Tag Archive: Lasair Faol


Happy Prideanniverthday!

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This weekend hits a lovely trifecta — it’s Pride weekend, and tomorrow (June 28th) is both my birthday and the second anniversary of the day I signed the contract for my first books, the SoulShares series (featuring the exquisite Tiernan Guaire, pictured above.) To celebrate, I’m offering y’all, in a very hobbit-y fashion, presentses! — an (unedited) excerpt from Blowing Smoke, the fifth Fae novel and the first in the Broken Pattern series, and a giveaway. Comment below with your e-mail address by 8:00 p.m. Central time on Sunday, June 29th for a chance to win YOUR CHOICE of: (1) an autographed paperback of your choice of any one of the SoulShares novels (Hard as Stone, Gale Force, Deep Plunge, and Firestorm), (2) Kindle copies of both Tales of the Grove novellas (Heart of the Oak and Tempted from the Oak), or (3) an autographed (by me) copy of the lovely picture above, drawn for me at ComicCon Minneapolis by the amazing Mike Grell).

Happy Pride! And it’s been an amazing couple of years, and I’m looking forward to many more!

 

Excerpt from Blowing Smoke, Chapter Two:

It took a while to get up all the glass slivers, find the mop, and mop the floor, but it was time well spent. Ever since coming home to the stench it had cost him five grand to get rid of, Bryce had a horror of having anything around the apartment that might smell.

He stowed the mop back in its cupboard. There was a place for everything, and everything in its place, especially in a little New York apartment.

Of course, he’d been that way for a long time. His grandfather had moved in with them when he was seven, after his first stroke, and overnight his room had become the one place where he’d been able to have things the way he wanted. Most of the time, anyway.

He limped back to the table, nursing a bruise on his hip where he’d fallen against the counter. Funny how he’d never managed to pair up with a man as fastidious as he was. Or even close. Aren’t we all supposed to be fussy? He usually drove most of the men he picked up, or who latched on to him, completely bugfuck crazy in the space of a few days.

Terry hadn’t minded, though. He’d been perfectly happy to let Bryce be Bryce, all the while scattering costume sketches and leotards and water bottles and leg warmers everywhere. On purpose, sometimes, he suspected. There had been one time, when Bryce had started to pre-heat the oven for coq au vin, and the strange smell that had filled the apartment had turned out to be roasted ballet slipper.

Bryce’s throat felt tight. He tried so damned hard to drag me out of myself. Drag my head out of my ass. Why the hell did I throw him out? He still couldn’t remember, even after almost a year. He’d asked Terry, but Terry hadn’t wanted to talk about it. Bryce supposed he wouldn’t, either, under the circumstances, but it still would have been nice to know, to get back some of those lost memories, even second-hand. Even painful ones.

Painful? Who am I kidding? I’m a dick. I probably laughed when I did it. Though he couldn’t have treated Terry any worse than he’d treated the parade of men who had followed him–

Bryce froze. What was that?

A barely audible sound, but he realized it had been there, on the very edge of his hearing, for a while. A soft whimpering. And, just as he started giving the sound his full attention, a tiny howl.

What the hell? The guy on the second floor, whose name Bryce had never bothered to ask, had a Rottweiler, but it had a bark like you’d expect from a monster that size and he’d never heard it whimper or howl. Besides, the noise sounded like it was coming from downstairs, not upstairs.

Fucking wonderful, an animal of some kind trapped in the basement. The landlord had a strict policy, all vermin were supposed to be reported to him so he could take care of them before the city caught wind of any problem. Not that Bryce gave a shit about anyone’s policy, but having someone other than him take care of rodents in the basement was his idea of common sense.

Another faint howl.

Rats don’t howl.

No, but dogs did. Bryce hated dogs. Not just Cujo upstairs, he’d hated them all as long as he could remember. His grandfather had kept mastiffs, before his stroke, and Bryce had been about four years old the day one of them had run him down on the front lawn until he tripped and fell, and had gone for his throat. He’d pissed himself from fear before his grandfather called the dog off. His mother had demanded the dog be put down, his grandfather had laughed, and dear Daddy had taken a belt to him for wrecking his new trousers.

The howl didn’t sound like a mastiff, though. Not even close.

I should at least find out what it is.

Bryce methodically unlocked all the locks on the front door, turning the second deadbolt on his way out so the door wouldn’t lock behind him and leave him in the foyer in his underwear. The door to the basement was closed, but not locked; he let himself in and left the door ajar.

The whimpering continued. Bryce reached around the doorjamb and fumbled for the light switch. The light didn’t stop the sound, either. Frowning, he bent to peer down the stairs.

