Today I am so excited to welcome Keira Andrews to Joyfully Jay. Keira has come to talk to us about her latest release, A Forbidden Rumspringa. I reviewed this earlier this week and totally loved it. She has also brought along a great giveaway to share. Please join me in giving Keira a big welcome!
Hi everyone! Thanks for having me. I also have to thank Jay for inspiring me to write A Forbidden Rumspringa in the first place. When Jay mentioned last year that she gets a lot of hits for people searching for sexy Amish men, it sparked a delicious plot bunny.
The story was initially going to be a novella, but when I began researching it grew and grew into what is now a full-novel trilogy. (And possibly more! Ideas for a future book keep on coming.) I really fell in love with Isaac and David, two young Amish men whose sexuality causes deep conflict.
Their families and community would be horrified to learn that they’re gay, but they also really struggle to reconcile their feelings within themselves. Isaac and David live in a world where obedience and faith in God is everything. Coming out and remaining Amish is simply not an option.
One of the most interesting things I learned during my research and in speaking to ex-Amish people is how different one Amish settlement can be from another. (I also learned that those Amish “reality” shows on TLC are nonsense, but I’d suspected that was the case!) I’d figured one Amish community was pretty much like another, but there can be so many differences in rules and lifestyle.
Isaac and David are Swartzentruber Amish, which is a very conservative subgroup of the Old Order. The concept of rumspringa, the “running around time” for Amish teenagers, is not found in many Swartzentruber communities. In their town of Zebulon, Isaac and David are expected to follow the rules, join the church and get married. And that’s that.
I was also interested to discover that the way we envision rumspringa is not usually the reality. We non-Amish (or “English,” as they call us) have the notion that rumspringa is encouraged, but from what I learned, it certainly is not. While it’s tolerated in some communities, few Amish parents approve of it. Of course like everything, it differs from place to place. There’s so much more variation in the Amish world than I ever knew.
I’m excited to share this excerpt from A Forbidden Rumspringa, which is available today at at Amazon, All Romance Ebooks and other online booksellers! I hope you enjoy losing yourself in the world of Isaac and David as much as I have.
June’s farmhouse was dark when they drove up, but the light over the workshop faithfully turned on as David parked the truck near it. Isaac had no idea how it worked, but it was a handy thing, this motion detector. Lanterns do just fine. Don’t go getting carried away after one night in the world.
Inside, Isaac changed back into his clothes with his gaze resolutely on the floor. After a deep breath, he pulled down the zipper on his borrowed jeans himself. He hopped back into his pants, buttoning the flap over his fly with fast fingers. He didn’t bother with the three hooks at the top of his shirt, and shrugged on his jacket over it. He could see David moving in the corner of his eye, but didn’t dare look until he was sure David was dressed.
“Oh, before I forget…” David said, his voice muffled.
Isaac turned to find David bent over and peering into the little refrigerator. His black pants stretched tightly over his backside, and Isaac willed himself to look away as a deep ache set his cock and balls tingling. It must have been an after effect of the movie, or perhaps the huge amount of Pepsi he’d drunk. He just had to relieve himself, that was all.
David pulled out a clear bag holding whole fish. He wrapped them in a cloth before dropping them in a black sack and handing it to Isaac. “For your mother. I’ll tell mine they weren’t biting tonight.”
Isaac took the sack, his fingers brushing David’s. He steadied his breath. “I need…is there an outhouse here?”
“There’s a bathroom in there.” David pointed to a door at the rear of the workshop. “But you can go outside if you’d rather.”
“I’d better. I think I’ve done enough sinning for tonight.” Now that they were returning home, the earlier euphoria was giving way to reality.
David turned away. “Sure. I’ll meet you by the fence.”
After he did his business by a tree, Isaac waited where Kaffi was loosely tied, head bowed and munching away. He stroked the horse’s flanks. When David arrived, his shoulders were tense, and he didn’t look at Isaac as he untethered Kaffi. Behind them, the light on the workshop went out, and they were in darkness but for the moon. Isaac blinked as his eyes adjusted.
“I’m sorry if you regret going tonight.” David’s words were bitten out.
“David, I don’t. At least, I don’t think I do.” Isaac’s heart skipped. “Are you angry with me?”
Head down, David laughed, but it was razor sharp. “No, Isaac. Only with myself.”
“Why?” Isaac touched the sleeve of David’s coat. “I wanted to come. I’m glad you trusted me.”
When he looked up, David’s eyes shone with unshed tears. “I was selfish to bring you here. Please forgive me.”
“What?” Isaac dropped the sack of fish and stepped closer, rubbing David’s arm. He hated to see him upset. “There’s nothing to forgive. You said yourself Mervin and I were watching a movie just last week. We’re all curious. We’re all tempted. The tighter they try to lock us away from the world, the more we wonder. They try to prevent rumspringa, but they can’t stop it. Most of the time I feel like I’m drowning in sinful thoughts. A zipper and a movie aren’t so bad, really.”
