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GUEST POST: Three Shots by Brigham Vaughn

Join us today as we welcome Brigham Vaughn to talk about polyamory.
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Guest Post:

When googled, the first definition that comes up for polyamory is: the philosophy or state of being in love or romantically involved with more than one person at the same time.

I can’t say I thought much about the concepts of polyamory in my late teens and early twenties. I had a vague notion that it was more than Mormon sister wives, but if pressed, I probably would have said it was a trio of people in a relationship with each other or something like that.

Pretty limited definitions, right?  So when I started dating and exploring my sexuality, poly didn’t seem to be a word that fit me. I was more familiar with the idea of ethical non-monogamy, and felt pretty comfortable with that.

When my now ex-husband and I started dating, I had zero interest in settling down or getting serious.  He was patient, we talked about it, and finally decided that a semi-open relationship was something we could both agree on. So for roughly a decade, I didn’t really think about it beyond the scope of how it impacted our relationship. I loved him and he was the only person I wanted to be romantically involved with. Anyone else was just the cherry on the sundae.

After eleven years together, we ended things. It had nothing to do with our marriage being semi-open. We were struggling to communicate about completely different issues and wanted very different things for our future.  It was a difficult decision, but ultimately the right one for both of us.

After the divorce, I took some time to myself and did a lot of soul-searching. Part of that included an in-depth look at what I wanted for my future, which raised a whole host of questions about polyamory.

In the year and a half since my marriage ended, I’ve thought a lot about it. And I realized I had some really inadequate and incomplete information about polyamory.  So, like always, I did research, I read, I talked to people who identify as poly.

And I’ve thought a lot about my own past relationships.

It’s almost laughable, because the vast majority of relationships I’ve been in have had some degree of polyamory to them. The last time I was in an entirely monogamous relationship was my freshman year of college. I was eighteen. I’m now thirty-five.

To be clear, I’ve never cheated on a partner. These are all relationships where non-monogamy was discussed beforehand and agreed upon.

I haven’t always taken advantage of the openness of that relationship, sometimes because I didn’t want to and sometimes because the opportunity wasn’t there. But mentally, I needed to know the possibility was there. Because a relationship that’s entirely monogamous feels suffocating.

Writing “Three Shots” and taking a look at polyamory from three different perspectives (Reeve’s, Grant’s, and Rachael’s) was really fascinating. Although I try not to insert too much of myself into any of my books, my recent experiences did help shape the end of the story.

Grant shook his head. “No. April taught me love doesn’t have to be limiting. It should only expand who you are and make you feel free.”

Like Grant, I believe love should never stifle who we are, but help us grow.

Reeve shrugged. “I’m not looking for anything. But if an amazing opportunity like this drops in my lap, I’m willing to give it a shot.”

Like Reeve, I’ve realized that I’m open to whatever life brings me.

“Okay, so scratch everything we’ve just talked about.” Jenna waved her hands. “Forget all of this speculation, and tell me one thing. If you could have anything you wanted, what would it be? Don’t think about whether they would be okay with it or how you’d make it work. You can worry about that later. Just close your eyes and picture the perfect scenario of you with Reeve and Grant. What would it look like to you?”

Feeling silly, Rachael closed her eyes and let her mind wander. Various scenarios flitted through her head until she landed on one. It made her smile, and she opened her eyes. “The three of us dating,” she admitted. “Not separately, but all together. Like a trio, I guess. All of us involved equally at the same time.”

And like Rachael, I’ve had to expand my ideas of what a relationship could entail.

Now, unlike Rachael, I haven’t been swept off my feet by two beautiful men. In fact, I’m happily single at the moment. But when the time is right, I have a good idea of what I’d like my future to hold. And that’s a great feeling.

Why am I sharing something so personal?

Because it really helped me to know that there was a whole world of people out there like me. I want to help someone else who’s struggling to figure out how they feel about ethical non-monogamy and polyamory.

I won’t claim to be an expert in polyamory by any means. But I feel like I have a unique perspective I can offer. And I think writing books and talking about my personal experiences are a great way to reach out to others.

So like Jenna—Rachael’s best friend in the story—I am here as a sounding board. If reading this post or this book leaves you with questions. I am happy to lend an ear and do what I can to help.

And I hope you enjoy “Three Shots”. It started out a smutty little short story about three people having an amazing night in bed, but it gradually evolved into an exploration of polyamory and the various non-traditional relationship out there. And I am so pleased to share it with you.

