And the performance itself….
Dirt and Sin. With a Side of Coffee.
24 May 2013 14 Comments
I want to thank Lou for taking over for the past couple of days. If you’ve not read through her posts, please go back and enjoy what’s she’s laid down on the blog. And the Giveaways ROCK! *grins*
Wanted to wish you all a good morning and let’s go back to the basics. Some pretty boys doing some lovely things….
23 May 2013 8 Comments
Hi, I’m Lou Sylvre, and I’m back again talking about Luki Vasquez, Sonny James, and their latest adventure in fiction, Finding Jackie. Yesterday, I started a contest: tell me what kind of shirt Sonny wore to his wedding, and you’re entered to win a copy of Finding Jackie!. Today, the contest continues, and I’m adding a second way to win: comment here, and tell me what Luki gave Sonny as a Wedding present. The info is in the excerpt posted at Dreamspinner, at this link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3812
In yesterday’s post I showed you some stuff about Sonny’s origins. Today, I’m going talk about Luki. In case you werent’ sure, he’s the badass with the gun on the cover. Here’s a close up of his lips, his hands, and his weapon. What else would you want?
You know Sonny’s marriage proposal I recalled from Delsyn’s Blues in yesterday’s post? It was sweet, characteristic of Sonny, right? Well, Luki’s reply is sweet too, and characteristically badass, since he’s just been shot:
“Shit, Luki, he shot you!”
“Don’t worry, sweetie. It’s just a flesh wound. And… um… yes.”
“Don’t give me lip, Luki.” Sonny had taken some of his always handy silk strips out of his pocket and bound the wound, tight. “Besides, you sound like you’re in a John Wayne movie. Flesh wound or not, it’s bleeding way too much. Does it hurt?”
“Sorry for the lip. Shallow wounds bleed. And hurt. And yes!” The last words came out halfway between a shout and a grunt, in response to the extra pressure Sonny was applying to the wound with stronger-than-usual hands.
Luki’s lips had begun to feel a little thick. He worked them into the shape of words, but he thought he sounded a bit like Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean. “What did you do when the shooting started?” he asked, then added, “And yes.” He tried to enunciate that last very clearly.
“I did what any brave badass would do. I rolled over behind the wood rack and put that Maryanne on top of me. I figured nobody could shoot me without shooting through her.”
“Huh! Good tinkin… thinking. Yes, Sonny. Yes.” He took a few breaths, closed his eyes to clear them of sweat. “Listen, serious… people tied up… guns, I’m… shot. He opened his eyes wide, forced himself wide awake, needing to make Sonny understand. “We have to call the law—”
Footsteps charged Luki so fast he would have rolled and come up fighting—or tried to—if Sonny, who seemed to be getting stronger every minute, hadn’t held him down. “It’s just Ladd,” he said. Meant to be reassuring, Luki thought, but he caught the distaste that Sonny reserved for Ladd lately.
“Luki.” Ladd was breathing way harder than he should have been.
Luki had started to fade again, but he had to comment. “Gettin’ out o’ sape… shape.”
“Truth. Margie’s cooking. But listen, Luki, wake up a bit. This is important. I’m going to take these people off your hands. You can’t afford to bring the law in here—they’ll have you and Sonny in prison so fast you won’t hear the bars clang until after you’ve seen the light. I’ll take them out of here, call Katie. She’ll help work it out. That’s just a flesh wound—”
“It’s still bad—”
“Yeah, Sonny, but—”
“And he’s got a fever, makes it worse.”
“Good, good.” He must have caught the glare Sonny blazed his way. Even Luki felt he was melting in the heat just by proximity. Ladd back-pedaled a bit. “What I mean is, take him to the hospital, and he can say it was an accident. The fever will make it more believable. Truth, otherwise they might not believe he could be that clumsy. Right, boss?”
“Fuck you, Ladd.” Luki was proud of his clear enunciation.
“In your next life, perhaps. For now, though, I’ll take that as agreement and get started.” He stepped away so fast he kicked debris from the rotting cedar into Luki’s eyes.
“Shit, that hurts,” Luki said. The sting had rolled back the haze a bit. “And yes, Sonny.” He brought his hands to his face to wipe the grit away.