A tear slipped down David’s cheek, and he took Isaac’s head in his hands. “Isaac, if you knew what I really wanted—” He broke off.
Was it possible? David was touching him in a way he never had. Did he mean what Isaac thought he meant? His heart thumped, and the dark desire that secretly hummed through him day and night rose to a crescendo like the music at the start of the movie. “I want it too,” Isaac whispered. Oh God, he did. He wanted it. He wanted this.
David took a shuddering breath, swiping his thumb across Isaac’s bottom lip. Before he could think better of it, Isaac sucked the calloused pad of David’s thumb into his mouth. David moaned low in his throat, and a warm puff of air feathered across Isaac’s face.
He wasn’t exactly sure how it came to be that David’s thumb was replaced by David’s lips, pressing gently. The world tilted, Isaac’s head so light it might float away. He was certain he had to be back in his bed, with his brother’s snoring about to wake him from this wonderful dream at any moment.
Because he couldn’t possibly be leaning into the solid warmth of David Lantz, feeling David’s arms steal around him, their bodies in a tight embrace as they explored each other. He’d never kissed anyone before, and it wasn’t possible that he was kissing another boy—a man—the scrape of David’s late-day stubble exhilarating against his skin.
Isaac couldn’t be parting his lips and kissing David more deeply, tasting meat and salt and something sweeter than molasses in the next breath. It was impossible that his hands were roaming over David’s back, touching the firm, trembling muscles, wishing there was nothing in between them—that they could rut together flesh on flesh like the animals in the barn.
Impossible! Isaac groaned, his body flowing with something that had to be electricity.
Then he woke, David’s warmth ripped away from him with a gasp. Isaac blinked, waiting for the familiar dark shapes of his bedroom to materialize. But there was no chest of drawers or dark clothing hung from pegs on the wall. He was still standing by the fence at June’s farm, his breath shallow, and his mouth wet.
David stumbled back. “No. I’ve done enough. I can’t do this to you too.” He lurched up the fence and onto Kaffi. “We have to go home. Come on.”
Isaac stared up at him, his mind spinning hopelessly. “Wait.” He shook his head. “David…”
But David wouldn’t look at him. “Isaac, get on. Please.” After a moment, he added, “Please.”
Once Isaac was on the horse’s back, David urged Kaffi onward almost into a gallop, and Isaac bit back a cry as he clutched David’s waist. They thundered across June’s field into the woods, and as they tore around a group of oaks, Isaac lost his balance, terror twisting through him.
David yanked on the reins, but it was too late. Isaac let go so he wouldn’t take David with him as he tumbled to the grass and fallen leaves. The air slammed from his lungs, and he opened his mouth with a silent cry, blinking at the branches arching overhead. A moment later, David’s face was above him, eyes bright, lips parted.
“Isaac!” Kneeling beside him, he cupped Isaac’s cheek. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry! Are you hurt?”
It took a few moments for Isaac to drag in a breath, and he shook his head. A couple of bruises would likely be the extent of it.
“Are you sure?” David ran his hands over Isaac’s limbs, pushing and prodding. “Did you hit your head? I’m so sorry.”
“No,” Isaac croaked. He took a long, deep breath. “I’m all right. I swear.”
“Thank you, Lord.” David leaned over him and pressed a kiss to Isaac’s forehead. “If you were hurt, I don’t know what I’d—” He inhaled sharply. “And it was because of me.” He shook his head. “Can you forgive me?”
“Of course.” Isaac reached up and brushed back David’s hair.
His face was creased with misery. “You should run far away from me, Isaac. I’ll drag you down. Lead you to temptation.”
Isaac considered his choice—the first he’d truly had in as long as he could remember. It was easy, really. With another deep breath, he tightened his fingers in David’s hair and pulled his head down. “I’m already there,” he whispered.
When two young Amish men find love, will they risk losing everything?
In a world where every detail of life—down to the width of a hat brim—is dictated by God and the all-powerful rules of the community, two men dare to imagine a different way. At 18, Isaac Byler knows little outside the strict Amish settlement of Zebulon, Minnesota, where there is no rumspringa for exploration beyond the boundaries of their insular world. Isaac knows he’ll have to officially join the church and find a wife before too long, but he yearns for something else—something he can’t name.
Dark tragedy has left carpenter David Lantz alone to support his mother and sisters, and he can’t put off joining the church any longer. But when he takes on Isaac as an apprentice, their attraction grows amid the sweat and sawdust. David shares his sinful secrets, and he and Isaac struggle to reconcile their shocking desires with their commitment to faith, family and community.
Now that they’ve found each other, are they willing to lose it all?
After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.” You can find out more about Keira and her books at her website, and on Facebook and Twitter.
Keira has brought three ebooks from her back list to give away to three lucky readers! Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Saturday, September 6th at 11:59 pm EST.
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