Is there such a thing? I know we’re all enthralled by actors who portray a world of fantasy. The creations on the screen are so much better than our every day lives. What we all seem to forget is that they are just people too, trying to go about being very normal while cameras follow their every move. Reporters hound them, looking for insecurities or the next great tabloid feature.
In writing Shattered, I’ve portrayed a normal man, plagued by his own demons while perfecting a fake persona, one loved by his adorning fans. Re-releasing to the Booktrope m/m Entice line, I’m very proud to present…
Hunter sighed as he looked at his watch. Taylor wasn’t coming, and hell, why should he? Gazing up at the television, not only could he not focus but he also didn’t give a shit about the game that floated across the screen. He’d been nursing his shot of tequila and he was exhausted and ready for a good night’s sleep. The next few days were going to be very long and draining. While he was prepared for the intense action scenes physically, having spent the last few weeks in the gym, mentally he wasn’t sure he could handle another flaming romance with the leading lady.
It wasn’t that Ginger Pearson wasn’t attractive. With her waist-length auburn air and dazzling light blue eyes, she had every Hollywood man hungry. Chuckling, he also knew just how attracted she was to Hunter. Her more than blatant advances during their early readings told him in no uncertain terms what she wanted to do with his body. The disturbing part was he would be her date at several premiers leaving Taylor alone to watch the festivities from their couch.
Enough feeling sorry for yourself. You’re a freaking movie star! The words meant nothing any longer except to his accountant, attorney, agent and publicist. They made a killing off his stardom. Swirling the biting liquid he finished the shot and closed his eyes. Something had to give.
“This seat taken?” The sultry voice said from behind.
“Not yet but damn if I don’t crave something hot and sexy. You interested?” Hunter breathed. He couldn’t help but smile.
“Perhaps. What are you offering?”
Hunter tipped his head and grinned. “Roaring sex all night long.” While his tone was barely more than a whisper, he’d said the words out loud and Taylor smiled in appreciation.
“Hmmm…not sure my boyfriend would like that,” Taylor purred as he slid onto the barstool.
“What about a threesome then? I’m always game for adventure.”
Bursting out laughing, Taylor shook his head and patted Hunter’s thigh. “I think a kinky adventure sounds delicious. You, me and some hot man in a sweltering bathroom.” As he licked his lips, Taylor rubbed his hand up and down Hunter’s leg until he eased it away, giving Hunter a sheepish look.
Hunter wrapped his fingers around Taylor’s hand and eased both just above his crotch. “Been doing some thinking.” Eyeing the bartender, he raised his glass and nodded toward Taylor.
“Oh yeah? Why am I suddenly terrified?”
Hunter inhaled as he gazed to his left. No one was paying much attention to them or their conversation. While the corner jazz club was pulsing with activity, the patrons were used to seeing them together. Usually wall-to-wall with people, the club catered to the upper echelon of society and rich socialites who enjoyed the feel of a quiet locale, and tonight was no exception. This was one place he felt comfortable. He waited until the bartender left the drinks. “You’re right and I’m wrong. It’s as simple as that.”
Taylor stole a glance at Hunter’s hand as Hunter stroked Taylor’s bulging erection and smiled. “Not that I don’t appreciate the full court press action but why the change of heart?”
Shrugging, Hunter wasn’t entirely sure. “Not fair to either one of us. I can’t continue to live a lie for the rest of my life.”
“I agree with you. Whoever this asshole is that’s threatening you will make good on finding or creating damning pictures. You know that.”
“I guess I just wanted to hold off the inevitable for a little while longer. I really do enjoy our life together and the privacy we’re allowed.” Hunter took a swig of his drink.
“We’re living in a giant fishbowl and sooner or later we’re going to get swallowed up by sharks.”
It was Hunter’s turn to laugh. “So eloquently put.” Shifting, he blazed a heated trail down to Taylor’s crotch before sniffing and licking around the rim of his glass.
Taylor pressed a single finger across Hunter’s mouth as he stole a glance into the crowd. “Later.”
They laughed and settled in, neither saying anything for several minutes.
“So tell me about this musician guy?” Hunter asked.
“Hell yeah. What’s he doing pimping in the States?” Hunter asked as he tried to focus on the basketball game.
“Thinks he’s a bit better than the rest of his crew I guess. Not a bad guy. He’s damn talented and would be good for the band. I don’t know. The rest of the guys want to meet with him first.”
“You guys deserve a decent break.”
Taylor leaned forward and grinned, his eyes twinkling. “Well, that’s the other thing I didn’t get a chance to tell you. Got a call about that tour that was mentioned. Remember? It’s not just dates in the States any longer. We’re talking Europe and Australia.” Grinning, Taylor swirled his drink before gulping the entire shot, thumping the dense glass down onto the bar.
While Hunter didn’t want him to go, there was something rather cathartic about the timing. “When does the tour start?”
“We leave in about a week if all the final details work out.”
“Good for you. I’m so happy. I bet the band is thrilled.” Why did his heart ache so badly all of a sudden? Swallowing hard, he had to look away.
Taylor rubbed his hand across Hunter’s cheek. “Hey, I thought you’d be happy for me.”
“I’m damn happy for you.”
“I am, Taylor. This is huge for you guys,” Hunter said as he forced a smile.
“I wish you were playing with us like you used to.”
Hunter snorted. “I’m not that good.”
“Yes, you are.”
Tipping his head, he remembered easily why he’d fallen hard for the sexy man. “Liar, but I adore you for it. You want to celebrate with another drink?”
“Hmmm…tempting but I think some man of mine promised me a threesome.” Taylor slowly stood and gave Hunter a lurid gaze.
“With a look like that we might have to break in the backseat of the car.”
