Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Ménage Romance is DEAD

Yes, you read that right.

No, I'm definitely not serious.

It's been awhile since I posted, but I try to make sure, when I post, I'm posting something you'll be interested in checking out. Updates, the jumbled mess of my mind, random sarcasm...you know, that kinda fun! lol

So where is this coming from? Well, I've come across a few conversations saying it was a trend and now it's over. I actually behaved myself and didn't comment on those posts and discussions. I'll slip into my own space to get up on the soapbox about that particular subject.

Before I get started, here's something for those of you who enjoy some eyecandy! ;)


Now, there are two things I've noticed with ménage romance. Some authors--due to demands from fans or their own preference--write only MFM (Male/Female/Male for those who don't know). This makes good business sense because the fantasy is appealing to many. What woman wouldn't want to imagine herself as the sole focus of two studs?

Fantasies are fun, and for those authors who can write a believable ménage romance, there are plenty of readers who love a great story and will dive right in. They're readers of romance who want something a little different. Ménage is definitely different.

But ménage is dead.

The other thing I've noticed is some authors lean more toward the world making the heroine seem happy, rather than showing a well rounded relationship. Hell, some of the most well known romances out there constantly tell you how happy the heroine's man (or men) make her. Which in part proves the MFM restrictions make more sense, right? The men making one another happy is distracting from the ultimate goal.


Only, can someone ever truly be happy if the one they're with isn't happy too? Not that everyone can be happy all the time, but there needs to be some balance for me to believe a couple, or a trio, will last.

Even with a MFM romance, there's less appeal if you can't see this relationship building something that lasts. Which forces the authors to dig a bit deeper. To explore the challenges three lovers might face and whether it will make or break them.

You're rarely looking at a formula when it comes to ménage. The formulas that work for MF would be too restrictive when you add another person. Jealousy isn't sexy--it will come up, but has to be addressed differently--and possessiveness can get downright uncomfortable.

Which brings us to MMF (Male/Male/Female). Unlike MFM, this kind of romance leads to not only the men sharing, but our sweet heroine doing so as well. And that idea makes some very uncomfortable.

Which is fine, not all readers are going to love every kind of book. But what's important is this kind of book explores an even deeper dynamic. I know readers who ate up every romance they could find, and when they got tired of the same old concept, dipped their toes into the menage hot tub. And loved it.

Unlike many readers, I don't identify as monogamous--which doesn't make me a cheater, but that's a subject for another day. I'm also bisexual--still not a cheater--so finding characters I can relate to is difficult. Love triangles give me hives. Women 'fixing' their men and forcing them to choose...well, anything, but let's focus on sexuality, has me throwing random things and cursing in French. The same goes for men 'fixing' women and demanding that same kind of choice.

I may be a rare one, but I'm not alone. So what's popular in romance might not work for me. I need a deep story that goes beyond the drama of boy meets girl. I love all the twists and turns of fulfilling dreams and desires.

To me, a ménage romance is beautiful because you can see how three people (or more) who truly love one another can put that love before anything else. Before society, before territorial urges, before the need to say 'You're MINE and mine alone.'

So what is it that you love about ménage?

Stay tuned for my posts about how paranormal romance is dying, historical romance is a thing of the past, and vampires are undead! <g>

****

In other news, BACKLASH (Winter's Wrath #1) is on sale for a limited time in anticipation of book TWO!

(Psst! Little spoiler, it's Ménage)

Check it out here:

Amazon: http://bit.ly/backlashKIN
iBooks: http://bit.ly/backlashiBooks
Kobo: http://bit.ly/backlashKOBO
B&N:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/backlash-bianca…/1123144854…
AllRomance: http://bit.ly/backlashARE


 






Thursday, June 2, 2016

LINE BRAWL-READER ON PLAYER QUESTION POST and some updates!

So, now that Line Brawl's been out a few days, I've decided to do something fun! <g> Many readers have been asking questions about the book, so lets give you all an opportunity to ask the guys (and girls) themselves.

I'm going to leave the comments open for your questions and whichever player you're asking will answer here, so check back as the post grows!

At the end, I'll choose a couple of readers to get a special prize pack from their favorite player! 

 http://bit.ly/linebrawl

For the first one, which has been asked of me personally, many have wanted to know if the play party will be shown in the next book.

The answer is no.

Unfortunately, for the party to be truly enjoyable, there has to be scenes from different POVs and that wouldn't fit in the next book. I've had other scenes either cut or envisioned that don't really fit anywhere because they weren't part of the story arc.

So how am I gonna share those scenes?

Well, my plan is to have a special collection of shorts, which will come out as soon as I can write out the scenes, and publish that separately for your reading pleasure! :)

To tease you a little, this may include a certain honeymoon. And the party. And...well, the trouble triplets have been bugging me for more page time. ;)

So there you have it! I hope this collection will be as fun for you as it will be for me! I'll let you know when you can expect the release.