“Not like that,” Sonny said. “Your hands are filthy; they’ll only make it worse.” He brought another pair of long silk strips out of a pocket and gently wiped Luki’s tearing eyes.
Where does he put all those silk strips? He never seems to run out. “You’re like a magician, Sonny. And yes, damn it.”
“Thank you. You definitely have a fever. And why the hell do you keep saying ‘yes’?”
“I do have a fever… wish… cigarette… doesn’t matter,” Luki said. He felt cold now; he’d started to shiver. He felt like he was drifting but sinking fast. Wait! He doesn’t understand! What if I die before I can tell him? Drama queen, Vasquez. Despite his self-scolding, he thrust himself forcefully back into consciousness, latched onto Sonny’s arm so fast and hard Sonny went as wide-eyed as if he was in a scene from The Exorcist. “Yes. Sonny, I will! I’ll marry you.”
Silence. Sweet and warm. Sonny’s strong, beautiful fingers lifted his head away from the log, dropped St. Christopher’s medal over it, then cushioned his skull as he let it fall back. He placed a cool hand on Luki’s forehead, then on his chest, a welcome weight pressing St. Christopher’s silver promise over his heart. Quietly, maybe even tenderly: “You’re going to pass out, Luki.”
Once again he forced consciousness into a narrow focus, this time only as high and wide as Sonny’s eyes. “I am,” he said, “I know. But can we have the wedding in Hawai’i?” His vision had narrowed down to a speck of light by the time he heard Sonny’s answer.
See? Sweet. And they do of course have that wedding in Hawai’i, you can read all about it in Finding Jackie. As I mentioned yesterday, however, Luki’s pre-wedding talk with his uncle Kaholo can’t be found in the novel. Read it right here! I was able to shimmy up a palm tree and sit in the fronds on top, and record their conversation from my perch. (The firemen had to get me down after dark, but that’s neither here nor there.)
They are sitting on the beach—on their surfboards—soaking wet and letting the breeze and sun dry them off.
Luki says, “I didn’t know you could surf, Uncle.”
“Aw, Mili. This ain’t much. You should have seen me when I was young. Had half the island watching me sometimes.”
“Giant waves? Why do you call me Mili?”
Kaholo gave Luki a puzzled look. “It’s your name, boy! I think you know that!” It wasn’t nearly as stern as it sounded, and he broke out into his deep, bass laugh at the end. He reached over and actually ruffled Luki’s hair—something many might try and not survive.
Luki actually laughed, too. “Yes, Kaholo, I know that Mililani is my middle name. But most people don’t think of me as anybody’s “heavenly embrace”—
“And nobody else has ever called me that.”
“Your mama did.”
Luki looked away, racking his brain. Finally he shook his head and turned to look at Kaholo again. “I don’t remember that.”
“Well,” Kaholo said, pursing his lips. “I suppose she called you Mili, or Mililani, more when your were really small. Before school age. Your dad didn’t like it.”
Luki chewed his lip for a moment, studying is old uncle—the man that had done more to raise the child Luki than any other person, truth told. He asked a question he’d wondered about many times but never asked. Now, in Hawai’i, seeing how Kaholo remembered himself—even surfing like he’d last done it yesterday—he couldn’t make himself not ask. “Why’d you stay, Uncle? After my mom died, why did you stay all those years? You never went home once.”
Kaholo shook his head, dismissing, Luki thought at first. But maybe he was just lost in his own memories. “I just couldn’t make myself leave you, and your dad wouldn’t come to Hawaii even for a minute—his heart never healed after he lost your mom, you know. And he wouldn’t let me bring you here, either. He was afraid I’d lose you, somehow.”
“So you stayed for me?”
“Well, partly. The other part—I stayed for me. Don’t even go off into this guilt thing I can see rising up in you. I stayed with you and your dad because I loved you both, and I wanted to be there. Your dad loved you, Luki, whether you believe it or not, but there wasn’t any… softness, no give in him. A child needs more than a full belly, a bed to sleep in, and a passel of rules and scheduled activities. Especially after you got cut, I thought you needed me.”
