Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/Aleksandr Voinov/L. A. Witt blog tour for our thriller, Hostile Ground!
Racial Slurs and Fiction
So, Hostile Ground takes place in… hostile ground. Most of the characters are criminals of some flavor. The rest, cops. (Well, and some snarky teenagers, but mostly cops and crooks) If you’ve ever spent much time around these groups, you probably know they aren’t the most, shall we say, politically correct people in the world. As someone who hangs around with military cops on a fairly regular basis, I can say with some conviction that the terms that get casually thrown around could make your eyes water.
It was with that impression in my mind that I went into writing this book with Aleks. These are cops involved in a hellish investigation that keeps getting worse at every turn, and criminals who are doing some incredibly heinous things in the name of power and money. A lot of the people in the story certainly qualify as “not very nice.” In fact, some are seriously jerks. I probably enjoyed killing a few more than I should have.
One thing Aleks and I discussed early on was wanting to make these guys as authentic as possible, and part of that meant their choice of language. And we both cringed a little at some of the terms our characters chose to use, particularly those directed at Mahir, our Syrian narrator. I won’t repeat them here, but they get pretty nasty. Including a variation of that one.
In the end, we decided to keep the slurs as is, even the really bad ones. Because the fact is, the shady, slimy guys in this book would use those terms in real life. It also creates an even more hostile environment for Mahir. He needs to know he’s not welcome there. He’s in serious danger, and he can’t trust anyone. The slurs the men use against him underscore that fact.
But since Aleks and I are writing the stories, it technically means *we’re* using those terms, right?
No. Definitely not.
Neither Aleks nor I use terms like that in our own lives. We’re not condoning the use of that language any more than we’re condoning the horrendously criminal activities these same men engage in throughout the story. I guess the point here is that we don’t take things like this lightly. Nothing in Hostile Ground or any of our books is thrown in there just for shock value. Our aim with any story is to give our readers authentic characters, which sometimes means they do – and say – unsavory things.
So in the end, the language may not always be nice, but you can absolutely bet Aleks and I are in it to deliver the most authentic, nail-biting ride we can.
Hostile Ground by Aleksandr Voinov & L.A. Witt
Title ~ Hostile Ground
Authors ~ L.A. Witt & Aleksandr Voinov
Publisher ~ Riptide Publishing
Published ~ 12th May 2014
Genre ~ M/M Romance
After the deaths of three undercover cops investigating a drug ring in a seedy strip club in Seattle, Detective Mahir Hussain has been sent to finish the job. He joins the club's security team in the hopes of finding enough evidence to bust the operation before the men in charge find a reason to put him in a shallow grave. To protect the strippers, only gay men can work the club. Ridley, the cold and intimidating head of security, knows exactly how to test potential new hires-including Mahir. From the minute they meet, Mahir and Ridley engage in a dangerous dance of sex and mind games. Mahir needs to find his evidence before Ridley figures out he's a cop-and before they both grow too close to betray one another.
As the game goes on, Mahir burrows deeper into the operation, where he learns there's much more happening than meets the eye . . . and why every cop who made it this far has been silenced with a bullet.
Undercover cops, bad ass boss', psycho drug lords, hot, hot hot, down and dirty sex and edge of your seat situations! If that's what you're looking for in your next read then you won't go wrong picking up Hostile Ground.
When American born, Syrian, ex US military, Detective Mahir Hussain is sent undercover inside psycho drug dealer Gene Lombardi's strip club, to investigate the deaths of three other undercover cops before him and to get more on the drug ring that the club is a cover for, he certainly isn't expecting to find himself instantly attracted to the dangerous man who interviews him for the security post that he's applied for.
David Ridley, chief of security, is a stone cold killer, or so it would appear from the info they have on him. Rumoured to be the one who pulls the trigger on traitors and second in command to Lombardi, he's feared and respected by the guys who work under him because they know, if they step out of line or if there's even the slightest smell of cop around them, they're dust!
Mahir 'becomes' Saeed and about 30 mins into his interview with the security boss, Ridley has him bending, not only over his desk; but to his will in a really hot sex scene, that sets the tone for their relationship from the word go. You just know that this isn't going to bode well for him but at the same time you can totally understand why he would be tempted by this unpredictable, menacing guy, because Ridley, like all bad boys, is one sexy mo-fo and Mahir, is drawn to him like a moth to a flame. All the security staff are gay, including Ridley because Lombardi adheres to the notion that gay guys won't mess with his girls, therefore keeping their minds on the job and what's going on under the radar...the drugs operation. However, he also frowns on his men fraternising, above and beyond the odd casual BJ, so for Mahir to even contemplate anything (other than the first test of his sexuality) with Ridley, is madness!
