inquiries from two potential new clients, but fitting them in would be a challenge. He looked his week over and shook his head. The rest of this week was impossible but maybe—

Well, maybe next Thursday if Huck didn’t answer his phone soon. Cyrus had been calling him since he no-showed last week. It was the first time in nearly two years that Huck had missed an appointment; the cowboy was as regular as the sunrise. Twice a month on a Thursday since the very first time they’d met. It was more than a little worrisome.

He pulled out his cell phone and found Huck’s number, trying it one more time.

“McNamara’s phone. What can I do you for?”

Damn, that was…odd. Now he was definitely worried. And curious.

Okay. Discretion. He found his professional voice. He’d done this lots of times. “Hello. I’m looking for Huck. Is he available?”

“Oh hell’s bells, am I talking to his therapist? That’s what comes up on the phone.” So, another Texan—lover? Family?

Therapist was pretty common. He found the different ways people referred to him so interesting. “Yes, it’s Cyrus Hughes. Who am I speaking with?”

“Dex. Dexter Appleton. I—” There was a shaky breath, a pause. “Damn, Sam. This never gets easier. Never. I’m sorry, buddy. Huck hung himself in Nashville. He’s gone.”

“He what?” What? He knew something was wrong, but he was thinking rodeo accident or that Huck was in a wreck. Cy covered his other ear and listened. “I—I’m…sorry for your loss.” Hung himself. Cyrus would never have—he had no idea Huck was— “Shit.”

“Yessir. The funeral’s planned here for Monday. I mean, if you want to come out. You in Austin or Dallas?”

“New York,” he said absently. “I’m in New York.” Huck. Why didn’t you call me?

“New—What? Did you say New York?” The shock on the other end of the line was…huge. Like he’d said he was from the moon.

“Where are you? What was he doing in Nashville? How could he have hung himself?” Right. He needed to stop talking before this Dexter guy hung up on him.

“I’m at Huck’s house. We’re outside Salado. He was at a bull riding, and he used his motherfucking bull rope.” The guy’s voice started to crack, and he heard Dexter take a deep breath. “Sorry. Sorry. You need to know where to send flowers?”

“I think—” I think I need to be there. “When… When did you say the service was? Is it in…you said Salado?”

Perry glanced at him and he shook his head sadly, which made Perry come over and give his shoulder a squeeze. That was kind, but he really had no idea what he was feeling right now. He was in shock, obviously, as Dexter probably was as well. It definitely felt like real grief though.

“Monday afternoon at one. No viewing. Broecker here in town. I’m burying him next to his momma. Hold up.” There was a pause, and then, “Goddamn it, y’all! I am trying to deal with shit. Take that beer outside!”

He typed the date and time right into his calendar and the name of the town and the place into the notes. “Got it. I’m sorry, I won’t keep you. My condolences, I’m really very sorry.” He started to say that Huck was a good man, but what did he know really? He’d learned better than to assume. You’d think after all this time he’d know, but he didn’t.

“Thank you. I’m sure he, uh, he…liked you?” A soft chuckle sounded. “I’m sorry. I don’t know how that works—therapists.”

“He did. He trusted me.” In his world, that was the highest compliment Huck could have given him. “Thank you. Have a good night.”

He hung up and set his phone carefully on the bar.

Perry looked at him seriously. “You okay, Cy?”

Cyrus shrugged reflexively. “I lost a…a client.” It was really strange to think that a man with as much fight in him as Huck would hang himself. Sure, Huck was obviously frustrated, maybe angry, but suicidal? Wouldn’t Cy have seen that?

Should he have?

“Shit. I’m sorry, man.”

He tossed a twenty on bar and pushed off his stool. “I’m going to head home.”

“I get it. Safe home, Cy.”

He scooped up his iPad, tucked it under his arm and stepped out into the rain.

He was nearly home before he realized he’d forgotten his coat.

Fuck.

He’d go back for it tomorrow.

Title: Just Dex
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B08S1R8J3C
ISBN13: 978-1-951011-38-3

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Deviations: Submission

Contributors: Jodi Payne and Chris Owen
Series: Deviations #1
Genre: , , , , , ,
Release Date: December 30, 2019 (Third Edition)
Pages: 338

Tobias Vincent is a big animal vet, and also skilled and seasoned Dom. City beat cop, and sub Noah desperately needs to find a man to help him work through a block but has yet to find someone who can take him where he needs to go.

Through a series of encounters in the world of bondage and discipline, Noah reveals why he has trouble trusting, and why he needs such a firm, steady hand. Tobias is confident he can help Noah, but he has trouble letting himself love. Still, Tobias can't resist Noah's charms, and the two of them set about making a scene for themselves, one that works for them and their unique set of challenges.

They learn to love, but how will they stay together while they explore each other’s secrets, in an environment where all is laid bare and emotions run high?

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EXCERPT FROM SUBMISSION

There were many truths in this life, Tobias decided as he knotted his tie for the evening. Death comes to all, taxes must be paid, and fortieth birthdays were a reason for one's friends to buy nice wine, make lavish cakes, and throw dinner parties. Forty-first birthdays, on the other hand, went unremarked upon by all but one's nearest and dearest. As he had cards from a few friends and a message from Phan, he thought he'd just about exhausted the expected well wishes.

But turning forty-one did not mean he was dead or unable to make his own fun. He'd made his arrangements for the evening, planning with as much detail as he could—which, admittedly, wasn't much. He knew what to wear for his mood; he knew where he'd go and what he'd eat; he knew what he wanted. But there were an amazing number of variables at play, more than he usually allowed.

He was thinking about that as he straightened his dinner jacket and pocketed his keys. It was a highly planned evening of spontaneity that lay ahead of him, the novelty of which made him smile. Perhaps letting the fates blow once in a while was a good thing. In any case, he'd find out shortly; the worst he could do was have an evening of fine dining and a bottle of wine. The best would be far, far better, but it was rare to find exactly what he sought.

Tobias ran a comb through his hair one last time as he waited for his car, the light in the entry to his condo making the few stray silver hairs shine among the darker brown. Forty-one wasn't too old, he decided. It was a fine age to be, the height of his success and skill. He lacked for nothing, really.

Only someone to share his birthday with.

The phone rang and he pushed the thought away, startled to realize it wasn't the house phone signaling his car, but his landline. ''Dr. Vincent,'' he said as he answered. God, he hoped it wasn't an emergency—he really wasn't dressed to have a lamb be born, or to nurse a horse through colic.

