Today I am so pleased to welcome Leta Blake to Joyfully Jay. Leta has come as part of the Coastal Magic Convention Blog Tour to talk to us about her ‘90s Coming of Age series. She has also brought along an exclusive excerpt and great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Hi! Thank you to Joyfully Jay for having me today. I’m honored and excited to be attending my first Coastal Magic convention. I can’t wait to meet readers face-to-face and talk to them about my favorite topic: books!
I’m Leta Blake, and I’ve been writing and publishing GLBT Romance for over ten years now. Whether I’m writing contemporary rockstar romance, M/M omegaverse, a soapy rom-com, or angsty new adult coming-of-age, my books always “color outside the lines.”
What do I mean by that? Well, I’m not an author who picks a lane and stays in it. I love to explore the edges, push boundaries, and give my readers big feelings. If there’s one goal I have with my books, it’s for readers to feel and experience something they wouldn’t have that day.
If you’ve read some of my books, I’d love to hear in the comments which ones gave you big feelings—good or bad—and, in return, you’ll be eligible for the giveaway I’m offering. If you haven’t read any of my books, I’d love to hear about someone else’s book that made you feel something big and intense. You too can be eligible for the giveaway.
Recently, I was asked which one of my books-of-big-feelings I’m most proud of, and my response required that I mention not just one book, but three. The ‘90s Coming of Age Trilogy, a New Adult Romance journey, is undoubtedly my literary pride-and-joy.
Set in the early 1990s, these three books follow the character of Peter as he journeys from an insecure, ashamed teen to an out-and-proud young gay man, in love, and joyful in his romantic HEA. This series took me nearly twenty years to write, and I’m overjoyed to say it was worth every minute. I’ve never been so proud of any of my books as I am of this series.
It’s with blushing humility that I say I’ve had readers reach out to me to declare this trilogy a masterpiece, telling me they’ll never forget it, and that it has touched their heart and given them great satisfaction, as well as made them feel seen. Hearing from them has made every trial and tribulation associated with writing this trilogy worth it. I couldn’t possibly ask for more.
Today all the entire trilogy is available in Ebook and in Audiobook. It’s in Kindle Unlimited and Whispersync Ready. The audio is narrated by the incomparable Michael Ferraiuolo. Don’t miss out on his gem of a performance.
If you’re looking for a rollercoaster of emotions with at guaranteed happy ending, this series is a sure bet. I’ll be offering a complete set in ebook or audio to one winner. Please comment below to take part.
I can’t wait to see everyone at Coastal Magic. It’s going to be a beautiful event!
Coastal Magic Convention is a casual reader weekend in Daytona Beach and takes place February 22-25, 2024. You can check out the website at http://CoastalMagicConvention.com if you want to learn a little more about the event. And if you are interested in signing up and joining us a the beach, you can register here.
The tables closest to the stage were reserved for parties, but as we maneuvered around them, we located Renée easily. She stood across the room at the bar, flirting with a large, bald, Black man sporting piercings in his eyebrow and nose. He looked older than Renée but not by more than a few years. I pegged him as at most thirty-one.
Adam strode across the room. “Heya, gorgeous.”
Renée tore her eyes away from the bartender and laughed. She’d obviously had a few drinks since we last saw her, and she pulled Adam close in an effusive hug. “Check it out, Barry. This is my naughty boy tonight.”
Barry’s voice was deep and thick. “That’s a pretty one, but he looks kind of young.”
“Ah, Barry, baby, we’re just getting old, that’s all. He’s old enough.”
“I doubt that.” He eyed Adam and me. “How old are you?”
Adam smiled and said nothing, but Renée didn’t seem to think there was anything to hide. “He’s eighteen. And when I was sucking Rick off the other day—that’s the owner,” she clarified to us. “Didn’t he tell me he’s lowering the age of entry? I believe he did, Barry, baby. I believe he did.”
“Yeah, well, that one doesn’t even look close to eighteen.”
“I am.” My fists curled.
“Fine. I guess I’ll pretend to believe that.” He turned his attention back to Renée. “Don’t let Rick find out. There’s a reason it’s not going into effect until next month. Legal doesn’t have it all finalized yet.”
