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Can You See My Heart Beating?

Hi, everyone! This is my first official post here on 2 Men, and I’m so happy to be here. I’m looking forward to joining Nic, Kelly, Clare, and the rest of the gang for future Behind the Scenes and other group posts as well as adding my own rants and babbles here and there.

This week is a nail-biter for me. Heartbeats comes out tomorrow on Amazon, and I’m both excited and anxious to hear what everyone thinks about Andrew, Bradley, and the twins. The title comes from the fact that when you have preemies in the hospital, you tend to find yourself getting engrossed by the cardiopulmonary monitor. Your own emotions rise and fall as you watch their heartrate and respiration for any sign of distress, and every alarm causes panic, even the ones caused by the baby moving or an electrode becoming detached.

When my own twins were born prematurely, my husband sat in a rocking chair next to their incubators and read “Goodnight, Moon” to them every evening (something he’d actually started while I was still pregnant because he’s awesome that way). After a day of being poked and prodded, shuddering at every loud noise or unexpected touch, they’d calm down as soon as Daddy started reading. You could see the effect his voice had on them by watching their heartrate on the monitors.

In Andrew and Bradley’s case, their worry is exacerbated by not knowing the paternity of the twins. They used the same surrogate, and she fraudulently contracted with both men for the pregnancy. As they get lulled into the rhythm of the beeping monitors, Andrew and Bradley can’t help but open their hearts to the struggling preemies, but only one of them is the father. The other will walk away brokenhearted. Or will he?

Below is an excerpt from Heartbeats. I love to hear from readers! You can find me on:

Heartbeats Coming

EXCERPT FROM HEARTBEATS

Copyright 2018 Jenna Kendrick

COMING MARCH 13, 2018

“Surely you can tell me something. How are my babies?” Bradley raked his fingers through his hair, barely resisting pulling it out by the handful. No telling what it looked like, but he left it firmly attached to his scalp.

“Mr. Stern, as I’ve already said, someone will be out for you shortly.” The NICU nurse’s voice straddled a fine line between professional courtesy and annoyance. “Now, are you going to wait patiently, or do I have to ask security to escort you out of the hospital?” As he turned away, the glass divider between the info desk and the waiting area rattled with more force than the last time he’d demanded answers. Too bad, because he wasn’t budging until he knew what was happening to his twins and their surrogate.

For all that the hospital had tried to create a welcoming environment, the empty waiting room stank of lost hopes, stale coffee, and the astringent smell that lingered in all hospitals. If he sat, he’d be swallowed up by the despondency that clung to the chairs. Instead, he walked. Fourteen steps up the hall, fourteen steps back, just far enough for it to be considered pacing and not hovering. He’d practically worn a trench into the hardwood floor. It’d been hours already—he glanced at his watch—no, more like twenty minutes. No wonder the staff was losing patience. Time was standing still.

His mouth opened in an overly loud yawn that had him looking right and left with embarrassment, but it was too early for anyone other than hospital staff to be milling about. The inscrutable nurse didn’t even look up from her computer screen.

The adrenaline rush from racing to get here battled with the exhaustion of having been awake for over twenty-four hours. After a long week in New York City filled with frustrating meetings and high-profile events with Uncle Richard and his merry band of blowhards, he’d been unable to stand one more night there. Every car horn and squeal of brakes from the street below set him on edge, and come morning, Richard would have one more piece of business, one more person he needed to meet. Any excuse to keep him nearby and try to wear him down. He’d just wanted to get home to his mountain, treacherous roads in the middle of the night be damned, and he’d called down for his Tesla Roadster before he so much as loosened his tie. Halfway to Egremont, he’d received the call that had him veering east to Springfield.

The same refrain haunted him as it had the rest of the drive. I’m not ready. I’m not ready. Never mind that this was the culmination of a long-held dream. Making lists of baby supplies and everything he needed to decorate the nursery was a far cry from having checked so much as a single item off said lists. But none of that was important right now. He’d deal with the nursery and all the rest once he knew his babies were well.