''Good evening, Doctor, I'm sorry to call like this. I'm sure you have plans,'' came the smooth and cheerful voice of his elderly housekeeper.

''Oh, Mrs. Miller, hello. I do, yes—I'm just on my way out, but I have a few minutes.'' He smiled to himself ruefully; he would talk for as long as the lady decided, and he knew it. No matter how successful he got or how many birthdays he had, there would always be Mrs. Miller to defer to.

''I'm merely calling to wish you a happy birthday,'' she said, ''and to ask if you'll be out to the farm this weekend.''

Tobias’ smile grew. ''Thank you, Mrs. Miller, that's really very kind of you. And yes, I'm planning to drive out tomorrow afternoon until Monday.''

''Should I tell Peter not to come then, or would you like him to exercise the horses?''

''No, I'll do it,'' he decided. It was one of the best things about going to the country, and he wouldn't happily pay someone to do it for him when he was there. The house phone buzzed at him, two shorts. ''Thank you again, Mrs. Miller.''

''I'll see you tomorrow, Doctor,'' she said, and he could picture her grinning. ''Enjoy your evening.''

''I hope to,'' he said with a smile. He hung up, buzzed the front desk, and headed to his club.

* * *

The car pulled up in front of the building and Tobias lowered his window for the security guard. ''Good evening, Tobias,'' the man said with a smile that was entirely professional, despite his use of Tobias' first name. It was a club rule that all members were to be treated equally until there was an agreement in place between individuals, and as last names were not used at all in order to preserve anonymity, given names were expected.

''Timothy,'' Tobias said with a warm smile. ''When did you start out here?'' The last time Tobias had been to the club Timothy had been inside.

''About five months ago. I like it, though I'm called back inside if needed.'' Timothy made a note of the number on Tobias' membership card and smiled at him again. ''Have a nice evening, Tobias. And welcome back.''

The car moved slowly ahead and stopped at the wide front steps; by the time Tobias had opened his door the driver was there, and the front door was opening.

''Tobias! Timothy said you were here.''

Tobias shook his head and smiled again. ''I trust you don't mind me appearing again after all this time?'' he asked Bradford.

Bradford met him on the steps and shook his hand. Tobias' friendship with Bradford went back far too many years to count anymore, and even after Tobias’ long absence from the club, the man’s firm handshake felt as familiar and comforting as a favorite sweater. ''The day we turn you from here, my friend,'' Bradford told him with a warm smile, ''is the day I close the old place up. Now, come in! Eat. Enjoy your birthday. I have a room reserved for you, as you requested. You're not meeting anyone are you?''

The club had a small, exclusive membership made up of carefully screened Dominant and submissive men. These men had been screened not just for their level of training but also style and personality, thereby keeping the membership diverse and varied. It wasn’t a BDSM club in the common sense; it was more a place for men to meet, socialize and fulfill each others’ needs and fantasies in a safe and monitored environment. Bradford had taken over management of the club a number of years ago, and eventually assumed ownership as well when his mentor, a smooth, confident Dom who had also been a mentor of Tobias’, was ready to retire. Bradford was a natural host; he knew his membership well, and he had a knack for making everyone feel right at home.

Tobias shook his head again and allowed himself to be led inside. The solid doors closed behind him and he took a deep breath, immediately relaxing. There was just something about the dark interior, the plush fabrics and deep wingback chairs that called to him. Or perhaps it was the crossed whips decorating the walls.

''I don't have a guest, if that's what you mean,'' he told Bradford as they made their way to the small bar. ''But I'm open to possibilities.''

''I was hoping you would say that.'' Bradford suddenly looked speculative. ''In which case...''

''Wait,'' Tobias said, laughing. ''I'm not saying I want you to find me a date. I'm just saying I want to have a pleasant evening—a nice meal, people I like around me—''

''And it's been eight months since you've been here, Tobias. I know you spend your weekends on the farm and your weeknights in town. I'd certainly have heard if you had someone new.'' He shook his head sadly, making Tobias grin. ''No, my friend, you deserve to play. And I might just have the right someone for you.''

Tobias tilted his head and considered his friend. Bradford had been running the club for a number of years, had been an integral part of Tobias' own training. There was perhaps no one more capable of knowing the type of partner Tobias needed, liked... desired.

''Tell me,'' Tobias invited, accepting a glass of ice water from the bartender.

Bradford beamed at him, delighted. ''I can, and will do you one better. Come.''

Tobias had little choice but to follow as Bradford crossed the room with purpose to a small table. Tobias, being behind, could see little other than a man sitting alone. He rose quickly as Bradford made a direct path to him.

''Tobias,'' Bradford said grandly, ''I would like you to meet Noah. Noah, this is Tobias. It is my opinion that the two of you are well suited. Of course, you may decide otherwise, but I encourage you to at least discuss the matter.'' He then bowed his head and stepped back, wishing them good evening with a knowing grin before turning and walking away, leaving Tobias to face this stranger alone, knowing no more than his name.

Title: Submission
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B083BKLWDJ
ISBN13: 978-1-951011-17-8

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First Rodeo

Contributors: Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga
Series: The Cowboy and the Dom Trilogy #1
Genre: , , , , ,
Release Date: October 15, 2019
Pages: 303

First Rodeo: The Cowboy and the Dom Trilogy, Book One

When a killer strikes, Texan and former rodeo cowboy, Sam O’Reilly, loses his older brother. Unbeknownst to Sam, James was also the lover and sub of a sophisticated New York City Dom named Thomas Ward. Sam comes to the city determined to stay until he can bring the murderer to his own brand of justice, while Thomas’ more ordered mind is hoping for a legal solution. Neither man expects their connection to the other, but having each lost someone irreplaceable, their hearts are crying out for comfort almost as loudly as their bodies are screaming for each other.

Some yearnings refuse to be ignored, but transcending their differences to explore the fragile connection between them will prove to be a steep a hill to climb--the first of many. As Sam and Thomas take the first tentative steps on the rocky path that might lead to a relationship, the killer steps out of the shadows...

And this time, his sights are set on Sam.

*Note: Each of the books in The Cowboy and the Dom Trilogy have fully realized romantic HEAs. However, the overarching suspense element leaves readers on a cliffhanger after books one and two, to be resolved in book three.

