Today I am so pleased to welcome Keira Andrews to Joyfully Jay. Keira has come to talk to us about her latest release, Reading the Signs. She has also brought along a backlist book to give away. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Thanks so much to Jay for having me today to pitch my new sports romance! Reading the Signs was born a year ago during the Toronto Blue Jays’ run to the division title and into the postseason for the first time in more than two decades. I was struck with a serious case of baseball fever, and plot bunnies started hitting home runs and stealing bases in my head. (Or something. Okay, I’ll lay off the baseball metaphors.)
I’ve brought an exclusive NSFW excerpt. Nico and Jake are both emotionally constipated, but in this scene, Nico’s sexual repression comes to a boil…
Nico could sense Jake just behind him, and he ached to lean back into that warmth. Instead, he crawled to the next box and tore it open. He had to get back in control. Now. Amazingly, he managed to keep his voice steady. “I’m sorry about your father.”
“I know how hard it is. I’m sure your mother’s illness had nothing to do with the pregnancy.”
Nico tried to wave it off. “Yeah, you’re probably right. It doesn’t matter now. And like Marco said, Dad’s just being Dad. I never do anything right.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t realize it was like that. Especially now you’re grown.”
Nico sprang to his feet with an attempted smile, brushing past him. “No big.”
His limbs twitched, and he needed to move. But he didn’t want to go back downstairs, so he paced around the room as if he was looking for something, opening and closing drawers, then stalking into the walk-in, sliding hangers back and forth on a rod.
Cornered now, he went back into his room, closing the closet door and leaning back against it, his heart beating too fast. Jake still stood by the boxes, watching him with a pinched expression of concern.
“I wasn’t ever even going to—” Nico ducked his head, his cheeks going hot, lust suddenly tugging at him, low and insidious. With Jake only a few feet away, he had to keep his shit together.
“What?” Jake asked softly. “Have sex with men?” After a few silent moments he added, “Do you enjoy having sex with women? Are you bi?”
Nico hitched his shoulders. “It’s fine with women. I mean, suction, friction—it’s never really bad.”
“But if you had your choice?”
Meeting Jake’s gaze again, those blue eyes watching him with a tenderness that sent a thrill spiraling through him, Nico finally told the truth. “I’d choose men.” He shuddered, legs quivering. There it was. He’d said it out loud.
“Everything’s going to be okay. I promise.”
“I kept trying with girls, hoping… Hoping something will change, I guess.” He tried to laugh. “No luck so far, and now—” Oh my God, stop talking. Jake regrets that anything ever happened! “I just mean—I can’t pretend anymore after we… I’m not saying…” He had no idea what he was trying to say, so he snapped his jaw shut.
Jake still watched him like Nico was about to break. “Nic, I know it must be scary, especially with your dad’s prejudices.”
“It’s fine. I’m fine.” Nico was talking too fast, and he swallowed hard. He shouldn’t have had so much wine. His skin was too tight, the pressure expanding like soda in a shaken can, and something had to come out. He blurted, “If I can get Rookie of the Year like he and Marco did, I’ll prove him wrong.”
“Wrong about what?” Jake asked quietly.
Wasn’t it obvious? “About me.”
“What about you?”
“That I’m… You know. Bad.”
Shaking his head, Jake stepped close, speaking fervently. “Nico, you’re not bad. Do you really think that? Your dad and grandmother are wrong.”
He shrugged violently. Fuck, how had he let himself get this raw? In front of Jake of all people? But there was something in Jake’s gentle, patient gaze that had always stripped Nico’s defenses. “Maybe I’m not bad, but I’m still not good enough.” Closing his eyes, he knocked his head back against the door, thump, thump, thump.
“Hey, hey. It’s okay.” Jake’s breath feathered over Nico’s cheek, his palm cupping the back of Nico’s head.
