Series? Yes Title: Vasquez Security: The Next Generation If yes, what number? Book 1
Release Date: March 16, 2015
Author Name: Lou Sylvre
Lou Sylvre lives and writes on the rainy side of Washington State, penning mostly suspense/romance novels because she can't resist giving her characters hard times but good love. Her personal assistant is Boudreau, a large cat who never outgrew his kitten meow, and he makes a point of letting her know when she's taken a plot tangent too far. He (Boudreau) invites readers to give their feedback as well!
Where to find the author:
Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorLouSylvre
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Six years ago, Brian Harrison helped save the life of Jackie Vasquez, and he’s never really forgotten him. After the rescue, Brian ended his employment with Jackie's uncle Luki and left the US for England, aiming to distance himself from the confused feelings—not lust, but not brotherly—that then sixteen-year-old Jackie engendered. Now Jackie has become a man, and when they meet again by chance, lust with a dose of D/s rope kink is definitely on the list of possibilities. As they get to know each other, though, lust shows every sign of growing into love, deep and true.
When Jackie moves to London for graduate studies in criminal psychology, he and Brian hope they’ll be able to enjoy each other's frequent company. But they haven't factored in the claim Brian's police job with Scotland Yard will make on his time, especially when the “Gaslighter crimes” sap investigative resources. An abandoned aide dog named Soldier leads to a breakthrough clue, and a chain of discoveries fall like dominoes. As Brian rushes to beat the criminal’s game before it escalates to true terror, he comes to an undeniable conclusion: Jackie Vasquez, the man he loves, is in mortal danger.
Categories: Contemporary, Crime Fiction, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, BDSM (light), Suspense, Romance
(From Chapter Two: December 26th, after a day with Luki and Sonny)
Brian had trouble keeping up with conversations and events for the rest of the evening. The only element he remained fully aware of was Jackie. Every time Jackie moved, Brian marveled at some little thing he hadn’t noticed before: the way a golden-red shine off his hair formed almost a halo when the light was behind him; the way thick, loose curls tumbled over his shoulders when he stripped the leather tie out and brushed his hands through the loosened locks; the way his pale eyes seemed more silver than gray when he laughed; the pattern of the freckles on his cheeks; the richness of his voice—slightly lower in tone and smoother in timbre than seemed expected.
In the few hours he’d studied the young man—not entirely on purpose—he’d become familiar with Jackie’s habits. Jackie bit his bottom lip when thinking just like Luki. He canted his head to the side and squinted slightly when listening. His laugh seemed always sudden and sincere—as if it took Jackie by surprise. When he spoke, intelligent words came readily to his tongue, without hesitation, but he only spoke with true purpose. And he was kind, watching for other’s needs—refilling a coffee cup, turning off a light that shone too bright in someone’s eyes, giving Bear a generous scratch behind the ears.
When it came time to leave and Jackie left the room to gather his things, Brian at last turned his full attention to his hosts. He thanked them and quite sincerely said he’d been very happy to see them again. He added, “And the food was fabulous, Luki!”
Luki chuckled, and said. “Thank you, Brian. But as preoccupied as you were, I think if I asked you tomorrow what you ate for dinner tonight, you wouldn’t even remember!”
Brian couldn’t pretend surprise that Luki had noticed. Before he could think of a reasonable response, Luki squelched any possibility of a speech with the biggest hug Brian had ever seen his former boss give anyone besides his husband, and then a giggling Sonny circled his long arms around them both and joined the squeeze. Brian’s ribs hurt a little by the time it was over.
When Jackie came from the back of the house with two suitcases and a backpack, Brian took the luggage from him and went to put it in the rental car while Jackie made his farewells to his uncles. He put the backpack in the backseat, thinking Jackie might want that available, and then laid the suitcases in the trunk. They seemed to fit perfectly in there with his own bags, but when Brian had that thought, he realized what a strange thought it was, and tried to talk himself back into his usual, more sensible perspective.