They’re not ready, either. He’d been reading about fetal development week-by-week throughout the pregnancy, not that he could recall a single useful fact right now. Fingernails and blinking—the parts he’d been so excited about a couple days ago—suddenly took a back seat to lung development. He swallowed the knot in his throat and reached into his pocket. No. Already a hair’s breadth from losing his shit, Googling worst-case scenarios wouldn’t help him avoid being kicked out of the hospital for causing a disturbance.

Stomping feet and labored breaths caught his attention as two men ran down the hall. One pointed at the chairs, then approached the nurse’s station, quietly giving his name. His companion, jacket wide open and sweatshirt clearly inside-out, looked around the area wide-eyed before lurching across the hall to the restroom.

“Did you see where my brother went? A little bit taller, a lot less handsome?”

There was no reply from the nurse. Bradley glanced over to see the man staring back at him quizzically. He pointed at the bathroom just as the door opened.

The brother was indeed taller, by at least a few inches. But his dark blond hair, bright blue eyes, and muscles for days rendered him a hundred times sexier than the first guy.

Judging from the greenish cast to his skin, he was also either hungover or sick. Bradley stepped away in distaste, leaving the other men to melt into the chairs of despair while he resumed pacing. Fourteen steps up the hall. Turn. Five, six, seven—

The door to the unit opened. “Who’s here for the Penn twins?”

—Eight, nine. Wait. Penn.

Bradley hurried over to the man in bright blue scrubs. The surgical mask tucked under his chin pulled his ears forward, giving him a slightly elfin appearance. Or maybe lack of sleep and stress were making Bradley as fanciful as the giraffes and elephants painted on the walls.

The nurse gave Bradley a welcoming smile. “You the new dads?”

Bradley looked to his right, only then noticing the tall guy had also approached.

“Oh, we’re not together,” he said. Being together with someone wasn’t in the cards for him. His heart was taking a big enough risk letting children in, much less a partner.

“We ask that only parents come into the unit for the first visit. Which one of you is the father?” He looked expectantly between the two men.

“I am,” they both replied at the same time.

 

Bio

Jenna Kendrick writes contemporary, new adult, and paranormal romance about smart guys with a propensity for snark. Jenna went to a small college in the woods of Western Massachusetts, where she alternated between bare feet and hiking boots and used dining hall trays as a mode of transportation in the winter. She fell in love with creative writing after writing a satirical essay to get out of yet another literary analysis assignment. Unable to choose a coast or climate zone, she bounced around the country before settling in Upstate New York. She lives with her husband and several furry creatives, some of whom think of her desk as their own.

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Behind The Scenes – CHARACTER NAMES

This week, in honour of Celebrate Your Name Week, we are talking about names. No, not baby names, but character names. So read along to find out how the leading characters in some of your favourite gay romance novels got their names and some of the struggles we authors face when choosing the perfect moniker for our heroes.

How do you go about choosing the name of your characters?

I’m totally process oriented so I keep a list of names I like and mark them off when I’ve used them. I gather the names from various sources – names of friends and colleagues, names I hear in the media or stumble across in other books. I also google when necessary, particularly if I’m trying to find a name of a specific nationality. In terms of selecting the name, I choose a name I think most reflects my character. That’s probably influenced by my own experiences – I’m not going to name my sweet MC after the bully I knew at school. 🙂 ~ Nic

Like Nic, I keep a list of names. They’re favourite names, names that I collect here and there because I’d like to use them, names of people I like. My favourite cousins. It’s not particularly long, but the names on my list are precious. I use them sparingly because they’ll only get one life, then they’re retired. ~ Kelly

I’ll often look for inspiration in a poem or a popular saying. Or search lists of baby names of all ethnicities and sources, looking for the right sound and meaning. Much like the other authors here! For example, Maen in my fantasy novel Branded came from the Welsh word for “rock”, Niall in my suspense thriller 72 hours means “champion”, Red in my romance Flying Colors is a nickname for Richard, meaning “powerful leader”. I like to play with the names! ~ Clare

What are the most difficult things about choosing a name?