Nico had to open his eyes, had to look up at Jake so close to him, so tall, that little scar on his temple, stubble darkening his face. Jake was here in this room where Nico had yearned for it so desperately. Yearned for him. “I want to be right,” he whispered.
Jake’s other hand came up to stroke Nico’s cheek. “You are. You’re beautiful.”
Then Jake kissed his forehead, a dry press of lips, and Nico was going to disintegrate right there, combust into a pile of ashes to be swept away. There was only an inch between them, their noses almost touching, and the last barrier tumbled, Nico reaching for Jake’s waist as he pressed their lips together.
They stood locked there, Jake’s hands on Nico’s head and face as they kissed softly. Nico’s lungs burned, his heart skipping hollowly, and he breathed through his nose, the musky, male scent of Jake filling him, their lips touching, parting gently.
When Jake eased back, sucking in a breath, he pulled Nico into his arms. Nico buried his face in the juncture of Jake’s neck and shoulder, scruff against one cheek and smooth flannel the other, wrapping his arms around Jake’s wide back, enveloped by him.
They’d hugged when Jake had arrived in Ottawa and years before at the end of that summer, a fleeting, backslapping clasp when baseball season was over. Nico hadn’t even breathed he’d been strung so tightly, and now he clung to Jake’s powerful body, his control slipping away with every heartbeat.
The wine really had loosened his tongue—or maybe it was the kiss—and Nico whispered, “I used to dream about you here.”
He heard Jake’s forceful swallow, and Jake eased back, dropping his arms. “Nico…”
Breath coming faster, Nico’s hands seemed to move of their own accord, caressing Jake’s flanks through his flannel shirt, his fingers splayed over tensed muscle. Jake stood motionless, his lips parted and gaze flicking down to Nico’s mouth and back to his eyes.
Nico knew he should stop, but the confessions escaped. “Wondered what it would feel like to kiss you.” He nosed in close, rubbing their cheeks together before brushing his lips over Jake’s jaw, dragging back behind his ear. “How rough your stubble would be.”
Still rigid, Jake trembled now as Nico held his hips. On a shaky exhalation, Jake whispered, “Did you touch yourself?”
“Fuck, yes. All the time. Imagined how big your cock was, and if you were cut or not. What it would taste like. Wanted to swallow your cum. Used to taste mine and pretend it was yours.”
Jake’s chest rose and fell faster. “Jesus. We can’t.”
But the truth was a river now, white water carving through rock. “When I found out you were traded and I’d see you again, I got so hard I had to jerk off. Shoved my finger in my ass and imagined it was your cock, and—”
With a guttural noise that was almost a growl, Jake grabbed his head and crushed their mouths together, pinning him against the door, his long leg shoving between Nico’s thighs…
Copyright © Keira Andrews
This hot-headed rookie needs discipline—on and off the field.
Pitcher Nico Agresta is desperate to live up to his family’s baseball legacy. Since he was a teenager crushing on his big brother’s teammate, he’s known he can’t act on his desires. His father’s made it clear there should be no queers on the field, but if Nico can win Rookie of the Year like his dad and brother did, maybe he can prove he’s worthy after all.
At 34, veteran catcher Jake Fitzgerald just wants to finish out his contract and retire. His team doesn’t have a prayer of making the playoffs, but who needs the stress? Jake lost his passion for the game—and life—after driving away the man he loved, and he swore he’d never risk his heart again.
Then he’s traded to a team that wants a vet behind the plate to tame their new star pitcher. Jake is shocked to find the gangly kid he once knew has grown into a gorgeous young man. But tightly wound Nico’s having trouble controlling his temper in his quest for perfection, and Jake needs to teach him patience and restraint on the mound.
When their push and pull explodes into the bedroom, Nico and Jake will both learn how much they’ll risk for love.
This gay sports romance features men who have been repressing their feelings far too long, light BDSM, an age difference, sweaty locker rooms, and a happy ending.
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.”
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Keira has brought a backlist ebook to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Saturday, October 1st at 11:59 pm EST.
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