Hi guys! Today I am super excited to welcome author S.J. Frost here to talk about her new release, A Little Bit Country. I read this story when it was a free short on Goodreads and absolutely loved it, so I was just thrilled to hear that S.J. was releasing a full length version. And she was nice enough to stop by today and talk more about it, share a blurb, and to offer a copy up to one lucky reader. So please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Thank you, Jay, for having me over to your place! I’m excited to be here, and so happy to share about my newest release, A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY!
It’s kind of funny for me to call this story a new release, because it is and it isn’t. I know, confusing, right? You see, the story was actually “born” two years ago on the M/M Romance Group at Goodreads for their annual Don’t Read in the Closet event. When I wrote the story for the group, I felt there was still a lot more to explore with the characters, but with time constraints, I wasn’t able to expand it. But I promised I would, and that I’d give rock star, Ash Ivers, and country singer, Jackson Abrams, their complete story someday. Now I finally have!
I really hadn’t intended to wait this long to write the expanded version, but my writing schedule was already very full with working on my other rock star novels in the Conquest series, and my vampires in the Instincts series. Ash and Jackson stayed in the back of my mind, though, and I found some new inspiration that motivated me to settle down and get writing on them. That inspiration came from an unexpected source, a TV show.
I don’t watch much TV, but there’s one show I always make the time for, and that’s The Voice. When I first started watching it, I did so because I heard Adam Levine, lead singer of Maroon 5, was on it. And really, did I need any more reason than that to tune in? No. No, I didn’t.
So there I am, watching the show for the first time, during its first season. Adam was at one end of the line of music coaches. At the opposite end was this other guy, tall, pretty blue eyes, deep voice with a southern drawl, and he’s trading smart-mouthed comments with Adam. Yes, I’m sad to say at that moment, I didn’t know who Blake Shelton was. While my music roots growing up where rock and country, in recent years, I’d gotten away from country music. I’m happy to say I’ve since come back to it.
As I was watching Adam and Blake be cocky and playful with each other — and all around cute — I could hear Ash and Jackson waking up in my mind. But, there were other stories in the works, so once again, poor Ash and Jackson had to wait, even with all that lovely inspiration. With each new season of The Voice, I was reminded again my rocker and country singer needed THEIR story. Appearance wise, Adam and Blake might not look like Ash and Jackson, but their bantering is all Ash and Jackson, who start out a bit as enemies to lovers, but never fully lose that teasing way with each other.
With this past season of The Voice, the inspiration was just too strong and I couldn’t wait any longer. Their story had to be finished! Ash and Jackson deserved for a long time to have their full story told, and what a fun story it was to write! Now that it’s released, I hope everyone who reads it, whether meeting Ash and Jackson for the first time, or getting to know them again, will enjoy it!
Ash Ivers says and does what he wants, and with being the lead singer of the world famous rock band, From Ashes, he gets away with both. Three years ago, his mouth got the better of him, and he started a media feud with county music star, Jackson Abrams. When they’re both booked to play a charity concert, he sees his chance to finally confront Jackson in person. Though, he’s uncertain if his anger will hold against his attraction to the singing cowboy.
Jackson Abrams is the darling of country music. He’s polite, charming, handsome…and he has a secret that he fears could jeopardize his career. When it comes to the cocky rock star, Ash Ivers, he’s infuriated and intrigued by him. He wants their feuding to stop, but he also doesn’t want to lose the attention it gives him from Ash.
As Ash and Jackson meet, the heat of anger turns to passion. But when Jackson’s world starts crumbling around him, will their differences make them stronger, or drive them apart?
The door opened.
Jackson met the gaze of the man standing in the doorway, who looked to be in his late thirties and from his sharp dress and well-styled blond hair, he guessed the guy was From Ashes’s manager.
The guy blinked and cleared his throat. “Well, this is a surprise.”
Jackson took a step forward. “I apologize for showing up out of the blue. But I was hoping to have a few words with Ash Ivers. Are you his manager?”
“Yeah, I’m Kent Baumann. And don’t you think you’ve already had a few words with Ash?”
“Yeah, but they haven’t been the best of words, and that’s why I wanted to have some more with him.”
Ash’s voice sounded from inside, “Kent, who’re you talking to?”
Kent turned his head slightly to call back to him, his gaze staying on Jackson. “Jackson Abrams. He says he wants to talk to you.”
Silence once more filled the air.
“Should I let him on?” Kent asked.
Another pause came before Ash answered, “If he feels he can handle walking into this den of sin, then by all means, let him in.”
Jackson clamped his teeth together. This might’ve been a bad idea.
Kent stepped out from the bus and stood to the side of the door, motioning the way in for Jackson with a sweep of his arm. “Welcome aboard.”
“Thanks,” Jackson grumbled. He let out a heavy breath and climbed up the first step, doing his best to call up a pleasant expression before he reached the top of the stairs. He turned inside the bus. The first thing to hit his vision, Ash, reclined on a black leather couch running along one side of the bus.
The Mohawk was gone, his hair much shorter, but still with enough length on top where Ash had it artfully styled. The yellow and red coloring was gone too, and it was now a very dark brown. The darker color accented Ash’s blue eyes, making them seem crystalline, but what really made them stand out was the black eyeliner framing them. It looked like he hadn’t shaved that morning; stubble shadowed his jaw and lower cheeks, giving his soft facial features a rugged edge. He knew he and Ash were the same age, twenty-seven, but Ash looked – and sometimes acted – much younger.
