Signs of Life
Release Date: 28th September 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Cover art: Natasha Snow Designs
Model: Cory Zwierzynski
Photo provided by: Andrew Christian, Inc.
Successful lawyer Jeremy Speer has it all—a loving husband, a beautiful home, and a cherished dream that’s about to become reality. He’s learned not to take happiness for granted, meeting the challenges of life and love head-on with unwavering commitment and fierce devotion. A series of tragic events leave Jeremy shattered, adrift on a sea of unimaginable pain. He’s able to piece his life back together, but instead of embracing it, he merely exists, using isolation and punishing physical exertion to keep the world at bay.
High school teacher Kai Daniels has a heart for at-risk kids—he was one himself, and a teenage brush with the law and some troubled years behind bars left him scarred inside and out. With courage, hard work, and the support of friends, he’s built a fulfilling life that leaves no time for a relationship.
An intense encounter with Kai at a gay club ignites a spark in Jeremy that he thought was extinguished forever, but he’s unwilling to destroy the fragile peace he’s managed to create, and he leaves Kai humiliated and disappointed. Things should have ended there, but a bizarre occurrence brings the two together in a way neither of them expected.
IT NEVER HURTS TO ASK
That is my new mantra. IT NEVER HURTS TO ASK!
I discovered Cory Zwierzynski when I saw gifs of his Andrew Christian “Kiss” video on Tumblr…
(Do yourself a favor and watch the whole video, so HOT! http://www.andrewchristian.com/index.php/kiss.html )
Once I tracked down who the sexy man with the smirk was, I searched out everything I could find about him, and learned that he’s an Andrew Christian exclusive model. I watched all of his Andrew Christian videos and drooled over all of his pics. I followed him on every social media known to man.
(Follow him on Instagram, it’s worth it! https://instagram.com/coryz07/ )
When I began writing Signs of Life, the physical description of my character, Kai, started to become Cory in my head. The eyes, the hair, the tattoo, the attitude…Cory was Kai. So when it came time for the cover art, I couldn’t stop thinking, what if? What if I could get Cory for my cover?
Nah, that will never happen. Andrew Christian will laugh you out of town.
I told myself that over and over, talking myself out of it, until I brought up the idea to my friend Kenya one day. She told me, “What do you have to lose? The worst that could happen is they would say ‘no’ or totally ignore you. So what? At least you’d know.”
So I screwed up my courage, emailed Drew LaQuang, Cory’s booking person, and asked if I could license a picture of Cory for the cover of my book, explaining that I was a huge fan of his. Within a few hours I had my answer: “Sure!”
Cue intense fangirling and celebration! (My friend Monica heard me screaming all the way from Brazil and messaged me to ask what was going on, LOL).
I contacted Paul Richmond, the art director at Dreamspinner, and asked about the steps I’d need to follow for licensing a picture. He was extremely helpful, sent over the legal forms I had to have, and made sure I was aware of the size requirements, pixels, etc., for cover art.
Unfortunately all the pictures I found on the Andrew Christian website were too low-res to be used, so I emailed Drew and asked if they had higher-resolution pics I could look at. He immediately and graciously opened their photo archives to me, and I was able to browse at my leisure.
When I found one that I liked and that my cover artist, Natasha Snow, could work with, I filled out the licensing form and emailed it to Drew, who had it back to me in a few hours. I forwarded it to Paul and boom, I had my cover model. I had my actual face cast for Kai on my cover!
(Club Kai) (Teacher Kai)
The whole experience has been amazing. I can’t emphasize enough how awesome the Andrew Christian organization is. Nobody laughed at me, nobody said ‘No,’ nobody said ‘Figure it out.’ Every time I emailed with a question or a problem (the low-res pics), Drew wrote me back in a timely fashion and helped me resolve it.
For a huge, multimillion dollar company to do that for some strange woman who emailed them out of the blue, that says a lot about their customer service and their appreciation of their fans. Andrew Christian and Drew made everything easy and painless, and now I have a cover that’s personal, and beautiful, and means a lot to me.
So from now on my mantra is, and I encourage everyone to adopt it because you just never know…IT NEVER HURTS TO ASK!
I’d love to hear about your favorite face cast for your favorite book characters! Share them in the comments!
(All photos in this post used by permission from Andrew Christian, Inc.)
