I was chatting to a friend earlier today and she told that Mills and Boon were on the verge of bankruptcy before e-readers became popular. Apparently the advent of e-readers meant that people were finally able to enjoy reading a romance without everyone around them knowing what they were reading, and this saw their sales in an often-scorned genre increase exponentially. I don’t know if there’s any truth in that – a swift search on Google didn’t give me any information either way – but certainly it’s true that the UK’s once most popular erotic line, Black Lace, was resurrected to publish ebooks and is now going from strength to strength.
Our conversation led me to think about e-readers and the change they’ve caused in people’s reading habits. I can see that there’s probably a causal link between the popularity of e-readers and the increase in the sale of erotic romance, and erotica, with the e-reader serving as the brown paper wrapper that certain types of catalogue used to be delivered in pre-internet. And perhaps the same is true of other types of book that attract similar judgment or scorn from society in general (in public, at least). Certainly I take advantage of my e-reader to read anything I like in public places without the slightest feeling of embarrassment, while I certainly wouldn’t have whipped out an erotic romance book with typical cover art in many of those places. While somebody could see what I’m reading, they’d have to make an effort to do so and I think that if they’re really that nosy, they deserve to find out I’m in the middle of an M/M/M ménage scene involving nipple clamps and vibrators.
But I’m getting distracted… The anonymity of e-readers is undoubtedly a huge benefit to those of us who like to read material that’s generally considered infra dig or taboo. So I’m probably reading more erotica now than I used to, simply because I can take it with me on journeys etc. In fact, I’d say I’m reading more than I used to in every genre because of e-readers. It’s not only the portability they offer, but for me, blessed with rather poor eyesight, the fact I can increase the text size when my eyes are tired means I can continue reading past the point where I’d have had to admit defeat with a paperback.
That’s not to say I’m ever going to give up on physical books. Firstly, what would I read if there were a powercut and I couldn’t recharge my reader?? But the thing is, I love books. I love everything about them – I love the way they look on bookshelves, different sizes, cover art, and the way the soft lamplight reflects off gold writing on the spines of some of my more indulgent purchases. I love the experience of turning pages and looking at pictures in reference books. I love being able to pick up a book and go straight to the piece of information I want because I remember where on the page it is. But I also love my e-reader. 🙂
I’d love to hear how e-readers have changed other people’s reading habits, if at all.
When Tom rounded the corner of the barn and finally saw him, he crashed to a halt. Because Bryce…Bryce might as well be doing a photo shoot for a porn site. Dear God, he was a wet dream come to life. He was stripped to his white undershirt, and his broad shoulders and muscular arms glistened slightly with sweat. His dark jeans clung to his long, lean thighs, while the large buckle on his belt drew Tom’s gaze to his crotch. Even the leather gloves on his hands had Tom shivering, washed with alternating heat and cold as he stared at Bryce, who was picking up a couple of beams. Muscles flexed in his arms and where his undershirt clung to his abs as they took the strain.
Becoming aware of his presence, Bryce dropped the lumber back onto the pile and looked up at Tom. And God, no matter how fucking gorgeous he was in every other way, it was his eyes that Tom loved. No artifice, no judgment—he had no doubt that, with Bryce, what you saw was what you got, and right now that was pleased surprise and fast-building desire.
“I—uh—yeah,” Tom said, because he had no words. No words except to say that how Bryce looked right now was like every dream he’d ever had of a perfect guy, and how he would spend the rest of his life remembering this moment.
Bryce didn’t seem affected by whatever it was that had Tom’s feet glued in place. His smile grew and he prowled across the open ground between them, his loose-limbed grace making Tom lightheaded. Or maybe it was the way all his blood had gone elsewhere that made the world swim around him, because his cock was hard as nails. His lips were parted as he tried to breathe, but that became more and more difficult as Bryce’s eyes darkened, his tongue flickered over his lips and his gaze was on where Tom was so obviously, desperately hard, his cock pressing shamelessly against the soft gray material of his pants.
Bryce closed the last few inches and the smile in his eyes had turned to want and urgency. His mouth on Tom’s was heat and need and so good, the taste of him dark and intense and everything Tom had ever dreamed of. Tom was rubbing against the long thigh Bryce had pushed between his legs, shameless and needing. And when Bryce pulled his shirt out from his waistband and touched Tom, he shuddered all over, mewling into Bryce’s open mouth, because he was still wearing those leather gloves and the feel of soft leather on his skin did something to Tom nothing else ever had. He was gasping, his eyes closed, as he tried not to come in his pants like a teenager.
