Spotlight Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway: The Love of Wicked Men, Brandon Shire
First, let me say thanks for hosting the Wicked Men blog tour. The creation of this lengthy novel was quite an adventure. Throughout the course of writing each episode, readers were offered the opportunity to give their input and suggestions on how they thought the story should move along. And I threw in a few twists and surprises along the way, just to keep them on their toes. The Wicked Men blitz features seven unique excerpts, so don’t miss any. And don’t forget to enter the giveaway!
You can check out Cindi’s review here.
Sid Rivers and Jack Brown are two sides of the same coin. One is a lawyer with his own firm and dreams of money and power; the other is a criminal with a lengthy record and a quest for vengeance. When they meet, sparks fly. But was their meeting an accident? Or was it planned by the billionaires who want to control their destiny?
The Love of Wicked Men is an erotic journey into the underbelly of the legal profession, the corporate culture of profit-at-any-cost, and the secret world of industrial espionage.
As he pulled up to the pumps, Jack’s attention was caught by the mechanic’s jean clad ass poking in the air. He was bent over the hood of an old Mustang and seemed intent on whatever he was trying to fix.
Jack did a double-take as the man stood to wipe his hands. He didn’t have jeans on. He wore a pair of bib overalls with one strap securing them over an exposed and completely smooth chest. He wasn’t scrawny by any means, but he wasn’t quite up to a medium build either. And yet, there was something sensual about the way he moved. Where he should’ve been tanned, his skin was almost white against the sinking sun.
Jack nearly drooled at the way the strap hung off one side of his chest, the way his waist flared slightly before diving under the cover of the worn denim. His skin looked baby soft, even from a distance. Jack could feel a stirring in his groin.
Maybe this was Lori’s gift right here. He sure could use a bit of fun.
The mechanic turned slightly, as if aware of Jack’s interest, and checked out the lot. When their eyes met, he looked away immediately, the rag in his hand suddenly fumbling. He smiled slightly but kept his eyes downcast.
Intrigued at his shyness, Jack discreetly ogled him as he pumped gas. He had a long face and a sinewy, angular body. But his homely expression told a story of seemingly self-inflicted and awkward ineptitude around people, which, if Jack had to guess, had marred much of his twenty-something life.
Give him bare feet, a straw hat and a piece of grass to chew on, and he’d be the epitome of every bigoted comment Jack had ever heard about the redneck Southern male. But damn if Jack didn’t think he was oddly attractive.
Jack returned the nozzle to the pump and tightened the gas cap. The mechanic kept throwing over surreptitious glances while pretending to work. But Jack couldn’t tell if it was a sexual interest or just natural curiosity. He got hit on by women all the time, but men were a little more careful with their overtures because of his size.
What the hell, he thought. He’d give it a shot. The worst that could happen is he’d go home alone like he’d done almost every night for the last three years.
The mechanic straightened when Jack approached, wiping his hands with a cautious wariness.
“Are you the mechanic here?” Jack asked.
“Some days,” he answered quietly, not quite meeting Jack’s stare.
“My car sounds a little funny. It’s a rental, but I don’t want to get stuck and have to wait four hours for a tow. Can you have a listen, maybe take a look?” Jack asked hopefully.
He seemed relieved that the car was the center of attention. “Sure, pull it over.”
Jack drove the car over and popped the hood. He got out and watched as the guy went through the basics.
“Sounds fine to me,” he said as he checked the fluid levels. “What was the noise like?”
“It was rattling,” Jack lied. The car had been running fine. But there was something about this guy… He didn’t seem like the brightest light bulb in the pack, but he exuded a curious gentleness Jack couldn’t seem to resist. Weird, he thought as another male voice bellowed from inside the garage.
“Shane? Where the fuck are you?”
“Helping a customer,” Shane yelled before he started turning to the sound.
When Jack glanced over Shane’s shoulder, he saw an older man frown and come out of the shadows of the garage. “That ain’t your job. I need this done,” he said, hooking his thumb at the Mustang. “Buddy’s on his way to pick it up.”
Shane seemed to shrink in on himself before he scurried back into the garage. “I’m just finishing it up,” he offered as he went. He didn’t look at Jack again.
The older man came to Jack. He had a beer gut and greasy looking beard. He tried to hoist his gut in and maybe bring himself to Jack’s height, but he didn’t quite make it. Jack disliked him instantly.
But this wasn’t Jack’s quarrel, and he still didn’t know if Shane was interested. He quelled his burgeoning anger and slammed the hood closed.
“Don’t mind Shane. He’s a little slow. What can I do you for?”
“Shane already took care of it, but thanks,” Jack answered. “Is there a bathroom I can use?”
The man regarded him as if he were sizing him up. But Jack knew his type. He would run his mouth if his buddies were around but was as quiet as a fucking church mouse when he was alone. “Sure. Down the side of the building there. Lemme get you the key,” he offered politely.
He went inside and returned, handing Jack the key without a peep.
Jack took his time in the bathroom. He legs ached from sitting in the car all day and the long drive. When he came out, the older man had disappeared and Shane was under the hood of the Mustang again.
Jack came up behind him, admiring the way his slightly long hair fell over his ears. “Can I give this to you?” he asked, holding out the key to the restroom.
Shane stood. “Sure, I can bring it in.” He took it from Jack without meeting his eye.
Jack took a twenty from his pocket and put it in his hand with the key.
“What’s that for?”
“You checked the car. Every mechanic I know gets paid to do that.”
He snuck a glance at Jack, and then dropped his eyes. “I ain’t a real mechanic,” he admitted. “My uncle only lets me work a few hours here and there to keep me out of trouble.”
“Take it anyway.”