Blurb:

Reeve Jenkins is an amateur musician playing in a dive bar. Grant McGuire is a man drowning his sorrows in beer after a painful breakup. When Reeve charms a reluctant Grant into coming home with him, they begin a three-year friendship with some very nice benefits.

But when the two gorgeous men walk into Hawk Point Tavern—the bar Rachael Bradford owns—one evening and greet each other with a kiss, it sets off a chain of events that leads to a steamy night and maybe something more for the trio.

Length: Novella – 35,949 words/94 pages

Excerpt:

Rachael sighed and took a seat at her desk, forcing Reeve and Grant from her mind. They made for a fun fantasy, but had no place in real life. She had hours of work to do, and not enough time to get it done in. Hawk Point Tavern didn’t run itself.

She tackled the paychecks first. Her employees would want checks to cash soon, and it couldn’t wait. Thankfully, she had few employees and it didn’t take overly long to tally hours and make out the checks. She had moved on to sorting order invoices for the month when she heard a soft knock on her partially open door. Thinking it was Jenna or Tyler—the other bartender on tonight—she absent-mindedly called out, “Come in.”

“Excuse me,” a low, sexy voice replied.

Rachael’s head shot up and she was startled to see Reeve peering in the door.

“I, uh, hey. Um, hi Reeve,” She stuttered. She cleared her throat. “Come in.”

He stepped into the room and pushed the door nearly closed. “Can I talk to you for a sec?”

“Uh, sure.” She frowned, puzzled by what he wanted, but not entirely displeased to have him in her office either. She stood and walked around the desk—leaning back against it and looking up to meet his gaze. “Is there a problem with your bill? Or something else I can help you with?”

He gave her a slow, sexy smirk. “I certainly hope so.”

Rachael stared at him, waiting for him to continue, but he was silent. His gaze raked over her body and she felt heat building between her legs at the slow, frank perusal of her body. By the glittering, heated gaze of his eyes, Rachael could see that he liked what he saw. Her jeans and t-shirt were hardly high fashion, but Reeve didn’t appear to have any complaints. Besides, Rachael knew she had a tight body and the jeans showed off her ass nicely.

“What can I help you with?” she asked, her voice breathless.

“Well you see, I came here looking to have a drink with a good friend, nothing more, but I found something else I am interested in.”

‘I’m … I’m sorry?”

Reeve stepped closer until he was just a foot from her, and she felt her heart speed up in her chest.

“What’s that?” Rachael repeated when he didn’t reply immediately.

“You.” The word was simple, but it did nothing to clear up her confusion.

“But … but what about Grant?” she asked. “I mean, it looked like you two were together, and I—I don’t want to cause any problems or get in the way of anything.”

Reeve moved so he was standing in front of her, booted feet on either side of her crossed ones. He leaned in, breathing softly against her cheek and she wet her lips reflexively.

“It’s pretty simple actually,” Reeve purred in her ear. “Grant and I hook up occasionally and we are both very attracted to you.” His lips brushed the sensitive outer shell and she shivered.

Bi then. Her experiences with Tom made her a little leery of bi guys, but it’s not like she was going to get involved with them beyond a quick—or maybe not so quick—roll in the sheets, she thought. This was a one-off. It wasn’t like she was going to see them after tonight so she might as well enjoy it while she had the opportunity.

“You aren’t in a relationship with him?” she said aloud. The last thing she wanted was to get involved with another cheater. Jonah had been more than enough, thankyouverymuch.

Reeve shrugged. “We’ve been friends for a long time, but it’s nothing exclusive. We keep things fluid.”

“So how would this work?” Rachael asked, her voice going a little breathless as she imagined what could play out if she said yes. “We’d have a threesome?”

“That is entirely up to you. If you’re only attracted to one of us, the other will step aside, although we’d both be very disappointed. And I somehow don’t think that’s the case, is it?”

“No, I’m definitely attracted to you both,” Rachael admitted. Reeve wrapped an arm around her lower back and pulled her flush against his body.

“Then how we fuck—” he skimmed a hand down her back to cup the lower curve of her ass “—is up for negotiation. Whatever you’re comfortable with.”

