Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Meeting: Ben Murphy from Under Control

With his hours at San Diablo General Hospital’s Emergency Room and his shift tending bar at the Diablo Blanco Club, Ben Murphy has very little free time. I was lucky to catch him before his shift started at the DBC, but I was extremely conscious of the occasional looks I received from the other patrons as I sat with him at the Club.

“I don’t want to keep you from work.”

He shrugged and leaned against the bar across from me. “No problem, Miss Qwillia. We won’t start getting busy for a while yet.” His smile was like a warm invitation to visit and lit his gray eyes with humor.

I stifled my curiosity about the Club and launched into the interview, “What is your favorite ice cream?”


I blinked, “Really?”

He nodded, “Yes, because I can add whatever I want to it depending on my mood.”

I thought about it. That made complete sense to me. “Next question, what is your favorite thing about Vance Justiss?”

Even as he talked, Ben was straightening and wiping down bottles and shelves behind the bar. “My favorite thing about V? He’s got my back. The man doesn’t know the word ‘quit’. If he thinks you need help — he’s there.”

“Like you?” I prompted.

He grinned but didn’t answer.

“What does Vance do that is most annoying?”

The grimace that pulled his lips down was fleeting before Ben answered, “He doesn’t give himself a break. He has high expectations for himself and when he misses, he gets angry at himself for it.” He shook his head and rolled his eyes. “Getting him down from that takes a lot and sometimes it tests me in ways I’m not sure I like going to.”

“How old were you when you lost your virginity?”

He leaned closer to answer. “My parents would be happy to know that I lost my virginity with a girl when I was sixteen. They’d be less than pleased to know that I was fifteen when I shared my first hand job with one of the guys from the football team.” An expression of both disgust and disappointment flashed across his features. “The fact that I’m attracted to men and enjoy sex with both men and women is what created the rift that made me leave my home in Virginia to make a life here in San Diablo.”

I remembered that and how much he hated the fact that they’d effectively cut him out of their lives for nearly twenty years. Hoping to dispel the unease, I jumped into the next question. “How did you meet Vance?”

“I led a Recon unit when I was in the Marines. Vance was assigned to my unit when our sniper was killed.” He gave me a wry grin. “I swear, the man could make me hard with a single look and that was dangerous in the military. But we had a good unit that relied more on action than orientation.”

“If there is something you could change about the first few weeks you knew Vance what would it be?”

“Nothing. He was an excellent soldier and fit into the unit immediately.”

“What about your personal relationship?”

Ben shrugged. “Not long after we met, he recognized the tension between my family and me and dragged me here.” He laughed. “I think he dragged the whole unit to his parents’ house at least once every time we had leave. His mom and dad loved having a house full of people. V was their only child and they had no other living relatives.”

“Didn’t he introduce you to the Diablo Blanco Club?”

“Yes. It was V who took me to the Club the first time. It was quite eye-opening and compelling. Plus I got to spend time with V.”

“What is your favorite movie?”

Ben laughed. “Don’t really have one. Between the ER at San Diablo General and the DBC, I don’t have a lot of downtime to watch movies.” He flashed a wicked grin. “And V is much more interesting to play with than a movie.”

“What is the craziest place you’ve had sex?”

The expression on his face was more of a grimace than a grin before he shrugged. “Nowhere. I’m not all that adventurous. A bed, the club, the shower — as long as I’ve got V, it works.”

“Which do you prefer? Coffee, tea, or…?”

“Coffee. The stronger the better.”

“What addiction can you not live without?”

He seemed to think about it for a moment. “The closest thing to an addiction I have is V. If I lost him, it wouldn’t kill me, but it wouldn’t be living either. I’d exist. That’s all.”

“Describe your favorite pair of shoes?”

A sly grin lifted his lips. “I have a pair of boots. Wore ’em on my last mission with Recon. They’re still the most comfortable boots for hiking.”

I hesitated before asking my question, pretty sure I knew the answer. “What do you fear most?”

“That V’s guilt over Aimee will tip him over the edge. He already has times when he’ll go days on cat naps because of the nightmares. I’m just not sure he’ll ever forgive himself for what happened.”

My own guilt gnawed at me, but I couldn’t tell him his fear was only going to get worse. I rushed on to ask, “What would you like to come back as if you’re reincarnated?”

He looked thoughtful then answered, “Haven’t really considered that. If I did come back, I’d hope to be with V, but I’d want to help people.”

“If you could be in a (different) book, which book would it be?”

“V and I have already been in a couple of the DBC books, I don’t need to be in anymore.”

I squirm thinking about the last story I’ll be telling. Not sure Ben will like it. Or if he’ll forgive me for what he and Vance will have to go through in the story. Determined to avoid spilling the beans, I ask the next question. “If your life were a book, what would you prefer the author not tell readers about you?”

He laughed again. “Not much about me is secret, but after twelve years in the Marines, I know how to keep my mouth shut.”