“Legal schmegal. What’s a few weeks early? Nothing, that’s what.” Renée grasped Adam’s chin and tilted his head for Barry’s benefit. “Look at that pretty face.” She hummed her appreciation. “Such a beautiful boy.”
“Going to whip him hard?” Barry winked.
“So hard. He’s going to love it.”
Adam smiled brazenly, but I sensed strain beneath it.
Renée dropped Adam’s chin in favor of her drink and took two long swallows, eyeing us both. She turned to Barry. “Two shots of Jack for my friends!”
I opened my mouth to remind her that she’d told us not to drink, but Adam jerked my arm, and I shut it again. I guessed if I were him, I’d want a drink too.
“This isn’t a good idea,” Barry said, but when Renée smiled at him, he just sighed, poured the amber liquor into the small glasses, and shoved them our way.
I’d never had a shot before. I watched Adam slam his and grimace. Mimicking him, I threw my head back and downed the dark liquor in one harsh, burning swallow. My throat nearly closed up, and I wheezed, eyes bulging. I heard Renée laughing in the background, calling out for two more while Adam slapped my back.
I’d barely recovered when Renée pressed another shot glass into my hand. I nearly declined it, but the next thing I knew I’d downed it too. The burn of the second shot was numbed by the lingering heat of the first, and I blinked back the sting of tears. The warmth in my stomach echoed the slick sweat covering my body from dancing, and I turned to Adam to find him staring at me with glazed eyes. He swallowed and licked his lips. Just that made me half-hard again.
He grabbed my neck and laid another kiss on me, rough and deep. I closed my eyes and kissed him back, the room spinning in the darkness behind my lids. It seemed unreal that Adam’s mouth on mine was quickly becoming something I needed like blood in my veins.
“Young love. So cute, isn’t it Barry?” Renée grabbed my shoulder and pulled me away from Adam. “You—go sit at that table in the front that’s marked with an ‘X.’” She shoved me in that direction. “And you, I’m going to take backstage to get ready.”
I lingered, unwilling to leave Adam, especially when I was still anxious in the unfamiliar surroundings. He smiled nervously and nodded at me, allowing Renée to lead him away.
Renée shooed me with her long fingers. “Go on, you’ll see your boyfriend later.”
I sat alone at the table as the lights went down and tried not to panic. I could feel eyes on me, people from the shadows checking me out. I studied the tabletop, giving the grain of the wood undue attention and praying the show would start soon.
A drink plunked down on the table. I stared at it for a moment and then looked up at the tiny waitress who’d delivered it. She was sweet-looking with short, spiked black hair and a pixie face.
She winked at me. “I’m Krista and it’s okay to drink this one. Renée sent it over. But if you get sent any others, and you don’t want to, you know, be bothered by whoever sent it, you need to refuse it, okay?”
Gratefully, I nodded.
“If you need anything at all, or if anyone bothers you, just tell Barry.” She pointed over at the bar, and Barry lifted his chin in my direction. Krista bent down low, actually pinching my cheek. “Renée says you’re a virgin boy, and we need to treat you like a flower.”
I might have been scared, and I might have been drunk, but I wasn’t a child. I was in a gay bar, after all, with a guy who kept kissing me. I had it under control. “I’m okay.”
“Sure. Right. Just drink that, and don’t go into the bathroom alone.”
I glanced around. The shadows with eyes all seemed to be looking at me. I licked my lips and squeezed my fingers into fists to combat my skittering heartbeat.
Krista patted my arm. “I was just fucking with you, kid. Chill out. It’ll be okay.”
I cleared my throat and hoped I sounded steadier than I felt. “How long until the show starts?”
“Just a few minutes.”
I nodded and closed my eyes, determined to wait it out. I wasn’t a coward. My mother would tell me to buck up and be a man. Actually, my mother would kill me if she knew where I was—but really, if it weren’t for that, she’d tell me to buck up and be a man.
Just as Krista walked away, the lights went down and a spotlight shone on the red curtain. I leaned back in my chair as the familiar opening of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” began.
Renée twirled onto the stage, gyrating, dancing, and lip-syncing like she meant every word, her face contorted into what appeared to be a combination of ecstasy and pain. I had to bite down really hard on my lip to keep from laughing, and I took huge gulps from my drink in hopes that more alcohol might make Renée’s performance more than hysterically unnerving.
