Jen: Today we kick off GLBT week with a visit from the fabulous Ava March. Ava, will you share a short bio with us?
Ava: Ava March is an author of sexy, emotionally intense M/M historical erotic romances. She loves writing in the Regency time period, where proper decorum is of the utmost importance, but where anything can happen behind closed doors. With over fifteen works to her credit, her books have been finalists in the Rainbow Awards and More Than Magic contest, and deemed ‘must-haves’ for Historical M/M romance by RT Book Reviews readers. Visit her website at www.AvaMarch.com to find out more about her books or to sign-up for her newsletter.
Gambling on Love #2
William Drake has lived among thieves, bastards and beggars all his life, doing what’s necessary to survive. As a young orphan, that included looking after his best friend, Jack Morgan. But as they grew older, Jack took the honest path, leaving Will behind to fend for himself the only ways he knows how.
When an unsavory errand for his employer brings Jack back to London’s underbelly, he needs Will’s help. It’s there, among the alleys they ran through as children, that the love he’s always felt for Will returns. As their nights together grow hotter, Will discovers something new about his old friend—Jack’s need to serve extends into the bedchamber.
Will has never fully abandoned his dream of escaping London with Jack. But what could the Duke’s driver want with a dishonest cheat like him, beyond a bit of rough sex? It takes the gamble of Will’s life to find out if he can win Jack’s heart…
Here’s a short excerpt:
The sandwich finished and his belly full, Will moved the clay pot containing his latest attempts from the windowsill so the thin drapes could be drawn closed.
“What are you growing?” Jack asked.
“Spinach.” Setting the pot on the chest of drawers, Will poked a finger into the soil. Almost time to water the three little plants again.
“When it grows large enough.” If it grew large enough. But according to Every Man His Own Gardener, spinach could be grown in the winter. Should be hardy enough to survive his drafty windowsill.
Using a short length of towel from the washstand, Will wiped off his hands. Dark smudges underscored Jack’s eyes, the usually straight line of his spine was slumped the tiniest bit. The black stubble from his day’s beard covered his strong jaw. The man looked exhausted. Likely had been up since dawn.
Damn that duke for pushing Jack to work so hard.
“We should get some rest.”
“But you only have one bed.”
And it was a narrow one at that. Will heard the words as though Jack had spoken them.
“Yes, but it’s not as if we’ve never shared a bed, Jack. All that matters is that we both get some sleep.”
Will shrugged his unbuttoned waistcoat from his shoulders, pulled his shirt over his head, took off his breeches—careful not to spill the contents of his pocket—and put his clothes in the top drawer. Tomorrow, he’d tuck his winnings away. Tonight, while Jack was in the room, they were safe in the drawer.
Bare as the day he was born, he crossed to the bed. “Come along now.” He slipped under the blanket. If he acted as though there was no cause for concern, then hopefully Jack would follow his lead.
Gaze fixed on the table, Jack made a little project of folding the paper sack.
Turning onto his stomach, Will scooted over until the wall was but an inch from his nose.
There was the scrape of chair legs. The creak of floorboards. Then the room was plunged into darkness. Jack must have blown out the candle. Will heard the rustle of clothing. Three more creaks. Cold air hit his back as the blanket was lifted. The mattress dipped as Jack lay down on the bed. A hair-dusted calf brushed Will’s heel then was snatched away.
Will held himself perfectly still and waited.
For a reason he couldn’t fully explain, it was suddenly very important to him that Jack felt comfortable in his bed. Comfortable enough to press up against Will without a second thought, as if he belonged there, just as Jack had done many a night over the years.
A shift of Jack’s weight, another dip of the mattress, and then a warm, linen-clad body pressed against his.
That moment of suspense clutching at Will’s chest vanished as if it had never taken place. Will smiled. Modest Jack. Some things never changed.
The bed wasn’t large by any definition. Designed to sleep one not two, and especially not a second with shoulders as broad as Jack’s. But with Jack sprawled half over Will, they fit perfectly in the narrow bed, just as Will had known they would.
© 2014 by Ava March
Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.
Jen: Why do you think a romantic encounter between two men seems so much steamier (and often more romantic) than the same encounter between a male and female?
Ava: There’s a dynamic that is usually present in a male/male romance that can make romantic scenes even more romantic. It’s hard to describe, but men can be more direct and also more vulnerable in a male/male relationship.
Jen: What made you choose to set your stories in Regency Britain?
Ava: When I started reading romances years ago, I was drawn to stories set in the Regency era. The strict adherence to proper decorum, the gorgeous clothes, the way anything can happen behind closed doors. When I began writing my own books, those stories set themselves in the Regency. My muse has decided that’s the era he prefers, so I go with it and don’t question him.
Jen: How do you research gay men in past times, especially concerning BDSM? Is there really that much material written on them, or is a lot of it guesswork and romanticism?
Ava: There is information on gay men in the early 1800’s, but the most easily found is usually centered around trials. Not happy reading. But there are biographies and publishes letters, and one can read between the lines to get hints about how gay relationships were maintained in an era where sodomy was illegal. I’ve found information on historical sex toys dating all through history. Humans are inventive and kink isn’t a 21st century idea. So it’s a combination of understanding the attitudes and possibilities of the time period, understanding that all people are unique, and creating characters where kink makes sense for them.
Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you’ve received about your books?
Ava: I don’t know if this qualifies as the ‘most interesting’, but the comment that makes me smile the most is when a reader lets me know that one of my books was their first male/male romance and that they loved it so much they are reading more male/male books.
Jen: What did you do to celebrate your first book? Do you do anything to celebrate a sale, new contract or release?
Ava: For BOUND BY DECEPTION’s release in September 2008, I did a great big happy dance and went out to dinner with my family to celebrate. And that’s what I do with every new release – a goofy happy dance and dinner with family.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Ava: I’m currently working on VISCOUNT’S WAGER, book #3 in the Gambling on Love series.