Available to purchase, or to borrow with Kindle Unlimited.

 

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Chapter One

“What the fuck are you going to do, baby brother?” Bowie stood at the gravesite, staring down at him like Bowie always had. Gigantic prick. “Do you think you’re going to fucking fix this? James is dead.”

Like Sam didn’t know that.

Fury flashed inside him, hot and fueled by an agony he’d never expected, and he turned, his fist shooting out and catching Bowie right in the uniformed gut.

Rule number two: never monologue.

That surprised Bowie enough that it doubled him over, and Sam got an uppercut in. He had to get his shots in while he could. His big brother outweighed him by sixty pounds and towered over him by damn near a foot and, he had to be honest, had ten years of being a Ranger behind him.

“Motherfucker!” Bowie reached for him, and he danced out of range.

“You kiss my momma with that mouth, grunt?” He went for Bowie’s trick knee, thankful he had his shitkickers on. That pointed toe was useful, and he had a chance to fell the giant.

Rule number three: once you get them down, keep them down.

Used to be that him and James would work together to take Bowie down. That was never going to happen again.

Never.

The thought of that closed casket, that slashed-up face he’d had the misfortune to identify hidden under the oiled wood, made him gag and stumble, and Bowie took advantage, the fists on the back of his neck enough to face-plant him in grave dirt.

“Rule number one, baby brother. Don’t start shit you don’t have the strength to finish.” The hands around his throat were strong, the tremble in them only noticeable because they were so tight.

The sound of a pistol cocking was sharp and clear, and the fuzzy image of Aunt Linda wavered in his sight. “Boys, if you upset your momma and daddy, I will be put out. Get your skanky asses off the ground. Y’all are in your Sunday clothes.”

“Seriously, Aunt Linda?” Bowie muttered. “Even I didn’t come to the gravesite armed.”

“I know you boys. Can’t trust you as far as I can throw you. Get your asses up. Now.”

Bowie stood up and hauled him alongside, just as easy as pie.

“Now apologize,” she demanded.

“He started it.” Bowie was still a suck-up.

“Jim Bowie O’Reilly! You apologize to your baby brother for putting your hands on him right now!” God, she was a harpy—broad as a barn and fierce as any woman who had raised her own siblings had to have been.

“Sorry, asshole.”

“Yeah. Me too. I just…” Sam waved one hand toward the grave. This wasn’t right. James was supposed to be in New York, living this amazing life with lights and a zillion friends. Bowie had the adventure, James had the city, and he was supposed to stay home here and…hold down the fort or something. He was the baby, and… “It should have been you, Bowie.”

Everyone expected that awful phone call. Every time Bowie was deployed, they lived with that quiet fear.

James was a motherfucking school teacher. An elementary school teacher who didn’t get tattoos or take drugs or—

“Sam!” Aunt Linda sounded horrified.

“What? It’s true!”

“Yeah. Yeah, I know.” Suddenly Bowie looked…diminished. Gray and tired and older than the seven years that separated them. “Fuck you, Sammy. I know. So what the fuck are you going to do about James? I have to report back to work.”

“I’m going to go clean out his place.” He was between jobs. Hell, he was between lives—college was pretty much done with him, he’d educated himself into obscurity in ranching, and God knew, no one needed a broke-dick cowboy with a master’s in art history, a shattered leg from bronc riding, and a temper that tended to flare at inappropriate-at-best times. He would go clean things out and see if he could encourage the detectives to find out…anything.

“You sure you’re not going to short out, Sammy?”

“Fuck you. I’ve been to Dallas, Austin. Hell, I went with James to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I ain’t a kid!”

“You’re my kid brother, Sammy, and I only have one left now.” An expression of pure agony crossed Bowie’s face, and Sam turned his back so he didn’t have to see it.

“I’ll be fine. I’ve got the time, and Momma’s got to take care of Daddy.”

Things hadn’t been good, but the news of James’s murder had made the little baby strokes turn into a real one, and while Daddy wasn’t crippled or nothing, no one was going to let him fly. Not yet.

“Come on. They’re waiting for y’all down to the big house. You know there’s food and all the Ladies Auxiliary waiting to make a fuss.” Aunt Linda didn’t so much as let a tear go, but she did slip her Saturday Night Special into her pocketbook. “Brother Martin will want to bless you both and lay hands.”

“That son of a bitch touches me and I’ll rip out his spleen,” Bowie growled, and Sam had to smile. That was his big brother.

He could hear James, right now, echoing in his head.

Be good, Jim, honey. You’re teaching Sammy bad habits.

God, it was never going to be right. Never.

“Come on. Let’s go.”

He turned and headed for his truck. James wasn’t here. That was a grave, a body, a stone. He was going to go find James where he’d lived.

 

Chapter Two

Thank God this was New York City, the only town he knew of, except maybe LA, where yellow police tape didn’t slow anyone down. Aside from the cops, he was the only one there, the only one who cared. Thomas had about as much privacy as he was going to get.

He leaned against the side of the building as the NYPD took the tape down, balled it up, and stuffed it into a nearby garbage can. The evidence markers had been gone for a couple of days, the chalk lines were gone now too, and even the bloodstains in the concrete were already fading. Another day or two and there wouldn’t be any evidence left that James had died here.

But Thomas wouldn’t forget. He couldn’t get away from it. He lived here, worked here, walked the same goddamn streets as whoever was responsible. He still carried around memories of his time with James that he’d never share with anyone. He carried around the plans they’d made and a future that could never happen now.

He hadn’t received an invitation to James’s funeral. This would have to be his closure, watching the investigation into his lover’s murder become routine, move on to the next “phase.” Watching all the evidence disappear.

That was perhaps the most awful addition to his grief. He understood that James couldn’t be wholly out to his family back home in…well, somewhere in East Texas, but understanding it while James was alive and in his arms was one thing. Coming to grips with his exile now was something else entirely. He was bitter; he was angry. Not at James, not at anyone in particular, just at a world that made them hide. He felt humiliated, and that wasn’t a pill he could swallow without choking on it.

Everything about his life was deliberate, yet at the moment, he was experiencing a lack of control he’d never imagined possible.

One of the cops walked over and offered him a smoke. Colletti was his name. “Wouldn’t you rather be home?”

“This is as close as I want to get right now.” God, listen to him. He refused the cigarette, but just barely. Vices sounded like such a good idea.