Coming up with a name I haven’t used before! Seriously, my brain seems to present me with the same list of names for every book I write.  Or I can only think of names starting with the same letter. I seem to lean towards using A names and J names. No idea why but that’s why I need to keep a list. 🙂 My most important priority is a name that matches my character’s personality and ethnicity. I also try to give my two main characters ‘opposite’ names. For example, if one name is sort, the other is long. Or if one starts with a consonant, I might give the other one a name beginning with a vowel. ~ Nic

Having a name that suits my character is really important to me. I’ve written a complete story with two names I really liked, only to have to switch them on my first revision round because although they were good names, they didn’t quite fit. They just didn’t sound right. It’s hard to describe, but they didn’t feel like a Fin and a Jared. I tried swapping their names. Fin became Jared, and Jared became Fin, and suddenly they fit. In my current WIP, I had a hard time finding a good name for my second hero. He eventually named himself, which happens often enough that I tend to go with it when it happens. ~ Kelly

I seem to land on A & J most often, too. So, apparently it’s not just me?! Someone pointed out recently I’d used Aiden in 4 books so far, albeit different spellings. A problem is that a lot of my books now are set in Britain and, to be honest, we don’t have quite the same whimsy in creating names as other nations do! I often revert to tried and true biblical names, like the apostles (not Nebuchadnezzar or Methuselah!). I also find I get bogged down with certain initials for certain characters e.g. the alpha character will be B / M / N / R, but that can be very restricting. And bizarre, really 🙂 ~ Clare

What is the most unusual name you’ve used in a book?

My next release (Lies & Deception, Dreamspinner Press, June/July) features outlaw motorcycle gangs. Naming the motorcycle clubs was difficult enough in itself but then I had to name the characters and give them all bikie nicknames. Thank goodness for MC blogs where members talk about the background to their names! Characters in my story includes Rabbit, Stack, Blue and Ginger. ~ Nic

In my upcoming release (To See the Sun, Riptide Publishing, August), one of the heroes is named Gael. It’s not a wholly unusual name, but it’s different and I think quite beautiful. When I’m writing sci-fi, I like to use names that are unusual but still easy to spell and say. As an avid reader of speculative fiction, I’ve puzzled out enough names full of consonants and apostrophes to never want to inflict them on my own readers. Another favourite is Steilang Skovgaard from Uncommon Ground. He’s an alien (of the Skov clan) and chose the closest human equivalent to his real name (unpronounceable, of course) upon his arrival. When I’m not writing sci-fi, I tend to pick simple, ordinary names. I kinda love them. ~ Kelly

Yes, I agree that you can use more imagination in SF or fantasy. Maybe the most exotic I ever used was Mori in my speculative story Threadbare. He was named after a silkworm!  ~ Clare

What are the names of the main characters in your next book?

My most recent release (Patrick’s Savior) stars Patrick – surprise! LOL – and Simon. My upcoming release, Lies & Deception, is the story of Mitch and Finn. ~ Nic

Coming in August, I have To See the Sun with Gael Sonnen and Abraham Bauer. I spent a lot of time picking these names and I love them. I love their story, too! Dillon and Lang (Steilang) return this summer as well in Purple Haze~ Kelly

My current book Freeman is a fab example of the working-name-that-stuck-for-good, for both the main narrator and the book title. The younger man he befriends is called Kit – and there’s a mystery to that name, too, but you’ll have to read the book to find out :). I’m working on my next Dreamspun Desire books at Dreamspinner Press called The Undercover Millionaire, where my billionaire Alexandre happily uses a shortened name Alex for his undercover role, until he meets Tate, a young man he really want to be honest with! ~ Clare

 

We’re going to be doing a lot more Behind The Scenes posts so if you have any questions you’d like answered, let us know in the comments and we’ll hopefully get to them in the near future.