Don’t be ridiculous, Brian. Even if there was a God and that God made one person to perfectly match one other person in the entire world, luggage fitting in the trunk wouldn’t likely be a sign they’d found each other. He was able to laugh at himself a little, then, and it did help him take a mental and emotional step back. Not too far, though. Now that he and Jackie had crossed paths again, he had no desire to step back too far.
He admitted in a moment of clarity that the prospects for any future development were a bit disheartening. He lived in London, had a career and a flat and a club and a cat there. Jackie lived in Nebraska—at least Brian thought he still did—was in college, still and had years of study ahead of him pursuing the education he needed to pursue his field of interest. And who knew where in the world that would take him?
Just then, Jackie turned toward him, smile clear and lovely in the glow of the porch light, but somehow more reminiscent of the boy of six years ago than he had been at any earlier time that night. It reminded Brian who Jackie was, what he’d been through, and he thought, if ever there was a sub that required a cautious approach, Jackie is it. Brian had enough savvy to know Jackie had become interested in him, but he decided that, though he wouldn’t discourage Jackie’s interest, he also wouldn’t do anything to deliberately foster it. For the time being, he’d let Jackie take the reins, solo.
Rain had begun to fall heavily just as they’d pulled out onto the main road, which would take them back to Port Clifton. Visibility on the road was poor at the best of times, but on a moonless night in heavy rain, Jackie thought the chances that Brian would be able to pass the slow-moving, overloaded-looking log truck ahead of them seemed slim at best. He sighed, but not unhappily, only settling in. The ride would be longer than expected, but they’d left early so they’d likely make their flights in plenty of time.
The sound of the rain and the way it dripped down the windows seemed to close them in, to make the car’s interior seem cozy, its dash lights comforting. And Brian… he seemed steady behind the wheel, relaxed, perhaps even a masterful driver, reminding Jackie of Sonny. With the heat on low, Brian’s scent permeated the air—something with a touch of incense like quality soap, and slightly sexed, and a faint tang of end-of-a-long day man-smell. And….
“I smell leather,” Jackie said.
“Oh!” Brian flashed a smile at him. “My brother gave me a jacket for Christmas. It’s on the backseat. Still new enough to have a pretty noticeable smell. I admit I like the smell, but most of the time I hardly notice it, and I know there are people who don’t like it.”
“I like it!” Jackie laughed at his own enthusiastic answer. He knew he wasn’t being subtle, but then subtlety was not a quality he’d ever been known for. “Quite a lot, in fact. It’s one of the reasons I took up leatherwork.”
“Tooling, burning, sewing. I like to work with soft, lighter weight leathers. I think the tooling and painting people do on heavy leather is fabulous—some of its museum quality. But I like the feel of the softer stuff, the way it responds if I treat it right, the way it looks when the right people wear it.”
“No. Well, heh. Yes I have a few things I wear from time to time, in certain… situations.” Jackie hesitated, knew he was taking the conversation somewhere unexpected. “I had some leather that matched the color of the darkest streaks in my hair, and I made myself a harness—but that one I’ve never worn.”
“Well,” Jackie said, drawing the syllable out slightly, "the occasion just never seemed right for it, yet.”
Brian glanced at Jackie, turned his eyes back on the road, and said in a husky voice that had to be one of the sexiest sounds Jackie had ever heard. Finally, he sort of smacked his lips, chuckled once, and then said, “I’d bet good money you’ll wear it well when you decide to do so.”
Jackie said only, quietly, “Thank you, Brian.”
They didn’t speak for a while, but Jackie had no sense of awkward silence. After a time, Brian seemed to notice the classical music station playing on the radio, and said, “Oh, hey, you can change the station or turn it off if you want. I’m so used to it I forget sometimes not everyone listens to music by long-dead composers.” He laughed, a pleasant, understated sound.
Jackie answered, “No, I like it! Especially this Renaissance music—that’s Palestrina if I’m not mistaken.”
“Yes, I think you’re right.”