With him fully stretched out on the couch, Jackson took in Ash’s long, lean body, from the black leather pants to the tight black spandex shirt patterned in gray skulls. The shirt conformed to him, each wiry muscle in his torso was visible. Jackson also made out the circular shape of rings in Ash’s nipples. The short sleeves showed Ash’s sinewy arms inked in tattoos. One of a grinning skull resting in a bed of red flames adorned his right forearm, the word “From” written above the skull, “Ashes” written below the flames. On his left forearm, a tribal dragon curved up to his elbow. Black flames in the same tribal style came from the dragon’s mouth, small near Ash’s elbow, then spreading out across his bicep. He had thick black leather cuffs studded in steel spikes on his wrists. Each earlobe was decorated with two black diamonds.
There was no mistaking Ash for anything other than the rock star he was, and there was also no denying he looked better than Jackson had ever seen him. He knew Ash was a good looking man, but sometimes the styles Ash did with his hair and clothes distracted from it. Seeing him now, his hair and clothes simpler but trendy, Jackson couldn’t take his eyes off him.
Ash tipped his head to the side in a contemplating look. “Well, of all the people I’d expect to knock on my door, you wouldn’t even come close to making the list.”
“I can understand that, Mr. Ivers. We haven’t exactly had much in the way of friendly conversation.”
Ash let out a soft laugh. “Dude, don’t call me mister.”
The other band members joined in with his snickering.
Jackson glanced at them. He knew all their names. Sitting at a table was the drummer, Devin Hayes, his thick arms folded across his barrel chest, his eyes dark brown, his hair nothing more than black fuzz with it buzzed close to his head.
The bass player, Chad Anders, leaned back on a counter, and even though he was snickering with the others, he had a friendly look to him. Of course, that could be because with his small build, blond hair, blue eyes, and young looking face, he had an innocent appearance to him. But Jackson also knew appearances could be deceiving.
Guitarist, Jeremy Shimoda, sat at the table with Devin, and was twisted around to look at him. He had half his black hair pulled up in a ponytail, the other half fell to the tops of his shoulders. Jackson knew from Jeremy’s last name and from reading about him he was half Japanese, and his features blended the beauty of both his Caucasian and Asian ethnicities. He was also the only one not snickering. Instead, Jeremy looked at him with interest.
Jackson brought his attention back to Ash. “Sorry. I’m not much of one for being called mister either, but I thought I’d try to be polite.”
Louder laughter came from Ash. “Trying to be polite? Since when the hell have you ever wanted to be polite to me?”
Jackson suppressed a growl in his throat before it slipped out. He forced his voice to be calm and steady. “I’ve always tried to be polite every time I’ve had to respond to one of your temper tantrum comments.”
Ash snapped himself upright, bracing both hands on the couch as if he was about to launch off it. “Just because I say it like it is doesn’t mean I’m having a temper tantrum.”
“Maybe not, but you’re having a damn good one right now.”
Ash’s mouth dropped open with a stuttering breath slipping out. He snapped it closed, his lips set in a hard line. As he spoke again, half the words came from between clenched teeth. “You can say I’m having temper tantrums or whatever the hell else you want, but at least people know what they’re getting with me. I am who I am, and I don’t a give a shit who likes it and who doesn’t. Not like you, who throws out insults behind your good boy smile.”
Jackson took a step forward, pointing down at him. “You don’t know a damn thing about me, so don’t talk like you do. I’m not as much of a good boy as everyone thinks.”
Ash stood. “Really? How so? No, wait, I bet I know. You’re kinkaholic in the bedroom, aren’t you? You’ve probably even…” he sucked in a sharp gasp, “fucked with the lights on. You rebel!”
Jackson glared at him, not bothering to hold back his growl as he spoke in a low voice. “I didn’t come here to be talked to like this.”
Ash folded his arms across his chest. “Then you shouldn’t have come here at all.”
“Yeah, I’ve figured that much out. I thought maybe we could talk things out like men and clear the air between us, put an end to all this ridiculous fighting with the press acting as ringleaders to both of us, but it looks like I was wrong. Maybe when you’re ready to man-up, you can come find me and we’ll try talking again.”
“Man-up! You did not just say that to me!”
Ash walked two quick steps toward Jackson
Jeremy hopped up, forcing Ash to stop, and stood between them. “I think you both need to cool it.” He turned to look at Jackson. “And with how this is going, it might be better if you leave.”
Jackson dipped his head in a nod of acknowledgment. “I think so, too. I’m sorry things took this turn.” He looked at Ash. “I didn’t come here to fight with you.” He glanced over the others. “Hope you have a good set.”
He glanced again at Ash. Seeing the hardness in Ash’s gaze, he turned away and jogged down the steps, closing the bus’s door once outside. He strode quickly away, but as thoughts of what happened filled his mind, his pace slowed.
That would go down as one of his biggest screw-ups of all time. He should’ve known something like that would happen the instant he and Ash met in person. With all the tension that’d built between them through the media, it wasn’t as if he expected them to embrace like long lost friends. Still, he hadn’t quite expected that much of a blowup.
He lifted a hand to his chest, rubbing over his heart. What he expected even less was how he felt about it. The hurt at Ash’s reaction to him hit with so much intensity and went so deep. Why did Ash have to be like that? All he wanted from him was…was what? What did he want from Ash? Why had he really wanted to talk to him?
Jackson shook his head. The answer to those questions wasn’t something he wanted to face, and considering how things turned out, it didn’t look like he’d ever have to.
A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY: http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=SJF_ALBC
S.J. Frost website: http://www.sjfrost.com/
S.J. has been kind enough to offer up a copy of A Little Bit Country for one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Monday, August 26th at 11:59 pm EST.
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