If you haven't grabbed Line Brawl yet, here are the links:


Now, for the questions!

**Note** This post will be updated regularly for the next THREE days, so be sure to check back to see the answers to your questions!

**Second Note** A spoiler warning will be placed on any questions that contain spoilers.  

And here we go! :D 


This is from Kim York for Heath Ladd. He states to Justina that there is a reason he is on the Cobras team. Care to share the reason Mr. Ladd?

Ladd ducks his head, a faint blush spreading over his cheeks. "Same reason the other players are?"







Lynn Latimer: My question is for Dean: What is it about Luke that you can't be happy for your daughter?

Arching a brow, Dean smiles. "The boy getting arrested might have something to do with it. I wouldn't say I'm not happy for her, but I've always hoped she would find a good man one day. Who knows, maybe Carter will eventually grow up and become that man. Ramos seems a lot less likely to break her heart or do something stupid that will ruin her life. I am very happy she found him. Though I think he's a little too old for her. I've been reminded I'm in no position to judge."



Ilene Tsuruoka: Are we going to see more of Keane in the next book? 
Me: I can't be sure, but I hope so. It really depends on where the story goes and who the next book will be about. I have a few of the guys talking to me, so there are a few possibilities that would bring Keane in for more page time.

I know I'd love to get to know him better! <g>

  

Krystal G: Is it only Landon who isn't ready to tell people about the relationship between himself and Dean... or do Dean and Silver want to wait as well? And why... given all the different relationships in the team... aren't they comfortable with telling people?
Silver leans close, lowering her voice. "Honestly, it has nothing to do with comfort. Landon doesn't want to play openly, which is cool, but one of the big issues is both Dean and me having management roles with the team. We don't spend much time with the players just hanging out. Discussing anything so personal...it just seems unnecessary."


Diane Sarno: For Cort and Ford...at what point did you realize you wanted to go further with one another? How was the first time? Was Akira there to help Ford handle Cort's size...hehehe?
 "Yikes, straight for the jugular!" Ford rubs his jaw, taking a deep breath. "Well, I'm gonna have to answer for both of us since Cort reminded me, as security, he doesn't have to do 'any fucking interviews'." A long pause. "I think things progressed naturally over time. And are still progressing, so there's not too many details to share. Don't forget, Cort hold the whip in the relationship." Ford winks. "I don't want to piss him off. Too much anyway."



Colleen Snibson: Akira, did you enjoy your kiss with Justina, and would you consider doing it again? 

"Mmm, yes. She's a very good kisser." Akira giggles, tucking her hair back behind her ear. "I totally get what Easy sees in her."






Diane Sarno: Justina..are you going to be spending some fun time playing with your men at the club? Do you think Ian's ready for playing in public? 

Justina runs her tongue over her bottom lip and takes a deep breath. "I think so? I mean, the club's not exactly public. From what I've heard it's harder to get in now than ever. I do like house parties a lot more though!"


Ilene Tsuruoka: Raif, how are you adjusting and is Thora helpful with that adjustment? Can you see anything at all?

Raif smooths his hand over Thora's soft fur, a tight smile on his lips. "She makes life much easier, I enjoy my independence and she gives that to me. But now, I see nothing."





Saturday, May 28, 2016

LINE BRAWL RELEASE in 2 DAYS! PLAYER ON PLAYER Interview with Shawn 'Easy' Pischlar


So the Cobra have decided to try something new. Rather than dealing with the pressure of a typical interview, with reporters that can be downright nasty—Hayley Turner anyone?—they’ll be interviewing one another.

Most of this interview won’t make it to the sports magazines, but you all get an uncut look of the trouble triplets interviewing Shawn ‘Easy’ Pischlar!

**Note-It was supposed to be just Scott, but his buddies thought he might need backup. ;)

Player on Player: Interview with 
Shawn ‘Easy Pischlar

A table was set up off to the side of the locker room, which was practically empty in the off-season. Scott tapped his fingers on the printout in front of him, feeling a little stiff in his gray suit, but Becky wanted to give a polished look to the first interview.

He had a feeling she just liked seeing him in a suit. Not that he didn’t wear one on date nights, and to games, and…damn, he wore suits a lot now, didn’t he?

“I bet the suit doesn’t make it through the interview.” Zach smirked as he straightened Scott’s tie, laughing as Becky nudged him aside. “Are you trying to earn yourself a punishment, little doe? I promise you, you won’t enjoy it.”

Becky bit her bottom lip, smoothing her hands down Scott’s chest to smooth his jacket. “He’s not going to strip during the interview.”

“Tyler and Luke will be there. I’m not so sure about that.”

Scott rolled his eyes. “That joke gets funnier every day. I promised I’d be on my best behavior. I will be.”

