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Friday, March 11, 2011

Blind Passion by Penny Brandon

Title: Blind Passion
Release Date: January 18, 2011
Author: Penny Brandon
Publisher: Loose-Id
Genre: LGBT/Contemporary/Romance


Attraction for Adam was not a handsome face, a striking smile or beautiful eyes, but a scent that would drive him to distraction or a voice that could make his heart beat faster and when the combination of the two walked into his life in Luke, Adam couldn't help but want him.

But how was he supposed to know if Luke felt the same attraction? He had no prior experience, no past encounters, nothing to go on, nothing to help him. Not even his sight.

Sensual, gorgeous, kind, with a strength that Luke was drawn to, Adam was everything that Luke desired, but being in Adam's arms, showing him the pleasures of a man's body, being touched, held and desired in return, had Luke wanting more, had him wanting what he knew he couldn't have.

It didn't matter to him that Adam was blind, but Adam deserved more than someone like him. Adam deserved a relationship which Luke couldn't give him. He was a man with a broken past and falling in love with Adam was a foolish thing to do, especially because Adam would never love him back if he found out what Luke was hiding.

Welcome Penny, I'm so thrilled to have you here!  To get started, what is your latest offering?
Blind Passion is out right now by Loose-id. It is my first novel to be published and I was absolutely thrilled to get it accepted. At the time I wasn’t sure why they accepted it. Was it the story, the characters, the writing style? I wanted to know so I could keep doing the same thing. Use what works! In the end I found out it was a bit of all three, which was lucky for me. So now I know that what I write and how I write it is what people want and hopefully I can give them some more.

What is Blind Passion all about?
Essentially it’s about two men’s ability to overcome the difficulties they’d both imposed on themselves. Adam’s disability was physical, and though he’d learned to live with it, he believed it was a handicap when it came to finding a man to love and he was afraid to try through fear of rejection. Luke’s problem was the loss of his family, and a crime he was ashamed of and couldn’t forgive himself for. However, when they meet, Adam’s strength and outlook on life draws Luke to him. Luke is fascinated with how Adam sees the world around him but he feels there’s more that Adam can do and he takes it upon himself to bring Adam out of the cocoon he’s wrapped himself in. In return, Adam makes Luke see that he does have a future and that past mistakes can be forgiven. Of course, Adam wants Luke’s future to be with him, but it takes a lot to convince Luke of that.

Was there anything in particular that inspired this book, or did your muse come up with it?
My muse is a chocolate munching cutie who loves to wander off and leave me for months at a time. I have to drag him in by his heels from wherever he’s roamed and get him to work. But when he’s pushed, boy does he come up with some good stuff! I think during his wanderings he meets up with unusual people and he brings their stories back to me. Adam was one of those people. I loved him from the first moment I thought about his beautiful aqua eyes and his stunning outlook on life. Luke, however, was much harder to work out. He had so many problems and it took a lot to make sure he didn’t become bogged down by them, but his meeting Adam was the best thing that could have ever happened to him. Adam anchored him, and made him understand that life was there to be lived and not regretted. But I think Luke was becoming to understand that himself, hence his tattoo of a phoenix.

Sounds like our muses are related - the wandering off part, unfortunately! Who is your cover artist and how much input do you have in the design?
I didn’t do a thing and it’s probably better if I never do as I don’t have an artistic bone in my body. Justin James took my description of the Blue Mountains in Australia where the book is set and used that as the backdrop. He then got two absolutely gorgeous models who fit Adam and Luke to a tee and put them to the forefront, with Adam touching Luke which he does throughout the novel. Justin’s interpretation was absolutely perfect and I hope Justin does more of my covers.

If you could co-author a book with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Dean Koontz, definitely. I love horror stories with a twist which he does so well, and I love the characters he creates. His writing style is amazing, drawing you into the story so effectively you think you’re there. You really want the good guys to win, and you agonize with them until they end up victorious, but it’s a long journey and they go through hell to get there. At the end of his books you just want more. If I could create that kind of novel I would be ecstatic.

