Jen: Tell new readers about the Brothers in Arms series.
Sam: Brothers In Arms is a Regency historical menage series. The series is based on a group of veterans from the Peninsular War (part of the war between Britain and France in the early 1800's). Most of the men are suffering from some level of PTSD or physical injuries from the war. During the war the men became very close and paired off as lovers or best friends who shared women in bed. After the war they can't or won't give up the close relationship between them and end up finding a woman who can love them both and accept a non-traditional marriage. Each book contains m/m sexual situations as well as m/f and m/m/f.
Jen:What do you think draws readers to menage stories?
Sam: The titillation of the forbidden. The idea of two men for one woman, sort of having your cake and eating it, too. ;-) You get double the romance hero, double the conflict, double the emotion, double the excitement. It's a great romance book squared.
Jen: What are your thoughts on m/f/m versus m/m/f?
Sam: Well, they're not interchangeable. They are completely different stories. I like to say that in any menage, m/m/f or m/f/m, you have four romances. Hero1/heroine, hero2/heroine, hero1/hero2 (in m/f/m this could be a bromance, friendship), and hero1/heroine/hero2. You have to give each relationship attention and a complete story arc, or the HEA just doesn't work. But clearly, if the two heroes are not lovers, or in love, then it completely alters the nature of two of the four relationships in the book (hero1/hero2 and hero1/heroine/hero2). I prefer a m/m/f menage, because I just don't find it realistic that two men would be naked in bed together and not be sexually attracted to one another. If you're going to get naked and horizontal with someone, you've got something going on. IMHO.
Jen: My husband teases me mercilessly for the dirty romance novels I love to read. What kind of reaction did you get from your husband/ family when you decided to start writing them? Does anyone in your family read your books?
Sam: My husband has always supported me 100%. He was the one who encouraged me to write my first erotic romance. I discovered Ellora's Cave and saw in the Romance Writers Report (the monthly Romance Writers of America magazine) that EC was looking for menage/gay romance. I told him, "I think I could write that." And he said, "Sure you can! Do it." And so I did. He was my first reader and my first fan.
I didn't "come out" as an erotic romance author until after my second book was released. Brothers in Arms was very popular from the first book, The Courage to Love, and when the second book, Love Under Siege, was as successful, I wanted to brag about that success. There were some shocked reactions, and quite a few family members have not read my books because they find it hard to reconcile me with what I write. But overall there has been overwhelming support from my family for my writing career.
Jen: Can you give us a little teaser/ snippet from your latest work? (We like it dirty please, m'am.)
Nick tapped lightly on the door. It had been left ajar, so both he and Oliver assumed this was it. If not, they would have to do some quick explaining.
The door was yanked open and a disembodied hand came out of the interior darkness and grabbed Oliver’s arm, yanking him inside. Oliver laughed and in turn grabbed Nick and dragged him right behind. Once they were in there he only got a quick impression of Vanessa before she slammed the door and they were all lost in the dark.
“Are you mad?” she hissed. “Knocking on the door? What if someone heard?”
“Well, just in case they didn’t, it’s a good thing you slammed the door behind us so they’d be sure to hear that,” Oliver drawled with a thread of laughter beneath his words.
Vanessa moaned as if in pain. “I’m not very good at this sneaking about business,” she confessed in a miserable tone. “Perhaps this was a bad idea.”
“It was a brilliant idea,” Oliver said soothingly. “Now where are you?”
Nick felt a hand on his hip and he caught his breath at the thrill that shot through him. Here in the dark he could enjoy Oliver’s touch without anyone noticing or caring. He stepped closer, but Oliver patted his buttock and pulled away.
“That’s the wrong person,” Oliver quipped lightly. “Ah, there you are, my dear,” he purred, having obviously found Vanessa. There was some rustling in the dark and then a soft, fragrant shape was pressed against Nick.
“Oh,” Vanessa said softly. She squirmed, and Nick forgot his disappointment over Oliver moving away. He bent his knees and pressed his hips into Vanessa’s soft bottom. He gave a little rub and a slight moan escaped him.
“Oh,” she said again, and the wonder and uncertainty combined in her voice hit Nick hard and his heart was suddenly pounding in excitement, his cock hard. The transition had been so quick he ached from it. He hadn’t been this aroused from a simple touch in a very long time. Was it the thought of Vanessa’s innocence? Her trust in them? More likely simple anticipation. He’d seen the fire in her. Now he wanted to taste it—to possess it and be consumed by it.