“Who, living or dead, would be your hero if you have one?”

His expression grows somber before he answers. “Aimeelya. She sent V home to me. I wish she hadn’t had to die to do it, but it was his promise to her that broke down the walls between us so I could be with V.”

“Do you think he loves Aimeelya?”

The look he gave me was indulgent. “Miss Qwillia, you know V and I both loved Aimee. She belonged to both of us from the day we found her tangled up in barbed wire on the edge of a mine field.”

“If she’d lived, what do you think would have happened?”

“Nothing unless she wanted it to. Her parents were good people. V and I respected them. Aimee was a handful, but there’s no doubt, if she’d lived, V’s convinced she would have been the perfect sub from us.”

In the time we’d been talking the room had begun to steadily fill up. I held my hand out to Ben. “Thank you for answering my questions.”

He surprised me by taking my hand and placing a gentlemanly kiss on the back of it. “My pleasure, Miss Qwillia. You should really plan to attend the Midnight Masquerade some time.”

“It’s invitation only.”

The look he gave me held secrets I wasn’t sure I wanted to know, but my fingers itched to write down. “Oh, I’m sure quite a number of members would be happy to send you an invitation.”

I laughed, “Hmm, I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.”

He glanced over my shoulder toward the entrance. I turned and spotted Vance as well as Bryce and Richard entering. Turning back around I met his amused grin and added, “Definitely not a good thing.”

Making sure to stay as far away from the three Doms, I slipped out of the Club and into the warm Southern California evening.

Under Control (Diablo Blanco Club #2) is in the process of revisions and is slated to be re-released some time in June.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday Meeting: Rick Bennett from Rogue Master

Getting into Rick and Becka Bennett’s home meant waiting for clearance at the twelve-foot high, wrought iron gate, then withstanding the intense scrutiny of Rick’s father-in-law before I was directed toward the library where Rick relaxed on one of the sofas while Becka sat on his lap, breastfeeding their youngest son.

It’s been more than four years since their story took place, but I’m still digging out the details so I can get the story written — Rick is not one of the easiest character to get information from. Maybe, if I pay close attention to his answers I might get a better idea of what’s going on in his book. And if I’m really lucky, I’ll be able to get what I needed to finish the story so the fans of the Diablo Blanco Club series can finally read Rick’s book, and I can move on to the next three books.

I ease into the chair adjacent to the sofa and return the soft smile and greeting from Becka before I address Rick.

“Thank you for sitting down with me tonight.”

Rick smiled and ran his hand along Becka’s shoulder and arm. “Thank Boo.”

I fought the temptation to chuckle when I saw Becka roll her eyes before she dropped her attention to their son. I tried not to give her away, but something in Rick’s dark gray gaze warned me that he wasn’t fooled.

Hoping to keep his attention away from thoughts of discipline for Becka I dove into the interview questions I’d brought with me. “So, first question, what is your favorite ice cream?”

“Dulce de Lece—via Becka.”

I must have looked confused, because he laughed and expanded on his answer, “Boo loves that ice cream and the taste of her kisses after she eats it makes her flavor even sweeter.”

I could feel my cheeks heat as the color filled Becka’s face. Intent on getting through the interview and come away with more than just the answers to the questions, I move on to the next on the list. “What is your favorite thing about Becka?”

Rick stroked Becka’s hair as she cuddled their son and moved him from one breast to the other to continue feeding. “That her masochism matches my sadism.”

When I heard him say that, I was surprised, but it was nice to hear him accepting that part of himself. I made a note to myself to reflect that relaxed sense of self-awareness then asked the next question, “What does Becka do that is most annoying?”

He seemed to think about it for a moment before answering, “She doesn’t safeword out.” He gave Becka’s long, brown hair a tug and she smiled up at him. “It scared the hell out of me the first time it happened, but—” he grinned as if excited and reluctant at the same time “—it turned me on too.”

I hid my excitement at his revelation, but I kept my cool. “Interesting,” I mutter then lean forward and grin, “So, will you tell me how old you were when you lost your virginity?”

He laughed. “Oral — sixteen. Twenty for intercourse. I was so fascinated but freaked out by what Isaiah Halsey had to teach Bryce and me that sex wasn’t high on my list of interests until I learned topping techniques.”

I could imagine all the tricks Bryce’s uncle had been teaching them and how that could distract Rick. I needed to keep on track so I powered through the next few questions, “What is your favorite sexual talent of Becka’s?”

He closed his eyes as if in deep thought, his fingers moving softly through Becka’s hair and over her neck as the baby finished and she lifted him to her shoulder. Rick opened his eyes and moved his other hand to stroke the soft brown curls on the baby's head before looking at me. Definitely a flash of devilry in his gaze. “The way she takes everything I dish out without protest. Not to mention how fast she hits subspace for me.”

Hmm, another mental note made. “What is Becka’s weirdest habit?”

