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Cover Reveal: The Hook-Up

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I just realized that I can just go ahead and post this, since I don’t have to make print cover version! HUZZAH! HUZZAH! HUZZAH FOREVER!

Can you tell I really, really hate making print covers?

So, The Hook-Up is the free short story I’m giving readers of The Boss and The Girlfriend for Christmas this year. It’s a sexy night between Neil and Emir, with Sophie’s permission, but without Sophie. Chronologically, the story fits in somewhere around chapter eleven of The Bride, which will be out in March, 2014, but there are no serious spoilers in it. Just teensy tiny ones. It’s kind of like a short story/preview/missing scene. But if you’re afraid of having anything at all spoiled for you, don’t panic; I’ll be including The Hook-Up as bonus material at the end of The Bride.

Oh, did I mention it’s written from Neil’s POV? So you get to be inside Neil Elwood’s head? Yeah, it’s dirty in there.

Here’s the cover and blurb:

The Hook-Up cover try #1

After cancer put a year of his life on hold, Neil Elwood is finally back where he thought he belonged, at the head of his media empire. But when the job takes him to London and away from his girlfriend, Sophie, he begins to reevaluate his priorities.

Neil isn’t sure what to expect when Sophie suggests a one-on-one night between him and their lover, Emir. When the two men have dinner together, sparks fly, and Neil recognizes a rare opportunity to give sexual submission another try.

Though taking charge is all he knows,  Neil is willing to obey, at least for one night. Under Emir’s command, Neil discovers a whole new side of his sexuality, and he learns that sometimes, surrendering control can feel so, so good…

The Hook-Up will be available for free on Smashwords in December, but I don’t have a hard release date for it just yet. When it’s available, you’ll find out here first!

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33 Comments

  1. Tori
    Tori

    If I had the ability to get a boner, I would have a rager right now. I am SUPER excited about this.

    November 13, 2013
    |Reply
    • Nim
      Nim

      In these instances we have the ladyboner!

      I love the cover, Jen! Suits are sexy as is, but the tie-pulling is always a surefire winner for me. I can’t wait to read this!

      November 13, 2013
      |Reply
    • Okay this comment, specifically the use of the term “rager” made me laugh so freaking hard.

      November 13, 2013
      |Reply
    • Uh… *swallows* … I know what you mean. We could, of course, also put it more “delicately”:

      It’s making me all tingly DOWN THERE. Jeez and holy crap!

      November 14, 2013
      |Reply
  2. Nadia
    Nadia

    I’m so excited! Just so you know I was finally able to buy The Girlfriend. I stayed up until 3 this morning reading it. Almost done. I soooo need this short story in my life. ♥♥

    November 13, 2013
    |Reply
  3. Shirleyjo
    Shirleyjo

    Hot damn!

    November 13, 2013
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  4. ipooprainbows
    ipooprainbows

    woah woah woah! very exciting news. THANKS SOOOO MUCH!!

    November 13, 2013
    |Reply
  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous

    WANT! Want nao! /happy tears.

    November 13, 2013
    |Reply
  6. Heath
    Heath

    EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

    That is all.

    November 13, 2013
    |Reply
  7. pamela
    pamela

    I have a couple of questions regarding Sophie and Neil’s relationship. I’d like to understand it better because right now, I don’t. I’m sorry to say, I found Emir slightly cheesy and can’t understand what part he plays in the relationship or why he even has a part to play. What is it that is keeping Sophie and Neil together? What do they like about each other? What does he like about her? What do they even know about each other? Why was it okay for Sophie to decide that she didn’t want this baby and Neil just had to accept that and give her money for the abortion? She complained to Neil that he didn’t ask her what she wanted or what she expected of the relationship, well, she didn’t really give him a chance to voice his concern or opinion. She just decided and that was that. If she wants to have an abortion, she should have an abortion. But, what I don’t understand, is why she didn’t even bother to ask him how he feels about the situation they find themselves in. It seems that Sophie does what Sophie wants and everyone should just accept it. Would she have gone with him to London if she had accepted Gabriella’s offer? I, personally, don’t think so. I have so many questions I’d like to ask. I’m sorry.

    November 13, 2013
    |Reply
    • Hmmm. At first I was like, “Man, I guess I didn’t do my job right,” and then I realized that, well, everyone reads books different ways and gets different impressions, so maybe both of our takes are right, because books are just magic like that! So here’s mine:

      Emir is just kind of a friend-with-benefits who’s down to get down with both of them, but there isn’t really a part for him to play in the relationship. Just kind of someone they like, who they’ve gotten sexy with. I’d say Sophie and Neil count as swingers.