On top of the danger he faces on the job, Mahir (Saeed) also has to deal with his troubled 17 year old nephew Kinza, who turns up on his doorstep the night before he starts his undercover investigation at the club. Kinza is also gay and has left home because his father - Mahir's surgeon brother - has taken the news very badly. Unable to turn him away, because being gay, he's also suffered the disdain and temper of his brother, Mahir then has to juggle the two components without either one bleeding into the other. He can't let Kinza know anything about his undercover assignment, which causes some tension between him and his conflicted nephew, and he certainly can't let anyone at the club know about the boy because if his cover is blown it would not only put his life at risk but Kinza's too. So for most of the book Mahir is desperately trying to balance his dual existence, whilst fighting his attraction and ever growing lust for the enigmatic Ridley, who starts to get under his skin...badly! His hold over the undercover cop is almost hypnotic.
' Ridley laughed. He kissed the side of Mahir's neck. "You'd do anything I told you to, wouldn't you?"
Mahir is all male, normally a top but with this man he finds himself submitting far more easily than he ever thought possible.
'Ridley's hand slowed even more, nearly stopping. "I asked you a question."
Mahir moistened his lips. "Yes I would."
OMG! The sex between these two is scorching!!! They can't keep their hands off each other but at the same time there's still this element of heightened danger oozing from Ridley. He's constantly testing 'Saeed' threatening him with consequences of what will happen if he does find out he's lying and Mahir is torn between sheer lust, apprehension and fear of being discovered. He knows getting involved with a man like David Ridley is utter lunacy, especially with what's at stake but the man is like a magnet and there are times, during their sizzling encounters, when he sees fleeting glimpses of a different, warmer Ridley, under the usual cold, hardened exterior. Then there's the rest of the guys at the club. Not only does he have to put up with racist comments about his Muslim background and prove himself but he has to keep them from seeing the relationship developing between him and Ridley. But despite everything going on in the background, the two of them still can't resist indulging this dangerous passion, so whichever path he takes he's basically fucked either way!
' Mahir surrendered letting himself be drawn in, and just before their lips met Ridley said,
"I like it dangerous."
Talk about delivering a gut punch just before robbing the last bit of his breath. No trace of the bitterness he'd spied in the car, no trace of anything but Ridley at his sexiest, most dangerous. And yes those two things did go hand in hand, damn them both: Mahir for happily jumping off the cliff, and Ridley for getting him to the edge and whispering, jump.'
Things start to escalate and far more dangerous secrets are unearthed that put all of them, including Kinza, in the firing line and the story kicks into high gear moving along at a fast, but easy pace, with plenty of twists and turns. Some, like me, I'm pretty sure you'll guess... but some you won't see coming. Sometimes the characters made decisions that personally I found myself questioning, especially around Kinza, who also had his moments...there were occasions when as much as I realised he was young and hurting I still wanted to shake him for some of his attitude, and the acts he pulled because of it, towards the man who was trying his best to protect him in a very volatile situation, plus I also thought some of the actions of the two MC's slightly contradicted their gritty personalities at times but at the end of the day this is what it is...a highly enjoyable, crime based, suspense drama with plenty kick ass action so I ended up just sitting back, letting most of that wash over me. The bad guys are suitably nasty, the good guys are righteous and the sex is shit hot! It's Aleks and Lori...what do you expect! Is it my favourite of theirs, either writing separately or co authoring? In all honesty, no its probably not ...but did I enjoy it? Oh hell yeah...I liked it a lot! At the end of the day, it's all about escapism and who doesn't want to escape sometimes!
Connect with Aleks
Aleksandr has been published for twenty years, both in print and ebook. He has ten years’ experience as a writing coach, book doctor, and writing teacher, and until recently worked as an editor in financial services.
After co-authoring the M/M military cult classic Special Forces, Aleksandr embarked on a quest to write gritty, edgy, sometimes literary M/M and gay fiction (much of which is romance/erotica)—the only way he can use his American Literature degree these days.
He’s been published with Heyne/Random House, Carina Press, Samhain Publishing, and others, and is an EPIC Awards winner and a Lambda Awards finalist.
Connect with L.A. Witt
L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer currently living in the glamorous and ultra-futuristic metropolis of Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two cats, and a disembodied penguin brain that communicates with her telepathically. In addition to writing smut and disturbing the locals, L.A. is said to be working with the US government to perfect a genetic modification that will allow humans to survive indefinitely on Corn Pops and beef jerky. This is all a cover, though, as her primary leisure activity is hunting down her arch nemesis, erotica author Lauren Gallagher, who is also said to be lurking somewhere in Omaha.
Two eBooks off our backlists (excluding Hostile Ground) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.