“Dobson is going to call you, routine stuff. Did they ask you not to leave town?”

“Yeah. It wasn’t an imperative, but it was strongly suggested.” Insult to injury.

Officer Colletti gave him a nod. “We’re done here. Take care, Mister Ward.”

“Thanks.”

The squad car drove off, and New York seemed impossibly quiet all of a sudden.

A man with a duffel and a cowboy hat walked up to the stoop, and for a second, Thomas’s heart stopped. He closed his eyes until he could breathe again.

Fuck, tourists were everywhere in this city. He just hadn’t been prepared for one in a cowboy hat. He took a breath and headed down the steps. He needed a coffee.

They passed each other, the man meeting his eyes and nodding. “Afternoon.”

“Where are you going?” He knew those eyes intimately. He reached out and grabbed the man by the arm, that hazel making his heart pound. “Who are you?”

“Who the fuck is asking, motherfucker?” The little guy just popped right up into his face, those eyes flashing.

Christ, the cowboy sounded just like James too. Only James would have known better than to meet his eyes.

He stood his ground, inches away, instinct and training helping him stare the kid down. “You’re an O’Reilly. Which one? Sam, right? The bronc rider? You’re too small to be Jim.”

“Bowie,” the kid corrected immediately, even as he nodded. “Who are you?”

Nobody you’d know.

“Right. Bowie.” He let go of Sam’s arm. He knew he should back down, but it took real effort. “I’m Thomas Ward. I…knew your brother.”

Fuck. I loved him.

“Knew him? Y’all worked together?”

What was he going to do? He wasn’t going to out James now. What would be the point? It hurt, though, denying James and jumping back into a closet he’d slammed the door on as soon as he’d stepped foot in this city years ago. “No. We are…were really good friends. He told me all about you guys.”

“Oh. I’m here to…clean up, I guess. Stuff.” Sam tilted his head. “Is this your building too?”

“Uh.” Well, fuck. James had always said Sam was bright. “No.” He’d asked about moving in together. James had been thinking about it. “I was just missing him.”

“Oh. I—come on up, huh?”

 

Title: First Rodeo: The Cowboy and the Dom Trilogy, Book One
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B07YM1QNK4
ISBN13: 978-1-951011-02-4

Find Jodi's full catalog with links to all your favorite formats at Queeromance Ink!

Making a Mark, Triskelion Book #2

Contributors: Jodi Payne, BA Tortuga
Series: Triskelion Series #2
Genre: , , , , , ,
Release Date: October 5, 2021
Pages: 332

When Troy and Saul became lovers, they worried about a lot of things. There was their age gap, their younger Dom-older sub relationship, and Troy’s health, which was made worse by job stress. They managed all that and more with a deep commitment, and with a lot of help from Troy’s longtime best friends, fellow Dom and sub couple Carter and Geoff.

In fact, Saul seems to be what all three of the other men need to see what’s been there all along, and to provide the balance they need to deepen their relationship in a very meaningful way. They’ve already made their marks on each other’s hearts. Now it’s time to start living the life they’ve all been dreaming of.

Nothing is ever perfect or easy, though, and they all have to shift their perceptions. Geoff has to come to terms with his need for submission and desire to dominate Troy, and Carter must redefine the two most important relationships in his life. Troy struggles to understand why Geoff and Carter want this with him now, after years of watching from the outside. And Saul has to create a whole new definition of family. Can they all break the rules again and become something more special than they can even imagine?

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Title: Making a Mark
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B09GX963VV
ISBN13: 978-1-951011-64-2

Hide Bound, A Les’s Bar Novel

Contributors: Jodi Payne, BA Tortuga
Series: Les's Bar #2
Genre: , , , , ,
Release Date: January 18, 2022
Pages: 276

Peter Marshall has had enough of working for Parks and Rec when he comes across an opening for a real carpentry job and decides to give it a go. Building things is his passion, so even though the shop seems a little out there, and the owner seems pretty grumpy, Peter decides to go for it.

Brandon McPhail wishes he didn’t have to hire a new carpenter, but his current one is going out on maternity leave. He’s especially wary of this kid who can’t possibly be old enough to spell BDSM, let alone know what the lifestyle means. But Peter impresses Brandon with both his talent and his tenacity, so Brandon hires him on, reminding himself that he’s in a wheelchair due to his MS, he had a terrible experience in his last relationship, and despite how clueless Peter is about the lifestyle, he’s not interested in taking on another sub.

The chemistry between them is undeniable, though, and it’s not long before they’re exploring what they can learn from each other. Peter is a natural at fulfilling Brandon’s needs, and Brandon thinks he’s teaching Peter everything he’s eager to learn, but when danger threatens, they have to help their friends through it while trying to navigate their new relationship. Can they forge bonds strong enough to bind them together for life?

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Title: Hide Bound
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B09PGKXTSK
ISBN13: 978-1-951011-68-0

Deviations: Domination

Contributors: Jodi Payne and Chris Owen
Series: Deviations #2
Genre: , , , , ,
Release Date: December 30, 2019 (Third Edition)
Pages: 324

In this sequel to Deviations: Submission, Dom Tobias and Sub Noah are back, learning more about each other and their relationship, and testing the boundaries of what they can and can’t handle, both together and apart.

Tobias works at becoming more comfortable and finding his balance as a full-time Master again. His work brings out the true submissive in Noah, who faces some of his greatest fears, and his greatest secrets, finally confessing to Tobias about a terrible time in his past.

But Noah is not the only one who has a rough time. Tobias breaks down and shows Noah he's not all Dominance, too, which sends shockwaves through their romance, leaving them to wonder if they can hold onto their balance together.

Dominations is a deep exploration of the BDSM scene, with secondary characters who enhance the story and a central romance that has the reader rooting for Tobias and Noah to work through their obstacles and come out stronger.

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EXCERPT FROM DOMINATION

Wednesday. It had been a long, drawn-out week, and Tobias couldn't believe it was still only Wednesday.

He'd had a full day, out of town as usual in the morning, helping a mare to foal. She threw a beautiful dark bay colt that presented very much like his particularly handsome sire, and Tobias had considered making a bid for him right then and there but restrained himself. He was already training Noah; he didn't need another colt to complicate their weekends. Things were busy enough in his life without adding a new horse to his stables, a new responsibility to his already full plate.