      And the reason I thought it was okay for Sophie to go ahead and have the abortion without consulting Neil was because, well, their relationship was still kind of shaky and I’m not sure that were I in her shoes, I would trust a guy faced with a sudden reminder of his mortality to make a decision like that in a clear and objective way. Or that I would feel secure having a baby with someone I wasn’t in a relationship with (because they were kind of broken up at the time, from Sophie’s viewpoint), and who had so much more money than I did. I think some economic disparity wouldn’t be a big deal, but the reality would be that a man like Neil would have the resources to crush a single mom in family court, if he wanted to. So I felt like Sophie should get more agency in the decision because she had the most to lose, and I feel it speaks to the fact that Neil is a good man that he was willing to let her make the decision.

      That, and Sophie knew she didn’t want kids, and Neil had already said in The Boss that he considered that part of his life over. I think Neil hit the nail on the head when he told Sophie he was terrified by the thought of leaving behind a child he hadn’t seen. He knew having a baby was a bad decision, even if he had to come that conclusion in hindsight.

      I don’t think she could have gone to London if she accepted Gabriella’s offer, because she would have had to break up with Neil to take the job in the first place. I toyed with the idea of letting her take the job, thinking, well, he broke up with my anyway, then finding out about the cancer and changing her mind. But I didn’t want it to seem like she wouldn’t have stayed with him if he didn’t have cancer. And I don’t think she could have worked for Gabriella, even if the condition of not seeing Neil hadn’t come up. She just wouldn’t have been happy.

      November 13, 2013
      |Reply
      • pamela
        pamela

        Hey, thanks for replying. I really appreciate that you took the time to do so. I was going to ask you a question about Sophie. I want to see Sophie the way you see Sophie, to better understand the character. Unfortunately, I’m even more confused. Now, Sophie and Neil are swingers? I thought, correct me if I’m wrong, that Neil had asked Sophie that they keep their sexual relationship monogamous in The Boss and Sophie had agreed to this. This is when they were just playing with each other. Now, when they’re supposed to be in love, committed to each other in an emotionally and sexually mature relationship, when Neil is battling cancer and trying to stay alive, now they are swingers? Neil is sick, his immune system is weak, if you so much as breathe on him the wrong way it could be heartbreaking. So, what, let’s invite some random guy over to have sex with Sophie because she needs this. They don’t know anything about him, his sexual history, they didn’t even know he was married. I don’t care how safe you are why take that risk? I wish Sophie had enough brains to tell Neil to stop. Just stop and focus on getting better. I’m not going to dwell on this any longer because I still find Emir incredibly cheesy and that picture you posted didn’t help. The guy looks sweet, he just does nothing for me. But, I think Sophie and Neil are friends with benefits. They care about each other, they are sexually compatible, and they have great sex. Beyond that, I’m not sure. When I read The Girlfriend, there is a moment when Sophie and Neil are discussing work and their careers, and Neil says that it’s sad because they don’t have any interests outside of work and Sophie says they do they just can’t engage in those interests right now. Personally, I think they have a purely sexual relationship, and Emir, in a way, is now part of that sexual relationship. I love, love Neil, Emma, even Valerie, and Rudy. I sometimes wish we knew what Rudy was thinking. He’d be amazing. I still have a few questions but I promise I won’t bother you with them. Thanks.

        November 14, 2013
        |Reply
    • Jessica
      Jessica

      Just to comment on what you said from my own experience, you can still be a swinger/ sleep with other people and be in a monogamous relationship. I have slept with different men, simply because it’s something that is a turn on for both me and my husband (really sorry if this is over sharing!) I’m not in a poly relationship though I wouldn’t regard myself as in a relationship with those men as well as my husband (although they are often good friends of ours)
      In The Boss series I definitely see Sophie and Neil as a couple and Emir as a really nice, sexy guy who they are having a good time with not a love rival or anything like that.

      November 15, 2013
      |Reply
  8. Yay! I enjoy your writing, but don’t have much use for female subs since I don’t really relate; so the main story isn’t all that functional for me in terms of sexy times. That being the case, I’m overjoyed to have a nice male sub even if it is only for a short story. And M/M at that! You read my letter to Santa, didn’t you, you naughty monkey. 😉

    November 13, 2013
    |Reply
  9. Only tangentially related, but I’d love to hear more about designing covers. Do you do it yourself or hire it out? Where do you get the artwork? I’ve looked at generic stock photos and stock photos specifically for romance novels and I don’t see much I like. I’d be interested to hear any insights you have into the whole process.