What books are in your TBR pile?
Right now, I’ve got two Stephen King books, two Dean Koontz books, one by Lee Childs, and two by Clive Cussler still to read in paperback sitting beside me which I got for Christmas. I’m also waiting on some of my favorite gay erotic romance authors to come out with more and I’ll pick them up as they are released. I won’t list them as there are too many to mention, but I’m going to be really busy reading this year.

When you begin a new book, do you write it straight through, or do you work on more than one story at a time?
In the past I had always stuck to one and wrote from start to finish, mainly because there was usually only one story going on in my head at any given time. However, due to recent events, namely getting published, I now have one new work in progress and another work I’m editing. Having to do this at the same time has my muse a little overwhelmed but with the help of chocolate we are getting it done. Actually, I’ve found that if I get bogged down with a scene and can’t get it to go the way I want it to, because hey, my characters never do what I want them to, then I’ll pop over and work on the other piece. That way I can threaten all of the men jumping up and down for attention in my head to behave or I’ll leave them in the lurch.

Tell me a little about your back list, and which of these is your own personal favorite?
My first venture into m/m erotic romance was called Bringing Him Home which thankfully is coming out later this year with Loose-Id. My muse, let’s call him Charlie as in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, because where there’s one there’s the other, wanted to try something different from the m/f stories I was writing, so he gave me Jared and Kyle. These men are hot. The second they met each other they wanted sex, but both these men also wanted more and it looked like they could find it with each other, until Jared realized the complications of bringing a man home with him and Kyle didn’t want to go anywhere near the town Jared called home.

I suppose I would call this my favorite simply because it was my first m/m, but Jared and Kyle just absolutely took over my life from the moment Charlie brought them to me, and they are still in it.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve just finished editing a novel which is part of a series tentatively called Looking Glass, and the first novel is called Choices. The main idea of the series is a mirror which allows whoever looks into it to see their one true love. However, that’s when it gets complicated. In Choices, our main character, Marc sees a man. The problem is, Marc isn’t gay, but the compelling nature of knowing the image he sees is his only chance at love, Marc has to make the choice between finding him or not.

The other piece I’m working on is called Murphy’s Law. David and Scott meet on Bondi Beach. They’re both there on holiday and agree to spend their time together. The sex between them is rough, ready and uncomplicated and that was how they wanted it, but from the moment it looked like things are going their way, it all goes wrong. Really wrong. First, David cuts his foot, then they break the bed, then they flood out their hotel room, then the car they hire breaks down, then Scott falls off a cliff, and then David gets attacked by a shark. Believe me, Murphy’s Law, what can go wrong does go wrong, is the fundamental core of this story.

Thank you for joining me, Penny, if I twist your arm would you give us an excerpt? 
I’d love to. Hope this will whet your appetite.

Adam lifted his head at the potent fragrance that reached him. Puzzled, he took a deep, inconspicuous breath through his nose and mouth. He frowned, concentration on the book he’d been reading lost as he tried to distinguish what it was. This particular scent itself was unique; he knew damn well he’d never come across it before, yet it seemed familiar somehow. It teased his senses, tantalized his memory, until Adam suddenly recognized it—the musky, rich aroma of an aroused male. Startled, because the only person it could come from was the man sitting across from him beyond the width of the dining table, Adam turned in his direction. His hands slipped, the braille dots beneath his fingertips suddenly losing their meaning. Oh God, this was not good.

Biting back a moan as his cock thickened and swelled in reaction, Adam sat as still as he could, listening for any sign that Luke had noticed the extra level of sexual tension that filled the room. He didn’t really need to worry; Luke obviously had no idea how he affected Adam, and Adam was not about to tell him. Jesus, what kind man did that to another? He took another deep breath; this time it was to clear the sexual haze that was fogging his mind. He needed to get Luke away from him before he made a fool of himself.