Luki ran his hands through his curls. Now that they were mostly dry, he thought they should be set in something close to order. He stood up to dust off the sand and, not facing his uncle, said, “I’m sorry.”
“Being your burden.”
“I told you not to go there Mili, and that’s a lie. You were never a burden. You were, and still are, a gift.”
After a few minutes, Kaholo laughed again. “Besides, who would have taken you to halau and made sure you danced on stage wearing your flashy malo.”
Luki smiled, quietly. He remember the drives with Kaholo to Lincoln for his classes and practices at the halau. Sometimes they drove all the way to Omaha for competitions. “I liked dancing,” he said. “But I don’t think I was very good. My kumu was kind of mean.”
“Your kumu grew up with your mama and me, and he wanted to marry her. He never forgave her for marrying a haole. He was mean, but it had nothing to do with your dancing. He also got angry because he wanted to take you to Hawai’i for the Merry Monarchs festival to dance, but your dad said no.”
“Oooh. I could have watched those men.”
Kaholo rolled his eyes. “Well you can come back and watched them now.”
“Good idea! No wait. Sonny will want to watch them, too…”
22 May 2013 13 Comments
Answer this question to enter the drawing for a paperback copy of Finding Jackie (if in the US, ebook if you’re in another country).What kind of shirt does Sonny have on at the wedding? Comment below to enter! (Hint: The answer can be found in the Dreamspinner catalogue listing–just expand the excerpt.
Hi, I’m Lou Sylvre, author of the Vasquez and James series, including the most recent novel, Finding Jackie. Thank you, readers, for coming by and giving Sonny, Luki, and me a read—I hope you’ll let us know your thoughts and reactions when it’s done. And, thanks Rhys Ford for letting us invade your space!
Before going any further, look to your left at the gorgeous cover Reese Dante made for Finding Jackie, and I’ll follow that with the blurb:
Luki Vasquez and Sonny Bly James finally have their Hawaiian wedding, and it’s perfect, almost. But their three-phase honeymoon is riddled with strife. Luki’s status as a working badass spells discord for the newlyweds. A former informant from Luki’s days with ATFE brings a troubling message (or is it a warning?) from a Mob hit man. When Luki’s sixteen-year-old nephew, Jackie, is lured into capture and torture by a sadistic killer, the honeymoon is well and truly over.
The couple put aside their differences and focus on the grueling hunt, which takes them from leather bars to dusty desert back roads, and calls on Sonny’s deep compassion as well as Luki’s sharpest skills. Their world threatens to fall apart if they fail, but their love may grow stronger than ever if they succeed in finding Jackie—before it’s too late.
Yes, the guys get married early on in the course of Finding Jackie, fulfilling the engagement that started so sweetly with Sonny’s proposal in Delsyn’s Blues. To refresh the memory, here’s how the last little bit of Sonny’s proposal went:
(This takes place in the mustang, which is parked in the “garage” or “car barn,” where they guys are waiting out a sudden, torrential downpour. The reference to getting crude has to do with sexual innuendo, which should surprise no one.)
(Sonny said,) “Before we get crude, there’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you—”
“Ask away. No time like the present.” What the hell has gotten hold of me, Luki thought. It’s like I’ve got two modes—smoking and stupid.
“Yes,” Sonny continued, “I’m trying to. Umm… why—”
“Do I keep smoking even though it’s stupid?”
Sonny took an exaggerated breath and blew it out. “No, no, that’s a very good question but—”
“You’re right. I’m quitting, Sonny, for real.”
“Good! But, damn it, that’s not what I was going to ask….” Suddenly wide-eyed, he turned and leaned to get a good look at Luki’s face. “Hey, maybe you really are getting a fever.” He put a hand on Luki’s forehead.
“Maybe. Doesn’t matter.”
“Matters to me.”
“Yes, if you’ll let me ask!”
“You are lucky I want to ask this so badly, or I’d be out of here.”
That sounded ominous to Luki. He didn’t know why it should, but he thought a lot more might be riding on that statement than a little half-serious afternoon spat. His head hurt, and he’d started shivering again. Maybe that made it seem more important. Maybe he did have a fever. Whatever.
“Luki, will you marry me?”
