Today I am so pleased to welcome EM Denning to Joyfully Jay. EM has come to talk to us about her latest releases, Rearranged and Rediscovered. She has also brought along an exclusive excerpt. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Sometime during the end of last year I went through a phase where I read all the arranged marriage books I could get my hands on. Obsessed? Absolutely. This had me thinking that gee… I bet I could write one. But best laid plans and all that… the book I set out to write was far different than the book I actually ended up writing.
I’m not mad. Quite the opposite, in fact. It was a lot of fun to turn an arranged marriage book on its head and have one half of the arrangement wake up married to someone else. A complete stranger in fact. It’s always fun for me when I have a chance to take a trope and do it a bit differently and this duet was no exception.
Rearranged and its sequel, Rediscovered start in the same place but Rowan and Harrison, the friends who were supposed to have tied the knot, have far different journeys. While Rowan marries a stranger, Harrison and his step-brother finally give in to their feelings and desires.
While Rediscovered is the newer book, the story really starts with Rearranged and I think they’re books that are better read in order.
Rowan smirked. “You’re not that drunk.”
“You barely know me. You don’t know how drunk I am.”
“Still not drunk enough to pick dare.”
“Oh, a challenge.” Sid straightened up and downed his glass of wine. He let the empty dangle in his fingers. “Fine. I choose dare.”
Rowan stared him down, and Sid’s pulse sped up. He’d conjured up a million possibilities that Rowan might come up with, and all of them involved getting naked. Instead of saying any of the million dirty things that floated around in Sid’s head, what Rowan actually said was far less fun.
“I dare you to eat that cupcake you ordered.”
“Seriously? That’s it? Eat a cupcake? That’s easy.”
“One bite.” Rowan stood and fetched a cupcake from the box.
“One bite?” Sid stared at the cupcake and its mountain of buttercream frosting and the sprinkles. “Okay.”
Sid looked up at Rowan. “One cupcake. One bite. No hands. No problem.”
“Bet you can’t.” Rowan peeled the wrapper off the cupcake and balled it up in his other hand. He aimed for the trash and missed and held the cupcake up for Sid. “Any time now.”
Sid looked up at Rowan, opened wide, and shoved the cupcake into his face. It was disgustingly sweet. The intensity of the sugar and the chocolate nearly closed Sid’s throat. His mouth was far too full, and he worked it down a bit at a time, doing his best not to choke to death.
“That,” Sid coughed. “That does not pair well.” He took a deep breath and grinned at Rowan. “Your turn.”
Rowan dropped back down into his chair. “Fair is fair. I’ll choose dare.” Rowan pointed at Sid. “You have some icing.”
“I dare you to clean it off me. No hands.” Sid smiled at Rowan and the flash of hunger he saw in the man’s eyes. Sure, they were drunk, and Rowan was engaged, but it seemed a shame that a man as hot as Rowan, as nice as he appeared to be, would get tied to someone who didn’t inspire passion. Someone who was cordial enough to go along with it and allow them to have an arrangement.
“No hands.” Rowan repeated.
“You don’t have to.” Sid raised his hand to wipe his face, but Rowan caught him by the wrist and pinned his hand down to the mattress.
“Fair is fair.”
Rowan leaned in and Sid had to close his eyes or he risked getting lost in the depths or Rowan’s honey-hued eyes.
Hot breath washed over Sid’s cheek, and he stilled. His entire body felt too tight. Like a coiled spring on the verge of snapping, sexual tension built low in Sid’s body. The mere act of Rowan touching him had Sid swooning. Maybe he was drunker than he thought, but he felt alive and light and when Rowan’s face neared his and he felt the slide of a silken tongue against the corner of his mouth, he gave in to temptation.
He moved his head a half an inch to the right and Rowan’s mouth met his. There was the briefest of hesitations, then Rowan was kissing him in earnest. Sid sank his hand into Rowan’s hair. It was so fucking soft, and moaned into his mouth.
The kiss tasted like wine and icing and Sid fell back on the bed, pulling Rowan down with him. Brighter than the strip that didn’t sleep, and hotter than the scorching desert sand, the kiss ended all Sid’s preconceived notions of what a kiss was or should be.
Rowan McAllister is an obedient son. He went to the schools his parents wanted. He walked the path they set him on with no complaints. Then he even agreed to marry the son of a longtime family friend. When he marries a complete stranger after his bachelor party in Las Vegas, it’s the craziest, yet somehow also the sanest thing he’s ever done. But if he’s finally taking charge of his life, why does he feel so out of control?
Sid Wallace is literally the red-headed stepchild. Marrying a stranger is the latest in a long list of rebellions Sid has staged. Right from that first night, being with Rowan feels as if it’s more than a rebellion. Staying married to the handsome stranger isn’t a hardship for Sid, but Rowan’s parents are adamant that he needs to annul his marriage to Sid.
Everything Rowan does is for his family. Everything Sid does is despite his. Rowan is used to toeing the line and Sid is used to crossing it. How can two men who are so different fall in love so fast and can they make a marriage work when it happened on a whim?
Buy link: geni.us/rearranged
EM Denning is a Canadian author who writes Gay Romance. She loves all the tropes, but most of her work is sweet, spicy, and low angst.