In the few weeks since he'd met Noah at his club, Tobias had swung from one rush of feeling to another. Sexually, they were more than compatible, Noah's natural submissive tendencies meshing well with Tobias' own need to dominate. It went deeper than just mere sex, however, and in very short order Tobias and Noah had signed a six-month contract binding them together in a more tangible power exchange.

It was serious, it was important, and it was very heady. Tobias found almost all of his time taken up with thinking about his new submissive, lost in plans and a fair number of daydreams. It made his hours working as a large animal veterinarian seem almost relaxing by comparison. He only hoped that Noah's daydreams were confined to when he wasn't in his patrol car -- a police officer with his mind on his relationship wasn't good for anyone.

When Tobias walked in the door of his uptown condo, he set his keys down on the hall table and hit the play button on the answering machine as he pulled off his boots. After a long beep a rich male voice began to speak. ''Hello, Tobias, it's Bradford. I haven't seen you or your boy around the club in nearly a month. I trust this is a good sign? I'd like to get together and hear about how things are going. Yes, as a matter of fact, I am checking up on you; don't get your knickers in a twist, friend, it's just that... well, I worry. Oh, thank you for sending me a copy of your contract, I've put that in your files. Give me a call, Tobias, and let's have dinner. I'd like to catch up.''

Tobias sighed ruefully and nodded to himself. On some level he'd expected the call, though he hadn't really thought about it in terms of Bradford checking up on them. Still, it wouldn't be a trial to talk about Noah and where things stood at the moment; in fact, he'd welcome another perspective. He had a plan for the weekend and it might be a good idea to talk it over with someone who knew them both.

After stopping in the kitchen long enough to determine that he needed to order out for dinner, Tobias picked up the phone and called Bradford's direct line at the club. If the man didn't pick up, he'd at least be able to leave a message.

''Hello?'' Bradford was a man who'd done very, very well for himself. Part of his success was due to the fact that he could always be relied upon to respect the anonymity and privacy of his members and guests. Case in point, he never answered the phone with his own name or the name of the club, just a simple, discreet greeting, giving away nothing until he knew who was on the other end of the line.

''Good evening, Bradford,'' Tobias said with a smile. ''I got your message, Mother.''

''Ah, sonny-boy, so good to hear from you.'' Bradford snorted. ''Don't give me that crap, Tobias. I set the two of you up, you're both important members, and I want to know how it's going for you. That's called integrity, hmm? Trust me, I haven't a maternal bone in my body.''

Tobias grinned, not buying it for a moment. ''Sure. Whatever you say. You can stop worrying, though; things are fine.'' He crossed to the big window in his living room and looked out at the city lights, counting blocks until he found Noah's.

'''Fine' is such a drab, generic word, Tobias. Tell me what you really mean,'' Bradford encouraged.

''I mean... fine. Good. Great. He's coming along nicely; we've established a base level trust, I think.'' He turned and leaned on the window sill, facing the room. ''He had dinner with Phantom last week.'' Tobias resisted the urge to cringe at the thought of the two men, his new lover and his past lover, chatting happily over dinner. They both tended toward the unpredictable, and that worried him.

''Oh, yes, I know he did. That's part of the reason for my call. I gather it went well? Phan thought he was 'hot.''' Bradford loved gossip and made himself privy to all the rumors around the club. At first glance one might call it catty, but Tobias knew better -- he was simply protecting his own.

''It seemed to go well. Noah was fine when I saw him later. Calm, steady... he seemed to think Phan was -- look, how deep do you want to go here? I'd rather do this in person if you're looking for a long debrief. If you're just needing quiet assurances, both Noah and I are fine. The weekends are going well, and we're in touch through the week as well.''

Tobias knew as soon as he spoke that he'd sounded snappish and protective and that Bradford wouldn't miss it. The trouble was, he wasn't sure why he suddenly felt like pulling back -- and that meant he needed to talk it out. He sighed. ''Damn circular logic,'' he muttered.

''Tobias,'' Bradford sighed and made a clicking sound with his tongue. ''Be my guest tomorrow night for dinner. Here. What would you like to eat? I'll make sure it's prepared for you.''

Tobias rolled his eyes, safely several miles out of Bradford's view. ''Something gentle. Linguini in clam sauce?'' He hoped the tacit acceptance would be enough.

''Done. I look forward to seeing you, Tobias, it's been long enough,'' Bradford said softly, and Tobias could practically hear the man's very genuine smile.

He found himself smiling in reply. ''I'll see you tomorrow night, old friend. Around seven, I think.'' He hung up and turned once more to look out over the city, watching the cars cruise along Lincoln, toward downtown and Noah.

Title: Domination
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B0839M66Z6
ISBN13: 978-1-951011-19-2

 

Domination is available in AUDIO!
Purchase it at Audible, iTunes & Amazon!

 

 

Domination is available in FRENCH!
Purchase it from Juno Publishing directly,
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Razor’s Edge

Contributors: Jodi Payne and BA Tortuga
Series: The Cowboy and the Dom Trilogy #2
Genre: , , , ,
Release Date: January 21, 2020

Razor's Edge, The Cowboy and the Dom Trilogy, Book Two

Razor blades left by a murderer continue to remind Sam and Thomas of James, the man they lost to violence, whose killer is still out there and seems to be watching them constantly, biding his time.

Their carefully built relationship also teeters on the edge of a knife. Sam tries to be the full-time sub he thinks Thomas wants, but fails miserably, while Thomas tries to understand that Sam is unique and his cowboy’s needs don’t lend themselves to a formal BDSM lifestyle. They work through confusion, arguments, and stress, but when communication starts to break down, they struggle to reconcile their differences to learn what it means to be a “them”.

An emotional misunderstanding might be the last straw, or it might be the opportunity the killer has been waiting for to take Sam out of Thomas’s life once and for all.

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Excerpt 

Chapter One

“You want a ride home, little Sammy?” Angel looked tired, a little grumpy.

Sam got it. It was four in the morning and no one liked that time—just getting up or getting off work.

“You going that way? Toward Thomas’s, I mean.”

The big man looked over at him slowly, fingers combing his beard. “Thomas’s? At this hour?”

“Yessir. We cleaned out James’s place. It was time.” His late brother’s apartment had been hanging over the two of them for too long. They’d cleaned it out, then he’d moved in with Thomas. Crawling into bed with his lover was amazing. A lot of things he was learning these days were pretty fucking amazing. Hell, he could feel Thomas with him, feel the sweet sting of his Dom’s stripes right across his shoulders. It was proof they weren’t alone, either of them.