A man lay unmoving on the grey cement of the basement floor. A man with long blond hair curling in soft waves around his face and an amazing body in what looked like someone’s idea of a Ren Faire costume, dark green. Wrapped around in silver chains, so tightly he wouldn’t have been able to move even if he’d been awake, and the linen charred where the chains touched it. And a whisker-faced brown and grey puppy lay on the man’s chest, sprawled out on its side, shivering, its belly rising and falling with rapid panting breaths.

Bryce took a few steps down the stairs. The pup stirred, raised its head maybe an inch, and howled. Not really a howl, more like a pitiful wail. Then it turned away from him, nosing at the man, crying.

He was confused as fuck, and he didn’t like the feeling. What the hell was going on with the man? He tried to imagine some combination of circumstances that could have ended with a Robin Hood type–a fucking gorgeous Robin Hood type, probably a model, just the kind to put a tent in his shorts under other, less bizarre circumstances–chained up in his basement. Unconscious. Smelling of smoke. With a dog. He came up blank.

Great, now the puppy was looking at him. There was something strange about its eyes, he could see that even from this distance. It was having trouble holding its head up, too, he thought.

What the hell am I supposed to do about this? About a dog he was supposed to hate, and a man he was supposed to… well, what? Catch and release?

One thing, at least, was clear. Bryce owed the intruders as much as he’d ever owed anyone else.

Nothing.

Clear, right?

 

BLOWING SMOKE is the fifth Fae book. And the first in its own series, the Broken Pattern. See, at the end of FIRESTORM, the fourth SoulShares book, in order to save Cuinn and Rian and coincidentally the Fae Realm and the human world, the SoulShares of Purgatory had to, well, blow a great big hole in the Pattern, the portal between the worlds. And strange things are beginning to happen. (Yes, even stranger than in the first four books…) This is an excerpt from Chapter 8 — Lasair Faol, formerly the Master of Fade-hounds for the Royal family of the Demesne of Fire, and his newborn Fade-hound puppy Culin haven’t yet been formally introduced to Bryce Newhouse, but Lasair’s already feeling the pull of the as-yet-unconsummated SoulShare bond.

 

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Lasair stopped short. The human lay on his back on a richly-upholstered and beautifully carved divan, his head propped against one arm and his feet hanging over the other, sound asleep. Culin was curled up on his chest, half wrapped in a soft cloth, likewise peacefully asleep. A little table had been pulled over to the divan, near the human’s head, and a small cooking-pot sat on it. Even from where he stood, the enhanced senses of a Fae could smell milk. There were even traces of it on Culin’s short grey-brown mustache. Milk, and something else, something that smelled like salt.
A pang of pure jealousy went straight through Lasair, surprising him with its intensity. He wasn’t sure which was harder to swallow, the thought that the human had been able to get Culin to eat where he’d failed, or the visual proof that he and the pup hadn’t bonded. Most modern Fade-hound breeders considered the old stories about blind Fade-hounds no more than idle tales. And surely it was fantasy, to think that a blind dog could form such a close, exclusive bond with a Fae that each could see through the other’s eyes. Pure fantasy. Yet he’d hoped, when little blind Culin had looked up at him…
Lasair shook his head. The important thing for now was that the human had gotten the pup to eat. Filled his belly, too, from the look of him.
I am not jealous.
Not.
Not jealous at all. But Culin was his responsibility, not the human’s. He reached to pick up the puppy–froze as the human stirred, groped restlessly, mumbled under his breath. One slender, long-fingered hand found Culin and settled protectively over the furry body; the muttering stopped, replaced by a snore almost too faint to hear, even for a Fae.
Just that quickly, Lasair realized that he was indeed jealous. But not of the human. Of Culin.
I want that hand on me.
He backed up quickly, almost falling over a chair he’d forgotten was there, catching himself, turning and hastening back to the bedchamber. It wasn’t until he was leaning against the far side of the closed door, head tipped back, eyes closed, trying to slow his breathing, that he started to curse. Under his breath, so as not to wake the human.
In the Realm, the Master of the Royal Fade-hounds had been held in awe. The hounds were terrifying to most Fae, a story told to misbehaving children, used as a method of execution by some Royals. Forces of nature with five-inch fangs, relentless hunters with a taste for blood. But to him, they had been like family. He had been ready to lay down his life for them, and he knew they would have done the same for him. Even little Culin, following him trustingly through the terror of transition.
His rapport with the hounds had been legendary.
When it came to Fae, on the other hand, he was a disgrace. He definitely had all the reflexes and instincts and hungers of his race, but if seduction was an art form among the Fae–which it most certainly was–then he himself had never passed much beyond sketching childish stick figures on the hearthstones with charcoal. In a culture where desire always came wrapped in layers on layers of enticement and mystery, no one knew what to make of a Fae who refused to play the kinds of games they were all born to play. As clumsy as one of his pups, they’d said, laughing. But clumsy he was not. He only wanted to be open about what he wanted.
He hadn’t realized until just now how much he’d hoped things would be different with the human. Hadn’t Fae had their way with humans whenever they wished, back in the time before the Sundering when the two races shared a world? There would be no need for the dance, the game. For once, surely, he was free to take what he wanted, what his body needed. All he had to do was do what he wished, be what he was and had always been. All would be well.
Except it wouldn’t. It wasn’t. For the first time, he saw at least in part the point of the rin’gcatha gríobhan, the labyrinthine dance. He still didn’t want to play the game for the sake of playing, for the style and the beauty and the craft of it, but neither did he want to simply wake the human up, roll him over, and take the pleasure he both needed and wanted. He wanted to smooth away the frown line that seemed to live between the human’s brows. He wanted to see the smile he knew the human hid, and he wanted to know he’d been the cause of the smiling. He wanted to find out if the scent of salt had come from human tears, and to make them stop.
There were a great many things Lasair wanted. None of which he had ever wanted before, and none of which he had the slightest idea how to get.
No. There was one thing he knew how to get. Knew very well. One of the many words as’Faein for self-pleasure was dara-láiv. Literally, it meant ‘second-hand’–the implication being that your partner had grown bored and left after one orgasm, and you were thus forced to rely on your own devices for the second.

