Today I am so pleased to welcome DJ Jamison to Joyfully Jay. DJ has come to talk to us about her latest release, Rapid Response. She has also brought along and exclusive excerpt and a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
I’m super happy to be here celebrating the release of RAPID RESPONSE with a blog post, excerpt, and giveaway! It’s especially exciting to have reached this point because there were times I wondered if I’d ever figure out Sean and Jace, my two main characters. The story of a sweetheart firefighter and a bossy paramedic — and their sexual dynamic — pushed me out of my comfort zone.
Kink is gaining more popularity in M/M romance, and I’m no stranger to reading it. But as an author, I’m fairly vanilla. Many of my stories are essentially friends to lovers stories, or at the minimum, two characters making an emotional connection long before the heat really amps up.
Rapid Response is an appropriate title because with Sean and Jace, their response is … rapid. They meet, sparks fly — even though Sean up to this point believes himself to be straight — and then they part, expecting never to see one another again. When they do reconnect, we get a slower burn. In a way, Rapid Response gives you the best of both worlds: high heat, lots of sexy times, and a slow-building romantic relationship.
Where I struggled personally was with the sexual relationship. You see, I planned to write a simple “straight” boy isn’t so straight romance, with a side of sexual exploration. And I did write that. But Sean’s needs turned out to be a little different than expected. It was really him — not Jace — who insisted on a different kind of sexual dynamic.
I have always been fascinated by the dynamics of relationships, in bed and out. Who takes the lead? Who enjoys relinquishing control? And why? But my dabbling in sexual dynamics has been light, more playful than serious. Even in Rapid Response, it remains organic. These two guys don’t know anything about BDSM — and they’re not looking to learn — they’re just following their instincts and responding to one another’s needs.
Sean wants someone to tell him what to do. He wants to please his partner — please everyone he can, really — and he only fully relaxes and enjoys when he’s being given direction. Jace is naturally a bit self-centered; he knows what he likes, and he goes after it. But taking charge of Sean leads him to also accept responsibility — not just for his own pleasure, but to ensure Sean is also fulfilled. In a way, this forces him to let down his guard and really care for someone else in a way he never has.
This sex life between the two was a big key to their personalities. I couldn’t leave it out and tell the story the same way. You see the characteristics come out in other ways, because the story is not just about their time in the bedroom (or living room or bathroom), though those scenes are fun. Sean also struggles to come out — partly because he’s trying so hard to please everyone else in his life — and Jace struggles to trust Sean and be patient, partly because he prefers to be in control after being hurt in the past.
I avoid describing it as a dom/sub story, because really? It’s just a big, muscled guy who wants the reassurance he’s doing the right things to make his partner happy and the bossy paramedic who’s all too happy to indulge him.
In the end, no matter how I fought it, Sean and Jace got what they wanted.
I hope you’ll read Rapid Response and enjoy the relationship forged between the two — even if they did cause me no end of headaches along the way!
Sean crossed the room, a surreal, dream-like state coming over him. He’d been incredibly nervous the entire time Jace showered. He’d drank water, as Jace suggested, and he’d paced around the living room while thinking about the last time he’d been in the apartment. Remembering what Jace had done to him, what he might get to do himself tonight. He wanted it so fucking bad, but it was still a little scary, venturing into unknown territory.
His heart had beat painfully fast, and he’d sweat a little, as if he needed any more damn sweat on his drenched body. He itched from the dried sweat coating him from his exertion at the sports complex, and he couldn’t imagine that he smelled good.
But once Jace issued his first order — a simple “come here” — all Sean’s nervousness faded away. He didn’t know why, but Jace’s confidence put him at ease. Jace knew what he wanted. Sean didn’t know what he was doing, and he might have been nervous about that, but something told him that Jace would make sure it was good. That Sean would be good.
He stopped in front of Jace, waiting for further direction.
Jace leaned forward and kissed his lips gently, just once. Then he put a hand on Sean’s shoulder and pushed down. Jace didn’t put much force behind it, but Sean still dropped to the floor as if slammed there by a three-hundred-pound weight.
“Easy,” Jace said. “You okay?”
Sean nodded, even though his recently bruised knee throbbed a bit.
“Look at me.”
Sean looked up Jace’s body, past the towel to the warm, creamy skin above; the athletic body that was lean and toned, deceptively strong; the dusky nipples; the Adam’s apple and stubble that made Sean want to feel it against his lips. But for all of that, it was Jace’s face that drew him most. His eyes, so intense. His lips, so full. His boyish expression when he knew he was getting away with something.
Just now he looked like the cat who caught the canary, and Sean had no illusions. He was the canary caught in the cat’s jaws.
“Pull open my towel,” Jace said, eyes still locked onto Sean’s.
Sean lowered his eyes.
“Nope. Eyes up here,” Jace said.
Sean forced his gaze up while he tugged the towel loose, felt it open, then dropped it to the floor. Jace’s scent — fresh skin and soap and hair — wafted into the space between them, and his mouth watered.
Sean had to fight the urge to look down. Jace was testing him, he knew. Playing with him, but not maliciously, to see what happened. Sean didn’t complain, though. He liked it. He liked that Jace was telling him exactly what to do. That there were no wrong moves to make, not if he followed directions.
He couldn’t stop his tongue darting out to moisten his dry lips, though, and Jace’s restraint cracked.
“Touch me,” he ground out.
A confused straight guy and a gay hookup artist walk into a bar …
Firefighter Sean Connolly is straight — until one impulsive night changes everything. He tries to dismiss it as a fluke, but when a fire rescue leads him back to the guy who blew his mind, he’s thrown into a chaos of confusion and want. He gives in to curiosity, exploring a new side to himself — not just his attraction to a man, but his desperate need to please.
Paramedic Jace Gillespie is a hookup pro, never letting anyone get too close. When he meets Sean, though, he feels a connection right away. An ill-advised threesome seems to kill a friendship in the making, but when they’re thrown together by work, it doesn’t take long for passion to reignite. Sean calls to something in Jace he never knew was there, and together, they explore a dynamic that fulfills them both.
But as feelings deepen, doubts surface. Sean is in the closet, and Jace struggles to trust his promise that it won’t last forever. With family conflict and his career in the balance, Sean finds it difficult to picture his life without secrecy, but if he doesn’t find a way, he may lose the one person he most wants to please.
Rapid Response is the eighth — and longest — book in the Hearts and Health series. It can be read as a standalone.
DJ Jamison is the author of more than a dozen m/m romances, including the Ashe Sentinel series and the Hearts and Health series. She writes a variety of queer characters, from gay to bisexual to asexual, with a focus on telling love stories that are more about common ground than lust at first sight. DJ grew up in the Midwest in a working-class family, and those influences can be found in her writing through characters coping with real-life problems: money troubles, workplace drama, family conflicts and, of course, falling in love. DJ spent more than a decade in the newspaper industry before chasing her first dream to write fiction. She spent a lifetime reading before that, and continues to avidly devour her fellow authors’ books each night. She lives in Kansas with her husband, two sons, two fish and, regrettably, one snake.
DJ has brought a winner’s choice of books 1-7 in the Hearts & Health series. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. DJ would love to hear what you think of kink in M/M romance: Love it or hate it, and why? The contest ends on Monday, March 4th at 11:59 pm ET.
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