Hi peeps, we have Kim Fielding stopping by with her newest release Staged, we have a great excerpt and a fantastic giveaway so check out the post and leave a comment to enter the giveaway!
Once the second-prize winner on My Slave’s Got Talent, Sky Blue has spent the past few years singing at a failing New York nightclub. While Sky has never had control over his fate, his life seems to take a turn for the worse when he’s torn from the familiar comfort of performing and sold to a rich and enigmatic man.
Morgan Wallace takes his newly purchased slave to San Francisco, his intentions unclear. On the one hand, he treats Sky with more kindness than Sky has ever known—treats him like a real person. On the other hand, he shares Sky at parties hosted by his sadistic new friends.
A confused slave is an endangered slave, and Sky isn’t even sure of his master’s real name. Is he Morgan Wallace, wealthy and cruel, or Mackenzie Webster, caring and compassionate? Caught between hope, fear, and an undeniably growing attachment, Sky struggles to untangle which parts are real and which are merely a performance. His future, his heart, and even his life may depend on it.
Hi, I’m Kim Fielding and I’m thrilled to introduce you to Sky Blue, the hero of my newest novel, Staged. In this book, I got the chance to write in an alternate universe very similar to our own–but where slavery is legal.
As the clapping ended, Sky smiled at the meager audience and tried to ignore the stone-faced man at the table in front of the stage. “Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. We’re going to take a quick break, and then we’ll be back with more.” Sky turned and ducked behind the curtains to join the members of the band, who were already sprawled in the ratty backstage chairs, scarfing leftovers from the kitchen.
“Here,” said his handler, putting a towel in one hand and a mug in the other.
Sky blotted his face—careful not to smear his makeup—and gave the towel back, then sniffed the steaming mug. “Thanks, Bill.” It was a special concoction Bill brewed just for him: hot tea with lemon, honey, and ginger. It wouldn’t heal the damage inflicted by too many hours of singing, but it would help soothe Sky’s sore vocal cords.
He took a careful sip, then turned to the guitar player, who was sitting close to him. “That was a good set,” Sky said.
The guitarist shrugged and stuffed half a dinner roll into his mouth.
Sky didn’t know the band well. The club manager had leased them only a week earlier in what Sky assumed was an attempt to save money. This group was less skilled than the last band, and smaller—just a guitar player, a keyboardist, and a drummer. But Sky preferred to get on their good side, because if they wanted to, a band could make the singer look really bad. These guys weren’t easily warming up to him, though.
“Is there anything you’d really like to play?” Sky asked. “Something different from what we did last night, maybe?”
The guitarist shook his head. “We’ll do whatever we’re supposed to.”
Sky wanted to say that their musicianship would never progress beyond mediocre if they didn’t find some passion in their work, but what was the point? They were slaves, just like him. They played whatever their owners told them to. This particular gig had benefits, though—decent food, a reasonably comfortable dorm, and a handler who was willing to learn his charges’ needs and cater to them as much as possible. Sky hoped those advantages would encourage this band to at least try to perform decently.
“Five more minutes,” Bill said. The band mumbled, “Thank you, five,” as Sky drained the mug. Bill took it from him, then ran a hand through his thinning hair and grimaced, looking as unhappy as he had all evening. “Ms. Avery wants you to report to her office after this set.”
Dread weighted Sky’s stomach, making him glad he’d eaten a light dinner. “I’m doing my best. If I could sing one fewer set each day—maybe for just a week—my voice would recover, and—”
“I don’t think she intends to punish you.”
That assurance should have calmed Sky, but Bill’s frown made him feel ill. “Then what does she want?”
Bill just shook his head before walking over to say something to the drummer.
Sky took a few deep breaths and tried another smile at the guitarist. “If you could do a couple long solos, I’d really appreciate it.” He tapped his throat. “Give me a little break?”
The guitarist seemed to consider this for a moment, then gave a curt nod.
For a few minutes, Sky leaned back against a thick support beam and closed his eyes. He tried not think of why Ms. Avery might be angry with him. He’d given good shows tonight, belting out the tunes even when his throat was raw, swiveling his hips and shaking his ass, flirting with the microphone as if it were a lover. Yeah, the place was half-empty tonight—as it had been for months—but that wasn’t his fault. Club Paradiso was passé. The menu was tired, the décor years out-of-date, and the entire concept out of vogue. People didn’t want live music with their dinners anymore; they wanted to get drunk and dance under flashing lights to music that was all rhythm and no melody.
“It’s time,” Bill said with a gentle nudge to Sky’s arm.
The crowd had further thinned during the break. But even through the glare of the stage lights, Sky saw that the man at the front center table remained. Middle-aged, dressed in a suit, expressionless. He was alone, which was odd enough, but he also hadn’t eaten anything. Instead he’d sipped his beer so slowly that, after nearly two hours, the glass still wasn’t empty. Throughout the previous sets, his gaze had never once left Sky.
As Sky reached for the mic, a realization turned his spine to ice. That’s why Ms. Avery wants me. The management didn’t rent him out often because too little rest made his performance suffer. But business had been so bad that maybe they needed the money more than a good show. Besides, tomorrow was Sunday and the club was closed.
Sky pasted on a fake smile and tried to keep his voice from shaking. “And we’re back, ladies and gentleman. I hope you’re still in the mood to rock!” He turned his head and nodded at the band, which began a familiar tune. Good. “Hotel California.” Everyone liked that one, plus it had a nice long guitar solo.
He closed his eyes. Pull yourself together! He wasn’t sure which was worse: anger that his one day to rest would now be ruined, or fear over what that man would do to him. People who rented him for the night weren’t supposed to damage him—most folks didn’t think it was worth the penalty fees—but they could still inflict a lot of temporary pain. The kind that didn’t leave marks. Sky had a feeling this man, with his cold stare, knew a lot of ways to do that.
His cue came, and Sky began to sing.
Read more here: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/staged (Just click the excerpt tab)
Kim Fielding picked up a pencil when she was three years old and never put it down. She always dreamed of becoming an author, but took a roundabout way of getting there, first spending an inordinate amount of time as a student and ending up with a law degree and a PhD in psychology. She wrote plenty of academic articles and even a few books, but fiction continued to call to her. One day, she finally put that pencil to its intended use again and began to write novels.
Today, Kim is the best-selling, award-winning author of numerous gay romance and fantasy novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning multiple -genres. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in fifteenth-century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, slaves, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.
Kim writes authentic voices and unexpected heroes.
After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there among the cows and almond trees with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.