Excerpt from BLOWING SMOKE

Here’s an excerpt from Blowing Smoke, the first book in the Broken Pattern cycle of the SoulShares. (I’m sitting at my desk, looking out my back window at the sight of snow melting, hearing a chorus of angels singing “Hallelujah,” and I’m just so happy I need to spread a little joy around!) This bit is part of Chapter 7, and it doesn’t actually involve the main characters, Lasair Faol and Bryce Newhouse (ducks objects thrown by those who have read the first four books and think I’ve lost my mind). This chapter lets us catch up with Lochlann and Garrett, the Fae healer and the pole dancer from Deep Plunge. Enjoy!

Garrett slid a hand down Lochlann’s side, along the curve of his ass to his thigh where it rested over his own. At the same time, he leaned in, catching the dark Fae’s startled breath with a kiss, and a soft laugh.
Lochlann relaxed into him, deepening the kiss, and using his leg to draw him closer. Garrett’s hips tilted, without him telling them to, getting the most out of the sweet friction.
“My morning wood thanks you.” He didn’t feel like pulling back from the kiss, so his lips rasped against Lochlann’s heavy stubble. One more reason to regret all the years he hadn’t been waking up with his SoulShare. Or anyone. “Though it’s almost my afternoon wood.”
“Noon?” Lochlann worked his hand between the two of them and wrapped it around Garrett’s erection, his thumb immediately going to the heavy ring piercing the head. “You’re up early. In several senses of the word.”
“Noon isn’t early.” Garrett groaned as Lochlann toyed with his PA. “You realize, I’m supposed to be using that to drive you insane.”
“It is when you got in so late.” Lochlann’s smile was pure wickedness. “And life’s unfair, grafain. Get used to it.”
“That wasn’t a complaint, exactly.” Garrett bit his lip, closing his eyes to focus on Lochlann’s touch. It was still new, this thing of having someone else focused on his pleasure. Hell, someone else focused on blowing his mind with every touch, every kiss, every word out of his mouth.
After almost ten years of renting his ass out to pay the rent and keep the lights on, and almost nine of being HIV-positive, Garrett had become an expert at sex without intimacy. Expert even for a rent-boy. Whore. Fracun, the Marfach had called him. A thing, an object, only valued for how it was used, not for what it was. Lochlann had been furious, but Garrett had just shrugged. That was what he’d been, before Lochlann.
And to hear Lochlann tell it, Fae never got close either, and for some of the same reasons. The only way to be sure you couldn’t be broken was to be damn sure no one ever touched you.
The tip of Lochlann’s tongue traced over his closed eyelids, breaking off Garrett’s thoughts. He was glad. That train of thought never took him anywhere he wanted to go.
“I worried about you. Last night.” He could almost feel Lochlann’s voice, like silk on his skin. Rough silk.
“I’m sorry.” He flushed, opening his eyes. “I actually meant to tell you what happened, but I couldn’t keep my eyes open.” He hadn’t made it back to the hotel until just after sunrise, and the decadently soft bed had been way more temptation than he could handle.
Lochlann laughed softly, rolled Garrett onto his back, and pinned the lower half of his naked body to the bed with his own hips. “So tell me now.”
“Vice showed up, about an hour before closing.” Garrett felt his erection softening, and sighed. What happened to Purgatory affected all the Fae, though, and all their human partners. Report first, afternoon delight later. “They sent an undercover cop in first, but Lucien spotted him right away. He always does, I don’t think  Vice has ever gotten anyone past him.”
“What did Tiernan do before he hired Lucien?” Lochlann propped himself up on his elbows, his black hair tumbling down around his face as he studied Garrett. Apparently his lover wasn’t giving up on afternoon delight entirely.
“Nearly got busted a couple of times, I think. Kevin’s a fast talker, though, and it didn’t hurt that he’s a partner at a big-name law firm with some real clout. Fabian, the guy who owned the club before Tiernan, just bought off the cops. Probably put a dozen of their kids through college, just in the years I worked there. But Tiernan refused to work that way.” The new owner had started putting the protection money into improvements in the club. And in the salaries of the dancers.
