Being the king of Atlanta’s underworld used to have its perks, but lately all undercover agent Renzo Vega has seen is the downside. Someone is auctioning off women in his city, and he’s damn sure not about to let that offense stand. Just as he’s set to make a move, Renzo’s club is ambushed and he’s shot. Unsure of who to trust, he turns to the one man he definitely knows wants him dead.
Yanked from his bed, blindfolded and spirited away in the middle of the night, Lowell Scott is shocked to find the darkly gorgeous Renzo bleeding and in need of his help. The very last thing he wants is to come to the aid of the man responsible for his cousin’s death, but the knife at his throat doesn’t give Low much options.
Close proximity doesn’t temper the hatred Low harbors for Renzo, it only brings up new problems. Like the vicious attraction Low struggles to control, and bullets that won’t stop flying. It’s a tough sell to believe there’s anything good in a man as unapologetically dangerous as Renzo. And even if Low could forgive the unforgivable, Renzo is still shadowed in secrets. When they’re exposed, those secrets will bring far-reaching consequences that could sever not just their shaky bond, but Low’s family ties as well.
This is book three in the Loose Ends series, but can be read as a standalone.
Warning: Contains references to subjects that may be triggering. Please read with caution.
LOOSE ENDS SERIES, BOOK 3
RELEASE DATE: 02.20.18
So happy to have Avril Ashton joining TCO today, with a fantastic post about her take on being an #AOC, an Author of Color. Avril’s Brooklyn Sinners series was some of my first books in the m/m genre, and still some of my favorite. They’re gritty, raw, and hit at the heart. I hope you’ll read her guest post, and give us your thoughts on this topic.
Back when I picked up my first romance novel, the couple on the cover looked nothing like me. I didn’t let it stop me from flipping those pages, because I didn’t pick up that particular book because of the cover models. I picked it up because the story hinted at on the back cover intrigued me and I wanted to know it.
I wanted to experience it.
So I read it.
And I did.
I experienced. I learned.
The next romance novel I picked up also wasn’t about people blessed with my particularly gorgeous shade of the brownness. Not the next one. Or the one after that. But I’m a reader.
It’s what I do. Who I am.
Took a lot of books before I found one with people that looked like me. Surprise. A good surprise. But for every one book that had a POC on the cover, there were hundreds—probably thousands—of books that didn’t. I accepted that. I knew what it meant, don’t get me wrong. I just accepted it. Until I didn’t.
I finally started writing my own.
There is a feeling in your chest when you see people who look like you on a book cover. When you see them loving and winning at love, at life. There’s a sense of belonging that you can never know, unless you’ve actually experienced the opposite.
The “not for you”.
The “not good enough”.
The “lesser than.”
I write for those people who aren’t afraid to reach for and embrace different. I write for those readers willing to experience something they’ve never had before. My characters have always been POC. I will always hit you with the diversity.
Kiss Your Scars is my latest M/M romance featuring a diverse couple. Renzo Vega is Brazilian and Lowell Scott is Grenadian. Some of you will have never heard of Grenada. It’s a tiny island in the West Indies where I was born.
Back when I picked up my first romance novel, there was nobody out there writing love stories about people who sounded like me, who ate what I ate and lived where I lived.
Aye, today somebody can say that’s no longer true.
“I can’t relate.” Somebody, somewhere always says that when it comes to a POC romance.
There’s always something to learn, though.
Everything about him was magnetic and dangerous, and he moved like a rogue wave on an abandoned beach, wiping away your foundation before you had a chance to prepare for the hit.
Right now his gaze devoured Low, making it hard for him not to squirm.
“There is something between us.” Renzo put his hands in his pockets. Low tried not to notice the way that action tugged his pants waist lower and rucked up his shirt. “You and I both know that.”
“No.” Low held up a hand when Renzo took a step forward, but that didn’t stop him from coming closer. “I have a boyfriend.” So yeah, he’d upgraded Chance. “I don’t want you.”
“Yes.” Renzo got in Low’s space, trapping Low between him and the locked door. “You have a boyfriend but here you are, sneaking off to see me. Why are you at my club? Are you here looking for love? Looking for a fuck?”
