The Mediator was one of my very first books with Totally Bound, and for me, it was an agonizing love song to the sport. I was a boxing writer, moving into the world of erotic romance writing, and I knew, with each word I wrote of this book that I was leaving pieces of me in it.
I also knew I was on the verge of saying good-bye to the sweet science.
Recently, my publishers gave me the opportunity to expand the story and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I was happy to revisit my trip of sexy men, especially Icarus Smith, a Las Vegas marriage mediator given the unusual assignment of mediating between world champions over a boxing match.
I got the idea from an actual fight, and was intrigued when I discovered just how much work goes into making a big bout happen. I still love and miss boxing every day and as I write this blog on a Friday morning, I am fully aware that just a few short years ago, I would normally be in the car with my dog, halfway to Las Vegas by now.
I’d be completely excited about covering some big, world championship match, anxious to see my writer and photographer friends from all over the world.
For me, it’s a ritual I still crave. I guess, as promoter Frank Warren once observed, it’s hard to tell if boxing is an addiction, or a disease.
In my mind, like love, boxing is a mixture of both. We can’t help who we love. The heart has its own mind.
So when my character, Icarus Smith is asked to mediate between two world champions, it’s a shock to discover one of them is the man he met and fell for one crazy summer in Rome.
Most people have no idea what goes into making a world championship boxing match take place. Long before the two big-name opponents are face to face exchanging insults and spittle at the pre-fight press conference, a lot of negotiation has taken place. At stake: egos, money, and titles.
Did I mention money?
These days, most celebrity world boxing champions such as Floyd Mayweather get a cut of Pay-Per-View sales as well as their “purse,” which can end up being millions, but that’s just for starters. They can battle for training fees, sparring partners, sanctioning fees, hookers, yes, hookers. They can, and have asked for the world on a silver platter with a sprig of garnish on the side.
Where my story deviates from the norm however, is that the two champions decide between them that a threesome with their mediator must be included in the deal.
Can Icarus go through with it? Can he make the fight happen? Or is love, like a lucky punch, something that floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee?
The Mediator by A.J. Llewellyn
Icarus Smith has two problems, and they both want him…their Mediator.
Icarus Smith has just landed an unusual assignment. A licensed mediator used to handling squabbling spouses, he’s been hand-picked to negotiate a forty-million-dollar welterweight championship title fight. The problem is, these two world boxing champions hate each other. Worst of all, Icarus has discovered that one of them, Italian superstar Paolo de Luca, is the man with whom he had a passionate affair in Italy the previous summer. Paolo cruelly dumped him, and Icarus realizes he is still devastated. Can he overcome his personal feelings to work with Paolo and the boxer’s arch-nemesis, US champion Adam Wyler?
So far, the fight scheduled to take place at New York’s Madison Square Garden is a bust. Fans have bought tickets, and Pay-Per-View sales are through the roof. Just like Lady Di’s face once adorned dishcloths, these guys have their faces on buttons, badges, posters, TV and print ads. And they don’t care.
But Icarus has an even bigger problem. He’s just accepted promoter Thaddeus Halsey’s huge wad of cash to broker this deal and Icarus wants the money for a restoration project in his hometown in Las Vegas. Can Icarus go through with mediation? Can he persuade the man who broke his heart to face the guy who now apparently wants it?
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of multiple male ménage.
Publisher’s Note: This book was previously released by Totally Bound under the same title. It has been expanded, revised and re-edited for re-release.
Excerpt from The Mediator:
“You’re ordering that?” Jerome Curtin scoffed at me.
I looked up from the menu, trying to hide my embarrassment. Ten minutes I’d known the guy, and it was ten minutes too many. Before I could respond, a man in red silk pants and a lime green shirt rushed by me on stilts. Jugglers followed him, then came the singers. The diners around us began to applaud. To my astonishment, the statue of an old man sitting on the bench right opposite me came to life.
The briny smell of St. Mark’s Square and the canal’s waters filled my senses with nostalgia. The singers in their brightly colored costumes gathered near the fountain, gaudy masks held to their faces, and started to sing. The Carnevale di Venezia came beautifully to life. The twilight ambience with its flickering wall sconces put me in a better mood, as did the old Italian folk melody. I recognized it, but didn’t remember how.
I glanced back up at the waiter. Pity flashed in his eyes. I guessed he’d had his share of bad dates, too.
“Sorry.” In a flash of joy it came back to me. “Lu Me Sceccu,” I practically shouted.
My table companion looked startled then he rolled his eyes. “Number one on Billboard, was it?”
Well! No need to be rude. “I know that song!” I tried to place it and it hit me.
I couldn’t believe that almost eighteen months later, I’d buried the memory so deep that it hurt to recall it. It was like a scar on my soul. I spent my whole life counseling people, urging them to forget the past. Me, I’d just submerged the pain in work. I took a deep breath and grabbed my glass of iced water.
“Sir?” The waiter’s eyes were full of sympathy. “Are you okay?”
No. “Yes, I’m fine, thank you.”
Jerome Curtin suddenly leaned across the table and kissed me. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he slipped his tongue into my mouth. It was like being invaded by an electric eel.
I pushed him off me. “What are you doing?” I sputtered as iced water ran down my suit and tie. It figured that the one time I’d splurged on new clothes, they’d be ruined.
The waiter produced hand towels out of nowhere and gave them to me, still looking like he felt very bad for me.
“Thank you.” I pressed the towels against my soaking wet shirt.
“You looked like you wanted to be kissed,” Jerome said.
Not by you.
“You had this look in your eye.”
Yeah, I could just imagine. I’d thought I was over it—him, that is. The astonishing man I’d met that summer, when I’d found the love I’d thought would never die. Lu Me Sceccu. I smiled now, recalling that it was an elderly woman’s love song to her dearly departed forty-year-old donkey.
“Icarus, you’re keeping the man waiting!” Jerome blared the words at me over the top of the singers’ voices.
A busboy appeared and deftly replaced the tablecloth, gave me a new napkin, then refilled my water glass. I thanked him. I could feel water seeping into my underpants. Later, I might find this funny. Right now, I wished I’d gone home and caught up on case work, like I usually did.
“I’ll have a dozen oysters,” I said, changing my order. “And the tomato ricotta salad, please.”
The waiter nodded. “Excellent choice, sir.”
As he took Jerome’s order, I grasped for the fleeting moments of sheer happiness I recalled from that magnificent Sunday lunch when Pio had taken me to meet his family. I had never felt so accepted, so…embraced by a family. I’d wanted to be with them forever. And it wasn’t like me, not at all, to fall so quickly, so hard.
To love total strangers so deeply.
A.J. Llewellyn lives in California, but dreams of living in Hawaii. Frequent trips to all the islands, bags of Kona coffee in the fridge and a healthy collection of Hawaiian records keep this writer refueled.
A.J’s passion for the islands have led to writing a play about the last ruling monarch of Hawaii, Queen Lili’uokalani, plus a non-erotic novel about the overthrow of her kingdom written in diary form from her maid’s point of view.
AJ never lacks inspiration for male/male erotic romances and on the rare occasions this happens, pursue other passions such as collecting books on Hawaiiana, surfing and spending time with friends and animal companions.
A.J. Llewellyn believes that love is a song best sung out loud.
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