Sliding up to his side, Zach whispered in his ear. “You’re allowed to be a little bad. You know we both enjoy it.”

With a soft groan, Scott pushed aside the memory of that morning, adjusting in his seat, knowing very well talking to Pisch with a fucking hard-on would be a very bad idea. Heat spread over the back of his neck as Luke pulled a chair up beside him, turning it backwards before straddling it.

“You’re so cute when you’re blushing.” Luke ducked his head when Scott tried to backhand him. “Come on, chill out. It’s Easy!”

A few feet away, Tyler watched the cameramen setting up all the lights and sound equipment. He shook his head, stuffing his hands in the pockets of his own pants. “Isn’t this supposed to be all casual? Ford made it sound like it would be cool, but Silver and Becky turned it into a fucking press conference.”

“Dude, there are no reporters.” Luke kicked his feet up to the edge of the table. He was just as dressed up as Scott and Vanek, but somehow made the suit seem just as comfortable as jeans and a t-shirt. “We’re in charge. We can make this fun.”

“You mean I’m in charge.” Scott shoved Luke’s feet off the table. “You two aren’t even supposed to be here.”

“We can go if you want.” Tyler glanced over as the door to the locker room open. His cheeks went red. “Really, we don’t mind.”

Looking over, Scott sat up and tugged at his tie. Fuck, Pisch clearly hadn’t gotten the memo about dressing formally. In a suit anyway. But he still managed to look more put together than any of them.

In stylishly faded black jeans, with a black V-neck sweater folded up his forearms, and a white shirt with the top few buttons undone, Pisch was…fuck it, Scott couldn’t find the words to describe him. He was slick, and sinfully sexy. Scott was very happy with his own man, but hints that they might all play one day made it difficult not to stare at Pisch while considering…

Interview. I’m here for the interview.

“Good afternoon, boys.” Pisch winked at Tyler, grabbing a chair from the other end of the table and setting it down in diagonal to Scott. He slouched into the chair, resting one ankle on his knee. “Let’s get this over with. You all keep looking at me like that and this interview will become X-rated very quickly.”

Luke suddenly made himself look very busy going over the questions Scott was supposed to ask. He cleared his throat, then let out a nervous laugh. “Umm, this one’s clearly a ‘Yes’.”

Leaning over to read the question, Scott chuckled. He tugged at his tie. “Yeah, but I still gotta ask.” He turned to Pisch. “You still ‘Easy’?”

Lips quirking at the edges, Pisch inclined his head. “Yes. But you still get the speech.”

“I don’t…” Scott undid his tie. Damn, it was hot in there. Did they turn off the AC? “I don’t think I’m doing this right. You should probably introduce yourself first.”

“All right.” Pisch flashed a smile at the camera. “My name is Shawn Pischlar. Call me ‘Easy’. And yes, to clarify, I’m still me. I thought I’d have to change to be in a relationship, but love isn’t the cage I once thought it would be. It’s actually quite liberating.”


Scott liked that answer. His own relationships weren’t as open as Pisch’s, but he didn’t feel trapped.

Pisch continued. “I play left wing, third line for the Dartmouth Cobras. I’m a playmaker. I like long walks on the beach, eating dessert off a sexy man, or woman, and my favorite position is all of them.”

Tyler plunked down in the last chair, on the other side of Scott, covering his face with his hands. “You do know this is an interview for the team website. We’re not trying to get you a date.”

“I don’t need a date. I’m just being honest.” A playful glint sparkled in Pisch’s gray-green eyes. “I also enjoy watching the three of you squirm. Next question?”

Pulling off his tie, Scott set it on the table, looking over the questions for a safe one. “Who could you picture playing you in a movie?”

“No one.”

“Really?” Luke cocked his head. “I’d think Taylor Kitsch could do you.”

Pisch inclined his head. “And I’d let him ‘do me’. He can’t very well act as me while I’m fucking him.”

Holy shit… Scott’s mouth went dry. He undid his suit jacket. And the top few buttons of his shirt. Much better. “What’s your favorite car?”

“Anything with a big backseat.”

“You’re going to make all your answers sexual, aren’t you?” Scott shrugged off his jacket, his brow furrowing as he considered the rest of the questions. “Becky thinks the fans will enjoy getting to know us like this, but so far, I don’t think they can use any of this.”

“I apologize. I like fucking with the three of you.” Pisch made a circular motion with his hand. “Go on, I’ll keep it PG13.”

“Okay…” Scott checked the next question. “If you weren’t a hockey player, what would you be? And if you say a stripper I’m done.”

Glancing at Scott’s tie, then his jacket and his open shirt, Pisch’s lips curved, but he didn’t comment on Scott slowly losing articles of clothing. “I’ve never seriously considered anything else, but once I retire, I might consider becoming a trainer. Or a masseuse. I think I’d be very good, working all the tension out of hard, overworked muscles.”