Vanessa made a little distressed sound and started to move away. Her steps were clumsy and Nick could tell that Oliver was blocking her retreat.
“Don’t,” Nick rasped. He reached out and put his hands on her hips, holding her against him. “Please don’t.”
“Open the door,” Oliver demanded. “It’s too dark. I want to see you two.”
“No,” Vanessa gasped. “They’ll see.”
“Who? There’s no one up here but we three.”
Oliver’s argument was sound, but Nick wanted it dark for reasons of his own. “No,” he said. He wrapped one arm around Vanessa’s waist and with the other found Oliver’s arm. “No. Leave it be. I like the dark.”
For a moment they all stood still, their harsh breathing cutting the air. There was heat arcing between them, and Nick felt like the conduit. He was burning up inside. Giving in to temptation, he leaned down and breathed in Vanessa’s scent. His nose found her hair and he followed the curve of her cheek down to her neck. When he put his mouth on her sweet-smelling skin she whimpered.
“Kiss me, Vanessa,” Oliver whispered. “Please.”
Her neck arched under Nick’s lips as she tilted her head up, and he nibbled on the taut tendon along the side. He felt her tremble under his hands. And then he heard it. Heard the sound of their lips meeting, the gentle sounds of a sweet kiss. His fingers tightened on Oliver’s arm and he pulled Vanessa closer against him.
“Have you never been kissed before, pretty Vanessa?” Oliver murmured.
“I…yes, yes, I’ve been kissed,” she stammered breathlessly.
“Not really kissed,” Oliver said. His hand brushed Nick’s cheek as Nick nibbled on Vanessa’s ear. Oliver pulled his hand back, and it hovered near Nick’s face for a second before he brought it back again and finished the caress, just a fleeting touch. Then he must have used his other hand to caress Vanessa’s cheek. She sighed and tilted her head as if leaning into his hand.
“What does that mean?” Vanessa asked softly.
Nick pressed his finger against the corner of her mouth. “Open up,” he whispered. “Let Oliver taste you. And you can see what love tastes like.”
“Love has a taste?” she whispered skeptically. He liked the feel of her mouth moving against his finger and he slid it along her lower lip, outlining it. His breath caught when her tongue dashed out to lick her lip and found the pad of his finger. She gasped lightly and he slid the tip of his finger into her mouth, just a little, and then dragged it over her lip as he took it out, pulling her lip down slightly.
“It has many flavors,” he told her kissing her cheek down to her jaw. “But I don’t think we’ll get to all of them tonight.”
“Why not?” Nick was amused by the haughty tone in her voice, as if she were affronted that they had the temerity to withhold something from her.
Oliver laughed. “We don’t have the time or space to do things properly here,” he told her. “But what we share tonight will make you crave another taste, I promise.”
“I think it is you two who crave, not I,” she said coolly. She tried to slide out from between them, but neither he nor Oliver budged an inch. There was no way she could move.
“Why are you angry, little dove?” Oliver murmured. “Don’t fly away.”
“I am not angry.” Her words said one thing, her voice another.
Nick was confused. What had they done? “Don’t play games,” he told her roughly. “Speak plainly. If you don’t tell us what we did wrong, we won’t know not to do it again.”
She stilled between them. “Is it that easy?” she asked incredulously. “Just tell you, and you won’t do it again?
You are very unusual men if that is all it takes to mend your ways.”
“Mend what ways?” Oliver asked patiently.
Vanessa sighed, clearly defeated. “You seek to make me crave you. Why? What do you want from me?”
Her question was like a blow to Nick. He hadn’t realized what it must be like for her. Did she have no friends, no lovers, who wanted her just for herself? Was she so accustomed to being used and deceived she could no longer see the obvious? “You. We want you. Like this.”
He turned her face to his with two fingers on her jaw and pressed his lips to hers. In the dark he missed, his lips only half covering hers, but she drew in a sharp breath and it gave Nick the opportunity to slide over her open mouth and lick inside. He didn’t kiss her like she was an untried virgin, but as if they were already lovers. Some instinct told him that was the way to have her. Not with kid gloves, but with assurance and vigor. Vanessa wanted to be craved, not wooed. She wanted to be possessed, not have a man ask permission with delicate kisses. If they wanted this to work, and right now Nick desperately wanted this to work, then they couldn’t afford to give her time to have second thoughts.