Buy Links:

Amazon US

www.amazon.com/dp/B01N4R51A2

Amazon UK:

www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01N4R51A2

Amazon Canada:

www.amazon.ca/dp/B01N4R51A2

Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/three-truths-brigham-vaughn/1125579889

iTunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/three-shots/id1198356708

Kobo:

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/three-shots

Payhip:

https://payhip.com/b/5lUa

Smashwords:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/700542

Goodreads Link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33954709-three-shots

Author Bio:

brigham-vaughn-picBrigham Vaughn is starting the adventure of a lifetime as a full-time writer. She devours books at an alarming rate and hasn’t let her short arms and long torso stop her from doing yoga.  She makes a killer key lime pie, hates green peppers, and loves wine tasting tours. A collector of vintage Nancy Drew books and green glassware, she enjoys poking around in antique shops and refinishing thrift store furniture. An avid photographer, she dreams of traveling the world and she can’t wait to discover everything else life has to offer her.

Social Media Links:

Email: brighamvaughn@gmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brigham.vaughn

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Brigham-Vaughn/448104198635015

Facebook Fan Group (Brigham’s Book Nerds): https://www.facebook.com/groups/brighamsbooknerds/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorBVaughn

G+: plus.google.com/+BrighamVaughn

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/brighamvaughn/

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Blog Tour, Excerpt and Giveaway! Twice Upon a Blue Moon by Helena Maeve

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Twice Upon a Blue Moon

by

Helena Maeve

Publisher: Totally Bound

Categories: Contemporary, MMF, BDSM

Twice Upon a Blue Moon is the first instalment of the Surface Tension trilogy, a contemporary, BDSM ménage from Totally Bound.

Blurb:

Some affairs are like playing with fire, but knowing you’ll get burned is no reason to throw the game.

When her best friend doesn’t show up after a no-strings date with a man she met in a fetish club, Hazel is duty-bound to fetch her from what could be a sticky situation. She doesn’t expect to find her friend’s date so attractive—or so unflappably cool. Not that it matters. Hazel has been burned before and she knows to stay away from handsome men who are patently out of her league, especially when they’re involved with her one and only friend.

Tesla-driving, suit-wearing Dylan more than fits the bill. But every barb Hazel throws him makes him rise to the challenge, and he doesn’t want her to find a way to say no. But not only does Dylan have his own playroom and a sound grip on the S&M lifestyle, he’s also a man of many secrets. Dylan sees a place for Hazel in his bed, but what he wants is more than a one-night stand.

As she acclimates to the idea that Dylan may not be entirely straight or entirely single, Hazel soon finds herself caught between two dominant men whose bond seems to balance on a knife’s point.

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Excerpt:

“I’m sorry he’s so difficult,” Dylan whispered in her ear as he pulled her close. “If you want to leave…”

Hazel wrapped an arm around his shoulders and let Dylan fold his hand around her wrist. “Already? But I’m having such fun.” It wasn’t a complete lie. Ward had ‘life of the party’ practically stamped on his forehead. He wasn’t likable, but he was entertaining. Hazel had no desire to capitulate just because he’d annoyed her a bit. “You’ve known him for a long time, haven’t you?”

Dylan hummed a note of acquiescence, the sound bubbling out from deep within his chest.

“We met in freshman year. That’s… God, is that really twelve years ago?” He shook his head, brushing her temple with his lips. “He’s a good guy. A little standoffish, but a good guy.”

If you say so. It wasn’t Dylan’s past that Ward had gone digging into.

“And will he be a good guy at the loft tonight, or… Is he going back to San Diego, by any chance?”

She felt Dylan’s smile more than saw it. “I think he’s headed back.”

“Excellent.”

“Yeah?” Dylan spun her under his arm. “You have designs on my virtue, do you?”

Hazel shook her head. “It’ll all be very spontaneous. Not like I spent all day thinking about it—or you.”

“Oh, really?” Dylan tipped forward, close enough to press a delicate, chaste kiss to the hinge of her jaw. “That makes two of us.”

“How narcissistic.”

His chuckle gusted against her cheek, rippling like a caress across her skin. She wanted nothing more than to kiss him as he pulled back, but Dylan didn’t stop at a few inches. When he turned, Hazel glimpsed Ward over his shoulder.

“May I cut in?”

Dylan hesitated, wary puzzlement on his handsome face.

“Sure,” said Hazel. There was no other polite answer she could give. Ward would be offended if she refused and, hands down, he’d win Dylan in the custody battle. He’d known him longer.

Appropriately, the house band transitioned into the eponymous Habanera as Ward offered his hand. She took it. “I don’t tango.”

“Neither do I,” Ward replied. “But if I were to learn with someone, I could do worse.”

Giveaway:

Enter Totally Bound’s April blog tour competition for the chance to win any eBook of your choice, not including boxsets or anthologies.

