Today I am so pleased to welcome Londra Laine to Joyfully Jay. Londra has come to talk to us about her latest release, Living on the Inside. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Londra a big welcome!
First, thank you to Jay for hosting me today! When I started reading MM romance, this was one of my go-to blogs, so it is a treat to be featured. Living on the Inside is my third self-published work and marks my one-year authorversary so it is very special to me. I think all of my characters are inspired by some of my own experiences and the people around me. This is particularly true for the setting of Living on the Inside.
Adrien and Micah are two men that have spent much of their lives feeling like outsiders until they meet each other. Micah is an ex-con living in his baby mama’s guest house, trying to reconnect with his teen son after spending time in prison. Adrien is a book-smart business owner with a traumatic past and deep insecurities. On the surface the two seem like an unlikely pair — Adrien is Micah’s boss, they come from different backgrounds, and neither of them is looking for a relationship. But of course, Cupid has other plans and the two find love over coffee.
Adrien’s cafe, The Bright Bean coffee shop, is based on a coffee shop I discovered when I was about 13. I did musical theater as a teen and needed to do homework between the end of school and the start of rehearsal for my show I’d study at a coffee shop near the theater and rehearsal space. They had the best iced lattes, muffins and cookies and hanging out there after school was always a treat.
Later, as a young adult, I moved back to my hometown and that became my neighborhood coffee shop when I moved into an apartment practically next door. It was a place I could always find at least one friend. Even after living in New York for nearly eight years, any time I went home I’d visit this coffee shop. At some point I always knew I would use it as inspiration for one of my books. I was also a barista on and off through college, so I really relate to the young college students working at The Bright Bean, Greg and Antonia. If I could make a living wage, I’d still be a barista. t was hands down my favorite job.
My main characters were also inspired by close people in my life and some of my personal experiences. My dad spent several years in prison when I was a toddler and later a teenager. He has since turned his life completely around. Unfortunately his story is not the rule, but the exception. I witnessed first hand how difficult it was to land work and integrate back into society with the stigma of a felony. Luckily a family friend took a chance on my dad. Having a job gave him a sense of purpose, pride, and a way to contribute to the household. I wanted to share the experience with readers the shame of constant rejection and the elation of getting an opportunity.
Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read this guest post and I hope that you take a chance on Micah and Adrien!
Adrien was gorgeous. His dimples were on full display in his russet-hued face as he wiped his black-rimmed glasses on the hem of his wine-colored long-sleeved pullover.
His full lips, stretched to reveal that slight gap-toothed smile, were damp and shiny from the beer. Micah wanted to get closer, feel those lips on his, run his fingers through Adrien’s soft, short, loose curls…
Oh fuck. His breath hitched slightly as his dick grew to a full erection.
“Oh, uh, um…” Micah looked up to see Adrien staring at the obvious bulge in Micah’s pants.
Micah jerked forward and went to cover his crotch with his hands, straightening out a leg he had bent under him on the couch. But as he stretched out, his leg caught Adrien’s hand that held the beer and brown liquid splashed all over the couch, floor, and table.
“Shit. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean—” Micah stood halfway, but then sat again, because he was still pretty hard.
“No, no, it’s fine,” Adrien insisted, his eyes darting around the room. “Both things, the beer and the, uh—the other thing.” He waved his hand in the general direction of Micah’s crotch.
Micah felt like he was being scorched from his neck to the crown of his head as he covered his face in mortification.
What was he, thirteen? He got hard from the sound of a guy’s voice?
“Just a second,” Adrien said before the sound of feet slapped against the wood floor. A few seconds later, items rustled and shifted against wood and then footsteps approached the couch before a cloth landed on top of Micah’s bare feet.
Micah uncovered his face to find another cloth over the spill on the floor, Adrien down beside it, wiping the coffee table with another cloth.
Immediately Micah dropped to the ground with Adrien, between the couch and coffee table, grateful that his hard-on had wilted.
The blood had probably all gone to his face.
He reached for the cloth on the floor to wipe up the beer only to have Adrien’s hand land on top of his.
Micah went to pull his hand away, but Adrien tightened his palm over the back of Micah’s hand, making Micah’s chest constrict and sending a jolt up his arm. He looked up to find Adrien staring at him, his breathing labored, his glasses skewed.
“Adrien?” Micah whispered, leaning toward the other man.
Adrien mirrored his actions and slowly leaned in until they were so close Adrien’s warm breath caressed his lips, the spicy sweetness of the beer fragrant and enticing.
But then Adrien jerked away, cursing. “Fuck.”
A faint buzzing sound became louder as Adrien reached into his back pocket and pulled out his phone.
Sitting back on his haunches, Adrien sighed, then typed out a message using his thumbs. A couple seconds later, his cell buzzed again and Adrien rolled his eyes before shoving the device in his back pocket.
“Sorry,” he said sheepishly, standing and holding his hand out to help Micah up. “It was my parents. They heard us talking down here and wanted to know if I was okay.”
Micah nodded, trying to push down his feelings of disappointment.
They’d almost kissed. Micah had wanted to so badly. Needed to feel Adrien’s lips like he needed his next breath. And he felt cheated that they had been interrupted.
But as he accepted Adrien’s hand up, he realized how stupid that would have been in the long run. He needed this job, and getting involved with Adrien was too big of a risk. If things went south, what would he do?
Micah should be grateful Adrien’s parents were busy-body snoops. They’d probably saved him—both of them—from a world of trouble.
Standing, Micah reached for his jacket, which he’d tossed on the arm of the couch, and shoved his feet into his shoes before reaching down to pull the backs over his heels, his emotions a muddle of disappointment and longing.
“No worries, man,” he tried to sound casual as he avoided Adrien’s eyes boring into him. “I should probably get going anyway. I know you have brunch with your family in the morning. Thanks for having me over. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Micah headed toward the door and Adrien followed behind him.
He turned around, finally looking at Adrien. The man had stuck his hands in his pockets, observing the hardwood floor.
“Do you maybe want to come over again next Saturday?”
Micah Grayson lives in his baby mama’s guesthouse. It’s unconventional and awkward, but he’s happy for a chance to reconnect with his teenage son. He doesn’t have time for other distractions—no matter how sexy, independent, and compassionate that distraction might be. Besides, he’s not good enough for more than a fling—no one would ever take him home to meet their parents.
Adrien Darling has book smarts, but no street savvy—at least that’s what his family says. And after a heart-breaking betrayal by the man meant to love and protect him, Adrien believes them. But then a gorgeous guy with a defeated look in his eyes walks into Adrien’s coffee shop and makes him want to take a chance.
After years of living on the outside as two misfits looking in, both men are afraid to reach for more. But in each other’s arms, Micah and Adrien find out what it’s like to live on the inside. As their tender bond grows and blossoms, old insecurities bubble to the surface. Will their commitment crumble under the pressure? Or will the two find the strength to fight for each other.
***Please be aware that this book contains a flashback of and several references to domestic abuse that may be triggering to some readers.***
Londra has loved reading since she figured out how to do it. She writes to give her guys the happy ending she wishes everyone––no matter their race, religion, gender, or orientation––could experience in real life.
Londra makes money as a communications manager. She is a former journalist, a runner and a mezzo soprano.
In 2010, she moved from her native California to New York City where she lived in Harlem for nearly eight years. In early 2018 she relocated to Seattle with her spouse.
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