Vanessa responded as he’d known she would. She opened her mouth and let him in, and once she’d learned how to kiss him back she battled to dominate the kiss. He didn’t let her, and he could feel how his mastery aroused her. Her breath was quick on his cheek, her heart pounding beneath the arm he had wrapped around her, as she moved restlessly between them, seeking more but not sure how to get it.
She tasted like champagne and sweets. Her mouth was small, her teeth straight and smooth against his tongue. He wanted to lift her up and throw her down on the nearest soft bed, mount her and fuck her until she admitted he owned her. He wrapped his hand around the back of her head and held her mouth to his, breathing her air and drinking her desire until she whimpered.
It wasn’t until Oliver put his arm around him and buried his hand in Nick’s hair and forcibly pulled him away from her that Nick realized how rough he was being. “I’m sorry,” he gasped. “Damn, you just…you feel so good.”
Oliver kept his hand in Nick’s hair, although his hold was gentle now.
“How do I taste?” Vanessa asked, as breathless as he was.
“Taste?” Nick asked stupidly. He was having a hard time thinking with Vanessa in his arms and Oliver’s hand petting him like that.
“Do I taste like love?” she asked. “Did I do it right?”
Nick found her hand pressed up against Oliver’s chest and he dragged it down between his own legs. He pressed her palm against his erection. “Yes, you did it right. Feel how right.” He thrust into her hand and held his breath, waiting to see how she’d react to his crudity.
She cupped her hand around him and her fingers explored the length and width of him. He groaned and grabbed her skirt, trying to yank it up.
“Nick,” Oliver said roughly. He grabbed Nick’s wrist, stopping him. “Don’t.”
“Do,” Vanessa said, her voice unsteady. “I want you to touch me.”
“Damn me,” Nick murmured. “Yes.”
“May I kiss you again, Vanessa?” Oliver asked. He sounded hesitant, which was so unusual for Oliver in these situations it momentarily took Nick’s mind off getting under Vanessa’s skirts.
“I wish you would,” she responded with an ingrained politeness that made Nick smile. Then she added, “Just like Nick, please,” and Nick began pulling up her skirt again.
Jen: (*fans self*) You also write some sci-fi and contemporary romance. Do you like the variety or do find yourself pulled back to regency and/or menage subgenres?
Sam: I find myself pulled back. I love sci-fi and contemporary, don't get me wrong. And I think I have a pretty good voice in both. But my first love is historical romance. As for menage, the only menage series I have is Brothers in Arms. I wrote one contemporary m/f/m menage-Play It Again, Sam-but that's was an exception to jump start a new series at EC. I don't see myself writing another menage series anytime soon. When I think of a m/m/f relationship, it's always within the confines of the Brothers In Arms world. When that changes, well, we'll see.
Jen: What are you working on next?
Sam: I have a couple of new projects in the works. I've recently signed a contract with Bantam for a new mainstream Regency historical series called The Saint's Devils. The first two books, The Devil's Thief and Tempting a Devil, should be out at the end of this year. I'm very excited about this new series, and this new direction in my writing career. I've also co-authored an alternate history steampunk series (historical and sci-fi mixed together-I love it!) with Mari Freeman that we're hoping will be picked up soon.
Jen: Do you get to go to many conventions? Have you ever had a geeky-fan moment meeting another author?
Sam: I try to get to two or three conventions a year. I'll be at the Romantic Times Booklovers' Convention in April, possibly the RWA convention in July, Authors After Dark in August, of course, and a great little writers' con called The Writers' Police Academy in September. At my first convention, RT in Houston back in 2007, I met Kate Douglas my first night in the bar. She took me around and introduced me to people and I ended up sitting at a table with Kate and Robin Schone having drinks and talking books. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. And the next night I met Kate Duffy, who was with Kensington and probably one of the most powerful editors in romance at the time, and we had drinks and a great conversation. Oh, and I met Charlaine Harris in the elevator, lol. I swore at that con that I would try to attend as many as possible.
But that didn't really answer the question. Um, my geeky fan moment was meeting Lee Child at Book Expo America, which is an industry convention. He was signing books and I gushed about how much I loved him and had my picture taken with him. It's on my website. I'm such a dork. And when I met Jessica Andersen and then asked her to introduce me to J.R. Ward at RT in 2010. Another geek moment also immortalized on my website.
Jen: What are you looking forward to most from AAD in New Orleans?
Sam: The workshops at AAD last year were some of the best workshops I've ever given or attended. I'm really looking forward to more of the same this year.
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