Curious about Book #2?
I’m new to self-publishing and when asked to give a sample of book two to put at the end of Shiver, I hurried one off and well, there’s this problem with sharing a part of a work in progress…
Poor Jocelynn. I hit her with major changes days before SHIVER was due to release. So, we hurried to upload the new version and some readers got a version that is no longer a part of book two. My apologies!! So we’re posting the correct version here and sharing the title of the second book in our Unbreakable Bonds series. This one features our very difficult Doctor Frost and the title has more than one meaning for him and his group of friends this time around. To see our inspiration for Snow, click here for a gorgeous close-up and here for something a little less safe for work. 😉 And if you haven’t tried Shiver yet, click here to order your own copy!
Hope you enjoy this glimpse into Snow’s book!
Coming in 2016
Book 2 of the Unbreakable Bonds Series
By Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliott
Read an exclusive excerpt now:
The bar gave new definition to the word “dive”.
Ashton “Snow” Frost sprawled in the most unrelentingly painful chair he’d ever sat in and tried not to look too closely at his dingy surroundings. Either the decorator had been into early seventies drug den or the place had been tucked into this corner of Covington since before he’d been born. Some nineties grunge band grumbled from a jukebox near the restrooms and the high number of college kids swilling beer at the long, battered bar and around the pool tables surprised him. And depressed him. He wouldn’t even be able to salvage his original plan to get laid tonight—the crowd too young for his tastes.
The entire evening wasn’t a bust, though. He watched his friends across the room, visible despite the crowd. They’d grabbed one of the pool tables and from the expression on Andrei’s face as he pressed the cue stick against his forehead, Melissa was kicking his ass. Lucas and Ian sat on bar stools on either side of a small pub table, both laughing. Probably because they all knew Rowe’s wife was a shark and it seemed nobody had told the Romanian. Snow couldn’t help but grin. Lucas and Ian didn’t blend despite the fact they were similarly dressed to everyone else in jeans and boots. Ian, despite his short stature, looked like he’d stepped off a runway in his untucked blue shirt and sharp, brown blazer. And Snow couldn’t believe Lucas wasn’t even cracking a hint of sweat in his cashmere sweater in this sweltering place.
Guess the owners didn’t feel the price of air conditioning a bar in December was worth it.
He shifted in his seat and glared at Rowan Ward, who sat next to him at the large table he’d reserved near the back of the bar. “You know what, Ward?”
Rowe turned green eyes his way and frowned as he pulled at the neckline of his black sweatshirt. Sweat darkened the red hair around his temples. “What?”
“I figured out what’s wrong with this bar. I’m not blind or deaf.”
Rowe smirked and wiped a drip of sweat rolling down his temple with a paper napkin. “It’s popular with some of my employees, so I thought we’d try it out. Come on now, doc. The place has ambiance—even you have to admit that.”
Snow shot him a glare. “It has wood paneling.”
“I always liked wood paneling. My granddad had this old hunting cabin in Colorado—paneling in every room. I think it gives a place a homey feel. I loved it there.” He picked up his mug of beer and took a huge swallow, then tilted his glass toward Snow. “And the brew’s cheap.”
“That’s because it’s shit beer.” Snow turned back to catch Andrei leaning over a pool table and chuckled when he saw Lucas watching as well, focus firmly locked on his former bodyguard’s ass.
Rowe had followed Snow’s gaze and shook his head. “It’s wild, isn’t it? Turned my straight employee gay. That’s some superpower Vallois has.”
“Doubt he was ever completely straight.” Snow slouched back, hooking his elbow over the back of the chair. “I walked in on them a couple of weeks ago and caught a bit of their action and there was nothing holding the Romanian back. Was fucking hot.” Snow waved one hand at Andrei as he straightened from his shot. “Look at him. I would have worked to turn the man fully to my side as well.” Lucas didn’t admit that he was exclusively sleeping with his ex-bodyguard, but it was obvious that’s what was going on. There was a lot more than just sex going on there.
Rowe nudged him. “You saw them?”
Snow heard something in his friend’s tone that made him look closer. “Is that something you’d like to see yourself?”
He shrugged. “I love women. Love my wife. You know that. But I’m not blind and those two are ridiculously gorgeous—so it had to be something to see.” He leaned closer so he could lower his voice. “Did you see who’s the top?”
Snow had been taking a drink of his beer and he sucked it in so fast, he choked. Clearing his throat, he set the mug down. “It’s not always one way or the other. You do get that, right?”
“No, I don’t actually. From things you and Lucas have said, I got the feeling it was one or the other. Come on, doc. Fill me in.”
“Fuck no. Rent some porn. I happen to know your wife loves gay porn. Like really loves gay porn. You do know she asked me to film something once, right? That time we were all out at that steakhouse and I picked up that blond waiter?”