Happy reading xx

 

Ben White photo Image

Mystery Book Giveaway! #gayromance #mmromance @clare_london

 

Time for a giveaway!

Welcome to a fabulous monthly feature on the BecauseTwoMenAreBetterThanOne blog!

This month you can win a signed paperback from me, Clare London, plus a few of my swag goodies :).

And the good news… the giveaway is open internationally!

Check out the clues to see if you can work out the title of my book.

 

  • Clue 1: The main characters are like oil and water from the start…
  • Clue 2: It’s one of my greatest hits…
  • Clue 3: One man’s talent and lust for life meet another man’s determination, with great passion…

Visit the Rafflecopter and follow the instructions to record your guess.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT enter your guess in the comments!

Entries close 18th March. Good luck!

And while you’re waiting to see if you’re a winner, why not check out my most recent release. Clare xx

 


FREEMAN: 

Freeman’s return to the city is quiet, without fuss. Another client: another case. He’ll source what they need and be on his way. But he’s been missed by more people than he thought: his ex-wife, his ex-lover, and his ex-business partner. And at least one of them wants him the hell gone again.

Freeman – private, controlled – just does his job. But when he strikes up an unusual friendship with the young runaway Kit, trouble comes looking for both men, ready to expose secrets that can destroy their fragile trust. Yet, for Kit, Freeman’s more than ready for the challenge.

Available at AMAZON | other format buy links + EXCERPT

Lane Hayes Author Image

Meet Lane Hayes

Meet contributing author Lane Hayes…

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won first prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

Website & Blog: www.lanehayes.wordpress.com

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Lane-Hayes/e/B00E254H12/

Facebook Profilehttps://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008562883399

Facebook Author Grouphttps://www.facebook.com/groups/1620294508002661/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/LaneHayes3

Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7125719.Lane_Hayes

Bookbubhttps://www.bookbub.com/authors/lane-hayes

Lane’s Books

All of Lane’s books can be found here.

Silvia Violet Author Image

Meet Silvia Violet

Meet contributing author Silvia Violet…

Silvia Violet writes fun, sexy stories that will leave you smiling and satisfied. She has a thing for characters who are in need of comfort and enjoys helping them surrender to love even when they doubt it exists. Silvia’s stories include sizzling contemporaries, paranormals, and historicals. When she needs a break from listening to the voices in her head, she spends time baking, taking long walks, curling up with her favorite books, and spending time with her family.

Website & Bloghttp://silviaviolet.com/

Amazon Author Pagehttps://www.amazon.com/Silvia-Violet/e/B004KJ5E12

Facebook Pagehttps://www.facebook.com/silvia.violet

Facebook Author Grouphttps://www.facebook.com/SilviaVioletAuthor/

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Twitterhttp://twitter.com/Silvia_Violet

Pinteresthttp://www.pinterest.com/silviaviolet/

Newsletter

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You’ll get a FREE book!

Silvia’s Books

All of Silvia’s books can be found here.

Gay Romance Novel mm romance reading recommendations Image

CIRCLE OF FRIENDS ~ February 2018 #gayromancenovels #mmromance

Gay Romance Novel mm romance reading recommendations

So many wonderful authors and books! I’ve been flat out with edits for my upcoming release, and haven’t been reading as much as usual. However, I’ve been blessed to read some fabulous stories this month and wanted to share them with you.

Bobby Green by Amy Lane

Amy Lane is one of my favourite authors. This is the 5th book in her Johnnies series and I’ve enjoyed every single one. Angsty, complex characters, with superb writing. Click here to find out more.

Rebel by Rhys Ford

This book starts a new series, 415 Ink. I love the style of Rhys’s writing. She has the ability to transport me directly into the settings of her stories – the sights, the sounds, the smells, the tastes – and this story is no different. It has a comfort/hurt theme, broken characters with troubled pasts, trying to build themselves a better life. And find love, of course. Click here for more.

