Hiya guys, we have Jaime Samms popping in today with her upcoming release Off Stage: Beyond the Footlights, we have a brilliant guest post and a great excerpt, so check out the post and enjoy! <3 ~Pixie~
Off Stage: Beyond the Footlights
Kilmer and Jacko’s relationship has been foundering for a long time. With the end in sight and despairing that he might never find a Dom who suits him, Kilmer heads to a local bar to drown his sorrows—and meets country singer Tanner.
Tanner feels oddly protective of the broken man and eventually convinces Kilmer to hire him to help remodel the small, sad house Kilmer once shared with Jacko. As Tanner and Kilmer get to know each other, Kilmer regains his lost independence and Tanner’s dominant streak rises to the surface. But will it be a help or a hindrance to the trust they’re trying to build?
The answer might lie in the music Kilmer gave up not long after he met Jacko. Music always granted him solace, clarity, and an outlet for his emotions, and with Tanner’s encouragement, he picks up where he left off. Playing together eases them into honest communication, and though a happily ever after will still take patience and work, taking a chance on each other sounds sweeter with every note.
Letting Go, Moving on, Getting Better
by Jaime Samms
Relationships come and go in everyone’s life, it’s true. Letting go of something cherished can be devastatingly hard, especially if the reasons it all went wrong are unclear. People like closure and moving on without it can be hard, if not impossible. All anyone can do is accept that you can never know what’s in another’s head, no matter how close you think you are.
When I was young and foolish, I accepted a ring from a guy who I’m not entirely sure even understood what he was asking of me. Probably I didn’t understand, either. It didn’t last. At the time, I thought it was the end of everything. It wasn’t of course. I was young and just beginning everything and I can look back with some nostalgia on that time, knowing my life has turned out pretty okay despite that setback. Or maybe because of it.
I probably learned some things 🙂
I’m not sure if he experience gave me the writing material for a story, or if the story gave me an opportunity to purge some of that baggage onto a fictional character who can carry the sadness for me. I think that’s a chicken and egg discussion with no real concrete answer.
Either way, it wouldn’t be fair to leave him with that burden, but that’s the joy of being an author. I get to unload some of the bad stuff and explore what could happen when it’s time to heal. I know how I managed it, but it’s nice to imagine other scenarios, unlocking other doors, so to speak.
I like to think Kilmer got his chance to open a few new and better doors of his own, even if his story starts out hard and unhappy.
KILMER CAME back to “present and accounted for” as the front door of Vance’s spacious farmhouse flew open. Kilmer was standing on the porch with little idea how he’d gotten there. Light bright enough to make him wince flared into his face. He lifted a hand to cover his eyes, and grimaced.
“Kil?” Vance’s deep voice rumbled through his gut. So familiar because it had once been his touchstone. But Vance sounded so different from Jacko. Had he really not noticed the cool tones in Jacko’s commands that he had learned to heed over the past four years? How had he never noticed the difference? Vance was so… so—not his anymore.
“What are you doin’ here?” Vance grabbed his arm and pulled him inside. “Where are your shoes?”
“I—” Kilmer glanced down at his bare feet. Maybe they were still in the car. He couldn’t remember.
“Jacko’s been callin’ every five minutes. What happened?”
“Vance?” Len’s voice this time, from where he stood on the stairs. “He’s on the phone again. What do I tell him?”
“He’s here. He’s safe. Tell him to fuck the hell off.”
“Um.” Len’s light steps pattered down a few more stairs. He held the phone out to Kilmer. “You want to talk to him?”
Kilmer took the phone and hit the End button. He handed the receiver to Vance.
“Okay, then,” Len said, voice small but comforting. “Come upstairs.”
They led him, Len in front, and Vance behind like he was afraid Kilmer would fall back down the stairs if he wasn’t there to catch him.
Kilmer felt unsteady and vacant. He wasn’t so sure Vance was wrong to stay where he could catch Kilmer if he stumbled. They made it all the way up, though, and Kilmer continued to follow Len as he led him into their bedroom.
Another bedroom? Now?
Kilmer faltered just inside the doorway.
“Okay.” Vance laid a hand at the small of his back and Kilmer flinched away, because he was covered in a stranger’s mess and even through the cotton shirt, Vance shouldn’t touch that. “Come on.” Vance powered him forward with that touch anyway, either not noticing or ignoring it all. “Sit.”
Kilmer was guided to the bed and he collapsed onto the edge of the mattress.
“Spill,” Vance demanded.
Kilmer shook his head. He didn’t know what to say. He couldn’t…. He looked up into Vance’s face and saw concern. Worry. No little amount of anger. He turned away from the storm of emotion.
“It wasn’t his fault,” Kilmer said dully. “I knew what I was doin’. I just….”
“What were you doin’?” Vance asked.
Kilmer hefted his gaze up to meet Vance’s. “Endin’ it. In the worst way possible. I—” He’d taken Jacko’s trust and twisted it into barbed wire and insult. He’d hammered the last nail into the coffin of their relationship and let the tiny little bell toll the last gasp of it at Jacko’s feet.
“From the beginnin’,” Vance said, a hand coming to rest on the back of his neck. “Take your time, but tell me everythin’.”
And because in that moment he needed so very badly to have a rule, a lead, one small thing to believe could be real, he took it for a command and he told.
By the end he was sandwiched between them, Len on one side, arm wrapped snuggly around his waist, Vance on the other, hand still at the back of his neck, kneading gently. Both of them had their other hands on him, one on each of his forearms.
“So I left.” Kilmer looked at Vance. “I… don’t actually remember that part. Gettin’ in the car and leavin’.” Though he did have that vision of Jacko on the lawn, barefoot, bare-chested, the looming image of Rocky, broad and strong and waiting in the light of the front door.
“And drivin’?” Vance asked.
Kilmer shook his head. He’d driven the path between his bungalow and the Texas Ex ranch so many times he could do it in his sleep. This time, apparently, he had. It chilled him to realize he had no memory of the drive. Had he turned his headlights on? Had he taken that last turn, the hairpin around the foot of the moraine, wide? How close had he come to the guardrails along the ravine and up over the steep rise? He shuddered. So many ways to die on that stretch of country road.
Jaime has been writing for various publishers since the fall of 2008, although she’s been writing for herself far longer. Often asked why men—what’s so fascinating about writing stories about men falling in love—she’s never come up with a clear answer. Just that these are the stories that she loves to read, so it seemed to make sense if she was going to write, they would also be the stories she wrote.
These days, you can find plenty of free reading on her website. She also writes for Various Publishers.
Spare time, when it can be found rolled into a ball at the back of the dryer or cavorting with the dust bunnies in the corners, is spent crocheting, drawing, gardening (weather permitting, of course, since she is Canadian!), or watching movies. She has a day job, as well, which she loves, and two kids, but thankfully, also a wonderful husband who shoulders more than his fair share of household and child-care responsibilities.
She graduated some time ago from college with a fine arts diploma, and a major in textile arts, which basically qualifies her to draw pictures and create things with string and fabric. One always needs an official slip of paper to fall back on after all . . .