“Luke?” God, even saying his name was enough to send a tingle to his balls. He really needed to get Luke out of his living room. It would give both of them a chance to cool off. When he didn’t receive an answer, he tried again, louder. “Luke?”

“Fuck.” The softly spoken curse could have been shouted. Luke still hadn’t realized Adam’s hearing was acute, not that they’d spoken to each other enough for Luke to have figured that out.

“Are you all right?” Adam asked him, deciding tact would better suit his purpose. Not being able to read the nuances on people’s faces, Adam usually found it easier to be direct. However, asking Luke why he was turned-on would probably be going too far, and Adam didn’t really want to know.

“What?” Luke shuffled the pages he was holding in his lap.

“I asked if you were all right.”

“Why?” Luke shifted in his seat, and Adam had to stop an image of Luke adjusting his erection. It would be slim, Adam decided, but long.

“You seem…distracted.” Yeah, and so was he now.

This time the curse was not much more than Luke moving his lips. Maybe Luke was embarrassed; maybe Luke needed to go and find some relief. Shit, thinking of Luke jacking off was not a good idea. Not right now, at least.

He tried again. “Do you need to take a break?” he asked, needing one of his own. From the moment he’d first inhaled Luke’s scent and heard his voice, Adam had been in a constant state of arousal. Most of the time he’d managed to keep it hidden, but right now the bulge in his jeans would be obvious, and with Luke gone from the room, it would give him a chance to adjust his own raging hard-on.

The sound of a chair scraping back on the timber floor warned Adam that Luke had stood up, while the papers he’d been holding landed on the dining table with a soft flutter.

“Why are you doing this?”

Luke’s sudden remark caught Adam by surprise. Could Luke know what he’d been thinking? He fought down a moment of panic and while maintaining a neutral expression sat back in his chair and tilted his head to Luke’s face. “Doing what?” he asked, thankful his voice didn’t betray what he was feeling.


Adam frowned, confused, and then realized what Luke had done. He sighed in both resignation and disappointment. “If you just made a sweeping gesture with your hand to indicate something, you have to remember I can’t see it.”

Hand gestures were a natural way of communicating, and nearly everyone forgot Adam couldn’t see them, but pointing that out to Luke wasn’t so much as to remind him but to take his own mind off the disturbing thoughts that were still going on in his head.
Luke cursed again. This time it was loud and clear. “Fuck this. I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing here. I don’t need this shit!”

Taken aback by the sudden aggression in Luke’s tone, Adam gritted his teeth. “If by shit you mean sitting here and working with me, then tough. I do need it.” Adam didn’t even try to hide his swift but very explainable anger. It was hard enough accepting help from someone, but knowing Luke didn’t want to be here pissed him off, more so because all Adam could think of was wanting Luke. “Go and take a break,” he ordered, throwing out the back of his hand.

He heard Luke move, and his voice sounded closer as if Luke had leaned in toward him. “You just made a hand gesture.”

Luke’s snide reply was the last straw, and Adam’s composure finally snapped. He’d had enough, both with Luke and his own lack of control. “That’s because I know you can fucking see it!” Pushing back his chair, Adam stood up, agitated. He never swore at people, and he rarely lost his temper, but frustration and an impossible situation had him on edge.

When Luke didn’t make a move to leave, Adam wasn’t sure if he was grateful or more pissed off. He shook his head. “I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

There was a sharpness to Luke’s words that Adam regretted putting there. Despite his scorn Luke didn’t deserve Adam’s anger. Luke didn’t know what he was doing to Adam, didn’t know that he was turning him on beyond comprehension. “Swearing at you.”

“Don’t be. I do it all the time.” The tone of Luke’s voice softened, and Adam could imagine a light smile playing on his lips. Lips he wanted to kiss.

“Yeah, well. I don’t.”