    November 13, 2013
    |Reply
    • I did these myself, from stock photos I found. The trick with stock photos is, you can’t be looking for exactly what you want. You have to have a vague, murky idea of what you could possibly use, and then try to imagine what it would look like if you cropped it, messed with the levels and the white balance, where you’ll put the title, etc. But this is probably the last series I’ll ever do my own covers for, because as much fun as I have with graphic design experiments, it’s a bit stressful to do both the cover and the interior formatting. It would have been easier just to buy the stock photo and tell a real designer what I wanted.

      November 13, 2013
      |Reply
      • other than ease, it helps to also have a graphic designer because we usually have access to better stock sites.

        November 14, 2013
        |Reply
      • And yet somehow, there is always one image that ends up on book covers over and over again, LOL. I remember one year, it was legs in a skirt. The same legs on every contemporary romance, with the skirt a different color.

        This year, the stock cover couple of the moment is this woman in a black dress with her arm at a really strange angle.

        November 14, 2013
        |Reply
      • I may be strange, but I love doing covers. I have this thing against using stock images when I do them though because I panic thinking other people might use the same one. So for the cover of Sacred Blood, I used leaves for the background and made a few arrowheads out of clay and chrome paint, found a branch that worked for a shaft, some hemp cord, and then my own blood since I couldn’t find fake blood locally that I thought looked right, and had at it. Yeah, I literally bleed for my book cover.

        It’s an art project to me, and I love that. I love it almost as much as writing.

        November 19, 2013
        |Reply
  10. I was so hoping for more of Emir. Neil as sub? Wow! Layers! How exciting. I can’t wait. And this cover! HOT! I can’t wait to read. Thank you.

    November 13, 2013
    |Reply
  11. I guess I’ll be one of the few (?) who go “UGH”. I loved The Boss, but I certainly won’t be reading the Bride if Sophie gives her lover permission to dip his wick in some guy’s butt. Why do you women get turned on by this? I’m speechless!

    November 13, 2013
    |Reply
    • Random bi guy
      Random bi guy

      Yeah, bisexual guys are just the absolute GROSSEST, amirite?

      *long, hard stare*

      November 15, 2013
      |Reply
    • If it doesn’t float your boat, don’t complain. Just don’t read it. Problem solved.

      November 19, 2013
      |Reply
    • RowdyShannon
      RowdyShannon

      I think a reason some women get turned on by it is the same reason men get turned on by 2 women together. If you think men are sexy and beautiful, two is better than one.

      For me personally, it is about the dynamic and the aesthetic between 2 (or more) people. So, for instance, this cover — hot. Or…Matt Bomer and … anyone — hot. But conversely, Elton John and David Furnish — not so much–for multiple reasons–1. I think Elton is kind of a dickhead, 2. I find neither of them sexy, and 3. I cannot imagine a sexy dynamic between them. But also, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West–not so much–for pretty much the same reasons.

      And come on…speechless? Really? That was a little *not-so-subtle* homophobia there Blush.

      December 2, 2013
      |Reply
  12. Me
    Me

    I’m not really into heterosexual smut, so even though I found The Boss to be extremely well-written, I could not get interested in it. Now on the other hand, I really enjoy guy on guy action, so I will most definitely be checking this one out.

    November 14, 2013
    |Reply
  13. That’s a great cover. I’ll be honest, what often keeps me from reading stories with a focus on sex is that the covers are so embarrassing.

    November 14, 2013
    |Reply
  14. Wow, you’re not really a mainstream girl, are you? Not many would dare to write about some man on man action, at least it seems to me that way. Kudos for that!

    November 15, 2013
    |Reply
  15. Eh, M/M doesn’t really do it for me, but it shall be quite interesting to get a look into Neil’s brain. I can hardly wait 🙂 .

    November 15, 2013
    |Reply
  16. De Reese Robinson
    De Reese Robinson

    I love this series, but if your swinging in the relationship that’s fine, but I always thought when couples swinging was always together. Now it seams Neil just might be in to Emir more than Sophia. What will this bring for Neil’s and Sophia’s??????

    November 30, 2013
    |Reply
    • RowdyShannon
      RowdyShannon

      My understanding of swinging, poly and almost anything else in the kink lifestyle is that it is all about negotiation and communication. If Neil and Sophie agreed to this, then it is ok and what works for them. I don’t think there are any hard rules about how to be a ‘twue’ swinger, kinkster, polyamorous couple, sub, dom switch whatever.

      December 2, 2013
      |Reply

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