As you may or may not know, I used Fatal Shadows as the rough guideline for STRANGER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED. This allowed me to embellish and expand a bit on Fatal Shadows for those who can never quite get enough of Adrien and Jake, but the fun part is the multiple alternate possibilities for how that story could have gone. And if you've read STHH, you know that it could have gone very right or VERY wrong.
The illustrations, four in total, are probably the best thing about the book. So thank you yet again, Catherine.
Anyway, I had a lot of fun writing it--the SO tells me maniacal laughter echoed from my office on more than one occasion--but frankly it was the most difficult project I've ever done, and I'm not sure I have the nerve to try another (sorry, those of you who have suggested Will and Taylor are prime for CYOA).
I'm giving away two copies of the print edition that contains the full color illustrations. If you've tracked them down to Createspace (the only place you can purchase them new) you know they're on the pricy side. So let's see...comment on why you feel Adrien and Jake are unique and you'll be included in the drawing for one of these two giveaway copies.
And for those of you who haven't bought the ebook or B&W edition but are a bit curious, enjoy the crazy:
LINE J If you decide
to go with Claude to Ball and Chain, turn to page...
The music is deafening and about two decades out of date. For some reason, that strikes you as the most embarrassing thing so far. Of course, the night is young. A lot of guys are dancing, and you are reminded yet again that it is sadly true that most white guys, even gay white guys, can’t dance.
You avert your gaze from the dreadful spectacle — and who should you spot from clear across the cavern-sized room but Detective Riordan. He’s standing at the bar drinking whisky and staring broodingly into space. Your jaw drops and you walk right into a guy who looks like an extra for Marlon Brando in The Wild One. No, correction. He looks like Marlon Brando in later years trying to force his way back into his costume from The Wild One. Talk about something your best friends won’t tell you.
The guy, who is old enough to be your father — although thinking about your parents in this context kinda makes you feel faint — says something you can’t make out over the music. Claude responds saucily on your behalf and drags you away, Marlon gives your ass an appreciative pat and you jump like you sat on a rocket.
“What is the matter with you?” Claude demands. “Behave!”
It’s hard to picture Robert here. Oh, he’d have liked the general subversive kinkiness of it, but Robert was not a kind or tolerant person when it came to other people’s vulnerabilities, and you see a lot of vulnerability. A lot of soft underbelly, both figuratively and literally.
You rock to a stop, bringing Claude to a halt.
“What are we doing here?” you ask in response to his questioning look.
“What are we detecting?”
He smiles coquettishly and nods at a blond twink in jeans and a black leather vest. “I can’t speak for you, mon cher, but I detect that!”
You roll your eyes. “I’m going to investigate the bar.”
You knew from the moment Claude suggested it, that this night was a waste of time and money. You turn away, but a hand hooks around your arm. You look up and your heart jumps in your chest. Detective Riordan gazes down at you with a strange half smile.
“Why, look who’s here,” he says in that voice that always feels like fingernails raking the back of your neck.
“Oh. Hey,” you say weakly. It really IS him. Detective Riordan is in a leather club. Detective Riordan is apparently gay. Or maybe he’s undercover? Then you remember the scene in Robert’s apartment.
Detective Riordan was not giving you mouth-to-mouth resuscitation this afternoon, he was kissing you.
Your gaze falls and you take him in, from the gleam of his black boots…leather jeans…studded leather belt…and then bare, broad muscular chest. Nothing else. Not a single extra anything. Severe and elegant. Beneath the gold dusting of chest hair, his pecs look like rocks. So do his biceps. He’s got an abdomen like a washboard. You can’t stop staring. Your mouth is dry, your heart racketing around your chest.
“Come here often?” He’s laughing at you. Well, the line of his mouth is serious enough, but his eyes glitter with amusement. Amusement and…excitement.
He wants you.
Holy moly. Detective Riordan wants you.
“It’s my first time,” you joke. “So be gentle.” At least…you thought you were joking. Maybe not so much.
He blinks. Then his eyes widen.
Anyway, to make a long story short, it’s true what the American Express advertising says. Membership does have its privileges. Before you can say “second thoughts,” you’re in a small, private room marked MEMBERS ONLY. The “members” thing makes you want to giggle, but that’s because you’re strung so tight with nerves you’re ready to blow apart.
How can you be so anxious and so turned on all at the same time?
The room is more like a dentist’s office than a bedroom, but then you’re not there to sleep. There is a long — two-way?! — mirror down the length of one brick wall. There is a battered-looking armoire. Or maybe it’s an entertainment console. Are you going to be filmed? Recorded? Blackmailed? There are a couple of padded benches. Padded walls might be more appropriate. There is also a half table with a frame that looks like a cross between a rack and a baby swing. You definitely do not want to know.
The room is warm and the lights are low. The thump of the bass from the dance floor is like a drugged heartbeat beneath your feet.
“Do you have a safe word?”
You try not to start. Riordan is right behind you, breathing down your neck. Your scalp prickles. Your prick prickles. Your prickles prickle.
“Stop?” you offer.
“You do know how this works, right?”
“Of course,” you lie.
“You need to pick a different safe word.”
If you decide to stay and get into real trouble, turn to page 142