Today I am so pleased to welcome H.L Day to Joyfully Jay. She has come to talk to us about her latest release, Exposed. She has also brought along a copy to give away. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
I have a bit of a survival kink. No, I do. Even as a child I was fascinated by disaster films and devoured any documentaries that were about survival against the odds, so I was always going to integrate it into my MM romance stories in some way. Exposed is the second survival story I’ve written, Refuge being the first. It does throw up some interesting problems when you’re writing though, so I thought I’d talk about a few of them.
Bags – if you’re on the run, you’ve got to carry a lot of things with you. Which is all well and good until you need an action scene where the bag gets in the way. In Exposed there was a scene where I needed one of my main characters to hop across some rooftops (as you do) and I had to work out what he was going to do with it and how he was going to get it back later.
Bathing opportunities – it’s MM romance so you need your characters to get down and dirty, just not dirty in that way. It’s always a challenge to work out how they just happened to gain some access to somewhere to bathe so you’re not writing the passionate coming together of two swamp monsters.
Lube – this is an interesting one as well. You either have to get creative (shower gel in Refuge) or come up with a way that they just happen to be able to get their hands on some.
If you want to know how I got around these things in Exposed, you’ll have to read the book.
People stared as we passed, but none of them made any move to stop us. It showed that had he been my kidnapper instead of my savior, I would have gotten no help from anyone. Although, I suppose if that had been the case, I would have been shouting for help and digging my heels in, rather than keeping stride with him. Just as my lungs had started to burn and I wasn’t sure how much longer I could carry on, he led me into an alleyway, pushing me into the space between two dumpsters, his bulk filling the gap and hemming me in. I sagged back against the wall, getting my first real opportunity to take a look at him while I tried to force some much-needed oxygen back into my lungs.
The stranger was hewn from granite, all sharp angles and shadows, his features slightly too acute to be deemed conventionally attractive. Eyes that could only be described as amber scoured the street, oblivious to my scrutiny. As I watched, he scrubbed a hand through his hair, or what there was of it anyway. It was buzzed to the point of being almost non-existent, the ends a mere shadow against his scalp.
He almost crackled with expectant tension, bulky yet still lean muscles filling out his T-shirt in all the right ways. My gaze dropped to the long, curved knives strapped to either side of his waist, his fingers resting on the handle of one of them. Whoever this man was, one thing was for sure, he was danger with a capital D. Had I just escaped one life-threatening situation, only to swap it for another? He seemed to be waiting for something, but I wasn’t sure what? Was he checking to see if we’d been followed? If so, it seemed we hadn’t or the DTP would already have been on top of us.
His gaze suddenly swung from the street to me. I couldn’t help it. I backed away. It was only the brickwork behind me that stopped me from going any farther. Something flickered across his face, but it was so fleeting that it was gone before I could identify it.
I wrapped my arms around myself, rubbing my shoulders in some poor facsimile of comfort. “Who are you?”
He came a step closer, scrutinizing me as if he’d found an exotic new species. “You’re scared of me.”
His voice matched his appearance, all sharp-edged and lethal.
Swallowing with difficulty, I let my gaze drop to the knife his hand still rested on. “Shouldn’t I be?”
There’d been no hesitation before he’d delivered the one-word answer, just that blunt rebuttal. Still, I needed more. “Are you going to hurt me?”
His expression didn’t change. His face may as well have been a mask for all the emotion it showed. “Why would I save you, only to hurt you?”
It was a good question. “Why did you save me?”
He turned away, his face falling into shadow so that I couldn’t make out anything on it. “Now’s not the time. They’ll be gathering more forces together. They’ll coordinate a search through the city for us. We only have a small window of opportunity to get out of the city.”
I nearly choked on my tongue. “Out of the city? I’ve never left the city.”
His eyes narrowed, his face hardening. “You’d rather the DTP gunned you down like a feral dog?”
“No, of course not.”
“Then… it’s our only option.”
“I didn’t do it.” I had no idea why I felt the need to tell him that. He was a stranger, an unknown quantity. But it still felt imperative to defend myself, to let him know that he’d been right to save me, whatever his reasons were.
The soft acknowledgement shocked me to the core. How could this complete stranger believe in my innocence? Even Trisha, in the few seconds before they’d dragged her away, hadn’t looked that sure. I regarded him steadily, trying to see past the scary exterior. “What’s your name?”
His fingers flexed, releasing the handle of his knife for a few seconds before tightening around it once again. Amber eyes locked onto mine. “X.”
I frowned. “X? That’s not a name. That’s a letter.” The words were out before I could ponder the wisdom of insulting the dangerous man with the knives. “Sorry. Mine’s Tate.”
“I know that as well.”
“How do you—”
But he was already taking hold of my arm again and ushering me over to the opposite side of the alley before telling me that we needed to run again. I had a feeling that I was going to get more exercise today than I had in the previous six months put together.
But I was alive.
For now, anyway.
Sometimes salvation comes from the most unlikely hero.
When Tate Gillespie is marked for death for a crime he didn’t commit, his life crumbles. In a world where ‘justice’ is meted out by a relentless military force, he’s going to need more than a mythical guardian angel. His life down to seconds, he’s saved by the mysterious X, a knife-wielding man he’s never even met before. But who is X? Is he the man who threatens and kills without a second thought? Or the strangely gentle man who only seems to act that way around Tate?
X is a shadow. A wraith. A man who flits through the city virtually unseen. He’s got no time for people when knives are far more reliable. X does have one weakness though—the man he’s been keeping safe for years who doesn’t even know it. He’d burn the whole world to keep him alive. But what he won’t do is stake his claim. Tate’s not his and he needs to remember that, no matter how close they might become.
With the military in hot pursuit, they’re going to need to rely on X’s skills to keep them both alive. Tate’s feelings are growing with every hour they spend together, but X is a tough nut to crack. Can two people from very different backgrounds really find common ground? Or will one of the many perils they face throughout their long journey drive them apart?
It’s all about survival. Not love. Isn’t it?
Exposed is a 132k action/adventure story featuring two men who couldn’t be more opposite.
H.L Day juggles teaching and writing. As an avid reader, she decided to give writing a go one day and the rest is History. Her superpower is most definitely procrastination. Every now and again, she musters enough self-discipline to actually get some words onto paper—sometimes they even make sense and are in the right order. She enjoys writing far too many different sub genres to stick to one thing so writes everything from rom-coms to post-apocalyptic sci-fi.
H.L has brought a copy of Exposed to give away to one lucky Joyfully Jay reader. Follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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