Today I’m welcoming Bru Baker to the party! Bru’s novel Island House is released today—November 11th!
She’s prepared a special treat for us—a prequel scene written especially for Kink Month! Later in November we’ll take over the Dreamspinner Press Twitter account together, so stay tuned for details on that. For now, I’ll leave you with the lovely Bru and her smokin’ dudes.
Thanks for having me, Charley! I’m making the virtual rounds promoting the release of my first novel, Island House. I’ve written several novellas and shorts, but this is my first full novel. I’ve been living in this state of excited nervousness about it for months, so I’m both relieved and terrified to have it finally coming out!
Island House, by Bru Baker
Unable to move on after the death of his lover, British expat Niall Ahern clings to Nolan’s dream of living in the Caribbean by moving to Tortola. Once there, he finds that not even the beauty of the island can fill the hole in his heart. Broke and spent in nearly every way imaginable, Niall wants out of the lonely, miserable, guilt-ridden life he’s carved out for himself.
When Ethan Bettencourt, a wealthy tech guru, shows up in British Virgin Islands looking to purchase a second home, he gives Niall hope that he can move on. Both men fall hard and fast, but Niall finds piloting his yacht in the midst of a hurricane is nothing compared to weathering life’s simple misunderstandings. As their troubles come between them, Niall is left to wonder if he and Ethan are over before they’ve begun.
The first 20 readers who buy a paperback from Dreamspinner’s site will get a signed copy!
I know it’s Kink Month around here, and honestly there isn’t any kink to be had in Island House. Niall and Ethan are just getting comfortable with each other and starting their relationship, so it was a little early to be bringing out toys and safe words.
I didn’t want to come here empty handed, though, so I’ve written a short prequel snippet. Island House picks up four years after Niall Ahern’s longtime partner Nolan Gentry’s murder, so we never get to see Niall and Nolan actually interact aside from Niall’s memories of him. Niall’s love for Nolan and his grief and guilt over his death plays a huge part in the book. Niall meets and almost instantly falls for Ethan Bettencourt, but he’s plagued by self-doubt and the niggling worry that he’s being unfaithful to Nolan even though he’s been gone for years. I thought this was a great opportunity to give readers a peek at what Niall and Nolan’s relationship had been like, since it’s so integral to understanding Niall’s inner turmoil.
This extra scene happens about seven years before Island House. Nolan is stationed in Afghanistan with the Royal Marines, while Niall is back home in the UK.
Nolan had given him the package when he’d been home on leave a month ago. They’d had fun playing with it in bed together, but when Nolan had gone back to the base to report for duty, Niall had packed it away in its discreet box and stuffed it in the bedside table drawer.
He wasn’t much for using toys on his own. Niall knew a lot of other people in his situation did—he belonged to a few virtual communities for military partners that provided a safe space to rant and rage about the forced separation, provide support for each other, and give partners an outlet to openly worry about their lovers without having to censor themselves. Most posts seemed to devolve into discussions about sex. Not that he minded; Niall had employed more than a few of the tips that he’d picked up there, like the homemade videos he and Nolan always made a point to film while Nolan was home. They’d seen both of them through more than one tour of duty. It was no substitute for having Nolan in bed with him, but it was a lot closer than the run-of-the-mill porn on the web.
Nolan had mentioned the toy being a special treat to keep both of them satisfied while he was in Afghanistan, but Niall had brushed the comment off as pillow talk. The email he’d gotten from Nolan earlier that afternoon had put paid to that, though.
Looking forward to our Skype date today, Nil. Can’t wait to see your face. Remember the treat I left for you? Wear it for me, please. I won’t be able to see it under all your clothes, but I have plans for it and you. Miss you like crazy! See you soon, babe.
Niall hesitated for a long moment before turning on his webcam and logging into Skype. He’d followed Nolan’s instructions, but he felt like an idiot sitting there with a plug inserted under all his clothes. It’s not like they’d be able to have any sort of Skype sex—not with half of Nolan’s mates from the Royal Marines there in the same room with him. Nolan’s deployments necessitated a certain amount of creativity to keep their relationship healthy, but voyeurism had never been a particular kink of either of theirs. At least, Niall hadn’t thought it was. He found himself curiously excited by the prospect, even though he knew it was unlikely that’s what they’d be doing. Nolan had to work and live with these guys, after all.
“Hey, Nil! God, it’s so good to see you.”