“So Lucien called in Conall.” Lochlann worked the fingers of one hand into Garrett’s curls and tipped his head back, eyeing his throat speculatively.
“Yeah.” Garrett sucked in a breath between clenched teeth as Lochlann’s hot, soft lips caressed his throat. He’d compared notes with Kevin and Josh, and the humans were all in agreement that Fae never let any business, other than the most serious, interrupt amorous play. They were also all in agreement that that tendency was one of their more attractive features, and one of their most frustrating. “He doesn’t know that’s who he’s calling when he trips the alarm, he thinks it only goes to Tiernan’s office. But Conall showed up right away, down in the cock pit where no one would pay any attention to one more naked guy, and glamoured the cop.” According to Conall, an undercover officer with a see-no-evil channeling on him could stand on the edge of the cock pit and look down, and be convinced he was seeing a dimly lit, semi-private lounging area, with tables set up for drinks and maybe a few guys getting hot and heavy outside the clothes. He could even walk down into the pit, but the channeling didn’t work against physical objects, and things could get interesting if a cop ever tripped over a twink giving a BJ or a writhing mass of leather boys spilling off a sofa. So far, that hadn’t happened.
“So then what happened?” Lochlann started nuzzling right below Garrett’s left ear, his breath warm, his tongue gentle and insistent.
Then I had to stop for a mind-blowing orgasm. Jesus Christ in a rickshaw. Garrett had to pause for a couple of deep breaths before he could go on. “About half an hour before closing, Detective Harding came in.” Purgatory was part of Russ Harding’s bailiwick, had been since just after Tiernan bought the place. and while the Man from V.I.C.E. gave Tiernan props for running what he’d been heard to call a ‘remarkably clean place, considering,’ he was convinced Purgatory was crossing a line somewhere, and that it was his mission to find the line.
Things would be slightly less awkward if he were wrong. Between the “official” goings-on in the cock pit, the occasional freelance ass-rental a few of the dancers still kept up in the dressing room, and the tendency of some of their wealthier and better-connected customers to tip the dancers in designer drugs, there was probably enough action on any given night to keep butch cop Russ Harding busy for a week.
“And Conall took care of him, too.” It wasn’t a question.
“Well… kind of.”
That, unfortunately, brought Lochlann’s head up. “What do you mean, ‘kind of’?”
“When Detective Harding strolled over to the cock pit, he saw Conall. And he saw all of Conall, if you take my meaning.”
“The illusion didn’t work?”
“Apparently not. Conall thinks he just got careless. As soon as Harding said something, Tiernan came up with a distraction, and held his attention long enough to let Conall conjure some clothes, but even that glimpse was enough to put a bug up the cop’s ass. “ Garrett grinned as one of Lochlann’s fingers slipped briefly past his tight entrance. “Brat. Anyway, he went on the prowl, and it became my job to get everyone in the cock pit disentangled, dressed, and on their way out the door before he started to look too closely. Not that he ever actually goes into the pit.”
“And that was your job why?” A frown line appeared between Lochlann’s dark brows.
Garrett nipped his Fae lover’s chin. “Because Tiernan was escorting Harding around and trying to distract him from what he wasn’t supposed to see without looking like he was distracting him, and Conall had his hands full keeping the channeling up given that Harding was acting especially snoopy. I could have used Mac’s help, at least with getting guys out the door without it looking like a scene from fucking Exodus, but his prosthesis was giving him grief early on and Tiernan sent him home.”

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