Hi all and thanks for stepping by. Thank you, for having me, Jess!
For an author, life is full of surprises. Sometimes the plot bunnies jump at us from every corner in the most unexpected of places and sometimes they seem to run from us as fast as they can. Same with titles. Sometimes a title will present itself easily while we write a story and sometimes we sit and stare at the screen for hours to come up with an intriguing, new and above all, fitting title.
Stockholm Syndrome was an exception. I heard that term for the first time at some point in the ‘90s and it stuck with me. Back then I could only dream of being a published author, but ever since my first book was accepted for publication, I knew I’d use this title for a story. So, unlike all my other books, this baby had a name even before there were characters and a plot. It was fairly obvious what the book would be about, and personally I’m delighted that it turned out to be a full-sized novel and allowed me to add an element of thriller / suspense to my erotic romance. One of the first feedbacks I received from a reader was that she really didn’t see the final twist coming, so apparently the suspense element worked out well.
Now that you know the title, let me tell you the story:
We don’t get to choose who we fall in love with—and sometimes we fall too far…
Daniel Eames is a bodyguard. Usually assigned to protecting politicians, he has fallen out of his boss’s good books after getting too close to his last charge’s son but when rising Hollywood star and Academy Award nominee Bryan McTiernan receives peculiar letters and requires the best possible protection, Dan is put on the job.
While he agrees that the letters are more than harmless fan mail, he finds it impossible to narrow down his suspicions and Bryan isn’t helping by alternately seducing and irritating the hell out of him. Against his better judgement, Dan falls for Bryan’s manipulations, but the more he gets to glimpse behind the façade of the young actor, the more he realises that something in Bryan’s past has a strong hold over him. While both Dan and Bryan are aware of this, neither sees the full extent of his fixation.
With the help of Gabe, a fellow bodyguard and friend, Dan pursues different theories and even hires a private investigator to learn about Bryan’s well-hidden past. What he discovers has the potential to destroy more than just a promising career and in the end, Bryan has to make a choice—allow for his past fixation to take him hostage again or run away and into Dan’s open arms?
I looked up from my desk and tossed aside the paper clip I’d been toying with. “Seriously, an actor? You know that’s not my usual clientele. Tell them to look elsewhere. Or send someone else, I don’t care. I’m not interested.”
Michelle met my scowl with perfect calm. “Bronson wants you for the job, Daniel.”
“Why on earth does he want me?”
“Make an educated guess.”
Michelle was my boss’s secretary. As she stood there in my office, arms crossed in front of her chest and hips tilted, I realised once again that she combined the looks of an Afghan with the personality of a Doberman. I let out a weary sigh. “Babysitting Hollywood wannabes really isn’t my field of expertise,” I pointed out. “And he’s on the other side of the fucking continent. Have they run out of bodyguards in LA?”
She snorted. “Hardly, and it’s not that they want to haul your ass over there because you’re so fucking fabulous either. They guy lives here in New York and you know, this is just a thought, but maybe Bronson wants you away from your so-called field of expertise after the, ahem, cock-up you made of your last assignment.” I didn’t like the sugary tone in her voice, but she ignored the indignant stare I shot her and added, “Besides, Bryan McTiernan is hardly a Hollywood wannabe. He’s establishing himself as a household name. His last three films were huge box office hits, he earned himself an Academy Award nomination last year and his current film will probably win him one of the little golden boys.”
“Good for him. If he’s such a big star, he ought to have at least a dozen bodyguards by now. Why don’t they take care of him?”
“Well, apparently Mr McTiernan has never been too concerned about his safety and doesn’t think he needs any security at all except for the usual muscle at big events. He wasn’t even the one who asked for protection. His management, however, has a different opinion. They want him to be safe and they’re willing to pay pretty much any price.”
My curiosity was raised, despite my better judgement. “If they really said that, the boy’s got to be worth something.”
“He’s just entered the eight figure league if that’s what you’re asking.”
“Ten million bucks?”
She smirked. “Double that.”
Impressed, I whistled through my teeth. “Not bad. Tell me more. What’s his problem exactly?”
Michelle gave me the kind of knowing half-smile that made me think she’d read my thoughts. “Stalker,” she said.