“It’s really fucking hot in here. Did you notice it’s hot in here?” Tyler took off his own jacket. Then his shirt and tie. Thankfully, he was wearing a white tank underneath. He scooted his chair back a bit when Pisch shot him an amused look. “What? I don’t get how people wear all these layers in the summer. Hell, I’m getting hot just looking at you.”

“That much is obvious.” Pisch arched a brow at Luke. “Would you like to get more comfortable before we continue?”

Luke shook his head. “Nope. I’m good. I’d like some water though. Can someone get me water please?”

While Luke gulped down the water, Scott continued. “A fan asked about your tattoos. Do you have a favorite? Any you regret?”

Expression turning serious, Pisch rubbed his jaw. “None I regret, but as for favorites, the quote I have from transformers is right up there. It reminds me of my best friend, which makes it special. Also, the barbwire on my foot. It once made me think of the pain I’d endured, but now I see it as a reminder of what I’ve survived.”

Throat tightening, Scott nodded. He took a deep breath. “Would you consider coming to one of my self-defense classes and talking about abusive relationships?”

The way Pisch’s eyes narrowed told Scott he should have left the question out. Too late now. Pisch leaned forward. “Absolutely nothing I could say would help them. It’s a great thing you’re doing, Demyan. I respect it, but I feel more comfortable with causes where I know I can do some good.”

“Next question!” Luke grabbed the printouts, flipping through them. Then he dropped the papers on the table and stood. “I lied. I need to get this shit off. New rule, Scott. Your woman does not get to choose our outfits when its fucking boiling outside. Or we’re interviewing Easy. This can’t be healthy.

After ditching his jacket, tie, shirt, and pants—he’d somehow managed to fit them over swim trunks, clever fucker—Luke leaned his hip on the edge of the table. “Do you consider yourself a peacemaker or an observer off the ice?”

“A little of both?” Pisch gave Luke an appreciative once over, but kept his answer appropriate. “I don’t like meddling unless I truly believe a friend needs me to get involved. And even then, I think most people need to be heard more than they needs things to be ‘fixed’ for them. Sometimes I wish I could do more, but stressing doesn’t really help anyone. The most important thing is to let those I care for know I’m here.”

“True dat!” Luke grinned. “All right, which teammate do you admire and why? Please say me? It’s me, isn’t it?”

Pisch chuckled. “Yes, I admire you, Carter. All of you, actually. I think we have a strong team, and every single player has gone through their own struggles. If I had to pick one, though, it would be Demyan.”

Scott blinked and sat up. “Me? Why?”

“You were a hot mess when you joined the team. You’ve come a long way. You’re an amazing father, friend, and teammate. I could get into detail, but I don’t think I need to.” Pisch reached out and squeezed Scott’s shoulder. “I want to be you when I grow up.”

The mood had been lightened, which was awesome, but Scott still wrinkled his nose, not sure he liked the idea of Pisch seeing him as more ‘grown up’ than the rest of them. Hell, Pisch was almost a year older than he was.

Then again, looking at his life now, he didn’t feel like he’d gotten old and boring. Casey exhausted Becky and Zach, but he still managed to keep up with her when she wanted to run around and play. He was at the top of his career. And he still had a blast with his two best friends.

So he snorted, shaking his head and moving on to the next question before Luke took all the credit for getting them through the interview. “If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go and why there?”

“I don’t think I can name one place. I want to experience so many things. Travel everywhere. I’d love to go deep in the jungle, sail across the ocean. Not doing it alone is much more appealing. Now that I have two very special people to explore with, there are no limits.”

“I agree.” Scott smiled, relieved that they’d reached the last question. “Is there any one person that you regret letting go?”

Folding his hands behind his neck, Pisch leaned back, shaking his head. “I believe people find the place they're meant to hold in your life, if they’re meant to be there at all. When you let someone go, they don’t have to go far. Keeping those I cared for a distance used to feel necessary, but now…now I’ve realized some need to be kept close. Because that’s exactly where they belong.
* * * *





NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER
Amazon: http://bit.ly/linebrawl
iBooks: http://bit.ly/linebrawlIB
Nook: http://bit.ly/linebrawlBN
Kobo: http://bit.ly/linebrawlK

Friday, April 22, 2016

LINE BRAWL RELEASE DATE, PRE-ORDER, and THE FIRST CHAPTER of THIS MONSTER!!!!

All right, I kinda get why some people enjoy writing in all caps! lol! That was FUN!

Let's get right down to business, because, from all the messages, emails, posts, tweets, smoke signals...

A couple of people are waiting for an official release day for LINE BRAWL.

To make this announcement, let's bring out... Steve Harvey!!!!