“What, really? Thomas was really ready to do that? You need a place to stay, I got an extra room.”

“That’s kind as all get-out. Seriously. But I’m okay.” Oh, maybe it was supposed to be a secret. Thomas had said it was important to him, to keep things where they belonged. God, he needed to keep his fucking mouth shut. “I-I think I’m going to go take myself to breakfast, man, get some reading done, but thanks.”

“Shut up, Sammy. It’s not like I don’t know he’s your Master. Are you and Thomas a romantic thing now? Is this supposed to be some big secret because he’s coming off a relationship with James? Don’t be stupid. I’ll give you a ride.”

“Thanks. I appreciate it.” He didn’t know if it was a secret, if he was a secret. He hadn’t even considered it. He’d been so caught up in everything, so proud to be with Thomas, that he hadn’t been thinking.

In some ways he was always going to be a giant redneck.

“I’ll tell you, it’s a good thing you told me, because I was about to make a move myself. No lie. Leave it to Thomas to get two O’Reilly brothers. The little shit.”

Angel led him out to that big Harley.

“There seems to be something about him, yessir.”

About to make a move on him? Sleeping with Angel would be like sleeping with his big brother, Bowie. They were just alike, the two of them—huge. Sam trusted Angel with his life, but the idea of… Whoa. No.

He would let Thomas take him in every possible way. The idea of doing that with someone else made his butthole pucker.

“Hardly seems fair.” Angel climbed on and offered him a hand, grinning wide. “Well, at least I can still get you to ride bitch.”

“Absolutely. And you’re on the top of my list for fixing me when I’m broke.”

“If Thomas breaks you, I will break his head.” Angel looked back at him. “Not joking.” They took off down city streets that were much too bright for the darkest hour of the morning, and eerily deserted too. Angel didn’t seem to care much for stoplights or speed limits or really anything that might be considered obeying traffic laws.

He loved it, loved the adrenaline rush, the way Angel drove. It made him want to learn to drive a motorcycle.

Thomas lived on a more residential street, and Angel did back off the throttle a little so the Harley rumbled rather than roared, but Sam was still pretty sure they could be heard three blocks away. “You okay? You want me to walk you in?”

“Thomas will be sound asleep, I bet. I’d hate to wake him. Thank you, though.” Angel had been a dream, driving him home, making sure everything was good.

“We won’t. I won’t come in. I just want to make sure you get in all the way.”

He nodded. “Thank you. Y’all are all good to me.”

They got into the building, and the elevator crawled up. He blinked slowly, now that he was close to home, he wanted a shower and a bowl of cereal and to curl up with Thomas. Possibly on his belly. Get the fabric off his sore shoulders.

When the elevator doors opened, he chuckled as Angel walked him to the apartment door. Sam fumbled his key out, dropped it, and picked it up, sighing at himself. “Ready for a long nap and a day off.”

He put the key in the lock, grabbed the door handle, and bit out a “Fuck!” as a razor blade sliced into his palm.

“You okay? What the—shit, you’re bleeding.” Angel took the blade in one hand and opened the door with the other. “What the actual fuck?”

Sam stood there, staring at the razor, just stunned. No. No way. No fucking way.

He’d thought it was a prankster in James’s building.

“Sammy? You okay, man? Go inside.” Angel made him move, closed and locked the door behind them. “Hey. Sam.”

“I don’t understand.” God. This wasn’t a dipshit at the apartment. This wasn’t a trickster. No. This was about him.

It was about him, and now he’d brought it to Thomas. The asshole followed him to Thomas’s building.

Fuck. This was fucking about him.

His mind spun, and his heart pounded. “I need to see if Thomas is okay.”

“If…” Angel started to question him, but must have seen how serious he was. “Go. I’ll be right behind you.”

But before they made it halfway down the hall, Thomas called out for him. “Sam? Is that you? Everything okay?”

“We need you out here, Tommy.”

“Angel?”

“Now, Tommy.”

Sam just kept walking, his hand closed against his chest. He needed to see Thomas, to make sure he was…intact.

They met in the bedroom doorway, practically colliding in Thomas’s hurry to join them. “Sam? Angel? What’s going on? Sweetheart?”

Sam searched Thomas’s eyes, which were sleepy and worried, but his lover was whole.

Angel held up the razor blade. “On your door. He wouldn’t let me clean him up before he saw you.”

Sam had brought this to Thomas’s home. Him. Goddammit.

Thomas stared at it and sighed. “Fuck.” Thomas looked back at him. “I’m fine. You need to let Angel look at that, boy. I’m calling Colletti.”

“I’m sorry.” He headed to the kitchen and stuck his hand under the water, staring at nothing. He needed to…he ought to…he was…

Angel followed him, and he heard Thomas on his cell phone in the bedroom. “Who’s Colletti? Sam. Hey.” The water suddenly went ice cold.

His eyes flew open, his entire body jerking with the cold. “I have to take a walk. I’ll be back. I’ll bring back coffee.”

What the fuck was wrong with him?

“Like hell you will. You’re in shock, Sammy. You need to sit down.” Angel took him by the arm. “Come on. You’re going to sit and let me see that cut.”

Angel sat him down, staring right in his eyes. This wasn’t Angel his buddy talking now; this was Angel the EMT. Angel the retired Army combat medic. “Breathe, Sammy. In and out. Just relax. You’re okay.”

He wasn’t okay. He wasn’t okay at all.

“Hang on.” Angel wrapped his hand up in a kitchen towel. “Sam? Do you know where you are?” He thought he felt fingers, pressure on his wrist.

“I need to get out of here. Somebody followed me.” Poor Thomas. God.

“Detective Colletti is going to call me back in the morning.”

Thomas.

“Is he okay?” Thomas knelt by his chair. “Sam, are you okay?”

“He’s tachy, pulse is high. Not really focusing. I’m gonna guess he’s altered. Special K probably, maybe on the blade. A little goes a long way.”

“What? Are you kidding?”

“He keeps saying he has to go.”

“Oh, Sam.” A warm hand pressed into his cheek. “Sam, look here.”

“I’m sorry.” He forced himself to stay perfectly still, because this was going to hurt. “I brought this here somehow.”

He was going to have to leave.

