Sunday, December 21, 2014

S.E.X. Spotlight~ A.J. Llewellyn

The Mediator is one of my favorite stories, and I recently got the chance to revamp and expand this naughty little male-male romance set in the world of boxing.

Like my protagonist, Icarus Smith, I spent a long time searching for true love and before I started writing romance novels, I was a boxing writer. I had no trouble meeting guys because, I learned, boxing fanatics (like me) are a lonely bunch. And, um, well, some of the guys are just nuts.

There. I said it.


I used to get a lot of marriage proposals and death threats in my ten years as a boxing columnist. I preferred the former, but I do believe the latter were more sincere, especially if I covered a fight and some dingbat sitting at home didn’t see the bout the same way I did.
I’d get the rudest emails! Truly. Like I said, boxing fans are nuts.

But guys were intrigued by me. I was a woman who knew and loved their sport. I’ve maintained friendships and met my boyfriend through the sport, but oh jeez, did I kiss some toads along the way…

The first date depicted in this story really happened. I know, I know, everything that happens in Vegas is supposed to stay there, but I’m a writer. I harvest my stories from my life and everyone’s around me.

I’d had high hopes for this guy who asked me to meet him at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas for an early dinner before a big heavyweight fight at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. I’d met him ringside but had no idea he was a heavy gambler and um, well, he got drunk and fell in one of the canals.

Yeah, I sure know how to pick ‘em.

I related the story that night to a photographer sitting beside me ringside. At first he seemed okay, and commiserated on my spectacular bad luck with the opposite sex. Then he started complaining in a very crude way about his ex-wife and I got really uncomfortable. He gave off a weird vibe. He seemed angry and standoffish, and I started avoiding him at future boxing matches.

It turned out Dale Hausner was a dangerous sociopath who went on to become a serial killer and took his own life whilst serving six life sentences in an Arizona prison.
I sometimes wonder what might have happened if I’d ever taken him up on his offer of coffee. I’m glad I passed and that I’ll never need to know.

But still, meeting some of the colorful people I did in boxing definitely helped shape The Mediator. It’s a book close to my heart, and my left hook!

Blurb for The Mediator:
Icarus Smith has two problems, and they both want him…their Mediator.

Icarus Smith has just landed an unusual assignment. A licensed mediator used to handling squabbling spouses, he’s been hand-picked to negotiate a forty-million-dollar welterweight championship title fight. The problem is, these two world boxing champions hate each other. Worst of all, Icarus has discovered that one of them, Italian superstar Paolo de Luca, is the man with whom he had a passionate affair in Italy the previous summer. Paolo cruelly dumped him, and Icarus realizes he is still devastated. Can he overcome his personal feelings to work with Paolo and the boxer’s arch-nemesis, US champion Adam Wyler?

So far, the fight scheduled to take place at New York’s Madison Square Garden is a bust. Fans have bought tickets, and Pay-Per-View sales are through the roof. Just like Lady Di’s face once adorned dishcloths, these guys have their faces on buttons, badges, posters, TV and print ads. And they don’t care.

But Icarus has an even bigger problem. He’s just accepted promoter Thaddeus Halsey’s huge wad of cash to broker this deal and Icarus wants the money for a restoration project in his hometown in Las Vegas. Can Icarus go through with mediation? Can he persuade the man who broke his heart to face the guy who now apparently wants it?

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of multiple male ménage.
Publisher's Note: This book was previously released by Totally Bound under the same title. It has been expanded, revised and re-edited for re-release.

Like the sound of The Mediator? Buy it here.

Excerpt from The Mediator:
“You’re ordering that?” Jerome Curtin scoffed at me.

I looked up from the menu, trying to hide my embarrassment. Ten minutes I’d known the guy, and it was ten minutes too many. Before I could respond, a man in red silk pants and a lime green shirt rushed by me on stilts. Jugglers followed him, then came the singers. The diners around us began to applaud. To my astonishment, the statue of an old man sitting on the bench right opposite me came to life.

Ah, Venice.

The briny smell of St. Mark’s Square and the canal’s waters filled my senses with nostalgia. The singers in their brightly colored costumes gathered near the fountain, gaudy masks held to their faces, and started to sing. The Carnevale di Venezia came beautifully to life. The twilight ambience with its flickering wall sconces put me in a better mood, as did the old Italian folk melody. I recognized it, but didn’t remember how.


I glanced back up at the waiter. Pity flashed in his eyes. I guessed he’d had his share of bad dates, too.

“Sorry.” In a flash of joy it came back to me. “Lu Me Sceccu,” I practically shouted.
My table companion looked startled then he rolled his eyes. “Number one on Billboard, was it?”

Well! No need to be rude. “I know that song!” I tried to place it and it hit me.

I couldn’t believe that almost eighteen months later, I’d buried the memory so deep that it hurt to recall it. It was like a scar on my soul. I spent my whole life counseling people, urging them to forget the past. Me, I’d just submerged the pain in work. I took a deep breath and grabbed my glass of iced water.

“Sir?” The waiter’s eyes were full of sympathy. “Are you okay?”

No. “Yes, I’m fine, thank you.”

Jerome Curtin suddenly leaned across the table and kissed me. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he slipped his tongue into my mouth. It was like being invaded by an electric eel.
I pushed him off me. “What are you doing?” I sputtered as iced water ran down my suit and tie. It figured that the one time I’d splurged on new clothes, they’d be ruined.

The waiter produced hand towels out of nowhere and gave them to me, still looking like he felt very bad for me.

“Thank you.” I pressed the towels against my soaking wet shirt.

“You looked like you wanted to be kissed,” Jerome said.

Not by you.

“You had this look in your eye.”

Yeah, I could just imagine. I’d thought I was over it—him, that is. The astonishing man I’d met that summer, when I’d found the love I’d thought would never die. Lu Me Sceccu. I smiled now, recalling that it was an elderly woman’s love song to her dearly departed forty-year-old donkey.

“Icarus, you’re keeping the man waiting!” Jerome blared the words at me over the top of the singers’ voices.

A busboy appeared and deftly replaced the tablecloth, gave me a new napkin, then refilled my water glass. I thanked him. I could feel water seeping into my underpants. Later, I might find this funny. Right now, I wished I’d gone home and caught up on case work, like I usually did.

“I’ll have a dozen oysters,” I said, changing my order. “And the tomato ricotta salad, please.”

The waiter nodded. “Excellent choice, sir.”

As he took Jerome’s order, I grasped for the fleeting moments of sheer happiness I recalled from that magnificent Sunday lunch when Pio had taken me to meet his family. I had never felt so accepted, so…embraced by a family. I’d wanted to be with them forever. And it wasn’t like me, not at all, to fall so quickly, so hard.

To love total strangers so deeply.

A.J. Llewellyn is an author whose obsession with myth, magic, love and romance might have led to serious stalking charges had it not been for the ability to write. Thanks to the existence of some very patient publishers, A.J.'s days are spent writing, reading and dreaming up new worlds. AJ has definitely stopped Google-searching former boyfriends and given up all ambition to taste-test every cup cake in the universe to produce over 150 published gay erotic romance novels.

A.J. wants you to read them all.

You can find this author lurking on Facebook and Twitter - part-time class clown being another occupation. When not writing or reading, A.J.'s other passions include juggling, kite-boarding and spending a fortune buying upgrades for Diner Dash.

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