Tomorrow I have a new release coming out in the Bad Boy Billionaire series called The Actor Learning to Love.
The actor is the bad boy billionaire who hires someone to stay in his NY penthouse and care for his exotic parrot...a talking parrot he inherited from an ex-boyfriend who couldn't put up with the bad boy actor.
The guy the actor hires to live in the penthouse for one year is Rory, and Rory has a young son and they recently moved out of their Brooklyn apartment. The reason they moved out is because Rory just went through another divorce and he's fed up with love, marriage, and men altogether.
It seems like the perfect arrangement, but the bad boy actor has ulterior motives that involve Rory and his son. I won't give out any spoilers, but this is the first time I've ever worked the attacks on the World Trade Center into a novel (you can see the twin towers in the background on the cover)...it's also the first time I've ever written a strong lesbian theme into the subplot.
Here's a free excerpt from the book. I'll post about this more with links. This excerpt is from the PDF I got from the publisher so the formatting isn't perfectly compatible with google blogger...but it's not unreadable either. This is one example of how difficult it can be when self-publishing and trying to figure out how to format and upload at various web sites where e-books are sold. Not all are the same, nor is it the same process. I can get away with this on my blog because I keep it casual here, but I could never get away with releasing an e-book formatted this way on web sites where e-books are sold. To complicate this even more, I took this excerpt from the perfectly formatted version.
“I want to be clear about this,” Dane said. “We’re never going
to see Thad again, right? He’s gone for good. Motorcycle, tattoos,
Rory smiled and reached out to hold Dane’s arm. They stopped
to wait for the light to change on the corner of 51st Street. He
glanced down at the child’s sandy brown hair and sighed. “That’s
right. We’re not going to be seeing Thad again.” He looked up at
the clear sky and sighed. “Tattoos and all.” It was January and the
child had refused to zip up the new red jacket Santa had given him
that year. He’d refused to wear, gloves, a scarf, and a hat as well.
“I guess that means the wedding is off,” said Dane. They were
carrying suitcases that contained everything they owned. Dane
carried the two smaller bags and Rory carried the biggest two, with
one under his right arm and one in his right hand so his left would
be free to hold on to Dane’s arm. To glance at them, passersby
might have thought they were on vacation in New York. A father
and son on their way to a hotel room.
The light changed and Rory gave him a slight tug. As they
crossed to the other side, Rory said, “I wouldn’t marry that man if
my life depended on it. Not after what he did to us. I’m actually
glad he took that job in Canada. When I think about how things
could have turned out if I had married him I get a chill up my
spine, kiddo. Oh no. This is a new beginning for us. No more men
like that and no more being Mr. Nice Guy. I’ve had it with his type
Dane didn’t seem convinced. “That’s what you said after every
divorce, Dad. It never seems to work out that way, though.”
Not counting the recent breakup with Thad, Rory had been
married three times in the past eight years. Not always legal each
time, but some gay men use the word marriage as if it were legal
more often than not. With each so-called marriage, he thought he’d
met the man with whom he’d spend the rest of his life. He’d also
thought he’d met someone who would be a good father to Dane.
“That’s a terrible thing to say to me,” Rory said. “It’s not like
I married them to wind up divorced on purpose. No one does that.
It wouldn’t make sense. When you get married you expect it tolast the rest of your life. It’s not as easy as it looks. You’ll find out
yourself one day when you meet the right girl and fall in love.”
Though Rory was openly gay, he suspected his adopted son wasn’t.He’d figured that out without the need for any deep, heartfelt dis
cussions the day Dane had been suspended from school for looking
up another little girl’s dress.
They passed a dark young man unloading boxes from the back
of a truck. As they passed, the young man sent Rory the eye and
stared at his legs. Then the young man scratched his crotch and
licked his lips in such a vulgar way Rory felt like kicking him in
the groin. Rory walked faster, avoiding direct eye contact, hoping
Dane wouldn’t notice anything. This happened all the time to
Rory. Men like that would see him, give him that intense, desperate
look, and Rory’s knees would go weak. The worst part was if
Rory hadn’t been with Dane and he had been alone, he might have
responded. He’d been so depressed over getting dumped by Thad,
and his ego had taken such a huge hit, he found himself craving
attention from men in a way he’d never experienced before. He
blamed this partly on the fact that he’d never been promiscuous:
he’d always planned his sexual experiences around emotional
“You sure can pick ’em, Dad,” Dane said. He hadn’t noticed
the way the guy was looking at Rory’s ass. He’d been following a
pigeon on the sidewalk, as if ready to reach down and pick it up.
“Aunt Hazel Ann said you shouldn’t wear your jeans so tight. She
thinks it makes you look common.”
