KISS AND TELL by S.C. Wynne

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Here’s my latest from Evernight Publishing.

Beau Dexter is a male escort with zero belief in love. He had a rough beginning in life, and he’s not looking for anything other than a full roster of satisfied clients.

Seth Fontaine is blind and grieving the loss of his lover five years ago. But even a broken-hearted man has needs, and that’s where Beau comes in.

Neither one of them is looking for anything other than a little superficial fun. But when these two damaged men connect on a much deeper level than expected, Beau’s extreme fear of emotional intimacy almost derails them before they even begin.

EXCERPT:

I peered into the dark room behind her and glimpsed a cozy fire flickering but no other source of light. Two large armchairs faced the hearth where I assumed the mysterious Seth must be sitting.

“You can go in. Just don’t trip over the dog.” Maggie waved and sauntered back down the hall the way we’d just come.

“Don’t be afraid. I won’t bite.” The same voice from earlier came faintly through the door.

I stepped into the room, conscious of Maggie’s warning about a dog, and headed toward the direction of the voice.

“Sorry. I’m having a little trouble seeing you,” I said.

“Ha. That only seems fair.”

I had no idea what he was talking about, but I found him finally, seated in a large wing backed chair directly in front of the fire. I held out my hand and he ignored it. I figured he couldn’t see me any better than I could see him in the gloom. There was a jingling sound and a fluffy canine of some indescribable breed circled around in front of the fire, and then plopped down with a grunt.

“That’s Felice. She won’t bite.”

Since the dog had done little else than breathe since I’d arrived, I had no doubt my safety wasn’t threatened. “Did you want to stay here or go to your bedroom?” I asked, slipping out of my pea coat and draping it over another chair.

“Well, if we stay down here we’ll have to wrestle Felice for a spot in front of the fire.”

I laughed. “True. She looks very comfortable.”

“What’s your name?”

“Beau Dexter.”

“Fancy.”

“Oh, yeah. That’s me all right. I thought about wearing my top hat, but I decided against it.”

He laughed. “I don’t know if the agency explained I like to talk first and get to know the person I’m going to fuck. Hope that’s not a problem for you.”

I wasn’t used to people being so blunt. But, after all, that was why I was here. “Not at all. For the money you’re paying you could paint my nails for all I care.”

He stood, and he was slightly taller than me, with wide shoulders and long legs. The flickering fire cast shadows on his angular features, and I could see he was handsome in an aristocratic sort of way. “Do you want a drink? Some of the guys prefer to be buzzed when they screw. Are you that kind?”

“I prefer my senses to be unaffected if that’s alright.” I had nothing against having a few drinks with a client, but when I didn’t know them I preferred to be completely sober, so I could cue into what seemed to please them and what didn’t.

“Huh, a man with a good work ethic. How refreshing.”

I couldn’t tell if he was kidding, because he seemed to have a dry sense of humor. “It feels better for me too if I’m not drunk.” I attempted a flirty vibe.

He inhaled sharply. “Interesting. A whore who actually likes to fuck.”

“Depends on the client.” I didn’t take offense at his use of the word ‘whore’ since I had a feeling he was doing it on purpose to see if he could push my buttons. I found sometimes men who used escort services seemed to resent the fact that they liked using escort services.

He laughed and the sound was warm and charming, definitely at odds with his prickly demeanor. “Oh, thank God. You have a sense of humor. The last two didn’t get me at all.”

I smiled but didn’t speak.

“Why are you a prostitute?” he asked abruptly.

Was this him ‘getting to know me’?

I’d never had a John ask me why I had sex for money. Most of them were just happy to get down to business. I weighed whether to be honest with him, or to lie and tell him a story that might seem more romantic. People seemed to respond to things like my mother needs surgery for cancer and she has zero medical insurance, or I’m putting my little brother through college. I think lies made those of us in my profession seem selfless and noble.

“That’s quite a pause.” He laughed. “Trying to make up a lie?”

“No. I have plenty of those ready to go.”

I could make out a white smile in the shadows of his face. “Me too.”

He intrigued me. He was friendly and yet standoffish all at the same time. “What do you lie about?”

“Life. But I lie to myself mostly.” I grinned.

“Do you mind if I ask why you pay for sex?” He was extremely good looking, and seemed intelligent and articulate. I was curious as to why he’d use our service.

“Ah, ah, ah. You haven’t answered me yet.”

Sighing, I leaned against the chair behind me. “I do it mostly for the money. Boring I know. But I also do it because I enjoy it. I have a strong carnal appetite, and I enjoy fucking horny men. Plus, people who pay for sex are different from people you hook up with in a bar.”

“In what way?” he asked softly.

“Well, random people in a club are looking for love, aren’t they?” I tilted toward him as I spoke. “I mean, they pretend they aren’t, and they know the odds are slim. But they just keep hoping.” I held up my crossed fingers.

“And you aren’t?”

I huffed. “What, hopeful? Looking for love? No.”

“Why?” He sounded breathless.

“Because I don’t believe in love.” I lifted my chin. I was slightly nonplussed to be discussing my personal beliefs about such things.

“Uh, oh.” He smirked. “Did some boyfriend break your heart?”

I moved away and ran my hand over my coat. This conversation had certainly taken an odd turn. “That would be a cliché, don’t you think?”

“It would be disappointing. I must admit. I would hope your story is more complex, because you seem slightly mysterious. It would be so boring if you just caught your boyfriend fucking some other guy in your bed, and you swore off love for all eternity.”

“I promise you it isn’t anything that simple.”

He rubbed his hands together. “God, you’re getting me all turned on.”

I laughed and returned to my spot closer to him. “Good. That’s why I’m here.” I leaned in as I spoke and tried to sound seductive.

“Is that a subtle hint you’d rather stop talking about yourself?” That white smile reappeared.