“I remember. Unfortunately. You left us with the check and started making out with him before you were even out the door. What’s funny is you think I don’t already know about the porn and my wife.”
Snow lifted an eyebrow, intrigued. “You two watch it together?”
Green eyes rolled. “No way in hell am I giving you any wank material.”
“Too late.” Snow gave Rowe his most wicked, teasing grin.
“Right. You don’t like sex with women.”
“Oh Rowe, do we need a lesson on porn and watching versus action? I enjoy good, straight porn at times. When something is hot, it’s hot.”
“You’re telling me…” Rowe’s expression went serious. “You’re telling me, you could be with a woman?”
“No. I learned a long time ago that doesn’t work for me.” Snow had never found himself interested in anything beyond friendship with women. He liked everything about men. Liked their harder edges, their calloused hands, and masculine scents…their ability to take rough handling. He knew there were women out there who liked the latter, but he liked dick. Always had.
Snow toyed with a bottle cap, turning it over with the tips of his fingers. “What I’m telling you is that what we like to watch doesn’t always coincide with what we like to do. You watch gay porn with your wife but you don’t do guys, right?”
His friend’s nod was slow and contemplative. “I get it. I do. I think it’s just that I can’t imagine having a penis and not wanting to put it into a woman. That’s where everything goes fuzzy for me.”
“Fuzzy isn’t a bad place to be.”
“If you say so.” Rowe looked up and shoved out the chair next to him.
Snow followed his gaze to find Ian pushing through the crowd toward their table. It looked like the heat in this bar was getting to him as well because he peeled off the stylish jacket and draped it over his arm. His light brown hair was gelled into a style that looked messy and probably took him twenty minutes to get right. Everything about Ian always flowed together like it was effortless and knowing Ian, it mostly was. Snow had gone shopping with him once and Ian knew exactly what would go with what before he even took it off the rack. Hell, he let Ian pick out most of his suits. It certainly saved him the trouble of staying up to date on fashion. Not that he really cared about that. He just liked to know that he looked good.
“I don’t know why I thought dressing for December was a good idea,” Ian said as he sat next to Rowe. “But I’m still having a good time. This place is fun!”
Rowe turned a smug look Snow’s way. “Snow doesn’t agree. He’s a bar snob. Lucas and his fancy nightclubs have tainted his view of proper men places.”
Snow’s grin grew, stretching his mouth wide. “Proper men places? Do tell more.”
“You know,” Rowe said, closing his hands into fists for emphasis. “Man caves. Places where we don’t have to dress up. Where we aren’t on display or trying to pick someone up. Where we don’t have to smell nice for the ladies. We can hang out with other men in our natural slob states.”
Ian’s mouth fell open. “There are so many things wrong with that speech.”
Chuckling, Snow picked up a napkin to wipe the condensation from his beer off the table. “Ladies aren’t the only ones who dislike body odor. Just how does the world look with your head stuck so far up your ass? You’re the only man I know with a natural slob state—” He sucked back the laughter, cocked his head. “Wait, that’s not true anymore. I just remembered Banner.”
“The cop?” Rowe asked.
It didn’t escape Snow’s notice that Ian, who’d been looking over his shoulder instantly turned back to their conversation. Hollis Banner, an annoying local detective, had been wearing out his welcome more than usual lately and none of them were under any sort of misunderstanding as to why. The big, scruffy, hard-edged asshole was sniffing around Ian and it made Snow want to hurt things. It wasn’t that he had interest in Ian himself—no, their friendship was too solid for that—it was that nobody was good enough for him. Not with Snow knowing what the kid had endured as a teenager. The young chef brought out every protective instinct Snow had. Plus, they didn’t need law enforcement hanging around, not when they all had things to hide.
He wiped the napkin over another spot of condensation and when it stuck to the table top, he snatched his hand back, snarled and pointed. “Really Rowan? I prefer my real men caves to at least be clean.”
“This from a man who drops to his knees in men’s bathrooms all over town.”
“I thought you’d been paying more attention all these years.” Snow winked and Ian softly snorted a laugh. “I’m not the one usually on my knees.”
“Selfish bastard.” Rowe laughed, probably because he’d heard enough over their more than a decade-long friendship to know that was true. Snow sometimes marveled over how well Rowe took the frank talk among their group of four when he was the only straight man. Well, mostly straight. Snow had an inkling there was a little curiosity going on up in the scrambled mess of Rowe’s brain. And Lucas occasionally jumped the fence and slept with women, but Snow had always known that was more about what Lucas felt he should want, not what he truly liked.
