We’re so pleased to welcome author Ingela Bohm today on the tour for her new novel, Cutting Edge.
The fourth book in my series Pax Cymrica: The True History will be released on April 6. But did you know that the story of Jamie and Michael began as a much shorter affair? Back in 2011, I read a short story that would change my life. I contacted the author and she graciously replied, and we started emailing.
Now, this woman lives on the opposite side of the world from me, but she inspired me to dip my toes in m/m waters, and this was my first effort. Quite a lot of it is actually intact in the first book of the series, Just Playing – I just stretched it waaaay out into the slow burn of the century. Let’s just say that these young men got to work a hundred times harder for their HEA than they did to begin with.
When Jamie looked at him again, Michael was watching him with something resembling fear, mixed with… longing? The combination was deadly. Jamie felt his world turn upside down. His heart launched into a frantic drum solo as his gaze remained on Michael, pinning him to the wall. They were alone, no eyes on them, only the thick night outside and a small lamp beside the bed. Michael stared at him, hypnotized like a deer in headlights. All Jamie wanted was just one heartbeat away, the breadth of a jumping pulse.
He wasn’t aware of being pulled towards Michael until their breaths mingled for a moment, but at the first touch, his eyes fell shut. Leaning in, he pressed his mouth against Michael’s. Michael didn’t pull away, but he did let out a surprised whimper which had Jamie tumbling through flecks of internal color, as if caught in a kaleidoscope, as if knocked out by a killer drug.
Then Michael did draw back and they stared at each other for several seconds.
“Well… that’ll go down well with the ladies, I’m sure,” Michael whispered, probably meaning to tease but sounding completely serious. Was he in shock? Was he disgusted? Had he had enough, was the game over now, the experiment done and deemed a failure?
Jamie felt his own breath come trembling through his throat. He had to find a way to keep going, to prolong this bliss. “That’s the easy part,” he whispered back. “It’s the tongue stuff that’s tricky…”
Michael nodded, his eyes riveted on Jamie’s mouth. The world swirled temporarily around them. “So maybe…?”
“… we should try that, too?”
And then they melded again. Jamie knew only warmth and moisture, a feeling like coming home, like going to sleep and dying and resurrecting at once. He tentatively stuck his tongue out and touched Michael’s nether lip. Michael drew a rasping breath and his lips parted slightly. Jamie licked along the narrow opening, letting his tongue slide of its own accord along the sensitive skin. Michael leaned closer – an accident? – and their lips slipped between each other, bouncing off teeth. Michael let out a small laugh and Jamie drew back, afraid that he had ruined the moment, that reality was coming crashing back on them before he had drunk enough of this delirious fountain.
Then he felt a hand on his thigh and started. When he looked up, Michael was once again leaning towards him. “It’s alright,” he whispered, his hand travelling slowly upward on Jamie’s thigh. “It’s alright…” Michael’s hand radiated hotness through the denim, and it inched its way up until it reached its goal. Jamie gaped, wanting to apologize, to explain, to joke about it, but Michael wouldn’t let him.
His fingers found the bulge and cupped it.
Jamie’s eyes slammed shut, and the next moment his mouth was covered – hotly, hungrily, totally different now. Michael wasn’t just trying out the kissing, he was actually kissing him. Voraciously. Jamie felt himself fall backwards and had a weirdly clear thought in the middle of his confusion: I thought he’d be the one to fall on his back. The thought was swept away as Michael leaned over him, still kissing.
At once, Jamie felt the pounding monster between his legs nuzzling Michael’s unprotected crotch. He put a hand down and brushed against it: the hotness, the hardness, straining at the flimsy fabric of his underpants. God, he had one too! Unable to resist, Jamie wormed his hand inside and stroked the erection with unaccustomed fingers. Michael shuddered in response.