“Maybe you should. Helps give emphasis to what you’re saying.” Now Adam could definitely hear Luke’s amusement, but instead of being settled by it, he was only rankled further.

“I’m a schoolteacher, in case you’d forgotten. Swearing is only used by people who are not smart enough to think of something better to say.”

The sudden antagonism that filled the room was tangible. Adam instantly regretted what he’d said, but before he could apologize, Luke pushed away from the table.

“Fuck you.” Loud footsteps echoed along the timber floor as Luke walked away, and seconds later the front door slammed behind him.

Adam listened for a second, then sat back down and sighed. He knew he shouldn’t have said that, but how the hell did you handle lusting after a man you could never have?
He groaned, releasing the banked-up tension and frustration that threatened to overwhelm him. He’d never felt this way before, never been turned on like this. Being gay wasn’t a problem; it was just another circumstance he lived with, like his blindness. It was just that his blindness made being gay hard, if not impossible to act on or even appreciate. He could never tell if another man was interested in him. He didn’t know what signals to pick up on or what signals to give. Until now that hadn’t really been an issue, because he’d never felt an attraction for anyone. But he was undeniably attracted to Luke, and he honestly didn’t know what to do about it. Getting hard in front of Luke was definitely not something he should do, but it wasn’t something he could control either.

The instant Luke had walked into his home four days ago, Adam had been intensely aware of him. Luke smelled like a hot summer’s day just after the grass had been cut and before a rainstorm was about to break; he sounded like a soft breeze whispering across a pebbled beach—soothing yet edgy. Combined, they triggered something deeply primal in Adam. He needed Luke, needed to hear his voice, to smell him…touch him.

And God help him—if there was one thing he desperately wanted to do, it was to taste him.
Disturbed, Adam had at first tried to keep out of Luke’s way, had tried not to get too near him in case he inadvertently exposed how he felt. Funnily enough, Luke seemed to have the same idea. He always made sure he never got too close, moving away from Adam if they happened to come within touching distance. On some level Adam had been grateful, though a little confused as to why Luke had deemed it necessary to make sure they stayed clear of each other. Perhaps it was because Luke felt ill at ease in Adam’s company, or maybe he just didn’t want to be there. Either way, Adam couldn’t really blame him. Being around a blind man wasn’t easy, and having to work for him when you’d rather be somewhere else didn’t help the situation—a situation that today, Adam had practically lit a fuse under.

Caught up in a desire so powerful, Adam hadn’t been be able to help himself when Luke had knocked on the door two hours earlier. He’d opened the door and had stood there, making Luke brush past him instead of stepping out of the way as usual. They hadn’t actually come into contact, but Adam had felt Luke’s heat in that fleeting moment, had caught his scent, and it had torn a groan from his throat. Praying Luke hadn’t heard him or noticed that he’d closed his eyes as a shiver had passed through his body, Adam gave Luke instructions and then tried to spend the past couple of hours ignoring the almost impossible impulse to reach over and touch him. He wanted to feel Luke’s skin beneath his fingertips; he wanted to know if it would be as silky as he’d imagined.

Luke couldn’t have known what was going on in Adam’s head, would have absolutely no idea, but Adam had a sick feeling that Luke sensed he was slowly unraveling and had reacted in kind. Their explosive argument just a few minutes ago proved that the atmosphere was more strained than usual between them.

It had been a stupid, reckless thing to do, and if Luke came back, Adam swore he wouldn’t attempt to do anything to make Luke feel any more uncomfortable than he already did. He didn’t want to jeopardize the time they had together, fleeting as it was, because any time with Luke was better than nothing at all. It was just a shame that Luke couldn’t feel the same way about him.

Adam rubbed his hands over his face and winced. He was an idiot for thinking about Luke that way. He was an idiot for thinking about any man that way. He sighed, resigned, acknowledging what he knew to be an unending fact—his blindness would make sure it was never going to happen.

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