Today I am so pleased to welcome Charlie Cochet back to Joyfully Jay. Charlie has come to share an exclusive excerpt from her latest release, A Rose by Any Other Name. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
“Well, don’t you look appetizing? Wearing a little more than I would like, but….” Ares ran a hand down Julius’s back, smacking him hard when he got to his backside, “I’m always happy to see how fast I can undress you.”
Julius took a deep calming breath and willed himself to summon patience. It was proving extremely difficult, but he managed to take a step to the side, away from Ares’s roaming hand.
“You know, I get the distinct feeling you’re avoiding me. You’re not still sore at me over our last little lover’s spat, are you? I was a tad upset. I didn’t mean to get so rough.”
“You drugged me,” Julius replied through his teeth.
He should have known it wouldn’t go smoothly. Matters rarely did where Ares was concerned.
“You were being uncooperative.”
At Ares’s offhand remark, Julius spun toward him, barely managing to keep his temper from flaring. “Is that what you call it? Being uncooperative? And here I thought it was more along the lines of assault.”
Ares let out a boisterous laugh, further trying Julius’s already dwindling patience. “You slay me, dollface. Assault. Ain’t no such thing.” He leaned into Julius, his voice low and menacing. “I give you money, and you do what I want. That’s how it works. You’re a whore, remember?”
“Of course. How silly of me.” Julius started to turn away only to be caught and forced to face Ares again. The murmurs of several concerned guests around Julius were well warranted, judging by the fierce expression on Ares’s face.
“Where the hell do you think you’re going? Did I say you could walk away from me?”
Julius refused to cower. He’d spent the last two years submitting to this vile man and his every whim, too afraid of what might happen otherwise. His own insecurities had blinded him, and he’d believed a man like Ares was the best he could hope for in this life. Now all he felt when he looked at Ares was disgust for a life filled with nothing but violence, grief, and destruction, a life he wanted no part of. “I have to get ready for the next show.”
“Plenty of time.”
“I said no.” Julius jerked his arm out of Ares’s grasp, intent on making his getaway, only to have his arms brutally seized. He flinched as Ares’s fingers dug into his flesh.
“Did you say no to me? It’s him, isn’t it? You’re in love with him.”
Julius’s stared at Ares, his words having caught him off guard. He shook his head, his throat constricted, and his heart hammering in his chest. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Don’t lie to me, you little shit. Admit it! You’re in love with him. After everything I’ve given you?”
Ares shook him, enough to both rattle him and infuriate him. There had been a time when he would have allowed Ares to get away with treating him so poorly, when he’d been lying to himself, trying to justify Ares’s behavior toward him. Well, he’d had enough. Julius threw his arms up, freeing himself before harshly shoving Ares away from him.
“You’ve given me nothing you haven’t taken payment for,” Julius spat out. “Well, I don’t want your money, your gifts, or your blasted club, and I especially don’t want your filthy hands on me! I want nothing to do with you, ever again!”
Julius never saw it coming. The back of Ares’s hand hit his cheek with such force, his head snapped to the side, and he went reeling. He painfully collided with the floor, his cheek throbbing, and his eyes watering at the sharp pain left behind from Ares’s ring.
“You ungrateful little whore! I’m going to—”
A thunderous crash resounded beside Julius, giving him a terrible start, and when he looked up, he found Ares had been tackled into a nearby table. The table folded underneath the weight of the two thrashing men, champagne glasses, and china dishes shattering, shards flying in all directions. Someone helped Julius to his feet and his eyes widened at the sight of the other man.
Ignoring the warnings coming from the guests around him, Julius ran toward the brawling pair, all the while fearful of what Ares might do to Edward. When he reached the table, he was startled to discover his fear was misplaced. If there was anyone who needed to fear for his safety, it was Ares, pinned beneath Edward.
“You son of a bitch!” Edward grabbed a fistful of Ares’s vest, and punched him square in the nose several times, the last blow making a horrific sound and sending blood splattering across the stark white tablecloth. Ares thrashed his legs, lashing out at Edward’s face, but it was clear Edward knew what he was doing. What’s more, he wasn’t afraid to do it. Julius was taken aback by his lover’s fierce and fearless demeanor. “You stay the hell away from him. You hear me?” Edward pressed one knee down into Ares’s ribs, forcing a barrage of curses from him while his face turned a deep reddish purple. “I’ve seen better men than you die in front of me.” A shard of broken china appeared in Edward’s hand, and he placed the jagged edge to Ares’s neck.
A collective gasp swept through the crowd around them, and in the distance Julius could see Ares’s men pushing through. Maxfield, Albert, Terry, and Lawry materialized before the thugs, blocking their paths as the large gong on stage signaled midnight’s arrival. Hundreds of balloons cascaded down from the ceiling, momentarily sending a wave of confusion through the club and providing the opportunity Julius needed. He pulled on Edward’s arm, trying to drag him away, but Edward’s quiet rage was focused on Ares. Any moment now, Ares’s thugs would descend upon them, and Julius feared what Edward might do in order to protect him.
Nights in the roaring city remind bright young things that life’s too short to take for granted. Tucked away in Times Square hides the Pantheon: a secret cabaret for wealthy gay men. Pretty young men in elaborate costumes and rouged lips are eager to please, and the champagne flows all night long. It’s a world of frivolity, fantasy, and debauchery. As Eros, the most sought after performer at the Pantheon, Julius uses his beauty and charm on enthusiastic patrons, but growing weary of superficial love, he longs to make a better life for himself.
Five years after being declared mentally unfit after surviving the trenches of No Man’s Land, Edward Joseph Clarence Junior pieced his shattered life back together. Now he’s ready to take on the family empire. To celebrate his thirtieth birthday, Edward’s cousin takes him to the most posh nightclub in town, the Pantheon. Falling under the sway of Eros, Edward and Julius find a love they’ve never imagined and the chance for a future they had only dared to dream about. But as Ares, a notorious gangster and Julius’s most important—and dangerous—client watches them, the threat to their love and their lives grows by the day.
- Dreamspinner Press
- All Romance eBooks
Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From Historical to Fantasy, Contemporary to Science Fiction, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!
Currently residing in South Florida, Charlie looks forward to migrating to a land where the weather includes seasons other than hot, hotter, and boy, it’s hot! When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.
- Website: http://www.charliecochet.com
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- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/charliecochet
- Twitter: @charliecochet | http://www.twitter.com/charliecochet
- Newsletter: http://www.charliecochet.com/newsletter
Charlie has brought a $10 Amazon gift card and a red and gold feather pendant bracelet to give away to one lucky reader on her tour. Just follow the Rafflecopter link to enter.
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