Just kidding! <g>


LINE BRAWL (The Dartmouth Cobras #8) WILL BE RELEASED

MAY 30TH, 2016


For those who haven't seen the beautiful cover, I'll post it here. I'd like to give special thanks to Jen Leblanc, from Studio Smexy, for the photo shoot. Any authors looking for custom work should definitely give her a shout!

Also, special thanks to Robert Simmons, who posed for the cover. Something about this man's eyes and smile were just perfect for 'Easy' and I'm so happy he was willing to put up with me changing my mind every few minutes until I had the exact look I needed!

Also, everyone needs to go on FB or Twitter and wish Robert luck on his fight tomorrow, April 23rd, versus Chris Cagle! Maybe the best man win!

And now...
Here's the cover and blurb: 

Not all fights are one on one. In a team, no man should stand alone.
‘You can’t keep me.’

Shawn ‘Easy’ Pischlar has given his speech so often, it should be written on the white board in the Dartmouth Cobra’s locker room. Too many of his own teammates have heard the words.

And the games he’s played are finally catching up to him.

To hang on to his freedom, Shawn gave up on ever having someone to call his own. A young woman who expects nothing from him slips into his life and has him ready to toss the rulebook. While the man he loves tempts him to burn it.

Keeping them both would be easy, only…caring about them isn’t.

Because when he lets himself care, he remembers why he wrote the rules in the first place. Every lover, from the casual, to those who steal a piece of his heart, shouldn’t expect more than pleasure. More than passion.

Playing the game, on and off the ice, is his whole world. One he isn’t ready to change.

Except, life doesn’t stop for the game. And when old scars are ripped open, and he’s left bloody and beaten, the rules won’t help him put the pieces of his life back together.

To win this fight, he’ll have to break each and every one.

Pre-order:

 

***STOP HERE IF YOU WANT TO WAIT UNTIL NEXT MONTH FOR CHAPTER ONE***

 LINE BRAWL (The Dartmouth Cobras #1)
© Bianca Sommerland 2016
  *unedited first chapter*
Chapter One

Early May

Why had he ever thought it would just be an easy, no regrets, fuck?
Because everyone’s right. You are stupid.

Ian White stepped up to the door of his best friend’s apartment, a place he’d spent more time at than his own, and for the first time couldn’t bring himself to just walk in. He had the damn key, on the Deadpool keychain Pisch had given him, but he left it in his pocket.

Things were different.

I fucked up.

But this was freakin’ Shawn “Easy” Pischlar. Sex didn’t mean a thing to him, no matter who it was with. There were some lines that couldn’t be crossed though, and Ian had trampled all over them like the big, dumb meathead he was. Fine, Pisch had fucked other friends, but he didn’t see them all the time. He had his rules and made sure everyone understood them before he worked them out of their clothes and did what he was so fucking good at.
He was a damn good Dom because he was observant though, and he’d caught White’s slip when he’d said his name while they were…

‘Don’t fall in love with me or anything, Bruiser. I’ll break your heart.’

Love. Screw that. Falling in love with Pisch was the fastest way to get him to fucking disappear. And no way was Ian gonna risk that. Not for sex.

Not for anything.

They’d had fun. Shared a hot chick. That was over and now things could go back to normal.

Then why are you still standing in the fucking hall?

He jabbed his hand into his pocket to grab the key.

The door opened, revealing Pisch with a smirk on his lips as he leaned against the doorframe. “Finally grew your balls back, Bruiser?”

Ian scowled, staring at the center of Pischlar’s bare, tattooed chest, because he couldn’t deal with that damn arrogance aimed at him. Not now. “I just came to get my comic book. I wasn’t sure if you were still sleeping.”

“It’s past noon.”

“Yeah, but you were out late last night at the club.” Probably fucking some cute little twink some Domme—or Dom—had decided they wanted to share. Someone who wouldn’t get all fucking confused and imagine the man would want more.

Maybe Tyler again. He ground his teeth as he pictured the Dartmouth Cobra’s golden boy, Tyler Vanek, all small and wiry and in love with his Master and Mistress. Perfect for Pisch to play with.

You jealous?

He blinked at the weird little voice in his head he was sure had never been there before. He so needed to hack the source up into little pieces and bury it.

“Don’t think so hard, you’ll stress yourself out.” Pisch gave him a playful slap on the arm. “Come in. And don’t lie to me about why you’re here. You gave me that comic book as a peace offering.”

Yeah, I did. And he didn’t really want it back, but he couldn’t think of a better excuse, so screw it, he’d pretend he was desperate to get his hands on the damn thing. “I know, but I still haven’t read that one yet… Can I borrow it?”

“Sure.” Pisch’s brow creased slightly as he held the door open wide, waiting for Ian to pass. “Sorry for being an asshole. I thought you came to get laid.”