“Stop, Sam. He might just as easily have followed me. Or us. It was probably both of us when we were moving James’s things and your things. This isn’t on you. But we’re going to catch him now. Colletti’s on it. He’ll call us in the morning.”

“Shit, this is a thing? Like it’s happened before?”

“Sam cut his hand a bunch of times in the other building. Even I did once. And whoever mugged him took James’s coat and nothing else. This is real, Angel. Really fucking real.”

“Oh, fuck.” Angel looked like thunderclouds were forming in his mind. “I can’t fucking believe it. Let me see your hand, Sammy.”

Sam looked to Thomas, frozen where he was. He’d known Thomas would agree that he should leave. That Thomas would say it wasn’t worth it.

“Yeah. He’s out of it.” Angel just took his hand.

“Sweetheart, I’m right here. I’ve got you; you’re safe, okay? Angel says there was something on that blade that’s got you a little…stoned.”

“I don’t suppose you know when his last tetanus shot was?”

He heard Thomas snort.

“I’m going to call Gina. She’s on tonight. He needs a tetanus shot and some stitches. Take some blood. It’ll take a few. You keep him here and calm.”

“I need to—I’m sorry.” And scared. What if this was punishment for falling in love with Thomas? What if this was all his fault?

“I’ve got him. I’m just going to take him to the couch. Hope Gina doesn’t mind my boxer briefs. Come on, sweetheart. Come with me.” Thomas pulled him out of the chair, but walking was hard, so he floated a little and landed on the couch in Thomas’s arms. “You need to relax and stop saying you’re sorry. There’s nothing to be sorry for.”

Sam took a couple of deep breaths, trying to clear his head, trying to focus.

Okay. Come on, Sam. Get with the program. Wake up. Focus. “I was going to take a shower.”

A shower, a bowl of cereal, snuggling.

“I thought he’d gotten in, gotten to you.”

“You were scared, huh? I’m okay, sweetheart. I’m fine. And you’ll be fine once this…shit…wears off. Colletti thinks this is good. He thinks we’ll catch him now.”

Thomas just held him still and close. It wasn’t snuggling, but it didn’t suck.

“I vote we electrify the doorknob.”

His words drew a harsh laugh from Angel.

“I like it, Sammy. Fry the motherfucker.”

“Security camera. There are some outside the building, a couple inside too. Maybe Colletti can get the recordings. We’ll put one on the door.” Thomas stroked his head, his back.

He felt the hint of ache, the buzz from where Thomas had marked him, and his body relaxed, his panicked thoughts slowing.

“Gina is on her way.”

***

His day with Thomas, work, the panic, the drugs—nobody was happier than he was when the EMTs quit poking at him and headed back out the door. Angel saw the paramedics out safe and promised to stop by the next day to check in.

Thomas locked the door, including securing a chain that he’d seen hanging but hadn’t seen Thomas use before. “You want that shower, babe?”

“I do. I smell like beer.” He stood up, telling himself he needed to act like a normal, functional human being, not a stoned, stitched-up, freaked-out asshole.

Thomas caught him under one arm with a smile. “You look a little like you’ve been drinking it.” They headed down the hall together, that arm through his sturdy and warm. “You need help? Or can you manage with that hand? Oh—or is that a dumb question because you’ve broken every bone in your body and somehow have managed to shower on your own for twenty-five years?”

“Almost twenty-six.” Did he need help? No. Did he want help? God, yes. There were terrors and guilt waiting in the back of his brain, and he didn’t want to be alone with them.

“God, you’re getting old. I better come help.” He got a kiss and a smile, and Thomas started helping him undress. “You do smell like beer. Wow.”

“It’s Saturday night. I had four thrown at me. It was great.”

Thomas just gave him a shake of the head.

He knew why his lover didn’t say anything, never did about the bar. It wasn’t disapproval, or a judgment on him. Thomas just didn’t like it. He hadn’t liked it from the start—since his initiation. But his lover seemed to understand that he needed the work and never asked him not to stay, never made a stink about his choices.

Thomas got the water hot and muscled him into the shower, then set his hand up on the tile to keep it dry.

He was already feeling less fuzzy—more tired and drained from the adrenaline rush, but those sensations he knew at least—and he just…well, he didn’t understand. Why him? Why James? Why them? Was it someone at the building? Someone he worked with at Mike’s? How could it be? James didn’t go to Mike’s, hadn’t ever. Someone at Thomas’s men’s club? Why him, then? No one knew about them, and Angel had just found out tonight.

Oh. Angel knew. He needed to apologize to Thomas about telling their secret. He also needed to remind Thomas that he wasn’t completely clear on all the rules and what was a secret and what wasn’t and, shit, Angel was a friend. A real friend. But still, he needed to figure out what was between them and the bedpost and what wasn’t.

Maybe he just needed a shot or twelve and a nap.

Was six thirty in the morning too late to start drinking?

“Earth to Sam. Give me your head. Where’d you go?” Thomas started scrubbing shampoo into his hair and massaging his scalp. Oh. Thomas was actually in the shower. Like, in it with him.

“I was caught in my brain.” He hummed at the touch and leaned. He’d never done this—been with a lover in the shower. He didn’t want to miss a second of it.

“Mm-hm. I’ve made it my personal mission to get you out of your brain. Or at least into the fun part.” Thomas tipped his head back into the spray and scrubbed the soap out. “Like this. This is the fun part.”

“Yes, Sir.” He closed his eyes and let the world tighten to right here with Thomas. He should be worrying, but he was just wearing down.

“We are going to finish getting you cleaned up, and you’re going to go to bed. And you’re going to stay there until this darkness under your eyes goes away and you have color back in your face. So tell me who I talk to at the bar, because you’re not going in tonight.”

“Daddy Mike.” He answered without thought, without argument, because the idea of bed and Thomas and rest captured him.

“Good boy.” Thomas spent some time with him, running gentle, soapy hands over his skin just because he needed it, not asking or expecting anything from him but that he stay present. They toweled off, and they both had a laugh as Thomas combed his hair. “This is a new one for me. Fun, but new.”

“Me too. My first shower with a lover.” He was living in a world of firsts.

“Really?” A kiss caught him by surprise, and Thomas winked. “You got ripped off. I’ll make it much more fun next time.”

“Sounds like a plan. I’m not feeling like Super Fun Boy right now.” He tried for a smile. “Angel offered me a ride home; he does most nights. I told him I was staying here. He was shocked, and I didn’t realize I maybe shouldn’t have said anything. If I wasn’t supposed to, I’m sorry.”