“Have a drink with me, Sexy, and tell me your name.” The man leaned away and gestured for the bartender, the motion causing his T-shirt to pull even tighter across his chest, outlining what looked like a bar through his left nipple… oh sweet Jesus. Jeremy had never found piercings sexy before, but now all he could think about was that lip ring teasing the tip of his aching cock, feeling that hard silver bar in his own mouth while he tugged at it with his teeth and bit down….
Jeremy hesitated once again, and the man set his beer on the bar top and then gripped Jeremy’s hand, pulling it between his legs, pressing the palm against a steel-hard erection. Jeremy squeezed, and it was the man’s turn to groan.
“You wouldn’t leave me like this, would you?” he asked hoarsely. In answer Jeremy cupped him a little more firmly and squeezed again, enjoying the way the man closed his eyes, tipping his head back.
Jeremy took his hand away from the man’s cock and reached for his beer, taking a few gulps while watching the man do the same with his own drink.
“My name’s Jeremy.”
The man said something in return, but the music suddenly seemed to ramp up several more decibels and he couldn’t hear. He leaned closer. “What?”
The man gripped the back of Jeremy’s neck and put his lips directly to his ear, his hot breath making goose bumps pebble Jeremy’s skin. “My name’s Kai.” Kai licked the lobe of Jeremy’s ear and then bit it, and Jeremy groaned. He cupped Kai’s chin in his hand, stroking his thumb along his bottom lip.
“I’m going to fuck you so hard, Kai,” he breathed, leaning closer. Kai parted his lips in anticipation but Jeremy barely brushed their lips together before pulling away.
“Teasing me ain’t gonna make my cock any harder, dude,” Kai gasped on a laugh. “In fact I’m about to come in my goddamn pants.”
Jeremy reached between Kai’s legs again and palmed him, exulting in the feel of Kai lifting his hips into the touch. “If you do, I’ll lick you clean and start all over again.”
When Kai arched his neck back once more in helpless pleasure, Jeremy leaned in and dragged his parted lips up the length of that corded flesh and back down before sucking lightly on the hollow of Kai’s throat, tasting his skin.
“Jesus Christ, let’s get out of here,” Kai moaned, his accented voice husky with arousal. “I’ve got a room right down the street.”
Kai beckoned the bartender over and pushed a few bills at him, then stood and laced his fingers with Jeremy’s, pulling him through the crowd toward the front door. Jeremy’s heart was racing, pounding so hard he was surprised it didn’t burst out of his chest. His skin felt flushed, hot, and his cock was rock hard and wet with need. Even so he still might have bolted if it hadn’t been for Kai’s fingers threaded through his, his rings pressing into Jeremy’s skin, the cold metal and small bite of pain keeping him grounded.
They hit the cool night air, a relief from the stifling closeness of the club. Kai turned to him to say something, and Jeremy found himself gripping the front of his T-shirt in his fists, shoving him around the corner out of sight of the front door and slamming his back against the nearest wall.
With one hand he gripped Kai’s chin and tilted his head back, and Jeremy took his mouth in an almost brutal kiss, moaning as Kai opened to him immediately, their tongues duelling hotly together. Jeremy tangled the fingers of his other hand in Kai’s thick black hair and ravaged his mouth, sucking at his lips, flicking the hoop, nipping, devouring.
Kai brought his hands around and splayed them across the small of Jeremy’s back under his T-shirt, pulling their lower bodies together. Jeremy pushed his hips into Kai’s, grinding against him, finally breaking the kiss and noticing with pure male satisfaction how red and swollen his mouth was.
Kai ran his hands up Jeremy’s back and wound his arms around his neck, whispering against Jeremy’s lips, “What do you want, baby?”
Normally Jeremy would have been turned off by such a casual endearment, but he found that coming from Kai it made him hotter. He didn’t even recognize himself, didn’t recognize the stranger who growled, “I want to watch you come.”
Meet Melanie Hansen
Melanie Hansen has spent time in Texas and Florida prisons…for work. She’s been in a room with a 17-year-old mass murderer who was also one of the most soft-spoken and polite teenagers she’s ever met. After a 13-year career as a court reporter, she can tell many stories both hilarious and heartbreaking.
She grew up with an Air Force dad, and ended up marrying a Navy man. After living and working all over the country, she hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to her stories about people finding love amidst real-life struggles.
Melanie left the stressful world of the courtroom behind and now enjoys a rewarding career transcribing for a deaf student. She currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons. email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Melanie is gifting a $20 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky reader. All you need to do is enter the Rafflecopter below.