The laugh escaped Ian before what Pisch had said fully registered. He blinked, stopping with one foot over the threshold. He glared at Pisch. “Are you fucking serious?”

Careless expression smoothing all the lines on his face, Pisch lifted a shoulder. “Not that I’d have minded, but I had to mess with you a bit. Keep things light.”

“’Course you did.” Ian made his way across the hall, heading to the kitchen to grab one of the beers from the case he’d bought last week. He twisted the cap, taking a few gulps since his mouth was suddenly fucking dry and he couldn’t face Pisch yet.

This was why fucking Pisch had been the most phenomenally stupid thing he’d ever done in his life. He’d be shoved into the category of potential repeat fuck. So long as he didn’t get too comfortable.

He liked how comfortable things had been before.

“Hey, I thought we were good. What’s eating at you, White?” Pischlar’s voice came from much too close. He touched the small of Ian’s back.

And Ian almost broke another tooth on the lip of the beer bottle. He took a deep breath and managed not to jerk away. Or move closer.

This man should be illegal without a damn prescription. One with a warning ‘Might cause fatal addiction’.
His gaze went to Pisch’s bare feet first. Which was safe enough. He had a tattoo on one foot, barbed wire that looked pretty real, with 17 spikes and the words ‘Keep moving, even when it hurts’ in long, elegant script.

Deep. Pisch’s tattoo were all full of meaning—most of which Ian didn’t get—and people who paid attention to them might see him as a sensitive man. But he wasn’t. Pisch was damn tough. Ian was tough himself, but he wasn’t sure he could deal with the pain of a needle jabbing into his damn foot.

“There a reason you’re not looking at me, man?” Pisch put his hand on Ian’s shoulder, turning him fully.

Giving Ian no choice but to meet his eyes. Eyes that were an odd green shade, like fog over the lush green prairies where he’d grown up near Manitoba, Winnipeg. Eyes that never missed a thing, but hid so much.

Ian shrugged and glanced down at Pisch’s chest again. The man was freakin’ tight. Not bulging with muscles so much as carved with sharp definition; not a damn ounce of fat on him. Covered in wicked ink, nipples pierced, all bad ass and I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude seeping from his very pores.

Ian had never lusted after a man in his life, but Pisch…Pisch wasn’t just any man.

He’s my best friend.

Forcing what he hoped was a smile to his lips, he brought his eyes back to Pisch’s face. “Just making sure you’re whole, buddy.”

Pisch smirked, like he wasn’t buying what Ian was trying to sell, then made a dismissive motion with his hand. “All good. So I’m guessing you don’t wanna talk about the fact we had sex?”

The beer that had been going down nice and smooth with that last gulp tried to drown him. Ian sputtered, coughing as the liquid hit his windpipe, handing Pisch his beer so he could cover his mouth while he hacked up a lung.

Gently rubbing his back, Pisch leaned close to whisper in his ear. “This would go so much easier if you admitted you wanted me.”

All right, that was fucking enough. Ian growled and latched onto Pisch’s forearms, shoving him against the counter by the fridge. The shock in Pisch’s eyes gave him some shallow satisfaction as he brought his lips close to the other man’s.