Rick chuckled, “She alphabetizes everything. I mean everything — books, CDs, movies, the cabinets, the contents of the pantry, clothes — I did not realize you could alphabetize a closet until she moved in.” A grunt slipped from his lips as Becka’s elbow dug into his side as she finished burping the baby.

I stifled my grin, no way did I want this Dom giving me the evil eye. “I know you met Becka when she began working for Halsey Unlimited as an accountant, but if you could, is there anything you would change about the first few weeks you knew her?”

A movement near the door seemed to distract both Rick and Becka. I watched as Becka’s father, Idris, stepped into the room. She rose from Rick’s lap and carried her son to her father and handed the baby over after pressing a soft kiss on the infant’s brow. Idris eyed me so closely, I wondered if he knew about the lady I’d been chatting with about him.

I turned my gaze back to my notes and waited until Becka returned to the sofa. Instead of resuming her spot on his lap, she eased into a kneeling position between his legs. She rested her cheek against his thigh and closed her eyes. Rick smoothed his hand over her hair from her crown to her shoulders before he answered. “Would I change anything? No, nothing. The first time I saw her alphabetizing the magazines and eyeing the plants as if she wanted to rearrange them by genus, species, and phylum, I wanted her. I had no problem imagining her submitting to me, but she never expressed an interest in power exchange. As much as I wanted her, Boo didn’t need the pressure of banging the boss to interfere in her rise to CFO of Halsey Unlimited, Inc.”

Interesting. I wondered what the answer to the next question would be. “What is your favorite movie?”

Again, there was no hesitation in his response. “Revenge and Taken.”

I stopped and thought about the films. “Revenge? You mean the one with Kevin Costner and Anthony Quinn?” I was pretty sure the other movie was the one with Liam Neeson.

While Rick nodded, a shiver went up my spine and it seemed Becka had the same reaction as mine, “Yes.” The look on his face said everything necessary, no explanation could express the synergy those two films represented in his life. In the story I was still working on finishing.

I hurried on to the other questions, “What is the craziest place you’ve had sex?”

A slow, wicked smile lifted his lips. “That’s a toss-up between against the stripper’s pole in the Dulce Oro or the heavy bag in my home gym — or maybe when I bent her over the weight bench.” He tugged on Becka’s hair and I wasn’t surprised when a soft purr left her lips.

“Which do you prefer? Coffee, tea, or…?” I asked.

“Water most of the time. Eighteen months in Mexico teaches you the importance of hydration. After that it would be a good single-malt Scotch or tequila.”

I tried to keep focused on the interview questions even as Rick moved his hands over Becka’s shoulders, around her throat. “Wh…what addiction can you not live without?”

“Becka’s submission.” He threaded his fingers through her hair and tugged lightly and slowly smiled at me, “It feeds the sadist in me. Keeps me human.”

I knew I had to hurry through the last few questions or I’d be witness to some very personal time between the pair in front of me. “Describe your favorite pair of shoes.”

A coldness settled over his features and the most sinister grin quirked his lips. It wasn’t a smile or a smirk, but more an expression of deep satisfaction. “A pair of black boots that I never wear anymore.”

Warily I ask, “Why are they your favorite if you don’t wear them?”

“Because they’re stained with the blood of the son of a bitch who tried to take Boo from me.” Something in his gaze assured me that he’d not only found satisfaction in the death of the man, but he seemed pleased by it as well.

Okay, next question — fast! “What do you fear most?” I grimaced the second I asked it, considering the answer to the last question, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to hear the answer to this question.

Fortunately, he was kind to me. He leaned forward and kissed Becka, nothing too sexy, but definitely affectionate. “Going too far. I recognize who I am and what I carry around inside me and Boo helps me control it. But the potential is there for it to break free and if that happened it would mean I’d lost Becka and no place on Earth would be safe.”

I knew exactly what he was saying. “If you could be in a (different) book, which would it be?”

Rick shook his head and rolled his eyes, “I already show up in Unfair AdvantageSanta’s Elf, and Under Control as well as the last book in the series so I don’t need any more exposure, thank you.”

It took everything in me not to reveal his future literary adventures. “If your life were a book, what would you prefer the author not tell readers about you?”

A snort left his lips and he choked back another one. “Seriously? Too late. Tried to avoid the secrets getting out by heading to Mexico and dropping off the radar for almost a year, but you’re too damned nosy.”

I didn’t bother asking anything else especially when I watched his left hand slip beneath Becka’s unbuttoned blouse and cover her breast. I babbled out my appreciation, scooped up my bag and notebook and hurried out of the room, determinedly ignoring the low, seductive laughter that followed me into the hall.

Idris didn’t say anything but the grin on his lips was enough to make me pick up my pace and sigh with relief the second I closed my truck door. I watched the door shut even as I recognized just how lucky it was that the residents of the house were even alive. The interview answers only made me more aware of why I needed to get Rick and Becka’s book written. And written soon.