Today I have one of my very BFF guesting! I've been reading Ali for a few years and I have to say I don't ever tire of her works. She's an amazing person and author. The book she's talking about today is fantastic so be sure a grab a copy! You won't be sorry you did!
Thanks so much for having me here today. I’ve been reading your blog and have to admit to feeling a little intimidated by the rash of talent you’ve featured.
Rather than write about my most recent release, His Brother’s Keeper, published in August by Loose Id, I want to talk about one of my older story. The Highwayman came out in 2009 from Amber Quill Press.
More often than not, my stories come to me as a hook – a situation grabs me and won’t let go. That first chapter is always the easiest for me to write. The Highwayman was different. It began with a challenge. Amber Quill put out a call for M/M romance in which one of the main characters made a habit of flaunting the law, and the highwaymen of Eastern Europe during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are the most romantic bad-boys I could think of. From Robin Hood, to Falstaff, to John Ridd, to Tennyson’s Highwayman, these “gentlemen of the road” were the stuff of legend. Their lives were exciting, dangerous and brief.
But, I wanted something different from the usual highwayman fare. In my research, I found reference to Juraj Jánošík (George Janosik), an eighteenth century Slovakian Robin Hood. He became the inspiration for my main character, Janos Vesh, and his band of outlaws.
Janos is a bit of a mad man – actually more than a bit – and I had to imagine what had happened in his short life to make him so. His background as a kept boy in a society that drew its influence from the contemporary writings of the Marquis de Sade was fascinating enough to warrant its own story, but for The Highwayman, I used only bits and pieces to illustrate Janos’s madness.
What Janos needed a strong man to draw him out of the darkness and teach him to love again. That man was Stefan. Faithful, constant, forgiving, Stefan was a soldier willing to fight for what he wanted. Fortunately for Janos, he was someone Stefan considered worth the battle.
Location was easy. I love the mountains. We lived in the Sierra just south of Yosemite for twenty years, and I miss them. My father grew up in the Carpathian foothills in a little town in southern Poland, an ancient place with a fascinating history. One of my WIPs, a historical romance, is set in that village.
The Highwayman takes place farther south, in the rugged mountains of Transylvania near Dracula's Castle - not a vampire or werewolf in evidence. I traveled via Google Earth for my research. Not enough can be said about the genius behind the program's development. Google Earth is a virtual world tour on your desktop.
Here’s a taste of Janos’s and Stefan’s story.
Janos Vesh is a man on the edge. He's spent all of his adult life fighting his past. Now he roams the highways of the southern Carpathian Mountains chasing what little vengeance fate has to offer for the wrongs done to him and to his family. But satisfaction eludes him, and his only comfort comes in the arms of his lover, Stefan.
The soldier's constant love is no longer enough to rein in the highwayman's growing recklessness. Stefan doesn't know what drives Janos along the path to self-destruction. He knows only that trying to save the man he loves from himself is fast becoming a losing battle. He's not ready to give up, but ideas are running short.
A robbery gone bad, a descent into darkness, and Janos's fragile hold on sanity begins to crumble. Stefan has one last hope. Will it succeed where all else failed?
No fire burned in the tiny hearth. The only light in the room poured from the slit that passed for a window high in the wall onto the narrow bed and the figure sprawled there.
The captain of the guard lay on his back, naked, one foot on the floor. The thin, white sheet of rough linen covering him to the waist served only to highlight the sweep of lean hips and the bulge of his flaccid cock where it dipped into the valley between powerful thighs.
Janos couldn't take his eyes off him. Lust, like liquid fire, washed over him, raising gooseflesh and creating a stir in his breeches as his own cock reacted to the sight. A harsh, silent breath escaped him.
The Archangel Michael lay before him bathed in moonlight.
He crossed himself with his sword arm to ward off the blasphemy without bothering to pray for strength to resist the invitation the long, hard body conjured. That temptation was beyond resisting and assured him an eternity burning with a different fire in hell.
From the foot of the bed, he let the steady rise and fall of the man's breathing hypnotize him while he waited for the tremors in his limbs to settle down. Once his hand steadied, he slid the tip of the saber beneath a fold in the sheet and lifted away the cover for a better view. The soft snores never faltered.
His gaze traveled the length of the man, taking in the thick blond hair spread across the pillow, the full, perfectly kissable lips, slightly parted. And down, following the line of light fur past the wide expanse of chest and cleft of torso to where the no-longer flaccid cock swelled and lifted from its coarse nest as though responding to his visual caress.
Ah hah, the sleeper awakes. His lips curled. He swiped the flat of the blade over one turgid nipple.
The captain thrust an arm toward the floor, groping.
"Is this what you're looking for?" Janos raised the saber in salute. His voice was entirely too husky to pull this off.
In a blur, his prey leaped from the mattress. "How did you get in here?"
Janos circled the bed, keeping the saber pointed at the captain's chest. The tall, blond bear of a man retreated before the smaller until his back met unyielding stone. Janos pressed the advantage. Lifting the point to the man's jaw, he closed the distance between them to a hand's breadth.
"Take off that mask," the captain demanded.
"And bare my identity? I think not. Kneel."
A stubborn crease appeared in the smooth brow. The flesh surrounding the saber's tip puckered and paled as Janos forced a sinister air and increased the pressure--just a hair. He had no desire to draw blood.
The man snarled a curse and lowered himself to the floor. "You'll be caught. My men are asleep down the hall."
"I'll come quietly, then." Janos chuckled and unbuttoned his pants with his free hand. His engorged cock, freed from the confines of his breeches, fell heavily into his palm. A few casual strokes drew the man's gaze. The heat in those crystal blue eyes produced a thrill of triumph. He'd guessed correctly. Stefan appreciated the game.
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