And the wedding in Finding Jackie is equally sweet and funny and emotional. Reading the book you’ll see them on a windy Hawaiian hilltop, dressed both in white and decorated with Sonny’s colors, Sonny’s creations. They’re guided through their vows by Luki’s uncle Kaholo, and attended by many friends. But what you don’t see is what happened before the wedding, when Luki and Sonny each, separately, were subjected to “that” conversation—the one usually full of sage advice on the eve of marriage.
Kaholo, as we would expect, talked to Luki, but I’ll get to that next. This post, shows us what Sonny talked about with Jim Standing Bear, his long ago reservation basketball coach. I listened in on their talk as they were hanging out at an outdoor bar down the beach from the resort, keeping themselves busy while Luki and Kaholo are securing some rented surfboards and the services of an instructor for Luki. Sonny has a beer but he isn’t drinking it. Jim has coffee, black and boring, as Sonny has been known to call it.
“Sonny,” Jim said. “I wasn’t happy when you left the rez to go live with Melvern once and for all, although Thelma was. She thought it was great.”
Sonny laughed, which is what Sonny often does when confronted with a statement that resembles a catch 22. Finally said, “So… Thelma was glad I was leaving?”
“Sonny, despite the fact that you taught Thelma to be a cheater—”
“I didn’t, Jim. I taught her how one cheats at cards. She’s the one who decided to cheat every single minute of the game.”
“Oh, you don’t do that?” Jim looked incredulous.
“No, as a matter of fact I don’t,” Sonny said. Hand was now on hip, but he was smiling. “Ask Luki. I play the game and every once in while I cheat a little. All in good fun.”
“Anyway,” Jim said, bringing the topic back to Sonny’s history. “Thelma thought if you’d stayed on the rez you would have been lost for good—addicted, in prison, infected with awful things. She saw Melvern and Ida and their home as your hope. And, after some detours, turns out she was right.”
“Yeah, I took some detours all right.”
“Me, I was just pissed you weren’t going to be playing rez ball any more.”
“Oh, c’mon. You had lots of good players on the teams.”
“You were good Sonny. Not the best maybe, but good.”
“You’re a good coach, Jim, that’s all. You care about the people. Not just the game. Admit it.”
“And then,” Jim said, “I was afraid if you left the rez you’d quit dancing. Almost did, huh? But you went back to it, for a while. For Delsyn, I think.”
“You were quite the grass dancer, Sonny. And you really cared about that kid.”
Sonny nodded, lost in memories for the moment. “Yeah,” he said. “Somebody had to. He really pissed me off when he decided to be a fancy dancer.”
Jim shook his head, “I know what you mean—it had to hurt his knees! But he was good at it!”
Sonny smiled. “He was beautiful at it, until he couldn’t hardly walk, much less dance.”
Jim said, “You miss him.”
“I do. But at least now we’ve got some new nephews, Josh and Jackie!”
“Yeah. That Jackie is going to require some extra TLC, I think.”
“Yeah. So what are your words of wisdom?”
“I thought you wanted t talk to me about being married.”
“Shit! When I figure it out I’ll let you know. Meanwhile just watch out… huh. Probably I should say that to Luki. You have a lot in common with Thelma.”
22 May 2013 11 Comments
Dirty Day by Rhys Ford
This is a FREE Cole and Jae short to celebrate Dreamspinner Press’ Sexy Sixth Anniversary. Told from Jae’s POV and happens after Dirty Laundry. It clocks in at 3000 words. I got it right to the 3000 word limit I was given. And damn, I wanted to add more…. *grins*
22 May 2013 8 Comments
So… I tossed a Cole and Jae into the mix… from the poll you all took.
Here’s the link to the blog where the stories are being posted.
Please stop in and keep tabs on what is being launched because there are some damned smexy stories coming from the DSP stable and damn the talent there rocks.
Here you go…. Cole and Jae’s Dirty Day.
22 May 2013 Leave a Comment
in Free Stuff
I love vampires. I hate vampire books. *nods* Yeah, bear with me. Nothing is new. Nothing is different and sometimes, it just gets too… Wuthering Heights. But dudes, this is Lou Harper and there’s a twist and some humour to this one.
Enter the Giveaway. I’m not because I just flat out bought it. *grins*