Today I am so pleased to welcome JS Harker to Joyfully Jay. JS has come as part of the Rainbow Readers Cruise Blog Tour to talk to us about her latest release, Vicious Waltz. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!

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Howdy reader peeps! I’m JS Harker and I’m dropping in because I’m one of the authors participating in the Rainbow Readers Cruise. I’m completely excited about the trip! I’ve been on a cruise once before, decades back, and this one promises to be amazing. I mean, we’ve got authors, we’ve got bloggers, we’ve got narrators–and readers! I’m a convention girl at heart. The energy of meeting fans, of getting to bond with other fans, of pretending you’re not going to embarrass yourself in front of James Marsters but then totally accidentally cutting his line because you got nervous and your friend literally pushed you at him and he was nice but oh man was his handler aggravated—Well, those first two energies are great. The nervous energy of talking to someone you deeply admire for their work and not knowing how to deal with it? That adrenaline can be a LOT. Marsters isn’t the only person I’ve been flabbergasted to meet (though he did compliment my shirt–one I still keep for good luck).

js harker rainbow readers cruise badgeBut to let you in on a little secret, we authors get pretty rushed with adrenaline at meet-and-greets too! A lot of what we do feels like talking to a void, and to have real flesh and blood people giddy to meet us is an endorphin rush like no other. We’ve all done that faux Oscar acceptance speech of “they like me, they really like me” when we were kids (and maybe older if we’re ambitious that way, I’m not so much), but knowing that people not only read our work but like it enough to talk to us about it? That’s one of the DREAMS, my fellow reader peeps.

And that’s the thing too, right? We creators are generally huge media geeks ourselves. We read, we watch, we listen–we devour content as much as anyone. I’m excited to see my fellow creators for the cruise and event. Some peeps I’ve met, some I haven’t. Which reminds me that I need to get my RRC-TBR built so I can read it. August is going to come at us faster than we realize.

Prepping for my newest release has certainly made time fly. Vicious Waltz is the sort of long, wonderful, dramatic vampire books I’ve always wanted to write. And in the following excerpt, we can see just how happy Zack is to see Roger again, and how he gets nervous, too.

The Rainbow Readers Cruise celebrates the readers and creators of LGBTQ+ fiction and romance. The cruise departs from the Port of Fort Lauderdale on August 19, 2024 and returns August 23, 2024, with stops at Key West and Coco Cay (Celebrity’s private island). Along the way, meet and mingle with some of your favorite LGBTQ+ fiction and romance authors and creators, as well as attend panels, meet and greets, small group social activities, and the Signing at Sea. Plus, the cruise itself, with fabulous destinations, food and drinks, entertainment, and more. You can find all the details about the Rainbow Readers Cruise on our website: https://rainbowreaderscruise.com.


Excerpt

“Looks like we’re having fun in here,” Roger said, his voice carrying across the ballroom.

Zack’s belly flip-flopped and filled with butterflies. He turned to watch him enter the room.

Roger strode as if life were one long drama and the gleaming boards beneath him were the latest stage. He had broad shoulders, a narrow waist, an ass sculpted by a higher power, and long legs that added to his swagger prowess. At just over six feet tall, he was nearly five inches taller than Zack. His smile was cocky and sinful, while merriment lit his brown eyes. The small gold hoop earring in his left ear drew attention to his square jaw. Long black hair framed his chis- eled face and draped over his shoulders. His raven locks made his white skin seem even starker and paler than he actually was.

Lately, he’d adopted a “coven captain appropriate” wardrobe. Everything he wore cost more than Zack wanted to know, but he always looked amazing. His shirt was dark red silk and had a billowing sort of look. The front was parted for the first few inches, showing off the curve of his pecs and his smooth skin. His pants were black and barely whispered as he walked. And it had to be magic the way his black leather belt and boots perfectly matched the shade of his pants.

Somehow, this amazing, hot immortal found Zack attractive. Digging into the coven’s history had revealed a few details about Roger, even though Zack had shied away from directly researching him. He didn’t want to think about the countless men Roger had been with over the centuries, and he didn’t want to discover how many victims he’d left in his wake. Sometimes ignorance was better.

Still, Zack had learned through pieces of conversation and bits of gossip no one thought he was overhearing that Roger tended to have multiple partners. Pets, other vampires, demons, Seelie, Unseelie—the only thing Roger seemed to be picky about was that his partner identified as a man. No one in Taliville was boasting about sleeping with him recently, but that didn’t mean Roger wasn’t seeing other people. After all, Kit was his actual pet. Kit identified as nonbinary, so Zack wasn’t sure the two of them were hooking up, but Roger usually slept with his pets.

*I shouldn’t be jealous about that. We’ve never talked about it. And maybe they aren’t sleeping together.* Just because they spent so much time together, Zack couldn’t assume they were boyfriends. They’d never had that talk. Was he a casual lay for Roger? Something more?

Roger approached Zack and kissed his temple. Physical touch was common between pets and their masters, but Zack’s stomach squeezed tight as he realized Reed and Josefina were witnessing Roger doting on him. Heat flared in his cheeks as he also noticed that Roger’s mere proximity was turning him on and that was probably tenting his pants, and even if it wasn’t, Josefina would be able to psychically feel his desire if she paid close enough attention, and … The spiral continued roaring out of control, egged on by that nagging internal voice that insulted him.

“I thought I’d catch you practicing.” Roger stroked the top of Zack’s shoulder and then down his back.

“Josefina said we’re done, master.” Zack pouted. Putting out his bottom lip in just the right way had been how he’d bent Roger to his will during his recovery. He’d learned it when asking for another bowl of ice cream. “I’ve barely tried the foxtrot.”

“He’s been acting up,” Josefina replied. “He’s also hiding the fact that his shoulder’s killing him.”

Roger slid his hand up and around to put his finger under Zack’s chin and tilt his head up. The smile on his lips could melt an iceberg. This was Roger at full charm, and Zack had no trouble picturing him as a pirate on the high seas or a gentleman thief in Georgian England or a bootlegger with a heart of gold. “Now, now, is that how a good boy behaves?”


Blurb

How long can Zack pretend to belong to Roger’s world?

Zack Wright should be happy. He has a hot boyfriend and a mission that will turn him into a vampire hunting legend. All he has to do is put his training into practice. But his charmed life is rife with problems, the greatest of which is Roger’s reluctance to form a plan to tackle their target.

Roger is stronger than he’s ever been. Months of recuperation in Taliville have given him a freedom he hasn’t known in centuries. The prospect of taking on his sire is suddenly daunting, but his time in paradise is running out. If Roger doesn’t take control of the coven, he’ll have to endure his sire’s cruelty. And so will Zack and countless others.

At the last moment, a new addition is made to their conspiracy. Takashi Sato is a polished vampire who has a history with Roger. Seeing a charming man cozy up to Roger, Zack wonders if he truly belongs at Roger’s side. Can he keep up his masquerade as Roger’s pet? Will Roger find the courage to face his nightmares? Or will both misstep into a destructive oblivion?

Vicious Waltz is 128k novel featuring a hunter out to prove himself and an angst-ridden vampire. Also included: hurt/comfort three hundred years in the making, a slow-burn polyam relationship, spicy vampire bites, and villains that are as hot as they are evil.


Bio

JS Harker loves stories. She was one of those kids who constantly had a book in her hands and spent countless hours adventuring with her siblings. These days she wanders into her imaginary worlds and conjures up tales of magic, passion, and happily-ever-afters. She currently lives in the part of the Midwest that makes Tatooine look interesting by comparison (not that she’s ever obsessively thought about becoming a Jedi or anything).