Saturday, 20 June 2015

No More Hiding by Renee Stevens

I first met Renee some years ago now, on Gay Authors We started a Round Robin which never got finished but was a lot of fun. Right then I knew she was a talented writer and she's only got stronger from there. It is therefore my pleasure to present her latest release


Phillip Jorgensen tried to live the straight life and ended up divorced. But he wouldn’t trade his two kids, Jacob and Samantha, for the world. His ex-wife has kidnapped them and he's been searching for them for six long years. But he’s not giving up—never, not for anything. His twin brother has encouraged him to start living again, but how is he going to find romance with all his baggage?

When he meets Vance Pierce at the new gym, Phillip sees a chance to find some happiness.
Phillip has to explain the whole sordid mess to Vance and pray that he understands that he’ll never stop looking for his children. That’s easier said than done. Telling Vance might be risky. Is their connection strong enough to convince Vance to stay? Or will he think that Phillip is too damaged to love? This is Phillip's chance at the life he never thought he could have. But is it possible?


Phillip was still trying to figure out where to start when Vance leaned forward, one hand resting on the driver’s headrest, and closed the distance between them. He paused, just inches away, but must have seen what he was looking for.

He pressed his lips to Phillip’s.

Phillip groaned. He wanted more and tried to turn in his seat to reach for Vance. But he growled in frustration as the damn steering wheel dug into his side and prevented him from moving closer.
The kiss was brief and left Phillip wanting more when Vance pulled back.

“I’ve wanted to do that since the day I met you.”

“Why didn’t you?” Phillip didn’t know what else to say. He’d thought about it, more than once, and wouldn’t have pushed Vance away.

Vance shrugged and moved back to his side of the truck. “Didn’t want to spook you. Something about you told me to proceed with caution. Nothing specific, just a lot of little things.”

“Like what?”

“Mainly, you’d never really talk about yourself. I tried a couple of times to steer the conversation into more personal territory.” Vance stared out the front window. “You’d always change the subject or move on to the next machine, yet you were fine as long as it was just light flirting.”

“Yeah, about that.” Phillip cleared his throat. “I’d like to give it a shot.” He glanced at Vance, surprised to see his pale eyes focused on him. “If you’re still interested.”

To get to know the characters better, I asked them some questions and this is what they said.

1)       I know you probably get asked this all the time but, as identical twins, have you ever pretended to be each other with a date? Or generally? Your parents can’t tell you apart so did you have great fun fooling them? *Phillip laughs* We didn’t usually pretend to be each other with a date. There were times that one of us would answer the door to the other’s date and that got interesting. I still remember one of Robert’s girlfriends trying to kiss me. She got really upset when I didn’t return her affection. She accused us of purposely trying to confuse her.

*Robert cuts in* I remember that one, we didn’t date after that. As far as generally, a couple times in school, if there was a class one of us completely detested and the other didn’t particularly mind. The teachers never could tell. Our parents, they were completely clueless. Not to say we didn’t pretend to be each other with them, but I think for both of us it was more hoping that they’d actually notice. They never did.

2)       Do you ever have the freaky twin thing where you can feel what’s happening to each other when you’re far apart? And I mean freaky in the nicest possible way.
Robert: I got this one. I don’t think either of us has actually felt what’s happening to each other. That isn’t to say that we’ve never had a bad or good feeling and know it has something to do with the other, if not exactly what. Phillip had a bad feeling when I was having it out with our parents over their disownment of Phillip. For me, I think the strongest feeling happened when he lost the kids. *Robert reaches over and lays a hand on Phillip’s shoulder.” I knew something was wrong, and knowing he was supposed to pick up the kids, I knew something had happened with them. We’ve had good feelings over the years too, but I think those to stick out the most. At least they do to me.

3)       Robert, was there ever a moment when you resented Phillip because of the estrangement with your parents due to your support of him?
Not at all. They’re the ones who made the decision to disown him. I wasn’t going to have my kids be around people who were that judgmental. Phillip never asked me to take his side, my parents tried to encourage me to turn my back on him.  He never asked me to be estranged from our parents. That was a decision that was all mine and I had no issues making it. Besides, Phillip was the one I could always count on and I could do no less for him.