Rory took offense at this. His Aunt Hazel Ann in New Jersey
always criticized the way he dressed, wore his hair, and lived hislife.
He stopped in the middle of the block and flung his ten-year
son a glance. “And what’s that supposed to mean? I’ve done
my best. I’ve always given you a nice place to live, nice clothes,
and a well-balanced diet. You’ve always done well in school and
you’re not nearly as mixed up as other kids. I don’t think that’s
very fair. It’s not my fault I tend to attract the wrong types. I like
the jeans I wear. I like all my clothes. And I’m not going to repeat
the same mistakes again. From now on things are going to be different,
Dane shrugged and said, “I didn’t mean to get you upset. I was
only joking about your jeans. I know how Aunt Hazel Ann can be.
She’s a real ball-buster sometimes.” He turned and started walking
again. Under his breath, he said, “Maybe if you were less interested
in guys who didn’t shave every day and guys who had less
tattoos, they might stick around long enough to celebrate a second
Although Rory heard that comment, he decided to ignore it.
The kid was right and he didn’t have much of a defense. At thirtytwo
years old, Rory knew his own weak points better than anyone.
If there were ten clean-cut gay attorneys in one room looking for
a partner and one ex-convict in ripped jeans and oil stains on his
hands, Rory would wind up with the ex-con and oil stains all over
They walked a few more blocks in silence, then stopped across
the street from a tall high-rise on Beekman Place. The façade
had a lighter, concrete look than the rest of the buildings on the
block, with a lot of glass. At the entrance, there was a long, curved
chocolate brown awning that led to the curb so anyone walking in
and out of the building wouldn’t get wet in the rain. He’d always
wanted to live in a building with an awning like that. Rory set the
two large suitcases down on the sidewalk and glanced up at the top
Dane held his suitcases tighter. When he saw the building, his
eyes opened wider and he asked, “Is
this where we’re going to
live?” They’d moved around the city a lot. Each time Rory remarried,
they moved in with a new husband. Dane had become accustomed
to attending new schools more often than most kids with
dads and moms in the military.
Rory smiled and shrugged. “Unless I got the wrong address,
this is the place, kiddo.” Rory and Dane had been sharing an apartment
in Brooklyn with Thad for the past year and a half. Rory
would have remained in Brooklyn after Thad left for Canada,
but neither of their names had ever been on the lease. Rory had
never known this; he’d figured it was Thad’s apartment when he’d
moved in with him. But about three weeks after Thad left, it turned
out Thad had been sub-leasing the apartment from two lesbians
and they wanted to move back in. It was one of those rent-controlled
deals and the lesbians didn’t want to lose a good thing. Rory
couldn’t fault them. He would have done the same thing.
When Rory’s agent told him he had another client who was
looking for someone to live in his apartment at Beekman Place,
rent free for one year, Rory jumped at the chance. Beekman Place
was one of the best addresses in the city, with good schools, and all
Rory would have to do to live there rent free was care for a large
bird while this other client of Stan’s was out of the country shoot
a film. Rory had no idea who the actor was; his agent refused
to tell him. All Stan had said was, “I think you should do this, and
the timing is perfect. I really do. And you know I’ve always represented
you and your best interests.”
“This place looks too good to be true,” Dane said. “It’s even
better than the brownstone in the Village where we lived when I
was just a little kid when you were married to Eduardo.”
This comment caused a sinking feeling in Rory’s stomach.
“You’re too young to be so cynical, kiddo. C’mon, let’s check this
place out. How bad can it be? Living rent free for one year just for
taking care of a big dumb bird isn’t something that comes along often.
Just think of all the money I can save, and this time next year
we’ll have a place of our own.” Rory worked as a pianist/singer
in small nightclubs all over the city. Although he hadn’t actually
worked in a year because Thad had preferred him to stay home
all the time, he’d called his agent and he was ready to get back to
work full time. Although he wasn’t a big-time cabaret performer
like Michael Buble, he had played some impressive venues, including
one gig in London for a member of the royal family.
They crossed the street and met a tall, thin man in the lobby.
When Rory saw his traditional doorman’s uniform, he almost felt
giddy. It was too good to be true. He’d always wanted to live in a
building with a doorman, too. He smiled and said, “I’m Rory Daniels.
Stan Cooperman told me you’d show me to the penthouse on
the top floor. Stan’s my agent. And this is my son, Dane. We’ll be
living here for the next year.”
The doorman smiled at Dane and said, “Yes, that’s right. He
left a set of keys with me yesterday.” Then he took the suitcases
Dane had been carrying and led them to the elevator. While they
waited for the elevator doors to open, the doorman looked Rory up
and down, stared at his legs the same way the guy loading the truck
had done, and pursed his lips.
Rory just glanced at him and smiled