I spared a thought for the fact that I’d consumed more illegal beverages in the time I’d known Adam than I ever had in my entire life up until that point. I wondered if that meant he was a bad influence. I’d never had one of those before.
I glanced around the club and chuckled into my drink. Who was I kidding by asking myself if Adam was a bad influence? Looking around, there was no question. Of course he was. And it was exciting. And kind of cool.
As the dancing became more heated, Renée began to rip off her clothes, made easy by Velcro holding on her skirt and blouse. Once she was down to a gold, glittery panty-like thing and a matching bra, Renée twirled feverishly as people lined up to stick dollar bills in the straps of her G-string.
I ducked my head to examine her crotch. Where the hell did she put it? It had to be there somewhere. But no, she was smooth. I took another long drink as I tried to imagine just how much strapping and taping went into that.
Four songs passed, and I took courage in my drink throughout. I didn’t feel like laughing anymore, but the idea of crawling up to the stage and pushing dollar bills into Renée’s panties didn’t appeal to me either. I just sat and watched, averting my eyes whenever Renée looked directly at me. Being in the front row, I got a real gander at all of Renée’s goods, like her little ass shaking around just three or four feet from my face. It was embarrassing and arousing.
After the song ended, Renée reached out toward the audience, and Barry walked up to hand her a microphone. She smoothed her hair a little and dabbed her face with a handkerchief someone tossed to her from the audience.
“Thank you, babies. Now, I’ve been kind and shown you my stuff, so break out the rest of your money, gentlemen and ladies! Mama needs some love!”
A smattering of laughter broke out in the crowd.
I wished I had another drink, and as if reading my mind, Renée looked over at my table, saying, “Krista, get this child a drink. He’s looking parched.” She was still breathing hard from her exertions, and every word she said into the microphone was followed by a violent puff of air. “Can’t have my naughty boy’s sweetie going without.”
Krista showed up with another drink by the time Renée had started her mini stand-up routine. It was bad. Luckily, it was laughably bad, and so most of the crowd cracked up in the right places, and no one was rude enough to heckle or boo her.
I kept sipping whatever it was Krista had delivered to me, so I was starting to feel a little woozy by the time Renée called out, “Bring me the naughty boy. He needs a whipping.”
The crowd cheered. Apparently, this part was a house favorite.
Adam’s head stuck out from behind the curtain, face flushed and his hair kind of wild. He blinked against the spotlight and seemed to search the room, but from the way he was squinting, I didn’t think he could really see anything.
“Get out here,” Renée yelled, and Adam stepped through the curtains wearing a white robe and dragging a chair behind him. He continued to scan the audience until Renée grabbed his arm and pointed at me. “There he is. I told you he’d be okay.”
Adam’s face broke into a relieved grin when he saw me.
Renée took the chair and placed it in the middle of the stage, talking the whole time about how Adam was fresh meat, a little virgin boy, and all kinds of similar statements—whether to be funny, inflame, or incite, I wasn’t sure.
I didn’t feel too good. The alcohol seemed to be turning in my stomach, but I was emboldened enough to give Adam a long once-over. That’s when I realized he didn’t have any pants on—his ankles and feet were bare beneath the white material. But it wasn’t until Renée took him over her knee and lifted up the back of his robe that I realized he didn’t have anything on under there.
Adam was tall. To position his ass properly, he had to sprawl far over Renée’s legs, and his head and hands rested on the ground. He managed to turn and look at me, grinning a little before a loud crack sounded through the room. Adam’s eyes went wide and he jerked.
“That’s for being bad. The next is for being dirty.”
Adam’s face went a little slack, and I gripped the glass in my hand hard, wincing for him.
“This is for being easy.”
Adam looked over at me, eyes glazed and his cheeks flushed. I realized he was getting turned on, and my own body responded to the expression on his face. Unfortunately, feeling sweaty, sick, and turned on all at once wasn’t really a good combination.
“This is for being pretty.”
“This is for being gay.”
It really was a perverted little show. Nearly everyone in the room seemed to get off on the spankings, and the reasons given for them. Each new item Renée listed was met with ever-increasing screams of approval.
“And this is for liking it up the ass!”