Shane waved it away. “Wouldn’t be right.” He put the bill back in Jack’s hand and folded Jack’s fingers around it. His touch lingered. “But I appreciate it,” he said with a warm sincerity.
Jack finally got a glimpse of his eyes. They were soft and brown and sending mixed messages to Jack’s brain and…other parts of his anatomy. Shane’s hands, despite the grease, were soft, and very warm.
“Well, let me buy you a drink or something… Can I do that?” Jack asked quietly. “You said you were finishing up.”
Shane peered furtively into the shadows of the station, looking for his uncle. “Don’t really drink around town here. Usually gets me in trouble.”
Somehow, Jack doubted that story. More likely, the local boneheads fucked with him because they thought Shane wasn’t on the same level with the stud-filled lies they told about themselves.
Jack frowned inside. Weirdly, he wanted to protect Shane, or was it possess him? He wasn’t quite sure. And he still wasn’t sure if there was any real interest on Shane’s part. He decided to play it safe and be on his way. The last thing he needed was trouble with a bunch of yokels who thought he was trying to spread his queer version of moral corruption.
“Anywhere around here I can grab a quick bite to eat?” Jack asked before he started for the car. “I’m starving.”
“Up the road on the right, there’s a place called Bonnie’s. She’s got good food, and you’re just in time for dinner. Tell her I sent you.”
Jack waited for a more definitive sign of interest. But Shane only smiled and went back to work.
He could’ve sworn… But it wasn’t the first time his gaydar had been entirely wrong either. He hung his head in disappointment, got in the car, and drove to Bonnie’s.
The food at Bonnie’s was good, but the service was a little slow. It was strictly a comfort food café, which served the locals and an occasional traveler like himself. Jack was halfway through a mound of meatloaf and potatoes when Shane strolled in and went straight to a counter stool. He either didn’t notice Jack or pretended not to. The locals called out their greeting to him and he nodded all around without actually acknowledging anyone, in particular.
Keeps himself distant on purpose, Jack thought as he watched.
The waitress, an older woman with an obvious affection for Shane, put a cola in front of him without asking. She hollered an order into the kitchen which matched Jack’s blue plate special, and then spoke quietly, nodding in Jack’s direction. Shane turned, noticing him for the first time.
He came over immediately. “Sorry, my manners…” He glanced at the waitress, thanking her with a nod. “Didn’t even notice you. Thought you would’ve been gone by now.”
“No problem,” Jack answered. Even if he’d wolfed his food down, he doubted he would’ve made a dent in the plate in front of him in any short amount of time.
“How’s the food?” Shane asked.
“Like you said, good. There’s just a lot of it.”
Shane chuckled, and then quickly surveyed the other patrons, as if someone might have overheard it and objected. Jack got the distinct impression that Shane had spent much of his life disappointed and used his laugh as a wedge against it, even as that laugh was held against him.
“Why don’t you join me?” Jack asked, extending his arm to the opposite side of the booth.
Shane put his hands out. “No, I couldn’t. Don’t want to disturb you.”
Shane checked over his shoulder. The waitress was still watching even as she waited on another customer. She gave some sign that apparently only Shane saw because he came forward and sat with a slight and bashful smile.
A few silent minutes later, the waitress reappeared with a plate as hot and heaping as Jack’s had been when he first sat down.
“Shane Parker,” she admonished. “You go wash your hands, right now. You’re not getting my silverware full of grease again.”
He turned three shades of red. “Miss Bonnie…”
She pointed. “Go.” He frowned, then flushed again as he saw Jack smirk and thrust his chin toward the bathrooms.
The waitress turned on Jack once Shane was inside. The congenial smile she’d worn when Jack first came in was completely gone. Her voice was a harsh whisper. “Don’t you dare hurt that boy.”
Jack sat back and gaped at her, too stunned to be angry. “Excuse me?”
She put both hands on the table, leaning towards him. Jack wasn’t afraid of many people, but this little old woman behaved as if she might carve his eyeballs out with one of her teaspoons.
“Shane’s…special. And he’s been through enough. Couple of your kind beat and robbed him while he was in Atlanta, and now he’s a little…touched.”
“My kind?” Jack asked.
Her eyes narrowed. “I don’t much approve, but Shane is who he is. But you hurt him…” she left the sentence unfinished when she heard the door to the restroom open. Her smile suddenly reappeared as she turned to him, checking his hands before she allowed him to sit and eat his meal.
She threw Jack a look as she walked away. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen such a transformation. She was actually scary.
“She’s got a good apple pie,” Shane suggested when he noticed Jack had stopped eating. He dove into his own plate.
Jack watched the waitress greet new customers and cocked his head, still in disbelief. Where the fuck had that come from? Did he look like a serial killer? He brought his attention back to Shane. “No, I don’t think I can finish this. But thanks,” he said as he picked up his fork again.
Shane glanced across the restaurant at the waitress, then at Jack. A frown popped up. “She, uh, say something?”
“I think she meant well,” Jack answered politely.
Shane’s lips pursed together in annoyance. “They always do, don’t they?”
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About the Author –
Great stories should not depend on gender or sexual preference of a character, but instead upon the strength of the characters and the honesty and urgency of the story.
Brandon Shire proves he understands the complexity of writing LGBT fiction from two very different viewpoints – serious and smexy. His serious fiction is written for those who enjoy a book, which explores life’s darker elements in a more literary form, while the smexy fiction is for those who enjoy a graphically erotic romance.
Regardless of the differentiation above, Brandon writes for people who enjoy being challenged, and for those who strive to understand situations they don’t typically encounter. He pens raw, emotional stories about characters, which readers will either love or love to hate.
Life and love are pretty damned special, but neither is always perfect. Life can be painful, and real love hard to find. Brandon’s fiction is an exploration of the (sometimes) arduous search for the happiness we all desire.
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