4)       You work at very different things. Phillip, yours is more academic while Robert’s yours is much more physical. Was there always a difference between you in this way?
Phillip: Not growing up. It showed up a little in High School, but not as much as you’d think. We even took a lot of the same electives. The only real difference was Robert took shop every year and I only took it our sophomore year. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy it, but it just didn’t draw me in like it did him.

Robert: Phillip took classes like Mythology and I think he even took a creative writing course one year. The great thing about us taking many of the same electives was that we could do all of our homework together and actually understand what the other one was talking about. Even in college, we both took a more academic route. Phillip focused his major on accounting and I focused mine on business classes.

5)       What is your greatest fear?
Phillip: I think my greatest fear has already happened. I’d never expected my ex-wife to go to the extent of kidnapping my kids, but I desperately feared what would happen when she found out I was gay. Unfortunately, it was even worse than I could ever imagine.

Robert: That’s a tough question. Obviously anything happening to my kids tops the list, especially after seeing everything that Phillip has gone through. Tied with that though is something happening to my wife. I don’t know what I’d do if I lost Marissa. She’s what keeps me grounded.

6)       What is your greatest regret?
Phillip: My greatest regret. That’s hard to choose as I have a few of them. I think the biggest out of all of those is underestimating my ex. Had I known that she’d go to the lengths she did, I would have taken greater steps to prevent it.

Robert: Honestly, I’m not sure. I could say that I wish I had pushed more before Phillip got married, but if I had done that, Jacob and Samantha wouldn’t have been born. Hindsight can make us regret a lot of things, but at the same time, we can’t change the outlook, so I tend to look more at learning from my mistakes.

7)       What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Robert: It’s hard for Phillip to talk about, but I think both of ours is close to the same thing. Searching and not being able to find Phillip’s kids was absolutely horrible. For me, it was one step further because not only was I helping Phillip search for them, but I had to watch as my brother quit living his life and essentially become a recluse.

8)       What is the quality you most like in a man?
Phillip: I think this one is meant more for me. Don’t get me wrong, a good looking guy will draw my attention every time, but I think personality and self-confidence are more important than anything else. I can overlook a lot for someone with a great personality.  I like someone who is confident, but not the ego-maniacs that think they’re Gods gift, just the ones who are happy with who they are. The one major must have, I can’t say, otherwise I might ruin it for readers.

9)       What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Robert: Guess I’ll take this one. Like Phillip, personality is a major deciding factor. I fell for my wife because of the fact that she spoke her mind, was willing to stand up to me when necessary, but yet underneath all of that was someone who could be soft when the situation required it.

10)   What do you most value in your friends?
*Phillip and Robert together* Loyalty.

Robert continues: We’ve personally seen what can happen when friends turn on you. It’s not a pretty picture and it just shows who were really your friends to begin with.

11)   On what occasions do you lie?
Phillip: I lived a lie for a long time. Mostly I was lying to myself, which made me lie to everyone else. It turned out to be a disaster and now I can’t think of many instances where I would willingly lie. The most I think I’d really do now is white lies to keep from hurting someone else feelings.

Robert: This is one instance where I have to completely agree with Phillip. Big lies can be devastating and I do my best to keep away from them.

12)   What is your motto?
*Robert looks at Phillip who nods for him to answer* We’ve always had one motto that both of us agree on. That motto is: We started life together, and we’ll weather whatever happens—together.

Author Bio

Renee Stevens first started writing in her teens but didn’t get serious about being an author until her mid-twenties.  Since then she’s written a number of contemporary stories, as well as delved into the paranormal.  When not writing, or spending time in the outdoors, Renee can usually be found working on in her capacity of admin and Anthology Coordinator.

Renee resides in Wyoming with her wonderfully supportive husband and a menagerie of four-legged critters.  Making the most of the nearly constant negative temperatures and mounds of snow, Renee spends much of the winter months in hibernation with her laptop, the voices in her head keeping her company while her husband works. When she needs a break from writing, Renee takes to the sewing machine to design, and make, beautiful quilts.

When the snow finally disappears, usually around May or June, Renee can be found in the great-outdoors.  She spends her time on the mountain, at the lake, and just anywhere that she can do some camping, take some photos, and ride the four-wheelers with her hubby.  Once back at home, it’s back to writing.

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