Saturday, September 27, 2014

Showcase Spotlight and Excerpt - Roses & Thorns by Sage Marlow

by Sage Marlowe


When bestselling author Chester Banning requires inside information on the life of a forensic pathologist, he comes across an enticing, yet unwilling study subject in the shape of sinfully attractive Dr Nicolas Sheridan.
After a hot and slightly unsettling one-night stand, Sheridan turns out to be as inapproachable as he is intriguing and clearly not interested in intensifying their liaison. Chester, however, is already falling head over heels in love and doesn’t rest until he’s succeeded in cracking Sheridan’s icy shell. What he discovers underneath is a man well capable of love and affection but caught up in a web of lies and domestic abuse that makes him seek punishment in self-harm.
Refusing to watch Sheridan go farther down the road to self-destruction, Chester gives him all the love and support he is capable of—but then he discovers the horrifying truth about Sheridan’s past.

Reader advisory: Suitable for adult readers only. Contains scenes of and references to domestic violence / abuse, self-harm and dubious consent in a non-erotic context.

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Chester Banning was in a good mood. He loved it when things went according to plan and, so far, everything had gone exactly as planned. Travelling had, as usual, left him with lots of new impressions and a few ideas and the hotel he’d booked himself into was just the way he liked it. Now all he needed to make the day perfect was a decent drink or two and some less decent company.
He dressed in his favourite jeans and shirt, left the hotel and the day started going downhill. It took him half an eternity to find a promising location and, when he finally did, the place was far from his usual venue. It was dodgy and run-down, with a clientele to match. Chester went to the bar anyway, ignoring the curious glances of the people who checked him out, and ordered a vodka martini. He met the bartender’s smirk with a smile and a shrug. Such a cliché, but his favourite. Leaning on the bar, he took some time to scan the crowd. He wasn’t too impressed with what he saw and was already halfway through his drink and two-thirds on the way to just calling it a night and leaving when he spotted exactly what he was looking for. Tall, dark-haired and dressed in clothes that had probably cost more than the average weekly income of any of the other guys present, the man was as much out of place as Chester himself. A perfect match. With his most charming smile fixed to his face, Chester leisurely walked to the quiet corner of the bar where the man sat, brooding over his drink. He took a moment to study the profile in close-up and found he still liked what he saw.
“Hi, there,” he said when he had waited long enough to be sure that the other man was aware of his presence and must be expecting him to say something. “You had me wondering, you know.”
A sharp inhalation of air was the only sign he got that the man had even heard him. Not the reaction he’d hoped for but he decided not to let that stop him.
“I couldn’t help but notice you. Seems we’re both in the wrong place.”
At last the man turned his head and glared at him, making Chester flinch with the indignant annoyance he displayed. Chester was pretty sure his gaydar had picked up the signals correctly, so maybe the guy was just a bit weary of being hit on. Looking like he did, he could have had men queuing for a chance to chat him up if he’d made a little more of an effort. His hair was a bit past the right time for a cut and he hadn’t bothered shaving but he was undeniably handsome. A delicate bone structure with high, well-defined cheekbones set the perfect frame for a pair of the most striking, silver-grey eyes Chester had ever seen. The man rested those amazing eyes on Chester with an expression of stony amusement and a hint of curiosity before he finally said, “You are definitely in the wrong place, mate. A couple of hundred miles if your accent is anything to go by.”
Chester smiled and nodded. “Yeah, I know. I’m here because of my job. I’m a writer, you see, and I’m doing some research for my new book.” Chester didn’t usually brag and found it a bit cheap to rely on the I’m-a-writer line, but it had got him laid more than once before.
“Must be a brilliant book if it’s anything to do with this place,” the man grumbled under his breath, his words dripping with sarcasm.
“Well, I hope it will be.” Chester held out his hand. “I’m Chester, by the way, and you are…?”
“Not interested.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. My mistake. I didn’t realise you were bored. Maybe I can help you change that.”
Surprised, the man blinked and then, to Chester’s relief, his mouth curved into a reluctant smile. He gave a tight, appreciative nod. “Nice one.”
“I really hope you’re talking about me.”
The man’s smile widened just a fraction as he gave Chester a quick once-over. He was clearly trying not to let on what he thought but there was a giveaway glitter in his eyes. Just a moment later, he shook his head. “You’re wasting your time.” He picked up his drink again.
“Too bad. I could’ve made it worth your while.” About to turn away, Chester hesitated. He just couldn’t resist. “If your accent is anything to go by, you got misplaced by about four hundred miles yourself. What is it? London, right? Somewhere in Norf London unless I’m very much mistaken.” Probably followed by a rather expensive university.
Something flared up in those grey eyes. It might have been regret or even hurt, but it was gone too fast for a definite identification. “Not bad.”
“Oh, come on, I deserve more than that. You didn’t say much.”
“Finchley.” There was a trace of gloom in the sigh that made up these two syllables.
“Nice place,” Chester smiled. “I used to have a boyfriend up there.” No squirming at the word. So I did have you right. Maybe we’re getting somewhere, after all. “Sure you don’t want to change your mind, Mr Finchley?” Chester asked eventually.
The man took a sip of his drink before he focused on Chester again. “You still wanna know if I’m interested in you.”
“Well, it would brighten my prospects for the rest of the evening considerably if you were.” Chester shrugged.
After a long, thoughtful pause, the man admitted defeat with a long, weary sigh. “Depends on what you’ve got planned, I suppose,” he said.
Trying to figure out his preference, Chester wondered which answer would score highest with this handsome, fickle stranger. His assumption wasn’t really what he himself was in the mood for, but he was happy to settle for second best if it meant a few hours of fun. He decided on an answer that might give him another clue and yet leave options open. “Planned? Nothing so far, to be honest. I prefer to…” Chester paused briefly for emphasis, “…take it as it comes.”
One black eyebrow went up and Chester knew he had misjudged the guy’s inclination. He grinned. “That is, take it as in I’m the one who gets to take what he wants,” he clarified.
A spark of amusement glittered in Mr Finchley’s eyes as he drained his glass and set it down. He reached into the pocket of his leather jacket and took out a packet of cigarettes and a lighter. “Cigarette?”
“No, thanks.” Chester was confused. Had he misunderstood after all?
The man shrugged and stood up. He turned out to be even taller than Chester had estimated. “I’m going outside for a cigarette now. When you’ve decided what you want you can follow me and we’ll see if what we want is compatible.”

About the author

Sage is a multi-published, international bestselling author of gay erotic romance novels and novellas and loves exploring the flavours of gay erotic fiction.

A willing slave to all the fascinating guys who keep queuing up and want their stories told, Sage can almost always be found cooking up the next hot story or daydreaming about new ways of rubbing sexy male bodies together to make the sparks fly.

Contact and buy links

Sage’s website & blog:
Twitter: @SageMarlowe
For all books published with Totally Bound, go to:

For all books published with Siren-BookStrand, go to:

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