Risk Aware, by Amelia C. Gormley
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: May 9, 2016
Rita’s Review: “…the writing was excellent, the story engaging and
the characters made me feel all the feels.”
Hi, and welcome to the RISK AWARE blog tour!
RISK AWARE is probably the longest single writing project I’ve ever undertaken. I started working on the concept in the spring of 2013, not long after I finished writing SAUGATUCK SUMMER. Geoff and Robin first appeared as minor characters—already in an established relationship—in SAUGATUCK SUMMER and I wanted to pursue their backstory.
Disabled people aren’t generally featured in BDSM fiction, and the sorts of BDSM usually portrayed is largely focused on activities that could be injurious—if not actually fatal—to something with Geoff’s condition. The story concept gave me an opportunity to examine several things we don’t often see in erotic romance. But it also meant I had to step far outside my own personal sphere of knowledge and experience on multiple levels. Which meant research was required.
Lots and lots of research.
The upshot is that the book took me over two years to write. If you’ve followed my posts on other blog tours in the past, you’ll know that’s highly unusual for me. I wrote SAUGATUCK SUMMER—a longer book—in about fifteen days. A lot of this is because I kept setting the manuscript aside to work on other projects and then taking a while to get back into things. But most of it is that getting it right required so much effort. So it’s particularly gratifying to finally get to share it with everyone who has been waiting for Geoff and Robin’s story, and also with people who may just be coming into the Saugatuck universe.
So thank you for being here!
Tattoo artist Geoff Gilchrest is convinced his life is some sort of cosmic joke. Why else would a hemophiliac also be a masochist? He’s given himself more than one elbow bleed since puberty just doing what guys do when alone and bored, so forget about whips and chains. How many partners would contemplate playing with someone even a mild flogging could kill?
Gallery owner Robin Brady knows he can deliver what Geoff needs: to be taken to the edge of danger but never beyond. But Robin came to Saugatuck to get away from the leather scene and heal from a betrayal by his former sub, so he’s not sure he should get involved with Geoff. His ambivalence isn’t helped by the fact that Geoff’s unwillingness to communicate about his well-being hits Robin in some very raw places.
Geoff’s hemophilia isn’t the obstacle he thinks it is. Instead, a lack of trust—on both their parts—is what could end them before they have a chance to begin.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure what caught my eye about him. He wasn’t gorgeous. Fairly ordinary, in fact. String-bean thin, maybe a little taller than I was. Pale and unmuscled. Dishwater-blond hair. Blue-gray eyes in a face with high cheekbones, a long, protuberant nose, and lips that managed to be both thin and lush looking. Above average, I guess I’d have rated him. But skinny had always been my type.
What really got my attention, though, was when he turned around to say something to his friend. I nearly swallowed my tongue. Visible through his black mesh shirt was some of the most amazing tattoo work I’d ever seen. It was, like, the Botticelli or Monet of body art. A mural that covered his back from neck to waist and shoulder to shoulder, full of vibrant colors. The thought of the time and dedication it must have taken for him to get that ink, the discomfort he must have endured, made me wonder just how much of a masochistic bent he had.
I watched him more closely, enough that I could see none of his friend’s disinterest in the kink scene applied to him. He kept to himself, quiet, talking only to his friend. He didn’t flirt, didn’t make any inviting eye contact. But once in a while I saw him stare, from under his lashes, at one of the dominants when the guy wasn’t paying attention. The looks he gave them were hungry, full of yearning.
Why was he here with a totally vanilla companion? Why wasn’t he half-naked and kneeling with someone’s leash around his neck?
The other doms didn’t seem to be picking up the signals he was giving off. It was like his vibes were being carried on a frequency only I could receive. The others saw a vanilla tourist and didn’t approach. Some of the vacationers did, and he danced with them, but his attention wasn’t on them. Eventually his boredom communicated itself and his would-be partners drifted away, until he was left leaning on the bar, his eyes still full of longing.
I was intrigued enough to decide I needed a new beer. Which meant that when his friend joined him, I was still by the bar and got to listen in.
“I can’t believe this.” There was a note of derision in the friend’s voice that said his disbelief was not of the favorable kind.
“I want it known, for the record, that I’m not laughing with you, I’m laughing at you,” he teased. I smiled around the mouth of my beer bottle at the rejoinder. “I, personally, have no complaints with the scenery.”
“It’s the start of summer, dude. I thought this place would be crawling with twinks fresh out of college.”
“Seriously? Have you seen this town? Not exactly somewhere college kids are going to come to party. Also, last I checked, most kids fresh out of college are trying to find jobs, not vacationing at resorts catering to middle-aged bears. Or have you forgotten already what that’s like?” He took a long draw from his bottle and shook his head. “You could have checked the website. I’m sure they have a calendar of some sort.”
“Thanks. Your sympathy unmans me. What about you? Picked out anyone interesting yet?”
“Eh, you know me better than that. ‘Water, water, everywhere . . .’”
I paused with my beer halfway to my lips. He wasn’t on the prowl? He wasn’t even trying?
“So, lemme get this straight,” his friend huffed. “Here we are, in the middle of what has to be a waking wet dream for you with all these leathermen around, and you’re saying you can’t score?”
“Wouldn’t be a good idea.” The mutter was so reluctant I had to strain to hear it.
Whatever his response was, I missed it because he and his friend took their drinks and disappeared into the crowd.
Fuck. Now I wanted to know what this guy’s deal was, and why he didn’t think he could get any action.
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Amelia C. Gormley published her first short story in the school newspaper in the 4th grade, and since then has suffered the persistent delusion that enabling other people to hear the voices in her head might be a worthwhile endeavor. She’s even convinced her hapless spouse that it could be a lucrative one as well, especially when coupled with her real-life interest in angst, kink, social justice issues, and pretty men.
When her husband and son aren’t interacting with the back of her head as she stares at the computer, they rely on her to feed them, maintain their domicile, and keep some semblance of order in their lives (all very, very bad ideas—they really should know better by now.) She can also be found playing video games and ranting on Tumblr, seeing as how she’s one of those horrid social justice warriors out to destroy free speech, gaming, geek culture, and everything else that’s fun everywhere.
To celebrate the release of Risk Aware, Amelia is giving away an ebook copy of the Strain series. Leave a comment to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 14, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!