I reached for my coffee and leant back, considering my options. When I’d started working in personal security a few years ago, I’d promised myself to never get involved with the Hollywood babes, no matter which place they called home, or with the rich and the famous. As far as safety was concerned, it was hard enough to protect someone who didn’t lead a life in the public eye, or had crazy fans that needed to be taken into account. But even I recognised a big fish when I heard about it and if the guy was worth that kind of money, then this case might be the perfect chance for me to prove my own value to my employer. I put down the cup and took a breath. “Is it serious?”
Michelle gave a shrug. “I really have no idea, but it sounds serious enough. Looks like his stalker is the kind who believes themselves to be his soul mate or some shit like that.”
“I see. What do we have?”
“A bunch of letters.”
She shook her head.
“Personal contact of any kind?”
I paused briefly, then I said, “Could be nothing.”
“I know. And yet it might be everything. Either way, it’s not as though you’ve got anything else to do at the moment, and as you can probably imagine, Mr B is dying to bag himself that assignment. You know you’re not in his good books right now. This could be your chance to jump right back into the first chapter.”
So my thoughts hadn’t been all that wrong. “Bronson can just go fuck himself,” I grumbled. “Why doesn’t he look after the kid himself if he wants the job so badly?”
Michelle rolled her eyes. “He wants you to do it, Dan, and he wants you to do it well. Extremely well. He can charge McTiernan’s management basically anything he wants for this job and they. Will. Pay. Having you as his watchdog is still cheaper than what they stand to lose if anything happens to him. And as for Bronson fucking himself—rumour has it that you are the one who will be seriously fucked if you don’t give Mr B a reason for keeping you, so do I really have to tell you that this is going to be a test for you?”
“Fuck. Really?” I’d suspected as much, but knowing I was officially on the boss’s shit list put a dent into my well-polished box of self-esteem.
“Really. As I said. He wasn’t impressed with what happened the last time.”
I bit back a groan. As if I needed reminding. “Fine. I’ll meet the kid. Make an appointment, would you?”
Smirking, Michelle turned and walked to the door. “Already did. You’ll see him at three. The address is in your phone.”
“Oh, what would I do without you?” I heaved a theatrical sigh.
“The same as you always do—try to knock down walls with that stubborn head of yours and collect bruises in the process.”
“Okay then. How do you want to play this?” I asked when Bryan returned after his lengthy conversation on the phone. Judging by the furrows on his forehead he wasn’t too happy about the things that had been addressed, but he’d kept his voice too low for me to overhear anything specific.
His eyes narrowed. “How do I want to play this? It’s your call, isn’t it? I’m only doing this for Heidi. If I got to choose, you wouldn’t be here at all but long on your way back to wherever you’ve come from.”
“The way you insist on not needing me could almost lead me to believe you know something that you’re not telling.”
Bryan stared at me for several seconds before he answered. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
I gave him a disarming smile. “Nothing. I’m merely stating a fact. Although, should you really have any information about those letters, no matter how irrelevant it may seem to you, now would be the perfect time to admit to it. I’d be willing to forget the entire incident and you could save yourself a lot of money.”
Raising one eyebrow in arrogant indifference, Bryan gave a shrug. “I’m not paying for this. Heidi hired you, so be sure to send the bill to her.”
“That’s not the answer to my question.”
“There never was a question, just you making an assumption. And unless you’re implying that I’m sending those letters to myself, which incidentally I’m not, I refuse to discuss this matter any further.” His so far non-existent accent had begun to surface during Bryan’s heated little speech. It was the first time something about him reminded me that I was dealing with a foreigner, although nothing about Bryan made him appear foreign to this country. Quite the opposite. He blended in well—almost too well, which could have been attributed to him trying a bit too hard to come across as an all-American boy. Not for the first time, I had to remind myself that I was dealing with someone whose job it was to sell people a fake reality, a truth he could bend to his liking, and it was a profession Bryan was good at as his two Academy Award nominations showed.
I sighed. The pretty exterior came with a hard core, it seemed, or rather with the kind of attitude that rich, spoilt, only children always appeared to have. I remembered the behaviour only too well, but refused to dwell on those memories now. At least that episode of my life had taught me some lessons in handling spirited youngsters.
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ELMVRSC
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ELMVRSC
About the author
Sage is a multi-published author of MM erotic romance novels and novellas and loves exploring the flavours of gay erotic fiction.
A willing slave to all the fascinating guys who keep queuing up and want their stories told, Sage can almost always be found cooking up the next hot story or daydreaming about new ways of rubbing sexy male bodies together to make the sparks fly.
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