Low’s eyes widened and Renzo touched him, a slide of his knuckles down his cheek. That touch. He’d thought about. He’d fantasized about it. He’d grieved for the loss of it.
“Doesn’t matter which. I’m good for either one.”
Low jerked his head up and slid closer. He couldn’t help it, couldn’t fight the coil in his belly that pulled tighter with every word Renzo spoke, bringing them together until their bodies made contact, front to front.
Step away. He should step back. But Renzo kept him right there with his heat and the smell of him. Low leaned forward slowly, seeking more of it.
His lips brushed Renzo’s neck.
Renzo groaned. Low’s entire body clenched.
Have mercy. “Leave me the fuck alone,” Low whispered. But there was no force beyond that plea. Just empty words mocking him, because the truth was he wanted Renzo closer.
Renzo grabbed him by the arm and pushed him up against the mirror overlooking the main area of the club. They could see out, but no one could see them as they stood, Renzo at Low’s back, humping him, sliding his hardness all over Low’s ass. Slowly.
Fucking painfully slow.
“Watch him,” Renzo murmured at his ear. “Watch your boyfriend. Does he know he’s your second choice, Low?”
He shuddered, panting, but he still held his head high, squirming as he tried to get away from Renzo’s hold. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Renzo laughed. “You know.” His tongue slid over the shell of Low’s ear.
Low’s breath hitched as he locked his knees to keep from falling. Renzo melted him. He destroyed Low and he remained in that grip, loving their destruction.
“Where does Chance think you are, Low? Men’s room? Outside getting some air? When you leave here, will you tell him where you were, I wonder?” Renzo nipped at his earlobe and Low gave him everything. Every shudder, every gasp. “You gonna tell him you were rubbing your ass all over my cock, Low?”
“No.” He moaned. God. Fuck. Low gave up his moans, too. “Please.”
“You gonna tell him you can’t stay away from me? That you only brought him here to make me jealous?”
“I don’t want you.” His voice was an embarrassingly thin thread of sound that wavered under the weight of Renzo’s touch, like a ribbon wrapped around a tree branch, fighting against a heavy wind.
“Doesn’t matter how much you tell yourself you hate me,” Renzo whispered. “You still close your eyes when Chance touches you and pretend it’s me.”
The stark truth in those words buried him. “No.”
Renzo ignored his weak protest. “Does he know what you like, huh?” He touched Low, one hand at his chest, lips at his ear. “Has he fucked you lately?”
“Yes.” Renzo moaned, too, the sound hitting Low in the balls. “The way you say my fucking name.” He pressed closer, rocking against Low. He clasped Low’s throat, tilting his head against his shoulder. “Good?” he asked, voice turned husky. “He fucks you good, Low? The way you want, the way you need?”
“I don’t…” Low choked, but he was moving with Renzo, on him, sliding up and down, riding the hard ridge of Renzo. Unable to stop. Just for a second. He’d forget himself just for however long it took for this hunger to work its way through him.
“Does he eat you out? Lick it up?” The hand around Low’s throat tightened. “Does he tell you you’re the best?”
Low sobbed for him, trembling, fingers clinging to the hand Renzo had splayed over his lower belly. Done, he was fucking done.
“You’re the best I’ve ever had, Low, and I haven’t even fucked you yet. Let me get that.” He touched lower, cupping Low’s erection through his jeans and squeezing. “Let me tear it up while you call me Daddy. Let’s stay here, like this, you riding me till we both come.”
“No!” Low wrenched himself away, stumbling as he glared at Renzo as arousal crawled along his spine. “You killed my cousin.”
Renzo shrugged. “Did I?”
A Caribbean transplant, Avril now lives in Stone Mountain, GA. with a tolerant Spousal Equivalent. Together they raise an eccentric daughter who loves reading and school (not so much school anymore). Avril’s earliest memories of reading revolve around discussing plot points of Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys with an equally book-minded mother
Always in love with the written word, Avril finally decided to do the writing in August of ’09 and never looked back. Spicy love scenes, delicious heroes, and wicked women burn up the pages of Avril’s stories, but there’ll always be a happy ending; Av remains a believer of love in all its forms.
A lover of cake, the ID Channel and the UFC, Avril writes Erotic and GLBT Romance.