December 22, 2011

Romance in the Snow

Growing up in the Midwestern United States, I have always loved the winter season. Except for driving after a storm, I love all the white snow and sledding and making snow angels and hot cocoa in front of the fire. Some of my favorite memories happened during a snowfall. Maybe that's why this time of year has such a magical feeling for me. And why I loved writing my latest release, Take Me Home. Much of this friends-to-lovers holiday story takes place during a snowstorm.
Weather in fiction can really set the mood for a story and what the characters are going through. The author can utilize the weather in hopes of evoking a specific emotion or reaction in the reader. A thunderstorm can showcase danger, the fog can bring about questions and uncertainty, and a sunny day can illustrate a better, brighter future.
Through the writing of Take Me Home, I've learned that snowy, winter weather can work in an erotic romance for a couple of reasons:
1) The beauty of all that new snow creating a soft, white blanket over everything gives the setting a renewed, fresh feeling that goes along nicely with the newness of falling in love.
2) Snow can often symbolize purity and innocence. This gives a strong contrast to the erotic scenes and helps to increase the sexual intensity.
3) The cold, bleakness of the winter weather can set the stage for some fabulous intimate moments. Maybe the characters need to stay close to share body heat or are trapped inside a cabin and are forced to spend time alone together with nothing else to do but get to know each other in entirely new ways.
The weather, along with the locale, played a part in setting the mood of Take Me Home, and I had a great time writing about winter, even if I did do much of the writing during the hottest part of last summer.

Take Me Home by Sloan Parker
m/m Contemporary Romance
Aspiring television writer Evan Walker has been in love with his best friend since high school, but Kyle doesn't do boyfriends. Never has. Never will. Evan knows it's a bad idea to give in to desire when he wants more than a friend with benefits. He has a new dream job. Now all he needs is the dream partner.
Kyle Bennett is a mystery novelist with a severe case of writer's block. He needs a change. He has three days on their cross-country train trip home for the holidays to figure out how to tell Evan he's staying there for good. He also has to write the overdue pages for his editor. Only, he's a little too distracted by the close quarters in their sleeper compartment—and Evan's ass—to get much done.
The sparks that fly between them are hotter than ever. Good thing they have a real-life mystery to focus on: why people all around them, including Evan's new boss, want to get their hands on a journal that once belonged to Kyle's grandfather.
When a blizzard traps them in the mountains, Kyle and Evan steam up the train's windows and must finally face their true desires.