Embed link: http://www.totallybound.com/index.php?route=information/competition&competition_id=65&embed=1

 

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About Helena Maeve:

Helena Maeve has always been globe trotter with a fondness for adventure, but only recently has she started putting to paper the many stories she’s collected in her excursions. When she isn’t writing erotic romance novels, she can usually be found in an airport or on a plane, furiously penning in her trusty little notebook.

 

Why not both? Polyamory in the romance genre

Helena Maeve

Back when I was a wee Maeve peeking at Harlequin titles on the sly, the recipe for romances seemed simple: one man, preferably shirtless and hunky, and one woman, preferably sporting long, flowing locks, the two of them entwined in a passionate embrace on some windswept peak, balcony or boat. Sometimes the hero was blond or wore a cowboy hat. Most often, he was dark and brooding. And though they say never judge a book by its cover, I’d take one look at those and think, eh, not for me.

If it sounds like I’m being too harsh on Harlequin, that’s because I am. Harlequin and the romance genre more broadly were only repeating a message already prevalent in the wider culture. The recipe is familiar because it’s been the bedrock of some of our greatest classics. Even action movies, theoretically geared toward a male audience, use the shorthand of ‘sexy girl as prize’ to reinforce a cultural narrative about desirable men or desirable women.

More recently, the oh-so-common love triangle has become a staple across genres and mediums in a similar way. Multiple love interests pursuing a (usually female) protagonist sketches out a roadmap for and transforms the famous ‘will they or won’t they’ gimmick into ‘will she pick this guy or that other guy’. And yet just as the Harlequin covers I used to peek at offered a narrow view of romance, so does the reflex assumption that three is a crowd.

Depending on where you’ve planted your flag in this vast and perilous Internet, polyamory can seem perfectly acceptable or a slippery slope stretching down from the frightful peak of gay marriage. It can be an evo-psych explanation for male adultery (and, for some reason, only male adultery) or a means of coercion. It can be proof that a potential partner is incapable of fidelity.

A few days ago I came across an exchange about the latest instalment in one of my favourite romance series. Readers were perplexed that the hero could be so eager to share his girlfriend with other lovers and that she’d enjoy watching him with other women. If they truly love each other, the thought of their partner with someone else should send them into apoplectic fits of jealousy, right?

As a society, we love our mixed messages. Monogamy is supposed to be simple because only two people are involved, the roles are often culturally prescribed, and there is broad understanding about how such a relationship is meant to evolve. On the other hand, polyamory is presumed to be unstable (too many people!) and a ripe terrain for distrust. But in this exchange, it was monogamous contributors who defaulted to the assumption that a relationship must be possessive in order to be real—surely the unhealthier option.

I’m always wary of singing the praises of non-mainstream lifestyles, because no way of life is faultless—including monogamy. But I do think polyamory gets a bum rap. Compromise, communication and respect are values that any relationship should aim for regardless of the gender or number of participants.

When it comes to polyamory, there are few cultural narratives in place to serve as the basis for how, practically, such a relationship unfolds. And sometimes that’s challenging, as charting new courses usually is, and sometimes that can be freeing. For instance, if time has to be divided between three or four partners, that forces a degree of planning and forethought that might be absent in a relationship where it’s simply assumed one partner will make time for the other because that’s the way it is.

Coming to romance, and erotic romance in particular, as a queer reader and author has been an interesting experience. It took me time to realize that there was an appetite for all kinds of pairings and subgenres among the readership, and to shatter my own preconceptions. I suppose it’s no surprise that my first novel with Totally Bound was an MFM ménage-à-trois. Since then, I’ve dabbled in MF contemporary romances and MM sci-fi, gay vampires and bisexual fighters.

And now with Surface Tension, my first trilogy, I’ve come full circle.

In Twice Upon a Blue Moon, Hazel catches the eye of dark, enigmatic Dylan when she comes to retrieve her friend from a D/s booty call. Wary but flattered by his interest, Hazel soon discovers that there’s more to Dylan than good looks and a firm hand. Specifically, that Dylan is already involved in an unconventional friends-with-benefits situation—with another man. At first suspicious of this added complication, Hazel doesn’t expect to find herself attracted to Dylan’s sometimes-lover, much less wind up in bed with him… But must she choose or can she have both?

The romance genre changes and evolves constantly, and it can be a mirror for broader social acceptance. I’m still waiting, though, for that action hero to get the sexy boy after he defeats the bad guys…