Bryce tore his mouth from Tom’s and buried it in his neck while his gloved hands swept over Tom’s back, and then one of them was on his chest. Supple leather, warm from Bryce’s body, was rubbing over his nipple. Tom whimpered. “Please,” he got out.
Bryce slowly unzipped him, every snick of the zipper an unbearable tease. The gloves didn’t make it easy for him, but he was very clearly not going to discard them any time soon, and as he eased Tom’s pants and underwear over his hard cock, Tom had never been more glad of anything in his life. Because oh, fuck—soft, warm leather surrounded his cock while Bryce’s tongue was pushing into his mouth and he wasn’t going to survive this. He was rutting into Bryce’s hand, mindless and wanting, blind with need, aware of nothing except Bryce and how good this was.
“Easy, there,” Bryce whispered into his ear, his breath hot and doing nothing to help Tom. And then he was moving Tom, who went willingly wherever it was Bryce was pushing him, till he found himself pressed up against the wall of the barn, sun-warmed wood beneath his hands and against his cheek as he heard Bryce’s jagged breathing and the rasp of his zipper opening.
“God, how are you so—?” Bryce asked, his voice rough and wild, like the feel of full moon. He nudged Tom’s legs further apart and pressed up against him, his cock so hot and hard against his ass as Tom whimpered and tried to position himself so Bryce could just push into him. But instead there was the cool slickness of a lubed finger pushing inside. For an insane moment, Tom wanted to groan with disappointment that it wasn’t the leather glove inside him, opening him as he writhed and pushed back on the fingers inside him. “Please,” he gasped again. “Bryce.”
And then Bryce was holding him open, one hand still gloved and one not, and Tom couldn’t tell which felt better—the touch of leather, or Bryce’s skin on him—as Bryce pressed slowly deep inside, so hard and thick. Tom sobbed, pressing his cheek against the roughly planed wood. Its coarse texture helped to ground him as Bryce drove in, again and again, fucking him harder than he’d ever been fucked before and feeling so damn good, deep inside him. And when Bryce reached round with the glove and closed it around Tom’s cock, he cried out and came, jizz spurting against the barn, over and over, his knees trembling. It felt like he’d split into tiny pieces, painted across the sky above them, and he’d never be able to put himself back together.
But Bryce held him together. His hands, back on Tom’s hips, were holding him, guarding him, and when Tom was finally sensible once more, he started to fuck him again in quick, sharp thrusts. A growl escaped him as he bit down on Tom’s shoulder through his shirt and his hips bucked and lost their rhythm, snapping against Tom as he gasped out his own orgasm.
Then they were still, and the afternoon was carrying on around them—the sounds of birds in the trees, a horse somewhere stamping its hoof against flies, and Bryce’s breathing, uneven and fast, which he could feel as much as hear because Bryce was still plastered against his back, holding onto him. And there was nothing in any of that which could explain the certainty in Tom that he’d come home.
The visit to Elk Ridge is supposed to be just another assignment for Tom Barrington. Then he encounters Bryce Reynolds, a generous, warmhearted cowboy who has the easiest smile he’s ever seen. It doesn’t take long for Tom to break all his rules and end up in Bryce’s bed.
Bryce Reynolds believes there’s no such thing as a hot politician, right up until he meets Tom Barrington. Tall, dark, and principled, Tom overturns all of Bryce’s prejudices, and Bryce starts to forget that he doesn’t do serious and he doesn’t do commitment.
As Bryce and Tom struggle to make sense of what’s happening between them, they’re drawn into a political battle—one which could affect the future of every shifter. And when long-buried secrets start coming to light, things turn deadly. Nothing will ever be the same again for the Elk Ridge pack.
Note: This is book 4 but it can be read as a standalone
About the Author:
Joy Lynn Fielding is a sucker for happy endings. She believes, however, that if characters don’t suffer along the way, they won’t fully appreciate being happy. Not all of her characters thank her for this viewpoint, but what do they know?
Joy lives in a small English market town, but also inhabits a number of fictional worlds at any one time, reflecting what she’s writing and what she’s reading. She has a tendency to share enthusiastically with anyone who will listen the latest fascinating facts she’s stumbled across in her research for books. Thankfully she has a very patient Labrador, who has a gift for looking as though he’s interested in what she’s saying while he waits for the food to arrive.