Sex and Mystery—the Chocolate and Peanut Butter of Romance Fiction By Eli Easton

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I’ve always been a fan of mystery novels—Agatha Christie, PD James, and Patricia Cornwall being among my favorites. But it’s hard to beat a good romance for their addictive qualities. I could read two or three a day (and have) and never tire of them—especially since discovering m/m. Both mystery and romance give their readers an adrenaline rush, whether it’s the thrill of a dangerous chase, or a hand slowly sliding down a stomach. Holy hot stuff, Batman.

So what could be better than a blend of the two? I’ve enjoyed many cross-genre books including Zero To the Bone by Jane Seville, The Cut & Run series by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux, and pretty much everything by the marvelous Josh Lanyon.

So when I saw the call for stories for a Dreamspinner anthology called Closet Capers, to feature light mystery stories with m/m romance, I couldn’t resist taking on the challenge.

Though I’ve written fiction in various forms and genres before, “A Kiss in the Dark” is my first published m/m romance story and it’s in Closet Capers. I wanted to write a secret admirer story but needed to find a twist on the idea. So in my story Lane Lester, an out-and-proud graphic designer living in Seattle, attends a holiday party for a client. The lights go out and someone kisses Lane. It’s a good kiss—a toe-curling, please-don’t-stop kind of kiss. And Lane is left a bit befuddled and trying to figure out who in the room would have “dunnit”. Lane is a funny guy and the story is told from his POV as he hunts down the man with those lips.

I enjoyed reading the entire Closet Capers anthology. Anne Regan, the editor, did an excellent job selection a wide variety of very solid and funny stories. A few of my favorite stories in the collection include: “Made Good Under Pressure” by Maja Rose, a historical set in New York City in 1926. I loved the sense of time and place in this story and there were some hot scenes. “Small Change” by Danni Keane has an unusual setting and a wonderful quirky, folksy feel. Dom, a painter of miniatures, tries to figure out who’s disturbing the peace, so to speak. In “Philip Colyer and the Cola Thief” a dedicated office worker has to determine who keeps stealing his coke from the fridge and why. And “Le Beau Soleil” by Christopher Hawthorne Moss features a very sexy riverboat captain in New Orleans.

As befits my book addiction, I haunt goodreads and would be happy for anyone to look me up and friend me or follow my reviews. My goodreads name is Eli Easton. I also have a blog at http://www.elieaston.com and I’m on Tumblr under the same name.

Cheers and happy reading–

Eli Easton

An Excerpt from “A Kiss in the Dark”

I blame what happened at the party that night on Mimi Lee. I’d started indulging myself with her again, my clever little Asian enabler down the street. She was a luxury I couldn’t really afford, but it was hard to resist the way she made my cotton dress shirts stiffer than a sex addict at a vibrator convention. I knew I looked damned good in that lavender button-down, starched within an inch of its life and fitted like a second skin. At twenty-six, I still retained my twinkish figure. And lavender? Definitely my color.

I’d put on this extra-special goodness for the Christmas party being hosted by one of our biggest clients, Morgan-Tate. The party was a crowded mix of their employees, clients, and regular vendors. I was two eggnogs past complete sobriety and checking out the men in the room. I was, of course, entirely discreet in this matter since I was chatting with Andrea, account manager for Morgan-Tate and our main contact.

It was Andrea who pulled us in when her clients needed website work done. She was hideously smart, insultingly blunt, and plainer than a loaf of Wonder bread. I liked her a lot. She was easy to schmooze since she seemed to find everything I said hysterically funny. Always. Even, unfortunately, the quotes I gave her for our work. Tonight she was flying high on some kind of glog, grog, or nog, and she was flirting with me. Maybe she was looking for a few more jingle balls for her Santa hat. I gave her the dimples-and-sparkling-blue-eyes treatment and nodded enthusiastically at her story. I looked down at her damp hand on my arm, bemused.

It was interesting how the brightest women could miss the gay thing, despite the lavender shirt, the tiny diamond chip in my left ear, and the product that made the top of my dark, spiky hair nearly as stiff as my shirt. I wanted to say “Honey, the power of positive thinking only goes so far.”

I warily looked around for any sprigs of mistletoe that could make this really uncomfortable.

And that’s when it happened. The power went out.

It’s funny how a room full of people in this age of technology responds to a power outage. You might have thought we were all robots whose plugs had been pulled. Everyone froze. There was a chorus of “Ohs!” and “Heys!” Someone said, “Isn’t there a fucking generator?” as if such a thing were an inalienable right. It was black as anything. I swear I could not see my hand in front of my face. And then….

There was a tug on my arm, from behind, firm and sure. It didn’t feel random or tentative. It felt like step back, please. I let it pull me away from Andrea and her sweaty hand. I followed the confident tug back into absolute nothingness. Oddly, I wasn’t afraid or even that curious. I figured someone was clearing a path, perhaps to the fuse box.

Hands grasped my upper arms and I found myself shifted and pressed against a wall. A hand found my jaw. A thumb traced the corner of my mouth, as if locating it in the dark. And then someone kissed me.

Someone was kissing me. A number of crazy things went through my head. My first thought, rather horrifyingly, was that it was Andrea, even though that didn’t really make any sense. My second thought was that there was stubble, rough against my chin. It was a man, thank heavens. My third thought was oh mother of God, this is good.

ClosetCapersLGA KISS IN THE DARK BLURB:

Lane Lester is a graphic designer who has a small business creating web sites in Seattle. At a holiday party hosted by one of his clients, the power goes out. In the dark, a man pulls Lane aside and kisses him as he’s never been kissed before. Lane can’t forget the passion in that kiss, and he goes on a quest to learn the identity of his mysterious admirer.

Lane has a few suspects, and his roommate, Dale, helps him remember details about the man through hypnosis. But when Lane finally discovers the identity of his admirer, it’s a shock. Lane learns that something that seems impossible in the light of day can happen in the tempting anonymity of the dark.

5 Comments

  1. Eli, I have purchased Closet Capers, but it hasn’t got to the top of the TBR pile yet, sorry!
    I did want to share my similar passion for m/m mystery, so if you are ever looking for what to read next, feel free to check out my listing (over 600 titles) at LibraryThing [gsc55, tag=mystery]
    I also “devour” Drewey Wayne Gunn’s The Gay Male Sleuth in print & film as an excellent source of m/m mystery I dont (yet) have.
    OK, back to reading…

    Like

  2. Pingback: Sex and Mystery: the Chocolate and Peanut Butter of Romance | Eli Easton

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