Niall unconsciously scooted closer to his laptop when Nolan’s image came onto the screen. Skype was wonderful, but the image was always grainy and had a tendency to freeze and flicker during their short weekly conversations. It didn’t matter to Niall. He lived for these weekly Skype dates where he could actually see Nolan and confirm that he was whole and healthy. They emailed almost every day, but there was no substitute for actually seeing Nolan’s smiling face.
“I thought your CO canceled your Skype privileges this week because of the prank you pulled on him,” Niall said, trying for severe but knowing his manic grin gave away.
“He caved. Betty went to his own CO and took full responsibility for that one,” Nolan answered. Even the distorted Skype feed couldn’t disguise his megawatt smile.
“And why would Betty do that?” Niall had never met him, but he knew Betty was an American Marine who worked with Nolan in reconnaissance. Niall was glad they had each other, even if spending time together did usually end with one or both of them getting into trouble for goofing off or pranking their commanding officers.
“I may have implied that I had very big plans for our date. Begging was also involved,” Nolan said. “I also promised him he could have all of your next batch of cookies.”
Niall laughed. He sent Nolan care packages every month full of treats he could barter away for favors as well as Nolan’s favorite sailing magazines and candies.
“So, Nil. Are you wearing what I asked you to?” Nolan’s face came closer to the camera as he scooted his chair in, suddenly taking up most of the frame. Niall hoped it hid his own face from the room, because he instantly flushed scarlet.
“Do you have the remote?” Nolan’s expression was downright predatory, and Niall shivered in response.
“Yes.” He held it up so it was visible to the webcam.
“It’s not on now?”
“No.” There’s no way Niall could have been having a calm conversation if the plug had been vibrating. The sensations from it were intense, and when he and Nolan had experimented with it while Nolan was home, it had never taken long to send Niall over the edge.
“There are five levels, right?”
Niall’s throat was too dry to answer, so he just nodded.
“So if I held up one finger, you’d know what to do?” Nolan’s eyes were crinkling with the force of his grin, and Niall bit his lip to keep from moaning just from the sight of Nolan so focused on him.
Niall clicked the button once, his spine stiffening at the sudden onslaught of sensations. The fact that Nolan was the one controlling the speed—and that he knew Nolan was sitting out in the common room with more than one marine probably right next to him—only made it more exciting.
“Yes,” Niall bit out, his teeth clenched to hold back another groan.
Nolan’s hand came back into the frame, this time with three fingers raised. Niall pressed his tongue against his teeth but dutifully clicked the button twice more. It was becoming more difficult to sit still. The pressure of sitting up in the chair held the plug at just the right angle inside him; it was rapidly approaching being too much.
Nolan’s face came back into focus for a moment and then Skype froze. Niall felt a bead of sweat slide down his face as he held himself rigidly still. His jaw ached from the way he was clenching his teeth.. A moment later the video unfroze, and Nolan was scooted back a bit, his head turned as he spoke to someone out of frame next to him. Niall squirmed uncomfortably, his hands coming down to close over the edges of his chair so he could squeeze them and keep himself still.
“Time’s about up,” Nolan said when he finished the brief conversation he’d been having. “CO’s calling us all together. So let’s finish this, okay?” He flashed five fingers, and Niall whimpered softly as he clicked the plug up to its maximum setting. It didn’t take long—only a few seconds later he was shuddering in his seat, his lips pressed tightly together so no sound could escape. As soon as his trembling hands unclenched from the seat, Niall turned the plug off and slumped bonelessly against the backrest.
“Beautiful,” Nolan murmured, just loud enough for the camera to catch. Niall blinked his eyes open, his muscles shaking. “We are definitely doing that again.”
“Give me a month or so to recover, yeah?” His voice was rough even to his own ears, and Niall didn’t miss the way Nolan’s smile grew even larger at the sound.
“Oh, trust me. I’ll get good mileage out of that for at least a month.”
Niall laughed. He loved the idea of Nolan thinking about him as he jerked off. “Glad to be of service.”
Nolan snorted and looked down at his lap before turning a rueful smirk toward the camera. “Unfortunately, that’s going to have to wait. Gotta run, babe. I love you.”
“Love you too, Nolan. Be safe.”
Niall pressed a kiss to his fingers and held them up to the screen, touching Nolan’s fingers where he was doing the same. A moment later the call ended, and Niall let his fingers slide down the screen.
God, he missed Nolan.
Now that you’ve met Niall and Nolan, I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Island House and see the continuation of Niall’s story. You can read an excerpt from the first chapter on my website, www.bru-baker.com.
I’ll be doing giveaways all month on Twitter, so follow me there for a chance to win some fun gifts! http://twitter.com/Bru_Baker