"Wow." Kyle flipped through the tickets for their connecting train in Chicago that would take them on to Ohio and the ones for the trip back to California. Did he notice they only had the one room? It seemed silly for them not to share. And the tickets weren't cheap. "This is great, Ev. Thank you." Kyle looked…relaxed, happy. Not stressed like when Evan had walked in earlier.
Now wasn't the right time to ask him about the journal. It could wait. At least until Kyle started writing again. At least until he finished the five chapters he needed to send to his editor. Hastings expected an answer by the first of the year. That was two weeks away.
Kyle was examining the map in more detail. Evan reached for his tickets. While Kyle wrote, he could work on the script ideas he wanted to pitch to the writers' room after he'd gotten his feet wet. That was if he still had the job.
"This is really cool, Ev."
That had Evan smiling. He wouldn't let Hastings or the uncertainty of his future ruin their trip.
"Hey." Kyle faced him and leaned his arm on the back of the couch, resting his temple against his closed fist. "You're doing a lot more smiling today than you have in a long time."
"It's almost Christmas."
"It is." Kyle's eyes crinkled up at the corners as his smile widened. "And you've been a good boy?"
Evan loved this playful side of Kyle. He hadn't been like this when Evan had first moved in. It was like Kyle was worried Evan was too fragile. And that pissed him off. So he'd gotten dumped by the person he thought he was going to spend his life with. People got over that. Didn't they? He wasn't the same weak kid who'd been used and rejected over and over.
Then what was he so afraid would happen if he and Kyle gave in and slept together?
He folded the brochure, needing to do something with his hands. "I have been very, very good."
"Yeah, you have." Kyle's voice was lower, deeper, sexier than a moment before, if that was possible. "What do you think good boys get in their stockings?"
"Um…" Evan sat back and pressed his index finger to his lips. "Porn. Really, really good porn."
Kyle huffed out a laugh. "That can be arranged."
"Well, you're the expert."
It was an old joke from college. They'd had a fight one night when Evan had told Kyle he was sleeping around so much he might as well have done porn and gotten paid for it. Kyle hadn't been offended. He'd turned it into a joke, one they revisited from time to time.
Kyle said, "You just want me to teach you the industry secrets."
"Ha. What secrets do you know that I don't?"
Kyle slowly leaned in until his chest touched Evan's shoulder and their mouths almost came together. Evan's breath caught in a rush. In an instant, he was back in that motel room, Kyle on top of him, Kyle's mouth on his.
"It's not something I can tell you," Kyle said. "You have to experience it." He licked his lower lip in an exaggerated move.
Evan could not stop watching that mouth, the moisture left behind by the swipe of Kyle's tongue. He wanted to lean in and follow the action with his own tongue. His breathing picked up, and his cock responded. The intense way Kyle watched him was unnerving. Like Evan was the only opportunity he'd had to fuck anyone in weeks.
Which was odd. Kyle had never experienced a lack in that department. How long had it been since he'd hooked up with anyone? Without a thought on what he was doing, Evan raised his hand and ran his thumb over Kyle's lower lip liked he'd done in Miguel's office earlier.
No shocked reaction this time. Instead, Kyle drew his eyebrows up in a questioning stare. "Frosting?"
Evan couldn't speak. He shook his head. He longed to shove Kyle backward, straddle him, and kiss him with a fierceness -- a possessiveness -- that scared Evan in its intensity. He wanted to grind their bodies together, press Kyle into the couch, until they were panting and writhing, until they came so hard they'd be unable to move. They'd fall asleep right there, his body draped over Kyle's.
Just kiss him.
No. It would never be just a kiss. Just another fuck. Not for Evan. He'd probably end up confessing what he felt for Kyle. Then what? How awkward and fucked-up would their friendship get after that?
"I can't." He dropped his hand.
"It's okay, Ev." Kyle eased back to his former location on the couch. He focused on the tickets again. "Thanks for this. I think it'll help."
"You're welcome." Evan squeezed his eyes shut and sucked in a deep breath. He opened his eyes and nudged Kyle's shoulder with his own. "It'll be fun. Our last trip before you move."
Kyle started to say something, but Evan turned away. He didn't want to hear anything more about Kyle leaving California. Didn't want to think about what it would be like not to see each other all the time, not to hang out together.
He stood and picked up his plate. "I'm going for a run. I'll let you get more staring at your computer done."
"Thanks." The frustrated expression was back as Kyle rested his head on the couch behind him and stared at the ceiling.
"You'll come up with some great stuff on the train. You'll see."
There was that serious, intense look again as Kyle glanced at him. Could there be something to it? Something more than desire? Evan left the room before he did something stupid and asked what it meant. He headed down the hall to Kyle's spare bedroom, closed the door, and leaned against it.
Why had he touched Kyle again?
Because a part of him would always love Kyle, would always imagine what it would be like to have all of him.
He pushed away from the door and undressed. He was not going there again. He slipped on his shorts and T-shirt, headed into the hall, and stopped at the apartment door. "I'll be back in an hour." When Kyle didn't say anything, Evan faced him.
Sloan Parker
Kyle was staring at Evan's crotch, breathing hard, his mouth hanging open. Had he been checking out his ass? He finally lifted his head and met Evan's stare. Those serious dark eyes did shit to his willpower.
There was no denying it. He could have Kyle if he wanted. For one night.
He turned away and fumbled with the door handle, then left the apartment before he lost all reason.


  1. Welcome to Romance Lives Forever, Sloan! Your book looks sure to heat up the winter nights. Yum!

  2. Thank you, Kayelle! So glad you think so. And thanks for having me on the blog. Happy holidays to you and all your blog followers!

  3. thanks, Sloan. Happy Holidays to you too. My wedding anniverary is tomorrow, and we have a nice evening planned. We usually end up skipping a celebration because it's close to Christmas, but this year we are doing a nice dinner out. I'm more excited about that than I ever was over Santa, I think. LOL

    Hope you have a wonderful time with family and friends. Thanks for being here today!

  4. Happy anniversary, Kayelle! Hope you guys had a special night out together. Thanks again for having me on the blog.

  5. Hey, Sloan and Kayelle - great idea for a blog and great post, Sloan. This book has to go on the TBR list!

    It's a strange Christmas here with bright blue skies and sunny, 40-something temps. But we'll take it! Makes driving easier for everyone.

    But the snow's coming... I can feel it!


  6. It has felt like snow all day, but only rained. Too warm, but the clouds look right for the white stuff. ^_^

  7. Thanks so much, JM! Appreciate you checking out the post. Sounds like you had lovely weather for Christmas. We have snow covering the ground today.


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