“Probably,” Brian said, and for a few minutes they fell back into silence. They were passing through Port Clifton, but most of the town’s lights were off, and the streets deserted. Somehow, the lonely darkness inside made the inside of the car even more intimate. Jackie turned toward Brian and asked, “So, you don’t have a boyfriend, but you have a club.”
“Right,” Brian said, though he seemed to be hesitating. “I go there maybe once a week or so. I’m not going to pretend you don’t know what kind of club I’m talking about, so I’ll just say, sometimes I have a scene, occasionally I watch one. Sometimes I only have a shot of J&B and a good-natured argument with the bartender, Jamie. Sometimes I have lunch. And…,” Brian started but paused for some time before finishing his sentence. “And, when I do have a scene, it’s most likely to involve ropes or leather, and someone submitting to me.”
Jackie thought that held promise, and he felt something like a flutter of butterflies stretching their wings somewhere under his navel. He wanted to laugh, but he bit his lip and limited himself to a smile. He tried to picture what kind of place might appeal to Brian. Of the few BDSM clubs Jackie had been in, one could only be described as sleazy, one quite swank, and the others landed somewhere in-between on the classiness scale. Jackie was betting Brian’s club would be on the classy side, and he decided to test the theory.
“So,” he said, “what’s the club like? The place itself, I mean.”
“Very pleasant—very British, to my American sensibilities. Things are all polished wood and brass and subdued colors up front—understated and elegant. In the back, brick walls, tile and marble floors with lots of thick carpets, steel equipment, lots of leather. Expensive, unfortunately, but other than yarn and my cat, I don’t spend my money on much else.” He glanced at Jackie, smiling.
Jackie smiled back. “Sounds classy.” He thought for a moment, imagining, then added, “And I can see you in that environment, right at home. What about the people.”
“Variety. No one I heartily dislike, though there are only a few I really know. Tommy—he’s the man who has taught me what skills I have, and he’s still my mentor. Sponsored me into the club. Jamie, the bartender.”
“What about subs?”
“Well… I meet them because someone told them to contact me, or told me I might like to contact them, generally. I don’t go to the club to find them. I don’t see anyone repeatedly; for the most part once is good.”
Jackie nodded. He knew Brian might not have seen the motion, but he wanted to think before speaking. Before he was ready, Brian spoke up again.
“Does… does that make me sound like a cold mofo?” He chuckled, but it sounded to Jackie like his answer would matter to the other man.
He answered honestly, quietly. “No. At least, there’s too many other possibilities for me to make that assumption.”
“Right. Never assume. But, do you mind if I ask you something even more personal?”
“Um… I’m just wondering if you… think things will always be like that for you. I mean, do you think, someday—”
“Do I think I might find someone special? Would I want to?”
“Short answer: yes. Yes, I’d like to have a… have more with… the right person, someday.”
Jackie nodded again. He didn’t have anything more to ask, and thought it would be okay to just be quiet and let peace settle as the car rumbled over the noisy steel bridge deck crossing the Narrows. But Brian apparently felt differently.
“What about you, Jackie? No boyfriend now, right?”
“No,” Jackie said, not sure why the question should take him by surprise. “No, I’ve never really had a boyfriend since high school, before my brother and I left home.”
“You’re busy with school and everything, but…. Well, I told you my ‘someday’ answer. What about yours? Hopes, dreams, maybes?”
“All of the above.” Jackie hadn’t hesitated—he knew his own mind well. He added, “As you said, with the right guy.”
They did fall silent then, as Brian maneuvered the rather tricky interchange onto I-5 Northbound, then dealt with a heavy downpour, water on the road, and spray from truck tires drowning the Sonata’s windshield. Jackie had never become used to Puget Sound driving conditions, and the slap of water cutting off all visibility startled him. He drew in a breath and stiffened, but Brian, while keeping the wheel firm in the grip of one strong hand, reached over with the other and laid a hand on his shoulder.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes.” Jackie let the word out on a sigh of relief. “Thanks.”
