Today I am so pleased to welcome R. Phoenix to Joyfully Jay. She has come to talk to us about her latest release, Too Close. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!


“So, I wrote this book. It has my terrible sense of humor in it. I hope you’ll laugh at the worst (best) puns I know. Oh, and by the way, the main character is in an abusive relationship.”

That’s what went through my head when I first sat down to try to describe Too Close, which is my first contemporary romance. After I finished laughing (it’s been one of those… months… years… you know how it goes. Don’t judge me. ;-)), I realized I had my work cut out for me.

My muse told me, “Hey, surprise! You get to write about a serious, sensitive topic now. Oh, and by the way, we’re not getting this done unless you use a tense and point of view you’ve never used before. So what if it’s our first contemporary romance, and we have no idea what we’re doing? We’ll figure it out! Oh, PS, start figuring out how to explain how a book about abuse is funny without being disrespectful.” My muse is, er, a person. A real one. (Also an asshole. Just saying.)


All right, so after I finished talking to myself, which seems to have happened a lot as I wrote this book, I committed to putting everything I had into it. My heart, my soul, and my tears went into writing it — but so did my laughter. I giggled as many times as I had to walk away from the computer. I smiled as much as I cried.

I felt — feel — like I was responsible for portraying abuse accurately, sensitively, and passionately. And sure, I’m as much of a sadist as any writer, so I wanted to break readers into itty bitty pieces. But I wanted to bring something different to the table, too. Life can be painful, but sometimes we can find light in the darkest places.

So that’s what I want to say with Too Close — and in particular, the humor that infuses the book amidst the pain: the human spirit is far, far stronger than we give it credit for. Those who have survived abuse, and who are surviving abuse, aren’t victims. We aren’t weak. We are people who have been in bad situations. No one deserves to be abused, no matter what. And there’s always a way out. It may seem unreachable, and it may be terrifying, but there is help, and there is hope.

There is always a light at the end of the tunnel — and it isn’t a train.

With love and hope,



TooCloseCoverSkylar Orion’s life has been complicated ever since his mother abandoned him and his sister Evie. Making ends meet seemed impossible until Tate Chandler took them in — his knight in shining armor who promised to make life about more than just surviving. But Tate is not the man he seemed to be, and even his whispered I love yous and generous gifts do little to soothe the pain he causes. Knowing he can’t give his sister all that she deserves without Tate, Skylar stays with him, relying on bad puns and a worse sense of humor to keep up the charade.

He will do anything for his sister, even if that means acting the responsible adult and going back to his old high school to meet Dexter Weston, the hot math teacher who can make even algebra interesting. Sparks fly between the two of them, but with his dependence on Tate, Skylar isn’t free to follow his heart. He wants what is best for Evie, but can he pass up the chance to find love that heals instead of harms?

Warning: This book contains scenes of domestic abuse and violence that some may find triggering to read.


R. Phoenix has an unhealthy fascination with contrasts: light and dark, heroes and villains, order and chaos. She believes that love can corrupt and power can redeem. Her muse is a sadomasochistic slave driver who thinks it’s terribly amusing to give her the best ideas when she just got comfortable and warm in bed, and she passes on that torture to her readers. She also tries entirely too hard to be funny, and she mercilessly inflicts her terrible sense of humor upon anyone who speaks to her. (She desperately needs a new bio.) She’d love it if you’d say hello!

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