Today I am so pleased to welcome Racheline Maltese & Erin McRae to Joyfully Jay. Racheline & Erin have come to talk to us about their latest release, Doves, the second book in their Love in Los Angeles series. They have also brought along an excerpt and a giveaway. Please join me in giving them a big welcome!
Keeping long-term relationships hot and interesting is a challenge. You know this if you’re married, you know this if you’re divorced, and you definitely know this if you read a lot of romance.
Doves, book two of our LGBTQ+ romance series Love in Los Angeles, picks up about a year after the first book left off. Paul and Alex, the main couple from Starling, are back front and center as they try to navigate their lives, their careers, and their relationship.
In some ways, it’s simpler to make a couple hot when they haven’t been together that long. After all, it’s exciting to be with somebody new, and it’s easy to make discovery and obsession ignite the page when everything is unfamiliar. But after a couple’s been together for a while, keeping things interesting can be a little bit more of a challenge. Although things can be very good without being particularly exciting, people do fall into routines they don’t always find satisfying.
We have three key strategies to keeping a long-term couple hot.
One key element we use to keep the sexual energy between our main long-term couple intense is distance. The reality of their lives in the film and TV industry means that they often work long hours and are sometimes even separated for months at a time. Absence really does make the heart (and other things) grow fonder, but distance also allows both Alex and Paul to continue to develop as separate individuals, which also allows them to keep discovering each other when they come back together.
Conflict is also key. In the case of Paul and Alex, this stems from a range of issues introduced in the first book. They include work-life balance, mental health concerns, and the inevitable conflicts that come when one partner is older than the other and can’t quite manage to refrain from offering not always useful life advice. Ultimately, conflict isn’t about pulling Alex and Paul apart; it’s about bringing them together with the realization that they have common goals for each other’s happiness.
Finally, there’s experimentation. Despite the ropes on the cover, Doves, isn’t a BDSM book, but it is a book where multiple couples play with the power dynamics in their emotional and physical relationships. For Alex and Paul, that means experimenting sexually and figuring out how those experiments do and don’t fit into their lives. With a polyamorous male-female couple as their close friends, they often receive a lot of advice, but relationship styles aren’t one size fit all. For Alex and Paul, this next phase of their relationship as highlighted in Doves is about trying on possible futures and seeing what works for them.
One of the recurring themes in Love in Los Angeles — and in life — is that if you solve a problem once, you’re probably going to have to solve it again, and again, and again. The question of how to keep a long-term relationship hot isn’t a question you answer only once, just as falling in love isn’t a one-time event, but an ongoing choice.
We hope you enjoy this sequel to Starling. Book three in the series will be out in June with a whole new look at the surprises that come with being rich and famous in Hollywood and how love changes in order to keep up with life.
It’s the way all their sex has been lately. Alex isn’t sure of the word for it. Violent seems wrong. As does aggressive, because sometimes Paul hurts him slowly, twisting bruising pinches into his thighs as he blows him. It’s certainly a natural progression of what has always worked for them — Paul pushing Alex until he feels so much it hurts in the best way possible. It’s just a little bit more explicit than it used to be.
That is, Alex supposes, a feature of growing up, or intimacy. Either that, or they’re just the perfect stereotype of young, bored, and famous, but they’re too fucking good — and everything in their charmed lives has been too hard-won — for Alex to write it off like that.
Paul marks him everywhere, with mouth and nails, sucking and pinching. He bats Alex’s hands away over and over again, wanting to watch what he does to him. The bruises bloom — red to white to the first flush of purple — and he refuses to let Alex pleasure him until he is wrung out and just gone. It makes Paul smug to have Alex distant-present with desire. In these moments he could make Alex do anything, and that matters in the worlds of what they do.
Alex is so fair, and so easy and eager to certain types of pain. That Paul gets to keep something of the history of those moments — it’s amazing. But he keeps wondering when he’s going to finally hit Alex’s wall and find a no. He keeps wondering how bad of a conversation that’s going to be.
“I should document these,” Alex says after they’ve fucked and eaten, turning this way and that in the mirror on the bathroom door to see the marks. “Every time,” he continues on, fascinated with himself in the way Paul supposes all actors are. “I really should.”
“Isn’t that dangerous in our lives?” Paul asks.
“I don’t know if I care,” Alex says, but the fact that he hasn’t pulled out his phone to take a picture certainly makes it clear that he does.
“Com’ere,” Paul says, shoving the room service tray a little bit more to the edge of the bed. He grabs Alex’s hips when he stops in front of him. “Let me document it,” Paul says.
“How?” Alex is wary.
“With my hands.”
The ties that bind…
Two years after the events of Starling, Cinderella story and star of The Fourth Estate J. Alex Cook is living happily ever after with his boyfriend, television writer Paul Marion Keane. But when Paul’s pilot, Winsome, AZ, gets picked up, the competing demands of their high-profile careers make them question their future together.
…can tear you apart
As Paul becomes increasingly absent from their relationship, Alex tries to regain control of his private life and establish a career path independent of Fourth’s enigmatic, and at times malevolent, showrunner Victor. But the delicate web of relationships that connects Alex, Paul, and their friends — including Alex’s excitable ex-lover Liam and his no-nonsense fiancée Carly — threatens to unravel.
With the business of Hollywood making it hard to remember who he is when the whole world isn’t watching, Alex is forced to confront major changes in the fairytale life he never wanted as he discovers that love in Los Angeles often looks nothing like the movies.
Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese are authors of the gay romance series Love in Los Angeles, set in the film and television industry (Starling (September 10, 2014), Doves (January 21, 2015), and Phoenix (June 10, 2015)), all from Torquere Press. Their gay romance novella Midsummer, Book One of the Love’s Labour series, about a summerstock Shakespeare company, is from Dreamspinner Press (Summer 2015). Racheline is a NYC-based performer and storyteller; Erin is a writer and blogger based in Washington, D.C. They write stories and scripts about the intersection of private lives, fame, and desire. You can find them on the web at http://www.Avian30.com.
Racheline and Erin have brought a copy of Starling, the first book in the series, to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Sunday, January 25th at 11:59 pm EST.
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