Brian said nothing but squeezed his shoulder before taking his hand away. Jackie missed it, oddly.
Fifteen minutes later, Brian followed signs off one freeway onto another, and then onto the airport access. “If you want I can drop you at the entrance for your airline, but I think we have plenty of time. If we stay together, we can get coffee or something.”
“Yeah,” Jackie said. “Coffee would be lovely.”
Pages or Words: 76,000 words, 194 pages
*** ARC provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review. ***
The story starts with a flashback to six years ago when Brian met Jackie Vasquez, his then employer’s nephew. He was attracted instantly to him, but Jackie was too young for him then, sixteen against his twenty-two, so even if the attraction was reciprocated, he decided to move to London to work at Scotland Yard to avoid temptation. There, he submerges himself in work and his Dom training, where he specializes in ropes and leather.
He returns six years after for a visit and Jackie and him meet again and the attraction is still there for both of them. Jackie is older now, just as beautiful and submissive as ever, and now they can explore the D/s aspect of their relationship without age hindering them.
Jackie is very independent and has gone through a lot. In order to help his healing process, he studied forensic psychology as a way to help himself get over the traumatic events in his past and as a hobby he loves going ‘geocaching’, even if his family isn’t all that happy about that, since it’s a potentially dangerous activity.
Their romance is kind of a whirlwind, with a bit of drama thrown in between. I loved that they could both count on Jackie’s uncles to be the voices of reason and to help him navigate through the issues they encountered.
I enjoyed the rope kink aspect of the story, it was explained in detail and I loved reading the scene from Jackie’s POV. That was my favorite in the book, I think.
I also liked the ‘Gaslighter’ angle. It was interesting, even if it was a bit obvious, once we got a bit more of information about the cases. Still, it was scary at times, so great job with that!
I think the first half of the book got dragged in a bit, and the second felt a bit more rushed. Would’ve loved to see Jackie and Brian settle into their relationship a bit more once they were finally together, rather than the few stolen moments that Brian’s job left them. Still, it was pretty good, hot, intriguing and suspenseful when it had to be.
Jackie and Brian had great chemistry together, even if sometimes they seemed to have trouble finding their footing as they threw the D/s dynamic into the mix. Still, they were sweet and I hope this isn’t the last we see of them in this new series.
Rating: 4.25 Binding Stars!
Interview with the Author:
What's the hardest part of writing books?
First, let me thank you for hosting me on the tour for A Shot of J&B!
Now, to answer your question... I think for me the answer changes based on what's difficult for me at the moment, LOL, but finding a balance between loving my characters and hurting them is always a little tough. In a broader sense I think balancing is tough in a lot of ways—creative prose but not florid, sweet romance but not sickeningly so, showing enough but not too much, and so forth.
What bores you in a book?
I'm pretty eclectic for subject matter, but anything written in a clearly formulaic way will bore me. Also, when an author's books all seem like clones of each other—especially in a series. Fortunately, I don't run into those things often.
What does the word "romantic" mean to you?
Most romantic to me are quiet places shared—by the sea, a mountain meadow, a forest of very old trees, a quiet and comfortable room with fire providing the light. Romantic gestures might involve one person taking special care to create a moment that will be special to the other, fashioned on what the other loves. It might involve being spontaneous and embracing a chance for smiles or loving. It might involve giving and accepting comfort. And of course, chocolate, flowers, pretty ropes, and sweet/hot sex might be in the mix, too! J
What is number one on your bucket list?
I don't have one! But if I were to make one, it would be travel, Germany (my mother's country), Quebec (ancestors), France (the same ancestors plus it's just interesting), the UK, Hawaii, New Mexico, New Zealand!
What is your all time favorite book?
For now, I'm going to choose Love Medicine, by Louise Erdrich. On another day I'm sure I'd choose a different book. I actually can't even decide on a favorite color. J
Tour Dates: March 16 - 27, 2015
Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘A Shot of J & B’, plus a $10 Dreamspinner gift card