“I want you,” he moaned, tugging at Jamie’s jacket. Jamie hurriedly shuffled it off and started pulling at his belt. Michael’s breathing quickened at the sight of naked flesh. In seconds, Jamie had squirmed out of all his clothes and lay down beside Michael, fully naked and burning. His smooth skin against Michael’s, the weight when Michael leaned over him made him dizzy. The smell of fresh, salty sweat and heavy breathing coupled with Michael’s careful, strong fingers sent tingles up Jamie’s abdomen and fire into his cheeks. Circles of heat spread through Jamie’s legs and stomach as his swollen flesh was worked into a frenzy, until it reached a level of such sheer bliss that he had to bite his tongue hard not to cry out as he teetered over the edge and let go of all pretense.
A hard rap on the door had Michael shooting up from his reclining position like an arrow. The sun was painting the room in gaudy colors, and the humdrum voice of his mother called, “Are you coming or not? We’re leaving now.”
“No,” he hollered back hoarsely. “Uh, headache!”
He heard her mutter in resignation as she descended the stairs and then a car door slammed. Gravel rattled as it drove away and Michael slumped on the edge of the bed, his breathing chopped up by his speeding heart. Jamie sat up beside him, all tousled and rosy-cheeked and smiling. It stopped Michael’s heart to see him like that, naked in his bed, the smells of love still clinging to his skin. “Good morning,” he murmured in a gritty voice that had Michael’s insides in instant turmoil.
“Morning,” he replied, shyness suddenly getting the better of him. He looked down and felt his face glow with embarrassment. He couldn’t bear to look into those smiling eyes and know what had happened last night… it was too much. Too intimate. As if he didn’t recognize his friend any longer, as if he had been seduced by a total stranger, flown in from another planet to kill him with sexiness.
“Having second thoughts?” Jamie wondered, his voice tinged with worry. Michael shook his head, but still couldn’t manage meeting that blue gaze. “How… do you feel?”
“Good weird or bad weird?”
Despite himself, Michael chuckled. “You’re just probing for a rave review, don’t think I don’t know you.”
And in that moment, Jamie was Jamie again, as he laughed and pulled Michael down with him into the bedding, hugging him close and nibbling his neck, just like he had done a couple of weeks back, starting this whole mess. He felt rather than heard Jamie sigh into his hair as he settled with his face buried in the nook of his neck.
“So… what do we do now?”
“Well,” Michael said slowly, only now realizing that they had the whole house to themselves for several hours. “First of all… I need a shower.”
Jamie smiled, winked wickedly and rose like Adonis from the crumpled sheets. “Coming right up!”
About the Book
After ten years of hard work, rock band Pax are enjoying a stable career, but not everyone rejoices in their success. Just weeks into their first holiday in years, a family files a complaint against them for causing their son’s death. Their lawyer assures them the lawsuit will go away quietly – after all, a rock band can’t be blamed for some poor kid’s fate on the streets.
Or can they? This is the eighties, at the height of the moral panic surrounding heavy metal, and no accusation is too ridiculous. When Jamie takes on a guitar pupil who pushes the boundaries of artistic freedom, he starts to question his own responsibility for what he puts out. At the same time, Michael meets a former bully who insinuates that Michael wasn’t as innocent a victim as he thinks.
While Michael fights his personal battle against demons from his past, he also prepares to give evidence on the part of the band in a court of law. The question isn’t just whether Pax will survive this latest blow – it’s whether Michael will.
About the Author
Ingela Bohm lives in an old cinema, tucked away in a northern Swedish forest where she can wander around all day long and dictate her books. She used to dream of being an actor until an actual actor asked, “Do you really need to do it?” That’s when she realized that the only thing she really needed to do was to write. She has since pretended to be a dietician, a teacher, a receptionist and a cook, but only to conceal her real identity.
Her first imaginary friend was called Grabolina and lived in her closet. Nowadays she has too many imaginary friends to count, but at least some of them are out of the closet. Her men may not be conventionally handsome, but they can charm your pants off, and that’s all that matters.
Ingela’s more useless talents include reading tarot cards, killing pot plants and drawing scandalous pictures that no one gets to see. She can’t walk in heels and she’s stopped trying, but she has cycled 12 000 miles in the UK and knows which campsites to avoid if you don’t like spiders. If you see her on the train you will wonder what age she is.