The others came back to the table, fresh drinks in hand and the talk turned to Melissa’s prowess with hard balls. Snow half-listened, finding that despite Rowe’s poor taste in drinking establishments, the company relaxed him. He let his gaze roam the bar again, hoping to see someone old enough to be interesting and frowned when a shadowy figure stepped quickly out of sight. He narrowed his eyes, tried to see who it was because he had the distinct feeling the person had been watching them.
“What do you think, Snow?”
“Huh?” He turned to Ian, realizing he’d missed the subject entirely.
“Don’t you agree that grocery shopping together is like a commitment?” Ian waved his finger at Lucas and Andrei. “They go together now.”
Snow pursed his lips and took in the hint of red flushing Andrei’s neck. “Ian, it’s just food. We get that for you, it’s a religion, but it doesn’t work that way for the rest of us.”
“It should.” Ian stared at Lucas until the older man started to glare back. But Ian gave him that smile—the sweet one that could melt the coldest of hearts and Lucas’s expression softened. Ian touched Andrei’s arm. “This is serious, though? You two? I’m right, aren’t I?”
The poor Romanian looked poised for flight as he tried to resist Ian’s questions. He glanced at Lucas, cleared his throat. “We’re just having fun.”
Everyone went quiet with Lucas’s tone. The man’s expression said so much about his feelings for the Romanian and Snow was sure he wasn’t the only shocked person at the table.
“Is that what we’re doing?” Lucas asked, voice low.
Andrei cocked his head, his dark eyes narrowing on Lucas. As usual, the heat between the two made Snow feel like he witnessed something infinitely private. Andrei had pulled his black, curly hair into a ponytail at his nape, so his curious expression was plain for all to see as he locked his stare on Lucas. “I thought so. Thought that’s what we agreed on. No strings. Are you saying you want more?”
Lucas suddenly grinned. He slowly reached into the front pocket of his jeans and pulled out a single condom and held it up between two fingers.
“Prepared much?” Rowe asked, his mouth snapping shut when his wife reached across the table to smack his arm. “Hey now!” He rubbed his arm.
Lucas kept his gaze on Andrei as he flipped the condom over his shoulder. “That answer your question?”
The two men didn’t move as Snow held his breath, then Andrei abruptly lunged half out of his chair, grabbed Lucas’s jaw, and kissed him right there in front of everyone.
The feelings that tore through Snow confused him and made him feel faintly ashamed. He should be thrilled for his friend, happy that the man had found someone who made him feel like that. And he was. But some part of him felt cloudy with fear—fear that his world was about to shift. Snow had never seen his best friend like this and it caused a pang in his heart because it had been mostly the two of them since they’d been in elementary school. He took in Lucas’s relaxed slouch as he let a man kiss him in public, the way he reached up to smooth his thumb over the edge of the hand Andrei had on his face.
That tender gesture showed so very much about how things had changed. Snow looked away, not focusing on anything in particular. Lucas was rearranging his life around someone he obviously cared for and that selfish bastard part of Snow—the one Rowe had joked about—wasn’t sure how to handle it. He’d always wondered if he had anything of substance inside beyond his relationship with Lucas.
Seemed he’d be finding out.
Someone once again caught Snow’s eye—someone who quickly turned away when Snow’s gaze landed on him. But the light hit on a swarthy face that struck a chord of instant fury inside Snow. His gut twisted, his palms started sweating. He hoped he was wrong, but the clawing, black anger spilling into him told him he wasn’t.
“Uh oh, I’ve seen that look come over Snow’s face before.” Melissa stretched her neck to, obviously trying to see where Snow was looking. “Looks like Snow has zeroed in a possible target. Can anyone else see? Is he hot?”
Snow let them think what they wanted. He’d excused himself from the group many a time before and there was no way he wanted one member of their group to see who he thought that was. He had to get to the guy first. He stood, ignoring the piercing, questioning stare Lucas aimed at him, and grabbed his coat. “Sorry, but I have to leave. Early surgery tomorrow.”
“Yeah, right,” Rowe muttered, his smile showing he was in the least put out.
He paused long enough to let Melissa press a kiss to his cheek. “Have fun, sweetie,” she murmured with a dirty chuckle.
Snow strode fast toward the spot where that figure had disappeared and saw the man trying to dodge the crowd as he hurried toward the entrance. Snow caught glimpses of his black jacket as he moved. Right before the guy reached the door, he turned slightly and the light caught his face again.
Everything in Snow froze as he saw the long scar bisecting his left cheek. A scar Snow himself was responsible for inflicting. “Oh hell no,” he muttered as he pushed harder through the crowd and ran outside. His breath fogged instantly in the cold as he swung right and left, looking for a face he’d hoped never to see again.
If you haven’t had a chance to read SHIVER yet, you can order the ebook now on from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple’s iBookstore, Kobo, and All Romance ebooks. We will be releasing a print edition very soon.