The Breaking Free series by A.M. Arthur

I usually read contemporary romance but detoured into some Omegaverse stories this month. It was refreshing to read something relatively new to me and I enjoyed the world creation. These stories feature Alphas, Betas and Omegas, each with their specific role. The complexities of the fight for omega rights, bonding, the hurt/comfort theme, all made for interesting reading. Click here to check out the series. It’s also available on Kindle Unlimited.

This month my audio book is Wild Trail, also by A.M. Arthur. It’s narrated by Greg Boudreaux who does a great job of voicing the characters, Mack the sexy cowboy, and Wes the flirty actor. I’m currently half way through and I’m looking forward to more time on the treadmill to get it finished. It’s amazing how listening to a romance story can make a treadmill run seem enjoyable 😉

Happy reading,

Nic x

 

Ben White

Jenna Kendrick Author Image

Meet Jenna Kendrick

Meet contributing author Jenna Kendrick…

Jenna Kendrick writes contemporary, new adult, and paranormal romance about smart guys with a propensity for snark. Jenna went to a small college in the woods of Western Massachusetts, where she alternated between bare feet and hiking boots and used dining hall trays as a mode of transportation in the winter. She fell in love with creative writing after writing a satirical essay to get out of yet another literary analysis assignment. Unable to choose a coast or climate zone, she bounced around the country before settling in Upstate New York. She lives with her husband and several furry creatives, some of whom think of her desk as their own.

Website & Bloghttp://www.jennakendrick.com

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B012QO8PVS

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/jennakendrickauthor

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/jennakendrickauthor/

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Newsletter

Click Here to subscribe to Jenna’s newsletter.

Sign up for Jenna’s newsletter to get all the latest info about upcoming releases, extra scenes, and more!

Jenna’s Books

All of Jenna’s books can be found here.

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Meet Skylar M. Cates

Meet contributing author Skylar M. Cates…

Skylar M. Cates

Skylar M. Cates best-selling novels feature strong and passionate men. Skylar loves to craft stories where realistic men are challenged with emotional situations. Skylar dreams of eating dessert without weight gain and robots cleaning her house. But she knows she can’t have it all…yet. Although lately the laundry room is the farthest place she has visited, Skylar still enjoys a chat with people from all around the globe.

Websitehttps://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/skylar-m-cates

Bloghttps://skylarmcates.wordpress.com/

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Skylar-M.-Cates/e/B00IY6NTG4

Facebook Pagehttps://www.facebook.com/skylar.cates

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/SkylarMCates

Pinteresthttps://www.pinterest.com/skylarcates/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8613251-skylar-m-cates

Bookbubhttps://www.bookbub.com/authors/skylar-m-cates

Newsletter

Click here to subscribe to Skylar’s exclusive newsletter, which is full of freebies, giveaways, and special excerpts. No spam! In addition, you’ll get sneak peeks and be the first to hear about exclusive offers.

Skylar’s Books

All of Skylar’s books can be found here.

Clare London Image

Meet Clare London

Meet contributing author Clare London…

Clare LondonClare London took her pen name from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant.

She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy.

Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic, and sexy characters.

Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter three stage and plenty of other projects in mind… she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.

Clare loves to hear from readers, and you can contact her here:

Website: http://www.clarelondon.com

Blogwww.clarelondon.com/blog

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/clarelondon/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/clarelondon

Facebook Author Grouphttps://www.facebook.com/groups/clarelondoncalling

Twitter: https://twitter.com/clare_london

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Bookbubhttps://www.bookbub.com/profile/clare-london

Newsletter

Click Here to subscribe.

Thanks for subscribing to my occasional newsletter, the easiest and earliest way to get news about my books. It also means you’re the first to benefit from any free fiction, snippets of work in progress, special offers – and exclusive giveaways.

It’s great to see you here!

Clare’s Books

All of Clare’s books can be found here.