Taylor laughed. “We have two cars and I have an early morning appointment.”
“Hell. So do I. Let me pay our tab and let’s get the hell out of here.” Tossing several bills onto the counter, Hunter grinned as anticipation of a raucous evening forced his cock to twitch. As the walked out into the night, he inhaled and adjusted his aching bulge. “Where’s your car?”
“Down the street,” Taylor breathed as he nodded toward the well-lit street. “Yours?”
“Didn’t even try the street. In the alley.” As he gazed around at the few people who were on the street, he decided for once he had to do something daring and completely unexpected. Gripping Taylor’s arm he pulled his lover into the shadows, pushing him hard against the brick wall.
“Whoa! What’s gotten into you?” Taylor purred.
“Lust for you.” Grinning, he leaned forward and captured Taylor’s mouth, pressing his tongue past his lover’s lips, tasting the tangy essence of tequila. Hunter palmed the wall with one hand as he pressed his other down the length of Taylor’s chest before cupping and kneading Taylor’s cock. A series of intense electric jolts rushed through his body, as the kiss became a manic roar. For several seconds Hunter couldn’t breathe.
Shuddering, Taylor palmed Hunter’s chest, clawing the soft material of his shirt. When he finally broke the kiss, Taylor groaned. “Hell. That was intense.”
“You ain’t seen nothing yet,” Hunter hissed. As he eased back he licked his lips. Even in the darkness he knew Taylor could tell what he was hungering for. He held up his hand for a second before placing his fingers against Taylor’s chest, then crawling them down his torso. When he reached Taylor’s crotch he cupped and squeezed. “All mine.”
“Mmmm….” Taylor moved from around Hunter and shook his head. “I like this man so much better. I oughta threaten to leave more often.” Grinning, he walked away turning briefly, remaining unmoving for a full minute. “Hurry. I don’t want to waste any more time.”
Hunter snapped his hand and caught Taylor’s butt. While the gesture was playful, he caught the inflection in his lover’s voice. Taylor was tired of the bullshit. “Just be ready for me when I walk in the door.” Something caught his eye. Turning slightly he gazed into the alleyway then down the street. There was nothing he could detect, but he had the odd sensation of being watched.
Sniffing, Hunter narrowed his eyes scanning the area. What was he expecting, the paparazzi waiting for a chance meeting, a moment of seeing his lover. Did he think they were right there in the darkness, snapping the perfect shot for the front page of Entertainment Weekly?
“You okay?” Taylor asked.
“Okay?” Stop being paranoid. Jesus.
His heart was racing, his nerves on edge. This was ridiculous. Turning his full attention to Taylor, the words were easy to say but laced with remorse. “Promise I’ll be there.” I’ll give you the attention you deserve. Oddly enough, he meant what he said.
“Promises. Promises. And you damn well better hurry home.”
“I will.” Grinning, Hunter watched Taylor walk into the shadows before he headed for the alley. For the first time he had a damn good feeling about their relationship. Maybe a little time apart would sizzle their sex life. The thought gave him shivers. Yanking out his keys, he hummed a tune as he walked around the corner into the sharp darkness. He shook his head and walked toward his car, thinking about how much Taylor meant to him.
The scraping noise stopped him cold. What the fuck? Instantly the hairs stood up on the back of his neck. Hunter tipped his head and listened to the night sounds. Hearing nothing else he continued forward. Until he heard the single ugly word.
The breathy hiss, one followed by a cackle of laughter, caught him off guard. Swallowing hard, Hunter turned slowly toward the sound of the voice. Let it go. Don’t make a scene. Seeing nothing, he stole a quick glance toward his car as he took two steps backward.
“Fucking whore faggot.”
As Hunter heard more rustling sounds he fumbled with his keys until he managed to finagle the electronic lock. Calculating the distance he turned sharply and bolted for the car. The sounds of more than one set of footsteps racing behind him sent a ripple of terror into his body. Almost tripping he managed to stumble to the car, hitting the electronic opening and had his hand on the door just as the sounds drew closer.
“You hide from what you are. Now the world’s going to know.”
When there’s nowhere to run, no way to hide…
Hiding. That’s exactly what movie star Hunter Reynolds has been doing his entire life, preferring to wear a mask made because of his perfected image. An action star, he’s Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor and a real ladies’ man, but prefers the company of men. If discovered, the scandal will end his illustrious career. Unfortunately he has enemies who will stop at nothing to expose him for the man he truly is. While he adores Taylor, his live-in lover and best friend, they aren’t in love and Hunter refuses to be seen in public with him. When Hunter is brutally attacked, he’s uncertain he will ever work in Hollywood again. Sadly, his doctors may be unable to repair the damage. Angry and bitter, Hunter pushes everyone out of his life, including Taylor. Hunter is merely the latest victim in a series of horrific crimes targeting gay entertainers.
MacGyver Donovich is a reporter for the LA Herald, who has written stories on each of the victims, and is anxious to talk with Hunter. From the moment he meets the rough-hewn man who exudes sexuality along with a choking self-loathing, MacGyver is fascinated and a strained friendship develops. Determined to get to the bottom of the attacks, Mac pens a series of edgy columns in an attempt to egg on the perpetrator.
Entering into a pact to hunt down the person responsible, both Mac and Hunter realize it’s only a matter of time before the assailant strikes again. As they grow closer given their respective haunted pasts, a series of new threats are issued and both men are forced to confront their demons. As the race to find the perpetrator ensues, Mac and Hunter finally discover what they’d been missing in life—love. But is it simply too late?
I hope you’ve enjoyed and for those of you who want to read and review an advance copy, here’s a Netgalley link that will let you do just that.
Kisses and spanks…