Today I am so pleased to welcome Shae Connor to Joyfully Jay. Shae has come to talk to us about her latest release, Wayward Son. She has also brought along…. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
When Secondary Becomes Primary
First, big thanks to Jay for letting me visit again! J
The release of Wayward Son officially marks my first foray into writing a series. I knew by the time Unfortunate Son was about halfway done that Cory and Jimmy would need a story of their own, and once Mikey entered the picture, the deal was done. (I’ve always been a fan of M/M/M menage, so that combination also allowed me to indulge myself a little.)
Shaun, the main character in book three, Nobody’s Son, makes his first appearance off-page in Unfortunate Son, but it isn’t until late in Wayward Son that readers actually meet him. It’s a brief interaction with Mikey, nothing like how Cory, Jimmy, and Mikey were so heavily involved in Unfortunate Son. In fact, the three of them figure pretty heavily into Nobody’s Son as well, Jimmy in particular, since he’s Shaun’s boss. And I also have a short coda/epilogue story planned that will center around the threesome again.
The truth is that even though each book focuses on a different main character and romance, Cory and Jimmy (and to a slightly lesser degree Mikey) make up the common thread that ties the series together. They serve as a “Greek chorus” of sorts at times, help drive the plot in others, and bring some super-hot sex into the mix. Much as the second act of a three-act play is often the linchpin on which the whole story rests, this series would lose much of its cohesion without Cory and Jimmy.
For today’s post, I decided I’d give some proof of that by sharing a snippet from Nobody’s Son. It’s entirely unedited—as I write this, I’m still finishing up the first draft—but in this scene, while Shaun’s love interest Con is out of town, Jimmy has persuaded Shaun to join him, Cory, Mikey, Evan, and Riley for dinner. Jimmy’s cooking out, unsurprisingly.
Evan lifted his Corona in greeting. “Beer?”
“Give him something better than that,” Cory put in, and Evan raised a middle finger without looking in his direction.
Someone nudged Shaun’s arm. “Here,” Jimmy said, holding out a Yuengling. “I got all nostalgic for Jersey and picked up a case for old times’ sake.”
Shaun took the bottle. “Don’t know if I’ve had this one,” he said. “I mostly have beer at this little bar close to home, and the owner likes to stock local stuff.”
He took a sip, letting the flavor roll around in his mouth for a few seconds before swallowing. He nodded. “Pretty good. Still like SweetWater, though.”
Jimmy scoffed. “You Southern boys and your SweetWater, I swear.” He pointed his bottle at Evan. “Except that one and his pisswater.”
“Fuck off, Black.” Evan lifted his beer and drained it before slamming the bottle down on the table. “Another!” he shouted, raising a defiant fist and then recoiling as Riley poked him in the side.
“Down, boy.” Riley rolled his eyes. “Don’t mind him. He’s been reading ancient literature this week for homework. Thinks he’s a barbarian conqueror. Or maybe Beowulf.”
Evan growled and turned to bury his face in the spot where Riley’s neck curved into his shoulder. Riley just sighed and lifted his beer to his lips, seemingly ignoring Evan as he sucked up a mark, though the crimson flush spreading over his face gave him away. Shaun bit back a laugh and turned toward Mikey, who sat across from Riley and Evan but didn’t seem to be paying them a bit of attention.
“How are things with you, Mikey?”
Mikey frowned and pointed at his throat. Cory answered for him.
“Poor guy’s had a throat infection all week. Lost his voice two days ago. He’s on meds and feeling better, but talking’s still painful.”
Shaun winced on his behalf. “Sorry to hear that, man. Hope it clears up soon.”
Mikey waved to the spot next to him. “Not contagious,” he whispered when Shaun hesitated. “Just raw.”
Jimmy snorted and flipped something on the grill, sending up fresh smoke. “That’s not all that’s raw, is it?”
Shaun ignored the comment and smiled at Mikey instead as he slid onto the bench. “Look at it this way,” he murmured. “Gives you a chance to practice all those comebacks we never think of until later. Right?”
Mikey grinned and nodded, then picked up the mug in front of him. Hot tea, it looked like, and probably with honey and lemon or something like that. Shaun might not have spent that much time around Cory, but even his limited exposure told him the man had a nurturing streak a mile wide. He’d probably had Mikey tucked in on the sofa with tea and blankets all week long.
The idea sent longing through Shaun. He almost wished Mikey was contagious, so Shaun could get sick and spend a week or so being pampered. But only almost, because the misery would probably more than make up for both the comfort and the time off.
Cory bustled over and plopped down a big plastic bowl loaded with tortilla chips and a smaller one full of guacamole. “Eat up, guys! There’s more where that came from.”
He spun away and headed for the grill, where he wrapped himself around the chef from behind. Shaun watched as the two men ground together, laughing and swaying, and then his gaze drifted over to where Evan had his head resting on Riley’s shoulder and Riley had wrapped an arm around Evan and was running his palm over the tips of Evan’s short hair.
A pang hit him in the chest. I want that, he thought. He wanted the comfort, and the laughter, and the closeness, and everything that went along with being in love.
After his move to Atlanta and away from the influence of his conservative parents, Mikey O’Malley finally feels free to be himself: art student, aspiring animator, and out gay man. He has friends, a new job, and not one, but two men interested in him. Cory Lassiter and Jimmy Black have been a happy couple for years, occasionally bringing a twink into their bed, but only for a brief roll in the hay. When Mikey meets the pair, the attraction is immediate, and it runs three ways. Mikey just can’t believe they’d have room in their lives for a permanent addition.
When Mikey’s newfound life is shattered by a lawsuit that accuses him of molesting a child years earlier, he’s determined to face his troubles on his own, but Cory and Jimmy are just as determined that he not have to go it alone. To reconcile his need for independence and his desire for love, Mikey has to learn that being a man isn’t just about standing on your own two feet. It’s about letting yourself lean on the ones who love you.
Shae Connor lives in Atlanta, where she’s a lackadaisical government worker for a living and writes sweet-hot romance under the cover of night. She’s been making things up for as long as she can remember, but it took her a long time to figure out that maybe she should try writing them down. She’s conned several companies into publishing her work and adds a new notch on her bedpost each time another story is unleashed onto an unsuspecting universe.
A member of the Romance Writers of America and the Rainbow Writers chapter, Shae was first published in 2010 and has a lineup of short stories, novellas, and novels available from Dreamspinner Press, Wilde City Press, MLR Press, and Amber Allure.
Shae is part Jersey, part Irish, and all Southern, which explains why she never shuts up. When she’s not chained to her laptop, she enjoys cooking, traveling, watching baseball, and reading voraciously, and she’s an annual volunteer for the Dragon Con on-site publication, the Daily Dragon. You can find her hanging out on Twitter most any time @shaeconnor, but for the more direct route, you can email her at email@example.com or visit her website at shaeconnorwrites.com.
Shae has brought an ebook copy of Wayward Son (or other backlist book) and a $25 Dreamspinner Press gift card to give away to one lucky reader on her tour. Just follow the Rafflectopter link to enter.
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