“I appreciate that he gets you home safely, especially tonight. Why shouldn’t you say anything? Are you worried about your job or something?”

“No. No, he just seemed like…” He closed his eyes as he tried to remember. “Like he was surprised. He offered me his spare room.”

“Hey.” Thomas took his hands, leading him back into the bedroom. “I’m proud of you as my sub, and I’m happy to show you off as my lover to anyone who is looking my way. Will some people be put off by it? Maybe, but it’s really none of their affair. Angel probably seemed shocked because the last he knew we were still essentially negotiating. You and I have grown together very quickly, and I just haven’t spoken to him since you moved in. That’s all. He didn’t know because I hadn’t had a chance to say anything, not because I don’t want the whole world to know you’re mine.”

“Good.” He leaned in, filling his senses with Thomas, letting it soothe the sore spots, let Thomas in to the tender bits that needed loving on. “I felt you with me, all night.”

Oh, Thomas liked that. That little growl, deep in his chest said it all. “Come to bed, sweetheart.”

“Yes, Sir.” He let Thomas settle him, propping him up and around with pillows and Thomas’s body until he could melt into the comfort. A deep sigh escaped him.

“You sleep and trust that I’ve got this. I’ve got you.” Thomas kissed him lightly. “Rest.”

“Got me.” He was gone before he could kiss Thomas back.

 

Title: Razor's Edge
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B083F4VR98

Find Jodi's full catalog with links to all your favorite formats at Queeromance Ink!

Making the Rules

Contributors: Jodi Payne, BA Tortuga
Series: Triskelion Series #3
Genre: , , , , , ,
Release Date: October 4, 2022

The rules keep changing as Saul and Troy and their good friends and lovers Geoff and Carter are figuring out how they all fit together in their evolving relationship. Subs Geoff and Troy test the limits of both their friendship and their Doms’ patience as they discover new things about each other, and Doms Carter and Saul wrestle with how to be the men their subs need and become lovers in their own right.

As they all push boundaries trying to decide how to move forward, Troy begins to feel like he’s constantly one step behind, and he’s having trouble keeping up with everyone else. He’s already unsure how much more change he can accept, so when a tragedy strikes, it threatens to completely overwhelm him.

Geoff, Carter, and Saul all come together to help Troy cope, and to figure out what he needs. But what they all soon discover is they have to understand what they each desire, and that making the rules is all about that balance.

Buy the Book: Amazon

Also in this series:
Title: Making the Rules
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B09J18R5WK

Deviations: Discipline

Contributors: Jodi Payne and Chris Owen
Series: Deviations #3
Genre: , , , , ,
Release Date: December 30, 2019 (Third Edition)
Pages: 312

Tobias and Noah explore their relationships more deeply than ever, not just through their own Dominance and submission, but by engaging with their friends. As Noah helps Tobias through the loss of someone dear, he finds Tobias helping him too, leading Noah through some intense sexual games, breaking down the last of his fears, and helping Noah face the biggest one of all: the cage.

Meanwhile, Tobias's ex-lover, Phantom, becomes close friends with Noah and they discover and try to resist the simmering sexual tension between them. Their playful teasing turns to real support when Phantom reaches the breaking point due to a lack of consistent Master in his life; something Phan desperately needs.

While Bradford decided he has to stand in as that Master for a while, Tobias and Noah go to Paris, where they see the sights, go to a sexy club, and re-negotiate their contract. Returning from Paris to their own lives brings them all sorts of new difficulties, from deciding whether they should live together, to trying to figure out just where Phantom belongs in their ever-changing relationship.

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EXCERPT FROM DISCIPLINE

Tobias cursed as he came across yet another torn up intersection. Traffic was a mess all through the downtown core, and his frustration level was rising with every one-way street he had to navigate. He was going in a circle, he just knew it, and Lincoln Avenue was always just out of reach.

The trouble, he decided, wasn't so much the damn construction as the sheer idiocy of the drivers who simply wouldn't get out of his way and let him get home. "It's not even close to rush hour," he muttered, talking out loud in uncharacteristic frustration and trying to ease around yet another truck offloading dirt or equipment or something. He hit the gas and then the brakes as a woman in a PT Cruiser cut him off and gave him the finger.

"And you would think," he added, "that with all this crap going on... I could at least lose this fucking erection." An incredibly persistent one at that, one that had been with him to varying degrees since he'd woken up from a morning dream about Noah and new leather wrist cuffs that had complex and intriguing chains dangling from them. He'd been hard off and on since then, and his body was definitely settling on full hardness at the moment.

He took another breath and looked around at the traffic as he shifted uncomfortably in his seat, his irritation growing. "But no. Not today. Today, I'm cursed with an iron dick, a schedule that's opened up, a submissive at work, and endless traffic. God damn it!" He slammed his hand down on the steering wheel and a miracle happened: the road in front of his car emptied.

So he hit the gas and took off, heading for home. The sudden siren and flashing lights in his rearview mirror made him glance down at the speedometer in dismay. "Ah, shit." With a sigh he pulled over and undid his seatbelt.

A chest in uniform appeared at the driver's side window. A knuckle tapped on the glass, and Tobias rolled down the window, stifling another sigh. The cop had one hand on his gun. As if Tobias could make a bid for freedom in this traffic.

"License and registration, please," a voice requested in an official tone, and Tobias dutifully reached for the glove compartment. "Wait a minute." The cop rested an arm on the door and ducked to see better into the car. "Do you have any idea how fast you were going, sir?"

"Jesus Christ," Tobias groaned, his head falling back on the seat. "Yes. Too fast. Would you like to know why, Noah?"

"That's 'Officer Dolan,' sir, and, yes. Yes, I would." Noah grinned widely.

Tobias rolled his eyes. "Well, you see, Officer Dolan, I have a smart-mouthed lover whom I can't get out of my head." He pointed to his lap. "I was in rather a rush to call him. Or at least think about him in private."

Title: Discipline
Published by: Tygerseye Publishing, LLC
ASIN: B0839N7PBF
ISBN13: 978-1-951011-19-2

 

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Purchase it at Audible, iTunes & Amazon!

 

Submission est disponible en FRANÇAIS !
Achetez-le directement auprès de  Juno Publishing,
ou sur Amazon, 7switch, ou Kobo!

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