Today I am so pleased to welcome Ari McKay to Joyfully Jay. Ari has come to talk to us about their latest release, A Prince Among Men: Fortress Book 1. Please join me in giving a big welcome!


Hi, everyone! I’m Ari, and together with my writing partner, Rachel, we’ve been publishing M/M (and the occasional M/M/M!) romance for ten years now. As Ari McKay we write contemporary, action/adventure, and historical romance, and as Rachel Langella we do urban fantasy, gothic, and paranormal romance. We’re so happy to be here to talk to you today — thanks for giving us a few minutes of your time!

Today I want to talk about our latest release, A Prince Among Men, the first book in our new action/adventure series called Fortress. The story introduces not just our MCs, but the entire organization of Fortress, the brainchild of reclusive billionaire Nick Galanos. Nick decides to use his personal fortune to do what governments are unwilling or unable to do. Since he and his people operate outside national boundaries (he owns his own island), they can go in to fight against enemies that politicians are often loathe to touch. They also make individual people a priority — victims of kidnapping, torture, human trafficking, extortion, you name it. Call it a bit of wish fulfillment on our parts, because who doesn’t like the thought of well-funded, dedicated bad asses who risk everything to save people in danger?

One of the badasses in question is Sebastian Chase, a Fortress operative who is one of the most skilled and reckless of his cadre. Bash, and his Kilo team, are sent to Akkadia, a fictional country in the middle east with an actual basis in historical fact. While they accomplish their mission, Bash is captured, and finds he has a very interesting fellow prisoner — Dr. Sean Grimaldi, who just happens to be the grandson of the king of the country. Sean is, in fact, the Crown Prince of Akkadia, a title he definitely doesn’t want. He convinces Bash to take him along when Bash escapes, and their adventure — and romance — is underway.

This story involved a lot of research, probably more than any other book we have ever written. I had to plunge headlong into not just the history of the middle east, but its politics, weather, social structure, and, in particular, Islamic marital jurisprudence. It was fascinating to learn how incredibly complex and varied the thoughts are on marriage, inheritance, human rights, sexual mores and practices are among the different sects of Islam, and I did everything possible to make certain the characters acted in a way true to their beliefs.

This story was four years in the making, and I only hope I succeeded in blending all the cultural elements with the action and romance in a way people will truly enjoy.

By the way, we LOVE hearing from readers! So please feel free to email me at or DM me as Ari McKay on Facebook if you ever have any questions about this book or any of our others. A Prince Among Men is our fiftieth story to be published, and we’re excitedly looking forward to the next fifty!


Where governments fail to protect the innocent, you’ll find the men of Fortress.

Sebastian Chase knows danger is part of the job. As an operative for Fortress, he and his cadre act outside the rules of any nation, risking their lives to fight terrorists and rescue victims of kidnapping and torture — not for fame or money, but because it is the right thing to do.

Dr. Sean Grimaldi is the most reluctant royal in the world. His father renounced his position as Prince of Akkadia in the name of true love, and Sean has no desire to take up his own title. After his parents are killed in an accident, however, Sean returns to Akkadia, lured by the King’s promise to build a hospital in their honor. Instead, Sean is imprisoned and faced with Faisal’s demand to marry and produce an heir — or else!

When an operation in Akkadia ends in Bash’s capture, he and Sean are brought together, and neither can deny the chemistry between them. But fate intervenes when the King of Akkadia is shot, pushing the country to the verge of civil war. Now Bash must risk everything to find the traitor who is murdering the heirs to the throne — because if he fails, he will lose the only man he’s ever loved.


Rachel Langella and Ari McKay are the professional pseudonyms for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as three historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and The Bent Oak Saga. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.

Ari McKay is a retired systems engineer turned full-time writer and seamstress. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

Rachel Langella is a creative writing teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She loves all things spooky and/or vintage, and she’s given in to Ari’s corruptive influences and learned to sew so she can make her own vintage-style clothes and costumes. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Ari to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.

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