“You think anything about this is easy, Easy?” His whole body trembled as he struggled not to drop his gaze as Pischlar’s eyes hardened. He’d tried to remind himself he was straight, so this thing between him and Pisch couldn’t happen. The confused emotions were new and the playoffs were the wrong time to be exploring all this messed up shit.
But the man he cared about—the man he loved—more than anyone in the damn world beside his grandmother, was gonna turn into a stranger if they didn’t clear the fucking air.
So he considered all the things he hadn’t let himself really think about and just blurted out every single one. “When Sahara was with us, we were playing. It was a game and we both knew the rules. I don’t know the rules anymore, Shawn. I—”
“Don’t call me that.” Pisch flattened his hands against Ian’s chest and shoved. “And you might be a fucking caveman, but you manhandle me in my goddamn house again and it will be the last time you ever set foot past the door.”
Well shit. Nodding slowly, Ian backed away a bit more, giving Pisch some space. He’d gone and fucked up again. He hadn’t meant anything bad by grabbing the man, but maybe he should be more careful.
He dropped his gaze, staring at the barbwire again. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s all right. And I think I get where you’re coming from.” Pisch grabbed another two beers from the still open fridge and motioned for Ian to follow him to the kitchen table. He sat, waiting for Ian to join him, a relaxed smile sliding across his lips. “You’re not into guys, but you like all the things I do to you. And I’d be a shitty friend if I didn’t warn you, you might start thinking there’s more between us because all the feeling good hits the right triggers.”
Maybe he’s right. But… “What’s that do to us being friends?”
“Absolutely nothing unless you let it.”
“Unless I—” No, Pisch was right. He was the one who’d gone all cold after they’d joined the mile-high-club and then almost died when the plane forgot how to fucking fly right. He’d figured out that much, which was why he’d given Pisch the comic book.
The best way he could think of to tell Pisch he was sorry without leaving any doubt that he meant it.
He shook his head, picking up his beer and taking a sip so he could consider his words carefully. “I love you, man.”
“I know. And I love you too.” The way Pisch said those three words was no different than him agreeing that Iron Man rocked. Or ACDC playing over and over on a roadtrip was an awesome idea. No big impact on life, they were on the same page.
One full of words that wouldn’t change a goddamn thing.
Taking a deep breath, Ian ran his tongue over his bottom lip. “So where do we go from here?”
“That depends. You sure you didn’t come here to get laid?” Pisch arched a brow, then sighed when Ian shook his head again. “A shame. But we can chill with a movie or something. Two days, no practice. I’ve got plenty of time to seduce you.”
Ian rolled his eyes. “You hit a dry spell or something? Jesus, Pisch, go take a cold shower.”
“Why should I? You’re here and you’re being rather difficult, which is damn sexy. I like a bit of a challenge.” Pisch gave him a half smile over the lip of his beer. “Wanna bet I can put on your favorite movie and get you too distracted to watch it before the opening credits are done?”
“No, I’m good.” Actually, Ian had never been less turned on in his life. Whatever had been between him and Pisch the times they’d fooled around was gone. And he wasn’t sure why. “Can I ask you something as a friend, and not a fuck buddy or whatever you’ve decided I am now?”
Pischlar winced, inhaling sharply. “Bruiser, I’m not trying to—”
“Just answer the damn question, Shawn.”
Eyes narrowed, Pisch inclined his head.
“Do I get the talk?”
The edges of Pisch lips quirked up. “White, I will still train you if you want me to. I will suck your dick—hell, I’d be doing it now if you weren’t giving off ‘don’t fucking touch me’ signals.”
Tightening his grip on his beer bottle, Ian held Pischlar’s amused gaze. He didn’t move as Pisch came closer, close enough that the heat of his lips slid over Ian’s.
He brushed his cheek against Ian’s, speaking softly in his ear. “But you can’t keep me.”
* * * *
This game wasn’t one Shawn wanted to play with White. Probably wasn’t one he should play. But the second he’d met White’s eyes and seen the man looking at him that way…
A few guys and girls had looked at him like that before. Like he was a man they could fall in love with. That they were falling in love with. And he’d escaped every time without anyone getting hurt.
Too badly, anyway.
White had the advantage, because Shawn had started falling for him a long time ago, but his reaction after they’d fucked had set off alarm bells Shawn had promised himself a long time ago he’d never ignore again.
They could have great sex. Figure out how to hold on to their friendship. But if they tread down that muddy path toward an actual relationship, White would destroy him.
White was a good man. He cared about people, probably more than he should, but he wasn’t built to balance in the middle of the spectrum for long. He was only twenty-seven years old and one day he’d want a wife and kids. All kinds of normal.
As his friend, Shawn would make sure White got everything he could ever want. Now, and in the future.
What if you’re wrong? What if White doesn’t want all you’ve planned out for him? What if he really wants you?
There was no doubt that White wanted him. At the moment. Shawn was pretty impressed the man managed to front like he had no interest in getting off, but White was very responsive. The right touch would shut down all his objections and he’d be fucking putty in Shawn’s hands.
If they weren’t teammates, weren’t as close as brothers—which was pretty twisted, considering how often he thought about sliding his lips over the man’s dick again—he would use every trick he’d honed on those who meant nothing to him.
Instead, he made some popcorn and joined White on the couch, laughing at White’s scowl when he stole the remote. He put on one of White’s top ten favorite comic book movies, The Incredible Hulk. The newer one. White loved every comic books movie ever made, even the ones that tanked in the box office, but this one always got his full attention. He seemed to relate to the unstable hero.