Adam jerked hard, and his face crumpled a little. I wondered if he’d had an orgasm or if he finally couldn’t take any more of the pain. My stomach churned, and the room became overly loud with the roaring appreciation of the crowd when Renée announced Adam had been sufficiently punished.
When he struggled up from her lap, I noticed he was breathing hard, and he beamed down at her with a silly expression. He waved at the crowd and then blew a kiss to me before rushing behind the curtain.
I stood, making my way toward the bar to wait for him. I felt clammy and verging on really sick as my legs went wobbly. I wanted to go home. I clutched at the edge of the bar when I felt my knees give out. Strong hands grabbed me, and I panicked, remembering what Krista had said about the bathroom. I struggled a little, but that brought vomit into my mouth, and I didn’t know what to do. Then I recognized the voice. It was Barry.
“Easy, kiddo. Told her you shouldn’t be drinking. She never listens.”
Barry guided me toward the steps, calling out to someone behind him. “Tell the naughty boy I took this one outside. He’s gonna be sick.” I didn’t want to go anywhere without Adam, but Barry had a grip on me. “If you puke in here, I swear to God—” I continued to struggle despite the vomit surging in my throat until he said, “You come with me, or I’ll pick you up and carry you out of here, do you understand?”
The cooler night air did wonders for me, and I collapsed down to sit on the curb without throwing up. I buried my face in my hands, tucking down over my knees, squeezing my eyes shut.
Barry put his hand on my head. “It’ll be all right, kid.”
I kept my eyes closed, fighting the nausea. My thoughts focused solely on the repetition of don’t throw up. Don’t throw up. Don’t throw up. My heart pounded dully, and my head throbbed.
“Is he okay?” Adam dropped down next to me, and I calmed under the soothing pressure of his hand on my back.
“He drank too much,” Barry said. “He’d probably feel better if he just went ahead and puked.”
“No,” I moaned.
“It’s okay, Peter.” Adam rubbed circles on my back. I sneaked a glance and noticed he had his jeans and T-shirt back on. “Thanks, Barry. I’ve got him now. I’m just going to take him home.”
“Better sober up first. Get some water into you. I don’t want to turn on the news tomorrow and find out you got yourselves killed.” Barry’s voice was firm, and suddenly I was heaved up by both of them and dragged into the harsh light of Chalky ’N’ Joe’s.
The movement put my stomach on edge again, and I collapsed into the booth gratefully, pressing my forehead against the cool Formica tabletop. My glasses bit into the bridge of my nose a little. The sensation was grounding.
I vaguely heard Barry tell Adam goodnight, and then a chilled bottle was pressed into my hand. “Drink this, Peter. You’ll feel better.”
The last thing I wanted to do was drink anything at all ever again. I shook my head and Adam loomed in front of me. “Yes. Drink it.”
He took the bottle and pressed it to my lips. I had to swallow or else it would run down my chin and over my neck. I took several large gulps, feeling the icy liquid race down my esophagus and chill my stomach. It was refreshing. Adam was right. I grasped the bottle, and he sat down next to me, rubbing the back of my neck.
Leta Blake’s ’90s Coming of Age series is a must-read for fans of New Adult Romance and coming-of-age fiction.
Peter Mandel is an 18-year-old private school senior who’s passionate about photography and bent on keeping his attractions secret. Enter Adam Algedi, a charming, worldly guy who doesn’t do labels, but does want to do Peter.
Swept away on a journey of first love and intimate discovery, Peter hopes for a future where he won’t have to hide his truth. But as the web of lies he and Adam are weaving grows relentlessly tangled, can Peter find the confidence to do the right thing? Or will his crush on Daniel, a college acquaintance, put him on a different path?
Join Peter in the first book of this critically acclaimed trilogy as he struggles to love and be loved and to grow into a man worthy of his own respect.
Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and fan favorites Training Season, Will & Patrick Wake Up Married, and Slow Heat, Leta Blake has been captivating M/M Romance readers for over a decade. Whether writing contemporary romance or fantasy, she puts her psychology background to use creating complex characters and love stories that feel real. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her writing and her family life.
Leta has brought a copy of the complete trilogy in ebook or audiobook to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Wednesday, November 22nd at 11:59 pm ET.
- By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
- Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
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- Void where prohibited by law.