“I still haven’t heard why you use hookers.” I glanced around the room. Now that my eyes were adjusted to the gloom I could see there were some nice, expensive pieces of furniture. There were wall to wall bookcases, and a Georgian-style leather top writing desk that would easily go for three thousand dollars. The walls were adorned with tapestries and ornately framed paintings. “Rich guys don’t usually have any trouble getting laid, especially good looking rich guys.”

“Oh, well thank you. But unlike you I actually do believe in love.” He spoke quietly. “Or at least I did. I’ve had my chance at it and now it’s gone.”

The poignant tremor in his voice got to me. “What do you mean?”

He sighed. “I lost the love of my life. Well, I didn’t misplace him or anything. He died.”

“Oh, God. I’m so sorry.”

He shrugged. “It was five years ago.”

“Still, I’m sure it’s very painful.” I touched his arm and noticed he moved away ever so slightly.

Laughing gruffly, he crossed his arms. “Well, even a man with a broken heart has needs. That’s where you come in.”

“I’ll do what I can to help you forget.”

He smirked. “No. You’re here to help me remember.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Sex helps me feel alive again. I don’t really love people that much and I keep to myself mostly. When I do force myself to go out and socialize, it’s hard not to resent the happiness other couples have because I’ve lost Darren. I’m afraid losing him has changed me for the worst. Most of the time, I walk around like a zombie trying to feel something. Anything, really.”

I was touched with an urge to help him. To please him. Hopefully, he could grab a few hours of pleasure with me and he’d feel renewed on some level. I could see his handsome features fairly well by now, and I had a sudden urge to kiss his full lips.

He sucked in a breath when I touched his belt buckle. “What are you doing?”

“My job.” I leaned in and kissed him. His warm lips parted in surprise, sending a little zip of excitement straight to my balls. When the lip lock was over I said, “I came here to fuck you, and I’m going to do that now.” Once his buckle was undone, I slowly lowered the zipper, noticing his crotch was bulged. Good. He was already turned on. That made my job a little easier.

He swallowed loudly, and his breathing sped up. “I thought we might go upstairs first.”

I chuckled and pushed his pants below his hips, aroused by his gasp. “No.”

“Okay.”

“Have you ever been fucked bent over a chair, Seth?” I whispered.

He shook his head, and his clean male scent reached my nostrils. “No.”

“You’re going to love it. You’ll see.” I pulled a packet of lube and a condom from my pocket, and I turned him slowly until his back was to me. “Bend over.” I ran my hand up his spine, kneading the tense muscles.

He hesitated and then complied. “Be gentle,” he said softly.

“That’s not really what you want, now is it, Seth?”

Amazon

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EDITS SOMETIMES FEEL LIKE A TRIP TO THE DENTIST

Editors are my partners in crime. I know this intellectually. But still, whenever I see edits sitting in my in-box, I must admit my stomach clenches. I instinctively brace for what’s to come.

Courage-First-Step

 

Some publishing houses are pretty intense. Others do a lighter edit. But they are all centered around pointing out how you did something wrong, or could do it differently. Just like the doctor with that damn tooth drill, no matter how much you floss and brush, the dentist always finds something you could have done better. Right? It’s the nature of the job.

But I also want to point out that I love my editors. LOVE them. Without them it would be a terrifying world. Sometimes I can’t believe the stuff they catch that I didn’t notice. I’ve accidentally changed the spelling of names, or mentioned someone is under twenty-one and then proceed to have them drinking wine at a restaurant. Hair colors change without warning. I would be lost without their watchful eyes. They protect me from myself. Plus, if you have a good editor they will give you positive feedback as well. I’ve been so fortunate to have great editors who encourage me and also enlighten me.teamwork

Every time I sell a story to a new publisher there’s a nervous anticipation until I meet the new editor. Will they get my voice? Will they understand my snarky humor? I’ve been so fortunate to have fantastic editors. We trade little funny comments back and forth. They make me laugh out loud a lot. I get a ton of strange looks from people who don’t understand why I’m guffawing at my computer.

The other side of the coin is editors are amazing in their ability to not take things personally. It’s such a relief to me that when I do disagree on something they don’t become offended. They are wonderful about accepting that we authors don’t always agree with them. I’m in awe of how beautifully they keep their egos in check. Editors discuss everything so rationally. It calms me because I know they will listen to my concerns, and not steam roll over me. That takes a special person to be able to do that.

I still remember my first edit. (I’m eyeballing you, Kathleen.)I had so much to learn. I still do. And I didn’t understand that many times editors are simply making suggestions. You don’t have to accept them. (Unless it’s house style or something non-negotiable. Like changing the capital of California to Santa Rosa because you think it’s prettier there than Sacramento.) In the beginning, I thought if an editor pointed something out I HAD to make the changes. That was definitely terrifying, and a bazillion times more stressful than it needed to be. Yes, a bazillion. You heard me. I’m grateful that my editors insist on how important it is for me to love my story. They encourage me to not make changes that will ruin the book for me.

I guess these feelings I have are normal. I like it when something is normal about me. No one likes to be corrected or criticized. Even when you know the other person is right. The more seasoned authors I talk with even get stressed when edits arrive in their in-boxes. That’s comforting to know. No matter how long you’ve been writing, or brushing your teeth, there will always be more to learn.

I’m glad I have my editors along to guide me. I’m thankful for Kathleen Calhoun, Sue Adams, KC and Elizabeth London for all they have taught me and continue to teach me. I’m so proud and happy to work with them. I’m secure in the knowledge that they have my back. I won’t make a fool of myself if they have anything to say about it. And luckily they do have lots to say about it.

I’m eternally grateful for my editors. I have nothing but warm fuzzy feelings toward them. I wish I could say the same about my dentist.