Yet another reason Shawn had to keep him at arms length.
“Not so rough, Steve. That fucking hurts.” Shawn’s head hit the edge of his bathroom sink as his boyfriend slammed into him, his fingers digging into his hips. “Slow down. Why the fucking rush?”
“My girlfriend’s waiting for me, stupid.” Steve rammed in one last time with a loud groan—one loud enough to be heard throughout the house, but thankfully, no one was home. He pulled away, the sudden loss of support dropping Shawn to his knees. “I told you this would be quick. You’re not gonna be a total fag and cry about it, are you?”
“No.” Shawn dragged himself to his feet as Steve headed to his bedroom to get his clothes. He stepped gingerly into the room, his whole body aching. And not in a good way. “And you don’t get to call me a fag like you aren’t one, asshole. I might be the only one who knows, but—”
Steve closed the distance between them in three short strides, grabbing Shawn by the throat and holding him against the wall. “But what? You know that if you tell anyone, I’ll fucking kill you, right?”
“You know I won’t.”
“Good, then don’t talk shit, all right?” Steve loosened his grip, smiling abruptly. “We good?”
“Yeah, we’re good.” Shawn rubbed his throat even as Steve kissed him. The other boy was the biggest, most popular, jock in their high school. He got why Steve was so paranoid, but he hated it when he got mean and violent.
Things would be different after they graduated though. Steve didn’t want to play football anymore. He was doing it for his dad now, but he wanted to be a doctor. And once he graduated medical school, he wouldn’t give a shit what anyone thought about the two of them together.
Shawn just had to be patient.
And Shawn had been very, very patient. Put up with more bruises than he could count. Not that Steve had been abusive, really, but the one time Shawn had slipped up about their relationship in front of the other players…
Well, that hadn’t been the first or last beating Shawn had gotten, but it was the one he’d finally learned from. He didn’t just get off on control, he needed it. When he shared with another Dom he trusted, he could relax his hold a little, but never with a sub who had a hair trigger and could snap without warning.
He trusted White, so he didn’t mind training him, but even in that, he’d have to set some very clear limits. If he planned to push White close to the edge, he’d likely restrain him.
If he let White in any deeper, he wouldn’t have that kind of control.
Are you afraid of him?
Shawn’s lips tightened at the thought. No, he wasn’t afraid of White. But the man had gotten physical with friends in the past. He’d gotten physical with Shawn in the kitchen. Something he would never do with a woman.
The man would make a good boyfriend, maybe even a good husband one day. To a woman he would treat gently, that he could protect with all those fierce instincts that were fucking sexy and terrifying all at once.
Yeah, you got issues, man.
True. Issues he was well aware of and had a handle on. Enough of one to avoid diving in deep enough to drown. He could wade into the wild current of passion with White. But he wasn’t reckless enough to let himself be dragged in all the way.
That settled, he let himself relax and admired the broad physique of his best friend. White was still wearing far too many clothes, but even in a T-shirt, he was a damn fine sight. Big muscles, a strong jaw, and warm blue eyes that didn’t hide a thing. They were crystal clear windows to his soul.
Windows revealing pure confusion when he glanced over and caught Shawn staring at him.
“Shawn?”
Fuck, he doesn’t listen, does he? Shawn arched a brow, leaned forward, dropping one hand down to White’s crotch to squeeze him through his jeans. “What did I tell you about calling me that?”
White’s lips parted. He began to pant as Shawn rubbed his swelling cock through his faded blue jeans. His eyes drifted shut. “Shit. I’m sorry, Pisch.”
“You’re forgiven.” Shawn shifted closer to White, brushing his lips up the side of his throat as White tipped his head back. “You into the movie?”
Shaking his head, then nodding, White groaned. “I…” He hesitated. Then opened his eyes and latched on to Shawn’s wrist. “Kiss me.”
Shawn blinked. He always remembered the hard limits of his subs. Fine, White wasn’t exactly his sub, but if he trained the man he would fall into the same category. White didn’t kiss his casual flings. Shawn had teased him about how ‘Pretty Woman’ that was, but he was curious how the man had avoided kissing the many puck bunnies he fooled around with.
Of course, if they had their lips around his dick, or his mouth on their cunt, they probably didn’t notice he was avoiding anything too intimate.
Which meant that was what White wanted from Shawn. Something more intimate.
He was a simple man, so he might think he wanted that now, but with the right distraction, he’d forget all about it. Shawn pulled his wrist free and snagged the button of White’s jeans. “Kiss you where?”
“Fuck this shit.” White pushed off the sofa and headed for the door.
And Shawn almost let him go, but he couldn’t. He was the one who’d fucked up this time. White was afraid to lose their friendship and Shawn wasn’t helping.
“Don’t go, White.” Shawn chewed at his bottom lip when White stopped, head bowed, shoulders stiff. “I’m sorry. I’ll stop.”
“I didn’t want you to stop, I just…” White groaned, lifting his arms to laced his fingers behind his neck. “You know what, you’re right. This needs to stop. I want what we had before back. Can we just watch the movie?”
“Absolutely.” Shawn picked up the remote and skipped back to the scene he’d interrupted with his fondling. “Wanna grab a couple beers while you’re up?”
White laughed. “Sure.”
“And tell me if you change your mind about watching the movie?”
Letting out a heavy sigh, White returned with two beers and handed Shawn one. “I won’t.”
They managed to chill out without further issue. After the third movie—apparently they were doing an X-men marathon—Shawn teased White about having a man-crush on Wolverine. He offered to relieve some ‘pressure’.
But White’s answer never changed. He’d effectively shoved Shawn back into the friend zone.
Which fucking sucked.